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Month: October 2016

Halloween proves fun for workers and students

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 October 2016 at 10:33 pm

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Provided photos

This group at Five Star Bank in Medina dressed up as dominoes for Halloween today. They include, from left: Courtney McNeil, Pam Desjardins, Joleen Bessel, Tammy Yaskulski (branch manager), Hailey Furness and Michelle Barber.

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These workers at the Orleans/Niagara BOCES learning center in Orleans dressed as piñatas. Pictured, from left, include: Joyce Munn, Jolene Barcena, Jeff LaFountain and Kim Wiley.

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The Early Childhood Education students and their preschoolers celebrated Halloween by trick or treating at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center. The students and their teacher, Chris Burdick, planned a fun day of visiting the various offices and classrooms around the center to get treats and then playing games. This photo shows Richard Miles of Roy-Hart with Wyatt Szatkowski.

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Sydney Dickson of Roy-Hart is pictured with Jacob Foley.

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Charli Zambito is pictured with Skyler Christopher of Roy-Hart.

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Medina man sentenced to 4 years in prison for drug sale, weapons charge

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 October 2016 at 8:48 pm

3 others sentenced to jail or state prison

ALBION – A Medina man was sentenced to 4 years in state prison this afternoon after he admitted in August to selling cocaine and having a rifle.

Terry Holloway

Terry Holloway

Terry Holloway Jr., 33, apologized in court today for the crimes.

“There are no excuses for what I did,” Holloway told Orleans County Court Judge James Punch.

Holloway was arrested on Aug. 1, 2015 after a traffic stop in Medina. He has one prior felony conviction.

He could have faced a maximum of 8 years in prison for third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and up to seven years for criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree.

As part of a plea deal, Holloway would face no more than 4 years in state prison. Judge Punch gave him the maximum as part of the plea agreement.

Holloway asked for shock camp in prison. The judge said state prison was warranted because Holloway was selling drugs in the community, profiting on other people’s addictions.

Holloway was also ordered to pay $1,660 in restitution towards the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force.

In other sentencings today:

Joshua Lopez, 37, of Lockport was arrested for selling cocaine last year. He was sentenced to 1 ½ years in state prison despite saying he’s a “changed man” with a job and his own business.

Since Lopez’s arrest on July 16, 2015, he said he has worked to pay off his debts and all of his child support. He has been employed, and opened a business a year ago with plans for another. He also has spoken to high school students about making bad choices.

“The man who stands before you today is remorseful,” Lopez told Judge James Punch.

The judge said Lopez is now a three-time convicted felon who failed previously on probation. Punch said prison was warranted given Lopez’s criminal record and his peddling of cocaine.

“You impress people with your work ethic and your personality,” Punch said. “You are a three-time felon and I can’t ignore that.”

In addition to 1 ½ years in prison, Lopez was sentenced to three years of post-release supervision.

• An Albion man was sentenced to a year in the county jail after he pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a firearm.

Christopher D. Rivers Jr., 19, drew the attention of law enforcement after posting a picture of himself on Facebook with a sawed-off shotgun.

His attorney Robert Fogg said Rivers was in possession of a gun but gave it to someone else because Rivers felt it was dangerous to have a gun and didn’t want to get in trouble. Fogg said the photo of Rivers may not have been the same gun. Fogg asked that Rivers be sentenced to no more than weekends in jail so he could keep his job.

“There was no harm to anyone,” Fogg said about Rivers and gun. “There was no harm to the public.”

Judge Punch said a year in jail was “appropriate” for Rivers.

“This is a serious crime and you have a history of violence,” the judge said.

• A Medina man who sold cocaine was sentenced to six months in jail.

Reginald A. Kendrick, 40, is a first-time felon. He has completed drug and alcohol treatment in jail, where he has been since soon after his arrest in late February. His time in jail will count towards his sentence.

In addition to the six months in jail, Kendrick will be on probation for five years.

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Tri County icers nipped by Jamestown

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 October 2016 at 8:42 pm

The Tri County Golden Eagles Bantam Travel team dropped a narrow 2-1 decision to Jamestown ,Saturday in a Western New York Amateur Hockey League game at SUNY Brockport.

Trevor Wiesner scored the lone goal for the Golden Eagles.

Tri County, which is now 3-2-1 in the league and 4-5-1 overall next vista the Niagara Ice Hawks on Sunday at Hyde Park in Niagara Falls.

Barker ready for field hockey sub regional

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 October 2016 at 5:56 pm
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Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Barker’s Grace Harris, right, and her Lady Raider teammates will be competing in the field hockey sub regional on Wednesday.

Fresh from posting a thrilling shootout win over Niagara-Orleans League rival Akron in the Section VI Class C finals, Barker will now face another long-time foe as the Lady Raiders take on East Rochester in the Far West sub regional at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Hilton.

Barker avenged a pair of regular season shutout losses (2-0, 4-0) to N-O champion Akron by nipping the defending Class C champion Lady Tigers 1-0 in a shootout on Saturday for the Section VI crown.

It will mark the 13th time since 2001 that Barker has faced a regional meeting with East Rochester which is the lone Class C field hokey team in Section V.

East Rochester won the last meeting by a narrow 1-0 margin in 2014 but Barker claimed the pervious two contests winning 1-0 in 2013 and 2-0 in 2012.

In all, East Rochester has won 9 of the previous 12 meetings with Barker. The Lady Bombers downed Akron 2-1 in last year’s regional.

The victor will advance to the Far West Regional against the Section III champion on Saturday at Cicero North Syracuse.

Albion, Kendall, R-H spikers set for semis

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 October 2016 at 5:51 pm
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Photos by Cheryl Wertman –  Kendall’s Chelsea Wright, left, and Albion’s Sierra Newton and their Lady Eagle and Purple Eagle teammates will be competing in the semifinal round of the sectional volleyball playoffs this week.

Coming off thrilling come-from-behind five set quarterfinal round victories, Albion and Kendall now face sectional semifinal volleyball playoff tests.

Seeded No. 3, Albion will visit No. 2 East Aurora in the Section VI Class B1 semifinals at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Albion advanced by rallying from a 2-1 set deficit to nip No. 6 Olean in the quarterfinals as senior Chanyce Powell had a huge night at the net with 30 spiking kills. East Aurora ousted No. 7 Depew in four sets.

The victor will face the winner of the No. 4 Cheektowaga vs. No. 1 Maryvale semi in the title match on Thursday at Sweet Home.

No. 2 seed Kendall will take on No. 6 Honeoye in the Section V Class D1 semifinal at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Livonia.

Kendall likewise had to rally from a 2-1 set deficit to down No. 7 Genesee Valley in the quarterfinals as Madison Rath had 15 kills and 2 blocks. Defending champion Honeoye ousted No. 3 Fillmore in straight sets.

The victor will face the winner of the No. 4 Hammondsport vs. No. 1 C G Finney semi in the title match on Saturday.

No. 6 Roy-Hart will visit No. 2 Alden in the Section VI Class B2 semifinals at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The Lady Rams advanced by besting Buffalo Arts in straight sets in the quarterfinals.

The victor will face the winner of the No. 5 Springville vs. No. 1 City Honors semi in the finals on Thursday at Sweet Home.

Accident with no injuries shuts down section of 98 for about a half hour

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 October 2016 at 5:40 pm

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ALBION – No one was injured in a two-car accident at about 4:45 p.m. on Route 98 at the County House Road intersection.

The accident shut down 98 from County House Road to Allen Road for about a half hour.

Deputies on the scene said two vehicles were headed north when one stopped to turn left on County House Road. The vehicle behind struck the car attempting to turn.

‘They were very lucky,” said Albion Fire Chief Harry Papponetti.

He said the intersection has been the scene of many accidents over the years. There is a dip on 98 just south of County House Road.

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Albion firefighters, Albion police, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department and Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance responded to the scene. No one needed to be transported by COVA. (Frank’s Auto provided the towing.)

First responders were initially worried that one of the drivers suffered a serious injury, but that driver was wearing makeup with fake blood as part of a Halloween costume.

Firefighters responded with a new fire truck that has been in service for about a month. The new triple combination pumping engine replaces a pumper from 1974 and a smaller truck with extrication equipment used to respond to motor vehicle accidents.

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Medina band takes 3rd at states

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 October 2016 at 12:55 pm
File photo by Tom Rivers: Members of the Medina Mustang Band enters vets Park for a competition on Sept. 24 when Medina hosted the Fall Festival of Bands. Medina’s season ended on Sunday with a third place finish at the state competition.

File photo by Tom Rivers: Members of the Medina Mustang Band enters vets Park for a competition on Sept. 24 when Medina hosted the Fall Festival of Bands. Medina’s season ended on Sunday with a third place finish at the state competition.

SYRACUSE – After months of hard work, the Medina Mustang Band competed in the state competition Sunday at the Carrier Dome for the 40th time on Sunday.

The Medina students had their best performance of the season, earning 90.00 points in the Small School 1 Division.

That was good for third place at the NYS Field Band Conference out of nine bands in the division. Medina was topped by East Syracuse Minoa, second at 90.15, and New Hartford, the state champion with a score of 90.90.

Jim Steele, the Medina band director, praised the students and their supporters for the strong showing in Syracuse. The crowd from Medina gave the band a “roar” when they entered the field.

“The kids did everything that we asked of them and it did not fall short as the crowd’s reaction was the best of the night from what I heard,” Steele posted on the Mustang Band Facebook page. “The performance was on point and I could not be more proud of the kids, the wonderful booster organization and my staff for making this the most memorable season to date.”

The band has 135 students. Steele praised them for their effort and commitment to the program.

“As I have told you time and time again live with your eyes wide open and with a full heart and everything will be fine,” he posted on Facebook.

The day started off at 8 a.m. with the “Dome Breakfast” put on by the Boosters for the students and their families as a form of pep rally.  From there the students, staff, boosters and all of the equipment traveled to Hobart College where they practiced for three hours before heading to Syracuse for more practice and then their performance.

The band was led onto the field by Brad DeWaal, a former Marine and soloist with the Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni Band.  The matador uniform worn by Jadiel Flores of Medina was made by Karen Furness.

1st place scores for the other classes are: SS3, Vestal with 80.20; SS2, Northwestern with 82.10; LS3, West Seneca with 84.75; LS2, Cicero North Syracuse with 89.15; and National, Arlington with 96.75.

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Medina band leaders accept the third place award on Sunday at the state championships.

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Workers are dressed for Halloween

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 October 2016 at 12:23 pm

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ALBION – Every Halloween, the staff at Five Star Bank in Albion dresses in costumes for Halloween. This year, the group decided to dress up as scarecrows. The group includes, from left: Renna VanEpps, Amy Bigley, Becky Dillenbeck (branch manager), Debbie Yockel and Erica Davis.

Orleans Hub welcomes other photos of people dressed up in costume at work today. Send photos and IDs of the workers to tom@orleanshub.com.

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Villages set trick-or-treat hours for Halloween

Staff Reports Posted 31 October 2016 at 11:39 am

AAA offers safety tips from pranksters

Photo by Tom Rivers: These grownups joined children in costumes on Friday during the Beggar’s Night celebration in downtown Medina. The village has set 5:30 to 7:30 for trick-or-treating later today.

Photo by Tom Rivers: These grownups joined children in costumes on Friday during the Beggar’s Night celebration in downtown Medina. The village has set 5:30 to 7:30 for trick-or-treating later todayThe four villages in Orleans County all have set trick-or-treating hours for Halloween. Medina will have kids out in costume from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The Village of Medina has set trick-or-tricking from 5:30 to 7:30, while in Albion the designated time is 5:30 to 8 p.m.

The villages of Holley and Lyndonville have set 6 to 8 p.m. for trick-or-treating.

AAA has issued the following safety tips for the community:

Prepare for pranksters

Vehicles are nearly twice as likely to be vandalized on Halloween as on an average day, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute.

To avoid having your car egged or even stolen, park it in a secure garage or a safe, well-lit area. Double check that car doors are locked and windows are up. Arm your car alarm if you have one.

Look out for black cats, blind spots and Batman

Drive slowly and be on the lookout for creatures that can come out of nowhere. Turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances. Don’t hesitate to use your horn if you’re concerned that trick-or-treaters may not see you coming. Never drink and drive.

Provided photo: The Rev. Randy LeBaron, with Batman hat and shirt, poses for a picture with kids at the Albion Free Methodist Church on Friday. About 400 kids stopped by the church during Beggar’s Night for games and candy.

Provided photo: The Rev. Randy LeBaron, with Batman hat and shirt, poses for a picture with kids at the Albion Free Methodist Church on Friday. About 400 kids stopped by the church during Beggar’s Night for games and candy.

Light up the night

Generous lighting outside of your home keeps the creeps away while providing safe passage to party guests and trick-or-treaters. Keep walkways and stairs clear of debris and make sure they’re well-lit to avoid slips, trips and falls.

Follow safe pumpkin protocol

Keep candles, lit jack-o-lanterns, matches and lighters where children can’t reach. Celebrants in unwieldy costumes – or masks that limit sight – are particularly at risk of brushing against open flames. Use flameless candles if possible.

Beware the brew

Keep a close eye on your guests. Depending on your local laws, you could be liable for injuries they cause to themselves or others while still at your party or driving home. Serve non-alcoholic beverages and food along with your preferred potion. Stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the party ends.

“Property vandalism and injuries tend to spike on Halloween night,” said Steve Seitz, Insurance manager, AAA Western and Central New York. “It’s important to make sure you’re covered for whatever hijinks might occur.”

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Editorial: To lower taxes and strengthen economy in Orleans, local officials should grow sales tax

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 October 2016 at 8:02 am

$17 million in 2017 is an attainable goal

This washed-out sign declaring Orleans County as "Home of the King" with a faint outline of a salmon greets motorists on Route 98 near the Elba-Barre townline. The county could do much better with gateway signage highlighting local attractions.

This washed-out sign declaring Orleans County as “Home of the King” with a faint outline of a salmon greets motorists on Route 98 near the Elba-Barre townline. The county could do much better with gateway signage highlighting local attractions.

Orleans County and the local school and village governments have all been in shrink mode in recent years, making big reductions in staff.

The county sold the nursing home, and many of its departments have fewer employees than a decade ago. Villages have fewer police officers and DPW staff.

In some cases, the municipalities are sharing staff to bring down costs. Orleans and Genesee counties have teamed up to have Public Health employees working in both counties. Holley has contracted with Albion for police chief services and for expertise running its sewer plant.

The officials have found ways to reduce the overall government overhead.

But there is another way to bring down property taxes, a way that would lift up local businesses.

The local governments should look to boost sales tax revenues in the county. There should be a push to have Orleans residents spend more within our county, and there should be a concerted effort to bring in more visitors.

Right now, Orleans County ranks as the fourth worse out of 62 counties in sales tax per capita, despite ranking 25th from the bottom in median household income.

Orleans gets $358 per person in sales tax. We are one of only six counties below $400 per person, according to the Office of the State Comptroller. Wyoming County, which is similar in size to Orleans at about 40,000 people, gets $394 per capita in sales tax.

Orleans County, population 42,235 in 2013, took in $15,469,950 in sales tax in 2015. There was $15,703,363 in 2014.

Wyoming County, population 41,531 in 2013, took in $16,591,138 in 2015 and $16,853,447 in 2014.

A hot air balloon takes off at Letchworth State Park in this photo from May 2015. Wyoming County has numerous signs in many towns pointing people to the park.

A hot air balloon takes off at Letchworth State Park in this photo from May 2015. Wyoming County has numerous signs in many towns pointing people to the park.

I often hear people say Orleans is the poorest county in the state. That isn’t true. Our median household income is $48,502. There are 62 counties in New York and Orleans ranks 25th worst (or 37th highest) in median household income, according to the Census Bureau. The Census compiled the data in household income from 2009-2013 in the American Community Survey.

In Western New York, Orleans tops Niagara County ($47,955), Allegany ($42,429) and Cattaraugus at $42,603.

Wyoming has a higher household income than Orleans. Wyoming is 34th out of 62 counties at $51,100.

A reasonable goal with sales tax for Orleans would be to match Wyoming. Orleans would need to bring in about $1.1 million more a year.

Although Wyoming has a higher median household income, Orleans has slightly more people.

I would like to see our elected officials launch a campaign to boost sales tax to $17 million in 2017 and to $20 million by 2020.

Every $1 million in sales tax represents $25 million in taxable spending.

Here are some ideas (little and big projects) to reach that goal:

Sell more gas (and other stuff) locally

We lose a lot of sales tax because our gas prices are higher than neighboring counties. Meeting with gas providers, explaining how their prices hurt us and drive up taxes, may get some relief.

Educating the consumer may be best bet to capture more sales tax from gas sales. Consumers may not realize when they buy gas in Elba, Brockport or Lockport, they are depriving their own municipality of that revenue. If they buy 15 gallons a week outside Orleans (with the county losing about 8 cents in sales tax per gallon) that’s $1.20 lost each week or $60 for the year. Multiply that by thousands of people.

The Chamber of Commerce and local governments should develop a “Buy in Orleans” campaign and promote it heavily. “Shop locally and lower your taxes.”

Develop heritage trails

  • It was a big deal about two years ago when the state allowed the Niagara Wine Trail to extend past Niagara County through Orleans, all the way to near Rochester. The state even provided money for road signs. But the local wineries and Niagara Wine Trail have struggled with getting permits and approvals for the signs. This photo shows the sign on Route 104 near the Niagara-Orleans border.

    It was a big deal about two years ago when the state allowed the Niagara Wine Trail to extend past Niagara County through Orleans, all the way to near Rochester. The state even provided money for road signs. But the local wineries and Niagara Wine Trail have struggled with getting permits and approvals for the signs. This photo shows the sign on Route 104 near the Niagara-Orleans border.

    A Sandstone Trail on Route 31 – Sandstone signs for municipalities and roadside signs for attractions. (The Sandstone Trail should include a quarrymen memorial in either Medina, Holley or Albion, or perhaps a quarrymen tribute in each community. The sandstone quarries were one of the community’s most dominant industries for about a century, and attracted thousands of immigrants to Orleans. Many of their descendants continue to live among us.)

  • Route 98 corridor from Batavia to Point Breeze (several museums on this stretch). Add bronze statues/memorial sites in Batavia (for horsemen at Batavia Downs) in Elba (for muck farmers) and in Albion (for Santa and/or quarrymen).
  • Promote and better develop an Albion Heritage Trail that ties together the historic sites at Mount Albion Cemetery, Courthouse Square, downtown, Erie Canal, and Cobblestone Museum as well as many grand old homes.
  • Partner with Niagara and Monroe counties to establish and promote Cobblestone Trail on Route 104 with Cobblestone Museum the centerpiece.
  • Work with wineries to get Niagara Wine Trail signs up. (They were approved more than two years ago but bureaucracy has stymied the sign efforts.)
  • As the county nears its 200th anniversary in 2026, the local officials should be mulling ways to celebrate that milestone. Perhaps the quarrymen memorial and other tributes would be attractions while paying homage to our heritage.

Historic assets

  • Holley has the only original section of the Erie Canal remaining from between Buffalo and Rochester. A humble sign nailed to a tree notes that distinction.

    Holley has the only original section of the Erie Canal remaining from between Buffalo and Rochester. A humble sign nailed to a tree notes that distinction.

    Holley has the only remaining original loop of Erie Canal. It is currently filled with wild brush and vegetation. If it was cleared out, with interpretive signage, it could be an attraction.

  • There are many other historic assets, from cemeteries, stately homes and historic districts. A package could be developed to capitalize on the interest in history and heritage. Orleans County has many stories to tell from the war of 1812, Erie Canal, Underground Railroad, industrial revolution (Medina sandstone quarries) and much more. Some of these sites could be connected through hitching posts and carriage steps, especially if someone provided carriage rides to see the historic trail.
  • Work to obtain a Pullman Sleeping Car that would be parked in Albion and rented out to coffee shop/bakery.
  • As part of the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal construction, Orleans County and the canal towns should try each year to introduce a painted fiberglass mule and oxen. They could be gradually introduced over the eight-year bicentennial which starts next year and ends in 2025. The county may want to work with GO Art! and contribute some funds to the effort. Numerous communities have done these type of public art projects, including Batavia, Buffalo, Rochester and Olean, just to name a few.

Natural wonders

The Medina Waterfalls is an awesome site, but it's largely inaccessible to the public.

The Medina Waterfalls is an awesome site, but it’s largely inaccessible to the public.

  • Medina has one of the most impressive waterfalls along the canal, but it is largely inaccessible to public. Having an elevated platform from canal leading back to waterfalls would put an attraction in play, drawing more people to Medina.
  • There is also a nice waterfall in Shelby. If pubic access was secured, it would be a nice spot for families and others to enjoy.
  • Holley has a second waterfalls by the water plant that would be popular with a viewing platform. (This one is actually in Clarendon, but is close to the waterfall near the canal off Frisbee Terrace.)

Bronze Statues

  • Provide some funding for bronze statues for Company F Memorial in Medina and Charles Howard in Albion. Both would provide an iconic character for their communities. The Howard statue of a Santa would promote Albion’s Santa history and could spur the downtown to become home to Santa-themed businesses (The Santa Café and Bake Shop, for example).

Support existing community events

  • Set aside $50,000 annually from the $200K-plus in gambling money (as part of the state settlement with the Senecas) and use it to make local festivals better and to support projects, such as bronze statues, better gateway signage, etc.

Get more out of fishing

Fishermen try to catch salmon and trout along the Oak Orchard River last October.

Fishermen try to catch salmon and trout along the Oak Orchard River last October.

  • Orleans gets about $12 million in spending from fishing. That’s a far cry from the $100 million up in the Oswego area with the Salmon River. We could do more. I would start with better gateway signs at the county borders. The current ones that say, “Home of the King” with a salmon are washed out and unnoticeable. Dramatic signs that say, “Catch me if you can,” might reel in more fishing cash.

Conclusion

The county should form a sales tax commission or task force that would work with the town and village governments, as well as the Chamber of Commerce and business associations to have an action plan for putting more assets in play that would bring more visitors to the county and also encourage Orleans residents to spend more locally.

That would grow the sales tax, reduce pressure on property taxes, and stimulate local businesses.

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