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Month: May 2017

U14 AnJo Bombers romp to improve to 4-0

Contributed Story Posted 31 May 2017 at 9:51 pm

The AnJo Bombers 14U improved to 4-0 Sunday at Outwater Park with a 14-4 win over the Matthewson McCarthy Bandits.

Breaking away from a 2-2 tie, the AnJo Bombers  took the lead for good in the third inning. Tom Furmanski and Colin Fragale both had RBI singles as a wild pitch plated another run.

The Bombers put a lock on the win with five runs in the sixth inning on a groundout by Tom Furmanski, an error, a single by Matt Bradley, and a wild pitch.

The Bombers had 15 hits in the game.  Fragale, Furmanski, AJ Seefeldt, and Bradley each collected multiple hits. Fragale  was 3 for 3 and Seefeldt  2-2 including a double. Reed Albee led team with three runs batted in.

Joe Watson and  Furmanski were strong on the mound for the Bombers fanning six over six innings and giving up only two earned runs.

The Bombers are in first place in the Clarence League.

Medina netters go 12-0 to retain N-O title

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 May 2017 at 7:52 pm

Contributed Photo – Compiling a perfect 12-0 record, the Medina tennis squad has captured the Niagara-Orleans League championship for the second year in a row and the fifth time in the last six years. In the front row are Haylee Seefeldt, Tobias Kiebala, Jacob Houseman, Sophia Cardone and Chris Woodroe. In the back row are Kyla Leno, Nick Bogan, Kristian Snyder, Andrew Fuller, Michael Cardone, Josh Armstrong, Brandon Harris and Coach Chris Horgan. “The kids all just did a great job this season,” said Horgan who marked his 30th season as a coach, the last 17 at the Mustangs helm. “Kristian at first singles missed the first part of the season due to an injury so we had to move everyone up and they all just did a great job.”

Orleans looks to establish leadership program

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2017 at 4:21 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Darien Town Justice Gary Graber and Kelly Kiebala, the county’s Job Development director, both spoke to the Orleans County Legislature last week about establishing a Leadership Orleans program. They are both graduates of Leadership Genesee.

ALBION – A new program is expected to start next year to help encourage and train a new crop of leaders in Orleans County.

The “Leadership Orleans” program would run for a year with members of the group meeting monthly on the third Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to learn more about the agencies and different sectors of the community, from local government, cultural organizations, volunteerism, community health, tourism and recreation, agribusiness, education and economic and workforce development.

“A community needs leaders,” said Kelly Kiebala, the Orleans County Job Development director.

She is helping to get the new Leadership Orleans effort off the ground. She graduated from the Leadership Genesee program in 2010 when she worked in Genesee County with the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.

The Genesee program, led by Paggy Marone, is helping to get the Orleans program started. Kiebala said Orleans should have a part-time or full-time director.

She addressed the Orleans County Legislature last week. She said the program will focus on civic responsibility and community stewardship.

She said nearly all counties in Western New York have leadership programs. In Genesee County, more than 300 people have graduated from the program.

“It brings things out of you that you didn’t know you had,” said Gary Graber, a Darien town justice and leadership Genesee graduate. “It changed my life in a certain way.”

Graber said the program helped him to tap and hone skills. After Leadership Genesee he went on to serve as president of the New York Magistrates Association.

Participants in Leadership Orleans will likely pay a tuition, which could range from $750 to $1,500, depending on the size of the class.

The program wants to draw from a cross section of the community, including business, labor, education, arts, religion, government, community-based, ethnic and minority groups.

Leadership Orleans is looking for people to share their expertise and engage in “courageous conversations.”

The program will be open to adults at least 18 years old. They should be open be flexible and adaptable, open to different roles, including a student, beginner, learner, organizer, director, boss, volunteer, teacher and “servant leader.”

Leadership Orleans will begin a public push in July with applications for the first class available on Aug. 1.

Besides Kiebala, the Leadership Orleans program was developed by the following committee members: Laura Bentley, co-owner of Bentley Brothers and graduate of LEAD NY; Diana Fox, assistant clinic coordinator for Orleans County Mental Health and graduate of Leadership Genesee in 2002; Gary Graber, Darien Town Justice, terminal manager for Teal’s Express and Leadership Genesee graduate in 2005;

Chuck Hoover, sales and marketing for Batavia Turf/CY Farms and Leadership Genesee graduate in 2013; Kim Pritt, retired Albion resident who was part of Leadership Sanford, North Carolina; Thad Thompson, golf course superintendent for Terry Hills and LG grad in 2013; Patrick Weissend, vice president and branch manager for Bank of Castile and LG grad in 2002; and Peggy Marone, director of Leadership Genesee and LG grad in 2002.

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Former Holley teacher sentenced to 15 years of supervised release for child pornography charge

Posted 31 May 2017 at 3:31 pm

Press Release, United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of New York

ROCHESTER, N.Y.—Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Steven Choi, 42, of Rochester, a former Holley English teacher, was sentenced to time served and 15 years supervised release by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany H. Lee, who handled the case, stated that the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force identified the defendant accessing child pornography online. A forensic examination of that computer recovered sexually explicit photographs of prepubescent girls. Choi is no longer an English teacher with the Holley Central School District.

He was convicted of possession of child pornography. The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation by Special Agents of Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Adam S. Cohen.

The Task Force includes the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the Rochester Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations, and the Greece Police Department.

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Pastor urges community to be vigilant against gun violence

Posted 31 May 2017 at 2:16 pm


I am writing to inform your readership, my friends and neighbors in Orleans County, that June 2 marks the annual observance of National Gun Violence Awareness Day, also known as “Wear Orange Day.” It is the beginning of a month long campaign to raise awareness, learn more about gun violence and to use what we learn to help reduce the devastating effects of gun violence on society.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

•There are more than 30,000 firearm fatalities each year in the United States and more than 80,000 non-fatal injuries requiring emergency medical care or hospitalization.

• Firearms are involved in more than half of suicides and more than two-thirds of homicides in the United States.

• The financial cost of gun violence in the United States was an estimated 174 billion dollars in 2010.

This is not the first letter I have written to express my concerns about gun violence. I asked these same friends and neighbors in a letter a couple years ago to imagine with me a world without gun violence. I’m no stranger to the effects of gun violence. My small effort to keep this issue in the public eye comes from grieving and caring for the families of three good friends who committed suicide using a gun.

Reducing the tragic harm from gun violence that we have seen occur in mass shootings, and in daily incidents of gang shootings, intimate partner violence, impulsive suicide and accidental shootings is the goal of this national effort.

I will be wearing an orange bracelet this month.


Rev. Tom Gardner

Holley First Presbyterian Church

Orleans County Mental Health director honored for efforts to expand services

Photo by Tom Rivers: Mark O’Brien has been director of mental health and community services at Orleans County Department of Mental Health the past four years.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2017 at 12:24 pm

ALBION – The director of the Orleans County Department of Mental Health was honored last week for his efforts to work with other agencies and expand mental health services in Orleans County.

Mark O’Brien, the county’s Mental Health director since April 2013, received the Constance Miller Award from the Mental Health Association of Genesee & Orleans. The award is named in honor of the founder of the MHA in 1993.

“We want to recognize people working promote mental wellness in the community,” said Scott Wilson, vice president of the MHA board of directors.

Wilson is also the Orleans County Jail superintendent. He has seen O’Brien work with many local agencies in the community to expand mental health services, including at the jail.

The Mental Health Department has two clinicians working at the jail, which has reduced psychotropic medication and suicide attempts, Wilson said.

O’Brien also has worked with all five Orleans County school districts to establish satellite clinics in the schools where county mental health therapists work with students.

He also is pursuing partnerships with the Genesee-Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Orleans Community Health and Oak Orchard Health to have mental health staff at their sites.

O’Brien said the Mental Health Department could expand to 15 satellite locations if all the partnerships move forward.

With the school districts, O’Brien said he heard of two other counties that had success with therapists in schools. He presented the option to local school superintendents, and all five have supported the service, including summer hours when school is out of session. O’Brien said having mental health staff in schools reduces the transportation barrier and is less disruptive to a student’s school day because they only have to walk down the hall for an appointment, rather than travelling to Albion for an appointment at the Mental Health Department.

He also supports having mental health staff at GCASA, and the healthcare facilities.

“It’s making mental health services more accessible to the community and reducing the stigma because they are not going to a classified mental health building,” he said.

He also has worked to make county mental health building more accessible to the public by having open access where people don’t need an appointment to be served during regular business hours.

O’Brien also has been influential with the Mental Health Association, helping the agencies in Orleans and Genesee to merge, and the newly merged group to open an office in Albion at the Arnold Gregory Office Complex, 243 South Main St.

“He’s done a lot for the MHA,” said Scott Wilson, the board vice president.

O’Brien said the MHA is a “great partner” for the Mental Health Department. His agency provides treatment, while the MHA provides important peer support and a drop-in center.

He thanked the County Legislature for supporting the efforts for the agencies to work together and expand mental health services for the community.

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Hawley proposes bill to allow credit cards for charitable gaming

Posted 31 May 2017 at 11:09 am

Press Release, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley

In his ongoing fight to update the state’s charitable gaming laws which have prohibited events such as the Stafford Fire Department’s annual car raffle, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) has introduced legislation to allow charitable organizations to accept credits cards as a form of payment for internet sales of games of chance.

Hawley was successful in working with Gov. Cuomo to update several facets of the state’s gaming laws in this year’s budget, including expanding the definition of an “authorized organization” to include volunteer ambulance workers and organizations that have been in existence for one year, allowing television and internet advertising of raffles and allowing personal checks to be acceptable payments for games of chance.

“While many of the state’s archaic gaming laws were updated in this year’s budget, there is still much more work to be done to protect the livelihood of our thousands of charitable organizations, churches, fire departments and non-profits across the state,” Hawley said. “This bill would allow these groups to accept credit cards as a form of payment for raffles, resulting in higher revenues raised for these great organizations and the ability for them to sell tickets outside of the region in which the raffle is taking place. I am hopeful that we can get this passed by the end of session and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Assembly to make that a reality moving forward.”

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Albion Rotary Club gives 3 scholarships

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2017 at 10:50 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Albion Rotary Club awarded $2,750 in scholarships to graduating seniors this year. Pictured, from left, include Karina Rosario, Clara Stilwell and Vivian Rivers. The scholarship winners attended last week’s Rotary Club meeting at The Village Inn.

Vivian Rivers won the Dick Eddy “Service Above Self” Scholarship, a $1,250 award that is given to a student committed to community service and leadership, and who displays high potential for future accomplishment. Vivian has been active as a class officer, the FFA, Interact, marching band, chorus and other activities. She also topped more than 100 hours of community service and attended a church mission trip to Peru.

Clara Stilwell won the $1,250 Edward Archbald Memorial Scholarship, given to a senior who shares Archbald’s love of sports, recreational activities, community service and work experience. Clara has been active in sports – golf, swimming, tennis, cross country and track – and also has been in the band, chorus, marching band, select chorus, and many service clubs, including the FFA, Interact, Spanish Club and Honor Society.

Karina Rosario was awarded the $250 Rotary Career Advancement Prize for a senior committed to community service, school activities and work experience. Karina is active in school organizations and the community, while also working at Kast Farms and being dedicated to community service, including tutoring elementary school students.

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NY has resources to help properties and homeowners recover from Lake Ontario flooding

Staff Reports Posted 31 May 2017 at 10:07 am

To expedite repairs and the construction of shoreline stabilization projects, Governor Cuomo declared a disaster emergency on May 2, 2017 in counties impacted by spring flooding along the Lake Ontario Coastline: Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence, and Wayne.

The governor and the state followed up on this response with two programs to help homeowners and municipalities recover.

$10 Million Municipalities Funds

On May 22, 2017, the Governor announced $10 million in state funding available to assist eligible local municipalities in impacted counties with recovery efforts, including repairs to flood walls, roads, sidewalks, and culverts, as well as public water and sewer infrastructure. The funding is available through HCR and applications are now open to municipal governments in the affected counties.

$7 Million Homeowner Funds

New York State Homes and Community Renewal will make available up to $7 million in Affordable Homeownership Development Program Funds through the Affordable Housing Corporation to provide recovery assistance as quickly as possible in the aftermath of flooding that has impacted homeowners, for which insurance or other disaster recovery assistance is not available or insufficient.

Click here for more information about the flood assistance programs.

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Albion puts up banners for Strawberry Festival – and Christmas

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2017 at 9:42 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Albion Department of Public Works put up banners this morning for next week’s Strawberry Festival. The top photo shows DPW workers Ron Ricker, right, and Jay Pahura putting up a banner on Main Street by the Episcopal Church. (The Pullman Memorial Universalist Church is in background.)

The DPW also put up several Christmas and Santa themed banners because the Strawberry Festival on June 9-10 has a theme in honor of Charles W. Howard, the Albion man who started a Santa Claus School and Christmas Park. Howard is considered the dean of Santas. A Santa school in Michigan continues in his name.

For more on the festival, click here.

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