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Month: June 2017

Keeler Construction will replace 2 bridges in western Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 June 2017 at 10:22 pm

A local construction company will be replacing two county-owned bridges in the western side of Orleans County.

The County Legislature accepted Keeler Construction’s bids on Wednesday for the projects.

Keeler, which is based in Barre, was the low bidder at $466,030 to replace the Culvert Road Bridge over Fish Creek in Ridgeway.

Keeler was also low bidder at $947,335 to replace the Marshall Road Bridge over Johnson Creek in Yates.

These projects are being funded with an $8 million bond the county took out in 2014 for a series of infrastructure projects over three years. This is the last year for those projects as part of the bond.

In addition to the two bridges, the county is replacing two culverts this year on Platten Road in Yates at a total cost $885,173.

The state has made more bridge and culvert money available for municipalities with the Bridge NY program. The county has four projects identified for 2018 with the state program, which pays for 95 percent of the bridge costs and 100 percent of the culverts.

The Legislature on Wednesday approved enigineering and “right-of-way incidentals” for two bridge projects in 2018.

That includes $169,400 to LaBella Associates in Rochester for engineering and right-of-way incidentals as part of the Portage Road bridge replacement in Ridgeway over Fish Creek.

Bridge NY Project, which is 95 percent funded by federal government, includes a 5 percent local share – $8,470 –to be paid by the county.

The Legislature also approved $174,100 to LaBella Associates in Rochester for engineering and right-of-way incidentals as part of the Monroe-Orleans County Line Road bridge replacement over the east branch of Sandy Creek in Murray. The 5 percent local share – $8,705 –will be paid by the county.

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Firefighter Cancer Registry Bill advances in House subcommittee

Posted 30 June 2017 at 9:02 pm

Press Release, Congressman Chris Collins

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen Chris Collins (NY-27) and Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) authored a bill which would require the CDC to develop and maintain a registry to collect data regarding the incidence of cancer in firefighters, which advanced through the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee on Thursday.

The legislation would take the first step toward addressing the detrimental health effects firefighters may experience due to smoke inhalation and other harmful substances.

“This is an important piece of legislation that truly can save lives,” said Collins. “This database will assist the CDC with research, and the more information they have the better when it comes to developing new protocols and safeguards for these brave men and women.”

There was a 2015 study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that found that in the U.S. firefighters had a greater number of cancer diagnoses and cancer-related deaths. Unfortunately, this study was limited in scope by a small sample size, yet the proposed legislation would establish and improve collection infrastructure and activities to collect a greater abundance of data.

“Given the strong showing of bipartisan support for this legislation, I am pleased to see it pass the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously. The brave men and women who stare down danger, entering smoked filled rooms and hazardous environments every day in service to their communities deserve our support,” said Congressman Bill Pascrell. “We are now one step closer to creating a national cancer registry for firefighters. This will better our understanding of the trends associated with firefighters developing this life-threatening disease and help ensure that adequate allocation of resources. I look forward to the consideration of this bill in the full House and working with my colleagues in the Senate to pass this bill expeditiously.”

The legislation will advance to the full Energy and Commerce Committee, and if reported favorably can advance to the House floor, Collins said.

For more information on H.R. 931, Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, click here.

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Albion village approves zoning change for 50-unit apartment complex on Liberty Street

Courtesy of DePaul Community Services: This rendering shows the layout for a 50-unit apartment site on Liberty Street, behind the Hoag Library in Albion. The project would demolish three existing houses to make way for the new housing, which would include 46 one-bedroom apartments and four 2-bedroom units.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 June 2017 at 5:09 pm

ALBION – The Village Board voted to change the zoning for several parcels on Liberty, South Clinton and Beaver streets, making the way for multiple-family housing.

The zoning change was needed for DePaul to push forward with its proposal for a 50-unit housing project on Liberty Street, between Beaver Street and the railroad tracks.

The Village Board held a public hearing Wednesday on the zoning change and voted later in the meeting to make the change for land that was either zoned two-family residential, limited business or residential. It is now zoned for R-3.

DePaul is working on the project and needs local approvals such as the zoning change, and additional state funding for it to become a reality.

DePaul is designing the project to support people with disabilities, including senior citizens and veterans. The organization will do extensive background checks for credit, criminal and sex offender history and evictions, Gillian J. Conde, Vice President for DePaul Properties in Rochester, said recently in Albion.

The organization is proposing 46 one-unit apartments and four that would be two-bedroom. Conde said only a few children would likely live at the site.

The apartments aren’t a public housing project. Conde told the Albion Rotary Club in March the apartments are “middle market housing” with one-bedroom apartment rent at $600 a month and two bedrooms at $700. That includes utilities, basic cable, WiFi and laundry.

The Liberty Street project would be a big lift to that neighborhood and the village, Conde said.

The project would be similar to a DePaul site in Batavia that serves low-income residents, including people with mental health issues. Conde said DePaul would like to partner with local agencies, such as the Orleans County Mental Health Department, to connect tenants to services in the community.

DePaul would have some services on site, and staff will be there 24 hours a day. DePaul would have a van on site to transport tenants to medical appointments. Half of the apartments would be ADA-compliant and the other half would be adaptable for people who may need the apartment to be handicapped accessible.

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Canal bridge in Knowlesville reopens after repairs

Staff Reports Posted 30 June 2017 at 1:42 pm

KNOWLESVILLE – The lift bridge in Knowlesville over the Erie Canal has reopened to traffic today, the state Department of Transportation announced.

The DOT Bridge/Highway Maintenance crews made steel repairs, rebuilt the concrete approach, and paved it. The posting has not changed: it remains at 6 tons.

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Judge dismisses ‘Squirrel Slam’ lawsuit

File photos by Tom Rivers: Derrick Bradley, wearing a skunk costume on Feb. 22, 2014, joins local residents as they respond to protestors who opposed the annual ‘Squirrel Slam’ fundraiser in Holley.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 June 2017 at 1:13 pm

State Supreme Court justice says hunt meets DEC regulations

ALBION – A State Supreme Court justice dismissed a case today against the Holley Fire Department, which sought to make the fire department complete an environmental impact assessment and study before organizing another Squirrel Slam.

The judge, Tracey Bannister of Erie County, heard oral arguments from both sides this morning.

She ruled the plaintiff, by Lauren Sheive of Williamson in Wayne County, didn’t have standing in the case because she lives 50 miles from Holley and was very unlikely to see a notable decrease in the squirrel population near her home.

Bannister also said the Squirrel Slam, typically held on a Saturday in late February, falls under state Department of Environmental Conservation regulations.

The case has the potential for larger implications if the judge determined an environmental impact needed to be done for hunting contests.

“This is an assault on hunting,” said Steven Shahan, an attorney from Syracuse representing the Holley Fire Department.

Hunting is a $5 billion industry in the state that brings families together and also culls wildlife in the absence of many of their natural predators, Shahan told the judge.

Bannister served as judge in the case after James Punch, acting Supreme Court justice in Orleans County, recused himself.

A team of four attorneys from Winston & Strawn LLP in New York City made the trip to Albion this morning to argue the case. That firm took on the case pro bono.

Anup Misra argued the case on behalf of Lauren Sheive.

“This is not an attack on hunting,” Misra said about the lawsuit. “We’re not trying to stop the hunting tradition.”

Misra said the Squirrel Slam resulted in a “massive” killing of a single species of a squirrel in one day.

He said the Fire Department should do an assessment of the loss of squirrels locally due to the contest.

“It’s no different than the hundreds of fishing derbies that take place each year in New York,” Shahan said.

Bannister said opening day of deer season also results in numerous deaths of deer.

“There is a massive slaughter of deer on opening day,” she said. “We can barely keep the courts open because there are so many deputies out hunting.”

The judge said the Holley hunt doesn’t violate any DEC regulations Participants are can’t exceed the DEC daily limit of five squirrels per hunter. The contest has room for 600 entries. Shahan said the contests average about one squirrel per entry, which he said doesn’t result in a massive killing of the species.

Misra argued that Sheive should have standing in the case even though she lives 50 miles from Holley. Some of the participants hunt 40 miles or more from Holley – less than an hour’s drive. Squirrels are also very mobile and Misra said it wasn’t inconceivable to think squirrels on Scheive’s property would be effected by the Squirrel Slam.

Scheive purposely lives in a wooded area in a backyard that is a certified wildlife area, Misra told the judge.

“She is a squirrel lover,” Misra said.

Her appreciation for the animals above and beyond how the average population feels about squirrels should give her standing in the case, Misra argued.

Shahan said that was a deficient reason to give Sheive standing in the case.

“She hasn’t proven injury or standing,” Shahan said. “You can’t just say you have an overabundance of interest in squirrels.”

Misra tried to raise another issue about SEQR, the State Environmental Quality Review Act. It requires government agencies to do an environmental when there is a significant environmental impact on “fauna or vegetation.” Misra said the loss of hundreds – perhaps more – of squirrels in a small geographic area should meet that threshold.

Shahan argued the Fire Department doesn’t fall under SEQR because it’s not a government entity, but a non-profit corporation.

The judge didn’t issue an opinion on that issue. She said ultimately the entire case may be a moot point because the Fire Department hasn’t scheduled another Squirrel Slam.

She did, however, want to rule on other aspects of the case because the department could plan another squirrel hunting contest. She didn’t see a legal reason for stopping the event.

Misra said the firm would likely appeal the decision.

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Bradley has busy triathlete schedule

Contributed Story Posted 30 June 2017 at 10:08 am

Contributed Photo – Scott Bradley

Lyndonville native and pro Triathlete Scott Bradley recently had a busy two week stretch of competition.

First, he competed in the Ironman 70.3 held on June 4 at Raleigh, North Carolina finishing 12th among the 25 the Male Pros and 15th out of 1.750 total entrants on the hot, humid day.

The event, which was a late addition to his schedule, saw him post times of 32:32 for the 1.2 mile swim, 2:10.35 for the 56 mile bike and 1:27.56 for the 13.1 (half marathon) run. He posted the sixth fastest bike time of the day which moses him up to 16th among the Pros. His run time then vaulted him into 12th.

Bradley next placed ninth out of 22 Male Pros and ninth overall among 1,935 entrants at the Ironman 70.3 Eagleman held on June 11 at Cambridge, Maryland.

He came out of the water 20th out of 22 Pros in 31:54 but climbed to ninth after posting the fifth fastest bike time of the day of 2:06.59. He held his ninth position after a run of 1:24.20 on another hot, humid day.

Prior to that he entered the Bristol Men’s Road Race held on May 28 at Bristol Mountain where he scored a first place finish covering the 41 mile, 4 loop race in a time of 1:54.31 besting the second place finisher by 1 minute and 39 seconds.

Bradley also competed in the Boston Marathon in April finishing 505th out of 27,222 runners in a time of 2:48.47. He qualified from his time in the Philadelphia Marathon in Novermber 2015.

Following the race, Bradley said,  “I don’t consider myself much of a runner and rarely get into stand alone running races, but running the Boston Marathon…was one of the most amazing race experiences of my life… Thank you, Boston!”

His schedule for the summer will see him racing  a 140.6 in Lake Placid in July, then Ironman 70.3’s in Dublin, Ireland and Salzburg, Austria in August.  The 70.3 he had scheduled in Tonsberg, Norway in August was cancelled so he replaced it with the race in Austria.

Bradley is the Assistant Principal at Byron-Bergen Junior-Senior High School.

Medina 5th-6th grade stickmen in action

Contributed Story Posted 30 June 2017 at 10:01 am

Contributed Photo – The Medina Lacrosse Club’s 5th and 6th grade team played a pair of games this week. The Mustangs lost 10-4 at Clarence on Tuesday and were blanked by visiting Grand Island Thursday. Jack Cecchini and Cayden Lilleby each had 2 goals for Medina against Clarence as Sawyer Kingsbury on defense and Landon Johnson in goal also played well defensively. Ollie Wilson, Liam Castricone and Tyler Allen all played well for Medina against Grand Island. Here Lilleby moves the ball up field to Allen for Medina during Thursday’s home game against Grand Island.

Cabaret in Albion to hold first singing competition

Photos by Tom Rivers: Amy Sidari, owner of The Cabaraet at Studio B in Albion, is organizing “$ing” – a singing competition on July 14. Auditions will be July 10.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 June 2017 at 9:56 am

ALBION – Calling all singers. The Cabaret at Studio B is holding it first singing competition on July 14.

Auditions are July 10 and are open to singers of all ages. The participants need to be solo singers performing prerecorded music. The performers in auditions will advance to the finals on July 14.

The competition at the Gotta Dance by Miss Amy studio (at the corner of Liberty and West Bank streets) includes a $100 grand prize and the thrill of performing before a live audience.

“I would love to be blown away by that jewel in the rough,” said Amy Sidari, owner of Gotta Dance and the Cabaret.

Singers in Orleans County and beyond are welcome to audition for $ing.

Judges in the preliminaries include Albion vocal teacher and musical director Gary Simboli, vocal instructor and Lake Plains Players director Lance Anderson, and professional singer Marcy Downey.

“I’m looking for that surprise factor,” Sidari said.

Simboli and Downey have been regular performers at the Cabaret since it opened in 2013. (They will be performing in a July 8 variety show at the Cabaret.)

Simboli said the singing competition will be a showcase of the singing talent in Orleans County. Singers outside Orleans also are welcome to audition.

“This is another type of entertainment we can offer our community,” Simboli said.

For more information, contact Sidari at (585) 354-2320.

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Albertson earns degree from The College of Saint Rose

Staff Reports Posted 30 June 2017 at 9:16 am

ALBANY – The College of Saint Rose congratulates Gregory Albertson of Albion for earning a Bachelor of Science as a member of the Saint Rose Class of 2017.

The College of Saint Rose is a dynamic, progressive college in the heart of New York’s capital city where teaching is the first priority. The Saint Rose experience empowers students to improve themselves and the world around them.

Orleans seeks state grant for plan to develop 300-acre business park in Medina

Courtesy of Orleans EDA: The 300-plus acre Medina Business Park is the largest shovel-ready business park in Western New York. The site includes land north and south on Maple Ridge Road, just west of the Bates Road intersection.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 June 2017 at 8:34 am

MEDINA – To take the Medina Business Park to the next level, the Orleans Economic Development Agency needs a plan for putting a turning lane on Maple Ridge Road by the park, managing wetlands, removing trees, and getting infrastructure deeper into the park.

Jim Whipple, Orleans EDA chief executive officer, said it will cost about $70,000 for a study that answers questions on the park’s 300 acres for infrastructure and other issues.

The agency, through Orleans County, will be seeking a state grant for $50,000 for the project. The County Legislature on Wednesday agreed to seek the Community Development Block Grant through the state community planning program.

The study is needed to advance bigger projects for getting water and sewer lines into the interior of the Business Park, which is the largest shovel ready site in Western New York, Whipple said.

Last year, Pride Pak opened a new vegetable processing facility at the site. A developer is looking to open a new hotel next to Pride Pak, and a Chinese company has the Medina Business Park as one of its two finalists for a project in New York, Whipple told county legislators on Wednesday.

The Medina site, with its access to low-cost hydropower and village water and sewer, is attractive for companies. The Medina Business Park is conveniently located between Buffalo and Rochester, and is also within 45 minutes of the Ontario, Canada border.

But the EDA needs a detailed blueprint for developing the site, which has parcels ranging from 5 to 125 acres.

If the state grant is approved, Whipple said the EDA and its local partners will need to chip in $20,000 for the study.

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