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Month: May 2018

Little Blue Heron makes rare visit to Orleans

Staff Reports Posted 31 May 2018 at 8:58 pm

Photos courtesy of Chris Chester

KENT – What appears to be a Little Blue Heron is pictured at the end of Bills Road in Kent on May 2. Chris Chester took this photo and the one below of what he is certain is a Little Blue Heron, which breeds in the Gulf states and is not often seen this far north.

“By contrast we see Great Blue Herons here (over Marsh Creek) every day,” Chester said. “The bird spent the day on a low area of our property that was under about a foot of water. It left around dusk and has not returned.”

He e-mailed the Cornell Lab of Ornithology back in early May with hopes the group could confirm the identification, but has yet to hear back from Cornell.

Chester watched the heron catch large frogs. For more on the Little Blue Heron, click here.

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Orleans Correctional Facility dedicates new memorial

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2018 at 5:24 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Orleans Correctional Facility dedicated a new memorial today in honor of 13 employees who died while they were active employees at the medium-security men’s prison. This photo shows the honor guard from the neighboring Albion Correctional Facility, retiring the colors at the conclusion of today’s service at the prison on Gaines Basin Road.

The employees’ union and the Employee Benefit Fund Committee provided the funding for the memorial. The monument reads: “We dedicate this memorial to all security staff from Orleans Correctional Facility Council 82 who have died while in faithful service. You will always be remembered in our hearts.”

There are granite blocks with the names of the honored employees, including David Stanton. He was 34 when he was killed in a motorcycle accident about 31 years ago.

His brother Greg Stanton of Medina appreciates the new memorial.

“I think it’s really nice they did this,” he said.

The following are recognized at the memorial: C.O. David Stanton, who died on April 13, 1987; C.O. Ricky Smith, Feb. 24, 1988; C.O. David Garrow, Aug. 19, 1992; C.O. Craig Nebelecky, June 1, 1993; C.O. Randy Wendt, Oct. 25, 1993; C.O. Patrick Moran, Feb. 10, 1996; C.O. Joel Eisenstein, Sept. 14, 1998; C.O. James Crowley, Aug. 25, 2001; KBS Bonnie Costich, May 4, 2002; S.C. II Cora Persons, Jan. 28, 2008; C.O. Kenneth Bulls, Dec. 22, 2011; C.O. Duane Catanesi, Jan. 1, 2014; C.O. Josef Young, Jan. 24, 2015; and C.O. Michael Duffy, Nov. 22, 2016.

Warren Cornelius, an employee at Orleans Correctional, rang a bell when each name was read.

Family and friends of those recognized at the memorial look over the granite blocks and the monument.

Karen Crowley, superintendent of Orleans Correctional Facility, listens to the Emerald Society Pipe Band. She also welcomed the crowd for the memorial dedication.

“They will never be forgotten,” she said about the employees who are recognized at the memorial.

Corrections officers and staff at the prison stand at attention while the pipe band played “Taps.”

NYS Corrections Emerald Society Pipe Band, left, performed during the dedication.

Two corrections officers carry a wreath that was placed at the memorial

Lonnie Froman, a retired corrections officer and singer for the Who Dats band, sang the national anthem.

There was a 21-gun salute from the Attica Honor Guard.

The honor guards from the Albion and Attica correctional facilities both attended the dedication ceremony.

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NY has $38 million available to protect farmland

Posted 31 May 2018 at 2:46 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Blossoms at an Albion fruit orchard are pictured on May 9.

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced nearly $38 million is now available through the Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program to help farmers across New York protect valuable and at-risk farmland. Since Governor Cuomo took office, the state has reinvigorated the program and committed historic investments, including doubling the funding in this latest round from last year – marking the highest level of ever offered through the program.

“By investing in the sustainability and growth of New York’s farmland, we are protecting an important economic driver for communities across the state while providing opportunities for our agriculture industry to grow,” Governor Cuomo said. “This unprecedented $38 million commitment to land preservation will ensure New York’s vast farmland is used for agricultural purposes and remains protected for generations.””

Municipalities, counties, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and land trusts are eligible to apply for individual grants of up to $2 million to help offset the costs of conservation easement projects that protect viable agricultural land from being converted to non-agricultural use. The Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program is funded through New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund, which was included in the State Budget at $300 million for the third consecutive year. The application deadline is August 31, 2018 and the Request for Proposals is available by clicking here.

Since the governor took office in 2011, the state has invested more than $62 million in 82 farmland protection projects statewide. This funding opportunity continues the state’s commitment to provide financial and technical assistance for farmland protection on a predictable two-year cycle. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ previous streamlining measures have resulted in significant reductions in the overall time needed to complete projects.

This year, to explore additional tools in preserving land for agricultural production, the state has included preemptive purchase rights as an eligible cost that may be partially covered through the grant program. This is the first time state financial assistance may be used toward this eligible project cost.

The Department has established certain criteria to guide the use of this unique easement provision in awarded projects. Preemptive purchase rights encourage agricultural land to remain in active production and to be sold to other farmers at its agricultural value. Certain requirements must be met in order for eligible applicants to use grant funding for these purchase rights, which will also provide a potential avenue for new and beginning farmers in acquiring land.

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The Department has made great strides in improving regional collaboration on its farmland preservation programs and ensuring we move the Farmland Protection program forward.  We are pleased to make available nearly double the funding this year than we have in previous years and are committed to preserving our land base, which not only retains the state’s farmland for our future New York farmers but also helps protects our environment.”

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Local athletes earn G-R All-Star track honors

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 May 2018 at 9:55 am

Ten local athletes have earned spots on the Genesee Region League All-Star track team.

They include Dylan Spellan (Discus), Ethan Kuhn (Pentathlon), Brianna Wakefield (1500) and Lyndsay Wright (Hurdles) from Kendall; Matt Hahn (Discus), Matt DeSimone (Long Jump, 200), Angie Weaver (Shotput), Abrianna Kruger (Pentathlon), Lindsey Allen (Shotput) and Hanna Waterman (High Jump) from Holley and Jon Slingerland (1600) from Lyndonville.

In addition, six local athletes also received Honorable Mention including Alan Tonas (Shotput) and Madison Jacob (400 Hurdles) from Kendall, Jacob Downey (400 Hurdles) and Julia Smith (200, 400) from Holley and Evan Horn (100, Long Jump) and Savannah Poler (1500) from Lyndonville.

Yanks, Indians, Cubs post youth diamond wins

Contributed Story Posted 31 May 2018 at 9:38 am

MTA Yankees 10, Mark’s Blue Jays 3
The MTA Yankees downed the Mark’s Blue Jays 10-3 in local youth baseball action this week.

Brody Fry’s pitching did not allow one hit for the first 3 innings as he struck out 9.

Fry also led batting as he went 3 for 3 with 3 Doubles and 7 RBI’s.  Michael Chisler added a Triple. Henry Rigerman had a single and 2 RBI’s, and Cameron Kenward had a single a 1 RBI. Cole Callard, Tyler Kroening, Jackson Schultz, and Tyler Allen  each added a hit.

The Yankees defense played strong last 2 innings getting good defensive plays from their infield players helping Callard and Kroening who pitched strong innings.

Champs Mini Mart Indians 6, Medina Athletics 1
The Chaps Mini Mart Indians bested the Medina Athletics  6-1 on a solid pitching performance by Lex Gray, Luke Duffina, and Dylan Johnston along with a good defensive play by Duffina and Gray .

Big hits came from Aidan Papaj going 3-3 with a home run and 2 singles and Gray 2-3 with a home run and a triple, along with timely singles from Duffina, Johnston, and Mason Berry accounted for the Indians offense. Also reaching base was Lukin Szatkowski.

Cubs 7, Grasshoppers 0

The Woodroe Realty Cubs slugged 17 hits in their 7-0 win over the Lyndonville Grasshoppers.

Ethan Page led the attack with three hits.  Brennan Allen, Camden Fike, Briley Allen, River Jones, Bradley Goyette, and Levon Fuller all added two hits a piece.  Vinny Gray and Amelia Rodden each had a hit.

Briley Allen, Brennan Allen and Ethan Page each pitched two strong innings.

Late goal nips M-L United 14 soccer club

Contributed Story Posted 31 May 2018 at 9:36 am

With just four minutes remaining in the game, the Kenmore Express found the back of the net to upend the U14 Medina-Lyndonville United Soccer Club 1 – 0 this week.

Defensively United kept the game close on the heels of Aidan Owczarczak, Sam Kingsbury and Jack Whipple. Goalie Zack Fike aided the effort.

Offensively, Felix Isaacson gave United their best scoring chance with midfield help from Connor Bell and Bryson Costich.

State grant will fund new veteran peer support program in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2018 at 9:26 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Earl Schmidt, director of the veterans Service Agency in Orleans County, discusses the new veteran peer-to-peer support program on Wednesday with county legislators.

ALBION – A state grant will fund a new veteran peer-to-peer support program in Orleans County.

The county has accepted a grant for $52,500 from the State Senate, annual funding for the next two years with a chance for renewing the program after that, said Earl Schmidt, director of the Veterans Service Agency in Orleans County.

Rather than add paid personnel to run the program, Schmidt wants to have the program be volunteer-driven so the grant funds can go for their intended purpose of funding activities and programs for veterans.

Schmidt said the peer support program will function in a similar way as the medical van service run by the Joint Veterans Council. With that program a team of volunteers makes sure there are volunteer drivers to take veterans to appointments.

Schmidt’s wife, Catherine, will be the unpaid leader of the Orleans County PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Program. The effort is supported by the county’s Department of Mental Health and the Veterans Service Agency.

‘The program draws its inspiration from the camaraderie that comes from a shared experience of life in the military,” Earl Schmidt told county legislators on Wednesday.

Orleans is the 23rd county out of 62 in New York to receive state funding for the program, which is focused on assisting veterans who have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder or a traumatic brain injury.

“The goals of the program include helping returning veterans adjust to civilian life, pursue outreach and education, to provide peer support, encourage a connection among family, friends and the community,” he said.

The outreach and support should reduce isolation and suicides for veterans, Schmidt said.

Mrs. Schmidt will serve as volunteer coordinator of the Dwyer program. She is a Blue Star mother with a child in active duty and a past Blue Star wife. She is a past president of Army Family Support.

Other members of the committee organizing the program include: Lori Grube, a Blue Star mother who worked as a county dispatcher and is now secretary of the Emergency Management Office; Frank Panczyszyn, a Vietnam War veteran and volunteer driver for veterans for their medical appointments; Tracey Panczyszyn, a volunteer with the medical van service; and Nancy Traxler, a veterans service officer for the county, a combat veteran and a Blue Star mother and wife.

Mr. Schmidt said additional committee members will be added. He expects the service will begin in September.

“The volunteers in the community have really stepped up to take care of the veterans,” he said.

Mrs. Schmidt said the activities to connect veterans will include many coffee hours and picnics. They may go kayaking or do other activities. She wants to keep the program within the county, which has the added benefit of supporting local businesses.

“There will be many social events in a non-clinical environment,” she said. “It will be used for veterans and their families.”

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2 recognized by County Legislature

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2018 at 8:10 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature on Wednesday presented two Special Recognition Awards. Danielle Figura, second from left, was recognized for winning an award on May 24 from the Mental Health Association of Genesee & Orleans Counties. Figura, clinic coordinator for the Orleans County Mental Health Department, receives the Special Recognition Award from County Legislator Skip Draper, left, and Marc O’Brien, director of the Orleans County Mental Health Department. Kim DeFrank, the county treasurer, is at right.

Figura was recognized last week at the Mental Health Association with the Constance E. Miller Commitment to Excellence. She has implemented numerous programs in Orleans County, including expanded mental health services at the five local school districts, the Orleans County Jail, the Genesee-Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, and Oak Orchard Health.

“Your dedication to serving the needs of those with mental health issues has well exceeded all expectations and had a profound effect on the residents of Orleans County, and beyond,” Draper said.

Jonathan Doherty, center, of Albion also was commended by the Legislature. He receives his Special Recognition Award from legislators Don Allport, left, and Skip Draper.

Doherty on May 19 was presented with the Chris Burke Award for Excellence in disABILITY Advocacy. He received that award during a 20th anniversary celebration for People Inc.’s DisABILITY Museum in Buffalo.

Doherty has been a leader of the Self Advocate All Stars in Orleans County since the group formed in 2006. The All Stars strive to promote awareness and acceptance in the community for people with disabilities.

Doherty is an active community member, volunteering with the Strawberry Festival Committee, Boy Scout Troop 164, the Albion Alumni Foundation, the Eastman at Albion Concert Series, and numerous events for The Arc of Genesee Orleans. He earned his Eagle Scout rank when he was 21 and is an assistant Scoutmaster.

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Kendall community honors the sacrifice of soldiers

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 May 2018 at 10:28 pm

Town holds its Memorial Day observance on May 30, which was the official date of the holiday from 1868 to 1970

Photos by Tom Rivers: Boy Scouts and veterans hold a large American flag during a Memorial Day observance at Greenwood Cemetery this evening. The flag would then be folded 13 times, with the meaning of each fold read by Marietta Schuth. Brian Shaw, a Boy Scout in Troop 94, is in back center, holding the flag.

John Patt of Troop 94 carries the American flag on Route 18. The processional started at Kendall Elementary School and ended at Greenwood Cemetery.

Sarah Kelly plays the flute in the combined Holley and Kendall marching band.

Town Supervisor Tony Cammarata said Memorial Day should be a time to reflect on the sacrifice of soldiers. “If it wasn’t for these brave individuals, our lives and our way of life would definitely have been different,” he said.

Kendall holds its Memorial Day observance on May 30, which was the official day for the holiday until it was changed to be the last Monday in May. Kendall has decided to continue to hold its Memorial Day ceremony on May 30. Memorial Day used to be known as Decoration Day. The holiday was celebrated on May 30 from 1868 to 1970.

A Civil War cannon is at Greenwood Cemetery on Route 18, across from the new Dollar General store. Kendall rotates the Memorial Day service at three cemeteries.

Daniel Lauritzson, director of the chorus at Kendall, leads the group which sang, “Anthem.”

Kendall High School students Michela Hanlon and Allen Tonas read names from the “Roll of Honored Dead,” local veterans who are buried in Kendall cemeteries.

Members of the Kendall Fire Department salute the flag while the Kendall school band played the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

This is the same scene with the salute during the national anthem except the focus is on the flute player.

David Warren, a member of the Kendall Community Band, plays “Taps” with his trumpet near the end of the Memorial Day service at Greenwood Cemetery. The Community Band also played, “God Bless America” and “Armed Forces Salute.”

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