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Month: March 2019

2,000 lose power in Albion area

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 March 2019 at 10:41 pm

ALBION – About 2,000 National Grid customers in the Albion area lost electricity at about 10:15 p.m. today.

The outages includes parts of Barre, Albion, Eagle Harbor and Knowlesville.

The power company estimates the electricity will be restored at about 12:30 a.m. tonight.

No other information is available.

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Apex posts more answers to questions asked at Feb. 28 forum about Barre project

Posted 31 March 2019 at 8:20 pm

Press Release, Apex Clean Energy/Heritage Wind

ALBION – Heritage Wind has posted the information from its February 28 Community Forum at the Carl I. Bergerson Middle School Auditorium.

The PowerPoint, Video, Transcript and Full Question and Answer Document can be found at at the Heritage Wind  Power website.

The information session introduced further information on Heritage Wind’s proposed project in the Town of Barre in Orleans County. The program was conducted by a professional moderator and included a panel of professionals comprising Apex Clean Energy development team members and experts speaking on the topics of wildlife, sound, infrastructure, shadow flicker, and the permitting process.

A Q&A session was led by the moderator after the panel presentation. Audience members had the opportunity to submit their questions before and during the program for the moderator to pose to panel members about the project. Questions that went unanswered due to time constraints are part of what has been posted.

“Our intent with the forum and this extensive follow-up is to be as transparent as possible and to give residents and stakeholders the facts and data they need,” said Apex Director of Northeast Development Neil Habig. “We look forward to continued outreach to the community of Barre.”

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Barre resident wants more disclosure from Apex on the company’s experts

Posted 31 March 2019 at 8:15 pm


On March 20, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. someone held what they would like to call a focus group at the Clarendon fire hall complex. The company that officiated was called RMS, also known as Research & Marketing Strategies from Baldwinsville, NY.

In attendance  also were representatives from New York State Energy and Research Development Authority, also known as NYSERDA, a film crew and 6 residents of Barre. Feedback from the so-called focus group went something like this: introductions, presentation and then questions were fielded. All questions asked involved the Heritage Wind project proposed for Barre. But few if any important questions from the participants were answered.

They instead were directed to visit the Apex/Heritage Wind LLC office in Albion. Questions included: Is there asbestos in wind turbines? What about the rare earth magnets contained in turbines that are polluting vast areas of Chinese communities via their production? How about fire suppression in turbines? None of these very important questions and many more were ever answered.

When one participant expressed her discomfort with the filming, she was told that Apex wind was the only one who would see the video. At the completion of the so-called focus group the participants were given unmarked envelopes, each containing $150.

If that’s not enough Feb. 28 from the hours of 7 to 8:30 pm. Apex/Heritage Wind LLC held another dog and pony show at the Albion Middle School. At the event, which they called a forum, people were not allowed to ask questions from the floor as the presentation progressed. Instead they were required to write their questions on 5×7 index cards so Heritage Wind could choose which questions the so-called panel of experts would answer.

Apex/Heritage Wind, in order to try and breath any degree of credibility back into your project, I believe several things are needed. Firstly let’s have all of your so-called experts (well before an event) disclose all college degrees and certificates that qualify them to be called experts in any of the fields your particular event at that time will cover. To alleviate any confusion , the definition of qualify is to become officially recognized as a practitioner of a particular profession or activity by satisfying the relevant conditions or requirements – typically by undertaking a course of study and passing examinations.

In closing, I would like Apex/Heritage Wind to please post in advance all qualifications of each person you call an expert well in advance of an event. Please include college degrees in their field, what college they attended and what years they attended, so all of us can fact check.

John Metzler


Travel conditions will deteriorate this evening

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 March 2019 at 7:12 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: The East State Street sidewalk in Albion, by the former Merrill-Grinnell Funeral Home, is pictured round 6 p.m. while snow was falling.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a special weather statement for Orleans County until 11 p.m.

“Travel conditions will deteriorate this evening,” the Weather Service said. “Periods of snow will continue through the evening hours across much of Western New York and points southeast and east of Lake Ontario.

“Snow has been melting on contact this afternoon and early evening due to warm pavement temperatures. The pavement temperatures will drop quickly after sunset, allowing snow to begin accumulating on roads.

“In addition, water from earlier melting snow may freeze, producing icy conditions on untreated paved surfaces. Motorists should be alert for deteriorating travel conditions after 8 p.m. with roads becoming snow covered and slippery in some areas. Sidewalks and parking lots may also become hazardous later this evening as icy spots develop.”

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Lyndonville UM Church celebrates opening of new thrift store

Provided photos: Volunteers from the Lyndonville United Methodist Church cut the ribbon opening their new thrift shop Saturday in the basement of the church. From left are Alexis Gonzalez, Rebecca Strickland, Pastor Olga Gonzalez, Ruth Hedges, Anne Perry, Laura Campbell, DeAnn Diermeyer, Laura Bradley and Wayne Barry.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 31 March 2019 at 5:01 pm

LYNDONVILLE – The grand opening of Hope Resales, a community thrift shop in the Lyndonville United Methodist Church was a huge success, according to Ruth Hedges, who came up with the idea and led efforts to get the shop organized.

“People have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic and generous with donations,” Hedges said Saturday night.

More than 110 people came to the grand opening to browse through a large selection of clothing, household items, toys, jewelry and linens.

Donations are still needed and may be dropped off at the entryway on the south side of the church. The door to Hope Resales is on the north side of the church at 102 North Main St.

Pastor Olga Gonzalez makes a final check of merchandise in the new thrift shop which opened Saturday at the Lyndonville United Methodist Church.

The thrift store particularly needs infant and children’s clothing and practical household items, Hedges said. They cannot accept books, televisions, computers, monitors, cribs, car seats, VHS and cassette tapes, typewriters or furniture.

Hope Resales will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

“We will follow that schedule for the first month and see if that fits the needs of the community,” Hedges said.

They will be closed Good Friday and the Saturday before Easter.

Anyone with questions or wishing more information may call the church at (585) 765-0045 or cell phone (585) 866-9133.

A large display of jewelry is among the many items for sale at Hope Resales, the new thrift shop which opened Saturday in the United Methodist Church of Lyndonville.

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Inexperience dots Barker’s tennis lineup

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 March 2019 at 4:36 pm

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Veteran members of the Barker tennis squad include Paige Sandolfini, Wesley Harris and Kathryn Donner.

A small veteran group will lead the way this season for the Barker tennis team which has Jeff Pyskaty returning to the Raiders coaching helm after an absence of several years.

Seniors Paige Sandolfini and Kathyrn Donner along with junior Wesley Harris lead Barker’s otherwise underclassmen squad.

Junior David Newton and sophomore Keith Robinson head that youthful  group which also includes juniors Sandra Bautista-Lopez, Giorgio Lignola, Emma Wasnock and Jacob Weller; sophomores Joseph Cantella, Nicholas Cassell, Faith Giarla, Ella Gooding, Thomas Jowdy, Samantha Mace, Carla Stoloski and Hannah Westlake along with freshmen Emily Oliveira and Raymond Zapata.

“We’re working on the basic skills and techniques,” said Pyskaty. “We want them to have fun and gain a love for the game which is a lifetime sport.”

The Raiders are slated to open the Niagara-Orleans League season at Medina on Wednesday.

(Matches at 4 p.m. unless noted)
April: 3 – at Medina, 4 – Akron, 4:30 p.m., 8 – at Wilson, 9 – Albion, 15 – at Newfane, 17 – Roy-Hart, 18 – Medina, 4:30 p.m., 29 – at Akron.
May: 1 – Wilson, 6 – at Albion, 8 – Newfane, 9 – Roy-Hart, 15 and 16 All-League Doubles Tournament at Roy-Hart.

N-O tennis, track set to begin this week

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 March 2019 at 4:32 pm

Niagara-Orleans  tennis and track competition will get underway this coming week as will Genesee Region League baseball, softball, tennis and track action.

The Albion tennis team will visit Roy-Hart on Wednesday and then host rival Medina on Friday.

In N-O track action, Medina visits Barker on Thursday.

G-R softball openers on Tuesday will have Lyndonville at Elba, Holley at Pembroke and Kendall hosting Wheatland-Chili while the baseball season gets underway with Elba at Kendall Thursday.

Lyndonville will visit Kendall in a G-R track opener on Wednesday.

Weekly Schedule
Baseball: Oakfield-Alabama at Roy-Hart, Lyndonville at CG Finney, 4:30 p.m.
Softball: Pembroke at Medina, 4:30 p.m.
Tennis: Holley at Attica, Wheatland-Chili at Kendall, 4 p.m.

Baseball: Barker at Lyndonville, Oakfeld-Alabama at Albion, Batavia at Medina, 4:30 p.m.
Softball: Brockport at Albion, CCA at Barker, Holley at Pembroke, Wheatland-Chili at Kendall, Lyndonville at Elba, 4:30 p.m.
Lacrosse: Medina at Brockport, 5 p.m.

Baseball: Alexander at Barker, Roy-Hart at Lew-Port, 4:30 p.m.; Holley at Albion, 4:45 p.m.
Softball: Albion at Batavia, Cleve Hill at Medina, Roy-Hart at Williamsville East, 4:30 p.m.
Tennis: Barker at Medina, Albion at Roy-Hart, Wilson at Akron, Holley at Alexander, Oakfield-Alabama at Kendall, 4 p.m.
Lacrosse: Medina at Wilson, 5 p.m.
Track: Lyndonville at Kendall, 4:30 p.m.

Baseball: Tonawanda at Roy-Hart, Elba at Kendall 4:30 p.m.
Softball: Roy-Hart at West Seneca East, Holley at Byron-Bergen, Lyndonville at Wheatland-Chili, Elba at Kendall, Albion at Kenmore West, 4:30 p.m.
Tennis: Akron at Barker, 4:30 p.m.
Track: Medina at Barker, 4:30 p.m.

Baseball: Holley at Barker, Pembroke at Medina, 4:30; Elba at Albion, 4:45 p.m.; West Seneca West at Roy-Hart, 5 p.m.
Softball: Mt. Mercy at Holley, 4:30 p.m.
Tennis: Roy-Hart at Newfane, Holley at Pembroke, 4 p.m.; Medina at Albion, 4:30 p.m.

Baseball: Barker at Byron-Bergen, 12 p.m.
Softball: Aquinas at Albion, CCA at Medina, 12 p.m.; Pembroke at Barker, 2 p.m.

People ages 50 to 75 urged to take the time to get checked for colorectal cancer

Posted 31 March 2019 at 3:44 pm


March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, so on behalf of the Cancer Services Program of Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming and Niagara County, I’d like to share some valuable information and clear up a few myths about colon cancer.

All men and women ages 50 to 75 years old should be screened regularly for colorectal cancer (also known as colon cancer). Colon cancer is preventable through screening and is highly curable if found early. Despite this, it is still the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men and women in New York State.

Why? Because many people avoid getting screened or don’t have the information they need to make this potentially life-saving decision.

Some people believe that if they don’t have a family history of colon cancer, screening isn’t needed. This is not true. Most people diagnosed with colon cancer do not have a family history.

Others think that screening is only needed if they have symptoms such as blood in their stool. However, many cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed in people who do not have symptoms, which is why getting tested is so important.

Another misunderstanding is that the tests are painful and the preparation is unpleasant. The truth is there are several tests to choose from, including stool-based tests that are easy, painless, and can be done at home.

Many people think that screening is expensive. Not so. Health insurance plans in New York State are required to cover colon cancer screening. And for those who are uninsured, our program provides free screening to men and women age 50 and older.

So, why take a chance with colon cancer? Ask your doctor if it’s time for you to be tested, or you can contact our program for help or information.

Jessica Downey

Health Education & Community Outreach

Cancer Services Program of GOWN

Medina’s Varsity Winterguard takes 2nd at championships

Staff Reports Posted 31 March 2019 at 1:43 pm

Photos courtesy of Wendi Pencille: Medina’s varsity guard consists of 13 students in grades 7-12. This year their show is “I Can Only Imagine.” Many people experience the loss of a loved one and this show takes you on a journey that can bring back fond memories of that special person. The students performed with photographs of loved ones who have passed away.

GATES – Medina’s Winterguard units competed at the North East Color Guard Circuit championships on Saturday, with Medina’s varsity coming in second just behind Corning-Painted Post.

Medina earned a score of 82.91, with CPP at 83.48 during the championships at Gates-Chili High School.

There were 33 guard units from western NY and Canada competing in 9 different classes.  In addition, the ARC of Yates and the Heritage Hurricanes performed in exhibition and tied for Grand Champions.

The Novice class consisted of 3 guard units and Medina earned 1st place followed by Legacy and the Hinsdale Starliners.

The RA class had 7 guards in total and Medina earned 2nd place with a score of 82.91, bested by Lancaster with a score of 84.08.

Winners in the other classes are Victor in the Cadet class with a score of 77.21; Batavia in the A1 class with 79.23; Magic of Scout House in the SR class with 78.24; Gates-Chili in the 1A class with 88.34; Victor in the SO class with 85.40; in the IO class the Lancaster Independent with 84.40.

While Winterguard comes to a close for many of these students their skills and talents will now be channeled to spring street band, where practice began March 26. The band will travel to Boston, Mass. on April 25 for competition in parade as well as concert and jazz performances.  They will also perform in the Seneca Fall Pageant May 17 and the Sherburne-Earlville Pageant on May 31.  The band will perform for Medina during the Memorial Day parade on May 27.

This photo shows all of the Medina’s Winterguard units.

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Cuomo, Legislature leaders announce agreement on $175 billion budget

Posted 31 March 2019 at 9:25 am

Permanent property tax cap at 2%, Internet sales tax and plastic bag ban all part of the budget

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie today announced an agreement on the FY 2020 Budget. The budget holds spending growth at 2% for the ninth consecutive year and cuts taxes for the middle class.

The budget includes several landmark policies that will bring sweeping transformation and social justice reform to the state with the passage of the permanent 2% property tax cap that has already saved New Yorkers $25 billion since it was first implemented in 2012; a strategic MTA reform plan and steady revenue stream to fund the next capital plan through Central Business District Tolling; an additional $1 billion to support education, bringing total education funding to $27.9 billion; and landmark criminal justice reforms, including reforming the cash bail system, speedy trial, and the discovery process for a more fair and just New York for all.


The budget agreement includes spending in the following categories:

Total State Operating Funds: $102.1 billion; 2 percent growth

All Funds spending $175.5 billion for FY 2020

School Aid: $27.9 billion; 3.8 percent growth

State Medicaid/Health Spending: $19.6 billion; 3.6 percent growth

“From the beginning, I said we will not do a budget that fails to address three major issues that have evaded this state for decades – the permanent property tax cap, criminal justice reform and an MTA overhaul including Central Business District Tolling,” Governor Cuomo said. “I also said this budget must be done right – meaning it must be fiscally responsible and protect New York from the federal government’s ongoing economic assault on our state.”

Budget Highlights Include:

• Permanent 2% Property Tax Cap: With the passage of this historic legislation, the inclusion of the permanent 2% property tax cap in the FY 2020 Budget will build upon the approximately $25 billion in taxpayer savings since the cap was implemented by the Governor in 2012.

• Criminal Justice Reform: New York continues its commitment to a fairer criminal justice system with the inclusion of the following reforms in the FY 2020 Enacted Budget:

• Reforming Bail and Pretrial Detention Reform: As part of a groundbreaking plan to modernize New York’s bail system, cash bail will be eliminated for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies, alongside a new requirement that police officers must issue desk appearance tickets to most people charged with misdemeanors and Class E felonies, rather than making a custodial arrest. Together, these reforms will ensure approximately 90 percent of people charged, but not yet convicted of a crime, are not sitting in jail awaiting trial solely because they do not have the economic resources to meet bail.

• Transforming the Discovery Process: In order to overhaul New York’s antiquated discovery process by which prosecutors were able to withhold basic evidence until the day the trial begins, legislation included in the FY 2020 Enacted Budget will require that both prosecutors and defendants share all information in their possession well in advance of trial. Defendants will also be allowed the opportunity to review whatever evidence is in the prosecution’s possession prior to pleading guilty to a crime. In addition, the legislation will ensure that victims and witnesses are protected from intimidation and other forms of coercion by providing prosecutors with the ability to petition a court for a protective order, shielding identifying information when necessary to ensure the safety of witnesses and the sanctity of the judicial process.

• Ensuring the Right to a Speedy Trial: Under New York State law, misdemeanors are required to be resolved within 90 days and felonies within 180 days, however, the average length of pretrial detention is far longer. To address this injustice, the FY 2020 Enacted Budget includes legislation that requires courts to take a proactive role in advising litigants on how time will be charged. When appropriate, courts will also inquire into the government’s readiness to proceed to trial and require that the government file all appropriate paperwork before a statement of readiness is accepted, ensuring that the government is not able to proceed to trial until the defendant has been provided with all of the information in the case against them.

• Progressive Mansion Tax: To raise resources for the MTA, the Enacted FY 2020 Budget implements a progressive mansion tax on mansions with a combined top rate of 4.15% on the sale of properties valued at $25 million or above. This structure provides for efficient tax administration on high-end properties, raising $365 million that will be deposited into the MTA’s Central Business District tolling capital lockbox and will be used to support up to $5 billion in financing for MTA projects. The new rates go into effect on July 1, 2019.

• Internet Sales Tax: The Enacted Budget will provide a consistent framework for the collection of required sales taxes by internet marketplace providers, which is expected to annually generate $160 million in new revenue for local governments and $320 million for the MTA capital plan lockbox, supporting up to $5 billion. Other changes in sales taxes will generate another $48 million in new resources for county governments outside of New York City.

• Increases Education Funding and Equity: An increase of over $1 billion in education aid will bring total education funding to a record $27.9 billion, with over 70 percent of the increased funding going to poorer districts. School districts would be required to report how they provide appropriate funding for certain schools.

• Implements Public Campaign Finance: The FY 2020 Enacted Budget establishes a public financing commission that will have the binding power to implement public campaign financing for legislative and statewide offices, authorizing up to $100 million annually in public funds. The commission will determine specific aspects of the public financing system, including eligibility thresholds, public financing limits, and contribution limits for participating candidates. The commission’s findings will be due in a report by December 1, 2019 and will be binding unless modified by law within 20 days.

• Codifies the Affordable Care Act and Health Exchange into Law: As Washington continues to threaten to roll back the historic progress made with the Affordable Care Act, the codification of key ACA provisions and the New York State Health Exchange into law to ensure that no matter what happens at the federal level, these key provisions are protected in New York State.

• Prohibits the Use of Plastic Bags: The Enacted Budget includes legislation to ban single-use plastic bags provided to customers and allows counties and cities to opt in to a 5-cent fee on paper bags, with 40 percent of the revenue supporting local programs to buy reusable bags for low and fixed income consumers, and 60 percent of the revenue supporting programs in the State’s Environmental Protection Fund.

• Extends the Women’s Agenda: The Enacted Budget mandates coverage for in-vitro fertilization and egg-freezing, establishes rape shield protections for victims of sex trafficking, reforms domestic violence shelter requirements, and invests $26 million in child care to maintain the market rate for districts outside of New York City.

• Expands Janus Protections: The Enacted Budget provides new safeguards for public sector unions and goes further by extending Janus protections to all local governments in New York and guaranteeing the right to organize and collectively bargain.

• Enacts the Democracy Agenda: Building upon voting reform passed within the first 10 weeks of the legislative session, additional legislation mandating three hours of paid time off for all New Yorkers to vote on Election Day, enacting online voter registration, funding e-poll books, and expanding upstate voting hours to begin at 6 a.m. are being enacted as part of this year’s Budget, and includes $10 million for early voting.

• Invests in Clean Drinking Water: The FY 2020 Budget will invest an additional $500 million in clean water infrastructure, building on the State’s historic $2.5 billion investment.

• Expands Eligibility for the Excelsior Scholarship Free Tuition Program: As the state’s successful free tuition program enters its third year, SUNY and CUNY students whose families make up to $125,000 annually will now be eligible to apply for tuition-free college.

• Makes the Jose R. Peralta DREAM Act a Reality: First passed by the Legislature earlier this year, the Enacted Budget implements and fully funds the Jose R. Peralta DREAM Act for $27 million.

• Supports a Complete Census Count: This year’s budget authorizes up to $20 million for FY 2020 for outreach and education efforts to ensure all New Yorkers are counted as part of the census.

• Renews Record Funding for the Environmental Protection Fund: The Enacted Budget includes record funding of $300 million, the highest level of funding in the program’s history.

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