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Month: April 2020

Unemployment claims continue to climb in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2020 at 9:40 pm

2,761 have now filed claims in the past 6 weeks

The number of people filing unemployment claims took another big jump last week in Orleans County and state-wide.

The claims state-wide remain at a pace 10 times or more of what they were a year ago when the economy wasn’t so restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The State Department of Labor today released a report showing the unemployment claims filed last week. In Orleans County, there were 326 claims filed, which compares with 55 during the same week a year ago. week.

Statewide there were 222,040 claims filed last week. A year ago, there were 18,889 unemployment claims during the third week of April.

State-wide there have been 1,640,159 unemployment claims during seven weeks – March 14, 21 and 28, and April 4, 11, 18 and 25. That compares with 96,080 the previous year during those seven weeks.

Orleans County has now had 2,761 people file unemployment claims during the past six weeks since the state started closing businesses due to health concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic.

The county has a workforce of about 17,000 people. The 2,761 unemployment claims represent about 16 percent of the workforce. There were about 1,000 people on unemployment before the pandemic. Those people plus the 2,761 who recently filed for unemployment would put the county’s unemployment rate currently over 20 percent.

Here are the weekly unemployment claims the past six weeks in the GLOW counties and statewide:

  • Genesee: 589 (April 25), 421 (April 18), 931 (April 11), 886 (April 4), 1,308 (March 28), 268 (March 21)
  • Livingston: 490 (April 25), 403 (April 18), 918 (April 11), 996 (April 4), 1,338 (March 28), 227 (March 21)
  • Orleans: 326 (April 25), 297 (April 18), 581 (April 11), 595 (April 4), 824 (March 28), 138 (March 21)
  • Wyoming: 326 (April 25), 266 (April 18), 601 (April 11), 603 (April 4), 837 (March 28), 155 (March 21)
  • Statewide: 222,040 (April 25), 207,172 (April 18), 399,015 (April 11), 347,573 (April 4), 369,025 (March 28), 80,753 (March 21)

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Catholic Charities assists residents in rural counties, including Orleans, during pandemic

Posted 30 April 2020 at 7:23 pm


As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the Catholic Charities Tri-County District Office is committed to helping our neighbors throughout Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties who are struggling to make ends meet or are facing challenges impacting their health and well-being.

Our Emergency Financial Assistance staff continues to conduct assessments and provide information and referrals to other available community resources helping with access to food, household items and personal care items. We are also assisting where we can with housing, rent, utilities and other related basic living needs.

We understand the effect self-isolation can have on both our aging population and on one’s mental health. Our Friendly Phones program in Orleans County is operating and accepting referrals. Our Home Visitation program serving Genesee County is operating as well, but they have adapted by using phone calls. In addition, Ashlee Nowak, LMSW, has joined our team as a mental health counselor. Ashlee is accepting referrals and conducting sessions via phone.

If you or someone you know needs assistance, please call us at (585) 343-0614 and leave a message. You will receive a call back from a blocked or private number and we will immediately identify ourselves as a Catholic Charities staff member.

These programs can continue both during this crucial time and into the future, thanks to our generous supporters. If you are able to help, please visit for more information.

Be well!

Kelly Y. Grimaldi, LCSW-R

Tri-County District Director, Catholic Charities

New restaurant opens Friday at Point Breeze

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2020 at 6:20 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: Tiffany Keiffer poses next to the sign for Hayden’s Diner, which is named for her 9-year-old son. Keiffer opens the restaurant on Friday, beginning at 8 a.m. She plans to open at 4:30 in the morning later in the season.

POINT BREEZE – It’s opening day on Friday for a new restaurant at Point Breeze. Tiffany Keiffer will be serving take-outs at 928 Point Breeze Rd.

Keiffer named the restaurant for her-9-year-old son, Hayden. The diner was most recently the Breeze Inn Again.

Tiffany Keiffer has repainted the interior of the diner and looks forward to customers being allowed to dine in. Right now, restaurants are limited to take-outs or deliveries.

Two items on the menu are also named for Hayden. There’s Hayden’s Skillet, which is like a garbage plate, and Hayden’s Stuffed Shakes, a milkshake that includes topping of candy, cookies or Nutella.

Keiffer said the diner is at a great location at the end of Route 98, one of the last buildings before Lake Ontario. While she has worked in recent months to get the building ready, repainting the interior, replacing floor tiles and doing an extensive cleaning, she saw lots of traffic with people coming to the lake.

“I’m looking forward to serving the community and getting more business to the area,” she said today.

The fishermen, in particular, are up early. Keiffer plans to open the diner at 4:30 in the morning later in the season to accommodate that crowd. She will have a hot breakfast ready to go, even before the sun comes up.

For now the hours will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Except on Fridays, when she will stay open until 8 p.m. Those days she will be serving fish fries, in addition to the regular menu for breakfast and lunch.

Hayden’s Diner also serves ice cream from a side of the building. Keiffer will have the ice cream window open from 4 to 8 p.m. each day.

Keiffer also works as a bar tender at the Elk’s Lodge in Albion and is the bar manager Lures Restaurant in Kendall.

For more information on Hayden’s, call (585) 682-6074.

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Orleans reports 4 more cases of Covid-19, including 2 at The Villages

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2020 at 4:23 pm

There are four more confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Orleans County, bringing the total to 95, the Orleans and Genesee County Health Departments is reporting this afternoon.

There are also two more cases in The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center in Albion, bringing the total to 49 cases at the nursing home in Albion.

Besides the two cases at The Villages, the other new cases include a resident of Albion and one in Gaines.

Of the four new cases, one person is in the 50s, two are in their 60s and one is in the 90s.

(One of the new cases was considered a non-county resident, but the Health Department was notified that positive is part of the count in Orleans County. The individual was followed in the county they are currently in.  The person has since recovered.)

The Health Department also is reporting one additional recovery, bringing that total to 31.

Of the active cases, five people are currently hospitalized.

Genesee County doesn’t have any new cases to report today and remains at 149 confirmed cases. The county has three more recoveries bringing that total to 78. Three Genesee County residents remain hospitalized with Covid-19.

Click here to view an online map of confirmed cases in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

The facility breakdown is only showing those facilities from where the Health Departments received a positive swab for Covid-19.  Facilities will be added when and if there is a positive case of Covid-19. If a regulated facility from either Genesee or Orleans counties is not listed, there are no positive cases of Covid-19.

The local health departments do not have oversight with many regulated facilities, which may include nursing homes, correctional facilities and hospitals, etc.

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Albion won’t have summer parks program in 2020

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2020 at 12:50 pm

Village Board passes budget with no change in tax rate

Photo by Tom Rivers: The village parks are all closed right now, including Veteran’s Park at the corner of Brown Street and Linwood Avenue. That park last summer hosted the parks program while Bullard Park was under construction.

Preston Flugel, one of the summer park supervisors for the Village of Albion, pushes a kid in a swing last June 26, which was opening day for the summer parks program.

ALBION – The Village of Albion won’t be running a summer parks program due to the health concerns with groups of people congregating.

The program normally runs for five weeks from late June to late July or early August.

The village hires about a dozen park supervisors who lead games, crafts and other activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays.

The program is normally based at Bullard Park and the smaller park for kids, Pee Wee Park, which is also at Bullard. Last year the program was at Veteran’s Park at the corner of Linwood Avenue and Brown Street. Bullard Park was under construction last summer.

All of the village parks are currently closed. Village officials are hopeful the parks can be reopened at some point this summer. There won’t be any paid staff on site if the state gives the approval to reopen the parks.

Canceling the parks program will save the village about $20,000, although the cost wasn’t a factor in the decision.

Village budget keeps tax rate at $17.80 per $1,000

The Albion Village Board has approved a $6,972,285 budget that keeps the tax rate at $17.80 per $1,000 of assessed property.

The budget stays under the tax cap. The 2020-21 spending plan increases the tax levy The budget would increase the tax levy, what the village collects in taxes by $17,252, or by less than 1 percent (0.6 percent). The tax levy will go from $2,730,417 in 2019-2020 to $2,747,669 in 2020-21.

The budget takes effect beginning June 1 with a fiscal year that ends May 31.

The budget reflects a larger tax base in the village. Albion’s total assessed value increased by $969,218, from $153,394,234 to $154,363,452.

The budget includes $3,990,893 in the general fund, $1,678,241 in the water fund, and $1,303,151 in the sewer fund.

Albion Mayor Eileen Banker said she is concerned about the revenues for the village this coming fiscal year. The village was told by the county in December it would receive $165,688 in local sales tax in 2020. But the sales tax revenues are expected to be down, which could have an impact on what Albion receives. State funding for road paving and maintenance (CHIPS) also could take a hit.

The Village Board said it will keep a closer eye on the budget to see if adjustments are needed during the coming fiscal year.

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Landmark Society seeks nominations for preservations awards

Posted 30 April 2020 at 11:12 am

Press Release, Landmark Society of Western New York

Photo courtesy of Landmark Society of Western New York: The Sunken Gardens in Irondequoit won the Historic Landscape Award last year.

ROCHESTER – What do a creekside tavern, sunken garden, mercantile/café, prison guard towers, and a study of a Mid-Century Modern architect have in common? All were recipients of Preservation Awards from The Landmark Society of Western New York in 2019.

Each fall, The Landmark Society presents awards to projects, people, and organizations who, through their dedication and hard work, have contributed to historic preservation in our nine-county area.

The Landmark Society’s Awards Committee is now seeking recommendations for its 2020 Preservation Awards. Award suggestions are welcome from Genesee, Monroe, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties.

Below is a list of the award categories, along with descriptions and criteria for each award. If you know any project or person deserving of any of these awards, please email your suggestions to Cynthia Howk at by June 1, 2020. The Awards Committee will begin reviewing submissions at its June meeting. If you have any questions, please contact Cynthia by email or phone at 585.537.5959. For more information, click here.

• Barber Conable Award

A major rehabilitation project completed within the last two years, possibly using Federal Investment Tax Credit program. Old fabric should be sympathetically maintained and carefully rehabilitated. New construction, if any, should be compatible and of high authentic quality.  This award need not be given if no project meets the standards.

• Award of Merit

This award applies to projects similar to those eligible for the above mentioned Conable Award, but of more modest scope. The award is given for a sympathetic rehabilitation of an architecturally significant building, structure, object or site. Candidacy may be enhanced if the project is historically significant or if it strengthens its neighborhood. The project must have been completed within the past two years. The above award cannot be given to single-family residences.

• Stewardship Award

This award recognizes an individual or organization that has proved continued care of and commitment to the preservation of an architecturally and/or historically significant public property over a period of years. “Care” can include appropriate changes to the building fabric. Eligible properties include religious, educational, not-for-profit, commercial or government buildings, structures, objects or sites.

• Historic Home Award

This award recognizes owners of private residences for their continued care of and commitment to the preservation of an architecturally significant house over a minimum of seven years. “Care” may include appropriate rehabilitation and/or sympathetic new additions according to need. Thoughtful rehabilitation/restoration of the interior and/or significant features of a historical landscape may enhance the quality of the nomination. The seven-year criteria may be waived in special circumstances as deemed appropriate by the awards committee.

• Historic Landscape Award

This award recognizes and encourages the preservation, restoration, rehabilitation and stewardship of historically significant landscapes.  The recipient may be either (an) individual(s) or an organization. This award need not be given every year.

• Blood, Sweat, and Tears Award  (New Category for 2020)

This award recognizes building owners who have physically engaged in the preservation and restoration of their property through self-education and countless hours of DIY (do-it-yourself) work. Work on the building does not have to be complete but should be mindful of the “Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation” and demonstrate substantial self-performed long-term care.

• Paul Malo Preservation Advocacy Award

This award was established in honor of the late Syracuse University architect, professor, and preservation advocate who was a friend and colleague of the Landmark Society for over four decades. The award recognizes community activists who have done outstanding work in the field of historic preservation. This award need not be given every year.

• Traditional Trades, Special Citation and Special Achievement Awards

These awards provide for projects that do not fit into the above categories or recognize outstanding individual or group accomplishments in the field of historic preservation. These awards need not be given every year.

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Former resident thinks Orleans should look at consolidated government to reduce costs

Posted 30 April 2020 at 10:46 am


As a former Albion resident (Albion HS class of 1960) I have wondered for a number of years why Orleans County has 10 town and a number of village governments and a county government, while my current county of Loudoun in Virginia has only one.

I wondered if the 400,000 residents of my county had been ill served by our single board of supervisors and if our services such as water, sewer, health, welfare etc. had been neglected by our comparatively streamlined governmental structure. The answer is no.

We live in Ashburn, a community of 40,000. We have no Ashburn Village government, no Town of Ashburn government, only the Loudoun County government. If we want to talk with our elected county supervisor, he/she is a phone call away or we can meet with him/her at a convenient time.

Exactly the same way you interact with your leaders, only we do not have to go through a village and then a town government to be heard by the county government. And we pay lower taxes than Orleans residents. Of the approximate 3,000 counties in the U.S., many are consolidated.

Would turning over village and town functions to the Orleans County Government reduce costs and improve efficiency?  Is it time to discuss consolidation in Orleans County?

Jack Capurso

Ashburn, Virginia

Medina’s first four time state track qualifier

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 30 April 2020 at 10:06 am

Contributed Photo – Penny Hilger-Hogan

Qualifying for the state high school championships in any sport is quite an accomplishment but to do it four years in a row is really something special.

But that is exactly what 1982 Medina High graduate Dr. Penny Hilger-Hogan did during the fledgling early days of Niagara-Orleans League girls track competition.

The holder of a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine, she competed at the state meet in the 400 in each of her freshman, sophomore and junior years and in the 800 during her senior year.

She qualified for the state meet by posting top finishes at the Section VI championships. At the sectionals she won the 400 in 1979 and the 800 in 1982 and placed second in the 400 in both 1980 and 1981.

At the N-O championship meet she captured both the 400 and Long Jump events during her junior year and both the 800 and Long Jump titles her senior year.

During her years of competition she set Medina records in the 100, 200, 400, 800 and Log Jump.

Inducted  into the MHS Sports Hall of Fame in 1991, she was also a three year varsity starter in volleyball and field hockey earning All-League honors in both sports her senior year.

Gillibrand, Schumer urge USDA to approve Pandemic EBT program in NY

Posted 30 April 2020 at 9:44 am

Press Release, U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer are calling on the Trump administration to quickly approve New York State’s request to operate the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program authorized under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

As schools across the country close indefinitely in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the senators urged USDA to approve New York’s program to provide nutritional resources to families that have lost access to free or reduced-price school meals. New York State submitted their plan for P-EBT on March 25, yet its approval is still pending.

“While several states across the country have been approved to operate P-EBT, New York State — which is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak — has been stuck in limbo as school-age children throughout New York go hungry,” said Senator Gillibrand. “New York schools have been closed for over a month and with no end in sight to these measures, it’s clear this program is desperately needed. We can no longer delay getting food to those that need it most and I urge the administration to quickly approve New York State’s request.”

The P-EBT program created under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act would provide assistance to families of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals dealing with school closures. P-EBT would send eligible households an EBT card with the value of free school breakfast and lunch for the days that schools are closed, if they’ve been closed for more than 5 consecutive days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program would permit New York State to provide benefits similar to SNAP benefits to more than 1.4 million children in the state who normally receive free or reduced price school meals and those who attend schools that offer free meals to all students.

“Let me be clear, no child should ever go to bed hungry, which is why I am deeply concerned that the Department of Agriculture has yet to approve the P-EBT program for easier access to school lunches in hardest-hit New York,” said Senator Schumer. “Over half of New York State’s public school students receive free or reduced-price school meals, and thousands of children are now left high and dry with school closures. We must get this food assistance to these students and their families as soon as possible and ensure that New York’s hungry children are fed.”

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Late-night fire displaces 2 Waterport residents

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2020 at 9:24 am

Provided photo from Jamie Hollis

CARLTON – Firefighters work to contain a fire in Waterport last night at 1965 Main St. Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at about 3 a.m.

The fire was mostly contained to back of the house but there is significant smoke and water damage in the home, said Justin Niederhofer, Carlton fire chief.

The fire displaced the two residents, who had been remodeling the house. They are being assisted by the Red Cross. One of the residents, Thad Nauden, works for the Red Cross.

Niederhofer thanked firefighters for responding to the call in the middle of the night and preventing more extensive damage. There were firefighters from Carlton, Albion, Lyndonville, Kendall, Medina, Shelby and Ridgeway, as well as the county fire investigators and director of Emergency Management Office. COVA also was on scene with an ambulance in case there were any injuries.

Firefighters stayed on the scene until 6:30, and then had to clean and disinfect the fire trucks and fire hall.

“I thank all the department for coming to help us and we’re sorry for the family’s loss of their house,” Niederhofer said this morning.

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