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Photos by Tom Rivers
ALBION – Logan Kast, 12, of Albion gets sprayed with snow as he heads down the sledding hill at Bullard Park on Saturday. There hasn’t been much snow this year, but several inches fell on Friday and Saturday and many people dusted off their sleds, inner tubes and saucers.
Frankie DiCureia, 11, of Medina had a ball zooming down the hill.
Sophia Albanese, left, and her friend Mickey Stowell, 14, of Albion descend down the hill. There were kids of all ages having fun sledding on Saturday. The temperature was in the 20s, but there wasn’t much wind.
Traivon Eibl of Albion tried snowboarding and had a wipeout.
Lincoln Eibl, 4, is all smiles heading down the hill after a gentle push from his father, Traivon.
Finley Draper, 7, of Lyndonville grabs a string from his dad Tim Draper to climb the last slippery spot on the hill.
This photo is from the very top of the hill, where there is a staircase. Sledding can down the hill from a few different directions.
Rose Collins, 9, of Medina and Lucy DiCureia, 10, of Medina get sprayed with snow as the take off down the hill on the west side.
Let Me Explain…
The “Believe” sign at the corner of Hamilton Street and Route 31 in Albion has been transformed into a “Billieve” sign to cheer on the Buffalo Bills, who play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in the AFC Championship game. The winner goes to the Super Bowl and will play either the Green Bay Packer or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Peggy Mager gave the sign a dramatically decorated Bills flair. She was given permission by the Albion Betterment Committee for the sign’s new look, which includes lights.
The Bills finished the regular season at 13-3 and then won their first playoff games in nearly 25 years. The Bills are the No. 2 seed in the AFC, while the Chiefs are the top seed and defending Super Bowl champs.
Melissa Favo of Clarendon made this snowman on Route 31A in Clarendon to cheer on the Bills.
After she made the snowman, she gave him some more color to stand out in the snow.
Photos by Tom Rivers
MEDINA – A two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Maple Ridge Road and Bates Road today at about 4:30 p.m. resulted in five people being sent to hospitals.
The driver of the car at right entered into the intersection, turning east from Bates Road onto Maple Ridge in front of the white Jeep, causing the collision, a Medina police officer said at the scene.
The driver of the car sustained serious injuries and was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital by Mercy Flight. Two passengers in the car were also taken by Medina Fire Department’s ambulance to Strong for their injuries.
There were two people in the Jeep and one was dazed and was being evaluated by COVA personnel. They were transported by COVA to Strong.
Shelby firefighters responded to the scene and assist Lyons Collision towing the vehicle from the road. A section of Maple Ridge was closed to traffic for about an hour.
Mercy Flight set down on Marcia Tuohey Way in the Medina Business Park off Bates Road.
Press Release from Medina Fire Department:
This evening at 4:37 p.m. Medina Fire, Ambulance and Police were dispatched to the intersection of Bates Road and Maple Ridge Road for the two-car motor vehicle collision with entrapment. As the engine and ambulance crews began their response to the collision, a request for our ladder truck mutual aid to Lyndonville for the possible house fire came in as well. (The ladder truck was later cancelled while enroute to Lyndonville and rerouted to the collision)
Engine 11 arrived on scene and found one vehicle with 2 occupants and their canine blocking the westbound lane of Maple Ridge Road. The second vehicle was found on the South side of the eastbound lane of Maple Ridge Road with heavy front and driver’s side damage. There were three occupants with this vehicle, one trapped in the front seat, one lying outside the vehicle in the roadway and the third seated in the back.
As crews began to triage and initiate extrication with the Hurst Jaws of Life, additional resources were needed. Two more ambulances from the Village of Medina along with an additional extrication tool and manpower from the Shelby Fire Company were requested. Two helicopters from Mercy Flight were also requested for the trapped driver and the passenger who was potentially ejected.
As further assessments of each patient were completed, it was determined the patient that was lying in the road was not ejected and the second helicopter was cancelled. The three patients from vehicle #2 were all transported to Strong, one by Mercy Flight and two by Medina Fire Department ambulances. The two patients in vehicle #1 were transported to Strong by COVA. Their canine appeared uninjured and was being taken care of by an officer with the Orleans County Animal Control.
We would like to thank all our partners mentioned above as well as Lyons Collision and the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office. A special shout out to the dispatchers at the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office for their great performance tonight handling two major events that were called in simultaneously.
Before Intergrow, Harding family worked the land on 98, north of Cobblestone Museum
By Doug Farley, Cobblestone Museum Director
GAINES – The Harding family is another long standing farming family in the Hamlet of Childs, going back to Joseph Napoleon “J. N.” Harding, in the late 1800s. J.N.’s granddaughter, Linda Harding Prince, remembers several family stories that have been passed down to her by her father, Joseph Lee Harding and mother, Dorothy.
“I was told that my grandfather, J.N., took the train to Michigan and came home with a bride, Bertha Lee Harding,” Linda said.
Bertha had been teaching school in Mt. Pleasant and came back to Childs to be a farm wife. Linda said, “Bertha was just a little bitty thing, she wasn’t used to preparing meals for everyone on the farm.”
J.N. Harding, shown above, and his wife, Bertha, had several children including Joseph Lee, born 1911, and his twin sister Josephine who died at birth, Hannah born 1913, Gertrude born 1916 and died two years later with complications from measles, Mary Jo and twin sister Ruth born in 1921, and Barbara born in 1923.
Linda Prince remembers being told that just before the children were born, J.N. sent Bertha to stay with his three sisters, Ruth, Mary and Hannah, who did midwife duties.
“Sometimes Grandma would stay for several weeks,” Linda said.
Linda shared that during the birth of the last set of twins, the three aunts kept the baby girl, Ruth, and raised her as their own. Linda remarked, “It sure sounds strange today, but times were different then.”
J.N.’s sister, Ruth, had a dairy farm and lived in the cobblestone house just north of Five Corners. (Dr. Mary Ruth Neilans lives in her ancestral property today.) From that farm, Ruth ran a milk-house and delivered milk and dairy products all around Albion for many years.
The Hardings established four farms in the area, about 100 acres each. They maintained a dairy operation at the homestead on Oak Orchard Road (shown above) at the site of what is now Intergrow. They also raised sheep and kept chickens.
“Growing up with sheep was an interesting experience!” Linda said. “When lambs were born, my Dad would stay up all hours of the night. If a little lamb was having trouble, Dad would bring it in the house and set it in front of the oven with the door open to keep it warm.”
She also remembered Roy Ford from Kent Road who would come to the farm every winter to shear the sheep.
Medina Daily Journal, Tues. May 26, 1970
Tragedy struck the Harding Farm on the late night hours of Monday, May 25, 1970. A lighting storm went through Childs about 9:30 p.m. Linda’s mother Dorothy went to bed around 10:30 p.m. and looked out the window to see that all was okay. At 10:45 p.m. she heard pounding on her window by Terry Williams, who had been driving by the farm and saw the fire. That’s when Dorothy saw the upper story of the dairy barn fully engulfed in flames.
Terry got a hold of a Trooper and the two men, along with Lee Harding and his son Howard, got all of the cows out of the stanchions and the heifers out of their pens.
“Unfortunately, like animals sometimes do, six cows ran back into the barn and were killed,” Linda said.
The barn was a complete loss. Without a place to keep the animals, Lee sold them all the next day to a farmer from Spencerport.
Linda said, “My father and brother were always very careful to turn off the electricity in the barn after they were finished with chores for the night.” The neighbors told the Hardings later that they believe they saw some bicycles at the runway leading up into the barn. Authorities speculated the fire could have been started by kids playing with matches or by lightning from the storm. They were never sure of the cause.
Linda recalls that after the fire, her father, Lee, was never quite the same. Linda’s mother, Dorothy, tried to keep the farm going for a few more years but couldn’t make it work. Lee Harding died in 1991 and Dorothy passed away in 1993. Linda said, “Lynn Roberts rented the farm for a few years, and I eventually sold the farm to Intergrow in 2002.”
The Hamlet of Childs is home to a new generation of agribusiness that stands out as unique among local farming interests, namely Intergrow Greenhouses located on Oak Orchard Road. The business was sited at its current location because of its flat terrain and easy access to transportation.
Intergrow got started in the Town of Gaines in 2003 with a 15-acre facility built by owner Dirk Biemans, shown above. It was the second greenhouse the company established after being formed in 1998 with an initial farm in Alleghany County. With several multimillion dollar expansions, the greenhouse operation has grown to over 55 acres under-glass in Orleans County. Additional greenhouses have also been added in Ontario County.
With a workforce of over 100 employees, Intergrow has maintained year-round production of many popular tomato varieties, supplying products to nearly all local supermarkets including Aldi, Tops and Wegmans.
Utilizing artificial light in the winter, Intergrow can create optimal growing conditions to produce delicious tasting tomatoes even during the cold winter months. The company’s computer controlled environment provides a safe, environmentally friendly solution to year-round farming.
Intergrow tomatoes are always fresh-picked and picked-fresh. At just the right moment in their growth cycle, tomatoes are picked and shipped to their destination within 24 hours of ripening. Intergrow utilizes their own fleet of trucks to get their product to their customers as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Press Release, Congressman Chris Jacobs
ORCHARD PARK – Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) sent a letter to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo asking for the agricultural workers to be authorized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We owe our agricultural workers a debt of gratitude. They have supported our families and state economy throughout the entirety of this pandemic and are essential frontline employees,” Jacobs said. “Without their efforts, millions of families in New York, and around the nation, would not have been able to acquire the nutritious food needed to survive the health crisis.”
The Centers for Disease Control has recommended that Phase 1b of the vaccine rollout include agricultural workers as eligible recipients. Currently, the Governor has authorized only “public-facing grocery store employees” as eligible members of the food and agriculture workers category in New York State’s Phase 1b vaccine program.
“Currently, in New York State, employees of our farms, producers, and processing facilities are ineligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, despite their essential status and the recommendation of the CDC,” Jacobs said. “The work they do is critical to the stability of our nation, and I have asked the Governor to consider granting them eligibility status.”
According to NYS Comptroller DiNapoli, in 2017, over 33,000 farms in New York State employed over 55,000 workers and garnered over $5.7 billion in revenue. In the same year, agriculture added over $2.4 billion to the New York State Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the state ranked in the top five of all producers for 15 different agricultural products.
“Not only is agriculture a major driver of the New York economy at a time when our state is facing massive budget deficits, but it is also a matter of health and safety,” Jacobs said. “Allowing the men and women working on the frontlines in agriculture to receive the vaccine strengthens and stabilizes our food supply chain at this critical time.”
Baseball legend passed away on Friday at age 86
Photos courtesy of Monacelli family
ALBION – Hank Aaron, who passed away at age 86 on Friday, was a guest in 1974 at the annual Albion Sports Night at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Richard Monacelli, left, served as chairman of the event. He and his sons, Dan (second from right) and Rich, are pictured with the baseball legend for the Atlanta Braves.
Aaron was in Albion during the offseason when he was at 713 career home runs, one away from tying Babe Ruth’s record.
On April 8, 1974, he broke the record when he hit his 715th home run. Aaron would add 40 more to his career total before retiring in 1976. His 755 career home runs stood as the record for 31 years until Barry Bonds passed it in 2007 and ended his career with 762. (Aaron also hit 5 home runs in the Negro Leagues. Major League Baseball recently announced it will be adding Negro League achievements to MLB statistics. That would give Aaron 760 career homers.)
Aaron still holds baseball’s record for most career RBIs with 2,297, most total bases with 6,856 and most extra bases hits with 1,477. Each season Major League Baseball presents the Hank Aaron Award to the best hitter in both the American and National leagues.
Albion hosted many top professional for the Sports Night in the 1960s, ’70s and late ’80s. Franco Harris, the Pittsburgh Steelers star running back, is in back row at left in this photo from 1974. “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron is in back, second from right.
During its quarter century, Albion Sports Night welcomed other baseball Hall of Famers including Bob Feller in 1963, Brooks Robinson in 1966, Whitey Ford in 1968, Mickey Mantle in 1972, Willie Stargell in 1980, Cal Ripken Jr. in 1983 and Dave Winfield in 1986.
Yankee greats also appeared including Elston Howard and Jim Boutin in 1964, Catfish Hunter in 1976, Billy Martin in 1977, Lou Piniella in 1979 and Tommy John in 1982.
Some of the Buffalo Bills greats to attend the event included Cookie Gilchrist in 1963, Daryl Lamonica in 1965, Jack Kemp in 1966, Ron McDole in 1970 and Joe DeLamielleure in 1977.
Besides Franco Harris in 1974, other famed football players at Albion Sports Night included Lou Groza in 1964, Ron Jaworski in 1977 and Jim Crowley of the legendary Notre Dame Four Horseman backfield in 1974.
Many of the visiting star athletes stayed with the Monacelli family while they were in town for the event.
“I’m not old enough to have watched Hank Aaron play, but I do remember Poppy’s stories of him from the time he came to Albion for Sports Nights,” Jake Monacelli, Richard’s grandson, posted on Facebook on Friday. “Poppy brought a lot of joy to the Town by bringing some of Sport’s Greats and Hank was one of the Greatest. I don’t have the personal memories of Hank, but I do have the memories of the family’s stories and these pictures always helped bring them to life.”
It’s the news they had been hoping to hear for the past two months and Friday afternoon area basketball and wrestling coaches were thrilled to hear that the state Health Department had approved the start of the season for High Risk winter sports of basketball and wrestling on February 1 pending final approval by local county health departments.
“Right now I am the happiest guy on earth” said Lyndonville Athletic Director and co-wrestling coach Jim Zeliff. “All we have been waiting for is the opportunity and now it looks like we have that opportunity and we’ll make it work. We’re looking at a condensed season but it’s important for the kids to get something in. “I’m really excited. I’m ready to go.”
“This is awesome for the kids,” said Albion Athletic Director Adam Krenning. “I think it is the right decision for our student-athletes. It will be tight getting the winter season in and then the Fall 2 and spring seasons but it is doable. This is all for our student-athletes.”
“I’m surprised and was not expecting it,” said Medina boys varsity basketball Coach Tom Forestel of Friday’s announcement. “I love the game and I want the kids to be able to play. I do have some reservations but I trust the health department and if we can do it safely then sign me up.”
“I’m definitely excited,” said Roy-Hart boys varsity basketball Coach Joe Pawlak. “I know there will be some guidelines but it will be great to get the kids together and in the gym. Hopefully we can move forward and get at least the league season in. It’s great news for the kids. Everybody is excited and ready to go.”
Right now practice for basketball and wrestling is slated to begin on February 1 pending that final OK from the county Health Department and practice for the postponed Fall 2 high risk sports of football, volleyball land competitive cheerleading is then slated to get underway on March 1.
Friday evening the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced that this coming Monday it “will release an updated Return to Interscholastic Athletics resource document for winter sports and Fall Season II.”
In the release NYSPHSAAA Executive Director Robert Zayas stated “We are extremely thankful to Governor Cuomo and the New York State Department of Health for providing authorization for all sports to begin. I am thrilled our association’s member schools will be able to provide over two hundred thousand students with valuable and beneficial participation experiences. Today is certainly a great day for the students of New York State.”
Also Friday the Orleans and Genesee County Health Department announced that the Finger Lakes Region will likewise be drafting additional guidance next week in conjunction with area school districts ” to insure a consistent, regional approach.”
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until 1 p.m. today in Orleans County, the National Weather Service in Buffalo announced.
There will be more lake-effect snow with 1 to 2 more inches in the most persistent lake snows, the Weather Service said.
“Plan on slippery road conditions,” the Weather Service said. “Areas of blowing snow could also reduce visibility. If traveling, be prepared for rapidly changing road conditions and
Today will reach a high of 20 degrees with an overnight low of 17. On Sunday it will be mostly cloudy with a high near 27.
Orleans County is reporting 24 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 today, which puts the county past 2,000 since last March.
The county is now at 2,006 cases during the pandemic. That represents 5 percent of the county’s population of 40,352.
Of those cases, 71 have resulted in deaths of Orleans County residents. The vast majority, 1,566, have recovered and been released from mandatory isolation. Those recoveries don’t include cases in nursing homes and prisons, which are regulated by the state Department of Health. Orleans also currently has 167 people on mandatory isolation who have tested positive.
Of the new cases reported today, they live in the West Region (Yates, Ridgeway, Shelby), Central Region (Carlton, Gaines, Albion, Barre) and East Region (Kendall, Murray, Clarendon).
The individuals are in the age groups of 0-19, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
Of the new cases, five of the individuals were on quarantine prior to testing positive. One of the new cases is a resident of the Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Medina.
Orleans is also reporting 26 of the previous positive individuals have recovered and been removed from the isolation list.
The county has 13 residents hospitalized due to Covid.
• Albion Central School is pleased to announce there weren’t any new positive cases of Covid-19 reported to the district over the course of this week.
“We’d like to thank our staff, students, and community members for continuing to participate in proper handwashing, wearing face masks covering your nose and mouth, physical distancing and limiting your group activities, especially where social/physical distancing is difficult,” the district posted on its website. “You’ve helped to keep our students learning, safely in school and we appreciate all of your support.”
• Medina Central School is reporting three new confirmed cases of Covid-19 among students. Two of those are in the high school and in both cases the students had not been in school prior to becoming symptomatic so no further quarantines are necessary. The other student is in the elementary school and had been on quarantine. The Health Department has determined no further quarantines are necessary, said Mark Kruzynski, the district superintendent.
In Genesee County, there are 76 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 reported today for a total of 3,621 positive cases since March.
The new positive cases reside in the West Region (Alabama, Darien, Pembroke), Central Region (Alexander, Batavia, Bethany, Elba, Oakfield) and East Region (Bergen, Byron, LeRoy, Pavilion, Stafford).
The individuals are in the age groups of 0-19, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
Correction from yesterday: The following case was double counted and has been retracted from today’s data – a case in his/her 30s from Batavia.
Of the new cases reported today, 5 are residents of the Leroy Village Green Residential
Healthcare Facility, 2 are residents of the Batavia VA Medical Center, and 2 are residents of the New York State Veteran’s Home at Batavia. (Correction: 1 of the previously reported cases is a resident at the New York State Veteran’s Home at Batavia.)
Genesee also is reporting 37 more of the previous positive individuals have recovered and been removed from the isolation list.
The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments also said 18 Genesee residents are currently hospitalized due to Covid.
• Health Alert – People should monitor themselves for symptoms of Covid-19 if they were at Batavia Downs Gaming on Jan. 17 from about 2 to 5 p.m.
If the symptoms develop, contact a primary care provider to seek testing immediately and self-isolate until the test results are received.
Symptoms of Covid-19 include but are not limited to fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.
• NY Allowing High-Risk High School Sports – As a region, the local health departments of the Finger Lakes (including Monroe, Ontario, Wayne, Livingston, Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming, Seneca and Yates counties) are in support of re-opening high-risk sports but want to make sure it’s done safely and uniformly.
“As a region, we will be discussing and drafting additional guidance with our school partners to ensure a consistent, regional approach,” the G-O Health Departments stated in this evening’s news briefing. “We are planning to provide that guidance early next week.”
The state Health Department’s decision today to issue new guidelines allowing High Risk sports (basketball and wrestling) to begin their winter sports seasons as of February 1 has received a positive response from area county health departments.
A release by the Orleans and Genesee County Health Department stated that “as a region, the local health departments of the Finger Lakes (including Monroe, Ontario, Wayne, Livingston, Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming, Seneca and Yates counties) are in support of re-opening high-risk sports but want to make sure it’s done safely and uniformly.”
The release added “As a region, we will be discussing and drafting additional guidance with our school partners to insure a consistent, regional approach. We are planning to provide that guidance early next week.”
Got a 2-page color “Senior Fraud Alert” from Chris Jacobs in the mail the other morning (although he didn’t mention how much of our tax money he spent to send out a few thousand of them.)
Talked all about the latest scams we should be careful to avoid: Medicare scams, Grandparent scams, Fake accident scams, Charity scams, etc., etc.
I was disappointed though he didn’t mention one of the biggest scams out there, one he himself has been working on: the big lie that the recent presidential election was “stolen”!
He’s one of the minority in Congress who thought they all should spend more of their time, and our money, pursuing false claims of election fraud in the states where his candidate got fewer votes, but was somehow not declared the winner. All in the middle of the worst pandemic in a hundred years – but first things first.
Now Grandparent scams, etc., can result in the loss of serious chunks of money, which we grandparents can really use while sitting around eating snack food all day, due to the amazing management of the Covid pandemic by our new ex-president (well at least he managed to get us the most of something!)
But Jacobs’ fraudsters weren’t just stealing our money, they were trying to steal our government, our electoral democracy. An election in which thousands of loyal Americans, of every stripe, worked hard, diligently and honestly, to count our votes and certify an accurate result.
Unfortunately, the scam our congressman has been supporting caused an insurrectionist riot and attack on our national Capitol. That may well not have been a consequence he intended, but does it really matter? Should those who act irresponsibly be held accountable for the unintended consequences of their reckless behavior? Even if he’s only doing it so the right-wing radicals will vote for him again?
At any rate Chris Jacobs, thanks for all the advice about Senior Scams. And we know you didn’t mean it, but because a bunch of crazies believed that lie, our national Capitol was ransacked and people died, including a policeman. You really did us proud!
High risk sports including basketball, wrestling, football, volleyball, lacrosse and competitive cheerleading got the go ahead to proceed as of February 1 according to new guidance released this afternoon by the New York State Department of Health.
The new guidance permits practice and competition in games, meets, matches, scrimmages and tournaments pending approval by the local county health department.
The release states that “effective February 1 participants in higher risk sports and recreation activities may partake in individual or distanced group training and organized no/low contact group training and, further, may partake in other types of play, including competitions and tournaments, only as permitted by the respective local health authorities (i.e. county health departments).”
“It’s certainly a step in the right direction,” said Medina High Athletic Director Eric Valley.
BROCKPORT – One of the three soldiers who died in a helicopter crash on Wednesday in a training exercise for the National Guard was a 2010 graduate of Brockport State College.
Christian Koch, 39, of Honeoye Falls also was the a division civilian pilot for the New York State Police.
He and two other National Guard soldiers were killed on Wednesday at about 6:30 when a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter being flown by Koch crashed in Mendon, Monroe County.
Koch is survived by his wife and four children. He was a 20-year veteran of the New York Army National Guard, and a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The thoughts of the entire SUNY Brockport community are with the family of Chief Warrant Officer Christian Koch ’10 as well as the loved ones of the other soldiers who were killed in this tragedy,” college officials said in a statement. “We are proud of, and grateful for, Chief Warrant Officer Koch’s service to our country. The SUNY Brockport flag has been lowered to half-staff in his memory.”
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Steven Skoda of Rochester and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Prial of Rochester also died in the crash. Skoda, 54, was a 35-year veteran of the Army and the New York Army National Guard.
Prial, 30, served in the Army after earning a commission at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2012. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 and 2015 with the 82nd Airborne Division.
Koch also had been a pilot with the State Police since March 2016. In addition to a pilot and crew member on many rescue and search missions, Koch also served as a Division Unit Trainer, instrumental in the last year conducting annual training for Division pilots, the State Police said.
He was recently honored by the Red Cross of Western New York for his role in the June 2020 rescue of an injured 11-year-old boy in Wyoming County. Along with first responders on the ground, and a State Police crew in the air, the boy was hoisted more than 100 feet from a gorge and taken for medical care.
“The New York State Police thank him for his service to his country, and to the people of the State of New York,” said Kevin P. Bruen, Acting Superintendent for the State Police.