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Month: September 2020

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Posted 21 September 2020 at 7:00 am

We appreciate input from our readers, and we publish letters to the editor without charge. While open speech and responsibility are encouraged, comments may be rejected if they are purely a personal attack, offensive or repetitive. Comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Orleans Hub. Although care is taken to moderate comments, we have no control over how they are interpreted and we are unable to guarantee the accuracy of comments and the rationality of the opinions expressed. We reserve the right to edit letters for content and brevity. Please limit the length of your letter (we suggest no more than 500 words) and provide your name, telephone number, mailing address and a verifiable email address for verification purposes. Letters should be emailed to news@orleanshub.com.

Posted 21 September 2020 at 7:00 am

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Orleans reports new Covid-19 case, a Kendall resident

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 October 2020 at 4:57 pm

Orleans County is reporting one new Covid-19 case this afternoon, a Kendall resident in the 50s.

The individual was not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments said.

Orleans has now had 363 people test positive for Covid-19 since March.

The county also has 8 new individuals on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

Genesee County didn’t receive any new confirmed cases today, and remains at 348 cases since March. One Genesee resident is hospitalized with Covid.

One of the individuals reported yesterday is a resident at Premier Genesee Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Batavia. That is the first positive case at that facility.

Genesee also has 8 new individuals on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

Updates from the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments:

• Micro-clusters: The initiative will take the most significant action within the cluster (Red Zone), moderate action in the area surrounding the cluster to stop the spread (Orange Zone), and precautionary action in the outlying communities (Yellow Zone). To learn more about the Cluster Action Initiative, click here.

• School Guidance: New York State Department of Health has provided guidance regarding when/if to send a child to school and when/if staff should report. This guidance has been sent out to all school districts and primary care providers.

If you have issues with this guidance or further questions we encourage you to contact your state elected officials or the state directly as the local counties do not have control over what the state directs. For the guidance document, click here.

• The Covid-19 Report Card is an online dashboard which tracks real-time Covid-19 infections and testing operations of every New York school and school district. Click here to access the Report Card.

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Holley student in middle-high school tests positive for Covid-19

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 October 2020 at 3:10 pm

HOLLEY – A Holley student who was last at the middle-high school campus on Wednesday morning has tested positive for Covid-19, the Orleans County Health Department said today.

“The school learned about the positive case before school this morning and ordered precautionary cleaning and disinfection of the area the student was last in,” said Brian Bartalo, superintendent of Holley Central School District. “The student did not report to school today.”

Holley is working with the local Health Department and New York State Covid-19 School Specialists to assist with contact tracing.

The local Health Department will go back 48 hours from the onset of symptoms or the date of the test to determine any order of quarantining of individuals of close contact with the student.

In this case that would start on Monday, October 19th. As a member of the “White Hawk” cohort, the student who tested positive was not in school on Monday or Tuesday this week. Any communication of the need for quarantine will come directly from the Health Department or the NYS School Liaison. If the local Health Department indicates there is anything further that needs to occur at the school building or district level, families will be updated, Bartalo said.

Paul Pettit, Health Department director, said the district and health officials are unable to legally disclose any further details or personal identifiable information about this student per the federal privacy laws.

If a student in the Holley school district receives confirmation of a positive Covid-19 test, Bartalo urged parents and guardians to contact the school’s nurse or principal immediately “so we can help the Orleans County Health Department most efficiently begin the contact tracing process.”

Any student who has Covid-19 symptoms or has been tested should not report to school until cleared by a medical professional and/or have a negative test result.

“In addition to working closely with the Health Department, we will continue to reinforce the best practices of mask wearing, staying physically distant from others, and handwashing,” Bartalo said.

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.

For information on school statistics, click here for the New York State Covid-19 Report Card.

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Photos: Bald eagle on the lookout this morning in Carlton

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 October 2020 at 11:56 am

CARLTON – Jim Tabor, a Carlton resident, sent in these photos he took of a bald eagle at 9:30 this morning on Park Avenue in Carlton.

Tabor said there is a bald eagle nest on Beardsley Creek in the hedge row just west of 98.

The wet field and overcast weather really made the bald eagle stand out this morning.

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Batavia man facing attempted murder charge in Genesee arraigned on other felonies in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 October 2020 at 11:40 am

ALBION – A Batavia man facing attempted murder charges in Genesee County was arraigned in Orleans County Court on Wednesday for several felony charges.

Jamie Dutton

Jamie Dutton, 28, has been charged with second-degree attempted murder for an Aug. 25 stabbing. Dutton allegedly stabbed a person in the chest. The victim survived after receiving immediate medical attention. Dutton also has been charged with first-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Dutton also faces felony charges in Orleans, including burglary in the first degree, aggravated criminal contempt and assault in the second degree.

He allegedly went to a person’s house who had an order of protection against Dutton. He went to the house without permission. There was also an altercation outside where Dutton allegedly caused the victim to have a collapsed lung.

He is in the Orleans County Jail on $100,000 bail.

In other cases in Orleans County Court on Wednesday:

• A Corfu man pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property in Orleans County Court on Wednesday.

Tony Graber, 41, admitted to having stolen parts from a 1959 Corvette and then selling them. Those parts, taken from a Corvette in Barre, are valued at $9,960.

Graber pleaded guilty to criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, which was a break from the original charge in the third degree. Instead of facing a maximum of a 2 to 4 years in state prison as a second-felony offender, he will face a maximum of 1 ½ to 3 years in prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 13, 2021.

• A former inmate at the Albion Correctional Facility was sentenced by Judge Sanford Church to 9 months in the Orleans County Jail for bringing Suboxone into the prison.

Stacey Haley of Massena in St. Lawrence County was sentenced for promoting prison contraband. She secreted Suboxone strips while in prison on August 2018.

She has since been released from the women’s prison in Albion. She has since completed a drug treatment program.

“I apologize for my past behavior,” she told the judge during sentencing. “I really humiliated myself. I won’t do it again.”

• Two codefendants from Batavia were arraigned on two counts each of burglary in the third third degree, petty larceny and criminal mischief in the fourth degree.

David Brusie, 47, and Courtney H. Kelley, 33, were doing property maintenance work for Wells Fargo when they allegedly entered a house on Norway Road in Kendall and Ryan Road in Shelby and took copper from the houses. They entered the houses without permission, according to the district attorney’s office.

• Also in court the previous day on Tuesday, Samantha Wroblewski, 31, of Batavia was arraigned for fourth-degree criminal possession of a stolen property.

Wroblewski and a codefendant, Judd Farewell, allegedly possessed stolen copper supply lines taken from a Maple Ridge Road building. That copper was worth an estimated $1,500.

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1 white-tailed deer in Orleans detected with rabies

Staff Reports Posted 22 October 2020 at 10:48 am

A white-tailed deer in Orleans County had rabies, one of four to test positive in upstate recently, according to researchers at the Cornell Wildlife Health Lab.

A DEC environmental conservation officer collected a white-tailed deer carcass after it was found dead in a pond by the homeowner in Orleans County on Oct. 13. The DEC officer noted that other deer had been seen swimming in the pond.

Quick collection and proper handling of the animal by ECOs and NYS Wildlife Health Program staff at Cornell using appropriate PPE was strictly followed and essential when handling wildlife as it may be infected with rabies or other infectious diseases. The brain sample was removed and sent to NYS Wadsworth lab for testing and was reported positive for rabies, according to the Cornell lab.

A deer also tested positive for rabies in Cortland Country after it was euthanized on October 1 by a DEC Environmental Conservation Officer who found the deer “circling in a yard.” The deer also “appeared thin” and was approachable by humans.

Appearing tame or being approachable, anorexia, and incoordination or restlessness are some of the clinical signs of rabies.

Other deer have testing positive for rabies Ontario County and Cayuga County.

Hunting season is about to begin across New York. It’s important for hunters to remember that all mammals, including white-tailed deer, are susceptible to rabies, Cornell officials said.

“Remember to include disposable gloves in your hunting gear as you head into the field,” Cornell said in a news release. “Wear gloves when field dressing or butchering your harvest and be sure to discard the gloves in the trash. Wash your hands with soap and water when you are finished. Rabies virus can be transmitted through the animal’s saliva and blood into an open wound. Do not consume animals that appear abnormal. To report neurologic deer, please contact your DEC Regional Wildlife Office.”

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DMV adds appointments for 2 evenings and a Saturday during early voting

Posted 22 October 2020 at 10:32 am

Press Release, Orleans County Chief Administrative Officer Jack Welch

ALBION – We are pleased to announce that the Orleans County Department of Motor Vehicles will have a renewal-only appointments for license, registration and non-driver I.D.s and duplicates during early voting.

This is the first time the DMV will have hours outside the usual 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule from Monday through Friday.

The evening times include Tuesday and Wednesday (Oct. 27-28) from 5:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. The office will also be open on Saturday, October 31st, from 9 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.

“We totally understand the frustration our residents have had in trying to obtain an appointment for renewals at DMV and we hope this opportunity for processing your renewals will allow our residents more flexibility and convenience in obtaining your renewal during these early voting appointments at DMV,” said Jack Welch, Chief Administrative Officer.

These on-line scheduling pages may be located using the County’s DMV webpage (click here) or by clicking here.

The first step in scheduling the appointment is to click on the service you wish to complete, choose a date, and then provide your name and telephone number. The software requires the customer’s name and telephone number as a required field.

By providing a mobile number and an email address, the software will provide a text message confirmation and an email confirmation of your appointment. The last step is confirming that all of the information entered is correct.

Please have the appropriate paperwork completed, Form MV-44 (Application for Permit, License, Non-Driver ID) or present your renewal card or invitation that you received from the State. For Registration Renewals, you will need to have a completed MV-82 (Vehicle Registration/Title Application) or the renewal notice you may have received from the State.  These forms may be found online or in the lobby of the County Office Building.

Access to these online appointments will be approximately six days prior to the dates of these available appointments.

As a reminder, we do have a lockbox in front of the County Office Building for your DMV transactions and the direct number for DMV is (585) 589-3214.

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Advanced Manufacturing student wins NASCAR jersey signed by Cole Custer

Posted 22 October 2020 at 9:25 am

Provided photo: Zach Duewiger of Roy-Hart holds a signed jersey from Eric Maycroft, a NASCAR crew member.

Press Release, Orleans-Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – Zach Duewiger, a Royalton-Hartland student in the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Program at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center, recently won a signed Cole Custer jersey.

“Zach was very excited to win the jersey since he is a big NASCAR fan,” said Bill Rakonczay, the teacher of the class.

Zach and his class take part in weekly Zoom meetings with Haas Technical Education Center, which provides CNC education to machining students. Zach was able to answer a trivia question during a session with Custer and was sent the gift.

“I am so glad that he likes the shirt and had fun joining the watch party,” Custer said in a note.

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Absentee ballot applications have tripled in Orleans this election

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 October 2020 at 8:56 am

ALBION – There has been a big increase in applications for absentee ballots, with many choosing to vote by mail rather than in person during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Orleans County Board of Elections has 2,740 absentee ballot applications on file as of Wednesday. That is about triple the 952 absentee ballot applications received in 2016 during the last Presidential election.

The county BOE plans to open and count the ballots on Nov. 10, a week after the Nov. 3 election.

The BOE also will begin nine days of early voting on Saturday. That will continue until Nov. 1.

The early voting option is part of a state mandate to allow greater access to the polls. The county offered early voting for the first time a year ago and then again during the June primary.

Voters can cast their ballots at the Board of Elections in the County Administration Building, located behind the nursing home at 14016 Route 31.

The hours the polls will be open include:

  • Oct. 24-25 (Saturday and Sunday) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Oct. 26 (Monday) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Oct. 27-28 (Tuesday and Wednesday) from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Oct. 29-30 (Thursday and Friday) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Oct. 31-Nov. 1 (Saturday and Sunday) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The general election is Nov. 3 with polls in the 10 towns in Orleans County open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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NY has new micro-cluster zone metrics to help nip Covid spread

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 October 2020 at 9:33 pm

Orleans not yet listed in one of the 3 zones that have restrictions, testing requirements

Editor’s Note: This article was updated from an earlier version that said Orleans County was in a new yellow zone that is precautionary and has restrictions to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new micro-cluster metrics today that ranks counties in four tiers, based on their population size. Orleans County is in the fourth tier with counties less than 50,000 people. (Other Tier 4 counties include Allegany, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Essex, Greene, Hamilton, Lewis, Montgomery, Schoharie, Schuyler, Seneca, Tioga, Wyoming and Yates counties.)

Small counties in Tier 4 will be in the yellow zone if they have a 7-day rolling average positivity above 4% for 10 days and if the geographic area has 15 or more new daily cases per 100,000 residents on 7-day average.

Orleans, which has a population of about 42,883 people in the 2010 census, has 23 new cases in the past seven days. The county has reported 18 new Covid cases since Monday, with eight on Monday, four on Tuesday and six more today.

“We have what we believe is the most sophisticated Covid detection and elimination system of any state because we’ve spent time, we’ve invested and because New Yorkers are invested,” Cuomo said today. “What’s the best you can do? Detect the smallest outbreak as soon as it happens. Trace it back to where it starts, find a small outbreak or cluster, and jump on it.”

Identifying and Implementing Focus Zone 

Daily data monitoring enables the state to identify areas that are experiencing a concerning increase in Covid spread, Cuomo said.

Once an area meets certain metrics – detailed below – that demonstrate substantial spread, it may be designated a focus zone.

• Red Zone — Micro-Cluster: A “Red Zone” focus area is put in place to contain spread from a specific, defined geographic area.

• Orange Zone — Warning/Buffer: An Orange Zone area either is put in place primarily in densely populated urban areas as a tight buffer zone around a Red Zone micro-cluster (“Orange Buffer Zone”) area or is implemented independently as a focus area based on metrics.

The purpose of an Orange Buffer Zone is to 1) restrict activity to prevent further spread from Red Zone area; 2) provide a defined geographic area where metrics can be monitored daily to ensure Covid is not spreading beyond the Red Zone.

• Yellow Zone — Precautionary/Buffer: A “Yellow Zone” area either is put in place as a broader buffer area to ensure Covid outbreak is not spreading into the broader community or is implemented independently based on the metrics.

The purpose of a Yellow Buffer Zone is to 1) restrict some activity to help prevent further spread from Red and/or Orange Warning Zone area; 2) provide a larger defined geographic area where metrics can be monitored daily to ensure Covid is not spreading beyond the Red Zone or Orange Warning Zone.

The restrictions for the three cluster zones include:

Red Zone — Cluster Itself

  • Houses of Worship: 25 percent capacity, 10 people maximum
  • Mass Gatherings: Prohibited
  • Businesses: Only essential businesses open
  • Dining: Takeout only
  • Schools: Closed, remote only

Orange Zone — Warning Zone

  • Houses of Worship: 33 percent capacity, 25 people maximum
  • Mass Gatherings: 10 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
  • Businesses: Closing high-risk non-essential businesses, such as gyms and personal care
  • Dining: Outdoor dining only, 4 person maximum per table
  • Schools: Closed, remote only

Yellow Zone — Precautionary Zone

  • Houses of Worship: 50 percent capacity
  • Mass Gatherings: 25 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
  • Businesses: Open
  • Dining: Indoor and outdoor dining, 4 person maximum per table
  • Schools: Open with mandatory weekly testing of students and teachers/staff for in-person settings with percentage of students and teachers to be tested to be established by the New York State Department of Health.

A county or area can be downgraded in zone designation or have the designation ended if the positivity data, cases per capita, and daily hospital admissions over a 14 day period go down, showing there are no signs of broader spread from the focus area that prompted the zone creation.

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G-R soccer road losses for Holley and Kendall

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 21 October 2020 at 9:21 pm

Holley and Kendall both dropped Genesee Region League boys soccer games on the road the evening.

Attica blanked Holley 2-0 and Wheatland-Chili rallied past Kendall 3-1.

Two first half goals off corner kicks earned Attica the win over Holley which slips to 4-2-1.

Holley next hosts hosts Pembroke at 7 p.m. Friday.

Kendall grabbed a 1-0 first half lead on a goal by Zach Barrett off an assist from Jake Esposito but W-C answered back with two second half tallies to claim the win.

Kendall, which next visits Byron-Bergen at 7 p.m. Friday is now 3-4.

Big first half powers Rams past Purple Eagles; Mustangs down Panthers

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 21 October 2020 at 9:13 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Roy-Hart’s Aiden Guild works to keep control of the ball against Albion defenders Carson Bader (4) and Josh Martin (10) during the Rams win over the host Purple Eagles this evening.

Building up a 3-0 half-time advantage, front-running Roy-Hart went on to defeat host Albion 5-1 this evening in a Niagara-Orleans League boys soccer game.

In the other N-O contests, Medina/Lyndonville regained the .500 mark at 3-3 by defeating host Newfane 2-1 and Akron improved to 5-2 with a 2-0 win over visiting Wilson.

Roy-Hart took charge with a burst of  three quick goals in the final 13 minutes of the first half.

Peter Martillotta opened the scoring with a goal at 13:50 off an assist from Aiden Guild.

Trent Choate then scored on a penalty kick at 10:59 and Gavyn Boyle closed out the big half with a goal with just 1:18 to go off an assist from Guild.

Albion did cut the deficit to 3-1 at the outset of the second half on a goal by Alex Gibson off an assist from Tyler Gibson.

However, Roy-Hart answered with a pair of goals to put a lock on the win. Choate scored with 23:43 remaining from Martillotta and then Martillotta tallied with 13:47 to go from Brett Ricker.

Roy-Hart improves to 6-1 and Albion slips to 0-7.

Medina/Lyndonville 2, Newfane 1

Making it three wins in a row, Medina/Lyndonville scored a goal in each half to trim Newfane 2-1 and avenge an earlier season 3-2 overtime loss.

Nate Dillenbeck opened the scoring for the Mustangs midway through the first half off an assist from Casey Winiecki.

Dillenbeck later netted what proved to be the game winner midway through the second half as AJ Seefeldt earned the assist.

Newfane avoided the shutout when Jeremy Foltz scored with 17 minutes to go.

The loss drops the Panthers to 3-4.

Akron 2, Wilson 0

Second half goals by Adam Mietz and Travis Fry lifted Akron past Wilson 2-0.

Wilson is now 3-3.

Roy-Hart’s Brett Ricker  and Albion’s Alex Gibson work to gain control of the ball.

In weighing candidates, Republican sees Biden as best choice for the country

Posted 21 October 2020 at 8:57 pm

Editor:

I believe that the majority of those reading this are honest, decent and compassionate; that this majority respects family, the military and government institutions and is financially responsible.

Yet, this majority seems to enthusiastically embrace Donald Trump, who is none of those things. The reasons I most often hear for this support are that he is better than the alternative, and that Biden is a socialist. Beyond that, there are those who love Trump no matter what, and seem remarkably forgiving of, or just blind to, his many faults and poor decisions.

That blindness is dangerous. Our democracy depends on our will to keep an open mind and seek out the facts, and then, with eyes and minds wide open, draw our own conclusions based on those facts.

I believe the first step in this task is to stop watching CNN and Fox News. They provide a 24 hour a daily flow of opinions with a few carefully chosen facts sprinkled in. It is degrading to blindly adopt others’ opinions. What relevance does the opinion of some corporate, infotainment pundit have to anyone? It isn’t difficult to find a better source of news than opinion shows.

Next we have to be willing to remove the labels we attach to ourselves (e.g. liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, etc.) and think things through free of these forms, with honesty and integrity. Then, your opinion, which you worked and struggled for, will be of greater validity and value. Still, never become too comfortable with your opinion. Periodically stop, think and review it all over again. This is the antidote to media manipulation and voter gullibility.

This is a difficult process. In my struggle, I had to think without my own labels. I identified with the traditional values of what used to be conservatism and the Republican Party. I proudly served as a Republican office holder as Orleans County District Attorney and County Judge for 33 years.

It was with great sadness that I came to the realization that I could no longer support the party at the federal level and that I could not vote for Donald Trump. I knew this in 2016, and I hoped that things would change. They did. They got much worse.

I have not given up hope in the party and I am still a Republican. However, looking as best I can at the actual facts, I will never vote for Donald Trump. The choice is clear to me. No credible facts support the conclusion that Joe Biden is a socialist. He will not turn our country into an oppressive politically correct state and he will not spend us to death (any more than Trump has).

He would not be my first choice if Republicans were able to nominate a decent candidate like John Kasich or Jeb Bush. Having nominated a person lacking in  decency, intelligence and character, the Republicans leave me no choice. Thus, I will vote for Joe Biden.

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were rejected by their own party because they were a part of the far left. Biden is not. He is a moderate. People may dismiss him as “middle of the road”. Is this really a bad thing? The trend now is to embrace the extreme right or left. This is a terrible departure from what has made our country among the most successful in the world.

Historically, extremist regimes, both right and left, live a short, tortured existence followed by an agonizing death. I have faith that a vigorous democracy will never suffer that fate. Each voter’s intellectual integrity ensures that vigor. Finding that integrity is the most important duty of every American citizen.

James Punch

Medina