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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medina will be looking to extend a winning streak and Albion to halt a losing skid as the Mustangs and Purple Eagles both host divisional foes at 7 p.m. Friday.
Medina, which is off to a 2-0 start in its C North Division debut season, will host Cleveland Hill while Albion, which is 0-2 in Class B competition, will entertain Dunkirk.
Normally by the third game of the season teams have a good scouting report on the opposition but that is not the case this weekend for Medina as Cleve Hill will be playing its first game. The Eagles had to sit out the first two weeks of the season on a Covid-19 related pause.
This will be just the second meeting between the teams as the Eagles nipped the Mustangs 8-6 in that earlier encounter in 2016.
Quarterback Xander Payne has led the Mustangs offense in the early going throwing seven touchdown passes including four to Tyler Chinn, two to Brian Fry and one to Joe Cecchini. Fry leads the team in both rushing with 213 yards and receiving with 13 catch s for 179 yards.
The Mustangs defensive unit has been equally productive allowing just one touchdown to date. Noah Skinner has 11 tackles, Fry 10, Cecchini 6 and Robert Arnold 5 to lead that balanced unit.
Albion will be hosting a Dunkirk squad which is likewise off to an 0-2 start as the Marauders have dropped narrow decisions of 20-14 to Maryvale and 14-8 to Olean.
The Marauders hold a 4-0 lead in the all time series with the Purple Eagles. The most recent were a pair of 2017 meetings when Dunkirk won 18-15 during the regular season and 25-7 in the playoffs.
The other C North Division games this week will have Wilson hosting rival Newfane this evening and Akron hosting Tonawanda on Friday. Newfane is also scheduled to makeup its game against Tonawanda next Tuesday.
The other B2 Division games Friday will have Maryvale at Lake Shore and Olean at Depew.
C North Division: Medina 2-0, 2-0; Tonawanda 1-0, 2-0; Cleve Hill 0-0, 0-0; Akron 0-1, 1-1; Newfane 0-1, 0-1; Wilson 0-1, 0-2.
B2 Division: Depew 2-0, 2-0; Maritime 2-0, 2-0; Olean 1-1, 1-1; Maryvale 1-1, 1-1; Lake Shore 0-1, 1-1; Albion 0-1, 0-2; Dunkirk 0-2, 0-2.
Marquis de Lafayette, French military officer, provided critical aid to George Washington in securing American independence
ALBION – A new historical marker, in a distinctive blue background with red trim, was unveiled on Wednesday by the Erie Canal in Albion in honor of a French military officer who provided critical aid to Continental Army in securing American independence from the British monarchy.
Marquis de Lafayette returned to the United States in 1824 for a farewell tour that was intended to last four months. It turned into a 16-month visit that included a journey along the Erie Canal through Orleans County.
Lafayette rode in a packet boat in full regalia that was pulled by a team of white horses from Lockport to Rochester on June 6-7, 1825, four months before the canal officially opened.
Lafayette was given a hero’s welcome from the Americans. He passed through Albion which was then known as Newport.
Albion service learning students and the Seventh Grade History Club teamed with the DAR (Daughters of American Revolution) and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation to erect the marker, which was installed by the Village of Albion Department of Public Works.
The marker notes Lafayette’s journey on the Erie Canal during the farewell tour, and includes the Lafayette Trail logo. The Lafayette Trail Inc. is planning bicentennial celebrations of Lafayette’s farewell tour in 2024-2025.
The group is pushing to have 175 markers in place to commemorate the tour. That includes 11 in New York State.
Patrice Birner, state regent of the DAR, spoke at the dedication event. Birner, a Middleport resident, said the DAR is supporting the historical markers for Lafayette, who she called “a rock star” who helped secure the country’s independence.
She plans to attend dedication ceremonies next month for Lafayette in Niagara Falls and Brooklyn.
Birner presented pins with Lafayette’s signature to Justin Kania and Kaitlin Bennett, two Albion seventh-graders who participated in the marker’s unveiling. Tim Archer, left, is the service learning teacher at Albion.
Kaitlin Bennett holds one of the pins with Lafayette’s signature.
Kaitlin Bennett speaks at the marker’s unveiling, calling Lafayette “The Hero of Two Worlds.” He commanded U.S. forces in several battles, including the siege of Yorktown, which proved the fatal blow to the British.
“He was a significant man in our country’s history who can here to help us,” Kaitlin said.
When Lafayette returned to France, he was imprisoned for five years due to his role as a monarch. Lafayette was released by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1797.
Lafayette would later served in the French government. He died on may 20, 1834 and is buried in a Paris cemetery under soil gathered from Bunker Hill.
Albion teacher Tim Archer thanked the organizations for supporting the new marker, which he said helps tell local history.
For more on the Lafayette Trail, click here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) testified on Wednesday afternoon in front of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in support of his legislation the Infrastructure Expansion Act.
He spoke against the Scaffold Law in New York State, which he said drives up construction costs by 8 to 10 percent.
New York’s Scaffold Law imposes an absolute liability standard for all gravity-related injuries on construction projects. New York is the only state with such a law. In February, Jacobs reintroduced his legislation, the Infrastructure Expansion Act (H.R. 1300), that would protect New Yorkers from high construction costs by pre-empting the Scaffold Law on any project receiving federal funding – instead implementing a standard of comparative negligence for these projects.
“Absolute liability under the Scaffold Law means employers and property owners are fully liable for worksite accidents, regardless of the contributing fault of the worker,” Jacobs testified. “To understand the injustice of this law, take for example that courts have ruled repeatedly that the intoxication of an employee is not a defense for an employer under the statute. Contrast this with the liability standard of comparative negligence – the standard in every other state – which allows for a reasonable determination of fault between two parties.”
Jacobs wants to exempt federally funded projects from the Scaffold Law and instead place them on a standard of comparative negligence.
“For the sake of our roads, our bridges, our schools, our railroads, our homes and all New Yorkers, the Scaffold Law must be reformed,” Jacobs said.
Racing tracks can allow spectators, up to 20% capacity
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced the state has extended the closing time for bars and restaurants from 11 p.m. to midnight, effective April 19. The curfew for catered events will move from midnight to 1 a.m.
“This is a change that the NYS Restaurant Association has loudly advocated for and we thank all restaurant owner/operators who added their voice to our phone2action campaign to help get this change made,” the Restaurant Association stated on Wednesday. “We will continue to ask for additional capacity and curfew changes – and we hope to see further easing of restrictions in the near future.”
Cuomo also announced that spectators will be allowed at horse and auto races at 20 percent capacity, beginning Thursday, April 22. Spectators will be subject to the state’s strict guidance, which is currently in effect for other professional sports competitions with fans.
Attendees must show proof of a recent negative test or completed vaccination series prior to entry and are subject to the state’s health and safety protocols on face coverings, social distancing and health screening.
“We’re continuing to fight the pandemic each and every day, and the vaccine – the weapon that will win the war – is working,” Cuomo said. “As the situation becomes more manageable, we’re allowing spectators at auto and horse races back into stadiums to safely enjoy great events together. We have a long way to go before reaching a level of immunity that defeats the Covid beast for good, and that’s why New Yorkers need to continue practicing safe behaviors as they go about their daily lives.”
Unable to build on an early lead the Roy-Hart/Barker/Lyndonville Silverbacks dropped a 30-8 decision to the visiting CG Finney Falcons in an 8 Man Division football game this evening at Roy-Hart.
The Silverbacks jumped out to an early 8-0 lead as Rodney Davis ran 5 yards for a touchdown and also had the two-point conversion carry.
However, the Falcons came battling back to take a 22-8 lead at the half as quarterback Jon Bovee completed a pair of touchdown passes to Adian Guardelben on plays covering 20 and 16 yards.
The Falcons later put a lock on the win as Dorian Vanshudt broke loose for a 60 yard touchdown run in the third quarter for a 30-8 lead.
The Falcons improve to 2-2 while the Silverbacks slip to 0-4.
The regular season will come to a close next Tuesday as the Falcons host Holley and the Silverbacks visit South Seneca.
A quick two touchdown scoring burst early in the second quarter keyed Pembroke to a 40-14 win over host Holley this afternoon in an 8 Man Division football game.
Breaking way from a 6-6 deadlock, Pembroke capitalized on two very short Holley punts deep in Hawks territory to score on two short TD drives covering just 28 and 20 yards. Garrett Totten caught a 27 yard pass from quarterback Connor Peterson for the first score and then ran 16 yards for the second.
Later in the second quarter, Brandon Florian returned a fumble recovery 20 yards for a touchdown and a 26-6 Dragons half-time lead. Florian also returned another fumble 35 yards for touchdown in the fourth quarter for the Dragons final score.
Garrett Totten scored on a 9 yard run in the first quarer and Tyson Totten tallied on a 1 yard run in the third quarter.for the Dragons other touchdowns.
Holley tied the game at 6-6 late in the first quarter on a 4 yard touchdown run by Jacob Affronti.
A fumble recovery by Jakob Silpoch at the Pembroke 38 set up the score.
The Hawks defense also came up with an interception by Michael Jacobs-Fallato to stop another first quarter Pembroke drive.
Affronti also scored the Hawks other touchdown on a 14 yard run late in the fourth quarter. He added the two-point conversion pass to Mason Neale. Charlie Turpyn had a big 37 yard run to highlight the scoring drive.
Holley, which is now 1-3, will close out the regular season at CG Finney next Tuesday while Pembroke, which is 4-1, will face Perry (3-1).
Press Release, Roy-Hart Central School
MIDDLEPORT – The Royalton-Hartland school district has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.
Now in its 22nd year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Royalton-Hartland CSD answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
“The Royalton-Hartland Central School District is proud to be recognized once again as A Best Community For Music Education District and want to thank the Board of Education, administration, instructors and community members for their never ending support of our program,” said Superintendent Dr. Hank Stopinski. “Our district recognizes the importance of our music program in reaching the District Vision and its overall impact on our students.”
Since the passage by Congress in 2015 of the Every Student Succeeds Act and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs. They have found that in this time of a national pandemic, music and the arts provide a valuable way to keep students engaged in school.
“The phenomenal Music Department at Royalton-Hartland has not only given me a great music education, but it has instilled a passion for music in me,” said Elise Baumer, a 12th grade student. “After facing a major and life altering injury when I was in sixth grade, I turned to music. I became more involved with orchestra and chorus by participating in All-County and All-State solo festivals. Music at Royalton-Hartland has allowed me to build character and self-confidence. The music teachers at Royalton-Hartland truly care about the students and want to support us. I will carry my love for music with me for the rest of my life.”
Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music: After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well.
Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound: young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.
Photos courtesy of CSEA Western Region 6
ALBION – The State Department of Transportation team in Albion are pictured with a memorial they made outside the DOT office on Route 31 in Albion.
The memorial is in honor of Thomas Butler, 43, of Oakfield, who was a highway maintenance supervisor with the DOT. He was killed in an ATV accident on Saturday in Oakfield. Butler was a CSEA member since 2006.
“CSEA Local 506 President Brian Ossont is asking the CSEA universe to keep the Butler family and friends in their thoughts and prayers at this difficult time,” the union stated on its Facebook page.
There are 28 more cases of Covid-19 in Orleans and Genesee counties, bringing the total during the pandemic in the two counties to 7,568. That includes 2,692 in Orleans and 4,876 in Genesee.
In Orleans County there are 13 new positive cases of Covid and those new cases are residents 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, and 50s.
Orleans is reporting 14 more of the previous positive individuals have recovered and been removed from the isolation list.
Of the new cases 2 were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
In Orleans 4 of the current positive individuals are hospitalized, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments said.
In Genesee County there are 15 new positive cases and those individuals live in West Region (Alabama, Darien, Pembroke), Central Region (Alexander, Batavia, Bethany, Elba, Oakfield) and East Region (Bergen, Byron, LeRoy, Pavilion, Stafford). Those people are in the age groups of 0-19, 20s, 40s, 50s and 60s.
Genesee is reporting 25 more of the previous positive individuals have recovered and been removed from the isolation list.
Genesee is reporting 4 residents are currently hospitalized due to Covid.
• Active case numbers decrease: The number of active cases in the two counties is down from 173 on Tuesday to 143 today. In Orleans, the active cases are down from 74 to 60, while in Genesee the active cases decreased from 99 to 83.
• Vaccine clinic in Ridgeway on April 15: There are still appointments available for the Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday, April 15, from 12:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Ridgeway fire hall on Route 104. (There were 71 spots available as of 4:45 p.m.) Click here to make an appointment.
Walk-ins can stop in from 1 to 3 p.m. with doses available on a first come, first served basis.
ALBION – State Sen. Rob Ortt and Assemblyman Steve Hawley both were resoundingly opposed to the state’s new $212 billion budget.
But both acknowledged there are some good parts of the spending plan, included $4.5 million for the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer to Peer Program.
That program was zeroed out in the governor’s initial budget proposal. It was at $3.5 million. Ortt and Hawley both said the Republican conference pressed hard for the program to get an increase.
“I am proud to have fought to restore this vital, life-saving funding into this year’s budget so that veterans may get the mental health assistance they need and deserve,” Ortt said. “It is shameful that Gov. Cuomo opted to cut the funding for this program completely in his Executive Budget, but its inclusion in the final state budget is welcome news.”
Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties will share $185,000 with each county getting an equal third of that amount or $61,667. Niagara and Monroe counties each have also been approved for $185,000.
Orleans will run the program out of the Veterans Service Agency. None of the funds will go towards administering the program with the money going solely to boost social opportunities and peer connections among veterans. In the past the program has paid for fishing outings, baseball and Buffalo Sabres games, YMCA programs, a train ride with the Medina Railroad Museum and other activities.
The Peer to Peer Support Program was established in honor Pfc. Joseph P. Dwyer, who is from Suffolk County and later moved to North Carolina. After returning home from Iraq, Dwyer suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury. He received care from the VA, but had a hard time integrating into civilian life, eventually taking his own life.
“22 veterans a day take their lives due to the lingering effects of their service at nearly 1.5 times the rate of the general population,” Ortt said. “This funding will help connect those suffering from the invisible scars of war with the assistance they need to survive, and we must continue the fight to ensure this program is a permanent fixture in the budget every year.”
Ortt and Hawley both said they want to see the funding become a permanent part of the state budget, and not be in limbo each year.
“To think that funding for this vital program was ever on the chopping block is incredibly disheartening, and I am grateful to my colleagues in the Legislature for preserving this program as the governor tried to defund it entirely,” Hawley said. “For many veterans, the hardship they face persists even after they return from duty, and we should be doing all we can to help them in their struggles for all they do for us and our nation. As a veteran myself and member of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I can’t say enough how much of an impact programs such as the Dwyer program have on the lives of soldiers returning to civilian life and how disastrous losing such an important program would be.”
Nancy Traxler, director of the Orleans County Veterans’ Service Office, said programs are being planned through the program. She expects those activities to be announced soon as Covid-19 restrictions are being eased.
“Veterans all over New York are being helped by this program, and it would have been a great loss to the veteran community had this funding not been added back into the budget,” Traxler said.
Veterans in Orleans County interested in upcoming activities through the Dwyer program can call Traxler’s office at (585) 589-3219.
MEDINA – There are three seats up for election on May 18. Candidates for the positions need to submit petitions signed by at least 25 registered voters in the school district by 5 p.m. April 19 to be eligible to be on the ballot.
The following Board of Education seats are open this year:
- Two 3-year terms for seats currently held by Dr. Ann Webster-Bunch and Lori Draper
- One 1-year term for the seat currently held by Brian Koch. (The winner of this seat will begin immediately after the election on May 18.)
For information about a petition, please call Julie Kuhn, District Clerk, at 798-2700, option 6, 1.
School has allowed students to not wear masks when spaced out 6 feet or more
LYNDONVILLE — The school district has had students for in-person classes five days a week throughout the school year. They haven’t been required to wear masks when at their desks, which are spaced apart 6 feet or more.
But new guidance from the State Department of Health on Friday requires masks to be worn at all times by students, except when they are eating. The state reduced the social distancing from 6 to 3 feet. The state also advised that partitions set up in many classrooms and on desks aren’t encouraged because they aren’t proven to be effective.
“Our Board of Education and I fully realize and appreciate that this new required regulation will not be well received by the majority of our community, as the survey results in the summer overwhelmingly supported reduced mask use,” Jason Smith, the district superintendent, wrote in a letter to the community on Tuesday.
Lyndonville will be shifting to a new mask policy on Friday, requiring the face coverings to be worn except at meals.
“I also question and am frustrated by the timing of such a new regulation at this point in the year, as our school has been and is fully committed to a safe, responsible, and reasonable reopening plan where we are providing in-person instruction five days per week,” Smith said. “All that being said, the Board and District are engaged in advocacy and lobbying efforts with local and state officials to address these concerns.”
Some of the board members want to take legal action against the state for requiring the mask policy in cases where social distancing is possible at 6 feet or more.
MEDINA – A new program started by Greg Reed, director of the Orleans County YMCA, is designed to attract tourists and give local residents a chance to be active by experiencing more of Medina has to offer – on land and water.
In 2019, Reed wrote a grant to the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation’s Legacy Fund for $25,000 to purchase bikes and kayaks, which can be rented by tourists and Medina residents.
He started the YMCA Canal Club, which he sees as being able to promote Medina and the canal year round.
“We have a great natural resource in the canal, and this provides a great opportunity to run such a program,” Reed said.
He thinks not only bikes and kayaks would be popular, but mountain bikes and snowshoes. The Canal Club members would receive lower rental fees, but the equipment would be open to the community, as well.
Reed said he came from Denver, where bikes can be rented year round. He pitched his idea to the Medina Village Board at its last meeting, asking to have a small shed in the canal basin to store kayaks and a bike rack in Rotary Park from which to rent bikes.
The bikes and/or scooters would be e-bikes, which means an individual can unlock them and pay the rental with an app on their phone.
Last year, Reed applied for and was approved for a $40,000 matching grant from the Erie Canalway Corridor’s Consolidated Fund. He ordered bikes and then the pandemic hit. They arrived in August, and Reed has been waiting for guidance from the state to be updated so they can be used.
Reed said the New York State Power Authority is promoting their Staycation Program and while they are on board with rentals, they have not said what they will do regarding excursions until the pandemic is over.
The YMCA has purchased 10 bikes, and depending how it goes, Reed said he would like to order 20 more. He would also like to have some suited for people with disabilities.
In the meantime, he said the YMCA will continue its regular biking and kayaking programs from the canal basin to Culvert Road and back. He said Pittsford did a similar program last year and he wants to replicate it here.
He said when tourists come to Medina, they are looking for things to do and this would promote tourism and local businesses.
“This will be complimentary to our business,” Reed said.
Colby Albone is heading the Canal Club programming. Another local sporting enthusiast is David Fuller of Medina, who is also planning to do waterway recreation, such as tubes and kayaks. He has wanted to have rentals for some time and recently partnered with the Erie Canal Boat Company in Lockport to make it happen.
Fuller said he will be working with the Erie Canal Boat Company, which also has a launch pad in Fairport. In addition, Fuller has a friend who lives on the Oak Orchard River at 3359 North Gravel Rd. and has agreed to make his property available for kayakers and canoers.
Fuller will keep his equipment there and plans to install an outdoor bathroom and changing room. He said boaters can travel the river to Bates Road, where a resident allows launching there, but asks that users respect the property. From there, it is possible to continue to Oak Orchard on the Ridge or Knowlesville Townline Road.
Fuller will also provide shuttle service for kayakers and canoers who need a ride back to their cars. Bikes are available for rent now, and other equipment will be available May 7. Fuller has tubes, kayaks, boats and two stand-up paddle boards. Information on rentals can be found by logging on to the Erie Canal Boat Company’s website and clicking on the Medina section.
Fuller’s bikes include two e-bikes which can be rented at Vine Street Park.
Defending champion Akron posted a straight set 25-12, 25-16, 25-15 victory over visiting Albion this evening in a Niagara-Orleans League volleyball match.
Jessee Jonathan had 5 aces and 15 assists, Marisa Maggiore 4 kills and Jayni Sundown had 6 kills and 4 aces to lead the way for Akron.
Akron, which next visits Medina on Thursday improves to 3-0.
Albion, which next hosts Wilson Thursday, slips to 0-2.
The Roy-Hart at Medina match was postponed as the Roy-Hart team is on a Covid-19 related pause.
In the other N-O match, Wilson rallied from a two sets to one deficit to defeat rival Newfane in five sets 25-19, 22-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-19.
Wilson is now 2-1 and Newfane 1-2.