Chamber completes ‘Coffee and Conversations’ in local communities

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 7 March 2023 at 7:20 pm

Photo by Ginny Kropf: The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce hosted its final Coffee and Conversation on Monday morning at the Quiet Eye in Medina. From left are artist and Quiet Eye owner Pat Greene, Chamber director Darlene Hartway and Orleans County district attorney Joe Cardone, who also is the owner of the Medina Theatre. About a dozen business people and local officials attended the event.

MEDINA – A dozen business people from the local area attended the final Coffee and Conversation get-together Monday morning at the Quiet Eye on East Center Street.

Attendees included Medina Mayor Mike Sidari; Lyndonville Mayor John Belson; District Attorney Joe Cardone, owner of the Medina Theatre; first assistant district attorney Susan Howard; Medina village trustees Tim Elliott, Jess Marciano and Marguerite Sherman; representatives of the Cancer Services Program; Mario Campana, new owner of Corky’s Bakery building and the former Houseman Funeral Home on Park Avenue; and several other people from the business community.

Darlene Hartway, the Chamber director, explained the meetings were developed after the Chamber board felt there was a need to find out the pulse in each community and their view on the obstacles or hurdles they face.

“We can’t help them if we don’t know what their needs and concerns are,” Hartway said.

The meetings took place periodically in Albion, Holley, Lyndonville and Kendall. Medina’s was the last one.

“Each has unique issues, even Lyndonville which doesn’t have a lot of huge businesses,” Hartway said. “They don’t want huge businesses. They are happy with small ones.”

Sidari shared some of the projects Medina plans to accomplish with its recent grant, including developing a path to Medina Falls and adding parking spaces. He said the grant committee is considering façade grants of $5,000 for each storefront.

Hartway explained the Chamber relies solely on member dues for its funding. The organization’s focus is promoting the county, advocating and educating.

She said the Chamber sponsors four major events a year: a legislative luncheon; Home Show, scheduled April 1 and 2; a wine walk featuring Orleans County wineries and distilleries, held at the Robin Hill Nature Preserve in Lyndonville; and the annual business awards ceremony in October.

The Chamber also sponsors “Business After Hours” events the third Thursday of each month at a different business in the county.

Cardone shared the challenges faced by law enforcement in every county because of the Bail Reform law. Criminals know they are likely not going to jail, so they get arrested and go right back out and do it all over again. He said the average person who goes to state prison has been arrested 12 times.

Cardone also said in recent years the number of judges in Orleans County has been reduced from 24 to 9.

Howard explained another problem is the fact the age for charging an individual as an adult has been changed from 18 to 16. That means if teens commit a serious crime, they aren’t going to be incarcerated with adults and could be free to commit more crimes.

Sidari also reported the New York Power Authority is putting up money to develop an art trail, which would include Medina. They have hired a designer and hope to have an art festival every three years.

Now that the Coffee and Conversation meetings have come to an end, Hartway said the Chamber will be concentrating on working with agencies to address the issues that were brought up at the meetings.