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Democrats oppose nursing home sale

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Four Dem candidates, plus an independent, are running for Orleans County Legislature

This article was updated after the original article listed Rak as a Dem candidate. She is a Conservative, seeking an independent line. The towns also haven’t had their caucuses yet, when they officially name their candidates.

ALBION – The Orleans County Democratic Party is backing four candidates, plus an independent, in their campaigns for county Legislature. The Dem-backed candidates have agreed to a don’t-sell-the-nursing-home platform.

Democrats also say they will be fiscally conservative, while bringing in another viewpoint to a seven-member body that is all Republican.

The county Legislature is working to sell The Villages of Orleans, a 120-bed nursing home in Albion, because of the potential for steep deficits that legislators say could require $2 to $4 million in annual county subsidies.

Linda Rak

Linda Rak of Lyndonville believes there must be ways to reduce costs and increase revenue at the facility, without turning it over to a private company. Rak is a retired reading teacher at Kendall. She is running as a Conservative against incumbent Lynne Johnson for a district that includes the towns of Yates, Ridgeway and a portion of Shelby. Rak also is working to secure an Indepedent line.

“I’m passionate about the nursing home,” Rak said during a Democratic Party picnic this afternoon at Bullard Park. “We need people to roll up their sleeves and find a solution. We owe it to the seniors to keep it.”

Rak works at Brockport State College with graduate students who want to be reading specialists. She also has been endorsed by the Conservative Party.

Fred Miller, the owner of Family Hardware in Albion since 1986, is making his first run for county office. He has served five years on the Village Board. Miller said the village has gone at least 30 years without a resident on the Legislature.

Fred Miller

“It’s time we had a village voice there,” he said. “I don’t believe the county is doing enough for the village.”

He also criticized the county for too many “hidden taxes” that drive away customers for small businesses. He noted heating oil taxes and an occupancy tax for motels and bed and breakfasts.

“I’m willing to dig into the facts and to stand alone,” Miller said. “They need diversity on that board.”

Miller has also been endorsed by the Conservative Party. He will run against Henry Smith Jr. for a district that includes the towns of Albion and Gaines.

Former Kendall Town Supervisor Jack Gillman has the Democratic endorsement to run against John DeFilipps of Clarendon for an at-large seat. George Bower of Holley isn’t seeking re-election to the county-wide position.

Gillman was town supervisor in 2008 and ’09, the first Democrat to hold the position in Kendall in 40 years. He worked 37 years as a telecommunications specialist for Rochester Telephone and Frontier before retiring in 2003.

Jack Gillman

If the majority of the public doesn’t want the nursing home to be sold, the Legislature should listen to the people, Gillman said. The Concerned Citizens of Orleans County, a citizens group opposed to the nursing home sale, has asked the Legislature to put the issue up for a vote.

Dave Schult of Waterport moved back to the community 2 ½ years ago after being away for 30 years. Schult, 50, joined the Coast Guard after graduating from Albion. He has worked in sales for an ambulance company based in Chicago, currently the vice president of the sales department.

Schult vowed to treat the county budget as if it was his own money, carefully spending every dollar. He has experience in negotiations, which he said would be an asset on the Legislature.

He also knows all about customer service. Before his career in sales, he grew up spending numerous hours at the Lakeland, a restaurant at Pont Breeze operated by his parents for 25 years.

Dave Schult

Schult also has been endorsed by the Conservative Party. He is running against Ken DeRoller of Kendall. The seat is currently filled by Ken Rush, who isn’t seeking re-election.

Gary Kent of Albion is again challenging Don Allport for a county-wide legislator position. Kent wasn’t at the Democratic picnic today. He was in North Carolina visiting his son. Kent, a retired Kendall social studies teacher, has been one of the leaders against selling the county nursing home. Allport, a Republican, has the Conservative endorsement.

Democrats introduced Cyndy Van Lieshout, a candidate for Barre town supervisor. The Democratic Party caucus is next month. She will be running against Mark Chamberlain. Van Lieshout and her husband Mike own a dairy farm in Barre. Cyndy manages the books for the farm and also serves on the board of directors for the Upstate Niagara and O-At-Ka cooperatives.

Democrats also introduced Paul Snook, a Republican running for Carlton highway superintendent. He has the Conservative endorsement against incumbent David Krull.

Four candidates for State Supreme Court in the eighth district also addressed Orleans Democrats. Those candidates include Mark Montour, a Lancaster town justice and acting judge for the city of Buffalo; Jeannette Ogden, a Buffalo city court justice; Jeff Marion, an attorney; and Dennis Glascott, an Angola town justice.