letters to the editor/opinion

Our Letters Policy

Posted 10 June 2021 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.

Green Orleans urges people to choose natural fibers for clothing

Posted 23 September 2023 at 8:18 am


We do not often think about our clothing containing plastic, but synthetic materials do. Every time they are laundered plastic particles are released.

To minimize the detrimental effects on the environment, launder synthetic materials in cold water and either line dry or dry on a cooler setting.

Purchasing secondhand synthetics as opposed to new helps as well. Of course, purchasing clothing made from natural fibers such as cotton is even better. Each one of us, working together, can help preserve the environment that sustains us.

Green Orleans

Tom Robinson

Gary Kent

Anne Downey

Dennis Seekins

Rosanne Leach

Brady Ferguson

Sister Dolores O’Dowd

Drag queen show better fit in Rochester, rather than a small town

Posted 23 September 2023 at 7:40 am


I am embarrassed and deeply disappointed that Albion has chosen to offer such a low form of “so called entertainment” next month. Is our town so starved for entertainment, for there  to be a sold out venue with men parading around as women.

Is this really entertainment? I may be a senior citizen but I feel such a venue should not be offered in a small town but stay in Rochester.

Sandra Shingleton


Albion Betterment Committee urges village to work on ordinance for vacant buildings

Posted 21 September 2023 at 10:06 am


As many of us are aware, American culture has changed dramatically since the “old days” when soda shops and family-run hardware stores were the norm on every main street in small town America. It is true, as well, that “Santa Claus” doesn’t walk the sidewalks of our village year-round, and our historic mansions are no longer homes of millionaires.

The old idea of “main street” can’t be duplicated. In today’s culture, people rely on big box stores and online marketplaces for many of the items they used to make the trip to town to gather. For many small towns, through innovation, an entrepreneurial spirit, and cooperation within the community, a new “main street” has emerged.

Those of us who are operating businesses in Albion have a vision of a bustling Main Street corridor. We have poured our time and funds into unique shops and eateries in the village, and we see great potential for growth of the local economy through small, family-owned businesses.

Every summer, tourists visit Albion, either passing through on the canal, or driving in from local campgrounds or cottages. We want to offer them an experience they will want to return to, and tell their friends about.

For several years, there have been a number of buildings within the village that are left vacant and in various stages of deterioration. There are entrepreneurs who are seeking space in which to conduct their business either through purchase, or renting, and are willing to make the investment in the community. Albion’s downtown has the structure and appeal of a thriving, quaint village, but our development is stalled because storefronts sit vacant and unused instead of opening their doors to new businesses.

Last year, the Village Planning Board submitted a proposal to the Village Board of Trustees that would change the local ordinances, which when enforced would encourage vacant building owners to make changes.

We would like to see an improved proposal submitted at this time. There are many similar municipalities who have created ordinances that inspire the kind of change we would like to see, many of these are available as a matter of public record. We would like to see our local leaders follow their lead, and implement codes that have been proven to work.

On behalf of the Albion Betterment Committee, we submit this letter to the editor seeking support from the community to work together toward this vision.

Albion Betterment Committee directors

Gary Derwick

Gary Kent

Joe Gehl

Pullman Church leaders support drag queen show and LGBTQIA+ individuals

Posted 21 September 2023 at 8:16 am


It has come to our attention that there has been some concern regarding a planned drag show at The Lockstone in Albion on Sunday Oct 1. As a faith organization with deep roots in the Orleans County community for the last 129 years, we, the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church, would like to address this.

We acknowledge the right of others to believe and worship differently than we do, but we feel this discrimination and narrow mindedness is detrimental to our community.  We are happy to represent those who feel as we do.

Freedom of expression and freedom to love are foundational to the pursuit of happiness.  Allowing space for LGBTQIA+ individuals to express themselves and serve as role models for young people learning about themselves and their way of loving is essential to reducing stigma and increasing safety, especially in an area where many may feel isolated and even unsafe.

According to the Trevor Project, LGBTQIA+ youth are more than four times as likely than their counterparts to attempt suicide.  If we are concerned about our youth, certainly making a community safe for them to express themselves and their identity is a much more helpful way to do so than to call for the cancellation of an adults-only drag show at a private venue.

As Susan B. Anthony once said, “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”

At Pullman, we trust individuals to find their own paths through life and seek to provide loving fellowship and community as we seek truth together, in love.  We applaud those that have begun this journey and continue on it in love, as well as those that seek to be beacons and advocates for others who may be struggling.

The previous “local faith leaders” do not speak for us. We support the venue, the performers, and the show.

May the show go on.


The Board of Pullman Memorial Universalist Church,

Jessica George

Dylan Miller

Chris Loss

Alan Nugent

Carol Taillie

Sylvia Goodstine

Reverend Susan Frawley

Pastor welcomes dialogue with drag queen performers

Posted 20 September 2023 at 4:42 pm


The pastors and leaders have expressed their views in the letter to the editor. I followed up by agreeing to do an interview with Carla Rogner of Channel 13. I am not accusing her or the station of bias, and I understand the time constraints that they are under for a newscast, but probably 80-plus percent of what I said ended up on the “cutting room floor.”

We have tried to make our position clear and stand by the letter.

I would like to extend an offer:

If ever any of the drag queen performers would like to meet in person and have a dialogue, I would welcome that opportunity. Even if it’s after October 1st, so people can’t say this is being done to exert pressure upon them.

I am sincere about this and am willing to do it in a setting that they would be comfortable with.


Pastor Tim Lindsay

Harvest Christian Fellowship


Pastors missed common humanity in letter opposing drag queen show

Posted 20 September 2023 at 2:43 pm


I would like to state that I am someone that grew up in Lyndonville and am a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and now live in New York City.  I read the Orleans Hub from time to time to see what is going on back home and I know that there is a largely conservative and religious influence on what goes on back home.

As much as I recognize that evangelical Christians wish to influence their views on others, (which they have done for years) the letter from the pastors and other local clergy that was written essentially said to people like me, “You are not welcome here.”

Optics matter, Orleans County. The local churches of the county are obviously against this performance of drag queens in Albion and they have a right to be against events that they disagree with. That is not what I have the issue with.

Churches, I thought, always were supposed to be places of “love and inclusion.” This letter and its tone does not feel anything like how we should be treating our fellow human beings. Drag Queens are people, gay men and lesbians are people, Trans people are people, and yes, Christians are people too. This is a common humanity that we should keep in mind when expressing viewpoints of this nature.

This makes Orleans County and the village of Albion seem like a non-welcome place for people that are like me in the LGBTQIA+ community.  I made a conscious decision to leave the county back when I was 18, to escape the hatred and bigotry that I felt growing up from neighbors and friends, and to find community, to find people that were not going to judge me for being who I am.

However, there are many people that identify with the LGBT community that live and work among you, go to your churches, teach your children, work the factories alongside you, or could just simply be shopping at the local supermarket or out to dinner at the same restaurant as your family.

Getting back to the event, it should be reminded that this is a private venue, it is adults only, and there are going to be no kids present at the brunch. Furthermore, extrapolating that this is going to lead to drag queen story hour, and influencing kids is absolutely ridiculous.

Your kids, regardless of the events around them, are going to be gay if their DNA says so, not because a drag queen read them a story. I was never read a story by a drag queen and I have been out of the closet now for nearly 25 years.

Growing up in the county, there were never events that reached out to different groups of people in the community. This should be a welcome event to a county that has struggled with poverty and a flailing economy for years. If you aren’t interested in going to see a performer, dressed in a wig and women’s clothing, you don’t have to buy a ticket.

There is nothing wrong with this event being held in Albion, and if people wish to spend their money to go to this performance they should have the freedom to do so, without the churches of the area vilifying a marginalized group of people. Remember, you have a choice, stay home, and pray for us that we all find Jesus and buckle under the pressure that you wish to exert on the people in your community to conform and be like you.

I say, expression of self matters, respect for religion matters, but treat everyone with the common humanity that they deserve.

Oh, I almost forgot, for those that plan on going to the event, make sure you have plenty of dollar bills and tip the queens generously! As Mrs. Kasha Davis would say, “There’s always time for kindness!” Enjoy the show, everyone!

Jason Helsdon


Yates in need of common sense and accountability on Town Board

Posted 20 September 2023 at 8:05 am


My response to Mr. Simon’s September 18th letter to the Hub. Mr. Simon you are a “college academic.” I’m surprised you need an explanation of what sweeping change is.

There are two councilman seats up for election. Simple, myself and Steven Colon would like to earn both of them. You seem angry over that. Why? We are not running against anyone. We are running for the people of the Town of Yates.

True, you inherited an $86,345 deficit in account A. So here is the part that was conveniently left out. Mr. Simon you were new. I didn’t blame you for this then or now but it’s how you handled it that is simply disgraceful.

The Supervisor along with bookkeeper and cohorts were a target of the NYS Comptroller’s Office Financial Audit. The audit was scathing! The bookkeeper was forced to resign. People came to town meeting demanding that the bookkeeper be changed.

A different competent bookkeeper was interviewed, came in at cheaper price, even provided the software and what does Mr. Simon do? He turns down saving the taxpayers money and rehires this same bookkeeper and cohorts.

Keep in mind during the period since audit of almost 4 years that the (“You”!) taxpayers of this town had to pay to build up this $86,345 bookkeeping error deficit in account A (Village taxpayers paid a big brunt of this IE: the tax increases of 2020) the town credit rating was downgraded during this.

Mr. Simon when you were asked how you could justify such a thing your response was “I am the Supervisor I get to pick the bookkeeper.” Only one councilman voted against this insult to the taxpayers of this town that was Councilman Bradley. Let me refresh the taxpayers’ minds  (Click here to see report from comptroller.) I don’t know about you, Yates voters and readers, but if you or I did this would you have a job? Would your boss have not held you accountable?  Mr. Simon held no one accountable.

That’s when I knew nothing would ever change. He has allocated a raise to the bookkeeper recently (after all the trouble and extended financial hurt caused to taxpayers). I’m going to leave it right here and let the readers decide.

Please bring common sense to this board. Please elect to both seats, Paul Lauricella and Steven Colon, on November 7th for Yates Town Councilman. Putting “You” The Taxpayers First.

Paul Lauricella


Fast food apps are exercise in disappointment

Posted 19 September 2023 at 9:43 am


Let’s take a break from arguing over drag queens and priests in order to hear about the joys of fast food apps. Yes, I realize that I am a 73-year-old “dinosaur,” but hear me out.

A few months back I added the McDonald’s app to my phone, as I could get free fries on Fridays for a while. On my second or third time downloading a secret code, I did it from approximately 1/10 of a mile from Albion’s restaurant. Drove there, parked, vigorously (okay, what passes for vigorously) strode in and up to the counter, when my code disappeared! (Later learned it’s supposedly good for 5 minutes – to borrow a quote from Monty Python, it was never 5 minutes!). Was told by the employee that if I waited TWELVE MINUTES, I could generate a NEW code. I said I wanted my food – all I got was my double cheeseburger.

I removed that app.

Discovered last week that Burger King was having a promotion 9/18 for “Cheeseburger Day.” Used that app this noon, and it said the Albion location was CLOSED. Right. Further struggles produced the news that “mobile ordering was currently unavailable.” So I stopped in, and was informed that this location wasn’t doing that promotion!

“Another one bites the dust!”

Guess I’ll have to take my business to KFC! No, wait…

Tom Taber


Yates supervisor reiterates financial successes for town with results for residents

Posted 18 September 2023 at 9:33 am


“Time for sweeping change.” Now there’s a line from Mr. Lauricella’s September 12th letter to Hub readers that needs explaining!

But first a response to concerns Mr. Lauricella has about what the “math shows.” On January 1, 2016, as the newly elected Yates Town Supervisor, the town was operating on a nearly depleted general reserve fund. The budget for 2016 that John Riggi and I inherited from the previous town board was projected to have a large deficit in the general reserve fund by the end of the year.

That negative general reserve fund trend, combined with our costly, multi-year, legal fight against Apex Clean Energy, made it very difficult to stay under the tax cap the next few years, but we did until 2021.

However, even with the 2021 Town Tax Rate increases designed to remediate the negative general reserve fund, the Yates taxpayers’ Combined Tax Rate was the 2nd lowest of six Orleans County towns for “Inside the Village,” and the 4th lowest of ten Orleans County towns for “Outside the Village,” for that year.

For the current 2023 fiscal year, Yates taxpayers’ Combined Tax Rate is the lowest of six towns “Inside the Village,” and the 3rd lowest of 10 towns “Outside the Village,” in Orleans County.

Speaking of “taxpayers first,” Mr. Lauricella and Mr. Colon, what are the “sweeping changes,” you intend to make if elected? The taxpayers deserve to know.

Would you have negotiated a fair and sustainable contract with the SEIU for our hardworking highway team?

Would you have spent sufficient funds to defend the town against Apex Clean Energy?

Would you have extended access to public water to include Goodwin and Hall roads in Water District 4?

Would you have taken out a short-term loan while interest rates were very low to purchase a new highway tractor?

Would you have supported the Lyndonville Fire Department by facilitating the creation of the Joint Fire District?

Would you have frozen the town board and town supervisor pay for the last eight years?

These are all things we did.

With all due respect, what would you have done differently?  What’s your “sweeping” plan?

I admit I’ve learned a few things about municipal government the hard way. But one thing I would not change are those I am currently serving with on the town board.

John Riggi is a retired Medical Device and Pharma Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs Executive, and he is in his 8th year as Town Councilman and Deputy Town Supervisor.

Susan Hrovat is a Social Work and Law Enforcement officer with over 30 years’ experience, and she has served as a Town Councilwoman for 4 years and on the Lyndonville School Board for over 10 years.

Meanwhile, I very respectfully ask Yates voters to re-elect John Riggi, Susan Hrovat, and me.  And if you have any questions for me, please don’t hesitate to call me at 716-946-2075.

Jim Simon

Yates Town Supervisor

County Treasurer’s Office needs to make site more handicapped accessible

Posted 18 September 2023 at 9:03 am


Orleans County needs to improve on their ADA’s.  My friend wanted to personally pay his taxes.  He presently has a disability and needs to use a walker.

So we go to 34 East Park St. in Albion. They do have a ramp but it can only be accessed from the front of the building. The parking area in the back only has stairs, no ramp so you have to park on the street across from the building. You then have to walk in the street because the sidewalk is uneven, except for the front of the building.

You proceed to use the ramp but the back door is locked. You ring the doorbell and wait for someone to open the door.  This may take a few minutes if they are waiting on customers inside. Staff was very pleasant but not an ideal situation. This is just one instance as I am now more cognizant of the limitations people with disabilities have to encounter in our county. We need to do better.

Jeanne Crane


Responses to drag show event have caused needless division in community

Posted 18 September 2023 at 7:40 am


Well bust my buttons, the “Drag Me to Brunch” show has caused quite a bit of attention in Albion NY.

I knew without a doubt that the throw the Catholics under the bus scenario would emerge, the left, right, and center folks would all speak out, family values or lack thereof would be called into question.

For those of us few individuals that still believe in a higher power (I’m not talking Donald Trump or George Soros) the tearing down of our community speaks volumes of where we are as people in this country.

The freedom of speech and freedom to assembly are the right of everyone in this country; with it is the right of the Clergy in our community to speak their mind and express their concerns. It is the right of The Lockstone to take money for the assembly of this performance; they’re probably suffering from the canal bridge closure.

We all live with our decisions and hopefully the consequences of those decisions. Stop agonizing over this, whether you are for it or against it, it’s your choice or not whether you go to the event.

Yes, Jesus Christ loved the sinner, adulteress, lepers, winos, pedophiles, and murders; however, he did not love the sin. Also remember in this community the religious establishments contribute a great deal to the feeding, clothing, and offering shelter to those in desperate need, regardless of faith or lack thereof.


Jane Murray


Letter was about right and wrong, not bashing Catholics

Posted 17 September 2023 at 4:37 pm


In response to the gentleman who took issue with my recent Letter to the Editor, I would like to correct a few inaccurate statements in his response in order to set the record straight.

In his post, he stated that I am part of the “American Left,” which is not true. I am politically a centrist. My post had nothing to do with the Right or Left, it was about Right and Wrong.  There were 216,000 kids molested by Catholic priests. If anyone is OK with that, you should take a long look in the mirror.

My comments about Catholic priests were not hateful, they were just plain facts. If the gentleman doubts the veracity of my statements about the Catholic church and priests, look it up. All are correct and verifiable through reliable sources.

Maybe if the gentlemen was more focused upon correcting the heinous behaviors of Catholic (and other denominations) priests versus a local drag show, the world and our area would be a better place.

John Fredericks


Hateful views towards Catholics by letter writer can’t be accepted

Posted 17 September 2023 at 10:58 am


I have been reading the Hub with enjoyment since its inception. Over the last few years I have noticed a left-leaning bias in the letters section.

While reading left-leaning letters with mild amusement, I must draw the line at Catholic-bashing. As a Past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, I am incensed that a letter writer would willy-nilly express his extremely hateful and harmful view on Catholics and our priests.

Apparently, bashing my country is in vogue. Bashing Catholics will never be, despite the best efforts of the American left.


James G. Falkenburgh


Church leaders should keep closer eye on own problems rather than target drag show

Posted 17 September 2023 at 8:50 am


After reading the to the editor that was signed by 29 local clergymen/women regarding the drag show, I was struck with an incredible feeling of hypocrisy.

From 1950 to 2020 over 216,000 children were molested by Catholic priests in the U.S.  4% of said priests were reported to have molested children and the Catholic church has paid billions to settle the lawsuits.

We all know of the phrase in the Bible, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone…”, and I feel that clergy who wrote the letter should be policing their own ranks instead of casting dispersions on another population that has a far lower incident rate of child molestation.

John Fredericks


Church leader says sexuality promoted too soon for children, leading to confusion and division

Posted 16 September 2023 at 12:39 pm


In a recent open letter, area clergy expressed concern over a drag show coming to our local community. Many in our community took this as judgment upon others. I wanted to clarify why our church signed.

Many seemed to express confusion as to why local church leaders may be taking a stand on such an issue. There is a feeling that Jesus would never cast judgment on those who many label “sinners.” If we take a closer look at the life and teachings of Christ, we see Jesus was in fact loving and even accepting of people who struggled with real issues. He walked with them, talked with them and ate with them. As we reflect on the great love of Christ we must be careful, however, that we do not confuse this for an approval of sin.

Consider the adulterous woman. Jesus told those who had no sin to cast the first stone. One by one individuals dropped their stone and walked away. When Jesus asked if there was still anyone to condemn her she said no. Then Jesus told her, “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” You see, Jesus loved and accepted the person. He did not approve of her sin. He loved her enough to speak truth in the hope that there might be a positive change in her life.

Society is changing and with that change our nation and local communities seem to be more polarized than ever. I believe there is a way for us to instead come to the table, eat together, and have open and honest conversations about our convictions and beliefs. When people we disagree with take a position we should see it as an opportunity to come together rather than a moment that tears us apart.

Speaking up on these important issues is becoming more and more important. While we acknowledge the right of people to host and participate in an event they believe appropriate for themselves, there is no doubt there has been an attempt in the modern world to silence those who still hold biblical values. This has led to a great deal of confusion for even children in our society.

When people become blind to the differing values so many others in our communities hold it leads to the type of polarization we see today. The truth is many do not want to see sexuality promoted in our communities, for children to see, when these matters should only be discussed in the home at an age parents feel is appropriate. Ignoring this fact has led to a great deal of confusion and division.

The local school is for education, not a place to promote world views on human sexuality. It is simply inappropriate for youth and children’s programming to promote the idea of transitioning one’s gender when by the same societal standards they are not old enough to get a tattoo or drink a beer.

These positions are not meant to divide. We are simply saying there are certain subjects meant to be left to parents. This is something parents who hold biblical values and those who do not should understand.

Bryan McDowell

Lead Pastor at Oak Orchard Assembly of God in Medina