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My wife and I, along with our two sons, moved to eastern Tennessee in 2013 after we retired but still like to keep up with activity in the Albion and Holley area. The Hub is a great way to do that.
There are only three areas that stand out as far as really welcome changes from Western NY – the weather, taxes and politics .
I don’t need to go into detail on the weather unless you like gloomy, cold and snow. Although some people do, we actually moved following our son’s previous relocation and thought we were heading to the backwoods, but pleasantly were surprised to see less poverty and well maintained infrastructure – roads are superb and the most noticeable plus!
But the taxes and politics are the biggest differences. Property and school taxes were beyond surviving on Social Security, in my opinion from corruption. Here we actually saved some of our Social Security up until the inflation caused by the current president. Politics has obviously gone to liberalism in my hometown. How’s that working out for you now?
After that last sentence you probably know where I am politically but you might be wrong. Actually I am a strict Constitutionalist and don’t agree with either party that have been running this country into the ground – taking turns ruling us!
I am a Vietnam Marine Corps veteran that was told my helicopter squadrons that a 5% casualty rate was “acceptable” in order to preserve our liberty, economy and way of life. I don’t regret it one bit. Granted we were mostly volunteers and knew what was at stake when we signed up.
So tell me how we gave away our liberty, economy and way of life over a virus that is 98.6% survivable? Are you civilians worth more than vets? Or just dumb!
Dawn Patrol Aviation (the ex-crop duster)
An out-of-town organization from western NY has purchased a private medical doctor’s office on West Center Street and Florence Avenue in our residential neighborhood. It is unclear if their plans are to open a clinic similar to their other locations.
However, this conflicts with the “use” variance issued in 1977 that restricts the use to private practice of medicine for only “1” medical doctor in this facility previously known as Dr. Bath’s office. Putting a clinic at this site is in conflict with the use variance. The neighborhood has contacted the code officer and talked to several people on the Board of Appeals.
We have no objection to this clinic coming to Medina since it is quite needed but to try to squeeze a full-time clinic into this office brings too much traffic, activity, and noise to our residential area. When the “use” variance was first approved in 1977 to allow an independent MD office in the neighborhood, MDs spent only part of their time in their offices.
If you remember, doctors used to do “rounds” on their patients so some of their valuable time was committed to their patients in the hospital! They did not ever work full-time out of their medical offices. As MDs moved out of the hospital setting in the last 5-10 years, they now spend all their time in the office seeing more patients. This brings an uptake of activity to the medical office setting.
This official code restriction of one MD practicing in this office location assured limited traffic/activity for the private use of a medical office in our solely residential neighborhood. This also potentially offers accountability to the neighborhood.
We do not think that one MD equals one clinic. Since the official village code/use variance in place aims to protect the character of the neighborhood, we respectfully insist that the code be honored, in letter and in spirit.
On behalf of the Village of Albion Police Benevolent Association, I would like to take a moment to talk about the holiday season that is already well underway.
While many are shopping and preparing for their own festivities with friends and loved ones, we tend to forget about the families in our community that are less fortunate and struggle to give their loved ones the holiday season that they deserve.
While there are many ways to give back, this year the Village of Albion PBA proudly teamed up with Gretta Smith at Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern (GOMOC) to donate toys to their Holiday Assistance Program. This program was started by GOMOC in 2015 and has helped hundreds of local families give their children a joyous holiday season.
We would like to strongly encourage all residents that have something to spare during this season of giving to reach out to local charities such as GOMOC, Community Action and local churches for ways to help those in need.
Have a happy, safe and joyous holiday.
Albion Police Benevolent Association
Now that the election is in the rearview mirror, it’s time to move on and get on with the business of governance for all of the constituents of Yates.
While we all have our disagreements, the people of our town come from a place of genuine passion and desire to improve all that is the Town of Yates. It is indeed a special place.
However, it’s never a bad time to use the experiences of the past in order to continually improve how we communicate as a Board and as a constituency.
While the Board has addressed recent challenges on spending in the pages of this publication, we have not addressed the improvement and successes of the last four years for the Town of Yates:
- Town Finances improved via a 3-year effort to reduce and eliminate the legacy A-fund issue.
- Standard & Poor’s financial rating improvement from B to A-.
- Successful financial management under the tax cap, excepting the 2020 COVID year.
- Successful implementation of the Western Orleans Comprehensive Plan.
- Successful finalization of the Kendall-Yates-Carlton-Lyndonville Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.
- Successful renegotiation of the Ambulance contract with Medina.
- Successful completion of Yates water district #2.
- Successful implementation of the Orleans County Hazard Mitigation Plan.
- Successful opening of Niagara Food Specialties (employing 15 people) at the old Shoreline Fruit site.Plans are for this business to grow.
- Initial fact-finding on a possible community biodigester as a joint effort with the Town of Somerset.
- Improvements at the Yates Town Park that will benefit the constituents as a lake access portal.
We value your support shown by the election and are ready for any and all challenges that we will face in the coming year to ensure we continue to build a better Town of Yates.
While the active misinformation effort on the part of a few in the run-up to the election is disappointing, it does identify a corrective action for the Board.
In the future, we will be actively communicating via newsletters, open house meetings and other methods to ensure that the taxpayers are given ample opportunity to communicate issues and new ideas to the community.
In that way, and in the spirit of transparency, we will leave no room for misinformation. We look forward to working with everyone to ensure that we shine a light on the issues. Dialog is critical to ensuring that repeated conveying of misinformation doesn’t become the truth.
Looking forward to the process.
Councilman, Town of Yates
The addition of mobile sports betting in New York State has brought access to gambling to everyone’s pocket. Anyone in New York with a cell phone can now gamble 24/7 from anywhere.
With the increase in access to gambling opportunities will inevitably come an increase in individuals, families and communities impacted by negative consequences.
In response to increased access to gambling in NYS, on November 1st NY Council on Problem Gambling launched a brand new, solution-focused resource in NYS that’s designed to highlight all of the ways New Yorkers can work together on this cause to reduce these negative consequences. StrongerThanYouThinkNY.org has something for everyone, whether you’re in need of treatment, have a loved one struggling, or want to be a part of the solution on a community level.
Problem gambling can impact anyone, and its effects go far beyond the individual. Relationships, employment, finances, and mental health all take a hit when gambling is no longer entertainment.
Often the symptoms are invisible to others until they can’t be hidden any longer. It’s never too late to get help or become an advocate for this cause.
Jeffrey Wierzbicki, Western Team Leader
Western Problem Gambling Resource Center
NY Council on Problem Gambling
In the face of unprecedented rates of Covid-19 infections, the governing bodies of Orleans and Genesee counties have announced against issuing an indoor mask mandate.
Displaying a disheartening lack of leadership, and with all the subtlety of a coup d’etat, the combined Legislatures and Managers of the two counties have decided against the
most basic and fundamental precaution that can be made against the virus: masking.
More disturbing is the apparent collusion of the Genesee and Orleans Health Department, ostensibly existing for the safety and well-being of the public, being involved in this non-decision.
Shielding behind the admittedly real concern of diminished business activity, while at the same time handing off the onus of imposing masking restrictions to the very businesses affected, this group of leaders has placed both customers and businesses in the dangerous position of not trusting each other to protect all.
The citizenry of Orleans and Genesee counties have a right to expect more from their elected and appointed officials, both in courage and caring.
On Facebook today a person put the American Flag all over a meme celebrating that Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted. The person probably was not thinking and it took me a while to figure out what really upset me about it.
If this was war and we were celebrating war heroes using the flag would be appropriate. But when a grand jury has indicted a man for homicide, the case was very legally flawed, a view of the last few seconds could effect if lesser charges were appropriate, and the jury system in this country is uniquely structured in favor of acquittal, there are lots of things to argue. But none involve flying the flag.
More about the suppressed evidence will come out. Some will not care about what the law and facts show in our tabloid society.
But I hope people understand that vigilantes – a hanging posse – are not legal and this verdict did not sanction that. Bringing a gun to a demonstration to police it and killing someone is a serious matter. Only the police and the activated National Guard can carry out police duties.
So celebrating anything involving death as a patriotic act is not American and smacks of applauding death as a proper consequence for those you politically disagree with.
Being there was incredibly stupid. Having O.J. Simpson’s jury consultants and two mock trials to practice showed the value of money. There is lot to intelligently discuss. But two deaths matter and are not a matter of political discourse or some perverse victory.
That’s just wrong.
Conrad F. Cropsey
I will be retiring officially the end of year after four decades with Community Action. During my employment I have met many wonderful people and made many wonderful friends.
I thank everyone who has helped me deliver services that meets the mission of the agency, this could not have been possible without the kind and giving people of Orleans County and the communities we serve.
My retirement is bittersweet but the friends I have made will always be with me. I will miss my dedicated staff that through the years have shown me respect and all the staff at Community Action who are very dedicated to the agency.
I wish everyone a safe and healthy 2022.
Annette Grillo Finch
With the election counting behind us now and the Yates incumbents narrow victory of 11 votes (from absentees that don’t live here year round), I want to thank everyone that helped and voted for me.
I will say a win is a win if by one vote. I accept it. No, we did not win but I had more fun doing this than I have had in a long time. I really enjoyed it. They were very worried and deservedly so.
One thing that is for sure we have started a grass roots movement and there are enough people that know what’s going on to have made me and you the voter a serious force.
There are many people in our town that are not happy with the course this board has been on. Will they learn anything from their narrow victory? I hope so but my faith in politicians is nil.
So we may be back next election cycle with a lot more backing. Maybe with a full ticket posse. I will continue to attend meetings and pass the information on to you.
Again thank you to the smart, informed voters in Yates that voted for me and those that didn’t in the next 2 years you may change your mind.
Town of Yates
The insurrection on Jan 6th was an attempt, at the least to prevent Congress from performing an Constitutional duty, and worse, perhaps overthrow the government.
Dozens of police officers were injured and one was killed before order was restored. So why are Republicans like Chris Jacobs defending these insurrectionists?
Republicans have bought into the Big Lie, that there was fraud in the last election, despite over 60 court cases where they were asked for evidence and could produce none. Outside of court they have freedom of speech and they make all kinds of accusations but when asked to produce evidence they cannot and they do not.
This is their strategy, lie to their base to keep them angry. Republicans are not interested in policies that improve the lives of their constituents. That is why Mr. Jacobs and all Republicans voted against the American Rescue Plan in March which reduced childhood poverty nearly in half, and it is why Mr. Jacobs and his cohorts voted against the infrastructure bill.
Keeping their voters angry will keep their voters engaged they believe and if that doesn’t work they want to take control of election procedures, pass laws to suppress opposition voters, control who counts election results and have laws and procedures to reject votes they don’t like even without evidence of impropriety.
This is why Mr. Jacobs supports Paul Gosar, (R-Az), (who is supported by white nationalist and anti-Semite Nick Fuentes), even though he posted a cartoon of himself killing fellow Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D-NY).
Mr. Jacobs does not represent the citizens of his district. He is representing the Republican Party ideology to keep voters angry with lies. Western New York needs someone to represent the citizens, not a Republican puppet.
The Yates Town Board wants to thank all the residents of the Town of Yates for participating in this year’s election.
We are very grateful to those of you who voted for the incumbents, and we vow to continue to serve all the residents of Yates regardless of how you voted.
We look forward to 2022 – our town’s 200th anniversary year – and the opportunity to celebrate our heritage and to strengthen our resolve to work toward a brighter future.
Jim Simon, John Riggi, Harold Suhr, Susan Hrovat, Terry Chaffee, Jr.
The Orleans County Treasurer has started a foreclosure on the property at 89 Public Square in Holley known as Odd Fellows Hall. The property is owned by the Village of Holley Development Corporation which was asked by the village to take ownership of this previously abandoned property in order to find a way to preserve it, rehabilitate it and revitalize at as an integral part of the historic Public Square.
As owner of the property, the VHDC has secured the building, obtained a grant to repair the roof and is currently working on a second grant to repair the exterior brick walls of the structure in hope of finding an investor to assume the property.
This building was once previously foreclosed on by the County and sold to an out-of-state buyer in an online auction. This buyer neglected the building and abandoned it with code violations and back taxes once again.
The building requires extensive repairs which are too cost prohibitive for any buyer or investor. Any private owner will most likely abandon or neglect it again until it is beyond repair and must be destroyed. Now, the County of Orleans will once again foreclose on the building for back taxes.
The VHDC is an LDC that operates as a non-profit organization. We have previously negotiated with the Environmental Protection Agency to accept ownership of 8 abandoned homes in the Village of Holley which we successfully put into the hands of private buyers. The homes were not on the County tax rolls at the time of the acquisition but now are thanks to our endeavors. As we attempt to do the same thing with this abandoned, historic property, the County is now going to stand in our way.
The LDC has approached County officials asking that back taxes be forgiven over a year ago in light of the circumstances but we were ignored. The Village of Holley Development Corporation is all volunteer and non-profit. We operate on a slim budget and can not pay the back taxes on this property.
At the end of the day, it’s sad how much obstruction we get from own community leaders while we try to make Holley a better place.
Dr. Daniel Schiavone
Village of Holley Development Corporation
Just a comment on a recent event held at Tillman’s Village Inn. Orleans County Democrats hosted a fundraiser on October 30th.
Mark Tillman and his staff were awesome. Food was delicious and service was exceptional. Thank You Tillman’s. Job well done.
Agnes Recco, a member of the Orleans County Democratic Committee
There is much to celebrate and be thankful for.
The 2021 historic bipartisan largest infrastructure bill in nearly a century will provide: 2 million new, good jobs per year, repair of hundreds of thousands of miles of roads and bridges, investment in climate change mitigation, transportation and highway safety for all users, including trucks, hazardous materials, cyclists and pedestrians, a modernized public transit system, upgraded airports, ports and waterways, a rebuilt electric grid, with thousands of miles of new power lines, expanded renewable energy, low-cost affordable internet for everyone, access to clean drinking water for everyone, protection from drought, floods, cyberattacks, and environmental pollution remediation.
In WNY a major thank-you to representative Tom Reed (R) for having the courage to the right thing. Thanks to Charles Schumer (D), Kirsten Gillibrand (D), and Brian Higgins (D) for serving in our best interests.
According to the Buffalo News predictions we are likely to see impact locally starting in spring: help in our homes for weatherization and lead pipe removal, and our community with the airport runway, ramps and train terminal renovation.
Chris Jacobs (R) delivered a no vote for prosperity in Western New York. In a statement on his infrastructure vote, Jacobs blathered and driveled, actually blamed Nancy Pelosi. “She has held the infrastructure hostage and politicized an issue where I believe there is broad bipartisan agreement. Because of these circumstances I cannot support any bill that supports the Democrats’ reckless plot to burden small businesses and families with higher taxes and stick our grandchildren with the tab.”
We are not fools. Remember Jacobs’ support for the former president with the third-biggest deficit increase of any president (even before the pandemic), a profoundly damaging legacy, saddling the next generations with debt?
Chris Jacobs, stay home, no photo ops for your no vote for prosperity in WNY. Do not have the audacity to show your face at the ribbon cutting ceremonies of these future projects. We will remember your no vote … or maybe it was another “mistaken vote” and you will say that you actually meant yes, when it suits you.
First off, I want to thank everyone who exercised their right to vote. It’s one of the many great privileges we have in the United States.
Even though the outcome in the Town of Barre was not in our favor, it was a fantastic experience. Looking back, I would not do anything differently. My running mate, Tom Decker, and myself went out door to door and had many great conversations.
We were optimistic that we could discuss numerous ideas that could benefit the community, however that was not the case. The conversation largely centered around windmills. The encouraging part was that these conversations were not as divided as some would like you to believe. Regardless of their opinion of the wind farm, everyone was friendly and respectful.
Tom and I were able to gather great input from the residents and discuss future ideas. I informed the residents that should the project come up for another vote, I would abstain due to my “good neighbor” lease agreement. Some residents were told that I was running to protect the lease holder’s interest. While a majority of the leaseholders are good friends and/or former clients of my father, they were not my primary motivation for running.
The leaseholders, myself included, have our own contracts. They don’t need a representative on the Board to protect their interests. Their contracts are independent of the town’s negotiations. Others were told that the project can still be stopped.
Even though Tom and I believe in global warming and support green energy, our understanding was that the application was already in Albany and no further actions were required by the town. If the state does approve the project, (as is highly likely given NYS’s commitment to green power) we both believe you get more with sugar than salt.
We wanted to have a civil relationship with a business that was going to be in our backyard for years to come and to ensure the town got the best deal possible. This is the main reason Tom and I decided to run a write-in campaign. We wanted to protect the interests of everyone in the town regardless of the project. We believe there is more to Barre than windmills and lots of other areas need attention.
One thing is for sure though, along with good planning, all projects require revenue! Whether it be a new firehall, improved town park, affordable internet access, or improved infrastructure, they all require funds to pay for them. Tom and I were focused on ensuring that whatever the new project was, the revenue that came in was handled in a prudent manner to benefit all residents through capital improvements and/or lower taxes.
I realize some may view this letter as bitter grapes, and truthfully I was disappointed with the outcome. However, as I always tell my family, don’t give me a problem, give me a solution, and if you want to see change, you have to get involved. Tom and I did our best to run solely on our merits. We wanted to personally tell our story to as many residents as possible.
One thing I learned from entering the political arena, well two things, never let someone else tell your story (hence this letter) and never call into a radio station thinking it’s not political. I still believe that the best thing about Barre, NY is the neighbors. A good neighbor is priceless, and I am blessed to have many.
I truly hope that young adults like my running mate Tom Decker continue to get involved. They are the ones whose kids are going to inherit this world. I realize that change is intimidating, but as my boss used to tell me, “get on the train or get left behind because it is leaving the station with or without you.”
I have seen firsthand while campaigning how welcoming the residents of Barre can be. My hope is that this attitude can be maintained going forward. Green energy projects are not going away. While not perfect, they are necessary to make up for the continued depletion of natural resources. These green energy initiatives will continue to increase and improve over time, and we will all need to decide whether to get onboard or be left behind.
Thank you again to all those who voted and to all of those who continuously get involved to make the world a better place.