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Posted 12 August 2020 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

COVA needs support from community

Posted 12 August 2020 at 12:11 pm


COVA EMS was established in 1979 for the sole purpose of treating and transporting the sick and critically injured patients in the Orleans County Community. This includes the Village of Albion, Towns of Albion, Barre, Carlton and Gaines. COVA has always been there not only for our community but for the surrounding communities in their times of need. Over the years COVA has continued to change with the times to meet and exceed this demand. The transformation of COVA has progressed from an all-volunteer agency to a blend of both paid & volunteer staff.

Due to the declining insurance reimbursements, default payments, as well as our increased operational expenses our ability to continue to operate and serve the community is in jeopardy. COVA wants to remain a community based ambulance and would like to secure ambulance services for the residents. We need you to contact your municipality to show your support. COVA EMS wants to continue to serve the people of this community to the best of our ability and the only way we can continue to do so is with your help.


Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance, Inc.


Laurie J Schwab, Paramedic
Chief Operating Officer

Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance
239 South Main Street
Albion, NY 14411

Office: 585-589-4163 x205
Cell: 585-322-4058
Fax: 585-589-0263

Republicans should stand up to Trump for safe elections, right to protest

Posted 12 August 2020 at 11:54 am


August 7th was designated “Purple Heart Day,” a time for Americans to pause to remember and honor the brave men and women who were either wounded on the battlefield or paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.

I received my Purple Heart in Vietnam in 1969. The Purple Heart is a symbol of the brave men and women who have put their live on the line to protect this nation’s founding values. Included in those values is the right to protest since this nation was born out of the act of protest.

While President Trump and his Republican sycophants storm the streets of Portland, Oregon and other cities, (unwanted and unwelcomed by local authorities) with officers, in unmarked and unaccountable uniforms, ostensibly to protect federal buildings, thousands of Americans die because of President Trump’s and Republicans’ failed leadership on the Covid-19 crisis.

Another founding value is the right of citizens of this country to vote in safe, secure and honest elections. Republicans have refused to take any measures to secure our elections from foreign interference.

The President has welcomed assistance from Russia, and tried to get the governments of Ukraine and China to assist in his re-election. When asked about foreign help for re-election, Mr. Trump stated: “I think I’d take it.”

While Democrats in the House have passed several bills strengthening our election laws the Republicans have failed to take any action on them. As a combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient I would like to ask newly elected Congressman Chris Jacobs does he support sending in unaccountable federal troops against the wishes of local officials and does he support foreign interference in our elections?

Does Mr. Jacobs support President Trump’s canoodling with President Putin while Russia puts a bounty on American troops?

William Fine


Barre survey, even with 35% response rate, shows resounding opposition to turbines

Posted 12 August 2020 at 9:03 am


On August 10, the Orleans Hub reported on the results of the survey compiled by George McKenna regarding acceptance or opposition to the proposed Heritage Wind project in Barre.

In summary, 735 surveys were sent out, with 258 returned (35 percent) and 176 of those 258 returned (68 percent) offering a resounding NO to the project.

A previous letter to the editor suggested that those results indicate only a 20 percent objection to the project (176 of 735). Sorry, but that math is completely invalid.

Using elementary statistics, one can calculate the “95 percent confidence interval” of the result.  In other words, what is the possible range of NO votes that would have been recorded had everyone responded to the survey?

The calculation yields a result of 63.4 percent to 72.6 percent would oppose the project. There is a 2.5 percent chance the actual result would be lower than 63.4 percent, and a 2.5 percent chance the actual result would be higher than 72.6 percent.

Proper mathematical methods are needed to produce accurate results.

Steve Royce


Biden chooses well in VP with Harris, who has credentials, respect of both parties

Posted 12 August 2020 at 7:53 am


Sen. Kamala Harris is a magnificently qualified VP choice. She first came to my attention several years ago with a successful initiative to help children. She knows good communities start there.

She got top marks as an executive running a huge law enforcement department. She quickly rose to prominence as a respected leader of both Republican and Democratic Attorney Generals.

Harris  is additionally ready from legislative service on foreign “Intelligence” protecting us and “Judiciary” protecting The Rule of Law.

Nothing was handed Senator Harris and she overcome obstacles anyone born with a silver spoon in their mouth cannot fathom. She cares but is no one to trifle with. She is no nonsense about getting consensus and the job at hand done.

Kamala has demonstrated detailed knowledge of the matters before her as a Senator. She knows the legislative process first hand and how to work with others. Even Lindsey Graham has voiced deep respect. (Let’s see if he is now forced to flip.) Calling her socialist or radical left does not square with her career.

If you have watched, anyone, left or right, trying to feed her a scripted or evasive answer will find her ability to strip them bare devastating. With her mastery of the actuals facts and reliance on very forthright questions, even brazen liars crumble. AG Sessions ended up mumbling. AG Barr stopped answering to avoid perjury.

Vote for her or not. But check her record yourself no matter what gets made up and thrown about in this election season. You will find she can listen, analyze, organize, communicate and lead.

Kamala Harris is an exceptional, historically talented and capable candidate.

Conrad F. Cropsey


Response rate for Barre survey well above average

Posted 11 August 2020 at 2:20 pm

Big kudos to Dr. McKenna (“well-to-do-radical”) for fighting with more than his own opinion. Any “real pollster” would understand that a 35% response rate is at the very top of the norm.
I’m not in this fight but I recognize good, righteous effort, which is hard to find in these dark times.
I also appreciate the recent letters from intellectuals and want for more. It gives me hope.
Kenneth B. Gminski

Barre survey had low response for such a hot-button issue

Posted 11 August 2020 at 6:58 am


Sounds like the phony baloney “survey” in Barre was a bust. Less than 25% of households are opposed to the project. The opponents will spread the falsehood that 70% are opposed.

That’s a bold-faced lie. A similar lie was spread by SOS in the Town of Yates, where I live. Real pollsters are laughing at your 35% response rate on a “hot button” issue. Anyone appearing before the Barre Town Board meeting this week and saying “survey says 70%” will have the same nose as Pinocchio.

Barre residents, don’t be swayed by a handful of well-to-do radicals who don’t care how much you pay in taxes.

Ralph E. Smith


Writer mischaracterizes K-12 education; Learning about different perspectives adds to richness of country

Posted 10 August 2020 at 7:59 am


I read recently your published letters from Mr. Thaine and Mr. Lauricella and felt compelled to answer Mr. Lauricella’s characterization of K-12 education. Seeing as I have been in school for a while (RIT Microelectronics B.S. 2010, University of Rochester Biomedical Engineering M.S. 2013, Ph.D. 2018, Current Post-Doctoral Associate), I feel well placed to comment here.

Throughout my schooling, I have always placed a very high value on my education from Albion High School (valedictorian, 2006), where I learned many things about our republic (and others, see: Rome), in addition to the many Arts and Sciences I enjoy professionally.

I am not persuaded that I was taught “political correctness, multiculturalism, that they are global citizens, anti-bullying, I need a friend benches, common core, to embrace the homosexual LGBTQ agenda, handed out condoms and birth control, that racism is hiding in every corner, and this year the completely revisionist history of the 1619 project and white fragility. To hate and guilt themselves for the way they were born and the white color of their skin.”

I seem to remember primarily learning about the challenges (sometimes life-or-death) that many different groups of people faced getting to our country, and staying here. Parts of my family immigrated here after WWII, and my father’s teacher (and long-time family friend) escaped the Soviets in Hungary after destroying their secret files, knowing no English. Learning about these struggles and different perspectives is part of the richness of our country.

“What makes us superior to all other countries and a nationalist model is our constitution and bill of rights. Our genuine American culture. We can go anywhere in the world and as soon as we open our mouth you hear Ahh an American. Being American means you are best.”

I do not agree. Having traveled a bit in my studies (University of Nottingham, U.K. 2013, 2015-2016) and worked with many brilliant minds from all over the world, I would say the advantages of any researcher (or American) are to work diligently, admit our mistakes plainly, try again, and fix them. That is how we can be the “best”; it’s simple to say, but hard to do (see: Constitutional Amendments). Many of the items in the previous list are attempts to do just that, though it is clear Mr. Lauricella and I would disagree on some of their effectiveness. Only time will tell if they fix the issues that led to their elevation in the first place. If not, we’ll try something else.

My own observations over the last 6 years from discussions with many international visitors and students coming from Iran, China, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, India, Sudan, Libya, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Mexico indicate that we are rapidly losing any perception as being a shining city on a hill, or the “best”.

It is a mistake to believe that we live isolated lives anywhere on this planet, no matter how much we may wish for it at times. There may be 10 billion people on this planet in 30 years, somehow we will have to manage on our pale blue dot. I believe that if we are to lead spaceship Earth into the future, we will do it through “Achievement, Character, and Success for Life” – the mission statement at Albion Central School.

Greg Madejski


Schools should encourage critical thinking, full understanding of past

Posted 10 August 2020 at 7:31 am


Let me first start by sharing my appreciation for your commitment to free speech and providing an avenue for residents (and past residents) to share their opinions.

With that being said, I am gravely disappointed by the abhorrent and putrid ideas that are festering in my community back home. Something clearly changed in society within the last four years that has permitted individuals to share such vile opinions without concern for others.

In a recent letter titled “Don’t let ‘leftist indoctrination’ rule in school classrooms,” I see an apparent objection to educating younger generations.

Over the course of several letters directed to the editor, the author seems to indicate that our children would be better served in ignorance, unable to critically question what is happening in the world around them. This belief encourages us to accept the great American experiment as an unquestionable success and for that reason, we have ascended above all others. Anything else is pure “Marxism.”

At some point we will stop setting up these straw man arguments, drawing attention away from the true issues put forth. The author would prefer that we understand the genocide of Native Americans at the hands of Europeans as acceptable because of the alleged “genocidal treatment by Indians against other Indians.”

How dare we suggest that our founding fathers were racist? That the enslavement of human beings, the auction or sale of people, is acceptable in some way because “the slave trade was initiated by African kings.” Then again, this is the same person who denies the existence of white supremacy and systemic racism. If we believe hard enough, or at least ignore enough, it does not really exist, right?

At this exact moment in time, there is nothing that makes us superior to all other countries. We are organizing a presidential election while two global superpowers are openly preparing to influence the results. Our nation is currently debating the future of Confederate monuments, statues erected to the memory of white supremacists who lost a war over 150 years ago; seems quite contrary to our founding beliefs?

There is no need to tap into the statistics from that “hoax” called COVID-19 to see where we rank globally. At this point, it seems as though we cannot even guarantee those inalienable rights Jefferson defined in the Declaration of Independence.

If educating oneself to critically question our history and society makes them a Marxist, I guess I am a Marxist? Instead, I would encourage the author to pick up a copy of Marx’s Communist Manifesto and redefine his understanding of socialism, communism, and Marxism. Otherwise, we should expect to regularly read the continued regurgitation of Trumpian rhetoric that so easily defines the right.

Matthew Ballard

Statesville, NC (formerly Clarendon, NY)

Don’t let ‘leftist indoctrination’ rule in school classrooms

Posted 9 August 2020 at 7:46 am


Mr. Thaine. Your complete leftist indoctrination by the American education system proves the points of my letter. The communist and socialist party’s smile when they see what a good job they have done with your mind and they didn’t have to fire one shot. We are a country unlike any other where although we have made mistakes, we right our wrongs. Just read the Bill of Rights. The ugly righted wrongs left there for all to see.

You say the violence in the country is warranted? You teach children? Scary, frightening. Is the genocidal treatment by Indians against other Indians taught? These people were savagely brutal to one another as well as whites. It is a fact that many had slaves that they brought along with them on the Trail of Tears.

You are aware that the slave trade was initiated by African kings in now Benin and other west African countries. They raided and captured other Africans and traded and sold them for gold to the Muslims, British, Portuguese, Dutch and many others. That’s is some real Black on Black crime.

The men who fought and gave us the greatest republic mankind has ever witnessed and yes a superior country to any and all as we have a bill of rights. Not a set a rights given to us by government, men in black robes or case law, but a set of rights given to us by the creator, by God. Natural rights. Both slave owner and abolitionist ratified and signed our constitution. Both knew the end of slavery was coming. The creation of this great republic was what was most important and necessary to meet that end.

What makes us superior to all other countries and a nationalist model is our constitution and bill of rights. Our genuine American culture. We can go anywhere in the world and as soon as we open our mouth you hear Ahh an American. Being American means you are best.

I guess you would have to be a legal immigrant that came here from an oppressive communist socialist country to understand what indoctrinated people take for granted.

Most important teach your own children the truth. Do not rely on the Marxist point of view that children are obviously getting in school. Thank you Mr. Thaine for exposing that.

Paul Lauricella


Don’t rush to put children in danger by reopening schools

Posted 8 August 2020 at 2:41 pm


This is in response to Ms. Kennedy’s letter in regards to opening schools. The opinions shared in the letter seem to sum up what I have heard and read from many other “concerned parents” who just now, 9 months into it, are doing, ahem, “research.”

I, for one, have been extensively following this pandemic, and all of its results and consequences, since early January. Remember? Back when you all thought it is no big deal? I have since made several connections in the scientific community, the media, as well as our government.

First, there is absolutely no scientific data to show that wearing a mask are detrimental to an individual’s health. For you to spread such misinformation should be criminal. It appears as though you have taken snippets of information, to fit your argument. For instance, our beloved CDC Director also stated that schools must be safe. As in PPE, reduced class size, etc.

True research requires more than reading headlines, I’m sorry to inform you. Also, and equally important, a key fact has not been realized when it comes to the safety of our children. They are always the first ones protected. That’s just what we do as parents.

Schools were shut down last spring, thus saving countless lives. Those of the children themselves, plus anyone they could have brought the virus home to. If schools open fully, with no restrictions, Covid will find a way in. The proof of this is the second-grader testing positive in GA during the first week of unrestricted school opening.

I hesitate to type something this morbid, but I feel compelled to say if schools open without restrictions, many children will die. Schools closing saved our kids. Let’s not be so eager to throw them into the lion’s den at this stage of the game. Everything will have been for naught if we do.

Charlie Hunt

Syracuse (born and raised in Albion)

Suit against NRA isn’t an attack on the right to own a gun

Posted 7 August 2020 at 8:36 am


Guns are a big concern in this rural county. Rightfully so.

The suit to dissolve the NRA, if that’s the penalty,  will simply mean that checks, deposits, and receipts demonstrate corruption.

It will not end gun ownership or conservations about them. The right to own a gun – by a reasonably responsible person in a way that is not legally irresponsible or reasonably restricted to ensure generally against unsafe use – is enshrined in our Constitution.

It should be no surprise that very bad people get away with a lot until they are caught despite the smiles, stories, lies, and claims they are wonderful, maligned. Indeed a few churches have, for example, been corrupted by their leaders but good people still worship. Fire Departments etc. have had their tills raided but brave firefighters have not been deterred.

Abolishing the NRA and court ordered restitution to its members will simply mean that financially honest people will be doing the talking and be required to take good self governance seriously – with no kickbacks, theft, side deals, and funneling of foreign money to candidates. Does anyone wonder – with money and crazy talk off the table nationwide – if honest and well informed people can talk in good faith rather than be rightly suspicious?

Conrad Cropsey


Fully open schools because closing them negatively impacted kids in many ways

Posted 6 August 2020 at 8:01 pm


When I learned that the Medina School District is opening 7-12 grades “Every other day and alternating Fridays” unless I petition the district for 5 day a week in-person classes and that all students had to wear masks, I was reminded of the term, “Follow the Science!” Because at least in most school districts in our county, it appears that few actually are.

To start out on my experience living under Covid-19 with my 12-year-old son, I have learned a lot about what my son goes through when his schedule is inconsistent and he has to wear a mask to go shopping.  First, he has autism and needs a concrete schedule, or he gets anxious.  And taking him shopping or to any public place is literally taking his breath away: my son cannot breathe when he wears a mask.

When we shop for even a half hour, after we get outside, he takes off his mask and says, “I can’t breathe!” as he huffs to catch his breath. I experience the same thing, no matter what the mask is made of (we have tried every kind). I just got my suspicion confirmed when I listened to a doctor who was being interviewed last week, when he asserted that wearing masks decreases oxygen flow and can increase one’s blood pressure by an alarming amount.

He had a patient, who has hypertension, come into his office with a mask on and took the patient’s blood pressure: it was 200/150! He had the patient take off their mask and 15 minutes later, his patient’s blood pressure was down to normal for his condition. “So, it is not just me,” I thought… I have shortness of breath for several minutes after taking off the mask, and I have high blood pressure to boot!

So hearing that my son would need to have a mask on for over 6 hours a day, I was deeply concerned about him attending school at all under this mandate of mask wearing, for everyone who wanted to go back to school. I am not a rigid thinker when it comes to wearing a mask, as I have elderly and disabled parents at home, one of whom is suffering with a terminal illness and I am very careful when I am around them, so I suffer the mask when I can’t social distance in stores when they need me to pick up a few things for them.

The thought of children (and teachers) in school all day wearing masks is not following the science at all. The research I have done tells a different story: Wearing a mask may help the wearer stay safer, but not the health of the people around them, no matter what type of mask their wear (even the coveted N95 type).

During respiration, the wearer still emits droplets when exhaling. I learned a lot of other science over the past week as well, and it paints an alarming overreaction on our part regarding the virus, which has harmed our children more that the virus itself.

JAMA reports that 46% of pediatric hospitals have experienced less Covid-19 cases than the seasonal flu.  Also, interestingly, our kids are 99% less likely to die from it, let alone get it at all. In Western Europe, children went back to school in late spring: Neither Denmark, Finland, nor Sweden experienced an increase in Covid-19 cases at all. In the UK, there was not one confirmed case of a child infecting a teacher with the virus.

In the US, it appears that closing the schools did more damage to our children than anyone could ever expect:

  • There was a 27% decrease in the reported cases of child abuse.
  • Children’s screen time went up by 5 hours on average
  • Children experienced 50% less physical activity leading to worsening obesity, which was already a growing problem in this country.
  • Children experienced depression and anxiety because 13% of them used to get psychiatric help in school. Over 7.1 million kids went without psychiatric care. There was an increase of 34% for children needing psychotropic medicine.
  • The American Psychiatric Association reported a 46% increase in adult stress, impacting home care for children.
  • In lower income groups, 76% of children fell behind in schoolwork (thank you “remote learning”!).The summer learning loss, according to the NWEA is 2-3 months. Today, it is twice that, especially in math and reading.
  • “Frontline Workers”, i.e.: Doctors, nurses, other health aides’ had put their own children in the WMCA facilities because they had to work through the pandemic.We are talking about tens of thousands of frontline workers sending tens of thousands of kids to the WMCA (over 1,000 locations) and there was no Covid spread among these children.

But don’t take my word for it, this is what the CDC director, Robert Redfield, said just last week: “I don’t think I can emphasize it enough, as the director for the Centers of Disease Control, the leading public health agency in the world: It is in the public health interest that these K-12 students get the schools back open for face-to-face learning.”

In short, closing the schools has resulted in an increase of child abuse and neglect, an increase of kids falling behind in school, an increase of depression and an alarming increase of child suicide for those 18 and younger, and drug abuse and overdoses.

Let’s face it folks, every day when we get out of bed in the morning and back in bed at night, life is a risk…  weigh that against everything I just mentioned above and ask yourself, was closing schools in the first place a good idea or an overreaction?

And keeping them closed for so long in America has not only damaged our kids, it collapsed the economy. Now, I have to figure out how I, as a single parent, can work “every other day with alternating Fridays” so my son can return to school, or maybe worse, request that he go back full time in a mask 6 plus hours a day 5 days a week subjecting him to decreasing oxygen flow/CO2 retention and the risk of high blood pressure.

I’m afraid that by mandatory mask wearing, especially the anxiety over catching Covid-19, will turn our children into neurotic hypochondriacs as well. They’ve had the summer from hell, when everything was closed (splash pads, no fireworks, no summer sports, no indoor children play parks, etc.) and now they are going to have nothing to look forward to (and no summer activity to talk about) going back to school with a stupid mask on.

My feeling is that if teachers and administrators are afraid of catching the virus, they should be the one to put on a mask for 6-8 hours a day.

I get it about the fear of liability the schools are facing, which is why I am suggesting that parents sign paperwork absolving the schools of any infections, should they occur in school. But demanding everyone to wear a mask and the chaos of “every other day and alternating Fridays” is not going to work, and that should be obvious.

Our kids need “normal” back. Full school days, breathing freely without anxiety. And the adults in this county should put their kids’ wellbeing first! I shouldn’t have to point that out, but unfortunately, someone needs to!

Kimberly Kennedy


Slowing down on roads can make a difference for birds, living environment

Posted 5 August 2020 at 1:22 pm


This is not meant to inform readers who “get off” on killing things or just do not care. Many of us are not aware of how our hurried existences can impact other living things.

On July 30th I found a yellow shafted (Northern) flicker that had been killed by a vehicle not 50 feet from a railroad crossing earlier that morning. Its long beak was still dirt-stained from probing the ground for ants. Its long tongue glistened where it protruded from that beak. Did it have young to feed in a nearby nest? Perhaps they had fledged already.

Flickers are among the many native birds extremely beneficial to humans. They are also something to see, especially when alive and doing their “thing”. Though they are the size of more common red-bellied woodpeckers, they may not leave a dent in a fast-moving vehicle.  And it is true that songbirds can be killed by vehicles traveling at reasonable speeds. Nonetheless, the probability of death increases with speed and recklessness.

Did the driver of the vehicle that killed two Canada geese in front of Walmart recently not see them? Of course, they are not in the same category as Northern flickers, tree swallows, Eastern Bluebirds and American kestrels. And no, they were not in the crosswalk.

Most of your readers want to avoid unnecessarily killing things that cross the roads we travel. And we do have things we must do and places we need to get to. Hopefully, this missive will increase awareness enough to get us to adjust our driving habits a bit without laying a guilt trip on anyone.

Sincerely yours in the spirit of live and let live,

Gary F. Kent


Medina’s standards in historic district have worked to the envy of other small towns

Posted 4 August 2020 at 1:15 pm


This is in response to the Form Foundation’s letter with their petition on

The Foundation compares their first project to the Montreal Mural Festival and the Buffalo Albright Knox Public Art Program. They then state that their project should essentially have little or no oversight, guidelines or regulation. Neither of the previously mentioned programs operates that way.

Guidelines, standards, application processes and juried reviews are the norm in the art world. Only graffiti “artists” who unlawfully and without permission deface buildings, bridges, signs, rail cars, trucks and buses operate without regulation. They violate the law, deface and damage property. The cleanup cost to the taxpayers is high. There are much better ways to spend those funds.

The Foundation’s stated goal is to bring “Cultural Modernism” to Medina. The Foundation should consider the possibility that people come to Medina to get away from “Cultural Modernism” and return to a simple rural small town quiet way of life. They state that they want to “be present” and “garner outside social and economic interest” in the village. Again could it be that people come here and businesses locate here so that their employees can be present in a village that is free of cultural modernism and rich in the atmosphere of small town rural America.

The Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals operate under comprehensive New York State laws as well as within the detailed provisions of the law within their responsibility. The Village regulations for historic preservation are based on the State Historic Preservation Office model and were reviewed and approved by that office before they were adopted. Application reviews and decisions of the Planning and Zoning Boards are made under strict provisions of New York State law. Decisions are required by law to be based on findings of fact in the matter being reviewed.

What the Foundation sees as “overly bureaucratic” is how the State of New York protects people such as them and ensures that local boards are not arbitrary, capricious, myopic or whimsical. Medina’s boards are extremely well trained and have long been recognized by their peers and by applicants before them as being fair, comprehensive, detail oriented, helpful and highly professional.

As Code Enforcement Officer I have, on numerous occasions, had applicants for projects large and small tell me what a pleasure it was to work with the Planning and Zoning Boards. They comment that our local laws and regulations, by being comprehensive and detailed, make their job as applicants easy. They know going into the review what is required in detail, making for a quick and simple approval process.

Likewise, code enforcement in the village has for the past 20 plus years set very high standards. Scores of violations of the New York State Property Maintenance Code, The New York State Fire Code, Village Code and Zoning Regulations have been cited each and every year. Are we perfect, of course not. Code enforcement is by its very nature an ongoing process constantly striving to maintain a level of compliance that is realistic and attainable for the local conditions and economics. As those factors improve, incidence and compliance improves to the next level.

Again, the Village of Medina program has been recognized for years throughout Western New York for being professional, fair, knowledgeable, and helpful. The Foundation however found code enforcement in the village lacking. When they violated the law it was followed by enforcement action and violation notices as required.

Historic preservation and careful accurate restoration of buildings and structures can be a long, expensive and frustrating process. The majority of people involved in it realize that it is well worth it. They do it because they love the buildings and realize the value and rewards in preserving our architectural history.

In the process surprises, sometimes unpleasant, are to be expected. Costs often soar and the time to completion expands. This is especially true of individuals with limited funds often doing most of the work themselves while being dedicated to a perfect finished result. There is no set formula or time limit.

Medina, despite what the Foundation thinks, is firmly in the 21st century. We have capitalized on our rich store of historical assets and charming small town atmosphere to attract new residents as well as new business and jobs. Existing businesses have expanded. The occupancy level in the Central Business and Historic Preservation District is fantastic. Streetscapes and infrastructure have been improved. Millions of dollars have been invested. Medina is a shopping, dining and history visitor destination.

Medina is a premier Erie Canal village. People come in great numbers from Rochester, Buffalo and far beyond for all these reasons and some they don’t fully understand. They come because in some intangible way it just feels right and good. It is the America they imagine and remember, free from the cares and distractions of modern life. Newspaper and magazine articles, online articles, visitor guides economic impacts and visitation numbers bear this out. It is not about “cultural modernism” in which you can be submerged in any urban and suburban area. It is about the small town of your memory and imagination right here to bring you peace and enjoyment.

The Form Foundation could have pursued a goal of public art in Medina in an inclusive, orderly and open manner. They could have sought out the appropriate officials and boards to discuss a way to move forward in an acceptable and legal manner. This is how civic matters and business is conducted.

Instead they consciously and deliberately chose a path of confrontation. They did as they pleased, ran afoul of the law, then proclaimed shock, frustration and dismay at the reaction they provoked. In my opinion, it was calculated from the beginning to play out just this way as a means to present themselves as innocent folks abused by bloated government and to garner attention and sympathy to advance their plan.

In closing let me say that I believe Medina has a great future. All the key elements are in place. It is ours to build successfully or foolishly squander. Is public art a part of that future, it could be and I hope that it is. That said, if a cartoon alligator waving a Buffalo Bills pennant in the Historic Preservation District is the best we have for a first effort, it is over before it starts. I sincerely hope the Form Foundation can step back, evaluate and reconsider their plan, presentation and rhetoric and become a serious, inclusive and valued contributor.

Martin Busch


Busch is the recently retired code enforcement officer for Medina.