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2 dogs complete obedience training at Albion women’s prison

Posted 18 April 2019 at 4:10 pm

Provided photos from Orleans County Sheriff’s Office: The Albion Correctional Facility held a graduation program on Wednesday for two dogs that completed a 14-week obedience and socialization program with inmates serving as the dogs’ handlers. Pictured, front row, from left: Princess, one of the dogs; Paula Werenczak, Team Princess handler; Susan Squires, Albion Correctional Facility superintendent; Penny, the other dog; Barbara Walker, Team Penny handler; and Carrie Reichenbach, Team Princess handler. Standing, from left: Jeff McKoy, NYS Department of Corrections of Community Supervision deputy commissioner; Christopher Bourke, Orleans County undersheriff; Kathleen Smith, Orleans County animal control officer; Dustin Meredith, Orleans County animal control officer; Daniel Martuscello, NYSDOCCS executive deputy commissioner; Patricia Ciulla, Albion Correctional Facility deputy superintendent for program services; Joseph Clem, Albion Correctional Facility psychologist II; Katie Kifner, Albion Correctional Facility offender rehabilitation coordinator; Yamisha Alamedaguzman, Team Penny handler; and Gloria Rodriguez, Team Penny handler.

Press Release, Orleans County Sheriff’s Office


ALBION – The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to announce that on April 17, two dogs from the Orleans County Sheriff’s Animal Shelter graduated from the Canine Training Program at the Albion Correctional Facility.

Undersheriff Christopher Bourke reports that the partnership between agencies has had a positive effect on everyone involved. Two teams, consisting of three handlers each, work as a team to live with, train and care for each of the dogs in the facility program for approximately 14 weeks.


One of the results of this amazing program is the benefit to the shelter dog. Penny and Princess have learned through obedience training and living in the facility to socialize with people and other dogs along with receiving love and attention.

This program allows them to become excellent candidates for adoption from our shelter. The second benefit of the program is the positive effect on the inmates participating. The handlers learn new skills in handling and caring for animals. As they work through the program, they can see the results of their hard work, love and dedication as the dog makes progress.

After meeting the handlers, you can see the positive effect this program has had on them. Many of the handlers and staff were teary eyed as the dogs were preparing to return to the shelter for adoption.

“We feel this is a win-win situation,” Undersheriff Bourke said. “The handlers and the dogs are getting a second chance in life and we at the Sheriff’s Office are proud to be a part of his program.”

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4 from Albion advance to regional spelling bee

Posted 18 April 2019 at 3:39 pm

Photo and information courtesy of Albion Central School

ALBION – The elementary school band room today was filled with students, teachers and family members as they watched the top fourth grade spellers compete in the annual spelling bee.

The bee lasted for almost an hour as spellers went several rounds before whittling down to the final four.

The top spellers were, from left: Ava Woolston, Meadow Smith, Lily Brigham and Erika Hess (alternate).

They received a dictionary compliments of the Albion Elementary School PTA.  The winners will move on to the Niagara Region PTA Spelling Bee. It will take place at 10 a.m. on May 18 at the Lyndonville Central School District. The community is invited to attend.

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Lyndonville starts work on bigger parking lot behind school

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 April 2019 at 9:16 am

Photos by Cheryl Wertman

LYNDONVILLE – Construction has started on expanding the parking lot behind Lyndonville Central School. This work is part of a $10.7 million capitol project which includes a new roof, air-conditioning in 95 percent of the school campus, upgraded kitchen and dining area, major improvements to the locker rooms, and conversion of the elementary school library into two classrooms.

The parking lot will be expanded and the soccer field will also get new drainage and other improvements.

The expanded parking lot will allow for more efficient pickup and drop off of students.

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Hoag Library’s latest find: letter from George Washington

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 April 2019 at 8:13 am

Hoag Library posted this copy of the letter written in May 1784 from George Washington to Jacob Morris, who delivered a package for the general to Marquis de Lafayette, a French military officer who fought with Washington in the American Revolutionary War.

ALBION – Hoag Library continues to sift through historical files, finding treasures. On Tuesday, local history librarian Dee Robinson found a letter from George Washington.

It was written in May 1784, about five years before he started serving as the first president of the United States. The letter from Washington was written to Jacob Morris, thanking him for taking care of a gift package sent to Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat and military officer who fought in the American Revolutionary War. He led American troops in several battles, including Yorktown.

The letter acknowledges correspondence from Morris in regard to the package of Lafayette, and Washington offers to pay the cost of the delivery, and also extends his compliments to Mrs. Morris. Jacob Morris was the son of Lewis Morris, who signed the Declaration of Independence.

The Journal-Register in Medina on April 19, 1967 wrote about the letter from Washington, which was being put on display briefly at Swan Library. The Journal-Register reported then that a family in Westchester County owned the letter for about 90 years. Thomas Bell then owned it and presented it to Noah Davis, a justice for the State Supreme Court who was from Albion. (Davis was the judge in the trial that brought down New York City Tammany Hall ringmaster William M. “Boss” Tweed. Judge Davis presided over Tweed’s trials on charges of conspiracy, perjury and larceny.)

After his death, Davis’s wife sent the letter to Emma Swan, the founder of the library with her husband William. Mrs. Swan gave the letter to the library. According the JR article, the letter’s authenticity was established by the Historical Society of New York City and by the Astor Library.

The article from 1967 reports the Washington letter is ordinarily kept in bank vault and only seen by a few people.

Robinson last month was searching through library files and found a 1903 letter from Susan B. Anthony, written to the then Swan Library. (The new Hoag Library opened in July 2012.) Anthony, the women’s rights activist, was a pivotal leader for women’s suffrage. She wrote to the library to encourage Swan to buy four volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage and also two volumes about the Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony.

The library has been in the news recently for a public discussion about what to do with a Civil War flag for a Colored Troops regiment. That flag had largely been kept out of public view for a century. The flag is deteriorating. The library’s board voted on March 13 to have the flag sold through an auctioneer in Dallas, Texas. The flag hasn’t been sent away yet and will stay with the library through at least April. It has been brought out for Civil War programs this month.

Public domain: This painting from 1906 by John Ward Dunmore shows George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette during winter at Valley Forge.

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‘Great community effort’ brings bronze statue home

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 April 2019 at 11:05 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – The bronze statue of a soldier, resembling a doughboy from pre-World War II, was mounted atop a monument today in front of the Orleans County YMCA. Cody Dix of the Medina DPW is at right.

That building has been a Y for more than three decades. But for 76 years it was the Medina Armory, a site used to train soldiers for battle.

The new statue looks to be right at home by the former Armory.

The statue is taken out of the YMCA, where it spent the winter inside. The statue was finished in November and made its public debut in the Parade of Lights on Nov. 24.

The Armory opened in 1901. In 1977, it was closed by the National Guard.

Bill Menz trained at the building in 1953, when he joined Company C of the 174th Armored Infantry. He was promoted to corporal before transferring to active duty in 1956 to the US Army National Guard. He would come back to Medina and work about 40 years in construction as a plasterer/mason.

The Menz family is pictured with the statue and monument after the installation today. Pictured include Menz’s wife Betty, second from left, and their four children, from left: Timothy Menz, Mary Beth Germano, granddaughter Alyssa Germano, Lynne Menz (in back) and Tam Menz.

When the Armory closed, Bill Menz was on the committee that helped it find a new use as a YMCA. Menz, who died at age 86 on July 16 last year, wanted the community to know the building’s historical role in preparing soldiers to fight on behalf of the country. He teamed with his friend John Fuller to create a sandstone monument in front of the Y that listed 550 soldiers who trained at the Armory and were then deployed in wars. Menz and Fuller cut the stone and built the monument.

But it wasn’t done. Menz wanted a bronze statue of a soldier on top. He pushed for nearly a decade to raise the $65,000 for the statue. He was able to see it in pieces at the foundry before his death. His daughter, Lynne Menz, included some of her father’s ashes underneath the statue’s base, just before it was mounted today.

Mary Beth Germano, center, is one of Menz’s four children. She takes a photo of the statue being moved out of the former Armory, down Pearl Street and to the front lawn of the building.

Germano thanked the local residents and many veterans’ organizations for supporting the project with donations.

“It’s emotional seeing it,” she said after the installation this morning. “It’s a great community effort.”

Her father was unwavering in pushing the project in the community.

“When he had his mind set on something, it was full-speed ahead,” Germano said.

Ben Lacy, right, of the Medina DPW was off from work today but wanted to help with the statue installation. Lacy grew up next door to Menz. Lacy said he admired Menz’s determination in working on the monument and memorial for the local soldiers.

“Bill was dedicated to get this done and I wanted to help today to get this up and done,” Lacy said.

The statue was created by sculptor Brian Porter and the University of Buffalo’s foundry director Chris Serano.

Mayor Michael Sidari was among the onlookers watching the statue installation today. He said the statue is great addition to Medina.

“It’s a great tribute to the members that served our country out of the Armory,” Sidari said. “Many came back and many did not. Those that did continued to serve their community.”

Medina next month will also welcome the return of a World War I cannon. It had been a fixture at State Street Park for about 80 years. It has been gone since March 2018 while the cannon has been refurbished in Altoona, Pa. at Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration. It is coming back to Medina on May 1 and will be rededicated on Memorial Day.

The statue is expected to be formally dedicated during a ceremony in September. That will give time for landscaping work and some changes to be made to the plaques on the monument. Some lights may also be added to the site.

For more on the statue and monument, click here.

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5 dogs complete obedience training at Orleans prison

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 April 2019 at 5:12 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Orleans Correctional Facility celebrated the third graduation today for a canine training program. Five dogs – Danielle, Jared, Champ, Conrad and Spot – completed the 12-week program. Nine inmates served as handlers for the dogs, which stayed in one of the dorms.

The top photo shows Conrad, one of the dogs, showing his skills. The dogs and inmates are all screened to participate in the program.

The animals are rescue dogs from a shelter in Tennessee, which then sends them to the Genesee County Animal Shelter in Batavia.

Tom Ryan, a dog trainer from Batavia, visited the Orleans prison once or twice a week to teach obedience classes. He praised the handlers for their commitment to the animals, teaching the dogs socialization and obedience.

R. Monroe (center), an inmate at the Orleans Correctional Facility, worked with Champ during the program. Champ is a friendly dog that greets the corrections officers and other staff. Three of the five dogs at today’s graduation have already been adopted by their “forever families.”

One of the dogs settles on an inmate’s lap during the graduation program this afternoon at the prison. R. Allen, left, spoke during the ceremony.

“We’ve put everything we have into it,” Allen told the crowd. “We’ve given it our all every day.”

Allen said the program taught the inmates “humility.”

“It makes you feel great to give back,” he said. “Over the years I’ve just taken, taken and taken.”

He said the dogs filled a void in the dorm for the inmates.

“Waking up in the morning that dog is there for you,” he said.

R. Paro tries to get Danielle to sit and stay while demonstrating some of the skills the dog has learned.

The first canine class graduated on Oct. 10 with three dogs. The second class had six dogs and five completed the program today. A new group of dogs is expected in early May.

The Albion Correctional Facility, a women’s prison, also had a graduation today for two dogs that were the first to complete the program at that facility. The Albion Correctional Facility has a partnership with the Orleans County Animal Shelter for training dogs.

Karen Crowley, the OCF superintendent, pushed to have the program in the local men’s prison. She visited other prisons with similar programs and found the dogs improved the culture in a prison, with better-behaved inmates. The inmates also proved to be attentive and dedicated to helping train the dogs.

She praised the inmates for their dedication.

“You’ve all grown so much,” she said during the graduation program.

The dogs stay under control during today’s canine graduation program at the Orleans Correctional Facility.

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Bronze statue installed outside former Armory in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 April 2019 at 12:47 pm

Dedication celebration expected in September after site improvements

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – A 7-foot-high bronze statue of a soldier was installed this morning on a Medina sandstone base that is a memorial to the soldiers who trained at the former Medina Armory.

The memorial has been more than a decade in the making.

The statue was complete in November and made its first public appearance during Medina’s Parade of Lights on Nov. 24. The statue was placed inside the former Armory on Dec. 20. The building is now used as a YMCA.

Medina DPW workers helped move the statue today. They include Joe Perry, the DPW superintendent (back to camera), and employees Ben Lacy (right) and Cody Dix (left).

The statue was moved out of the YMCA, where it spent the winter.

The Medina Armory opened in 1901 for Company F, which formed in 1891. In 1977, the National Guard left the Medina Armory. The site has been used as a YMCA for more than three decades.

The statue, which weighs 1,400 pounds, is moved down Pearl Street to go on the monument in front of the Y.

A crowd of people, including many local veterans, gathered to watch the installation.

The statue was created by sculptor Brian Porter and the University of Buffalo’s foundry director Chris Serano.

The late Medina resident Bill Menz was influential in building the sandstone monument and raising more than $65,000 for the statue.

A dedication is expected in September for the statue. That will give time for landscaping and additional work on the plaques on the monument.

The monument currently includes 550 names of local soldiers who fought in wars on behalf of the United States. The soldiers enlisted and trained at the Medina Armory for conflicts from 1898 to 1945 including the Spanish-American War, Mexican-American, World War I and World War II.

The statue stands prominently outside the Orleans County YMCA.

Orleans Hub will have another article later today on the statue installation.

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Holley power outage could last several hours

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 April 2019 at 9:07 am

HOLLEY – A tree limb fell and knocked out a primary feeder line for the Village of Holley’s Electric Department this morning, causing a big power outage in the village. The electric line is owned by National Grid and feeds Holley’s electric system.

The outage briefly knocked out power this morning in Albion but electricity was restored in Albion after about 15 minutes.

It could be several hours to make the repair and restore power to Holley, the Orleans County Emergency Management Office is reporting.

Holley has the only municipal electric department in Orleans County.

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Medina school district won’t increase taxes for 8th straight year

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 April 2019 at 9:28 pm

District expanding Chromebook computers for more students

MEDINA – The Medina Board of Education has approved a $40,274,056 budget for the 2019-20 school year which won’t increase taxes for the 8th straight year.

The budget will go before residents on May 21, with the vote from noon to 8 p.m. The district will go over the budget during a public hearing at the annual meeting, 6:30 p.m. on May 14 at the district office.

The overall spending is up about $2.7 million from the $37,565,842, with a capital project driving some of the increase.

The district’s overall instruction costs are up about $1 million with more money for teacher salaries, special education programs, and computer-based instruction programs based on the 1:1 rollout of Chromebooks for about 900 students.

The district currently provides the Chromebook computers to about 500 students in grades 4 to 7. That will expand to grades 3 through 8, and 11th grade next school year. The following school year, 2020-2021, Medina wants to have the computers available to students in grades 3 through 12, about 1,150 total. The computers, with a warranty and software, cost about $330 to $340 each. The district’s BOCES aid through the state is covering about 80 percent of those costs, said Mark Kruzynski, district superintendent.

The district will maintain all current programs and staff in the proposed budget, and is restoring foreign language at Wise Middle School, adding a 2/3 full-time music choral teacher at Wise, and combining the .5 ELA with a .5 reading teacher at the high school.

The tax levy will remain the same at $8,641,861. This is the eighth consecutive year Medina has either reduced taxes or held them in check, and the 11th out of the past 12 years.

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Western portion of Parkway reopens after being closed for winter

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 April 2019 at 12:04 pm

CARLTON – The New York State Department of Transportation today announced the stretch of Lake Ontario State Parkway west of Route 98 in the Town of Carlton is now open to all traffic following its seasonal closure during the winter months.

The 2-mile section of the Parkway closed in November for the winter. The DOT has closed that section of the roads in recent winters to save on de-icing materials, equipment and repairs to damaged pavement.

The 2-mile section is between Lakeside Beach State Park and Route 98 in the Town of Carlton. About 800 cars travel this section every day, the DOT has said.

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