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Group is working on biggest National Night Out so far for Aug. 7

Posted 21 June 2018 at 5:34 pm

Provided photo: The committee working on the National Night Out met this morning at Bullard Park to discuss the Aug. 7 event in Albion.

Press Release, Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni

ALBION – The Albion Police Department and Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition are Co-Organizers of the Orleans County National Night Out and are proud to give an update on this year’s event that will take place on August 7 at 5:30 p.m. at Bullard Park on East Avenue in the Village of Albion.

This is the fourth year of our event and it is going to be largest so far.

National Night Out started in the 1980s as a way to bring law enforcement and citizens together on the same night each year. We have expanded on that principle and put together an event that focuses on bringing many agencies and organizations together on the annual National Night Out date each year. Participants in the event will include law enforcement, fire agencies, EMS responders, civic organizations and other groups that will be providing activities, demonstrations and giveaways.

Our mission is simple. We want an event where families can come for a night and be entertained at no cost and eat for free in an environment that is free of violence, alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Our goal is to have those that attend walk away with a positive contact that can assist with any needs a person may need. We strive to make this a one-day event where the impact lasts all year long.

This year we have been very fortunate to have had many organizations not only willing to participate in the event but we have received donations and support from many local organizations and businesses. This year’s event features free hot dogs and water, Child Seat Inspections with free replacements, Bike Rodeo with bikes on hand, helmet giveaways, and much more.

We are very excited to doing a “Battle of Belts” competition again this year to promote vehicle passenger safety. The competition entails teams of 4 who compete to see who is the fastest getting into car and fastening their seatbelts. Each contestant then must switch seats and again fasten their seat belts. The time ends when each person has sat in each seat in the car. This event is fun to participate in and even more fun to watch. There is still time to enter and details can be found on the Facebook Page by clicking here.

We are always looking for organizations that wish to be a part of the event or those who wish to donate. Any group that wants to be a part of this great community event is asked to contact us for more details.

For more information contact Chief Nenni at the Albion Police Department 585-589-5627 or or Pat Crowley at 585-331-8732 or

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51 farmworkers recognized for improving their English

Photos by Tom Rivers: The World Life Institute and Orleans/Niagara BOCES presented 51 certificates to students who improved their English through classes run at the WLI school on Stillwater Road or at Hoag Library in Albion.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 June 2018 at 4:04 pm

3 students also earn American citizenship through program run by World Life Institute

The new Americans recognized on Wednesday at the World Life Institute include, from left: Marisol Soto, Martin Rosario and Luis Garza.

WATERPORT – The World Life Institute and the Orleans/Niagara BOCES celebrated another successful year on Wednesday, when 51 farmworkers were presented certificates for improving their English.

Three of those students also became U.S. citizens after preparing through the test with staff at the World Life Institute.

“This is not a graduation,” said Linda Redfield, one of the English teachers at the WLI. “It’s a recognition. We’re recognizing your improvement in stages. We want you to come back on Monday. This is a year-round program.”

Redfield praised the students for their work improving their English. Some of the students also learn computer skills, civics and pottery, with the latter program run in partnership with the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.

The three new Americans all expressed their gratitude to the teachers at the World Life Institute.

Luis Garza, one of the new citizens, works as a supervisor at a local fruit farm. He spent two years getting ready for the citizenship test, working with Redfield and Cheryl Lieberman, who are both teachers in the program.

“These people help us a lot,” Garza said about the teachers.

He was driven to become an American citizen.

“It was important so I could stay here in this country and support my family,” Garza said.

Martin Rosario also is a new citizen. He said it was difficult to get ready for the citizenship test while he was working and raising a family. But like Garza, Rosario was determined to pass the exam.

“It is something for us we have to do to feel free in this country,” said Rosario of Albion.

Marisol Soto of Albion works at three local farms while raising three children. She thanked the teachers for supporting the students and helping them meet the standards in passing the test.

“This means a lot to us,” Soto said about becoming an American citizen. “It’s opening doors for us and giving us more opportunities.”

Susan Diemert, a BOCES literacy specialist, said the students in the programs would attend their classes often after a long day in the fields or at dairy farms.

“They’re doing it for their future and their children’s future,” Diemert said.

The World Life Institute works with students from Mexico, Brazil, Columbia, and the Philippines. There also students from Puerto Rico.

Linda Redfield gives Marisol Soto a hug at the recognition program. Redfield is one of the teachers helping farmworkers learn English. In 2013, she was honored as “Teacher of the Year” by the New York State Association of Adult Continuing Education Programs.

Clark Godshall, superintendent of the Orleans/Niagara BOCES, praises the students and staff for their hard work in the program.

These students are all smiles after being recognized for making gains in English.

Oscar Hernandez, who works for a dairy farm in Byron, accepts a certificate in recognition of his efforts to improve his English.

Ali Carter, a member of the World Life Institute, was the designer, architect and builder of the octagonal-shaped school, which opened about two decades ago on Stillwater Road in Carlton.

Ayme Vallejo Morales, 7, takes a whack at a piñata after the recognition program. Her mother was one of the students recognized on Wednesday.

The piñata was popular with the children.

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Robin Hill in Lyndonville hosts Summer Solstice Soiree

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Beth Gee Carpenter of Lyndonville, left, helps Jan Heideman of Medina choose postcards at Carpenter’s booth on the grounds of Robin Hill Estate during the Summer Solstice Soiree Wednesday afternoon, sponsored by the Cobblestone Society.

Posted 21 June 2018 at 9:00 am

Hundreds of rare plants and trees, such as these, line the paths through Robin Hill Estate in Lyndonville, where on Wednesday afternoon the Cobblestone Society Museum held a Summer Solstice Soiree.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent

LYNDONVILLE – Picture peaceful grounds, hundreds of rare plants and trees, a sunlit afternoon and soft music coming from the shade and you have the setting for Wednesday’s Summer Solstice Soiree at Robin Hill Estate.

This is the second year for the event, sponsored by the Cobblestone Society, and the first time it was held at Robin Hill Nature Preserve, the 40-acre Lyndonville estate of the late Will Smith.

After a very successful event last year in the gardens of Leroy and Shirley Neeper of Medina, the Cobblestone Society decided to have this year’s garden party at Robin Hill, which proved to be a perfect location with its collection of trees, shrubs and flowers.

Half dozen or so vendors were scattered among the trees, including artists, crafters, photographers and others.

A table in the midst of it all was full of hors d’oeuvres and samplings of wine, while in the shade of nearby trees, Mike Grammatico of Batavia, a former Albion music teacher, played the saxophone.

Beth Gee Carpenter of Lyndonville had a booth with her photographs, artwork, postcards and note pads.

“I’m always looking for new venues to sell my work,” she said. “I come here to take pictures and it’s wonderful to be able to take part in an event like this in my local community.”

Robin Hill was developed by Will Smith, the founder of Lyndonville Canning Company. He and his wife Mary, son George and daughter Marion designed and built the manor house of Medina sandstone. They were enthusiastic bird watchers and mushroom hunters, and Marion banded Monarch butterflies for years.

Will and Mary were traveling in northern Pennsylvania one spring in the 1940s when they saw hillsides full of shad trees in blossom north of Williamsport. Will spotted one tree with pink flowers in the midst of the white ones, climbed the hill and took cuttings of the pink shad.

Mary Zangerle of Medina, with her 8-month-old granddaughter Marian, checks out the yard art at the Summer Solstice Soiree at the Robin Hill Estate.

The first of Robin Hill’s shads are planted to the north and south of the manor house. They thrive in urban environments and can be trimmed to bush size or allowed to grow tall. They are even farmed for their berries in Canada .

Over the years, Smith’s plantings would become famous, such as the Dawn Redwood, the prehistoric ancestor of the Giant Sequoia.

Three such redwoods at Robin Hill are offshoots of a stand of Dawn Redwoods, estimated to be 6,000 years old, which was discovered in Mongolia in early 1930. One of its discoverers was a friend of Smith’s and sent Will a cone with some seeds. Thanks to the fertile conditions of the Lake Plains, three of these redwoods thrive at Robin Hill, along with some contemporary sequoias.

The 80-foot tall Dawn Redwood next to the North Pond on the estate is thought to be the oldest in the Western Hemisphere .

Today, Robin Hill is the home of Doug and Valerie Pratt, son and granddaughter of Larry and Charlotte Smith Pratt.

Other trees and shrubs include linden, a Gingko tree, a Franklinia bush, sycamores, beech, witch hazel, Carolina silverbell, Japanese Umbrella pine, a multi-trunk European larch and Japanese maples.

The grounds are available for weddings, photography and other events – to anyone who loves and respects nature.

With this successful event over, the Cobblestone Society is moving forward with plans for its next fundraiser, the annual Historic Trades Fair on June 30.

Hibiscus bushes bloom on the grounds of Robin Hill Estate in Lyndonville, which was the site of the Cobblestone Society’s second annual Summer Solstice Soiree Wednesday afternoon.

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Retired Teachers’ Association presents grant to Lyndonville teacher

Posted 21 June 2018 at 7:40 am

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Georgia Thomas of Medina, left, president of the Orleans County Retired Teachers Association, presented a grant to Aimee Chaffee of Lyndonville Middle School on Wednesday.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent

LYNDONVILLE – A Lyndonville Middle School teacher has been rewarded for her dedication to education with a grant from the Central Western Zone of New York State Retired Teachers’ Association.

Aimee Chaffee is the Orleans County winner of a $150 grant from the Central Western Zone.

Orleans County Retired Teachers’ Association president Georgia Thomas of Medina announced Chaffee as the winner at Lyndonville Central School on Wednesday.

Chaffee is AVID coordinator at Lyndonville, Dean of Students, Leo Club Adviser and, in her words, an “AVID” teacher. AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a college readiness program with academic rigor at Lyndonville.

The Barrie Fleegel Memorial Active Educator Grant is named for Fleegel, who began his teaching career as a science teacher in 1955. He moved up to high school principal in 1971 and two years later became superintendent of Marion Schools. Upon retirement, he became a member of the New York State Retired Teachers’ Association and served as president of the Wayne County branch, then president of the Central Western Zone and senior vice president of NYSRTA.

Fleegel recognized that educators who were continuing their education needed recognition and monetary help, and thus the grant was created by the Central Western Zone in his honor.

According to Ann Czajkowski, chair of the CWZ grant program, Chaffee will receive her check when proof is received that she has completed a graduate level course during 2018.

Next year, CWZ educators will be eligible to apply for the New York State Retired Teachers’ grant of $1,000. CWZ educators are eligible for grants every other year, Czajkowski said.

(Editor’s note: This story was updated from an earlier version that said the grant for Chaffee was for $1,000.)

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Historic canal tugboat could be grounded for static display

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 June 2018 at 3:20 pm

Other vessels slated to sunk in Long Island reef

File photos by Tom Rivers: The tugboat Urger was in Orleans County in October 2015 as part of its educational outreach, when elementary school children visit the boat from 1901. This photo shows the Urger in Albion.

A historic tugboat that has traveled the canal in recent years as an ambassador is proposed to be grounded and become part of a static display in Montgomery County.

In addition, the New York Power Authority, the current caretaker of the canal, wants to remove 29 other vessels and sink them in Long Island to make an artificial reef that state officials say would be interesting for scuba divers.

The Preservation League of New York State is opposing the removal of the Urger and the sinking of the 29 other vessels. The State Historic Preservation Office has approved sinking seven of the vessels, according to the Preservation League.

“As we embark on a multi-year celebration of the construction of the Erie Canal, including the 2018 centennial celebration of the Barge Canal, it seems a remarkably poor time to be removing historic resources from the National Historic Landmark NYS canal system,” the Preservation League stated on Tuesday.

The vessels have been decommissioned and include canal tugs, derrick boats, scows and tender tugs, according to The Times Union in Albany.

The Canal Corp. and Power Authority want to send the Urger to a dry-land exhibit at a visitor center off the Thruway near Canajoharie. The plan would not keep the Urger as an operable tugboat.

The Urger travelled up and down the canal most years and was particularly popular with fourth-graders who learn about the state history and the canal.

The Urger was in Albion on Oct. 5, 2015 by the Main Street lift bridge.

The Urger was built in 1901 and originally was a Great Lakes tugboat and was a commercial shipping vessel in Michigan for its first two decades. It joined the canal system in 1922 and moved state dredges, Derek boats, barges and scows, primarily on the Champlain Canal and the eastern portion of the Erie Canal from 1922 through 1986, when she was retired from service.

In 1991, the Urger got new life as a “Teaching Tug.” It was visiting canal communities from early May until late October, educating children and adults about the canal system, which opened in 1825.

The Urger is 75 feet long and weighs 83.7 tons. The engine weighs 19.5 tons. It is a 1944 Atlas Imperial engine that was surplus from World War II. It replaced a steam engine.

John Bonafide, director of Technical Preservation Services Bureau for the State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, sent a June 12 letter to John Kahabka, vice president of Environment Health and Safety for the New York Power Authority

Bonafide noted the Urger in 2001 was listed on the state and national registers of historic places “as a resource of state-wide significance.” The Urger was nominated “for her long and historic association with the development of New York State’s twentieth century canals.”

Fourth-graders from School No. 2 in Rochester visit the Urger in Holley on Oct. 7, 2015.

The tugboat now serves as the canal’s ceremonial flagship, serving as a platform and focal point for educational programs, historic interpretation and celebrations in canal side communities throughout upstate NY, Bonafide said.

“This historic vessel is one of New York State’s preeminent and unique historic resources,” he wrote in his letter. “As such, the proposal to remove the historic vessel from its water setting and create a land-based static exhibit with her, albeit it close to the canal, will nevertheless have an unquestionable and profound direct adverse impact on the National Register listed tugboat.”

The tugboat is also connected to the Erie Canal, which is a National Historic Landmark. “The proposed removal and display may also adversely affect the significant resource as well,” he said.

State Parks wants to see a current structural or engineering conditions survey of Urger “to better understand the rationale for removing the historic resource form operational use on the canal,” Bonafide wrote to Kahabka.

State Parks also wants to see an annual maintenance budget showing expenses to maintain the Urger as an operating vessel along the canal, the estimated cost for creating a static exhibit and the budget for maintaining a static exhibit.

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New farmers’ market debuts on Thursday in Clarendon

Posted 20 June 2018 at 12:07 pm

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent

CLARENDON – A new farmers’ market in Clarendon is a dream come true for Nyla Gaylord, a Clarendon native who also is a proponent of home-grown food.

In the spring, Gaylord suggested the idea of opening a farmers’ market in Clarendon and on Thursday afternoon, her idea will become a reality.

The Clarendon Farmers’ Market will debut on the grounds of the Clarendon Historical Society and will be open from 3:30 to 7 p.m. every Thursday until the end of October.

Six vendors have already signed up, and more are welcome.

“Locating the market at the Historical Society complements the friendly ‘old time country’ feeling the market seeks to promote,” Gaylord said.

She first became interested in starting a market last winter when she canvassed local farmers’ markets in search of a local venue to sell the eggs she raises on her family farm.

“I’ve always enjoyed raising chickens and envisioned I would spend my early retirement years working part time selling eggs and other farm products I could produce on my own property,” Gaylord said. “I was surprised to learn the smaller farmers’ markets in Orleans and adjoining counties were not accepting new vendors. While my research supported the idea there is a growing demand for locally produced food, it seemed there was no local venue for small producers to get the food to consumers. So, the best alternative seemed to be starting one in Clarendon.”

Melissa Ierlan, historian for the town of Clarendon and president of the Clarendon Historical Society, has always been a supporter of new ideas to promote the town and its history, Gaylord said.

“Melissa pointed out the antique farm equipment and facilities at the Historical Society would be an ideal backdrop for the old fashioned public market I envisioned,” Gaylord said. “We surveyed about 35 residents and got their input on what should be offered, where and when. It seems Thursday afternoons will not conflict with other public markets and community events. We hope to attract commuters who travel Route 31A, as well as local residents and groups of tourists.”

With the support of the Clarendon Historical Society and the town of Clarendon, Gaylord wrote two proposals for funding for advertising and staff for the market. And while they were not funded, Gaylord said she made some valuable contacts and learned a lot about starting and running a market.

“Clearly, it’s a lot of work, but I decided ‘if it is to be, it is up to me,’ and jumped in to do what is needed to make it happen,” Gaylord said. “This is my home town and we need something like this to help build community, stimulate the local economy and make fresh food easily available to our neighbors, many of whom are older and have limited transportation.”

In the future, the market will accept Food Stamps and the Senior Nutrition Farmers Market coupons.

Vendors will offer eggs, baked good s, vegetables, crafts and more.

Opening day at the Clarendon Market will also feature music by the bluegrass/gospel group, the Fox Den.

Interested vendors and musicians who would like to take part in the market are encouraged to contact Gaylord at (585) 703-0564 or e-mail There is no fee to set up a table, but donations to help with the cost of advertising are gratefully accepted.

Clarendon Historical Society is located on Route 31A, just east of the center of town.

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5 schools in Orleans get ready for graduation

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 June 2018 at 11:43 am

File photo: As is tradition during their outdoor commencement, Holley graduates gather in the corner of Holley Hawks Stadium and throw their caps in the air surrounded by family and friends after the program. This photo is from the 2017 graduation. Holley’s commencement starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

About 400 seniors will graduate from the five public school districts in Orleans County on Friday and Saturday.

Four of the school districts – Albion, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina – start their graduation programs at 7 p.m. on Friday. Holley has its commencement on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Here is a rundown of each graduation program:

• In Albion, graduation is in the high school gymnasium with 133 students finishing high school. The scheduled speakers are Michael Bonnewell, the district superintendent, and Margy Brown, president of the Board of Education, as well as Valedictorian Richard Daniels, Salutatorian Tyler Kast and Class President Victor Benjovsky.

Holley has 89 candidates for graduation on Saturday at the Holley Hawks Stadium (the football stadium).  There will be speeches by the Class President Matthew DeSimone, Valedictorian Dakota Thompson and the Salutatorian Nina DiLella.

The keynote address will be given by Nick D’Amuro, a Holley social studies teacher, football assistant coach, and track assistant coach.

In case of rain, the graduation will be moved to the Jr./Sr. High Auditorium.

Kendall has 49 students graduating at 7 p.m. on Friday at the David J. Doyle Kendall Jr./Sr. High School Auditorium.

The valedictory address will be given by Kierstyn Christensen, who is the daughter of the district superintendent, Julie Christensen. Allen Tonas will be the salutatory address.

Karl Driesel, a Kendall graduate and owner of a woodworking business in town, will give the keynote address.

Lyndonville has 50 students graduating on Friday at the Stroyan Auditorium. Jason Smith, the district superintendent, and Aaaron Slack, the high school principal, will be speakers. Paige Gardner will give the valedictory address and Mercedes Benedict will give the salutatorian speech.

Medina has 120 students graduating on Friday in the High School Auditorium. Speakers include Michael Cavanaugh, the high school principal, and Valedictorian Madison Kenward and Salutatorian Jack Hill.

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Judge allows court case from Orleans, other counties to go forward against pharmaceutical companies

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 June 2018 at 9:28 am

A court case from Orleans and other counties can go forward after a ruling on Monday by a state Supreme Court judge in Suffolk County.

Six pharmaceutical companies sought to dismiss lawsuits by several counties who say the drug manufacturers fueled an opioid crisis through misleading marketing campaigns that minimized the addiction risks of opioids.

Jerry Garguilo, the judge in Suffolk County, rejected arguments by OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and other companies who said the counties’ complaints were insufficiently alleged, time-barred or pre-empted by federal law.

The New York Association of Counties issued a statement on behalf of the counties on Monday.

“Today’s decision validates the efforts of the New York counties that there are triable issues of fact which should proceed before the State Supreme Court,” said Stephen J. Acquario, executive director and general counsel to the New York State Association of Counties. “It’s a very important milestone in this ongoing national and state litigation with far-reaching consequences that are felt in our counties every day. The effects of opioid addiction and destruction are pervasive, and today’s decision marks an important turning point.”

In addition to the New York counties’ pending action in New York State Supreme Court in Suffolk County, there are hundreds of state and local government cases filed in federal court, consolidated in the Northern District of Ohio.

The Orleans County Legislature on Sept. 27 voted to join the lawsuit against pharmaceuticals for allegedly fueling the opioid crisis.

The Legislature voted to retain Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, a Manhattan firm, in the lawsuit. The firm is paying any upfront costs for staffing and retaining expert witnesses, County Attorney David Schubel said then.

The counties are contending the pharmaceutical manufacturers knew that opioids were effective for short-term or trauma-related pain, as well as palliative (end-of-life) care. However, the manufacturers also knew for years that opioids were addictive and subject to abuse, especially when used for more than three months.

The lawsuit contends that prescription painkillers, as well as heroin abuse, are the prime causes for an increase in overdose deaths. In 2014, there were 28,647 opioid overdose deaths nationwide, a 14 percent increase from the previous year.

In 2014, the heroin overdose deaths in New York reached 825, a jump of 23 percent from the previous year and 25 times the number a decade earlier, according to a resolution from the County Legislature in September.

Orleans and other municipalities in the lawsuit are seeking to recover damages that have contributed “to high costs to the taxpayers in the form of increased social services, policing, and other expenditures,” according to the county resolution.

Pharmaceutical companies have denied misleading the public about the addictive nature of painkillers, such as Oxycontin. The prescription painkillers are FDA approved and include warnings on the product label about possible risks, the companies have said.

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Sorochty re-elected Holley mayor

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 June 2018 at 11:09 pm

Nenni and Lynch also will be back on Village Board

Brian Sorochty

HOLLEY – Village residents re-elected Brian Sorochty as mayor and two incumbents as trustees during the village election today.

Sorochty received 219 votes to 132 for Shawn O’Mara. Current trustees Connie Nenni, 231 votes, and Kevin Lynch, 202, were also re-elected to two-year terms over Alexa Downey, 135, and Robyn Schubmehl, 113.

There were 351 voters out of 967 eligible – a 36.3 percent turnout. The village used paper ballots. The results weren’t announced until 10:15 p.m., 75 minutes after the polls closed. A crowd of about 40 people waited outside the Village Office on the sidewalk for more than an hour until the results were announced.

Sorochty, who works as Vice President of Engineering for an engineering/construction company, was elected to a second two-year term. He is thankful he can keep working on village projects, including upcoming initiatives for new sidewalks and water infrastructure that are largely covered by grants. Holley also has received a planning grant for redeveloping vacant buildings in the downtown, finding uses for brownfield sites, including the former Diaz Chemical property, and boosting the village’s housing stock.

Sorochty is also excited for the start of construction on the renovation of the old Holley High School. This fall Home Leasing LLC of Rochester will start on the $17 million project, creating 41 senior apartments and the village offices in the building.

“I’m very pleased with the outcome and the turnout,” he said. “It was a very important election with the projects we have going on. I’m also pleased my fellow trustees were re-elected and we can continue our team.”

O’Mara, a Gates police officer, wants to see more progress in paving village streets, fixing sidewalks and upgrading village parks. He also wants to see the village push harder to have a new bank and grocery store come into the community since Holley lost its bank and a former Save-A-Lot store.

The new terms for the mayor and trustees start July 1.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Holley Village Clerk-Treasurer Deborah Schiavone reads off the election results outside the Village Office at about 10:15 p.m.

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Sheriff Bower honored at national conference

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 June 2018 at 4:43 pm

Provided photo: Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower was presented with a MAGNUS Leadership Award in New Orleans on Sunday.

NEW ORLEANS – Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower received a leadership award from a national organization on Sunday for his work to implement several new initiatives in the county, including expanded substance abuse and mental health services for inmates in the Orleans County Jail.

The sheriff also has reached out to the faith community and several local pastors agreed to be mentors for people battling addictions who are transitioning from the jail. That initiative is called the Sheriff’s CARE program for Community Addiction Rehabilitation Education.

Bower says the county can’t solve the opioid crisis solely through arrests and using Narcan. The mentors act as recovery coaches, who help people fighting addiction make their appointments and also provide a listening ear.

Bower has been at the National Sheriffs’ Association Conference in New Orleans this week. On Sunday he was presented with a MAGNUS Leadership Award “in recognition of your tireless work implementing bold initiatives that have created synergy and trust between the citizens of your community and your agency,” according to a letter from Mitch Javidi, chancellor of National Command & Staff College and CEO and president of International Academy of Public Safety.

Bower’s award comes from the National Command & Staff College which stresses a strong moral compass for law enforcement officers and that they are all leaders within their communities.

Bower received the MAGNUS Leadership Award “in recognition of your tireless work implementing bold initiatives that have created synergy and trust between the citizens of your community and your agency.”

The Sheriff’s Office has led a number of outreach and public safety events in the county, including several at local schools. Bower said he is pleased deputies are taking the initiative in organizing the events, including a new one on Sunday at the Albion Walmart from noon to 2 p.m.

That event includes a child restraint check, DWI/Distracted Driving Simulator, Marine Safety, K9 demonstration with “Otto,” hot dog cookout and Operation Safe Child.

“We’re trying to do right by the people and give them everything we can,” Bower said by phone this afternoon.

He praised the deputies and other members of the Sheriff’s Office for embracing the outreach efforts and a more compassionate approach to criminal justice services, including the added programs to help inmates in the jail.

Other agencies and local pastors have all stepped forward to assist people, especially those with addictions.

“Everybody is helping,” Bower said. “If you reach out, they’ll help. They just need to be asked.”

Bower has been active with Orleans Hope, a multi-pronged effort by the community to fight the opioid crisis. Churches have stepped up their efforts, welcoming addicts instead of shunning them. Several churches have Celebrate Recovery programs.

Orleans Hope also welcomed Scott Caraboolad and a group of stunt bike riders for a few days in October. The Ride4Life visited local schools and had community events, including at the Fairgrounds. The lead rider, Caraboolad, is a recovering addict. He shared how he overcame his drug addiction.

The sheriff was one of the early supporters for the Ride4Life, which brought Scott Caraboolad and other stunt riders to Orleans County in October. Caraboolad does a stunt on Oct. 5 in front of the student body at Lyndonville Central School.

Bower embraced Caraboolad’s presentations, wanting to connect with people battling addictions and urge them to seek help. Bower also wanted students to hear a Caraboolad’s message, to not seek comfort from drugs and alcohol, and how drug use can escalate and take over – and end – lives.

Bower has welcomed addiction services for inmates in the county jail, connecting them to treatment programs, health insurance and Vivitrol, a shot that helps stave off drug urges. The county has pushed to have a transition from the jail to GCASA or another treatment program.

Bower in his 2 1/2 years as sheriff has expanded mental health and substance abuse services for inmates in the Orleans County jail in Albion.

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