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Students celebrate new path on canal; give cemetery sign a facelift

Staff Reports Posted 19 September 2018 at 2:57 pm

Provided photos

ALBION – Albion seventh-graders Finn McCue, left, and Jett Conn are pictured on the Erie Canal towpath by the Gaines Basin Road bridge. A new path from the towpath to the road was recently created by the State Canal Corporation.

Students in the seventh grade service learning class urged the canal to create the path. Panek Farms allowed the Canal Corp. to clear the path so people could more easily get on the towpath.

The area nearby has some tourism potential. A historic marker noting the northernmost point on the canal is on the towpath, just west of the bridge. A historic cobblestone schoolhouse also is near the canal on Gaines Basin Road.

Finn McCue, left, and Jett Conn repainted the letters on the sign for Tanner Cemetery, a burial site for many pioneer and early residents. The cemetery is on Route 31, across from Mount Albion. The Town of Albion maintains the cemetery and donated supplies for the students to work on the sign.

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Albion approves village tax break for veterans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 September 2018 at 8:20 am

Former mayoral candidate worries exemption will shift more burden to other taxpayers

ALBION – The Albion Village Board approved a tax exemption for veterans last week that will save eligible veterans about $100 a year in their village taxes.

Mayor Eileen Banker said veterans are deserving of the tax break. It won’t take effect for about two years, she said.

“This is something we feel we should do,” she said during a public hearing last Wednesday.

The board approved the exemption despite concerns from two residents that the exemptions would cause taxes to increase for other residents.

Joyce Riley and Jason Dragon, who both ran for the Village Board in March, said Albion village taxpayers are already burdened with one of the highest tax rates in the area. The board shouldn’t have approved the veterans’ exemptions without a plan to reduce the taxes for all residents, said Riley, who ran for mayor in March.

“It shouldn’t be an add-on for those of us paying the full tax burden,” she said. “Our taxes are substantially high. Until our tax burden comes down then we could look at those things (exemptions).”

Banker said the exemptions’ impact on taxes are about equal to each person in the village buying a large pizza. The village’s tax assessments went up in the current budget and she is optimistic more home repairs will keep the tax base growing, which should keep the tax rate in check.

The village tax rate for 2018-19 is $17.73 per $1,000 of assessed property, which compares with $14.12 in Lyndonville, and $15.65 in Holley. In Medina, property owners in Ridgeway pay a $18.71-rate while in Shelby the village rate is $17.18.

Dragon, a village trustee candidate in March, said Albion needs to make significant reductions in the tax rate to be attractive for residents and businesses.

Similar-size villages in other counties that offer similar services as Albion have lower tax rates. In Brockport, the rate is $11.98. In Le Roy the rate is $10.71.

Earl Schmidt, director of the Veterans Service Agency in Orleans County, has been pushing the Albion Village Board for two tax exemptions for veterans.

Schmidt said there are 179 veterans in the village that would be eligible for an Alternative Veterans Maximum Exemption.

Albion approved that exemption at three categories: Wartime – 15 percent off or $6,000 maximum; Combat – 10 percent or $10,000 maximum; Disability 50 percent off or $20,000 maximum.

The Village Board also approved an exemption for Cold War Veterans at 10 percent off or a maximum $6,000 reduction off their assessment. There are 13 veterans in the village that would be eligible for that benefit.

If a veteran was approved for the $6,000 exemption, it would lower the taxable assessment by $6,000. With the tax rate at $17.73, the exemption would save the veteran $106.38 on the village tax bill.

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400 watch motorcycle stunt riders in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 September 2018 at 10:54 pm

Ride 4 Life spent part of day speaking to jail inmates about overcoming addiction and hopelessness

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Scott Caraboolad, leader of the Ride 4 Life stunt bike ministry, is shrouded in smoke near the end of a stunt bike show on a closed off section of East State Street in front of the Orleans County Courthouse.

Caraboolad and three other daring riders performed many tricks on their motorcycles in front of a crowd of about 400 people. They also performed at Kendall Junior-Senior High School on Friday afternoon. Caraboolad also went inside the Orleans County Jail to speak with inmates on Friday morning.

He believes in second chances, and urged people to not give up on others or themselves.

Caraboolad does one of his many stunts on a motorcycle in front of a crowd of about 400 people.

The motorcycle star lived a troubled life as a drug addict and alcoholic, and was jailed on several occasions for breaking the law. The Akron, Ohio resident shares a message about overcoming addiction and hopelessness. He said he nearly committed suicide on Oct. 4, 2011. That day he turned to God and has been striving to live as a Christian.

He now runs the Ride 4 Life ministry that visits schools, prisons and also does other community events.

Caraboolad burns a tire that left red smoke in the air.

He said Friday’s motorcycle show, which included three other riders, was “a celebration of life and a celebration of the future.” He urged people struggling with addiction or misery to find help.

Several churches in the county, agencies and other service providers attended the event to offer assistance to people seeking help.

Ride 4 Life will do three more shows on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. as part of “Hope Fest” at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds in Knowlesville. There is no admission charge to see the event.

The Ride 4 Life team greeted spectators along West State Street.

This member of Ride 4 Life does a wheelie in front of the crowd.

The red smoke is new to the show the year. Ride 4 Life also performed in Orleans County last October. The group was at Lyndonville Central School on Thursday morning morning and then did a community event in Medina on Thursday evening.

The motorcycles were very loud at times. There were ear plugs available.

Caraboolad had an altar call and about 25 people responded, saying they want to the power of Christ to help live a transformed life.

The Ride 4 Life team signs posters for fans after the show.

Giavanni Lamartina enjoyed a chance to climb on one of the motorcycles.

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Albion will ask DOT to make Main Street less like a ‘runway’

Photo by Tom Rivers: Main Street in Albion is shown Wednesday evening near the Bank Street intersection.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 September 2018 at 1:05 pm

Restriping the road, with narrower driving lanes, would help businesses, downtown merchant says

ALBION – A downtown Albion business owner said Main Street in Albion is striped in a way that speeds up traffic and makes for tight parking spaces along the street.

Adam Johnson, owner of the 39 Problems bar and restaurant, said the state Department of Transportation recently restriped the road and it makes it appear wider with 15-foot driving lanes. Johnson said other downtowns have lanes that are 10 to 12 feet wide. The narrower lanes act to slow down traffic and also give motorists more room to park cars on the street, he said.

“The DOT made Main Street a runway,” Johnson told the Albion Village Board.

He sent the Village Board a letter, asking the village to support new striping on the road, making the driving lanes narrower and allowing for more space for cars to park.

Johnson isn’t pressing for the DOT to do the work right away. He wants to DOT to make the change the next time the street is redone with new paint.

The Village Board on Wednesday agreed to send a letter to the DOT, requesting the change suggested by Johnson.

“If we had narrower traffic lanes it would slow down traffic and make the businesses more noticed,” Johnson said.

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Albion Village Board, downtown merchant recognized for landscape efforts

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 September 2018 at 9:24 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Albion Betterment Committee on Wednesday presented a landscape award to the Albion Village Board for its support of flowers in the downtown and on Main Street. The Village Board, in turn, presented a citation to village resident and downtown business owner Lisa Stratton, who coordinates the efforts to have flowers in the downtown and organizes volunteers to have them watered on the weekends.

Pictured, from left, include: Joe Gehl, a director with the Betterment Committee; Lisa Stratton, president of the Albion Merchants Association; Eileen Banker, Albion mayor; and Gary Derwick, a director with the Betterment Committee.

The Betterment Committee said the flowers are a real positive in the business district for the community.

“It’s a real effort by the village and by some individuals,” Derwick said.

The Betterment Committee in the past five years has presented landscaping awards to Burger King, Albion Agencies, Suburban Electric and Christopher Mitchell Funeral Homes.

In the citation for Stratton, the Village Board stated that she is “an exceptional person, who is worthy of the esteem of the community.” The board said that Stratton spends “countless hours” planning events, promoting businesses, and organizing the downtown flower effort in planters and hanging baskets.

Stratton organized having flowers planted in these planters by the municipal parking lot for the first time this year.

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Albion Village Board has hearing today on tax exemptions for veterans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 September 2018 at 11:14 am

ALBION – The Village Board will have a public hearing today at 6 p.m. on whether to offer a property tax exemption for veterans. If the veterans received a tax break, it would mean other village property owners would see an increase to make up the difference.

The board in January was asked to approve two tax exemptions for veterans. Earl Schmidt, director of the Veterans Service Agency in Orleans County, said then if the exemptions were passed by the Village Board, other village property owners would see their taxes increase by 30 cents per $1,000 of assessed property, or $18 for a house assessed at $60,000.

Schmidt asked that the Village Board to pass a veterans’ exemption that would provide about 15 percent off village taxes. Schmidt said there are 179 veterans in the village that would be eligible for that exemption.

He also asked that the village pass an exemption for Cold War era veterans that provides about 10 percent off taxes. There are 13 veterans in the village that would be eligible for that benefit, he said at the time.

With both exemptions, municipalities have the option of deciding maximum exemption levels so the amount of the exemptions can vary.

The hearing today is at the Village Hall, 35-37 East Bank St.

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Albion church gives pets a blessing

Staff Reports Posted 12 September 2018 at 9:05 am

ALBION – The Albion First Baptist held its 2nd Annual Pet Blessing and outdoor worship service at 10 a.m. this past Sunday. Each pet in attendance received an individual blessing. And people attending the worship service were invited to take a goodie bag home to share with the pets in their lives.

A candle was lit in memory of all pets who passed away in the last year, and prayers were lifted up for all of God’s creatures and the people working to protect His creation. A special offering during the service raised $34 for P.A.W.S., a local animal shelter.

“Animals and people live and work side-by-side every day,” said the Rev. Aleka Schmidt, the church pastor. “It just makes sense to honor that special relationship and to thank God for the lives of our treasured companions and family members.”

The church hopes to expand its service next year to include pets and their people from across our community.

Danna DuSett brought two granddaughters and her Black Lab, Xena for a special blessing of the animals at the First Baptist Church on Sunday. Aleka Schmidt, the church pastor, is at left.

Prym and Danielle Schmidt, the pastor’s daughter, rode in the back of a mini van for the short trip from Batt’s W.A.R.M. B. Acres on the Gaines Road to the church at the corner of Park and Liberty Street.

The Schmidt family’s dog, Sheila, enjoyed an extra snuggle with her people while receiving a blessing from Pastor Aleka.

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Orleans reflects on 9-11, while thanking first responders for continued service

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 September 2018 at 7:50 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – A large American flag waves on Main Street on Tuesday evening during a memorial service on the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks when nearly 3,000 people were killed.

These Albion eighth-graders pass out American flags. They include from left Ashleigh Mowatt, Emilie Sitzer and Alexis Hess. They were later joined by McKenzie Olmsted in singing the National Anthem.

Gary Befus, a member of the American Legion in Albion, organized the memorial service. He said the terrorism attack was devastating with 2,753 killed in New York City, 184 in Washington DC,  and 40 more when a plane crashed in rural Shanksville, Pa.

Gary Befus praised the continued service of local firefighters, law enforcement, paramedics and other first responders. Sue Maslyn of the Kendall Fire Department was among the many local firefighters who attended the service.

There were 343 firefighters and 72 police officers killed during the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks.

Orleans County Legislator Don Allport said the country was strongly united after the attacks 17 years ago. When Americans are together, nothing can defeat the country, he said.

“We must be Americans first,” he said. “We must stand united. America is under attack every day.”

Allport also said Orleans County is fortunate to have some many dedicated firefighters and first responders. “Imagine calling 911 and no one shows up,” he said. “But in Orleans County someone shows up. First responders are the very thin line between an organized society and chaos.”

These firefighters salute during the National Anthem. Fritz Neidert of Albion is at center and Doug Jones of Kendall is at right.

Members of the Honor Guard do a 21-gun salute under direction of Phil Warne, right.

Don Snyder, a chaplain for the Sheriff’s Office, praised the service of the first responders, who sacrifice their time and lives, often a great emotional and physical cost.

“First responders are the very best of humanity,” Snyder said. “Orleans County is blessed with first responders who serve in emergency medicine, fire and law enforcement. Our first responders, without hesitation, respond to any need that presents itself.”

This group waves the American flag during the conclusion of the program.

Albion firefighter Al Cheverie stands on a closed off section of Main Street to get a photo of the flag, which was held high by the ladder trucks from the Albion and Medina fire departments.

Al Cheverie used his phone to get a photo of the large American flag.

Jeremy Graham of the Albion Fire Department helps to fold the giant flag.

These firefighters fold the flag. They include Jeremy Graham, Jan Cheverie and Gregg Marston of Albion, and Brad Mahnke of Medina.

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Albion’s Class of ’78 holds 40th reunion

Staff Reports Posted 10 September 2018 at 9:07 pm

Photo courtesy of Peggy Barringer: The Albion High School Class of 1978 held its 40th Class Reunion on Saturday at the St. Mary’s Archery Club in Waterport. A total of 60 classmates attended.

The reunion committee invited Arlene Sanger, the school’s former home economics teacher, to attend the reunion as an “honorary classmate” with her daughter, class member Paula Sanger Violo. The 92-year old Mrs. Sanger now resides in Plattsburgh.  She retired in 1982 after teaching in Albion for 29 years.

Photo courtesy of Tom O’Hearn: Former home economics teacher Arlene Sanger gives class member Tom O’Hearn a few pointers on how to barbecue the chicken. She is also pictured in the class group photo in the middle of the 2nd row (seated).

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Car show at Bullard raises money for Hospice

Staff Reports Posted 9 September 2018 at 8:48 am

Photos courtesy of Becky Karls

ALBION – There was a car show on Saturday at Bullard Park that was a benefit for Hospice of Orleans County. There were 61 vintage vehicles at the event and the Masonic Lodge from Albion served food with proceeds donated to Hospice.

The event is organized by Becky Karls of Albion and sponsored by Christopher Mitchell Funeral Homes.

The event, now in its fifth year, typically raises about $2,500 for Hospice.

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