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Volunteers enjoy meeting visitors at Lighthouse

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 August 2018 at 10:32 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

POINT BREEZE – Neil and Joanne Johnson of Albion welcomed visitors to the Oak Orchard Lighthouse at Point Breeze on Sunday afternoon to see the small museum and gift shop.

The Albion couple volunteers for about three hours on Sundays at the lighthouse and typically greets about 20-25 people.

“We like lighthouses and we like meeting people,” said Mr. Johnson, who is the Albion village historian. “It’s the best job you can have. You meet a lot of nice people.”

The Oak Orchard Lighthouse Museum is open during the summer on Fridays from 6 to 8 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.

The Oak Orchard Lighthouse is pictured on Nov. 14, 2016 during the “Supermoon.” This was brightest and largest the moon has appeared since 1948, according to NASA. There won’t be another supermoon like this until 2034, NASA said.

Volunteers with the Oak Orchard Lighthouse Committee pushed to build the lighthouse, which is a replica of a structure built in 1871 at Point Breeze. The original was toppled in a windstorm in 1916.

The new 35-foot structure was built in 2010 with community donations and a state grant. The Oak Orchard Lighthouse has become an iconic symbol for the county and the Point. It is featured in many of the county’s tourism promotions.

Photo from Orleans County Department of History: This photo shows the original Oak Orchard Lighthouse, which was built in 1871 on the pier on the west side of the Oak Orchard River.

This picture, taken around 1900, shows people standing along the piers that extended about 1,600 feet out onto Lake Ontario.

The Point Breeze Lighthouse was accompanied by a light-keeper’s home located on the western shore of the river.

During a storm in 1914, the lighthouse was severely damaged and with no available funding to provide necessary repairs to the lighthouse, it remained in place to suffer the continued effects of Lake Ontario, County Historian Matthew Ballard wrote in his “Overlooked Orleans” column in the Orleans Hub.

“Finally, a storm on December 28, 1916 delivered the final blow and swept the entire structure and a portion of the pier into the lake,” Ballard said.

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NY will upgrade playground at Lakeside State Park

Posted 2 August 2018 at 3:26 pm

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced New York has committed $2.5 million to build or improve 14 playgrounds at State Parks across New York, including Lakeside State Park in Carlton.

This funding is part of the Governor’s goal to modernize 100 State Park playgrounds by 2020. The park improvements reflect the state’s Connect Kids to Parks program, which aims to draw more youth to the outdoors by offering free day-use park entry to fourth-grade students and their families, and a new transportation grant program to help school children visit state parks.

“Quality playgrounds are a magnet for families, drawing children to parks and inspiring New York’s youth to enjoy healthy recreation throughout their lives,” Governor Cuomo said. “These improvement projects build on New York’s efforts to make state parks more user-friendly, safe and fun, and will encourage residents and visitors to experience the Empire State and discover our great outdoors.”

Under the initiative, State Parks will replace outdated playgrounds at parks with modern, code-compliant equipment and in distinct areas for young and older age groups. Playground improvements will be coupled with site improvements, including shade trees or canopies, seating, water fountains and trail/walkway connections to the rest of the park.

The State Parks include:

Capital District

Taconic State Park at Copake Falls

Central New York

Two playgrounds at Fair Haven State Park

Long Island

Wildwood State Park

Finger Lakes

Lakeside State Park

Seneca Lake State Park

Western New York

Beaver Island State Park

Evangola State Park

Wilson-Tuscarora State Park

Mid-Hudson Valley

Mills-Norrie State Park

North Country

Higley Flow State Park

Keewaydin State Park

Southwick Beach State Park

Southern Tier

Taughannock Falls State Park

The playgrounds are funded by Governor Cuomo’s NY Parks 2020 state park revitalization plan, which includes a commitment to add or improve 100 playgrounds by 2020. NY Parks 2020 is a multi-year commitment to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for State Parks from 2011 to 2020. The 2018-19 State Budget allocates $90 million toward this initiative.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more 250 individual parks, historic sites, golf courses, recreational trails and boat launches, which are visited by 71 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit

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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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Barn in Carlton consumed by flames

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 May 2018 at 10:45 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

CARLTON – Firefighters look over the scene where a small barn was quickly devoured by flames on Route 18 tonight.

The barn was on the north side of the road between Harris Road and Church Street on the western side of Calrton. Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 9:11 p.m. but the building was down to the ground when firefighters arrived.

Orleans County fire investigators and the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office is at the scene trying to determine a cause. No other information is available.

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Bailey’s Septic has a new owner after 40 years in same family

Photos by Tom Rivers: A plumbing and septic pumping business are now working close together. Tony Sanders owns Albion Bower’s Plumbing & Heating, and his stepfather, Jim Arnold, is the new owner of Bailey’s Septic. Pictured from left include Tony Sanders, Jim Arnold, and Brian Bartlett, former owner of Bailey’s.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 May 2018 at 12:55 pm

CARLTON – Brian Bartlett says he will miss a business dealing with something most people don’t give much thought to – unless their toilet stops flushing.

Bartlett last month sold Bailey’s Septic to Jim Arnold. The business was started by Bartlett’s grandfather, Paul Bailey, who originally had the business focused on drilling wells. As more public waterlines were installed in the county, replacing wells, Bailey shifted to pumping septic systems.

Bartlett, 62, has been part of the operation for 50 years, since he was a kid. Bailey’s started pumping septics in 1977 and that became the focus of the business. For a few years Bailey’s also rented out porta-potties.

Tony Sanders, the owner of Albion Bower’s Plumbing and Heating, often reached out to Bailey’s for a pump truck. Sanders had inquired in recently if Bartlett would be open to selling the business. The time wasn’t right until this spring for Bartlett.

Sanders knew the right person to take over the business. His stepfather, Jim Arnold, was in Oklahoma, working a demanding job for FedEx. Arnold and Sanders’ mother, Angel, wanted to return to the Albion area to be closer to family, including Tony’s three kids.

They moved back on April 1, with Arnold running Bailey’s the past three weeks.

“Family is why we came back,” said Arnold, a Middleport native. “The business is a bonus.”

Arnold was working at St. Gobain in Albion when he was offered a buyout in 2009. He started a new career in Oklahoma.

The transition back to Albion happened quickly, with the Arnolds selling their home within a week on the market and starting in the septic pumping business right away.

“God has blessed us,” Arnold said. “It has been so smooth.”

Arnold spent a week with Bartlett, visiting customers and pumping septic systems. The sewage is the trucked to the Albion sewer plant on Densmore Road.

“People will call me crazy but I’m enjoying it,” Arnold said about the new career. “It’s gratifying to see peoples’ faces when they can flush their toilet again. It’s the little things. I really enjoy serving the community.”

The two businesses will eventually operate out of the same building on Route 98 in Carlton, across from the former Harbor Pointe golf course. Bartlett used that site for the two vacuum trucks.

Sanders praised Bartlett for building up the septic pumping business. Most of the clients have their septic systems pumped every three to four years.

Sanders uses a site behind Crosby’s in Albion as the base for his plumbing operation. He wants to move it to the Carlton site where there is more room.

“The two businesses will work hand in hand,” Sanders said. “It’s a good marriage.”

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Local officials consider ways to best capitalize on Lake Ontario waterfront

Photos by Tom Rivers: Ellen Parker, a planner with Wendel, discusses a waterfront plan for the towns of Carlton, Yates and Kendall. The three towns are working to update a plan from 1998. About 40 community members met on Wednesday evening at the Carlton Rec Hall.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 April 2018 at 11:00 am

Revised plan also looks at Lyndonville’s big pond, dam

Orleans County legislator Ken DeRoller of Kendall has been a proponent of the waterfront development plans. In addition to the plan for the three towns along Lake Ontario, the county will soon be working on a waterfront development plan for the canal communities. The Village of Medina is also doing a waterfront development plan.

CARLTON – Local officials want to improve fishing and recreational access along Lake Ontario and its tributaries.

That was one strong theme in a discussion about an update of a waterfront development plan for the towns of Kendall, Carlton and Yates. The three towns adopted a plan in 1998, and now they are making updates, which this time will include Patterson Pond and the dam at Lyndonville.

The three towns have 24 miles of shoreline. Once the plan is updated and adopted, likely next year, it will put the three towns and the Village of Lyndonville in a better position for state grants for projects, said Ellen Parker, a planner with Wendel, a firm hired as a consultant on the project.

The state provided the Orleans County with a $40,000 grant to revise the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.

Fishing is the county’s top tourism draw, netting about $9 million in economic activity a year. There may be opportunities to grow that by increasing fishing access along tributaries, including Johnson Creek in Lyndonville. Residents also suggested a boat launch between Golden Hill State Park in Barker and Point Breeze. Officials may want to consider a launch at the Yates Town Park on Morrison Road, which is between Golden Hill and Point Breeze.

Tony Cammarata, the Kendall town supervisor, also wants the plan to focus on publicly owned land that could be used to boost recreational activities. Not only is there the Lake Ontario State Parkway, which runs about 12 miles in Orleans, but there are other pockets of public land sitting vacant.

Wendy Salvati points to the Johnson Creek area in Lyndonville during a discussion about waterfront assets in the area.

Wendy Salvati, a consultant on the plan, cited the example on the land at the Shadigee in Yates. It’s right by the lake, but it’s just a grassy spot. She said adding benches and picnic tables would be a simple way to make the site better used by the public.

“This is a community-driven project,” she told about 40 people at the meeting in Carlton. “This is about your communities and how this works for you.”

Tony Cammarata, the Kendall town supervisor, would like the plan to focus on making publicly owned land by the lake more accessible to residents.

Officials from the three towns, and Lyndonville are working with consultants on the project and the county’s Department of Planning and Development. They have visited numerous sites in the three towns, making an inventory of assets.

Lyndonville wasn’t in the 1998 plan, but will be in the new one. Wes Bradley, a Yates town councilman, said the community wants to make better use of Patterson Pond and the dam. He would like the pond to be dredged and then promoted for use by kayakers, paddle boats and canoeists. There should be docks put in.

“If it was clear and open, there would be a lot of recreational use,” he said. “It would make this area a destination.”

For many years, there was a false understanding that the pond was owned by the village, Bradley said. It’s actually owned by the school district. That was determined two years ago, he said.

He would still like to see the other local government leaders work to have the pond dredged. The village owns the dam and that area needs a lot of work to improve the structural integrity and access for fishermen.

Jim Bensley (right), the county’s director of the Department of Planning and Development, discusses the waterfront in Orleans with John Riggi, a Yates town councilman.

Carlton Town Councilman Dana Woolston suggested have public bathrooms and a place for fishermen to eat on Park Avenue Extension near the Oak Orchard River and Waterport Dam. That area is very popular in the fall for salmon fishing. However, there aren’t many amenities there for the visiting anglers.

Frank Panczyszyn, a member of the Oak Orchard Neighborhood Association, would like to see a bridge put back in at The Bridges and he would like to see the small span be a covered bridge. That would be a tourist draw and also serve a useful purpose, he said.

Jim Shoemaker, a former Carlton town councilman, said the best ideas and plans may all be for naught due to flooding along the lake from high water levels. Many marinas, boat launches and businesses didn’t open or had to curtail their operations due to the flooding last year. The lake is up again this year.

“If high water happens again this year then we have an out-of-control situation,” he said.

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Waterfront development planning meeting set for this evening in Carlton

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 April 2018 at 10:15 am

CARLTON – There will be a meeting at 6:30 p.m. this evening at the Carlton Rec Hall on Route 98 to discuss a waterfront development plans for the towns of Kendall, Carlton and Yates.

The three towns are working together, with assistance from the Orleans County Department of Planning and Development, to update the waterfront plan. Additionally, the Village of Lyndonville has opted to participate in the program.

The pubic s welcome to attend the meeting and offer their input on what they feel is important for the future of the waterfront area, and to help the Project Planning Team identify important issues and opportunities in this area.

The meeting is expected to last until 8 p.m. The Rec Hall’s address is 1813 Oak Orchard Rd. Doors will open at 6 p.m. to allow the public time to review maps of existing conditions for the area.

A Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) is an extension of the New York State Coastal Management Program. Having a local program enables waterfront communities to evaluate land use and waterfront resources and develop a comprehensive strategy to effectively manage and protect these resources, said Jim Bensley, director of the county’s Department of Planning and Development.

By applying a local focus on land use management and the maintenance, improvement and enhancement of important resources and features in the waterfront area, an LWRP strengthens the state’s program and provides the participating communities with a roadmap to guide growth and recognize opportunities, Bensley said.

It also provides more local control over decisions made along its waterfront. The goal is to develop a local program that properly manages land use and future development along the waterfront and effectively protects important coastal resources, he said.

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106k Chinook, 21k steelhead delivered to Oak Orchard

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 April 2018 at 3:50 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

POINT BREEZE – The fishing community at Point Breeze welcomed more than 100,000 fish today. The Department of Environmental Conservation delivered Steelhead and Chinook salmon from the Altmar Hatchery.

The top photo shows volunteers working with the DEC to release 106,500 Chinook salmon into pens by Ernst’s Lake Breeze Marina.

There also were 21,000 steelhead released into the Oak Orchard River at the Bridges near Captain’s Cove and Narby’s Superette and Tackle.

The 106,500 Chinook salmon were released into pens, where they will spend the next 3 to 3 ½ weeks. The extra time in the pens will allow the fish to double in size and also imprint on the Oak Orchard, making it far more likely they will return to the Oak Orchard when they are mature in about 3 to 4 years.

Right now the fish are only about 2 inches long. When they are mature, they should be 25 to 30 pounds – or bigger.

The team of charter boat captains and other Point Breeze stakeholders started the pen-rearing project in 1998. Bob Songin, center, led the effort. He passed the leaderships reins about three years ago but continues to help with the pen rearing.

Since the pen rearing, charter boat captains say they noticed a big change with more fish in the Oak Orchard and in Lake Ontario near Orleans County.

“It’s made a huge difference,” said Mike Lavender, a charter boat captain locally for 25 years. “The return rate has definitely increased.”

Daniel Wik, left, and Mike Lavander, owner of Intimidator Sportfishing, move one of the pens to a different dock. The fish will be fed often while in the pens. The pens keep the fish safe from predators while the Chinook grow in the next month.

Volunteers assist the DEC in releasing the fish this afternoon.

Mary Duckworth offered to help with the fish stocking today. She and her husband enjoy fishing and they wanted to provide some assistance.

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Carlton highway garage damaged in accident

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 March 2018 at 6:32 pm

Employee drove dump truck into garage with box in upright position

Photo  by Tom Rivers

CARLTON – One of the bays in the Carlton highway garage was damaged today when an employee made a mistake and drove into the space with the box of a dump truck in the upright position.

That took out about six rows of cement blocks above the door, the steel-beam header and also damaged the door, Highway Superintendent Kurt Van Wycke said.

“The big thing is no one got hurt,” he said.

The employee is a long-time motor equipment operator for the town. Van Wycke said the employee is a hard worker and asset to the highway department.

The employee had the box in the upright position to wash out salt from the winter plowing season. The employee then went to put the truck back in the garage but forgot to lower the box.

“He is a veteran employee who was just thinking about the next thing to do,” Van Wycke said.

The open space has been boarded up and the insurance company will be on site on Wednesday. Van Wycke said the damage will be repaired.

The dump truck only has some cosmetic damage and still works just fine, he said.

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Meeting on April 11 will focus on waterfront development plan for Carlton, Kendall and Yates

Posted 26 March 2018 at 4:23 pm

Press Release, Orleans County Department of Planning and Development

CARLTON – As part of the ongoing effort to effectively plan for the waterfront, the Towns of Kendall, Carlton and Yates are undertaking the amendment of a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. Additionally, the Village of Lyndonville has opted to participate in the program.

To introduce this project to the public, residents of the forenamed municipalities along with other interested parties are invited to attend a public information meeting. Those in attendance at this meeting are encouraged to offer their input on what they feel is important for the future of the waterfront area, and to help the Project Planning Team identify important issues and opportunities in this area.

The Public Information Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 11, 2018 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Carlton Fire Recreation Hall, 1813 Oak Orchard Road. Doors will open a half hour early to allow the public time to review maps of existing conditions for the area. Comments will be accepted electronically for those who cannot attend by clicking here.

A Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) is an extension of the New York State Coastal Management Program. Having a local program enables waterfront communities to evaluate land use and waterfront resources and develop a comprehensive strategy to effectively manage and protect these resources.

By applying a local focus on land use management and the maintenance, improvement and enhancement of important resources and features in the waterfront area, an LWRP strengthens the State’s program and provides the participating communities with a roadmap to guide growth and recognize opportunities. It also provides more local control over decisions made along its waterfront. The goal is to develop a local program that properly manages land use and future development along the waterfront and effectively protects important coastal resources.

The Orleans County Department of Planning and Development was awarded a grant from New York State for the amendment of the LWRP. The County entered into a contract for the provision of professional services with Wendel and WWS Planning in April 2017 to assist with this project. Wendel and WWS Planning have been working with a community-based steering group – the Waterfront Advisory Committee – to collect and review information on existing waterfront conditions, including land use and community character, economic development, public access and recreation, flooding and erosion, historic preservation, scenic resources, environmental resources and water quality. To complement this information, the Waterfront Advisory Committee is asking local citizens to assist in identifying important issues, opportunities, desires and concerns to help establish a clear vision for the waterfront.

The information gathered at the Public Information Meeting will be useful for revising the State’s coastal management policies to better reflect issues and opportunities of local importance. This information will also help to determine where projects could be undertaken for improving the use and enjoyment of the waterfront.

As the LWRP project progresses, progress reports and draft materials will be made available to the public for review and additional input. Ultimately, the governing Board of each participating community must take action to adopt the amended LWRP; therefore, public involvement is critical to ensure that this project can result in a waterfront program that protects and improves the waterfront.

For additional information on these meetings or the LWRP project, contact Wendy Salvati, WWS Planning, (716) 870-2724 or the Director of Orleans County Department of Planning and Development, Jim Bensley, (585) 589-3189.

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