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450 feet of AquaDam placed at Oak Orchard on the Lake

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 May 2019 at 5:24 pm

Another AquaDam headed to Ed Rose Shores in Kendall

Photos by Tom Rivers

POINT Breeze – Mike Walsh walks by the AquaDam that was put in his yard today by the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control.

Walsh has lived at Oak Orchard on the Lake in Carlton the past 22 years. Lake Ontario has been steadily rising this spring and the waves are already crashing over a new breakwall that was put in for him and his neighbors last year.

Walsh said the breakwalls have better secured the property for likely flooding this year, compared to the high lake levels in 2017. That year Walsh put in 4,000 sandbags to try to fend off the high waters.

“We were hoping this wouldn’t happen again,” he said.

J.P. Przybychen of the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control checks pumps for the AquaDam. Przybychen and three co-workers from OFPC started spreading out the AquaDam about 8:30 this morning. He estimated at 3:30 p.m. today it had about one more hour to go before it was full.

The AquaDam is 450 feet long and is in three sections, two at 100 feet and one at 250. Inside are two tubes or “bladders” that are like thick garbage bags, which are wrapped in the thick outer layer of rubber.

The AquaDam will likely stay all summer and into the fall, until the lake levels go down.

Another AquaDam will be placed in Kendall in the next few days by a section of Ed Rose Shores, pending delivery of the AquaDam, said Dale Banker, director of emergency management for Orleans County.

He reached out to the state about the availability of the AquaDams.

When the Aqua Dams are no longer needed, the water will be pumped back into the lake.

In addition to the AquaDams, the National Guard has been in Orleans County the past two days filling sandbags. They placed about 1,000 at th Green Harbor Campground and Marina.

Walsh, the Oak Orchard resident, thanked the local and state officials for putting the AquaDam in place.

“This will do the job,” he said.

The waves crash against the breakwalls at Oak Orchard on the Lake this afternoon. The AquaDam provides a big layer of protection from the invading water.

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National Guard helps stack sandbags for campground as lake begins flooding

Photos by Tom Rivers: Lake Ontario crashes into the shoreline at Green Harbor Campground in Carlton today. Sandbags remain from two years ago when there was significant flooding and erosion at the campground.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 May 2019 at 3:31 pm

CARLTON – Barb and Don Anderson, owners of Green Harbor Campground and Marina in Carlton, hoped 2017 was just a blip, a one-time event when Lake Ontario flooded the campground, chewing away precious land.

The Andersons spent the fall of 2017 and much of last year raising the land about 3 feet near the lake and Perch Creek. They put in rocks and lots of dirt, restoring washed out land.

Photo courtesy of Barb Anderson: Members of the National Guard stack sandbags along Perch Creek, which is starting to flood into the campground.

Photo courtesy of Steven Anderson: Eight members of the National Guard arrived this afternoon to begin stacking about 1,000 sandbags at the campground, a task that will continue on Friday.

Green Harbor opened for a new season on May 1, and the Andersons have been welcoming back their guests who stay at 86 seasonal sites.

They were all ready for months of relaxation in the quiet campground community off Lakeshore Road, near the Yates town line. But everyone is feeling anxious as Lake Ontario rises.

“We thought they wouldn’t let this happen again, but it’s happening again,” Mrs. Anderson said today, while waiting for the National Guard to arrive to help stack sandbags.

Barb Anderson is worried as Perch Creek starts to flood.

She estimates the family invested about $100,000 in putting in new fill, docks and restoring a jetty. That work with the jetty has already come mostly undone after being knocked away by the hard-charging waves.

The Andersons have owned Green Harbor for 14 years. They didn’t have a flooding problem until two years ago. Last year started to get high, but the lake backed off and it was a good season, she said.

However, the family didn’t charge many of the campers in 2018 after what they endured the previous year. The Andersons wanted to start recovering financially this year.

She appreciates the sand bags which were dropped off by the Carlton Highway Department. They will be stacked along the edge of Perch Creek, hopefully to stop the water from reaching some of the camp sites.

“It’s starting to flood,” she said. “We have to save the land.”

There are about 1,000 sandbags at Green Harbor.

The high waters nearly cover the big rocks at the mouth of Perch Creek at the campground and marina.

There isn’t much room left before the lake reaches this campsite along the shoreline.

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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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100K fish – steelhead and salmon – delivered to Oak Orchard

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 April 2019 at 3:25 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

POINT BREEZE – Dave Agness of Honeoye Falls helps a team of volunteers and the state Department of Environmental Conservation release 10,000 steelhead into pens this afternoon at the Oak Orchard River. The DEC also brought along 90,200 Chinook salmon.

Charter boat captains and other volunteers have been raising fish in pens in the Oak Orchard River since 1998. This was the first pen-rearing project on the south shore of the lake. Now there are many.

Dave Agness guides the steelhead into one of the pens. The DEC delivered 10,000 steelhead (rainbow trout) and 90,200 Chinook salmon to the Oak Orchard River today.

The fish are small right now. They will spend the next 3 to 3 ½ weeks in pens, and will be given lots of food. They will nearly double in size when they are released into Lake Ontario.

Raising them in pens at Ernst’s Lake Breeze Marina increases their survival rate, and also helps them to imprint on the Oak Orchard River. That boosts the chances they will come back when they are mature in about 3 to 4 years.

The DEC brought two trucks with tanks full of fish that were from the Altmar Hatchery in northern New York.

Mark Licata of Greece helps with the fish stocking. Licata and Agness are both members of the Seth Green chapter of Trout Unlimited in Rochester, which has about 500 members.

A small steelhead is headed for one of the pens.

There are four pens that are 20 feet long and about 6 feet wide for the Chinook salmon. There are also two new pens the same size for the steelhead. Students at the WeMoCo BOCES in Spencerport helped weld and build the two new pens for the steelhead.

The pens have automated feeders with food provided by the DEC.

Bob Songin, a charter boat captain, takes a turn guiding the fish into the pens. Songin has been an active volunteer with the pen-rearing since it started more than 20 years ago.

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Apple growers from all over the world come to Orleans for inspiration

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 February 2019 at 8:24 am

6 local farms highlighted on tour for International Fruit Tree Association

Photos by Tom Rivers

KENT – Roger Bannister, owner of Excelsior Farms in Kent, gives a tour of a block of apple trees on Route 98 near Lake Ontario.

Excelsior was one of six apple farms in Orleans County on a tour Tuesday by the International Tree Fruit Association. There were 350 people on the tour with apple growers from Washington, Michigan and other states as well as growers from Australia, Israel, Canada, China and New Zealand.

“We have a lot of cutting-edge growers,” said Craig Kahlke, a fruit specialist with Cornell’s Lake Ontario Fruit Program. “They each are featuring something different. The goal is to help put more money in growers’ pockets.”

The IFTA is having its annual conference in Rochester. The conference was in New Zealand last year. The four-day conference is offering growers tips on reducing costs and increasing efficiencies.

Rod Farrow, co-owner of Fish Creek Orchards (formerly known as Lamont Fruit Farm) in Waterport, is the current president of the International Tree Fruit Association.

Tour buses stopped at Excelsior Farms and five other apple orchards in Orleans County on Tuesday. There were 350 people on the tour.

Excelsior Farms has a high-density orchard with multi-leader trees. Using multi-leader trees saves farms from planting more trees, compared to ones that are one leader. Excelsior also spaces the rows at 8.5 feet. That distance allows for lots of sunshine on the trees.

Other farms on the tour included:

• Kast Farms in Albion, which showcased a Geneva rootstock trial.

• Sandy Knoll Farms in Lyndonville, which demonstrated three-dimensional to two-dimensional tree architecture conversion.

• Fish Creek Orchards, formerly known as Lamont Fruit Farm in Waterport, which discussed a robot-ready fruiting wall and bloom thinning trials, where a robot takes images of a tree and helps to quickly identify how many apples need to be removed for an optimum crop.

• Zingler Farms in Kendall, which featured for an organized vertical canopy. The trees are very similar and that increases predictability, making it easier for workers to thin and prune trees.

• Orchard Dale Farms in Carlton demonstrated grafted blocks using beaver and side grafts.

Photo courtesy of Molly Zingler: Mike Zingler, right, and his son James were featured speakers on the tour of Zingler Farms in Kendall.

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Route 18 bridge in Carlton reopens to 2-lane traffic

Posted 4 February 2019 at 12:20 pm

Press Release, NYS Department of Transportation

CARLTON – The New York State Department of Transportation is advising motorists that, as of this morning, the bridge carrying Route 18 over Oak Orchard Creek in the Town of Carlton is now open to two lanes of traffic.

Last week traffic was reduced to a one-way alternating pattern using a signal at each end of the bridge. Work began last Friday, and bridge maintenance crews worked throughout the weekend to restore traffic over the bridge to two lanes.

The stretch of Lake Ontario State Parkway west of Route 98, which was previously closed for the winter, temporarily re-opened to provide a detour. That stretch of Parkway has closed once again and is anticipated to re-open this spring.

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Carlton bridge on Route 18 will close for repairs

Staff Reports Posted 31 January 2019 at 9:11 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: The bridge on Route 18 over Oak Orchard Creek is pictured last week. The bridge was limited to alternating one-lane traffic.

CARLTON –  The New York State Department of Transportation today advised motorists of a short-term closure for the bridge on Route 18 over Oak Orchard Creek.

Earlier this month, traffic was reduced to a one-way alternating pattern using a signal at each end of the bridge. The repairs, which will begin on Friday, are expected to last approximately one week and will restore traffic over the bridge to two lanes.

A detour will be posted for motorists while the bridge is closed for repairs. The stretch of Lake Ontario State Parkway west of Route 98, which is currently closed for the winter, will re-open temporarily to accommodate traffic during the bridge closure.

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Local Muslim community concerned after plot uncovered to attack mosque near Binghamton

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 January 2019 at 7:18 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Orleans County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Colonna walks out of a Muslim prayer house on Fuller Road in Carlton with Bilal Huzair, Jacob Zimmerman (left) and David Bell (in back). Colonna urged the group if they “see something, say something” in regards to suspicious activity directed towards the community.

WATERPORT – About 100 members of a mosque in Waterport are feeling on edge after a plot was discovered against a Muslim community near Binghamton.

The nearby Greece Police Department arrested four people in an apparent planned terrorist attack against a small Muslim community near Binghamton. The four Rochester-area males, ages 16 to 20, face felony charges of weapons possession and conspiracy after they were found with 23 guns and three homemade bombs.

“Whenever we see it in the news we can’t help but be concerned about our community and our families,” said David Bell, a member of the mosque.

The local Muslim community is part of the World Sufi Foundation. They have had a prayer house in Waterport on Fuller Road the past 40 years and a mosque on West Avenue in Medina. The group has been targeted before, with two crosses burned in the front lawn of the prayer house on Fuller Road. In 2010 shots were fired at the prayer house in Waterport, and five teen-agers were arrested.

Bilal Huzair, deputy director of the World Sufi Foundation, said local law enforcement has been very supportive of the Muslim community, taking any threats and actions against the members seriously.

Orleans County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Colonna met with Bilal and some of the World Sufi members today at the prayer house. He urged they to stay connected and to report any suspicious activity.

“If you see something, say something,” Colonna said, repeating a mantra of community policing.

Bell said the most of local residents and churches in the Orleans County are very welcoming and supportive of the community.

Huzair said the local Muslims are proud Americans who enjoy their community in Orleans County. He was saddened to see that the four people arrested in Greece were planning such a destructive act.

“This divisiveness has to end,” he said. “We don’t have time for this junk.”

Huzair issued this statement on behalf of the World Sufi Foundation:

“We the people of Waterport, New York and Orleans County hereby declare that America has no place for Fascists or Neo-Nazis. In light of the recent apprehension of Fascists in possession of bombs and weapons, we are greatly appreciative of the men and women who risked their lives to avoid a catastrophe of epic proportions.

“This attempted attack on Americans living south of Binghamton, NY could have resulted in the disruption of the peace that all Americans are privileged to by the Constitution of this great nation of people.

“America is not a nation of just Republicans or Democrats or any other party. Americans are not white or black nor of any other race. We are not defined by our heritage or by our ethnicity.  We stand United by our Flag, which symbolizes the freedoms and liberties that we shall let no one remove from the toils of our forefathers. We condemn the actions of the few Fascists and stand with the men and women who defend our rights to practice our religion in peace.

“We acknowledge all the hard work by all members of law enforcement, both local and federal, even during this time of hardship by way of the government shutdown. We know that our President, Donald J. Trump, our Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen share the same sentiments expressed in this statement.

“We further thank the local and national media for bringing this crime to light and exposing this deviant and abhorrent attempt by these Fascists to disrupt the peaceful life of all Americans. To save one life is to save all Humanity.”

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Route 18 bridge in Carlton will be one-way, alternating, for the next few weeks

Posted 10 January 2019 at 2:41 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: This photo from March 2015 shows the bridge on Route 18 over Oak Orchard River when it was limited to one lane so the Department of Transportation could make repairs.

Press Release, NYS Department of Transportation

CARLTON – The New York State Department of Transportation is advising motorists about a new traffic pattern in place along the bridge carrying Route 18 over Oak Orchard Creek in the Town of Carlton, Orleans County.

The bridge, which is currently posted for 28 tons, will now be reduced to a one-way alternating traffic pattern using a traffic signal at each end of the bridge.

This pattern is expected to continue for the next several weeks as NYSDOT is currently planning repairs to the bridge, allowing for two-way traffic to resume.

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Sheriff’s Office helps deliver Toys for Tots to Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 December 2018 at 11:44 am

Provided photos

WATERPORT – The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Lord’s House in Waterport with delivering toys last week to the church, where they were distributed to more than 40 families on Saturday. Pictured from left includes Undersheriff Christopher Bourke, Deputy Adam Hazel, Sgt. John Doyle, Chief Deputy Mike Mele, Lord’s House First Lady Rose English, Rev. Eddie English (Lord’s House pastor) and Rev. William Morrell Washington, Rose’s sister and pastor of the Royal Church of God in Christ in Carlton.

The Lord’s House has distributed Toys for Tots since 2008. The toys used to be delivered to the church by Toys for Tots. This time the church needed to go to Rochester to collect the gifts.

The church asked the Sheriff’s Office to see if it would help get the toys and bring them to the church.

Sgt. John Doyle of the Sheriff’s Office is in the trailer with some of the toys.

The church sent a Tahoe and a 14-foot-long trailer to collect the toys, which are going to more than 100 children in more than 40 families in Orleans County.

“I was so happy that they reached out,” said Sheriff Randy Bower. “It’s for the kids so it was an easy one for me.”

Rose English, first lady of the church, said there were sign-ups at the church and at Hoag Library for families to be included in Toys for Tots. There aren’t income cutoffs for the program.

“Just because you have an income doesn’t mean you can afford things,” she said today.

The number of people in the county participating in Toys for Tots has been growing over the years, she said.

She thanked the Sheriff’s Office for assisting with the pickup last week.

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