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USDA approves funding for 2 water projects in Clarendon

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 December 2018 at 11:55 am

CLARENDON – The Town of Clarendon has been approved for federal funding for two water projects.

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced the funding today. Clarendon will receive $790,000 for Water District No. 13 and $790,000 for a water improvement benefit area, No. 12.

The senators also announced funding for water projects in Alabama and Bethany in Genesee County. The Town of Torrey in Yates County also will receive federal money for its first-ever water district.

The funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development’s Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants Program.

“These federal investments in job-creating and economy-boosting water infrastructure projects are great news for the Rochester-Finger Lakes region,” Schumer said. “This federal funding will allow five towns across the region to construct and make critical improvements to municipal water systems needed to provide clean, safe drinking water to their communities. I am proud to announce these federal investments and will continue fighting to ensure rural communities across Upstate New York have the resources they need to build, protect and maintain their water infrastructure.”

“All New Yorkers should have access to a reliable source of clean water, and with these grants, communities throughout the Rochester-Finger Lakes region will be able to expand and improve their water systems,” Gillibrand said. “These investments will help provide safe and clean water for residents in the Towns of Alabama, Bethany, Clarendon, and Torrey, and I will always fight in the Senate for the resources to protect the health and quality of life for residents.”

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Clarendon buys old stone store for historian’s office, records storage

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 December 2018 at 1:28 pm

File photo: The Town of Clarendon is buying the former stone store building, at the corner of routes 237 and 31A.

CLARENDON – The Town of Clarendon is buying a historic building at the corner of routes 31A and 237 to use for the historian’s office and also for records storage, Town Supervisor Richard Moy said this morning.

The town has submitted an offer for $47,000 and that has been accepted by Joe and Sue Fertitta of Hilton.

The town is cramped at the current town hall and was considering an addition at $80,000 to $100,000, Moy said.

That addition would have been smaller than the 3,200-square-foot stone store building, Moy said.

He praised the Fertittas for their work the past five years in renovating the site, putting in new electric, plumbing, a furnace and many other upgrades.

“They did a fantastic job rehabbing it,” Moy said. “It made sense for us to keep it. We were short on space. We know it will be kept up.”

The building only a few years ago seemed headed for the wrecking ball when it was in disrepair and neighbors complained to the town about rodents at the site.

Other residents insisted the building was important and needed to be saved. The building goes back to the 1840s. The 3,200-square-foot building was used as a store up to 1975. It is a rare surviving example of a 19th century general store. The Landmark Society of Western New York and the town were successful about five years ago in getting the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Fertittas acquired the property and rented out the top floor as an apartment and the first floor for commercial space.

Moy said the first floor will be used by Town Historian Melissa Ierlan and the top floor will be used for records that need to be kept by the town.

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Clarendon town clerk continues Halloween tradition at town hall

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 October 2018 at 11:14 am

Photo courtesy of Melissa Ierlan

CLARENDON – Susan Colby, the Clarendon town clerk, has once again dressed up for Halloween at work, an annual tradition she has done for at least 20 years.

Colby, left, dressed up as the Mad Hatter. She is joined by Geary Shenck as a Keystone Cop and Linda Barrett as the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland.

Shenck is retired as the county’s animal control officer. He continues to write a monthly column – “Tid Bits” – for the town newsletter, The Clarendon Gazette. Barrett is the deputy town clerk.

“We like to have fun here,” Colby said about the town hall atmosphere.

Many residents have stopped by the building today to see what Colby and her coworkers would come up with for Halloween today.

“I love Halloween,” she said. “It’s one of my favorite holidays.”

If anyone else has workplace photos to share of people dressed up for Halloween, feel free to send to

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Clarendon water tower gets a new coat of paint

Staff Reports Posted 19 October 2018 at 5:49 pm

Provided photos

CLARENDON – A Georgia company has been painting the Clarendon water tower on Route 31A, next to the fire hall. The Clarendon Town Board in August approved paying $184,131 to Utility Service Co., Inc.

The water tower was built about 20 years ago and is 175 feet high.

It has been temporarily out of service so it could be repainted.

A state grant for up to $200,000 was secured by State Sen. Robert Ortt to help with the project. The money comes through the State and Municipal Facilities Capital Funding Program or SAM.

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Heritage Festival kicks off with 10-day focus on local historic, cultural assets

Photos by Tom Rivers: Sonny Mayo, a recently retired GCC professor, performed a concert on Friday evening at the Clarendon Historical Society to kick off the Orleans County Heritage Festival.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 September 2018 at 11:36 am

3rd annual event begins and will include many impressionists, lectures, Civil War Encampment and timeline festival

Everyone who attends the festival will receive a free commemorative button.

CLARENDON – The third annual Orleans County Heritage Festival started on Friday with a kick-off celebration at the Clarendon Historical Society. The 10-day festival has events around the county and this year includes a focus on women’s history.

Organizers chose to focus on four themes this year: the Erie Canal, historic women, barns/barn quilts, and nature/wildlife.

“I think this is our best programming year,” said Derek Maxfield, a GCC history professor and one of the organizers of the festival. “We have stellar women’s programming.”

The festival will include impressionists of Abigail Adams and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Dr. Melinda Grube, who portrays Stanton, has three appearances during the festival, including a presentation at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 10, at the Hoag Library. She will lead a women’s history program entitled “Justifying Suffrage: From Mothers of the Republic to Angels of the Home.” Even before the patriots of 1776 first proclaimed that “all men are created equal,” Americans struggled to define women’s proper role. Are women included among the equal “men” of this nation? Are women citizens? Are they persons? Dr. Grube will examine the issues.

Several leaders of local historical associations have worked with Maxfield, GCC and the Orleans County Tourism Department for the event. The first year the kick off was in Albion. Last year it was at Forrestel Farms in Medina. This year the Clarendon Historical Society hosted the kick off.

“We want to have it at all corners of the county,” Maxfield said about the festival.

Maxfield said the county is very fortunate to have many historic sites and resources. The festival highlights some of those assets.

“This year is a tipping point,” Maxfield said about the event’s future. “We need more community support. The key to sustaining this is to see more bodies. We need more people to attend the events.”

Derek Maxfield gives welcome address on Friday evening. A GCC history professor, Maxfield said the festival and the many events during the 10-day celebration offer a chance to educate outside of a traditional classroom.

“I love this,” he said about the Heritage Festival. “You got to keep looking for new ways to teach history.”

The kick off included a wine tasting by the Clarendon Historical Society.

The Clarendon Lions Club served refreshments at the kick off on Friday.

The former schoolhouse at Manning Corners in Clarendon was relocated to Route 31A by the Town Hall. A limestone hitching post is in front of the schoolhouse.

The inside of the school includes many artifacts from the community.

Roy Bubb of Holley gave tours of the schoolhouse that he attended as a kid in the Clarendon hamlet of Manning Corners on Route 31A. Bubb attended the school from first grade through sixth grade. The 1949 Holley graduate has written a book, “Memories of Manninng Corners,”  about growing up on a farm in the community. Bubb has published nearly a half dozen books. When he was 18, he attended an auction at the school after it was closed. He bought many of the contents for $1. Some of those, the teacher’s desk and chairs, were donated to the Cobblestone Museum. Bubb saved other registers and documents that are on display at the schoolhouse.

“I’m glad they saved it,” he said about the school building.

Some highlights for today’s schedule include:

• 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Clarendon Historical Society will host Civil War Encampment featuring Union and Confederate soldiers.

•  2 to 3 p.m. – World premiere of Rudely Stamp’d presentation “Now We Stand Together Always: A conversation between Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman.” The outdoor performance will be at the Clarendon Historical Society. The play features a conversation between Civil War commanders Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Major Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman. Based on a March 1865 discussion between the men at City Point, Virginia, where Grant made his headquarters, the play will be performed by GCC professors Tracy Ford (as Sherman) and Derek Maxfield (as Grant).  This free event is outdoors, weather-permitting; lawn chairs are suggested.

• 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Orleans Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners’ “Orleans Pollinators” display/presentation and plant sale at the 4-H Fairgrounds.

• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Medina Historical Society will feature the marriage of former Medina resident Frances Folsom to President Grover Cleveland.

• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Cobblestone Museum Art Show Opening: Cobblestone Sunday Painters presents, “An Eye for History,” an exhibit of paintings of historic artifacts from the Cobblestone Collection painted by Pat Greene and her students.

• 11a.m. to 5 p.m. – Cobblestone Museum will be open for tours and programming including the famous “Akeley Fox”

• 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. – Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge presents Native American Walks-Uses of Wild Plants led by Marvin Jacobs at Kanyoo Trail (Route 77). Bring bug spray.

To see the entire schedule for the Heritage Festival, click here.

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Clarendon resident presents wood carving to town of the founder’s mill

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 September 2018 at 5:44 pm

Photos courtesy of Melissa Ierlan

CLARENDON – Bob Barrett, a Clarendon resident who lives in the town founder’s house, surprised town officials today by presenting a wood carving that Barrett made to show the mill run by Eldredge Farwell, founder of Clarendon.

Farwell discovered Clarendon in 1810 while looking for his brother Isaac’s lost horse. He traced Isaac’s footprints along the border of Sandy Creek and was impressed with the town waterfalls.

Farwell saw the waterfalls as a potential source of power for business. He moved his family to Clarendon in 1811 and built saw and grist mills. The town was originally named Farwell’s Mills but was renamed to Clarendon. Farwell was from Clarendon, Vermont. He died in 1843.

Barrett based his carving on this historical image from Melissa Ierlan, the town’s historian. Barrett worked about 50 hours on the carving.

Barrett has also made frames to display artifacts in the town hall, including a poster for the Clarendon sesiquencentennial in 1960 and an old map of the town. He also used his woodworking skills to restore a desk and chair in a historic cobblestone schoolhouse in Gaines on Gaines basin Road.

“He is a wonderful person and I can’t ever thank him enough for the things he does for us,” Ierlan said.

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County awards $535K contract to replace culvert on South Holley Road

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 August 2018 at 11:08 am

CLARENDON – The Orleans County Legislature has awarded the contract to replace a culvert bridge on South Holley Road in Clarendon.

Diehl Development of Bergen is the lowest responsible bidder on the project and will do the work for $535,723, the Legislature said.

The new bridge culvert is fully funded through the Bridge NY program, Jerry Gray, the county highway superintendent, said.

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6 Scouts from Clarendon earn their Eagle

Photos by Tom Rivers: These six Boy Scouts are pictured with Scoutmaster Jak Kohmann at a Court of Honor celebration on Wednesday evening at the Disciples United Methodist Church in Clarendon. Pictured from left include: Xander Apicella, Matt DeSimone, Dalton Thurley, Jak Kohmann, William Harrington, Jake DeSimone and Ben Downey.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 August 2018 at 8:07 am

32 have now earned Scouting’s top rank from Troop 59 in past 16 years

Ron Boyd, a mentor and volunteer in Troop 59, puts the Eagle kerchief on Xander Apicella. Jake Thurley, not in photo, put the kerchief on his brother Dalton Thurley, right.

CLARENDON – Six Boy Scouts from Troop 59 in Clarendon are the latest to earn their Eagle rank, bringing the number of Eagle Scouts to 32 in the past 16 years from the troop.

Xander Apicella, Matt DeSimone, Dalton Thurley, William Harrington, Jake DeSimone and Ben Downey held their Court of Honor celebration on Wednesday at the Disciples United Methodist Church, where the troop meets every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Scoutmaster Jak Kohmann praised the scouts for their dedication. They pushed themselves to earn merit badges and complete projects in the community.

“They do the work,” Kohmann told the group gathered at the church for the Court of Honor. “They have a true commitment. Without that dedication these six wouldn’t be up here today.”

Eagle Scouts need to earn at least 21 merit badges, but many of the scouts in Clarendon go well beyond that. They have completed projects at Hillside Cemetery, the Clarendon Historical Society, Clarendon Fire Hall and the town park. The projects need to take at least 100 hours, but Kohmann said the Clarendon Scouts put in at least 150, with some taking 400 hours to complete.

“They turn into young men and they get jobs,” Kohmann said about the Eagle Scouts. “We stay in touch and I see these people out in the community and they are pillars of the community.”

Jak Kohmann speaks during the Court of Honor on Wednesday evening. He said the Eagle Scouts are self motivated. Behind him include Ben Downey, Matt DeSimone and Jake DeSimone.

The six new Eagles all presented Kohmann with a mentor pin during the Court of Honor. They also recognized John Crandall, the assistant scoutmaster, and others who have supported their Scouting journey.

Xander Apicella began as a Webelos in the fifth grade. He created a firemen’s memorial at the Clarendon Volunteer Fire Company for his Eagle Scout project. He is entering his junior year at University of California at Santa Barbara, where he is majoring in physics and minoring in writing.

Jake DeSimone started as a Tiger in the first grade. For his Eagle project, he constructed and landscaped a flower bed at the Clarendon Fire Hall. He is pursuing a business degree at Monroe Community College.

Matthew DeSimone, Jake’s younger brother, also started scouts in the first grade as a Tiger. He renovated the park pavilion in Clarendon for his Eagle project. He is pursuing a degree in business/pre-law at Geneseo State College.

Ben Downey started scouts in the second grade as a Wolf. For his Eagle project, he installed a fence at the memorial at Hillside Cemetery. He is currently doing commercial and electrical work for Edwards Electric and Communications in Rochester.

These new Eagle Scouts recite the Scout Oath. They include Will Harrington, Xander Apicella and Dalton Thurley.

William Harrington started as a Tiger Scout in the first grade. He constructed a display wall with lighting in the Clarendon Historical Society for his Eagle project. He is majoring in biology, chemistry and music in a pre-vet program at Elmira College.

Dalton Thurley joined scouts in the first grade as a Tiger. He cleaned and repaired the veterans’ section of Hillside Cemetery for his Eagle project. He will be studying mechanical electrical engineering technology at Alfred State beginning this fall.

Kohmann has served as Scoutmaster for 16 years, including several years after his son aged out of the program. Derek Kohmann, now 27, was the third of the 32 scouts to earn his Eagle under Kohmann.

Kohmann worked 30 years at Kodak and then another eight years at the Holley Pharmacy until he retired in April. He found scouting to be a needed break from the stresses of his job.

“This was a nice release from that,” he said. “I have a good time here.”

The Clarendon troop also has many engaged parents and several active volunteers. Kohmann does the paperwork after the scouts earn their badges and ranks.

He intends to stay active in the troop “as long as the kids keep coming.”

Will Harrington hugs Melissa Ierlan after presenting her with a mentor pin. Irelan helped many of the Eagle Scouts identify their projects in the community.

John Crandall, the assistant Scoutmaster the past nine years, says the many Eagle Scouts in the troop show others that the coveted rank is attainable.

“Once they see their peers get an Eagle, it inspires them,” Crandall said.

His son Jacob, 20, earned his Eagle. Another son, Jeremy, needs three more merit badges and has to complete his project to become an Eagle. Jeremy, 17, expects to become an Eagle next year.

Crandall also praised Melissa Ierlan for connecting many of the Eagle Scouts to their projects. Ierlan is president of the Historical Society and the town’s code enforcement officer.

“She helps with the logistics,” Crandall said. “She has tons of contacts.”

Ultimately, Crandall said Kohmann sets the tone in the troop, and keeps the scouts engaged.

“Jak is very regimented and available for the boys,” Crandall said. “You won’t find someone more dedicated to Boy Scouts. He makes it attainable to the boys.”

Kohmann said the troop welcomes more scouts. They can stop by the Disciples United Methodist Church on a Thursday evening for more information.

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Sheriff’s Office identifies man killed in Clarendon accident

Staff Reports Posted 25 July 2018 at 2:41 pm

CLARENDON — The man killed Tuesday night in a motor vehicle accident in Clarendon has been identified as Matthew Gardner, 25, of Hamlin.

He was driving a 2013 Chevrolet pickup truck eastbound on Route 31A when a 1994 Ford flatbed truck pulled into the intersection at Fancher Road, Chief Deputy Michael Mele said.

The 1994 Ford was driven by Kevin Lupiani, 40, of Medina, who failed to stop for a stop sign, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Both vehicles came to a rest in a cornfield on the southeast side of the intersection at about 10:30 p.m. Lupiani was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester by Monroe Ambulance.

Gardner was taken to Strong West in Brockport and was pronounced dead.

The accident is under investigation by the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

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1 person killed in Clarendon after rollover accident

Posted 25 July 2018 at 7:29 am

Press Release, Orleans County Sheriff’s Office

CLARENDON — The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a two-car fatal motor vehicle accident in the Town of Clarendon on Tuesday night.

At approximately 10:35 p.m., a call came to the Orleans County 911 dispatch center reporting a rollover accident at the intersection of Route 31A and Fancher Road.

After a preliminary investigation, it appears that a 1994 Ford flatbed truck operated by Kevin Lupiani, 40, of Medina failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection and struck a 2013 Chevrolet pickup truck that was traveling eastbound on Route 31A.

Both vehicles came to rest in a corn field on the south east side of the intersection. Lupiani was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester by Monroe Ambulance and is in stable condition.

The driver of the pickup truck was taken to Strong West in Brockport where he was pronounced dead. The name of the deceased is being withheld until notification of the family is complete.

In both vehicles, the driver was the sole occupant. The accident remains under investigation by the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

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