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Eagle Harbor church donates to recovery outreach center

Staff Reports Posted 4 June 2019 at 8:01 am

Provided photo

EAGLE HARBOR – The Eagle Harbor United Methodist Church on Sunday donated $1,000 to the ROCovery FITness Outreach Center. Pastor Susan Boring, left, and Kyle Syck announce the church’s donation to the Rochester organization.

The donation came from the mission money that was collected as a part of the church’s Lenten journey this spring.

ROCovery FITness on Dewey Avenue is a “sober active community center.” The programs are free and open to anyone with 48 hours of continuous sobriety.

The center offers services ranging from running, body conditioning, weight lifting, cycling, hiking, yoga, meditation, planned trips, social events and other activities for people recovering from addiction in Western New York.

ROCovery FITness also offers peer support and connections to treatment/community resources.

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Cobblestone Museum opens for the season today

Staff Reports Posted 1 June 2019 at 8:32 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: These sculptures from the “Rogers Groups” are part of an opening day exhibit at the Cobblestone Museum today. The exhibit is in the bottom floor of the Cobblestone Universalist Church on Route 104.

GAINES – The Cobblestone Museum is opening for the season today and will unveil the museum’s new “living history” program. “A Day in the Life” is complete with costumed re-enactors and heritage demonstrations from noon to 4 p.m.

Visitors can step back in time in many of the museum buildings and “meet” people from the past who lived and worked in Orleans County in the 19th century. Blacksmiths and printers, along with other re-enactors who will portray school teachers and preachers will be on hand to entertain.

The museum will also serve up a complimentary slice of strawberry pie at the conclusion of the tour today.

The museum today at 4 p.m. will also have an official opening for the newest exhibit, “Rogers Groups,” which features a dozen works of statuary art by 19th century sculptor, John Rogers.

Known as “The People’s Sculptor,” Rogers sculpted in plaster instead of bronze to make a product that was affordable by the masses. Cobblestone Trustee Bill Lattin has loaned his personal collection of statuary to the museum for this special exhibit.

The opening will be held from 4 to 6 p.m., with remarks by Lattin at 5 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. The Rogers Groups Exhibit will be on display in the museum’s Danolds Room throughout 2019, located in the lower level of the Cobblestone Church.

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Gaines couple, 3 dogs safely flee fire on Allens Bridge Road

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 May 2019 at 2:20 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

GAINES – A firefighter approaches a house that was on fire this afternoon at 2861 Allens Bridge Rd.

Kevin Wright and his wife, Lyace Keeman, were able to safely get out of the house. Their three dogs also are safe.

Fire went through the entire house, which is a mobile home with a house built around it.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 12:57 p.m. Steve Cooley, an Orleans County fire investigator, is on scene trying to determine the cause.

Albion, Barre, Carlton, Medina and Ridgeway firefighters all responded to the scene. National Grid also has crews on site.

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County Planning Board supports Gaines’ solar energy regulations

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 May 2019 at 5:46 pm

GAINES – The Orleans County Planning Board on Thursday voted in favor of proposed regulations from the Town of Gaines for solar energy systems and solar farms.

Gaines has proposed regulations for ground-mounted and roof-mounted solar projects. Large-scale projects which are greater than 4,000 square feet of lot coverage are allowed in Residential-Agricultural and Commercial districts, but are subject to site plan review.

The large-scale projects aren’t allowed in the Commercial Historic District, which includes the Cobblestone Museum.

The solar projects need setbacks of at least 100 feet from the front of a road (120 feet on Ridge Road), and 15 feet of side and rear setbacks.

Projects that are 40,000 square feet of lot coverage or more will require a special use permit from the town.

Those larger projects also have front setbacks of at least 100 feet (120 from Ridge Road). The side and rear setbacks are a minimum of 50 feet.

Solar farms (primarily for off-site use) will require the following:

• Minimum lot size of 3 acres for systems with 4,000 square feet or more of lot coverage;

• Site plan review required for systems with 4,000 square feet or more of lot coverage;

• Special use permit required for systems with 40,000 square feet or more of lot coverage;

• Minimum requirements for lot size, setbacks, lot coverage and height;

• Fencing for mechanical equipment;

• Vegetated buffer for screening;

• Signage identifying operator contact information and voltage warnings;

• Glare prevention;

• Operation and maintenance plan;

• Abandonment and decommissioning, which stipulates that large-scale solar energy systems or solar farms will be considered abandoned after six month without electrical energy generation, and must be removed from the property. Developers of the projects need to have  decommissioning plan for how they will remove infrastructure, and remediate soil and vegetation. The developer will be obligated to remove all ground-mounted solar collectors, structures, equipment, security barriers and transmission lines, and also needs to dispose of any solid or hazardous waste in accordance with all state and federal regulations.

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Cobblestone Museum welcomes first school tour of the season

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 May 2019 at 8:54 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Anaiya Griffin, an Albion third-grader, tries to lift a bear trap in the Farmer’s Hall at the Cobblestone Museum. About 60 Albion third-graders toured the Cobblestone Museum on Friday, the first school tour of the season.

There were three Albion third grade classes at the museum on Friday. Three more classes from Albion are scheduled to visit on May 29.

Brenda Radzinski, left, served as one of the tour guides. She said the bear trap is about 200 years old. A bear got caught in the trap and managed to walk in it for 14 miles about 150 years ago, when the trap was found in Barre.

Farmer’s Hall functions as an exhibition hall for 19th and early 20th century farming implements. One of the more interesting items in the Farmer’s Hall is a dog-powered butter churn.

Brenda Radzinski shows third-graders a barrel which she said were made by skilled people known as coopers.

Gerard Morrisey, one of the guides, leads the group into the Cobblestone Universalist Church, which was built in 1834 and is the oldest cobblestone church in North America. Morrissey shared with students how the early residents of the communities collected stones from fields and near Lake Ontario and set them in rows of mortar on the outside of buildings. Children back then would help their families collect the stones to build the cobblestone houses and churches.

Georgia Thomas gives students a tour of the print shop, which was originally in Medina in the 1870s. Thomas said the printer did the work without spell check and had to set the type manually.

Photo courtesy of Marsha Rivers: Sandy Heise, a retired Albion teacher, discusses life in the one-room schoolhouse, which opened in 1849 and served the Gaines community until it was closed in 1952.

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Cobblestone’s annual dinner, auction raises about $50K

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 May 2019 at 10:49 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

CARLTON – The Cobblestone Society and Museum held its second annual membership dinner on Wednesday evening, which included an auction at the Carlton Recreation Center.

The event raised about $50,000 for the museum, which is located in Gaines near the intersection of routes 98 and 104.

Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower, center, served as the auctioneer. Larry Albanese, left, was one of the spotters. Marty Taber holds a writing desk that was bought by the highest bidder.

There were 21 items in the live auction.

Joyce Chizick of Lyndonville bids on one of the items, a one-night stay in the Cobblestone Cottage Bed & Breakfast, built in 1837 in Canandaigua.

About 100 people attended the dinner and auction. In addition to the items the live auction, there were 44 items in a silent auction and 42 baskets and gifts in a general raffle.

Tim Pierce, right, fills a plate with food catered by Zambistro in Medina.

Marty Taber holds a rocking chair with blue cushions which was sponsored for the auction by Frank’s Auto Repair in Albion.

Randy Bower scans the room for a bidder at the auction.

Gail Johnson serves as chairwoman of the event, which has become the museum’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

Russ Bosch of Clarendon holds a 1980 clock, which he and his wife Erin Anheier donated for the auction. They also donated a clock from 1870 for the event.

Next year’s Cobblestone Membership Dinner will be May 6, 2020. The museum opens for the season this year on June 1.

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Fiddlers pack Cobblestone Church for old-time concert

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 April 2019 at 7:20 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Mike Deniz of Fairport plays the violin during Sunday’s performance by Elderberry Jam at the Cobblestone Church in the Gaines hamlet of Childs.

CHILDS – Doug Farley, director of the Cobblestone Museum, had one wish for Sunday’s fiddlers’ concert presented by the band Elderberry Jam.

That was to have standing room only, something which has never been done in the historic church, to his knowledge.

At the end of the day, Farley was smiling, the crowd was cheering and the band was promising to come back.

Elderberry Jam performed for a packed church on Sunday. The church was built in 1834 and is the oldest cobblestone church in North America.

There were 167 people who filled the sanctuary and overflowed into the balconies to hear the band which included guitars, a banjo, hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, fiddles, mandolin and bass. The eight musicians are part of the Fiddlers of the Genesee.

“I was so pleased to see the main floor completely filled and guests moving up to the balconies on each side of the church,” Farley said. “It was great to see so many folks from Lockport and Brockport, too.”

Farley also said the freewill offering exceeded his expectations, and he was very grateful to those who were so generous.

Elderberry Jam expects to be back at the museum for another concert this year.

Members of the band were in awe of the historic church and have agreed to return to entertain during one of the Cobblestone’s summer events.

Mary Hyder of Penfield learned to play the hammered dulcimer 15 years ago, she said. She already played piano, but wanted an instrument she could carry around.

Her instrument was a complete opposite of the mountain dulcimer which Mike Deniz of Fairport played.

The band has a repertoire of more than 200 tunes, as members of the Fiddlers of the Genesee.

They chose a selection of 25 old-time favorites and some unheard of ones, which had the audience tapping their toes and clapping their hands. The program included traditional Irish, Scottish and American songs, jigs, waltzes, polkas and ragtime, to name a few.

Elderberry Jam gets together to play every Friday, but they still met several times to rehearse for their Cobblestone concert, said banjo player/guitarist Tom Bailey.

The musicians played to one of the biggest crowds at the historic church in recent memory.

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Members of the band Elderberry Jam get ready for their concert Sunday at the Cobblestone Church in Childs. Mary Hyder of Penfield warms up on the hammered dulcimer, while Mike Deniz of Fairport tunes his mountain dulcimer.


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Group will play benefit fiddle concert April 14 at Cobblestone Museum

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 7 April 2019 at 7:10 pm

Provided photo: Elderberry Jam will bring their fiddle music for a free concert next Sunday at the Cobblestone Museum.

GAINES – The Cobblestone Museum will welcome a popular group of musicians for a special concert on April 14.

The 3 p.m. concert next Sunday will be at the Cobblestone Universalist Church, which will spring to life with the performance of Elderberry Jam, a group of very talented musicians from the Genesee Valley who will perform an old-time fiddle music concert.

They will play waltzes, rags, polkas, jigs, reels, bluegrass and some “good old fiddle tunes,” said Doug Farley, director of the Cobblestone Museum .

Elderberry Jam is a highly sought-after group which is very selective about where they perform, preferring to entertain only for non-profits.

They had previously played for a short time at the Cobblestone Museum during a Historic Trades Fair in August 2017.

“They were a big hit then and we decided it would be great if they would present a ‘stand along’ concert in our National Historic Landmark Cobblestone Church ,” Farley said. “It took them two years to come up with a free date, but we finally made it all work out for this year on April 14. Our goal is to fill the church, a feat I’ve not seen since I’ve been here.”

“We are part of the Fiddlers of the Genesee, and play the same music reminiscent of our forefathers who gathered together on a Friday or Saturday night to play music with their neighbors, forgetting about the trials and struggles of the week,” said Tom Bailey, a member of the group.

Fiddlers of the Genesee is a music club that has been around for 28 years.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Fred Vieira plays bass for the musical group. They played outside next to the Farmers Hall during a Historic Trades Fair at the museum on Aug. 26, 2017.

Falling under the genre of “old time fiddle music,” they play acoustic instruments and also include some Irish, Appalachian and Canadian music. The club gets together to play every Friday evening. Its members come from Greece and Brockport to Fairport, Webster and Perinton.

Fiddlers of the Genesee and Elderberry Jam really enjoy playing at senior centers, giving the residents a chance to relax and bring back memories, as many of them grew up with this music, Bailey said. The music group is often seen playing at fairs and festivals through summer months and also serves as one of the sponsors of the Fiddlers Fair every August at Genesee Country Village Museum.

A highlight of their annual events is when Fiddlers of the Genesee play at Bristol Valley Theater in October.

“The Elderberrys are especially looking forward to playing for the Cobblestone Museum , as they have worked up very special arrangements of some of the members’ favorite tunes,” Bailey said.

Admission to the concert is free, but a freewill offering will be taken to benefit the Cobblestone Museum.

Farley suggests everyone come early to get a seat. The Cobblestone Church is located at 14389 Ridge Rd. at Childs, one mile north of Albion.

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Firefighters put out blaze at Eagle Harbor house

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 April 2019 at 12:44 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

GAINES – A firefighter gets ready to spray water on the back of a house that was on fire today. Firefighters were dispatched at about 11:30 a.m. to a structure fire on Eagle Harbor-Knowlesville Road in Gaines.

No one was home when the fire broke out. Firefighters suspected the fire was caused by a wood stove, but the cause remains under investigation.

Carlton firefighters Seth Dumrese (lieutenant) and Chris Standish (assist chief) climbed to the roof of the house. They cut a hole in the roof to ventilate smoke at 13379 Eagle Harbor-Knowlesville Rd.

Albion, Medina and Carlton firefighters responded to the scene, as well as the Orleans County Emergency Management Office, and Albion police officers, the State Police, and the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

No other information is available.

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Gaines waiting to see if Dollar General can satisfy state preservation office

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 March 2019 at 10:05 am

Cobblestone Museum turns down money from developer for store across from National Historic Landmark

The Zaremba Group has proposed this design for a new Dollar General on Ridge Road, east of Route 98.

GAINES – Town of Gaines officials say a developer is still working to build a Dollar General store on Ridge Road, but hasn’t been able to satisfy the State Historic Preservation Office, which has urged the developer to find an alternative location for the store.

“It’s not a dead issue,” said Gerard Morrisey, chairman of the Gaines Zoning Board of Appeals. “Things are still active as far as I know.”

The Zaremba Group, the developer for the project, wants to put the new store across from the cobblestone schoolhouse, which was built in 1849. The schoolhouse is one of three cobblestone buildings that are a National Historic Landmark, the only historic site with that distinction in Orleans County.

SHPO told the developer if it’s determined to build on that site, it needs to try to mitigate the impact, with trees as a buffer and moving most of the parking to the side of the building and not the front. SHPO also said Zaremba should offer money to help compensate for its impact on the Cobblestone Historic District.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Gerard Morrisey, ZBA chairman, says an initial public notice about the project was vague and may have given the impression no one opposed the Dollar General.

Zaremba offered $25,000 to the Cobblestone Museum, and that was rejected by the museum’s board of directors last week. Jon Hinman, an engineer and project manager with the MRB Group, shared that news with the Gaines ZBA during the board’s meeting on Monday.

MRB is reviewing the engineering and site design for the project. The town hired MRB, and those fees are being covered by Zaremba.

Hinman said he hasn’t seen any updated plans for the project in several months because Zaremba is trying to satisfy SHPO. If Zaremba can get the OK from the state agency, that could stop the project, Hinman said.

Zaremba could find another organization to give funding to, Hinman said, to meet that requirement from SHPO. Zaremba could reach out to the town, a local library or historical society to donate the money, Hinman said, or the developer could increase the amount and see if it is acceptable to the museum.

Hinman also said Zaremba could look move the proposed store away from the cobblestone schoolhouse.

About 1,200 people backed petitions from the Cobblestone Museum urging Dollar General find another location for the store, outside of the historic district.

Morrisey said ZBA chairman shared other news during Monday’s meeting. The ZBA met with a Zaremba official about the project on Dec. 4, 2017. The minutes from that meeting have been sought by community members for much of last year, but the minutes only recently were made available.

Morrisey said waiting more than a year for a record of that meeting is unacceptable. He also questioned the vagueness of a notice about a public hearing at that meeting. The notice listed the tax map of the parcel and Zaremba as applicant, but didn’t say which road the parcel was on, the address or owner of the property.

The notice for the Dec. 4, 2017 meeting stated the purpose of the public hearing was to “receive public comment regarding an interpretation application regarding a definition for a proposed retail establishment which was submitted by Mary Ann Wervey of the Zaremba Group.”

That meeting is considered a milestone for the project because the ZBA gave the developer an indication a 9,100-square-foot store would be allowed in the historic district. The regulations for the historic district don’t allow new construction larger than 5,000 square feet. A general store also isn’t listed as a permitted use in the district, but a convenience store is allowed. Opponents to the project say the Dollar General should be considered a general store and not a convenience store.

The town’s regulations for projects in the historic district also state:

  1. The proposed building or use is consistent with the architectural and historical significance of the area as a whole.
  2. The proposed building or use does not encroach upon, diminish or otherwise adversely impact upon the other structures or uses within the district.

The ZBA may have felt there wasn’t any opposition in the community for the project based on that hearing on Dec. 4, 2017. There weren’t any public comments about the project at the hearing.

But Morrisey said the notice should have clearly stated what was being asked so the public could voice its opinion.

“Few people know tax numbers,” Morrisey, a former town assessor, said about the way the property was listed in the notice. “It’s not a great way to identify the properties to let people know what is going on.”

ZBA board members Curt Strickland and David Thom said the ZBA was hindered for much of last year because it did not have a secretary. They said the Town Board should have found a secretary for the board.

“It was up to the new Town Board to pick up the ball but they didn’t,” Thom said.

The Dec. 4, 2017 meeting actually happened before the new Town Board took over on Jan. 1, 2018. The ZBA secretary ended her employment in November 2017, and a new secretary wasn’t in place for the December meeting.

“For the minutes to just now appear is distressing,” said Morrisey, who was appointed the ZBA chairman this past January.

Hinman, the engineer with the MRB Group, said his firm would be willing to help the town as it works to clarify the text for the historic district. The town has formed a committee to work on an update to the comprehensive plan for the community, as well as the historic district.

The ZBA said it would consider a proposal from MRB, with the goal to allow some development in the historic district. Hinman said the expectations for the historic district should be clear in the town’s zoning “so this doesn’t happen again.”

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