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Gaines and Murray both have Republican primaries on Sept. 13

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 July 2018 at 5:31 pm

There will be Republican primaries on Sept. 13 in Gaines and Murray. Both towns have one-year terms up for election on the Town Board.

In Gaines, Richard DeCarlo resigned from the Town Board. Town Supervisor Joe Grube and the other board members have decided not to appoint someone to fill the position, instead leaving it to voters this fall.

Corey Black and Joseph Gangi, Jr. have both submitted petitions to run for the position. Black has been endorsed by the Gaines Republican Committee.

In Murray, Town Supervisor Bob Miller and the Town Board have been appointed Neal Valentine to fill a vacancy on the board from the recent death of Ed Bower. Valentine will be challenged in a primary by Joe Sidonio to fill the remaining year of the term.

Murray also has many primaries for members of the Murray Republican Committee. Each district will elect two members to the committee.

District 1: Ed Morgan and Michael Mele are endorsed by the committee and are challenged by Cynthia Piedimonte and Gerald Ramsey.

District 2: Mark Porter and Douglas Heath are endorsed by the committee. Anthony Peone forced a primary.

District 3: Kathleen Case and Ron Vendetti are endorsed by the committee. Kerri Neale forced a primary.

District 4: Kimberly DeFrank is endorsed by the committee. Dirk Lammes Jr. and Joe Sidonio both submitted petitions to serve as members of the Republican Committee.

District 5: Cynthia Oliver and Lynn Wood are endorsed by the committee and are challenged by Arthur Knab and Joseph Kellenberger.

District 6: Robert Miller and Glenn DeFrank are endorsed by the committee. Kellie Gregoire forced a primary.

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Sign for Beardsley Creek in Gaines to be unveiled on July 28

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 July 2018 at 9:47 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: This new sign for Beardsley Creek will be unveiled on July 28 during a ceremony in Gaines. The sign will be painted green with white letters.

GAINES – A new wooden sign for Beardsley Creek will be unveiled dring a presentation at 2 p.m. on July 28. This will be the third wooden sign for creeks on Ridge Road near Route 98.

There are signs for Proctor Brook that passes through the Cobblestone Museum and also Gilbert Creek next to the Gaines Carlton Community Church. Gilbert Creek is east of Route 98.

Beardsley Creek is west of Route 98. The sign will be unveiled at the home of Robert Bruning, the Anderson Cobblestone building on Ridge Road.

The three creeks or brooks  are all adjacent to each other and are named after the pioneer families that settled on their banks, said Al Capurso, the former Gaines town historian who is organizing the Beardsley Creek sign unveiling.

Jim Bonafini, the Cobblestone Museum president, made the wooden sign. Capurso will paint it green with white letters, like the two other signs.

Beardsley Creek is just east of Eagle Harbor Road. The sign was named after the Levi Beardsley family who settled in Carlton in 1827. Born in Connecticut in 1777, Mr. Beardsley died on his homestead in 1867 at age 90.

The public is welcome to attend the event at 2 p.m., which will include comments from local dignitaries.

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Cobblestone Museum has petitions to oppose Dollar General in historic district

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 July 2018 at 7:41 am

File photo: The Cobblestone Schoolhouse District 5 was built in 1849 and was used as a school until 1952. In 1961, it was acquired by the Cobblestone Museum.

GAINES – The Cobblestone Museum is planning to submit petitions to the Town of Gaines against a proposed Dollar General in the Commercial/Historical District on Ridge Road.

The new store could be built across from the cobblestone schoolhouse that was built in 1849. The Dollar General is eyed for what is now wooded land, east of the Route 98 intersection. That land is zoned commercial and a new store is an allowed use.

Because it is in the Commercial/Historical District, the town has more discretion for how the building should look to better blend in with the historic character of the Ridge.

The petition urges the Gaines Zoning Board of Appeals, which also functions as the Planning Board in Gaines, to do “all in their power to reject this proposal.”

Besides the Erie Canal, the Cobblestone Museum is the only National Historic Landmark in Orleans County. Putting a Dollar General across from the cobblestone school, “will mar the character and ambiance” of the Cobblestone Museum’s historic buildings on Ridge Road and also just south of Route 104 on Route 98.

The petition also states that the Town of Gaines won’t receive any direct sales tax from a Dollar General and the potential tax relief offered by the new building “will be negligible.”

Dollar General has five stores in Orleans County. The fifth Dollar General opened Dec. 18 in Kendall. That new store is 9,100 square feet. Other stores are located on West Avenue in Albion, Route 31 in Holley, Maple Ridge Road in Medina and Ridge Road in Medina (just south of Lyndonville).

“We believe that agricultural based, or locally owned businesses best reflect the character of the Town of Gaines,” the petition states. “This proposal sets a dangerous precedent for other national corporate entities to encroach on the town we love.”

Museum officials plan to submit the petitions to the Gaines Zoning Board of Appeals at the ZBA’s next meeting, 7 p.m. on Aug. 6. People are welcome to stop by the museum and sign a petition.

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Gaines approves farm labor housing at 2 sites

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 July 2018 at 7:14 am

GAINES – The Gaines Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday approved farm labor housing at two locations, although one site is for conditional approval.

Robin Root of Root Brothers Farms is applying for farm labor housing at 2325 Gaines Rd. He has eight laborers from Mexico coming in about three weeks. They will stay until mid-December on visas, working on the farm’s vegetable operations.

The house for the workers is in a residential-agriculture district. However, it isn’t included in an agricultural district, and that is one condition for farm labor housing, said Michael Grabowski, the ZBA chairman.

Root purchased the house in September and has applied to be in the ag district. There will be a public hearing July 25 in Albion by the Orleans County Legislature, to consider additions to the ag district. The Legislature is expected to vote on the additions on July 25 and then send the changes to the state for approval. Dan Strong, the Gaines code enforcement officer, said the state will likely certify additions in October.

That would be too late for Root to accommodate his work crew. Root has already upgraded the septic system and made other improvements to the property to get approval from the Health Department.

Grabowski and the ZBA decided to give him conditional approval for the labor housing. If the house isn’t included in the ag district, Root won’t be able to use it for farmworkers after this December, the ZBA determined.

Strong said there is no reason for the county or the state to deny the site in the Ag District.

“It will become part of his farm operation,” Strong told the board.

The ZBA also approved a house at 3125 Kenyonville Rd. for farm labor housing. Ken Haylett applied to have the house used for farmworkers. The house is already in the ag district.

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Gaines will consider big barn on Route 104 as site for weddings, auctions and dances

Photo by Tom Rivers: The owner of this barn on Route 104, just east of Route 98, wants to use the site to host weddings, auctions, dances and other events.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 July 2018 at 6:35 am

GAINES – The Town of Gaines Zoning Board of Appeals said the town will consider a proposal from Ray Burke, owner of Raylin Development, to have a barn on Route 104 be used for events, including weddings, auctions and dances.

The Orleans County Planning Board last week deemed a referral from Gaines incomplete about the project because the county board said Gaines needed to determine if Burke’s proposed uses were allowed in a Commercial Historic District.

Burke also owns Fairhaven Treasures. He acquired the barn next door at 14386-14398 Ridge Rd.

The town’s zoning doesn’t list Burke’s proposed uses as allowable in the Commercial Historic District. Michael Grabowski, the ZBA chairman, said during a meeting on Monday evening that other nearby businesses have similar uses as proposed by Burke.

There is a restaurant, kennel, gas station, antique shop and convenience store all close by to Burke’s barn, which is also across the road from the Cobblestone Museum, which hosts weddings at the Cobblestone Church.

Grabowski and the ZBA board deemed that Burke’s proposal was an acceptable use. That doesn’t mean he has site plan approval and a special use permit to operate the ventures out of the barn. His application still has to go before the County Planning Board for review, and then it comes back to the town.

The Planning Board doesn’t meet this month. It will look at Burke’s application in August now that the Gaines ZBA has said the proposed uses would be allowed in a Commercial Historic District.

Burke in his application said the barn would be available for the events on a seasonal basis because he uses it in the winter to store cars, boats and campers. He thinks using the site for events would fit in with the other nearby businesses.

“Our town is the center of the county at the crossroads of Route 104 and 98 and because of all the businesses on the Ridge we could become a destination for everyone travelling on these corridors,” he wrote in the application.

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Cobblestone Museum hosts seminar on repairing historic wooden windows

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 June 2018 at 2:49 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: Steve Jordan, a preservationist who focuses on restoring historic wooden windows, is leading a seminar at the Cobblestone Museum this week on window repair.

GAINES – It’s becoming a lost art, repairing windows that are more than a century old.

The Cobblestone Museum and the Landmark Society of Western New York are teaming this week to train more people in fixing old windows.

Steve Jordan, a window preservation specialist and author of The Window Sash Bible, is leading the historic wood window repair seminar. There is a four-day intensive seminar that started Tuesday and continues through Friday. Jordan and his students are removing windows from the Cobblestone Schoolhouse, originally built in 1849, and making window repairs as part of the seminar. There will also be a one-day introductory seminar on Saturday.

Jordan is teaching how to evaluate old windows, removing sashes from the window opening, remove putty, remove paint, remove glass, install new sash cords, weather strip old windows and other skills for preserving old windows.

Steve Jordan is leading in intensive window repair seminar this week at the Cobblestone Museum.

Erin Anheier, a Cobblestone Museum board member, suggested the seminar to the Landmark Society. She saw it as a way to repair windows at the Cobblestone Schoolhouse and educate more people in the task.

The Landmark Society each year presents a list of “Five to Revive,” which are typically sites in the Rochester region in need of preservation or they could be lost from disrepair.

The Landmark Society in October 2016 included “historic trades” to the Five to Revive, because the organization was concerned there weren’t enough trained professionals in carpentry, masonry, stained/decorative glass, painting, roof repair, metalwork, and window restoration with historic buildings.

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Engine power loss preceded April 24 helicopter crash in Gaines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 May 2018 at 11:37 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Firefighters and neighbors worked to put out a fire after a helicopter crashed on April 24 in a field on Route 279.

GAINES – The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a preliminary report on the cause of an April 24 crash of an experimental helicopter in Gaines.

Alan Heard, 64, of Waterport had taken off about 2 p.m. that day in an Mosquito XE. He was seriously injured when the aircraft crashed and burst into flames in a field across from the Gaines Valley Aviation Airport on Route 279.

The NTSB reported that the helicopter experienced a partial loss of power shortly after takeoff. Mr. Heard began looking for a place to land before the engine experienced a total loss of power. “The helicopter did not have adequate main rotor rpm to autorotate and, as a result, it impacted hard upon landing,” according to a report in Rotar & Wing International.

Click here to see the article.

Mark Bennett of Waterport had been driving by and saw the helicopter preparing to take off. He pulled over to watch and saw it crash. Bennett climbed through an electric fence ran to Heard, getting him free from the wreckage. Heard’s clothes were on fire. Bennett cut Heard’s shirt off and was able to extinguish the flames.

Heard was transported to Strong Hospital in Rochester by COVA Ambulance.

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Historian, on outhouse tour, has high praise for privies at Cobblestone Museum

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 May 2018 at 6:09 pm

5-seat outhouse called ‘a real architectural jewel’

Photos by Tom Rivers: Bill Lattin, who is retired as Orleans County historian and also is the former director of the Cobblestone Museum, led a tour of the outhouses at the museum last Friday.

He is speaking in front of an outhouse from 1830, which is the oldest building at the museum. This one was built in the Federal style of architecture and is unusual with the horizontal panels to construct the door. This outhouse was originally located at the first bank in Orleans County, which was located at the corner of routes 279 and 104.

There were about 25 people on the tour and they took many photos of the outhouses including this “five-seater” by Farmer’s Hall.

“This is one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture locally,” Lattin said. “It’s a real architectural jewel.”

The outhouse didn’t have five seats so a family could go to the bathroom together, Lattin said. The five seats were there to spread out the human waste.

“If it was only one hole you’d have a stalagmite,” he said.

Lattin discusses this outhouse that is placed by Proctor Brook and the Harness Shop. The tour highlighted historic outhouses, indoor commodes, and chamber pots.

Lattin said most outhouses had buckets of quick lime which were thrown in the privy holes “as a way of sweetening the smell.”

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Dollar General wants to build store on historic Ridge Road in Gaines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 May 2018 at 9:17 am

GAINES – Dollar General wants a build a new store in Gaines in the historic overlay on Ridge Road, Town Supervisor Joe Grube said.

Store representatives met with the Town Zoning Board of Appeals on May 7 to discuss the plan. The company wants to build on wooded land just east of the Route 98 intersection, across from the cobblestone schoolhouse.

Town officials have shared their concerns that the typical Dollar General store isn’t a good fit at this location due to the historic nature of neighboring buildings. The Cobblestone Museum is a National Historic Landmark.

“Their normal box store isn’t going to cut it,” Grube said. “It’s going to get a very hard look.”

The open land is zoned commercial and a new store is an allowed use. The Town Board has authorized Chatfield Engineers, the town’s engineer, to do a site review for the proposed store. That cost will be paid by the developer, Grube said.

Dollar General has five stores in Orleans County. The fifth Dollar General opened Dec. 18 in Kendall. That new store is 9,100 square feet. Other stores are located on West Avenue in Albion, Route 31 in Holley, Maple Ridge Road in Medina and Ridge Road in Medina (just south of Lyndonville).

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Preston’s celebrates opening new market on Ridge Road in Gaines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 May 2018 at 8:28 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

GAINES – The Preston family was joined by many local dignitaries at noon today for a ribbon-cutting of the new Preston’s Country Market at 14877 Ridge Rd.

Jim Preston and his mother Marie Preston cut the ribbon. State Assemblyman Steve Hawley joined the occasion as well as leaders of the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce. Marie’s grandsons, Blake and Boe, are at right. After the ribbon-cutting the two boys attended the kickoff celebration for the Albion Midget League. They play for St. Mary’s.

Marie Preston runs Preston’s Country Market. Her sons, Jim and Aaron Preston, run Preston’s Lawn Care & Landscaping, which is based on Zig Zag Road.

The new store sells nursery stock, garden stock and flowers. There is also a gift shop. Nadine Valentine is working at the counter.

Patrick Holman of Magicman Productions in Medina used space in the green house for a magic show.

The opening festivities also included Bad AsH BBQ, LuGia’s Ice Cream To Go, Honeymoon Trail Winery, custom wreaths and music from Al Capurso.

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