Holley resident wants canal trail to no longer be named for Cuomo

Photos by Tom Rivers: There are two Medina sandstone signs at each end of Holley’s canal trail that proclaim the path as the “Andrew Cuomo Canalway Trail.” Cuomo visited Holley, arriving by boat on the canal with his family, for the dedication on Aug. 9, 2000.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 September 2021 at 8:57 am

HOLLEY – A village resident wants the Holley Village Board to no longer have the canalway trail named in honor of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The trail was dedicated for Cuomo on Aug. 9, 2000. At the time Cuomo was secretary of the federal Housing and Urban Development. In that role, he pushed through a $300 million “Canal Corridor Initiative” for canal communities to upgrade public spaces and also assist some businesses.

He arrived in person by boat at Holley just over 20 years ago with his then wife and his daughters for the ceremony.

Holley used nearly $1 million to develop the canal trail and a canal park that also includes a gazebo, docks, a paved path, public bathrooms with showers, a playground, pond and other amenities. There are two large Medina sandstone signs at each end of the trail, declaring the path as the “Andrew Cuomo Canalway Trail.”

Kerri Neale said Cuomo has disgraced himself with the sexual harassment allegations, which led to his resignation on Aug. 24. Neale will address the Village Board during its meeting at 6 p.m. today at the Holley Gardens, the former Holley High School where the village now has its offices.

He said the village’s “beautiful park” shouldn’t be name Cuomo, who also faces investigation about the accounting of nursing home deaths from Covid and whether he used taxpayer resources to help write a book about his response to Covid.

A cyclist enjoys the canal path last week, passing by the pond.

Neale also said many Cuomo policies have negatively impacted the area, including the SAFE Act, bail reform and the Raise the Age law for dealing with juvenile offenders in the criminal justice system.

Photo courtesy of Kerri Neale: One suggestion from resident Kerri Neale would be putting a cover on the stone sign. That would be an inexpensive remedy without chiseling off the top of the sign.

“Now that he has been disgraced and forced to resign this monument is an abomination and should be corrected,” Neale said. “We will ask the Village Board to join those who want change and find a way to make that change with little or no expense to the tax payer. It’s a beautiful piece of Medina sandstone so let’s fix it not destroy it.”

Neale said a simple fix is putting a cover on the top of the monument that excludes Cuomo’s name. He doesn’t want to see the stone be chiseled, to remove Cuomo’s name.

Kevin Lynch, the Holley mayor, said yesterday he had only received a couple messages about removing Cuomo’s name from the sign. Neale did put a post on Facebook that had 20 comments, with nearly all wanting the trail to be renamed.

Lynch is retired from the State Canal Corp. He remembers when Cuomo came to Holley for the dedication. And Lynch remembers how the canal improvements made Holley the talk of this section of the canal.

Many canal park continues to be a draw and a source of pride for the community, Lynch said.

“Before there wasn’t anywhere for boats to stop in Holley,” Lynch said.

Holley has had docks with electricity for 20 years and doesn’t charge the boaters. The gazebo is a popular place for people to relax and also hosts many concerts. The canal path is well traveled by people on walks, jogs or on bikes. Lynch said.

The mayor wants to hold off on an opinion about the issue, whether the trail should remain named for Cuomo, until hearing from the other Village Board members.

Holley awarded $50K grant for new roof on Odd Fellows Hall

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 September 2021 at 11:04 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: This photo from April 2019 shows the former Odd Fellows Building in Holley’s Public Square.

HOLLEY – The Village of Holley Development Corporation has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Genesee Valley Rural Revitalization Grant Program to put a new roof on the Odd Fellows Hall, located at 89 Public Square.

Dan Schiavone, president of Holley Development Corp., announced the funding today. The grant was made possible by the National Park Service Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Fund and is a partnership between the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the Landmark Society of Western New York.

The Odd Fellows Hall was built in 1890 building. It is at the northeast corner of the historic Public Square.

“It is the hope of the Village of Holley Development Corporation that this grant will ensure the preservation of this historic component of the Public Square,” Schiavone said. “It is also our hope that a new roof will attract potential developers who might further renovate and bring new life to this very important building.”

The building in 2019 was named to the “Five to Revive” list by the Landmark Society, an annual list that tries to bring funding an attention to important sites in the region.

The village has been working to save the building and find a developer for the site. Holley wants to avoid another scenario where the building is bought and then left to sit empty, gradually deteriorating, Schiavone said.

That LDC owns the building, which was given to the LDC by the previous owner who bought it at the county tax foreclosure auction. The owner bid online from Florida. She saw it as an investment, but no tenants or new buyers emerged.

The village stepped in, not wanting to see the building fall in disrepair and have to be torn down.

Murray hears conflicting guidance whether it can lower flag for 10 men killed in WWII

Photo by Tom Rivers: Local veterans in the Honor Guard stand at attention during Saturday’s rededication of the Fancher monument on Route 31. The monument was originally dedicated on Aug. 14, 1949 for 10 men from the Fancher community who were killed in World War II. The flagpole includes the American flag and a commemorative World War II flag.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 August 2021 at 5:23 pm

MURRAY – Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio wants to make it an annual observance in Murray, to have the American flag lowered for 10 days beginning on Aug. 14 in recognition of 10 men from the Fancher community who were killed in World War II.

There is a monument for those men in Fancher on the curve at Route 31. The monument is a four-sided clock and includes in plaque in memory of John Christopher, Joseph Christopher, Cosmo Coccitti, John Kettle, Jr., Leonard Licursi, Martin Licursi, Richard Merritt, Camille Nenni, Floyd Valentine and Richard Vendetta.

Sidonio on Monday proposed the flags be lowered at the monument and the Murray town buildings for 10 days every Aug. 14. The Town Board was in favor of declaring Aug. 14 “Fancher Monument Memorial Day.” However, two of the board members believed only the governor and U.S. president have the authority to order the flag to be lowered.

The Town Board on Monday decided to instead have a World War II flag be displayed on Aug. 14 and then for the following 10 days each year.

The flag pole at the monument also will include a POW-MIA flag because the bodies of three of the soldiers were never recovered. Those men include Joseph F. Christopher, Cosmo P. Coccitti and Floyd M. Valentine.

Sidonio, however, reached out to the Association of Towns of New York State and was advised today by general counsel, Lori Mithen-Demasi, that a town can fly a flag “at less than full-staff to commemorate the death of town residents that occurred during a time of war.”

Sidonio said he will seek to amend the resolution passed on Monday to allow Murray to lower the American flag every Aug. 14 for 10 days.

In other action during Monday’s Town Board meeting:

• Louise Passarell told the board she is resigning due a difficult working relationship with Sidonio. Passarell has worked for Murray the past 13 years. She was the town assessor, secretary to the Highway Department and a water billing clerk.

“This has become a very hostile place to work,” she told the board before walking out of the meeting. “I choose not to work here anymore.”

Her resignation was accepted by the five board members – Sidonio, Randy Bower, Michael Mele, Paul Hendel and Lloyd Christ.

Sidonio, who has been town supervisor since Jan. 1, 2020, acknowledged that Passarell has been vocal in backing his opponents in local elections. He said he has a good working relationship with nearly all local community leaders.

Passarell has faulted Sidonio in the past for undermining the morale of highway workers with frequent criticism, especially about water leaks, and for failing to credit the workers when they find and fix the leaks.

• The board appointed Elaine Berg to fill a vacancy on the Planning Board with the term ending Dec. 31, 2021.

• Ron Vendetti, former code enforcement officer, asked the board if there has been any progress on updating a law on renewable energy projects. The board last month approved a 12-month moratorium on solar and wind energy applications in the town.

Vendetti offered to assist in writing an updated law. Sidonio said town officials will be working on the law. Vendetti said the law could be updated without taking 12 months.

• Councilman Hendel recommended the town use some of its American Rescue Plan funds to put in new video conferencing equipment for the town’s main meeting room. That could allow some board members to attend meetings virtually and vote when they are out of town.

The other board members liked the idea of upgrading the videoconferencing capabilities at the Town Hall and want to see cost estimates for the equipment, which should also include a stronger WiFi signal.

Murray sets Sept. 9 for public hearing about whether to allow marijuana dispensary in town

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 August 2021 at 1:02 pm

MURRAY – The Town Board wants to hear from residents whether the town should allow marijuana to be sold from a legal dispensary, where people could purchase adult-use cannabis products.

The board set a public hearing for 7 p.m. on Sept. 9 at the Town Hall on Route 31 (3840 Fancher Rd.).

The state is giving municipalities until Dec. 31 to decide whether they will opt out of allowing marijuana dispensaries. The municipalities also need to decide by the end of the year if they will opt out of allowing onsite consumption at businesses such as a smoking lounge.

The state has approved a 13-percent excise tax on marijuana with a breakdown that includes 9 cents for each taxable sale to the state, 3 cents to the municipality that has the dispensary, and 1 cent to the county. Municipalities that opt out wouldn’t be eligible for the 3-cent share of the 13-percent sales tax.

Towns and villages can’t overstep the state and ban recreational use of marijuana. But the towns and villages can prohibit dispensaries and smoking lounges.

If the municipal board for a village or town decides to opt out, residents could still push a permissive referendum, with the matter going on the ballot.

Municipalities could also decide to opt out, and later decide to “opt in” and allow the dispensaries and lounges.

Schumer in stop at Holley praises broadband push in Orleans, Niagara

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 August 2021 at 5:37 pm

Senator touts nearly $8 million in American Rescue Plan funds for project in 2 counties

Photos by Tom Rivers: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer speaks during a news conference today in Holley’s Public Square. He is joined by Assemblyman Steve Hawley, left, and other officials from Orleans County, the Village of Holley, Town of Murray and Community Free Library.

HOLLEY – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer met with local officials today to celebrate progress in the effort to close high-speed internets gaps in Orleans and rural Niagara counties.

Both counties recently approved a contract with RTO Wireless of Wellesley, Mass. to co-locate their transmitters on existing communication towers. The counties are using part of their federal American Rescue Plan funds for the build out.

“The Covid pandemic made it all too clear that the digital gap in Orleans County is far too wide,” Schumer said with local officials by the Salisbury Fountain at Public Square.

Schumer was instrumental in the American Rescue Plan being passed in the Senate. The Orleans County Legislature last month voted to spend $3,608,435 to make high-speed internet available county-wide, including for 1,351 addresses that currently don’t internet access, and another 6,700 addresses with only low-speed access. That’s nearly 40 percent of the county’s addresses without access to high-speed internet. That project should be complete in 2022.

“Whether it’s working from home, finding a new job, completing schoolwork, or accessing healthcare options, the rural digital divide has kept many New Yorkers from reaching their full potential,” said Lynne Johnson, chairwoman of the Orleans County Legislature. “Success in the 21st century is dependent on universal, affordable access.”

Orleans County Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson said the federal funds will solve the high-speed internet  crisis for thousands of homes in the county. There are 1,351 addresses without access to high-speed internet and another 6,700 out of 22,000 total addresses with only access to low-speed internet.

Orleans and Niagara counties are both working with RTO Wireless of Wellesley, Mass. The Niagara County Legislature earlier this month approved a $4,286,325 bid to make high-speed internet in unserved areas of the county.

In Orleans, RTO will co-locate their technology on existing county-owned communication towers. Those sites include at the Emergency Management Office on West County House Road in Albion, Route 31A in Clarendon, Maple Ridge Road in Medina, Route 31 in Albion next to Public Safety Building, West Avenue in Lyndonville, Route 237 in Kendall, Route 237 in Holley by the water tank.

Orleans and Niagara have been working together for a decade on the project. The Niagara-Orleans Regional Alliance made it a priority but only now has it had the funds to proceed with closing the internet gaps.

“The money is there,” said Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey. “We’re going to make it happen.”

Schumer also said broadband internet access is a key to reversing the population decline in rural areas. The U.S. Census Bureau last week released population counts for each county in the United States.

The data shows a 5.9 percent decline in Orleans County, which was biggest drop among Western New York counties and most in the GLOW region. Orleans shrunk by 2,540 people in the 10 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, dropping from 42,883 in 2010 to 40,343 in 2020.

“Broadband is really vital,” Schumer said. “In this new world where broadband connects you, it will bring more businesses here, it will keep businesses here, you will have more people come live here. Lots of people want to live in a beautiful place like this. But if they can’t be connected, they lose out.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer waves to people during a stop in Holley today. He was influential in the redevelopment of the former Holley High School as well as the cleanup of the former Diaz Chemical site in Holley.

Schumer said there will also be funding available to help people pay the costs to connect to the internet, and there will be assistance to help pay for the service.

The infrastructure bill that passed in the Senate includes $42.45 billion nationwide for broadband grants in unserved and underserved communities, $14.2 billion for permanent broadband affordability (with eligibility at 200 percent the federal poverty level), and $2.75 billion for “Digital Equity and Inclusion” – providing digital literacy and skills to low-income residents, senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Lynne Johnson also highlighted a new program through the Federal Communications Commission that offers financial assistance for monthly internet. Click here for more information.

‘Boys from Fancher’ included 2 sets of brothers, 3 who remain MIA

This copy of the program for the rededication of the Fancher World War II shows the portraits of the 10 men from the Fancher community who died serving in the military during World War II.

Posted 15 August 2021 at 6:12 pm

By Matthew Passarell, Commander Albion VFW Post 4635

(Editor’s Note: Passarell researched the 10 men honored with the memorial in Fancher and delivered these remarks Saturday during the rededication of the monument.)

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. We would be remiss in our responsibilities today if we left this Memorial without having some idea of what these men endured. Men who, at an average age of 24, gave their lives so that we might be free.

These are the boys from Fancher.

John A. Christopher – Army Air Forces (1919-1943)

Enlisted November 1942 and later served with the 853rd Aviation Engineer Battalion. Private First Class Christopher died on November 26, 1943 when the transport ship carrying his unit was struck by a German radio controlled glider bomb and sunk off the coast of Algeria. This attack remains the largest loss of military personnel at sea in a single incident in United States history. John A. Christopher was laid to rest at the North Africa American Cemetery in Tunis, Tunisia.

Joseph F. Christopher – Army Air Forces (1917-1943)

Entered service January 4, 1942 and later assigned as a B-24 radio operator with the 512th Bomb Squadron, 376th Bomb Group. Technical Sergeant Christopher served in the North African campaign. He was reported as missing in action on April 28, 1943 after his plane crashed in the harbor at Naples, Italy. Joseph F. Christopher is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at North Africa American Cemetery in Tunis, Tunisia.

Cosmo P. Coccitti – Army (1922-1944)

Enlisted September 26, 1942 and was assigned to the 17th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron. During fighting in Holland on November 10, 1944 he was declared missing in action and to date his remains have not been recovered. Technician Fifth Grade Coccitti is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten.

John Kettle, Jr. – Army (1920-1944)

After working at the Curtiss-Wright Aircraft Corporation in Buffalo and Columbus, Ohio, John Kettle Jr. entered the Army on March 4, 1944. By October that year he was serving as an infantryman with C Company, 317th Infantry Regiment, 80th Infantry Division attached to General George Patton’s Third Army Private Kettle was killed in action near Farebersville, France on November 29, 1944 and is buried at Mount Albion Cemetery.

Matt Passarell (center at podium), VFW commander, researched the 10 soldiers and shared about them on Saturday. After he read about each soldier, Dan Mawn, left, rang the bell in recognition of the life.

Leonard L. Licursi – Army Air Forces (1922-1944)

A ball turret gunner with the 652nd Bomb Squadron, 25th Bomb Group. Staff Sergeant Licursi was one of five airmen killed when his B-17 Flying Fortress crashed after taking off from Watton, Norfolk, England on September 6, 1944. His aircraft was flying that day on a weather reconnaissance mission. Leonard Licursi is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, Holley.

Martin J. Licursi – Army Air Forces (1919-1945)

First Lieutenant Licursi served as a navigator based in Chelveston, England with the 8th Air Force’s 364th Bomb Squadron, 305th Bomb Group. In September 1943 Lieutenant Licursi survived an emergency landing of a B-17 Flying Fortress in the English Channel. However, on February 15, 1945 he was killed when the B-29 Superfortress he was aboard crashed on a training flight in Flushing Bay, Queens, New York. He was laid to rest at Holy Cross Cemetery, Holley.

Richard L. Merritt – Army (-1944)

Served with the 3483rd Ordnance Maintenance Company in the Philippines. On November 12, 1944, the ship carrying his unit anchored off Leyte was bombed by Japanese aircraft resulting in casualties to three-quarters of his unit. Technician Fourth Grade Richard L. Merritt died the following day, November 13, 1944 and was buried at the Manila American Cemetery, Fort Bonifacio, The Philippines.

Camille H. Nenni – Army (1919-1945)

Entered service in October 1940 as a member of Company F, 108th Infantry Regiment, New York Army National Guard. He was transferred to the 40th Infantry Division and served in the South Pacific Area. Private First Class Nenni was killed in action on February 15, 1945 during the Luzon Campaign in the Philippines. He was awarded the Silver Star posthumously for conspicuous gallantry in action and laid to rest at St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Albion.

Floyd M. Valentine – Army Air Forces (1921-1945)

Enlisted September 7, 1942 and served as a gunner on an A-20 Havoc with the 675th Bomb Squadron, 417th Bomb Group. Staff Sergeant Valentine was awarded the Air Medal for flight missions over Japanese targets in New Guinea and Indonesia. On January 2, 1945 his aircraft was damaged while attacking enemy shipping near San Fernando Point, The Philippines and he was reported as missing in action. To date, his remains have not been recovered and he is memorialized at the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery, Fort Bonifacio, The Philippines.

Richard N. Vendetta – Army Air Forces (1921-1944)

Earned his flight wings upon completing the Navigation School at San Marcos, TX on January 15, 1944. Assigned to duty on a bomber in the Troop Carrying Command, Second Lieutenant Vendetta was killed when another plane collided with his over Stanford, England on July 8, 1944. He was buried at St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Albion.

These are the boys from Fancher.

  • Two sets of brothers.
  • Two buried in overseas cemeteries.
  • Three who remain missing in action.
  • Five men who made the final trip home.

These men, as the poet John Gillespie Magee Jr. once wrote, “have slipped the surly bonds of Earth and danced the skies on laughter silvered wings.”

Thank you.

Jonathan Allentoff directs the Brockport Symphony Orchestra during Saturday’s ceremony. About 200 people attended the event.

Fancher war memorial rededicated in honor of 10 men who died in WWII

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 August 2021 at 1:38 pm

200 attend event at restored monument on Route 31

Photos by Tom Rivers

FANCHER – The memorial at the “Fancher Curve” on Route 31 was rededicated on Saturday, 72 years after it was originally dedicated on Aug. 14, 1949 as a monument to 10 young men from the Fancher community who were killed in World War II.

Those men include John Christopher, Joseph Christopher, Cosmo Coccitti, John Kettle, Jr., Leonard Licursi, Martin Licursi, Richard Merritt, Camille Nenni, Floyd Valentine and Richard Vendetta.

The top photo shows Richard Christopher of Albion placing a commemorative wreath by the monument. Richard is the son John Christopher, who was killed on November 26, 1943 when the transport ship carrying his unit was struck by a German glider bomb and sunk off the coast of Algeria. He was laid to rest at the North Africa American Cemetery in Tunis, Tunisia.

John’s brother Joseph also was killed during the war. Another pair of brothers from the Fancher community – Leonard and Martin Licursi – also died in the war.

The monument was in disrepair with mortar crumbling, the clock often not working and the landscaping unattractive. Fred Fiorito, a Fancher native now living near New York City, gave the largest donation to cover the expense of the improvement project.

The donations paid to have new mortar put in, new movements and electric wiring for the clocks (which will now automatically fall back an hour and spring an hour ahead during the time changes), a new replica bronze plaque on the north side of the property, and a repainted flag pole which now also includes a World War II flag below the American flag. There also are sandstone steps on the north side with the stone donated by Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio and set in place by the Town Highway Department.

Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio speaks at the rededication. He said the Fancher community created the memorial 72 years ago to honor the young men, and the community again rallied to preserve the monument made of locally quarried Medina sandstone.

Sidonio noted that Fiorito was just a boy when he saw the monument originally dedicated and memory of seeing the grieving Gold Star mothers has forever impacted him.

Sidonio also announced on Monday will ask the Town Board to approve a resolution to recognize Aug. 14 as “Fancher Monument Memorial Day” and order that the flags at the monument and at the town munipcal buildings be lowered to half-mast for 10 days “to remind us that we owe these 10 boys the dignity of being better citizens and Americans so thay they shall not have died in vain.”

These four M1 Garand or M1 Rifle are stacked on top of the monument in the same way they were for the original dedication in 1949. Scott Galliford used a 10-foot ladder to climb up and stack the four rifles on Saturday.

Louis Horschel of Dunkirk flies “Mad Max,” a 1945 P-51 Mustang during a flyover at the start of the rededication program. The original dedication service in 1949 also had a flyover.

These veterans in the Honor Guard watch Horschel in the airplane fly upside down and do other aerial stunts.

Father Richard Csizmar, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Albion, offered the blessing during the service. He shared that his uncle John Csizmar was killed during World War II and Father Csizmar still has a strong memory of going to the train station in North Tonawanda when his uncle’s body was brought home. His photo was displayed over the family piano for the next 45 years, along with a Gold Star plaque.

Csizmar said the 10 young men from Fancher lived out John 15:13: “Greater love than this no one has, than one lay down one’s life for one’s friend.”

“Today we come to this Fancher memorial to remember those 10 men from Fancher, who gave their lives for freedom during World War II,” Csizmar said in his prayer. “Their valiant efforts and heroic service for all of us, and our nation, are remembered to this day. They said yes to God, their country, and to freedom, by serving our nation far away.”

Congressman Chris Jacobs meets veterans in the Honor Guard at the rededication service. Jacobs presented a Congressional Commendation for the community for its efforts to restore the monument.

Mary Wojciechowski sings “America the Beautiful” while accompanied by the Brockport Symphony Orchestra which is directed by Jonathan Allentoff, left. Wojciechowski, a Canadaigua resident, also sang the national anthem. The BSO also performed “To Reap The Blessings of Freedom” and “Brother James’ Air.”

“We are so honored to be have been asked to do this,” Allentoff said about performing during the rededication. “We love this community and being a part of events that bring people together, and we wanted to help pay tribute to the boys.”

Assemblyman Steve Hawley thanked those that worked to restore and upgrade the memorial site.

“Monuments are testaments to our greatest sacrifices and our greatest triumphs,” he said.

Christian Coccitti is the great-nephew of Cosmo Coccitti who was declared missing in action during the fighting in Holland on November 10, 1944. To date his remains have not been recovered. His great-nephew is the U.S. Navy and travelled from Annapolis, Md. To attend Saturday’s rededication. He is sitting between Congressman Chris Jacobs and Aubrey Christopher.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley comforts Richard Vendetta, who was named after his uncle who was killed during World War II, one of 10 from the Fancher community who died in the war. The younger Vendetta was among many family members in attendance of the 10 men honored with the monument.

The late Richard Vendetta, a second lieutenant, earned his flight wings and was flying a bomber and was killed when another plane collided with his over Stanford, England on July 8, 1944.

Matthew Passarell, commander of the VFW Post in Albion, shared biographies of each of the 10 men memorialized at the monument. Daniel Mawn, next to Passarell, rang the bell after each description was shared by Passarell.

The Honor Guard, including Scott Galliford at left (commander of the Jewell Buckman Post in Holley), fired three volleys during the rededication ceremony of the World War 11memorial at the Fancher Curve. Jim Freas, lower right, leads the Honor Guard.

Ron Ayrault, the chaplain at the American Legion post in Holley, offers the benediction. Ayrault, 89, attended the first dedication 72 years earlier when he was 17. He remembered there was a parade, the Legion band and a procession that included Gold Star mothers who lost their sons to war.

Face masks, sanitizer available for free today at firehall in Holley

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 August 2021 at 10:28 am

Photos courtesy of Erin Reed

HOLLEY – Hunter Salamaca, an EMS officer with the Fancher-Hulberton-Murray Fire Company, is shown at the fire hall in Holley today where there are free face masks, sanitizer and thermometers being given away from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 7 Thomas St.

“Due to the unknown of the new Covid variant (Delta), the possibility of mandated masking and your children going back to school, we would like to take some stress off of you,” Murray Joint Fire District officials said in a Facebook post. “Stop down and grab a box or two of masks and some hand sanitizer free of charge.”

The masks are in children’s and adult sizes.

Erin Reed, an EMS lieutenant, was able to secure the PPE (personal protective equipment) for today’s event.

The Murray Joint Fire District includes Holley and FHM firefighters.

Old Crow Motorcycle Club donates $1,200 to FHM Fire Company

Staff Reports Posted 11 August 2021 at 11:09 am

Provided photos

MURRAY – The Old Crow Motorcycle Club from Kent recently present $1,200 to the Fancher-Hulberton-Murray Fire Company. The motorcycle club organizes a fundraiser every year to give back to a local nonprofit.

The Crows organized a pig roast last weekend and donated the proceeds to the FHM Fire Company. Other motorcycle clubs that came out to support the benefit were Peacemakers MC, Redrum MC and the Webster Legion Riders.

“On behalf of the membership of the Fancher-Hulberton-Murray Fire Company, we thank them for their generous donation to our department and their continued support in the community,” said Capt. James Fox.

Fancher memorial will be rededicated on Saturday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 August 2021 at 10:45 am

Several improvements at monument with clock on ‘Fancher Curve’

FANCHER – The top image shows the program for the rededication of the Fancher memorial this Saturday at 2 p.m. It is mostly a replica of the program from the original dedication exactly 72 years earlier on Aug. 14, 1949.

The Fancher community built the memorial out of local Medina sandstone as a tribute to 10 local soldiers who died in World War II. Those soldiers include John Christopher, Joseph Christopher, Cosmo Coccitti, John Kettle, Jr., Leonard Licursi, Martin Licursi, Richard Merritt, Camille Nenni, Floyd Valentine and Richard Vendetta.

Provided photos: The monument includes a new plaque mounted on the north side of the property.

Representatives from some of those families will be at the rededication on Saturday to lay a commemorative wreath.

The memorial on the “Fancher Curve” on Route 31 is a four-faced clock in a stone monument made of local sandstone. It gradually deteriorated over 72 years and recently was overhauled. The crumbling mortar was chipped out and replaced with new matching green mortar.

New movements for the clocks and new electrical service were installed. The flag pole was painted. New sandstone pavers were added as a walkway on the north side of the property.

And a new bronze plaque was mounted on the north side near the flagpole. The original plaque remains, but it is on the west side facing the guardrails and wasn’t in an easy-to-see location for most people to know the true purpose of the monument.

Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio said it should be clearer now that the site isn’t a municipal clock, but is a war memorial dedicated to local soldiers who died serving the country.

The project was funded with a donation from Fred Fiorito, a former local resident who now lives in the New York City area. He would typically home a few times each year to see family, including his brother Ted Fiorito. Fred noticed the memorial gradually deteriorate.

Sometimes the clocks didn’t work. The mortar was crumbling. The site wasn’t a great showcase or memorial for the 10 who in World War II, he said.

“I knew some of those families,” Fiorito said in a recent interview. “The monument’s condition was distasteful.”

Saturday’s rededication will include comments from State Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Congressman Chris Jacobs.

The Brockport Symphony Orchestra will perform “To Reap The Blessings of Freedom,” the national anthem, “America the Beautiful” and “Brother James’ Air.” Mary Wojciechowski will be a vocalist with the orchestra.

Father Richard Csizmar, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Albion, will give the invocation. Matt Passarell, commander of the VFW Post 4635, will read the names of the soldiers and a bell will be rung with each name. That bell is from the former American Legion Post in Fancher.

An Honor Guard from the local American Legion and VFW will fire three volleys and Taps will be played.

Sidonio encourages people to either park at the Post Office in Fancher on Route 31 or north of the railroad tracks on Fancher Road. Route 31 at the Curve will be open to traffic during the rededication program but fire police will be out urging people to slow down during the service with the crowd of people close by.

Holley invites kindergartners to bus safety event on Aug. 28

Posted 6 August 2021 at 1:55 pm

Press Release, Holley Central School

HOLLEY – Holley Central School students attending kindergarten this fall are invited to attend the Transportation Department’s School Bus Safety Event on Aug. 28 from 9 to 11 a.m. in the Middle School/High School Parking Lot.

Participants will have the opportunity to ride a bus to the Elementary School Parking Lot and rotate through five, 15-minute safety stations. Buses will depart every 15 minutes.

Please RSVP to attend this event by Aug. 20 and select a time for departure (9 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m. or 10 a.m.) by calling 585-638-6297 or emailing tbeaney@holleycsd.org. Limited space is available, so participants should only bring their kindergarten student to this event.

In the event of severe weather, the event will begin at 1 p.m. on Aug. 28. We will notify registrants of this change.

Murray approves health insurance coverage for domestic partners of town employees

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 July 2021 at 8:38 am

Additional cost will be paid 100 percent from employees

MURRAY — The Murray Town Board on Monday voted to expand the town’s health insurance policy to include domestic partners of employees. However, the cost of adding the partners to the health insurance will be 100 percent funded by the employees with domestic partners.

That differs from the health insurance plan for employees with spouses, where the employees pay 15 percent of the cost, which is $1,078.12 per month ($12,937.44 per year) for a two-person plan.

Town officials said Murray is the first town in Orleans County to include domestic partners in the health insurance.

Two Councilman Paul Hendel urged the board to consider a domestic partner like a spouse.

“This is the 21st Century,” Hendel said during Monday’s board meeting. “People are doing things different than in the 1950s.”

Councilman Lloyd Christ said he favored offering the health insurance to domestic partners, but didn’t want taxpayer dollars going towards the coverage.

The state and health insurance providers allow domestic partners to be included in the coverage. Murray said the employee will need to show proof of a domestic partner, who can be the same or the opposite sex. Some factors to be considered will include joint residency and length of relationship. A blood relative won’t be considered as a domestic partner.

Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio said the issue has been widely debated around town in recent months. He said it is an “emotional topic.”

An employee with a domestic partner on the town’s health insurance plan will need to periodically provide proof of the relationship. The town also needs to be notified if the relationship ends so the coverage can be discontinued for the partner.

Town officials are having the cost of the plan come from the employee so the town isn’t pursuing the payment from the partner.

“The town shouldn’t be chasing after money from someone who doesn’t work for us,” said Councilman Michael Mele.

With the payment coming from the employee, the town can be assured of the money in case the relationship ends and the town isn’t immediately notified to discontinue coverage.

Kellie Gregoire, a resident, spoke in favor of the town offering the health insurance to a domestic partner, but not having the town pay towards the insurance for the partner. Gregoire said marriage is a legally binding agreement.

Louise Passarell, the town assessor, said many of the domestic partners have been in relationships for years and those relationships shouldn’t be viewed as “transient.”

EPA working on final phase of Diaz cleanup in Holley

Staff Reports Posted 8 July 2021 at 9:59 am

Provided photo: These heater wells are under construction in Holley.

HOLLEY – The federal Environmental Protection Agency has begun the second and final phase of a thermal treatment of contaminated soil and groundwater at the Diaz Chemical Superfund site in Holley, the EPA announced in an update to the community.

The larger-scale system is being used to treat the remainder of the on-site contamination. EPA started constructing the system in May 2020, using samples and other information obtained during the first phase of treatment that used a smaller-scale version of the system.

EPA treated about 10% of the contaminated soil and groundwater at the site under that first phase, which was completed in October 2018.

Construction, originally slated to begin in March 2020, was postponed in consultation with the Village of Holley. Following appropriate Covid-19 health and safety protocols, construction was completed in early June 2021.

The thermal cleanup is a $20 million cleanup project at the former Diaz Chemical site in Holley. The EPA is planning to have about 20 personnel on site for phase 2 of the cleanup on Jackson Street.

The EPA has already spent $12.5 million on the cleanup, using money from the Superfund. The EPA has removed buildings, pipes, drums and tanks. Only two warehouses remain from Diaz, which declared bankruptcy and abandoned the site in 2002. The company operated for about 30 years in Holley.

The final phase of treatment targets 1.5 acres of the site and will be performed in two stages. The treatment system is projected to operate for up to four years to clean up the site.

Thermal treatment system

The thermal treatment system uses heat to turn the contaminants in the soil and groundwater

into vapors. The vapors will then be captured by extraction wells and treated by a combination of compression, cooling, condensation and granular activated carbon. The system will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In addition, EPA will excavate soil from two areas. The excavated soil will be consolidated, thermally treated, and disposed of off-site, the EPA said. The excavated areas will be backfilled with clean soil. EPA will monitor the air around the perimeter, monitor noise, and follow a traffic control plan to minimize disruptions to the neighborhood.

After the second phase of operations is completed, EPA will remove the treatment equipment and restore the property. This will include regrading the site to ensure it has proper drainage and revegetation so as to prevent erosion.

County planners recommend approval for Murray campground at former golf course

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 July 2021 at 3:57 pm

Big Guys wants to create new RV campground with up to 300 sites

MURRAY – The Orleans County Planning Board is recommending the Town of Murray approve the site plan and issue a permit for Big Guys Camping LLC to operate a campground.

Big Guys wants to convert the former Brockport Country Club into the campground at 3739 Monroe-Orleans County Line Rd.

The project would be developed in three phases with the first phase to include 125 hook-up sites, 90 tent sites, renovations of structures on site, construction of new supporting structures for the campground and infrastructure.

The second phase would include 97 more full hook-up sites and expanded infrastructure. The third phase would add 72 more hook-up sites and infrastructure as needed.

The former golf course has 94.2 acres, with 6.16 acres delineated wetlands. That leaves 88.04 acres for the campground. However, 10 percent of that space, per the Murray town code, must be set aside for recreational purposes.

Big Guys is planning for the campground sites to be developed along the existing fairways with the plan to keep many of the existing mature tree lines, and to minimize the need for earthwork, county planners said.

The town ordinance requires a maximum of 10 camp sites per acre. With 79.24 acres available, Big Guys could have up to 792 camp sites. However, there are 300 sites proposed in the three phases, which is well under the zoning ordinance requirement.

There was also a traffic completed for the proposed project, with the determination that no further study would be needed by the Department of Transportation, county planners said.

There are area variances needed for the project and county planners said it was unclear if the variances had already been approved by the Town of Murray Zoning Board of Appeals. The county Planning Board should review the variance requests before the town takes action. If Murray already approved those variances, the ZBA should rescind that vote and send a referral to the County Planning Board for its recommendation, the board said.

After absentees counted, Sidonio wins Murray town supervisor primary

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 June 2021 at 10:11 am

Joe Sidonio

MURRAY – Joe Sidonio has won the Republican primary for Murray town supervisor.

The final count this morning, which included 46 absentees ballots, gives Sidonio and 11-vote victory over Randy Bower, a retired Orleans County sheriff who is currently a Murray town councilman.

There were 513 in-person votes through nine days of early voting and on the June 22 primary. Sidonio had a 13-vote lead, 263 to 250.

But Bower still had a chance to win with 46 absentees ballot turned in. Bower received 24 votes through the absentees, compared to 22 for Sidonio.

That means Sidonio, the current town supervisor, will be on the November ballot with the Republican line. He also is endorsed by the Conservative Party.

Bower last November was elected to a three-year term as Murray town councilman. He will remain on the five-person board.

The final unofficial results from the other five towns with primaries – in-person and absentee votes – include:

Barre Town Councilman (2 positions)

• George McKenna, 162 in-person votes and 6 absentees for 168 total

• David Waters, 163 in-person and 4 absentees for 167 total

Tom McCabe, 146 in-person and 7 absentees for 153 total

Lynn Hill, 145 in-person and 8 absentee for 153 total

Carlton Town Clerk

• Karen Narburgh, 101 in-person and 14 absentee for 115 total

Dori Goetze, 66 in-person and 3 absentee for 69 total

Gaines Town Justice

• Charles Prentice Jr., 146 in-person and 16 absentees for 162 total

Henry Smith Jr., 48 in-person and 8 absentees for 56 total

Ridgeway Town Clerk

• Hannah Hill, 228 in-person and 10 absentees for 238 total votes

Laurie Kilburn, 75 in-person and 7 absentees for 82 total

E.J. Cox, 16 in-person and 2 absentees for 18 total

Ridgeway Town Councilman (2 positions)

• Cliff Barber, 249 in-person and 18 absentees for 267 total

• Jeff Toussaint, 255 in-person and 12 absentees for 267 total

David Stalker, 72 in-person and 9 absentees for 81 total

Shelby Town Councilman (2 positions)

• Stephen Seitz Sr., 172 in-person and 7 absentees for 179 total votes

• Edward Zelazny, 166 in-person and 10 absentees for 176 total

William Bacon, 143 in-person and 5 absentees for 148 total