Find us on Facebook


Holley power outage could last several hours

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 April 2019 at 9:07 am

HOLLEY – A tree limb fell and knocked out a primary feeder line for the Village of Holley’s Electric Department this morning, causing a big power outage in the village. The electric line is owned by National Grid and feeds Holley’s electric system.

The outage briefly knocked out power this morning in Albion but electricity was restored in Albion after about 15 minutes.

It could be several hours to make the repair and restore power to Holley, the Orleans County Emergency Management Office is reporting.

Holley has the only municipal electric department in Orleans County.

Return to top

Holley students deliver 300-plus pounds of soap, toiletries to Rochester for people in need

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 April 2019 at 8:46 am

Photos courtesy of Samantha Zelent

ROCHESTER – Haleigh Falls, left, and  Megan Harrington, both members of the Holley Interact Club, sort soap, toiletries and other supplies on Thursday at Sample Soap, an organization in Rochester that collects and distributes the items to people in need in Rochester.

The Holley Interact Club collected the items for a month, with an end result of 313 pounds. On Thursday the items were delivered in Rochester by 46 members of the Interact Club.

Charles Turpyn is pictured with some of the boxes of soap, toothpaste, tooth brushes and toiletries that were delivered to Sample Soap and also the House of Mercy, which assists homeless people.

The Interact Club had bins at school to collect the items, and also sent home letters with students, asking for donations.

“Once again the community came through for us,” said Samanatha Zelent, one of the club’s advisors.

Taylor Black, a Holley graduate, works at Oral-B and secured eight boxes of toothbrushes and tooth paste from the company.

Casey Onisk, right, sorts items with Sabra Wood, director of Sample Soap. Wood started the organization in 1990.

Holley students get a tour of Sample Soap, which distributes the toiletries to homeless shelters and other locations in Rochester.

The Holley Interact Club poses for a photo at the House of Mercy, a homeless shelter in Rochester.

Return to top

Hawley says school trap shooting teams vulnerable with new dynamics in Albany

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 April 2019 at 9:59 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Three members of Holley’s trap shooting team practice on Thursday evening at the Holley Rod & Gun Club. These three include, from left: Noah St. John, Leah Walker and Evan Press.

This is the fourth season Holley has a team competing in the NYS High School Clay Target League. Kendall started last year, and Albion has a team for the first time this spring.

“This is the fastest growing sport in the state,” said Troy Kingdollar, an assistant coach for the Holley team. His daughter of one of the 20 members of the Holley team.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, met with the team on Thursday. Hawley said he is concerned about legislation in State Legislature that would remove rifle teams from state public schools. Hawley is shown speaking with Butch Moy, president of the Holley Rod & Gun Club.

Assemblywoman Linda Ronsenthal, a Democrat from Manhattan, proposed legislation last year to not allow shooting sports at schools. That bill didn’t get through the State Legislature. But Hawley said the State Senate is no longer in Republican control, and isn’t a road block for legislation that would typically sail through the Democrat-dominated Assembly but then be stymied in the Senate.

Hawley talked with Holley trap shooting members on Thursday, praising them for learning how to safely use guns and for participating in the sport.

In New York City, many people and their representatives see guns as associated with crime. That perception is fueling anti-gun legislation, he said.

“They are so afraid with having knowledge of the term, ‘gun,’” he said.

He also worries about legislation is the Assembly that would ban gun raffles as fundraisers. Those raffles raise lots of money for fire departments and other nonprofit organization.

Hawley said he plans to invite some of the Democratic Assembly members to his district, with a trap shooting team one of the stops. Hawley said building relationships with the downstate legislators is the best way to stave off legislation that he said is an attack on the culture of rural New York.

“We’re going to work hard to make sure some of these whacky ideas don’t become law,” he told the team.

Noah St. John fires at the target. John Waldon, right, is the team’s head coach. The competition for the spring season starts in about two weeks.

Return to top

Bridge construction starts next week on Monroe-Orleans County Line Road

Staff Reports Posted 10 April 2019 at 11:30 am

MURRAY – A section of Monroe-Orleans County Line Road will be closed beginning April 16 while the contractor begins work to replace the bridge between Route 104 and Gulf Road. The bridge is over Sandy Creek, south of Route 104.

CATCO in Alden is the general contractor on the project, which is expected to take four to five months.

A posted detour will be in place.

Return to top

Murray decides to hold off and rework law for special events at farms

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 April 2019 at 11:21 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Town Supervisor Robert Miller says Murray officials are trying to encourage more farms to hold special events that can strengthen the operations and draw visitors to the community.

MURRAY – The Town Board didn’t pass a new law regulating special events at farms and wineries on Tuesday, after several residents shared their concerns that the legislation could hurt the operations by imposing new restrictions.

The town will have the Planning Board and attorney Jeff Martin take another look at the law and try to address residents’ concerns.

That will push back enacting the law for at least a few months. The Town Board wanted to have the law in place to assist Kateland Farms, a miniature horse farm, with hosting weddings. The farm owned by Ted Jenney on Lake Road has been hosting weddings and special events in recent years.

However, the property currently can’t host those events, according to regulations for a residential-agriculture zoned district by the town. Murray last year agreed to allow Kateland to host scheduled weddings for 2018, but the town didn’t give approval for weddings in 2019 until Murray has a legal mechanism in place. That was the impetus for the new local law, with the town also wanting to encourage events at other farms and wineries, as long as the farms secured a special use permit with the town.

“We want to promote agri-tourism but not encroach on the neighbors,” said Town Supervisor Robert Miller. “We’re trying to strike a nice balance.”

Farms and wineries can host events if they are in an agricultural district. The Ag and Markets Department says the events are permissible as long as they don’t account for more than 30 percent of the farm’s revenue. Ag and Markets advised the town that Kateland Farms wasn’t covered under Ag & Markets for its events because weddings weren’t a direct tie to a farming operation, town attorney Jeff Martin said during Tuesday’s Town Board meeting.

The town wanted to help Kateland Farms continue to host weddings and special events. The proposed local law was geared towards farms and wineries that aren’t in agricultural districts.

David Piedmonte, a Holley garlic grower, said the proposed law might prove a hindrance to farms, rather than a help.

However, the Town Board was told by some farmers who do special events now that the proposal was vague in some parts, making the farmers nervous how the law would be interpreted by the Town Planning Board and code enforcement officer.

“It was a valiant effort by the town to try to resolve this issue,” said Town Councilman Paul Hendel. “Is this law perfect? I have no idea. But if we are waiting for perfection we will spend a long time waiting.”

Amy Machamer, co-owner of Hurd Orchards, said the farm relies on events to see fruit, flowers and other farm products. Hurd has been doing events for at least 40 years.

The farm wouldn’t be affected by the town’s proposed law, attorney Martin said, because it is covered by Ag & Markets.

Machamer, however, said she remains concerned the law could be interpreted differently by town officials in the future, potentially impacting Hurd’s events. For example, the town proposed law requires 100-foot setbacks from the road for buildings. Hurd has many historic buildings that are close to the road.

The proposed law also has regulations for noise, bathrooms and other proposals to help mitigate the impact to neighbors.

“We’re trying to control it but not for the sake of controlling it,” Miller said. “It’s so it doesn’t get out of control.”

Joe Sidonio, Machamer’s husband, believes Kateland Farms is already covered in the town’s Right to Farm legislation. Sidonio said the proposed law is “overregulation” with unintended consequences.

Town officials said the law doesn’t include farms and barns that host graduation parties and family reunions – events where no profit is made.

Hendel said the town will continue to work on what he said it a “hard issue.” The town wants to help more farms to be able to sell products and host events that can help the farms supplement their income.

“I think this has the potential to be a win-win for everybody,” Hendel said.

Return to top

Murray approves ‘confidential separation agreement’ with former employee

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 April 2019 at 7:33 am

MURRAY – The Town Board approved a “confidential separation agreement” on Tuesday with a former employee, with the details of the agreement not to be made public, said Town Supervisor Robert Miller.

The Town Board went into executive session to discuss the agreement. When board members and attorney Jeff Martin came out of executive session, the board voted unanimously to have Miller sign the agreement.

Miller said the town can’t disclose who the agreement is with or for how much money.

That irked resident Kerri Neale, who told the board the public should be aware of the agreement because it involves taxpayer money.

“You are not at liberty to discuss what you’re doing with our money?” Neale asked at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting.

Miller said because it is a confidential agreement, the details can’t be shared publicly.

Neale said he believes the Town Board is doing what it believes is best for the town in resolving a conflict. However, Neale said he wouldn’t have reached such an agreement.

“When you face a bully you don’t just keep giving them your lunch money,” Neale said. “Sometimes you have to fight them.”

Return to top

DOT will start paving project on 31 in Holley next week

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 April 2019 at 5:58 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – The state Department of Transportation next week will start milling and repaving Route 31 in the Village of Holley. The DOT has sign on Route 31 on the western end of the village, telling motorists the project will start on April 10 and to expect delays trying to use the road.

The DOT next year will pave Route 237 in the village.

Return to top

Comptroller says Holley school district’s procurement policy inadequate

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 April 2019 at 7:43 am

HOLLEY – The State Comptroller’s Office is recommending the school district adopt a comprehensive written procurement policy, and ensure purchases are made with a procurement policy and that a competitive process is used.

That policy should ensure Holley’s gets the best price for goods and services, the Comptroller’s Office said in a report about the school district. (Click here to see it.)

The comptroller reviewed 42 purchases totaling $184,000 to assess how district officials procured goods and services that were not required to be competitively bid. The purchases and services included waste management, facility improvements, school supplies, professional services and road salt.

“We found that 39 purchases totaling $176,000 were made without evidence that officials used a competitive process or obtained the required written quotes,” according to the Comptroller’s report. “The remaining three purchases were properly made using State and Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) contracts.”

When officials do not seek competition to procure goods and services, there is an increased risk that goods and services may not have been obtained for the best value to ensure the most prudent and economical use of public money, the Comptroller’s Office said in its report about Holley.

Brian Bartalo, the district superintendent, sent a letter to the Comptroller’s Office on March 8, responding to the report.

He said Holley will be updating its procurement policy and will include procurement of professional services. The district will ensure a competitive process is used when spending district funds on products and services, with an internal claims auditor monitoring the process, Bartalo said in his letter.

The district’s administration, purchasing agent and internal claims auditor will all be thoroughly trained on the procurement policy, he said.

Bartalo discussed the audit with the Board of Education last month. He told the board the Comptroller’s Office was very positive about the district’s finances overall.

“There is always room for improvement,” he told the Board of Education. “This was a thin report (from the Comptroller’s Office). It was an outstanding report.”

Return to top

Holley school welcomes senior citizens for 14th annual breakfast

Staff Reports Posted 2 April 2019 at 7:06 pm

Photo courtesy of Holley Central School: Holley students serve local senior citizens breakfast during last year’s event in May.

HOLLEY – The school district is welcoming senior citizens, ages 55 and older, for the 14th annual senior citizen breakfast in the Holley Elementary Café.

The May 2 breakfast is free for seniors and the district will offer transportation if needed. The breakfast will be from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

The district offers the breakfast as a way to thank senior citizens for their support of students and the school district over the years.

Holley students will serve the seniors, and students will also sing for the guests.

Seniors interested in attending the event, need to RSVP by April 26 to Connie Nenni in the District Office at 638-6316, ext. 2003. When seniors RSVP, then should also let Nenni know if they need a ride.

Return to top

County planners oppose Murray’s proposed regs for special events at farms and wineries

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 March 2019 at 9:46 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Amy Machamer, co-owner of Hurd Orchards in Holley, said Murray’s proposed law for special event regulations at farms and wineries, would add uncertainty for her business.

MURRAY – The Orleans County Planning Board voted on Thursday against proposed regulations from Murray to regulate special events at farms and wineries.

Planning Board members said Murray’s proposed law isn’t clearly written, has some contradictions and may not be needed because the state Agriculture and Markets law already gives farm operations protections for hosting special events.

Paul Hendel, a Murray Town Board member, said the town regulations are intended to help more farms have special events to sell their agricultural products.

“We’re not trying to put anybody out of business,” said Hendel, who is also a member of the County Planning Board.

The town regulation wants farms and wineries to notify the town’s code enforcement or zoning official of any special events. Those events throughout the year must be a secondary revenue stream for the farm or winery, and can’t become the primary source of money for the business, according to the Murray proposal.

“I wouldn’t jump into this,” said Planning Board member Kevin Johnson of Clarendon. “It’s going to affect a lot of farmers.”

“We think it will help them,” Hendel responded.

Ron Vendetti, a former Murray code officer, said the regulations are well intentioned “but poorly crafted.”

While Hendel said the regulations would grandfather existing operations with special events, the regulations don’t clearly say that, Vendetti said.

“It doesn’t specifically say Hurd Orchards and Salamacas (Salamaca Estate Winery) are OK,” Vendetti said.

Amy Machamer, co-owner of Hurd Orchards, said the Murray proposal is very concerning for her, given the uncertainty with how regulations are interpreted by a code officer or Planning Board.

Although Hendel said existing businesses aren’t affected by the regulations, Machamer said another Town Board or Planning Board in the future could view it differently.

Hurd Orchards uses many luncheons and special events to sell fruit and flowers grown on the farm, she said.

Agri-tourism is a big part of many farms, she said, citing a movement for more breweries, even farms renting out rooms as Airbnbs.

She also is concerned about the setback proposal requiring buildings to be at least 100 feet from the road. Machamer said Hurd owns many historic buildings that were built close to the road and don’t have a 100-foot setback.

Joe Sidonio, Machamer’s husband, said the regulations aren’t needed because the town already adopted a Right to Farm law in 2001, that encourages agri-tourism and special events at farms.

“We already have it on the books that we are promoting agriculture and we want it to grow,” Sidonio said.

Sidonio said the town’s proposal “is repetitive and discriminatory.”

Hendel said the town wants to help other farms, not currently using special events to sell products, to add that revenue stream.

The Town Board will have a public hearing at 7 p.m. on April 9 about the regulations. That hearing is at the Murray Town Hall, 3840 Fancher Rd.

The Town Board can adopt the regulations but will need a super-majority vote due to the County Planning Board’s vote of denial.

Return to top