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New historical marker goes up in Holley by house on Underground Railroad

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 October 2020 at 6:43 pm

Photos courtesy of Melissa Ierlan

HOLLEY – This new historical marker was installed today at 35 South Main Street. It notes the site was once a “Safe House” and the home of Chauncey Robinson, who lived from 1792-1866.

Robinson was an Orleans County pioneer and an abolitionist. He sheltered escaped slaves at this site as part of the Underground Railroad.

The sign was funded by Roy Bubb, James Robinson, the Orleans County Historical Association and the Orleans County Historian’s Department under Matt Ballard.

The other side of the marker notes the location is the “Brainerd Home,” which was built by Col. Ezra Brainard, inventor of Brained Truss Bridge. He was a contractor on the Erie Canal who built the Sandy Creek embankment in Holley.

Local historians have long suspected there were houses in Orleans County on the Underground Railroad, which was a secret network of trails and homes. But there wasn’t documentation to back it up, until Clarendon Historian Melissa Ierlan found a letter from Robinson’s grandson.

In the lengthy letter, the grandson details visiting his grandfather, who took him up to the second floor of the back side of the house. The grandfather pulled back a curtain, and there was a group of escaped slaves on beds.

More research showed that Robinson was in fact an outspoken abolitionist,.

This is the second historical marker in Orleans County about African-American history. Medina in April 2015 unveiled a marker on Main Street in recognition of two speeches delivered in the community by Frederick Douglass, a leading abolitionist.

The Holley marker highlights a local resident advocating for escaped slaves.

The Holley marker is two-sided with one side highlighting Robinson and the Underground Railroad, and the other side noting the work of Ezra Brainard, who built Robinson’s home and oversaw construction of the canal embankment over Sandy Creek.

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Columns are added to front of old Holley High School

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 October 2020 at 9:05 pm

School now used for 41 apartments, village offices

Photo courtesy of Erin Anheier: The front columns were added this past week to the Holley Gardens, the former Holley High School. Home Leasing of Rochester has transformed the building with a $17 million project.

HOLLEY – One of the last touches on a $17 million transformation of the former Holley High School was completed this week when six new columns were put on the front of the building.

Delivery of the columns was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The columns give the building a final exclamation point.

Home Leasing has turned the building, which was vacant for more than two decades, into 41 apartments and the village offices. The apartments include one studio, 35 one-bedrooms, and five two-bedroom apartments.

The building was last used as a school in 1975.  It was last used by a manufacturing company, Liftec, which went bankrupt in the 1990s.

Photos by Tom Rivers: Here is how the former school looked on December 11, 2018 before the major construction started.

The building was nearly done in August, but Home Leasing was still waiting on delivery of the columns.

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Holley High School teacher tests positive for Covid

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 October 2020 at 9:19 pm

HOLLEY – The school district has informed the community a Holley High School teacher has tested positive for Covid-19.

The positive test follows two students who have tested positive in the Holley Junior-Senior High School.

The teacher was last working at the school on Wednesday and the last day the teacher had contact with students was on Tuesday with the “Red Hawks” cohort, Brian Bartalo, the district superintendent, said in a letter to the community posted on the district website.

Orleans County Health Department officials have told Holley school leaders the teacher’s Covid case does not appear to be related to the two positive student cases.

“Contact tracing has to begin as soon as possible,” Bartalo said. “Just as in the student cases, the district is unable to legally disclose any further details or personal identifiable information about this teacher per the federal privacy laws.”

The district this evening was planning to share class rosters and contact information with the Health Department so that the department can begin the tracing process.

“The only students (parents) who may be called will be those high school students (Red Hawks) who were in school on Tuesday and who may have been in close contact with this particular teacher,” Bartalo said. “At this time, there’s no need for students to quarantine or get tested, unless you are contacted by the Health Department and directed to do so.”

If a student is contacted and put on mandatory quarantine, the district asks that the family call the high school nurse at 638-6316, ext. 5100 or the principal’s office at 638-6318, ext. 5505.  The district will work with the students about being fully remote during the quarantine period.

It is recommended that students and staff members continue daily monitoring for symptoms of Covid-19 which could include fever, loss of taste or smell, headache, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sore throat, fatigue, congestion or runny nose, body aches and/or nausea. If these or unusual symptoms occur, please consult your medical provider, Bartalo said in his letter.

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Holley student in middle-high school tests positive for Covid-19

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 October 2020 at 3:10 pm

HOLLEY – A Holley student who was last at the middle-high school campus on Wednesday morning has tested positive for Covid-19, the Orleans County Health Department said today.

“The school learned about the positive case before school this morning and ordered precautionary cleaning and disinfection of the area the student was last in,” said Brian Bartalo, superintendent of Holley Central School District. “The student did not report to school today.”

Holley is working with the local Health Department and New York State Covid-19 School Specialists to assist with contact tracing.

The local Health Department will go back 48 hours from the onset of symptoms or the date of the test to determine any order of quarantining of individuals of close contact with the student.

In this case that would start on Monday, October 19th. As a member of the “White Hawk” cohort, the student who tested positive was not in school on Monday or Tuesday this week. Any communication of the need for quarantine will come directly from the Health Department or the NYS School Liaison. If the local Health Department indicates there is anything further that needs to occur at the school building or district level, families will be updated, Bartalo said.

Paul Pettit, Health Department director, said the district and health officials are unable to legally disclose any further details or personal identifiable information about this student per the federal privacy laws.

If a student in the Holley school district receives confirmation of a positive Covid-19 test, Bartalo urged parents and guardians to contact the school’s nurse or principal immediately “so we can help the Orleans County Health Department most efficiently begin the contact tracing process.”

Any student who has Covid-19 symptoms or has been tested should not report to school until cleared by a medical professional and/or have a negative test result.

“In addition to working closely with the Health Department, we will continue to reinforce the best practices of mask wearing, staying physically distant from others, and handwashing,” Bartalo said.

Symptoms of Covid-19 include but are not limited to fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

For information on school statistics, click here for the New York State Covid-19 Report Card.

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Holley church awarded $5K Sacred Sites grant for roof repairs

Posted 21 October 2020 at 8:08 pm

Photo courtesy of the New York Landmarks Conservancy: The First Presbyterian Church of Holley was approved for a $5,000 grant from the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Sacred Sites program.

Press Release, New York Landmarks Conservancy

HOLLEY – The New York Landmarks Conservancy has announced eight Sacred Sites grants totaling $140,000 awarded to historic religious properties throughout New York State, including $5,000 to First Presbyterian Church of Holley to help fund roof repairs.

The First Presbyterian Church of Holley is a tan-brick, Collegiate-Gothic style church completed in 1909 to the designs of architect William C. Walker. A modern concrete-block addition (1958-59) abuts the east side of the original building.

The sanctuary interior contains the original exposed roof trusses, paneled ceiling in dark wood, heavy wood window trim, altar furnishings, and organ installed in a loft behind the altar. The church serves about 400 people a year through activities such as school supply and clothing distribution, a holiday gift drive, scout troops, fellowship groups, and meetings of the local garden club.

“We’re delighted our grants can help maintain these important institutions during this difficult time,” said Peg Breen, President, The New York Landmarks Conservancy. “Throughout the pandemic, they have continued feeding and recovery programs, as well as health and cultural offerings to their communities.”

The Sacred Sites Program provides congregations with matching grants for planning and implementing exterior restoration projects, technical assistance, and workshops. Since 1986, the program has pledged 1,559 grants totaling more than $12 million to 828 religious institutions statewide.

The New York Landmarks Conservancy

The New York Landmarks Conservancy, a private non-profit organization, has led the effort to preserve and protect New York City’s architectural legacy for nearly 50 years. Since its founding, the Conservancy has loaned and granted more than $52 million, which has leveraged more than $1 billion in 1,850 restoration projects throughout New York, revitalizing communities, providing economic stimulus and supporting local jobs.

The Conservancy has also offered countless hours of pro bono technical advice to building owners, both nonprofit organizations and individuals. The Conservancy’s work has saved more than a thousand buildings across the City and State, protecting New York’s distinctive architectural heritage for residents and visitors alike today, and for future generations.

For more information, please visit

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Holley, eastern Orleans proves good home for towing business

Photo by Tom Rivers: Sarah and Nick Callahan have been operating Callahan Towing the past year in Holley. They will have an open house this Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. The public is welcome to stop by to see tow trucks, fire trucks and police vehicles.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 October 2020 at 11:33 am

Husband and wife run Callahan Towing, 24-7

HOLLEY – A husband and wife has found Holley to be a great base for running their towing business.

A year ago, Sarah and Nick Callahan moved Callahan Towing from Batavia to 106 Geddes St. in Holley. They have the contract for emergency towing in eastern Orleans County in the towns of Kendall, Murray and Clarendon – “from the lake to the Genesee County line.” They have the contract following the retirement of Eric Smith of Glenside Auto from the towing business.

The Callahans respond to numerous automobile accidents and stay busy with other towing jobs, including emergency roadside assistance and moving vehicles for an auction company.

Both Nick and Sarah operate the tow trucks, and they respond to calls at all hours of the day.

“It’s being committed because it’s literally 24-7,” Mrs. Callahan said.

Her husband was 18 when he started working for a towing company. At the time his car broke down and he needed to be towed. He talked with the tow operator on scene and even helped to get the car hooked to the tow truck. Soon he had a job with the towing business.

He enjoys the challenge of the job and helping people who are often in distress.

“You need to be able to think on your feet and do it fast,” he said.

He knows it is an inconvenience for other motorists when a road is closed due to an accident or incident with a vehicle off the road. He tries to work quickly, while preserving as much of a damaged vehicle as possible.

Nick, 31, worked for bigger towing companies before started his own business in 2014. In Genesee County, he said there are about 15 towing companies. He said it is a “cutthroat business.”

In Orleans, the towing companies work together, he said. He credited Smith of Glenside for helping Callahan find a nice location in Holley and for recommending them to many in the community.

“We owe a lot to Eric,” Mr. Callahan said.

The Callahans want to thank the community for the support in their first year in Holley. They are having an open house Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. at 106 Geddes St. People can get an up close look at tow trucks, police vehicles and fire trucks from Holley and Fancher-Hulberton-Murray.

Mr. Callahan said he works with firefighters and law enforcement on many of the calls. He was a volunteer firefighter in Alexander for 8 years. He said the first responders have his deep respect.

The open house also will include wine tastings, food trucks and kids’ activities, including rock painting.

Mrs. Callahan also wants to have a WNY Tow Ball for the tow truck community. She said the Callahans support the “the thin yellow line” campaign to make people aware of the dangers of being a tow truck driver, where motorists often speed by while tow truck operators are working on a scene.

One tow truck driver is killed an average of every six days in the United States. The Callahans have had friends killed while working.

“We want people to slow down and pull over when they see a tow truck,” she said.

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Holley recognizes retiring teachers and staff with tenure

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 October 2020 at 9:18 am

Sal DeLuca honored for service in food program during spring closure

Photo courtesy of Holley Central School: Robin Silvis, the president of the Board of Education, presents the “Soaring to New Heights” award to Sal DeLuca last month in appreciation for his service preparing meals for students during the closure last spring.

HOLLEY – The school recognized Sal DeLuca with the “Soaring to New Heights” award for his volunteer service preparing meals for students during the school closure last spring.

The district gives the Soaring to New Heights award each month to deserving students and adults who go above and beyond expectations, and lend their skills and abilities to help others. DeLuca last spring helped regularly with all aspects of the emergency food service.

The school district during its Sept. 21 meeting also recognized five Holley faculty and staff members who recently retired.

The group includes Accounts Payable Clerk Buffie Gleason, MS/HS science teacher Dan Burke, elementary cafeteria aide Janine Kraatz, MS/HS school nurse Donna Lenz and MS/HS special education teacher Lynnette Short.

The Board of Education also recognized four Holley teachers and two administrators for attaining tenure.

Teachers Zachary Busch, Crystal Elliott, Mark Hill and Carrie Rebis completed the four-year process to become tenured teachers for the district.

Assistant Elementary School Principal Tim Artessa and Director of Special Programs Stephanie Sanchez also received tenure.

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Murray looks to revise law for campaign signs, current language not clear

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 September 2020 at 3:32 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: This sign promoting Dirk Lammes for highway superintendent on Route 31 was covered up after the code enforcement officer last week said it violated the town ordinance for being out too early before an election. But town officials on Monday evening acknowledged the current ordinance isn’t clear so Lammes’ sign was allowed to be displayed today.

MURRAY – The Town Board said it will look at updating the town ordinance for election signs after one candidate had two signs cited because the code enforcement officer thought they were out too early.

In Murray, town officials have believed the expectation in the town was no campaign signs out 30 days before an election. That was how Fred Case, the code officer, interpreted the code.

Last week, two signs were put up for Dirk Lammes, a candidate for highway superintendent. Case told the land owners the signs were in violation of the Murray code and needed to be removed.

But Case during Monday’s Town Board meeting said he made a mistake. The general election is Nov. 3, but there is now early voting and people can send in absentee ballots. So Case said the question is when does the election officially start?

Case also said the code states no signs should be up within 30 days of a general election campaign. It doesn’t state general election, but “general election campaign.”

The campaign could start many months before the actual election, when candidates are going to party officials, seeking an endorsement and also trying to get residents to sign a petition.

“We need to clarify when the signs can be posted,” Case told the board on Monday.

He also said signs promoting Donald Trump and Joe Biden for U.S. president have been on many lawns for months.

Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio doesn’t want to see restrictions on campaign signs.

“I apologize,” Case said. “I need clarification from the Town Board on how to enforce this or do we take it out of the zoning code altogether?”

Paul Hendel, a town councilman, said the intent from the town has been to not allow campaign signs until 30 days before people go to the polls.

“I don’t believe residents want to see political signs strewn all over town for more than 30 days,” he said.

The town code also states the signs need to be removed within 48 hours after an election.

Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio said he sees political signs as free speech and shouldn’t be constrained with time frames.

He also said the town shouldn’t “spot enforce” the zoning for campaign signs, citing some but not others.

Town Attorney John Sansone said the code should be changed and made more clear.

“The way that this is written it’s impossible,” Sansone said. “For Fred (code officer) to try to enforce this you put him in a situation where he can’t win because there are good arguments on both sides.”

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Murray votes to refinance water district debt, which could save about $20K a year

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 September 2020 at 8:20 am

Highway Department making progress reducing leaks in water system

MURRAY – The Town Board voted on Monday evening to refinance the debt for water districts 2-11 and 13, a move than is expected to save $512,000 over 27 years in reduced debt payments.

The town is working with Jeff Smith of Municipal Solutions to take out a new bond at a lower interest rate. Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio said he has been working with accountant Bob Fox on ideas to reduce costs for water users.

Fox said refinancing the debt, during a time of low interest rates, would bring down the annual debt costs. In Murray, Water District 1 is already paid off and other districts have many years of paying down the debt where it doesn’t make as much sense to refinance right now, Sidonio said.

The Town Board was unanimous in the vote. Sidonio said there is still one more vote needed, once the bond proposals come in. That gives the town a chance to not proceed with the refinancing if Murray officials aren’t happy with the terms of the deal.

Sidonio said Municipal Solutions is pushing to have the refinancing in place before 2021, which should provide some debt relief to the 11 water districts next year.

Sidonio also has been raising concern about water loss in the town’s water districts. He said 40 to 60 percent of water in the town hasn’t been billed since January 2018. That is costing Murray about $100,000 in annual water loss.

The Town Highway Department has had success in recent months reducing that loss by changing water meters. The Highway Department last week also found and fixed a big leak on Ridge Road.

Louise Passarell, acting highway superintendent, said the repair already has reduced some of the water loss. She expects to see significant reductions in water loss in future water meter readings on the Ridge.

“It was a great find, a great repair,” Passarell told the Town Board.

She and Sidonio had a tense exchange, with Passarell telling Sidonio he is hurting department morale by not acknowledging the reductions in water loss made by the department, and by frequently talking about the water loss, including given interviews about it to the media.

She said Sidonio has told some people the water line repair on the Ridge was a “fake.”

“I feel like their reputation is being smeared,” Passarell said at the town meeting.

Sidonio said he heard that the leak repair was a fake and only shared that with a councilman in private. He told Passarell he should have been called to the scene.

He praised the highway workers for the success in reducing the water loss. Sidonio said he wants a better working relationship with Passarell and the highway department.

“You may not like me but you should appreciate the position,” Sidonio said about his role as town supervisor. “I look forward to rectifying this and working together.”

He said he will continue to press for reducing the water loss and unaccounted water, saying the water department is in “dire straits.”

Ron Vendetti, the retired code enforcement officer, attended the meeting on Monday and urged the town to make the water loss and unbilled water “the highest priority.” Vendetti said the losses amount to about $300 a day for taxpayers.

“Do whatever you have to do to get it done,” he said.

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DeFilipps, honored Sheriff’s deputy, seeks Murray highway post

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 September 2020 at 9:45 pm

Faces Dirk Lammes in general election on Nov. 3

Jim DeFilipps

MURRAY – Jim DeFilipps, an Orleans County deputy sheriff, is running to be Murray highway superintendent and has two lines in the Nov. 3 election.

DeFilipps, who was named deputy of the year in New York State in 2015, is seeking the highway post under the Independence Party and the independent “Jimmy D for Highway” party.

He faces Dirk Lammes Jr. in the Nov. 3 general election. Lammes has been endorsed by the Republican and Conservative parties.

The highway department is currently led by interim superintendent Louise Passarell. She has been handling the administrative duties for the department following the retirement of Ed Morgan on May 31, who served as highway superintendent for 30 years. Dennis Mandigo, the senior highway employee, is in charge of water.

DeFilipps, 43, will reach 20 years in law enforcement in December and could retire. This evening he said he welcomes the chance to stay active in Murray in a second career.

If elected he said he would get a CDL license to drive the highway equipment and also earn the license to oversee the water system. He currently has a CDL permit.

DeFilipps was working the night shift on March 21, 2015 when he was shot twice at about 3 a.m. following a high-speed chase with James Ellis of Wyoming County. DeFilipps was the first police officer on scene when Ellis wrecked his vehicle in Clarendon on Route 31A. Police were pursuing Ellis after a 911 call when he threatened an ex-girlfriend in Shelby with a gun.

After the crash in Clarendon, Ellis fled to a nearby wooded area and opened fire on DeFilipps and other deputies and police to arrive on the scene. DeFilipps, despite getting hit twice by gunfire, shot Ellis, killing him and ending the threat.

DeFilipps, after recovering from his injuries, returned to work full-time. He has managed the Orleans County Marine Patrol. He also has been a fire commissioner with the Holley Joint Fire District and is currently a village trustee in Holley.

He said he has experience in organization and administration, and can keep public funds within a budget.

Lammes currently owns Lammes Construction and works with municipalities with waterline repairs. His company also does snowplowing in the winters.

Lammes, 52, has been doing emergency waterline repairs for municipalities since 2001, mainly in the Town of Irondequoit. He also has a contract in the Town of Henrietta.

Besides the Murray highway superintendent, the other local positions in the general election include:

• County Clerk: Nadine Hanlon (Republican) vs. Diane Shampine (Conservative), 4-year term

• District Attorney: Joe Cardone (R), unopposed for 4-year term

• Coroner (3): Scott Schmidt (R), Charles Smith (R) and Rocco Sidari (R, C), all unopposed for 4-year terms

• Murray Town Justice: Theodore R. Spada, Jr. (R), unopposed for 4-year term

• Murray Town Councilman: Randy Bower (R), unopposed for 3-year term

• Shelby Town Supervisor: Jeff Smith (R), unopposed to fill vacancy, 1-year

• Shelby Town Councilman: Ryan Wilkins (R), unopposed to fill term for 3 years

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Group in Holley spreads message that Black Lives Matter

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 September 2020 at 6:16 pm

7 demonstrators hold signs in Public Square, amidst jeers and cheers

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Heather Rowley of Holley organized a Black Lives Matter demonstration today in Holley from noon to about 2:30 p.m. She is holding the Black Lives Matter sign.

Rowley was joined by her sister and brother, and four of their friends from Holley and Brockport.

Rowley, 30, wanted to publicly support the cause, especially after a big processional a week ago in support of law enforcement. About 300 motorcyclists and 200 other vehicles were in the “Back the Blue” ride and rally that covered 52 miles in Orleans County.

“This is in direct response to the Back the Blue rally,” Rowley said. “We want to show people of color in our community that we support them and we hear them.”

The seven demonstrators stood in the Public Square for about 2 ½ hours. They received some thumbs up and supportive beeps, as well as middle fingers and expletives from passing motorists.

Rowley was bothered by the timing of the Back the Blue ride a week ago, with the protests in Rochester over the death of Daniel Prude, 41. He died on March 30, seven days after being taken into custody by police. Seven police officers involved in his arrest have been suspended and the police chief has been fired.

Prude was suffering from acute mental health problems when police were called. Officers found him running naked in the street on a cold night on March 23. He was restrained with a “spit hood,” designed to protect police from saliva.

Body camera video was released in early September, more than five months after his death. Protestors have been out every day in Rochester since the videos became public.

“That someone died in such a demeaning way and to still have that rally (a week ago) really rubbed me the wrong way,” Rowley said.

A demonstrator holds on a sign in Holley’s Public Square this afternoon.

Rowley, a graduate student for social work at Brockport State College, wanted her hometown to see that some residents support Black Lives Matter and the push for more police accountability.

She said she feels haunted by the image of Prude and his interaction with the RPD.

Her sister, Madeline Rowley, said most of the passing motorists seemed supportive of their presence. A few people stopped to chat and one wanted a group photo. Some people yelled, “All Lives Matter.” Some told them to “Go home” and “Get the f— out of town.”

Ben Rowley, the brother of Heather and Madeline, had never been to a public demonstration until today. He saw many familiar faces driving by. He felt it would be more effective to support Black Lives Matter in Holley, rather than joining a crowd in Rochester.

“We’re trying to change the town I grew up in for the better,” said Rowley, 24.

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Holley, F-H-M will form combined Murray Joint Fire District

Photos by Tom Rivers: The fire hall for the Fancher-Hulberton-Murray Volunteer Fire Company is pictured on Wednesday evening. The site hosted a public hearing on consolidating the Holley Joint Fire District and F-H-M Fire District.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 September 2020 at 8:12 am

Dave Knapp, left, and Frank Balys, commissioners for the Holley Joint Fire District, sign an agreement on Wednesday following a public hearing to form a new Murray Joint Fire District, which combines the Fancher-Hulberton-Murray and Holley fire districts. All seven commissioners from the two districts voted in favor of the merger on Wednesday.

HULBERTON – The fire commissioners the Fancher-Hulberton-Murray and Holley joint fire districts voted Wednesday night to form a new Murray Joint Fire District that combines F-H-M and Holley.

The new joint district will take effect on Jan. 1. The commissioners from the two districts need to work together before then for a budget for the new district and also to pick the fire chief and a deputy chief for the Murray Joint Fire District.

F-H-M and Holley will continue to have separate volunteer fire companies that comprise the personnel. Those fire companies will pick a station chief and the line officers at Holley and F-H-M.

The joint district will have elected commissioners who will pick the district fire chief and district deputy chief, and the commissioners will also set the budget and oversee spending and the equipment for the district.

Fire commissioners moved to consolidate the district citing manpower concerns and potential budget efficiencies. The two fire companies already work together on many fire calls and emergency responses in Murray. F-H-M covers about a third of Murray, the western end, while Holley’s district covers the rest of Murray including the Village of Holley.

The consolidated district will have one tax rate for the entire town. In 2020, property owners in the Holley Joint Fire District pay $1.80 per $1,000 of assessed property while F-H-M pays a $1.39-rate. The consolidated district will result in a lower rate for Holley, while F-H-M’s goes up.

About 20 people attended the public hearing inside the F-H-M fire hall. The new district takes effect on Jan. 1. Gradually the number of fire commissioners will be reduced from five each in the two districts or 10 now to seven.

The average Holley property owner will see the fire protection tax go up $10 to $20 in F-H-M, while Holley’s drops $10 to $20, said David Garwood, an attorney with Pinsky Law Group in Syracuse. His firm advised the two districts in the consolidation.

“The net effect for the average taxpayer is fairly small,” Garwood said. “It’s not a huge change.”

Holley’s rate is higher mainly due to the debt service on a new ladder truck. That truck will become property of the new joint fire district, meaning F-H-M will have ownership in that truck, Garwood said.

David Garwood, an attorney with Pinsky Law Group in Syracuse, goes over the consolidation agreement during Wednesday’s public hearing. The new joint district will own the assets and also be responsibilities for the liabilities with each current district. Ed Morgan, a commissioner for the F-H-M Fire District, is at right.

Eventually, F-H-M will have some of its equipment and fire trucks get too old. F-H-M may not have to replace some of them because Holley will already have it, offering F-H-M savings in the future, said Ed Morgan, a F-H-M commissioner.

The agreement was unanimously approved by the fire commissioners at the meeting on Wednesday. Mark Porter of Holley made a motion to approve the agreement, which was seconded by Frank Balys of Holley. They voted in favor of the consolidation, along with Doug Heath and David Knapp of Holley, and the F-H-M commissioners of Bob Miller, Bill Bower and Ed Morgan. Al Buell of F-H-M and Chris Glogowski of Holley weren’t at the meeting. F-H-M also has one vacancy among the commissioners.

Each year, there is a fire commissioner up for election in Holley and F-H-M. In the next three years, only one will be elected annually. That will reduce the group from 10 to seven members.

Holley’s assets total $3,241,059, about twice the value of F-H-M’s at $1,541,391. Holley’s liabilities are at $685,000 for the bond to pay off the new ladder truck. F-H-M’s only liabilities are a $20,000 lease for the fire hall which is paid annually. to the F-H-M Volunteer Fire Company.

David Knapp, one of the fire commissioners form Holley, said the fire trucks and apparatus will be labelled Murray Joint Fire District. That might not happen right away on all the trucks, but the district would like to begin labelling some of the trucks for the new joint fire district in 2021.

Ron Meiers, a former Holley fire chief, asked a question about officer elections. Each fire company will continue to elect their officers for each station, although the fire chief and deputy chief will be appointed by the fire commissioners of the Murray Joint Fire District.

The Holley Fire Department used to provide fire protection for the entire town of Murray. Holley also served the Town of Clarendon. In the 1950s and 1960s, F-H-M and Clarendon each formed their owned volunteer fire companies and secured fire protection contracts from their towns.

Holley continued to work with the neighboring fire companies in the eastern battalion, especially with the declining number of volunteers to respond to fires, car accidents and other emergencies.

The community probably won’t notice the change to the Murray Joint Fire District because the two fire companies already function as a team on many mutual aid calls.

“It will be a seamless transition,” Garwood said. “You work together anyway right now.”

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Medina incumbents, including Sidari, re-elected

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 September 2020 at 10:29 pm

Kevin Lynch elected Holley mayor in a close vote

Photo by Tom Rivers: Village of Holley Clerk-Treasurer Deborah Schiavone, right, announces the results of the village election at 9:45 p.m. from the steps of the Holley Gardens/village office at the former Holley High School. From left, waiting for the results, are Village Trustee Rochelle Moroz, Mayor Kevin Lynch and resident Kerri Neale.

Three incumbent mayors were all re-elected today in village elections in Orleans County.

Mike Sidari was elected to another term in Medina, Kevin Lynch won a close election in Holley, and John Belson will continue in Lyndonville.

The elections were delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Albion, Lyndonville and Medina were originally slated to go to the polls on March 18. Gov. Andrew Cuomo initially moved the village elections to April 28, but then pushed them back again, this time to Sept. 15.

The Village of Holley has been holding its election the third Tuesday in June in recent years. It also was pushed back to Sept. 15.

Here are the results from the four villages:

• In Albion, Christopher Barry and Kevin Sheehan were elected as village trustees, with Barry getting 54 votes and Sheehan, 51. They outpolled Maurice Taylor, who received 17 votes.

• Holley had the closest election, with Lynch holding off Skip Carpenter, 86 to 78. Lynch was appointed to mayor in July after serving as deputy mayor.

He said Carpenter, a retired postmaster and former mayor, is well known in the community.

“The people know us,” Lynch said. “We’re old Holley people.”

Lynch said the village will be pushing to complete a $4.5 million water and sidewalk project next year, and also will be pursuing grant funding for an upgrade at the sewer plant.

Voters also elected Connie Nenni, 122 votes, and Mark Bower, 120 votes, as village trustees.

• In Lyndonville, John Belson was elected to another term as mayor with 39 votes. Darren Wilson received 16 as a write-in.

There were two trustee positions up for election, but only one name on the ballot. Danny Woodward Jr., who was on ballot, was elected with 37 votes. AnnMarie Holland also was elected with 29 write-in votes.

Others to receive write-in votes included Andrew Cousins with 15, and patrick Whipple, Steven Shaw, Michelle Dillenbeck and James Tuk with 1 each.

• In Medina, it looked like the incumbents were all unopposed. But Mayor Mike Sidari and Trustees Tim Elliott and Marguerite Sherman faced a write-in campaign from Mary Hare for mayor and Charles Hartway for trustee.

The incumbents all were re-elected. Sidari received 104 votes to 59 for Hare. Sherman had 124 votes and Elliott received 118, to 56 for Hartway. Tim Hungerford and Peter Huth both also received two write-ins.

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Nearly 500 vehicles were in ‘Back the Blue’ ride, including 300 motorcycles

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 September 2020 at 9:21 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Motorcyclists head down Route 31 in Holley’s Public Square on Saturday during a “Back the Blue” ride in Orleans County.

The Orleans Hub reported on Saturday there were more than 1,000 participants in the ride. That was an estimate scanning the grounds on Countyline Road in Murray at the staging area before the ride. I asked a few other people how many they thought were, too, including a motorcyclist who had been at four other rides.

We all thought there were about 1,000 vehicles, maybe more.

Motorcycles pass underneath a giant American flag held high over Route 31 by the ladder trucks at Holley and Clarendon.

But I reviewed a video today from the ride and counted about 500 vehicles. That includes about 300 motorcycles in the beginning of the procession. Then there were about 80 SUVs and pickup trucks. I counted five fire trucks, three dumptrucks, and about 80 other cars, including many classic vehicles.

Add them all up and it’s about 470, including the three law enforcement escorts to start the ride, with two from the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office and a State Police patrol car.

It took them about 25 minutes, from start to end, to pass through the Public Square in Holley. But on Route 104 in Gaines, where the speed limit was 55, it took 14 minutes for the vehicles to pass by.

Some of the vehicles drive down Route 31 toward Holley’s Public Square.

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1,000-plus join ride in Orleans County to ‘Back the Blue’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 September 2020 at 2:19 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – A motorcyclist gives a fist of support to acknowledge the crowd that lined the Public Square in Holley just after noon for a “Back the Blue” ride in Orleans County. The man looks up and was impressed by the sight of a large American flag hanging over Route 31.

There were more than 1,000 vehicles in the ride, with about two thirds of them motorcyclists.

Click here to see a short video of the some of the motorcycles passing under the giant American flag on Route 31 in Holley.

Holley and Clarendon held up a 20-by-30-foot American flag for the ride, which was 25 minutes from the first to the last vehicles in Holley.

The ride started at noon in Murray at Light House Lake Construction,3823 County Line Rd. in Murray. The group then embarked on a 52-mile journey down Route 31 from Holley to Albion to Medina, then north on Route 63 to Ridge Road, then from Ridgeway to Gaines to Murray, and ending where they started.

Organizers said the ride was to show support law enforcement, firefighters, EMS, hospital workers and U.S. military.

Jim McMurray, a truck driver from Canandaigua and a former Albion resident, rode in his fifth “Back the Blue” event today. The 74-year-old said many of the motorcyclists “are fed up with the ways things are going in the country.”

He doesn’t like to see violence and property damage at protests, and believes the police are being unfairly faulted.

He believes the presence of a 1,000 of more participants in the rides sends a strong message to the community, the law enforcement officers and other first responders.

“There’s satisfaction in supporting local police departments and fire departments,” he said.

Many of the motorcycles and vehicles were decorated with pro-police messages, including American flags with a blue stripe. There were also a lot of Donald Trump signs and flags.

McMurray said the group didn’t identify as a “Pro-Trump crowd” but rather as a “Pro-America crowd.”

Marie DeFilipps of Holley takes a video of the ride while watching from Route 31 with her children, Jake and Gianna, and Marie’s mother, Christine. Marie’s husband is Orleans County Deputy Jim DeFilipps. She said the long line of riders and drivers was very moving.

“It was very heartfelt,” she said.

The riders received lots of waves and support as they passed through Holley.

Fran Gaylord and other firefighters from Holley, Clarendon and Fancher-Hulberton-Murray stood together to watch the procession.

“We’re all one team,” said Holley firefighter Kevin Dann, as he watched the motorcyclists and vehicles ride through the Public Square in Holley. “We support them and they support us. We’re all one big family.”

The motorcyclists carried American flags that stood out in the bright sunshine.

These two take in the sight of a supportive crowd in Holley’s Public Square.

A.P. Enterprises from Ontario NY brought in some big trucks for the ride. Orleans County Sheriff Chris Bourke, Undersheriff Mike Mele and State Trooper Kevin Bentley provided an escort for the ride.

This Jeep is ready for the ride. It is at the staging area for the vehicles. There are hundreds of motorcycles in back.

Gordy King of Irondequoit adds blue tape to his Jeep to show his support for law enforcement in the ride.

“They want to defund the police,” King said. “If that happens I don’t know who you’re going to turn to if they break into your house.”

One of King’s friends who rode with him is a social worker in Monroe County. The social worker, who declined to give his name, said law enforcement officers are asked to do much more than police work these days. He said they need training in responding to people in a mental health crisis and should avoid lethal force, including using bullets that wound but don’t kill.

But Paul said some protestors are way out of line in endangering police officers, and throwing fireworks at them.

“Of course we need some police reform, but I don’t support the language,” he said. “Don’t threaten them.”

Vendors sold signs, flags and other merchandise in support of law enforcement, and also for President Trump.

Jim Freas of Medina, left, and Tinker Young of Lyndonville both rode in the event. They are both Vietnam War veterans and law enforcement backers.

“I am here to support the police,” Freas said.

A few bad officers have tarnished the profession. But overwhelmingly, Freas said, officers do the right thing and serve their communities.

Young said it is difficult to watch the news and see the confrontations at protests.

“I back law enforcement across the board,” he said. “There are only a few bad apples. The anarchists are using this as an excuse to tear this country apart.”

This message was added to the window on of the vehicles in the ride.

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