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DOT will resurface 237 in Holley next year

Posted 30 June 2020 at 12:07 pm

Press Release, Assemblyman Steve Hawley

Courtesy of NYS Department of Transportation: This is the project map of the maintenance resurfacing project.

HOLLEY – Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today, in partnership with the New York State Department of Transportation, that a maintenance resurfacing project for Route 237 will commence in spring 2021 and be completed in the fall of the same year.

The route repair, which is within the Village of Holley, is going to be coordinated to follow the village’s sidewalk reconstruction and waterline improvements project, which is projected to be completed in 2020.

“I am glad to see our tax dollars doing good work for our communities, as the improvement and maintenance of roads is something I think we can all appreciate,” Hawley said. “The men and women of the NYSDOT are hard-working and dedicated, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labor by the end of 2021.”

This project will improve the existing pavement condition through milling and resurfacing Route 237 from the south village line to the Erie Canal Bridge, just north of the village. The project also includes new pavement markings and new signs. In addition, extra signage will be installed to advise truck drivers of the low clearance at the railroad bridge.

As part of this project, the pavement markings on Route 237 will be modified from South Holley Road to Geddes Street and from Route 31 to the north village line to provide two 15-foot-wide travel lanes with no provision for parking.

The existing pavement markings and on-street parking will remain from Geddes Street to Route 31. This striping change was done in consultation with local village officials to address safety concerns and to better provide on-street bicycle accommodations.

Route 237 will remain open to traffic during construction with a minimum of one lane of traffic maintained in each direction. Short-term daily lane closures will be utilized during paving operations.

Drivers will be informed of construction work areas with variable message boards and temporary work zone traffic control signs.

If you have any questions, please contact Joshua Brasacchio, Project Design Engineer at (585) 371-9246 or by e-mail at

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Holley turns school parking lot into drive-in for graduation

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 June 2020 at 8:00 pm

‘We are Holley Strong. This hasn’t been easy but we got through this together’ – Sue Cory, principal

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – These graduates walk to a stage set up in front of the Holley Junior-Senior High School parking lot, where graduation was held today.

The state has allowed outdoor graduations at drive-in movie theaters. Holley considered having the ceremony at a drive-in, but there isn’t one very close by. The closest are at Middleport in Niagara County and Silver Lake in Wyoming County.

“Why do you have to go to a drive-in?” said Susan Cory, the high school principal. “We can turn our school into a drive-in.”

This sign greets students and their families at the high school parking lot.

Cory and Brian Bartalo, the district superintendent, said seniors wanted to have a ceremony with the class together.

The state has capped the attendance for outdoor graduations to 150 people, unless people are in vehicles. If they are in a car or truck, they don’t count against maximum number, Holley school officials said.

Without the vehicles, Holley would have only been able to allow each graduate to bring one spectator for the ceremony.

The class has 81 members, but three foreign exchange students have returned to their home countries in Greenland, Spain and Portugal.

Holley was able to keep commencement at its usual time, the last Saturday in June at 10 a.m., rather than later in the summer when the state might ease restrictions on crowd sizes.

“Our main goal was to have everybody together and have it today,” Bartalo said before the ceremony this morning.

Brian Gay, who is headed to GCC, poses with his family’s vehicle in the parking lot. Most of the cars were decorated for the occasion. Before the ceremony, Holley played rock music, including “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond.

Brian was happy to reconnect with so many of his classmates.

“I love being here and seeing everybody,” he said. “It’s good to see them all again.”

Jamel Hildreth accepts his diploma from Sue Cory, the high school principal, and Brian Bartalo, the district superintendent.

In her message to the graduates and their families and friends, Cory said this group of a seniors is “a history-making class.” They haven’t been inside the school buildings since March 13, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are Holley Strong,” Cory said. “This hasn’t been easy but we got through this together.”

Morgan Cary, the class vice president, said the Class of 2020 missed the last 67 days of school.

“We are the champions of Senior Skip Day.”

She announced the class gift: a mosaic with tiles designed by each of the seniors.

The mosaic made by the seniors will be displayed inside the school.

Valedictorian Tyra Shepherd said the class is very fortunate to live in a community that cares about the students. She noted how Holley has rallied around a student battling cancer. The community has been generous when several families lost their home when a four-unit apartment building burned down in January.

“This is a very supportive community,” said Shepherd, who will major in cognitive science at Brown University.

She appreciates student attention at Holley with the smaller class sizes. Holley teachers also distributed signs to all of the seniors to put in their front yards. Drivers have kept up with beeps to celebrate the students since the signs went up on April 24.

“We have an incredible support system,” she said. “Our community will always rally behind us.”

Tia Brien walks to the stage to accept her diploma. Holley erected a stage in front of the parking lot for today’s ceremony. Usually commencement is at the football stadium unless it rains. Then it’s at the school auditorium.

Ally Benson, the class salutatorian, said Holley has many caring teachers. The seniors also had an amazing first half of the school year. The group, when they were freshmen three years ago, shocked the district by winning the spirit award over the seniors. That remains a highlight for the Class of 2020.

“Thank you friends for giving me memories that will last the rest of my life,” said Benson, who is majoring in physical therapy at Nazareth College in the fall.

The top 10 graduates include Mikaela Auch, Ally Benson, Kamryn Berner, Autumn Bieber, Megan Harrington, Sarah Harrington, Bradley Kingdollar, Tyra Shepherd, Cody Tanis and Rachel Vanelli.

Jenna Miles sings the national anthem near the beginning of the two-hour program. Kohl Morgan, the class president, led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Holley presented the diplomas to graduates in alphabetical order. The first three graduates to receive their diplomas include Sierra Apicella, Mikaela Auch and Nicholas Ballard.

Alexander Brimacomb watches the graduation while standing next to his family’s vehicle in the parking lot. The car was decorated with a big sign including his picture.

Holley teacher Matthew Hennard gave the commencement address. He has worked at Holley for 10 years as a social studies teacher, middle school coordinator and a teacher on special assignment. Before joining Holley, Hennard served four years with the U.S. Air Force.

Matthew Hennard

Hennard told the class they have clearly demonstrated perseverance and togetherness during their time at Holley. The group remains optimistic about the future despite the recent challenges with the pandemic, national unrest and other uncertainty.

“You have faced the unimaginable and so many of you have a hopeful and positive attitude,” Hennard said.

This year’s Holley seniors also experienced some things no other class has – good things. They received a parade from their teachers, who went by the students’ homes. There were personalized visits from the principal, a drive-through prom and many expressions of support from the community.

“This is a generation that knows how to make the best of a bad situation,” he said.

He urged them to choose kindness, understanding and respect in how they respond to others.

Victoria Rich gave her graduation cap a fancy design and a message, “I Winged It.” She plans to study fashion design in college.

Roberto Castillo moves the tassel on his cap to signify graduating. He is headed to the University of Buffalo to major in  television and film arts.

Tony Farruggia has this vehicle all decked out for graduation.

Sean Kennedy wore some cool 2020 glasses for commencement.

Holley teachers and staff watched the ceremony in back by the school, sitting at least 6 feet apart.

A Holley fire truck leads the seniors on a parade through the community. They are headed down North Main Street.

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Holley library doing free-book Fridays, reopening building on July 6

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 June 2020 at 2:27 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Grace Azzolino, the children’s librarian at Community Free Library in Holley, holds some of the books that were available for free at the library today.

Community Free Library will be doing a free-book Friday twice a month through the summer. Many of the books were donated to the library to be given away during the June Fest. But that festival scheduled for June 6 was cancelled.

The library has been open for pickup only, but that will change on July 6 when the building reopens to the public. Library users will need to do social distancing and will be asked to wear a mask inside.

The library will also be hosting a summer reading program.

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1,000 boxes of food went fast in Holley this morning

Photo by Tom Rivers: Staff and volunteers with Community Action of Orleans & Genesee put the last boxes of food from a distribution this morning on a trailer. The food was taken to the Eastern Orleans Community Center in Holley, which has a food pantry and runs a kitchen.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 June 2020 at 12:34 pm

HOLLEY – The food was gone not long after the food distribution started this morning in Holley. For the first time, Holley hosted one of the Foodlink distributions.

The event was advertised to go from 9:30 to 11:30. But by 7 a.m. there was already a lineup of cars.

The food was all delivered by 8 a.m. and by then the line of vehicles was down Route 31. That line, at its peak, went from the Public Square past Bennetts Corners Road on 31.

Organizers decided to start the distribution at 8, to shorter the line of vehicles stretched put in the village.

A few minutes after 9:30, more than 1,000 boxes of food were gone and the distribution was done.

More than 300 people received three boxes of mixed dairy, cooked meat and produce. Today also included bonus bags of grapes.

The drive-through distribution was at the parking lot for the former Save-A-Lot at 3 Geddes Street Ext.

The next event in late July in Holley will likely be moved to the Holley Business Park, which will less likely cause a lineup of cars in the heart of the village.

Community Action partners with Foodlink and the Orleans County Office for the Aging for the food distributions, which also are in Albion and Medina. Orleans Hub will post the schedule for July when it’s available.

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Holley hosts food distribution on Friday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 June 2020 at 8:57 am

HOLLEY – There will be a food distribution on Friday morning in Holley, with three boxes for each vehicle.

People will receive boxes of mixed dairy, cooked meat and produce. Each box weighs about 25 pounds. This is a drive-through model from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the parking lot for the former Save-A-Lot at 3 Geddes Street Ext.

There will be enough food for 300 families.

Community Action of Orleans & Genesee is partnering with Foodlink and the Orleans County Office for the Aging in the food distribution. The Holley Police Department also is assisting.

To access the parking lot, drivers should go down Frisbee Terrace and proceed via the access road to the DPW which will loop around back to the north side of the lot. Signs will be posted.

There is no registration required. This is a first come, first served event.

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Republicans vote for committee members in Murray, Ridgeway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 June 2020 at 11:22 pm

Republicans in Murray and Ridgeway voted in primaries for their committee members. Absentee ballots will be counted on July 1. The Board of Elections didn’t have a breakdown on how many were received so far for each district.

• In Ridgeway, there are three candidates for two positions with District 2 on the Ridgeway Republican Committee. The candidates include Virginia Nicholson, David Stalker and Ayesha Kreutz.

Nicholson leads with 24 votes, followed by 22 for Stalker, and 16 for Kreutz.

• In Murray, there are primaries for three of the districts, with three candidates seeking two positions in District 3, District 5 and District 6.

In District 3, the candidates include Kathleen Case, Anthony Peone and Kerri Neale. Neale leads with 28 votes, followed by 18 for Peone and 17 for Case.

In District 5, the candidates include Lynn Wood, Cynthia Oliver and Ronald Vendetti. Oliver has 42, followed by 41 for Wood and 12 for Vendetti.

In District 6, the candidates include Kellie Gregoire, Robert Miller and Adam R. Moore. Moore leads with 47, followed by 35 for Gregoire and 25 for Miller.

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Holley schools will offer free summer breakfasts, lunches to children in district

Posted 19 June 2020 at 12:18 pm

Press Release, Holley Central School

HOLLEY – The school district, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will offer free breakfast and lunch to all children age 18 and younger from July 6 to Aug. 14.

Children age 18 and younger who live in the district this summer are eligible for this program, regardless of income level. Pre-registration is not required. Transportation will not be provided by the district for this program.

Grab and go meals, which consist of one breakfast and one lunch per child, may be picked up from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday, in the Elementary School Back Bus Loop.

Adults may also purchase breakfast and lunch during this program. Breakfast is $2.65 and lunch is $4.45.

Holley has been offering this program since 2015.

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Holley voters pass budget, elect 2 incumbent board members

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 June 2020 at 7:37 am

HOLLEY – Voters in Holley gave strong support for the district’s budget, bus purchase and public library funding.

There were 1,378 ballots turned in. That’s about 2 ½ times the number that voted in the previous election, with 525 ballots cast on May 21, 2019.

Budget, passes 976 to 342: The proposed $25,780,000 budget is the same as the 2019-20 school year.

Bus proposition, passes 885 to 463: Authorizes the district to spend up to $315,000 for new buses – two large buses and one small bus.

Community Free Library funding, passes 1035 to 311:  The district will be authorized to collect $183,773 for the public library. That is up from $170,197 in 2019-20.

Board of Election: Two current board members were re-elected. Robin Silvis, the current BOE president, received 883 votes and Andrea Newman was backed by 856 voters. They will start new three-year terms on July 1.

Nancy MacPhee received 533 votes and wasn’t elected.

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Holley Rotary presents 5 scholarships, including a new ‘Service Above Self Award’

Staff Reports Posted 15 June 2020 at 9:18 am

Kohl Morgan

HOLLEY – The Holley Rotary Club has awarded five scholarship to graduating seniors, including a new Jessica Mandigo Service Above Self Award.

While a student at Holley, Jessica attended a Rotary-sponsored youth leadership camp. She returned from that weekend inspired to start an Interact Club, which she did. Jessica is now a Rotarian.

Each year a new honoree will be selected and their name engraved on the plaque that bears her name. It will be displayed at the high school. The awardee will also receive a $250 scholarship.

Morgan Cary

Kohl Morgan is the first to receive this new honor. Kohl has been an active member of our Interact Club and is always there to assist. He’s the first to step up and lend a hand, without prompting. His presence is nearly a given at community events and volunteer opportunities. Where you find Kohl, you find laughs and you find his peers drawn to him. He’s a natural leader.

Megan Harrington

The Holley Rotary Club also awarded four $500 scholarships for graduating seniors. They are Morgan Cary, Megan Harrington, Olivia Radford and Tyler Jones.

Morgan Cary was a Class Officer, Editor of the Yearbook, played 2 sports, and was an active Interact Club member. She will be going to GCC next year.

Olivia Radford

Megan Harrington was extremely active in Interact and has been from the beginning. She is an officer this year and worked very hard at planning the Day of Caring. She has helped with many Rotary dinners, participated in Slapshot, and also went to Canada last year with Rotary to talk about Interact Club. Megan is going to Ohio State University next year.

Tyler Jones

Olivia Radford was active with Interact during her 8th-10th grade years. She is a very active girl overall as a 3-sport athlete, National Honor Society member, and a volunteer with the Salvation Army, Hamlin animal shelter, Catholic Charities as well as a local food bank. She is going to St. John Fisher next year for nursing.

Tyler Jones recently joined the Interact Club and has been a very active member. For the Day of Caring he and his mom worked to drop off a ton of donations. He is always asking how he can help, what he missed at a meeting, or what is coming up. He will be going to SUNY Brockport next year to major in Political Science.

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Dump truck parade honors retired Murray highway superintendent

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 June 2020 at 6:05 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MURRAY – Ed Morgan and his wife Dorothy watch a parade of dump trucks pass by his garage at his home on Hulberton Road today in a surprise tribute.

Morgan retired on May 31 after 30 years as the town highway superintendent. Trucks and highway leaders from the 10 towns in Orleans County visited Morgan today. It was also a meeting for the Orleans County Highway Superintendents Association, which Morgan led as president on multiple terms. The group decided to recognize Morgan and show their appreciation for his years of service to the town and also for his assistance to the other highway leaders.

Click here to see a video of the truck parade.

The trucks roll past Morgan’s garage. He was joined at a mini-retirement party by some family members and highway workers across the county.

“We felt he deserved some recognition for his years of service,” said Mike Neidert, Albion town highway superintendent and president of the Orleans County Highway Superintendents Association.

The truck parade “was something extra” for Morgan. The highway group would like to recognize him in August at the group’s next meeting, when Neidert hopes some Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted to allow larger social gatherings.

Neidert has been the Albion superintendent for about 5 years, and a highway worker for 24 years. Highway leaders and employees felt comfortable reaching out to Morgan for advice.

“He was always someone you could go to with questions,” Neidert said.

Ed Morgan is pictured with Josh Veronica, director of community relations for State Sen. Rob Ortt, and Eileen Banker, chief of staff for Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

The State Senate approved a Legislative Resolution on May 27 commending Morgan for a 30-year career.

Morgan helped the town construct nearly 60 miles of water districts during his tenure. As highway superintendent, he oversaw 30 miles of town roads, and was responsible for plowing 17 miles of county roads and 16 miles of state roads.

He also helped put in the infrastructure for the Holley Business Park, made improvements to the town hall and highway department facilities, including construction of a new salt storage building, as well as a computerized fuel system to better serve the town and first responders.

Morgan served multiple terms as president of the Orleans County Highway Superintendents Association.

“For three decades, Edward F. Morgan rendered faithful, conscientious and valuable service to the Town of Murray, truly earning the admiration, esteem and affection of his colleagues,” according to the Senate resolution. “Rare indeed is the occurrence of such a compassionate blending of strength, leadership, intellect, and commitment as that demonstrated by Edward F. Morgan over a lifetime of sacrifice and dedication to others.”

The State Assembly also approved a citation for Morgan.

Dennis Mandigo joined the dump truck parade to honor Morgan. Mandigo has worked 20 years as a motor equipment operator for Murray.

“You couldn’t find a better man,” Mandigo said about Morgan. “He’s been a great boss and a great friend.”

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Holley, Kendall superintendents join Monroe County school leaders in denouncing racism

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 June 2020 at 10:27 am

‘Our school communities have the power to turn pain and prejudice into healing and understanding. Let this moment in history be defined as a tipping point – a moment to truly come together.’

The school district superintendents at Holley and Kendall have joined Monroe County school leaders in a joint statement, denouncing racism and acknowledging “that discrimination exists in all of our communities.”

Brian Bartalo, Holley Central School superintendent, and Julie Christensen, Kendall Central School superintendent, are among 23 district superintendents pledging to take action to equity and inclusion for all students.

The statement from the 23 superintendents is as follows:

We, the superintendents of Monroe County school districts, stand together against racism.

We acknowledge that discrimination exists in all of our communities. We see it in the bias that exists within our districts. We see it in the trauma that hatred and oppression inflict on our students and families. We see it in the educational inequities that continue to perpetuate glaring disparities in student outcomes.

We know that the fight against racism, oppression and hate cannot fall solely on families of color or within the confines of only some school districts. We all must lead this transformation together. That’s why today, we are publicly committing to leading the change that will create lasting equity in our schools.

We will listen, and learn from those who have experienced these tragedies and who live with the fear and pain of racism every day. We take responsibility for educating ourselves and will be intentional in rebuilding our education system which has not served underrepresented student populations well.

All Monroe County school superintendents pledge to:

  • Assess policies and practices in order to ensure equality in hiring practices, provide access to high quality instruction, and decrease disproportionality in student achievement and discipline
  • Accelerate professional development in areas including culturally responsive education and restorative practices
  • Participate in the Regional Equity Network to promote equity in schools across the county
  • Partner with BOCES and the University of Rochester Center for Urban Education Success to develop common units of study to be included in the curriculum across all of our schools that will focus on how race, class and inequities have shaped Monroe County from 1964 to today
  • Listen and respond to the voices of our students and families of color, respect and value their experiences and perspective
  • Engage our students in student-led change initiatives (i.e., ROC2Change)

We stand united in our support of equity and inclusion and we claim schools as a place of love and acceptance for all. Our school communities have the power to turn pain and prejudice into healing and understanding. Let this moment in history be defined as a tipping point – a moment to truly come together.

Our children deserve better and we will do better.

In solidarity,

The Superintendents of the Monroe County Council of School Superintendents – BOCES I, Daniel White; BOCES 2, Jo Anne Antonacci; Brighton, Kevin McGowan, Ed.D.; Brockport, James Fallon, Interim; Churchville-Chili, Lori Orologio; East High School, Shaun Nelms, Ed.D.; East Irondequoit, Mary Grow; East Rochester, Richard Stutzman, Interim; Fairport, Brett Provenzano; Gates Chili, Christopher Dailey;

Greece, Kathleen Graupman; Hilton, Casey Kosiorek, Ed.D.; Holley, Brian Bartalo; Honeoye Falls-Lima, Gene Mancuso; Kendall, Julie Christensen; Penfield, Thomas Putnam, Ed.D.; Pittsford, Michael Pero; Rochester City, Lesli Myers-Small, Ed.D.; Rush Henrietta, Lawrence Wright; Spencerport, Daniel Milgate; Webster, Carmen Gumina; West Irondequoit, Aaron Johnson, Ed.D.; Wheatland-Chili, Deborah Leh, Ed.D.

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Murray sees potential with 400 camp sites, tourism and ag resources

Photos by Tom Rivers: Hurd Orchards saved this nearly 200-year-old barn last year. This photo was taken in November. Amy Machamer, farm co-owner, said the older barns, cobblestone houses and other historic structures can help Murray stand out from other communities, and preserve a sense of place.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 June 2020 at 7:01 pm

‘Have the confidence to say this is really a great place.’ – Amy Machamer

Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio speaks during Tuesday’s Zoom meeting about the town’s comprehensive plan, which will be a guide for land use and economic opportunities for the next decade.

MURRAY – Town officials are looking for opportunities to increase tourism and economic activity in Murray.

Agriculture is a leading industry in the town, home to some of the most productive soils in the world. Those soils should be considered strong assets for the town as it looks to update a comprehensive plan, which is a land use guide for the community.

Updating the plan is a chance to look at possible zoning changes or other strategies that could help local businesses better capitalize on the town’s assets. Besides its farmland, Murray benefits by having the Erie Canal and a number of historic sites, panelists said during a Tuesday evening Zoom meeting about the plan.

Murray also has 401 camp sites between campgrounds at Red Rocks Ponds RV Resort and Hickory Ridge Golf Course and Resort.

Better promoting other sites in town, and developing more biking and walking trails could get campers out into the community more, spending more time and money in Murray, said Barbara Johnston, a planning consultant with LaBella Associates.

“It seems to me Murray has an incredible opportunity to capitalize on the recreation and tourism sector,” Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio said during the meeting.

Murray has several strengths – agriculture, campgrounds, historic sites, tourism opportunities, Sidonio said.

Developing a plan to better promote and encourage those strengths can be a boost for the entire town, he said.

He would like to see the town implement a farmland protection plan to preserve the prime agricultural land.

Local agricultural could also be helped with more siphons for irrigation from the Erie Canal, said County Legislator Ken DeRoller.

The two campgrounds said developing walking and biking trails would make their sites even more attractive, and give campers more to do locally. That way they would likely stay in Murray longer.

Max Han of Red Rocks Ponds RV Resort said there is a lack of campgrounds and other amenities for cyclists on the western end of the canal closer to Buffalo. Many people who travel the canal on bike start in Rochester and head east towards Albany because of the big gap in amenities once you leave Buffalo.

If there were more places to camp and rest, Han said more people will pass through the canal from Buffalo to Rochester, which would be a boost to Orleans County.

The Corning Museum of Glass brought a barge to Holley and Medina in Orleans County, as well as other canal towns in New York, during the summer of 2018. Glassmakers did demonstrations on the barge.

Jim Bensley, the county’s planning director, is part of a Erie Canal waterfront development plan for several municipalities. That effort has shown a need for more places on the canal for people to launch kayaks and canoes. Bensley said there is a big movement now for “car top boating,” where people can bring a small vessel on their car. There are few spots on the canal in the county where it is easy to launch a canoe or kayak, he said.

“We think the Erie Canal is a very big resource,” Bensley said. “It’s such an important part of our history and hopefully an important part of our future.”

Bensley said more entertainment on the canal, such as the Corning Museum of Glass Barge which visited in the summer of 2018, would be welcome attractions to the county and would bring more people to the canal.

There is also a need for a marina where boaters could get gas. Many won’t venture to Orleans because it’s far from marinas and the boaters worry they could run out of gas, Bensley said.

Dawn Borchet, the county’s tourism director, said the 401 camp sites at Red Rocks and Hickory Ridge are a major asset for bringing in visitors.

The Tourism Department has worked to package tours locally to keep the campers in the community longer. Borchet urged the local businesses to talk up their sites to visitors, so they will check out other businesses, too.

Max Han, Red Rocks manager, said cyclists often avoid stretch between Buffalo and Rochester because few places to stop in between.

“It would be great if there were other accommodations along the way,” he said. “It would encourage other people to travel out our way.”

Red Rocks is right on the canal. The campgrounds would like to see a boat launch nearby. Han said the closest is a 10-minute drive away.

He also said the community’s high tax rate is a burden for businesses. He pays a tax rate that is two to three times higher than what his competitors pay in other communities.

Cindy Diehl of Hickory Ridge agreed the high taxes in Murray are a strain on the businesses.

Murray’s Ridge Road Corridor has a nice mix of businesses – including farm markets, a winery, antiques – on a historic road with cobblestone homes. The Ridge passes many country scenes – fruit orchards, corn fields and historic cemeteries.

Amy Machamer, co-owner of Hurd Orchards, said the town is “beautiful” and it stands out on the canal system, where many are communities are too developed and have been inundated with chain stores.

Hurd Orchards has been operating for more than 200 years. She said the farm and other sites that rely on visitors and tourism are facing a new challenge in the Covid-19 era.

“We’re struggling to find new footing and to perhaps build new models,” she said.

Machamer, who is married to Sidonio the town supervisor, has worked with her mother as co-owner of the farm for the past 35 years.

Sal DeLuca tosses a bocce ball during a game last Sept. 1 during the bocce tournament at St. Rocco’s Italian Festival in Hulberton. The festival and tournament are one of the “authentic” activities that make Murray an appealing and unique community, said Amy Machamer.

Hurd Orchards has been to survive by creating farm products and an experience “that is authentically us.” Machamer said the area’s historic assets are part of the community’s authenticity and attraction to visitors.

She said the community is diminished every time an old barn or cobblestone home is lost on the landscape.

“Don’t let the treasures get lost,” Machamer said.

Hurd Orchards has worked the past year to preserve one of its oldest wooden barns, dating back nearly 200 years.

She praised the work by local officials to save the old Holley High School and work with a developer, Home Leasing of Rochester, to repurpose the school into 41 senior apartments and the Holley village officials. That $17 million project is nearly done.

“The preservation of old Holley High School is a crown jewel, that was a huge effort,” Machamer said. “It took the initiative.”

Holley also worked to create a canal park that runs from near the lift bridge to waterfalls. That park is a major asset in bringing people by the canal and enjoying the village.

She also noted some of the unique aspects to Murray – the many garlic farmers and the annual St. Rocco’s Italian Festival near Labor Day. They are part of what makes Murray authentic.

Hurd Orchards is on Ridge Road, a route which has been described by the late author Arch Merrill as “a special continuous village.”

She highlighted another advantage of Murray: the real estate is much more affordable than in neighboring Monroe County.

Machamer would like to see the community better promote Murray, and feel more pride in the town.

“Have the confidence to say this is really a great place,” she said.

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Holley mayor won’t seek re-election, will resign next month

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 June 2020 at 11:30 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty speaks on Dec. 11, 2018 during a “Preservation Celebration” to kick off a $17 million construction project at the old Holley High School. The project is nearly done and has turned the school into 41 apartments and the Holley village offices.

HOLLEY – Brian Sorochty won’t be seeking re-election to continue as Holley’s mayor. Sorochty said his responsibilities at his job have increased. He plans to resign next month as mayor.

Holley’s election was slated for June 16, but has been moved by the state to Sept. 15.

Sorochty wanted to let the community know his intentions so potential candidates could consider serving the village as mayor.

He works as vice president of engineering for an engineering/construction company. He also said he wants to be more available for his family.

Sorochty has been on the board for seven years. Holley has tackled many ambitious projects during that tenure, highlighted by a $17 million transformation of the old Holley High School. That building had been vacant for more than 25 years.

Home Leasing of Rochester is turning it into 41 apartments and the Holley village offices.

“It is truly awesome to see the lights on in that beautiful old building and to know that people are living there and that very soon the Village offices will be there as well,” Sorochty said in a letter to the editor sent to the Orleans Hub. “Our community and officials at all levels pulled together working with the developer to make that project a success and it is wonderful to be a part of it! Our Village will be a better place with that historic building revitalized and I am truly happy for our community.”

Holley also will soon start construction on a $4.5 million waterline and sidewalk project that will take about a year.

The village also is seeing the federal EPA spend $12.5 million in the latest cleanup of the Diaz Chemical site on Jackson street.

Holley also has partnered with the Landmark Society of Western New York to draw attention to historic sites in need of attention. The “Five to Revive” designation for the old school helped connect Home Leasing to the project.

The Landmark Society also has listed a commercial building in the Public Square to the “Five to Revive.”

Sorochty said he has enjoyed working with the many officials in the community and region, to move Holley forward with several initiatives.

“Having the privilege to be your Mayor and being able to work with everyone I have met along the way is a great honor and  a time I will always cherish,” he wrote in his letter.

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Murray seeks input on how to better utilize local assets for tourism and recreation

Photo by Tom Rivers: This bicycle with flowers is pictured last August by the Erie Canal in Hulberton.

Staff Reports Posted 2 June 2020 at 8:51 am

MURRAY – The Town of Murray is hosting a meeting through Zoom videoconferencing today, welcoming feedback on how Murray could better utilize agricultural, historic assets and other natural resources in the community.

The Erie Canal, streams and lakes, historic sites and agriculture support the region’s tourism economy, including agri-tourism, providing recreational opportunities, and represent the natural, historic and cultural richness of the Town of Murray.

As part of its Comprehensive Plan Update, the Town of Murray has organized a “virtual” public forum from 5:30 to 7 p.m. today to explore opportunities to build on these resources to benefit the Town and region.

The forum will include presentations from representatives of businesses and county government, who will share their perspective about these resources and how the Town can leverage them to improve the area’s quality of life and support local businesses. The Town’s planning consultants will describe the Town’s natural, agricultural and historic resources and their significance to the Town’s Comprehensive Plan.

Panelists include James Bensley, Orleans County Planning Director who is working on the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan for the Erie Canal; Dawn Borchert, Orleans County Tourism Director who will discuss tourism promotion; Ken DeRoller, Orleans County Legislator who will offer a county government perspective and share ideas to better utilize the Erie Canal; Max Han of Red Rocks Ponds RV Resort; Amy Machamer, Hurd Orchards owner who will discuss agri-tourism; and Cindy Diehl, owner of the Hickory Ridge Golf Course and Resort.

LaBella Associates will host the meeting an offer an overview presentation.

The agenda includes:

5:30 – 5:35: Joe Sidonio, Town Supervisor, and Chad Fabry, Chairman of Comprehensive Planning Committee, will open the meeting and welcome the participants.

5:35 – 5:45: Barbara Johnston, Planning Consultant for the Comprehensive Plan, will give an overview of the Comprehensive Plan process, briefly summarize the natural, historic, agricultural, recreational and tourism resources in the Town and existing programs and regulations, and present the objectives of this workshop.

5:45 – 6:15: Panelist presentations (5-10 minutes each.) Each panelist will address the following questions from their perspective:

  • What assets or resources in the Town of Murray are most valuable for recreation or tourism?
  • How do these resources or assets support business development and/or recreational opportunities for residents?
  • What are some of the challenges or obstacles affecting tourism and recreation in the Town?
  • Are you aware of any Town zoning regulations that may unreasonably restrict business development relating to recreation or tourism, including agri-tourism?
  • How can the Town or other entities support business development relating to its natural, historic and agricultural resources? Do you have any ideas for specific projects or programs?

6:15 – 6:30: Questions/Discussion with Comprehensive Plan Committee members

6:30 – 6:55: Questions/Discussion with the public

6:55 – 7:00: Wrap-up/Next steps

Check the town’s website (click here) for the Zoom instructions.

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Fundraiser established for family after fire in Holley on Wednesday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 May 2020 at 11:34 am

Mark and Rose Porter’s house was damaged by blaze

Provided photo: Firefighters respond to a fire on Wednesday evening at North Main Street at the home of Mark and Rose Porter.

HOLLEY – An on-line fundraiser has been started to assist Mark and Rose Porter, whose home was damaged in a fire on Wednesday evening.

Firefighters were dispatched to the Porter residence on North Main Street at about 7 p.m. The front porch was engulfed in flames.

The Porters are active community members. Mrs. Porter works as a nurse. Mr. Porter is a past Holley fire chief. He is a member of the Holley Board of Education and works as the communications captain for Monroe Ambulance.

“Mark is a pillar of the Holley community and beyond, always willing to put his fellow man first, and himself second,” Timothy Wood wrote on the GoFundMe page for the Porters.

“Victims of fires face tremendous emotional stress and financial costs, and we hope this fund will help alleviate some of the challenges that Mark and Rose are facing as they try to move on, and rebuild their lives,” Wood wrote.

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