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Murray will make change in code enforcement position

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 January 2019 at 2:54 pm

MURRAY – The Town of Murray no longer has Ron Vendetti working as its code enforcement officer. The Town Board during its annual organizational meeting on Tuesday did not make an appointment to the position.

The town will have Melissa Ierlan, Clarendon’s code enforcement officer, fill in for some inspections. All contacts at Murray should still be made with Val Mauro, the deputy clerk.

“It is anticipated that after interviews with qualified applicants we will be able to fill this position for the foreseeable future with a quality candidate who embodies our mission of customer satisfaction and community involvement,” Town Supervisor Robert Miller said in a letter announcing the code enforcement change. “This transition may cause some minor delays, but we expect to offer uninterrupted service while we manage this situation. Your patience and cooperation are greatly appreciated.”

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At Holley fire 3 dogs rescued, resident taken to hospital for smoke inhalation

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 January 2019 at 4:04 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – These three dogs were rescued this afternoon in a fire at an apartment, 11 White St., Holley.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 1:58 p.m. They put out a fire in the basement.

The residence filled with smoke. A tenant went back inside the house to get one of the dogs. The tenant was taken by Monroe Ambulance to a hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters opened windows and used fans to ventilate the house, which includes two apartments.

Firefighters form Holley, Clarendon, Fancher-Hulberton-Murray, Albion, Hamlin and Brockport were at the scene, as well as the Orleans County Emergency Management Office, Holley Police Department, Monroe Ambulance and the county fire investigators.

Harris Reed, right, took over as Holley fire chief from Kevin Dann, left, on Jan. 1. This was Reed’s first fire call as the chief.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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In 1926, express train collided with locomotive in Holley, killing 1

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 5 January 2019 at 8:58 am

“Overlooked Orleans” – Vol. 5, No. 1

HOLLEY – This photograph, taken September 25, 1926, shows the aftermath of a locomotive collision at Holley. Looking south on South Main Street, the Holley Electric building is pictured on the left. A few individuals are in the vicinity, including a young girl standing between the tall white fence and truck along the left side of the road. Upon closer inspection, a bicycle is lying on the curb near the railroad overpass, possibly left there by the girl.

At 3:33 p.m. on September 24, 1926, an express train, Engine 3373, pulling 28 cars and two coaches departed the Fancher station on the New York Central Railroad. Meanwhile, Engine 485 operating at a local quarry just east of Holley was pulling two cars along a segment of track. According to reports following the accident, Engine 485 was switching cars near the Holley station located immediately west of the railroad overpass as the express train approached.

Travelling westbound against current traffic, the engineer in charge of Engine 485 observed the approaching express train, warned his fireman of the impending danger, and both quickly jumped to safety. A similar scenario unfolded aboard Engine 3373 and the two locomotives collided travelling at approximately 20-25 mph. While the engineer of Engine 3373 was able to safely jump from the express train, his fireman Frank Maloney was not as fortunate.

Both trains derailed, mangling the tracks and piling up cars behind them. Engine 3373 rolled onto its left side, striking the railroad station on the north side of the tracks while Engine 485 rolled in the opposite direction, striking the freight house. A large portion of the station was damaged and freight house knocked from its foundation. Maloney, who was unable to jump from the engine, was pinned under the wreckage and severely scalded; he died shortly after the collision.

This photograph shows the scene the following morning when a wrecking crew arrived on scene to clean up the debris. By the time this image was taken, Engine 3373 was turned upright, but the mangle pieces of Engine 485 are visible to the east of the overpass. A local brakeman was found at fault for failing to warn the oncoming express train.

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Albion and Holley PDs are now Safe Haven sites

Posted 30 December 2018 at 7:57 pm

Distressed parents can leave a baby up to 30 days old at police stations with no questions asked as long as staff present

The Albion and Holley police departments both have signs letting the public know the sites are Safe haven sites. The Albion PD is located at 106 North Platt St. and the Holley PD is at 8 Thomas St.

Press Release, Roland Nenni, Police Chief for Albion and Holley police departments

The Albion and Holley police departments in conjunction with Project Stork Inc. are proud to announce the recent designation and training for both agencies as Safe Haven locations.

New York State Law provides that a distressed parent who is unable or unwilling to care for his or her infant can give up custody of a baby that is 30 days old or less – no questions asked.

The parent must simply bring the infant to a safe haven location and make sure a person is located to give the child. As long as the child shows no signs of intentional abuse, no name or other information is required.

The officers and staff of both the Albion and Holley police departments were given training on the law and the procedure on how to handle an infant being turned over.

Signs have also been placed outside of both police stations indicating that the stations are Safe Haven locations. Each station also has a complete kit of supplies needed to care for an infant until other trained personnel arrive. These kits include items such as diapers, formula, clothing and other essential items.

I would like to thank the founder of Project Stork Inc., Jenny Staebell, for providing the signs and infant kits to the two police departments for this potentially lifesaving option to a distressed parent.

Thanks to the Safe Haven Law no one ever has to abandon a child again. For more information on the Safe Haven law in New York, click here.

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Albion, Holley police have AEDs in patrol cars, police stations

Posted 28 December 2018 at 10:13 pm

‘The citizens of the communities we serve will have a greater chance of survival when a person goes into cardiac arrest because of our new capabilities.’ – Police Chief Roland Nenni

Press Release, Roland Nenni, Police Chief for Albion and Holley police departments

Photo courtesy Albion Police Department: Albion Police Officer Daryl Robb trains with one of the new AEDs.

The Albion and Holley police departments are proud to announce the addition of Automatic External Defibrillators, commonly known as AEDs, to all police patrol vehicles in both departments as well as units in each police station.

All Albion and Holley police officers and civilian staff have also been certified by the American Heart Association by attending the Heart Saver AED/CPR course.

The AEDs and training were funded by a Community Health Grant from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation. The total cost of the AEDs and training was $11,335. Without this funding the life-saving tools would not have been possible.

The Albion Police Department and Holley Police Department first respond to all emergency medical calls in their respective jurisdictions. Albion and Holley officers arrive on scene within minutes of a medical emergency, often well before EMS personnel arrive. Officers will now have the life-saving tools needed during these medical responses. The citizens of the communities we serve will have a greater chance of survival when a person goes into cardiac arrest because of our new capabilities.

The AHA Heart Saver AED/CPR course that was taught to all officers and staff also comes with a Basic First Aid component. With this added training means an added level of care that will be provided to patients of medical emergencies.

I am very happy that we now have this added lifesaving ability. I am so proud that our officers see themselves as true public servants and as life savers, not just as law enforcement officers.

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Holley writer is prolific contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 December 2018 at 10:34 am

David Hull, a retired preschool teacher, is featured in about 20 of the popular books

Photos by Tom Rivers: David Hull of Holley is shown with two of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books that he is featured in. Hull, a retired preschool teacher, has stories in about 20 of the books in the Chicken Soup series.

HOLLEY – David Hull of Holley has become a frequent contributor of one of the most popular book series.

Hull, a retired preschool teacher, has stories in about 20 of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. The Chicken Soup for the Soul series started about 25 years ago and now includes more than 250 titles. It has sold more than 100 million copies.

Each of the books includes 101 stories that tend to be three to four pages for each article. Hull, 59, checked the Chicken Soup website about seven years ago, and sent in a story. Although he has now been included in about 20 of the books, Hull said some of his stories didn’t make the final cut.

Chicken Soup editors say they get several thousand submissions for each book. Hull said he tries to write from the heart and mix in humor.

“You got to be very persistent and brave to send your stuff off to publishers,” he said during an interview last week at Sam’s Diner in Holley. “Don’t be stopped by rejection.”

Hull said he wrote for some small magazines before being published in Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Chicken Soup published The Power of Yes! This year and includes two articles by Hull. In “Boldly Going” he shares how a friend urged him to help at a community clothing center at a local church. Hull was moved by the people, including a high schooler who wore size 9 shoes during school and his father then wore the same shoes later in the day for work. The shoes were wore out. There were children without winter coats and a family using mittens to keep warm at night.

The next day, Hull went to a department store and found shoes and clothes on clearance, including a new pair of size 9 shoes for the father and son.

“My friend may have had to persuade me to get involved, but because of that experience, I realized that many people were a lot worse off than me,” Hull wrote. “I also learned that I could help my community through the simple tasks of being aware and donating a little time and money.”

Also in The Power of Yes!, he writes about his reluctance to try a community exercise program in Kendall. But in “C.R.A.F.T.S.” – Calming, Relaxing Activity for Tired Souls – Hull finds acceptance and success. Six months into the program he loses 11 pounds and drops his cholesterol and blood pressure.

Hull is featured in these four recent Chicken Soup books.

Hull studied English in college and earned a degree in education. He worked 28 years as a teacher at the Brockport Child Development Center at Brockport State College. He retired four years ago.

He tries to write each day. Some days that might only be jotting down some notes.

“It’s very therapeutic,” he said. “It helps you to reflect on situations and think more deeply.”

The Best Advice I Ever Heard also was published in 2018, featuring 101 stories of “epiphanies and wise words.” Hull writes about “The Sensitive Plant.” It’s a fern-like herb his mother had in her house. When the plant was stressed it would tuck its leaves close together. Hull writes about a tough first semester of college, when his grades were low. He was tempted to give up. His mother told him to not act like the sensitive plant, putting his guard up and refusing to take risks. Hull returned to college and, with perseverance, would graduate.

Hull said he has submitted stories for future Chicken Soup books. He’s waiting to see if those will be published.

“It’s great to see your work in print,” he said.

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Contractor starts work on first of 7 canal bridges to be rehabbed in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 December 2018 at 5:08 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – An employee with Crane-Hogan Structural Systems in Spencerport gets a cable in place on Wednesday on the Bennetts Corners Road bridge over the Erie Canal.

This is the first of seven canal bridges in Orleans County that will be rehabilitated with a new deck and other improvements.

The Bennetts Corners bridge had its weight limit reduced to 4 tons before it was closed on Dec. 3 for the construction project.

The state Department of Transportation announced last month that seven of the canal bridges would receive extensive work with the seventh bridge to be completed in the summer 2020. The Bennetts Corners Road bridge could reopen in about six months.

Crane-Hogan gets a platform in place to work on the deck of the bridge on Bennetts Corners Road.

The state is spending $10.7 million on the seven bridges. Besides Bennetts Corners, other bridges that will be upgraded include: Telegraph Road in the Town of Murray, Transit Road in the Town of Murray, Densmore Road in the Town of Albion, Gaines Basin Road in the Town of Gaines, Bates Road in the Village of Medina, and Marshall Road in the Town of Ridgeway.

The DOT said the work on these bridges will include installing high-strength galvanized steel to replace steel floor systems, low chords, gusset plates, and truss elements. Bridge railing and guide rail on the bridge approaches also will be improved and each bridge will be repainted. The alignments and profiles of the bridges will not change.

The  seven single-lane truss bridges were constructed between 1909 and 1914.

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Schools reborn as apartments don’t pay much in taxes

Photos by Tom Rivers: The former Albion grammar school, renovated for $7 million a decade ago, has 30 apartments for senior citizens on East Academy Street.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 December 2018 at 8:50 am

Turning big school buildings into apartments and offices costs many millions of dollars.

Home Leasing in Rochester has started work on the former Holley High School, turning a building that had been vacant for about 30 years into 41 apartments for senior citizens with about 6,000 square feet also to be used as the Village of Holley offices.

The Holley project will cost about $17 million. Tax credits and grants have been critical for the project to move forward.

The big cost for renovation won’t result in a property tax boom for Holley. Home Leasing is paying $13,500 in a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) beginning in 2021. The $13,500 will be shared among Holley Central, the Village of Holley, Orleans County and the Town of Murray.

Home Leasing in Rochester faces an ambitious project in turning the long-vacant former Holley High School into 41 apartments and the offices for the Village of Holley.

The 30-year PILOT agreement has the amount in payments increasing 2 percent each year until it reaches $23,973.90 in 2050.

Those 41 apartments would generate about $330 each in annual tax revenue in 2021 with the PILOT in 2021.

The owner of a house in Holley, valued at $80,000, pays about $4,000 in taxes. The tax rate for the school, village, town and county is about $50 per $1,000 of assessed property.

The renovation of the old school was never looked at as a tax windfall. Village officials didn’t want a prominent location in the community to continue to deteriorate, oppressing the entire neighborhood. The property also was in bankruptcy and had long stopped generating any taxes.

Albion also witnessed a stunning $7 million transformation of an old school. PathStone, formerly Rural Opportunities, in 2007 started work on the former Albion Grammar School, which was built in 1906 with gray Medina sandstone. The school on East Academy Street served kindergarten through grade six before closing in the early 1970s. It was originally a high school.

Rural Opportunities in 2009 opened the Albion Academy with 30 apartments for senior citizens, as well as space on the first floor for the Office for the Aging and the Arc of Orleans County. The Meals on Wheels and Nutri-faire program is run from the Academy.

Rural Opportunities wanted to plan its expenses for taxes. It reached a deal with the local municipalities to pay what the site was generating in taxes, $5,800, when it was privately owned with only a few apartments.

The Town of Albion, Village of Albion, school district and county agreed to keep the tax burden at $5,800 annually for 10 years.

The Albion Academy, like the Holley school, was viewed as an opportunity for affordable senior housing, while saving an important community landmark and providing a big lift to a neighborhood.

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Editorial: Holley school project shows importance of a community committed to a cause

Photo by Tom Rivers: Nelson Leehouts, chairman and CEO of Home Leasing, stands in front of the former Holley High School on Dec. 11 when the community, and local, state and federal officials gathered for a “preservation celebration” for the building. The community’s enthusiasm for the project, and the building’s prominent location in Holley, were among the factors pushing him for the renovation.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 December 2018 at 10:20 am

HOLLEY – The local, state and federal officials all deserve lots of credit for finding money to help make the renovation of the former Holley High School a financially feasible project for Home Leasing, a Rochester firm with three generations of construction and housing experience.

It wasn’t just the politicians and government leaders who made the project a reality. Holley residents were also a big factor in saving the structure.

Home Leasing is working on a $17 million extreme makeover of the former school. It will be a major lift for Holley and Orleans County because the site is at an important gateway on the eastern end of county.

The school building has been deteriorating for about 30 years, oppressing the psyche and morale of the community. It’s transformation is more than a development project that will add 41 apartments for senior citizens and also become the new village offices for Holley.

The school holds cherished memories for many in the community. And the building’s prominent location on Route 31 in the heart of the village warrants the site be a showcase of pride. That hasn’t been the case for three decades.

There have been several would-be developers for the building over the years, and all backed away until Home Leasing stepped in about three years ago and showed great fortitude and perseverance. Holley residents also deserve lots of credit for not giving up on the site, for pressing the village to make the school redevelopment a priority.

Nelson Leenhouts joins the Holley community for a celebration photo last week in front of the former school.

Nelson Leenhouts, the Home Properties chief executive officer, has been in the real estate development business for 50 years. Never has a community worked harder on a project than the school redevelopment in Holley, he said.

Village officials worked with local, state and federal officials to get the pieces in place for the project. It wasn’t easy. The school was last owned by a manufacturing company that went bankrupt. The title for the property was in limbo. And that was a deal-breaker before.

This time the county attorney, recently retired David Schubel, worked out a way to get the title in the clear by having it go to a local development corporation instead of a municipality. The village and county didn’t want to take ownership of the property and be on the hook for liability, especially if the redevelopment fizzled and big building in ruin was left behind. The title was a big obstacle that was resolved.

The staggering cost of the project also scared off would-be developers. There wasn’t enough incentives and grants to make it work.

A local resident had an idea to sweeten the pot and perhaps make the project doable. Erin Anheier of Clarendon was successful in helping several sites in the Holley area get listed on the National Register of Historic Places. That designation increases the chances for grants and also historic tax credits for redevelopment projects.

She thought the Holley High School, built in 1930, was deserving of the National Register, and that distinction would also help make the site eligible for more tax credits. The redevelopment includes a $5.1 million in Historic Tax Credit.

Anheier was showing officials from the Landmark Society of Western New York the old stone store in Clarendon about seven years ago when she persuaded them to stop by the old Holley High School, which is about 4 miles from Clarendon.

The Landmark Society at the time was considering a new “Five to Revive” list. The Landmark Society wanted to highlight five properties in dire need of investment in the Rochester area. The organization wanted to pick properties where the redevelopment would have a big ripple effect in their neighborhoods.

The Landmark Society saw the old school as a perfect candidate for the Five to Revive. The inaugural list in May 2013 included the Holley school.

Leenhouts and Home Leasing took note and came to Holley for the first time to see the school. Leenhouts right away saw lots of possibilities – and challenges.

The Holley community deserves lots of credit for welcoming Leenhouts and helping him to work through the many potential pitfalls.

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Holley students return to middle-senior high school after evacuation

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 December 2018 at 1:59 pm

HOLLEY – The school district evacuated students and staff from the middle-senior high school at about 11:30 a.m. today after the smell of gas was detected. They went to the elementary school.

The Holley Fire Department and NYSEG have isolated and addressed the issue at the MS/HS, and deemed the building safe to occupy, Holley school officials stated on the district website.

Staff and students have returned to the MS/HS and resumed classes around 1 p.m. All afternoon and evening activities will be held.

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