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Kendall, Medina again listed among top high schools by U.S. News

Photo by Tom Rivers: Kendall Junior/Senior High School has earned a Silver Award as a high-performing high school in the latest ranking by U.S. News and World Report.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 May 2018 at 11:18 am

U.S. News and World Report on Wednesday published its list of top high schools in the state and nation and Kendall and Medina again are on the list as Silver Medal winners.

The news publication weighs data on student achievement from 22,000 high schools in the country. Kendall has been at the top of the list in Orleans County in recent years, but the latest report shows Medina edging ahead of Kendall.

Medina ranked as the 197th top high school in New York and 2,297th in the country. Kendall was ranked 205th in New York and 2,455th nationally, which puts them near the top 10 percent.

The other high schools in Orleans weren’t on the list of top performers.

The U.S. News’ Best High Schools List is compiled by first analyzing how well students performed on qualifying high school state assessments such as Regents Exams in Algebra 1 and ELA.

The high schools identified as over performing were then ranked nationally in terms of college readiness, using participation and success in the Advanced Placement program. U.S. News then awarded more than 6,040 gold, silver, and bronze medals to the top-performing schools.

Some highlights from each high school in Orleans include:

• Albion (unranked)

597 students and 40 teachers

75 proficient in mathematics, 92 percent proficient in reading

88 percent graduation rate

College Readiness Index – 20.1

AP tested, 29 percent

AP passed 61 percent

48 percent economically disadvantaged (eligible for free or reduced-price lunch)

• Holley (unranked)

519 students and 48 teachers

68 percent mathematics proficiency, 81 percent reading

53 percent economically disadvantaged

• Kendall (Silver Award)

317 students and 29 teachers

81 percent mathematics proficiency, 91 percent reading proficiency

College Readiness Index – 24.3

37 percent AP tested, 54 percent pass AP

47 percent economically disadvantaged

• Lyndonville (unranked)

309 students and 29 teachers

62 percent mathematics proficiency, 91 percent reading proficiency

College Readiness Index – 34.4

51 percent AP tested and 57 percent passing

44 percent economically disadvantaged

• Medina (Silver Award)

631 students and 52 teachers

91 percent proficiency for both math and reading

College Readiness Index – 26.2.

41 percent tested for AP and 51 percent passing

48 percent are economically disadvantaged

For more information, visit

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Kendall deaths: ‘It’s an absolute tragedy that didn’t have to happen’

Photos by Tom Rivers: Orleans County law enforcement officials met with the media at 11 a.m. today to discuss the arrest of David A. Wiley Jr., who has been charged with reckless endangerment and criminally negligent homicide after the death of a mother and her son from carbon monoxide poisoning last month. From left include Jeff Gifaldi, investigator with the Sheriff’s Office; Michael Mele, chief deputy; District Attorney Joe Cardone; and Undersheriff Chris Bourke.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 May 2018 at 12:54 pm

KENDALL – A Kendall resident used such poor judgement in operating a generator in a closed garage, leading to the death of two of his neighbors, that he is facing felony charges of reckless endangerment and criminally negligent homicide, District Attorney Joe Cardone said in a news conference today.

“His reckless conduct rose to such a gross level,” Cardone said about David A. Wiley Jr., 39, of 2245 Center Rd.

Undersheriff Chris Bourke takes questions from the media this morning at the Orleans County Public Safety Building.

Wiley was living in apartment A of the duplex when he set up the generator in the garage on April 16. It was directly below the living space of his neighbors in apartment B. Joan C. Gilman, 38, and her son Richard J. Gilman, 14, were found deceased in an upstairs bedroom on April 18.

An autopsy showed extremely high levels of carbon monoxide in their system and the cause of death was found to be “inhalation of products of combustion,” Undersheriff Chris Bourke said.

The generator ran for 17 hours and the fumes from it were 4-5 times the amount that could kill a person, Bourke said.

The power had been turned off at the site after the bill wasn’t paid. Wiley, as caretaker of the property, was responsible for paying the bill to National Grid, Bourke said.

When the electricity was turned off, Wiley set up a generator to power his side of the duplex, but not the apartment for the Gilmans, the undersheriff said.

“It’s an absolute tragedy that didn’t have to happen,” Bourke said.

Agencies could have helped negotiate keeping the power on, or the generator could have been set up outside the house, Bourke said.

David A. Wiley Jr.

The Kendall code enforcement officer has red-tagged the building, removing the certificate of occupancy due to code violations. Bourke said the town wasn’t aware the house had been subdivided into two apartments.

Wiley is very remorseful about what happened and didn’t intend to hurt anyone, said Jeff Gifaldi, investigator for the Sheriff’s Office.

Cardone said generators have warning labels to not operate inside.

“We grow up educated that you don’t run combustible engines in a living area,” Cardone said. The generators can cause a fire and the carbon monoxide is also a “silent killer,” Cardone said.

“It’s such an obvious thing and such an obvious use of poor judgement,” he said.

The maximum sentence for felony reckless endangerment is 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison, while the maximum for felony criminally negligent homicide is 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.

Wiley was arraigned in Albion Town Court on Thursday. He was remanded to the county jail on $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond. He is scheduled to return to the Town of Kendall Court on May 7 at 5:30 p.m.

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Kendall man charged with criminally negligent homicide after death of mother and son from carbon monoxide poisoning

Posted 3 May 2018 at 9:31 pm

Press Release, Orleans County Undersheriff Chris Bourke

David A. Wiley Jr.

KENDALL – The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a Kendall man in connection with the deaths of Joan C. Gilman, 38, and her son Richard J. Gilman, 14, of 2245 Center Rd., apartment B.

Undersheriff Christopher Bourke reports that Investigator Jeff Gifaldi arrested and charged David A. Wiley Jr., 39, of 2245 Center Rd, apartment A with two counts of Criminally Negligent Homicide (class E felony) and two counts of Reckless Endangerment 1st Degree (class D felony).

The Sheriff’s Office investigation revealed that Wiley was the “care taker” for the owner of the duplex located at 2245 Center Road and resided in apartment “A”. The electrical power bills for each apartment were allegedly in Wiley’s name. National Grid shut off the power on or about April 16. Wiley allegedly ran the generator in a closed garage directly beneath the bedroom of the victims for over 17 hours between April 16 and April 18.

Provided photo: Richard “RJ” Gilman Jr. and his mother Joan are shown together in this photo.

The Monroe County Medical Examiners found, as a result of the autopsies, that both Mrs. Gilman and her son had extremely high levels of carbon monoxide in their system and the cause of death was found to be “inhalation of products of combustion.”

As a result of the Sheriff’s Office investigation, it was found that Wiley allegedly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death to another person and he failed to perceive the substantial and unjustifiable risk that would result. This action was a gross deviation from what would be that of an ordinary prudent person in the same circumstance as to be incompatible with proper regard for human life, Bourke said.

Wiley was arraigned in the Town of Albion Court and remanded to the custody of the Sheriff in the county jail on $2,500 bail. Wiley is scheduled to return to the Town of Kendall Court on May 7 at 5:30 p.m.

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Simulator shows students impact of driving while texting, impaired

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2018 at 7:32 pm

Photos courtesy of David Klafehn

KENDALL – Jeremy Browe drives the new STOP DWI Driving Simulator on Friday at Kendall during the Senior Bash.

Sheriff Randy Bower, front left, Chief Deputy Michael Mele and other Kendall students and parents get a close look at the simulator.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office used a grant from the New York State STOP DWI Committee to purchase a driving simulator where students and other users can see the effects of driving while texting, drowsy or if they are impaired or intoxicated.

The simulator changes the landscapes to resemble driving in a city or in a rural area.

Dylan Spellan gives the simulator a try.

“It was a huge hit and a great learning experience for the kids to experience what it’s like to text and drive, drive when drowsy and what it would be like if you drink and drive,” Sheriff Bower said. “They learned a lot from it.”

The sheriff would like to take the simulator to other school districts, community events including the Orleans County 4-H Fair and also make it available for drivers’ education classes.

High School Principal Carol D’Agostino also got behind the wheel of the simulator. Deputy Torry Tooley offers some tips.

Kendall seniors gathered for a photo and urged each other not to drink and drive, especially in the upcoming prom and graduation party season.

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Kendall Elementary will host child car seat check during PTSA Fun Night

Posted 24 April 2018 at 9:10 am

Press Release, Orleans County Sheriff’s Office

KENDALL – Attention all parents and caregivers in Orleans County: Sheriff Randall Bower announced Kendall Elementary School will host one of our many Child Car Seat Check Point Events during PTSA Fun Night on Friday.

The Sheriff’s Office will be at the Elementary School on Friday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

According to data, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ranging from 1 to 13 years of age. Preventative measures, such as proper installation of car seats, boosters and seat belts can lower many deaths and injuries. Informing and instructing parents and caregivers on child safety and proper installation of car seats is critical to saving young lives.

Our Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will share information and inspect your car/booster seats to assure that your child is in the correct seat for their size and age. If you have any questions, please contact Sgt. Kevin Colonna at 585-589-5527 or

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Kendall Lions Club celebrate Earth Day with trees, trash pickup

Posted 22 April 2018 at 5:19 pm

Photos courtesy of Kendall Lions Club

KENDALL – The Kendall Lions Club celebrated Earth Day with two events. On Friday, members of the Lions Club presented the 53 fourth-graders in Kendall Elementary School with their own tree for planting.

The presentation of trees enhances the ecology lessons and activities done in the classroom. Before receiving their trees, Superintendent and Kendall Lion Julie Christensen spoke with students about Earth Day and the work of the Kendall Lions. The Lions Club has been participating in the 4th grade foresters program since 2012.

The Kendall Lions on Saturday sponsored the Kendall Community Environmental Cleanup Day, a long-standing tradition in Kendall. About 40 Lions, Leos, Scouts and community members joined forces to clean up the roadsides in the Town of Kendall. Kendall Lions provide safety vests to participants as well as refreshments following.

Thank you to the Town of Kendall Highway Department for their support in this endeavor and Lions Ken DeRoller and Eric Maxon for chairing the event.

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Service for Kendall mother, son will be Saturday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 April 2018 at 8:22 am

Provided photo: Richard “RJ” Gilman Jr. and his mother Joan are shown together in this photo.

The First Baptist Church in Albion will host calling hours and a funeral on Saturday (April 28) for Joan Gilman and her son Richard “RJ” Gilman Jr.

The mother and son were found deceased on Wednesday in a bedroom at their home on Center Road. The electricity had been turned off recently.

They likely died from carbon monoxide poisoning from fumes from a generator or a heater that used propane gas, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office said. The office is continuing to investigate.

Calling hours are from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday at the church at the corner of West Park and Liberty streets in Albion. A service will follow at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Christopher Mitchell Funeral Homes is handling arrangements for Joan and RJ Gilman. An obituary about Joan describes her as an avid reader, who loved to go bowling and was someone that all the children in the family could come to if they needed a reliable confidant. She was truly devoted to her family, especially to her son.

RJ, a ninth-grader at Kendall, was in the school chorus and performed in “Seussical the Musical” at Kendall.  He enjoyed fishing, video games, hanging with his cousins and collecting Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic The Gathering cards.

“RJ had a fabulous, twisted sense of humor!” according to his obituary.

A GoFundMe has been established to assist the family. Click here for more information.

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Woodworking business owner will serve as Kendall commencement speaker on June 22

Photo by Tom Rivers: Karl Driesel is pictured in December 2016 at Orleans Millworks, a business he opened in Kendall in July 2016.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 April 2018 at 3:41 pm

KENDALL – The Class of 2018 will hear from a Kendall graduate who was working as a college professor when he decided to devote himself fully to running a business in his hometown.

Karl Driesel, 32, opened Orleans Millworks in July 2016. He was working out of his home until committing to building a new 5,884-square-foot shop and showroom at 1750 Kendall Rd. He also was commuting to Morrisville State College, making a 2 ½-hour trip two to three times a week. He taught in the wood science department and showed students how to make cabinets. Driesel graduated from Morrisville State College, earning degrees in wood products technology and business management with a concentration in entrepreneurship. 

Driesel has been chosen by the Senior Class to give the commencement address on June 22. The Board of Education also gave its approval on Wednesday to have Driesel address students at graduation.

Driesel grew up in the community and was an Eagle Scout. He runs the sound for many school events and also lets students use his parking lot to prepare their floats during the homecoming parade.

“It’s nice to have a hometown guy,” said Nadine Hanlon, president of the Board of Education.

Carol D’Agostino, the high school principal, said Driesel is well known among the students.

“He loves Kendall and we love him,” she told the Board of Education.

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Proposed $14.5 million capital project at Kendall will be on ballot May 15

Staff Reports Posted 19 April 2018 at 1:59 pm

KENDALL – When district residents go to the polls on may 15 to vote on the school budget and a candidate for the Board of Education, they will also decide the fate of a proposed $14.5 million capital project.

Voting will be from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the elementary school gym.

Kendall school leaders say they already have the local share for the work in a capital reserve fund so there wouldn’t be a local tax increase if the project is approved.

The project follows a series of other improvements at the district campus in recent years.

The project would include addressing health, safety and code issues as well as preservation of infrastructure and enhancement of the instructional environment.

The scope of the capital project includes:

• Proposed improvements to the Elementary School include improving ventilation on the second floor of the quad and auditorium; renovation of the multi-purpose room for technology, agriculture and consumer science programs; replacement of the original gym bleachers and the gym floor, renovation of locker rooms, and a re-design of the cafeteria and serving line.

• Improvements proposed for the Jr./Sr. High School include renovation of the art, technology and music rooms which would address accessibility, storage and ventilation; replacement of gym floors and bleachers; renovation of the girls’ locker room; renovation of music practice rooms; renovation o the lavatory in the arts hall; update of the public access system; ventilation in the office and gym; improving light and sound and providing fly space for set productions in the auditorium; addition of a vestibule at the entrance to the art and music wing.

• Site improvements could include lighting and traffic flow at the Elementary School front loop; improvement of traffic flow at the Jr./Sr. High School bus loop; drainage in the athletic fields, addition of bathrooms and storage by the track and sidewalks from the High School cafe to the tennis courts.

• The bus garage is in need of roof repairs, an update to the fuel system and outside lighting as well as improvements to the water line. The old bus garage behind the Elementary School is in need of replacement windows and doors, Julie Christensen, district superintendent, said at a January community meeting about the project.

If approved by district voters, the construction could begin in 2019 and be completed by 2020.

Detailed plans and design work will not begin until the project is approved, Christensen said.

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Kendall has grief counselors at school after death of student

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 April 2018 at 10:40 am

KENDALL – The school district has trauma and grief counselors available today and Friday following the death of Richard J. Gilman Jr., 14, and his mother, Joan C. Gilman. They were discovered Wednesday evening in an upstairs bedroom, deceased after a propane gas leak at 2245 Center Rd.

The Sheriff’s Office said that electrical power had been turned off at the duplex a few days ago and a portable generator was being used along with some propane powered appliances, Undersheriff Chris Bourke said.

“It is with great sadness that I share the news of the sudden death of one of our students, Richard (RJ) Gilman Jr., and his mother, Joan,” Julie Christensen, superintendent of Kendall Central School, said in a statement on the district website. “RJ was a ninth grade student at Kendall Junior/Senior High School (JSHS). He displayed an infectious sense of humor and an endearing personality.”

Counselors will be at the school today and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. If people need support after these hours, they are encouraged to contact the Orleans County Mental Health Care and Crisis Hotline at 585-344-4400.

“Each one of us copes with loss and grief differently,” Christensen said.

The district also has posted strategies to cope with loss (click here).

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