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Wallace Higgins, Tuskegee Airman from Kendall, dies at 92

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 August 2018 at 8:07 am

‘America has lost one of its true heroes’

File photo: Wallace “Wally” Higgins addresses the Kendall Lions Club in June 2015. He was a member of the Alfred Lions Club for more than 50 years.

ALFRED – A Kendall native who served during World War II with the Tuskegee Airman died on Aug. 22 at age 92.

Wallace “Wally” Higgins was born in Kendall.  He joined the U.S. Army on Dec. 10, 1943, before finishing high school. He served until March of 1947. He was assigned to the Army Air Corps and trained with the famed Tuskegee Airmen.

“America has lost one of its true heroes,” said State Sen. Cathy Young of the Southern Tier. “However, his legacy endures and his spirit lives on in our hearts.”

During a presentation to the Kendall Lions Club in June 2015, Higgins talked about encountering racial segregation and discrimination for the first time after entering the service and training in Pre-Flight at the Tuskegee Institute.

As soon as he turned 18, Higgins enlisted in the Air Corps. Having already attended Civil Air Patrol classes in Rochester during his senior year of high school, Higgins was interested in pursuing aviation.

After initially reporting to Fort Dix, New Jersey, Higgins was sent to Biloxi, Mississippi for basic training and aptitude testing. As a result of his skin color and proficiencies, Higgins was selected to be part of the Tuskegee Airmen experiment in Alabama, where he trained in Pre-Flight and Primary Flight training, including solo runs in the P-17 Stearman.

Following 11 months at Tuskegee, a downturn in the war in Europe resulted in less pilot training and Higgins was transferred to the 1909th Engineers Aviation Battalion. Severe illness also prevented him from completing his training and with the conclusion of the war in Europe, he was transferred to the Pacific Theatre.

Wallace Higgins is pictured with State Sen. Cathy Young when he was honored at Albany in May 2015 when he was indicted into the Veterans Hall of Fame.

A sergeant in charge of an all-black, 30-man platoon, Higgins served in Saipan and Okinawa building roads, airfields and ammunition storage buildings.

After being honorably discharged on March 17, 1947, attended the NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University. While a student there, he met and married Norma Miller. They were married 64 years and raised four children. She passed away on Dec. 24, 2015.

The husband and wife stayed in Alfred. Mr. Higgins went on to become an Associate Professor at the university, retiring in 1985.

He was a member of Alfred Lions Club for 50 years and spent decades in community service. In May 2015 he was inducted into the Veterans Hall of Fame in Albany.

“It was my honor to induct Sergeant Higgins into the Senate’s Veterans’ Hall of Fame in 2015 and an even greater privilege to have the opportunity to get to know this extraordinary man,” said State Sen. Cathy Young. “A loving father, husband and active member of our community, Wally’s life was dedicated to service. Despite his achievements, he lived his life with great humility, kindness, compassion and excellence. Everyone he met was a friend.”

In 2015 he was presented a Congressional Gold Medal for his military service by U.S. Rep. Tom Reed.

“Although he lived during a time when racial discrimination and segregation were still terrible realities in many parts of the United States, his patriotism never wavered and he willingly risked his life for our nation,” Young said.

A memorial service with full military honors for Higgins will be held on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 2 p.m. at the Union University Church in Alfred.

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Kendall High School will host active shooter training exercise on Saturday

Staff Reports Posted 1 August 2018 at 7:20 am

KENDALL – The Orleans County Sheriffs’ Office and the Town of Kendall Fire Department, in cooperation with the Kendall Central School District, will conduct an active shooter exercise at the Kendall High School on Saturday at 9 a.m.

The training exercise will consist of officers from the Sheriff’s Office, Holley Police Department and Albion Police Department as well as emergency first responders from the Kendall Fire Department and Monroe Ambulance.

Approximately 20 volunteers will be at the exercise to role play as either students or staff.

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Kendall community making carbon monoxide detectors available after tragedy in April

Posted 27 July 2018 at 11:43 am

Press Release, Kendall Lions Club

KENDALL – On April 18, the Kendall community suffered a terrible tragedy. A single mother and her 14-year-old son died from carbon monoxide poisoning. As the entire community grieved, we began to realize that their deaths were preventable.

At the Kendall Lions Club Board of Directors meeting on April 19, we committed $5,000 to provide a free carbon monoxide detector to anyone in the Kendall Central School District who needed one.

We sought to partner with the five volunteer fire departments who service school district residents, the Orleans County Office of Emergency Management and the Red Cross. A meeting was held on May 1 with representatives from the Kendall Lions Club, the fire districts, the High School Principal and the Board of Education President.

It was agreed that the school would get the word out about the Carbon Monoxide Detector Giveaway to families in the district and the BOE President would notify the County Office for the Aging and the Department of Social Services to inform district residents who did not have children in the school. The EMO for Orleans County agreed to contact the Red Cross. Several of the Fire Departments agreed to deliver and install the detectors.

An informational letter was published in the June edition of the school newsletter and information booths have been planned for various community events in the summer and fall to notify community members and provide sign-up sheets.

A booth at the recent Kendall Firemen’s Carnival had 84 people sign up. Kendall Home Grown Days in August, High School and Elementary School Open Houses and the Kendall Scarecrow Festival in the fall will provide further opportunities for community residents to sign-up for a free detector.

Dale Banker, director of Emergency Management Office in Orleans County, contacted the Red Cross which agreed to provide training on the proper ways to install carbon monoxide detectors as well as free smoke detectors to accompany our carbon monoxide detectors.

The president of one of the fire companies involved in this project has been researching the best detectors to purchase and determined that they will cost between $32 and $38 apiece.   With such a positive response to our first outreach, we estimate that we will be installing 300 carbon monoxide detectors in our community.

We truly believe this humanitarian project will go a long way to ensure the safety of countless members of our close-knit rural community.

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Kendall is constructing first water district in about a decade

Photos by Tom Rivers: The highways departments at Kendall and Hamlin are working together installing water mains on Norway Road in Kendall. Construction started on Tuesday and is expected to be complete in early August.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 July 2018 at 2:54 pm

KENDALL – A new public waterline is going into the ground along Norway Road, from Route 18 to  Creek Road. The project has been years in the making.

“This is a monumental day for the Town of Kendall,” said Town Supervisor Tony Cammarata.

This is the first new water district under construction in about a decade. The Norway Road project include 23 housing units as part of Water District No. 7.

The total project cost is estimated at $860,000. A federal USDA grant through Rural Development will cover $525,000 of the cost with the district property owners paying off a $335,000 low-interest loan for the remainder.

Warren Kruger, Kendall highway superintendent (left), and Steve Baase, Hamlin highway superintendent, are pictured in front of some of the new 8-inch waterlines that are being installed in Water District No. 7.

The highway departments at Kendall and Hamlin are working together to install the 8-inch watermains, hydrants, and service laterals.

Hamlin is being paid $226,245 for its work on the project. The materials are just over $200,000. There are also engineering, legal and other expenses.

Construction is expected to be complete in early August with lawn restorations to follow.

Kendall and Hamlin have worked together installing water mains on about five or six other projects, said Steve Baase, the Hamlin water superintendent.

Cammarata said that is example of shared services with the town towns working together to reduce costs and get a project complete.

Kendall town officials are pictured this morning on Norway Road while Kendall and Hamlin town highway workers install a new public waterline. Pictured form left include Town Councilwoman Lynn Szozda, Town Supervisor Tony Cammarata, Town Highway Superintendent Warren Kruger and Town Councilwoman Barb Flow.

Kendall officials had to work with a myriad of government agencies for the project to proceed, including the USDA, Rural Development, Monroe County Water Authority, the Orleans County Health Department, the Town of Hamlin and other entities.

“It’s a long and tedious road, but it’s very worthwhile,” Cammarata said. “We have to look to the future and the future is water.”

Another small water project, District. No. 9, is expected to soon go out to bid and be constructed this year. That project will extend the waterline from District No.7 where it ends at Creek Road. From there it will run past six houses to Carton Road.

The town is also working on District No. 8 that will include 50 to 60 homes on Kendall Road. That project should be under construction in 2019.

After this water district is construction, Kendall has plans for Water District No. 9 later this year on Creek Road and Water District No. 8 on Kendall Road in 2019.

In addition, residents have petitioned for public water on Lakeshore Road and Center Road. The town expects to have a public meeting this fall to gauge if there’s more interest for public waterlines in the town.

Residents have been vocal with their concerns about inadequate water quantity and quality with some of the residential wells, town officials said.

The additional waterlines could lead to more development with new home construction in Kendall, Cammarata said.

“A lot of builders say they won’t build without water,” he said.

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Kendall Fireman’s Carnival celebrates community pride

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 July 2018 at 8:13 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

KENDALL – Kelley’s Heroes from Caledonia performs in Friday’s parade for the Kendall Firemen’s Carnival. There was a long lineup of fire trucks, bands and community floats during the parade.

The three-day carnival concludes today.

Gary Kludt drives a 1923 Model T carrying the Kendall Singers, who are members of the Kendall Lions Club.

The Cosgrove Middle School drumline from Spencerport performed in the parade.

Lloyd Christ of Holley brought his tractor, “It’s Only Money,” in the parade to promote the Murray Tractor Pull on July 14-15. The tractors will compete at a track developed by Christ on Groth Road. He competes in the heavy super stock class.

Kim Corcoran is the leader of the Kendall Lawn Chair Ladies. The group is a crowd favorite. They perform at many local parades.

These kids carry the banner for the Carlton Volunteer Fire Company. They include, from left: Ridgeley Graeham, Emma Dumrese and Alivia Dumrese. This was the first time kids have carried the banner for the fire company.

This boy enjoys a ride in a Bergen fire vehicle. There were 15 fire companies in the parade.

South Byron firefighters are acknowledged by the crowd.

John Becker once again served as the parade announcer. He was joined on a review stand by local officials, including County Legislator Ken DeRoller at right.

The Alexander Fireman’s Band gave a spirited performance.

Wrestlers promote their program and toss candy to kids along the parade route.

The crowd gave a standing ovation to the Vietnam Veterans of American, Chapter 20 out of Rochester.

Local Girl Scouts also joined the parade.

Boy Scouts urged others to join the program.

The drumline for the White Sabers Drum and Bugle Corps in Dansville made the trip to Kendall. The White Sabers will be back today in Kendall at 4 to perform at the Fireman’s Carnival.

Some of the highlights today include:

• Lawn Tractor Pulls at noon

• Fire Prevention Safety Trailer at noon

• Cruise in Car Show from 4-7 p.m.

• Ride Matinée from 1-5 p.m., and 6-10 p.m.

• Chicken BBQ at 5 p.m.

• 7th Heaven from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

• Fireworks at 10:30 p.m.

The parade concluded with riders from Lone Oak Stables in Kendall.

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Fire badly damages Kendall home

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 July 2018 at 7:36 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

KENDALL – A Kendall home at 2091 Orchard Drive was engulfed with flames this afternoon and badly damaged the house. The residents in the house weren’t home at the time of the fire. Their pets were all able to get out safely.

Justin Niederhofer, an Orleans County fire investigator, is shown in this photo.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at about 5:30 p.m. Multiple fire departments were on scene to get the fire out.

Orleans County fire investigators are on scene to try to determine the cause. No additional information is available.

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Kendall’s Class of 2018 celebrates commencement

Staff Reports Posted 23 June 2018 at 2:27 pm

Photos courtesy of David Klafehn

KENDALL – Kendall celebrated graduation on Friday evening with 49 students completing their high school careers. The program was held at the David J. Doyle Kendall Jr./Sr. High School Auditorium.

Three of the graduates pose for a photo, including from left Taylor Requa, Megan Hardenbrook and Lyndsay Wright.

These students include Michela Hanlon, Lyndsay Wright, Miguel Aguirre, Kierstyn Christensen and Adriana Passarell.

Kierstyn Christensen delivers the valedictory address in front of her mother, Julie Christensen, who is the school district superintendent.

Allen Tonas gives the salutatory address.

Karl Driesel, a Kendall graduate and owner of a woodworking business in town, delivers the keynote address.

Class of 2018 Officers Allen Tonas, Matthew Murray, Caleb Henion, Archer Knapp and Class Advisors Katherine Driesel and Mark Driesel present exchange student Tihamer Keresztes with a gift from his classmates.

The male graduates sat on the left side of the stage.

The women were on the right side.

The class officers lead their classmates in moving the tassels on their graduation caps.

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Boaters Against Cancer has expanded event with fireworks in Kendall

Photo courtesy of Dave Bentley: Dave Bentley, right, is pictured with two of his close friends who died of cancer, Scott Harris at left, and Phil Lance. Bentley is part of the Boaters Against Cancer group that has organized a three-day fundraising event from June 29 to July 1 at the Bald Eagle Marina in Kendall.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 June 2018 at 10:17 am

3-day party includes flotilla, debut of restaurant at marina

KENDALL – There will be fireworks, a large flotilla, live music, a wine- and beer-tasting and the soft opening of a new restaurant.

Those activities – and more – are part of the third annual Boaters Against Cancer fundraising event at Bald Eagle Marina In Kendall from June 29 to July 1.

The marina is the host of the biggest fundraiser for Boaters Against Cancer. The effort started in memory of two long-time boaters at the marina – Scott Harris and Phil Lance – who died about a month apart from cancer.

Dave Bentley was close friends with both of the boaters. Bentley is on the organizing committee for the upcoming three-day event.

“They were two of my best friends,” said Bentley, owner of Bentley Brothers, a Kubota dealership in Albion and Brockport. “We boated together. We travelled together.”

The first two Boaters Against Cancer events raised $30,000 with up to $2,000 available for a boater battling cancer. Those boaters don’t have to be connected to the Bald Eagle Marina.

The lineup of activities for the third annual Boaters Against Cancer events has been expanded. Non-boaters are welcome for many of the activities, including barbecue ribs on Friday, June 29, at the new Lures restaurant at the marina, and a chicken barbecue at Lures on Saturday, June 30. The restaurant won’t officially open until mid-July, said Susan Oschmann, the general manger. It has a special permit for a soft opening to serve food during the Boaters Against Cancer event.

Other highlights of the schedule include:

June 29

• 4 to 7 p.m. – wine- and beer-tasting on the porch

• 4:30 to 6:30 – music with Travis Fitch

• 7 to 10 p.m. – karaoke with Greg and Deb

• 10 p.m. – lantern send off

June 30

• 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – arts and crafts vendors

• 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – massages

• 5 p.m. – flotilla

• 7 to 10 p.m. – music with the Kinne Family Band

• 10 p.m. – fireworks

July 1

• 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. – breakfast with Chef Don

• 11 a.m. – duck race

• 11 a.m. – raffle and silent auction ends with the winners announced

Oschmann said she is hopeful other marinas will start Boaters Against Cancer chapters and the events can be coordinated, especially with the flotillas happening at the same time.

“It would be awesome if we could do more,” she said. “We try to do our part and hope others will follow. We want to see a giant flotilla.”

Some of the boaters will take people out in their boats for the flotilla, with a suggested donation that will go towards Boaters Against Cancer.

Oschmann said many boating families have been impacted by cancer. Her father Jim has fought the disease. Jim Oschmann ran the marina for about 20 years. He was also the first to have fireworks at Bald Eagle Marina in the early 1990s. The fireworks on June 30 will be set off from one of the jetties at the marina.

“Boaters are a very close-knit family,” Susan Oschmann said. “When they are affected, they step up and help out.”

For more information on Boaters Against Cancer, click here.

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Kendall elementary students form their own large flag

Staff Reports Posted 14 June 2018 at 3:25 pm

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Rath

KENDALL – Elementary school students at Kendall celebrated Flag Day today with students wearing red, white and blue. The students gather for a group picture every Flag Day by the flag pole. This year the school decided to pose in the shape of a flag. In the past the students have assembled in the shape of the peace sign and the letters for USA.

Music teacher Jeremy Rath sent in these photos.

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Kendall community honors the sacrifice of soldiers

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 May 2018 at 10:28 pm

Town holds its Memorial Day observance on May 30, which was the official date of the holiday from 1868 to 1970

Photos by Tom Rivers: Boy Scouts and veterans hold a large American flag during a Memorial Day observance at Greenwood Cemetery this evening. The flag would then be folded 13 times, with the meaning of each fold read by Marietta Schuth. Brian Shaw, a Boy Scout in Troop 94, is in back center, holding the flag.

John Patt of Troop 94 carries the American flag on Route 18. The processional started at Kendall Elementary School and ended at Greenwood Cemetery.

Sarah Kelly plays the flute in the combined Holley and Kendall marching band.

Town Supervisor Tony Cammarata said Memorial Day should be a time to reflect on the sacrifice of soldiers. “If it wasn’t for these brave individuals, our lives and our way of life would definitely have been different,” he said.

Kendall holds its Memorial Day observance on May 30, which was the official day for the holiday until it was changed to be the last Monday in May. Kendall has decided to continue to hold its Memorial Day ceremony on May 30. Memorial Day used to be known as Decoration Day. The holiday was celebrated on May 30 from 1868 to 1970.

A Civil War cannon is at Greenwood Cemetery on Route 18, across from the new Dollar General store. Kendall rotates the Memorial Day service at three cemeteries.

Daniel Lauritzson, director of the chorus at Kendall, leads the group which sang, “Anthem.”

Kendall High School students Michela Hanlon and Allen Tonas read names from the “Roll of Honored Dead,” local veterans who are buried in Kendall cemeteries.

Members of the Kendall Fire Department salute the flag while the Kendall school band played the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

This is the same scene with the salute during the national anthem except the focus is on the flute player.

David Warren, a member of the Kendall Community Band, plays “Taps” with his trumpet near the end of the Memorial Day service at Greenwood Cemetery. The Community Band also played, “God Bless America” and “Armed Forces Salute.”

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