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Orleans County

RTS Orleans will resume regular service, collecting fares on Wednesday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 July 2020 at 3:28 pm

ALBION — RTS Orleans, which operates a public transportation service in Orleans County, will resume regular service and collecting fares on Wednesday.

The Regional Transit Service, which operates public transportation in Orleans and seven other counties, hasn’t been collecting fares since March 19.

RTS initially waived fares to help protect RTS bus drivers and customers. RTS has implemented enhanced bus cleaning, and bus operators have access to masks, face shields, hand sanitizer and disinfectant.

Riders are urged to wear a face covering or mask, wash/disinfect their hands often, maintain social distancing when possible, and stay home if feeling sick.

In Orleans County, RTS has been operating a Dial-A-Ride public transit service only since April 6. On Wednesday, it will return to regular service. Click here for more from RTS Orleans.

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Home-based childcare providers in Orleans, Genesee eligible for $2,000 grants

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 July 2020 at 9:05 am

ALBION – Home-based child care providers are eligible for $2,000 grants, made possible by the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.

The grants include about 20 home-based childcare sites in Orleans and Genesee counties. Community Action of Orleans & Genesee is distributing the grants.

“It’s an absolutely wonderful opportunity for the home-based providers,” said Bonnie Malakie, director of children and youth services for Community Action.

Home-based childcare providers should receive an application for the funding from Community Action through the Child Care Resource & Referral program. Currently there are 20 certified group family daycares or home-based child care providers in the two counties, Malakie said.

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation awarded the grant to Rochester Area Community Foundation to help about 200 small, home-based child care providers in Orleans, Genesee and Monroe counties.

“Child care is essential now more than ever,” said Amber Slichta, vice president of programs at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “Small, home-based child care providers rarely qualify for support and, in turn, do not view themselves as small businesses. It’s important that we continue to fill these gaps and uplift these providers, as they are often the only option for working families in rural areas and urban neighborhoods.”

During the pandemic, these smaller child care sites are seeing more demand with families looking for smaller settings with fewer children and adults. The grants of up to $2,000 each will be given to providers to use how they see fit — to help them open or continue operations.

“In-home child care has always been in demand. But the pandemic has more families looking at home-based options as a way to minimize their children’s exposure to large numbers of other children and adults,” says Jennifer Leonard, the Community Foundation’s president and CEO. “This sudden need by families during an already difficult time has placed a great deal of strain on home care providers who want to help.”

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MAP class for small businesses to return in fall

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 July 2020 at 9:20 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers – Diane Blanchard, director of the Microenterprise Assistance Program, is pictured in downtown Albion. She leads a program that has had 518 graduates.

ALBION – A class that gives pointers to entrepreneurs and helps them develop their business plans will be back this fall after the spring class was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Orleans Economic Development Agency has been offering the program since 1999, with classes in the spring and fall.

The EDA is expecting to hold the weekly class sessions at the Arnold Gregory Office Complex on South Main Street, and could always hold sessions through the Zoom video conferencing or a Google meet, said Diane Blanchard, manager of the program.

“We’re moving forward,” she said during Friday’s Orleans EDA board meeting. “We’re ready.”

Blanchard said a dozen people are already committed to the class. Other people interested in MAP can reach Blanchard at (585) 589-7060 (ext. 1) or by email, dblanchard@orleansdevelopment.org.

The 10-week class includes insights on taxes, marketing, legal issues, computer skills and overcoming pitfalls in launching a business. A main goal is developing a business plan.

Sam Campanella, an advisor with the Small Business Development Center, has been with the class for many years. He has retired from the SBDC.

Dorothy Daniels of Albion is taking Campanella’s place as a class advisor and instructor. the class. Daniels graduated from MAP in 2019. She started On Point Bookkeeper on West Avenue in Albion. She also works for the SBDC.

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Katie Harvey is county’s new director of Personnel and Self Insurance

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 July 2020 at 9:35 am

Katie Harvey

ALBION – The county has hired Katie Harvey to be the new director of Personnel and Self Insurance. She succeeds Jack Welch, who became the county’s chief administrative officer on March 25.

Harvey worked with Welch as the deputy director of Personnel and Self Insurance beginning in March 2020. She started in the department as a personnel assistant in January 2014. Prior to working for the county, Harvey was an assistant manager of Five Star Bank in Albion.

Harvey has been trained in Albany at the NYS Civil Service Institute by the NYS Department of Civil Service. Her work with the county has included managing the Orleans County Self Insurance Plan claims, human resources for 400-plus employees as well as coordinating the scheduling of the county’s civil service examinations.

“Katie is well versed in the operations of Personnel and Self Insurance,” Welch said.

The Director of Personnel and Self Insurance is responsible for over 1,600 civil service classified positions, over 1,100 employees in the Orleans County Self Insurance Plan as well as over 600 volunteer firefighters.

“Katie has the ability to be an excellent administrator of the County’s Civil Service operations as well as the administrator of the Orleans County Self Insurance Plan,” Welch said. “I couldn’t think of a better person to lead this department in these challenging times.”

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County DMV now offers on-line scheduling

Staff Reports Posted 7 July 2020 at 4:07 pm

DMV has been overwhelmed with calls recently for appointments

ALBION – The Orleans County Department of Motor Vehicles is now offering on-line scheduling for appointments.

“We acknowledge that we were overwhelmed with the sheer volume of calls to schedule DMV transactions the past few weeks,” said Jack Welch, the county’s chief administrative officer. “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have created for our residents. We totally understand the frustration our residents have had in trying to obtain an appointment at DMV and we hope our new online scheduling service will allow our residents more flexibility and convenience in scheduling their appointments for DMV transactions.”

The on-line scheduling page may be located using the County’s DMV webpage (click here) or by clicking here. The first step in scheduling the appointment is to click on the service needed, then choose a date, provide your name and telephone number.

The software requires the customer’s name and telephone number as a required field.  By providing a mobile number and an email address, the software will provide a text message confirmation and an email confirmation of the appointment. The last step is confirming that all of the information entered is correct.

As a reminder, the county has a lockbox in front of the County Office Building for DMV transactions. The direct number for DMV is (585) 589-3214. The County Office Building address is 14016 State Route 31, Albion, NY 14411.

“The county continues to look for opportunities to serve our residents in the most safe and healthy manner possible for our residents and employees,” Welch said.

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Fair food is popular in return to Knowlesville for holiday weekend

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 July 2020 at 8:45 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

KNOWLESVILLE – Some candy apples are lined up in a food booth at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds. They were prepared by Scott Kolassa of Churchville, who runs a taffy, candy apple, cotton candy and fudge booth, as well as a lemonade stand.

The fairgrounds is hosting a fair food fest today, Saturday and Sunday. There are eight vendors for the food fest.

The event was popular today, with 200 people in the first hour, despite temperatures in the mid-80s.

Karen Spierdowis and her son Cole of Albion were among the customers. Spierdowis said she missed taffy from the fair. She also wanted to show support for the vendors who are an important part of the fair experience.

Scott Kolassa has lots of classic fair foods ready in his booth.

The event went from 4 to 8 p.m. today and will return from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Kolassa’s late father Sy started the family business about 65 years ago. Kolassa and the other fair food venders have seen nearly all of the fairs and festivals be cancelled this summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County agreed to host the three-day event, with social distancing in place and people wearing masks.

Robert Batt, the Extension director, said the fair has long relationships with many of the vendors and wanted to help them during a tough time when so many of their events had been cancelled.

The week-long Orleans County 4-H Fair is among the popular events that is cancelled this year. Batt knows people are missing the festivals and fairs. He thought the food fest would give people a taste of the fair, and also help the vendors.

People are given takeout containers and need to return to their vehicles after getting served. (They are to enter and exit from the west side of the fairgrounds on Taylor Hill Road.)

Jennifer Pontillo, owner of Divine Swine, is serving pulled pork, brisket, fries, and a smoked chicken dinner with watermelon salad and corn bread.

The Elba resident also owns an Italian restaurant in Geneseo. She appreciated the chance to return to the fairgrounds, even on three hot days.

“These are very uncertain times if you’re in the restaurant and food business,” Pontillo said. “I’ll take the opportunity to make money.”

Jack Kolassa, owner of The Big Cheese, prepares a grilled cheese sandwich. Jack is a third generation fair food vendor. His father is Scott and his grandfather is Sy. Jack is assisted in the booth today by Connor Starr at right.

The Big Cheese also sells Buffalo chicken grilled cheese, corn dogs, hamburgers and cheeseburgers.

Jack said the fair and festival season has been busy time for his family for more than a half century – until this year.

“This is something I never could have imagined,” he said about so many cancelled events. “But we’re a resilient bunch.”

Taffy is ready at Scott Kolassa’s booth.

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Food distributions return next week

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 July 2020 at 10:20 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Robert Batt, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County, carries a box of produce on June 10 during a food distribution at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds. The Extension staff and volunteers put 1,200 boxes of produce in vehicles that stopped by.

Food distributions will be back next week in Orleans County after there weren’t any of the events this week. The food is available at no charge to the community.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension will host USDA Farmers-to-Families Food Box Distribution events on July 8 and July 22. The Extension will be distributing 1,200 boxes of produce.

There also will be Foodlink distributions with three boxes of food per vehicle on the Fridays from July 10 through July 31. The three boxes are perishable items of produce, dairy and cooked meat.

Some of the Foodlink product is from the federal USDA’s new initiative called CFAP (Coronavirus Food Assistance Program). In this program, distributors who would normally serve schools, restaurants, and municipal programs are able to pre-pack boxes of perishable product and deliver to distributions being done all over the country, said Melissa Blanar, OFA director in Orleans County.

The July drive-through distribution schedule includes:

  • July 8: Produce distribution at 4-H Fairgrounds in Knowlesville – 10 a.m. until gone
  • July 10: Community Action’s Main Street Store in Albion, across from Hoag Library – 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
  • July 17: Medina Calvary Cupboard with new location at Medina Central School District – 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (Enter off of West Oak Orchard Street from Main Street or West Avenue. Entry is at the Oak Orchard Elementary School, signs will be posted. No lines before 8 a.m.)
  • July 22: Produce distribution at 4-H Fairgrounds in Knowlesville – 10 a.m. until gone
  • July 24: Community Action’s Main Street Store in Albion – 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
  • July 31: Holley at a location to be determined – 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

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Hanlon, with big advantage in absentees, wins GOP primary for county clerk

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 July 2020 at 4:15 pm

Nadine Hanlon

ALBION – Nadine Hanlon has won the Republican primary for Orleans County clerk.

She started the day behind Diane Shampine, 1,083 to 1,029. But the Orleans County Board of Elections counted the absentee ballots today. Hanlon had 673 to 514 for Shampine.

The combined votes put Hanlon ahead, 1,702 to 1,597.

Hanlon is the current clerk of the County Legislature. She also just ended a 10-year stint on the Kendall Board of Education, where she was president for seven years.

Shampine is the current acting county clerk. She was the deputy for 14 years to Karen Lake-Maynard, who retired on Jan. 30. Shampine has the Conservative Party endorsement in the November general election.

The Board of Elections will certify the primary results next week.

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Orleans and Niagara adding free WiFi hotspots

Staff Reports Posted 1 July 2020 at 11:45 am

In Orleans, the hotspots are going at most town and village hall locations

An innovative collaboration with several partners will increase internet access by means of public Wi-Fi hotspots for dozens of rural towns in Niagara and Orleans counties in New York, according to David Godfrey, the Niagara County Legislator and Lynne Johnson, the Orleans County Legislature chairwoman. They are co-chairs of the Niagara-Orleans Regional Alliance (NORA).

Deployment is already underway. In Orleans County, the hot spots will be at three village hall locations – Albion, Holley and Medina – and nine out of the 10 town halls. Those town sites include Albion, Barre, Carlton, Clarendon, Gaines, Kendall, Murray, Shelby and Yates.

(Ridgeway opted out because there parking lot is too small and the location on West Avenue is somewhat hidden for a hotspot. The Ridgeway Town Hall also is about two blocks from the Medina Village Office which will have a hot spot. The Lyndonville village office also is right next to the Yates Town Hall. They share a parking lot so they only needed one hotspot.)

“Working with RTO Wireless, our goal is to have high-speed, reliable, and affordable broadband available to every home and business across our two counties, and we won’t stop until we achieve that goal,” says Lynne Johnson. “But today with record numbers of people working from home, and our children trying to advance their education, RTO and Microsoft have ‘stepped to the plate’ to immediately help provide the internet service that is so desperately needed in times of crisis. A simple ‘Thank You’ can hardly express our gratitude for the commitment they have made.”

In Niagara County, the hot spots will be in Middleport, Porter and two each in Wheatfield and Wilson.

“The technology being installed, is undeniably top shelf, which reflects on RTO as one of the top technology companies in this part of the country,” Godfrey said. “From the time they first presented their proposal, to working together to develop a deployment plan, RTO’s CEO Steve Hubbard and his staff have been absolutely wonderful to work with. With Microsoft’s support, these public Wi-Fi hotspots will provide secure, robust internet connections, at no cost to the municipalities, not only during the current crisis, but also into the future.”

Launched in 2017, the Microsoft Airband Initiative seeks to close the rural broadband gap in America and around the world, with the goal of bringing broadband access to 3 million unserved people living in rural America by 2022.

“Microsoft approached RTO Wireless about teaming up on deploying free public Wi-Fi at venues located in rural communities that lack sufficient broadband coverage,” says RTO’s CEO Steve Hubbard.

Microsoft offered to support the purchase and installation of the hotspot devices. Hubbard says he was already in discussions with NORA about deploying fixed wireless broadband to the rural communities that currently lack service. The conversation evolved to an immediate measure to address the lack of broadband by identifying town buildings and schools that can support public Wi-Fi services.

Public host institutions need to have existing broadband service and agree to host the equipment. RTO Wireless procured the equipment and coordinated with two local firms to install the Cisco Meraki equipment.

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Count starts today on about 5,000 absentee ballots

Photo by Tom Rivers: Beth Schmidt, an elections inspector at left, assists with the election and primary last Tuesday at Hoag Library in Albion. Last week about 3,600 did in-person voting in the county. That was less than the number of people who voted with absentee ballots.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 July 2020 at 10:22 am

ALBION – The Board of Elections has begun counting about 5,000 absentee ballots. Those ballots are more than the 3,607 ballots cast in person through early voting and then during the primary and special election on June 23.

The governor pushed early voting to keep people safer during the Covid-19 pandemic. There was a big response in the county with absentees, with more than 20 percent of the county’s 23,111 active voters using an absentee ballot.

It may take a few days for the Board of Elections to count them all.

• The absentees will give clarity in the special election for the 27th Congressional District. Chris Jacobs has a big lead over Nate McMurray in a district that includes eight counties.

Jacobs also has a lead in a Republican primary with Beth Parlato and Stefan Mychajliw.

• There are also absentees for the Democratic presidential primary. Joe Biden has a lock on the nomination after his main competitor, Bernie Sanders, conceded in April.

Only 484 voted in person for the primary out of 5,167 registered Democrats in the county. The Board of Elections received 1,276 requests for absentee ballots from Democrats.

Biden so far has 338 votes to 67 for Sanders. There are nine other names on the ballot and with Elizabeth Warren having the most votes, 18, of those nine.

• In Orleans County races, there is a close contest for Orleans County clerk, with Diane Shampine holding a slight lead over Nadine Hanlon in the Republican primary. Shampine has 1,083 votes to Hanlon’s 1,029 with in-person voting. There are at least 1,270 absentee ballots to be counted for that race.

Locally, there are contested races for Republican committees in Ridgeway and Murray.

• 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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Fair food will return for July 4th weekend at Fairgrounds

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 June 2020 at 10:18 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Marty Zwifka (left), fair manager, and Robert Batt, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County, are pictured by one of the food stands that will be set up at the fairgrounds from Friday through Sunday.

KNOWLESVILLE – There will be a taste of the fair this weekend at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds.

The fair, scheduled for late a week in late July, has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, some of the food vendors will be at the fairgrounds from Friday through Sunday during the Fourth of July weekend.

The take-out only event will include some fair favorites: taffy, fudge, corn dogs, a gourmet grilled cheeseburger, pizza, and barbecued and smoked pork. There could also be a vendor with funnel cakes and fried Oreos.

“We wanted to give everybody a taste of the fair,” said Marty Zwifka, the fair manager.

The event will run from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Nearly all of the fairs and festivals have been cancelled for the food vendors. Some of those businesses have been in families for generations.

“They are hurting a lot,” said Robert Batt, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County, which owns the fairgrounds. “They’ve lost the whole summer.”

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Lauren, Jack and Scott Kolassa of Churchville work in the family’s taffy, fudge and candy apple booth at the Orleans County 4-H Fair in this photo from July 2018. The family will be serving fair food this weekend at the fairgrounds. In this photo, Scott holds a chunk of taffy, which he is ready to pull.

Scott Kolassa of Churchville runs a taffy, candy apple and fudge booth, as well as a lemonade stand. He reached out to Batt about allowing some of the vendors to set up for the weekend at the fairgrounds.

He did a similar event in Clarence, and there was a big response from the community. Scott’s dad started the business about 65 years ago.

Batt said many of the vendors aren’t available because they have shut down for the season. Many of those vendors can’t secure employees or insurance for a one-time event.

Batt said there will be six or seven booths at the fairgrounds and they will be spaced apart about 10 feet. Customers need to wear masks and practice social distancing. They also need to eat the food in their vehicles and dispose of their own garbage.

Although the fair is cancelled in July, the Cooperative Extension will be doing a drive-through chicken barbecue on July 23. Batt said the Extension will be preparing 1,200 dinners for that event.

Some of the food vendors are shown during the fair last year while fireworks go off. The booths will be spaced apart about 10 feet during this weekend’s event.

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As sales tax and revenue take a hit, county delays payments to towns and villages

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 June 2020 at 9:14 am

If county continues to face shortfall, funding to towns and villages may be cut

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature is delaying sales tax sharing payments with local towns and villages, and warned the municipalities may not receive the full $1,366,671 share they have been getting each year since 2001.

The county’s sales tax revenue was down about $1 million in April and May compared to those months in 2019.

The county receives about $17 million in sales tax. Since 2001, it frozen the amount to towns and villages at $1,366,671.

The county in December approved the following sales tax apportionment for the villages and towns:

Villages – $375,620 total in 2020

Albion, $165,688; Holley, $45,051; Lyndonville, $15,243; and Medina, $149,638.

Towns – $991,051 total in 2020

Albion, $123,143; Barre, $64,536; Carlton, $95,418; Clarendon, $116,261; Gaines, $88,698; Kendall, $86,813; Murray, $113,915; Ridgeway, $130,143; Shelby, $105,811; and Yates, $66,312.

The county makes quarterly payments to the towns and villages. On April 1, the county treasurer cut a check for $405,053.13 to be shared among the 10 towns and four villages.

The July 1 payment is due soon, but the Legislature on Wednesday said the money will be delayed. The Legislature also advised the towns and villages they could see a reduction for the year. The county will see if the sales tax revenues rebound, and if other state and federal reimbursements are cut.

Jack Welch, the county’s chief administrative officer, said the county would see a $5 million revenue hit if the current shortfalls stay at their pace for the rest of the year.

Lynne Johnson, the Legislature chairwoman, said the impact of Covid-19 on the economy has the county far off its revenue projections for the year. The county has furloughed 34 employees, not filled 10 other positions and postponed some capital projects.

“This will make it most difficult budget process,” she said in a conference call with local officials. “Without state and federal support, I see a big budget gap.”

Johnson said the state and federal governments need to step up for the local municipalities with their unprecedented fiscal challenges.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo also has been pressing President Trump and Congressional leaders to approve a stimulus package for state and local governments.

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Unemployment rate in Orleans and NY comes down in May after high in April

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 June 2020 at 3:36 pm

Rate in May is about triple the unemployed from May 2019

The local and state unemployment rates, while far higher than they were a year ago, have come down from the highs in April.

The state Department of Labor reports the unemployment rate in Orleans was 11.6 percent in May and 14.2 percent state-wide.

In April it was 15.8 percent in Orleans and 15.0 percent state-wide.

In Orleans, the number of people working was 15,000 in May, compared to 16,400 in May 2019. The number of unemployed went from 700 in May 2019 to 2,000 last month.

In Orleans, some businesses were able to reopen in Phase 1 on May 15, with Phase 2 starting on May 29. Phase 3 began on June 12. Orleans County and the rest of the Finger Lakes Region can start in Phase 4 on Friday (June 26).

The 11.6 percent unemployment rate in Orleans County compares to a 4.0 percent rate in May 2019, long before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The unemployment rates in May for other nearby counties include:

Niagara at 16.0 percent, Erie at 13.9 percent; Livingston at 11.0 percent; Monroe at 9.6 percent, Ontario is at 10.1 percent; Genesee at 10.1 percent; and Wyoming at 10.1 percent.

When Orleans County hit 15.8 percent unemployed in April, it was the first time Orleans was above 10 percent in unemployment since February 2013 (10.6 percent) and January 2013 (11.2 percent).

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Orleans identifies $40 million in infrastructure work in federal request

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 June 2020 at 9:23 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Orleans County and Town of Albion highway workers on Aug. 19, 2019 work on a new culvert on Clarendon Road. The county is seeking federal funding to help pay for more culvert, bridge and road work.

Orleans County officials have identified about $40 million worth of infrastructure work in a list of projects that could move forward in future federal stimulus bills.

The New York State Association of Counties on Monday sent a letter to President Trump and Congressional leaders calling for immediate action on infrastructure investment as part of any future economic stimulus packages.

The letter included a list of infrastructure projects from 40 counties totaling more than $7.35 billion.

The Orleans County, the list includes four main initiatives that total $40,362,555.

In Orleans County, the projects on the list include:

• Orleans/Niagara Regional Alliance Broadband Initiative: Total cost at $10,131,655.

That project would expand high-speed wireless internet to which would expand educational and economic opportunities for consumer sin remote locations. It would allow residents to take advantage of telemedicine opportunities, and allow students to do distance learning at colleges, universities and other platforms.

“We have experienced major issues during the coronavirus pandemic for educational and telemedicine’s access in rural communities,” according to a June 2 letter by County Legislator Ken DeRoller, listing the infrastructure needs in the county.

• Emergency Management Organization Operational Center/Training Facility on West Countyhouse Road in Albion at a cost of $350,000.

This project which correct deficiencies in the current buildings which have caused operational issues, according to a fact sheet from the county.

The project would provide a sufficient meeting room, training room and office space, and would be ADA complaint.

• Orleans County infrastructure improvement initiative with roads, bridges and culverts at a cost of $17,425,500.

John Papponetti, county DPW superintendent, said the county will have bridges and culverts is pushing to have some of the preliminary engineering done on the projects, with cost estimates, so they would be eligible for federal stimulus funding.

• Orleans County Shared Water Service Infrastructure Project at a cost of $12,455,400.

This project would add transmission lines and water storage tanks, increasing fire flows, storage and reducing the water rate. It would eliminate some dead ends, replace some aging infrastructure and add another major transmission line. It would also increase the capacity of water in the county for future economic and residential development needs.

NYSAC projects that counties across New York State (outside of New York City) currently have more $10.8 billion in infrastructure funding needs and that fully funding these projects could create or save up to 200,000 jobs, helping to revitalize local economies as they begin the process of recovering from the economic devastation wrought by the pandemic.

“Now is the time to innovate, to invest in our future, and to rebuild a stronger, smarter infrastructure for the good of all,” said NYSAC President John F. Marren. “It is in this spirit of renewal that we presented these project recommendations to our federal partners. These projects represent a significant opportunity to jumpstart our economy, add construction and trade jobs to our workforce, and strengthen our infrastructure for the next generation of Americans.”

The renewed call for federal funding comes as counties grapple with dramatic drops in revenues. Sales tax revenues for the month of May were down 32 percent statewide, in line with NYSAC’s most recent Coronavirus Economic Impact Report which projects that counties outside New York City will face revenue losses of up to $2 billion and the potential of another $1.5 billion in state budget cuts.

Despite these historic revenue losses, counties are required under state law to fully fund and administer all state and federal programs, which are in high demand during the pandemic and recession.

“Every community in New York has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 and the corresponding economic shutdown in response to the virus,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. “The infrastructure projects that we are presenting to Congress and the President today are a once in a generation opportunity to provide an economic shot in the arm and reshape these communities better and stronger than ever before.”

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Courthouse dome glows several colors for Class of 2020

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 June 2020 at 10:24 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Orleans County Courthouse in Albion is illumined in several colors at night this week in honor of the Class of 2020 at Albion, Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina.

The dome has six lights. The county Department of Public Works is using filters made by Takeform in Medina to display six colors: red, blue, white, orange, purple and yellow.

All six colors will be shown beginning this evening through Sunday night. Albion has purple and yellow for its school colors, Holley is red and white, Kendall is blue and white, Lyndonville is orange and black, and Medina is blue and red.

“We understand that during this challenging time,” said Jack Welch, the county’s chief administrative officer. “We all need to recognize the accomplishments our 2020 graduates have achieved. We are proud of each and every one of you and wish you much success as you begin the next chapter in your lives.”

In the past the dome has been pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, purple for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and green to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts.

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