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Orleans County

Bourke, leaders of Sheriff’s Office take oath of office

Photos by Tom Rivers: Orleans County Sheriff Chris Bourke holds up his right hand and takes the oath of office on Monday afternoon. His wife, Suzanne, holds The Bible while County Court Judge Sanford Church administers the oath.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 January 2020 at 12:42 pm

ALBION – Orleans County Sheriff Chris Bourke took the oath of office on Monday afternoon, the start of what he said is a challenging new era for law enforcement.

Bourke is the county’s new sheriff following the retirement of Randy Bower and Bourke’s election in November. Bourke served as undersheriff the past four years. He has worked 35 years in the Sheriff’s Office, starting his career as a correction officer and then was a deputy sheriff before working 18 years as a lieutenant. He was supervisor of the Marine Patrol, and also was a K9 officer for 20 years.

Bourke took the oath with other key leaders of the Sheriff’s Office: Undersheriff Michael Mele, Chief Deputy Jeff Gifaldi and Jail Superintendent Scott Wilson.

“We’re excited to have all of our people in place,” Bourke said after the swearing in. “We have a great team of employees at the Sheriff’s Office.”

Sheriff Chris Bourke signs the oath of office, which was administered by County Clerk Karen Lake-Maynard. Undersheriff Michael Mele is at back left.

Bourke takes the helm of the Sheriff’s Office during a time of new state laws for bail reform, discovery, speedy trial and centralized arraignment. Twice a day the county will need to be able to arraign defendants in a centralized location. The county has proposed using a larger room in the jail for the arraignments, with a judge, public defender, district attorney and staff available in the morning and evening.

Bourke said he is particularly concerned the local judges are unable to set bail for defendants facing serious charges.

“This is turning the criminal justice system upside down,” Bourke said. “And of course it was done without any funding from the state.”

The county’s jail population has fallen by nearly half since the bail reform provisions started a week ago. It’s gone from the 70s each day to the 40s, said Wilson, the jail superintendent.

Bourke said he looks to continue many of the programs that were started by Bower, including addiction and mental health services in the jail for inmates.

He also wants to continue to the strong community partnerships with local clergy, schools and other local agencies and organizations.

Michael Mele, the undersheriff, takes the oath of office while his mother Mary Jo Mele holds The Bible. Mele was the chief deputy the past four years. He has worked at the Sheriff’s Office for 19 years. He started his career with the Holley Police Department for four years.

Jeff Gifaldi is the new chief deputy. He was an investigator with the Sheriff’s Office. He has worked in law enforcement since 2001 with the Sheriff’s Office and Albion Police Department. His wife Kelly and daughter Anna, 4, joined him during the swearing-in ceremony on Monday. Scott Wilson, the jail superintendent, is at back left.

Scott Wilson takes the oath of office while Bourke holds The Bible. About 100 people attended the ceremony on Monday in the legislative chambers of the Orleans County Adminsitration Building. Wilson has been the jail superintendent since 2011.

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Kendall student gives winning speech about keeping politics out of football

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 January 2020 at 11:37 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Ethan Kuhn of Kendall, winner of the 83rd annual oratorical contest through the American Legion in Orleans County, delivers a 10-minute speech on Monday before the Orleans County Legislature and a crowd of about 75 people in the legislative chambers of the County Administration Building.

Kuhn won the contest with a speech, “Keep Politics Out of Football.” He was critical of Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players who chose to kneel during the national anthem as a protest against what they said is racial injustice.

Kuhn said “taking a knee” was a disrespectful approach by the NFL players. He said they could have pushed their cause through social media without offending so many in the country.

Lauren Miller of Kendall was second in the county contest. She and Kuhn both advanced to the District level contest on Sunday in Kenmore.

Kuhn runs cross country and track at Kendall, and is working to become an Eagle Scout.

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Second class from Leadership Orleans graduates

Photos by Tom Rivers: The second graduating class of Leadership Orleans is pictured last month at Hickory Ridge Golf Resort in Holley. The class includes Delano Alvarez, James Bensley, Melissa Blanar, Michele Bokman, Beth Brown, Sean Casher, Nicole Davis, Daniel Doctor, Jessica Downey, Ellen Eaton, Elizabeth Haibach, Tessa Hartway, Rachel Hicks, Susan Howard, Pattie Kepner, Steve Mowers, Jonathan Oakes, James Olinger, Sarah Olinger, Amanda Pollard, Greg Reed, Brittany Scott, Jerod Thurber, Carly Ward and Vanja Zinaja.  ​

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 January 2020 at 10:17 am

New group starts next week and will learn many facets of Orleans County

HOLLEY – The second class of Leadership Orleans graduated from the year-long program last month with 24 people learning about many facets of the county.

Class members included local government officials, business and agency leaders, and citizens. The class built a strong network among each other in the year, through retreats and a monthly day-long focus on a different aspect of the county – government, arts and culture, volunteerism and non-profit organizations, community health, tourism and recreation, agribusiness, economic & workforce development, and education.

Greg Reed accepts an award for winning the most points during the year in friendly games and activities that helped the class bond and learn about the county.

“What we learned about the community is invaluable and there are so many opportunities to get involved and help our county,” said Michele Bokman, director of operation for GCC’s campus centers in Orleans County.

She said Leadership Orleans brings together people from several sectors of the community. Although the class has graduated, Bokman said the group will continue to meet and looks for ways to help the county.

Elizabeth Haibach, a librarian at Hoag Library, grew up in Orleans County. She said Leadership Orleans proved eye opening. She didn’t realize how fishing is the county’s top tourism draw, for example, drawing anglers from throughout the country to fish at Lake Ontario, the Oak Orchard River and other tributaries.

“I’ve learned so much about our community that I can apply to my job,” she said.

Greg Reed, director of the YMCA in Orleans County, said Leadership Orleans helped him forge many friendships and connections in the county. Reed came to the Y in Medina two years ago after working in Denver, Colorado. He said the class participants have a common goal of wanting to move the community forward.

Some of the new graduates will be part of a Leadership Orleans Task Force to brainstorm ways to help the county and develop an action plan.

“We don’t want it to end tonight,” Reed said during the graduation program.

Orleans County pushed to start the program so local citizens, government officials, and business and agency leaders have a deeper understanding on how the community works, with a deeper knowledge of its assets and challenges.

The county government was instrumental in providing funding support for Leadership Orleans. The program had its first class in 2018 after the County Legislature set aside $33,000 in 2017 to get the program off the ground. The county contribution was reduced to $22,000 in 2018, and $16,000 in 2019 and 2020.

Chuck Nesbitt, the outgoing county chief administrative officer, was presented a “Distinguished Leader Award” for his support of the program, and for his efforts as the county’s top administrator for 14 ½ years.

“I’m very proud of this program and where it’s going,” Nesbitt said during the graduation. “It is something I hope will resonate for many years to come.”

Nesbitt, an Albion native, urged the class and community to pursue a higher purpose in charting the county’s future.

Andrew Satkowski, quality control manager at Takeform, accepts the an award as “Presenter of the Year.” Satkowski shared with the class the ways he volunteers in the community. He shared about the poverty in Orleans County, and how that is an obstacle for many local families.

“Take up the mantle of building this community to where it should be and where it should go,” he said.

Too often local residents and officials fret about what the county is not, Nesbitt said.

He urged the class to take risks, and use courage and integrity “to break the inertia of the old.”

His advice to the class was “to go for it,” and take stock of their gifts and live a life with purpose.

“It’s up to us to make this community the best version of itself,” he said. “It’s not just one of us. It’s all of us.”

Lynne Johnson, chairwoman of the Orleans County Legislature, thanked the new graduates for devoted so much effort to the program, and wanting to learn how to make a bigger imoact in the community.

“It is clear in the mission of Leadership Orleans that we are creating a nucleus for investment in Orleans County and are enhancing leadership that will continue to serve Orleans County,” Johnson told the class.

“Now with having our second class graduate, we hope that our Leadership Orleans Alumni will continue to serve in leadership opportunities, help fill our volunteer needs of Orleans County and collaborate with those they met along the way to continue to make Orleans County a great place to live, work and have fun in.”

The program has had 123 presenters its first two years and visited 78 sites. Often the month’s class includes panel discussions from key officials and leaders in education, healthcare, tourism, agriculture or whatever the focus was that month.

Skip Helfrich is the director of Leadership Orleans. The new Class of 2020 starts next week with a two-day opening retreat. Helfrich addresses the Class of 2019 during their graduation at Hickory Ridge Golf Resort.

Ellen Eaton, director of employee experience at Takeform, accepts the “First Impression of the Year” award on behalf of the company in Medina. Takeform wowed the class with its high-tech work site, while insisting employees maintain a life-work balance in their jobs.

Lisa Tombari was presented the “Alumna of the Year.” She was a member of the Class of 2018 and works as director of Operations & Historic Properties at Talis Equity. She oversees several new Talis Equity businesses and real estate projects. She manages operations at Bent’s Opera House, the Stonehurst and Talis Historic Restoration (the window shop at the Mustang City, the former Medina High School).

Tomabri was praised for handling the many challenges with these projects. She also is active in the community, including on the Leadership Orleans steering committee. She also is a member of a waterfront revitalization committee in Medina, and a newly formed Orleans Women’s Leadership group.

Sean “Fresh Sean” Casher and Jessica “DJ Jazzy Jess” Capurso shared a rap about the program and the connections they made as a class. Casher and Capurso both were members of the Class of 2019.

The 2019 graduates include:

  • Delano Alvarez, Quality Associate III, Baxter Healthcare
  • James Bensley, Dir. Dept. Planning and Development, County of Orleans
  • Melissa Blanar, Dir. Orleans County Office for the Aging, Orleans County
  • Michele Bokman, Director of Operations, SUNY GCC
  • Beth Brown, Business Administration Manager, Orchard Dale Fruit Company, LLC
  • Sean Casher, Human Resources Business Partner, CRFS, LLC
  • Nicole Davis, Director of Residential Services, GCASA
  • Daniel Doctor, Community Outreach Liaison, Medina Central School District
  • Jessica Capurso, Health Educator/Community Outreach, Orleans Community Health
  • Ellen Eaton, Dir. of Recruiting and Employee Experience, Quorum Group dba Takeform
  • Elizabeth Haibach, Librarian, Hoag Library
  • Tessa Hartway, Dir. Of Marketing and Branding/Business Development, Talis Equity
  • Rachel Hicks, Agent/Customer Services, Albion Agencies
  • Susan Howard, 1st Assistant District Attorney, Orleans County
  • Pattie Kepner, Assoc. Exec. Dir. Quality/Corp. Compliance, Arc of Genesee Orleans
  • Steve Mowers, President, CRFS, LLC
  • Jonathan Oakes, Winemaker/Cidermaker Vice President, Leonard Oakes Estate Winery
  • James Olinger, Farm Operations Assistant Manager, Sandy Knoll Farms, Inc.
  • Sarah Olinger, Credit Analyst, Farm Credit East, ACA
  • Amanda Pollard, Assistant Branch Manager, Tompkins Bank of Castile
  • Greg Reed, Executive Director, GLOW YMCA – Orleans County YMCA
  • Brittany Scott, Sr. HR Representative, Baxter Healthcare
  • Jerod Thurber, Sales Mgr./Cider Mgr., Leonard Oakes Estate Winery/Lynoaken Farms
  • Carly Ward, Dir. of Planning and Oper., Community Action of Orleans & Genesee, Inc.
  • Vanja Zinaja, QA Manager, Baxter Healthcare ​

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Bower in term as sheriff sees stronger relationships between Sheriff’s Office and community

Photos by Tom Rivers: Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower is shown at his office on Tuesday, his last day as sheriff. He retired after one four-year term and 30 years as a public safety dispatcher.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 January 2020 at 12:42 pm

ALBION – Randy Bower had a long list of goals four years ago when he started as Orleans County sheriff. Bower, who retired on Tuesday after about 35 years with the Sheriff’s Office, says the standards have been met.

He sees a Sheriff’s Office better connected to the community with improved services.

“It’s a huge team and that’s what helped us meet the objectives,” he said on Tuesday at his office at the Public Safety Building. “There are 100-plus employees. You can’t do it alone.”

Early in his term as sheriff, Bower and Jail Superintendent Scott Wilson worked to add programs in the jail for inmates struggling with addictions. That has expanded to mental health services for the inmates as well.

That effort was strengthened about six months ago with a federal “Access Matters” grant where a clinician and peer counselor from GCASA now are at the jail 20 hours a week to assist inmates. The jail also has worked to help inmates with drug addictions to be connected to a treatment program when they are released from jail. They also receive Vivitrol which gives some relief from the pull of opiates.

Bower said the efforts have helped people to successfully stay sober, and fight off their addictions which often lead to crime in the community, with burglaries and larcenies.

Sheriff Randy Bower and Undersheriff Chris Bourke congratulate Jim DeFilipps on July 28, 2016 when he was recognized at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds as NY Deputy of the Year. Bourke started as sheriff on Wednesday and will have a ceremonial swearing in at 4 p.m. on Jan. 6 at the County Administration Building.

In his retirement, he said he will be an active volunteer with Orleans Recovery Hope, an organization that assists people battling addictions and offers support for their family members. That group sprung from a Sheriff CARES initiative with local clergy members.

Bower, who worked as a public safety dispatcher for 30 years before being elected sheriff, highlighted some of the accomplishments in the Sheriff’s Office during his term.

County Jail

• In addition to the expanded mental health and addiction programs in the jail, a K-9 regularly sweeps the facility to check if there are unauthorized drugs in the jail.

• Inmate work crews also have been cleaning up local parks.

• Corrections officers also function as peace officers at the Orleans County 4-H Fair and Albion Strawberry Festival.

Criminal Division

• An increased law enforcement presence in the rural areas of the county, including school resource officers in Lyndonville and Kendall, with each school district paying the county $100,000 annually to have a deputy assigned to the districts.

• Improved training for deputies with all of them trained in giving Narcan (which often is successful in reversing a drug overdose), first aid and stop the bleed. Two-thirds of the deputies also have taken a crisis intervention training for people in a mental health crisis.

• All patrol cars have rifles and casualty rescue kits.

• Two traffic speed trailers are used in the county, and they were paid for with state grant through Sen. Robert Ortt.

• Sheriff’s Office has received increased federal homeland security  funding, and an ICE security agent works out of the Sheriff’s Office three days a week and assists the office with some training.

Improved Outreach

• Sheriff’s Office offers Yellow Dot program for senior citizens, Safe Child ID program, deputies have lunch with students at elementary schools, districted driving program, Walmart safety day, prayer shawl ministry with prayer shawls in all patrol cars.

Strengthened Community Partnerships

• Established on-call clergy, led by Sheriff’s Office chaplain Don Snyder. Local participating clergy include Tim Lindsay, Eddie English, Dan Thurber, Randy LeBaron and Bilal Huzair.

• Sheriff’s Office participates in annual Blue Mass at Holy Family Parish (in memory of the late Deputy David Whittier).

• Partnered with the Lord’s House in Waterport in Toys for Tots program.

• Completed civilian response to active shooter training and security assessments.


• Driving simulator purchased with grant funds and available at local schools.

• DWI displays and banners available at local schools.

• Enforcement crackdown grant of $10,000 annually which is shared with local police.

Marine Division

• Secured $25,000 in grants to patrol the Erie Canal, with expanded presence at canal functions throughout the summer and fall. All marine deputies equipped with department-issued sidearm.


• Goal to have all police agencies participate in county dispatch system. Added state police. Only missing DEC officers.

Animal Control

• The county has expanded animal control services and now has two full-time animal control officers and a part-timer.

• Partnered with Albion Correctional Facility with inmates training some of the dogs from the county animal shelter.

Civil Division

• The Civil Division promptly processes orders of conviction and has received training in civil process from Ron Bill of the NYS Sheriff’s Association.


• Bower in June 2017 received a national award for his work to implement several new initiatives in the county, including expanded substance abuse and mental health services for inmates in the Orleans County Jail. He was honored at the National Sheriffs’ Association Conference in New Orleans with a MAGNUS Leadership Award.

Bower said Bourke as undersheriff and Mike Mele as chief deputy were supportive of the programs. Bourke is now the sheriff and Mele the undersheriff.

Bower said he looks forward to seeing how Bourke and Mele continue the focus of a Sheriff’s Office that is dedicated to serving the community.

“I can see Chris and Mike continuing these programs, and starting their own new ones,” Bower said.

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3 from Orleans will be honored by Public Works Association

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 January 2020 at 9:58 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: An inspector stands in a culvert and watches the Orleans County Highway Department and the Town of Albion Highway Department put in and compact fill material on Aug. 19 for a new culvert on Clarendon Road. The Genesee Valley Branch of the American Public Works Association is recognizing the collaboration as a “Project of the Year” for small cities/rural communities.

Two highway department leaders and a project in Orleans County will be recognized on Jan. 30 during an awards program by the Genesee Valley Branch of the American Public Works Association. The program is at 6 p.m. at the RIT Inn and Conference Center in Henrietta.

Ed Morgan

Ed Morgan, the Town of Murray Highway superintendent the past 30 years, will be recognized as the Public Works Leader of the Year.

Morgan has been a key leader for the town as it expanded water districts and also helped to develop the Holley Business Park, putting in the roads, water and sewer lines.

Morgan this morning said he has had the support of the Town Boards in Murray and the highway department workers.

“I do what I do not looking for a pat on the back,” Morgan said this morning. “The employees are willing to take on the challenge.”

Steven Fuller of the Orleans County Highway Department will be receiving the APPA’s Douglas C. Zefting Award for “outstanding meritorious achievement of an operational/maintenance level employee.” Fuller is instrumental in the county’s paving program.

The Town of Albion Highway Depaertment is receiving a “Project of the Year” award for a transportation project for small cities/rural communities.

The town replaced the culvert on Clarendon Road in a collaboration with the Orleans County Highway Department.

The award recognizes a municipality that shows “creativity, ingenuity, and efficiency in the delivery of Public Works projects that have a profound impact on the community.”

Albion was awarded a $174,000 Bridge NY grant to cover 100 percent of the project’s costs. However, the construction bids for the project were way over that cost, with the low bid $130,000 over budget.

The town was looking to replace the culvert with a 3-sided precast concrete culvert. The County Highway Department, led by John Papponetti, re-evaluated the project to see if the costs could be lowered. Papponetti is an engineer.

Papponetti and the Labella Associates engineering firm determined an arch pipe would work for the culvert. That was significantly less money.

The town and county highway employees worked together on the project, which was done under budget.

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County Tourism will promote Orleans at several out-of-state travel shows

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 December 2019 at 9:11 am

Courtesy of Orleans County Tourism Department: The visitor’s guide for Orleans County promotes “Great Lake Adventure & Canal Town Culture.” The guide also touts the county’s presence on the Seaway Trail, Erie Canalway Trail and Niagara Wine Trail.

ALBION – The Orleans County Tourism Department will be promoting county attractions at several upcoming out-of-state travel shows.

Dawn Borchert, the county’s tourism director, will be attending the shows on behalf of the county.

The County Legislature authorized attendance at the following travel and trade shows:

• Fly Fishing Show, Edison, NJ, January 25-28 with total cost to be paid by Lake Ontario Sportfishing Promotion Council.

• Great American Outdoor Show, Harrisburg Pa., January 30 to Feb. 4 with cost to be paid by Lake Ontario Sportfishing Promotional Council.

• AAA Great Vacation Travel Expo, Columbus, OH, February 6-11 with cost to be paid by New York State Tourism Industry Association.

• Pittsburgh Car Show, Pittsburgh, Pa., February 12-18 with cost to be paid by New York State Tourism Industry Association.

• The Outdoor Adventure Show, Mississauga, ONT Canada, February 20-25 with cost to be paid by New York State Tourism Industry Association.

• AAA Vacation Expo, Cleveland, OH, Oct. 16-20 to be paid by New York State Tourism Industry Association.

The County Legislature also has renewed contracts with Lynne Menz Designs for tourism work in 2020. Menz will be paid $18,720 for tourism coordination services in 2020 and up to $22,000 for design services in 2020.

This agreement includes costs associated with advertising design, publication design, social media, photography and video production to be paid on a project basis from I Love New York tourism funding.

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Village sales tax share for 2020 continues to drop with county formula

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 December 2019 at 3:32 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Downtown Medina, which includes about 100 businesses, welcomed several thousand people for fireworks and the Parade of Lights on Nov. 30.

ALBION – The sales tax apportionment for towns and villages for 2019 again shifts more money to the towns, at the expense of the villages in Orleans County.

The county receives about $17 million in sales tax annually, and shares $1,366,671 with the four villages and 10 towns. They have been frozen at that level since 2001.

Once a decade the town and village amounts are set based on local population. However, each year after that the share is modified based on the assessed values of towns with villages.

If a town with a village grows its tax base faster than the rate in a village, that town will get more sales tax – by getting more of the village’s. That is what has been happening almost every year since 2001. Most of the new development is just outside the village borders, or reassessments give the towns bigger increases than in the villages.

The villages saw their share take a hit by nearly $30,000 from 2013 to 2020, falling from $404,661 in 2013 to $375,620 in 2020.

Medina, after a taking a $4,998 hit in 2019, will get $825 more in 2020. Medina is the only village to get a little more in sales tax in 2020.

Here is the sales tax apportionment for 2020, a distribution approved by the County Legislature last week:

Villages – $375,620 in 2020 ($377,019 in 2019, and $382,240 in 2018)

Albion – $165,688 in 2020 ($167,181 in 2019, and $167,203 in 2018)

Holley – $45,051 in 2020 ($45,751 in 2019, and $45,878 in 2018)

Lyndonville – $15,243 in 2020 ($15,275 in 2019, $15,349 in 2018)

Medina – $149,638 in 2020 ($148,813 in 2019, and $153,811 in 2018)

Towns – $991,051 in 2020 ($989,651 in 2019, and $984,431 in 2018)

Albion – $123,143 in 2020 ($122,414 in 2019, and $122,468 in 2018)

Barre – $64,536 (no change because no village)

Carlton – $95,418 (no change because no village)

Clarendon – $116,261 (no change because no village)

Gaines – $88,698 in 2020 ($87,933 in 2019, and $87,858 in 2018)

Kendall – $86,813 (no change because no village)

Murray – $113,915 in 2020 ($113,215 in 2019, and $113,089 in 2018)

Ridgeway – $130,143 in 2020 ($130,272 in 2019, and $128,868 in 2018)

Shelby – $105,811 in 2020 ($106,506 in 2019, and $102,913 in 2018)

Yates – $66,312 in 2020 ($66,279 in 2019, and $66,206 in 2018)

The villages received more back in 2001, when the amount was frozen collectively to the 10 towns and four villages. The village share peaked at $211,669 for Albion in 2004 (down $45,981 to $165,688 in 2020). Medina dropped $23,954 from $173,592 in 2002 to $149,638 in 2020.

Holley hit a high of $62,549 in 2002 – 18 years later it’s down by $17,498 to $45,051. Lyndonville was at $18,592 in 2002 and has slid to $15,243 in 2020.

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Bourke plans ceremonial swearing in as sheriff on Jan. 6

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 December 2019 at 9:19 am

Chris Bourke

ALBION — Chris Bourke will take the ceremonial oath of office at 4 p.m. on Jan. 6 in the new legislative chambers at the County Administration Building at 14016 Route 31.

Bourke and other leaders at the Sheriff’s Office will take the oath, including Michael Mele, the new undersheriff; Jeff Gifaldi, who will be the new chief deputy; and Scott Wilson, who is continuing as the jail superintendent.

Bourke starts as Orleans County’s new sheriff on Jan. 1. He is succeeding Randy Bower, who is retiring.

Bourke has been the undersheriff the past four years. He was elected in November.

He has worked with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office for 35 years, starting his career as a correction officer and then was a deputy sheriff before working 18 years as a lieutenant. He was supervisor of the Marine Patrol, and also was a K9 officer for 20 years.

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State has $73K for Orleans County to help with census count

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 December 2019 at 12:17 pm

ALBION – Orleans County is slated to receive up to $73,092 in state funding to help with the 2020 census count.

The County Legislature has authorized the Orleans County Planning and Development Director Jim Bensley to submit the paperwork for the money. The state funds are intended to target areas where there have been low participation rates for filling out the census forms.

The upcoming census will be the first time residents can fill it out electronically. The kickoff date is April 1.

The electronic filing option will be difficult for some county residents without access to high-speed internet, Bensley said.

“We don’t have broadband internet everywhere in our county so that’s a concern,” Bensley said about the electronic filing.

He expects the county will form a committee soon with a plan to maximize the census count. That may include include partnering with local public libraries and Community Action, which could provide computer access and assistance for residents.

Those who don’t complete the form electronically may be sent paper copies. If those aren’t turned in, a census enumerator could knock on the door of people who haven’t completed the census, Bensley said.

He is waiting for guidelines from the state on how the money allocated for the county should be spent. The funding could include translation services, outreach to farmworkers and perhaps the Amish and Mennonite communities, as well as reaching out to senior citizens and people in poverty.

The county’s population has been trending downward. In 2000, the population was 44,171 for Orleans County. That number declined to 42,883 in 2010.

County officials want an accurate count because the population data affects reapportionment for elected officials in local, state and federal governments, as well as levels of state and federal funding.

Population trends also are studied by the private sector for investment decisions, Bensley said.

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County Legislature approves appointments to local boards

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 December 2019 at 10:27 am

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature has appointed several local residents to serve on different local boards.

The following were approved for three-year terms to the Orleans County Planning Board: Matthew Hand of Albion, representing the Village of Albion; Kathy Blackburn of Medina, representing Village of Medina; Daniel Gardner of Lyndonville, alternate for Village of Medina; Thomas Fenton of Medina, representing Town of Ridgeway; Timothy Elliott of Medina, alternate for Town of Ridgeway.

The Legislature also appointed Kevin Bogan, a funeral director in Medina, to the Community Services Board, to serve a four-year term.

The Legislature appointed Dr. Mary Obear, a family physician in Corfu, to serve a five-year term on the Genesee-Orleans County Board of Health.

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