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Orleans County

10 volunteer firefighters complete interior firefighting class

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 July 2019 at 9:23 pm

Provided photo

ALBION – Ten volunteer firefighters completed a 129-hour class, Interior Firefighting Operations. The graduation was held this evening.

Pictured include, front row, from left: Paul Urquhart (Albion), Erik Balys (Holley), Josh Klotzbach (Ridgeway) and Matt Doherty (Ridgeway). Back row: Instructor Dwane Weatherell, Scott Warney (Albion), Nick Pahura (Albion), Jacob Roeseler (Gasport), Caleb Spark (Gasport), Matthew Edick (Carlton), Jacob Marks (Carlton), Instructor Justin Niederhofer, and Instructor Al Cheverie.

The firefighters received training in hose line work, forcible entry, tactical ventilation, fire suppression, ladder work, victim search and rescue, ropes and knots, and other associated firefighting skills.

Prior to this they completed training in exterior foreground operations and Hazardous Materials Operations. In total they completed 129 hours of training over the course of four months.

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County adds tires to household hazardous waste collection

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 July 2019 at 3:07 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Employees with Environmental Enterprises in Cincinnati empty fluids into large drums to be hauled away during the household hazardous waste collection on Aug. 12, 2017. This year’s event on Aug. 17 will include rimless, noncommercial tires.

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature has expanded the household hazardous waste collection day to include tires.

The Soil & Water Conservation District had been doing a tire collection for a fee but decided to stop doing that program.

County officials then pushed to add the tires to the annual household hazardous waste event, which will be Aug. 17.

Legislators said they wanted to offer “a convenient and environmentally sound means for county residents to dispense with unwanted tires.” The tires must be rimless and will include non-commercial and non-farm tires, only.

Residents won’t pay a fee for disposing of the tires. They are allowed to drop off up to 10 automobile or pickup tires.

The event will continue at the Orleans County Highway Department on West Academy Street in Albion.

Residents can dispose of batteries, propane tanks, oil-based paints, solvents, polishes/waxes, aerosols, pesticides, fluorescent bulbs, adhesives & resins, motor oil & filters, acids, corrosives, antifreeze and other household hazardous waste.

To make an appointment for the event, call the Orleans County Department of Planning at (585) 589-3198.

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Bourke wins Republican primary after widening lead with absentees

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 July 2019 at 10:53 am

Chris Bourke

ALBION – Chris Bourke is the winner of the Republican primary for Orleans County sheriff. He had a 99-vote lead on Tuesday after people went to the polls.

There were 144 absentee and affidavit ballots counted this morning and Bourke’s lead grew by 15 votes. He won this morning’s count with 79 votes to 64 for Brett Sobieraski. (There was one write-in vote for John Riggi, a Yates town councilman, for sheriff.)

There was a mathematical chance this morning that Sobieraski could win the Republican primary for sheriff when 137 absentee ballots and seven affidavits were counted this morning. Sobieraski would have needed to dominate and win more than 80 percent of today’s ballots.

Bourke, the current undersheriff, has worked 35 years in the Sheriff’s Office, starting as a part-time corrections officer and working his way up as a deputy sheriff, K9 officer and lieutenant.

“I thank everyone for their hard work through the process,” he said this morning. “I would ask everyone to stop the personal attacks and the nastiness that comes with the election. Let’s move on and do good things for Orleans County.”

The tally, from Tuesday and this morning, is 1,872 for Bourke and 1,758 for Sobieraski. Those results aren’t final because more absentees could come in by the deadline on Tuesday. Those ballots need to be postmarked, no later than June 24, a week ago.

Bourke also has the Conservative and Independence lines for the Nov. 5 election. Randy Bower, the current sheriff, isn’t seeking re-election.

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Infrasound from turbines should be considered with impact studies, County Leg says

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 July 2019 at 7:34 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: This photo from Oct. 14, 2015 shows some of the 400-foot-high turbines in Sheldon, Wyoming County. Apex Clean Energy is proposing local projects with turbines that would be more than 600 feet high.

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature is calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to make sure the Siting Board includes the impacts of infrasound on the health of residents who live in communities with proposed wind turbine projects.

Apex Clean Energy has proposed large-scale turbine projects in Barre and also in Yates and Somerset.

Those projects will be reviewed by a seven-member State Siting Board, which includes the leaders of five state agencies. Two local representatives also are on the Siting Board for each project.

The Legislature last week passed a resolution asking Cuomo to insist on “comprehensive health impact and environmental studies including consideration for the added potential for sleep disturbances from pulsating night noise dominated by low frequency and infrasound, especially under stable atmospheric conditions.”

The Legislature said it “fully supports” the positions by the Yates Town Board, the Western New York Public Health Alliance and the New York State Association of County Health Officials in demanding the review process for turbine projects include “a comprehensive health and environmental impact study.”

The Legislature’s resolution will be forwarded to Cuomo; Kathleen Burgess, commissioner of the Public Service Commission; State Sen. Robert Ortt; State Assemblyman Steve Hawley; State Assemblyman Michael Norris; Daniel Stapleton, Niagara County Public Health director; Paul Pettit, Orleans County Public Health director; James Simon, Yates town supervisor; and Daniel Engert, Somerset town supervisor.

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11 children from Orleans headed to Sheriff’s summer camp for a week

Posted 30 June 2019 at 4:37 pm

Provided photo: Orleans County Sheriff Randall Bower, left, is sending 11 children, ages 9 to 12, to a camp for a week in Penn Yan.

Press Release, Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower

ALBION – Orleans County Sheriff Randall Bower is sending 11 deserving children to the New York State Sheriffs’ Institute Summer Camp.

The Sheriffs’ Summer Camp is located on Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes Region of Yates County, for a week of wholesome summer fun..

Now in its 43rd year of operation, the camp will accommodate over 900 boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 12 from across New York State this summer. The campers attend at no charge.

Made possible by the generous financial support of the Honorary Members of the Sheriffs’ Institute, the Sheriffs’ Summer Camp provides a solid recreational program while stressing basic values and good citizenship.

“The campers get an insider look at the world of law enforcement,” said Sheriff Bower. “By working with and learning from the sheriffs and deputy sheriffs at the camp, the kids develop a deeper respect for and understanding of the men and women who enforce our laws.”

Campers participate in typical camp activities, like archery, sailing, boating, hiking, and talent shows. They also experience technical and safety demonstrations by deputy sheriffs such as scuba diving, K-9 handling, bicycle safety and boating safety.

The Sheriffs’ Summer Camp is a program of the New York State Sheriffs’ Institute, Inc. The Sheriffs’ Institute was established in 1979 with the mission to assist the office of the sheriff in advancing education in the criminal justice community, preventing juvenile delinquency, and supporting victims of crime and their families. Visit

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County Legislature meets for first time in new chambers

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 June 2019 at 9:15 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature held its monthly meeting on Wednesday and for the first time met in the new chambers as part of the addition to the County Administration Building on Route 31. The new meeting room is part of a 23,000-square-foot addition to the building.

David Kusmierscak of Medina sat in the front row for the Legislature’s first session in the new space..

David Kusmierscak is a chaplain and gave the invocation at the meeting. He has been giving the prayer at each meeting for several years.

From left in back include county legislators Bill Eick, Skip Draper and Don Allport; County Attorney Kathy Bogan; Chuck Nesbitt, chief administrative officer; and Lynne Johnson, chairwoman of the County Legislature.

County legisators stand for the pledge of allegiance, including from left: Bill Eick of Shelby, Skip Draper of Medina, and Don Allport of Gaines.

Niagara-Orleans Dairy Princess Hayley Roehling of Akron was the first person to speak before the Legislature. She spoke about the many nutritional benefits of milk. She urged people to try more dairy products. She said dairy farmers take care of their animals and the land.

County Legislator Bill Eick, a retired dairy farmer in Shelby, presents a proclamation to Hayley Roehling, the Niagara-Orleans dairy princess, that declares June as Dairy Month.

Jim Whipple, chief executive officer of the Orleans Economic Development Agency, speaks during a public hearing about a grant opportunity to continue the Microenterprise Assistance Program, which assists small businesses.

The new meeting room can accommodate about 60 people, which is about twice the seats as the former meeting room in the historic County Clerks’ Building at the Courthouse Square. Sheriff Randy Bower and Jeff Gifaldi, an investigator with the Sheriff’s Office, are in the front of this photo with their backs to the camera.

The Legislature met in the Clerks’ Building since 1982. Prior to that, the Legislature and the former Board of Supervisors, met in a first floor courtroom in the County Courthouse.

Besides a larger meeting room for the Legislature, the 23,000-square-foot addition also includes offices for the legislative staff, the Health Department, Board of Elections and information technology department.

The building is connected to the current County Administration Building with the addition on the south side. The current CAB includes the Department of Social Services, Job Development, Tourism, Planning and Development, Office for the Aging, Department of Motor Vehicles and Personnel.

The building at 14016 Route 31 West is located on a hill behind the nursing home.

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County approves more than $630K for 4 new radio towers, communication shelters

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 June 2019 at 11:23 am

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature has approved spending more than $630,000 for four new radio towers, communication shelters and an emergency power source.

The projects are funded through a state grant for $5,897,141. That grant will also pay for technology to connect separate radio systems and new radio channels to strengthen communications between multiple jurisdictions and agencies.

The County Legislature on Wednesday approved a $452,019 bid from Patriot Towers in Scottsville to supply communication shelters and UPS (uninterruptible power source).

The Legislature also approved a $181,200 bid from Fred Nudd Construction in Ontario, NY for four communication towers. Three of the towers will be 180 feet high and they will be located by the Public Safety Building on Route 31 in Albion, Millers Road in Yates and near the Kendall Central School in Kendall at a site that is to be finalized, said Dale Banker, director of the Emergency Management Office in Orleans County.

The other tower will be 150 feet high and will be near the Holley water tank on Route 237.

The new towers should be up by late 2019 or in early 2020, Banker said.

The new towers and equipment are part of an upgrade to the emergency communications system, which serves firefighters, law enforcement, highway employees, probation and some other municipal workers in the county.

The system currently has poor coverage in the Holley area, along Lake Ontario and some other isolated locations in the county, especially in buildings with thick walls.

The county was successful with a grant application through the 2018 Statewide Interoperable Communications Targeted Grant through the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office.

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Big advantage in Murray key to Bourke’s lead over Sobieraski

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 June 2019 at 7:27 pm

ALBION – Without Murray, Chris Bourke would be trailing Brett Sobieraski in votes for the Republican line for sheriff in the November election.

After Tuesday night, Bourke holds 99-vote lead over Sobieraski, 1,793-1,694. There are more votes to be counted on Monday morning.

Chris Bourke

There are 10 towns in Orleans County, and Bourke has the most votes in five of them, while Sobieraski leads in four and they are tied in one, Barre.

Most of the town votes were fairly close, but Bourke had a nearly 2-to-1 advantage in Murray, 337 for Bourke to 175 for Sobieraski. That 162-vote lead was huge for Bourke, the current undersheriff.

Brett Sobieraski

Murray is the home of current sheriff, Randy Bower, who isn’t seeking re-election and backed Bourke. Michael Mele, the chief deputy of the Sheriff’s Office, will serve as undersheriff with Bourke. Mele lives in Murray and is on the Town Board. He is also vice chairman of the Orleans County Republican Party.

Bourke and Sobieraski both live in Carlton, where Bourke has 183 votes to 166 for Sobieraski.

While Bourke had a strong showing in Murray, with 65 percent of the vote, Sobieraski had the most dominant performance in any town with the results in Kendall, where his two sons graduated from high school and where Sobieraski was a youth sports coach. He had 73 percent of the vote, 182 to 66 for Bourke.

This chart shows a town by town breakdown of the votes (not including absentees and affidavits).

Town Bourke Sobieraski
Albion 180 225
Barre 97 97
Carlton 183 166
Clarendon 208 129
Gaines 158 149
Kendall 66 182
Murray 337 175
Ridgeway 232 259
Shelby 198 233
Yates 134 79
Total 1,793 1,694

Source: Orleans County Board of Elections

There is still a small chance Sobieraski could emerge the Republican victor when the absentees are opened on Monday morning at the Orleans County Board of Elections. There were 139 absentees taken out. They needed to be postmarked by Monday to be counted for the primary. There are some affidavit ballots for people who went to the polls but weren’t in the voter registration book. The BOE will determine which of those ballots will be counted.

Bourke already has secured the Independence and Conservative party lines in the Nov. 5 election.

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Tuesday’s primary was last for Board of Elections in location at nursing home

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 June 2019 at 9:41 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Nadine Hanlon, a “runner” for the Town of Kendall, delivers ballots to the Board of Elections in Albion on Tuesday at about 9:45 p.m.

Tuesday’s primary was a historic election, and not just for the results at the polls. It was the last time the Orleans County Board of Elections will be running an election based out of a wing in a nursing home. BOE workers have been packing up the office and getting rid of some materials as they get ready for a move.

The Board of Elections next month will settle into a new space just up the hill at the County Administration Building.

Janice Grabowski, an election commissioner for the county, waits for the ballots and results at the Board of Elections. She currently works out of a section in the nursing home built in the 1960s. She said she is looking forward to going to the new space.

Scott Bennett, left, and Richard Nenni work as election technicians. They put a card from the voting machines into a computer at the Board of Elections to give a tally for each of the candidates.

They had a full report with the vote totals complete at about 10 p.m., an hour after the polls closed.

A board tracks when the ballots are dropped off from each of the towns.

Beth Wood was one of the runners from Barre, tasked with delivering the ballots to the Board of Elections. She walks down the hallway at the Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center, which is the former county nursing home.

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Bellavia receives Medal of Honor for ‘extraordinary courage’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 June 2019 at 8:57 am

‘America is blessed with the heroes and great people, like Staff Sgt. Bellavia, whose intrepid spirit and unwavering resolve defeats our enemies, protects our freedoms and defends our great American flag.’ – President Donald Trump

Photos courtesy of Ed Morgan: President Donald Trump applauds David Bellavia after presenting him with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday afternoon during a ceremony at the White House. Bellavia is a Lyndonville graduate and continues to live locally.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Nov. 10, 2004, David Bellavia was in Fallujah, Iraq. It was his 29th birthday. The Lyndonville native was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army.

His unit was going house to house, checking buildings to see if insurgents were hiding. The first nine houses were empty.

Bellavia checked his 10th house and encountered five insurgents, all hiding in different spots. Bellavia killed four and wounded a fifth.

He fought them by himself, risking his own life, and saving members of his unit who were trapped. Bellavia on Tuesday was presented the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military recognition, during a ceremony at the White House.

“In the dark of night, shards of glass, brick and plaster flew into the air, wounding multiple soldiers,” Trump said during a 25-minute ceremony. “The wall was ripped to shreds. David knew they had to get out. David thought they had had it. He leapt into the torrent of bullets and fired back at the enemy without even thinking. He just took over. David took over. He provided suppressive fire while his men evacuated, rescuing his entire squad at the risk of his own life. Only when his men were all out did David exit the building, but the fighting was far from over. Militants on the roof fired down at them with round after deadly round.”

The president continued, “Knowing that he would face almost certain death, David decided to go back inside the house and make sure that not a single terrorist escaped alive or escaped in any way. He quickly encountered an insurgent who was about to fire a rocket-propelled grenade at his squad. David once again jumped into danger and killed him before he had a chance to launch that grenade.

“Next, two more insurgents came out of hiding and fired at David. He returned fire, killing them both. Then, a third assailant burst out … wearing a wardrobe, and opened fire. David shot and wounded the man, but he escaped up the stairs. Racing after him, David engaged in hand-to-hand combat and killed him, too. Bleeding and badly wounded, David had single-handedly defeated the forces who had attacked his unit and would have killed them all, had it not been for the bravery of David.”

It wasn’t over. Another insurgent jumped down from the third-story roof. Bellavia shot him and the assailant fell off the balcony.

“Alone in the dark, David killed four insurgents and seriously wounded the fifth, saving the soldiers and facing down the enemies of civilization,” Trump said in his speech.

He draped the medal around Bellavia’s neck. The presentation was made in front of 32 service members who served with Bellavia in Iraq, including 12 soldiers who were with him on Nov. 10, 2004.

The president also mentioned that Bellavia’s 99-year-old grandfather in Jamestown served in World War II in Normandy and inspired Bellavia to join the infantry.

“David exemplifies the same warrior ethos that gave his grandfather and all the heroes of Normandy the strength to defeat evil exactly 75 years ago,” Trump said.

Bellavia is the first living veteran from the Iraq War to be presented with the Medal of Honor.

“America is blessed with the heroes and great people, like Staff Sgt. Bellavia, whose intrepid spirit and unwavering resolve defeats our enemies, protects our freedoms and defends our great American flag,” the president said.

“David, today we honor your extraordinary courage. We salute your selfless service and we thank you for carrying on the legacy of American valor that has always made our blessed nation the strongest and mightiest anywhere in the world.”

David Bellavia is pictured with his mother Marilyn Bellavia and his friend Charlie Nesbitt at the White House on Tuesday, when Bellavia received the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor. Nesbitt of Albion was a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War and previously was recognized with the Distinguished Flying Cross.

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