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Orleans County

Communities in Orleans County schedule Memorial Day observances

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 May 2018 at 5:10 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Local veterans are pictured during Memorial Day last year, headed down Park Avenue in Medina. This year’s parade starts at 11 a.m.

Five events are planned for Memorial Day in Orleans County. The schedule includes:

• Albion – The parade starts near the Orleans County Court House on Main Street at 10 a.m. and proceeds to the Albion Middle School front lawn where there will be a service near the Vietnam Memorial.

• Holley – Participants will form up at the American Legion Post at 10:30 a.m. with the parade starting at 11 and ending at the Hillside Cemetery.

Lyndonville – The parade will start at 9 a.m. at the Catholic Church on Lake Avenue and end near the library on Main Street.  A ceremony will be held there. The Yates Community Library has arranged to have many flags in the school front yard.

Medina – The parade will start at 11 a.m. at the Olde Pickle Factory building and proceed to the State Street Park where a ceremony will be held at about noon.

Kendall – The town has its Memorial Day observance on May 30. Kendall alternates the location among three cemeteries. This year Memorial Day will be observed at Greenwood Cemetery on Roosevelt Highway (Route 18). The ceremony starts at 7 p.m.

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Orleans signs contract with Niagara to run crisis hotline

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 May 2018 at 8:08 am

Orleans and Genesee have new numbers for a crisis hotline. The previous numbers through the YWCA will continue to work in the short-term.

ALBION – The Niagara County Mental Health Department will continue to operate a crisis intervention hotline for Orleans and Genesee counties, after Niagara stepped up in an interim based when the service ceased suddenly last month.

Niagara assumed Orleans and Genesee calls on a crisis hotline after the YWCA announced on April 2 it would be shutting down the crisis line.

The arrangement was formally approved on Tuesday after a final OK by the Niagara County Legislature. Orleans will reimburse Niagara at the same rate it did the YWCA, said Mark O’Brien, director of the Orleans County Mental Health Department.

The phone numbers for the Care and Crisis Helpline through the YWCA – Local: 585-344-4400 and Toll Free: 1-844-345-4400 – have been forwarded to Niagara County since soon after April 2.

O’Brien said new numbers are being introduced: 585-283-5200 and 741741 to text.

O’Brien said the mental health leaders in the three counties, including Ellery Reaves in Genesee and Laura J. Kelemen in Niagara, have been working hard to have a crisis helpline in place for Orleans and Genesee.

He praised Niagara County “for stepping up with this.”

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New stage for performances under construction at Fairgrounds

Photos by Tom Rivers: Tim Gregoire, right, of Tim Gregoire Construction in Holley and Robert Batt, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County, look over progress on a new addition and stage at the Curtis Pavilion at the 4-H Fairgrounds.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 May 2018 at 9:06 pm

KNOWLESVILLE – When the Orleans County 4-H Fair returns in late July, there will be a new stage and location for the popular karaoke, talent show, and other concerts.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension is using a stage grant to put an addition on the Curtis Pavilion which will include a stage, six dressing rooms and a sound booth.

The concrete has been poured a 2-foot-high wooden stage wooden epoxy will be added. The Extension currently has to pay about $2,000 each fair to rent a tent and stage.

Robert Gregoire, Tim’s Gregoire’s son, screws in metal wall sheeting on the addition.

The state in 2016  set aside $5 million to help county fairs with capital improvements. Orleans received about $96,000. The new stage and addition at the Curtis Pavilion is costing about $83,000. The grant also paid for electrical upgrades for campsites.

Tim Gregoire Construction of Holley is well ahead of schedule on the project. Gregoire has until July 1.

The project includes an electrical upgrade in the pavilion and the installation of stage lighting.

The new addition looks like a pole barn to blend in with most of the other barns at the fairgrounds.

Robert Batt, executive director of the Extension, said the site will also be used for agriculture education programs as an outdoor classroom. He also would like to see other concerts held at the Curtis Pavilion outside of the busy fair week.

Batt said the Extension has applied for another $96,000 state grant for fairgrounds improvements. The Extension wants to replace four or five wooden bleachers with new metal ones. The Extension also has applied to use part of the grant for new animal stalls, lighting upgrades and also a new “show plex” for animal shows.

Ayman Huzair, then 21, performs during the karaoke finals in July 2015. Huzair won the competition singing a medley of songs from Michael Montgomery, Bruno Mars and Cupid. The karaoke competition this July will be held on the new stage at the Curtis Pavilion.

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Cooperative Extension has new LED sign to promote events at Fairgrounds

Photos by Tom Rivers: Robert Batt, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County, experiments with programming a new LED sign that went “live” today at the fairgrounds.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 May 2018 at 1:31 pm

KNOWLESVILLE – A new electronic LED sign was turned on for the first time this morning at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds.

The Extension received a $4,535.75 grant to purchase and install the sign. The funding for the Extension was approved by the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority. The State Department of Agriculture and Markets provided the funding. It is part of nearly $600,000 for research, promotion, and development projects to strengthen New York State’s diverse agricultural industry and spur economic growth across the state, according to Richard Ball, the State agriculture commissioner, who announced the funding in March.

Robert Batt, the Cooperative Extension executive director, said the new sign will allow the Extension to promote several events at the fairgrounds. The previous sign, with letters that had to be set by hand, only listed one event.

Howard Watts, the facility coordinator for the Extension, and Robert Batt, Extension executive director, are pictured with the new sign. Some additional work will be done on the frame.

“Before we could only highlight one thing,” Batt said. “Now we can highlight 4 or 5 things.”

He also wants the sign to include some agriculture facts.

Howard Watts, the facility coordinator for the Extension, had the frame ready last week. He worked on the electric this morning, and the sign went live for the first time at about 11 a.m.

This photo from July 2013 shows Extension Director Robert Batt, who was then the president of the Fair Board, and Kerri Richardson, who was then community educator for the Cornell Cooperative Extension, gearing up for 4-H Fair in Knowlesville. A new digital sign will allow the organization to list more events.

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Outstanding youth and adults who work on their behalf are recognized

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Orleans County Youth Board on Thursday honored the following, from left: Doug Egling, Cody Crane, Emily Bibby, Jessica Sedore, Alexis Penna, Hannah Duhow, Carrie Janas, Kaitlin Zwifka, Michela Hanlon, Jeremy Browe, Reese Raduns and Sal DeLuca. Missing from photo include Emma Lonnen, Riley Seielstad and Salvador Solis.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 May 2018 at 2:58 pm
 HOLLEY – Students who have stepped up in extraordinary ways to serve their families, school and community were honored on Thursday during the 36th annual Youth Recognition Banquet by the Orleans County Youth Board.

Doug Egling

Two adults were also honored for their service to children.

Doug Egling received the Helen R. Brinsmaid Professional Award, which is given to a piad professional who works with youth.

Egling is a caseworker for the Orleans County Department of Social Services. He is assigned to Albion middle and high schools. He supervises some children who are classified as PINS (Persons in Need of Supervision), and also does preventive and foster care cases.

Egling is musically talented and has found instruments for children to play, and will take them to concerts. He goes above and beyond to connect with children, said Carrie O’Neill, coordinator of the PINS program or juvenile adjustment services for Orleans County’s probation department.

“Doug is truly a genuine person who has a heart of gold and would truly do anything for anyone in need,” O’Neill said.

Egling has worked for the county the past 10 years, with six years as a caseworker assistant and the past four years as a caseworker. Prior to that he worked 16 years for The Arc of Orleans County.

Egling said he is part of team of caseworkers and other professionals who determined to find solutions for kids who are often in crisis.

“I like being a member of that team,” Egling said. “The caseworkers and CPS workers are my heroes.”

Egling urged the community to be more open to reaching out to young people, especially those whose families have broken down.

“It’s neighbor to neighbor,” he said.

Emily Bibby of Holley was recognized as a behind-the-scenes leader. She is active in the Interact Club and has coordinated several projects for the service organization. Jocelyn Sikorski, director of the Youth Bureau, is at left.

Sal DeLuca of Holley received the Eileen Heye Adult Volunteer Award for his 30 years of volunteer service to Holley youth. DeLuca has been a long-time soccer, baseball and track coach.

Sal DeLuca

He is currently president of the Holley Sports Boosters Club. He sends many hours at the Woodlands field concession stand, working the grill and refilling the cooler with water, Gatorade and soda.

Penny Cole of Holley nominated DeLuca for the award. She said she pays for many meals for students who show up to the stand hungry.

He also mows the grass at the Woodlands Soccer Complex and fixes many things that need maintenance.

DeLuca served on the Holley Board of Education for six years and was influential in the recent capital projects on the campus.

“Sal truly cares about every student in the Holley community and does his best to make sure they have the best education and are the most well-rounded students out there,” Cole said.

DeLuca said he enjoys seeing students happy.

“It’s the smile,” he said. “That’s the bottom line. I just like to do it.”

Jessica Sedore of Holley is a positive presence in the school. She is a role model for her classmates, and pushes others to try their best.

The following young people were recognized for their outstanding service in the community and/or family: Emily Bibby, Jeremy Browe, Cody Crane, Hannah Duhow, Christian Hahn, Michela Hanlon, Carrie Janas, Emma Lonnen, Alexis Penna, Reese Raduns, Jessica Sedore, Riley Seielstad, Salvador Solis and Kaitlin Zwifka.

The students serve in different ways, from volunteering in a Pre-K classroom to serving as an athlete buddy in the Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged. They have all been selfless in serving others.

Cody Crane of Medina accepts a “Youth Recognition Award.” He planned, organized and was a presenter at a public forum on Jan. 30 about the stigma of opioid addiction.

Dr. Daniel Doctor, Medina Central School’s director of community outreach, served as keynote speaker. He urged the youth to continue serving others. He said they need to use their talents to better the world.

“The young people sitting here tonight have done something with their talents,” Doctor said. “Share it and don’t bury it. Because if it’s under something, the world can’t see your talents.”

Dr. Dan Doctor, director of community outreach for Medina Central School, was keynote speaker at the banquet.

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3 senior citizens recognized as dedicated community volunteers

Photos by Tom Rivers: Florence Surdi of Albion is recognized on Thursday as one of two outstanding senior citizens from Orleans County who will be honored in Albany on May 22 during an awards program at the State Capitol. Melissa Blanar, director of the Orleans County Office for the Aging, is at left, and State Assemblyman Steve Hawley is at right.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 May 2018 at 8:31 am

KNOWLESVILLE – Three senior citizens in Orleans County were honored on Thursday for their commitment to community service in retirement.

The Orleans County Office for the Aging held its annual Spring Jubilee program to celebrate “Older Americans Month.” About 200 seniors attended the program at the Trolley Building of the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds.

The OFA accepted nominations for outstanding seniors from the community. An advisory council then picked the two seniors who would represent the county in Albany during an awards program on May 22.

Florence Surdi, 88, volunteers with Hospice of Orleans, the American Red Cross, Office for the Aging, Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern and Holy Family Parish.

Surdi worked five years at Kodak before going back to school to earn a nursing degree. She worked in many doctors’ offices in a 35-year career.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley thanks the seniors for their many years of service to the community.

Surdi has been a very active volunteer the past 12 years, and is a past winner of Hospice’s “Volunteer of the Year.” At Hospice, she provides companionship to terminally ill patients. She also helps with the administrative office at Hospice.

“Florence calmly and efficiently handles any task she is given,” the nominator wrote about Surdi.

At the OFA she assists with the newsletter and a volunteer driver. As a driver, she took an elderly man to visit his wife in a nursing home for five years.

She also helps the American Red Cross during blood drives. When the Ministry of Concern needs to assemble a mailing, Surdi can be counted on.

At Holy Family Parish, she is active with two charitable organizations, the Ladies of Charity and Catholic Daughters.

“Mrs. Surdi always serves the community with a giving and open heart,” the nominator wrote. “She brings her compassion for others and a fabulous sense of humor to her volunteer work.”

Surdi encouraged more seniors to volunteer, saying she has made many friends in the community through serving the different organizations.

“You will find while volunteering it doesn’t seem like working at all,” she said. “It’s very interesting, you learn a lot, and besides that, it’s fun.”

Don Snyder of Albion was recognized Thursday for his community service as a senior citizen.

Don Snyder has been very busy in retirement, helping church leaders respond to the opioid crisis in Orleans County. Snyder, who is retired as a chaplain in the state correction system, was nominated for the senior citizen award by Sheriff Randy Bower.

Snyder was instrumental in setting up the Sheriffs CARE (Community Addiction Rehabilitation Education) as well as an on-call chaplains’ team. He has been active in helping the community establish an addiction recovery program and is a trained recovery coach.

For the past two years he has been a member of the Genesee Orleans Wyoming Opioid Task Force meetings. He also serves on the Orleans County Mental Health Service Board, which oversees delivery of mental health services in the community.

He also is a board member for the Oak Orchard Assembly of God in Medina, the Grace House in Buffalo/Saving Grace Ministries, and From the Inside Out Ministries.

Snyder also volunteers with the American Red Cross’s Disaster Action Team, responding when people are made homeless, and he participates in Pastors Aligned for Community Transformation.

“With our ever growing opiate epidemic, many times hand in hand with mental illness, Don has volunteered his time as well as getting others involved to assist our community to educate and rehabilitate those struggling,” Bower said.

Snyder said people need to be involved in community issues, especially when they are a resource or can connect people to resources for help.

Patricia Cammarata of Albion receives certificates of commendation for her volunteer service.

Snyder and Surdi will both be recognized in Albany for their volunteer work. Patricia Cammarata also was recognized during the Senior Jubilee on Thursday.

Cammarata worked as a licensed master social worker in children’s mental health. She volunteers with the Catholic Charities Friendly Phones Program, and has been a trustee on the Swan Library Board of Trustees and a member of the Albion Historic Preservation Commission.

She was nominated for the award by Catholic Charities.

“She has happily and consistently made calls or visits to socially isolated elders in our community,” the nominator said. “She has provided friendship and empathy in each relationship, improving the lives of our members significantly.”

The Albion High School Women’s and Men’s Select Chorus performed several songs for the seniors. The group has about 40 members and is led by director Gary Simboli.

Sophia Zambito has a solo in “Draw the Circle Wide.”

Arella Ives also was a featured soloist in the “Draw the Circle Wide.”

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Pettit to serve as president for the State Association of County Health Officials

Staff Reports Posted 11 May 2018 at 5:17 pm

Paul Pettit

ALBION – Paul Pettit, Public Health director for the Health Departments in Genesee and Orleans counties, will serve as president of the New York State Association of County Health Officials, beginning June 1.

Chuck Nesbitt, Chief Administrative Officer for Orleans County, and Jay Gsell, Genesee County Manager, both congratulated Pettit on this achievement after being elected by his peers to lead the state association over the next year.

“Having Paul serve as President brings our Western New York rural counties to the forefront of influence and decision-making in regards to public health activities across the state,” Nesbitt said. “This is an excellent platform for our counties to be heard and recognized.”

Nesbitt and Gsell offered congratulations on behalf of their respective County Legislatures.

“Paul is an engaged and empowering leader of our two counties public health initiatives and has helped make our progressive and proactive commonly appointed Board of Health a prime example of what team work and collaboration can achieve,” Gsell said.

NYSACHO was organized in 1979 and is a membership association representing the 58 local health departments in New York State. The NYSACHO general membership meets monthly, providing a unique opportunity for the exchange of ideas and experiences among local public health officials as well as with other federal, state and local partners. NYSACHO strengthens the provision of local public health programs and services.

“The incoming officers and directors possess extensive knowledge and diverse experience in the field of public health,” said Pettit, an Albion resident. “I am honored to be able to serve on the board with them and represent this organization over the next year as President. I am confident that this board along with our active membership will continue to provide strong leadership and further NYSACHO’s mission of supporting, advocating for, and empowering local health departments in their work to promote health and wellness and prevent disease, disability and injury throughout New York State.”

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Donation will provide body armor vest for K9 Otto

Posted 10 May 2018 at 10:25 pm

Provided photo: Jeff Cole, a deputy with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, is pictured with Otto, the K9. Cole is the dog’s handler and they work closely together. Otto is trained in narcotics detection and tracking.

Orleans County Sheriff’s Office K9 Otto will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.

K9 Otto’s vest is sponsored by Staten Island Companion Dog Training Club and will be embroidered with the sentiment “Gifted by SICDTC, Staten Island, NY”. Delivery is expected within eight to ten weeks.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, MA whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. The non-profit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided over 2,900 protective vests, in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a value of $5.7 million.

The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.

The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $950. Each vest has a value between $1,744 to $2,283 and a five-year warranty, and an average weight of 4-5 lbs. There is an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at www.vik9s.org or mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718.

Orleans County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit Otto and Deputy Cole have a strong dedication to serving and protecting the local communities within Orleans County, as well as surrounding counties. The K9 unit works well together as a team, is energetic, and loves to train together. The K9 unit also enjoys performing demonstrations at local schools and events within our community.

K9 Otto is a 3-year-old German shepherd that was imported from Holland and joined the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office on October 13, 2016. K9 Otto is certified in Narcotics through NAPWADA and NYS DCJS and Tracking through NAPWADA.

“Many thanks to Vested Interest in K9’s, Inc. for their gift,” said Sheriff Randy Bower. “We are thrilled at the opportunity to receive a Body Armor Vest for K9 Otto’s protection during service.”

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Sheriff’s Office observes National Correctional Officers Week

Posted 8 May 2018 at 3:16 pm

Provided photo – Pictured, from left, include: Sgt. First Class Terry Weaver, Officer Tammy Kendrick, Officer Todd Riemer, Officer Michael Salvatore, Officer Andrew Conlon, Officer Mathew Wingrove and Cook Cassandra Brady.

Press Release, Sheriff Randy Bower

ALBION – This week is National Correctional Officers Week.

The Orleans County Jail, as a unit of the Office of the Sheriff, shares the principle that the jail is part of the community and the community is part of the jail. The Corrections Division is committed to meet the standards of the community in a combined effort to promote safety, security, and opportunities for rehabilitation. Their values include respect, responsibility, honesty, and caring for others and themselves.

The responsibility of the Corrections Division is to operate a safe and secure detention facility in compliance with the New York State Corrections Law and with regulations set forth by the New York State Commission of Corrections. The staff of 38 corrections officers has the difficult and often dangerous assignment of ensuring the security, safety, and well-being of the inmates in our county jail. Their position is essential to the day-to-day operations, and without them it would be impossible to achieve the foremost institutional goals of care, custody, and control of around 600 inmates annually.

Please join me in recognizing our Corrections Officers at the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office for all their hard work, dedication and service to our community.

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Motorcyclists kick off season with rally and 50-mile safety ride

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 May 2018 at 4:04 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – About 85 motorcycle riders take off at about 2:30 this afternoon following a motorcycle safety rally in front of the Orleans County Courthouse.

The bikers then went on a 50-mile safety and awareness ride throughout the county.

Orleans County Deputy Sheriff Jeff Cole and K-9 Otto helped to start the motorcycle safety ride in front of the courthouse. The group will then go on a 50-mile police-escorted ride within the county, ending at the VFW in Medina.

Orleans County legislators issued a proclamation declaring May as “Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month.” The Orleans County chapter of the American Bikers Aimed Toward Education organized today’s rally and ride.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley addressed the group and thanked them for promoting safety on the local roadways.

Legislators praised ABATE for helping to prevent accidents through awareness programs aimed at all drivers, acting as liaison on behalf of motorcyclists with government agencies, and promoting good citizenship by encouraging members to use their right to vote.

ABATE reminds the public that motorcyclists are out and drivers should, “Look twice, save a life.”

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