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Orleans County

New van will transport veterans to medical appointments

Photos by Ginny Kropf: A new medical transportation van was delivered to the Orleans County Joint Veterans Council Monday morning. Greg Stanton of Medina did the lettering on the van. Dave Kusmierczak of Medina is in back.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 July 2019 at 3:50 pm

ALBION –  A new Ford van was put into service this week by the Orleans County Joint Veterans Council, bringing their fleet to five vehicles which transport veterans to medical appointments.

Earl Schmidt, director of the Orleans County Veterans Services Agency, said the Joint Veterans Council received enough donations from the community to purchase the new van. This will replace an aging van, he said.

“These vans and their volunteer drivers allow safe travel for veterans to their medical appointments,” Schmidt said.

He commended Greg Stanton for doing the lettering on the van at a fraction of what it actually cost.

The five-passenger van was delivered Monday morning by Rich Beyer, a salesman at Orleans Ford in Medina.

Last year, the veterans’ medical transportation program made 1,000 trips, taking 1,950 veterans to medical appointments. This also represents 6,000 volunteer hours, Schmidt said.

The program has 22 dedicated volunteer drivers, in addition to 11 office volunteers who coordinate trips and take care of paperwork.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer can call 589-2856.

Local veterans gather around the new medical transportation van on Monday morning. From left are Gary Befus with the Sheret American Legion Post in Albion; Ron Ayrault of Holley American Legion; John Pera, County Commander and Post Commander of Holley American Legion; Dave Kusmierczak from Butts-Clark American Legion in Medina; Jack Miles of Albion, a volunteer driver; Earl Schmidt, director of the Orleans County Veterans Services Agency and a volunteer driver; Rick Beyer, a salesman with Orleans Ford, who delivered the van; and Fred Heschke, a member of the Butts-Clark American Legion.

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650 cyclists headed to Orleans County today

Staff Reports Posted 7 July 2019 at 9:18 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Some of the cyclists on last year’s Cycle the Erie Canal trip approach Albion on July 9, 2018. Another group of 650 cyclists leaves from Buffalo this morning and hads east to Orleans County.

BUFFALO – More than 650 cyclists are leaving Buffalo this morning and will head about 60 miles east to stay overnight at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds.

This is the 21st annual Cycle the Erie Canal tour organized by Parks & Trails New York. Cyclists from 39 states, Canada, and Australia have turned out for the trip along the Erie Canal towpath.

Usually the group heads from Buffalo to Medina on the first day. But with construction at the school district, the group will stay in tents at the Fairgrounds.

On Monday, they will continue through Orleans County and will head to Fairport.

The 8-day trip covers about 400 miles and concludes in Albany.

“The 21st annual Cycle the Erie Canal tour is a wonderful way to celebrate the Erie Canal Bicentennial. Plus, it’s fun, healthy, and good for the economy,” says Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin. “We have cyclists aged 5 to 86 from 39 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, two Canadian provinces, Australia and they all get to experience what makes the Erie Canal and upstate New York so special.”

The Erie Canalway Trail contributes significantly to the economy of upstate New York. A recent study shows that the Erie Canalway Trail annually receives close to 1.6 million visits and generates an economic impact of $253 million.

The NYS Canal Corporation and New York Power Authority are Premier State Sponsors of Cycle the Erie Canal. The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor is the event’s Heritage Sponsor and Brookfield is the Supporting Sponsor. Other sponsors include Wegmans, Hodgson Russ, and Capital District Physician’s Health Plan. Eleven regional tourism agencies also sponsor the ride.

Parks & Trails New York is New York’s leading statewide advocate for parks and trails, dedicated since 1985 to improving our health, economy, and quality of life through the use and enjoyment of green space.

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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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