Find us on Facebook

our communities

Kendall, Yates will share $812,450 in state funds for flood protection

Posted 17 April 2018 at 12:52 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: This photo from last December shows waves bearing down on a new breakwall along Lomond Shores in Kendall.

Press Release, Gov. Cuomo’s Office

Two towns in Orleans County have been approved for state funding for flood relief projects.

The Town of Yates has been awarded $414,500 in Community Development Block Grant Lake Ontario Flood Relief Program funds to make repairs and reconstruct approximately 700 feet of Lake Ontario shoreline that was damaged as a result of the 2017 Lake Ontario flood event at various locations.

The Town of Kendall has been awarded $397,950 in Lake Ontario Flood Relief Program funds to mitigate future shoreline erosion along Lake Ontario as well as stabilize the existing shoreline with the use of stone rip rap and other geotextile material.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Monday the funding of $2.9 million in Lake Ontario Flood Relief funds to local governments in Wayne, Orleans, Niagara, Cayuga, and Jefferson counties. The projects are dedicated to restoration resiliency and recovery efforts following last year’s flooding and to protect the community from the damage of future storms. The state has committed $95 million to recovery efforts to support homeowners, small businesses, and community infrastructure, Cuomo said.

“The Lake Ontario shoreline experienced historic and damaging flooding last year, and we continue to stand with New Yorkers whose communities are still recovering,” Cuomo said. “This funding supports our mission to build back stronger and smarter and help every impacted town and resident get back on their feet.”

The window for applications for the recovery program has closed. The deadline for homeowner applications for assistance in relief and recovery was September 29, 2017. The deadline for municipality applications was December 29, 2017 and the deadline for small businesses was December 31, 2017. Homeowners wishing to appeal a determination regarding eligibility should email LakeOntario@nyshcr.org.

“Our state made a promise and a commitment to the residents, small businesses, and local governments of Orleans, Monroe and Niagara counties that we would help them rebuild,” Senator Robert G. Ortt said on Monday. “Today, we’re taking an important step. Significant work remains, especially for recovering homeowners, but these funds will help municipalities rebuild critical infrastructure damaged in last year’s flooding and upgrade moving forward. We’ll continue to advocate for relief funding until residents, businesses, and municipalities receive the resources that they need to rebuild.”

“This support represents an important step in the state’s ongoing commitment to shouldering the burden of recovery brought on by last year’s devastating flooding,” said Orleans County Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson. “With the lake already high, we are thankful to Governor Cuomo for his leadership in delivering these funds, which will help our communities reinforce their shorelines so that we are prepared for the next flood.”

Besides Orleans County, the funding approved includes:

• Wayne County $1 million

The Town of Wolcott has been awarded $1,000,000 in Lake Ontario Flood Relief Program funds to make construct an approximately 200-foot revetment along the Lake Ontario shoreline that will mitigate future flood damage and protect the most critical Town infrastructure.

• Niagara County: $558,440

Niagara County has been awarded $199,865 in Lake Ontario Flood Relief CDBG Program funds to reimburse themselves for necessary emergency repairs and expenses incurred as a result of the 2017 Lake Ontario flood event. The expenses incurred included funds for shoreline restoration and reconstruction, from Youngstown to the Niagara County line, as well as funds related to materials and labor.

The Village of Wilson has been awarded $10,263 in Lake Ontario Flood Relief CDBG Program funds to reimburse themselves for necessary emergency repairs and expenses incurred, including the purchase of a new trash pump for the Village’s wastewater treatment plant, as a result of the 2017 Lake Ontario flood event.

The Town of Porter has been awarded $348,312 in Lake Ontario Flood Relief Program funds to mitigate future shoreline erosion along the Town’s Fort Niagara Beach as well as stabilize up to 300-feet of the existing shoreline with the construction of stone rip-rap and rubble.

• Cayuga County: $400,000

The Village of Fair Haven has been awarded $400,000 in Lake Ontario Flood Relief CDBG Program funds to make repairs to village infrastructure that was damaged as a result of the 2017 Lake Ontario flood event at various locations. The Town will reconstruct protective seawalls surrounding several public parks along the Lake Ontario shoreline and will also make necessary infrastructure repairs around and adjacent to the shoreline.

• Jefferson County: $215,468

The Town of Lyme has been awarded $215,468 in Lake Ontario Flood Relief CDBG Program funds to both reimburse themselves for necessary emergency repairs and expenses incurred as a result of the 2017 Lake Ontario flood event and to make future repairs to the Town’s public infrastructure. The expenses incurred included funds related to materials and labor. The future repairs include the reconstruction of roads and culverts.

Return to top

DOT details work on Parkway paving that will include part of Kendall

Posted 17 April 2018 at 12:31 pm

Press Release, NYS Department of Transportation

New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas today announced that construction has begun on a $5.2 million paving project to rehabilitate nearly 30 lane miles of the Lake Ontario State Parkway between Route 19 in Hamlin, Monroe County and Route 237 in Kendall, Orleans County.

The project will significantly improve the existing pavement conditions through a multi-course resurfacing in both eastbound and westbound lanes. Work on the project is beginning nearly one month earlier than anticipated and will minimize the impact on tourism drawn by nearby Hamlin Beach State Park.

“Thanks to the commitment of Governor Cuomo, the State Department of Transportation continues to make smart investments in our local infrastructure,” said Acting Commissioner Karas. “This significant rehabilitation work along Lake Ontario will enhance safety and make it easier for the traveling public to utilize this asset in the summer months and beyond.”

Consistent with Governor Cuomo’s Drivers First initiative, the project has been designed to minimize impacts to the traveling public. The Lake Ontario State Parkway will remain open to traffic throughout construction, with at least one lane of traffic maintained in each direction. Short-term ramp closures will take place during paving of the on and off-ramps at the Route 237, Route 272 and Hamlin Beach interchanges. These ramps will be kept open Friday through Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The eastbound ramp at Hamlin Beach State Park will close in early May for approximately 7 days for concrete repairs to the bridge deck over Yanty Creek.

Work will consist of overlaying the existing deteriorating concrete pavement, the installation of new wrong-way signs, upgraded pavement markings and striping, along with narrowing the existing shoulder of the Parkway from 12 feet to 8 feet in width.

The pavement’s newly enhanced rideability will prove beneficial for motorists travelling to and from businesses in Monroe and Orleans counties, along with tourists visiting nearby Hamlin Beach State Park during the summer months. Access to the park will be maintained throughout the duration of the project.

“Today’s news that Department of Transportation has begun rehabilitation construction work on the Lake Ontario State Parkway from Hamlin to Kendall is certainly a relief to those living in the adjacent communities and those who use the roadway on a daily basis,” said State Senator Joe Robach. “I have consistently heard from my constituents just how needed and important this work is and I am glad that the state has made a commitment to ensure the entirety of the Parkway is a modern and safe thoroughfare for all who use it.”

“The counties of Monroe and Orleans are home to some of the most beautiful scenery in our state, but unfortunately the state of the Lake Ontario Parkway developed notoriety as an aggravating stretch for motorists and residents,” said State Sen. Robert Ortt. “This significant investment will repair 30 miles of the Parkway and provide residents with safer and more manageable commutes. It will also allow visitors to experience the beauty that Lake Ontario has to offer with minimal congestion as the summer travel season commences.”

Assemblyman Steve Hawley: “This scenic byway is crucial to local tourism, travel and recreation as a main artery through Western New York that hosts numerous campers, travelers and fishermen. I am proud to be a part of this project’s success, and I look forward to smoother and safer travel in the near future.”

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo: “I’m excited to see improvements being made to Lake Ontario State Parkway, especially along this stretch. The Parkway improves accessibility in northwestern Monroe County and enhances our efforts to attract and retain jobs here in our community. This project, in concert with Monroe County’s previously announced $32 million investment in infrastructure, will help support jobs, strengthen our economy and enhance our world-class quality of life.”

Orleans County Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson: “I am very pleased to be seeing some progress on this long-standing issue. My hope is that this is just the beginning of a larger effort to restore the Lake Ontario State Parkway to a condition fitting the beautiful scenic drive along Lake Ontario.”

During the paving project, detours will be posted for all ramp closures at Hamlin Beach Park. Motorists will be informed of construction work and detours using variable message boards and temporary work zone traffic control signs. Work will continue through the end of summer with a targeted completion date of early fall.

Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license.

Return to top

Melissa Barnosky, first Albion student to win state oratorical title, competes in Indianapolis

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 April 2018 at 8:09 am

Senior from Kentucky wins national oratorical contest

Melissa Barnosky

ALBION – After winning the state title, Melissa Barnosky competed this weekend in the national American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program – “A Constitutional Speech Contest.”

Barnosky, a senior at Albion, became the first Albion student to win the state title on March 3 in Albany. That earned her a trip to Indianapolis for the national competition.

She was one of 53 state or department champions at nationals in the 81st annual contest. On Saturday, she faced off in the quarterfinals with the champions from Maine, Maryland, Ohio, North Dakota and Louisiana. The Ohio representative advanced to the semifinals.

Barnosky won the school, county, district and zone competitions. She earned a $6,000 scholarship when she won the state competition. Last year she was third in the state.

The students all needed to give an 8-10 minute prepared speech on the U.S. Constitution and citizen duties and obligations to the government. If a contestant goes over or under the time frame, there are penalty points. Barnosky also had four prepared speeches that are 3 to 5 minutes long on other assigned topics.

“We are so proud of her,” said Sue Starkweather Miller, Community Schools director for Albion Central School. “What an accomplishment. She worked hard.”

Barnosky plans to attend The College at Brockport this fall to major in journalism and broadcasting. She said she enjoys public speaking, researching history and preparing her speeches.

“She is very, very poised,” Starkweather Miller said. “She has really delved into the information. She is very interested in the Constitution.”

The national competition was won by a senior from McCracken County High School in Paducah, Ky. Carlissa Frederich earned an $18,000 college scholarship and first place. She advanced to the championship through three rounds of intense competition. She was sponsored by American Legion Post 73 in Murray, Ky.

In her prepared oration, Frederich compared the Constitution to the powerful Grand Coulee Dam. “Much like the dam was built to create and harness power, our forefathers built the Constitution to create and harness power – to empower the government to act at a national level, but harness that power so it did not infringe upon individual liberty.”

“The founders believed our rights came from God to the people who could then loan a very limited amount of that power to the government through the Constitution,” she added. “The Constitution ensures rights. Exercising these limits government. Limited government maintains rights, completing the cycle and creating a type of ordered liberty.”

In each round of the weekend competition, orators delivered a rehearsed 8- to 10-minute address and a randomly assigned 3- to 5-minute oration on a constitutional topic, each without the benefit of notes and in front of a live audience, including the judges.

The 2-million member American Legion developed the contest to encourage young people to improve their communications skills and to study the U.S. Constitution. More than $3 million in scholarships have been awarded over the history of the contest.

Return to top

Orleans sets ground-breaking for April 25 for addition to government center

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 April 2018 at 5:42 pm

Courtesy of Wendel

ALBION – Orleans County officials will have a ground-breaking program at 2 p.m. on April 25 for a new addition to the County Administration Building.

Invitations were sent today for the ground-breaking of the “Government Center” – the County Administration Building with the 23,000-square-foot addition.

The County Legislature on March 28 accepted five construction bids totaling $7,006,600 for the addition of the building at 14016 Route 31. Alternates for $495,900 push the total bids accepted to $7,502,500. In addition, the county will pay the Wendel firm $900,000 for construction administration, project coordination, additional design services, commissioning services and grant administration.

Construction is expected to start next month and continue for 15 months until the building is ready for the Health Department, Board of Elections, information technology department and the Legislative office and staff.

The County Legislature has approved a maximum bond of $10,063,881 for an addition the building on Route 31, behind the nursing home. The bond is expected to be significantly reduced due to grants for the project. The county has already been approved for a $3,682,748 state grant towards the project and State Sen. Robert Ortt also secured a $200,000 state grant.

The Board of Elections and Public Health Department currently are leasing space from Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services. Comprehensive purchased the former county-owned nursing home for $7.8 million in January 2014. The county has been leasing space from Comprehensive for Elections and Public Health because those offices are part of the nursing home complex.

Moving those offices from those sites will spare the county from paying those lease payments. The money the county was paying for the lease will go towards paying the debt for the addition.

Return to top

After study of local law enforcement, no push to end village police

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 April 2018 at 12:23 pm

Agenda for shared services and consolidations doesn’t include radical change to local law enforcement

Photo by Tom Rivers: The sign for the police station for the Holley Police Department is shown on Thomas Street. Roland Nenni is currently Holley’s police chief.

ALBION – The village mayors, town supervisors and county legislators are talking about sharing more services and possibly consolidating some functions, including code enforcement, water service, grant writing, information technology and perhaps other services.

The group met on April 5 to discuss several possibilities that could reduce overall costs and perhaps result in better service.

Law enforcement, however, won’t be part of the discussion, right now. Village officials declined to even mention the issue at the April 6 meeting.

The village police departments and Orleans County Sheriff’s Department will continue to do some specialized training together, but there is no push to dissolve a village department and have the county Sheriff’s Office step up its patrols in a village.

“The leadership at the various villages have expressed reservations for a number of reasons,” said Chuck Nesbitt, the county’s chief administrative officer. “It has to come from the villages. They’re the ones who have to vote or not vote.”

The local entities worked with a consultant, CGR in Rochester, on a law enforcement efficiency study. CGR’s work showed there would be significant tax savings for the villages of Albion and Medina – about $6 to $8 per $1,000 of assessed property – if they dissolved their departments and then the county took over. (Doing so would also raise the county tax rate by an estimated $2 per $1,000 if all of the village police departments dissolved and deputies were hired to work in the villages.)

Holley, which also has a police department, wouldn’t see as much savings because it’s department is staffed with many part-timers. Having full-time deputies patrol the village ultimately wouldn’t reduce costs in Holley, according to the study. (Lyndonville only has one part-time officer.)

All of the villages joined the county in voting to do the study. However, the villages haven’t embraced the findings.

Medina Mayor Mike Sidari has told the law enforcement committee he wants to keep the village police. He said there hasn’t been a push by village residents to end the local department.

Albion had a village election last month and three candidates who made keeping the village police a focus of their campaign were all elected, although it was close.

Eileen Banker received 250 out of 614 votes to win election in a three-way race that included Joyce Riley, 211 votes, and Kevin Doherty, 153. Riley and Doherty said they were open to looking at all villages expenses and making tough decisions. That didn’t mean they favored dissolving the police department, but they said they were willing to give the department rigorous scrutiny. Although Banker won, she didn’t receive an overwhelming mandate. She received 41 percent of the vote.

The Republican duo of Gary Katsanis, 306 votes, and Stan Farone, 300, eked out a win over Democratic Party candidates, Jason Dragon, 274 votes, and Sandra Walter, 264. Dragon and Walter said they didn’t think the police department, which costs the village about $1.2 million annually, was affordable for the village. Having a county-wide force, doing the primary patrols in the villages, would spread out the cost for all taxpayers. Dragon said village residents pay for law enforcement in both their county and village taxes.

A state grant paid $36,000 towards the study while the county paid CGR $38,000 for its work. The county isn’t going to press the issue, Nesbitt said.

If village residents want to pursue the issue, they could always petition to have a police department dissolved. Ultimately, if a village wanted to consider a dissolution of the village police, residents would decide the fate in a public referendum.

To see the law enforcement study, click here.

Return to top

After serious car accident in December 2016, NY’s ‘Queen of Country Music’ is back on stage

Photos by Tom Rivers: Josie Waverly, center, leans on Gina Sidari, the daughter of Amy Sidari, left. Waverly will be performing on June 30 at the Cabaret at Studio B, which Sidari runs on West Bank Street in Albion. Waverly of Hilton has performed there several times. She has performed all over the country as a headliner as well as an opening act for many of Nashville’s leading entertainers such as Tim McGraw, Charlie Daniels, Loretta Lynn, Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 April 2018 at 8:24 am

Josie Waverly has long been a popular performer

Josie Waverly portrayed Patsy Cline during a concert at Medina High School on July 20, 2013. About 150 people attended the event, which was a fundraiser for the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company.

ALBION – Josie Waverly of Hilton was on her way to Albion to sing in a benefit concert on Dec. 3, 2016 when she was rear-ended at a stop light at Redman and Ridge Road in Clarkson. Waverly would suffer herniated disks in her neck and back. The injuries have made it hard for her to take in the deep breaths for singing her country music. Waverly has had to cut back on her performances. She used to hit the stage 200 times a year. Now she is performing about 50 times a year, including an upcoming concert on June 30 in Albion at the Cabaret at Studio B. It will be her first time performing in Albion since the accident.

“It’s hard to take in a lot of air to sustain the notes and hit the high notes,” Waverly said during an interview last week at the Cabaret. “I still have my voice but (the injury) affects how I use my voice.”

Waverly has been diligent in physical therapy and exercises which has allowed her return to singing. This is her 30th year singing as a professional. She is dubbed as “New York State’s Queen of Country Music.” She has performed in the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and opened for major country music stars, before crowds of 20,000 people. She has opened for Tim McGraw, Charlie Daniels, Loretta Lynn, Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban and many others.

Waverly said she gives every performance her all, whether it’s for the 20,000 at a major concert venue or much-smaller venues. The Cabaret at Studio B seats about 100 and Waverly said she likes the intimate setting, where she can chat with some of the concert goers.

“The people are so good to me here,” Waverly said about the Cabaret. “It is a pleasant, homey place.”

Josie Waverly performed as Dolly Parton during a benefit on Oct. 15, 2016 that was a roast of local contractor Jim Babcock. Waverly performed a spoof of the Parton song, “9 to 5,” in describing a kitchen repair gone wrong.

Waverly performs with her country music band, and also has developed other shows including “My Gal Patsy” which is her tribute to Patsy Cline. (She performed “My Gal Patsy” to a sold-out crowd of 600 on Friday at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda.)

With her “Queens of Pure Country” show, Waverly sings songs from nine famous entertainers, such as Dolly Parton, Kitty Wells, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Dottie West and Reba McEntire.

“I’m just using the gift the Lord gave me to bring joy to other people,” she said. “That’s the big thing.”

Waverly, an active grandmother to five grandkids, said staying away from the stage wasn’t an option.

“I have to stay singing and doing what I love to do,” she said.

Amy Sidari, owner of the Cabaret, has become a close friend for Waverly, and is working as Waverly’s publicist and promotions agent.

Sidari is working on bringing about 20 shows to the Cabaret this year, which is in its sixth season. Sidari has a long-term goal of opening a bigger performance venue in the second floor at 28 West Bank St.

When people call for tickets for some of the shows at the Cabaret, they often ask how Waverly is doing since her accident. Sidari is pleased Waverly will be back in Albion on June 30 and then again on Dec. 15 for a holiday concert in her Patsy Cline character.

“It’s a treat for the Albion community to have someone of Josie’s caliber,” Sidari said.

Josie Waverly, a popular local singer, is also a children’s book author. She has written three children’s books about Josie the Butterfly. She visited Albion on March 30, 2016 to share the story of “Josie the Singing Butterfly” and to promote early childhood literacy.

Return to top

400 lose power in Lyndonville after tree falls on Main Street

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 April 2018 at 2:09 pm

Photos courtesy of Amy Lewis

LYNDONVILLE – There were 400 National Grid customers without power in the Lyndonville area after a tree fell on South Main Street near the village line this morning around 11.

National Grid is estimating power will be restored for the affected area by 3:15 p.m. By 2 p.m., the number without power was down to 142.

National Grid has more than 2,000 line, tree and service workers on alert due to the ice storm in upstate. The company reports there are 1,525 customers without power in upstate out of 1.6 million customers.

Return to top

‘This is crazy’ as ice encrusts the county

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 April 2018 at 9:57 am

No widespread power outages so far

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Keith Merchant, left, and Tony Navarra, both part of the Buildings and Grounds crew for Holy Family Parish, shovel ice off the sidewalk in front of the Albion church this morning. Most of the churches are closed today.

“This is crazy,” Navarra said about the blast of winter weather.

He is retiring in June after leading the parish’s Building and Grounds Department.

An ice storm warning remain in effect for the county until 2 p.m. Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower also has issued a travel advisory urging extra caution from drivers until this afternoon.

Many of the trees at Courthouse Square in Albion are coated in ice.

There doesn’t seem to be too much damage from the storm. There aren’t widespread power outages. There are 83 National Grid customers without electricity in Orleans County and they are estimated to be restored by 11 a.m., according to the power company.

Even these birds by the Post Office in Albion are wondering what happened to spring.

The Presbyterian Church in Albion is pictured in the background of this photo.

Return to top

Troopers hold on to win basketball game vs. Albion faculty

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 April 2018 at 7:38 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Travis Downs follows through on a 3-pount shot that went in for the Albion faculty in a basketball game today vs. State Troopers. Downs is a substitute teacher who also coaches football and basketball at Albion. He was the leading scorer for the faculty in a 72-60 loss to the Troopers. The Troopers had a big lead at halftime, and then the faculty were able to get within 5 points before the Troopers pulled away at the end.

The game was a benefit for the Middle School FFA.

Scott Mills, an investigator with the State Police, gives Matthew Bloom a boost while he shoots a basket during a break in the game.

At halftime State Trooper Dave Ziemba and K-9 “Arnie” did a demonstration, showing the dog’s tracking skills.

Ziemba and Arnie are one of the 98 K-9 units for the State Police. Arnie is a narcotics detection dog that also tracks suspects. State Troopers also had a demonstration at halftime on defensive tactics.

Sawyer Green, a member of the Albion faculty, holds her son Hollis, who is almost 2. Green’s husband Josh also played on the faculty team.

Albion teacher Mike Jones, center, joins the faculty in congratulating the Troopers on their victory.

Return to top

Albion officials celebrate opening of expanded Uptown Browsery

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 April 2018 at 1:11 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Village of Albion trustees Gary Katsanis, left, and Stan Farone hold the ribbon while Mayor Eileen Banker (in black coat) cuts the ribbon this morning for the expanded Uptown Browsery in downtown Albion. Maureen Bennett, a vendor and member of the Browsery’s board of directors, is up front with Banker. Other vendors in the photo include, from left, in back: Elizabeth Penafiel, Dakota Morasco, Scott Sackett, Linda Carson, Lisa Mannella and Lucy Sackett.

There are 34 vendors in the three Browsery locations. The original Downtown Browsery opened at 14 East Bank St. in 2004 with 13 vendors. Four years ago the Uptown Browsery opened at 118 North Main St. In January, the Uptown Browsery expanded north on Main Street. The two Uptown storefronts are connected with an archway that was used back when the site was a Landauer’s Department Store.

A Ronald McDonald helium balloon tank topper and shroud from 1977 is one of the items for sale in the Uptown Browsery.

The vendors sell vintage collectibles, antiques, upcycled furniture and other items. They share expenses and all spend a minimum of 10 hours in store. The shared workload and expenses have proven a good formula for the vendors, said Maureen Bennett, who sells farmhouse décor and antiques.

The expanded space for the Browsery was quickly embraced by vendors. Bennett said there are still a couple spots if a vendor is interested.

Stan Farone, a village trustee, said the Broswery locations offer a variety of items that appeal to many in the community.

“I encourage people to visit the stores,” Farone said. “People don’t realize what we have here in the downtown.”

A new feature at the Browsery: highlighting a prominent Albionite each month. If people share the same birthday month as the person being highlighted, they get 10 percent off. Lisa Mannella proposed the birthday feature. This month spotlights Sanford Elias Church, who was born April 18, 1815 and went on to be the chief judge on the NY Court of Appeals.

Return to top