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Albion approves $740K bid for waterline project in village

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2020 at 3:17 pm

ALBION – The Village Board last week approved a construction bid for $739,931 to replace 8-inch waterlines on South Clinton and West Academy streets.

The project will replace 4,200 feet of waterlines on the two streets between Route 31 and Allen Road and should resolve issues with low water pressure, village officials said.

The low bid for the project was submitted by 716 Site Contracting from North Boston, NY.

Albion didn’t receive a grant to help pay for the project. The Village Board last week approved a $975,000 bond to cover the full costs of the project, including engineering and legal fees.

In addition to the waterlines, the project includes hydrants, gate valves and and service connections. The contractor also needs to do pressure testing and disinfection of new main, and surface restoration work.

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Construction starts on new radio towers

Provided photos: Upstate Tower does the site work in Kendall for a soon-to-be erected 180-foot-high radio tower, one of four new ones being constructed in Orleans County. Upstate Tower also is doing site working, including pouring concrete, for the tower sites in Lyndonville and Holley. A new tower will also go up next to the Public Safety Building in Albion.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2020 at 10:38 am

Contractors have started work on four new radio towers that soon go up in Orleans County to enhance the emergency communications system.

The towers are part of a $6 million project to upgrade the system in the county. The state awarded Orleans a $5,897,141 grant for four new towers, accompanying communication shelters, technology to connect separate radio systems and new radio channels. The project will strengthen communications between multiple jurisdictions and agencies.

The base for a new radio tower is in place next to the Orleans County Public Safety Building in Albion.

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 near the water tank, and at the Kendall Central School near the bus garage.

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

The Orleans County Department of Public Works is putting in all stone access roads and electrical trenching and conduit.

Upstate Tower is doing the site work and concrete foundations, and will be installing the towers that were constructed by Nudd Tower in Ontario, NY.

Once the towers are up, the radio tower shelters and emergency standby generators will be installed.

After that the radio system equipment will be installed in late winter or early spring. This project is administrated by the Orleans County Emergency Management Office.

The emergency communications system 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.

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Holley plans to move village offices to former school on March 16

Photos by Tom Rivers: Contractors work on installing windows at Holley Gardens, the former Holley High School. Home Leasing is turning the building into 41 apartments for senior citizens, and also the village offices.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2020 at 8:46 am

Apartments expected to ready in February at ‘Holley Gardens’

New windows go into the former Holley High School.

HOLLEY – The village offices will move over to the former Holley High School on March 16, Mayor Brian Sorochty said Tuesday during the Village Board meeting.

That is about a month later than planned. The school is undergoing a $17 million renovation. Home Leasing in Rochester is doing a major overhaul of the building that was largely dormant for more than three decades.

“In a project this size there are bound to be some delays,” Sorochty said on Tuesday.

Pushing back the move-in date by a month really doesn’t affect the village offices, the mayor said. The village will continue operating out of 72 Public Square.

Home Leasing started construction in November 2018 on the $17 million transformation of the former Holley High School, turning it into 41 apartments and the village offices for Holley. The apartments will include one studio, 35 one-bedrooms, and five two-bedroom apartments. Those apartments for senior citizens are expected to be ready next month.

The village offices will be in the former auditorium space. Sorochty said the project will be a major uplift for the community, offering affordable housing and a stunning makeover of one of Holley’s most prominent buildings at the corner of routes 31 and 237.

For more information about the apartments, click here.

The Holley Village Board met Tuesday evening on the second floor meeting room of the Village Office, 72 Public Square. Holley will have its village offices at the site for about two more months. Pictured from left include village trustees Rochelle Moroz, Connie Nenni, Mayor Brian Sorochty, Deputy Mayor Kevin Lynch and Trustee Jim DeFilipps.

Police station could move to current Village Office

Holley Police Chief Roland Nenni suggested the Police Department move from 8 Thomas St. to the current Village Office after the village offices move to the former high school.

The Thomas Street site needs a new roof and windows, as well as brick repairs. Nenni said the Village Office could be repurposed at far less cost than it would take to update Thomas Street.

The police chief and Dave Nenni, the DPW superintendent, are going to present the Village Board with cost estimates for the project.

The Public Square site has a back door to a parking lot where Holley police cars could be kept. The front door might need some alterations to be fully handicapped accessible.

The village put a new roof on 72 Public Square about five years ago, and also recently put in a new furnace.

The building would work well for offices for police officers, with space for record keeping and storing evidence, Roland Nenni said.

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Trees, heavy brush being cleared from old canal loop in Holley

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 January 2020 at 10:14 pm

Holley has only original section remaining west of Rochester

File photos from October 2015 by Tom Rivers: A small sign on a tree in a ditch in Holley notes that this was part of the original Erie Canal loop that meandered to the Public Square area of Holley.

HOLLEY – For several years it’s been talked about as a hidden gem in Holley, a potential tourism draw that can also enhance Holley’s trail system.

Today, the Orleans County Highway Department brought an excavator to Holley and started to clear out the only remaining original canal loop west of Rochester. The remaining original section of the canal is about 1,000 feet long. Trees have sprouted in the canal bed, as well as other heavy vegetation, including invasive plants.

Mayor Brian Sorochty credited former County Legislator George Bower of Holley for pressing the issue. Bower the past two years has urged Sorochty and the village to clear out the trees, brush and weeds from the canal bed, and make it a bigger asset for the community.

The Holley mayor thanked the county crew for working on the project as part of a shared service with the village.

Sorochty said the first goal is to get the canal bed cleaned out and the banks reformed. Longer-term he could see a pedestrian bridge with a display about the original canal loop. Perhaps the section could be rewatered with the canal supplying the water, Sorochty said.

This map displayed in the office of Dr. Dan Schiavone, shows the Holley Loop. It linked back to the canal just west of Bennetts Corners Road.

The original loop was created when the state veered the canal from a relatively straight line in 1823 due to the high banks and engineering challenge in dealing with Sandy Creek.

There was an unusually deep ravine formed by the east branch of Sandy Creek, which presented a difficult engineering problem for builders of the original Erie Canal in the early 1820s, according to display on the north side of the canal by the Holley lift bridge. The State Canal Corp. put up that display about “The Holley Loop.”

Rather than try to build the canal on the ravine, engineers opted to take a sharp turn near the current lift bridge and cross over a relatively narrow section of the creek.

“The sharp curve required boaters to slow down, which made a promising location for canal-oriented businesses,” according to the state display. “The Village of Holley grew at this bend in the canal.”

The canal was widened throughout the 363-mile-long system from 1905 to 1918 and much of the original canal was replaced by the wider and deeper canal.

But in Holley, some of the original remained because it wasn’t touched as part of the Barge Canal widening in the early 1900s.

The state in 1854-61, decided the original loop needed to be straightened out in Holley to create a shorter, more navigable waterway. A new section of the canal was built over a very high and long embankment.

“Because state law did not allow canal sections to be abandoned in villages or cities, the old loop was still used for several decades to serve local businesses,” according to the state display about the Holley Loop. “Canal traffic no longer stopped in the village, however, and eventually the loop was drained and eliminated. Traces of the original canal can still be seen east of the Public Square.”

The original canal bed has trees and lots of thick vegetation that will be cleared out.

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Medina Police made more arrests, responded to more calls in 2019

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 January 2020 at 11:54 am

MEDINA — The Medina Police Department had a busier year in 2019 compared to the previous year, according to an annual report by Police Chief Chad Kenward.

Last year the Police Department received 7,637 calls, compared to 7,138 in 2018, 6,790 in 2017 and 6,197 in 2016.

Medina police officers made 542 arrests in 2019, compared to 454 in 2018, 551 in 2018 and 466 in 2016.

Last year, the Medina PD made 30 arrests for driving while intoxicated, which was up from 20 in 2018. The department made 43 DWI arrests in 2017, and 26 in 2016.

In terms of vehicle and traffic infractions, the Medina PD issued 1,029 tickets in 2019, 988 in 2018, 1,046 in 2017 and 807 in 2016.

Medina officers also made 110 drug-related arrests (unlawful possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a controlled substance) in 2019, compared to 57 in 2018, 71 in 2017 and 47 in 2016.

Kenward said the department is responding to new state laws for discovery and bail reform which will likely reduce the amount of time officers are on patrol. Kenward said just last week an officer had to wait with a defendant for an hour and half to be arraigned while an attorney from the Public Defender’s Office was located and needed to travel from Brockport.

Officers are also spending more time downloading body cam video and working with records as part of the discovery requirements, Kenward said.

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EDA official urges Medina to upgrade signs, gateway entrances

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 January 2020 at 11:22 am

MEDINA – The Village of Medina was encouraged by an Orleans Economic Development Agency official to improve signage and the gateways leading into the village.

Gabrielle Barone, vice president of business development for the EDA, spoke at Monday’s Village Board meeting. She presented board members with photos showing faded signs or signs leaning in odd directions.

She also said several prominent properties along Route 63 are rundown.

The signage near the Medina Business Park on Maple Ridge Road and Bates Road needs attention, Barone told the Village Board.

“It looks terrible and I don’t see any of them being worked on,” she told the board.

Barone said businesses are looking at the Business Park and the signs and gateways are important in selling the community to prospective companies. The signs and entrances make important first impressions on people considering Medina as a place to live and work.

“We have to look at it or we can’t get people in,” Barone said.

Medina Mayor Michael Sidari and Joe Perry, the DPW superintendent, said the village will be replacing some signs. Perry said they can be costly with 9 stop signs at about $800.

Sidari said the board will look to increase the spending for signs in the 2020-21 village budget.

The board also discussed signage in the downtown with some building owners out of compliance with the regulations and design standards in the historic downtown.

The board voted to back the Planning Board’s decision to oppose a new sign for the back entrance at Ashlee’s Place.

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Medina names Matthew Jackson as new fire chief

Photos by Tom Rivers: Tom Lupo, the outgoing chief of the Medina Fire Department, pins the chief’s badge on Matthew Jackson after Jackson was sworn into office this evening at the Medina Village Office. Lupo is retiring and Jackson will take over the department’s top leader.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 January 2020 at 10:29 pm

MEDINA – Medina appointed a new fire chief today who is no stranger to the Medina Fire Department.

Matthew Jackson, 42, has been a full-time firefighter in Medina the past 13 ½ years, including the past 2 ½ years as a captain, the department’s second highest leadership post.

Jackson was appointed by the Village Board to succeed Tom Lupo, who is retiring after four years as chief. Lupo has served in the role for 30 hours a week while also working at the Lockport Fire Department.

The board also promoted Lieutenant Michael Young to captain, and firefighter Jacob Crooks lieutenant.

“This place is poised to do great things,” Lupo said after this evening’s Village Board meeting, when the promotions were approved. “These guys are the backbone of a great fire and EMS system here.”

A crowd gathered inside the Medina Village Office to watch Matt Jackson take the oath of office as Medina’s new fire chief. Tom Lupo administers the oath. Lupo has served as the department’s chief the past four years.

Lupo, who officially retires on Jan. 18, said Jackson has pushed himself to be the fire chief for a department that includes 21 full-time firefighters who also respond to EMS calls through the fire department’s ambulance service. There are also callmen who respond to fire calls.

Jackson will be working alongside Lupo during his final week at the Medina Fire Department. Lupo had planned to retire about a year ago but agreed to postpone his retirement. Due to changes in state law regarding qualifications for fire chiefs, Jackson needed a fire officer level 3 training course to be eligible for the position. He completed the class last month.

He also completed a month-long supervisor school with the City of New York Fire Department for first line officers. At the New York State Academy of Fire Science in Montour Falls, Jackson completed level 1 and 2 courses for fire officers and instructors.

The three newly promoted leaders in the Medina Fire Department are pictured inside the fire hall after taking their oaths of office. From left include Captain Michael Young, Fire Chief Matt Jackson and Lt. Jacob Crooks.

Lupo said Jackson has the respect of the department and treats everyone fairly.

“He leads by example,” Lupo said. “He leads from the front, and he’s so level headed.”

Jackson, a Lyndonville native, was a volunteer firefighter in Lyndonville for 11 years before he made firefighting his career in Medina. He said he is grateful for the chance to lead a department that responds to about 3,000 calls annually.

“I’ve had an opportunity to move up,” Jackson said. “It’s a chance to serve these guys. I look forward to empowering them. This is a good department where everybody works hard and everyone is continuously training.”

(Click here to see a video of Jackson taking the oath of office.)

Medina Fire Chief Matt Jackson puts the captain’s pin on Michael Young, who was a lieutenant in the department.

Young joins Jonathan Higgins as one of the department’s captains. Young has been a member of the Medina FD for 13 years, including the past year as a lieutenant. Jacob Crooks joined the Medina FD eight years ago as a career firefighter.

The department operates with four platoons of five firefighters, plus the chief.

In addition to the promotions approved this evening, the Village Board hired two probationary firefighters: Tyler Harrington and Matthew Reddy. Harrington will be assigned to the 1st Platoon and Reddy will work with the 3rd Platoon.

One firefighter is filling the vacancy created by Lupo’s retirement and the second firefighter is being hired to fill another vacant spot on the roster.

Fire Chief Matt Jackson administers the oath of office to new Medina FD Lt. Jacob Crooks.

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County Clerk to retire on Jan. 30 from ‘dream job’

Photos by Tom Rivers: Karen Lake-Maynard, the Orleans County clerk the past 14 years, is retiring on Jan. 30. She has worked 30 years at the County Clerk’s Building, 3 South Main St. She started as an index clerk.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 January 2020 at 5:14 pm

ALBION – Orleans County Clerk Karen Lake-Maynard has announced she is retiring on Jan. 30 after 14 years as the county clerk and 30 years in the clerk’s office.

She started as an index clerk and was promoted to deputy county clerk under Carol Lonnen. When Lonnen retired, Lake-Maynard was elected to succeed her.

“It’s been a dream job,” Lake-Maynard said today from her office at the County Clerk’s Building next to the County Courthouse. “It’s been a pleasure to serve Orleans County.”

Lake-Maynard will be leaving with two years on her term. Diane Shampine, the deputy county clerk, will serve as acting county clerk until the position is up for election in November (unless the governor calls for a special election before then).

Karen Lake-Maynard is shown with some of the index books that list records going back nearly two centuries.

Lake-Maynard of Medina said she was inspired by her father, the late Howard Lake, to pursue a career in public service. Her father was an Orleans County undersheriff and later a Medina village and Ridgeway town justice. Her brother Howard also was Medina’s mayor.

The county clerk oversees 10 employees, including six at the Department of Motor Vehicles at the County Administration Building on Route 31 and four employees at the County Clerk’s Building on Main Street.

Shampine is the deputy county clerk at the Clerk’s Building while Pamela Boyer is deputy county clerk for DMV.

Lake-Maynard said Shampine has the experience to “hit the ground running” without any disruption in the office.

“The county is in good hands with her,” Lake-Maynard said.

The next clerk will have to go through the political process. The Orleans County Republican Party Committee will meet this Thursday to hear from candidates for the position. Nadine Hanlon, clerk of the County Legislature, also is interested in succeeding Lake-Maynard.

The current county clerk said she has strived to lead a user-friendly DMV and clerk’s office. The DMV staff will try to make an extra phone call or offer assistance to fill out forms so people don’t have to make multiple trips to the office, Lake-Maynard said.

The Clerk’s Building has records going back nearly two centuries, including property deeds since 1830. The office is the keeper of filing deeds, mortgages, leases, assignments, discharges, maps, census records, ag districts, business certificates, judgments, federal tax liens, military discharges, naturalization records, inquests, separation agreements and divorce decrees for the entire county.

Those records have all been digitized, and the office has made records increasingly available online.

Lake-Maynard often is at the front counter at the clerk’s office, responding to people’s requests. In recent years, she said many people exploring their genealogy visit the office or send emails looking for information on their families.

Since July 2017, the County Clerk’s Office also has handled pistol permit applications and recertifications. That process was handled by the county judge’s chambers before the change 2 1/2 years ago.

Lake-Maynard said she is proud of the “Thank A Vet” program that she and the office started in 2011. Many local businesses agreed to be in the program offering discounts to local veterans. Lake-Maynard said 400 to 500 veterans have signed up for the program.

“It’s bittersweet,” Lake-Maynard said about her impending retirement. “It’s been a great ride and I’ve had a staff that is second to none.”

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Albion school will host community session on social media safety

Staff Reports Posted 13 January 2020 at 11:14 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Albion Middle School is pictured last month after some snow. The school will host a session on social media and safe networking safety this Wednesday at 7 p.m.

ALBION – The school district will host a social media and safe networking program for parents and community on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Middle School Auditorium, 254 East Ave.

New York State Trooper John Campanella will be the guest speaker. He is the Troop A (Batavia) School and Community Outreach Coordinator and a former School Resource Officer.

All are invited to attend this informative and free program.

The presentation will include:

• Learn about various social media sites often used by teens

• Find out about how businesses target teens through social media

• Learn how metadata and geo coding are used and misused

• Discuss the legalities and consequences of sexting and cyber bullying

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Albion canal bridge is covered in canvas during construction project

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 January 2020 at 8:54 am

Photos courtesy of Jules Hoepting

ALBION –  This photo looks under the giant canvas over the Transit Road bridge in Albion, one of seven canal bridges in Orleans County receiving extensive upgrades.

The Transit Road bridge was closed to traffic in August. The state Department of Transportation also closed the Telegraph Road canal bridge in August for construction work.

The state is spending $10.7 million on the seven bridges in the county. The DOT said the work on these bridges will include installing high-strength galvanized steel to replace steel floor systems, low chords, gusset plates, and truss elements.

Bridge railing and guide rail on the bridge approaches also will be improved and each bridge will be repainted. The alignments and profiles of the bridges will not change.

The  seven single-lane truss bridges were constructed between 1909 and 1914. They will all be repainted from green to black.

The DOT has completed work on the Densmore Road bridge in Albion and Bennetts Corners Road bridge in Murray.

As part of the $10.7 million bridge initiative in Orleans, the DOT also will work on three more bridges – Gaines Basin Road in the Town of Gaines, Bates Road in the Village of Medina, and Marshall Road in the Town of Ridgeway.

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