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Lyndonville boy honored for helping mother after medical emergency

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 February 2018 at 2:19 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – The Lyndonville Fire Department presented a certificate of appreciation this afternoon to Christopher Adkins Jr., 8, for his assistance on Jan. 29 when he mother was having a medical emergency at home.

Christopher was presented with the certificate and a gift card for $50 at Walmart. Fire Chief Ben Bane, left, hands Christopher with the award. He is joined by his parents, Misty and Chris Adkins, and Christopher’s younger brother, Austin. Other Lyndonville firefighters include Lee Kistner, second from right, and T.J. Heideman.

When his mother passed out from a medical emergency, Christopher quickly located his father in the basement of their home. Christopher brought his mother’s phone to his father and was ready to dial 911.

Christopher was able to give firefighters and EMTs background on how his mother was feeling that day, which helped firefighters to better understand her condition. He also was nurturing to his mother, said Lee Kistner, the second assistant chief.

“He was very caring with his mother, telling her ‘I love you,’ and ‘You’ll be alright,’” Kistner said.

Christopher Adkins, Jr. chats with Lyndonville firefighter Lee Kistner during a visit to the fire hall this afternoon.

With the certificate, Lyndonville firefighters thanked Christopher for his assistance on the emergency call to his home on Jan. 29.

“Your ability to remain calm, level headed, and recount details of the day were essential to getting your mother the help that she needed,” the certificate states.

Christopher’s father said he is impressed by his son’s actions that day.

“A lot of kids his age I don’t even think they know their address,” Mr. Adkins said. “He came and got me and had the phone. He was very brave.”

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Church in Knowlesville serves 416 fish fry dinners

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 February 2018 at 9:13 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

KNOWLESVILLE – The United Methodist Church of the Abundant Harvest in Knowlesville served 416 fish fry dinners today, the start of a weekly event during the Lenten season.

The top photo shows Jeff Smith, right, and Glen Busch in the “Fish Hut” where they cooked the fish and French fries.

The church created the Fish Hut behind its fellowship hall on Knowlesville Road. Busch said the fish fry dinners are an important fundraiser for the church, which has church buildings in Knowlesville and Millville.

Danielle Higgins was busy in the kitchen with other church volunteers late this afternoon, when the fellowship hall was crowded with people.

Beverly Paul tended to the desserts.

The dinners drew a big crowd to the church’s fellowship hall. The dinners include batter dipped fish, French fries or baked potato, coleslaw or applesauce, New England Clam Chowder or Italian Wedding Soup or Manhattan Clam Chowder, homemade style dessert and a beverage.

The church will be serving the dinners every Friday through March 30.

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‘A love story of great magnitude’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 February 2018 at 1:46 pm

Ed and Loretta Pahura were married 72 years, and then died 2 days apart just before Valentine’s Day

Photo courtesy of Nicole Pahura Rappleyea: Edward and Loretta Pahura dance the polka on Aug. 29, 2015. They were at the reception for their granddaughter’s wedding at Ravenwood Golf Course in Victor.

ALBION – An Albion couple who inspired many with their devotion to each other died two days apart after 72 years of marriage.

On Thursday, a day after Valentine’s Day, Edward and Loretta Pahura were laid to rest after a double-casket funeral at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

“We have been privileged to witness a love story, one of great magnitude,” Father Richard Csizmar, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Albion, said at the funeral on Thursday.

The couple spent the first 70 years of their marriage in a blue house at 130 Liberty St. About 18 months ago they moved to The Villages of Orleans, a nursing home in Albion. They stayed together in Room 33.

They were friendly to the other residents, staff and visitors.

“They were like the official greeters,” said long-time friend Mary Ann Tillman.

The Pahuras raised three children in Albion after Mr. Pahura returned from World War II. He was a corporal and marksman with the U.S. Army and was part of the Normandy invasion on D-Day. He was haunted by the invasion, seeing so many friends drown and be shot, said his son, Steve Pahura.

His father wanted to help his fellow soldiers who didn’t know how to swim. But the soldiers were ordered to keep moving – or they would not survive.

“They were the first ones in,” Steve Pahura said about his father and his unit. “It was so hard for him to talk about. He lost a lot of his buddies.”

About a year after D-Day on June 6, 1944, Mr. Pahura married the former Loretta Long.

They met on a blind date at the Albion Hotel and had dinner and then went dancing.

They were both 22 at their wedding on July 15, 1945. They lived the “American Dream,” their son said. They were able to stay in a small town and raise their family, which includes sons Steven and Gary, and daughter Kathleen.

Mr. Pahura worked as a shop mechanic specialist at Lipton until it closed in 1980. He finished his career at Eastman Kodak. His wife worked 24 years at General Electric in Brockport, helping to produce the first electric can openers.

Photo courtesy of Pahura family: Ed and Loretta Pahura were both 22 at their wedding on July 15, 1945.

The couple was active in the local Catholic church. They enjoyed “little things,” their son. They liked to feed the birds, go fishing, spend time with their family and cheer on the New York Yankees. (At the luncheon after the funeral on Thursday, friends and family were given bags of birds seed in honor of Ed and Loretta.)

Steve Pahura said the family took vacations to Old Forge when he was a kid in the 1950s and ’60s. They went fishing and boating. A big highlight was going to the garbage dump to see bears. “That was a big thing,” Steve said.

He admired his parents for their life-long devotion.

“They had a good time together,” he said.

His father had been sicker than his mother in the past few years. But Steve believes his father held on for his wife. She recently had been battling cancer.

They both got the flu about two weeks ago. Mr. Pahura died on Feb. 7 and his wife joined him on Feb. 9. The family believes Ed wanted to go just before his wife, so she wouldn’t be scared of dying and to be there to welcome her to Heaven.

“He was comforting her and leading the way,” said the couple’s niece, Eileen Banker. “He was getting things ready for her.”

She said her aunt and uncle were very family-oriented. Her aunt “was always smiling” while her uncle was “very sweet.”

She recalled a family wedding on Aug. 29, 2015, when the Pahuras did the polka to the delight of the crowd. Ed and Loretta were at the reception for their granddaughter’s wedding at Ravenwood Golf Course in Victor. Steve Pahura asked the DJ to play a polka song. When the music came on, Mr. Pahura set down his cane and grabbed his wife’s hand, insisting on a dance.

Father Csizmar, pastor of the church, said the love story will continue in Heaven.

“We’re celebrating the wonderful Valentine’s life they lived for 72 years,” he said.

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Albion approves large Santa mural for downtown

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 February 2018 at 8:43 pm

Courtesy of Stacey Kirby

ALBION – A 24-foot-long mural of Santa in a sleigh looking over downtown Albion and Courthouse Square will be painted by Albion native Stacey Kirby.

The Albion Rotary Club is leading the project, with assistance from a grant from Rotary District 7090 as well as community donations.

The Albion Historic Preservation Commission approved a “certificate of appropriateness” for the project today. The Village Board also voted to support the project on Wednesday.

The mural honors Albion’s history as home to the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School from 1937 to 1966. Howard also ran Christmas Park in Albion. Mr. Howard passed away in 1966. The Santa School continues in his name in Midland, Michigan.

Photo by Tom Rivers

The mural will be mounted on poles and a metal frame in Waterman Park on North Main Street, about a half block south of the Erie Canal. The large painting will mounted about a foot away from this wall on the north side of the park.

The mural is expected to be installed by May 1.

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Task Force leader says 2018 off to ‘really bad start’ with drug overdoses

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 February 2018 at 3:29 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: Joe Sacco, supervising investigator for the Orleans County Major Felony Crimes Task Force, said heroin when mixed with fentanyl has proven deadly in Orleans County.

ALBION – So far in 2018, overdoses and deaths from drugs in Orleans County are outpacing the rate in 2017.

Last year there were 43 overdoses and 8 fatal drug overdoses, said Joe Sacco, the supervising investigator with the Orleans County Major Felony Crimes Task Force.

This year there have already been 8 overdoses and two fatalities. This time last year, there were two overdoses and one death from drugs, Sacco said.

“We’re off to a really bad start,” he told the Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition this morning during a meeting at the Hoag Library in Albion.

Sacco has worked 32 years as a law enforcement officers, including the past 28 years as a drug investigator.

The drugs have changed from cocaine and marijuana early in his career to prescription pills, heroin and fentanyl now.

Many of the drug users get hooked on pain pills. When the prescriptions expire, they turn to heroin to feed the opiate addiction.

The heroin is often laced with fentanyl and that has been deadly. Sacco said 95 percent of the heroin and fentanyl in Orleans County comes from Rochester. A lethal batch of drugs from Rochester is often purchased by an Orleans County resident and shared with friends, resulting in multiple deaths.

“We are actively pursuing the source and supply of the heroin and fentanyl mixture,” Sacco told the coalition members.

The Task Force and other law enforcement agencies in Orleans County work with Rochester police and other departments outside Orleans. There is a mapping system to track where drugs are purchased and where there are overdoses.

“This is everybody’s problem and we’re trying to curb the supply of heroin and fentanyl to this area,” Sacco said. “We have a real problem.”

Sacco said heroin has become a big problem in Orleans County the past two to three years. Of the 43 overdoses last year, Narcan was used 27 times to revive someone in an overdose.

Joe Sacco addresses members of the Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition this morning during a meeting at the Hoag Library in Albion.

When someone has an overdose, law enforcement will track recent numbers on cell phones to see where the drugs were likely purchased. The people who overdose often have needles hanging in their arms and bags of drugs right next to them.

Law enforcement will have those drugs analyzed at a lab, and typically it shows heroin and fentanyl.

“That’s what’s killing these folks, the mix,” Sacco said.

Some of the overdoses occur when someone gets out of jail. After being in jail and off drugs, a person’s tolerance is reduced. Sacco said some people will go back to using at levels they were before they went into jail and then they will often overdose.

Sheriff Randy Bower said he is pursuing having a portion of the jail be used as a detox center to help inmates better transition off drugs. He also wants a better system to hand off inmates to services and agencies that can help them from having a relapse.

Sacco said continued vigilance is needed by law enforcement and the community.

A new organization, Orleans Hope, is trying to break the stigma of drug addiction and urge users and their families to get help.

Orleans Hope will lead a program on March 15 at the Orleans County YMCA on Pearl Street in Medina. Orleans Hope will have professionals at the meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. to discuss warning signs for drug addiction.

Orleans Hope also has trained recovery coaches to assist users.

“Everyone needs to do their part,” Sacco said. “This thing is horrible.”

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Albion may pursue fire district with own commissioners, taxing jurisdiction

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 February 2018 at 7:49 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Albion firefighters battle a garage fire on Jan. 2, 2016 on South Clinton St.

ALBION – The Village Board wants to look into moving the fire department out of the village budget and into its own fire district that would also serve the towns of Albion and Gaines.

Many villages have recently moved to separating the fire department from a village service to being its own taxing jurisdiction with a board of commissioners.

Holley and Elba recently created fire districts and Oakfield is in the process of doing it, said Barry Flansburg, a fire commissioner for the Barre Fire District. He also works as an assessor for Barre, Byron, Elba and Oakfield.

Right now the fire department is part of the Albion village budget. The village also has contracts with the towns of Albion and Gaines to provide fire protection.

If there was a fire district, there would be a separate tax from the fire district that would be part of the tax bill that comes out in January.

It would also mean the village tax rate would likely go down because the fire department wouldn’t be included in the village budget. (However, there would be a new tax for village residents with a fire district.) Right now the fire department insurance is included in the village insurance. And village mechanics from the Department of Public Works spend time on fire trucks.

Barry Flansburg, a commissioner with the Barre Fire District, talks with the Albion Village Board about forming a fire district that would provide fire protection services in the village of Albion and towns of Albion and Gaines.

With a fire district, the village staff, in-kind services and other expenses would be clearly identified and the village would likely be reimbursed for those costs, which might include rent for the fire hall.

That is among the benefits of a fire district: knowing the clear costs of the fire department, Flansburg said. Right now some of the costs are absorbed in the village budget, such as the mechanic, fire hall, insurance and other costs.

“You could set this up with a focus on improving service,” Flansburg said. “Right now you can’t put your finger on how much it costs.”

Flansburg sees an asset in a board of commissioners that provide the oversight. That board would be focused on running the fire department as a business, he said.

The Village Board currently oversees the fire department, while also overseeing other aspects of the village government, including police, water, sewer, the cemetery, the village office and other services.

“From a village standpoint, it would be one less thing that you have to worry about,” Flansburg said.

The Village Board passed a resolution on Wednesday to pursue looking into a fire district. Village officials said they would reach out to town officials in Albion and Gaines. If a fire district is established, the three municipal boards – Albion Village Board, Albion Town Board and Gaines Town Board – all need to support it.

There will be several public informational meetings and public hearings if the issue moves forward. Flansburg also urged the village to have an attorney who specializes in creating fire districts lead a public informational meeting for the community, explaining the legal process in creating a fire district.

Harry Papponetti, the Albion fire chief, said the fire department supports pursuing a fire district. But he didn’t want the Village Board to feel slighted.

“We’re not saying we don’t like the Village Board,” he said. “You’ve been overwhelmingly to the fire department. We just want to make it easier for you.”

The fire commissioners are elected positions, and many commissioners in other fire districts are not firefighters. They are often business leaders looking to run the department as efficiently as possible, Flansburg said.

Village Trustee Pete Sidari works for the North Greece Fire District. He said many fire departments in Monroe County are going to fire districts.

“It’s the same firemen, the same trucks,” he said. “You’re just shifting the liability to the fire district.”


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Volunteer gas pumpers mark 14 years of doing the service every Wednesday morning

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 February 2018 at 5:20 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Gary Kent, one of the directors of the Albion Betterment Committee, pumps gas this morning for Ronnie Scott of Albion.

Kent and a group of other volunteers pump gas for senior citizens and others who want the service every Wednesday from 9 to 11 a.m. at Crosby’s in Albion.

Kent and the Betterment Committee volunteers offer a friendly face to the senior citizens. It’s also a chance to connect with seniors to see how they’re doing, Kent said.

Sometimes the volunteers will also check car fluids and walk the money inside the store so seniors don’t have to get out in the cold.

Kent has been pumping gas since the first week it started in 2004. Clarence Winkelmann has been doing it 13 years and Gary Westlund has been dedicated to the task for 12 years.

If someone can’t make it, Kent has backups, who today included Tim Tierney of Medina and Mike Wright of Albion. Wayne Wadhams and Phil Brady also help out some weeks.

Tim Tierney pumps gas for a senior citizen today at Crosby’s in Albion. Tierney said the seniors appreciate the effort from the volunteers. There aren’t very many gas stations around that provide the service.

“It’s fun,” he said. “I don’t mind doing it.”

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Fishing Derby netted funds for Albion Rotary projects

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 February 2018 at 10:32 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

GAINES – Bill Downey (left), chairman of the Orleans County Fishing Derby, presents a check for $1,900 to Mike Bonnewell, president of the Albion Rotary Club.

Downey presented the money last week. He is a member of the Albion Rotary Club, which has been organizing the fishing derby for more than 30 years. The event runs for about two weeks in August and gives out more than $8,000 in prizes. The high lake waters last summer kept some fishermen away, but the event still generated a profit for Rotary, which uses the funds to support community projects.

This year’s derby is scheduled for Aug. 4-19. Click here for more information.

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Medina mayor and incumbents unopposed in village election

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 February 2018 at 9:58 am

Doherty submits petition to run as independent in Albion

File photo by Tom Rivers: Medina Village Board members have a discussion on April 4 at a board meeting. Mayor Mike Sidari, center, is joined by trustees, from left, Marguerite Sherman, Tim Elliott, Todd Bensley (in back) and Owen Toale.

The slate is set for the March 20 village elections in Orleans County after the deadline passed Tuesday for candidates to submit petitions.

In Medina, three incumbents are all unopposed, including Mayor Mike Sidari and Trustees Marguerite Sherman and Tim Elliott. The trio is running under “The Village Party.” The three were also unopposed when they ran for election two years ago.

In Medina, voting is from noon to 9 p.m. at the Senior Center.

Albion has the most hotly contested race. Incumbent Mayor Dean London isn’t seeking re-election. There is a three-way battle to be the next mayor. Eileen Banker, the current deputy mayor, has the backing of the Republican Party while Joyce Riley is running under the Democratic Party line.

Kevin Doherty will run under the independent “Spark Some Action” party line. He needed to submit a petition signed by 100 registered voters by the deadline on Tuesday. He met that threshold, Village Clerk Linda Babcock said.

There are also two trustee positions up for election. The Republicans endorsed Gary Katsanis and incumbent Stan Farone, while Democrats picked Sandra Walter and Jason Dragon for their candidates.

The voting is from noon to 9 p.m. at the Village Hall.

In Lyndonville, there is one position up for election and it’s to fill one year for a trustee. Ann Marie Holland was appointed to board last year when there was a vacancy. She is running under the “Lyndonville Party.” Darren Wilson also submitted a petition to run under the “Main Street Party” in the election.

Voting is from noon to 9 p.m. at Village Hall.

In Lyndonville and Medina, candidates run under independent parties without the official backing of either Republicans or Democrats. Holley used to have its elections in March, but now has them in June.

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Group from Holley raises $1,100 at Polar Plunge

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 February 2018 at 8:04 am

Photo courtesy of Jim Di Sessa

HOLLEY – A group from Holley Central School is pictured on Sunday at the Polar Plunge in Rochester, when about 2,000 people jumped into the cold water of Lake Ontario as a fundraiser for the Special Olympics.

The Holley students and their teacher and Student Council Advisor Jim Di Sessa (far right) raised just under $1,100.

That passed the group’s fundraising goal of $1,000. Holley has now participated in the Plunge for three years.

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