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Many first-time donors give blood in honor of Ridgeway firefighter

Photos by Tom Rivers: Ridgeway firefighter and Orleans County coroner Charlie Smith gives blood on Friday in honor of Glen Busch, a Ridgeway firefighter. Smith’s daughter Lynn Cook is next to Smith and gave blood for the first time on Friday. Gretchen Russell is the collection technician for the American Red Cross.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 December 2018 at 12:02 pm

RIDGEWAY – There were many first-time donors who gave blood Friday at a blood drive in honor of Glen Busch II, a Ridgeway firefighter who needed 178 units of blood after suffering a splenic artery aneurysm on Sept. 14.

Busch endured several emergency surgeries and survived the health scare, as well as a stroke, pulmonary embolism and a collapsed lung. Busch, 35, came home last week.

He and his wife Valerie are dedicated to the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company. Many local firefighters gave blood in Busch’s honor on Friday.

Lee Kistner of the Lyndonville Fire Department gave blood for the first time in about five years on Friday. He was one of about 70 donors.

“He is a fellow firefighter and I feel for him and his family,” Kistner said. “Plus it will help a lot of other people.”

Charlie Smith, a long-time member of the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company, said firefighters wanted to do something in honor of Busch. Smith, a long-time nurse with 50 years in the medical field, had never heard of someone needing 178 units of blood. Those units saved Busch’s life.

Ridgeway fire hall hadn’t hosted a blood drive for several years, until Friday’s event in honor of Busch. Smith felt it was a fitting tribute for the firefighter.

“I’m very happy with the community response from the firefighters and the public,” Smith said.

He gave blood on Friday for the first time in about 15 years. His daughter, Lynn Cook, gave for the first time.

“I’ve always wanted to,” said Cook, 34.

Gretchen Russell, a collection technician for the American Red Cross, said the organization is pleased with the turnout.

“We had a lot of first-time donors today,” she said on Friday. “It’s definitely been one of our steadier blood drivers.”

There will be a basket raffle today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ridgeway fire hall on Route 104 as a fundraiser for the Busch family. There are more than 100 baskets available.

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County saved $180K by building small bridge itself

Provided photos: The Orleans County Highway Department installs six precast deck slabs that Highway Department workers poured themselves for the culvert in Ridgeway.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 November 2018 at 8:52 am

ALBION — The Orleans County Highway Department built a 18-foot-long culvert that opened to traffic last week on Culvert Road in Ridgeway.

The project was a first for the Highway Department, which built the concrete slabs and did the work building the short span. Doing the project in house saved the county about $180,000.

The project cost $197,408 and that factors in the cost for county employees and equipment. (Take out the employee and equipment costs, and the county spent about $120,000.) If the project had been bid to a contractor it would have cost $379,000, county legislators were told on Wednesday by John Papponetti, an engineer with Labella Associates.

Papponetti has helped the county do an inventory of its culverts and bridges. His report about five years ago showed a daunting task for the county, particularly with its culverts.

“Orleans County is definitely behind the 8-ball when it comes to our infrastructure,” Papponetti told county legislators on Wednesday.

The county bought precast concrete blocks that the Highway Department set in place for the bridge abutments. Using the precast blocks meant a concrete wall didn’t have to be poured on site.

With bridges, there are often state and federal funds to help with those projects. Culverts, which are small bridges between 5 and 20 feet long, typically are funded solely by the county.

In Orleans, there are 87 culverts, and Papponetti said 60 to 65 “need attention.”

The projects can cost several hundred thousand dollars, without state or federal assistance. Orleans tried a new approach to culvert projects this year by doing the work itself with its Highway Department. The county employees made six big concrete slabs that became the deck for the new culvert. The department made the forms and poured the concrete for the six slabs, doing that work from March through May when the schedule allowed.

Then the Highway Department did the construction work, setting precast concrete blocks for the bridge abutments. The deck slabs were set on top, and the county then added a membrane on top, followed by asphalt, and then guardrails.

The county needed to rent a crane for a half a day to set the concrete slabs for the deck. It also rented a melting pot for the membrane. Otherwise, the county did the entire project with its own workers and equipment.

“This is a good start,” Papponetti said. “The workers did a good job. They were a great group of people to have out there.”

This photo shows the Highway Department making one of the six concrete slabs that were used as the deck of the bridge.

The culvert was closed to traffic for about three months and reopened last week. Papponetti and Jerry Gray, the county highway superintendent, deemed the work a big success.

“It’s open and it’s back to traffic,” Gray told county legislators on Wednesday. “It will probably be there for 80 years.”

Gray said the county learned from the experience and can find more efficiencies in the future.

He said the Highway Department is up for the challenge of doing the projects.

“This is the first one,” he said. “In the future, we can take some time off (the projects). You can take that money and get two bridges for the price of one.”

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Blood drive on Friday in honor of Ridgeway firefighter

Posted 28 November 2018 at 8:47 pm

Fundraising event on Saturday will support Glen Busch II and his family

Press Release, American Red Cross

File photo by Tom Rivers: Glen Busch II and Valerie Childs, who is now his wife, are shown in January 2016 when both were honored for their service to the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company. Busch received the President’s Award and Childs was presented with the Chief’s Award.

RIDGEWAY – Our First Responders run into situations that most of us run from. Now we need our local community to run into a blood drive and fundraiser to help pay it forward and give back to one of our own local first responders.

On September 14, Glen Busch II, a volunteer firefighter and EMT for Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company suffered a splenic artery aneurysm and was rushed to Strong Memorial Hospital.  With a 1 in 4 survival rate, his chances were slim. Several emergency surgeries and 178 units of blood later (the most blood his nurses have ever seen used on one same person), he was upgraded from critical to hopeful.

In the days following, Glen also suffered a stroke, a pulmonary embolism (requiring him to be on ECMO for a few days) and a collapsed lung. More surgeries and CT scans later, he began to improve. Then a slight setback of cardiac tamponade (fluid in the sack around his heart).  He began improving again.

He was moved out of ICU and into rehab and last week was able to come home. Glen’s wife, Valerie, was out of work for 53 days to care for him.

Please come out to the Ridgeway Fire Department on Friday between noon and 7 p.m. and help give back in honor of one of our own local brave volunteer first responders. Without these lifesaving donations, First Responders, cancer patients and many other people who are in need for blood will not be able to enjoy the upcoming holiday season with family and loved ones.

Glen Busch II, his family, friends, loved ones and fellow first responders are calling for all donors, including new or first-time donors to step up and to help give back and pay it forward for the 178 units of blood that was needed to help save Glen’s life.

Please sign up online at or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are always welcome but pre-signs are strongly encouraged.

There will also be a basket raffle and fundraiser for Glen Busch II on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Both events will be at the Ridgeway Fire Department, 11392 Ridge Rd., Medina.

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Fundraiser helps Knowlesville church get closer to new furnace

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 30 October 2018 at 9:38 am

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Pastor Marilyn Kasparek, right, watches as Kester Baker and Jesse Babcock point to the goal the Knowlesville United Methodist Church needs to reach to buy a new furnace. They raised $1,900 toward their $10,000 goal Saturday at a first-time fundraiser at the church’s Fellowship Hall.

KNOWLESVILLE – The Abundant Harvest of the Knowlesville United Methodist Church made a big first step Saturday in their efforts to raise money for a new furnace for the church.

The congregation sponsored a unique fundraiser which earned $1,900 toward the goal of $10,000 needed for a furnace.

The fundraiser featured a new slant on a basket raffle, which included participation by the Corfu-Pembroke Community Band. Each donor received a list of several dozen songs which the band could play, and for each $5 donated, they could choose a favorite song. In return, they also received a strip of tickets to drop in the basket raffle.

The women of the church, who have long been known for their cooking, served beef on weck and dessert.

It was a perfect afternoon to eat, listen to good music and support the church, the pastor said. She also acknowledged donations from several United Methodist churches in the area, as well as merchandise from dozens of local businesses for the basket raffle.

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Church in Knowlesville trying to raise $10K for furnace fund

Provided photo: The Corfu-Pembroke Community Band will play songs picked by the highest bidder during a concert on Saturday.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 October 2018 at 3:29 pm

KNOWLESVILLE –  The United Methodist Church of the Abundant Harvest will be hosting a concert and fund-raising event on Saturday with a goal to bring in enough money to replace a broken furnace at the church.

The furnace that heats the sanctuary needs to be replaced, and three other furnaces are also well used, said Marilyn J. Kasperek, pastor UMC of the Abundant Harvest.

“We don’t have money sitting aside for furnaces,” she said. “We have one down and more are aging.”

The Corfu-Pembroke Community Band will be in concert on Saturday at the church’s fellowship hall, 3622 Knowlesville Rd. The fellowship hall is across the road from the church building.

The 4 to 6 p.m. event gives concert goers an opportunity to push their favorite songs onto the concert playlist. Those donations can also begin at 2 p.m. Lively competition of donation levels for songs should keep everyone in suspense, including the band, Kasperek said.

Her husband, Ken, is the lead trumpet player for the band, which will lay 14 songs.

It will cost about $5,000 to replace the furnace for the sanctuary. Kasperek and the church would like additional funds in case the other furnaces need repairs in the near future.

“We’re trying to be proactive,” she said.

The fund-raising event on Saturday also will be beef on wick sandwiches, salt potatoes, Italian sausage with peppers and onions, and other food items will be available for purchase from to 2 to 6 p.m.

Area businesses have donated a variety of nice door prizes that those attending will have an opportunity to win.

“We’re hoping people enjoy the music and have fun at it, too,” Kasperek said.

Many have donated door prizes for the event, including Valu Home Center, Jeff Smith, Kreher’s Family Farm, Avanti Pizzeria, Alabama Food Mart, Village House in Albion, Roberts Farm Market, Abundant Harvest Pie and Gift Shop, ACE Hardware Medina, MAAC Thrift Depot, Della’s Chocolates, Panek’s Farm, Tops Markets in Medina, Mariachi De Ore Mexican Restaurant, Cheryl Babcock USBORNE, Sourced Market & Eatery, Country Club Restaurant, Linda Baker and Rudy’s.

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County highway doing in-house culvert work

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 October 2018 at 2:59 pm

Provided photos

RIDGEWAY – The Orleans County Highway Department installed big pieces of concrete this week for a new culvert on Culvert Road in Ridgeway, just south of Ridge Road.

The Highway Department made the concrete decking and other concrete pieces for the culvert, and then installed the components.

By not hiring the job out to a contractor, the county saved significant money, county officials said.

Labella Associates did the engineering work, the only outside firm hired for the job.

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Fog rolled in this morning

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 September 2018 at 4:53 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

RIDGEWAY – It was a foggy morning along Ridge Road in Orleans County about 6:45 this morning. This photo shows a tree just north of Route 104 in the Town of Ridgeway.

It’s been hot today in the mid-80s with the sun shining. The high temperatures for the next few days include 83 and sunny on Sunday, 77 and some clouds on Monday (with 60 percent chance of precipitation), partly sunny and high near 79 on Tuesday, and mostly sunny with high near 69 on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

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Keeler Construction will replace Portage Road bridge in Ridgeway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 June 2018 at 7:50 am

RIDGEWAY – Keeler Construction of Albion is expected to start construction in about three weeks on the replacement of the Portage Road bridge in the Town of Ridgeway.

The Orleans County Legislature on May 30 accepted Keeler’s bid of $588,821 to replace the bridge. The project should be complete by November, said Jerry Gray, the county’s highway superintendent.

The total project costs with engineering, inspection and other expenses is estimated at $869,000. This is a Bridge NY project with the county paying 5 percent of the costs or $43,450.

The county also expects to soon seek bids to replace a culvert on South Holley Road in Clarendon, a construction project that could extend into the spring, Gray said.

The county also is working to replace a bridge on the Monroe-Orleans Countyline Road near the golf course. The county is waiting on state approval for the project, which Gray said will probably get started next spring.

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Young riders get tips for racing at Crusaders Motorcycle Club

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 June 2018 at 3:16 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

RIDGEWAY – Braelyn DiMatteo is in front of the line with this group of riders during today’s training class at the Crusaders Motorcycle Club. The Crusaders have been holding a free training session for riders, ages 4 to 8. This is the third year the Crusaders have held the clinic at the race track on Culvert Road.

The class provides young riders with basic riding/racing skills. The 22 participants are being taught what all the different colored flags represent, how to watch for the green race light and to practice their starting skills.

The riders are learning how to maneuver around the corners. By the end of the day, all the riders are expected to pick up their speed. The 50cc bikes go about 20 to 30 miles per hour in the races.

Besides teaching safety and riding skills, the Crusaders want to boost the number of new riders. The first year of the training class, there were six riders and then 12 last year.

Brad Hazel, 28, is one of the track’s top riders. He helped lead the class today.

“We’re teaching them riding techniques,” Hazel said. “We’re trying to get them in the sport so we can show them it’s not as dangerous as people think.”

Hazel’s son Bryson, age 5, is one of the riders in the class today.

“If you start ’em young and get their technique when they are young, it will really help them in the long run,” Hazel said.

Kevin Hazel, president of the Crusaders, watches the riders and shouts encouragement. He encourages the young riders to keep their elbows up, look ahead and concentrate on the racetrack. Kevin is Brad Hazel’s father.

After a short break, Danny Shuler gets his helmet back on and is ready to ride.

These riders head off the track after taking a few laps.

Amy Hazel, center, and Brandi DiMatteo pass out popsicles during a break. The temperatures have been in the mid-80s.

The Crusaders kick off their 61st racing season on Sunday with the first race at 12:30. There are usually about 500 spectators and 130 riders for each of the five races at the track.

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Knowlesville lift bridge is back in business

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 June 2018 at 9:13 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

RIDGEWAY – The Knowlesville lift bridge, which was closed last November, is back open to traffic.

The bridge was closed in November after an inspection and engineering analysis identified the need to close the bridge immediately for steel repairs.

The truss-style lift bridge was built in 1910. It is posted with a maximum weight of 6 tons. Approximately 1,100 vehicles use this canal crossing daily, the state Department of Transportation said.

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