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Ridgeway fire deemed accidental with no clear cause

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 February 2019 at 9:17 pm

Photo courtesy of Roger Allis: A fire engulfs a home on Bates Road in Ridgeway on Monday evening.

RIDGEWAY – Fire investigators have been unable to pinpoint the cause of a fire that destroyed a house on Bates Road in Ridgeway on Monday.

Firefighters were dispatched to 3358 Bates Rd. at 6:18 p.m. for reports of a structure fire. Larry and Corina Sword lived at the house and weren’t injured.

The house is a total loss and was knocked down later that night. It’s now a pile of rubble.

The extensive damage to the house has prevented fire investigators from determining a specific cause of the blaze. However, the fire started on the back side of the house, said Justin Niederhofer, an Orleans County fire investigator.

Firefighters from the western battalion – Ridgeway, Lyndonville, Shelby, East Shelby and Medina – all responded to the scene.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Fire investigators say the blaze started at the back side of the house.

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Ridgeway home on Bates Road destroyed by fire

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 February 2019 at 10:54 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

RIDGEWAY – A Ridgeway home was engulfed in flames and destroyed this evening. Firefighters were dispatched to 3358 Bates Rd. at 6:18 p.m. for reports of a structure fire.

Larry and Corina Sword live at the house and weren’t injured.

Firefighters from the western battalion – Ridgeway, Lyndonville, Shelby, East Shelby and Medina – all responded to the scene.

Fire investigators were called in to try to determine the cause of the fire.

Medina brought its ladder truck to try to put out the flames upstairs in the house while other firefighters worked to put out the fire below.

Firefighters try to get the fire under control. It was in the low 20s outside.

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Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company presents awards during annual banquet

Photos by Ginny Kropf: The Executive Committee of Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company is sworn in by David Green during the annual installation banquet Saturday night at Ridgeway Firemen’s Recreation Hall.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 January 2019 at 6:21 pm

Harriet Petrie honored for 50 years in the Ladies Auxiliary

Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower and Harriet Petrie share a hug after she was recognized for 50 years of active membership.

RIDGEWAY – A woman who has been an active member of the Ridgeway Fire Company’s Ladies Auxiliary for 50 years was among those honored Saturday night at the annual installation banquet at Ridgeway Firemen’s Recreation Hall.

Harriet Petrie received a cake, flowers, kudos and hugs from fire company and auxiliary members, as well as a citation from Assemblyman Stephen Hawley on behalf of the New York State Assembly.

“Service like hers is rare,” said Auxiliary president Tracey Hendrick, who also named Petrie as the Auxiliary Member of the Year. “Any time anyone needs her, Harriet is there.”

Harriet’s late husband Larry would also have been a 50-year member of the fire company this year, and it has been a tradition since his death for his family to present a gift in his memory to the fire company.

This year, they gave a set of four bar stools, as well as money for memorial flowers for the newborn baby of Glen and Valerie Busch, who have been active volunteers with the fire company.

David Green of East Shelby acted as master of ceremonies for the evening and installed Executive Committee officers.

They are president, Chantelle Kidney; vice president, April Fearby; treasurer, Samantha Raduns; secretary, Charlie Smith; directors, Francis Woodward, Joe Forder and Kyle Morgan; and sergeant-at-arms, Zach Blackburn.

The 2019 Fire Company officers of Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company are sworn in by Dale Banker, director of Orleans County Emergency Management, at their banquet Saturday night.

Orleans County Emergency management director Dale Banker installed fire company officers for 2019.

They are chief, Patrick Kelly; deputy chief, Jason Bessel; 1st assistant chief, Kristin McAdoo; 2nd asst. chief, Matt Natale; captain, Tyler Luckman; lieutenant, Kyle Morgan; and fire police captain, Rick Harmer.

Ladies Auxiliary officers installed by Karen Kaiser are president, Tracey Hendrick; vice president, Melissa Hansler; treasurer/secretary, Joelle Brown; and chaplain, Harriet Petrie.

Ridgeway Fire Chief Jason Bessel, center, chose Captain Tyler Luckman, left, and Lt. Kyle Morgan as Firefighters of the Year.

McAdoo became the first women in the history of the fire department to serve in a chief’s position, when she was named 2nd asst. chief two years ago. This year she rose to 1st asst. chief.

She really isn’t aspiring to become chief, as she still has children at home and teaches full time at Brockport State College. And she knows the amount of time and dedication is required as chief.

A memorial service honored two members lost during the past year – Carol Palmer and Shelly DeHollander, as well as Hudson Busch, the newborn son of Glen and Valerie Busch.

Samantha Raduns receives the President’s Award from Charlie Smith for joining the fire company and stepping into the role of treasurer.

Charlie Smith chose Samantha Raduns as recipient of his President’s Award. When he walked in the bank where she worked and mentioned he had no one take over as treasurer, she joined the fire company and accepted the position.

Jason Bessel named two members as “Firefighters of the Year.” They are Tyler Luckman and Kyle Morgan.

Henry Charache was recognized by Bessel for all he does behind the scenes to benefit the fire company.

Certificates were presented for years of membership, with Darwin Sills being the longest standing member at 55 years. Gary Blackburn has been a member for 45 years, followed by William Bale and Jim Marciszewski with 40 years.

McAdoo and Bessel passed out certificates for hours of training. Members amassed a total of 186 hours of training.

Chantelle Kidney and Zach Blackburn completed the required 190-hour EMT course.

Tommy Rushing is a new EMT who successfully treated a woman whose knee had been dislocated. That procedure has just recently been approved for EMTs to perform.

Tracey Hendrick and Melissa Harmer presented a monetary donation to the fire company. She thanked the entire auxiliary for their willingness to step up when needed.

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2 large-scale solar projects headed to Ridgeway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 December 2018 at 9:46 pm

County Planning Board backs projects with nearly 30,000 panels

ALBION – The Orleans County Planning Board voted this evening to support the first utility-scale solar projects in the county.

Borrego Solar Systems is proposing the projects on land in Ridgeway owned by Kenneth Baker of Medina. One project would be on Allis Road and the other on Beals Road.

Borrego is based in Lowell, Mass. Marc Kenward, an engineer with Erdman Anthony Consulting Engineers, appeared before the County Planning Board today on Borrego’s behalf. He said Borrego has installed large-scale solar in Western New York, including a big array for Houghton College in Allegany County.

The solar project at 3846 Beals Road would be for 4.3 megawatts with 11,745 panels that would be ground-mounted at a 25-degree angle, Kenward said.

The project would use 16.5 acres of a 29.4-acre parcel in a Rural Residential District. The County Planning Board recommended the Town of Ridgeway approve the site plan and a special use permit.

The other project is for 6.8 megawatts and 18,295 panels at 3962 Allis Rd., near the new Helena Chemical plant. Borrego is proposing to use 29.0 acres of a 42.0-acre parcel.

The County Planning Board recommended Ridgeway approve the site plan and a special use permit, as well as a variance. The solar array would be 160 feet away from an existing structure on a neighboring lot. The town code requires a 250-foot setback. The county urged Ridgeway to approve the 90-foot variance.

Borrego said the variance would allow the company to maximize the number of solar panels without encroaching on nearby wetlands.

The neighboring structure is an unoccupied chemical warehouse. The solar panels will face away from the building and there is already screening in the form of a natural buffer, Planning Board members said.

Borrego would like to start construction on the project in the spring.

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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 redcrossblood.org 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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