Pro wrestlers return to Medina on April 27 in fundraiser for East Shelby Fire Company

Photos by Tom Rivers: A group of wrestlers try to knock each other out of the ring in the opening battle royale for Empire State Wrestling’s “Spring Smash” at Medina High School gym on April 15, 2023. About 450 people attended the event in the return of the ESW to Orleans County. Previous events were held at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds with 350 attending the debut event in April 2018 and then about 200 in May 2019.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 April 2024 at 9:26 am

MEDINA – The professional wrestlers from Empire State Wrestling will be back in Medina for “Spring Smash” on April 27 in a fundraiser for the East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company.

ESW did events at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds with 350 attending the first wrestling showcase in April 2018 and then about 200 in May 2019. After a break due to Covid restrictions, the wrestlers were back last year with the venue moved to the Medina High School gym. A much bigger crowd of 450 attended the event.

“We received nothing but good feedback,” said Ryan McPherson, event chairman for East Shelby. “We had our best turnout yet, and we want to make it bigger and better this year.”

The crowd reacts when Kevin Blackwood, an Albion native, is introduced during last year’s event at Medina. Blackwood, whose real name in Kevin Lockwood, flew in from Los Angeles to wrestle in front of his family and friends in Albion. Blackwood, 33, has been a professional wrestler for seven years. He also works as a tattoo artist in LA.

McPherson said local wrestlers will be in the lineup on Saturday, including Albion native Kevin Blackwood, Medina native Gavin “A Cut Above the Rest” Glass, and Jacob Miller (aka Maxx Cannon) of Medina, also known as “The Filthy One.”

Several of the fans at the wrestling event marveled about the athleticism of the wrestlers, and how physical the matches were. There were drop-kicks, body slams, jumps from the top rope and other moves. McPherson said many of the fans felt like it was WWE.

There will be familiar faces from past matches, including Frankie Feathers, who was a good guy but has turned into a “heel,” a bad guy. He continues to fire up his fan base.

One of the wrestlers appearing for the first time in Orleans County will be Adrianna Fury of Lockport, who McPherson said has a big following.

Doors open at 5 p.m. with the first bell at 6 p.m. For information on tickets, which are available online or at the door, click here.

Fast-moving fire destroys home in Shelby

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 April 2024 at 6:27 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

SHELBY – Firefighters work to put out a fire this afternoon at a trailer at 12523 West Countyhouse Rd. in Shelby.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 4:42 p.m.

Darryl Luxon was able to safely get out of the trailer along with his dog, his neighbor said.

The wind caused the fire to spread fast, said Debbie Taylor, chief of the East Shelby Fire Company.

The trailer also was an older model, where a fire tends to move quickly through the structure, she said.

East Shelby was assisted at the scene by firefighters from Shelby and Medina.

Taylor said the cause of the fire is undetermined at this time.

Firefighters encountered heavy smoke while working to put out the fire, which was near the Albion and Barre town lines on West Countyhouse Road.

Shelby approves water contract with Royalton

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 April 2024 at 8:17 am

No date set for when connection from Royalton could be used

SHELBY – The Shelby Town Board has reached an agreement with the Town of Royalton to buy water from that Niagara County community at a reduced rate from what Shelby is currently paying the Village of Medina.

Royalton agreed to sell the water to Shelby for $3 per 1,000 gallons in 2024, and then $3.20 in 2025, and $3.40 in 2027, Shelby Town Supervisor Scott Wengewicz said.

Medina bills Shelby at a $5.97 rate per 1,000 gallons. Shelby still plans to buy water from Medina from the main transmission line down Maple Ridge Road and for water lines going north.

Shelby anticipates the water bought from Royalton will cover most other parts of the town from an existing connection. Shelby will soon be seeking a thorough engineering study to see how much of the town can be served from Royalton, and if booster pumps and a water storage tank are needed, and at what cost.

The water from Royalton, like from Medina, comes from the Niagara County Water District. Wengewicz said Shelby residents currently pay some of the highest water rates in the region.

Shelby officials also want to negotiate with Medina village officials about lowering the rate to provide some relief to Shelby water users, Wengewicz said.

There is no set date for when a connection from Royalton will be used, he said.

Shelby says no to overlay district needed for 2 tall turbines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 March 2024 at 8:50 am

Photo simulation provided by Borrego Solar System Inc.: This viewpoint from Blair Road shows two 633-foot-high wind turbines proposed off Route 63, south of the Village of Medina.

SHELBY – Town officials declined to create an overlay district that would be needed to allow two wind turbines over 600 feet tall.

Borrego Solar System Inc. has been working to have two turbines along Route 63, south of the village of Medina. The turbines would peak at 633 feet.

Borrego asked the Town Board to create a wind overlay district that would require rezoning. The board discussed the letter from Borrego during its March 12 meeting, and no board members introduced an amendment to the current zoning law.

Town Supervisor Scott Wengewicz said he didn’t support the rezoning, and the four other board members – Linda Limina, Jeff Schiffer, Steve Seitz and Eddie Zelazny – all said they weren’t in favor of making the zoning change to allow the turbines.

Borrego last month had two balloons up in an along Route 63 to show the height of two wind turbines proposed by the company. That height alarmed many members of the community. Many residents signed a petition opposing the project.

During a hearing about environmental impacts with the two turbines in September 2022, residents said the turbines would alter the landscape visually, and also potentially harm residents with shadow flicker, noise, lower property values and other impacts. They also worry the turbines are in a major migratory bird path.

The turbines as proposed would take up a half-acre and have the capacity to generate 8.4 megawatts of power.

Renewable energy projects that are more than 25 megawatts go to the state for review. Projects under 25 MWs go to review by a local government.

Wengewicz, the Shelby town supervisor, believes the project can’t move forward with the denial of the overlay district.

“They need a wind overlay district but no one was willing to do it,” Wengewicz said on Friday. “No one was interested in adopting the resolution so the project died.”

Switching to Royalton for water would be costly for Shelby, Town Board told

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 March 2024 at 10:04 am

Engineer says water pressure would also drop, dead-end waterlines remain

Photos by Tom Rivers: Paul Chatfield of the MRB Group says bringing in water to Shelby from the Town of Royalton would be costly to put in a new water tank, pump station and 9,200 feet of waterlines. He is speaking at a Shelby Town Board meeting on Thursday evening.

SHELBY – Shelby town officials want to see more details on whether it would be financially justified to put in new infrastructure to allow the town to buy lower-priced water from Royalton.

The town currently buys water from the Village of Medina, with a 24-inch transmission line going down Maple Ridge Road to a 3-million-gallon storage tank on 31A.

But the cost is $5.97 per 1,000 gallons to Shelby. Town Supervisor Scott Wengewicz said that is a high cost for town water users.

Wengewicz said the Royalton price would be $3, perhaps cutting water bills in half.

“I’m trying to lower peoples’ water rates,” he said. “We have some of the highest water around.”

But to get adequate supply from Royalton, the town would need to put in a booster pump station, a 250,000-gallon water storage tank and run 9,200 feet of waterlines on the west end of the town. That project was an estimated $5.4 million in 2020, engineer Paul Chatfield told the Town Board on Thursday evening.

Construction cost are up 50 percent in four years, which would put the project at about $8 million today.

The town likely wouldn’t receive grant funding for the project because it is keeping the same source of the water, with the Niagara County Water District as the supplier, Chatfield said. The change would be with Shelby buying from Royalton instead of Medina.

Town Supervisor Scott Wengewicz, left, wants a more detailed study on the costs. He believes the lower-priced water from Royalton could make the project worthwhile. Town Board member Steve Seitz is at right.

The federal government gives preference in funding projects if the water goes to residents on wells with contaminants or if there is a lack of quantity and poor water quality, said Scott Mattison, an engineer with MRB.

If the town had a consent order from the Department of Health or Department of Environmental Conservation that would help with a grant application to help pay for public water, Mattison said.

Shelby’s push to put in infrastructure for water from Royalton isn’t focused on improved water quality.

“Your just switching who you pay,” he said. “It’s the same source.”

(The Town Board would like to expand waterlines to serve areas on wells – Sanderson Road, Martin Road to Bigford, and a section of Salt Works Road to Hemlock Ridge Road.)

Wengewicz said if the town was able to get water from Royalton, Shelby would continue to use Medina for Maple Ridge Road and properties north of Maple Ridge. He would like a hybrid system, with water from medina and Ridgeway.

The engineers from MRB said the two systems have vastly different water pressure in the lines. Medina’s is about 80 pounds per square inch while Royalton is about 40 PSI. The Royalton system would need a significant pressure booster to match Medina’s. If Medina’s dropped down to 40 PSI the existing customers would notice the weaker water pressure and wouldn’t be happy about it, Chatfield said.

The weaker pressure would also impact the fire flow in the system, he said.

“This it not a simple switch,” Mattison said about changing over some of the system to Royalton water.

The town’s water system currently has several dead-end mains which require flushing. Using all that water to flush out the lines is costly, Wengewicz said.

The town buys about 65 million gallons of water a year from Medina. Flushing accounts for about 2.3 million of those gallons.

A change to Royalton would still result in dead-end lines, with flushing needed, Chatfield said.

Looping lines and closing the dead spots is the best way to keep the water moving, as well as having properly sized water lines. If the lines are too big, the water can sit there, he said.

Chatfield also said there was 27 percent water loss in the system due to leaks when it was studied in 2020. He suggested a water leak detection program to help find the leaks. If those were fixed that would cut down on the water loss. Wengewicz said the Highway Department has found and repaired some leaks to reduce the amount of loss.

Chatfield and Mattison said a more in-depth analysis is needed to help the board make a decision on whether the potential water savings justify the expense of new infrastructure. The board also has discussed the issues with Clark Patterson Lee, another engineering firm. Shelby may draw up a request for proposals and have the firms submit their scope of work and a cost for the services, as well as detailed estimates on the cost of a water storage tank, pressure boosters, and any new waterlines.

For Shelby to receive water from Royalton, 9,200 linear feet of a waterline would have to go from Griswold Road in Royalton to Chestnut Ridge Road. It would connect on West Shelby Road. A new water tank would be needed, and a booster pump to maintain pressure and move the water through the lines.

Iroquois Job Corps campus celebrates 60th anniversary of program

Posted 13 March 2024 at 9:06 am

Provided photos: Students at the Iroquois Job Corps Center learn in programs for brick masonry, carpentry, electrical, commercial painting, clinical  medical assistant and certified nursing assistant.

Press Release, Iroquois Job Corps

MEDINA – The Iroquois Job Corps Center is thrilled to join more than 120 Job Corps campuses across the country in celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Job Corps program.  This momentous achievement is marked by millions of young people whose lives have been forever changed because of the transformative nature of the program.

Born out of the War on Poverty and signed into law as the Economic Opportunity Act on August 20, 1964, Job Corps has provided safe housing, education, career and technical training opportunities, and support services for deserving young people. The Iroquois Job Corps Center, has been a beacon of hope for countless young adults from across the Western New York and Rochester area.

“We are incredibly excited that our campus is celebrating the 60th anniversary of Job Corps and are grateful to all the students, staff, employers, and community partners who have made this possible,” said Dennis Essom the Center Director for the Iroquois Job Corps Center.  “With a long track record of successfully placing our graduates into meaningful careers, we look forward to providing ongoing opportunities to young people and being a valuable member of our community for decades to come.”

The Iroquois Job Corps Center is planning several different activities to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the program.  This includes a student essay contest, video testimonials, alumni recognition, in-person events, and much more.

A few of the Center’s upcoming events are our School Staff & Counselor Day on March 14 where high school staff are invited to visit the Center and learn about Job Corps as a next step for their graduating students; a Workforce Council Meeting to discuss, promote, and strengthen local workforce connections on March 21; a Next Step Transition Fair open to our students and local high school seniors on April 10 partnering with local employers, military and college recruiters, and more; and Community Open House Celebrations held on April 18 and 19.

“The 60th anniversary of Job Corps is an incredible milestone and one that is rightfully being celebrated across the country. Throughout its history, Job Corps has made a difference not only in the lives of our students and their families, but in the lives of Americans reliant upon the work Job Corps alumni have been trained to do,” said Donna Hay, President and CEO of National Job Corps Association. “We congratulate the Iroquois Job Corps Center, its students, staff and community partners and thank them for all their hard work and dedication.”

The Iroquois Job Corps Center has the capacity to serve 225 students aged 16-24 in areas such as Brick Masonry, Carpentry, Electrical, Commercial Painting, Clinical  Medical Assistant, & Certified Nursing Assistant. In addition, the campus works directly with local and national employers to help them fill in-demand and well-paying positions.

The Iroquois Job Corps campus has immediate availability to safely house, feed, and educate qualified applicants and help place them directly into employment, higher education, or military enlistment post-graduation. It is managed and operated by Education and Training Resources (

Who is eligible for Job Corps? Low-income, 16-24-year-old men and women who are U.S. citizens, legal residents, or authorized to work in the U.S.

For additional information on the program, upcoming events, and/or Job Corps program Admissions, contact: Luke Kantor, Admissions & Career Transition Services Manager at 585-344-3401 or by email at

Judge dismisses STAMP sewer lawsuit; Orleans will appeal

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 March 2024 at 2:07 pm

‘The fight here is not over. We have several more paths to prevent Orleans County from becoming a dumping ground for STAMP sewer discharges.’

File photo by Tom Rivers: A sewer line is shown on Aug. 12 on Route 63 in the Town of Alabama. Genesee County Economic Development Center is trying to install the sewer main along 9.5 miles of Route 63 – from the STAMP site to Oak Orchard Creek. Construction was halted before the sewer line made it to Orleans after a lawsuit was filed.

ALBION – A State Supreme Court justice today dismissed a lawsuit and temporary injunction against construction of a nearly 10-mile-long sewer main from the STAMP manufacturing site in the Town of Alabama along Route 63 to the Oak orchard Creek in the Town of Shelby.

Judge Frank Caruso ruled in favor of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, which argued Orleans County had 23 chances to state its objection to the sewer main since 2016 but waited until construction started to voice its opposition.

Judge Caruso citing the legal argument of “laches,” where there is a lack of diligence in making a legal claim. Waiting until construction commenced on the project should be seen as an unreasonable delay, attorneys for GCEDC argued in court today.

The judge also ruled in favor of GCEDC due to a statue of limitations. He made his decision from the bench in court today, following about an hour of arguments in the main courtroom of the county courthouse. He will also issue a written decision.

Orleans County officials say the county will appeal the decision, and has other court options to try to halt the project.

“The fight here is not over,”  said Alex Eaton, an attorney for the Orleans County Legislature. “We have several more paths to prevent Orleans County from becoming a dumping ground for STAMP sewer discharges.”

The county also has a lawsuit that will be heard in April about GCEDC using eminent domain to take easements in Orleans County. The attorneys for Orleans said another county’s IDA can’t do eminent domain in another county.

Orleans also supports the Tonawanda Seneca Nation in its litigation against several federal entities regarding permitting of the sewer pipeline.

“Orleans County leadership remains steadfast in our opposition to anything that puts Oak Orchard Creek in jeopardy,” Eaton, an attorney with Lippes Mathias, said in a statement released from the County Legislature. “The county and its residents rely on the creek for water, recreation and tourism, and that is why we will continue to protect the interests of our community.   Again, while we are disappointed in today’s result, there is a long way to go before this issue is settled.”

Orleans County filed its lawsuit on Sept. 11, naming GCEDC, G. DeVincentis & Son Construction Co., Inc., Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation, and STAMP Sewer Works, Inc.

Matthew J. Fitzgerald and James O’Connor of Phillips Lytle LLP appeared in court today on behalf of GCEDC. They contended the sewer main went through a rigorous environmental review of 9,200-plus pages and ultimately was approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Those agencies found no evidence of harm to Oak Orchard Creek or the community, the attorneys said.

The sewer main would allow businesses at the 1,250-acre STAMP to discharge treated sewer water into the Oak Orchard. At STAMP’s peak, the sewer main could discharge up to 6 million gallons a day in the Oak Orchard. The sewer main is imperative for economic development to move forward at the site.

“STAMP does not survive without somewhere to discharge the treated sanitary water,” Fitzgerald said in court today.

The 4-month statute of limitations passed after the Article 78 was filed by Orleans on Sept. 11, and the county failed to note other parties that would be hurt if the lawsuit was successful in halting the sewer main, Fitzgerald said.

Property owners paid for easements for the temporary construction could lose out on payments, he said. The Town of Alabama would miss out on 100,000 gallons of sewer capacity, and Niagara County Water District would miss out on selling water to the STAMP site. Orleans didn’t factor in those impacts in the lawsuit, Fitzgerald said.

The crux of the case, he said, was the contention that Orleans never gave its support for an economic development from another county. But he said Orleans officials were notified in 2016, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 to voice any concerns over STAMP, and GCEDC serving as lead agency.

“The response was silence,” Fitzgerald said. “They slept on their rights for approximately eight years. They could have objected.”

STAMP has about $100 million in public funds committed to developing the site so far, with about $1 billion already spend or committed in private investment, he said.

Attorneys for Orleans contend that Genesee County used its money through its industrial development agency to fund the sewer main and pursue eminent domain in another county, powers that an IDA does not have.

Jennifer Persico, an attorney with Lippes Mathias representing Orleans, said the STAMP sewer project clearly used Genesee County funds to move the project into Orleans County.

The GCEDC attorneys said the project was funded through state grants and wasn’t actually GCEDC money.

The Town of Shelby also joined Orleans in the lawsuit. The Shelby attorney, Jeffrey Allen, said Shelby supports the Orleans County efforts to halt the pipeline before it gets into Orleans. He said there are many violations of general municipal law with the project.

Shelby gave its support for the project previously, but that was a statement considering the environmental impacts of the project, he said.

“The consent was not that they could run roughshod over the autonomy of Orleans County,” Allen said in court.

The case could be a landmark for the state, said Eaton, an attorney for Orleans County. The courts should protect smaller neighboring counties from being forced to take on negative impacts from another county’s economic development efforts, he said.

“This would be one of the biggest expansions of IDA power in New York State,” Eaton said.

STAMP court hearing today in Albion between Orleans and Genesee EDC

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 March 2024 at 8:15 am

ALBION – Lawyer representing Orleans and Genesee counties will be in Albion today for a hearing in a lawsuit where Orleans is trying to block a sewer main from being built on Route 63 in Shelby.

Hearings have been cancelled or delayed the past few months. The hearing today will be at the Orleans County Courthouse before State Supreme Court Judge Frank Caruso.

Orleans is represented by Lippes Mathias LLP in Buffalo and contends Genesee didn’t have the county’s permission to install the sewer main in Orleans County. The sewer, at full buildout of the STAMP manufacturing site in the Town of Alabama, would direct 6 million gallons of treated water to the Oak Orchard Creek.

Orleans states the sewer discharge would have a negative impact on the county’s fishing industry, which is a nearly $30 million economic boost to Orleans County. The additional water from STAMP could also hurt the economic development efforts in Medina by overtaxing the creek, Orleans attorneys say in the lawsuit. (The Town of Shelby has since joined the lawsuit as an intervenor.)

Genesee County in its court filings contend Orleans gave consent to the project, which was years in the making, by never objecting to it – until the very last moment. Its years of silence should be viewed as support of the project, say attorneys from Phillips Lytle LLP, which are representing the Genesee County Economic Development Center and others named in the lawsuit – G. DeVincentis & Son Construction Co., Inc., Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation, and STAMP Sewer Works, Inc.

At full build-out STAMP can accommodate up to 6.1 million square feet of advanced technology manufacturing, office and retail space. GCEDC projects direct employment of up to 9,330 full-time jobs with a regional economic impact for support companies serving the site.

The first two tenants at STAMP – Plug Power and Edwards Vacuum – would have a daily discharge of 50,000 gallons of treated wastewater, GCEDC said.

Warm winter continues this week, topped by 71 on Monday

Photos by Tom Rivers: A car heads north of Route 63 in fog this morning in the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge in Shelby.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 March 2024 at 10:11 pm

SHELBY – The warm winter will continue this week, with Monday’s high of 71 the hot day of the week.

That will be followed by highs of 67 on Tuesday, 49 on Wednesday and 43 on Thursday, the National Weather Service in Buffalo said.

The week end with a high of 46 on Friday and 48 on Saturday.

The Weather Service said this year’s winter so far has been the warmest ever for the Rochester with a 34.9-degree average breaking the record from 1931-’32. It was the second-warmest December, January and February ever for Buffalo with the 34.5 average temperature nearly topping the 34.6-degree record in 1931-’32.

The first day of spring is on March 19.

It was a foggy morning on Route 63 in Shelby this morning near the wildlife refuge.

East Shelby Fire Company celebrates dedicated volunteers

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Scott Buffin, Orleans depty emergency management coordinator, left, swears in the East Shelby Fire Company officers. They are, from left, Mike Fuller, president; Kirk Zinkievich, vice president; Allen Turner, treasurer; Allen Lonnen, trustee; Ken Printup and Gordie Reigle, trustees; Dave Green, steward; Jeff Taylor, 3rd assistant chief; Debbie Taylor, chief; Devin Taylor (partially hidden), 1st assistant chief; Andy Beach, 2nd assistant chief; Jared Zinkievich, captain; Matt Grimes, lieutenant; and Steve Wolter, fire police chief. Not shown are Karen Bracey, secretary; Todd Ralph, safety/training officer; Norm Behrend, trustee; and Sue Behrend, EMS officer.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 3 March 2024 at 7:34 pm

EAST SHELBY – Saturday was an evening to celebrate for the East Shelby Fire Department, who held their annual Installation and Awards Banquet at the East Shelby Firemen’s Recreation Hall.

Dave Green welcomed guests and served as emcee for the evening. Guests were also welcomed by fire company president Mike Fuller and auxiliary president Shirley Printup, followed by an invocation by Rosie Allen, who called for a moment of silence in memory of Joe Newton, a longstanding member of the fire company who died last year.

The first order of business was swearing in of Ladies’ Auxiliary officers by Elaine Watts from Shelby Volunteer Fire Company. New officers are Shirley Printup, president; Sawyer Green, vice president; Deb Green, secretary; Sharlene Pratt, treasurer; Bronwyn Green, Sue Green and Cassidy Oliver, trustees; and Rosie Allen, chaplain.

Elaine Watts from Shelby Volunteer Fire Company, right, swears in members of the East Shelby Ladies Auxiliary at their banquet Saturday night. From left are Shirley Printup, president; Sawyer Green, vice president; Debbie Green, secretary; Bronwyn Green, trustee; Sharlene Pratt, treasurer; Cassidy Oliver and Sue Green, trustees; and Rosie Allen, chaplain.

Administrative officers, sworn in by Orleans 2 Scott Buffin are Mike Fuller, president; Kirk Zinkievich, vice president; Karen Bracey, secretary; Allen Turner, treasurer; Ken Printup, Norm Behrend, Gordon Reigle and Alan Lonnen, trustees; and Dave Green, steward.

Line officers are Deb Taylor, chief; Devin Taylor, 1st assistant chief; Andy Beach, 2nd assistant chief; Jeff Taylor, 3rd assistant chief; Jared Zinkievich, captain; Matt Grimes, lieutenant; Steve Wolters, fire police chief; Sue Behrend/Mike Fuller, EMS officers; and Todd Ralph, safety/training officer.

Service awards were given to members for their years of service. These included Joe Meyer, Julie Taylor and Bill Bacon, 10 years; Dennis MacDonald, 15 years; Alan Lonnen, 20 years; Dave Allen, 35 years; Gordon Reigle, 60 years, and a special recognition for Ron Sanders for 50 years.

In honor of his 50 years as a member of the East Shelby Fire Department, Ron Sanders, left, is presented with this plaque by fire chief Deb Taylor and president Mike Fuller.

Local officials line up to present proclamations to Ron Sanders, left, for achieving 50 years as a member of the East Shelby Fire Department. From left are Sanders, fire company president Mike Fuller; Eileen Banker, representing Assemblyman Steve Hawley; Skip Draper, on behalf of Senator Rob Ortt; Richard Silvaroli from FASNY; Bill Eick from the Orleans County Legislature; and Scott Wengewicz, supervisor of the town of Shelby. Seated at the head table are Sawyer Green and Ken and Shirly Printup.

East Shelby Fire Company president Mike Fuller, right watches as fire chief Deb Taylor kisses Gordie Reigle after recognizing him for 60 years of membership in the department.

Fuller chose Dennis MacDonald as recipient of his President’s Award, for always being a tremendous help, whether on the fire side or business side. He always goes above and beyond, Fuller said.

The EMS award was presented to fire chief Deb Taylor, who Fuller said responds to all the calls she can, is a big part of teaching others and keeps the trucks stocked with the right supplies.

Bronwyn Green handed out awards for years of service to Fonda Carr and Shelby Green, 5 years; Ariel George, 10 years; Elaine Newton, 25 years; Wanda Dingman, 30 years; Bronwyn Green, 35 years; Mary Zelazny and Louise Covey, 40 years.

Printup also recognized outgoing officers, vice president Debbie Green, president Bronwyn Green and secretary Sawyer Green.

Printup presented a check for $10,000 on behalf of the Auxiliary to Fuller for the fire company.

(Left) Bronwyn Green, right, trustee and outgoing president of the East Shelby Ladies’ Auxiliary, recognized Sharlene Pratt for her humor, advice and support. (Right) East Shelby fire company president Mike Fuller chose Dennis MacDonald as the recipient of his President’s Award.

Bronwyn’s President’s Award went to Sharlene Pratt, who was credited with always being there with her humor and advice.

Bronwyn also acknowledged Jessie Green, who was unable to attend, for being the Sunshine lady for 55 years.

Dave Green, a longtime steward of the department, presented the Steward’s Award to Leona Weese for being a big supporter and always helping the firefighters in any way she can.

Fire chief Taylor recapped the department’s achievements in 2023, which included the purchase of an off-road UTV, for which they have since invested in tracks for use in heavy mud and snow.

With a DEC grant they secured, the department has purchased equipment to either replace or provide additional equipment for the off-road and brush truck. They also purchased 20 new pagers for members last year.

One member, Jared Zinkievich, completed BEFO/IFO training, and three members will be starting their BEFO class Monday. They are Victor Jeffords, Josh Fuller and Dylan Taylor.

New last year was a Comedy Night, put on by Eli Howard. It was such a success, the fire company is planning to do another one this year.

Others who were commended by Taylor for taking charge of special events were Bill Bacon, meat raffle; and Ryan McPherson, Wrestling Night.

“I am very thankful and appreciative of every member who makes the East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company a successful and thriving company,” Taylor said. “We have a great turn-out of people for every call, and I can say the same for our events. Many members’ spouses or significant others help setting up, selling tickets and cleaning up after events.

“Our Ladies Auxiliary also deserves credit for preparing meals for these events and helping us with our needs,” Taylor said. “And thank you to everyone outside our department who has shown support. There’s a reason why we’ve been in service for 71 years.”

Taylor presented the final awards of the evening, the first to Jared Zinkievich, a fourth-generation member of the fire company, who is in his first year of line officer training.

“We are proud to have him in the department,” Taylor said.

Taylor chose Josh Fuller, grandson of the late Jim Fuller, as “Firefighter of the Year.” Josh, who joined last year, shows up every Tuesday and is eager to learn as much as he can, Taylor said.

Her final award was a “thank-you plaque” to Dennis MacDonald, whom she called her “double O7.”

East Shelby fire chief Deb Taylor was presented with the EMS award from Mike Fuller for her support.

Balloons in Shelby show height of 2 proposed turbines peaking at 633 feet

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 February 2024 at 6:15 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

SHELBY – Two balloons went up in Shelby today in an orchard along Route 63 to show the height of two wind turbines proposed by Borrego Solar System Inc.

The turbines would be located on land owned by the Smith family, south of the village of Medina. The turbines would peak at 633 feet.

The balloons are shown high in the sky from the Tops parking lot looking south from Maple Ridge Road. John Parada, a resident of nearby Furness Parkway, was in the parking trying to take photos of the balloons. They were hard to see looking into the bright sun.

Parada said he is concerned the turbines will loom large from nearby properties, and could cause property values to plummet.

He was surprised when he pulled into the Tops parking lot and saw how big the turbines would stand.

“You go to Tops and you’ll be staring right at them,” Parada said.

This photo is on Route 63 in Shelby Basin, looking north. One of the balloons is clearly visible.

The two balloons were up from noon to 2 p.m. today, and needed approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Town Supervisor Scott Wengewicz said the town requested the two balloons go up to show the height of the turbines from different vantage points in the community.

Borrego hasn’t notified the town when the company plans to complete an environmental study, the State Environmental Quality Review Act. Borrego and Shelby held a hearing on that in September 2022, but it was tabled at 10 p.m. and hasn’t been continued.

Residents at that hearing said the two turbines would alter the landscape visually, and also potentially harm residents with shadow flicker, noise, lower property values and other impacts. They also worry the turbines are in a major migratory bird path.

The turbines as proposed would take up a half-acre and have the capacity to generate 8.4 megawatts of power.

Retired NFL kicker who lives in Orleans brings message to Job Corps students

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 3 February 2024 at 11:25 am

Photos by Loretta Clark: Mike Vanderjagt, a former kicker with the Indianapolis Colts, signed autographs Monday for students during his visit to the Iroquois Job Corps Center.

MEDINA – The Iroquois Job Corps Center hosted a very special guest on Monday, who brought an inspiring message to students, said Operations Manager John Thomas.

Mike Vanderjagt, a retired NFL kicker and a former first-team all-pro, toured the center and spoke with students and staff.

Vanderjagt has moved to the Lyndonville area, and has been mentoring young athletes, serving as the special teams coach for the Medina High School football team. He had attended a Medina Rotary meeting, where John Thomas met him and set up his visit to the Job Corps Center.

Vanderjagt’s message to students was about believing in themselves and to never give up on their dreams and goals in life. He shared the many challenges he had trying to get to the NFL, and was told he was not good enough. He said he believed in himself, and never gave up.

In 1998, he was signed by the Indianapolis Colts, and in 2003, he became the first kicker in the league’s history to go an entire season, including the playoffs, without missing a field goal or extra point.

Vanderjagt scored 1,067 points in a nine-year career during the regular season, including a league high 145 for the Colts in 1999. He scored 54 more points in nine playoff games.

He played for the Colts for eight seasons and then finished his career with the Dallas Cowboys in 2006. His streak of 42 consecutive field goals is the second longest in NFL history behind 44 by Adam Vinatieri.

Vanderjagt is among the nominees for the 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Mike Vanderjagt, center, record-breaking kicker in the National Football League, visited Iroquois Job Corps Center on Monday to talk to students. Here, he is presented with an appreciation award by center director Dennis Essom, left, and operations director John Thomas.

West Battalion has new fire coordinator following Hydock’s retirement

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 January 2024 at 9:51 am

Jason Watts, left, replaces David Hydock, right, who served 19 years as deputy fire coordinator for the Orleans County Emergency Management, representing the west battalion.

SHELBY – The five fire departments in the west battalion have a new fire coordinator following the retirement of Dave Hydock, who served 19 years in the part-time position.

Jason Watts, a past Shelby fire chief, is the new fire coordinator of the west end of the county, which includes the fire departments in East Shelby, Shelby, Medina, Ridgeway and Lyndonville.

The Orleans County Emergency Management Office announced the change on Tuesday. Hydock, a long-time leader of the Lyndonville Fire Department, was a reliable presence and strong advocate for the fire service, said Justin Niederhofer, the EMO director.

“He likes to be behind the scenes,” Niederhofer said. “He just wants to do his job.”

The fire coordinator assists the fire departments with activating and coordinating mutual aid at emergency scenes, and setting up training.

Watts was appointed to the position following the recommendation from the five fire chiefs from the west battalion. They were part of the interview with Watts. He was also interviewed by Niederhofer and Scott Buffin, the EMO deputy director. Watts works full-time as the Village of Medina’s superintendent of the Department of Public Works.

“Welcome aboard and the whole team at the EMO is looking forward to working with you, and the residents of Orleans County are lucky to have you as part of our team!” the Emergency Management Office posted in announcing Watts as the new fire coordinator.

Job Corps teacher for 38 years honored on her retirement

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 11 January 2024 at 10:36 am

Provided photo: Margie Eason, academics instructor at Iroquois Job Corps, is honored by Operations Director John Thomas of Medina, left, and Center Director Dennis Essom on the announcement of her retirement after 38 years.

MEDINA – Iroquois Job Corps recently held a celebration in honor of Academics Instructor Margie Eason, who has announced her retirement after 38 years.

In a letter to Eason, Center operator ETR’s president and CEO Brian Fox commended Eason on her years of service.

“On behalf of Education and Training Resources (ETR), I want to congratulate you on your retirement and thank you for your 38 years of service to both the Iroquois Job Corps Center and the Job Corps program,” Fox wrote. “It is impossible to quantify the number of students’ lives you have directly impacted over the years of your service and commitment to the Iroquois Center. But, I hope you know you have changed the lives and opportunities for generations to come.

“It is with much honor, respect and admiration that I congratulate you on your retirement and thank you for all you have done to support the students and staff of the Iroquois Job Corps Center.”

Eason said the letter was very heartfelt and she was very grateful and appreciative to receive it.

“The highlight of all my years here was the opportunity to have an impact on the lives and futures of so many students,” Eason said.

In retirement, she plans to continue to work hard for her church, and visit family in Michigan and Alabama.

“My real goal is to get my large, large garden planted on time to get John Thomas his collard greens that he loves so much,” Eason added.

Shelby Volunteer Fire Company celebrates 75 years of service

Photos by Ginny Kropf: A number of proclamations were made Saturday night honoring Shelby Volunteer Fire Company’s 75 years. Here Senator Rob Ortt reads his tribute to the fire company, while at left, legislator Bill Eick on behalf of the Orleans County Legislature and Assemblyman Steve Hawley wait their turn.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 7 January 2024 at 2:00 pm

Gary Watts honored for 50 years as active firefighter

MEDINA – Shelby Volunteer Fire Company celebrated two special occasions at their 55th annual installation banquet Saturday night.

While it was only the 55th banquet, it celebrated the fire company’s 75th anniversary and the 50-year membership of Gary Watts.

A highlight of Shelby Volunteer Fire Company’s annual installation banquet Saturday night was honoring Gary Watts for 50 years of membership. Here President Tim Petry, left, presents Watts with a plaque recognizing his years of service.

Watts’ father Sid was one of the founding members of the fire company and his mother Naomi was an original member of the Auxiliary. Gary said his father also sold fire apparatus, so they all grew up in the fire company. Sid also served as chief for many years.

“As soon as I was 18, I joined the fire company,” Gary said. “That was what you did. It was in our blood.”

“Buster” (Sidney E.) was the first to complete 50 years in the fire company, followed several years ago by brothers Howard, now Gary and next year, Dale.

The entire family was present for the occasion Saturday night, including Gary and wife Robyn’s three children, Julianne and husband Patrick McGrath and their four children; son Jeff and wife Ashly and their two children from Kansas; and daughter Jennifer Thayer, her two children and fiancé Paul Knife from Florida.

Gary said he has held every firematic position in the fire company. After serving several terms as chief, he stepped down and then returned to serve as third assistant, and back up the line again.

“I’ve always been proud to be a member of this organization,” he said.

He said he was excited beyond belief when all eight of his grandchildren showed up at his house Saturday morning. He had no idea his families from Florida and Kansas were going to attend. Daughter Julianne and family live in the area.

“I told Robyn the other day I only wished the other two could be here,” he said.

Gary Watts is flanked by his family during a celebration of his 50 years in the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company Saturday night. Wife Robyn and Gary are fifth and sixth from the left. Holding the plaque are grandchildren Jackson and Makenzie McGrath. Others in the picture, from left, are son-in-law Patrick McGrath (holding Emmalynn) daughter Julianne McGrath, granddaughter Charlotte McGrath, daughter Jennifer Thayer and fiancé Paul Knife, daughter-in-law Ashly Watts and son Jeff Watts. In front of Jennifer are Madden Thayer, Mason Thayer, Tyler Watts and Riley Watts.

The banquet began with a welcome from president Tim Petry and Auxiliary president Elaine Watts, and introduction of guests by assistant chaplain Phil Keppler. Chaplain Karl Haist Jr. said there was no memorial ceremony, as they were fortunate not to have any members pass away this year.

Executive board officers installed for next year by Tiffany Petry were Howard Watts, president; Gary Lamar, vice president; Kirk Myhill, treasurer; Dylan Sturtevant, assistant treasurer; Kali Sturtevant, secretary; Dale Watts, sergeant-at-arms; Karl Haist Jr., chaplain; Phil Keppler, assistant chaplain; Andrea Benz, steward; and Andy Benz, Bill Luckman and Nick DiCureia, trustees for three, two and one year respectively.

Tiffany Petry, standing at the podium, installs officers of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company at their banquet on Saturday night.

Firematic officers were David Moden, chief; Zachary Petry, deputy chief; Crystal Luckman, assistant chief; Hunter Sturtevant, firematic captain; Rob Schaal, firematic lieutenant; and Jenna Simmons, EMS captain.

Shirley Printup, standing at left, installs members of the Shelby Ladies Auxiliary. They are, from left, treasurer Lori Myhill, secretary Robyn Watts, president Elaine Watts and chaplain Marian Fry. Absent is vice president Patricia Fuller.

Officers of the Ladies Auxiliary installed by Shirley Printup were Elaine Watts, president; Patricia Fuller, vice president; Robyn Watts, secretary; Lori Myhill, treasurer; Marian Fry, chaplain; Mary Herbert, one-year trustee; and Sherry Wheatley, two-year trustee.

Several proclamations were presented to the fire company in honor of its 75th anniversary. These included Senator Rob Ortt, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Bill Eick on behalf of the Orleans County Legislature, Steve Seitz from the Shelby Town Board and Diana Pfersick, director of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York. Seth Dumese, chief of Carlton Fire Company, presented a plaque to the fire company.

Ortt told Gary, “You come from a noble volunteer family. Your values have spread to your entire family. We need more people like you.”

Hawley said 50 years volunteering in one organization is unheard of in this day and age.

Pfersick said after the proclamations for 50 years as a volunteer firefighter, the greatest thing she could do was to honor Gary for his dedication.

(Left) Elaine Watts, left, president of the Shelby Ladies Auxiliary, chose Robyn Watts as recipient of her President’s Award. (Right) Shelby Volunteer Fire Company president Tim Petry, left, congratulates chief David Moden, who is beginning his second term in office.

Tim Petry presented his wife Dawn with a bouquet of flowers for her struggle in conquering health issues during the year.

Moden said this was the first time in 30 years he had stood at the podium as chief. He said Shelby Volunteer Fire Company was in a very unique place during this time when people are not stepping up to volunteer. He said they had gained one new member and were fortunate to have 46 different firefighters respond to calls. They averaged 14 members at each call, he said.

Moden added the fire company was fortunate to take delivery of a new tanker recently, costing more than $300,000. In comparison, he said in 1990, their last tanker cost $99,000. Also, he said in 1990 they responded to 165 calls, while this past year they had 256, the most of which were EMS.

Moden thanked his line officers from last year and significant others who helped out.

“It is they who make the chief look good,” he said.

Moden also praised the top 10 members who responded to calls last year. They were Tim Petry, Howard Watts, Gary Lamar, John Rotoli, Zach Fike, Jason Watts, Joe Kyle, Nick DiCureia, Bill Luckman and Tom Falls. Moden said the line officers will be treating the 10 men to dinner at Zambistro’s.

Auxiliary president Elaine Watts said because their groups is so small, she didn’t know what to get for a gift to the fire company, as they weren’t able to raise a lot of money. She finally settled on a set of chair stackers for the firefighters who are trying to organize their supplies.

For her President’s Award, Watts selected Robyn Watts for the honor.

“If she’s not chairing an event, she’s there to help,” Elaine said.

Shelby Volunteer Fire Company president Tim Petry, right, presented a plaque to his family for all their help during his terms in office. From left are wife Dawn, son Scott, daughter Tiffany and daughter Crystal Luckman, who just became the department’s first female assistant chief.

Tim Petry announced that Joe Kyle will become a life member this year. Petry also presented a certificate of appreciation to Scott Petry, an outgoing officer, and Tiffany Petry, outgoing secretary and EMS captain.

Tim was thanked by Chief Moden for his eight years as president.

Tim Petry presented a “Friend of the Fire Company” award to Don Marcher on behalf of Junior Wilson’s Sportsmen’s Club in Medina.

“They donate to us every year,” Petry said.

The program concluded with a roast to Gary Watts by his son Jeff.

“It is absolutely an honor and privilege to roast my father,” Jeff said, recalling the years he spent as a volunteer at Shelby. “It’s been a long time since I’ve held a mic at Shelby Fire Hall.”

He told how much he admired his father for volunteering for 50 years, while Jeff got paid as a firefighter for much of that time. He reminded the audience that volunteering is not free.

“It costs to be a volunteer, in terms of his time and the family’s time,” he said. “I call him ‘dad.’ You call him ‘volunteer.’ But we should all call him a hero.”

“Fifty years seems like a long time, but I remember the day I joined,” Gary said. “Back then we had a waiting list to join the Shelby Fire Company.”

A final recognition was given to Crystal Luckman, the fire company’s first female to serve as assistant chief and daughter of president Tim Petry.

“This has been a goal of mine since I was a little girl,” Luckman said. “It is an honor. My dad has been a great leader and role model.”