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County Planning Bd backs new 165-foot phone tower in Shelby

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 July 2020 at 8:02 am

ALBION – The Orleans County Planning Board backed plans for a new 165-foot-high phone tower in Shelby.

Tarpon Towers II and Bell Atlantic Mobile are pursuing the project for Verizon Wireless. The tower would be a monopole and would have options for other companies to collocate.

It will be located on vacant agricultural land near a wooded area on 5093 Creek Rd., one land owned by Edward Zelazny.

“Hopefully it will improve communication in the area because I got to tell you we have a lot of dead spots,” Dan Wolfe, the town code enforcement officer, told Planning Board members.

Tarpon Towers, in the application for the tower, acknowledged there are dead spots in the area and the tower will improve phone service.

The project needs a height variance from Shelby, which caps the size of towers at 35 feet. The County Planning Board recommended that Shelby approve the variance, the site plan and a special use permit for the project.

The Planning Board also recommended the Town of Gaines approve a project at 3278 Oak Orchard Rd.

Dennis “D.J.” Button wants to move his business, Digital Ink Arts, from downtown Albion to his garage. He would like to put on a 1,200 square foot addition (30 by 40 feet) for the apparel printing business.

The town requires a 15-foot setback from the neighboring property line. Button only has 6 feet of space from the end of his garage to the neighbor’s property line. He also would need to share the neighbor’s driveway for the business.

The County Planning Board recommended Gaines approve the variance, the site plan and a special use permit for Button. The county recommended Gaines have the right-of-way agreement in writing with the neighbor regarding the driveway.

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Repaving starts on 10 miles of 31A, between 98 and 63

Staff Reports Posted 20 July 2020 at 2:54 pm

The State Department of Transportation announced that repaving along 10 miles of Route 31A will begin this week.

The $1.9 million project includes Route 31A from Route 98 to Route 63. The project is funded through the state’s PAVE NY Initiative.

The resurfacing work is expecting to last until mid-August. During this time, two-way traffic will be maintained using alternating single-lane closures. Motorists may encounter short delays and are encouraged to seek an alternate route.

All construction activities are weather dependent and subject to change.

Motorists are urged to slow down and drive responsibly in work zones. Fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. Convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver license.

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Shelby has new town supervisor after Houseknecht’s resignation

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 June 2020 at 3:10 pm

SHELBY – The Town of Shelby has a new town supervisor following the resignation of Ed Houseknecht on May 31.

Ed Houseknecht

The Town Board on June 9 appointed Jeff Smith to serve as town supervisor. Smith, a fruit farmer and owner of Ledge Rock Farms on North Gravel Road, was the town’s deputy town supervisor.

He was appointed town supervisor by the other Town Board members – Stephen Seitz, William Bacon and John Pratt.

Houseknecht was re-elected in November to another two-year term as town supervisor. He was first elected to the position in November 2017.

He is retired as the Orleans County highway superintendent and was the former superintendent of the Village of Medina’s Department of Public Works.

He couldn’t be reached for comment about why he resigned.

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Albion, Shelby announce town buildings closed to public until further notice

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 March 2020 at 10:18 am

The town halls in Albion and Shelby are closed to the public until further notice, to protect the public and town employees. This also means court cases will be delayed.

Officials from the towns made the decision due to the current state of emergency in Orleans County and New York State due to the coronavirus health threat.

Shelby will accept any payments in the court drop box on the south side of the town hall on Salt Works Road. If there are any questions or concerns, please contact the town hall at 585-798-3120.

The Albion Town Hall on Clarendon Road is currently locked and not accessible to non-employee traffic.

“Phone numbers and email addresses are posted on the door and we will service resident needs as quickly as possible,” said Town Supervisor Richard Remley. “Additionally, the court system is closed and all cases have been delayed into May. Judges will continue to perform essential services. These actions were taken at the direction of the head of the court system.”

Click here to be directed to the websites for the Town of Albion and the Town of Shelby.

Other towns or villages that want to report the status of their facilities can send an email to

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East Shelby annual fire company dinner includes celebration for new fire truck

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Officers of the East Shelby Fire Company pose with their new pumper/rescue truck after their annual awards banquet Saturday night. From left are Allen Turner, treasurer; Joe Newton, vice president; Karen Bracey, secretary; Mike Fuller, president; Andy Beach, chief; Devin Taylor, 1st assistant chief; Debbie Taylor, 2nd assistant chief; Todd Ralph, 3rd assistant chief; Jeff Taylor, captain; Sharon Grimes, lieutenant; Laura Fields, fire police captain; Gordon Reigle and Alan Lonnen, trustees; and Dave Green, steward. Not shown is Ken Printup, trustee.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 8 March 2020 at 8:58 pm

Carol Lonnen, left, and Gerry Zinkievich hug Dave Green after he presented them with his Steward’s Award at East Shelby Fire Company’s annual awards dinner. The ladies also received bouquets of flowers for always being ready to help the auxiliary at special events.

EAST SHELBY – East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company recognized dedicated members, and celebrated new members and the arrival of a new fire truck at their annual awards dinner Saturday night.

Master of ceremonies Dave Green, Auxiliary President Bronwyn Green and Fire Company President Mike Fuller welcomed guests and introduced special dignitaries.

The first order of business was to thank the Ladies Auxiliary for their gift of $7,000 which paid for new dining room chairs. It is customary for the auxiliary to give the fire department a gift each year, and this donation paid for about half of the chairs needed. It is a great start, Green said.

Ladies Auxiliary officers were installed by Town Justice Dawn Keppler, while Sheriff Chris Bourke installed the fire company officers.

New officers of the Ladies Auxiliary are Bronwyn Green, president; Deb Green, vice president; Sawyer Green, secretary; Carol Lonnen, treasurer; Shirley Printup, Sharlene Pratt and Elaine Newton, trustees; and Carol Lonnen, chaplain.

Administrative officers of the fire company are Mike Fuller, president; Joe Newton, vice president; Karen Bracey, secretary; Allen Turner, treasurer; Ken Printup, Norm Behrend, Gordon Reigle and Alan Lonnen, trustees; and Dave Green, steward.

Firematic officers are Andy Beach, chief; Devin Taylor, 1st assistant chief; Deb Taylor, 2nd assistant chief; Todd Ralph, 3rd assistant chief; Jeff Taylor, captain; Sharon Grimes, lieutenant; Laura Fields, fire police chief; and Sue Behrend and Mike Fuller, EMS officers.

President Mike Fuller announced the fire company has welcomed five new members. They are Megan Perkins, Jared Zinkievich, Scott Barber, Ben Shiffer and Emma MacDonald.

Members of the East Shelby Ladies Auxiliary took time out from the annual awards banquet Saturday night to pose with the new pumper/rescue truck which just arrived the end of January. From left are Bronwyn Green, president; Sawyer Green, secretary; Deb Green, vice president; Carol Lonnen, treasurer; Elaine Newton, Sharlene Pratt and Shirley Printup, trustees.

Bronwyn Green said the auxiliary has welcomed new members Lynn Woodruff and Maureen Beach.

Bob Scharlau received proclamations from town board member Jeff Smith and Assemblyman Mike Norris for 25 years in the East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company. Norris also thanked all the firefighters for their service, saying they are the lifeblood of the community. He said there are 26 fire companies in the 144th district he represents.

East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company president Mike Fuller, right, presented Gordon Reigle with a certificate for 55 years of membership in the fire company during their annual awards dinner Saturday night. Fuller also was presented a plaque from vice president Joe Newton on behalf of the town of Shelby community for Fuller’s 44 years of service as an employee of the Town of Shelby Highway Department, 14 of them as highway superintendent.

Norris also conveyed regards from Senator Rob Ortt, who was unable to attend, saying he and Ortt both continue to sponsor and support bills for the good of firefighters.

Fuller handed out certificates for years of service, from five to 55 years. These included Matt Seever amd Andy Beach, 10 years; Deb Taylor, Jackie Keller and Alan Lonnen, 15 years; Rusty Hoffmeister and Todd Ralph, 20 years; Bob Scharlau, 25 years; Ken Printup and David Allen, 30 years; Jim Ralph, Kirk Zinkievich, Rich Pitcher, Dave Morien and Ron Sanders, 35 years; and Darrell Green and Gordon Reigle, 55 years.

Fuller chose a couple as recipients of his President’s Award. Sue and Norm Behrend have demonstrated excellence and professionalism in their service as New York State educators in EMS training, Fuller said. They previously taught certified first responders, EMTs and CPR in Kendall and continue to offer the training at East Shelby.

Joe Newton made a surprise presentation to Mike Fuller for his outstanding service and commitment to the town’s residents as highway superintendent. The plaque conveyed a thank you from the community and fire department.

“I gave 110 percent in my 44 years with the town of Shelby – 14 of them as the boss,” Fuller said.

He also said his retirement now gives him more time to spend at the fire company.

Chief Andy Beach handed out two awards this year – a newly created EMS Award and his Chief’s Award.

“Several weeks ago, Sue Behrend asked me if we could give an EMS award this year,” Beach said. “We are the fire department in the county with the fewest calls, but 90 percent of them are EMS.”

The first EMS Award was presented to Dave Green.

“He is no stranger to EMS, and continues to insist every year he is too old to recertify, but he keeps doing it,” Beach said. “He recently responded to a call which resulted in the delivery of a baby. Whether it’s a fire or a house call, Dave is there, insisting he’s OK.”

East Shelby Fire Chief Andy Beach, right, congratulates Dave Green, who was recipient of the first EMS award given by the department. Green was recognized for responding to a call for a woman having a baby.

Beach said he didn’t have to think too hard to choose the recipient of his Chief’s Award.

“Out in the hall is our new truck, which required a lot of paperwork, dealing with a lot of difficulties, writing grants and negotiating with the company we bought it from,” Beach said, naming Allen Turner for the Chief’s Award.

Mike Fuller was named the Firefighter of the Year.

“With a new truck comes a lot of responsibility,” Beach said. “We combined a pumper and rescue into one truck, and everything had to be shifted from two trucks to one. I got calls every day from Mike, asking where he should put this or that. I told him he had more years of experience than I did and to just put things where he thought they should go.”

“I appreciated the opportunity to work on the new truck, now that I have the time to do it,” Fuller said.

From left, Assemblyman Mike Norris, East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company president Mike Fuller and Fire Chief Andy Beach stand next to East Shelby’s new fire pumper/rescue truck after their banquet Saturday night.

Beach named the top 10 responders in the fire department and gave them each a $10 gift card to Tim Hortons. They are Dave Green, Gordon Reigle, Nick Culver, Mike Fuller, Rusty Hoffmeister, Scott Barber, Karen Bracey, Walt Dingman, Paul Albone and Steve Wolter.

Brownyn Green presented Shirley Printup with a certificate as outgoing president.

“Shirley is super organized and made the transition an easy one for me,” Green said.

Two 10-year certificates were presented to Megan Wolter and Cassidy Oliver.

Bryan Zinkievich accepted an award for his mother, Sue Zinkievich, who has 45 years of membership in the auxiliary.

Two members of the East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company’s Ladies Auxiliary pose with Auxiliary president Brownyn Green, right, after being recognized at their annual banquet. Elaine Newton, left, was honored as recipient of the President’s Award, while Printup received a certificate as outgoing president.

Printup recognized Elaine Newton as the auxiliary member who had outdone herself in supporting the auxiliary.

“So many members outdid themselves, but this lady is the first here for any event and often the last one out the door,” Printup said. “She is a big help at all our events and is always here when I need her.”

Carol Lonnen and Gerry Zinkievich received bouquets of flowers for being willing to make a pie or an extra casserole when needed.

Lonnen and Zinkievich also were recipients of Dave Green’s Steward’s Award for being faithful supporters of the fire company.

The evening concluded with viewing the new fire truck and music by Eli Howard.

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Fire badly damages house on Ryan Road in Shelby

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 February 2020 at 6:08 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

SHELBY – Firefighters pick up equipment after fighting a fire this afternoon at the Hoffman residence, 10772 Ryan Rd., in Shelby.

Firefighters said no one was home at the time of the fire. A motorist called in the fire after seeing flames on the back of the house at about 2:45 p.m. Firefighters arrived on scene to see the flames and smoke from the house.

The fire caused extensive damage to the house, especially on the back side, said Shelby Fire Chief Jason Watts. He said the damage inside makes it a near total loss.

Fire investigators from the Orleans County Emergency Management Office are working to try to determine the cause. Watts said the fire appears to have started at the back of the house and spread.

A Shelby firefighter walks through the inside of the house, which suffered extensive damage.

Besides Shelby, firefighters responded from Medina, East Shelby, Lyndonville and Ridgeway.

The fire was the first call for this new pumper-rescue truck for East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company. The new fire apparatus went into service on Tuesday. It allows the fire company to replace two vehicles – a pumper and a rescue truck – with one fire truck. The new pumper-rescue truck carries 1,000 gallons of water and has the tools to respond to a motor vehicle vehicle accident.

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Wildlife Refuge honors volunteer for reaching 35,000 hours of service

Photos courtesy of Sasha Azeez, HAF: Tom Roster, manager of the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, presents a plaque to Carl Zenger on Saturday when he was honored at the refuge for reaching a 35,000-hour milestone for volunteer service.

Staff Reports Posted 3 February 2020 at 11:07 pm

BASOM – A volunteer who has donated 35,000 hours at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge was honored on Saturday.

Carl Zenger began his volunteer service at Wildlife Refuge in 1997. He created an extensive cavity bird nesting program, helped re-establish a rapidly declining purple martin population, managed habitat, created opportunities for children, and built more nest boxes, bat, bird, and butterfly houses than anyone could count, refuge leaders said.

Zenger was joined by his wife Phyllis at the refuge on Saturday. Refuge Manager Tom Roster presented Zenger with a plaque and a 35,000-hour volunteer pin in front of the 65 visitors, Friends Board Members, Fish and Wildlife Service staff, NYS DEC staff, partners, and other volunteers.

Zenger has given about an average of 30 hours a week in volunteer service to the refuge since 1997. He is retired from a 42-year career as an engineer and supervisor at General Motors.

Carl Zenger has been nearly a full-time presence at the refuge since 1997, and has been instrumental in many projects. He is shown with Tom Roster, refuge manager, during a celebration in Zenger’s honor.

In his tenure at Iroquois NWR, Zenger spearheaded the restoration of what was once a tiny purple martin colony in 2001 into an impressive martin program with over 180 cavities at six locations today. In 2019, these cavities fledged 702 purple martins, which is an increase of 75 percent over the last 9 years.

Additionally, Zenger has headed the cavity nesting program since he learned the ropes. He designed a unique winch system for American kestrel boxes ensuring weekly checks can be safely accomplished. And through this program, Carl has banded and taught others how to age, sex, and band eastern bluebirds, tree swallows, purple martins, great-crested flycatchers, eastern screech owls, American kestrels, and prothonotary warblers. His team of volunteers banded 1,307 birds in 2019 with 99 percent of them fledging.

Zenger has taken students, children, volunteers, and the public under his wing. He has exposed these groups to the refuge, educated them about refuge programs, and has been known to let them hold a hatchling or two. He has been instrumental in a University of Buffalo study on nest parasites of purple martins, assisting the PhD candidate in organization and implementation of data collection at Iroquois NWR.

Every year, the Youth Conservation Corps students rave about working with Zenger on refuge banding projects, stating it was their favorite part of the summer. He helps with public outreach through special events and interpretive programming, and has even developed an educational program called Take-a-Kid-Along, allowing children to participate in and learn in a one-on-one situation about bird banding, bird identification, and marsh habitat exploration. It’s ideas and work such as these that help promote the refuge to not just younger audiences, but to all generations.

Since the day Zenger walked through the door, this energetic man has done anything refuge staff have asked of him from litter pick up to carpentry, habitat work, painting, and mowing, refuge leader said.

Along with the help of other volunteers, he has built 200-300 different habitat houses each year for the refuge’s annual Spring Into Nature festival. He even helps the children (and sometimes adults) build the houses to take home. Since becoming a certified tractor operator, he has personally mowed approximately 3,800 acres over the years in order to maintain habitat for ground nesting birds, pollinators, mammals and native plant species.

Additionally, he obtained his backhoe and tracked dozer operator certificates enabling him to assist with numerous habitat management projects including, floodplain restoration via dike removal, trail development, private lands habitat restoration projects, and water control structure installation.

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Shelby honors 2 firefighters for 50 years of service

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Steve Seitz, left center, and Sidney “Buster” Watts, were honored Saturday night for 50 years of membership in the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company. They are pictured with fire company president Tim Petry, left, and fire chief Jason Watts, right. Seitz and Buster Watts are holding a wooden plaque with firefighter’s emblems, which was presented to Jason Watts as incoming chief.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 12 January 2020 at 3:07 pm

Shelby Volunteer Fire Company also swears in officers during annual meeting

SHELBY – Two members of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company were honored Saturday night for 50 years of dedicated membership.

At left, Orleans County legislator Bill Eick, State Sen. Rob Ortt and Assemblyman Mike Norris line up to shake hands with Steve Seitz on his 50 years of membership in the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company.

Steve Seitz and Sidney “Buster” Watts each joined the fire company in 1970.

Seitz said he joined right out of school. His family had been members and he always liked coming to the fire hall and see the parades in which they participated. Besides, he and Buster grew up together.

One of the most gratifying things for Seitz was receiving the President’s Award three times.

“That showed I was really appreciated,” he said.

For Watts, belonging to the fire company was all about family and the respect he got as a firefighter. His father was a charter member of Shelby Volunteer Fire Company and growing up, Buster and his siblings spent most of their time at the fire hall with their parents. His mother was one of the original members of the Shelby Ladies Auxiliary.

During their 50 years of membership, both Seitz and Watts were active in the fire company.

Seitz was chairman of the fall gun raffle for 30 years. He works all through the year on discounts and raffle prizes to save the fire company money.

“The Fall Gun Raffle is always a big success due to Steve’s dedication every year,” said Tim Petry, president of the fire company. “Steve always lends a hand to all the chairman of our other events.”

Seitz volunteered to be the bride in a mock wedding the fire company had in the 1980s, and he also donates and cooks a variety of game at Shelby’s annual chicken barbecue.

Sidney “Buster” Watts is congratulated by Kenna Liddell, a representative of the Firefighters’ Association of the State of New York, on being honored as a 50-year member of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company.

Watts has always supported the fire company and shown his appreciation for them. He served many years as president, vice president, secretary, bingo chairman and Nevada chairman. He was one of the starters of the Christmas party and served as an usher in the 1980s mock wedding.

Both Seitz and Watts received plaques from the fire company and certificates and/or proclamations from Orleans County Legislator Bill Eick, Shelby deputy supervisor Jeff Smith, Senator Rob Ortt, Assemblyman Mike Norris (who also represented Assemblyman Steve Hawley, whose district used to include Shelby) and Kenna Liddell from the Firefighters’ Association of the State of New York.

Pat Fuller, president of the Shelby Ladies Auxiliary, and chaplain Phil Keppler presided over a memorial service in honor of four members who died during the past year: Charlie Wilson, Kenneth Schaal, Anthony Satkowski and Robert Fuller.

Petry introduced master of ceremonies, Stefano Napolitano, chief of the city of Batavia Fire Department. Napolitano shared his reasons for becoming a firefighter, having joined the fire service 33 years ago in Herkimer County. He gave up a career as a mechanical/nuclear engineer after joining his local fire company as a volunteer. He became a fire inspector at the State Firefighters’ Academy, where he wrote curriculum.

He told the firefighters leadership was getting everyone to act in a way to achieve a common goal. He said leadership is a gift which can’t be bought. It can only be obtained in one way.

“You have to earn it,” he said.

Napolitano also stressed how important it is when a new firefighter comes up with a new idea.

“That’s very positive,” he said. “We’ve often heard someone say, ‘It was done this way for the last 50 years and we’re not going to change.’ If you have that attitude, you’re never going to get better.”

He urged all in the room to try and be a hero to somebody.

“Every day, do something nice for someone,” he said.

He added he was very blessed to lead 33 people in the city of Batavia Fire Department.

Newly installed officers of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company are, from left, fire chief Jason Watts, deputy chief David Moden, assistant chief Scott Petry, firematic captain Zach Petry, firematic lieutenant Crystal Luckman and EMS captain Jeff Lyons.

All officers of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company lined up for this photo after their 51st installation banquet Saturday night at Shelby Firemen’s Recreation Hall. Front row, kneeling from left, are EMS captain Jeff Lyons, secretary and EMT Tiffany Petry, sergeant-at-arms Vincent Viterna and lieutenant Crystal Luckman. Standing in front are steward Dawn Petry and assistant chief Scott Petry. Back row, from left, are chaplain Phil Keppler, assistant chaplain Karl Haist, president Tim Petry, vice president Gary Lamar, treasurer Kirk Myhill, chief Jason Watts, trustee Lee Hellert, captain Zachary Petry, deputy chief David Moden, trustee Marcus Watts and trustee Andy Benz.

Tim Fearby installed Shelby’s new officers. They are Executive Board members Tim Petry, president; Gary Lamar, vice president; Kirk Myhill, treasurer; Tiffany Petry, secretary; Vinny Viterna, sergeant-at-arms; Phil Keppler, chaplain; Karl Haist Jr., assistant chaplain; and Dawn Petry, steward.

Outgoing fire chief Andy Benz, right, pins the chief’s badge on Jason Watts, who is beginning his third term as Shelby fire chief.

Trustees installed are Andy Benz, one year; Lee Hellert, two years; and Marcus Watts, one year.

New firematic officers are Jason Watts, chief; David Moden, deputy chief; Scott Petry, assistant chief; Zach Petry, firematic captain; Crystal Luckman, firematic lieutenant; and Jeff Lyons, EMS captain.

Members of the Ladies Auxiliary were installed by Tracy Hendricks. They are Patricia Fuller, president; Elaine Watts, vice president; Robin Watts, secretary; Lori Myhill, treasurer; Brianna Wheeler, sergeant-at-arms; Stacy Benz, chaplain; Rosemary Pray, three-year trustee; Delores Wolters, two-year trustee; and Sharon Wright, one-year trustee.

Chief Jason Watts installed new Junior Firefighter officers. They are Alex Benz, president; Degan Bragg, vice president; Maddison Simpson, secretary; and Frankie DiCureia, sergeant-at-arms.

The awards ceremony began with president Tim Petry announcing the winner of his President’s Award.

“Every year it is really tough to pick a winner,” he said. “But this year was easy.”

In an unprecedented move, he named members of the entire fire company as the recipients of his award.

“During this past year, this fire company has become even more of a family,” Petry said. “That’s why I’m presenting my award to the complete fire company.”

For his award, he had a wooden plaque made with symbols of the fire company. Incoming chief Jason Watts accepted the award for the department.

Watts is beginning his third term as fire chief. Five years ago, Watts said he turned the position over to Andy Benz, and now Benz has turned it over to him.

Tim Petry, left, president of Shelby Volunteer Fire Company, holds a check for $10,000 which had just been presented to him and outgoing chief Andy Benz Saturday night by Pat Fuller, president of the Shelby Ladies Auxiliary.

Benz completed his term by choosing Zach Petry as recipient of the Chief’s Award. He said Petry has really matured during the last year and he is going to make a fine officer.

Benz announced the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company responded to 197 calls during 2019, most of which were EMS. They have one new EMT, Josh McKeehen; one new certified first responder, Nick Brown; and Joe and Lori Kyle were both re-certified as EMTs.

Shelby was awarded the most EMS training hours in the county, with 789.

Three new firefighters, John Palmer, Jenna Prince and Trevor Fox completed the Firefighter Officer I class taught by Napolitano.

In his farewell speech, Benz urged all new firefighters to take all the training they can.

“Be a leader and learn how to speak, not only to fellow firefighters but to members of the community, especially law enforcement,” he said. “Take new members under your wing and teach them all you can.”

Members of Shelby Volunteer Fire Company’s Junior Firefighters line up behind president Alex Benz, who announces the Junior Firefighters had raised money to purchase three new lights for the company’s fire trucks.

Alex Benz and his Junior Firefighters do fundraising each year, and this year they raised enough money to purchase three sets of lights for Shelby’s fire trucks.

Pat Fuller said the Auxiliary had a very busy year. She presented Auxiliary secretary Elaine Watts with a gift certificate for her hard work as purchasing agent for the department.

Then Fuller explained how the firemen work side-by-side to help the Auxiliary any way they can. As a result of their fundraising efforts, the Auxiliary was able to present president Tim Petry and outgoing chief Andy Benz with a check for $10,000.

Recognition was given to Rusty Hoffmeister for his work in developing the new parking lot on the corner of South Gravel Road and Allegany Road. The fire company is also going to be looking at remodeling their building next door, Petry said.

Three men who are not even members of the fire company were acknowledged for their efforts in selling raffle tickets for Shelby’s events. Buddy Watson, Bob Clark and Gary Brien all step up to sell an enormous number of tickets each year.

Petry also commended Shelby and three other local fire companies who joined to sponsor a boot drive to benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation. On Sept. 7, Shelby, East Shelby, Lyndonville and Ridgeway raised $7,152.15 in two and one-half hours.

Final recognitions were paid to Mike Fuller, who served 44 years in the Shelby Highway Department and was a strong supporter of the fire company; and to Junior Wilson’s Sportsmen’s Club.

Junior Wilson donates generously to the fire company, without even being asked, Petry said.

The evening concluded with gag gifts being presented to Howard Watts, Andy Benz and Stefano Napolitano.

Shelby Volunteer Fire Company poses with members of three other fire companies who joined them on Sept. 7 to conduct a boot drive to benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Those who participated with Shelby were East Shelby, Lyndonville and Ridgeway, who raised $7,152 in 2 1/2 hours.

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3 highway superintendents retiring after century of service

Photo by Tom Rivers: These town highway superintendents – from left, Larry Swanger of Clarendon, Mike Fuller of Shelby, and Ron Mannella of Gaines – are pictured at Tillman’s Village Inn on Wednesday. They were honored at the monthly meeting of the Orleans County Town Highway Superintendents Association.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 December 2019 at 8:45 am

Swanger, Fuller and Mannella led their towns through major waterline expansions

GAINES – Three town highways superintendents in Orleans County are retiring, with the trio serving 106 years combined as highway workers, including 70 years as the highway superintendents.

Larry Swanger of Clarendon, Ron Mannella of Gaines and Mike Fuller of Shelby have each put in many new miles of water districts, in addition to leading their departments in maintaining and plowing roads.

The superintendents were honored on Wednesday at the Orleans County Town Highway Superintendents Association. They received citations from State Assemblyman Steve Hawley and the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways. That group’s president, Joel Kie of the Town of Dickinson near Binghamton, attended the meeting and praised the three local highway chiefs for their service.

Larry Swanger, left, is presented with citations for his service by Joel Kie (center), president of the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways; and Michael Neidert, Albion town highway superintendent and president of the Orleans County Town Highway Superintendents Association.

Swanger is retiring after 30 years as Clarendon’s highway superintendent. When he started, there was one water district in Clarendon, and it was privately owned and served Thomas Estates. Now, Clarendon has 13 water districts spread over 50 miles with 830 customers. About two decades ago, the town built a water tower.

Swanger is the water superintendent, in addition to the highway leader. Mannella and Fuller also serve in both roles.

“I’ve liked the people and the other highway superintendents,” Swanger said. “It’s the people that you get involved with.”

Swanger said the job is more complicated than people realize.

“People don’t see the behind-the-scenes paperwork, the contracts you have to deal with,” he said.

Swanger didn’t seek re-election in November. Tracy Bruce Chalker was elected to the position and starts Jan. 1.

Ron Mannella is presented citations for his service by the president of the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways and the president of the Orleans County Town Highway Superintendents Association.

Ron Mannella is retiring after 26 years as the Gaines highway superintendent. Before working in Gaines, Mannella was a motor equipment operator for six years with the Town of Albion Highway Department.

When he started with Gaines, the town had 8 miles of waterlines. Now there are more than 50 miles with 750 to 800 water customers. The expansion of public water is a big accomplishment for the town, Mannella said.

Gaines also used a grant to cover most of the costs of a salt storage shed. In 1999, the town highway garage collapsed after a heavy snow storm. A rebuilt garage opened in 2001.

Although Mannella is retiring as the highway superintendent, he will stay in public service as a new member of the Gaines Town Board. He received the most votes in November among four candidates. Mark Radzinski was elected in November to succeed Mannella as the highway superintendent.

“It was a good run,” Mannella said about the 26 years as highway superintendent. “The people of Gaines are really nice.”

Mike Fuller smiles after receiving his citations for a 44-year career with the Town of Shelby Highway Department.

Mike Fuller has worked 44 years with the Town of Shelby Highway Department, starting as a motor equipment operator when he was 21. The past 14 years he has been highway superintendent.

The town built its first water district in 1972 with 125 customers in the hamlet and on South Gravel Road. During Fuller’s career, the town expanded to 12 water districts serving 800 customers. Shelby also built a salt storage shed.

“We put in a lot of waterlines,” Fuller said. “Those are big projects.”

Shelby used to have its town building on Maple Ridge Road, where ALDI is located today. That site had contaminated soil from fuel. Fuller led the effort to have the soil removed from the site and relocated to the town property on Salt Works Road. The town used a bio-cell where micro-organisms improved the soil, which was cleared by the Department of Environmental Conservation. Fuller said that project was an interesting challenge for the Highway Department.

He also is pleased with the town’s efforts in helping to put in infrastructure and clear land for the Medina Business Park. Shelby teamed with the Medina Department of Public Works and Orleans County Highway Department for projects at the Business Park.

Fuller lost a close election last month to Dale Root for highway superintendent. Fuller said he will remain active in the community. He is past chief and current president of the East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company. He also serves with the Knights of Columbus and has a part-time job with Mercy EMS in Batavia.

“I’ve enjoyed serving the people,” he said.

Mike Neidert, president of the Orleans County Town Highway Superintendents Association, is finishing his first four-year term as Albion’s superintendent. He said the local highway leaders embraced him when he started. He urged the group to continue that approach with the three new highway superintendents.

“Everyone took me under their wing and welcomed me in and I encourage everyone to do that with the new guys coming in,” Neidert said.

Joel Kie, president of the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways, attended the meeting, driving from near Binghamton. He said the town highway departments will need to press the state legislators to maintain funding for road maintenance. Kie said he is concerned about the state funding, especially with the state facing a shortfall.

He urged the highway superintendents to attend lobbying days in Albany on March 3-4.

“This year will be extra tough because of the deficits,” he said.

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Shelby man makes ‘vehicle’ from scrap parts, old lawn tractor

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 11 December 2019 at 9:35 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Dan Fuller proudly stands by this vehicle he made entirely out of items he found around his house. He started with an old Cub Cadet lawn tractor his uncle gave him.

MEDINA – It could hardly be classified as an antique, although almost everything it is made of is “old.”

In fact, owner Dan Fuller doesn’t know what to call it, except maybe a “toy.”

Fuller’s toy was on display in the parking lot of Medina High School during the toy show oin October, where it received a lot of attention.

One of the first to stop and look it over was Gary Brockel of West Shelby, who wasn’t sure whether to admire it or question it.

The red vehicle had wheels, exhaust pipes coming out of the top of what was obviously an engine, and an unlikely driver sitting behind a steering wheel of sorts.

Fuller said he could never afford a real hot rod, so this was his compromise.

It all started when his uncle asked if he wanted an old Cub Cadet lawn tractor. Fuller did, and spent the next couple of years transforming it.

A neighbor’s old wheelbarrow became the seat; his daughter’s bunk bed yielded material for a shelf; a bumper off a 1957 Cadillac became the hood; metal from an old foosball table framed the windshield; a balance plate was fashioned from an old ash tray belonging to his parents; two souvenir copper mugs served as headlamps; a discarded wrought iron railing formed holders for the windshield; part of an old desk and steel plate from his son’s wheelchair became the grill, with a cross cut out of it.

Fuller said he started building his hotrod last fall and then finished it in the spring.

He has several more ideas for projects in the future. He has a silage wagon in his yard which he plans to turn into a “she shed” for his wife.

Then he has purchased a 1948 Farmall Cub tractor, which he intends to make into a World War II-era airport tug, such as would be used to move airplanes.

As an Air Force veteran, Fuller said that is tops on his “to-do” list.

Gary Brockel of West Shelby checks out this vehicle on display in the parking lot of Medina High School during the first ever toy show this fall. The “toy” was built by Dan Fuller of Medina from odd parts he found laying around his house.

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East Shelby church welcomes community for Old Fashioned Christmas

Provided photos: Lorna Klotzbach of Pembroke gives horse and buggy rides during an Old Fashioned Christmas at East Shelby Community Bible Church.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 5 December 2019 at 2:30 pm

Kyle and Anneliese Wroblewski are Mary and Joseph during Old Fashioned Christmas on Sunday.

MEDINA – An Old Fashioned Christmas has become an annual tradition at the East Shelby Community Bible Church.

This year’s event will be from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday and will feature a variety of activities which honor Christmas celebrations from the past.

Old Fashioned Christmas takes place in the historic 1800s miniature village of West Jackson Corners. Named for what East Shelby was called in the 1800s, West Jackson Corners is across from the church at 5278 East Shelby Rd.

The annual event features Dickens-style caroling, horse and buggy rides, hands-on activities, (such as making your own swag) and enjoying hot chocolate and other homemade Christmas treats.

The day will begin with a Christmas concert at 12:30 p.m. by the church’s Band of Renown. As always, there is a visit from Santa.

Visitors this year will be glad to learn the church has a new, larger parking lot which will accommodate all of their guests, while keeping them closer to the festivities.

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Tractor trailer jackknifes in Shelby on 31A

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 November 2019 at 2:52 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

SHELBY – A tractor trailer from Grand Island hit a guard rail and slid off the road at about 1:30 p.m. today. This photo is looking east on Route 31A, just west of Townline Road near Barre.

The driver of the truck for JS Trucking wasn’t injured.

This is looking west at the scene. The accident closed a section of Route 31A. Shelby and East Shelby firefighters were on the scene with a crew from the Albion Fire Department called to help clean up leaking fuel from the tractor trailer, which was empty.

Road conditions are slick due to the freezing temperatures and falling snow.

No other information was available.

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Kids get to ride fire trucks, spray water at Shelby open house

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 October 2019 at 10:01 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

SHELBY – Zach Petry, a Shelby firefighter, makes sure kids are buckled in before taking them on a ride in Shelby fire truck today during an open house at the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company.

Shelby firefighters also shared fire prevention tips, and served hot dogs.

Kara Zambito and her son Vinny, 1, spray water at targets. The fire company set up obstacles, games and activities to give people a feel for being a firefighter.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department also did a child ID program. A fire prevention trailer from Orleans County Emergency Services also was on-site for families to practice an escape plan in case of a fire.

Mercy Flight also stopped by with a helicopter and the Holley Fire Department brought its new ladder truck.

Lukin Szatkowski, 8, of Medina takes a turn with the hose with some guidance from Melinda Canham.

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Shelby has open house at fire hall on Saturday

Staff Reports Posted 18 October 2019 at 5:34 pm

SHELBY — The Shelby Volunteer Fire Company will have an open house on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the fire hall, 4677 South Gravel Rd. (Route 63.

The public is welcome to tour fire trucks, the fire hall, and kids can attempt an obstacle course where they learn fire prevention and response tips, such as Stop, Drop and Roll, and to crawl under tables in case of a fire.

Kids can also spray water from a hose at targets. They also will receive goodie bags and plastic fire helmets.

The event is free and open to public. Hot dogs, chips and beverages will also be available.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department will be doing a child ID program. A fire prevention trailer from Orleans County Emergency Services also will be on-site.

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200-plus raise $35K at Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 6 October 2019 at 7:03 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Marie Hartway, center, of Medina is flanked by her sister-in-law Jennifer Bansbach of Lyndonville, left, and sister Bridget DiCureia of Albion as they wait for the start of the Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run Saturday at East Shelby Fire Hall. Hartway is undergoing chemotherapy at Roswell Park Cancer Institute for breast cancer, and said she is walking to “give back.”

EAST SHELBY – The 31st annual Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run on Saturday was again a resounding success, raising more than $35,000 to help families dealing with cancer in Orleans County.

Sandy Persons of Kent stretches her muscles as she waits for the start of the Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run on Saturday. A 10-year breast cancer survivor, Persons said she had a friend who walked in a body cast, and if she could do it, so could Persons.

Top finishers were Alden Cayea, 19, of Medina (male) in 19 minutes, 10 seconds; and Mollie Mark, 40, of Medina (female) in 23 minutes, 37 seconds, according to Stacey Knights Pellicano, daughter of the late Richard Knights for whom the race is co-named.

More than 200 of all ages registered to participate in the event, from grandparents to children in strollers to entire families.

The walk was started 30 years ago as a fundraiser by the Knights and Kaderli families who had lost loved ones due to cancer, Richard Knights and Sue Kaderli. Participation has grown each year, allowing the fund to provide thousands of dollars in assistance to cancer patients and their families.

The walk/run annually draws repeat supporters, such as Kristin McAdoo of Medina who has taken part for 20 years. She competed this year with her two sons, 20 and 21, and granddaughter, 5. She wanted to support the race because they helped her father-in-law with expenses before he died, she said.

Twins Darlene Rich and Sharlene Pratt of Medina have run every year as a family. Older sister Fonda Carr is their cheerleader, Rich said. This year they ran with Pratt’s daughter Katie, her two children, her boyfriend and his two children.

Marie Hartway, 51, of Medina showed her determination by walking with sister Bridget DiCureia of Medina and sister-in-law Jennifer Bansbach of Lyndonville. Hartway is undergoing chemotherapy at Roswell Park Cancer Institute for breast cancer. Although she walked on Saturday, a year ago she ran her first marathon, she said.

“The Knights-Kaderli Fund has definitely helped me, and I want to give back,” she said.

DiCureia previously walked for Kelly Schrader Hurrell, who had the same cancer as Marie.

“The lesson you learn is there is not one family cancer doesn’t touch,” Bansbach said.

The Martin family annually joins to support the Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run. Here, Sue, second from left, is joined by her daughter Alicia Dunham and her two children, and son Ben with his wife and son as they wait for the start of the walk.

Hartway, who was diagnosed in February, said exercising helps keep her sane.

“I treat it like my marathon – you just have to keep going,” she said.

Pellicano thanked the families, runners, walkers, those who donated baskets for the raffle and all the volunteers who participated in any way.

Race Management Solutions timed and recorded racers and provided music.

Karen Barber of Medina crosses the finish line with her children Brooks, 5, and Kennedy, 7, during the 31st Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run. The event raised more than $35,000 to help families dealing with cancer in Orleans County.

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