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Local state assemblymen decry criminal justice reforms
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 January 2020 at 10:04 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: State Assemblyman Michael Norris, R-Lockport, says New York State is less safe today due to bail reform and other criminal justice changes. He is speaking on Friday at Tillman’s Village Inn during the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Luncheon, which was attended by about 100 people.

ALBION – Jan. 1 was the start of a series of criminal justice reforms that have made Orleans County and the state less safe, State Assembly members Steve Hawley and Michael Norris said on Friday during the annual Legislative Luncheon organized by the Chamber of Commerce.

The state’s bail reform no longer allows local judges to set bail for many crimes. In most cases, defendants are arraigned and given an appearance ticket for the next court date. The courts also now need to send defendants a reminder about the court date by text, email, a phone call or mail.

The state has also passed new discovery laws where law enforcement and the district attorney’s office need to turn over records in a case within 15 days after the arraignment, down from the previous 45 days. Those records include police reports, radio transmissions, body-worn and dash-cam video, laboratory test results and volumes of other materials and data related to prosecution.

Republicans in the State Assembly are pushing for the new rules to be “rescinded immediately,” Hawley, R-Batavia, told 100 people at the Legislative Luncheon.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley said many legislators are pressuring the governor and State Legislature to rescind the criminal justice reforms.

The Assembly Republicans are planning news conferences around the state about the issue, and will highlight people given appearance tickets who then committed more crimes, when then should have been in jail.

“We’re not going to let the pressure up,” Hawley said. “This is wrong. This isn’t American.”

Assemblyman Michael Norris, R-Lockport, said the criminal justice reforms were enacted after the State Senate flipped to a Democratic majority last year. That party now controls the Senate, Assembly and has a Democratic governor.

“We need to send a message to the governor that upstate matters and we deserve a voice,” Norris said the luncheon. “In upstate, it can feel like we’re at the bottom of the barrel.”

Orleans County Sheriff Chris Bourke said the criminal justice changes have cut the county’s jail population nearly in half, to about 40 inmates right now. The jail usually was in the 70s for inmate population.

Bourke attended a four-day law enforcement conference last week. He said many of the leading law enforcement officials in the state believe there will be some balancing out with the changes, with the jails filling back up when people are sentenced for their crimes.

Nathan Pace, an attorney from Medina, served as moderator for the luncheon. He said jail often can provide critical support for people charged with crimes, getting them connected to mental health and drug addiction treatment. Now, more people will be given court appearance tickets, with the judges not having the discretion to set bail for many crimes.

“These dramatic reforms led by the governor, the State Assembly and State Senate are affecting our county,” Pace said. “The new reforms are so dangerous to our society. They are intended solely to protect the accused.”

Hawley said the criminal justice reforms are the latest push from Albany that he finds vexing. He opposed the SAFE Act with gun control, free college tuition for children of undocumented immigrants, driver’s licenses for undocumented, and voting rights for felons when they are released from prison.

“The beat goes on with this governor,” Hawley said. “I’m not sure his father would be so proud right now and he was pretty liberal.”

Hawley said he is also very concerned about the impact on businesses with the rising minimum wage. That is now $15 an hour in New York City and is moving to $12.50 in upstate. This year it’s $11.80 in most of upstate, including Orleans County, and will go to $12.50 on Dec. 31. It was $9.70 on Dec. 31, 2016.

“The effect on businesses, I think, will be devastating,” Hawley said. “It’s urban areas telling suburban and rural areas what to do with their businesses.”

Norris said the higher minimum wage will reduce businesses’ ability to invest in equipment and make other changes to stay competitive. He expects there will be fewer cashiers at stores, and higher prices for consumers.

“It impacts small businesses and their ability to move forward with that crippling wage,” Norris said.

The state also adopted overtime and collective bargaining rights for farm workers. They are now eligible for overtime after 60 hours in a week. Hawley said he expects it will result in less hours for farm workers, ultimately resulting in smaller paychecks for them.

Norris said state continues to have an out-migration that leads the country, with about 70,000 people annually fleeing the state’s borders, that is nearly double the Orleans County population of about 40,000 people.

The annual Legislative Luncheon is a chance for the business community to hear directly from state and county elected officials.

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Sunday Morning Positive Perks from your Sassy Small Town Missus
Posted 26 January 2020 at 8:00 am

My Mood Ring

What do you think of My Mood Ring? It is pretty big isn’t it. It has to be because it has the unique ability to gauge moods.

This particular bauble I acquired on eBay many years ago. I don’t wear it that often because it is quite heavy. The Mood Ring came to be in 1975 and changes colors based on your bodies temperature. Oops, I mean mood.

I saw someone wearing a ring very similar to this when I was on vacation. I had to have it and after much research learned it was a Lucky Brand ring. It was out of my price range so like most people I took to eBay. I was particularly drawn to it because it was encased with a peace sign. There are many peace signs, but this one was created in the 1960’s, which was the decade of my birth. Huh, another sign I had to have it.

This bauble had three important things going for it, #1 It was a Ring, #2 It could tell me my mood if I was ever unsure and #3 The sides of the ring had a unique floral mosaic on it.

I figured a ring encased in a peace sign had to have some super powers in it to keep my mood at peace. You see, I can justify anything if I work at it hard enough. After a lengthy search I found it and bought it at a price I could afford.

At this current moment the ring is dark violet on the outside with a mixture of blue and green on the inside and a touch of amber on the edge. Oh dear, this is getting very complicated. According to the color chart my mood is passionate, yet nervous, calm and relaxed. OK, I am going to accept that because I am a Gemini which is the sign of the twins, plus I am also a middle-aged lady. Really though, I think it is spot on.

I am passionate because I am doing something I love in creating this Post, nervous that I get it right and people get a smile out of it, calm because I am enjoying some hot tea, and relaxed because I am home being creative. Well there you go! Who knew that a silly little bauble could have such power…Um, this Girl knew.

Sometimes all you need is a teaspoon of faith, a cup of silliness and splash of a dream to create a recipe for a miraculous outcome. Next time you see something that speaks to you, take the journey to seek it out. You just never know the joy and amusement it could bring to you. My Mood Ring is not only a truth-teller and an accessory, but it brings me back to age 4, when anything was possible – even a ring that can show your feelings to the world. It is a precious gift to be able to share your feelings with others. So don’t hold back when it is done in kindness and fun. Be bold and transparent, like the Mood Ring, yet do it in a spirit of creating peace like the symbol that encases it. Who knew a Mood Ring could inspire all that 🙂

View My Blog live online at were you can also Join in, Like and Share Your Comments on Your Fun Finds. Happy Perks to Everyone!


Debbie Burgoon London
Your Sassy Small Town Missus from Albion

Merged lodge strengthens Masons in Medina, Middleport

Photos courtesy of Scott Mason: Members of Medina Masonic Lodge No. 336 and Middleport’s Cataract Lodge No. 295 pose for the first time as the newly consolidated Towpath Lodge.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 25 January 2020 at 8:19 pm

MIDDLEPORT – Jan. 15 will go down in history as a date two local Masonic lodges will not forget.

On that date, Middleport’s Cataract Lodge No. 295 and Medina’s Masonic Lodge No. 336 consolidated to become the Towpath Lodge No. 1193.

Like many service organizations in this day and age, members are aging and membership is declining. The Medina lodge faced the reality several years ago when it gave up its vendor space at the Orleans County 4-H Fair because they no longer had manpower to run their sausage booth (which they built and took down each year for decades).

After selling their lodge building on West Center Street in Medina, they began to explore other options.

Herb Koenig, right, installing master for ceremonies Jan. 15 in which Medina and Middleport Masonic lodges consolidated to become the Towpath Masonic Lodge, introduces the new master Matthew Flammger. At rear is the Most Worshipful James Sullivan of Lockport, who presented the charge to the brethren.

The Cataract Lodge was founded in 1853, and the Medina Lodge in 1854. The merger of these two lodges will insure they continue for many years to come.

This is the second merger Medina has gone through, having merged with the Yates Lodge when it closed in 2007.

As talks of the merger between Medina and Middleport progressed, a committee was formed to choose a new name. Scott Mason of Medina, former secretary of Medina Lodge and newly-installed secretary of the Towpath Lodge, suggested the new name, which is fitting for both villages.

Herb Koenig of Gasport, a 65-year-member of Cataract Lodge and four-time master, said the new merger expands their membership base.

“I like the name of our new lodge,” he said. “It links Medina and Middleport. We’re getting to know people from Medina we didn’t know before.”

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Members of the newly formed Towpath Masonic Lodge are installed during ceremonies Jan. 15. Here, secretary Scott Mason, standing at left, takes the oath after being escorted to the Bible by installing marshal Kevin Luckman Sr. Waiting to be installed are, seated from left, junior warden Eugene Flammger, his son and master Matthew Flammger, senior warden Robert Donovan and, treasurer Allan Kropf (behind Donovan). Seated at right is Tim McGee of Albion, a member of Albion’s Renovation Lodge and the Towpath Lodge, and his wife Myrna, who were among the evening’s visitors.

Koenig was emcee for the installation ceremonies and was also the installing officer.

“This is a very special occasion, and I’m honored I was asked to be installing officer,” he said.

After welcoming guests and members, Koenig explained the history of Freemasonry, whose roots he said are lost in antiquity.

Robert Donovan of Medina, Senior Warden of the new Towpath Masonic Lodge, stands by the roster of previous masters of Medina’s Masonic Lodge No. 336, dating back to 1854.

“Our recorded history extends backward well over 600 years,” he said.

He continued to explain that Freemasonry is a moral institution, and is not just social or merely ritualistic, but is also educational and patriotic. It is neither a secret society, a religion or a substitute for religion, although Masons do have a few signs and words of recognition which they like to keep to themselves.

As the installing master for the evening, Koenig called each officer to come forward and be sworn in. One by one, they were escorted in front of the Bible by the installing marshal, Kevin Luckman Sr.

New officers of the Towpath Lodge are Worshipful Master Matthew Flammger of Middleport, Senior Warden Robert Donovan of Medina, Junior Warden Eugene Flammger of Middleport, Treasurer Allan Kropf of Medina, Secretary Scott Mason of Medina, Senior Deacon Pritchard “Jim” Anderson of Middleport, Junior Deacon Jack Hansler of Medina, Tiler Fulton Rogers Jr. of Medina and trustees Doug Hedges of Lyndonville (three years), Herb Koenig (two years) and Alan Kozody of Medina (one year).

In addition to Koenig and Luckman, others who participated in the installation ceremony were David Pynn of Lockport, installing chaplain; Right Worshipful John Krupp, chaplain of the Sutherland Lodge in North Tonawanda, who gave the charge to the wardens; Very Worshipful Joseph Daniels from Red Jacket Lodge in Lockport, who gave the master’s charge; and the Most Worshipful James Sullivan of Lockport, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York from 2012 to 2014, who gave the charge to the brethren.

Sullivan presented a decree from the Grand Lodge, dated Dec. 18, 2019, granting approval of the consolidation. He also conveyed wishes from the Grand Master, the Most Worshipful William M. Sardone.

Sullivan believes Masonry is on the upswing in New York state. For the first time in many years, he said there is positive growth in membership.

“There are so many good things in our fraternity,” Sullivan said. “We have a new program called Coats for Kids, and we are asking members throughout the state to bring slightly used coats for children. One thing Masons do is take care of our wives, our children and our families.”

From left, the Right Worshipful John Krupp from the Sutherland Masonic Lodge in North Tonawanda, newly installed senior deacon Pritchard “Jim” Anderson and treasurer Allan Kropf salute during the installation ceremonies of the Towpath Masonic Lodge.

The Masonic fraternity also has a Brotherhood Fund, to which members donate annually. Frank Berger of Medina has been a member of the Medina Lodge since 1960 and chair of the Brotherhood Fund for 25 years. He said they have 11 different benevolences to which members may designate their donation.

Matthew Flammger in his first address as master of the new Towpath Lodge, said he had been thinking for the past few weeks about this new beginning for both lodges.

“It’s strange this has happened at the dawn of a new decade,” he said. “We have a new name and a new lodge. I look forward to being able to give the charter of Lodge No. 1193 to the next master who will lead us into the future. It is an unforgettable experience to be the first master of Towpath Lodge.”

Matthew is no stranger to Masonry. His father, Eugene Flammger, is a member of Middleport’s lodge, as was his grandfather, the late Gordon Flammger. Matthew has been master of Cataract Lodge since 2015.

Matthew Flammger of Middleport kneels before the Bible as he is sworn in as the first master of the newly consolidated Medina and Middleport Masonic lodges, to be known as the Towpath Lodge. Standing near him is Kevin Luckman Sr., installing marshal.

Matthew can expect cooperation from Masons in other local lodges to perform his official duties, including James Horncastle, master of Albion’s Renovation Lodge No. 97.

Horncastle was among representatives from several other lodges who witnessed the consolidation and installation. He said he became a Mason for friendship and brotherhood.

“For a number of years, I never had a direction in which to put my energy,” Horncastle said. “I wanted to do something for myself and my community, and I began looking for a way. I had been to the homes of several of the Masons and they had visited mine, so I already knew some of them. I wanted to be a part of the sense of community this organization engenders. Matthew was one of the first people I met when I joined Masons and I wanted to see him installed.”

Horncastle said he looks forward to working with the newly combined lodges, helping with their fundraisers and degree work.

“I know 30 or 40 years from now, I can look at their charter and say I was there,” he said. “It’s a part of history.”

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Republican leaders pick Jacobs over Ortt, 3 others for 27th seat
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 January 2020 at 6:28 pm

Chris Jacobs

The eight Republican county chairmen in the 27th Congressional District have picked Chris Jacobs, a state senator from Buffalo, to run in an upcoming special election.

The eight chairmen, including Skip Draper from Orleans County, met today at Bryncliff Golf Club in Varysburg, Wyoming County.

They chose Jacobs among a field of five candidates. The Buffalo News is reporting that State Sen. Rob Ortt was also given strong consideration and finished in a close second to Jacobs, who previously was Erie County clerk and a member of the Buffalo Board of Education.

The special election date officially hasn’t been set but is expected to be on April 28, the same date of the presidential primary. The Democratic Party is again backing Nate McMurray, who lost a very close election to Chris Collins in November 2018. Collins resigned from Congress on Sept. 30 and has been sentenced to 26 months in prison for insider trading and lying to the FBI.

Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw Jr., White House aide Jeff Freeland and former Darien Town Justice Beth Parlato also sought support from the eight chairmen.

There could be a Republican Primary on June 23, with a general election again in November for a full two-year term for the position.

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GCC professors to perform on 200th Birthday Gala for General Sherman in Ohio
Posted 25 January 2020 at 5:44 pm

Press Release, GCC

Courtesy of Genesee Community College: GCC professors Derek Maxfield, left, and Tracy Ford portray Civil War generals in a play, Rudely Stamp’d. Maxfield is General Ulysses S. Grant and Ford is General William T. Sherman. They are shown at the Morgan Manning House in Brockport.

BATAVIA – From their tiny offices on the second floor of humanities suite at Genesee Community College’s Batavia Campus, Associate Professor of History Derek Maxfield and Professor of English Tracy Ford became colleagues, then friends, and eventually formed their own theatre group, Rudely Stamp’d, where they became Generals from a bygone era.

Maxfield’s passion for history and Ford’s obsession with the written and spoken word is no longer confined to their separate classrooms, or even GCC. The dynamic duo has begun performing their unique program around the country.

The Fairfield County Heritage Association in Lancaster, Ohio, will celebrate General William T. Sherman’s 200th birthday in a grand gala on Saturday, Feb. 8, from 6 to 10 p.m. at The Mill Event Center located at 431 S. Columbus Street, in Lancaster – Sherman’s hometown. The Association has invited Rudely Stamp’d, starring Maxfield, who plays the role of General Ulysses S. Grant and Ford as General William T. Sherman to be featured as part of the celebration.

“This will be our third out-of-state performance, and Tracy and I continue to be impressed with how audiences engage with the characters, and are truly absorbed by their story,” Maxfield said. “Being asked to perform in Sherman’s hometown and on his 200th birthday is a profound honor for us.”

Performed by Rudely Stamp’d nearly two dozen times in venues across the country, “Now We Stand by Each Other Always” features conversations between Grant and Sherman at critical times during the Civil War.

Act I takes place at Vicksburg, MS, as the men plan for the fall of the city to Union forces in July 1863. Act II portrays a meeting between the generals in Cincinnati, Ohio, as the men plan for the Atlanta and Overland Campaigns in 1864. Finally, Act III takes place at City Point, Virginia, as Sherman briefs his chief about his wildly successful exploits in Georgia, during the March to the Sea, and his campaign through the Carolinas. The generals also plot an end to the remaining Confederate armies. Acts II and III will be performed at Sherman’s Birthday Celebration in Lancaster on February 8, 2020.

The Rudely Stamp’d program illustrates the collaboration, dedication and expertise of GCC professors. Maxfield and Ford combined their talents and their craft as teaching professionals to create a program that not only benefits local communities, but often provides GCC students, specifically the History Club with unique opportunities to appreciate the importance of history and its continued significance on contemporary times. Many of the performances have also engaged students in event planning, sound and light technology, public speaking and understanding the value of community collaborations, which is a key value under the College’s Mission.

While many of the local performances have been free and open to the public, tickets to the Lancaster performance are $40 each. (Available online at, or by calling the office at 740- 654-9923). The ticket cost includes hors d’oeuvres, the Rudely Stamp’d performance, a General Sherman look-alike contest, Civil War costumes and trivia contests, and much more.

For more information about the “Now We Stand by Each Other Always,” contact Maxfield at or click here. Rudely Stamp’d is also scheduled to perform in Brunswick, North Carolina on March 3.

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Big sale today in Holley to benefit 4 families affected by fire
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 January 2020 at 9:42 am

Provided photos

HOLLEY – The former St. Mary’s school in Holley on South Main Street is hosting a sale today with proceeds going to the four families affected by a Jan. 5 fire in Holley.

That blaze destroyed a 4,000-square-foot house at the corner of routes 237 and 31. The house had four apartments that were home to 11 residents, including five adults, three elementary school children, a high school senior and a baby.

Heidi Causyn, pictured, IS the lead organizer of today’s benefit from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. People are encouraged to bring their own bag. They can fill a grocery size bag and pay $5 for the items. Larger bags – up to 13-gallon garbage bag – that are filled are $10.

The sale also includes blankets, pillows, and baked goods.

“Bigger items that won’t fit in a bag we will make deals on them,” Causyn said.

The community responded in a big way with donations for the sale today, Causyn said.

Causyn also set up a GoFundMe (click here) with the funds to be shared among the four families.

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Sandstone monument at Mount Albion marks burial site of 5 English quarrymen

Photos by Tom Rivers: The gravesite of five quarrymen from England, who are buried at Mt. Albion Cemetery.

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 25 January 2020 at 8:39 am

“Overlooked Orleans” – Vol. 6, No. 4

ALBION – The use of Medina sandstone to craft headstones was rather limited in the nineteenth century. C. W. Lattin, the retired county historian, has speculated that the common use of the stone for curbing and paving blocks made the durable material undesirable for such a noble purpose.

In Orleans County, sandstone within cemeteries is often observed in hitching posts, carriage steps, and monument foundations. However, the presence of sandstone monuments became common among immigrant quarry laborers. The stone represented the livelihood of the deceased individual. It was readily accessible, often affordable, and on other occasions, a quarry owner might gift a slab of stone for use in the case of an untimely death. This particular monument at Mt. Albion Cemetery represents a rather unusual occurrence. Five English quarrymen are buried on this lot with this large, beautiful sandstone monument erected to their memory by friends and fellow quarry laborers.

William Kendall died from a long-term illness on July 5, 1883.

On May 3, 1883, the Medina Tribune recorded the death of a man named “Fred” Long who died at Pt. Breeze. At the age of 21, Long was fishing with friends in a boat between the piers on the Oak Orchard River when the boat suddenly filled with water. The vessel capsized and Long’s two fishing companions were rescued with ropes from bystanders. Unfortunately, Long drowned as a result of the accident.

Albert Long was born at Bradford, Yorkshire, England and appears in the 1881 England Census, employed as a stone dresser and living with his grandparents, John and Hannah Smith. The whereabouts of his parents are unknown, but it appears as though he was sent to live with his maternal grandparents at an early age. Long appears on the April 13, 1883 manifest of the R.M.S. City of Richmond, traveling in steerage quarters and listing his employment as a mason. This information is confirmed by his notice of death in the April 27, 1883 edition of the Jamestown Evening Journal, which notes that he arrived in the U.S. just two weeks prior. It is believed that a son, John Albert Long, was born to his widow in England in August of 1883.

The second of the men listed is William Kendall, born in 1824 at Baildon, Yorkshire, England. He appears on the May 9, 1883 manifest of the S.S. Sardinia as a mason traveling from England and he appears in the 1881 England Census in Yorkshire, married to Mary Halliday. According to the Orleans Republican, Kendall was suffering from a long-term illness and his son Thomas, already living in Orleans County, coaxed his father to the U.S. in the hopes of improving his condition. On July 5, 1883, Kendall succumbed to his illness. His funeral was held in Christ Church and a procession of over 100 Englishmen followed the casket to the cemetery. Kendall left his widow in England, just eight weeks after his arrival in the U.S.

The third name listed on the stone is that of Bottomley Boothman. Born in 1847 at Bradford, Yorkshire, England, Boothman’s family consisted of his wife, Mary Duckett, three sons, and a daughter. Very little is known about the circumstances surrounding his death. However, on August 15, 1883, a local brief in the Orleans Republican notes that “The body of an Englishman killed in the eastern part of the state was brought here yesterday for burial in the Englishmen’s lot at Mt. Albion.” A notation in a later obituary for Gilbert Dobson suggests that Boothman was killed while attempting to jump a train. The lack of a detailed obituary was likely the result of an absence of family in the U.S.

Gilbert Dobson, born in 1848 at Bradford, Yorkshire, England to Samuel and Hannah Hainsworth Dobson, was the fourth of five Englishmen to be buried on this lot. A lengthy article in the Medina Tribune on October 25, 1883 thoroughly documented the events leading up to his death just four days earlier. An employee of the Albion Medina Stone Company and working out of the Goodrich Quarry, Dobson left work early to board a train for Holley. As he reached Main Street, the train had just left the Clinton Street station and was crossing east. Although bystanders advised against it, Dobson attempted to board the train by grabbing the guard on the side of the rear car but lost his footing. As he fell under the car, the rear wheels passed over his legs, severed his left foot at the ankle, and crushed his right leg below the knee.

Dobson was carried to the Clinton Street station where his legs were bandaged and physicians summoned. The paper wrote, “He lingered along for a number of hours and died during the night – a merciful thing to one so horribly mangled.” Dr. Samuel Cochrane summoned a coroner’s jury, which issued a verdict of accidental death. Dobson was expected to return to England in the following weeks to visit his wife and children. Following his death, fellow quarry laborers collected $100 to send home to his family.

The final death, that of Charles Cock, remains a mystery. According to the inscription, he was born in 1861 and died August 15, 1884, but little information can be found concerning his life, his arrival in the U.S., and his eventual death. It is likely that his death, whether natural or accidental, was overshadowed by the extensive coverage of the Albert Warner case in Albion (v.2, no.45).

The monument represents a rather unusual set of unfortunate circumstances that claimed the lives of several English immigrants. In the absence of their families, fellow quarrymen raised the funds to purchase this lot and erect this monument to the memory of those so far from home. As the Medina Tribune wrote, “Who can picture the grief of that family across the waters, when they shall learn that he who was preparing them a home in this land of ours, is numbered with the dead?”

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County officials see lots of progress in Orleans
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 January 2020 at 9:48 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: Orleans County Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson said the county has stayed under the tax cap while tackling several important infrastructure projects.

GAINES – Orleans County is seeing progress on many fronts, Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson told about 100 people today during the annual Orleans County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon.

The county has stayed under the state-imposed tax cap while maintaining services to residents and tackling infrastructure projects, including bridge and culvert replacements. The county last year also completed an $11 million addition to the County Administration Building, with the state paying more than $3 million of the project.

Johnson said the state and Gov. Cuomo have been attentive to the county, repaving some of the neglected Lake Ontario State Parkway, authorizing $10.7 million to overhaul seven canal bridges, and most recently approving $17 million for projects along Lake Ontario.

“There is so much good happening in Orleans County,” Johnson told the crowd at Tillman’s Village Inn. “There are so many reasons to stay in Orleans County. Orleans County is a great place to live, work and play.”

The $17 million in funding announced on Oct. 23 is part of the first round of funding under the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative and improve public land and infrastructure, including roads, a new sewer system in Kendall and Hamlin, and an improved Yates Town Park.

County Legislator Ken DeRoller said the local communities have an opportunity to use state funds for projects along the Lake Ontario shoreline and also in better utilizing the Erie Canal.

The state also awarded Orleans a $5,897,141 grant for four new radio towers, accompanying communication shelters, technology to connect separate radio systems and new radio channels. The project will strengthen communications between multiple jurisdictions and agencies. Three of the towers will be 180 feet high and they will be located by the Public Safety Building on Route 31 in Albion, Millers Road in Yates near the water tank, and at the Kendall Central School near the bus garage. The other tower will be 150 feet high and will be near the Holley water tank on Route 237.

The governor also announced $300 million will be available to Erie Canal communities to better utilize and promote the canal.

Johnson also noted the Leadership Orleans program is equipping about 25 people a year to better understand the needs and strengths of businesses, non-profits and government agencies in the county. The third class of the year-long program just started.

A new hotel on Maple Ridge Road in Medina also will open this year. Cobblestone Suites and its 58-room hotel should keep visitors in Orleans longer.

The Orleans Economic Development Agency also is working with a business that could add 200 jobs in Albion, Johnson said.

The Legislature chairwoman said the county continues to pursue grants to expand high-speed internet. It has been a nearly decade-long quest to expand high-speed internet. She is optimistic for good news the service will be expanded in the county.

The Legislature also is interviewing candidates to serve as the county’s chief administrative officer. Chuck Nesbitt served in the role for 14 ½ years before leaving last month for a job in the private sector.

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Mustangs hand Purple Eagles first N-O loss
By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 24 January 2020 at 8:42 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Brian Fry drives in for a layup as Albion’s Deyonci Farley tries to defend during the host Mustangs win over the rival Purple Eagles this evening..

Avenging an early season loss (70-66) Medina handed rival Albion its first Niagara-Orleans League loss as the Mustangs downed the visiting Purple Eagles 70-59 this evening.

Albion slips to 7-1 in N-O action while Medina regains the .500 mark at 4-4.

Nate Sherman scored  game high 23 points and Brian Fry had 16 to lead the Medina attack as Joe Cecchini chipped in with 8, Jarin Rhim 7, Tyler Chinn 6, Dontae Rhim 5, Christian Drisdom 3 and Matt Henning 2.

Liam Ward netted 15, Deyonci Farley 14 and Bailey Blanchard 13 to set the pace for Albion as Anthony Freeman added 6, Xavier Cornick and Elijah Lloyd 4 and Chris Shabazz 3.

Medina’s Dontae Rhim tries to go up for a shot as Albion defenders Anthony Freeman and Xavier Cornick go up to block.

Medina jumped out to  a seven point, 18-11, first quarter lead as Sherman hit two threes and Fry one.

The Mustangs extended the lead to 12 three times in the second period before Albion cut the deficit in half, 37-31, at the half after back-to-back late threes by Farley and Freeman.

Sherman and Fry each had a three and a two in the period for the Mustangs as Jarin Rhim added a pair of layups and Drisdom a 3.

Putting together a 10-4 run at the outset of the third period, which included two buckets by Sherman and one each by Chinn and Jarin Rhim, Medina moved back out to a 12 point, 47-35, lead.

Albion though again came battling back, this time with an 8-0 run on tallies by Farley, Cornick, Blanchard and Shabazz to slice the deficit to just four, 47-43.

Medina though gained a little breathing room as a layup by Sherman and a free throw by Fry put the Mustangs up by seven, 50-43, at the three-quarter mark.

Keeping the momentum, the Mustangs then opened the final period with a key 8-0 run which included a three by Fry and rebound buckets by Sherman and Cecchini, to extend the advantage back out to 15, 58-43, with 5:20 remaining.

Back-to-back threes by Blanchard and Freeman briefly pulled Albion back to within 10, 59-49, but Sherman answered with a three-point play and then a layup to quickly vault Medina back out to a 15, point, 64-49, advantage with 2:45 remaining.

Albion did cut the deficit to nine, 65-56, with 1:33 remaining after  7-1 run which included a layup and two free throws by Farley.

However, the Purple Eagles would get no closer as a rebound bucket by Cecchini with 1:16 to go which put Medina back up by 12, 68-56, put a lock on the victory.

(Click here to see a video of Albion’s Liam Ward going in for a layup.)

(Click here to see a video of Medina’s Brian Fry hitting a 3 pointer.)

Albion’s Liam Ward goes up for a shot as Nate Sherman and Joe Cecchini defend for Medina.

Albion man among big crowd at March for Life in DC
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 January 2020 at 6:50 pm

Photo courtesy of Tim Archer

ALBION – Tim Archer (left), an Albion Middle School teacher, was in Washington, D.C. today for the March for Life. Archer meets up each year at the march with a group of families with loved ones who have Down Syndrome.

He is shown with Steve and Eileen Haupt with their 21-year-old daughter, Sadie. They run the nationwide group KIDS – Keep Infants with Down Syndrome. Archer has a nephew with Down Syndrome.

Today was the 47thannual March for Life, and for the first time included a speech from the U.S. President. Donald Trump addressed the group.

The March for Life was organized in response to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

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Medina will try again for $10 million state downtown revitalization grant
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 January 2020 at 11:11 am

Courtesy of Village of Medina, DRI application: The Village of Medina wants to improve public access to the Medina Waterfalls by constructing an elevated platform from the towpath. That project was part of Medina’s application for $10 million in DRI funding.

MEDINA – Gov. Andrew Cuomo is making $10 million available again to 10 downtown districts around the state.

Medina has tried for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, but has been denied. Last year it was a finalist but missed out on the grant to Seneca Falls.

Medina Mayor Michael Sidari said Medina will try again for the funding.

“Absolutely we definitely are,” Sidari said today. “We’ll see what else we can do to make it a better plan.”

Sidari said the Medina team working on the project will look at the winning applications from other communities in recent years.

The new application will likely be due in June. The governor announced Seneca Falls as the winner last Nov. 6.

Medina has hired Bergmann Associates to help with the application.

The state has been approving $10 million annually for a downtown in each of the 10 regions of the state. NY considers Medina and Orleans County to be in the Finger Lakes region/

This will be the fifth round of the DRI, where communities submit applications and the state decides the winner. Previous $10 million grant winners in the Finger Lakes region include the City of Geneva in 2016, the City of Batavia in 2017, the Village of Penn Yan in 2018 and Seneca Falls last year.

Medina put together an application last year with projects that that would have improved the downtown business district, the waterfront by the canal, created public access by the water falls, expanded housing opportunities, and added tourism amenities and attractions.

The governor’s budget also includes about $750 million to fund projects identified by the Regional Economic Development Councils. That program is now in its 10thyear.

“Our targeted economic development approach is working all across the State, creating new jobs, revitalizing communities and boosting local economies,” Governor Cuomo said. “This significant investment will be used to fund more rounds of the successful Downtown Revitalization Initiative and Regional Economic Development Councils and continue our State’s unprecedented growth.”

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Brockport college president honored with ATHENA award
Staff Reports Posted 24 January 2020 at 8:03 am

Photo courtesy of Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce: The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and its Women’s Council affiliate presented ATHENA awards on Thursday to, from left: Kimberly Jones, CEO of Butler/Till Media Services; Dr. Heidi Macpherson, president of The College at Brockport – State University of New York; and  Julie Camardo, Zweigle’s owner and CEO.

ROCEHSTER – Dr. Heidi Macpherson, president of The College at Brockport, was presented with the ATHENA International Award on Thursday by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and its Women’s Council affiliate.

The award is given annually to a professional female leader who has demonstrated significant achievements in business, community service, and the professional advancement of women.

Macpherson is the seventh president of The College at Brockport and the first woman to hold this role. Macpherson has 25 years of experience in higher education as an English professor and administrator in both the United States and England, having previously held positions of Provost, Pro Vice Chancellor, and Dean.

She has written or edited seven books, including a three-volume encyclopedia set. She is the chair of the Rochester Area Colleges Presidents Network. She has held a number of positions on national education bodies and volunteer boards in the UK, Wisconsin, and New York.

Currently she serves as co-chair of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and on the boards of the Rochester and Monroe County YWCA, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, the Willow Domestic Violence Center, the United Way of Greater Rochester, and Roc the Future Convenors Group. She is also an active member of Rotary International.

The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce also on Thursday presented its ATHENA Young Professional Award to Julie Camardo, the fifth-generation owner and CEO of Zweigle’s.

The ATHENA Young Professional Award recognizes emerging leaders in the 30 to 45 year old range who demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession. Recipients also provide valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life of others in the community while serving as a role model for young women both personally and professionally.

Camardo started in the office environment and then transitioned to sales while both her grandfather and mother were still at Zweigle’s. In 2005, Camardo was named vice president. She took over as president of Zweigle’s in 2009 after her mother passed away. In 2015, the Zweigle’s Board of Directors named her CEO.

Under Camardo, Zweigle’s expanded two times and has grown in product diversification, sales and employees. The company is guided by four core values of quality, caring, accountability, and integrity, each representative of one of the prior generations.

Camardo is committed to the community where she lives. She sits on the boards of the MCC Foundation, ESL, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Holy Childhood, and Special Touch Bakery. She is a strong supporter of the Golisano Children’s Hospital, Susan B. Anthony House, United Way, and The Strong.  She is also a current member of the Vistage organization.

The ATHENA Organizational Award was presented to Butler/Till Media Services. The award goes to a woman-owned or woman-led business or organization that creates a culture encouraging women employees to achieve their full leadership potential and supports leadership development opportunities for women and girls in the community.

Butler/Till is home to more than 150 employees, of which 65% are female. It remains headquartered in Rochester and has added satellite offices in New York City and San Francisco. With a strong women leadership team as a significant driver of organizational growth and prosperity at Butler/Till, the company has experienced double-digit revenue increases in each of the past eight years.

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Chap’s Elba Diner will serve free meal to homeless on Jan. 30 at Hoag Library
Posted 23 January 2020 at 5:54 pm

Press Release, Independent Living of the Genesee Region

ALBION – Independent Living of the Genesee Region, along with event co-sponsor the Homeless Alliance of WNY, are delighted and grateful to welcome Chap’s Elba Diner as a meal sponsor for the Orleans County Project Connect on Thursday, January 30.

This event was created to provide resources to people experiencing housing instability, maintaining gainful employment, and obtaining needed healthcare. They will also be served a hot meal, with access to local available resources to assist with housing, employment, healthcare, and other needs, from 1 to 3 p.m., at Hoag Library, 134 South Main St., Albion.

Signing up for a session in advance is encouraged but not required. For more information or to register, please contact: Amber Mesita at (585) 815-8501, ext. 417 or email her at

Independent Living of the Genesee Region is a member of the Western New York Independent Living, Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

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State will spend $1.9 million to repave part of 31A, from 98 to Medina
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 January 2020 at 5:46 pm

(Editor’s Note: This article was updated to state the repaving will be on Route 31A and not Route 98.)

The state Department of Transportation plans to spend $1.9 million to repave Route 31A from Route 98 to Route 31 in Medina, about a 10-mile stretch of the road.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the project today as part of $151 million in paving work for 95 projects in the state. The governor said the projects are in response to extreme weather events.

This new funding, provided through the PAVE NY Initiative, complements $743 million in direct State aid provided for local road and bridge projects that helped renew approximately 3,700 lane miles of road across New York State.

“New York continues to make nation-leading investments in the renewal and modernization of the State’s roads, bridges, transit systems and airports,” Governor Cuomo said. “These investments are laying the foundation to ensure sustained growth throughout the 21st century in tourism, business and workforce development, and economic opportunities.”

This sustained infrastructure investment will enhance the safety of the State’s highways and reduce roadway roughness, making these pavements more fuel efficient. The projects announced today will begin this spring and will be completed during the winter of 2020.

“The increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather has had devastating impacts on the State’s transportation network,” said State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez. “Through the renewal and hardening of our State’s infrastructure, New York continues to support the rejuvenation of our local communities and regional economic growth.”

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2 plead guilty in county court and could face prison sentences
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 January 2020 at 5:27 pm

ALBION – Two people pleaded guilty in Orleans County Court as second-felony offenders and could be sentenced to prison.

John Crossley, 68, of Medina pleaded guilty in court today to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. He admitted to having crack cocaine with the intent to sell it.

He faces up to 1 ½ years in prison plus 1 to 2 years of post-release supervision when he is sentenced by County Court Judge Sanford Church on April 2.

In court on Wednesday, Michael Dubuc, 41, of Niagara Falls pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the fourth-degree. He admitted to be part of a group of three that stole three dirt bikes from a Ridgeway garage on Oct. 16, 2018.

He could face 1 ½ to 3 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 19. He was to go to trial beginning on Jan. 27 before pleading guilty on Wednesday. Dubuc was facing charges of third-degree burglary, third-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree criminal mischief.

A Medina man was sentenced to 60 days in jail and 3 years of probation for endangering the welfare of a child. Kyle Allport, 34, was facing a charge first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. He pleaded guilty to the reduced charge, which is a misdemeanor.

Allport is accused of inappropriately touching a 6-year-old girl in August 2016. He maintained his innocence and entered an Alford plea, where he pleads guilty without admitting guilt.

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