Medina’s $39.9 million school budget passes with 84% in favor
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2022 at 8:34 pm

MEDINA – The school district’s proposed $39,884,316 budget passed easily today with 247 voted in favor and 45 against.

That’s an 84 percent approval rate despite a budget with a 2 percent tax increase, the first in a decade in Medina.

Mark Kruzynski, the district superintendent, said the “runaway escalation of utility costs” is the biggest factor in the tax increase. The district still remains below the state-imposed tax cap, he said.

He is grateful the budget passed by a more than 5-to-1 ratio.

“We are very appreciative of the community’s continual support of our district,” he said this evening after the votes were counted.

The budget maintains all programs and staffing, increases student support services, purchases three large school buses and one wheelchair bus, adds new cafeteria tables for Oak Orchard Primary School, and returns a high school musical to the Medina auditorium.

Two candidates – Scott Robinson and Debra Tompkins – ran for two three-year terms on the Board of Education. Robinson received 239 votes and Tompkins had 236. Tompkins is a current board member and Robinson is new. The terms start July 1.

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Biden in Buffalo decries racist hate, urges nation to reject white supremacy

President Joe Biden is joined by First Lady Jill Biden at the Delavan Grider Community Center in Buffalo today. (Photos by Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2022 at 6:10 pm

BUFFALO – President Joe Biden was in Buffalo today to mourn with the families who lost loved ones on Saturday in a mass shooting at a Tops grocery store.

Biden also delivered remarks at the Delavan Grider Community Center in Buffalo and decried the “domestic terrorism” from the 18-year-old gunman from the Binghamton area.

That man, who surrendered to police and is in custody, targeted the store because it’s in a predominantly Black neighborhood. The gunman drove 200 miles to attack innocent people in a grocery store.

President Joe Biden greets a child while in Buffalo today.

Biden rebuked the white supremacy ideology that authorities say fueled the attack and poisoned the mind of the gunman.

Biden said “angry, alienated, lost and isolated individuals” are being radicalized into believing “replacement theory,” which depicts minorities as threats to overtaking white people. Biden faulted the media, political figures and the internet for fueling these thoughts.

“I call on all Americans to reject the lie, and I condemn those who spread the lie for power, political gain and for profit,” Biden said.

The president said he will call on Congress to keep assault weapons off the streets and fight how the internet is often used “to recruit and mobilize terrorism.” He called on Americans to reject white supremacy.

“In America evil will not win,” Biden said. “I promise you. Hate will not prevail, and white supremacy will not have the last word.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul, U.S. Senate Majority leader Charles Schumer, and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand also spoke at the Delavan Grider Community Center. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Congressman Brian Higgins also gave remarks.

“This should not just provoke a conversation in this community, this needs to stimulate a national conversation about how we make sure that we’re doing everything we humanly can to eradicate this evil and send it back under the rock from which it came,” Hochul said. “That is what we must do in our nation; continue to work on the access to guns. Yes, the gun he acquired was illegal in the state of New York, but it still had the capacity to kill people. But you couple that with an illegal magazine from another state you brought in literally minutes away in Pennsylvania. Do you know how easy that is? That’s why we need a national gun policy that’s common sense like we have here in New York. We need this everywhere.”

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Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund created to assist victims, families in mass shooting
Posted 17 May 2022 at 5:39 pm

Press Release, Tops Friendly Markets

WILLIAMSVILLE – On May 14, the Buffalo community suffered a devastating act of violence when a gunman opened fire at the Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue on the East Side of the city, killing ten people and wounding three. Many have asked how to help.

In partnership with Tops, the National Compassion Fund has established the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund to provide direct financial assistance to the survivors of the deceased and those directly affected by this tragedy. Tops has seeded this Survivors Fund with $500,000 to get it started.

“What happened was ruthless and heartbreaking,” said John Persons, President of Tops Friendly Markets. “Those that lost their lives will forever be in our hearts and will never be forgotten. Tops is committed to supporting those families affected and to help the community grieve and heal from this tragic event. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and we thank everyone for their incredible kindness.”

One hundred percent of the contributions donated to this Survivors Fund will go directly to families of those deceased as well as those injured, and those who were present in the store and experienced psychological trauma.

It is also our sincere hope to partner with many local and business leaders on this fund-raising endeavor. Qualifying charitable donations to this fund are tax deductible.

To make an online contribution, visit Fundraiser by National Compassion Fund: Buffalo Survivors Fund ( or to write a check or for funds electronic transfer information, visit Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund – National Compassion Fund.

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GCC seeks nominations for Alumni Hall of Fame
Posted 17 May 2022 at 1:23 pm

Press Release, Genesee Community College Foundation

BATAVIA – The Genesee Community College Foundation invites nominations for its Alumni Hall of Fame, which recognizes graduates who have achieved outstanding success and made a lasting impact on their community.

The GCC Foundation intends to induct the next class of nominees during the fall of 2022 semester.

“We encourage those who know outstanding graduates to nominate them now,” said Lori Aratari, Alumni Hall of Fame chair. “We know there are a lot of deserving graduates out there, and we are eager to honor more of GCC’s best and brightest.”

Nomination forms can be downloaded from GCC’s Foundation website by clicking here or email

GCC introduced the Alumni Hall of Fame in 2007. In over 14 years, the college has recognized 43 outstanding graduates in a variety of fields, from law enforcement to economic development.

“The success of these graduates serves as an inspiration to all of us here at the college and the community at large,” Aratari said.

The criteria for nominating an individual to the Alumni Hall of Fame are based on the individual’s contributions to his or her profession, distinguished service to the community and/or service to Genesee Community College. Nominees must be well-established in their professional lives, having completed their GCC degree at least ten years prior to nomination.

Nominations may be submitted by the nominee or by friends, family or other colleagues who are familiar with the nominee. New inductees will be honored at a reception, and their photo and a short biography will be displayed in the Alumni Hall of Fame, located on the second floor of the Conable Technology Building.

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Murray appoints 3 to boards at Town Hall
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2022 at 1:10 pm

MURRAY – The Town Board filled three spots in the town government on Monday.

Scott Lang was appointed to the Planning Board, John Rich was named to Board of Assessment Review and Dan Seeler was appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The town advertised the positions but only had three people show interest, said Mike Mele, a town councilman.

The Town Board also authorized Highway Superintendent Dirk Lammes to spend $235,000 in highway funding for 2022.

The board also rescinded a resolution to borrow money for a $119,000 to purchase a new loader backhoe. The interest rate have changed from 2.9 percent to nearly 5 percent. The town has the money in its fund balance and will pay for the loader backhoe without borrowing.

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Murray town justices urge opposition to district court
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2022 at 9:38 am

Spada and Passarell say district court would cost much more, be less responsive to community

Photos by Tom Rivers: Murray Town Justices Gary Passarell, right, and Ted Spada speak against a district court in Orleans County, saying it would cost much more to operate with less local accountability.

MURRAY – The town’s justices, Gary Passarell and Ted Spada, said they are strongly opposed to a district court coming to Orleans County, saying it will be more costly to operate, driving up local property taxes.

A district court judge could cost close to $300,000 for salary and benefits, and that person would have to be an attorney, Spada said.

The clerks would also be paid about $80,000 in salary. There would be mandated costs for security, stenographers, language interpreters and computer and facility upgrades.

“It would be a very poor business decision and would defy common sense,” Spada said about a district court.

The possibility of a district court has been suggested by District Attorney Joe Cardone and Public Defender Joanne Best, who say those courts would provide more equitable justice throughout the county. State aid would pick up some of the higher costs to operate a district court, Cardone and Best have said.

Murray Town Justice Ted Spada said a district court would be far more costly with higher-paid judges, clerks and other personnel.

Spada and Passarell are two of 12 town justices in the county. Passarell is retiring on Dec. 31 after 33 years on the bench. They are members of the Orleans County Magistrates Association, where all 12 justices oppose a district court.

“These are the courts closest to the people,” Passarell said about the town courts. “The town justices have a better grasp of common sense and their communities.”

A district court needs to include at least two towns. One district court could be enough for the entire county, or perhaps there could be two or three district courts, Cardone and Best have suggested.

Cardone and Best, during an April 27 meeting with the County Legislature and many of the town justices, said they are just trying to get a discussion going about the issue.

County Legislator John Fitzak attended the Murray meeting and he said the district court has a long way to go if it becomes a reality in the county.

“This is in its infancy beyond infancy,” Fitzak said. “Nothing is set in stone.”

If it moves forward Fitzak said there will be many public hearings and referendums in each for voters to have their say. Right now there isn’t enough information about the costs of the court and how it could work to have an informed discussion, he said.

He would like to see the town justices, district attorney and public defender get in the same room and discuss the issue at length.

“We’re all trying to make the system work,” Fitzak said.

Spada and the Magistrates have compiled a database on what the current town courts cost versus the costs of a district court.

Spada said a district court would cost $973,726 for one serving the four central towns of Barre, Albion, Gaines and Carlton. That’s four times the current expense of $245,235 for running the courts in the four towns, Spada said. This does not include the costs of infrastructure to bring the buildings up to regulations for a district court.

Two district courts at the west end (Ridgeway, Shelby and Yates) and the central towns (Barre, Albion, Gaines and Carlton) would cost $1,947,452 versus the $451,435 in the actual town budgets for 2022, Spada told county legislators on April 27 and again on Monday during the Murray Town Board meeting.

If there were three districts courts – west, central and east – The cost would be $2,921,177 compared to $562,127 to operate 10 town courts, and that doesn’t include the building upgrades that would be needed, Spada said.

If there were three district courts Spada said it would increase the county tax rate by $1.58 per $1,000 of assessed property or about 15 percent. The current tax rate is $10.09. The rate has gone up 60 cents in the past 10 years.

He said the local towns have worked to reduce their court costs. Eight of the 10 towns are down from two to one judge. Murray will go to one when Passarell retires.

“Orleans County is a relatively poor county,” Passarell said. “To burden them with the startup costs (and ongoing expense of a district court) would be an abomination.”

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Sidonio again refuses to resign as Murray town supervisor after majority of board votes for him to go

Photos by Tom Rivers: Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio apologized his comments in private conversations with a local resident but won’t be resigning. Councilman Paul Hendel said Sidonio’s behavior sets a bad example for the community. “Leaders set standards,” Hendel said.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2022 at 8:57 am

MURRAY – The majority of the Town Board voted on Monday for Joe Sidonio to resign as town supervisor, saying he has used racial slurs and demeaning language about women and town employees in recordings of phone conversations with a local resident.

Sidonio refused to resign on Monday, the second straight Town Board meeting where board members Paul Hendel, Randy Bower and Lloyd Christ voted for Sidonio to resign as town supervisor.

Mike Mele, a councilman and deputy town supervisor, abstained because he said he would become town supervisor if Sidonio resigns.

Sidonio apologized again for “unsavory language” but said he didn’t do anything illegal in what he thought were private conversations with a local resident. He said the effort to oust him from the board is “politics.”

Several residents spoke at Monday’s meeting, with some siding with Sidonio and others blaming the three board members for drawing negative attention on the town when they likely say things privately they wouldn’t want broadcast to the community.

Betty Passarell, mother of Town Clerk Cindy Oliver and former assessor Louise Passarell, called Sidonio “a disgusting human being” for his comments about her daughters.

She also said he was wrong to share discussions in executive session with the resident who was taping the phone conversations.

Louise Passarell said the taped conversations show “the real Joe” who body shames, harasses and bullies many of the town employees.

“It’s disgraceful and embarrassing to have him as a leader,” she said. “This isn’t one conversation. It’s multiple conversations over many months.”

Jeff Lipson said all of the board members, if fully scrutinized, have done embarrassing things.

Councilman Bower, a retired Orleans County sheriff, said Sidonio’s use of the N-word and other comments show him to be a racist who should not be in public office.

“I will never support a racist,” Bower said during Monday’s board meeting.

“I’m not a racist,” Sidonio responded.

Bower said if the public could hear Sidonio’s demeaner and his words in the conversations there wouldn’t be support for him.

Jeff Lipson stood up and said all of the board members have transgressions and shouldn’t single out Sidonio.

“I know things about all of you,” he said.

Ron Vendetti, the retired town code enforcement officer, said all five members of the board should resign.

“He may have said stupid things but none of you will would work with him,” Vendetti said during the public comment part of the meeting. “Just do your jobs.”

He faulted the board for walking out of last month’s meeting before finishing town business.

“The bottom line is stop fighting and being a bunch of babies,” Vendetti said.

He said he is angry his name was included in an official resolution from last month, calling for Sidonio’s resignation.

Vendetti said he shouldn’t be “dragged through the mud,” especially now that he is retired and no longer working for the town.

He told Councilman Hendel he shows “amazing arrogance.” Hendel introduced the resolution last month and on Monday calling for Sidonio’s resignation.

Hendel during Monday’s meeting started the discussion about Sidonio by saying the Marine Corps recently relieved a two-star general who used the N-word.

Hendel said Murray should follow the Marine Corps example of taking “quick and powerful actions” and showing no tolerance for racial slurs.

Hendel said the mass shooting in Buffalo on Saturday, where 10 people were killed in a racially motivated attack, makes him more convinced there can’t be any tolerance for racial slurs.

“This is nothing about politics,” Hendel said. “This is about leadership. Leaders set standards. There is no place in the Town of Murray or Orleans County for the behavior of our current leader.”

Amy Machamer, Sidonio’s wife, spoke during the meeting and said her husband is a person who goes out of his way to help all residents, regardless of their background and circumstances.

She said the board has targeted her business, Hurd Orchards. One of the board members came to her farm the day before Easter and said she would have protestors at the business if Sidonio didn’t resign. If he stepped down, the board member told Machamer “it all goes away” without being made public, Machamer said.

One resident Anthony Peone, urged the board, if it is serious about having Sidonio resign, to start a petition to have him removed from office. But Peone said he doubts the board is serious about the issue and is instead grandstanding.

Town Clerk Cindy Oliver said she has tried to be fair with Sidonio.

“We all say bad things,” she said. “But to hear what he called me is disgusting. I’m not even comfortable being here.”

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Voters go to polls for school budgets, propositions and BOE candidates

Photo by Tom Rivers: Albion school district’s new electronic sign on Route 31 promotes the budget vote on Tuesday from noon to 8 p.m.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 May 2022 at 10:23 pm

ALBION – Residents in the five school districts in Orleans County will go to the polls Tuesday (May 17) to vote yes or no for school budgets and propositions, and also to elect members to the boards of education.

None of the districts are proposing tax increase more than 2 percent.

Eligible voters need to be a citizen of the United States, at least 18 years old and a resident of the district for at least 30 days before the vote.

Here are snapshots from each district:

ALBION – The district is proposing a $38,298,690 budget that doesn’t increase taxes. The budget keeps the tax levy at $8,449,039. This is the 14th time in the past 16 years that taxes have either stayed the same or decreased.

Voting is from noon to 8 p.m. in the elementary school gym.

Albion also is presenting a proposition to establish a Capital Improvements Reserve Fund for acquisition, construction, reconstruction, expansion, renovation, alteration and improvements of buildings, facilities, sites and real property in the district, or the district’s share of any projects undertaken by the Orleans-Niagara BOCES. The district wishes to cap the amount at $15 million.

Albion is proposing to transfer $13,831,050 to that capital fund from the District’s Retirement Contribution Reserve Fund. That is the amount the state comptroller’s office said the account is overfunded.

Other propositions include bus purchases at $550,000 and $648,964 for Hoag Library. The money for the library is down 10.3 percent after Hoag paid off its mortgage.

Two board seats also will be up for election. They are currently filled by Kathy Harling and Wayne Wadhams. Both positions are five-year terms. Wadhams is seeking re-election. Former board member Kevin Doherty also is on the ballot. Ocie Bennett is mounting a write-in campaign.

HOLLEY – The district is proposing a $26,982,000 budget for 2022-23 that would increase taxes by 1.95 percent.

Voting will be in person at the Holley Middle School/High School from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The tax levy increase is below the district’s allowable tax cap of 2.793 percent, said Sharon Zacher, the district’s assistant superintendent for business.

The budget maintains all current educational programs and represents a 3.18 percent budget-to-budget increase. Zacher said contractual obligations and inflation of supplies and materials are the main reasons for the budget going up.

The ballot also includes a proposition to establish a capital improvements reserve fund at a maximum of $6 million. Zacher said the fund is needed as the district begins to prepare for the next capital improvement project.

Proposition 3 is to authorize purchasing new school buses as a maximum of $334,000.

Proposition 4 would be authorizing the district to collect $194,966 for Community Free Library, which is up from the $189,287 for 2021-22.

There are two candidates for two three-year terms on the Board of Education – Tracy Van Ameron and Anne Winkley. Van Ameron and Winkley both are currently on the board, and Winkley is the vice president.

KENDALL – The Board of Education and school administrators have put together a $19,822,921 budget for 2022-23 that doesn’t increase taxes.

Voting will be from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Kendall Town Hall, 1873 Kendall Rd.

The budget keeps the tax levy at $4,964,656, and decreases spending by $157,808 to $19,822,921.

There will be four propositions on the ballot on May 17. The budget is proposition one.

Proposition two is to spend up to $250,000 from a Transportation Bus Reserve Fund to replace transportation vehicles of the district.

Proposition three establish a Capital Reserve Fund for up to $5 million for a future capital project.

Proposition four is electing a member to the Board of Education for a five-year term. Current board member Lisa Levett, who is the board president, is running unopposed.

LYNDONVILLE – The district is presenting a $15,704,953 budget that increases spending by 2.9 percent or by $438,157 from 2021-22.

The budget calls for a 2 percent tax increase, or by $90,564 to $4,618,740 for the tax levy.

Voting will be from noon to 8 p.m. in the Stroyan Auditorium.

The budget maintains all current programs, including music, athletics and extracurriculars, and also keeps a school resource officer and on-campus space for a mental health counselor.

“The proposed 2022-23 school budget allows for a rigorous instructional program, while providing for the health and safety of all our students,” Sharon Smith, interim district superintendent, said in the budget newsletter.

Besides the budget, there are propositions to collect $119,183 for the Yates Community Free Library (up from $116,718 in 2021-22) and to spend up to $145,000 for a 64-seat passenger bus.

Four people are running for three spots on the Board of Education, including James Houseman and incumbents Vernon Fonda, Harold Suhr and Kristin Nicholson. The terms are for three years.

MEDINA – The district is proposing a $39,884,316 school budget that calls for a 2 percent tax increase, the first in a decade in Medina.

The board and Mark Kruzynski, the district superintendent, said the “runaway escalation of utility costs” is the biggest factor in the tax increase. The district still remains below the state-imposed tax cap, Kruzynski said.

Voting is from noon to 8 p.m. at the District Office Board Room.

The budget represents a 1.43% increase over 2021-2022. The proposed budget maintains all programs and staffing, increases student support services, purchases three large school buses and one wheelchair bus, adds new cafeteria tables for Oak Orchard Primary School, and returns a high school musical to the Medina auditorium.

The tax levy, what Medina collects in taxes, increases from $8,641,861 to $8,814,697.

Two candidates – Scott Robinson and Debra Tompkins – are running for two three-year terms on the Board of Education.

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Ortt, NY Republican leaders want death penalty for those who commit mass murder
Posted 16 May 2022 at 6:07 pm

Press Release, NY Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt

ALBANY – Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt and Assembly Republican Leader Will A. Barclay today introduced legislation that would bring capital punishment back to New York State in the wake of this weekend’s tragic mass shooting in Buffalo.

The bill would reinstate capital punishment in cases of mass murder, fatal hate crimes, and acts of terrorism, among other acts of extreme violence.

“Some crimes are truly unforgivable,” Ortt said. “This past weekend in Buffalo, a crime of unforgivable magnitude occurred when a hate-filled terrorist took the lives of ten innocent people in cold blood. We are heartbroken. We are also outraged.

“Now it is clear that New York must send a message to those who would deliberately target our neighbors based on the color of their skin. We do not tolerate racism. We do not tolerate terrorism. We do not tolerate acts of extreme violence on innocent civilians. We must bring capital punishment back to our state today, and deliver the only justice that is appropriate in this case and to ensure acts such as these never happen again.”

The bill, sponsored by Republican leaders in both houses of the New York State Legislature, would reinstate capital punishment in cases of:

  • Mass murder;
  • Murders motivated by hate or racism;
  • Murders related to terrorism; and
  • Murders of law enforcement and first responders.
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Photographer captures collage of lunar eclipse last night
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 May 2022 at 5:13 pm

Photo collage by Bruce Landis

BARRE – Bruce Landis stayed up late getting photos of the full lunar eclipse last night. Landis sent in this collage of photos.

He was out from 9:30 p.m. to 2:40 a.m., bundled in winter clothes.

The moon appeared reddish in a total lunar eclipse with the sun, Earth and moon forming a straight line in the night sky.

Landis is the owner/photographer of Photos by Bruce and Associates on Ridge Road in Albion.

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Raffle will help Ministry of Concern assist working poor
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 May 2022 at 3:42 pm

Provided photo: Dozens of items are on display at Case-Nic Cookies in Medina which are part of a basket raffle to benefit Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern.

MEDINA – During the month of May, Case-Nic Cookies is displaying information on services provided by the Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern.

A basket raffle is also taking place through May 31, and tickets are on sale at Case-Nic for $10 for a sheet of 20.

Items included in the fundraiser are gift certificates to local stores, family fun for adults and children, household items and two July 4th celebration baskets.

Gretta Smith, director of GOMOC, urges the community to support this fundraiser.

GOMOC has been serving residents of Genesee and Orleans counties for more than 50 years, Smith reported. The non-profit organization is known as the “Agency of Last Resort,” as it often provides assistance to individuals who are struggling and don’t have other resources available to them. The agency offers emergency services to many of the working poor in the two counties.

In-house advocates work on behalf of clients with utility companies, landlords and other entities as necessary, Smith said. Eligible individuals and families can receive help with personal care items, short term emergency housing and financial assistance with prescriptions and utilities.

The Furniture Program accepts donations of gently used furniture and non-gas appliances which are subsequently delivered without cost to people in need.

GOMOC encourages clients to become independent, self-sufficient and contributing members of the community, Smith added.

Anyone wishing help or more information on services available can call (585) 589-9210.

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Medina expands fire hall study to include addition at village office

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Village Board approved an agreement with a firm to present conceptual plans for additions to the village office and the fire hall, which are both of Park Avenue. The board wants to see designs and cost estimates for additions to the west of both buildings. For the village office that addition would be in part of the green space in this photo.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 May 2022 at 3:35 pm

MEDINA – The Village Board approved a $16,200 agreement with a Buffalo firm to present conceptual designs and options for expansion of the Medina fire hall and the village clerk’s office on Park Avenue.

The agreement was initially for an expansion to the fire station, but was amended last week to include an addition on the village office for a meeting room for up to 50 people.

The agreement with the Barton & Loguidice firm will be paid for from federal funds for Medina through the American Rescue Plan Act.

The board last month approved spending $17,000 to acquire vacant land next to the village clerk’s office at 119 Park Ave. The vacant land is at the corner of Park and West Avenue. Medina is paying Generations Bank for the land, and also approved spending up to $3,000 for any closing costs. The village is using American Rescue Plan Act for the purchase.

The land gives the village options for expansion in the future, including the meeting room, Mayor Mike Sidari said.

The board was meeting in the Shelby Town Hall, which is outside the village limits, and then recently shifted to having its meetings in the Senior Center, next door to the village offices.

Barton & Loguidice also will work on a conceptual design on for a 45-by-88-foot addition to the current fire hall.

That addition is needed for a larger ladder truck. The current truck is from 1996. It barely fits in the existing fire hall. The new trucks are bigger and won’t fit in the current fire hall bays, Fire Chief Matt Jackson has said. The ladder on the current truck is 75 feet long. Medina officials would like a truck with a 100-foot-long ladder.

The addition also will be designed to have space for modern ambulances and fire trucks, be ADA compliant, and meet the department’s needs for the next 50 to 100 years, Jackson said.

Barton & Loguidice, in the contract with the village, said it will meet with Medina officials, including the fire chief and village clerk, to discuss the needs for the additional space to help the firm develop a concept layout for the floor plan.

The study will include developing equipment inventories, assessing current and future fire department needs and storage requirements. That will include number of truck bays, building uses, office requirements and current and future maintenance operations.

The firm will develop preliminary budget level opinions of probably costs for the addition, including potential infrastructure concerns and necessary system upgrades.

The contract doesn’t include site surveys, geotechnical investigations, design development of construction contract documents for site and building design, environmental reviews/investigations, bidding assistance, and construction administration/inspection.

The proposal also doesn’t include hazardous materials testing, assessment, abatement, remedial design, environmental remediation design or environmental permitting services.

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Albion 7th graders dedicate panel to Sheret family at former Legion site
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 May 2022 at 11:03 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: This group of seventh-graders and their teacher Tim Archer dedicated this interpretive panel on Friday at Central Hall on East Park Street. The building, currently used by the county treasurer’s office and historian, used to be the Sheret American Legion Post. The post is now located on Gaines Basin Road at the former Pap Pap’s Par 3 golf course. Pictured from left, going up and then back down, include: Wesley LeFrois, Lily Brigham, Maylie Fisher, Anna Grillo, Gillian LeBaron, Tim Archer, Julianna Newbould and Mackenzie LeFrois.

ALBION – An interpretive panel was dedicated on Friday for the Sheret family, where brothers Sgt. James Sheret and Pvt. Egbert Sheret were killed in action on the same day, Sept. 29, 1918.

The two fought in World War I and were killed on the Hindenberg Line. They were in the 108th Infantry, the only men to break the Hindenburg Line that day.

James Sheret led a charge on German defenses at the Hindenburg Line and was slain after killing German soldiers in two hostile posts with his revolver, and then attacking the enemy in a machine gun nest. Sheret was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army’s second highest military decoration for soldiers who display extraordinary heroism in combat with an armed enemy force.

His brother Egbert was a machine gunner.

Another brother, Andrew, was the company’s bugler and was severely wounded during the engagement. A fourth brother, John G., served in the Navy and survived the war.

The Honor Guard gave a gun salute at the close of Friday’s ceremony at Central Hall.

The building was a school from 1882 to 1934, and then was the home of the Sheret American Legion Post from 1935 to 1980. The post then moved down South Main Street at what is now the Main Street Store before moving to the former clubhouse of a par 3 golf course on Gaines Basin Road.

Lily Brigham, a seventh-grader, sings “America the Beautiful.”

County Legislator Don Allport spoke at the ceremony and thanked the students for highlighting the sacrifices of the Sheret family.

“Freedom isn’t free,” he said. “We need to make sacrifices so some day down the road they will look back at say thank you to us, too.”

County Historian Catherine Cooper said the Sheret brothers are heroes, and their parents and family also should be acknowledged for persevering despite their broken hearts.

The family lived on West Park Street and attended the First Presbyterian Church.

The Sheret brothers – James and Egbert – and their family were ordinary people leading ordinary lives, without capes or superpowers, “who found themselves put to the test in extreme circumstances,” Cooper said.

She said the Legion posts in Orleans County bear the names of heroes: Butts-Clark in Medina, Jewell Buckman in Holley, Houseman-Tanner in Lyndonville and Sheret in Albion.

“The thing about heroic actions is that they are elicited suddenly, without warning,” Cooper said. “There’s no time to stand back to analyze the pros and cons of an action when the enemy is upon you or the house is burning. The innate ability to react in a heroic manner must already exist, be a part of a person’s character. James did not hesitate when he came upon the enemy.”

Ron Ayrault, a local veteran and member of the Honor Guard, recalled seeing the citations and displays at the building when it was a Legion Post. Ayrault, 90, said he would visit with many of the veterans who would spend time in the building. He said the community had a lot of fun in the building at dances and dinners.

“I have so many happy memories of this place in the 1940s,” he said.

Ann Jacobs, regent with the Orleans County chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, said the DAR was grateful to be part of the project honoring the Sheret family. The DAR provided some of the funding for the panel.

Before the service, the students cleaned the gravestones at the Sheret family plot at Mount Albion Cemetery.

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CO union wants State Legislature to repeal HALT Act after assaults on staff
Posted 16 May 2022 at 9:05 am

Press Release, NYS Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association

ALBANY – The New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association is launching a public awareness campaign calling on the State Legislature to immediately repeal the Humane Alternatives for Long Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act which was recently implemented in all state-run correctional facilities.

The HALT Act severely limits, or in some cases eliminates, the ability to place incarcerated individuals in Special Housing Units separated from the general population.

“As we have said for years, the HALT Act would only do one thing, make our correctional facilities more dangerous,” NYSCOPBA President Michael Powers said. “The New York State Legislature, the people who created this poorly thought-out legislation are directly responsible for the skyrocketing violence we’re experiencing in our prisons today. They ignored our warnings, our pleas to educate themselves properly before passing HALT, and now they’ve put the lives of everyone who resides or works in a correctional setting at risk.”

According to numbers reported by the New York State Department of Correction and Community Supervision, since April 1, 2022, overall violence in New York State correctional facilities has risen over 30%.

Inmate-on-staff violence has increased approximately 25%, while inmate-on-inmate violence has climbed 40%. According to the data, the single-week high of inmate-on-staff assaults was set during the week of May 1, 2022, as 37 staff members were assaulted.

The weekly average number of staff members assaulted in 2022 prior to the implementation of the HALT Act is 22. Additionally, the single-week high of inmate-on-inmate assaults was set the prior week, the week of April 24th, 2022, as 37 inmates were assaulted by other incarcerated individuals. The weekly average number of inmates assaulted by other inmates in 2022 prior to the implementation of the HALT Act is 23.

“Conditions inside our prisons are worsening by the day. Staff members are being assaulted at a record pace, inmates are settling longtime scores with other inmates by utilizing dangerous weapons, and our officers are being put directly in harm’s way,” Powers said. “If the goal of HALT was to improve the mental health and well-being of the incarcerated community, this couldn’t be what the Legislature had in mind. Unless the violence is addressed immediately, someone is going to be killed. We can’t allow that to happen which is why we’re launching our Repeal HALT campaign, so that we can raise awareness in the public of the crisis at hand in our correctional facilities. Simply put, ignoring the rise in violence is not an option.”

The Repeal HALT campaign will be a comprehensive approach to raise awareness in the general public of the dangerous working and living conditions inside New York State’s correctional facilities by utilizing NYSCOPBA’s various social media platforms. There the public will be able to view short videos urging the NYS Legislature to address prison violence, access press releases on severe incidents of prison violence across New York State and be easily connected to various media coverage of violence in correctional facilities.

In May 2021, NYSCOPBA filed a federal lawsuit against New York State to overturn HALT, arguing that the new law violates its members’ civil rights. That lawsuit is still pending.

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Gas prices jump another 24 cents in past week
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 May 2022 at 8:11 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: The gas prices at the Crosby’s in Albion on Route 31 on Thursday included $6.29 for diesel, $4.69 for regular unleaded and $5.29 for supreme.

Gas prices went up another 24 cents a gallon for regular unleaded in New York State last week to $4.76, which is an all-time high, AAA reported this morning. A year ago, the NYS average was $3.06.

The national average is at $4.48, which is up 15 cents in the past week.

The prices for counties in the region include:

  • Orleans, $4.685
  • Genesee, $4.652
  • Monroe, $4.700
  • Livingston, $4.676
  • Wyoming, $4.641
  • Niagara, $4.550
  • Erie, $4.648

In northern New York, in the counties of Clinton and Franklin, the average price for regular unleaded is $4.820. In Queens, the price is $4.861. Rockland is the highest in the state at $4.955.

Regular unleaded is at all-time high at $4.759. Diesel hit an all-time high on May 15 at $6.503 a gallon. Today it is down about a penny to $6.494.

Here is a press release from AAA this morning:

“Today marks record high gas prices at the national, state, and local level. According to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration, total domestic gasoline stocks decreased while gasoline demand dropped slightly. Normally a decrease in demand would bring prices down, but oil prices remain volatile.

“This morning, oil prices are about $109 per barrel. Crude prices rose over growing market worries that Ukrainian and European Union actions against Russian oil-and-natural gas companies could spark retaliation by Russia leading to more market disruption and uncertainty.

“Meanwhile, the national average for diesel fuel hit a new record yesterday reaching $5.57. One year ago the price was $3.17. In New York, the average price for diesel is $6.50, which is also a record high set yesterday. One year ago the price was $3.23.”

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