Sunday Morning Positive Perks from your Sassy Small Town Missus
Posted 17 January 2021 at 8:50 am

Life’s Reward and Reflections on Heaven

I am a closet person of faith. What in the world!? It means that even though I don’t regularly walk through the doors of a congregation, I still have faith. Faith that we will all be rewarded at the end of life for a life well lived – lived in service of being true to ourselves while respecting and loving others.

Two melodies with different expectations always leave me wondering what lies beyond the blue skies and what the reward will be. They are “When I Get Where I’m Going” and “Outskirts of Heaven.” The first showcases Heaven as a magical place to be dreamed about. The second hints that with gratitude Heaven is home.

The first Heaven offers hope that with grace we can all live with love and no fear. That does sound Heavenly. Just sit with that thought. A place where we shed our sins and struggles and just accept no one body makes the rules for which goodness exists. We can only demonstrate goodness with our actions. Only then will the tears we shed be only happy tears, no more angst or sadness.

I love that in this version we can try things of joy and freedom, like ride a drop of rain and see what it feels like. I think it feels cool and warm at the same time, yet freeing. This reward allows us to hug our Granddaddy’s neck once again after so much time apart. This version makes me smile and gives comfort that all the struggles will be worth the reward when the circle of life is complete. Those left behind may cry for themselves, but not for the soul that is in Heaven because that soul is being rewarded in the most beautiful ways. Someday we will be able to see and experience this eternal joy together.

The other version, which is one of my all-time favorite songs, tells a story of someone who is so blessed in life that they can only hope that his reward mirrors home. He sings that his Granddad told him about the Pearly Gates and the Streets of Gold. He read about the Big Mansion in the sky. His life has taught the most important lesson, the lesson of being thankful for blessings on earth. He hopes his Heaven will not be grand, but rather on the outskirts of Heaven. He prays for a Heaven with dirt roads, green grass, honey bees and blue skies. He wants to hang his wings on a squeaky front porch swing and enjoy the shade of the trees. This Heaven sounds like Heaven on Earth – simple pleasures and quiet living.

We could all use some of that. Time for reflection, time for breath, time for counting blessings. No matter your expectations of what the reward is, the best reward is perspective and knowing that life and death are much bigger than us. Follow the Golden Rule “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You” and you will get where you are going with peace in your heart. Here are the song links (click here) and (click here).

To see My Angel Cloud, visit My Blog live online (click here) and catch up on Weekly Photo Perks and past Sunday Posts. Like and share your comments.

Truly,
Debbie  London

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Albion student breaks school record by lifting 605 pounds
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 January 2021 at 6:19 pm

With gyms closed, Dominic DiGiulio trained by carrying heavy boulders in his backyard

Photo from Albion Central School: Dominic DiGiulio lifts 605 pounds on Thursday, to break the school record in the dead lift of 585 pounds, which was set by his cousin Jonathan Trembley in 2013.

ALBION – Dominic DiGiulio has had his eyes on breaking a school record in the dead lift for several years. His cousin, Jonathan Trembley, set the record with 585 pounds in 2013.

Dominic, 17, is a senior. It’s been a challenging and somewhat disappointing school year so far for him. No football, no wrestling, no homecoming – yet. The football season might start in March if the state gives it the OK. Dominic is a 230-pound lineman for the Purple Eagles. (Maybe homecoming could happen in the spring. The state hasn’t approved “high risk” winter sports including wrestling and basketball.)

Photos courtesy of Stephanie DiGiulio: Dominic DiGiulio built his strength carrying heavy boulders in his backyard.

Covid-19 has been disruptive for students and the community since last March. Students weren’t allowed in the school after March 13. That included the weight room. Even the local gyms were all closed by the state until late August.

For Dominic, that made it difficult to chase his cousin’s record in the dead lift. Last year, Dominic reached 505 pounds in a lift. At his home, he has about 200 pounds of weights to work with.

He found other ways to stay in shape and build strength. He picked up boulders in his backyard. He did pushups with heavy flat rocks on his back.

When gyms were able to reopen, he joined Studio Fit in Medina. The school district also launched an intramural program in early January with weight lifting an option. Dominic joined the program and last Thursday he set the school’s record in the deadlift at 605 pounds.

His cousin, the previous record holder, called to offer his congratulations.

“That wasn’t just me lifting that weight,” Dominic posted on the school’s Facebook page, when Albion shared a post about him setting the record. “It was my teammates, coaches, teachers, peers, the class of 2021. This school year has been tough on everyone, but covid picked the wrong class to mess with. #Albionstrong”

Dominic is hopeful there can be a return to normalcy at some point this school year, when all of his classmates are in the school building the same time. Right now they are split with a group Monday and Thursday, and another group Tuesday and Friday, with some also fully remote.

Dominic, plans to major in exercise science in college, started getting serious about weightlifting as a freshman. He topped 300 pounds in a lift that year, and has added about 100 pounds each year, passing 400 as a sophomore, 500 as a junior and now 605.

His next goal is 300 kilograms before he turns 18. That would be 661.387 pounds.

“I’m not done,” he said. “I’m just getting started.”

Dominic DiGiulio does a pushup with a rock on his back. He had to improvise when the local gyms were closed from mid-March through late August due to Covid-19 restrictions from the state.

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Travel Thoughts By Kim
By Kim Pritt, Contributor Posted 16 January 2021 at 3:00 pm

The entrance sign to the Garden of the Gods is just a teaser of the beauty that awaits you.

Let’s go on an adventure together …. to The Garden of the Gods!

In 2019, I visited the last two states to complete my goal of visiting all 50 states – Colorado and New Mexico. It was an amazing trip that took a little over two weeks and left me with so many wonderful memories. I promise I’ll write more about both states in future articles, but I want to focus this article on one specific area of Colorado – The Garden of the Gods. It is indescribably awe inspiring and one of the highlights of the trip, for me.

I flew into Denver, got a rental car, and stayed in Colorado Springs. I don’t remember the name of the hotel I stayed at – it was one of the standards, like Comfort Inn or something, but it was perfectly located. If you’re planning a trip to Colorado and don’t have a specific goal in mind, consider staying in Colorado Springs. There is a lot of great things to do within just a few miles. If you want to venture out a bit more, there is some really cool stuff within an hour’s drive in any direction. And, the best part – my hotel was one mile from the entrance to the Garden of the Gods, so I was able to include at least a quick drive through it every day I was there.

Most of the formations have been given names. This formation is North Gateway Rock and White Rock. At the top center of North Gateway Rock is a formation called “Kissing Camels”.

My first ride through the Garden of the Gods was on a Jeep Tour with a cowboy guide. I’m glad I did that before venturing through on my own, because – first, it was really a blast – but, also, the guide gave us a ton of great information and history that I wouldn’t have gotten if I had just drove through on my own. Then, the next day, I went back on my own and spent a lot of time going through and making more leisurely stops with the self-guided tour book I purchased at the Trading Post.

By the way – before I get too far into this, I do want to circle back and talk about the Jeep Tour. It was a bit pricey, but so worth it. There were just 7 of us and the guide, who was dressed as a cowboy named “Prairie Dog”, in an open air Jeep that took us all over the country side and off road locations. Very cool! Look for unusual tours, like this in your travels. They really add something special to the trip. I’ll talk about this and another Jeep Tour I took in more detail when I write about Colorado, again.

The story we heard on the tour was that in August 1859, two surveyors from Denver City set out to formally locate Colorado City, which is now known as Old Colorado City (another awesome place to spend some quality time that I will write about in that future Colorado post). While exploring, they came upon an area of sandstone rock formations. One of the surveyors suggested it might be a good place for a “beer garden” – the other one countered that it is more fitting as a place for the Gods to assemble and declared it to be called “Garden of the Gods”. I don’t know if that is true or urban legend, but it sounds about right. From the minute you enter the area, you know that the Gods do, indeed, assemble there and call it their own personal garden.

The area is all natural rock formations – no human intervention has altered the formations in any way. In 1879, Charles Perkins, president of the Chicago Burlington Quincy Railroad, purchased much of the land – 240 total acres. After his death, his family gave the land to the city of Colorado Springs at his request to be used as a park. The stipulation was that it be known as Garden of the Gods and that it remain free forever to all visitors. So, there are no gates, entrance fees, or restrictions for visitation to this day.

 

One of the most popular formations is Balancing Rock. Many people can be found climbing on it and getting their photo taken by it. I, of course, couldn’t pass up getting my photo with the incredible Balancing Rock.

In 1909, it was dedicated as a free city park and is registered as a national natural landmark. The formations are sandstone and tower 300 feet in the air. In the early 1900s, a Trading Post was added that is still there and is still being operated as a trading post with lots of pretty awesome stuff in it to look at and purchase. There is also a Visitor’s Center on site.

Like I said, I at least did a quick drive through every day I was in Colorado Springs. I did the Jeep Tour and spent several hours exploring on my own. I also made sure to go back at dusk to see the sun set over the formations. I cannot tell you how emotional the entire experience was for me. It was a perfect end to every day during my time there – peaceful, beautiful, and spiritual.

No photos or written word can possibly describe or do justice to the incredible beauty you experience going through the Garden of the Gods – you have to experience it in person and I highly recommend that you do!

One last anecdote, before I close out: On almost every trip, I end up meeting interesting people and having nice conversations. On this trip, one such conversation happened in the elevator at my hotel. I entered the elevator and there was already a man that appeared to be a little bit older than me inside. We exchanged hellos and he asked me where I was from. I was vague and said, “Western New York”. He lit up and said he lived in Batavia for a time when he was a teen and young man and asked if I knew where that was. Of course, I said yes and that I lived in Albion. He went on to tell me how he knew Albion, well, and that he fondly remembers driving there to go to the theater on Main Street and the drive-in. The elevator reached the lobby floor and we exchanged our wishes for a great day and went on our way. But, I am still struck by that conversation as further proof that it is, indeed, a very small world.

Visit my blog post dedicated to the Garden of the Gods to find lots more photos that fail in justifying the beauty, but are still pretty amazing, if I do say so myself:  https://thoughtsbykim.com/2019/12/12/2019-colorado-adventure-garden-of-the-gods/

Happy Adventuring!

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Cuomo faults federal government for shorting states on Covid vaccines
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 January 2021 at 12:19 pm

The Governor’s Office provided this chart showing how much of the vaccines have been administered so far.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledged the frustrations of many in the state with trying to get a Covid-19 vaccine.

The governor said the federal government has expanded the eligibility for the vaccine while reducing the weekly allotments to New York.

The CDC earlier this week expanded the eligibility of senior ctiizens from 75 and older to 65 and older. And that was before the state had worked through the 1a population, mainly healthcare workers and nursing home residents.

The CDC guidelines make 7 million New Yorkers currently eligible for the vaccine but the state only received 300,000 doses last week, and it dropped to 250,000 this week, Cuomo said.

“Our constraint is the federal supply and that is creating a scheduling backlog, and it’s creating pressure on what was supposed to be the prioritization process,” Cuomo said on Friday.

The state is scheduling appointments, and the distributors are fully booked 14 weeks in advance.

“There was no increase in supply and in the meantime, there was a dramatic increase in the eligibility,” Cuomo said. “So, now you increase the eligibility, you don’t increase the supply, and now you have a very complicated situation.”

Hawley: Let locals be part of vaccine distribution plan

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, and the Republican conference sent a letter to Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, calling on them to include local home rule authorities in the process of developing vaccine distribution plans. The letter was drafted in response to reports that vaccine distribution has been slow and ineffective in New York state, with some vaccine doses reportedly being wastefully disposed of due to improper storage.

“What we do in these next few weeks with vaccine distribution will determine how much tragedy we will all have to endure as a state, so we need to act now to get these vaccines to the people that need them most, as quickly as possible,” Hawley said in a news release. “We need to give the people who know their communities better than anyone a say in planning vaccine distribution, because a singular top-down approach will not work for the varied and unique communities that make up New York State. Getting these vaccines out effectively and promptly will save lives, and we cannot afford to let even a single dose of the vaccine go to waste during this unprecedented public health crisis.”

Vaccine distribution network expanding

Cuomo said the state’s vaccine distribution network is expanding rapidly – almost 5,000 pharmacies, 194 hospitals, 2,500 private doctor networks, city departments of health, 58 county departments of health and state mass vaccination sites.

Some regions are doing better than others in getting out the vaccine. The Finger Lakes Region, which includes Orleans and eight other counties, had administered 76 percent of its doses, the lowest percentage of the 10 regions. The Southern Tier is the highest at 95 percent.

Cuomo said the state needs more people trained to administer the vaccine shots. So far 827,000 total doses have been administered – 731,000 first doses and 96,000 second doses.

“Get needles in the arms,” Cuomo said. “We want to do better. The faster you get people the vaccine, the better for them and the better for the entire state.”

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Association of Counties praises Schumer for being ‘fierce ally’ for local governments
Posted 16 January 2021 at 10:13 am

Senator has been strong advocate in pressing for federal aid for states, municipalities

Press Release, New York State Association of Counties

The New York State Association of Counties on Friday recognized U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and his partnership with President-Elect Joe Biden on a new Coronavirus Stimulus Package that will move the economy forward and help the states and local governments that have been on the front lines of this pandemic since last March.

Sen. Charles Schumer

President-Elect Joe Biden on Thursday announced his plans for a new coronavirus stimulus package that includes funding for states and local governments. The Biden plan reflects proposals put forth by Senator Chuck Schumer throughout the pandemic.

“New York’s local governments are incredibly fortunate to have such a fierce ally as our senior senator and incoming Majority Leader, ”said NYSAC President Jack Marren, chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors. “From the beginning of this pandemic, Senator Schumer has fought to ensure states and county governments have what they need to battle this pandemic, and this proposal is a direct result of his dogged advocacy on our behalf.”

The Biden plan comes a day after Senator Schumer introduced the bi-partisan Direct Support for Communities Act, which provides local governments with direct federal relief that can be used to pay for essential services, retain frontline workers, and offset lost revenues and increased costs from the Covid-19 emergency.

“This bill provides the direct, flexible and unrestricted aid counties need to make up for the unprecedented revenue shortfalls brought on by the pandemic, said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. “Without this direct aid, counties will be hamstrung to do the essential work necessary to end the pandemic, including setting up Covid-19 vaccination sites, providing contact tracing and testing, and delivering essential services to children, families and seniors who have been struggling during the pandemic.”

Since March of last year, counties across New York have seen their revenues plummet by an estimated $1.5 billion. Sales tax losses could reach $325 million for counties through 2021, state revenue cuts represent a $645 million loss, potentially increase to $965 million through 2021, and Native American gaming revenues and hotel occupancy taxes amount to almost $220 million in losses for counties through 2021.

“Leading the response to this pandemic, and now the vaccine effort, is possibly the most important thing counties may ever do and it’s critical that we have the resources to do it effectively,” said New York State County Executives Association President and Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro. “We don’t have a second to lose, Congress must pass this bill and send it to President Biden during his first 100 days so we can end this pandemic, get our economy moving again, and get us all back to the cherished activities that fill our lives with meaning.”

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Union for COs sues state over lack of paid leave for officers exposed to Covid
Posted 16 January 2021 at 10:05 am

Press Release, NYS Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association

ALBANY – The union represented corrections officers in state prisons on Friday filed a lawsuit against the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and the Department of Civil Service.

The lawsuit alleges that, through policies and their actions, DOCCS and Civil Service have improperly withheld paid leave for NYS Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association members who have been placed on more than one mandatory quarantine or an extended quarantine beyond 14 days for exposure to or infection with Covid-19.  DOCCS has only provided, at most, one 14-day block of paid leave to NYSCOPBA members who have been quarantined.

NYSCOPBA President Michael B. Powers issued this statement:

“Our members are essential staff and must come to work every day, without exception. Our members cannot work from home like so many others, and our members are often directed to work mandatory overtime.

“Our prisons are at constant risk for Covid-19 outbreaks, so our members face constant risk of becoming infected every time they walk into their facilities. Then, when many of them inevitably become exposed to or contract Covid-19, they are placed out of work, through no fault of their own. They have no control over this.

“Since the pandemic has raged onward since March, our members are now being placed on second or even third mandatory quarantines, having been exposed to Covid-19 again and again while on duty. Many of our members have contracted Covid-19 at work, have been unable to return to work in 14 days, and have been out on their own pay after that.

“They should not be punished by being forced to use personal leave or to go without pay when State law provides paid leave for them without charge to their accruals. This lawsuit will hopefully achieve our goals and put an end to this once and for all.”

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Historic Childs: History of Agriculture, Part 4
Posted 16 January 2021 at 9:17 am

Kast Farms, Lake Ontario Fruit have been innovative leaders

By Doug Farley, Director, Cobblestone Museum

GAINES – What we know today as Kast Farms, Inc., headquartered on Densmore Road in the Town of Gaines, also has had significant farming interests in the Hamlet of Childs for decades, including farm land on both sides of Ridge Road and adjoining Route 98.

With roots to 1885, the progenitor of the Kast family farm was John T. Kast, who married Ruth (Chapman) Kast in 1915. Ruth’s family members were also farmers, going back another generation to her father, Adelbert Chapman.  John T. and Ruth Kast had son, J. Stanley Kast, who took over the farming interests from his parents in the 1950s.

Stanley, born in 1917, recently celebrated his 103rd birthday. He is still a source of information for the family farm today. Stanley’s son, David Kast, became a partner with his father in 1966. In 1989, Stanley passed the full ownership reins to his son, David Kast and wife Kathy, who are both very involved in the family farm today, along with their sons John & Brett. David and Kathy’s daughter Laura teaches school in Batavia.

The Kast Farm was recognized as a “Century Farm” by NY Agricultural Society in 2015.  In addition to farming, David, Kathy and sons have remained active in many farm, church and civic organizations.

Kast Farms is highly diversified, farming over 4,000 acres, growing apples, sweet cherries, green beans, sweet corn, field corn, winter wheat and more recently, malting barley. David said, “We’re pretty progressive, willing to try new methods and technologies.” Perhaps that willingness to innovation resulted in the farm being chosen to receive the “I Love NY Farmer Award” in 2006. Gary Davy is the farm’s general manager today.

Brothers John and Brett Kast also received the “Next Generation Farmer Award” in 2018. John & Cheryl and Brett & Amanda Kast are seen here. They represent the fifth generation to operate their family farm.

Dave Kast purchased over 100 acres of land on the west side of the Hamlet of Childs in the 1960s from Robert Schwartz. He continued to pick the fruit there for several years, and then made a decision to remove the orchards. The older trees in Childs had become more of a liability than an asset. David said, “Bob Kirby farmed next door to us, and he was in the process of bulldozing his orchard there, so I asked him to keep going and take down our trees, too.”  Kast Farm continues farming in Childs with owned and managed properties as seen in this aerial photo.

In the 1980’s, David Kast said he made the fortuitous decision to sell 10 acres of land in Childs to support another “new-concept.” At that time, local apple growers had pretty much maxed out the capacity of their primary buyer/packer, George LaMont. George, and his brother Roger, ran one of the area’s main packing/storage facilities for apples on their Densmore Road farm for many years.

By the end of the 1970s, that operation was not able to keep up with production and the demand for sales. George approached about a dozen local farmers to see if there was an interest in forming a partnership for the purpose of expanding fruit packing and storage in the area. The decision that they reached resulted in the formation of Lake Ridge Fruit Company, LLC in 1982 with 11 original partners from the local farming community.

The siting of the plant in Childs resulted in convenient access to highway transportation and plenty of room for future expansion. Lake Ridge Fruit formed the operating company Lake Ontario Fruit to expand their sales force to market their apples to a larger geographic area.

Photo Courtesy: Photos by Bruce & Assoc.

The original partners in Lake Ridge Fruit were: Pete Nesbitt (Pine Hill Farm), Roger LaMont (LaMont Farm), Francis Kirby, Ralph Brown, Bob Kirby, David Kast, Don Nesbitt & Fred Nesbitt (Silver Creek Farm), George Kirby, Bob Brown, George Lamont, John Kirby and General Manager Bill Gerling. David Kast served as President of the association for about 20 years.

The current ownership group pictured here are (left to right) John Russell, Robert Brown II, Jason Woodworth, Steve Nesbitt, Mike Zingler, Kaari Stannard, George Lamont, Patrick Wodworth, Rod Farrow and Eric Brown. Not pictured are Scott Henning, Robert Brown III and Jose Iniguez. It is with great sadness that the team noted the passing of George Lamont in 2020, a man who first saw the vision for the apple plant and worked to make it a reality.

Lake Ontario Fruit, Inc. has grown into one of the largest apple packing and storage operations in the Northeast. The apple plant packages over a million bushels of fresh apple each year. Bins of Gala apples are shown here.

The consortium is led today by John Russell, President/CEO and Partner. Russell is a natural for this position, coming from a highly respected farming family in Niagara County. He said, “Many of our member-growers have recently planted more acreage of popular apple varieties, such as Honeycrisp and SweeTango. Prior to the last expansion, Lake Ontario Fruit needed to rent additional storage facilities at other locations, but all apples are now stored at our own facility.”

Photo Courtesy: Photos by Bruce & Assoc.

Multi-million dollar expansions were made to the original plant in 2010 and 2013, bringing the total square-footage under roof to 185,000 square feet.

Modern packing equipment is a boost to the local economy that employs about 100 workers in the peak season. Many local and national supermarket chains carry Lake Ontario Fruit apples including Wegmans, Wal-Mart, Tops, and Aldi’s. You can find Lake Ontario Fruit apples in supermarkets under the “NY Apple Sales” label or the newly added “Yes! Apples.” John Russell added, “Apples are all we do and our future is bright. Many of our local apple growers have moved into newer varieties to meet growing consumer demand. We stand by our moto: Great People, Great Apples, Great Future.”

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Orleans has 3 more deaths due to Covid, now 67 during pandemic
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2021 at 6:21 pm

Orleans also reports 29 new Covid cases, while Genesee has 55 more

Orleans County today is reporting three more Covid-related deaths, with two at the Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Medina and the other a community member over age 65.

Both residents at Orchard are over age 65. That facility has now had 26 residents pass away due to Covid during the pandemic. The county has 67 deaths total from Covid, according to the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

In Orleans County, there are also 29 new Covid cases to report today for a total of 1,862 positive cases since March.

The positive cases reside in the West Region (Yates, Ridgeway, Shelby), Central Region (Carlton, Gaines, Albion, Barre) and East Region (Kendall, Murray, Clarendon).

The individuals are in the age groups of 0-19, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. Of the new cases, 7 were on quarantine prior to testing positive.

Orleans also is reporting that of the new cases 2 are residents of Orchard Rehabilitation and

Nursing Center, and 2 are inmates at the Orleans Correctional Facility.

The county also is reporting today that 38 more individuals have recovered and been removed from the isolation.

Orleans currently has 18 residents hospitalized due to Covid.

Albion Central School reports today that one remote student from Middle School has tested positive for Covid-19. Due to the fact the student is remote, there is no need to contact trace any additional staff or students, the district officials stated on its website.

Medina Central School is reporting one high school student has tested positive for Covid-19. The district is in process of notifying the families of anyone who may have come into close contact with the student.

In Genesee County, there are 55 new positive cases to report today for a total of 3,288 confirmed cases since March.

The new positive cases reside in the West Region (Alabama, Darien, Pembroke), Central Region (Alexander, Batavia, Bethany, Elba, Oakfield) and East Region (Bergen, Byron, LeRoy, Pavilion, Stafford).

The individuals are in the age groups of 0-19, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

Genesee County did a drive-through testing clinic on Thursday. Of the 600 tests, 42 tested positive, including 38 from Genesee County.

Genesee also has 72 more people recovered and removed from the isolation list.

There are 9 residents from Genesee currently hospitalized due to Covid.


• Data Update – There will be no reporting or map update on Monday, which is the Martin Luther King, Jr Holiday. Check the state site for updates. To review the raw positive data for each of the counties, click here.

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Governor wants to prevent people from buying guns if they have an active warrant
Posted 15 January 2021 at 4:37 pm

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced his proposal to prevent individuals with active warrants for a felony or serious misdemeanor offense from purchasing guns as part of the 2021 State of the State agenda.

Under the Governor’s proposal, New York State will close a federal loophole that was created when the Trump Department of Justice reinterpreted an existing firearms law to mean only individuals who have fled from one state to another for the purpose of evading prosecution while subject to an active or imminent arrest warrant would be prevented from purchasing a firearm, while those subject to an arrest warrant who remain in state are free to buy guns.

With this action, someone who is subject to an outstanding warrant for a felony or serious misdemeanor offense, but who has not crossed state lines to evade arrest, would once again be flagged in the National Instant Background Check System and be prevented from purchasing a gun.

“As Covid-19 continues to exacerbate the gun violence epidemic in America, the state of New York is continuing to build on the strongest gun safety laws in the nation and putting more safeguards in place to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals,” Cuomo said. “We will do everything in our power to protect our communities and combat this violence and destruction in all of its forms.”

Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York has passed the strongest gun safety laws in the nation, including the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act in 2013, which prevents criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from buying a gun by requiring universal background checks on gun purchases, increases penalties for those who use or possess illegal guns, and imposes the toughest assault weapon ban in the country.

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Albion photographer earns 1st place in international photo contest
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2021 at 4:13 pm

BARRE – Bruce Landis, an Albion photographer, won first place at the 2021 Professional Photographers of America International photo competition with this photograph titled “Aloha New York.”

Plane owner and professional pilot Chris Caruana from Grand Island was flying out of the Pine Hill Airport.

The photo by Landis, one of the images selected from over 5,000 entries, will be on (virtual) display during the 2021 Professional Photographers of America annual convention from Jan.17 to Jan. 19. This is Landis’ third similar award received for airplanes in flight.

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

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Albion receives STEM grant from Crosby’s, ExxonMobil
Posted 15 January 2021 at 4:02 pm

Photo and information from Albion Central School: Albion High School Principal Jenn Ashbery, second from left, accepts $1,000 for the high school from representatives of Crosby’s in Albion.

ALBION – The high school today received a grant of $500 from the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance Program. Reid Petroleum and Crosby’s matched this with an additional $500 for a total of $1,000 to be used to support math and science education.

As noted on their website, “Exxon and Mobil are fueling young minds and helping create aha moments through the Educational Alliance. Since its inception, we’ve committed over $34 million to this national program, which funds math and science programs at schools in need. It’s part of our ongoing effort to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education within the communities we serve.”

The Albion funds will be put to use in support of STEM instruction at the high school.

“We are appreciative of the additional opportunities this presents for our students,” High School Principal Jennifer Ashbery said.

Last year, the funds were used to purchase MakerBots, which introduces students to the technology involved in 3D printing and helps encourage students to develop innovative solutions and designs.

In the coming weeks, Ashbery plans to meet with teachers in order to decide how these new funds will be used to support math, science and engineering for our students.

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Norris says ‘Business Emergency Relief Act’ priority for Assembly Republicans
Posted 15 January 2021 at 3:31 pm

Press Release, Assemblyman Mike Norris

Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,C,I-Lockport) is proud to share that following the launch of his new legislation known as the New York Business Emergency Relief Act, the Assembly Minority Conference announced today it has chosen to include the entirety of the plan in its omnibus 2021 pro-business package, Jump-Start New York: A Plan for Economic Recovery.

“I am proud to work together with my colleagues to get New York back to work,” said Norris. “This bill would get people back to work, and our larger plan helps protect businesses and jobs for the future. It’s a real, substantial plan to get our economy back on its feet. After months of a shutdown, unemployment, uncertainty and talk, New Yorkers need and deserve action. I hope our colleagues across the aisle will take action on this plan to help us move New York’s economy forward.”

Aiming to help employers who were forced to close through no fault of their own, the New York Business Emergency Relief Act of 2021 would provide businesses that were deemed “nonessential” with direct aid grants to offset lost income as a result of the governor’s executive orders.

These businesses could include small retailers, historic sites, barber shops, gyms and movie theaters, among others. Funding for these grants would come from redirecting unused state settlement funding awarded to the state or repurposing economic development funding from programs like START-UP NY, a program that many even questioned the effectiveness of to begin with.

In addition to the New York Business Emergency Relief Act of 2021, Jump-Start New York: A Plan for Economic Recovery includes 17 other economic development initiatives, and proposals which would restore legislative authority and remove the governor’s temporary expanded powers and calls for federal actions such as direct aid to schools and local governments. Further, the plan would expand local authority in times of emergency and create a Joint Senate/Assembly Emergency Operations Committee to provide direction and oversight during future state emergencies.

The plan also would allow nursing home residents to designate a loved one to be their “essential person” that would be able to visit and check up on them, even during times like those our state has experienced during the past year.

Other economic development proposals in the plan include repurposing the Regional Economic Development Councils, reevaluating red and orange zone designations, increasing rural internet access, supporting the agriculture industry, waiving certain licensing or fees, providing aid to landlords, extending or waiving certain regulations and providing tax credits. A full copy of the plan can be viewed by clicking here.

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Greek Cuisine restaurant in Hartland damaged by fire this morning
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2021 at 2:07 pm

HARTLAND – The Greek Cuisine Restaurant located at 7790 Ridge Rd. in the Town of Hartland was damaged in a fire this morning.

The Niagara County Sheriff’s office said firefighters were dispatched to the restaurant at 6:51 a.m. There was an active fire in the kitchen and the building’s fire suppression system was activated.

The fire was subsequently extinguished by members of the Gasport, Hartland and Wright’s Corners Volunteer Fire Companies. The building additionally sustained heavy smoke damage throughout due to the fire.

The restaurant was unoccupied at the time and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is still under investigation and an estimated value of loss is not available at this time. An investigation by the Niagara County Origin and Cause Team is continuing.

“We will be closed until further notice due to recent events,” Greek Cuisine posted on its Facebook Page. “Although this has set us back we hope we will be able to pull through and make a comeback. We at Greek Cuisine want to take the time to thank everyone for your support.”

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