Log cabin creations are a tribute to pioneer settlers

Photo by Tom Rivers
Al Capurso of Gaines has created several mini log cabin scenes as tributes to pioneer residents in Orleans County. He is pictured with his latest creation. He has donated the log cabin dioramas to the Cobblestone Museum, Clarendon Historical Society and the Holland Land Office Museum.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 November 2014
GAINES – In the spring Al Capurso was out in his backyard with a knife, cutting down thick grape vines that were wrapped around trees.

Capurso studied the thick vines and noticed they bore semblance to mini logs. His mind and hands started working, and began building a small log cabin. It sits on a shelf in his kitchen, a tribute to pioneer residents who settled in the area about 200 years ago.


Capurso has a strong interest in the county’s pioneer history. He and his family put up a historical marker on the Courthouse Lawn last year for William McAllister and his wife, who were Albion’s first settlers in 1811, building a log cabin where the current County Clerks Building stands.

Capurso also did the research and convinced the local and federal governments to name Gilbert Creek in Gaines and Carlton in honor of another pioneer.

With the grape vines, Capurso cut them in 7 and 9 inch chunks and created a mini log cabin. He notched the wood, made a roof out of bark, and put in windows and doors. He added corals for livestock, a swing for children, and a wood lot. He even planted trees around the sites.

It takes Capurso about a month to make the scenes, and he has donated three of them to historical organizations. As he makes them, he finds himself transported to about 200 years ago, when the area’s first settlers were tasked with surviving in the wilderness.

“Everything back then was ‘make do,’” he said. “You made do with what you had.”

Capurso has given log cabin dioramas to the Holland Land Office Museum in Batavia, the Clarendon Historical Society and the Cobblestone Museum.

The Clarendon cabin (above) bears the name of the town’s founder, Eldredge Farwell, who discovered Clarendon in 1810 while looking for his brother Isaac’s lost horse. He traced Isaac’s footprints along the border of Sandy Creek and was impressed with the waterfalls in Clarendon.


Farwell saw the waterfalls as a potential source of power for business. He moved his family to Clarendon in 1811 and built saw and grist mills. The town was originally named Farwell’s Mills but was renamed to Clarendon. Farwell was from Clarendon, Vermont.

Farwell also had six children when he moved to Clarendon. Capurso added a swing by the miniature cabin.

“I dedicated this one to children who grew up as pioneers in the wilderness,” he said on Tuesday at his Gaines home on Route 279.

Capurso is a volunteer at the Cobblestone Museum. He gave the museum a cabin that made in honor of John Proctor.

John Proctor is often referred to by historians as the Paul Revere of Ridge Road. On a December night in 1813, he rode by horseback on the Ridge from Gaines to Clarkson to warn of the approach of British and the Indians after the burning of Lewiston.

The following morning he joined a regiment that was headed to Lewiston. The regiment would capture the enemy quartered at Molyneaux Tavern. A historical marker on a large stone on Route 104 shares the story of Proctor. The stone is on the south side of Ridge Road, a few houses west of the Route 98 intersection.

Capurso would like to build a full-size replica cabin as a tribute to the pioneers. That would be about 20 feet by 20 feet. He would need to find a site and volunteers for the project.


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2 face drug charges in Medina

Staff Reports Posted 26 November 2014
MEDINA – After a several-month investigation into the possession, sale and distribution of marijuana in the Village of Medina, two people were arrested and jailed on Tuesday, the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force reported.

The Task Force, along with the Medina Police Department and the Orleans County Multi-Agency Swat Team, executed a search warrant on Tuesday at 915 South Main St.

Police seized approximately 6 ounces of marijuana, cash, scales, packaging and other drug paraphernalia. Police also encountered three young children in the presence of marijuana.


The following were arrested:

Marcus Warren


• Marcus S. Warren, 31, of 915 South Main St., Medina. He was charged with one count of criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree, and three counts of unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree.

He was arraigned by Town of Yates Judge Donald Grabowski and committed to Orleans County Jail on $2,500 bail. He is to appear in Shelby Town Court on Dec. 11 at 9 a.m.

Additional charges for sale of marijuana are pending against Warren, the Task Force reported.

Ashlee Waters


• Ashlee J.P. Waters, 25, of 915 South Main St., Medina, was charged with one count of criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree, and three counts of unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree.

She was arraigned by Judge Grabowski and remanded to Orleans County Jail on $1,000 bail. She is to appear in Shelby Town Court on Dec. 11 at 9 a.m.


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State troopers will have big presence over Thanksgiving holiday

Press Release, NY State Police Posted 26 November 2014

The New York State Police will have a Thanksgiving traffic safety initiative in an effort to prevent highway tragedies during this holiday weekend.

The New York State Police will initiate special traffic enforcement efforts today through Sunday.


The State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico, will supplement regular patrols statewide focusing on speed enforcement, impaired driving, underage drinking, and distracted driving.

The effort will also incorporate fixed sobriety checkpoints, an underage drinker initiative and the “Operation Hang Up” initiative, which targets distracted drivers by utilizing Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) patrol vehicles to better locate drivers talking or texting on hand held devices. These unmarked vehicles blend in with every day traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.


The highest traffic volumes of the year typically occur during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It is also a time when alcohol consumption is widespread. During the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday period, troopers arrested 181 drivers for DWI, issued 4,459 speeding tickets and 854 tickets for distracted driving.


“During this Thanksgiving holiday weekend I encourage all New Yorkers to drive safely, take your time and designate a sober driver,” said Superintendent Joseph D’Amico. “As we drive throughout the state to see our family and friends this holiday season, we need to focus on safe travel. Our troopers will be out in force to handle the problems that this travel period brings and their efforts will be focused on enforcing highway safety and avoiding tragedies from occurring.”


State Police are reminding all motorists to avoid being victims of highway emergencies by making a commitment to not text or talk on mobile phones while driving, to drive the speed limit, and to buckle up all occupants.


Motorists are also reminded to not drink and drive, call a sober driver before getting behind the wheel. Travel preparation should include plenty of rest before departing, a check of your vehicles tires and fuel level, and anticipating busy roads and highways.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2012 there were 301 people killed in traffic crashes across the nation.

The New York State Police and NHTSA recommend these simple tips to prevent drunk driving:

• Plan a safe way home before the fun begins;
• Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
• If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;
• Use your community’s sober ride program;
• If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact local law enforcement;
• If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.


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Holley will celebrate new fitness center on Monday

School district will discuss capitol project on Tuesday; Vote is on Dec. 9

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 November 2014
HOLLEY – Holley Central School welcomes the community to check out a fitness center on Monday during a celebration beginning at 6 p.m.

The district used an $800,000 federal Carol White grant for the project. The grant will also pay for an initiative to promote good nutrition among students, staff and families, said Robert D’Angelo, district superintendent.

The new center, located in the elementary school, will be open to the community on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. with certified staff on hand. If there is demand for more hours, the district will try to accommodate the need.

Holley will also host an informational meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the middle/high school auditorium. That meeting will include a presentation on a proposed $8.9 million capital project. The vote will be on Dec. 9 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The capital project include includes roof top HVAC units, windows, radiators, flooring and exterior doors. The district also wants to improve the student drop-off area and the playground at the elementary school and move the tennis courts.


The district already has $2.5 million set aside in a capital reserve account to cover the local share of the project, which will be mostly paid for from the state.


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Bell ringers return for holidays

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 26 November 2014
ALBION – The Rev. Wilfred Moss was at Pawlak’s Save-A-Lot this morning ringing the bell for the Salvation Army kettle drive.

Moss is a member of the Albion Lions Club, which is manning the kettle today at the Albion store.

The kettle drive typically raises about $25,000 to benefit Community Action programs in Orleans County.


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Medina parade will include fireworks, grand marshal for first time

File photo by Tom Rivers
Some of the floats, including one by Habitat for Humanity, work their way down Main Street during last year’s Parade of Lights. The sixth annual parade with be at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Staff Reports Posted 26 November 2014
MEDINA – The 6th annual Parade of Lights will return Saturday at 6 p.m. in downtown Medina. The event for the first time will include fireworks at 5:45 p.m.

The parade committee also has picked a grand marshal for the parade. Randy Bushover will serve in the role.

“Randy is a local guy who promotes his beloved community of Medina,” said Jim Hancock, parade chairman. “He is an ambassador for Medina and is well liked and known to most of Medinans.”

Bushover will lead a tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. at Rotary Park in the downtown.


“This is a honorary position and we are happy to acknowledge Randy and for all that he has done to support our community,” Hancock said about the grand marshal.

For more on the parade and the schedule of events on Saturday, click here.


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Medina man arrested for burglary and grand larceny

Gerardo Quiros


Staff Reports Posted 26 November 2014
ROYALTON – A Medina resident who allegedly caused a standoff with police in September, forcing Ridge Road to be blocked off for several hours, faces new charges after an alleged incident on Tuesday in the Town of Royalton in Niagara County.


State Police in Lockport arrested Gerardo Quiros, 28, of Ridge Road in Medina for burglary in the second degree, a class C felony; grand larceny in the fourth degree; criminal mischief in the third degree and criminal contempt in the first degree, class E felonies.


Troopers responded to a report of a violation of an order of protection in Royalton. The investigation revealed that Quiros enter the protected person’s residence and caused damage to personal property and stole property from the residence.


Quiros was arrested and then arraigned before a Town of Lockport judge who remanded him to the Niagara County Jail on $30,000 cash bail. He is scheduled to appear before the Town of Royalton Court on Dec. 11 at 5 p.m.


Quiros faces charges of menacing and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree for the Sept. 24 incident in Ridgeway.


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Medina village among most tax oppressed in state

Photo by Tom Rivers
Property owners in the village of Medina pay one of the highest combined tax rates – village, town, county and school taxes – of any community in the state.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 November 2014
MEDINA – A new report from the Empire Center lists the combined tax rates of 3,663 jurisdictions across the state. Medina is near the top for the highest tax rates.

Village residents in the Town of Shelby paid a $54.13 tax rate per $1,000 of assessed property in 2012. That was the 13th highest in the state. Village residents in the Town of Ridgeway paid a $53.82 rate, the 16th highest in the state.

Several jurisdictions in Orleans County were in the top 100 for highest tax rates, but none were higher than the Village of Medina.

The Village of Wellsville in Allegany County was the highest overall with a combined rate of $67.78. Several Allegany communities – Alfred, Friendship, Andover and Bolivar-Richberg – topped Medina.

The high tax rates have a negative impact on real estate values, depressing prices. Allegany is the only county with lower real estate values than Orleans. The median value in Allegany was $73,000 in 2012, with Orleans at $77,000.

Medina Mayor Andrew Meier said the real estate prices are more devalued in the villages, where property owners pay far more in taxes than residents outside the village borders.


That is one reason why he is pushing for a dissolution of the village government in Medina, to try to reduce the gap between the tax rates for village and outside-village property owners. Village residents will vote on that issue on Jan. 20.

Medina’s rate is the highest in the Finger Lakes region. Meier looked at the state-wide numbers and concluded 99.64 percent of jurisdictions have lower rates than Medina.


“That is wretched,” he said. “It doesn’t help draw people and investment to our community.”

To achieve such a high tax rate in 2012, Medina did it with a $25.63 rate for the school district, $15.52 for the village, $9.63 for county and either $3.35 for Town of Shelby or $3.01 for Town of Ridgeway.

The average village rate in Upstate NY is $34.28, according to the Empire Center report that came out on Monday. That’s nearly $20 less than in Medina.

Other Orleans County jurisdictions aren’t too far behind Medina.

• The Village of Holley is 50th at $49.98 – $24.94 for school, $12.99 for village, $9.65 for county and $2.40 for town of Murray.

• The Village of Albion in Gaines is 77th at $47.77 – $18.06 for school, $15.92 for village, $9.60 for county and $4.19 for town.

• The Town of Barre in Medina school district is 95th at $46.81 – $25.63 for school, $9.61 for county, $9.34 for town and $2.23 for special districts.

• The Village of Albion in the town of Albion is 101st at $46.43 – $18.06 for school, $15.92 for village, $9.60 for county and $2.85 for town.

• The Town of Barre in the Holley school district is 108th at $46.12 – $24.94 for school, $9.61 for county, $9.34 for town and $2.23 for special districts.

Even without the village rate, Shelby and Ridgeway show up in the top 200 overall in the state. The Town of Shelby came in at $43.67 for 154th, with the Town of Ridgeway at 161st with a combined rate of $43.52.

The lowest overall rate in state goes to Sagaponack on Suffolk County at $1.19.

For more on the Empire Center report, click here.


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NY residents have new way to dispose of electronics

Press Release, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley Posted 25 November 2014
Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) is advising his constituents about the new way consumers are required to dispose of electronic equipment. Starting Jan. 1, the New York State Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act will require that consumers dispose of electronic equipment by either returning it to either the manufacturer or a designated New York State Waste Collection Site.

“There is now a new way that consumers are required to dispose of their electronic equipment. I want to make sure that my constituents are aware of this change to the law so they are in compliance,” said Hawley. “The new way electronics must be disposed of is simple and easy to understand and costs the consumer nothing. If you have any questions, feel free to contact my office and we will be happy to help.”

Under this law, there are two ways to dispose of your electronics. The first way is the use the newly required product manufacturer’s take-back program. A listing of manufacturers and how to contact them about the take-back program can be found by clicking here.


The second way you can drop off your electronics is at a designated New York State Waste Collection Site. A list of collection sites can be found by clicking here. Call ahead to make sure the specific collection site is able to take back your specific piece of electronic equipment.

For more information about the new take-back program, click here. This includes a listing of electronic equipment that is covered by the program. If you have any questions or encounter any problems, call the DEC at 518-402-8706.


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Medina Rotary adopts a family for Thanksgiving dinner

Provided Photo from Medina Rotary Club Posted 25 November 2014
MEDINA – The Medina Rotary Club provided a family with a basket of fresh vegetables, a gift card for the turkey and pies, bags full of canned goods, along with fresh rolls and butter – all the fixins for a Thanksgiving dinner.

The Rotary Club of Medina traditionally adopts a family and provides Thanksgiving dinner. It is a practice long in tradition and full of great feelings for all. Rotarians personally contribute items for this food basket.

The club is also raising money for its youth programs. This year The Medina Rotary Club is sponsoring a Medina High School student to study in Mexico while also hosting a student from France who is attending Medina High School for this 2014-15 school year.

Rotarians are particularly thankful at this time of year for the opportunity to give back to our community.


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Fischer’s Newsstand for sale

Gary and Denise Withey have owned business in downtown Albion for 20 years

Photo by Tom Rivers
Gary Withey is pictured at Fischer’s Newsstand, which has been a fixture in downtown Albion for more than a century.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 November 2014
ALBION – A fixture on Albion’s Main Street for more than a century, Fischer’s Newsstand, is on the market.

Gary and Denise Withey became owners of the business in January 1995. The couple had a goal of owning the business for 20 years. They are now ready to sell.

“This place needs somebody younger with fresher ideas,” Mr. Withey said at the store this morning. “It’s been a good business and it’s been here forever. Albion needs a business like this in the downtown.”

Withey said sales have declined with magazines and newspapers from two decades ago, but he still has many customers who buy printed periodicals, including about 40 who reserve a daily newspaper.

The Lottery remains popular, and many customers come in for candy and coffee.
The store hasn’t changed much in decades, and Withey believes that is part of the Fischer’s appeal.

“It is still great to watch people who moved away come back and step inside here,” he said. “They have a smile on their face. As much as Albion has changed over the years, the one constant has been Fischer’s News.”

Withey and his wife have operated the store seven days a week for nearly 20 years. “You have to put your heart and soul into it,” he said.

The family is ready to step back from the store. Mrs. Withey in early October suffered catastrophic kidney failure and now is on dialysis. She is hoping to receive at-home dialysis and return to work at The Arc of Orleans County while awaiting a kidney transplant.

Her husband, who will turn 54 next week, wants a less demanding work schedule so he can be more available for his wife.

They remain thankful for the 20 years with the store. They were able to put their two daughters through college and pay off their house, while making tons of friends.

Withey first started going to Fischer’s when he was a kid, looking to buy hockey cards at the store. He was a customer as a teen-ager and as an adult before acquiring the store.

“It’s been great and we’re going to miss it,” he said. “It’s been a part of my life since I was a kid.”

For more information about the business, contact Withey at (585) 589-7283.


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Albion native tapped for key White House post

Staff Reports Posted 25 November 2014
An Albion native has been picked for a key post in the White House, Rep. Louise Slaughter announced.

Don Sisson, 35, has worked for Slaughter the past 10 years. Slaughter is the ranking member of the Rules Committee in the House of Representatives. Sisson has worked for the Rules Committee since 2004 for both the Democratic and Republican sides, and most recently served as the committee’s Democratic deputy staff director.


In his new job he will be Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs.
Sisson hails from Albion. After graduating from SUNY Brockport, which is located in Congresswoman Slaughter’s congressional district, Sisson worked as a clerk for the Rules Committee and moved up in the ranks to chief clerk, director of legislative operations, legislative director, and now the deputy staff director.


He has been responsible for overseeing all the functions of the Rules Committee, including managing committee meetings for Democrats, coordinating vote recommendations for the congresswoman, and serving as the Democratic Floor Director.

“As someone who could always be counted on as a friend, as someone with extraordinarily gifted intelligence, as being able to work his way through the most dangerous Gordian knot, Don Sisson is a man for all seasons,” Rep. Slaughter said on the House Floor. “I wish him the very best of everything, but say to you without a doubt that the loss for our side, for our office, for our friends, is profound. But nonetheless, he’s going to go. I just want the White House to understand what a jewel they are getting.”


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Albion home damaged by fire

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 25 November 2014 12:40 p.m.
ALBION – A fire damaged a home at 216 Caroline St. in Albion today. The house is owned by Ashley and Ernie Woodrich.

The fire call went out at 11:42 a.m. Firefighters climbed onto the roof, and used chain saws and axes to vent the smoke from the upstairs. (Carlton firefighter Matt Olles is pictured in the top photo.)

No one was injured in the fire, which was largely under control by noon. Firefighters responded from Albion, Barre, Carlton and Medina fire departments.


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