A long bike journey – 12,000 miles around the country – raises awareness about sex trafficking

Photo by Tom Rivers
Daniel Lemke is pictured on Route 18 in Carlton today. He stayed in Orleans County since Saturday night and is headed east today. He has travelled 2,500 miles by bike since starting his trip on April 19 in Colorado.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 July 2015
ALBION – Daniel Lemke was just going to the gym in Chicago for a workout. He didn’t expect to have a life-changing experience, one that would set him on a mission to bike 12,000 miles, touching the four corners of the continental United States.

Lemke, a recent graduate of a Christian college in Chicago, met a police officer at the gym, who shared that the owner of a nail salon near the gym had been arrested for sex trafficking with a brothel operating out of that salon involving children.

Lemke, 22, didn’t know much about the issue, but he has learned that many people are trafficked for sex, labor and even for their organs. It’s a problem in big cities and even in rural areas.

“It’s not just a Third World problem anymore,” he said.

Daniel Lemke is riding across the country to raise awareness about sex trafficking. He is pictured on Route 18 this morning.

He formed a not-for-profit organization, Bike Through Traffic, and on April 19 began a 12,000-mile journey. He has biked about 2,500 miles so far and is scheduled to complete the effort next July. Click here to see a map of the trip.

The mission brought Lemke to Albion and Orleans County the past two days. He arrived on Saturday evening, spoke at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Albion on Sunday morning and was back on the road this morning, riding east on Route 18 before going down Peter Smith Road to get on Route 104.

I met him for breakfast at the Village House this morning. He spent the previous two nights with Gary and Linda Derwick in Carlton.

Lemke acknowledges he has a difficult message for people to hear, especially the church community. He talks about pornography, how that addiction can often lead people to pursue victims in sex trafficking. In fact, many of the children in pornography videos are being trafficked, he said.

Those children are often runaways or they may be in an abusive foster home, he said.

Lemke wants the issues and painful realities to be discussed by churches, families and the communities – with the goal to end sex trafficking and to get help for people with pornography and sex addictions.

“Christians need to be loving,” he said. “Love is powerful and can lead to redemption.”

Lemke pedals east on Route 18, near the Transit Road intersection.

Lemke is traveling alone with support from his family and friends back home in Loveland, Colo.

“I got God on my side,” he said about the traveling.

Along the way he stops to speak at churches, schools and other venues.

He is working his way to Maine and then will head south down the East Coast.

“This is about raising awareness and money to get victims out of sex trafficking,” he said. "It's not about a bike ride."


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Albion family has nice waterfalls in backyard

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 6 July 2015
ALBION – The quest for discovering some of the nicest nature spots in Orleans County continued on Sunday evening, with another waterfalls to put on the list.

Kyle and Jessy Holz invited some friends and family over to their house on Route 31 across from Bullard Park. They recently moved to the spot, and welcomed people over to watch the fireworks on Sunday.

They also told people about the big waterfalls in their backyard.

The west branch of Sandy Creek runs through here and then goes under Route 31 and passes along the west side of Bullard Park.


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Fireworks light up Bullard Park in Albion

For fourth year church treats community to event

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 5 July 2015
ALBION – The skateboarding ramp provides a nice spot to watch the fireworks tonight at Bullard Park in Albion.


The High Point Community Church in Corfu paid for the fireworks show, and also served food, provided games and played Christian music at the park. This is the fourth straight July 5 that the church has put on the event for Albion.

Two girls are on the swings while the fireworks go off. They appear blurred because of the slow shutter speed on the camera.

Some young families watch the fireworks from another swingset at the park on Route 31.

People watched the fireworks from lawn chairs, picnic tables, blankets on the ground or many just stood to take in the sights and sounds.

The fireworks were launched from near the big sledding hill at the park.

Before the fireworks, the praise band at High Point played for the crowd. The church is looking to start a congregation in Albion.

Marci Jonathan is the bass guitarist in the praise band. Her brother Nate plays the drums and their father Dave also is in the band.

Melanie Dean, ceneter, is one of the singers in the priase band. Her father, Bobby Dean, is the church pastor. Her brother Matt is lead singer in the band and their brother Mike sings and plays guitar for the group.

Bobby Dean, pastor of the church, shares a message before the fireworks. Nate Jonathan is in back on the drums.

Matt Dean is a high-energy singer for the praise band.


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Church serves up games, music, food and (later) fireworks

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 5 July 2015
ALBION – Volunteers with the High Point Community Church in Corfu are serving up hot dogs, music and games to the Albion community at Bullard Park.

The top photo shows Robin Johnson, right, and Ralph Peterson (in Muckdogs hat) cooking hot dogs that will be available for free.

The church, which is looking to start a congregation in Albion, also has many games, face painting, a bounce house and other activities. The church’s praise band will also be playing as well as a Christian musical guest, the Needhams.

Later at about 9:30 p.m. there will also be fireworks at Bullard, with the church paying for the bulk of the expense.

Nathanael Sugar, 20, of Albion rides his skateboard at Bullard while waiting for the fireworks to start.


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Nation’s oldest patriot rests in Clarendon

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 5 July 2015

CLARENDON – The history of Orleans County is sprinkled with the stories of our ancestors who served this great nation over the last 239 years.


As we celebrate Independence Day this weekend, it is only proper to recall the service of those men before us who risked everything they had as young men. They took up arms against what they believe to be an oppressive government focused on unfair taxation and inconsistent representation.


One such hero of the American Revolution was Lemuel Cook. A native of Northbury, Connecticut, Cook enlisted near Watertown, Connecticut at the young age of 16. He was present for the Battle of Brandywine and at Yorktown for General Cornwallis’ Surrender in 1781.


An eventual settler of Clarendon, “Lem” as he was known, would earn the distinction of the oldest pensioner of the Revolution at the time of his death on May 20, 1866 at the age of 107.


As a man in his old age, his talk became fragmented and his thoughts became scattered, but a glimmer of light appeared in his eyes when asked to recall the stories of his meetings with General Washington.


On the first occasion Washington approached Lemuel to ask “Is that your horse soldier?” Coming to attention, Lem responded, “Yes, Sir!” Placing the young lad at ease, Gen. Washington inquired of his name to which Lem responded, “Lemuel Cook, from Connecticut, Sir.”


After a quick compliment on the fine horse that Lem was tending to, Washington said, “Well, you take care of him, you will be glad you did,” and the General continued on.


Nearly three years later, Lemuel would cross paths with Washington again. Minding his own business, Cook’s attention was grabbed by a deep, rich voice that called out, “Lem Cook, is that you? I thought that might be you with that Bay.”


Taken aback by the comment, Cook managed to let out a “Yes Sir, it’s very good to see you Sir.” A brief conversation concluded with yet another compliment of Cook’s fine horse; “I admire the lines of your Bay, Lem. I have one like it at Mount Vernon.”


Cook lived out the last days of his life at his home in Clarendon. In one of the last interviews conducted, he was asked to comment on the Civil War that was currently engulfing the nation. With a strong, booming voice he brought his cane down upon the floor with force shouting, “It is terrible, but terrible as it is the rebellion must be put down!”

Lem Cook was a celebrity in his day with people across the nation seeking the signature of their last living patriot. It is said that a publisher from Hartford, Connecticut sent a photographer to capture this only image of Cook in 1861.

The final resting place of Mr. Cook was vandalized in early 2006 and we are fortunate that quick work was made of restoring his beautiful gravestone to its rightful condition.

Editor's Note: Cook is buried at a cemetery on Munger Road in Clarendon.


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Candidates, politicians flock to Lyndonville for parade

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 5 July 2015
LYNDONVILLE – Saturday’s parade on the Fourth of July in Lyndonville including numerous political candidates and office holders at the town, county and federal levels.


Don Organisciak, a retired Medina police officer and investigator, is one of three candidates running for Orleans County sheriff. Organisciak has the Democrsatic Party endorsement for the November election.

Tom Drennan, the chief deputy for the Orleans County Sheriff's Department, walks with supporters. He has the Republican Party endorsement for sheriff.

Randy Bower is out in front of his group of supporters. Bower works as a county dispatcher. He has the Conservative Party endorsement for sheriff and is working to force a Republican primary against Drennan. Incumbent Scott Hess is retiring as sheriff on Dec. 31.

Mike Fuller, the Shelby highway superintendent, is out with his supporters. He faces a challenge from Ed Houseknecht, the former Orleans County highway superintendent and DPW superintendent in Medina.

U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, represents the 27th Congressional District, which includes Orleans County.

State Sen. Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, marched in the Lyndonville parade for the first time since succeeding Gerge Maziarz in the State Senate.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, tosses candy to the crowd. Hawley mixed in some behind the back tosses to some of the kids along the parade route.

Paul Lauricella, a Conservative Party candidate for County Legislature, joins members of SCOPE (Shooters Committee on Political Education). Lauricella is running for Legislature against Lynne Johnson.

Legislature Lynne Johnson, who is also president of the Lyndonville Lions Club, walked the parade route. She was joined by her Republican legislator colleagues David Callard, John DeFilipps and Ken DeRoller. They wore T-shirts supporting Johnson. She represents a district that includes the towns of Yates, Ridgeway and a portion of Shelby.

Political newcomer James White is endorsed by the Democrats for an at-large spot on the County Legislature. He is challenging Don Allport, the Republican incumbent.

Candidates and office holders weren't the only ones with a political message. The group, Save Ontario Shores, was in the parade and had an information booth trying to rally support against a proposed project with 60 to 68 large wind turbines in Yates and Somerset.


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Fireworks cap Independence Day spectacular in Lyndonville

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 5 July 2015
LYNDONVILLE – Young Explosives put on about a 40-minute fireworks show in Lyndonville on Saturday, the biggest in the 41 years the community has hosted a July Fourth celebration.

Young Explosives does about 100 fireworks shows over the holiday weekend and Lyndonville's is the second biggest after Rochester's.

Lyndonville had this fire truck and a group of firefighters close by the high school sports fields while the fireworks lit up the sky.

Walt Snell, a Lyndonville firefghter, climbed on top of the truck to watch the fireworks.


A big crowd came out for the fireworks. The Lyndonville Lions Club is the main organizer for the annual festival with help from several other community groups and the Village of Lyndonville and Town of Yates.

Bennie Blount, 11, of Medina twirls a sparkler before the fireworks went off in Lyndonville.

Bennie's twin sister Bridgette Blount holds a sparkler while waiting for the fireworks.

This photo was taken through the row of trees by the sports fields.

The fireworks were red, white, blue and other colors.

Trees and people are silhouettes with the big fireworks in back.

An array of colors burst into the sky.

The fireworks make Lyndonville the place to be on the night of the Fourth.


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Patriotic parade brings out crowd in Lyndonville

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 4 July 2015
LYNDONVILLE – The biggest party in Orleans County for the Fourth of July is at the smallest village in the county. Lyndonville once again welcomed residents and visitors to celebrate Independence Day.


In the top photo, a line of fire trucks, including Middleport in front, makes their way down Main Street in the village.


The village had 838 residents in the 2010 Census and probably exceeded that by 10 times or more today.

The duck (Evan Pappalardo of Albion) slaps hands with the crowd and tries to drum up support for the duck race on Johnson Creek to benefit Hospice of Orleans County.

Members of the 4-H program were out promoting the upcoming fair from July 27 to Aug. 1 in Knowlesville.

Teresa Allen of Medina helps her daughter Peyton with the YMCA dance while waiting for the parade to start on Main Street.

Mattie Zarpentine, a leader with New York Revolution, leads a group that marched in the parade in favor of Second Amendment rights.

Members of the Lyndonville Marching Band are dressed for the holiday while playing patriotic music in the parade.

Members of the American Legion in Lyndonville ride on a trailer and wave to the crowd. Bob Bracey of Medina loans the trailer so veterans can be part of the lengthy parade route.

Scott Schmidt gives his dog Goliath, a 203-pound Neopolitan mastiff, a ride in the parade. Goliath was dressed as Uncle Sam for the event.

Jason Smith, superintendent of Lyndonville Central School, plays with the Mark Time Marchers in the parade. Smith is at the head of the line with his trombone.

Stan Thurber waves Old Glory while riding in the parade with a float for Oak Orchard Assembly of God in Medina, where his son Dan is the pastor.

Members of the Lyndonville United Methodist Church had a float in the parade for the first time in four years today. The group is promoting an upcoming Vacation Bible School for children and letting the community know it's welcome at the church, said Beth Malone, the pastor.


Randall Bane had a starring role on the float along with his mother Mildred Bane, who portrayed Betsy Ross. She is credited with making the first American flag.

Jeanne Crane, chairwoman of the Orleans County Democratic Party, was dressed for the holiday.

A lineup of vehicles, carrying flags, heads down Main Street.


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Explosives company says Lyndonville is ‘perfect’ for fireworks

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 4 July 2015
LYNDONVILLE – Young Explosives has a crew in Lyndonville today setting up for tonight’s fireworks show at 10 p.m.. The group of six will spend several hours getting the fireworks set up for the show.

The crew will vary the pace for releasing the fireworks, mixing low-lying colorful ones with high flyers and big booms.

Stan Powers holds a 12-inch shell. Young Explosives will send two of these 1,000 feet into the sky tonight for the first time in Lyndonville. The shells weigh about 40 pounds. They have a wing span of about 400 to 500 feet and will burst into four or five different colors.

Powers does about 40 shows with Young Explosives each year. Lyndonville ranks among his favorites, Powers said this afternoon.

There is a very enthusiastic crowd and an ideal location. Plus the community raises a lot of money for a big show.

“Lyndonville is the perfect location,” Powers said.

The crew gets fireworks ready for tonight's show. This group will be used for the finale.

Powers likes the nicely mowed lawn to set up. The crowd also gathers on an open field up on a hill with no houses nearby in three directions. Powers does some shows where the crew is limited to straight up high fireworks because houses are close by. Sometimes, the fireworks crew can’t see the crowd.

At Lyndonville, the crowd is visible and they often cheer wildly during the 38-minute fireworks show.

Powers said only the City of Rochester spends more than Lyndonville for the show, and Young Explosives of Canandaigua does about 100 shows over the July 4th weekend.

Lyndonville is a special place for the crew because of the community appreciation and the chance for the crew to be creative, sending fireworks sideways and at varying heights.

Stan Powers lights a firework at 2 p.m. today. Young Explosives set one off at the top of each hour beginning at noon to build enthusiasm for tonight's show.


Powers and the crew are wearing shirts about Lyndonville with an image of fireworks reflected in the water at the Lyndonville Dam. They made the shirts because they enjoy the community and they wanted to give some as gifts to Wes Bradley and other Lyndonville Lions Club members.


Bradley serves as the fireworks coordinator in Lyndonville, and tries hard to raise the money for the big show.


Powers said Bradley also brings the crew water and a chicken barbecue, and stays after the show to help them clean up.


"He is really an awesome guy," Powers said.


The crew will lift and set up about 1,000 fireworks, a process that takes several hours.


"It's a lot of work but you get your 30 minutes of glory," Powers said. "When you're done, you can hear everyone cheering."


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