Missing autistic man located after a search in Yates

Press Release, Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess Posted 3 September 2015
YATES – A search for a missing man with autism ended about an hour after it began, when the man was located unharmed this afternoon.

Autism Services Inc., of Buffalo, brought a group of 10 people to a location in the 1800 block of Murdock Road in Yates. The purpose of this excursion was for the group to participate in a Nature Walk. The group’s tour guide was preparing to start the walk when one of the individuals, a 21-year-old male, bolted from the group and ran off into a wooded area shortly before 1 p.m.


The individual had been gone about 30 minutes when 9-1-1 was called. Law enforcement officers and firefighters responded to the area and set up for a search detail.

At about 2 p.m. a woman at a residence in the 1900 block of Niagara-Orleans County Line Road saw an individual she did not recognize on the back porch of the house in Yates. She ran out of the house and across the road to a neighbor’s home and called Niagara County 9-1-1.


Niagara and Orleans County deputies responded to the house and located the missing man inside the residence in an upstairs bedroom. This location is almost 2 miles from where the individual went missing. He was returned to the Murdock Road location where he was examined by EMS personnel, and then returned to person(s) responsible for his supervision.

The incident was investigated by Deputies M.C. Mele and R.M. Flaherty. They were assisted by Environmental Conservation Law Enforcement, the Lyndonville, Ridgeway, and Shelby Fire Departments, and the Orleans County Office of Emergency Management. An Albion Police K-9 also responded to the scene, but was not needed due to the individual being located.


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Shelby Fire Company approved for $40K grant

Staff Reports Posted 3 September 2015
SHELBY – The Shelby Volunteer Fire Company has been approved for a $39,855 federal grant, Congressman Chris Collins announced today.


“This important funding will allow our department to purchase new auto extrication tools and improve safety in the local community,” said Andrew Benz, fire chief of the Shelby Fire Company. “The tools that we are currently using are over 20 years old. We are appreciative of Congressman Collin’s efforts on behalf of our department.”


The money is allocated through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG), which is designed to help first responders improve their capability to respond to fires and emergencies of all types.

“Providing the necessary funding for our first responders is an excellent and prudent use of federal money,” Collins said. “Our local heroes need the proper resources to do their jobs and protect our communities. Many small fire companies and emergency medical service providers are unable to purchase necessary equipment upgrades due to financial limitations. This funding will help create more efficient and effective first responders, and I am honored to help these local fire companies secure federal grants.”


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Governor says Common Core ‘deeply flawed’ in NY

Committee will review education standards, make recommendations for improvement

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 September 2015

Gov. Andrew Cuomo conceded today that the implementation of the Common Core education standards has been “deeply flawed” in New York State.

The governor is forming a committee of education experts, teachers, parents, the commissioner of education and legislative representatives to make recommendations for improving Common Core. He wants the plan for improving the system ready by his January State of the State Address.

State-wide there was a big groundswell of opposition against the tests, with about 20 percent of students not taking the grades 3-8 Math and ELA tests in April. The “opt-out” rate was higher in Orleans County.

In Orleans the opt-out rates include: Albion: Math, 29 percent; ELA, 22 percent; Holley: Math, 43 percent; ELA, 40 percent; Kendall: Math, 34 percent; ELA, 30 percent; Lyndonville: Math, 26 percent; ELA, 19 percent; and Medina: Math, 30 percent; ELA, 21 percent.

Cuomo issued this statement about Common Core today:

“There has been an ongoing discussion about Common Core Standards nationwide, and in this state as well. I have said repeatedly my position is that while I agree with the goal of Common Core Standards, I believe the implementation by the State Education Department (SED) has been deeply flawed. The more time goes on, the more I am convinced of this position.


“A growing chorus of experts have questioned the intelligence of SED’s Common Core program and objective educators across the state have found the implementation problematic, to say the least. The new Commissioner of Education has inherited this problem and I understand has been meeting with parents, educators and students, and has heard the same concerns. Recently, SED has made comments about organized efforts to have parents choose to opt out of standardized tests. While I understand the issue and SED’s valid concern, I sympathize with the frustration of the parents.


“We must have standards for New York’s students, but those standards will only work if people – especially parents – have faith in them and in their ability to educate our children. The current Common Core program does not do that. It must.


“The fact is that the current Common Core program in New York is not working, and must be fixed. To that end, the time has come for a comprehensive review of the implementation of the Common Core Standards, curriculum, guidance and tests in order to address local concerns. I am taking this action not because I don’t believe in standards, but because I do.


“In the past, I employed an Education Commission to make substantive, unbiased recommendations on reforms to our education system. It has worked very well. I will ask a representative group from that Commission, including education experts, teachers, parents, the Commissioner of Education and legislative representatives to review the issues raised above and provide recommendations in time for my State of the State Address in January.”


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Alzheimer’s Walk will shift to bigger location in Medina

File photos
Nicole Tuohey of Medina is pictured at the start of the Walk to End Alzheimer's in Medina last September. Nicole again selling links in a chain to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. Nicole has already raised $600 and wants to hit $1,000 to help researchers find the “link” to Alzheimer's Disease.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 September 2015
MEDINA – The annual Walk to End Alzheimer's in Medina has become so big organizers are shifting the kickoff to a different location in Medina.

The event has been at the Canal Basin but that proved a little cramped for the 150 people on the walk last September. This year the event will start and finish at State Street Park.

Registration for “The Walk to End to Alzheimer’s” begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12. Participants will walk on the towpath to the canal bridge on Route 63 and then head back to State Street Park, passing by the Canal Basin.

The Canal Basin was packed for last year's "Walk to End to Alzheimer’s."


A Medina woman is again serving as one of the event’s biggest boosters. Nicole Tuohey sells paper chain links for $1 at Case-Nic Cookies, which is owned by her mother Mary Lou Tuohey. Mary Lou lost both of her parents to Alzheimer’s.

Nicole has already raised $600 for this year’s walk by selling the links. Those links will be used at the start of the walk, with Nicole doing a ceremonial cut to kick off the processional of walkers.

Last year she raised $1,000, and she wants to hit that goal again this year and stretch her chain down Main Street.

As an added incentive, Case-Nic will donate $1 of every dozen cookies sold from Sept. 8-11 directly to the Alzheimer’s Association.

For more information about the walk, including how to form a team, contact Mary Lou at Case-Nic Cookies, 585-798-1676. Additional information is available by clicking here.


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Sunshine and 80s through Labor Day

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 3 September 2015
ALBION – An American flag is pictured at sunset on Wednesday by the Albion football field.


Summer's waning days will be hot with lots of sunshine and highs in the 80s.


Today is forecast for a high of 84, followed by highs of 81 on Friday, 83 on Saturday, 85 on Sunday and 86 on Labor Day, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

Here is another photo of the sunset near the football field in Albion.


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Elvis, Super Cruise have Medina all shook up

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 2 September 2015

MEDINA – Terry Buchwald, an Elvis impersonator, sings and dances from a stage on Main Street during the Super Cruise which included classic cars and a big crowd in downtown Medina.

Buchwald rides a motorcyle to the stage. He was scheduled to perform in Medina last Wednesday but the show was cancelled when his wife had a baby boy named Brooks. The weather was also much better this evening compared to the cold and drizzle a week ago.

Medina blocked off part of Main Street for the Super Cruise, which included this 1964 Pontiac.

This 1941 Dodge pickup is parked in the middle of the street.

Medina Rotary Club members Jennifer Hill and Gary Lawton serve hamburgers and hot dogs. The club also had clams for sale.

The cars brought out lots of people in a festive environment.

Buchwald, pictured on stage by Napa Auto Parts, is a crowd pleaser. He has returned several times to conclude the classic car series in Medina.

Lynne Menz shared this photo from the third floor of the Bent's Opera House. This was early in the Super Cruise, before the street was packed with people.

This 1947 Cadillac includes a fairy tale message.


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Albion mechanic turns 80, reflects on career

John Keding says the job has become more high-tech

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 2 September 2015
ALBION – John Keding turned 80 today, and many of his customers and former employees stopped by his shop, Keding Automotive, to wished him well on his birthday.


Keding has owned the business at 309 East Ave. for more than four decades. He opened it on Jan. 16, 1974. But he has been working as a mechanic since he was a teen-ager, first repairing lawn mowers.


He learned the auto mechanic trade at the General Motors Institute in Flint, Mich., beginning the two-year program in 1953. He worked for General Motors for three years before a two-year stint in Army at Fort Dix from 1958 to 1960.


He returned to Albion in 1960 and worked as a mechanic for a car dealership for 13 years before a brief stint as an electrician.

He opened his owned business nearly 42 years ago and has been happy to come to work each day, fixing cars and connecting with customers.

“I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t like it,” he said. “I’ve spent more than half of my life here.”

Keding has two full-time mechanics with Peter Heard and Jason Lutes. Karen Dibley is the office manager.

Heard has worked for Keding for 20 years.

“He’s a very intelligent man,” Heard said. “I’ve learned a lot from him.”

Heard said the mechanic’s job is physically demanding. He is amazed Keding tackles the work with such zest.

Keding said the work has become more high-tech with problems in cars more difficult to diagnose due to computers and electronics in vehicles.

“It’s a different style of analyzation,” Keding said. “It’s not as simple as using your hands. In this type of work you have to use your head and figure out why it’s not working. To do that you need to know how it should work.”

Keding said there is a mechanic shortage in the country. He thinks parents and schools push too many students away from careers in the skilled trades.

“This is a good business to get into, but it’s not easy,” Keding said. “We don’t have enough mechanics. It’s the same with electricians and plumbers. People don’t want to get their hands dirty.”


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Sheriff’s Office will check child safety seats on Sept. 19

Press Release, Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess Posted 2 September 2015
ALBION – The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office will conduct a Child Safety Seat Check on Saturday, Sept. 19, in front of the Dollar Tree Store in the Save-A-Lot Plaza located at 330 West Ave. The event will take place from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.


Deputies who are certified Child Seat Technicians will be on hand to check seats for proper installation. They will also make sure that the child’s seat meets the standard for his/her age and weight.


Finally, they will exchange any expired seat and/or seat that has been recalled by the manufacturer.


For additional information, contact Deputy Jeff Cole at (585) 589-5527.


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Motorcyclist injured in accident near Wal-Mart

Staff Reports Posted 2 September 2015
ALBION – A motorcyclist was injured in an accident on Tuesday afternoon at the intersection by the Wal-Mart in Albion, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department is reporting.


The incident occurred shortly before 2 p.m. A 2002 Toyota 4-door sedan was travelling north on Gaines Basin Road and stopped for the stop sign at Route 31. The vehicle then entered the intersection in attempt to make a left turn and collided with a 1999 Harley Davidson Motorcycle, which was westbound.


The motorcycle operator was ejected from the machine. The driver has been identified as Frederick L. Melzer Jr., 66, of Albion.

Haaris Huzair, 18, of Waterport was the sole occupant of the Toyota. He was not injured.

Melzer was transported by Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance to Medina Memorial Hospital, and later transferred to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, the Sheriff's Department reported.


Huzair was ticketed by Deputy M.C. Mele for Failure to Yield Right-of-Way at a Stop Sign. He will appear in Albion Town Court at a later date. Lt. C.M. Bourke assisted at the scene.


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New director at Care Net committed to cause

Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 2 September 2015
ALBION – Kimberly Scott, left, started on Aug. 11 as the new director at the Care Net Pregnancy and Family Center of Greater Orleans.

She is pictured with staff members, from left in back: Jocelyn Wilson, the client services manager; Sharon Sugar, office manager; and Sara Moore, the nurse manager.

The center in Albion provides free ultra-sounds, pregnancy tests, sexually transmitted infection testing and resources to families in crisis, incuding parenting classes and some material aid.

The center has a 26-year history in Orleans County. It is located across from McDonalds on Route 31 in the former Lipton’s building.

“I want the ministry to grow and to raise awareness of what we do,” Scott said.

She has volunteered the past 4 ½ years as a peer counselor at the center. She also is the church secretary and co-leader of the youth program with her husband Raul at Our Light of Victory Church on Brown Street in Albion.


Scott and her husband moved from Lockport to Albion five years ago to help with the ministry at Light of Victory. Mrs. Scott soon started volunteering at Care Net.


"It's a cause that has always been firmly in my heart," she said. "It's an opportunity to share the love of Christ."


Care Net is funded with donations from the community. That long-term commitment from churches and residents inspires Scott.


"We have so many people who donate year after year," she said. "That says something that they find what we do is important. We're very thankful for that."


The center has its annual “Walk for Life” at 10 a.m. on Sept. 19 at Mount Albion Cemetery, which includes a fund-raising walk, as well as a café and scavenger hunt for children.

For more information on the center in Albion, click here.


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Anti-turbine candidates see potential in Yates as thriving residential, small business community

Photos by Tom Rivers
Jim Simon, a candidate for town supervisor in Yates, said he opposes the Lighthouse Wind project in Yates and Somerset, saying it will have a negative impact on the overall community. He said he will push for town and county resolutions opposing the turbine project.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 September 2015
LYNDONVILLE – Three candidates endorsed by a grass roots anti-turbine group say the Yates community has plenty of potential to draw more residents and small businesses, without mammoth wind turbines.

Save Ontario Shores held a campaign rally on Tuesday evening for Jim Simon, Valerie Pratt and John Riggi. They will be on the ballot for the Republican Primary on Sept. 10.

The three all see a big upside for the community with the lakeshore, wildlife, committed residents and small-town charm.

They have the backing of Save Ontario Shores, which formed last December when the community learned that the lakeshore towns of Yates and Somerset were eyed for nearly 70 wind turbines that would peak at 570 feet tall (when the blade is at it’s highest point). Those are about 150 feet taller than many of the turbines in Wyoming County.

Save Ontario Shores started attending Yates Town Board meetings, and members say the Town Board hasn’t been responsive to their questions or demonstrated leadership in advocating for residents who would be harmed by the project.

Pratt, a candidate for Town Board in the Republican primary, said going to board meetings is like “talking to a wall.”

Richard Pucher, the retired Lyndonville school superintendent, has been active with Save Ontario Shores. He welcomed about 50 people to the campaign rally on Tuesday at the White Birch Golf Course.

“We decided the only way to get a response from the Town Board was to have a different Town Board,” Pucher told the crowd.

(The Town Board last month said it would form a committee that would work to survey residents about the proposed wind project. Somerset already did a survey that showed strong opposition to the project. Both Somerset and the Niagara County Legislature have gone on the record against the project.)


Simon has forced a Primary against incumbent Town Supervisor John Belson, who has the Republican endorsement.

John Riggi is a candidate for the Town Board and also president of Save Ontario Shores. He is pictured in front of a slide show of photos of the Yates community, including an apple orchard.

Pratt and Riggi, president of the Save Ontario Shores, are in a three-way race for the Town Board in the Primary. Incumbent Wes Bradley is the other candidate. Riggi noted that Bradley has attended many of the Save Ontario Shores meetings.


Bradley also has spoken out against a State Siting Committee that would only have two local representatives on a seven-person committee that would decide if the project is approved.

Simon said Bradley and Belson are both “good people,” but Simon said the current Town Board hasn’t done the proper outreach in the community, getting residents’ input on the proposed wind project and keeping them informed of the issue and other projects in the town.

Simon, the dean of the GCC campus centers in Albion and Medina, said Apex Wind Energy representatives should have met with Yates officials and community members long before it started getting leases from land owners for the project.

“We need to start this conversation over,” Simon said. “Apex came in without talking to the town.”

Simon said he would form a business advisory and tourism committee, as well as renewable energy committee if he is town supervisor.

He also would want to hear from residents about possible expansions of the town water system and work to enhance the town park, possibly adding bathrooms and playground equipment.

He would favor an overhaul of the town website to include more updates on town news, and also provide a way for residents to connect with board members and town officials.

Simon and his wife moved to Millers Road a decade ago with their eight children after he retired from the U.S. Air Force.

John Riggi says the hundreds of signs against the the wind project in Yates and Somerset shows a "mandate" against the project.


Riggi grew up in Caledonia, a small village in Livingston County, and moved to Yates with his wife of 34 years, Donna, to a lakefront home in May 2014. The location had long been a dream for the couple, which has three grown children.


Riggi works as director of quality at Baxter Healthcare in Medina. He said he would bring "data-driven analysis" to tackling issues in the town.


He sees potential in the town as a draw for residents and tourists with the agrcultural base, the bald eagles and other wildlife, and Lake Ontario, which has the potential to turn the Great Lakes communities from the Rust Belt to the "Blue Belt," especially as California and other parts of the country struggle with drought.

Valerie Pratt speaks during the candidate rally on Tuesday.


Valerie Pratt, 22, said she would focus energy on revitalizing Main Street. She said Yates officials can pursue grants to bring in businesses and help repair buildings.


She said the Lyndonville school district is recognized as a top performer, including in national rankings. The community could use the school district's reputation to attract more younger families, which could help revitalize neighborhoods.


Pratt was born and raised in Northern Virginia, and visited the Lyndonville area often to stay at the family property known as Robin Hill. She has worked the past year full-time for LynOaken Farms with its cider mill, winery and other special events.


She opposes the turbine project, believing companies are building the indstrial-size projects to gain tax credits without a long-term commitment to the communities.


"It's a short-term get rich and leave quick project," she said.


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State Police remind drivers to be careful with schools opening

Press Release, NY State Police Posted 2 September 2015

The New York State Police urge everyone to support the AAA’s annual “School’s Open—Drive Carefully” campaign to help preserve the safety of children traveling to and from school.

AAA’s yearly “School’s Open—Drive Carefully” campaign alerts motorists to the special risks to school-age children from motor vehicle crashes, the leading cause of death for children from five to fourteen years old. The campaign begins Sept. 2, 2015 and runs through Oct. 14.

Motorists will receive an additional reminder each time they see one of the “School’s Open” bumper stickers on State Police vehicles, as well as other official vehicles, school buses and passenger cars.

“As the summer season comes to an end, thousands of children will be boarding buses and walking to and from school,” said Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico. “The New York State Police remind motorists to drive carefully and be especially aware of school speed zones, school bus traffic, and children walking.”

State Police also emphasize the need to show extra caution when driving as schools reopen, since it is then that vacation-minded children are apt to be less careful. Motorists should be particularly alert for children darting out between parked cars on busy streets.


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