Union, Confederacy battle at State Street Park in Medina

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 25 April 2015
MEDINA – Civil War re-enactors battled at State Street Park this morning in a loud clash that is part of the Civil War Encampment in Medina.


The top photo shows the advancing Union firing at the Confederate soldiers.

This is the third year the community is hosting the Civil War Encampment. Previously, the re-enactors have had their mock battles at the GCC campus on Maple Ridge Road. Today the fight moved inside the village.


There will be another mock battle on Sunday at 2 p.m. by the GCC campus center. The following photos are in chronological order.

Confederate soldiers load their guns and get ready for battle. They are pictured near the edge of the park along State Street.

Union soldiers wait by the canal bank. The Confederate soldiers are on the other side of the fence.

In the beginning of the battle, the Rebels are on the offensive, pressuring the Union.

Union soldiers get ready to return fire.

Two soldiers on horses emerge from under the canal bridge. The mounted cavalry gives the Union a big advantage in the battle.

The Confederate soldiers stand their ground and fire at the Union.

The Union returns fire and gets ready to advance.

The Confederates reload while under fire.

The Union prepares to charge on the Confederates.

A fallen soldier is tended to by his Confederate brethern.

The Union is on move, leaving behind a Confederate casualty.

A line of Confederate soldiers gets off some shots against the advancing Union Army.

The Confederacy, pushed to the edge of the park, isn't giving up.

The cavalry comes up along the edge of the park, putting more pressure on the Confederacy.

These Confederates, including Olin Miller of Albion at left, load their weapons in the waning moments of the battle. Albion teacher Doug Mergler is at back right.

The Rebels are backed up and under pressure from the Union.

Albion teacher Jonathan Sanford, left, and Albion resident Wes Miller contemplate their next move.

The Confederates yield to the Union and the mock battle is over.


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Horses flex muscles in pull competition at fairgrounds

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 25 April 2015
KNOWLESVILLE – Teams of powerful draft horses, with participants from eight states, are competing today in at 4-H Fairgrounds in the “Pull of Champions.”

This is the second straight year the event has been at the fairgrounds in Knowlesville after the State Fair in Syracuse used to host the competition.

The event draws many out-of-state competitors who are eager to compete after winter.

There are nearly 20 teams competing in either the lightweight division (3,425 pounds or less for two horses), or the heavyweights for teams that exceed 3,425 pounds.

This team from Michigan takes in the action inside one of the livestock barns at the fairgrounds.

The teams need to pull a dynamometer 27 1/2 feet for a full pull. The dynamometer, in the final pulls, can simulate 160,000 pounds.

Brian Ressequie of Cato is announcer for today’s horse pull.

Sydney Root of Bolivar is pictured with a team that is owned by her family.

This will be the second straight year the fairgrounds is hosting the horse pull. After a small crowd last year, organizers were pleased to see about 400 people in the stands today.

This is a closeup of a horse owned by Lori Root and her family in Bolivar. The family has been competing in horse pulls for 35 years.

“Horses are an addiction,” she said. “Once you are around them and like them, you want to compete. Here it’s a friendly competition. Everyone helps each other.”

This team from Michigan waits its turn to pull.



First prize today for each division is $750.

In addition to New York, teams in the competition are from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Michigan, Kentucky, Florida and Ohio.


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Food and wine draw crowd to Holley library

Photos by Kristina Gabalski

The fourth annual Raise a Glass for Reading event at the Community Free Library in Holley was another sell-out this year with about 150 people, including Clarendon Town Clerk Susan Colby (front center), enjoying food, local wines, produce and music.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 25 April 2015
HOLLEY – The Holley community came together on Friday evening to enjoy great food, award-winning wines, farmers market offerings and music all while supporting the children's summer reading program at the Community Free Library.

About 150 people attended the fourth annual “Raise a Glass for Reading” fundraiser at the library, which included wine from Leonard Oakes Estate Winery in Medina and Victorianbourg Wine Estate in Wilson, and mead (honey wine) from 810 Meadworks in Medina.

Attendees enjoy a spread of finger foods and sweets during the annual “Raise a Glass for Reading” event at the Community Free Library.

“If you look around, you see people talking and having a great time," Library Director Sandra Shaw said. She observed the event is an example of what the library is supposed to be – “the hub of the community.”


Farmers market participants included Kirby’s Farm Market in Brockport and Penna’s Farm Market in Holley. Susi's Hot Sauce by Susan Johnson and Woodturnings by HNB – Harry Beaver in Kendall also participated.

Live music was provided by Wendy and Sean Williams (and sons) of Sound Foundations in Batavia.


Proceeds from the event support the summer reading program, by helping to provide "... performers, incentives, gifts and materials," Shaw said and noted the event also supports local farms and vineyards.

Linda Kirby of Kirby's Farm Market was promoting Kirby's CSA program and also had baskets of apples, samples of frozen cherries and lush containers of annual flowers from Kirby's greenhouse.

Linda Kirby of Kirby’s Farm Market talks with attendees at Friday's event at the library.

“This is so great,” Kirby said of the Raise a Glass event, “We’re opening May 1st and this allows me to get to see a lot of our good customers and get caught up.”

Holley Village Trustee Connie Nenni said this is her third year attending.

“We come with a group of friends, we just love it,” Nenni said, “and it’s for a great cause.”

Additionally, she likes the opportunity to support local wineries, “ ... and you also get to see a lot of the community,” she said.


The theme for the 2015 summer reading program is “Every Hero Has A Story” and will explore what defines a hero – from superheroes to everyday heroes.

Those attending the annual Raise a Glass for Reading at the Holley Community Free Library sample wines from Leonard Oakes Estate Winery in Medina.


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4 ‘Heritage Heroes’ get thanks for efforts to improve community

Photos by Tom Rivers
Genesee Community College and Orleans Hub honored four “Heritage Heroes” on Friday during the Civil War Encampment at GCC’s Medina campus center. The following were recognized, from right to left: Doug Miller (accepting for his wife Susan Starkweather Miller), Andrew Meier, Holly Ricci-Canham, and William Menz.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 April 2015
MEDINA – Four Orleans County residents were honored with the second annual Heritage Heroes awards on Friday for their efforts to preserve local history and promote community pride by celebrating the county’s past.

The honorees have varied interests and passions, from genealogy, building a monument to veterans, redeveloping historic buildings and working with students on service projects.

All have exhibited fortitude and a love of community in seeing their projects to fruition.
The group was called “really remarkable” for their dedication to many efforts in the county, said Derek Maxfield of GCC, a history professor and coordinator of the Civil War Initiative and Encampment. Friday was the first day of the Encampment in Medina, which continues until Sunday.

The honorees include:

• Holly Ricci-Canham is a founder of Orleans County Genealogical Society, and has a passion for educating the public about the Orphan Train Movement. That included a re-enactment at the Medina Railroad Museum.

Ricci-Canham has spent may hours recording and transcribing oral histories of veterans for permanent preservation by the Library of Congress, and she has written two books about local history with another in the works about “mom and pop” farms in Orleans County.

Ricci-Canham is leading genealogy workshops at the Civil War Encampment. She urged people to look into their family’s past.

“Genealogy is a lot of fun,” she said. “There is no history that is more interesting or more fun than your own.”

Orleans County Historian Matt Ballard said Ricci-Canham’s efforts, helping people with genealogy, has eased that workload for local historians, allowing them to spend more time on other projects.


Susan Starkweather Miller has worked with Albion Central School students on many service learning projects in the past 20 years, from erecting memorials for veterans and pioneer black residents of Orleans County. She was part of a team from the school district, mostly the seventh grade class, that helped reclaim a cemetery for the County Alms House on Countyhouse Road in Albion.

Students helped research who was buried at the cemetery, reset stones and put up a historic marker about the site.

Starkweather Miller also is a coordinator of the annual Ghost Walk at Mount Albion Cemetery, where students portray residents from the past who are buried in the historic cemetery.

Starkweather Miller was in New York City on Friday as a chaperone with the high school chorus. Her husband Doug Miller accepted the award.

“She does anything and everything for any group,” her husband said.

His wife wanted to say she is blessed to work at a school district and in a community “that wants students so civically engaged.”

Students are currently trying to help develop a history trail the former Civilian Conservation Corps/WWII POW Camp at Hamlin Beach State Park.

Medina Mayor Andrew Meier has been a key part of downtown Medina’s renaissance, renovating the R.H. Newell Building, pushing to save the Bent’s Opera Hall, and proving to be a strong partner as mayor for the downtown businesses.

Meier was in his late 20s when he bought the Newell building six years ago. He has steadily worked to improve the building and find tenants for the historic three-story building that is home to the Shirt Factory Café, 810 Meadworks, a law office and a boutique hotel.

Andrew Meier sees the county's many historical assets as a key building block for the future, including a more vibrant local economy.

Meier is a church organist and he was instrumental in bringing a rescued Holtcamp organ from Cincinnati to Trinity Lutheran Church in Medina.

Meier said the county is fortunate to have several historic downtown business districts. Residents from more than a century ago committed to building the commercial structures and generations of stewardship have followed.

“We have a great legacy to build on in our county,” he said. “We are uniquely positioned to capitalize on our historic assets.”

William Menz has been instrumental in projects at the former Medina Armory, beginning with the Armory Action Committee which formed in 1977 after the National Guard left the site. The committee helped bring the YMCA to the historic site.

Many of the Armory Action Committee members would help form the Medina Sandstone Society. Menz was a founding member of that group, which has published several local history books and promoted preservation projects.

Menz has been fascinated with the Armory’s history, its role in training local soldiers to serve in wars from the Spanish-American War to the Cold War. While grateful to have the Y using the building, Menz didn’t want the Armory’s role in shaping soldiers to be lost to the community.

He set about having a monument made, listing names and detailing the service from Company F.

“Why not have a memorial for the men that trained in this facility and went to war,” he said on Friday.

He recalled when 120 men who trained at the Armory boarded a train in 1940. They were gone for five years during World War II.

Menz did much of the stone work himself for the monument, and is now determined to have a bronze statue of a soldier on top. Menz said bids will be opened next week for the statue.

“We’re going to get that money and it’s going to get done,” he said.

Another person critical to the success of the Civil War Encampment was honored on Friday. Tom Bowers coordinates the Civil War re-enactors. The Albion native has been successful in drawing about 100 to 120 re-enactors for the Encampment.

Maxfield presented Bowers with a “special recognition” award and a bust of Abraham Lincoln.


Bowers, who now lives in Chili, has been with GCC since the first Encampment at the Lima campus in 2012 and the past three at GCC in Medina.

Bowers said he became interested in the Civil War 35 years ago when he got his first job working for The Journal-Register in Medina. Robert Waters was the publisher and he urged Bowers to take a bike ride down south and send back dispatches for the local paper.

Bowers visited many Civil War battlefields.

“It touched me to see what this country is really about,” he said.

The GCC Encampment tends to be one of the first of the year for re-enactors. They use the Medina weekend to train new re-enactors, while veteran re-enactors brush up on their skills. Bowers said re-enactors are very busy with events in the summer.

He is pleased to see how Medina has embraced the Encampment, which has included parades in the downtown. Today there will be a skirmish and then a surrender ceremony at about 10:30 a.m. in the downtown.

“People in Medina are more than my friends,” Bowers said. "They are my family."


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Medina celebrates Arbor Day with 60 new trees

Provided Photos Posted 24 April 2015
MEDINA – The village celebrated Arbor Day today by planting a tree on West Avenue in front of the Medina Historical Society.


In the top photo, Medina Mayor Andrew Meier addresses a group of elementary school students by the Historical Society. Meier is standing on a carriage step while reading the Arbor Day proclamation.

This year more than 60 trees will be planted in Medina. The village has been designated a Tree City USA and has been a Tree City Growth Award recipient from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, left, joins Mayor Andrew Meier, center, and Michael Kracker from Congressman Chris Collins's office in tossing some dirt on the newly planted tree.


The new trees in Medina are planned for areas of Park Avenue with additional plantings on West Center Street, West Avenue, Gwinn Street, Elizabeth Street and Mead Avenue.


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Firefighters put out blaze at Albion back porch

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 24 April 2015
ALBION – A fire that started in the back porch of a house in the village was put out by Albion firefighters before it spread into the kitchen and the rest of the house.

Tim Seibert was just returning home a little after 3 this afternoon when he and his wife noticed the smoke and fire from the back of the house at 613 East State St.

Tim Seibert is at the back of house just before firefighters arrived at about 3:20 p.m. today.

Seibert suspects the propane tanks and grill were the cause of the fire. He emptied his driveway of vehicles and his wife and young son left the house while firefighters put out the fire.

Firefighters hurry to the scene to put out the fire.

Firefighters direct water on the fire while Frank Sidari, a friend of the Seibert family, watches.

Brad Driesel, a firefighter from Barre, removes some of the siding so firefighters can check for any hot spots.


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Medina dedicates historical marker for Frederick Douglass

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 24 April 2015
MEDINA – The Orleans Renaissance Group and students from Oak Orchard Elementary School joined with other community members to dedicate a historical marker today for Frederick Douglass, the famed abolitionist who visited the area several times in the mid-1800s.

Douglass lived in Rochester and was a powerful orator and newspaper editor. The historical marker unveiled today on Main Street in Medina highlights two speeches he gave in Medina.

Chris Busch, on platform, is chairman of the Orleans Renaissance Group, which secured the funding and worked out the details for the marker.


In 1849, Douglass delivered a speech in Medina at the former Methodist Episcopal Church on Main Street (the current Fuller block, home of Main Street Appliance). He also visited Medina in 1869 and gave a celebratory address for Emancipation entitled “We are not yet quite free.” That event on Aug. 3 was attended by African-Americans from throughout the state.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Michael Kracker, district director for U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, both addressed a crowd of more than 100 people at the dedication, praising the Medina community for honoring Douglass.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley addresses the group of students and other community members on Main Street.


Hawley said Douglass deserves the praise and the permanent marker “for all of the work that he did for all of mankind.”


The dedication has been timed with the Civil Encampment organized by Genesee Community College. Medina is hosting that event on the 150th anniversary of the final year of the Civil War. The Encampment continues until Sunday. For a schedule of events, click here.

David Kreutz, an Abraham Lincoln impersonator, helps dedicate the historical marker. Ed Brodbeck, who portrays General Ulysses Grant, is at right.


Several community members donated to the marker, including Judge James Punch, Gabrielle and Andina Barone, Medina Sandstone Society, David and Gail Miller, Wilson Southworth, Nunzio Maiorana, Katherine Bogan, Bill Hungerford, Mark Kruzynski, Chris and Cynthia Busch and an anonymous donor.


Busch addressed the group with these closing comments:


"Let these words here, cast in iron, now and for all time, give us pause to remember our intrepid and beloved countryman, Frederick Douglass, and our forebears who stood with him in the cause of freedom and emancipation, in dark and dangerous times, when few had the courage to do so. Let us with this marker never forget their courage, and solemnly pledge to preserve their legacy for all generations."


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Heritage Hero: Sue Starkweather Miller

Albion grants manager has helped coordinate many service learning and community projects

Provided photo
Sue Starkweather Miller is pictured at Mount Albion Cemetery with Mike Thaine, left, and Gary Simboli. The trio coordinate the annual Ghost Walk at the cemetery, which typically includes about 60 student participants. About 500 community members come out for the Ghost Walk.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 April 2015
ALBION – Sue Starkweather Miller remembers the project in 1995 that would kick off a new culture of community service by students and staff at Albion Central School.

Jeff Evoy, now Medina Central School superintendent, was a social studies teacher for Albion in 1995. He and his students were studying the Vietnam War.

Evoy wanted students to talk with local Vietnam veterans, and get their stories. The students learned that many of those veterans felt forgotten. Evoy and the students decided there should be a memorial for the Vietnam veterans, and it would be dedicated in front of the Middle School.

File photo by Tom Rivers

The monument for Orleans County residents who served in the Vietnam War was dedicated in 1995 in front of the Albion Middle School.

The monument was dedicated in memory of Vietnam War veterans from Orleans County who served in the war, and lists the names of local soldiers who died in the war. The oral histories recorded by students were also compiled into a book.

That project energized the district and community. A memorial for veterans from World War II would be relocated from behind the Middle School to the front of the building by the Vietnam memorial.

Deacon Ben Jones, a prominent leader in the black community, shared with some school leaders that Albion has many historical markers and monuments, but none for black residents.

Provided photo

Deacon Ben Jones speaks at a dedication ceremony for a monument to pioneer black residents in Orleans County.

Students and Albion teachers connected with local historians and then went researching into Census records from the 1800s, which detailed if residents were black and listed their occupations and family members.


Those pioneer black residents of Orleans County were honored with a large stone monument, listing their names, in Mount Albion Cemetery. The monument was dedicated on June 17, 2000.

Sue Starkweather Miller has been in the background for many of the district’s service learning projects, connecting students to historians, and other resources in the community.

She is co-leader of the annual Ghost Walk at Mount Albion Cemetery, where about 60 students portray residents in the cemetery or serve as tour guides or with lighting and setup.

She is being honored at 7 p.m. today as a Heritage Hero along with three others in Orleans County. The event is part of the Civil War Encampment in Medina at the GCC campus center.

“This is really a district award,” said Starkweather Miller, who works as the district’s grants manager.

Starkweather Miller is an Albion graduate who was hired to work for Albion 24 years ago to coordinate a Community Schools grant that paid for before and after-school programming for at-risk students. The grant included summer school and parenting programs.

Photo by Tom Rivers
Alyssa Lawrence speaks during a recent Ghost Walk at Mount Albion and tells the story of Jane Lavery, who was 16 when she died in a bridge collapse in Albion on Sept. 28, 1859.

Ron Sodoma, the former district superintendent, wanted to open the schools to the community and see students commit to service projects. He asked Starkweather Miller to push along some of those efforts, in addition to Community Schools program.

“It’s always been about opening the school up to the community with the school being the hub of the community,” she said.

The district has a walking trail inside the elementary school that is busy from 4 to 8 p.m. on many weekdays. There is also an outdoor walking trail.

Starkweather Miller also coordinates an internship program where high schoolers work with local businesses and agencies.

She has managed the grants since 2000, and also has worked as the district’s public information officer. Unofficially, she is often the face of the district in the community, said Mary Leto, the assistant superintendent of instruction. Leto also has worked with the district for 24 years and watched Starkweather Miller take an idea and build support for it in the district and community.

“She is the facilitator,” Leto said. “Susie is the coach and the conductor, who orchestrates all of the parts.”

Photo by Lisa Mannella

Students are pictured in June 2011 with the rededicated cemetery for residents of the Alms House on Countyhouse Road.

Starkweather Miller is active with the Albion Alumni Association and also Holy Family Parish. She also can seem ubiquitous at community events.

She is trusted by the community, and the district’s partners in many of the projects know if Starkweather Miller is involved, the district will be committed.

“Susie is a natural leader,” Leto said. “What she brings to the table is her commitment to Albion.”

Starkweather Miller said she is most proud of the project to clean up and rededicate a cemetery for residents of the County Alms House. This was the precursor to the Orleans County Nursing Home. Many poor residents stayed at the Alms House on West Countyhouse Road before the nursing home opened in the early 1960s.

When residents from the Alms House died, they were often buried in a cemetery on the property with numbered tombstones, but no names.

Orleans County Historian Bill Lattin visited a seventh grade classroom in the fall of 2010 to talk about local history. He made a passing comment about the Alms House, how the road, Countyhouse, was named for the county-owned home.

Lattin told the students the cemetery was overgrown and many of the gravestones had fallen over.

His comments piqued students interest, and a group of them joined their teacher Tim Archer and Starkweather Miller on a site visit. They were shocked to see the cemetery so neglected.

They would clean it up and reset the stones with help from the County Highway Department. Students researched who was buried there. That was difficult because many of the records were destroyed in a fire but Albion Town Clerk Sarah Basinait helped track down some information.

Starkweather Miller secured a large piece of sandstone from Keeler Construction for the cemetery sign and a historical marker went up by the side of the road, noting the history of the sight.

The rededicated cemetery was celebrated in June 2011.

Photo by Lisa Mannella

A historical marker notes the Alms House on West Countyhouse Road.

“I remember when we first went there and we walked through the mud and the stones were knocked over,” Starkweather Miller said. “To see what it is now is just amazing.”

The district has won a national award for its service learning projects, and Starkweather Miller presents at many conferences about the Albion projects and the importance of community partnerships.

The greatest reward is seeing the students take more pride in Albion.

“It’s about remembering, sharing and educating others,” Starkweather Miller said. “It’s important to know a sense of place and to be proud of your community.”

The district motto is “Achievement, Character, Success for Life.” Leto said Starkweather Miller has been an important leader in promoting that message, and living it.

“Susie gets that we’re trying to get the kids to be the people they were created to be,” Leto said.


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Dobbins expansion in Lyndonville backed by County Planners

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 April 2015
ALBION – An expansion project at H.H. Dobbins in Lyndonville, adding a new 26,240-square-foot controlled atmosphere storage building, was approved by the Orleans County Planning Board on Thursday night.

The site plan for the project on Millers Road now goes to the Town of Yates Planning Board for a final review.

The County Planning Board looked at the application last month and deemed it incomplete because the board didn’t believe Dobbins had addressed the need for a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan. That is needed when an acre or more is disturbed with a project.

The application last month showed 3 acres would be disturbed, but Dobbins has revised its plan to show it would disturb 0.86 acre of land, which is below the 1-acre threshold required for the stormwater plan.

Planning Board members said the new building fits in on a rural road with agricultural land, woodlots, a general store and a replacement window business.

Dobbins plans to start work soon on the $5 million project and wants to have it ready for the fall harvest.


In other action, the Planning Board:

• Recommended the Town of Shelby approve the site plan and special use permit for Shelby Crushed Stone to operate a building material reclamation operation.

The company wants to run the enterprise using 3.5 acres on the northwest corner of its 109-acre quarry site at 10830 Blair Rd. Materials may include concrete, asphalt, stone, brick and soil. Shelby Crush Stone estimates it will process about 5,000 yards of uncontaminated material each year.

• Recommended the Town of Murray approve a special use permit for a home occupation at 17067 Brockport-Holley Rd.

Robert Benedict plans to run a part-time barber shop in his garage on Route 31. He won’t be putting on an addition. He has four parking spots at the location.


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MET tower to test wind in Yates gets county OK

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 April 2015
YATES – The Orleans County Planning Board supported a 196.85 foot high meteorological tower in Yates that will measure wind strength and consistency.

Apex Wind Energy wants the MET tower on a 65-acre lot at the southwest corner of Lakeshore and Marshall roads. The company would put the tower up on land owned by Donna Bane.

Apex needs final approval for the tower from the Yates Town Board. The Planning Board’s decision this evening is separate from Apex’s pursuit for a larger wind farm, a proposal for 60 to 68 turbines in Yates and Somerset.

A state siting board will have final say on that project. That seven-member board is supposed to include two representatives from the project area.

About 30 members from Save Ontario Shores, a citizen group that has formed to oppose the project, attended the County Planning Board meeting, but weren’t allowed to address the board.

Planners said they were only looking at the MET tower and the not the overall turbine project.

Apex will need a special use permit from the town for the tower, and that permit would allow the structure to stay for up to two years.

Apex said it is planning to hire Anemometry Specialists from Alta, Iowa, to put up the tower.


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Hawley not happy to see SAFE Act repeal shot down in committee

Assemblyman says Assembly majority holding other key legislation in committee

Press Release, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley Posted 23 April 2015
State Assemblyman Steve Hawley said the Assembly Majority Codes Committee killed two bills that would have repealed the unconstitutional SAFE Act.


Despite an impressive showing from pro-Second Amendment sportsmen, members of the Assembly Majority killed two bills sponsored by Hawley, A.2651 and A.3350, that would have repealed the NY SAFE Act, which was passed controversially in 2013, Hawley said.

The SAFE Act continues to violate New Yorkers’ Second Amendment rights, Hawley said, and was irresponsibly jammed though the Legislature in the middle of the night as a political stunt by Gov. Cuomo.

“I have, and always will be, a supporter of the Second Amendment,” Hawley said. “Any legislation that takes away a law-abiding citizen’s ability to possess firearms is an unconstitutional act of government tyranny. I am from a rural district in Western New York and my experience with gun owners has been exemplary.

“Most gun owners are responsible hunters or firearm enthusiasts, and to prohibit them from adequately protecting themselves or their families is indefensible and governmentally oppressive. New Yorkers, in no way wanted this bill to become law, that is why it was rushed through the process in the middle of the night using a message of necessity. A truly fair and transparent government would allow this bill to come to the floor for a vote, but apparently that is not how New York functions.”

Hawley also criticized Assembly Majority members of the Governmental Operations Committee for voting to reject Assembly Bill 520 rather than sending it to the floor for a vote. This legislation, championed by Assembly Minority Leader Brain M. Kolb (R-Canandaigua), would establish lifetime mandatory supervision requirements and prohibit good behavior sentence reductions for those convicted of certain violent crimes.

Hawley said this law is necessary to protect New York’s women from violent predators who have a high propensity to commit serious crimes even after completing their prison sentences.

“It is a mistake for this legislation to be held in committee,” Hawley said. “Unfortunately, there have been numerous tragic cases where women have been victimized because their assailants were released from prison unsupervised. Each day that this legislation sits dormant we run the risk of another sister, mother, wife or daughter becoming a victim of a violent crime. That is a risk we should not be willing to take. It is disgraceful that members of the Assembly Majority do not have the same regard for the safety of women as I do.”

Hawley also blamed Assembly Majority members for keeping legislation on higher education in the committee rather than bringing it to the floor for a vote. In 2009, Hawley introduced Assembly Bill 3093, which seeks to provide free college tuition and expenses for dependent family members of military personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty. The Assembly Majority has never allowed this bill to leave committee and come before the entire house for a vote.

“I am discouraged by today’s committee vote,” Hawley said. “As a veteran, I know the personal and financial struggles of children who lose their parents in the line of duty. This legislation would lift some of the financial burden that comes with attending college and allow military families more freedom in pursuing their educational aspirations. We owe it to those who have paid the ultimate price to assist their loved ones in any way we can. It is disappointing that Assembly Majority members do not feel the same urgency to support those who sacrificed their lives for us.”


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Medina Memorial secures designation as Critical Access Hospital

Photo by Tom Rivers
Medina Memorial Hospital has been designated a Critical Access Hospital, which will boost the Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates.


Staff Reports Posted 23 April 2015

MEDINA – Medina Memorial Hospital has received “Critical Access Hospital” designation from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which will boost the reimbursement rates for the hospital.


The Critical Access Hospital program is a reimbursement status that allows a certified hospital to receive cost-based reimbursement from Medicare, and is intended to boost the financial strength of the hospitals, Medina officials said in a statement this afternoon.


The designation could lead to grant money for Medina Memorial through the Flex Program, which provides grants to states to implement a Critical Access Hospital program. This is a method for promoting strength and longevity, encouraging the development of rural health networks, assisting with quality improvement efforts, and improving rural emergency medical services, Medina Memorial/Orleans Community Health officials said in a news release today.


“Lower patient volumes, higher expenses and changes in reimbursement are affecting hospitals of all sizes across the region and country,” the hospital said in the statement. “Achieving Critical Access Hospital status is one of the significant strategic planning steps taken by Orleans Community Health to address these challenges and ensure the long-term success of the hospital.”


Critical Access Hospitals are certified under a different set of Medicare "Conditions of Participation," a set of stringent health measures designed to regulate how hospitals and other medical establishments utilize Medicare aid, hospital leaders said.


Every health-care facility that receives reimbursement for Medicare related costs must adhere to the guidelines specified by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. These rules make sure that all patients receive a minimum standard of health service, which is the right of every beneficiary.


The first step in achieving this status was for Medina Memorial to successfully complete an accreditation survey by Det Norske Veritas, an accrediting body that assures policies and practices are in place to meet patient safety and quality guidelines. Det Norske Veritas then sent the results of the survey to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which approved the Critical Access Hospital designation.


Other requirements for Critical Access Hospital status include a maximum of 25 acute care inpatient beds. For Critical Access Hospitals with swing bed agreements, any of its beds may be used for either inpatient acute care or swing bed services, Medina Memorial said.


The maximum inpatient stay is four days. Medina Memorial will continue serving the acute care needs of the community with 21 Medical/Surgical beds, four ICU beds, nine Acute Medical Rehabilitation beds and 30 Skilled Nursing Facility beds.


Critical Access Hospitals must also provide 24-hour/7 days a week emergency services, which Medina Memorial will continue to do, hospital leaders said.


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