By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 August 2014
KENDALL – Five elementary students will tell the Board of Education this evening they want to learn old-fashioned cursive hand-writing, believing it will help them learn, be creative and read important documents, including the Bill of Rights and letters from their grandparents.
The students have created posters and secured about 35 signatures on petitions, asking that the district teach cursive to elementary students. The students pushing the issue include Morgan Bukatis, Grace Casey, Cayden Faulks, Cameron Faulks and Riley Casey.
“I don’t think the politicians and school administrators feel it is necessary because they are so into technology,” said Cindy Christ, grandmother of the two Faulks brothers.
She will join them at the BOE meeting at 6 p.m. this evening. She knows school leaders feel pressed for time with a busy curriculum. But she thinks cursive writing is valuable for students.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 August 2014
KENDALL – Mary Campbell wanted to give Kendall area residents a chance to sing together in 2008. She got word out about a community choir, but wasn’t sure how many would show up.
Fifty people joined and that number has been steady since then. The choir isn’t slowing down. The Kendall Community Chorus is starting a new season and singers are welcome for the Monday evening rehearsals from 7 to 9 p.m. or on Saturday mornings from 10 to noon. The group meets at the Kendall United Methodist Church. (It won’t be there this Monday because of Labor Day.)
“We have a good time,” said Campbell, a retired music teacher from Medina and Kendall. “There’s no pressure. It’s more for the social.”
The chorus will be preparing for its biggest concert of the year on Nov. 21 at the David J. Doyle Junior-Senior High School. The concert will feature Christmas music and Broadway tunes. In the past six years, proceeds from concerts have benefitted the Kendall Park Gazebo Fund, the Kendall food cupboard, the 2012 Kendall Bicentennial, and the Kendall Fire Department Ambulance Fund.
The chorus also sings at nursing homes and other community events. It leads off the Kendall Firemen’s Carnival Parade in July.
“We open up the parade with ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ and ‘God Bless America,’” Campbell said. “I don’t know anywhere else where that happens at a firemen's parade.”
The chorus also performed a flash mob patriotic musical medley at the Brockport Wegmans store and at the Hilton Tops. They have sung at three Rochester Red Wings games.
The group draws singers from Kendall, Holley, Hamlin and Hilton. Campbell said more singers are welcome.
“Just show up and you can join,” she said.
She welcomed people to come to practice this Saturday to join the group or the Monday a week after Labor Day.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 August 2014
MEDINA – Village officials say they will reach out to other local municipal leaders to make their case the county should share more sales tax with municipalities and the state should also provide more funding for villages.
Trustee Michael Sidari suggested the village look for more revenue-sharing with the county and state to help bring down village taxes. His suggestion on Monday was readily endorsed by the other board members.
“If we don’t ask, we won’t get it,” Sidari said. “We need to try to build support with the towns and other municipalities.”
Orleans Hub has been railing for the past year about the aid disparity, in particular with the state. The state gives far more in “Aid and Incentives to Municipalities” or AIM to cities, even those with fewer residents than many villages.
For example, the Village of Medina has 6,065 people and gets $51,971 in state support or $8.57 a person. The city of Norwich in Chenango County gets $1,089,279 in state dollars for its 7,142 residents or $151.50 per person.
The Village of Albion has 6,056 residents and will receive $45,249 in state aid in 2014-15, or $7.47 per person. The city of Salamanca in Cattaraugus County has 5,815 people and receives $928,131 in Aid to Municipalities funding or $159.61 per person.
With sales tax, the county takes in about $15 million a year and keeps about 92 percent of the total. It shares $1,366,671 with the 10 towns and four villages. The four villages collectively share $400,681 of the $1,366,671. The village share has been dropping because the county ties the allotments to assessed value of the communities. The villages have seen their tax bases erode while they go up in the towns.
Medina Mayor Andrew Meier said the villages should get more in both state aid and sales tax. The villages are population centers, providing many services to residents while working to update aging infrastructure.
The board will send a letter to other villages and towns, trying to build support for having the county modify the sales tax formula. The county hasn’t increased the share to towns and villages since 2001.
“It would be most compelling if we all signed,” Meier said about the letter to other local municipal boards. “The villages in particular get the short end of the stick.”
He acknowledged changing the sales tax formula may just move the same amount of money around. Getting more state aid could hold more promise because it would bring new money into the community.
That’s how David Callard sees it. He is chairman of the Orleans County Legislature.
Sales tax revenue has slowed in recent years. If the villages get more, the county taxpayers would feel the difference, he said.
“Sales tax won’t be the salvation,” he said. “It would be better to fight our battle over state aid.”
Callard said the county would support letters and official resolutions, pressing the state for more aid to the villages. The county also would take that case to Albany, he said. But that push should start with the villages.
“The current state aid to the villages is overtly unfair,” Callard said. "It's grossly inequitable. We need to fight for more state aid.”
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 27 August 2014
HOLLEY – In the top photo, Mary DiBattisto races with her horse at the Orleans County Boots and Saddle Club arena at the corner of Hulberton and Powerline roads. DiBattisto, 13, of Greece has been a member of the club the past three years.
There were about a dozen participants in four barrel races this summer. The club wants to add members, including adults. In the past it has had 50 to 60 riders.
Faith Woody of Albion dodges the poles in a barrel race on Tuesday at Boots and Saddle.
The riders and their horses weaved between obstacles in the final barrel race of the season at the club. For many riders the race on Tuesday evening was a final tune-up for competition at the State Fair.
Riders at the club have been getting together since the late 1940s or early 1950s – no one is quite sure when it started. The club had four barrel races this year but would like to have more next year. The public is welcome to attend the events.
Shelly Daggs, vice president of the club, also sold slices of pizza on Tuesday. A dedicated group of volunteers keeps the club and the arena running. Besides events at the arena, the club also goes on trail rides.
For more information on Boots and Saddle, click here.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 August 2014
WILSON – A nearby village put dissolution to a vote on Tuesday and the referendum was rejected. But it was a close vote, 222-209, for residents in Wilson. Click here to see Buffalo News story, "Wilson voters reject dissolution of village."
That village is smaller with much less overheard than in Medina, where the community has been looking at dissolution for much of the past year. Medina hasn’t set a vote for the issue, but some residents are gathering signatures to try to force a referendum.
“It’s a vicious fight down here,” Wilson resident Charles Horton told The Buffalo News. “People are not happy on either side of the coin.”
Horton, a former town historian, led the effort the preserve the village government.
“A huge wedge has been driven in this community between the pros and the cons, and it won’t go away after the vote,” he said.
The issue in Wilson now can not go up for a vote for at least four more years. The village received a $50,000 state grant to help develop a dissolution plan. Wilson put dissolution on the ballot without having a plan for how the village would dissolve.
Medina has a plan for paying off village debt, and handing some village services off to the towns of Shelby and Ridgeway, and creating a local development corporation for water and sewer services. Medina's dissolution plan also says a joint fire district would be created for the fire department, and an ambulance district would continue as a staffed ambulance service. The fire district could contract with the ambulance district for the service, according to the plan.
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 26 August 2014
HOLLEY – Genesee Valley Transportation parked a train on the tracks in Holley next to the Holley Cold Storage this evening as part of a training with about 50 firefighters, mostly from the eastern end of the county – the departments in Clarendon, Holley, Fancher-Hulberton-Murray and Kendall.
Firefighters and GVT partnered in the training after a May 19 accident in Hulberton when a pickup truck pulled in front of a train despite the flashing lights going off at the crossing.
Firefighters toured the train engine and its cars – a covered hopper, an open hopper, a tank car and a refrigerated box cars.
GVT operates the Falls Road Railroad, which runs 42 miles from Lockport to Brockport. The company typically runs trains on Tuesdays and Fridays. The only hazardous material it currently carries is ammonia nitrate for a fertilizer company in Middleport.
GVT shared phone numbers for company employees and detailed how the company keeps records for labels, positions of cars and other facts about the cargo.
Pete Hendrickson, the Holley fire chief, said incidents with trains are rare, but he pushed for firefighters to increase their understanding of the trains and improve their preparedness in case of an emergency.
Press release, Orleans County Health Department Posted 26 August 2014
ALBION – Any mammal is able to get rabies. It is very important to get your pets vaccinated and not to touch or handle any stray or wild animals including bats.
Bats are very busy this time of year looking for roosting sites. Take note:
• If a bat gets into your house it is important to NOT let it go, especially if it may have had contact with a person or pet.
• Call your local health department at 589-3278 for guidance on whether the bat needs to be tested.
• Do not touch the bat with your bare hands. Bats have razor sharp teeth and a sleeping person may not even be aware they were bitten.
• For more information about how to safely capture a bat:
• Visit any of our county Health Department web sites - visit the environmental page,
• Call your local Health Department,
• Or go to the New York State Department of Health web site by clicking here.
Stay away from all wild, stray, feral animals and do not feed them. If a wild or stray animal, including bats, has contact with people and pets / livestock it is important to safely catch them for testing.
Although all mammals are at risk, cats are especially an issue. Many people are encouraging cats around their homes by feeding stray and feral cats. The problem is these animals are living outdoors and are not protected from wild animals. Cats are natural hunters and will chase after bats and other animals that are known to carry rabies. If you choose to feed stray / feral cats, you are legally responsible to get them vaccinated as well.
Indoor pets, both cats and dogs are also at risk, so make sure your indoor animals’ rabies vaccinations are current.
By avoiding contact with stray or wild animals, saving the bat / animal that may have had contact with humans / domestic animals, and reporting an incident to your local Health Department, we may be able to avoid unnecessary medical treatment that averages over $3,000 per person.
Take note of an upcoming free anti-rabies immunization clinic for Dogs, Cats and Ferrets. Additional clinics can be found by checking the web sites or calling your local Health Department. Each dog, cat, and ferret must be accompanied by someone who can control it:
• Orleans County: Sept. 6, 2014 at the Shelby Highway Department, 4062 Salt Works Rd., Medina. The clinic runs from 9 a.m. to noon. You must arrive no later than 11:30 to ensure that you will be served. Clinic staff reserves the right to decline service to late (after 11:30) arrivals.
Press release, DEC Posted 26 August 2014
BASOM – Special permits are now available for the opening weekend of duck season to hunt waterfowl at two popular state-managed locations, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced.
The permit requirement is needed for waterfowl hunting for the first weekend, which is expected to be Oct. 18 & 19, at the Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas in Genesee and Niagara counties. The intent of the special permits is to promote hunter safety and increase the quality of hunting on days when the areas receive the greatest use.
A special permit is required to hunt waterfowl at Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas on the duck season’s first Saturday and first Sunday. These days are the only times the special permits are needed. Waterfowl may be hunted without a special permit during the rest of the season. The permit system has been used successfully at both wildlife management areas in recent years. No special permits are required to hunt other game species at Oak Orchard or Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas.
DEC has announced tentative 2014-2015 duck hunting season dates. Western New York’s tentative opening day/weekend dates for duck hunting are Oct. 18 and 19. These dates will not be finalized until the federal regulations are adopted in late summer. Hunters are advised to confirm the final dates before hunting any waterfowl.
Opening weekend waterfowl hunting permits for the two Wildlife Management Areas will be distributed by a random lottery. For each of the two days, DEC will issue 100 permits for Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area and 50 permits for Oak Orchard Wildlife Management Area. Hunters must choose from four options: Oak Orchard first Saturday; Oak Orchard first Sunday; Tonawanda first Saturday; and Tonawanda first Sunday.
To apply for the lottery, hunters must send in a postcard with their name, address and their first three choices, in order of preference, clearly indicated. Applicants must also have completed a Waterfowl Identification Course, and their course certificate number must be indicated on the postcard. Applications will be accepted through Sept. 15, and must be mailed to the New York State Bureau of Wildlife, 1101 Casey Road, Box B, Basom, NY 14013. Each permittee will be allowed to bring one companion over the age of 18 and an additional companion 18 years old or younger.
Duplicate permits will not be issued to hunters who have already been issued a permit to hunt on the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. Any cards submitted by hunters who have been selected to hunt on Iroquois on the first Saturday will be excluded from the lottery for that day at both Oak Orchard and Tonawanda.
Issued permits are nontransferable and are not valid for companion(s) unless the permittee is present and hunting within 50 yards. The permittee is responsible for completing and returning the questionnaire portion of the permit to the New York State Bureau of Wildlife by Nov. 15, 2014. If the completed questionnaire is not received by Nov. 15, the permittee will be ineligible for next year's lottery.
Village will study capacity, pipe route
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 August 2014
MEDINA – The village has millions of gallons of excess capacity at its sewer plant, and wants to make that available to businesses at the proposed STAMP site just across the Orleans County border in the Town of Alabama.
But before the village commits to providing sewer, it will study capacity issues for the sewer plant, types of discharges from companies that could set up at the 1,250-acre STAMP, flows for different times of the year and possible routes for sewer line to the site in Alabama.
The village has engaged Larsen Engineers for a study. Terms for scope of work and costs haven’t been approved.
‘This has enormous potential as a funding source for the village,” Mayor Andrew Meier said during Monday’s Village Board meeting.
He sees businesses at STAMP, and supply companies that could set up in Medina and Shelby as future customers for the village sewer services. They could help drive down sewer rates for village residents, or perhaps provide other revenue to relieve the strain on village taxpayers.
Medina and Route 63 corridor are ideally situated for STAMP-related businesses. Besides a close proximity to high-tech companies at STAMP – Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park – the Route 63 area is within a 30-mile radius for low-cost hydropower from the Niagara Power Project.
“There are enormous synergies,” Meier said. “It could be an enormous boost for the community.”
The engineering study may look at increasing capacity so the Medina area can accommodate as much of the potential economic boom as possible.
Meier would like to see sewer lines run down Route 63, but he is open to other routes if the swamp proves too difficult or costly of an obstacle for the infrastructure.
The Genesee County Economic Development Center has been working for about a decade to develop STAMP, a 1,250-acre site that will accommodate nanotechnology companies including semiconductor 450mm chip fab, flat panel display, solar manufacturing, and advanced manufacturing.
Gov. Cuomo and the State legislature approved $33 million in the current state budget for infrastructure to make the site more attractive to developers.
The site, in full build-out, is expected to employ 10,000 people with many making $100,000 or more. Another 50,000 jobs will be created in the region to support the companies at STAMP, Steve Hyde, GCEDC chief executive officer, told county officials in April.
Hyde said he expects at least 800 to 1,000 people to work at STAMP from Orleans County, and perhaps 4,000 to 5,000 more through construction and supply-chain jobs.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 August 2014
ALBION – A debut classic car cruise-in series at the Don Davis Chevrolet Buick GMC dealership not only attracted owners of classic cars, but raised $842 for Hospice of Orleans.
The dealership on Route 98 in Albion started a cruise-in the first Monday in June and continued it each week until last night. About 20 cars typically participated in the cruise-ins, with a high of 42. It will continue next year, said Joe DiBella, who coordinated the event each week for the dealership.
The car cruise-in participants had a 50/50 raffle and decided to donate the proceeds to Hospice. That $421 was matched by Matt Davis, owner of the dealership, for $842 total.
David Green coordinates the cruisers, and he suggested they share the proceeds with Hospice.
“It’s a great organization,” he said. “It does so much for a lot of people and they do it quietly.”
DiBella, the assistant service manager at Don Davis, said the cruise-in series proved popular. He thanked his father Russell DiBella for helping set up each week and volunteer Elizabeth Gallo for helping line up door prizes. Nineteen businesses donated prizes for the cruise in.
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