Medina, 2 towns meet tonight to talk shared services, perhaps more

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 28 July 2014
MEDINA – A joint session among the Medina Village Board and Town Boards for Shelby and Ridgeway will finally happen at 7 tonight at the Shelby Town Hall.

The meeting nearly didn’t happen after officials from the towns contested an agenda by Medina Mayor Andrew Meier. He wanted the village’s dissolution to be a topic but was rebuffed by Ridgeway Town Supervisor Brian Napoli and Shelby Town Supervisor Skip Draper.

The two town supervisors also insisted on an outside mediator and stenographer. The three governments will share the costs.

The bulk of the agenda will be geared to shared services among the three entities and perhaps some consolidation of functions. The meeting at 4062 Salt Works Rd. is open to public.


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Morris Taylor admits selling cocaine

Former track star could get up to 6 months in jail
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 28 July 2014
ALBION – Morris Taylor, 24, admitted in Orleans County Court today that he sold cocaine on State Street in the village of Albion last Sept. 4.

Taylor has no prior felony convictions and has never served on Probation. District Attorney Joe Cardone presented a plea deal to Taylor where he would face no more than 6 months in Orleans County Jail and 5 years on Probation. Taylor accepted the plea offer in court today.

If Judge James Punch gives Taylor more than 6 months in jail, Taylor can rescind his plea and go to trial. He has been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, which carries a maximum of 2 ½ years in state prison.


Taylor, a former state track champion and football star for Albion, was accused of robbing Mark’s Pizzeria in February 2013. That case went to trial and Taylor was found not guilty.

Taylor on Dec. 2 also was arraigned on first-degree rape and forcible compulsion rape. Those crimes allegedly occurred on Thanksgiving morning. Those charges are now in a lower court and will be prosecuted separate from the drug case. Cardone said in court today there are some “issues” with the rape case. It may be handled as a misdemeanor.

“Some are questioning her motives with coming forward,” Cardone told the judge about the alleged victim.

Punch sent Oct. 20 for sentencing for the drug charge.


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Heavy rains saturate fields

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 28 July 2014
It’s been raining hard since about 11 last night, and many of the local farm fields, including this one on Brown Road in Albion, are flooded.

The rain also have swollen local creeks, including Sandy Creek in Kendall. This pictured was taken from Route 272, looking west.

This field on Route 18 in Kendall, just east of the Kendall Junior-Senior High School, also is full of water.


The National Weather Service in Buffalo says there is a chance of rain each of the next four days.


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Kendall teen in guarded condition after accident on Sunday

Press release, Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess Posted 28 July 2014
KENDALL – A Kendall teen-ager remains hospitalized in guarded condition this morning after crashing his pick-up truck late Sunday afternoon in the Town of Kendall.

The incident occurred shortly before 6 p.m. in the 16100 block of Woodchuck Alley, near West Kendall Road. Ryan D. Clay, 17, was operating a ’96 Chevrolet pick-up, travelling west on gravel road surface when he lost control of the vehicle.

The truck ran off the north side of the roadway, turned sideways, and slammed driver’s side into a tree. Clay was extricated by Kendall firefighters and transported to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester by Kendall FD ambulance.

A front seat passenger is identified as Andrew A. Eden, 17, of Kent. Eden was treated at the scene for minor injuries. He was not transported by ambulance.

The incident was investigated by Deputy T.N. Tooley, assisted by Deputy K.J. Colonna and Sergeant G.T. Gunkler. It appears that excessive speed was a contributing factor in the crash.


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Candidate would welcome working immigrants, revise tax code

Jim O’Donnell faces uphill fight against Collins

Photo by Tom Rivers
Jim O’Donnell, a candidate for Congress, poses for a picture with Jeanne Crane, chairwoman of the Orleans County Democratic Party, during the party’s annual summer picnic at Bullard Park on Sunday.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 28 July 2014
ALBION – He has little money to spend on his campaign, and no staff to help get out his message in a near iron-clad Republican District.

But Jim O’Donnell likes his chances to pull off a big upset victory against Chris Collins, the Republican congressman in the 27th Congressional District, which covers eight counties, including Orleans.

O’Donnell, 29, is a police officer in Buffalo. He’s also an attorney with a master’s in economics.

“I’m tired of this mentality that Washington is this impossible minefield that you can’t get through unless you play to every little interest,” O’Donnell said in Albion on Sunday. “I want to be the guy that proves you can go to Washington with a purpose and you can get those purposes done.”

O’Donnell was in town for the Orleans County Democratic Party picnic at Bullard Park. He is juggling the demands of a full-time job as a police officer with the campaign. As a police officer, he can’t solicit campaign donations, according to the state election law. Some have encouraged him to quit his job to focus on the campaign, but O’Donnell has declined.

“That is one of the strengths of my campaign, that I have a full-time job working in the community with the people,” he said.

O’Donnell lives in Orchard Park. He said there is a strong anti-Chris Collins sentiment in the Congressional district. In the last election, Collins won a close race against Kathy Hochul, a Democrat. The district was reconfigured about two years ago to make it even more Republican friendly.

The gerrymandered district stretches through rural areas of Western New York. O’Donnell said agriculture is big in the district, and many of the farms rely on foreign workers to milk cows, and plant and harvest crops.

However, many of their workers are not in country legally, making the farms vulnerable to losing their workers.

“I don’t think it should ever be a crime for someone to want to come here and work,” O’Donnell said. “If someone is willing to cross the desert, to cross the cartels, to cross oceans to get here, in order to work an be productive members of society, those are the people who we want. We want to figure out a system to make those people legal citizens and start adding them to our tax base. It’s something everyone should be trying to do.”

Immigration reform is needed in our region, and not only for agriculture, O'Donnell said. Welcoming hard-working young adults would add vitality to communities suffering from population losses, he said.

“We need to be fostering a very strong immigration policy that grows our population, that does so in a way that promotes the success of our country,” he said. “If you’re coming across for the right reasons we should want you here."

Efforts to reform immigration laws have stalled in the past 20 years. O’Donnell thinks Congress sometimes tries to do too much with a proposal, leading to the legislation’s demise.

“It’s a complex issue because there are a whole bunch of different side issues that go along with it,” he said about immigration. “Whenever you try to do these big wide scope legislative things it ends up either not getting passed at all or it misses a lot of the important things should have been handled on an individual basis.”

He said he agreed with Collins that the U.S. shouldn’t house migrant children in our region who have recently crossed the southern U.S. border illegally, fleeing violence and poverty. Many of those children came across without their parents.

“It sends the wrong message to those parents,” he said. “I don’t want them sending their kids here alone, risking dying in a desert. That isn’t good policy. The border should be secured. It doesn’t make sense to allow just anyone to come in.”


O’Donnell said simplifying the tax code, which totals more than 70,000 pages, would also be a goal in Congress. A streamlined tax code would foster business growth and boost the economy, he said.

“The tax code is one of the few things government can do to help the economy,” he said.

O’Donnell urged Democrats in Orleans to rally behind his campaign, and not let the odds discourage them.

“He’s not a popular Republican,” O’Donnell said about Collins. “He’s not out there doing things for the community. Hopefully people will recognize that and the vote will go my way.”


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Democrat who wants to succeed Maziarz says he’ll fight for more WNY aid

Photos by Tom Rivers
Johnny Destino speaks to about 75 people at the Orleans County Democratic Party picnic this afternoon at Bullard Park in Albion.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 27 July 2014
ALBION – It’s a rallying cry repeated often by Republican leaders locally and state-wide: the State Senate needs to remain in Republican control or the downstate Democrats will give free rein to the State Legislature and governor to pass a liberal agenda and drive up taxes.

Johnny Destino doesn’t buy that argument. He is running as a Democrat for Senate in the 62nd District, George Maziarz’s seat.

“Look at the downturn in Western New York over the last 40 years while we’ve had a Republican majority in the State Senate,” Destino said today in Albion. “That argument that all of a sudden it’s going flip to Democratic control and I’m going to succumb to downstate liberal interests is just false. I’ll be a strong advocate for the 62nd District.”

Destino, 37, is an attorney in Niagara Falls. He said he would make increased state funding for local schools a top priority. He serves on the Niagara Falls Board of Education and the board for the Orleans-Niagara BOCES.

He was critical of Maziarz for giving “bullet aid” to each school district in Orleans County rather than pushing for more state aid that would be outside the whims and influence of a state senator. Maziarz this past school year directed $67,800 in bullet aid to each of the five districts in Orleans.

Destino ran against Maziarz in a Republican primary two years ago and was soundly defeated. He didn’t want to associate with the Niagara County Republican Party this election, saying the party is corrupt.

Maziarz opted against re-election two weeks ago, a day before the deadline to decline the nomination. Many Republican Party leaders are rallying behind North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt, who faces a GOP primary challenge from Gia Arnold of Holley.

Maziarz’s campaign fund is being investigated by the US Attorney. Maziarz’s sudden absence from the race gives voters a chance to pick a senator who will fight for Middle Class families, Destino said.

Using the region’s low-cost hydropower to create and sustain jobs can keep more hard-working residents in Western New York, Destino said. The state government can also enact policies to bring down the cost of electricity for everyone.

“That will lead directly to the increase in jobs that we all deserve so our children don’t have to graduate from college and leave the area to find work and raise families,” he said.

Destino said he supports a fiscally conservative government “but not at an expense of the people.”

He vowed to be a strong advocate for the area if he is sent to Albany.

“I’m going to be a team player working for labor’s interests, for Western New York and to get our families back into good-paying jobs where they can start raising families and actually afford to stay in Western New York,” he said. “I’m not going to play games with my position. I’m not going to try and cut deals in exchange for votes. That’s what got us into this position in the first place.”

Three candidates for State Supreme Court Justice also addressed Demcorats at the picnic.

Alisa Lukasiewicz

Alisa Lukasiewicz works a special counsel for the Phillips Lytle firm in Buffalo. She is a past corporation counsel for the City of Buffalo, the first woman to serve in the position. Lukasiewicz said she has worked hard in her career.

Dennis Glascott

Dennis Glascott, current village of Angola judge and acting Buffalo City Court judge, has 25 years of trial experience across New York. He worked as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Navy.

Daniel Furlong

Daniel Furlong has worked the past four years as a confidential law clerk for State Supreme Court Judge Joseph Glownia. Furlong also worked 26 years in private practice as an attorney.

Orleans Hub will have an article Monday about Jim O’Donnell, a Buffalo police officer running against Chris Collins for Congress.


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Auction brings home the bacon for 4-H’ers

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 27 July 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – Ethan Bannister looks for bids at the 4-H Animal Meat Auction on Saturday. His sister Jayne is in the ring with a lamb. Jayne had the grand champion market lamb for the auction.


Her brother Robert, in back, serves as auctioneer for the event, which brought in about $27,000 for 4-H’ers. Emily Bannister was clerk for the auction and Skip Lear, back right, serves on the 4-H Livestock Auction Committee.

Trevor Bentley of Lyndonville leads the reserve champion steer out of the ring after the 1,170-pound animal sold for $6.75 a pound or $7,904 total, the biggest price on the day. Bill and Stacy Corcoran bought the steer, paying well above the market price to support Trevor and the 4-H program.

Robert Bannister, a former Orleans County 4-H member, serves as auctioneer for the event, which is now in its fifth year at the fair since it started in 2010. Robert’s sister Jayne of Point Breeze is in the ring with a lamb.

Some turkeys raised by 4-H youths wait to be auctioned off on Saturday.

Janie Schutz of Waterport raised this lamb that was sold during Saturday’s auction.

Ian Smith of Lyndonville stands with his rabbit during the auction. Andy Beach, right, assisted with the event that included $26,988 in sale prices.


4-H’ers sold beef cattle, pigs, lambs, meat goats, meat rabbits, chickens and turkeys.


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Baseball fans delight in meeting Hall of Famers at Cooperstown

Photos by Cheryl Wertman
New Hall of Fame inductee, former New York Manager Joe Torre, waves to the crowd during a parade in Cooperstown on Saturday.

(Editor’s note: Orleans Hub sportswriter Mike Wertman and his wife Cheryl, a Hub sports photographer, have been at Cooperstown since Friday for the Hall of Fame Induction weekend.)


By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 26 July 2014

COOPERSTOWN – The crowds ballooned at the Hall of Fame, along Main Street and at the golf course Saturday during our second and final day at the 75th annual Baseball Hall of Fame weekend.


With a good vantage point just off the ninth tee, Cheryl and I spent the morning watching the annual Hall of Famers golf tournament at the Leatherstocking Country Club. 

One of this year's Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, former Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine makes a shot during this morning's golf tournament at the Leatherstocking Country Club.

It was a treat to see several of the new inductees including former Atlanta Braves pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, former Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas and former Cardinals', A's and White Sox Manager Tony LaRussa as well as some Hall of Fame favorites including Phil Niekro, George Brett and Lou Brock.

Hall of Famer George Brett signs for a very enthusiastic group of “autograph hounds” during the golf tourney. 


However, the biggest entertainment of the tourney was in watching the antics and reaction of the scores of “autograph hounds” who lined the stone wall every time a Hall of Famer would come by.


And boy if one of the players stopped to sign a few autographs, look out, you might get trampled. It was a feeding frenzy like sharks going after blood in the water as the over enthusiastic fans surged to try and get a precious autograph. 


And while most of the players ignored the calls and pleas for them to sign and just concentrated on their golf game things at times did get interesting when a player stopped. One such instance happened when Maddux halted his golf cart to sign before crossing the road to get to the next hole. It took only seconds and the cart was surrounded and engulfed by swarming autograph seeking fans who raced to the scene at full speed. 

Hall of Famer Jim Rice was a very congenial signer for a small group of fans.


We enjoyed watching these scenes from a safe distance satisfied to just take photos. However, our patience did pay off once as Hall of Famer Jim Rice stopped for a water break near where we were standing with about a half dozen other fans. When one of the fans asked if he would sign, Rice gladly responded and we all were able to get a signature of the Red Sox great without any stampede.


From the golf course we walked to downtown and along the way enjoyed checking out the many interesting buildings at the Farmers Museum.


While downtown we took a bit of a break from baseball and checked out some of the village's rich heritage including the local Indian sites of Council Rock and the burial mound, a marker to the Clinton and Sullivan Revolutionary War campaign as well as the James Fenimore Cooper Park and statue.

The plaque rotunda area of the Hall of Fame was named with fans on Saturday afternoon.


By early afternoon the crowds trying to get into the Hall of Fame were more than a block long stretching around the corner and fans had already placed chairs along Main Street to reserve spots to watch this evening's parade of Hall of Famers.


And not surprisingly with such a large crowd there were lines for everything from ice cream to the trolley.

The line of fans waiting into get into the Hall of Fame stretched for over a block. 

And what a parade it was.


With thousands of fans lining the route, as much as eight to 10 deep at many places, over 50 Hall of Famers paraded riding in pickup trucks up the length of Main Street to the Hall of Fame.


The Hall of Famers paraded by their year of induction leaving the biggest part of the evening for the end - the arrival of his year's class of inductees.

Part of the huge crowd that lined Main Street for the Hall of Famers parade. The truck carrying Cal Ripken Jr. is shown here.


That was especially true for the huge number of Atlanta Braves in attendance.  With three of their own set to be formally inducted on Sunday the Braves contingent greeted Cox, Glavine and Maddux with the famous Tomahawk Chop and the Braves war chant which echoed throughout the downtown area.


We enjoyed our two-day stay at Induction Weekend which will conclude this afternoon with the formal induction of the six new Hall of Famers at the Clark Complex on the edge of Cooperstown. A crowd of over 40,000 is expected.


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