Trade some of Parkway to free up state money for canal bridges

File photos by Tom Rivers

The Brown Street bridge in Albion was shut down about two years ago. There isn’t a timetable for the bridge’s reopening.


Editorial by Tom Rivers Posted 23 April 2014

Orleans County officials and many of the village and town government leaders have been making phone calls, writing letters and passing resolutions, trying to pressure state officials to better maintain bridges over the Erie Canal.


Many of the spans have reduced weight restrictions or have been closed. Only a handful can accommodate tractor trailers, fire trucks and big farm equipment. Local officials say it hurts commerce, threatens public safety and wastes time with detours.


The local leaders have been making noise about this in recent years. It doesn’t seem to be paying off in more upgraded canal bridges.


The canal bridges are low volume and costly to maintain, Bob Traver, DOT regional director, told county officials in a meeting last September. The DOT has many infrastructure needs and it directs the money to higher-volume bridges, he said.


The county should try a new approach in bringing state action to the bridges. The county should consider a trade off. Let’s offer up the north side of the Lake Ontario State Parkway. That is the two-lane recreational expressway that runs west for 12.5 miles in the county.

The Lake Ontario State Parkway is lightly traveled. It was supposed to extend from Rochester to Niagara Falls, but stops in Carlton.


The Parkway was supposed to link Rochester to Niagara Falls. It got about halfway built and ends abruptly in the town of Carlton. It strikes me as a colossal waste of money, and a big broken promise.


The Parkway is costly to the state. The DOT could simply close down the north side, and make the south side – the two lanes that currently go east – into a regular two-lane state highway with one eastbound and one westbound lane. This would save the DOT in maintenance, plowing and mowing costs.


Those savings should stay in the county and be directed towards keeping up the canal bridges. The Parkway is lightly travelled, and putting both the east- and west-bound traffic on the south side of the Parkway wouldn’t hinder the motorists at all.


I think the DOT would be more willing to listen to our pleas about the bridges if we offered a trade off, rather than just insisting on more money.


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Active Hose firefighters pose by Courthouse in 1902

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 23 April 2014

ALBION – Members of the Active Hose No. 2 in Albion had this picture taken on the Courthouse steps in 1902.


First row, from left: Homer Galarneau, Walter Brown, Homer Heady, George Dhoman, Jesse English and Dan Dugan.


Second row: James English, John Wilson, Chas. Kippendall, Ed Sullivan and Arthur Nixon.


Third row: Wallace Eggleston, Jay Doolittle, Thos. Neary, Owen Dickson, Robt. Van Stone, Chas Terrill and Jos. Dibley.


Fourth row: Wm. Irleand, Fred Sitzer, Henry Swartz, Ed Slattery, Herbert Hall, Romer Day, Leonard Simpson and Wallace Griswold.


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View to the outside from the historic chapel at Hillside Cemetery

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 22 April 2014

CLARENDON – The top photo shows the Holley water tank on Route 237. The picture was taken looking through one of the stained glass windows in the chapel at Hillside Cemetery in Holley.


Not too many people get inside the chapel at Hillside Cemetery. I was given a tour recently. The Clarendon Historical Society may soon launch a fund-raising campaign to upgrade the chapel, which was built in 1894.


The Historical Society would like to see the building used for more community events. The bottom photo shows one of the big trees on the lawn by the chapel.

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Lyndonville ranked as one of best high schools by U.S. News

Provided photo

L.A. Webber Middle-High School has been recognized by a national publication.

Press release, Lyndonville Central School Posted 22 April 2014

LYNDONVILLE – L.A. Webber Middle-High School was ranked as one of the best high schools in the nation by U.S. News and World Report


The magazine analyzed more than 31,200 public high schools and ranked them on overall student performance on state-mandated assessments, as well as how effectively schools educated their black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students. 


Schools were also evaluated on how well prepared students were for college-level course work.  In the national rankings, 500 high schools earned gold medals, 1,519 took home silver and 2,688 were awarded bronze. 


L.A. Webber received a silver medal and was ranked 97 in the state and 1,229 in the United States. 


“This honor is indicative of the high quality work by the Board of Education, administration, faculty and staff and our students,” said LCS Superintendent Jason Smith.  “We are pleased and humbled to have our collective efforts for our students recognized with this special honor."


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Heritage Hero: Erin Anheier

Clarendon resident leads push to preserve several historic sites

Photo by Tom Rivers

Erin Anheier is pictured at Hillside Cemetery in Clarendon with a chapel from 1894 in the background. Anheier wrote the application to get the site on the National Register of Historic Places. She said a fund-raising campaign may be needed to refurbish the chapel, particularly some of the window panes that are rotting.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 22 April 2014

CLARENDON – When Erin Anheier retired as personnel director for Delphi in Michigan, she wanted to come back to her roots.


In 2008, she and her husband Russ Bosch bought a cobblestone house on Bennetts Corners Road. It’s not too far from where she grew up on West Sweden Road, just across the Orleans County line.


Anheier’s house was built in 1849 and the masonry includes lake-washed cobblestones.


“They are very carefully sized and arranged,” she said. “You can see the skill in the masonry and it’s spectacular.”


Anheier wanted to recognize that effort and she applied to have the house listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It made the list in 2010.

Courtesy of Erin Anheier

When Anheier moved back to the area in 2008 after a career with Delphi in Michigan, she and her husband picked this cobblestone home on Bennetts Corners Road. They made repairs to the house and got it listed on the National Register.


Anheier was content to live in her old home and be back in the area with her family.


“I’ve always loved it here,” she said. “The area is beautiful. I like the change of seasons and the topography.”


But her experience working on the National Register application, and her heightened awareness of local historical resources, soon came into play.


The Old Stone Store, a mainstay at the corner of routes 31A and 237 since 1836, was going to be demolished. Town officials and many residents saw the building as an eyesore.


But Anheier saw it as an important part of the town’s history and identity. She helped to rally support for the building. The town held off on the wrecking ball, while Anheier and other volunteers cleaned up some of the site.


She connected with the Landmark Society of Western New York, which worked with Anheier to get the building on the National Register. The Landmark Society also teamed with the town to market the property. The Old Stone Store is one of the oldest stone commercial buildings in the region.

File photo by Tom Rivers

The Old Stone Store was nearly demolished in 2011 after residents and town officials complained of its shoddy shape. Erin Anheier and other residents worked to clean it up. The site from 1836 was added to the National Register in 2012 and is currently being renovated with a front porch to be added to match its original look.


Joe and Sue Fertitta bought the Old Stone Store and have been renovating it.  They expect to have a tenant living in the upstairs and the first floor available for offices. Besides gutting and renovating the building, the couple plans to put on a front porch to match the building's original look.


“This shows it can be done,” Anheier, chairwoman of the Old Stone Store Preservation Committee, said in October during a town meeting. “These buildings can be saved.”


Anheier said the building will make Clarendon distinctive, with such a historical building at its main corner. She praised the community for coming together to keep up the site.


Anheier will be presented with a “Heritage Hero” award on Friday at 7 p.m. during a ceremony outside GCC’s Medina campus. Five “Heritage Heroes” will be honored during the Civil War Encampment.


Anheier was picked for leading several preservation projects, and for helping to change the culture in Clarendon, making preservation a priority.


She also sees potential in Hillside Cemetery. That site used to be owned and managed by a not-for-profit cemetery association, but was turned over to the town of Clarendon about a decade ago.


Anheier said Hillside is a great Victorian cemetery, a fitting final resting place for community residents. However, the site needs some upgrades, especially the chapel built in 1894 from local Medina sandstone.


Anheier wrote the application that landed the cemetery on the National Register last year. The designation should help the town secure grants for restoration projects.


“I also knew if we got it on the Register, the town would recognize we have a treasure here,” Anheier said.


She is secretary of the Clarendon Historical Society. The group would like to mount a fund-raising campaign to restore rotted window panes, repoint mortar and make roof repairs. Anheier would like to see the chapel used again for services and community events.

File photo by Tom Rivers

The chapel at Hillside Cemetery could use some repairs. The cemetery was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.


Anheier is working on other preservation projects. She wrote the application for the National Register designation for the John and Chauncey White House, the White Farm Bed and Breakfast, on White Road in Brockport. She expects that will be approved soon.


She also is working on the application for the North Star School, Hamlin District No. 11. That will be reviewed for the State Register in June.  She is in the early stages of researching the Spencer-Sommerfeldt House, a stone house on the west side of Route  237, just north of New Guinea Road in Clarendon.


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EPA honors Saint-Gobain in Albion

Press release, Saint-Gobain Posted 22 April 2014

ALBION – Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest manufacturer of building products, has been awarded the Energy Star Partner of the Year Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the sixth consecutive year and fourth consecutive year at the Sustained Excellence level.


The award recognizes Saint-Gobain’s outstanding leadership in energy management and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency.


Saint-Gobain employs nearly 1,200 people in New York state, including 182 people at its Saint-Gobain ADFORS plant in Albion. The Albion plant’s contributions to energy-efficiency are part of the reason Saint-Gobain has been awarded the Energy Star award. Through energy efficiency technologies and techniques the plant achieved a 9.8 percent reduction in energy on a per-unit basis.


Saint-Gobain is the first and only manufacturer of glass containers or fiberglass insulation ever to receive the Energy Star award. The company will be recognized at an EPA awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April 29.


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Home Ec made its debut in 1934

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 22 April 2014

ALBION – A course in Home Economics was introduced into the Albion High School curriculum in 1934. It was first taught by Miss Evelyn S. Fischer, a graduate of Cornell University.


The late Fred Holt took this picture 80 years ago of high school girls in the kitchen area of the Home Economics classroom. This was located on the third floor of the old high school, which is now the Carl I. Bergeson Middle School.


Teen-agers looked a lot older, somehow back then, than they do now.


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Medina family seeks help in finding poodle

Izzy has been missing since Friday

Provided photo

Izzy likes to hunt. She weighs about 48 pounds.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 22 April 2014

MEDINA – A poodle that loves to explore and hunt has been missing since Friday, when Izzy wandered off a farm on Marshall Road.


Barbara Jantzi, the dog’s owner, has been looking for the 1-year-old poodle mix since then. The dog weighs 48 pounds and is white, but she may be dirty from her adventures.


“She is very busy and she is real lovable,” Jantzi said this morning.


If anyone sees or finds the dog, give Jantzi a call at 585-798-1468.


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Medina hospital employee creates quilt for breast cancer event

Photos by Sue Cook

Debbie Secrist, Medina Memorial Hospital’s Medical Transcriber, will be making a quilt for this year’s For Women Only event on May 7.


By Sue Cook, staff reporter Posted 22 April 2014

MEDINA – Orleans Community Health will be holding its 18th Annual For Women Only event on May 7. The event is a focus on breast cancer awareness for survivors and for all women who should be getting checked for cancer. Approximately 250 to 300 guests are expected at the event.


“Truly, early screening saves lives,” said Wellness Director Cindy Perry. “There is no reason why any woman should not have a mammogram. The goal is to raise awareness for breast health practices. This will also raise money for services for women who are uninsured or under insured that our grant doesn't cover.”


During the event, quilt squares will be available for $5 each. Once a square is purchased the buyer can write a message using a fabric pen. Local artist Carol Culhane will also be available if the buyer would like her to write the message in a more artistic style.


The quilt is being made from start to finish by hospital employee Debbie Secrist. As a child, Secrist enjoyed sewing, but didn't branch out into quilting until one day she was walking through the old Lockport Mall. She spoke to the Kenan Quilters and met Gretchen Lang. Lang encouraged Secrist to pursue quilting and to join the Quilter's Guild.


“This is a passion of mine,” said Secrist. “I love doing it. It brings me a lot of peace and tranquility.”

The quilt will be a vibrant eye-catching wall piece when it makes its home in the Medina Memorial Hospital. The completed quilt will be hung for display in the hospital as a reminder to the community of how important personal health is. The quilt will also be brought to special events.


Employees at the hospital have seen her work before and recommended Secrist to the Community Partners committee. They approached Secrist who agreed it would be a great project. She had saved money she had previously won from the hospital bowling tournament and her bonus from serving at the hospital for 25 years. She used the money toward materials for the quilt.


When Secrist was saving the money, she didn’t have any plans what to do with it. “I didn’t really know what I was going to save it for. I knew it was something special, but then when they asked me if I would be interested in making the quilt I thought this is the perfect way to contribute and give back.”


Secrist says that Lang was the inspiration for the quilt. Lang is a breast cancer survivor and Secrist is using the quilt to show her appreciation and recognition of Lang. Secrist and Lang will be at the event to see the squares being signed. Secrist will also be writing a personal message for Lang on a quilt square.


Perry was very happy that Secrist was willing to provide such an incredible donation. “It’s phenomenal that she is willing to give back for such a good cause!”

Secrist reveals the final pattern of the quilt. The final piece will include 300 quilt squares. She says that it will likely take a few weeks or even a couple of months to put all the signed squares together.


The event will have speakers, Chinese auctions, a 50/50 raffle, wine tasting, appetizers and desserts. There will also be stories from survivors and time will be taken during the evening for survivors to stand up and be recognized. They will also receive a gift as acknowledgment of their fight against cancer.


The evening will also feature entertainment from the group DIVA by DIVA. Their act is comprised of songs, poetry, humor, quotes, and a variety of other performances. The all-female cast includes women from all walks of life with some of the cast sometimes including lawyers, bankers, cancer survivors, teachers and more.


All are welcome to the event, young or old. Despite the event’s name, men are encouraged to attend as well because they are also at risk of getting breast cancer or may wish to acknowledge a person in their life with breast cancer. The event is sponsored by the Community Partners and Cancer Services Program of Genesee and Orleans and also the WNY Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.


The White Birch Golf Course in Lyndonville is hosting the event. Tickets can be purchased by calling (585) 798-9542. Item donations are also still being accepted for the Chinese auction. For more information about the event, click here.


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Residents can drop off unused prescriptions on Saturday

By Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Public Health Educator for the Orleans County Health Department Posted 22 April 2014

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in cooperation with various local law enforcement and community agencies in Orleans County has scheduled a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The drop-off sites will be located at: 


• Holley Fire Department, 7 Thomas Street, Holley;


• Medina Fire Department, 600 Main Street, Medina; and the


• Public Safety Building, 13925 State Route 31, Albion.


Each site will be accepting unused/expired prescription and over-the-counter medications and sharps as well as pet medications.


Because of the threat of theft and misuse, unsecured prescription and over-the-counter medications that are not being used and/or are expired can put your family and pets at risk.  Learning how to properly dispose of medicine protects from possible poisoning and can protect the environment as well.


If you are not able to participate in this month’s Drug Take-Back day here are some helpful ways to safely dispose of drugs you no longer need:


• When filling a prescription talk to your pharmacist to find out if they have a drug disposal program. Some fees may apply.


• Ask your pharmacist the proper way to dispose of medications if they do not have a drop-off program and there is not a scheduled Take-Back Day.


• Read the disposal instructions on the drug label or patient information that accompanies the medication.


• Periodically check any medications you have for expiration dates. Dispose of any medications as soon as you are finished with them unless otherwise advised by your primary care provider.


• For those medications that can be thrown in the garbage, mix them in used coffee grounds or kitty litter or other messy garbage to make it unattractive. Do not break or crush capsules or pills or break open patches. To protect from animals, put in a solid container such as a laundry soap bottle. Seal with tape and put in garbage bag missed with other trash.


• Some drugs come with instructions to flush them down the toilet as an acceptable disposal method when they are no longer needed or expired.  Talk with your pharmacist and/or read the disposal instructions before flushing ANY drugs down the toilet.


Taking the time to learn how to properly dispose of you and your pet’s medications not only cleans the clutter from your house, but may also protect your family, friends and pets. For more information about the National Take-Back Initiative or to learn more about proper medicine disposal, visit the DEA web site by clicking here.


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Sacred Heart Club continues Dyngus Day tradition

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 21 April 2014
MEDINA – Ray Serafin plays the accordion and sings during the Dyngus Day celebration at Sacred Heart Club in Medina. Ray Serafin’s Brass Magic, a polka band from Rochester, played many songs during the event.

Jim Pinckney is crowned the Dyngus Day king during the Polish party at the Sacred Heart Club. John Weaver, last year’s king, puts on the crown while Dee Lucas puts on the red cape.


Pinckney is a retired corrections officer. He joined Sacred Heart Club about 21 years ago and helps mow the lawn, shovel snow, clean the fryers, and with other painting and carpentry tasks. “It’s good to help out because it’s an all-volunteer organization,” he said. “It’s just to help the community.”

Tessa Hartway is crowned queen. Last year’s queen Baillie Oberther passes on the crown. Hartway, 32, helped start an annual disco event at the club about three years ago and works on the fish fries and desserts for the club.


The king and queen are both active volunteers at the club. Hartway works as the marketing manager at Baxter Healthcare. She grew up attending events at the Sacred Heart Club.

About 150 people attended the party. They danced to the polka and quickly consumed Polish food staples, such as sweet and sour cabbage, scallop potatoes, smoked Polish sausage, pierogis and “pigs in the blanket” – rolled cabbage with pork.


Lyndsay Oliver-Farewell, 28, of Medina has been coming to Dyngus Day since she was a little girl. Her grandmother, Dee Lucas, helps organize the party. Oliver-Farewell has a 4-month-old daughter, Kendall, who made her Dyngus Day debut tonight.


“It’s fun and it’s a tradition,” Oliver-Farewell said. “As long as they have Dyngus Day, we will be there.”

Pussy Willows were part of the ambiance at the Sacred Heart Club.


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Man who stole kayak gets 3 to 6 years in prison

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 21 April 2014

ALBION – A Medina man who let in a friend’s loose dog and then stole a kayak was sentenced to 3 to 6 years in state prison today by Orleans County Court Judge James Punch.


Brandon Taylor, 33, of Fletcher Chapel Road pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary. He could have been sentenced to 3 ½ to 7 years in state prison. 


He is second felony offender. Taylor said he was in drug and alcohol withdrawal on Nov. 6, when he saw his friend’s dog running loose. He returned the dog to a house on Portage Road and discovered an enclosed porch was unlocked. He admitted in court to taking a kayak from the porch. 


Taylor apologized to the victim in court during sentencing today.


In other cases in court court:


• Richard Klaver, 53, of Catherine Street in Medina pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and violation of Probation.


Klaver could be sentenced to up to four years in state prison on June 2.


• Jackie L. Sponaugle Jr., 22, of Ashwood Road in Waterport pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He could be sentenced to up to seven years in state prison on July 14.


Sponaugle admitted he broke into a Carlton home on Gaines Road and stole items on Aug. 19, 2013. He also said he had morphine and intended to sell it on Oct. 3.


• Lori Martinez, 46, of Park Avenue in Medina was to be sentenced today after she pleaded guilty on Feb. 24 to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. She is accused of selling hydrocodone and another prescription narcotic on May 18. The prescriptions were prescribed to her.


The district attorney’s office also is pursuing welfare fraud charges and wants Martinez to repay $11,600 in welfare benefits she collected over a year's time.


Judge Punch will have a restitution hearing next month, when Martinez is expected to be sentenced. Punch said the presentence investigation report says the CPCS charge is based on an isolated incident, not a series of sales.


He wants evidence that Martinez was profiting from drug sales on more than one occasion before ordering her to pay restitution.


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Morton store served a dual purpose in 1961

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 21 April 2014

MORTON – These photos were taken in 1961 in front of Tom Spring’s Store in Morton.


The top photo shows Tom Spring and his brother Van Alan Spring, in uniform. The flag indicates that the store was also the Morton Post Office.

In the next photo we see a Texaco gas pump, which was in front. The girl with the box was a clerk at the time. Thanks to Kathy Scroger for loaning these pictures.


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CO credited with saving suicidal inmate

Press release, NYS Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association

Posted 21 April 2014

ALBION – A correctional officer at the Orleans Correctional Facility saved a 48-year-old inmate who cut himself several times with a sharp metal can lid in an apparent suicide attempt. 


The incident occurred on April 16 at approximately 8:15 p.m. The inmate, whose name is being withheld, approached the officer while he was sitting at his desk. He told the officer he needed to speak with someone from the Office of Mental Health and that he was going to kill himself. 


The officer told the inmate not to move and that he would get help. The officer went to notify the sergeant on duty about what was unfolding when the inmate ran out into the dayroom. The officer quickly followed and observed the inmate holding the metal can lid.  The officer immediately called for a response on his radio and activated his radio emergency pin. 


He ordered the inmate to drop the lid to the ground. The inmate refused, and with the can lid in his right hand he began to swing it wildly as a weapon, striking himself in the right arm, face and head several times. 


The officer ordered him again to drop the weapon but the inmate refused. While bleeding, he raised the lid in a threatening manner towards the officer. The officer grabbed the inmate by his arm to try and get him under control. He was able to pull his arm into his body and break free from the officer. 


The inmate then ran into the bathroom and into a stall where he tried to flush the lid down the toilet. As he came out of the stall the officer ordered him to get on the ground, which he did. The inmate was handcuffed and taken to the facilities medical unit to be treated for several small lacerations. 


The officer sustained some minor abrasions and exposure to blood. He was treated at the facility. 


The inmate is serving a 20 year to life sentence for Robbery 1st and Robbery 2nd after being convicted in 1997 in New York County. 


“The quick actions by the officer last week at Orleans Correctional Facility should be commended,” said Mike Dildine, Western Region Vice President for NYSCOPBA. “He certainly saved the inmate from inflicting serious physical harm onto himself during an apparent suicide attempt. Situations like this, with inmates who have mental health problems, are unpredictable. Our members are trained to react quickly and appropriately while protecting themselves and the inmate as well.”


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