Bills QB reads to Albion native’s preschool class in Orchard Park

Photo by Kathleen Barleben Posted 22 October 2014
Two days after leading the Buffalo Bills to a dramatic last-second victory over the Minnesota Vikings, Bills quarterback Kyle Orton faced a different crowd: a class of preschoolers.

Orton visited the Doodle Bugs class in Orchard Park on Tuesday and read the book, “Bunny Cakes” by Rosemary Wells. Albion native Kathleen Barleben teaches at Doodle Bugs, where Orton’s daughter is a student. She said Orton’s visit was “very cool!”

He appeared at the school as part of Read for the Record, a nationwide literacy event. Barleben is the former Kathleen Adducci. She married Justin Barleben this past summer.


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Carlton Town Board agrees to increase funding for Fire Department

Carlton pays less for fire protection than most other towns in Orleans County

Photo by Tom Rivers
Jim Tabor, president of the Carlton Fire Company, is pictured on top of a Carlton pumper, using a master stream to direct more intense water at hay bales that caught on fire on Oct. 11.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 October 2014
CARLTON – The Carlton Fire Company can expect $20,000 more from town taxpayers in 2015, an increase that the fire company president says is sorely needed to help keep up with equipment, fuel, insurance, utilities and other expenses.

The Town Board said it would approve the increase when the town budget is approved next month. Carlton currently contributes $132,800 in town funds towards the fire company.

The $20,000 represents a 15 percent increase. Carlton can set aside that money, plus about $3,000 for contingency, and still remain under the 1.67 percent tax cap. The town isn’t giving raises to town employees.

David Krull, the town highway and water superintendent, told the board he supported the tight budget for other departments to better fund the fire department.

“The whole story here is they are underpaid compared to the other towns,” Krull told the Town Board during a meeting this evening.

Even with the $20,000 increase, Carlton is still on the low end of what towns give for fire protection.

Carlton taxpayers paid a 65 cent tax rate per $1,000 of assessed property for fire protection in 2014. That would increase by 10 cents with the additional $20,000, boosting the total town contribution to $152,800.

For comparison sake, here is how much other towns without contracts with village fire departments paid for fire protection in 2014: Barre, $164,000 at a $1.45 rate; Clarendon, $165,774 at $1.00 rate; Kendall, $160,900 at $1.38 rate to Kendall Fire Department and $66,386 at a $1.55 rate to the Morton Fire Department;

Murray, $190,000 at a $1.61 rate to the Holley Fire Department and $104,500 at a $1.59 rate to Fancher-Hulberton-Murray Fire Company; Ridgeway, $178,798 at a $1.26 rate to the Ridgeway Fire Company; and Shelby, $232,555 at a $1.44 rate to the Shelby Fire Company.

“Our numbers were drastically low,” Jim Tabor, the Carlton Fire Company president, told the Town Board after presenting the data. “We’re still drastically low compared to other departments in the county.”

Carlton used to generate $40,000 a year in bingo profits. But that money is no longer there after an indoor smoking ban was enacted and legalized gambling, including video gaming centers, was expanded, Tabor said.

The fire company pressed for a $40,000 increase from the town last year and received about $20,000. It will get another $20,000 hike next year, and then Town Board members said they will only approve modest increases, likely about 2 percent a year, in the future.

Tabor said the bigger increases have been needed because the fire company used up some its reserves and put off needed equipment upgrades.

“We can’t keep digging because there’s nothing left to dig,” said Todd Ferris, a past chief.

Fire company leaders are projecting $173,200 in expenses in 2015. With the town’s contribution at $152,800, plus another $12,000 in fund-raising revenue, Tabor said the department is still short by more than $8,000.

He said 35 air pack bottles need to be replaced by 2017 at a maximum cost of $1,200 each. A new fire truck will soon be needed and that could top $350,000. The fire company has $190,000 saved in a fire truck reserve account.

The fire company is pursuing grants to help with the equipment upgrades, and volunteers continue to raise funds at the recreation hall. But Tabor said the town may need to bolster its support for the department to safely serve the community.

“It’s very difficult to get blood out of a stone,” Tabor told the Town Board. “I don’t know what our options are.”


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Collins honored by American Farm Bureau

Staff Reports Posted 21 October 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Farm Bureau Federation has named Congressman Chris Collins a “Friend of Farm Bureau.”

The award is given to individuals who have supported Farm Bureau issues, as demonstrated by their voting records, and who were nominated by their respective state's Farm Bureau.

“The Friend of Farm Bureau honor recognizes Rep. Chris Collins’ voting record on American Farm Bureau Federation's priority issues in Congress,” said Dean Norton, New York Farm Bureau president. “His support for the Farm Bill and his outstanding efforts to protect family farms from the overregulation of the Clean Water Act are much appreciated. New York Farm Bureau would like to congratulate Rep. Collins for receiving this award and thank him for his hard work on behalf of the state’s family farms.”


Collins led a fight against an Environmental Protection Agency proposal for waterway rule changes that would have increased the costs of business for farmers.

“I recognize the struggles farmers face,” Collins said. “The last thing they need is unnecessary and excessive government regulations, which is why I will continue to provide farmers the necessary support and protection needed to grow their businesses.”


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Libraries will press county for more money

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 October 2014
ALBION – The four public libraries in Orleans County will ask the County Legislature to up the county contribution to libraries in 2015.

The four libraries currently share $10,000. They would like to see the county give $1 per resident or $42,883. That money would be shared by Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in Medina, Hoag Library in Albion, Community Free Library in Holley and Yates Community Library in Lyndonville.

Representatives from the libraries as well as the Nioga Library System will address county legislators on Wednesday.

“We’d love to see it increased,” said Catherine Cooper, Lee-Whedon director.

Two of the libraries – Lee-Whedon and Yates Community – both completed recent remodeling projects to make the sites more appealing for the public. Hoag is in a new building that opened in July 2012 while the Holley library expanded next door in the Public Square.

The libraries all run community events, from children’s programming to initiatives for adults. Lee-Whedon runs a winter concert series that brings people out into the community.


The libraries have shelves of new books, while offering e-readers and other gadgets.

“We all do our darnedest to keep up with new technology and to make it accessible to the public,” Cooper said.

Matthew Ballard, co-director of the Cobblestone Museum, also is scheduled to address the Legislature on Wednesday afternoon. The museum doesn’t receive any regular county support, although legislators gave the museum $1,000 in county aid last December when the county tapped its contingency account to assist five organizations.


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Highway Department clears ditch in Barre

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 21 October 2014
BARRE – The Orleans County Highway Department is out clearing a ditch long East Barre Road today. Highway employee Mike Deskins operates the Volvo excavator.

Deskins directs clumps of dirt and grass to a dump truck. The Barre water tower appears in the back in this photo.


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Buffalo celebrates start of $69M redevelopment of Richardson site

Site is one of great Medina sandstone structures

Photos by Tom Rivers
The twin copper-roofed towers of Medina sandstone rise high above Forest Avenue in Buffalo. The Richardson Olmsted Complex has been a massive Buffalo landmark since 1872.

Staff Reports Posted 21 October 2014
BUFFALO – Medina sandstone is back in the news again. One of the greatest Medina sandstone structures, the former Buffalo Psychiatric Center, is the focus of a $69 million redevelopment in Buffalo.

A site that had been largely abandoned will be reborn as a boutique hotel, conference center and architecture center.

State and city officials, as well as project developers, celebrated the start of construction on the project on Oct. 10. Over the next two years contractors will turn the Richardson Olmsted Complex into an 88-room hotel, a 300-plus seat conference and event center, an architecture center for Buffalo in the three main buildings, and the re-greening of the site through a new landscape and roadway.

“The reimagined Richardson Olmsted Complex will create a new venue for business events and a new place in Western New York for visitors to explore,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’re proud to have helped with the redevelopment of this complex, which is another great example of Buffalo’s continued momentum.”

The Richardson Olmsted Complex, the former Buffalo Psychiatric Center, is being renovated into a hotel and architecture center. The complex is made of Medina sandstone and was designed by Henry H. Richardson, the first American architect to attain international acclaim.

This National Historic Landmark is a masterpiece of the great American architect Henry Hobson Richardson and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, along with his partner Calvert Vaux. The 42 acres and collection of buildings known as the Richardson Olmsted Complex is nationally recognized as a great work of these two masters and locally admired for the monumental presence and iconic copper towers.


The not-for-profit Richardson Center Corporation has pursued a reuse plan for the complex since it was formed in 2006. For many years prior, committed preservationists, elected officials, and community members focused attention on the decades of neglect and deterioration.

The redevelopment will include opportunities for Western New York residents to enjoy the South Lawn, eat at the restaurant and visit the architecture center, which will celebrate excellence in architecture, landscape architecture and city planning as influenced by Buffalo’s outstanding architectural heritage. It will also include exhibits and programming that honors the mental health, architectural and landscape history of the site.

The Medina Sandstone Society named the Richardson Olmsted Complex as an inaugural member of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame last December.

The two-year construction period will begin with exterior work on the windows, roof, ready the north entry for replacement entry, and masonry. Next year, the site work and interior build out will begin. The hotel, conference and event spaces, as well as the Buffalo Architecture Center, are all expected to open in Fall 2016.

Considerable effort also has been made to be true to the original landscape design intent by world-renowned landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. Stabilization activities totaling $10 million have taken place to prevent further deterioration and vandalism of the nearly 500,000 square feet of buildings.


The Richardson Center Corporation is now undertaking the renovation as the developer of this first phase. The $69 million construction project is funded with $54 million in state support and will leverage $15 million in state and federal Historic Tax Credits. The Richardson Center Corporation’s investor for the historic tax credits is M&T Bank. In addition, Empire State Development provided grants for the preconstruction, stabilization and re-greening activities.

“The Richardson Olmsted Complex is the third jewel in the crown of Buffalo’s rich architecture, along with the Guaranty Building and the Darwin Martin House,” said Stanford Lipsey, chairman of the Richardson Center Corporation. “Its reuse will play a vital role in continuing the impressive growth of our region’s economic resurgence, and would not have been possible without the outstanding leadership of the board and the investment of New York State.”


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Hojack rumbles across the trestle over the Oak Orchard River

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 21 October 2014
WATERPORT – This picture was taken on Sept. 17, 1950. It shows a National Railway Historical Society special touring train crossing over the Oak Orchard River trestle in Waterport.

This event was headed by the NRHS Rochester Chapter. The train was destined for Niagara Falls on the “Hojack.” Our photo was taken from a high cliff above the waterfalls looking in a northeast direction.

The cars are being pulled by two steam engines numbered 1286 and 1280.


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Albion’s inactive Urban Renewal Agency dissolved by state

Village will instead use LDC to address some sites

Photos by Tom Rivers
The village will use a recently formed LDC, the Albion Housing and Economic Development Corporation, to help with the removal or clean up of run-down sites, including this house at 136 Liberty St. The village agreed to take ownership of this house and a neighboring vacant building with a goal of demolition and reuse of the sites across from the new Hoag Library.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 October 2014
ALBION – A village agency, once tasked with demolition and renewal, is no more. Residents probably never heard of the Albion Urban Renewal Agency. In fact, current village officials weren’t too familiar with it.

The agency hadn’t done anything – accepted or spent any money – in at least two decades. On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that will eliminate the Albion agency and 35 other urban renewal agencies or industrial development authorities. The groups existed, but hadn’t been active in years.

There is scant information on the Albion Urban Renewal Agency, according to current village officials. They believe it helped facilitate an apartment complex on West Park Street about 40 years ago.

“We have no purpose for it,” said Ron Vendetti, the village code enforcement officer.


He is thankful the Urban Renewal Agency wasn’t more active in Albion. Some of the urban renewal agencies took down grand mansions and historic downtown buildings in other communities in the 1970s.

“Back then they knocked down buildings and ruined some communities,” he said.

Albion still sees a need for an agency or local development corporation to help with some building demolitions and economic development projects.

Albion would like to see this house at 132 Liberty St. demolished and cleared to make way for a new development.

The village has created the Albion Housing and Economic Development Corporation. One of its first projects will be facilitating the removal of two run-down houses at 132 and 136 Liberty streets. The county has forgiven about $60,000 in back taxes for two houses. The Village Board agreed to have the village take ownership of the sites, accepting liability as well.

The houses are across the street from the new Hoag Library. There is a vacant site next door to the south of the two buildings. Vendetti believes the site has potential for redevelopment for housing because of the close proximity to the library and other businesses.

“We think the LDC is much more forward-thinking than the Urban Renewal Agency,” Vendetti said.


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Burglar gets 5 years in state prison

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 October 2014
ALBION – A Medina man who admitted his role in at least two Albion burglaries in the summer of 2013 today was sentenced to five years in state prison.

Isaiah Bonk, 21, was given the maximum sentence as part of a plea deal reached in August when he pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree burglary. His attorney Michael Manusia asked the judge for leniency. Manusia said he wasn’t making excuses for Bonk, but the attorney said Bonk didn’t enter the homes that were burglarized. He served as the look-out while another man went inside, Manusia said.

Bonk has also endured tragedy in his life, including the death of his mother in a fire when Bonk was 6. Manusia said Bonk was ridiculed in school for learning disabilities and was swayed to participate in the burglaries by the other criminals in the case.

Orleans County Court Judge James Punch said Bonk is “reasonably intelligent.” The multiple burglaries warranted prison time, Punch said.

“I think you were as influential to them as they were to you,” Punch said during sentencing. “Once you start wandering through peoples’ houses and taking their stuff that’s serious.”

In other cases:

• The judge sentenced Morris Taylor to six months in jail for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. Taylor, 24, of Albion admitted to selling cocaine in September 2013.

That was a one-time transaction, with Taylor serving as the middle man in the sale, his attorney Mark Foti told the judge.

Taylor is a first-time felony offender. He is a former track and football star at Albion. Several of his coaches submitted letters to the court on behalf of Taylor, vouching for his character.

Taylor has already served six months in jail, from December to May. His sentence today won’t result in additional jail time.

Punch also gave Taylor five years on probation.

“You’re certainly not a hopeless criminal like some of what we see here – of course, no one is hopeless,” Punch said during sentencing. “I’m hopeful you won’t be back (in court).”

• An Albion woman was sentenced to two years in state prison after admitting in court she sold prescription medication to make a profit. She was charged on April 1.

Dawn M. Read, 42, has prior convictions, including grand larceny in the fourth degree. Punch gave her the maximum sentence for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree.

“You just decided somewhere along the way to be a criminal,” Punch said.

• An 18-year-old from Medina admitted to sending text messages last May where he threatened to kill other students.

Mackenzie Barrett pleaded guilty today to making a terrorist threat, which carries a maximum of 2 1/3 to 7 years in state prison. As part of a plea deal, Barrett will face a maximum of one year in jail when he is sentenced on Jan. 12. If the sentence is greater than a year, he can withdraw his plea and go to trial.

“Did you threaten to shoot, stab and use bombs at the school?” Punch asked Barrett in court today.

“Yes,” Barrett replied.

He said the texts weren’t directed at anyone specifically.

Punch said people would naturally feel intimidated by those text messages given many instances of mass deaths by student gunmen.

“You know there has been all these school shootings, right, and that would play into that?” Punch asked Barrett.

He replied, “Yes.”


Barrett remains incarcerated in the county jail.


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Multiple sightings of bear reported at refuge

Provided photo
Wildlife refuge specialist Megan Davis took this photo of a bear at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge on Oct. 9. The bear has been spotted numerous times west of Route 63.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 October 2014
BASOM – A black bear has been spotted multiple times at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. There is even a photo from wildlife specialist Megan Davis to prove the bear has been on the refuge.

Refuge staff and visitors have seen bear tracks and some people have said they saw a bear in past years. But this may be the first time there have been multiple sightings of the same bear, said Tom Roster, refuge manager.

The bear has been spotted west of Route 63 on the Kanyoo Trail. Residents also have said they saw a bear nearby at the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. Roster said it could be the same animal.

“We’ve been getting more and more sightings,” he said this afternoon. “We’ve had multiple sightings within 10 days.”

Roster said refuge visitors should be cautious if they see the bear. The bear isn’t expected to attack, but if it feels cornered or threatened, it could be aggressive, he said.

“You should always be careful around wild animals,” Roster said.


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Candidates don’t have much to say about Orleans County, rural NY

Editorial by Tom Rivers Posted 20 October 2014
Candidates for state offices are sending out glossy mailers, giving lots of stump speeches and interviews about their candidacies.

You’ll hear about being business friendly and cutting taxes. They’ll talk a lot about themselves – their records of community service.

You won’t hear much or anything at all that is specific to rural New York, including Orleans County. Our county needs some attention from our state leaders. We have high unemployment and poverty rates. While the state population grows, Orleans is on a downward trend for residents. The county’s population dropped 3 percent from 2000 to 2010, down from 44,171 to 42,883.

Some of our school districts have closed buildings recently because there are too few students.

Three of our villages – Albion, Holley and Medina – are some of the most oppressed communities in the region for taxes. Their overall tax bases are eroding while the need for services – police protection, street upkeep – increases with fewer people to pay the bill.


The county has the third lowest median home value in the state at $77,000, according to a 2012 report from the Empire Center. Of 57 counties, only Cattaraugus ($75,000) and Allegany ($62,750) fare worse, according to the report. Other southshore Lake Ontario counties do much better: Wayne, $110,000; Oswego, $95,000; Monroe, $125,000; and Niagara, $97,000.


We have the lowest visitor spending in the state and our sales tax per capita is among the lowest. If more people visited and spent money here, it would generate more sales tax, easing some of the pressure on our property taxes.


I’d like to hear from our state legislator candidates if they have any ideas. Do the candidates for governor have any ideas? (Local officials at the village, town and county level are always welcome to put forth ideas and energy to address any of these issues.)

In a campaign devoid of ideas, here are few that are specific to Orleans County:

More state aid for the villages

We’ve written how grossly unfair the state is about doling out aid to villages, towns and cities ("State shortchanges villages with aid, leading to their demise," Jan. 27, 2014). If you’re a city, you can count on at least $100 to $150 a person. If you’re a village, you get about $5 to $10 a person.

This aid disparity is a prime reason why our village tax rates are way out of whack compared to small cities such as Batavia. Batavia’s city tax rate – about $10 per $1,000 of assessed property – is about half of the combined village-town rate for Medina, Albion and Holley. Batavia gets $1,750,975 in state aid for 12,563 people ($125,41 per head) while Medina (which also has a paid fire department like Batavia) gets $45,523 for 6,065 people or $7.51 per head.

If I was Rob Ortt or Johnny Destino, the candidates seeking to succeed the retiring George Maziarz in the State Senate, this would be my top issue for Orleans County. But it’s not on the radar screen. Both should be pledging to fight for us, to get us a fair shake. Rob Astorino would score points across the state with villages if he made equitable aid a leading issue. But it's not on his agenda.


Gov. Cuomo hasn't touched this in his first term, but then again I don't think a state legislator has pressed the cause.

Host community benefits package for prison towns

New York State provides hundreds of thousands of dollars for communities that have video gaming facilities, places like Batavia, Farmington, Hamburg. That money is to help the host municipalities keep up roads, improve the gateways to the facilities and help with some of the costs – police – that come with the casino-like destinations.

Landfill operators also offer host community benefit packages to towns that allow the sites. Waste Management offered Albion about $500,000 annually.

Photos by Tom Rivers

Two prisons, including the Albion Correctional Facility, consume about 500 acres of land just west of the Village of Albion.

Companies that build the mammoth wind turbines also pay several hundred thousand dollars to towns in Wyoming County to have the turbines, money that has reduced taxes and helped the communities keep up with government services.

If you allow a “noxious use,” you generally get money for it. But not with prisons. Albion has two of them that consume about 500 acres of tax-free land.

I wrote before that the state should provide $1 a day per inmate as a host community benefit package. (“Prison communities deserve host-community benefits package,”Aug. 7, 2013)

The two prisons in Albion combined have about 1,800 inmates. At a dollar a day, per inmate the community should get $657,000 in a host community package, money that would be shared among the village, town, school district and county.

State-wide there are about 55,000 inmates. If the state approved this plan, it would cost the state $20,075,000 annually and that money would go to places sorely in need of the revenue. (Why else would the state site prisons in these towns?)


The state spends about $4 billion annually for corrections. The prison-host aid would raise the corrections spending by a measly 0.5 percent – That’s half of 1 percent. Actually, Ortt or Destino are welcome to push for $2 a head per day.

People tell me the prison provides jobs for Albion. These are not Albion jobs. They are jobs for the region. We have a lot of people coming here from out of the community, yet Albion bears the full burden and costs of having these prisons. We deserve some money.

Free up the Parkway for development

Our best land for development is off limits up by Lake Ontario. The state really put us in a strait jacket along the lake when it created the Lake Ontario State Parkway about 40 years ago and designated it as park land. The Parkway stretches about 12.5 miles into Orleans.

We have low-valued real estate, but that could change if people could build houses off the Parkway. This is particularly relevant because the STAMP project in Alabama (across the county line in Genesee County) will bring high-paying jobs and those workers and executives would welcome the chance for a lakefront home.

The Parkway along Lake Ontario has little trafiic but lots of potential to help Orleans County.

Orleans Hub wrote about this before and it’s another idea that failed to galvanize any interest or action from local state officials. (“Open up Parkway to boost tax base, population”)

It will be hard to convince the State Legislature to declassify state parkland, but if they knew how much the Parkway cost taxpayers and how underutilized it is, I think they could be swayed. I’d like to see Ortt and Destino make this an issue and fight hard when one of them gets elected. (They could at least push for a study on the costs of Parkway and potential windfall if the land was open for development. The whole thing doesn't have to be opened up. It would be good to preserve wetlands and wildlife habitat.)

Extend the hydropower arc to Albion
If you’re 30 miles from the Niagara Power Project in Lewiston, businesses can seek low-cost hydropower. Medina falls within the 30-mile zone and the cheap electricity is a big reason why Medina still has a strong manufacturing sector.

State legislators and the governor could help a poor, ailing county by allowing the hydropower eligibility zone to spread 10 miles eastward to Albion. There are lots of sites in Albion that could be used for manufacturing. The village has ample water and sewer infrastructure.


Extending hydropower to Albion might be the most dramatic action the state could do to bring business to Orleans County. (Holley already has low-cost municipal electric at its business park.)


These are just a few ideas. Ortt, Destino, Astorino, Cuomo and State Assemblyman Steve Hawley are more than welcome to weigh in.


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Albion celebrates fall harvest at school

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 20 October 2014
ALBION – Several hundreds elementary students are painting pumpkins, venturing into a corn maze and doing other fall harvest activities today.


In the top photo, Cadence Lujan, a first grader in Mrs. Karen Hobart’s class, paints a pumpkin.

The Albion FFA is putting on the fall harvest celebration today and Tuesday. In this photo, FFA member Katie Mann helps kindergartner Misael write his name on the pumpkin. His teacher, Jennifer Lamont, is pictured in back.

Fourth-grade students in Mr. Bob Epperson’s class learn about a combine from FFA member Aaron Burnside. The combine was on display courtesy of Kenny Haylett, a farmer in Knowlesville.

FFA member Logan London helps fourth-grader Amari Jones make a handprint as part of a craft project today in the fall harvest celebration.


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Second fire in less than a week at Carlton farm’s grain facility

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 20 October 2014 10:01 a.m.
CARLTON – Firefighters were dispatched at about 8:30 this morning to a fire at the grain facility at Lynn-Ette and Sons Farms, 1512 Kent Rd.

The fire was quickly put out in the central tower of the grain drying and storage facility for the farm. This is the second fire in less than a week at the site. The other one was Thursday morning.

Darren Roberts, co-owner of the farm, said the central tower would be emptied of corn today while a crew investigates what is causing the problem.

Roberts said the farm is using more propane this season to dry corn. The wet fields has delayed harvesting by about a month. Roberts said the corn has been wet, requiring more heat to dry.

Carlton and Kendall firefighters were on the scene this morning.


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Sandstone Society has money available for local projects

Provided photo
Lee-Whedon Memorial Library has received several grants from the Medina Sandstone Trust to retain a program to microfilm or digitize old Medina newspapers, thus preserving access to hometown history. Catherine Cooper, library director, is shown here. She said the library web site gets a steady stream of “hits” at this program by people seeking Medina facts and background.


Press Release, Medina Sandstone Society Posted 20 October 2014
MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Society is guiding its endowment, the Sandstone Trust, into its fourth season of taking grant requests in the immediate community that comprises Medina, Ridgeway and Shelby. The society will accept grant applications until Nov. 14.

Michael Zelazny, chairman of the committee on grants, stressed that filing of the grant requests is a simple matter of only five or 10 minutes.

“We’ve had a good history of providing our small-sized grants to Medina area programs and organizations and we’ve been able to distribute over $15,000 to more than 30 organizations,” he continued.

Zelazny’s request for applications is targeting organizations that qualify through tax or regulatory status and which have “a clear profile of programs to benefit the community.”

Checks ranging from $200 to $500 go to help worthy programs. The chairman listed typical projects benefitted since 2011 such as downtown Christmas lighting, Lee-Whedon Memorial Library, Medina Historical Society, Medina Business Association, The Arc of Orleans, YMCA, Orleans Renaissance Group, CAC pre-school, school-parent activities, downtown clock project, Medina Tourism Program, Parade of Lights, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Family Literacy, Millville Cemetery Association and other groups.


Application forms for the grant program are available from the society's website (click here). Printed copies of the application can be obtained at the Medina Village Offices, 119 Park Ave., NAPA Auto Parts on North Main Street, or at the office of Mr. Zelazny at 511 Main St. Or by a mail request to the Sandstone Society, Box 25, Medina 14108.


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Orleans approved for $134K grant for dispatching system

Cuomo announces $10 million in 9-1-1 grants statewide
Staff Reports Posted 19 October 2014
Orleans County will receive a $134,050 state grant, part of $10 million the state is giving to support emergency response operations at counties state-wide and New York City.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the grants for 57 counties as well as NYC, which all operate 9-1-1 response and emergency service dispatch operations.

“First responders provide a critical service to New Yorkers in every corner of this state, and this funding will help ensure they can respond quickly when an emergency strikes,” Cuomo said. “From extreme weather to roadway accidents and beyond, it is absolutely vital that our emergency personnel receive accurate and timely information when responding to any situation.”

The funding is being administered by the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services through the Public Safety Awareness Points Operations Grant. PSAPs are public facilities where incoming calls for help are received and the dispatching of emergency services is initiated.

Throughout New York State, counties provide the majority of 9-1-1 answering and dispatching operations, and coordinate the services among municipal, county and state responders.

Through the benefit of these sustaining resources, counties can also make greater investments in Next Generation 9-1-1 (or NG-911) technology, which will enable text messaging, data services and improved geo-location for emergency response.


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Pumpkins are ready for harvest

Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 19 October 2014
ALBION – A field of pumpkins along East Countyhouse Road in Albion awaits to be harvested.


Looks lot of rain in the forecast this week. The National Weather Service in Buffalo forecasts a high of 56 on Monday with showers likely, followed by a high of 55 on Tuesday with a 90 percent chance of rain. On Wednesday, it is forecast for a high of 52 degrees with a chance of rain.


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New leader takes over for Farm Bureau in 1947

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 19 October 2014
When this picture was taken in 1947, Bryan Snyder, right, of Barre was retiring as president of the Orleans County Farm Bureau – Home Bureau and 4-H Club Association.

Here he shows his successor, Howard Dunham of Knowlesville, the association’s books and reports for 1946 as he turns over the job to the new president.


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Marker notes spot near Oak Orchard crossed by Indians, early pioneers

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 19 October 2014
CARLTON – I’ve driven by the “Fording Place” historical marker numerous times, but never stopped to read it until Friday.

The marker was put up in 1932 by the State Education Department. It is at the corner of Oak Orchard River Road and Clark Mills Road, about a mile west of Brown’s Berry Patch.

The marker is north of a shallow part of the Oak Orchard River where Indians and early pioneers would cross. “The Oak Orchard Trail from Batavia to Ontario crossed the creek here.”

I didn’t know ford meant to cross. John Denniston, a long-time local resident and president of the St. Mary’s Archer’s Club, knew all about it. I was at the Archer’s Club on Friday and Denniston pointed to a shallow part of the river, where lots of fishermen now converge in the fall for the annual salmon run.


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Rotary sells chili and crafts in Medina

Photos by Peggy Barringer Posted 19 October 2014
MEDINA – The Medina Rotary Club had a craft fair and served up chili on Saturday in a benefit for Rotary’s youth programs in Medina.


The event was held at the United Methodist Church in the former Apple Grove Inn at 11004 West Center St.

Bill Bixler and Julianna Duda serve up three varieties of chili (white chicken, sweet, and spicy beer chili). Proceeds of the chili sale benefit the Rotary Club of Medina’s youth programs including scholarships to Medina High School and the foreign exchange student program. Duda said Rotary believes strongly in these programs due to “kids being our future.” The Bread Basket in Medina donated all the bread to go with the chili.

Pumpkins and frog were created by Bubba’s Chainsaw Carvings in Lyndonville.

Vendor Kira Sinclair upcycles used clothing she purchases at the Clothing Depot in Medina and transforms into handmade plush toys.


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All things apple at Knowlesville church's annual event

Photos by Peggy Barringer Posted 18 October 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – It was all about the apples in Knowlesville today with apple pies, apple butter, apple cider … and apples!

The Knowlesville United Methodist Church put on its annual Apple Festival at the church’s fellowship hall.

The “Mystery Boxes” were a big hit and were sold for $1 each with the proceeds to benefit the church.

This fellow (a camel) greeted the guests as they arrived. Several outdoor vendors braved the rain.

Apple butter and apple pies were a big hit.

Dona Seitzer, left, and Arlene Quackenbush sell homemade apple pies. They said that 250 were made and by 11 a.m. more than half had been sold.


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Church sells Krispy Kreme to help send team to Peru

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 18 October 2014
ALBION – Team members from the Albion Free Methodist Church were out selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts today, raising money for the church to send 13 people on a mission trip to Peru in February.

In the top photo, Mike Neidert is pictured with his son Elliott. They will be part of the trip, along with Neidert’s daughter Olivia.

The Rev. Randy LeBaron, pastor of the church, is pictured with his daughter Ashlyn. They will also be going on the trip to Peru.


The Neiderts and LeBarons are pictured outside Walmart. Team members also sold Krispy Kreme at the Ace Hardware stores in Albion and Medina.


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Albion church continues Country Fair tradition

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 18 October 2014
ALBION – Members of the First United Methodist Church held their annual Country Fair today from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., offering baked goods, produce, crafts, children’s games and other activities.

In the top photo, Virginia Cole, center, and Kay Ecker pack up chicken biscuit meals. Virginia’s mother, Laurie Cole, is in the back.

Al Capurso provides musical entertainment during the annual church bazaar.

The church is staying in its historic building for “the forseeable future” but it is looking for an alternative site due to the $1 million-plus costs of fixing the roof and addressing structural concerns with the building.

Kim Pritt sells cookies and other baked goods.

Rachel Morasco, right, is selling produce at the Country Fair.

Leslee Lockwood and her daughter Melanie Norton tend to a table full of chocolate, fudge and other goodies.


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Sheriff releases name of boy, 15, killed in Shelby

Press Release, Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess Posted 18 October 2014
SHELBY – The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office is releasing the name of the teenager who died late Friday afternoon after sustaining a gunshot wound at his home in the Town of Shelby.

Jacob A. Stahl, 15, was a 10th grade student at Medina High School. He and a teenaged friend were in an upstairs bedroom when the incident occurred.


While the investigation is continuing, Sheriff’s Investigators are reasonably certain that Stahl’s death was a tragic accident that resulted from the careless handling of a loaded firearm. There is no evidence at this time that suggests foul play. The other youth, whose name is being withheld, has fully cooperated with investigators.

Medina Central School District officials were notified early in the investigation so they could make preparations for grief counseling when students and faculty/staff return to school on Monday.


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Archer’s Club welcomes anglers for annual fly fishing tournament

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 18 October 2014
CARLTON – The St. Mary’s Archer’s Club on the Oak Orchard River in Carlton welcomed 55 participants in the club’s annual fly fishing tournament from Wednesday through Friday.

These anglers are pictured on Friday afternoon along the river. Out-of-state participants came from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island and New Jersey.

The catch-and-release tournament gives prizes for the biggest Chinook salmon, brown trout, Atlantic salmon and steelhead.


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