Pride Pak CEO says Medina great fit for company

Hopes to start construction next month on new facility

Photos by Tom Rivers
Steve Karr (right), chief executive officer for Pride Pak Canada, meets village officials and others working on the company’s new 62,000-square-foot vegetable processing facility. The site plan for the project was presented to the Medina Village Board this evening. He is pictured with Mauro LoRusso, vice president of finance for Pride Pak (center); Gabrielle Barone, vice president of business development for the Orleans Economic Development Agency (far left); and Marguerite Sherman, village trustee (second from left).


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 October 2015
MEDINA – A company coming to Orleans County looked at several sites, including into Pennsylvania, but Medina turned out to be a great fit for Pride Pak, the company’s CEO said this evening following a Village Planning Board meeting when a site plan for the 62,000-square-foot building was presented.

Steve Karr said Medina is close to the border for the Canadian-based company and also sits in an agricultural region with close proximity to a big population base in the U.S.

Ultimately, Karr said the Orleans Economic Development Agency was very responsive in helping the company find a location “that makes sense for us.”

The company expects to start construction next month on the new vegetable processing facility, a site that will likely be expanded in phases and could see 200 employees at full build-out.

Pride Pak will have 85 to 100 employees as part of the first phase. Construction should start next month, pending final approvals on the site plan from the Village Planning Board, and other local and state permits.

Karr would like the building to be done in April for equipment to be moved in. He would like to start processing and packaging vegetables next June.

He knows the weather over the winter will play a big factor in meeting that ambitious schedule.

D.R. Chamberlain Construction of Lockport is the general contractor for the new building.

This shows a rendering of the new building on Maple Ridge Road across from GCC.


The company received a warm welcome from local officials this evening.


"It will be a cornerstone for the rest of the business park," said Deputy Mayor Mike Sidari.


Village Trustee Owen Toale said the new jobs will be a big boost for the community and many local families, leaving a ripple effect felt at restaurants, stores and in the real estate market.


"Medina hasn't had a project of this size in many years," said Gabrielle Barone, vice president of business development for the Orleans EDA.


The company is privately owned and the business fits well in a agricultural community, Barone said.


Medina also has the existing infrastructure with water and sewer to meet the company's needs. The EDA has the land, and Pride Pak will buy 13 acres from the agency. That land currenty is not on the tax rolls. Pride Pak will gradually pay the full assessed value for the property in 5 percent increments over 20 years.


Barone said the business park has been a work in progress over 30 years, with the village and EDA working closely to expand the property and provide the needed utilities.


"It looks like this just came together but it has been years," she said.


Karr said Barone deserves a lot of credit for bringing Pride Pak to Medina.


"She was always there trying to figure out how it could be done," he said. "The EDA has a very quick response time."


Karr has been in the fresh fruit and vegetable processing, packing and distributing business since 1983. Pride Pak is Ontario, Canada’s largest fruit and vegetable processor and currently exports 50 percent of its produce to the U.S. market.


The company packs vegetables for other companies, including Wegmans Food Market. The vegetables are packed fresh, not frozen, Karr said.


The company wants to work with local farmers with carrots and other "root vegetables" in the beginning as long as they meet food safety guidelines for the vegetables, Karr said. The Medina site will process vegetables, and Karr said the facility will also package salads, with some of the salads going to Pride Pak's Canadian customers.

Pride Pak expects about 45 truckloads of product each month, or about 1 ½ a day, according to Mike Simon, project engineer with BME Associates, a Fairport engineering firm.

Most of truck traffic will be vegetables coming in, but some truck traffic will include vegetable waste, about 220 tons a month, that will be delivered to local livestock farms, Simon said.


The company's site plan also includes 114 parking spaces. The village code for the Maple Ridge Corridor calls for 5 spaces per 1,000 square feet for a building, which would be 310 spaces for a 62,000-square-foot building. Or, if the code for light industrial is applied, there should be 2 spaces per 1,000 square feet or 124 for Pride Pak.


The company will likely seek a variance from that code. Simon said Pride Pak would prefer to keep as much of the site green space as possible.


It will have access roads on each side of the plant, as well as loading docks.


The site plan will go before the Orleans County Planning Board on Oct. 22 for its recommendation before returning to the Village Planning Board for a final vote on Nov. 3.


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Cuomo expected to make STAMP announcement tomorrow

Photo by Tom Rivers
This sign on Route 63 in the Town of Alabama advertises STAMP and lists partners in the massive project. The Genesee County Economic Development Corporation already has acquired most of the land for STAMP, which is just south of Shelby.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 October 2015
BATAVIA – Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be in Batavia on Wednesday afternoon to make a major announcement that is expected to be about the STAMP project in the Town of Alabama, just south of Orleans County.

Whether the governor will announce the first tenant for the 1,250-acre site or a major state investment in the park – or both – could not be confirmed.

Medina village officials said they have been invited to the announcement at 2:15 p.m. at Genesee Community College. STAMP would be a big user of the Medina sewer plant.


Although STAMP (Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park) is outside Orleans County, local economic development officials say the project will be offer huge benefits for Orleans communities and the nine-county region.


The STAMP project is about 1 mile south of the Orleans County border along Route 63. The 1,250-acre site will accommodate nanotechnology companies including semiconductor 450mm chip fab, flat panel display, solar manufacturing, and advanced manufacturing.


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‘Community Day’ helps Medina students connect with agencies for volunteer service

Provided photos

Brandi Guild talks with Robert Batt, a 4-H Youth Development Educator with the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County.


Press release, Medina Central School Posted 6 October 2015
MEDINA – While many schools are dropping their community service requirements for students, Medina High School is making it an integral part of their learning experience.

This is the third year that social studies teachers, Todd Bensley and Michael Pickreign, have used their creativity to get students to talk to local agencies and be able to sign up on the spot for their minimum of 10 hours of volunteer time.


The teachers invite about 12 local organizations to set up tables in the cafeteria and then the high school seniors spend a period going from table to table to learn more about the agency and what kind of help they need.


“In the past, we had students who wouldn’t sign up for their community service,” Mr. Pickreign said. “They wouldn’t know where they could go to volunteer or what would be expected of them, so they didn’t bother. This way they have to go to each table, talk to the representative and then they get to pick which one is the right fit for them.”

Morgan Nashwenter, Aracely Hernandez with Sue Metzo from the Medina Area Association of Churches (MAAC).

Mr. Bensley said that not only is community service a nice thing for students to do in order to develop empathy, but makes a difference in their hometown, helps them build their resume and become more well-rounded individuals.


“A lot of them are surprised by how much they enjoy it,” he said. “It is eye-opening for them and makes them feel good about positively impacting the community. Some of them end up volunteering more time than the requirement.”

At the end of their volunteer experience, students give a presentation to the class about the history of the agency they chose and what their experience was.


“We hear a lot of positive feedback from the students and the agencies,” Mr. Pickreign said.


“I think in terms of education, this gives the students a chance to apply what they learn in class to real needs in the community,” Mr. Bensley said. “It’s an enriching experience for everyone.”


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Albion PD promotes Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 6 October 2015
ALBION – Members of the Albion Police Department are wearing pink pins with silver angel wings on their uniforms this month in honor of Breast cancer Awareness Month.


“Breast cancer has in some way affected everyone in our community,” said Police Chief Roland Nenni. “The Albion Police Department hopes that by aiding in awareness we can help in a small way to find a cure.”


Pink ribbons are also being displayed on all police patrol vehicles.


“The more we can raise awareness as professionals and public servants, it may prompt women to be checked or someone to make a donation,” Nenni said.

Sgt. Gary Van Wycke, a member of the Albion PD for 21 ½ years, stands by a patrol car that has a pink ribbon on the door.


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3 face drug charges in Orleans

Staff Reports Posted 6 October 2015

ALBION – A Holley woman is accused of smuggling drugs into the Orleans County Jail, and two other people also face drug charges, the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force announced today.

The Task Force and corrections officers at the county jail on Oct. 1 conducted an investigation involving drugs being brought in the jail during inmate visits, which resulted in the seizure of a controlled substance, marijuana and the arrest of a Holley woman who was charged with numerous drug charges, the Task Force reported.

Stephanie M. Rauch

Stephanie M. Rauch, 27, of 4 North Main St., was charged with 1 count of attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree (Class D felony), 1 count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree (Class D felony), 1 count of attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree (Class D felony), and 1 count of unlawful possession of marijuana.


Rauch was arraigned in the Ridgeway Town Court by Town Justice Joseph Kujawa. She was committed to the Orleans County Jail on $10,000 cash bail. Rauch is to appear in Albion Town Court today.

Two others were arrested on Monday after an investigation into the sale and distribution of suboxone in the Village of Holley. The Major Felony Crime Task Force along with officers from the Division of Parole, arrested a parolee and his girlfriend for criminal sale of a controlled substance.

Corey A. Brown


Corey A. Brown, 29, of 175 North Main St., Albion, was charged with 1 count of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree (Class D felony) and 1 count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree (Class D felony).


He was arraigned in Murray Town Court by Town Justice Theodore Spada Jr. Brown was committed to the Orleans County Jail on $50,000 cash bail. He is to appear in Murray Town Court on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.


The New York State Division of Parole filed a parole detainer for Brown with the Orleans County Jail.

Roxanne M. Thomas


Roxanne M. Thomas, 29, of 17 Jay Drive, Holley, was charged with 1 count of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree (Class D felony) and 1 count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree (Class D felony).


She was arraigned by Murray Town Justice Theodore Spada Jr. and committed to the county jail on $10,000 cash bail. She is to appear in Murray Town Court on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.


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Courthouse dome will go purple and pink to highlight causes this month

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 6 October 2015
ALBION – The dome of the Orleans County Courthouse is shining purple the first half of this month for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.


The county’s domestic violence unit responds to about 400 referrals each year.
The dome is pictured on Monday night on the courthouse.

The second half of the month the courthouse dome will shine pink at night for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. About 70 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in Orleans County.

Watt Farms is again hosting the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk this month. The 11th annual event has been moved to a Saturday. It will be an open course from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event has raised $325,000 in its first 10 years. Click here for more information.


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3 plead guilty in County Court and could be sentenced to jail/prison

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 October 2015
ALBION – Three people pleaded guilty to crime in Orleans County during court on Monday and could be sentenced to either county jail or state prison.

Philip A. Riley, 32, of West Bank Street in Albion faces the longest possible sentence – up to 5 years in state prison when he is sentenced on Dec. 21.

Riley admitted in court on Monday that he had heroin and sold it for a profit on April 7.
He pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a charge that carries a maximum of 8 years in state prison. As part of a plea deal, his sentence will not exceed 5 years, plus 1 ½ to 2 years of post-release supervision.

Riley was charged in July along with 16 other people in a big drug bust in Orleans. Riley has been in the county jail on $100,000 bail since his arrest.

• Jennifer McCarthy-Conklin, 39, of 1 Thomas St., Holley, was part of the drug arrests in July. She pleaded guilty in court on Monday. She admitted she had cocaine and sold it from the Holley Hotel on Feb. 27.

She pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, which carries a maximum sentence of 2 ½ years in state prison, plus one year of post-release supervision. She will be sentenced on Dec. 21.


• Matthew Ritzel, 26, of Hamlin pleaded guilty to entering a house on Kendall Road in Murray and taking items from the dwelling on June 3.

He pleaded guilty to attempted burglary in the second degree, which carries a maximum sentence of 2 to 7 years in state prison.

As part of a plea deal, Ritzel, who has no prior criminal history, won’t be sentenced to be more than a year in county jail. If the judge gives him more than a year, Ritzel can withdraw the plea and go to trial.

He will be sentenced on Jan. 11.


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Former public defender from Medina pleads guilty to gun charge

Press Release, U.S. Attorney William Hochul Posted 5 October 2015

BUFFALO – U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Adam Rissew, 39, a former Monroe County Public Defender currently of Rochester and formerly of Medina, pleaded guilty to possession of firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking before U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.


The charge carries a mandatory prison term of 5 years and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony M. Bruce, who is handling the case, stated that on July 20, 2012, Medina police officers and members of the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force searched Rissew’s then-residence at 305 Catherine St. in the Village of Medina.


Officers found and seized in excess of 50 marijuana plants, paraphernalia related to the grow operation, numerous firearms and 684 rounds of various types of ammunition. Among the firearms found and seized was a loaded Glock 9mm semi automatic pistol that was kept between Rissew’s mattress and box springs. During his plea Rissew admitted he used the pistol to protect his marijuana growing operation.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Medina Police Department, under the direction of Chief Jose Avila, officers of the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force, under the direction of Chief Investigator Joseph Sacco, and Orleans County District Attorney Joseph Cardone.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 25, 2016 at 3 p.m. before Judge Skretny.


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3 sentenced to state prison for crimes in Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 October 2015

ALBION – Three people were sentenced to state prison today by Orleans County Court Judge James Punch.

Two people, a Medina woman and Rochester man, were sentenced for drug crimes, while an Albion man was sentenced for felony driving while intoxicated.

Jeremy Smith, 30, of Lydun Drive in Albion received the longest sentence at 1 to 3 years in state prison for driving under the influence of alcohol and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. He pleaded guilty on July 13 to felony DWI.

He admitted in court to DWI and driving without a license on Jan. 19, 2015, when he was in an accident while driving. He said he had been drinking beer before the accident. Smith has a prior felony DWI in 2006 and a prior misdemeanor DWI in 2002.

He could have faced up to 4 years in state prison, but received a reduced sentence as part of a plea deal.

His attorney, Dominic Saraceno, said Smith has struggled with alcohol since he was 13.

“He’s had a problem with alcohol since he was 13,” Saraceno said during sentencing. “It has pretty much destroyed his life.”

Punch said Smith not only was driving drunk, but was in an accident, refused a Breathalyzer test and marijuana was at the scene.

“Alcohol hasn’t destroyed your life but it has pretty much screwed it up at this point,” Punch said. “You’re a young man. You have a lot of years ahead of you.”

The judge revoked Smith’s driver’s license for a year and ordered that he pay a $520 court surcharge and $50 DNA fee.

“I hope you can figure out a way to stop drinking,” Punch told Smith at the sentencing.


In other sentencings in County Court today:

• A Medina woman was sentenced to 1 ½ years in state prison. Judge Punch recommended that Erika Poole, 34, of Church Street serve her time at the Willard Drug Treatment Center, a specialized state prison in Romulus, Seneca County.

Poole pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of controlled substance in the fifth degree, which has a maximum sentence of 2 years. Judge Punch gave her less than the maximum today.

Her attorney, Christopher Rodeman, said Poole has struggled with drug use.

“It’s very apparent she has engaged in this type of lifestyle due to her substance abuse problems and she is in dire need of treatment,” Rodeman said at sentencing.

Punch said he would recommend the State Department of Corrections give Poole the treatment program at Willard.

He told Poole she has a history of committing serious crimes, and she has handled herself with some arrogance during court proceedings.

“Arrogance is the enemy of change,” the judge told her. “If you want to change you need a touch of humility.”


• A Rochester man was sentence to 1 ½ years in state prison for attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth, a crime with a maximum of 2 years in prison.

Kenneth Thompson, 49, of Dale Street was charged with criminal sale and possession of drugs in Orleans County in early 2014.

Thompson said in court he has lost a family member to drugs.

“I decided not to touch drugs again,” he told the judge during sentencing.

Punch said Thompson has a “bad record” with prior crimes. The judge said he believed Thompson was sincere in wanting to avoid future drug activity.

“Think of the thousands of people who have died from drugs,” Punch said. “Maybe it will save your life.”


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First class of Medina football stars will be inducted in Wall of Fame on Friday

Contributed Photos

Coach John "Pinky" Loughlin


By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 5 October 2015

The memory and achievements of the late long time Medina High football coach John "Pinky" Loughlin is being honored with the formation of a football memorial wall of fame named in his honor.

The inaugural class of the John "Pinky" Loughlin Memorial Wall of Fame will be inducted in ceremonies just prior to the 7:30 p.m. kickoff of Medina's game against Depew at Vets Park Friday.

Loughlin, who also served as Athletic Director for many years, guided the Medina football team for 24 years from 1955-1978 during which time his Mustangs captured 13 Niagara-Orleans League championships and won a total of 135 games. His Mustangs won the N-O title outright eight times (1955, '58, '64. '70, '72, '73, '74, '77) and earned co-championships five more times (1957, '59, '61. '62, '63) compiling a career league record of 119-30-6. Overall his teams went 135-50-7.

The initial class of inductees has five former Mustang players including Ernie Clark (Class of 1956), Norm Goheen (Class of 1963), Carlton "Duke" Little (Class of 1974), David Fluellen (Class of 1983) and Jim Snyder (Class of 1989).

Large banners with the picture of each inductee will be on display along the east end zone during football season.

"There has been a push for a long time to honor Pinky in some way at Vets Park and after years of thinking about what we could do, I came up with the concept of a Wall of Fame to honor the longtime coach along with some of the great football players that played at Vet's Park," said Medina varsity football Coach Eric Valley. "I have been in contact with Pinky's family and they are very excited about the wall of fame. After looking through many deserving candidates the first five were overwhelmingly agreed upon to be the initial group to be inducted Friday."

Ernie Clark

Clark, a two-year, two-way starter at end and linebacker, helped lead Medina to the N-O championship in 1955 in what was both the Mustangs first year in the league and Loughlin's first year at the MHS helm. Clark went on to star at Michigan State University and then to play for the Detroit Lions becoming the only Mustang alum to play in the National Football League.

Norm Goheen

Goheen, who played from 1960-62, helped lead Medina to N-O titles in both 1961 and 1962. He scored a total of 35 touchdowns in his career including 13 in 1961 and 12 in 1962.

Carlton "Duke" Little

Little, who played from 1971-73, helped the Mustangs capture division titles in both 1972 and 1973. He rushed for 1,516 yards and scored 24 touchdowns during his career. He had 7 touchdowns in 1972 and 17 in 1973.

David Fluellen

Fluellen, who played from 1980-82, helped lead Medina to division and Section VI championships in both 1980 and 1982. He had a total of 1,687 yards rushing, 691 receiving and 37 touchdowns in his career. In 1980 as a sophomore he had a game saving pass interception in the final seconds near the goal line to preserve Medna's 20-14 sectional championship win over Silver Creek. He had 21 touchdowns and 1,103 yards rushing in 1982 when he capped off his career with a 4 touchdown effort in the Mustangs 26-7 sectional title win over Cassadaga Valley including runs of 74 and 59 yards.

Jim Snyder

Snyder, who played from 1986-88 keyed Medina to both division and sectional championships in 1988. He scored 23 touchdowns and had 1,730 yards rushing in 1988 as he earned Western New York and New York State Class B Player of the Year awards. He capped off his career by scoring both touchdowns in Medina's 14-7 victory over rival Albion in the Section VI championship game which completed the Mustangs only 10-0 season. He had 38 touchdowns and 2,927 yards rushing for his career.

Friday will also be Family Night as Mustang players and their families will be introduced at 7 p.m.


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Shelby town justice picked to serve on NYS Magistrates Association

Dawn Keppler says she wants association to reach out to rural judges

Photo by Tom Rivers
Dawn Keppler, the Shelby town justice since 1999, is one of 12 justices from around the state serving on the board of directors for the New York State Magistrates Association. She was elected to serve on the board on Sept. 28.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 October 2015
SHELBY – Dawn Keppler, a town justice in Shelby since 1999, was elected by her peers to serve on the board of directors for the NYS Magistrates Association, the first judge from Orleans County to serve on the organization’s board.


Keppler was picked for the board on Sept. 28 during the Magistrates annual conference in Niagara Falls. The association provides training and resources for town and village justices throughout the state.


Keppler said she will push for rural judges to better use the training programs offered through the Magistrates Association. All judges need to complete certification and training each year. They can take courses on-line or in person at conferences. (Ridgeway Town Justice Joseph Kujawa and Kendall Town Justice Debbie Drennan attended the four-day conference in Niagara Falls.)

Keppler was backed by a nominating committee to serve on the State Board. She has been the judge since Shelby and Ridgeway voted to share services in the court system, with the Shelby Town Hall used for both courts, and the Shelby and Ridgeway judges having jurisdiction in both towns.

The Village of Medina also dissolved its court in 2011, with those cases shifted to Ridgeway and Shelby.


Keppler said more towns and villages are looking to share services with their court systems.

“I’m one of the unique judges who has dealt with consolidation,” she said. “Many are now talking about it.”

The Town of Yates also has joined Shelby and Ridgeway in having multi-town jurisdiction for the judges. The three towns have gone from two judges each to one each. Yates keeps its court system at the Yates Town Hall.

Keppler said the shared system has been beneficial in the Medina community, where people going to court were often confused whether they went to the Ridgeway or Shelby town hall, or the Medina Village Hall. Now, they just go to the Shelby Town Hall.

Keppler works with her husband Phil and family in a cattle business, SK Herefords. Keppler manages the office and books, and helps when needed in the barn.

She also is the office manager for Webster, Schubel and Meier, a law office on West Center Street in downtown Medina.

She enjoys her job as the local town justice.

“It’s interesting – no case is ever the same,” she said. “Your job is to apply the law as it is written and uphold fairness in the courtroom.”


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Tugboat Urger is floating museum, sharing canal history

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 5 October 2015
ALBION – Tugboat Urger, built in 1901, has spent the past week in Orleans County, first docking in Medina on Sept. 30 before coming to Albion on Friday. The vessel is heading to Holley today and will welcome Holley fourth-graders for a tour and educational program on Tuesday morning before departing for Brockport.

The tugboat was originally used as a fishing boat and commercial shipping vessel for its first two decades. In the early 1920s, the Urger was sold to New York and was used to haul machinery, dredges and scows on the canal system for 60 years until the boat was retired from services in the 1980s.

The tugboat, one of the oldest working vessels in the country, is pictured in Albion this morning with the Ingersoll Street lift bridge in back.

In 1991, the Urger got new life as a “Teaching Tug.” It visits canal communities from early May until late October, educating children and adults about the canal system, which opened in 1825.

For more on Urger, click here.


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Farmers have good weather next few days for apple harvest

Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 5 October 2015
GAINES – These bins are filled with apples on Route 279, just south of Route 104. The farm is owned by Jim Kirby and his son Adam.


After some chilly days last week, the high temperatures will be in the 60s this week. Today is forecast to be mostly cloudy with a high of 65, followed by mostly cloudy with a high of 64 on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.


On Wednesday, it will be sunny with a high of 65, followed by mostly sunny with a high of 61 on Thursday.


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