Documentary focuses on immigration crisis at WNY dairies


‘This absurd, unjust system is easy enough to fix. It will just take a little courage from Congress to do so.’

– documentary producer Roy Germano


Image from Vice News

Cows are pictured in a milking parlor at a dairy farm in Western New York.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 25 July 2014
New York’s dairy industry is growing, and it’s especially hot in Western New York with new yogurt plants opening in Batavia. Farmers don’t need to worry about a supply for their product.

The state’s farms generate about $5 billion in sales, and about half comes from dairy producers. We’re the third-leading dairy state and the top producer of yogurt in the country.

However, the industry is vulnerable because of a broken immigration system, a new documentary highlights. Roy Germano was in the area in April, talking to dairy farmers, workers, an immigration attorney, a retired immigration officer and others affected by the issue.

Vice News on Wednesday debuted the documentary, “Immigrant America: They Steal Our Jobs?” Germano says dairy farms have grown larger, requiring 24-hour milking operations. Workers from Mexico, many without legal documents to be in the country, typically are working the overnight shifts at the dairy farms, doing “a dirty monotonous job that most Americans don’t want to do.”

Vice News

A federal program that allows farmers to hire foreign workers legally can't be used by dairy farmers because the dairy jobs aren't considered seasonal.

Fruit and vegetable farms have access to legal foreign workers through the H2A program, but the federal government hasn’t made that possible for dairies because the work isn’t considered seasonal. Dairies haven’t had much success finding local Americans to work the night shifts.

Many dairies say they have been forced to hire Mexicans who don’t have proper documents. They are hard-working and dedicated, but they are also vulnerable to sudden removal by immigration officers. Germano interviews one dairy farmer who will soon have long-term milking employees deported.

“I am tired of the inaction in Washington,” a WNY dairy farmer tells Germano. “We’re trying to run a business. We’re the ones caught in the crosshairs between the government that makes the laws and the other agency that has to enforce the laws.”


The dairy farmer says he and others in the industry don’t have legitimate access to foreign workers for their farms. (Germano doesn't identify the farmer because he fears retaliation from ICE.)


“What incentive is there to grow our business when at any given time our workers can be taken away?” he said.

Vice News

Roy Germano visited local dairies for his documentary about the immigration crisis in WNY.

Germano tries working in the milking parlor and strugglesto attach the milker units to the cows teats. He pushes liquid manure with a squeegee to drains and seems overwhelmed by the smells in the parlor.

Germano wonders if any local Americans who are looking for a job would work at a dairy. He does an experiment, going to unemployment office in Batavia. He tells people looking for jobs that he has immediate openings at dairies, but they’ll have to work the night shift from 2 a.m. to noon. There are plenty of jobs for $9 an hour with housing, he tells them.


The local residents overwhelmingly declined the positions, not wanting to work on a farm especially during the night. (Some dairies are turning to robots to milk cows, and Germano shows a robot in action. The robots cost about $250,000 each and can milk about 50 cows a day, a big investment for the farms. The farms are "price takers" and can't demand an increase in milk to pay their employees more, perhaps making the jobs more attractive to local Americans, Germano says.)

Western New York is a dairy powerhouse. The area is also home to the largest immigration detention facility in the country outside of Arizona. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers have arrested many farm workers, often without probable cause, because of pressure to meet quotas to fill the ICE facility in Batavia, according to the documentary.

Vice News

Many local farmworkers are arrested and placed at the immigration and detention facility in Batavia.

Germano interviews a dairy worker who is soon to be deported. He is married to an American with an American child. He doesn’t want to be separated from his family. So he said he will make the dangerous journey back to the area once he is deported to Mexico.

The racial profiling by police and ICE, when farmworkers try to go to the store or church, has many rarely leaving farms, Germano says. The workers pay people to get them groceries. They don’t fully participate in community life.

Germano advocates for immigration policies that meet employer needs, and stop treating family farmers and hardworking immigrants like criminals.

“This absurd unjust system is easy enough to fix. It will just take a little courage from Congress to do so.” Germano said in concluding the documentary.


(Editor's note: Orleans Hub editor Tom Rivers wrote "Farm Hands: Hard work and hard lessons from Western New Yorks farms." The book is based on his experiences working at local farms in 2008. Germano said that book was part of his inspiration for the documentary on the WNY dairies.)


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Today’s Fair Schedule (July 25, 2014)

Photos by Sue Cook

Games at the fair attracted a lot of attention throughout the day on Thursday. Many people were happy to walk away with stuffed animals or other prizes.


Special Event: Orleans County 4-H Fair 2nd Annual Craft Sale located in the Buzz Hill Education Center Lot, including professional appraisals from 4 to 7 pm at a special price of $5 per item (bring photos for your larger items).


Strolling Entertainment: Amazing Magic Joe, throughout the grounds, 5 to 9 p.m.

8 am: Senior Council Stand Opens

9:30 am: Youth Ag Olympics Fun Activities - South Lawn

9:30 am: Miniature Horse Show & Driving Competition - Carlos Marcello Arena

10 am: $5 Admission per car starts

10 am: All Buildings Open

The Hot Country Liners do a line dance on Thursday evening to “What Does the Fox Say,” a song by Norwegian comedy band Ylvis.

10 am: Grand Master Showman Workshop Starting in Show Arena

10:30 am: Tractor Driving Contest - South Parking Lot


12 pm: Leaders’ Pie Stand Opens


12 pm: Goat Knowledge Bowl: Dairy and Meat - Knights Building


12:30 pm: Dog Show, Agility Competition (Classes 23-30) - Show Arena


1 pm: Little Shepherds Sheep Show – Open to Public - Knights Building


1 pm: Story Time sponsored by Medina Community Library - Trolley Building


3 pm to 10 pm: Midway Rides of Utica $20 Unlimited Ride wristband - Midway


3 pm: Story Time sponsored by Medina Community Library - Trolley Building

Jayne Bannister squares the back legs of her animal during the sheep show.

3 pm: Horse Judging Contest - Education Center

3:30 pm: AirPlay Jugglers - Stage


4 pm: Royalty questionnaires due - Fair Office


4 pm: Chainsaw Chix - Log Cabin


4 pm to 8:30 pm: Master Gardener - Lawn of Education Center


4:30 pm: The Barnyard Review: Entertainment for your whole family - Lawn South of Knights Building


5 pm: Friday Night Fish Fry: Sponsored by Renovation Lodge #97 Cost: $9 Adult (Half portion $7) - Curtis Pavilion


5:30 pm: AirPlay Jugglers - Stage


5:30 pm: Classic Car Cruise-In - Education Center Parking Lot

The Mathes sisters Emma (front) and Lillian speak with judge Chad Swartz during the wool-outfit show.

6 pm: Set Up for Band - Stage

6 pm: Registration Ends for Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull - Fair Office


6 pm: Grand Master Showman - Livestock Areas


6 pm to 8 pm: Pie Eating Contest: Sponsored by Brown’s Berry Patch - (Register at Fair Office during the week) - Curtis Pavilion


6 pm: Chainsaw Chix - Log Cabin

Lakeside Karate invited children from the community to join them on stage and learn some basics in front of the audience.


6:30 pm: The Barnyard Review: Entertainment for your whole family - Lawn South of Knights Building


6:30 pm: Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull - Pedal Tractor Course: Fair Office


7 pm: The Music of Jonesy (Rock and Roll) - Stage


7 pm: Quadrille Horse Demonstration - Carlos Marcello Arena


7 pm: Spanish/English Story Time: Sponsored by Medina Community Library - Trolley Building


8 pm: Chainsaw Chix - Log Cabin


8:30 pm: The Barnyard Review: Entertainment for your whole family - Lawn South of Knights Building


10 pm: Buildings Close


10 pm: Fireworks (Rain Date Saturday @ 10 pm)


10:30 pm: Greased Pole Climbing Contest (Teams must pre-register at Fair Office) - At Greased Pole

The sun sets over the fair.


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Crooners make karaoke a crowd-pleaser for Fair

Photos by Sue Cook

Morgan Parnitzke belts out “Listen” by Beyonce.


By Sue Cook, staff reporter Posted 25 July 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – Thursday night marked the finals of the karaoke contest at the 4-H Fair and a big crowd turned out for one of the fair's most popular events.


Seventeen contestants were chosen from prior qualifying rounds throughout the week to compete for the $1,000 prize donated by M&T Bank.


Another prize of 16 hours of studio time was donated by John Wragg, owner of TORQUIL Studios. Wragg was personally judging the contest seeking someone who was very passionate about their and was not simply there trying to win the cash prize. The prize also includes time to make a music video with the studio.

Jessica Stamp entertains the crowd of more than 400 onlookers.


Wragg commented that he was not judging based on age, looks or gender. The important part was that the singer was full of energy and having a great time, while making it clear they lived to be a performer.

“Wide Open Spaces” by the Dixie Chicks receives a sweet rendition by Laura Mullen.


Brandon Johnson, the entertainment coordinator for the fair, was one of the judges for the karaoke contest.


“This is one of the biggest competitions in the entertainment portion of the fair that happens throughout the week,” he said. “Lots of people come out for this and come back night after night to try to qualify for finals. We’re looking for stage presence, vocal ability and crowd recognition.”

Olivia Redick gets energized during her performance.


He added that pure talent was the key to winning high marks from the judges.


“I like all types of music, said Johnson. “It just depends on who is singing it and their vocal ability and whether the song fits them or not.”


Contestant Rich Nolan performed “Eight-Second Ride” by Jake Owen.


“I've been singing my whole life, so it's just natural,” said Nolan. “I've been practicing that way and doing other contests. There's a lot of good competition. It's going to be hard.”

Taylor Whittier rocks the crowd to AC/DC.


Taylor Whittier performed an AC/DC for the finals, but also used the band for his qualifier song on Monday. One way he says he gets positive feedback is to get the crowd involved.


“I play music in a local band called Terrible Ideas,” Whittier said. “I've been singing since I was 12 or 13 in local places. I just do it for fun.”

Jessica Reigle donned a candy-sweet pin-up look for her number.


Lydia Piazza, a resident of New Jersey, moves to the area in the summer and enters the 4-H karaoke contest each year.


“I love it,” she said about being on stage. “I've been dancing since I was 5, so it's just calming to me. I've always been singing just for fun.”

John Gursslin got the ladies in the audience screaming as he sang “Bed of Roses” by Bon Jovi.


Morgan Parnitzke, 17, was not intimidated by some of the older singers because she was competing for the enjoyment of it.


“I just took a lot of time rehearsing the song over and over again. I just felt it,” she said. “I'm glad I got the chance to sing today.”

Parnitzke (left) went on to win the contest with a score of 88 out of 90. The other competitors to make it to the top five included (from left): Rich Nolan, Olivia Redick, Jessica Reigle and Emily Kordovich.


Jessica Reigle also won over Wragg with her fun performance of “Candy Man” by Christina Aguilera. Reigle will be given the opportunity to use the studio space for 16 hours.


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Shoe Tree shows no signs of slowing down

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 24 July 2014
YATES – The Lyndonville Shoe Tree has been a craze since 1986 when the late Earl Baun helped a girlfriend get rid of about eight to 10 pairs of shoes. He threw them into the trees at the corner of Foss and Lakeshore roads.

Baun started a popular tradition in the Lyndonville community that shows no signs of slowing down. I stopped by the row of four ash trees this evening on a way to a concert at the Yates Town Park.

The Shoe Tree is a whimsical attraction, with hundreds of shoes nailed to the trunks of the trees or dangling from branches high above.

The Shoe Tree is featured on Web sites and was included in a 2008 book called “New York Curiosities.”


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'Classic' band and Lyndonville Lions put on a show at Yates Town Park

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 24 July 2014

Russ Martino, a member of the Lyndonville Lions Club, leads the crowd in doing the motions to the song “YMCA” during a concert by Crash Cadillac. The band from Buffalo performed at the Yates Town Park along Lake Ontario at the end of Morrison Road. Martino was the town supervisor when Yates created the park about seven years ago. Current Town Supervisor John Belson, center, and Jeff Johnson join in the dance.

Don Vaccaro, guitarist and singer for Crash Cadillac, leads the band in singing "Sweet Caroline" during a concert this evening at Yates Town Park.

Wes Bradley, left, and other Lyndonville Lions were called up by the band and asked to lead the crowd in the song, “YMCA.”

About 200 people attended the concert at the park by the lake. The Lions Club and Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council both sponsored the event.


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Drinking plenty of water can stave off dehydration

By Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Public Health Educator for Orleans County Health Department Posted 24 July 2014

With fair season and this week’s Orleans County 4-H Fair underway it is important to remember to stay hydrated…drink water whether you are thirsty or not. Increased heat and activity outdoors brings certain risks with it, particularly dehydration and heat related illnesses.

Some people are more susceptible than others are to dehydration and heat related illnesses. They include infants, children, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses.
Dehydration is ‘the excessive loss of water from the body.’ The more physical activity that you engage in, the more water you are likely to lose.

Possible signs of dehydration:

• Dry mouth and fatigue.

• If you are mildly dehydrated, you might experience muscular pain or pain in the lower back region or even a headache.

• Dark yellowish urine is also a good indicator that dehydration is setting in.

• Severe dehydration can cause dizziness, confusion, accelerated heartbeat and eventually, kidney failure.

There are ways you can prevent dehydration from occurring. The most obvious way to prevent dehydration is by drinking a sufficient amount of water to replace the fluids you lose throughout the day.

The best way to figure your ideal daily water needs is to take your body weight and divide it in half. This is the number of ounces of fluid you should be consuming on a daily basis through beverages and foods. For example, a person who weighs 160 pounds should be drinking no less than eight 10-ounce glasses (80 ounces) of water each day. You should drink more than this during extreme heat and/or if you are engaging in physical activity. Talk with your healthcare provider if you tend to retain water and have puffy or swollen ankles, legs and hands.

Consider these suggestions for keeping yourself well hydrated:

• Foods with high water content can help you meet your fluid needs. Some examples include soups, stews, citrus fruits, grapes and melons.

• Low-fat and fat-free milk, 100 percent fruit juice and decaffeinated tea and coffee can also count toward your minimum eight glasses of fluid a day.

• Develop a habit of staying hydrated. Drink a glass of water when you wake up, one between and at each meal, and one at bedtime to make eight. Remember you need more during hot days or when engaging in physical activity.

• Keep bottled water in your car, backpack or desk.


When visiting the Orleans County 4-H fair this week, drink plenty of water and take breaks in the shade by visiting the great exhibits the county’s youth have worked so hard on this past year. Enjoy the fair!


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Dunkin’ is getting close to complete in Albion

Company is recruiting employees; no opening date set

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 24 July 2014

ALBION – The new Dunkin’ Donuts has signs on the building and the Main Street entrance, and company officials have been recruiting employees for the past month.


However, there isn’t a definite opening date set yet, a company official said this afternoon.


Dunkin’ will hire 25 employees for the 2,000-square-foot site at 153 South Main St. It also has a 230-square-foot freezer next to the building.

Dunkin’ had a warehouse taken down to make room for the new building. There will be 46 parking spaces and driveways on Main and Platt streets.

The company has recruiters at the Orleans Center for Workforce Development today at 458 West Ave.


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Hawley urges US attorney to root out corruption in Albany

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 24 July 2014
State Assemblyman Steve Hawley welcomes the U.S. Attorney’s Office to do a full investigation in Albany “to root out the corruption embedded in the Capitol.”

The assemblyman from Batavia made a statement today following Wednesday’s report in the New York Times that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office interfered with the Moreland Commission and prematurely ended the high-powered investigative team. Click here to see the NYT story, “Cuomo’s Office Hobbled Ethics Inquiries by Moreland Commission.”
“Today’s New York Times bombshell about the corruption of the Moreland Commission makes it clear that good government reforms are still desperately needed in Albany,” Hawley said. “These allegations are alarming, and I encourage the U.S. Attorney's Office to perform a full investigation to root out the corruption embedded in the Capitol. I have sponsored several bills that will help clean up Albany, including the Public Officers Accountability Act, which would strengthen penalties for corruption, bribery, and misuse of campaign funds, and strip the pensions of officials who are convicted on corruption charges. Passing this legislation is a great first step toward making Albany work for the people again.”


Rob Astorino is running with the Republican Party endorsement against Cuomo. Astorino said a special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate Cuomo’s involvement in the Moreland Commission.


“This is beyond outrageous,” Astorino told Fred Dicker on his Talk-1300 radio show. “Obviously, it’s criminal.”


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Today's Fair Schedule (July 24, 2014)

Photo by Tom Rivers

Jeff Ebbo from the Troll Diggers is the third man up on the grease pole last night. The Grease Pole returns tonight at 10 p.m.

Special Event: Orleans County 4-H Fair 2nd Annual Craft Sale located in the Buzz Hill Education Center Lot. Including professional appraisals from 4-7 pm at a special price of $5 per item (bring photos for your larger items).


Strolling Entertainment: Amazing Magic Joe, throughout the grounds, 5 to 9 p.m.

8 am: Senior Council Stand Opens

8 am to 3 pm: Youth Camp Day- Sponsored by the Orleans County 4-H - Fair Committee

9:30 am: Western Horse Show - Carlos Marcello Arena


10 am: $5 admission per car starts


10 am: All Buildings Open


10 am: Poultry Show - Wachob Pavilion


10 am: Wildlife I.D. Contest - Log Cabin


10:30 am: Little Britches Cattle Show (open to public) - Show Arena


12 pm: Leader’s Pie Stand Opens


12 pm to 1 pm: Dog Agility Demonstration with Della’s Agility Dream Dogs - and Guests - Show Arena

Photo by Sue Cook

During a motorcycle cruise-in on Wednesday, Dick Christopher rode in on a 2013 Harley-Davidson Tri Glide trike, which is a three-wheeled motorcycle.

1 pm: Story Time sponsored by Yates Community Library - Trolley Building


1 pm: AirPlay Jugglers - Stage


1:45 pm: The Barnyard Review: Entertainment for your whole family - Lawn South of Knights Building


2 pm to 4 pm: Family and Consumer Science Knowledge Bowl - Center Stage


3 pm: Llama/Alpaca Costume, Leaping Llama/Alpaca, Llama/Alpaca Limbo - Show Arena


3 pm: Little Britches Llama/Alpaca – Open to Public - Show Arena


3 to 10 pm: Midway of Utica $20 unlimited ride wristband - Midway


3 pm: Story Time sponsored by Yates Community Library - Trolley Building


4 - 8:30 pm: Master Gardener - Lawn of Education Center


4 pm to close: Orleans County 4-H Fair 2nd Annual Craft Sale - Education Center Parking Lot


4 pm: Chainsaw Chix - Log Cabin


4:30 pm: AirPlay Jugglers - Stage


4:30 pm : Chicken BBQ Sponsored by Orleans County Cornell - Cooperative Extension – No Presale - Curtis Pavilion


6 pm: AirPlay Jugglers - Stage


6 pm: Sheep Show (Costume class at end) - Knight’s Building


6 pm: Small Animal Grand Master Information Session - Wachob Pavilion


6 pm: Registration for Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull Ends - Fair Office


6 pm: Chainsaw Chix - Log Cabin

Photo by Sue Cook

Emily Fearby, left, observes judge Peter Snyder as he talks to Melissa Robinson about her goat. Emma Mathes, right, readjusts her goat's pose.

6:30 pm: The Barnyard Review: Entertainment for your whole family - Lawn South of Knights Building


6:30 pm: Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull - Pedal Tractor Course: Fair Office


7 pm: Spanish/English Story Time sponsored by Yates Community Library -Trolley Building


7 pm to 8:30 pm: Local Entertainment Variety Acts - Stage


8 pm: $1000 Karaoke Challenge Finals - Stage


8 pm: Chainsaw Chix - Log Cabin


8:30 pm: The Barnyard Review: Entertainment for your whole family - Lawn South of Knights Building


10 pm: Buildings Close


10 pm: Greased Pole Climbing Competition (teams must pre-register at fair office) - At Greased Pole

Photo by Tom Rivers

The Troll Diggers are all from Hamlin and include Nate Jenks, Sam Pak, Isaac Jenks, Jeff Ebbo, Andrew Jones and Jonah Pak.


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Nearly all girls team conquers grease pole

BB Queens advance to Saturday’s championship

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 24 July 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – Taylor Soule of the BB Queens is ready to descend the grease pole after Sam Remley reaches the top of the telephone pole slathered in grease.


The BB Queens were the fastest team on Wedneaday night, climbing the pole 43.72 seconds.

The BB Queens include, from left, in front: Gretta Smith, Taylor Soule and Halle Jurs. Back row: Jessica Grimes, Hannah Hapeman, Sam Remley, Brie Dixon, Brooke Bensley, Cady Messmer and Eboni Taylor.

Most of the members graduated from Albion in 2013. Brooke Bensley pushed to form the team. She has been watching the grease pole at the fair since she was a kid. During many sleepovers with her friends, she said they practiced cheerleading units and pyramids. She knew they could climb the pole.

Most of the men’s teams have taller participants and need to stack four people to get to the top. An all-ladies team would need to stack five people, Soule said. The team reached out to their Sam Remley, who is wiry with the upper body strength to get to the top.

The BB Queens drew loud cheers from the crowd of several hundred people after Remley made it to the top. Soule was covered in grease after the event.

A team from Hamlin, the Troll Diggers, works its way up the pole with Andrew Jones on top. The group watched friends compete last year and decided to try on Wednesday night. They did it in 46.23 seconds, just behind the BB Queens.

Andrew Jones of the Troll Diggers tries to find a grip to keep going up the grease pole.

A team from Medina, Mucked up, battled and climbed the pole in 2:05.99. Here Mucked Up members Andrew Cotter in white with Nick Schroeder in red at right try to get up the pole. Schroeder lost his grip but regrouped and made it to the top.

Lucas Evans of Mucked Up tries to steady himself so the next team member can climb up and stand on his shoulders. The grease pole continues each night at 10 p.m. with championships on Saturday.


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Watermelon-carving, motorcycles among highlights on busy day at Fair

Photos by Sue Cook Posted 23 July 2014

Jacques Gregoire shows off his four-eyed vampire Frankenstein to the others at his table. This was also the first year of the watermelon-carving contest. Barb Kurzowski created the contest hoping to attract artists.

Kate Hardner was the judge of the event. She was looking for originality, the level of difficulty and artistic creative presentation in her evaluation of the completed pieces.


“These are all very well done. I'm very impressed. I especially love the way some of them are carved partially into the rind creating other colors and good depth in the pieces,” said Hardner as she waited for the last contestants to finish.

The watermelon-carving contest had seven participants and a helper. Masterpieces in this picture include a penguin, a porcupine, a minion from “Despicable Me,” and a punch bowl.

Megan Bruning of Medina performed pottery demonstrations on Wednesday. She used the wheel to spin the clay and formed bowls with her hands. Here, she uses a metal rib to smooth the side of her creation. She has been making pottery for 14 years.

The Amazing Magic Joe wows the crowd by producing a signed ten-dollar bill from inside a fresh lemon. Joe’s illusions will continue taking place throughout the rest of the week at various parts of the fairgrounds.

Jim Barrett stands beside his 2008 Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide Custom during a motorcycle cruise-in.

Most of the motorcycles that came to the show were Harley-Davidsons. Throughout the cruise-in about a dozen bikes came in.

The senior showmanship class offered Natalie Mrzywka (left) and Janie Schutz the opportunity to show off their goats at the start of the event.

The Chainsaw Chix demonstration has returned for another year after demand for professional chainsaw artist Sara Winter brought her back for the fourth time. Winter has been carving for seven years. In this photo Winter carves an owl for over 50 onlookers.


“I don’t have an art background,” said Winter. “I saw someone do it at a fair and I’ve been trying ever since.”


At demonstrations, she carves does what she calls a quick carve, which is creating a piece for speed. She completes pieces in 45 minutes to an hour.

Sara Winter sells her completed pieces from next to the log cabin where she holds her demos on the fairgrounds. From near the front of her workspace, a fox watches the crowd.


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Orleans-Niagara press Cuomo to veto lake level plan

File photo by Tom Rivers
This photo was taken last October from a sailboat on Lake Ontario.

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 23 July 2014
County officials in Niagara and Orleans counties know an easy solution to blocking a controversial new plan for regulating Lake Ontario levels, a plan that could lead to greater fluctuations in the lake with more erosion in high waters and shallow marinas and ports in the other extreme.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo should step in and use his power to veto the plan, the Orleans County Legislature said today in an official resolution. The Niagara County Legislature is expected to pass a similar resolution.

Officials at both counties worry a new bi-national plan for regulating water levels will erode valuable lakeshore property and jeopardize the fishing and tourism industries along the lake.

“It’s not just a lakeshore issue, it’s an entire county issue,” Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey said today during a County Legislature meeting. A destructive lake could reduce sales tax revenues and property assessments, driving up taxes for inland property owners, he said.

Godfrey joined Lynne Johnson, an Orleans County legislator, about two weeks ago in Washington, D.C. They met with U.S. Department of State officials, Congressman Chris Collins and representatives from Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer. Collins has also called on Cuomo to kill the IJC plan because of the economic hardship it could have on the southshore.

Orleans and Niagara counties have formed the Niagara-Orleans Regional Alliance, which today called on Cuomo to “enact an all-inclusive and thorough analysis on the potential economic damages” of the lake plan on tourism, recreation, homeowners and businesses on the southshore, particularly in Orleans and Niagara which are projected to see the most damage from high and low waters.

“It’s a very radical plan,” Johnson said at today’s meeting. “It’s good for the ecosystem, for cattails and muskrats and such, but it’s very detrimental to lakeshore property owners and the fishing industry.”

The Legislature's resolution also asks Cuomo to assess civil work and financial assistance needed to mitigate the lake level plan, and to identify funding sources to help offset those impacts.

Legislature Chairman David Callard said the lake proposal warrants a stern response from the county, as well as efforts to send a message in person, even if it means travelling to the nation’s capital.

“We will go to Albany, we will go to Washington, D.C. and we will go to New York City,” Callard said. “We will go anywhere we need to represent our rights.”


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Hoag interviews 3 finalists for library director this evening

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 23 July 2014
ALBION – The board of trustees at Hoag Library in Albion will interview three finalists this evening for the library director position.

Any of the three could step in immediately and be an effective leader for the library, said Kevin Doherty, president of the board.

Doherty and the other board members will interview each of the finalists. A search committee narrowed an initial pool of 19 applicants to the three finalists.

“We want someone who is good at personnel and budget management, but who isn’t a bean counter,” Doherty said. “The director will need to also be an excellent media specialist and librarian.”


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Next Medina tour will follow interpretive signs

Photos by Tom Rivers
This interpretive panel highlights the historic downtown district in Medina. It is one of 11 panels that were installed recently in the downtown in a project spearheaded by the Orleans Renaissance Group.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 23 July 2014
MEDINA – The annual historical tours by the Medina Sandstone Society typically draw a good-size crowd interested in Medina history, whether its downtown buildings, Boxwood Cemetery or other locations.

This year’s tour will be on Aug. 9, coinciding with the inaugural Sweets in Summer event planned by the Medina Business Association and also two canal concerts.

The Sweets event will feature businesses serving up chocolate, ice cream and cookies from 1 to 5 p.m. A farmers’ market will also have honey and maple syrup.

The Sandstone Society will lead a tour beginning at 2 p.m. in front of City Hall. Orleans County Historian Bill Lattin and Medina Historian Todd Bensley will lead the tour, stopping at 11 panels that highlight Medina history. The tour should last until about 3:30 p.m.

A panel in front of City Hall tells about the history of Medina Fire Department.

Cindy Robinson, president of the Medina Business Association, has a panel in front of her business, The English Rose Tea Shoppe at 527 Main St., that panels discusses immigration and its role in Medina.

“People stop and read it all the time,” Robinson said.

She sees people looking the other 10 panels as well.

“When people come into town they’re very interested about the history,” Robinson said. “We don’t have people who can take you on a historical tour. This way they can wander around town and do their own tour.”

The Medina Business Association wants to develop map with the sign locations.


Following the historical tour, there will be two bands performing in the Canal Basin from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.


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