Albion doctor retires after more than 4 decades

Dr. Satya Sahukar has been a committed pediatrician

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 30 June 2015
ALBION – Dr. Satya Sahukar retired today, more than 44 years after he started as a pediatrician in the Albion community.


He was recognized at a reception at Oak Orchard Health's Albion site this afternoon at 301 West Ave. He is pictured next to Dr. Nancy Ciavarri, the chief medical officer for Oak Orchard, and some of Sahukar's family, friends and colleagues.

Sahukar worked at Arnold Gregory Memorial Hospital in Albion and then Lakeside Memorial Hospital in Brockport, before both of those small town hospitals closed. The past eight years he has worked at Oak Orchard Health.

“He has been committed to the community,” said Jim Cummings, the chief executive officer for Oak Orchard Health.

Cummings said physicians and professionals used to make long-term commitments to a community, but these days there is a lot of moving around.

“He is from a generation when doctors stayed,” Cummings said.

Dr. Sahukar addresses a crowd of well wishers during a retirement reception in his honor at Oak Orchard Health.

Sahukar was recruited to work in Albion by cardiologist John Fernandez, who is now retired. Sahukar grew to love Albion and the local residents. He and his wife, Mary Janet Sahukar, raised four children in Albion. Mrs. Sahukar is a nurse.

Sahukar joined the Albion Lions Club in 1975 and has remained an active member. He made himself available for families and children, although he tried to guard his Monday bridge nights.

“I really liked the community once I started knowing the people,” Sahukar told the group at his reception. “I just love the community.”


Dr. Nancy Ciavarri, the chief medical officer for Oak Orchard, has worked with Sahukar for several years.

“He has been a mentor to many of the younger physicians,” she said at his reception today.

Dr. Nancy Ciavarri thanks Dr. Satya Sahukar for his mentorship and service to the community.

Sahukar kept a “calm demeanor” in his job and surrounded himself with very good nurses and staff, Ciavarri said.

She thanked his family “for allowing him to care for the community.”

Sahukar said he plans to stay in the Albion community and play more bridge and golf.


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Planning Board approves more grain storage at ethanol plant

Photo by Tom Rivers
Western New York Energy wants to add 800,000 bushels of grain capacity to the plant at the corner of Route 31A and Bates Road.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 June 2015
ALBION – The Orleans County Planning Board backed a plan to boost the grain storage capacity for the ethanol plant in Medina by 800,000 bushels.

Western New York Energy submitted a site plan for a 105-foot wide by 142-foot high steel silo. A conveyor system at the top of the bin would increase the height to 155 feet.

The added space would increase grain reserves from 17 days to 30 days, providing greater capacity when deliveries could be impeded by inclement winter weather, county planners said.


The project will cost about $2 million, Michael Sawyer, WNY Energy chief executive officer, told the Orleans Hub during a previous interview.

Construction for the project is expected to run from July through September. It will be on existing developed land that is south of the current corn silos that have 1 million bushels of storage space with two 500,000-bushel grain bins.

In other action last Thursday, the Planning Board:

• Approved the site plan for James Lustumbo of Medina to build a 49-unit storage facility on West Avenue, bordering Maple Ridge Road.

Lustumbo wants to build the units in two phases, with 25 in phase one and 24 in phase two. The units would be 150 and 200 square feet. He plans to call the business, Lakewood Storage Facility.

• Recommended the Town of Albion approve the site plan, permit request and setback variances for Michael Donnelly to operate a motor vehicle repair shop at his home at 3406 Eagle Harbor Rd.

Donnelly plans to use an attached garage to operate the business, including snowmobile, ATV and small engine repair.

Donnelly needs a 0.5 foot variance from the 15-foot minimum residential setback, a 14.2 foot variance from the minimum 50-foot canal right of way setback and a 19-foot variance from the 20-foot minimum for a driveway setback.

Planners said there is no practical remedy for reducing the variances short of abandoning the project.


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A journey to highlight ability

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 30 June 2015
ALBION – John Robinson is making his third ride along the Erie Canal, going 363 miles from Buffalo to Albany. He is pictured at about 11:15 this morning with his wife Andrea. They are close to the Main Street lift bridge in Albion.


This time the journey has been harder. The rain has softened the towpath, making it mushy and requiring more push from Robinson to move his adaptive use bicycle.

Robinson is pictured on East Bank Street, headed to the former Grammar School on East Academy Street.

Owen Robinson, 12, joins his parents Andrea and John on the bike ride, which took a brief detour off the canal today in Albion so the family could meet residents served by The Arc of Orleans County..

Robinson, 46, stopped in Albion late this morning. He visited developmentally disabled residents served by The Arc of Orleans County. Robinson, who was born without arms and legs, was given a big reception and he happily greeted residents and posed for pictures.

He has made promoting abilities and skills of the disabled to businesses and government officials. He wants people with disabilities to have a shot at employment. When they can’t work, he wants there to be services in place so they can remain part of the community.

John Robinson is praised by Donna Saskowski, executive director for The Arc of Orleans County. She also leads the state ARC chapter in Genesee County.

“We’re doing everything we can to advocate for people with disabilities at the local, county, state and national levels,” Robinson said during a reception at the former Grammar School in Albion, where The Arc provides services. “We’re trying to make a better life and a better economic opportunity for people with disabilities.”

Robinson in October was honored at the White House as a "Champion of Change" for his efforts to conenct disabled residents to jobs.


Robinson lives in the Albany suburb of Glenmont. He is managing partner and CEO of Our Ability, a company that supports people with disabilities.

Robinson meets with local developmentally disabled residents.


He recalled when he first stopped in Albion two years and was struggling on the bike ride. He didn't think he would be able to get to Albany, about 300 miles away.


But a big crowd of residents, including local officials and many disabled residents, gave him a huge welcome, including a quilt with blocks showing their support for his trip.


Robinson keeps that in his office. He is also a motivational speaker and he shares how the enocuragement from the Albion group lifted his spirits during a trying time.


"You guys inspired me to keep going," Robinson told a group of about 30 people today. "I mention Albion, NY, and Orleans County every where I go."

Andrea Robinson rides behind her husband John and their son Owen as they go down East Bank Street today in Albion.


The Robinsons started today's trip in Medina and plan to go to Spencerport at the end of the day. It will take about two weeks to travel the canal.


They are traveling with Robinson's business partner Doug Hamlin, a para-palegic who is using an adaptive use bicycle. Hamlin was slowed today because of the rain and soft towpath.


Robinson said he hopes their example will inspire the community to look past the disabilities and see the abilities in everyone.


He said he was inspired after the visit at The Arc today.


"Everybody in here has a will to live and has a family that wants the best for them," he said. "We're trying to send the message that we are people with ability."


For more on Robinson and Our Ability, click here.


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Holley moves to acquire Diaz homes

Photo by Kristina Gabalski
This house at 10 Jackson St. in Holley is currently owned by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is expected to soon be transferred to the Village of Holley Development Corporation and then sold.


By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 30 June 2015
HOLLEY – The eight “Diaz homes” that have sat empty for more than a decade will soon be on the market.


Members of the Board of Directors of the Village of Holley Development Corporation on Monday evening authorized Board President Daniel Schiavone to work with the EPA to make two minor changes to an agreement with the federal agency before signing the contract.


Once the village and the EPA also sign the agreement, ownership of the homes will be transferred to the Development Corporation and the Board of Directors will decide how to move forward to sell the properties.


Under terms of the agreement, the EPA will receive 50 percent from sale of each of the properties – after closing costs and not counting legal fees.


“I think this is the best deal we are going to get,” Schiavone told board members. “I’m not sure if it’s in our best interest to keep negotiating. There is a buyer for all these homes. Anything will sell if the price is right and it’s our mission to get these homes inhabited and back on the tax rolls.”


He explained the EPA wants to show they didn’t just hand over the properties after spending millions of dollars in cleanup costs.


Schiavone will now work with the EPA to settle two items in the agreement before it is signed by the three parties involved: Clarification regarding how lead abatement is defined and making sure language is correct referring to the Village and the VHDC.


The EPA wants lead abatement done in the homes before they go back on the market, but did not make clear if such abatement could be accomplished per New York State guidelines.


The Development Corporation does not have funds to pay for abatement and Schiavone explained the EPA has suggested the cost could be built into the sale contract of the homes. Additionally, acronyms for the village and the Development Corporation were swapped in places in the agreement and need to be corrected, he said.


The homes are scattered in the area along and off South Main Street (Rt. 237) in the southwest portion of the village, in the neighborhood where the Diaz plant was located.


The properties include: 26 South Main, 27 South Main, 37 South Main, 38 Geddes, 6 Jackson, 10 Jackson, 11 Jackson and 14 Jackson.


The EPA purchased the homes following a chemical leak at the Diaz plant in January 2002.


The homes have been cleared by the EPA of contamination, with the exception of lead, which exceeds EPA levels, Schiavone explained.


“All have been appraised by the EPA,” he noted. “It’s not as disastrous as you might think.”


Schiavone said it is possible the Development Corporation could stand to gain as much as $200,000 to $250,000 from the sale of the homes. Those proceeds will “... allow this organization to move on to other projects in the community,” he said.


The Board of Directors additionally appointed Jeff Martin as group’s real estate attorney during the Monday meeting. Schiavone said Martin has agreed to no upfront costs for his services. He will be paid after the Development Corporation receives funds from the sale of the homes.


The Holley Village Board might move on signing the agreement at its next regular meeting, July 14. The Development Corporation meets again July 27 at 7 p.m.


Holley Village Trustee Skip Carpenter attended Monday's meeting and said the EPA this summer is expected to install a new waterline on South Main Street to aid in cleanup efforts at the Diaz site. The water line project will also involve installation of new sidewalks.


Carpenter explained the EPA eventually will bring in additional power to facilitate future cleanup at the site.

“The cleanup is sizable,” he noted, but said there is no word on when that work will take place or how long it will last.


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Lyndonville woman pleads guilty to grand larceny and could be sentenced to state prison

Others arraigned in County Court on drug charges
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 June 2015
ALBION – A Lyndonville woman admitted in Orleans County Court on Monday that she stole about $1,500 of items – rare coins, medicine, a computer, jewelry and a bayonet.

Renee Brown, 35, of Eagle Street was arraigned on fourth-degree grand larceny on Monday. She pleaded guilty to the charge and could face a maximum of four years in state prison.

She also faces charges of criminal mischief in the second degree for slashing tires and grand larceny for using someone else’s credit card.

Brown is in jail on $10,000 bail and will be sentenced on Sept. 14.


In other cases in County Court:

• Judge James Punch set bail at $200,000 for a Medina man charged with grand larceny and petty larceny.

Joseph Allegue, Jr., 50, was charged on June 24 with the crimes after he allegedly stole someone’s wallet at the Aldi store on Maple Ridge Road in Medina.

Allegue has five prior felonies, five prior misdemeanors and five times he failed to appear at court dates, Punch said in setting the bail.

• Two Rochester men were arraigned for criminal sale and possession of drugs in Orleans County in early 2014.

Tony Thompson, 48, of Dale Street in Rochester has been charged with criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree.

Kenneth Thompson, 49, of Dale Street in Rochester has been charged with four counts each of criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree.


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Medina grads will be going places

Photos courtesy of Chris Busch
These Medina graduates pose for a photo at commencement on Friday. The trio includes, from left: Jacob Roeseler, Brian Bogan and Samuel Busch.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 June 2015
MEDINA – The 115 members of the Class of 2015 will begin the next stage of their lives with accomplishment.


Jeff Evoy, the district superintendent, noted that 63 percent of the class earned Regents diplomas with 29 percent at Advanced Regents (Honors).

“In the fall, our graduates will leave us with a strong foundation built here in Medina,” Evoy said at commencement on Friday.

Nearly two thirds or 65 percent of the class will attend either two- or four-year colleges, about 10 percent will be off to trade schools, 5 percent have joined the military and 20 percent will search for employment opportunities, Evoy said.

The superintendent highlighted five students who joined the military: Victoria Carter, Air Force Reserves; John Derting, Air Force; Nick Erway, Army; Brett Pecoraro, Marine Corps; and Jacob Covert, Marine Corps.

The Class of 2015 includes 115 graduates, who received their diplomas on Friday at the Medina High School Auditorium.

Students will be pursuing degrees ranging from neurosciences to cyber security. Evoy said Medina’s Class of 2015 is heading to Canisius College, Clarkson University, Pace University, Wells College, Houghton College, RIT, Nazareth College, Hamilton College, Kent State University, George Mason University, the University of Buffalo, Buffalo State College, Elmira College, Case Western Reserve, SUNY Oneonta, Rensealear Poly Technical Institute, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Oswego, Niagara University, Ithaca College, University of North Carolina, Hilbert College, Roberts Wesleyan College. A number of students will attend the following community colleges: Alfred State, NCCC, GCC, ECC, Sandy Hills CC, Canton and Bryant and Stratton.

In his message to graduates, Evoy focused on the importance of persistence and hard work.

“If you get knocked down you must rise again and come back twice as hard,” Evoy told graduates.

Medina juniors carry the 54-foot-long Daisy Chain into the auditorium for commencement. The Daisy Chain is a lot of hard work. It takes about two days to build it. It's a Medina tradition going back about a century.

He shared the example of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, whose life was featured in the movie, Rudy. Ruettiger dreamed of playing football for Notre Dame. After high school, he worked for his father in a steel mill. Rudy was undersized and suffered from dyslexia. He decided to attend Holy Cross by Notre Dame to boost his grades. It took four tries before Notre Dame accepted him as a student.

With the help of dedicated teachers and tutors and his commitment to his school work, Rudy got the job done, Evoy said. Rudy played on Notre Dame's scout team and appeared in a game, sacking the quarterback to end the contest.

“Think about how his life may have turned out had he not believed in himself," Evoy said. "I can guarantee that you will have many struggles in life, but it is how you react to adversity that will determine success or failure. Work through these struggles and learn from them. The difference between success and failure, more often than not, is a little extra effort. When you face adversity battle it with tenacity and always believe in yourself.”

Earlier this month at the Top 10 dinner for the graduates from four Orleans County school districts, Aaron Knights addressed the group. Knights grew up on a farm in Medina. Today he is an attorney in Washington, D.C.


Knights discussed the importance of hard work with the Top 10 graduates.

“He told the audience that he knew coming from a farming family that he would never be outworked,” Evoy said. “He applied this hard work ethic to his chosen profession, law.”

Medina graduates are joining thousands in the region and millions around the country in accepting diplomas and starting a new phase of their lives.

“Nothing will be given to you and your work ethic may be the one thing that separates you from the crowd,” Evoy said. “Simply put, there is no substitute for hard work.”


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Cyclist born without arms and legs will ride canal in Orleans on Tuesday

Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 29 June 2015
John Robinson, left, and his friend Doug Hamlin, right, ride adaptive use bicycles along West Bank Street in Albion on July 1, 2014. The duo and their supporters rode the Erie Canal and stopped in Albion to visit The Arc of Orleans County. They will be back Tuesday morning at 11 for a program at the former Grammar School on East Academy Street.

The Arc provides services at the former school for senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Robinson will leave Medina in the morning and head to Albion. Robinson was born without full arms and legs. He is riding an adaptive bicycle from Tonawanda to Albany.


This is the third year Robinson is making the trip along the 363-mile-long Erie Canal.

Robinson has made the trek to show people that disabled residents can achieve big dreams, too.


Robinson also brings a message seeking job opportunities for disabled residents. Whether in sheltered workshops or other jobs in the community, Robinson said people with developmental disabilities have skills that can be used in the workplace.


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6 are sentenced for drug and other crimes in County Court

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 June 2015
ALBION – Six people were sentenced in Orleans County Court today, with sentences ranging from probation to five years in state prison.

Steven Johnson, 35, of Medina received the five-year sentence to state prison. Johnson is a second felony offender. He pleaded guilty in April to attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree.

He was arrested after allegedly selling drugs in June and July last year.

Judge James Punch gave Johnson the maximum sentence.

“This is a very long and serious criminal history,” Punch said.

Johnson was living at 301 Park Ave. with Tamara Butler, 37. She also was arrested on numerous drug charges. Butler has a prior felony of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. She was sentenced today to two years in state prison.

She pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree in April.

“I take great responsibility for my actions and I know what I did was wrong,” Butler said in court today.

In other cases:

• A former Albion woman was sentenced to a year in county jail after she admitted she illegally sold prescription drugs last April.


Ivy E. Schell, 19, was living in Buffalo when she was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. She pleaded guilty today to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, and told the court she sold Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen in Albion last April.

She could have faced 2 ½ in state prison. Schell’s attorney, Paul Vacca, asked that the judge sentence to Schell to youthful offender or probation.

Punch said Schell has been given both of those opportunities before without success.

• A Rochester man was sentenced to two years in state prison after he previously admitted he sold cocaine from a vehicle on McKinstry Street in Albion on Oct. 6, 2013.


Timothy J. Turner, 33, of Mount Read Boulevard in March pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree.

He is a second felony offender. Turner apologized in court for the crime in Albion.

• An Albion man was sentenced to a year in county jail after being arrested with two other people for breaking into a house with four children on East State Street on May 19, 2014.

Dexter Turner, 23, of Caroline Street in Albion has a job and has become a good citizen with little chance of recidivism, his attorney Joshua Ramos said.

He asked that Turner not spend any more time in jail. He already was in jail about two months soon after being arrested. Ramos asked that Turner be sentenced to probation so he could keep his job.

Turner also apologized for the crime.

Judge Punch said probation “was not appropriate” for the crime. Besides the year in jail, the judge issued an order of protection for the victims in the crime.


• Katherine Taylor, 24, of Main Street in Waterport was sentenced to five years on probation for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree.

In a previous court appearance, Taylor admitted she sold cocaine. She has no prior felonies.


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Schumer says computer glitch could leave farms without harvest workers

File photo by Tom Rivers
This photo shows apples in an orchard last September at the corner of East State Street and Butts Road in Albion. A computer glitch has created a backlog stalled applications for temporary foreign workers to work at fruit and vegetable farms.


Press Release, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer Posted 29 June 2015
HULBERTON – Today, at Anthony Piedimonte Farms, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, in light of the June 9 crash of the federal system that processes temporary farm-working visas, joined local farmers and urged the U.S. Department of State to fix the computer glitch.


That glitch has created a backlog of stalled applications and prevented farms across the state from accessing legal temporary workers to harvest their crops.

Schumer pressed the State Department to quickly fix this problem, which has resulted in a huge backlog of visa requests and left New York State farms, including 18 growers in Orleans County who are counting on these workers this year.

Those farms haven’t been able to hire the legal temporary farm workers needed to harvest their zucchini, yellow squash, and cucumbers. What’s more, Schumer said, is apple farms could be hit next if the glitch backlog isn’t fixed and cleared in time for this summer and fall harvest season.

Schumer said this could leave farms stranded while crops are sitting, rotting in the fields because they did not have enough legal temporary workers to pick the crops in time. Schumer said the already-struggling and understaffed farms across Upstate New York could have a difficult time meeting the demands of supermarkets if less crops are picked this season due to the backlog, which could also result in a potential price jump for consumers purchasing vegetables and other crops and potentially less profit for farms.

“Farmers across Upstate New York consider the H-2A visa program a lifeline for getting the temporary, legal workers they need to help pick crops during the harvest months,” Schumer said. “Without this program, they will be stranded and unable to meet the high demand for their crops, and potential profits could wither on the vine.”

Schumer explained that on June 9, the State Department hardware system that performs national security checks began failing and, three weeks later, the problem was only just resolved. This computer glitch led to a failure in the central State Department database that processes background checks for visa applications, including the H-2A visa.

Schumer said these types of visas are typically given to temporary agricultural workers who are allowed to work and live in the United States for the duration of their employment. This program is what allows farms to access the legal temporary seasonal workers needed to harvest their seasonal crops.

This glitch prevented the State Department system from receiving the biometric information necessary, such as fingerprints, to complete background checks on these H-2A visa applicants. As a result, Schumer said, the backup has farmers across NY State worried the backlog will not be cleared in time for them to hire the workers they need to prevent crops, and therefore profits, from rotting on the vine.

“And while the State Department has fixed the glitch, the fact is, every day, these H-2A visas were building up in the pipeline and creating an even bigger backlog,” Schumer said. “So State can't rest easy even now – we need all hands on deck to beat back the backlog so our farms can get the workers they need and consumers will not have to suffer from increased prices for eating healthy.”


While the problem is being addressed, Schumer asked Secretary Kerry to expedite H-2A visa applications, add additional shifts in consulate offices to handle more employees and increase the number of interview times for applicants until the backlog is cleared.

Schumer also asked the State Department to conduct a review to see what preventative measures can be implemented to avoid a future crash. Schumer said this technical problem has halted the processing of H-2A visas, putting tremendous strains on farms that rely on temporary workers to pick crops each season.

NY State Department of Labor data shows that 182 farms in New York are planning to apply for H-2A workers this year. Of these farms, 48 are in the Rochester- Finger Lakes region. Schumer explained there are 18 growers in Orleans County alone.

Schumer explained that these farmers have an extremely limited and specific window for when they need to harvest crops, meaning it is imperative that they have workers on site when that time comes. Any delays caused by this glitch, even just a few days, could have a ripple effect throughout the entire summer and fall farming seasons – such as zucchini, yellow squash, and cucumbers growers this summer, and apple growers this fall.

“When we can't get workers on time to pick our vegetables and fruit, we risk significant financial losses to our family farms as well as less supply and risking prices for shoppers,” said Maureen Torrey, co-owner of Torrey Farms, which is based in Elba. “We appreciate Senator Schumer's support to fix the computer glitch and overcome the delays that are now preventing farms like us from getting our legal temporary H-2A workers on the farm in time to pick our crops.”


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Lyndonville graduates celebrated at commencement

Photos courtesy of Lyndonville Central School
Lyndonville’s Class of 2015 Valedictorian Rebekah Hoffee, left, is pictured with Middle-High School Principal Dr. Aaron Slack and Salutatorian Leann Balcerzak.


Press Release, Lyndonville Central School Posted 29 June 2015
LYNDONVILLE – The Stroyan Auditorium was full of excitement, accomplishments and pride on Friday when 53 members of Lyndonville's Class of 2015 graduated.


The commencement ceremony featured performances by Lyndonville musicians, speeches by students and Lyndonville administrators, scholarship announcements and the presentation of diplomas to Lyndonville’s newest alumni.


Valedictorian Rebekah Hoffee and Salutatorian Leann Balcerzak each took a turn at the podium, addressing their classmates and those in attendance. Balcerzak focused her speech on embracing the future while honoring the past. Hoffee’s speech had a theme of perseverance and included references to “The Little Engine that Could.”

Members of the senior class perform “I Lived” by One Republic.

Superintendent Jason Smith spoke to the students about the willingness to succeed despite adverse conditions. Smith referenced “The Blue Spruce” by former Gov. Mario Cuomo and gave each of the graduating seniors a small faux blue spruce tree with orange roots, to symbolize the students’ beginnings in Lyndonville.


Musical performances by seniors included “The National Anthem,” “I Lived” by One Republic and the Lyndonville Alma Mater.


In the end, all senior had their time in the spotlight as their names were read by teacher and coach Mark Hughes and they walked across the stage.

Kindergarten teacher Robin Boyle is pictured with her daughter, Madison Boyle, after graduation.


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Church will again put on fireworks show for Albion on July 5

File photo by Tom Rivers Posted 29 June 2015
ALBION – A church looking to start a congregation in Albion is paying for a fireworks show on July 5 at Bullard Park for the fourth straight year.


Members of the Tonawanda Indian Baptist Church in Basom and its sister church, Northpoint Community Church in Corfu, will also have games, food and music available for the community beginning at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The top photo shows Albion firefighter Carmen Quatro watching the fireworks last year while standing on top of a fire truck at Bullard Park.

Tonawanda and Northpoint members are running a park ministry in the village this summer and the churches are working on securing a spot for church services in Albion, said Robert Dean, church pastor.

“We’re just trying to be a blessing to the community,” he said today. “We’re not looking for any accolades.”

Dean said he welcomes volunteers and donations to help put on the July 5 event. For more information, call Dean at 716-812-8330.


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Legislators celebrate June as Dairy Month

Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 29 June 2015
ALBION – Orleans County Legislator John DeFilipps reads a proclamation last week declaring June as Dairy Month. He presented the proclamation to Sydney Seefeldt, the 2015-16 Niagara-Orleans dairy princess.


Seefeldt will serve as an ambassador for the dairy industry, touting the nutritional benefits of milk at community events throughout the coming year.


New York is the third-leading dairy state in the country. New York farmers sell $5.4 billion worth of farm products a year, and milk accounts for $2.4 billion of that total, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.


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County legislators make trip to Albany to press Orleans issues

Photo by Tom Rivers

State officials urged Orleans County canal communities to seek downtown development grants. This photo shows the Main Street clock in Albion, which is part of a downtown district on the National Register of Historic Places.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 June 2015
ALBION – A group of Orleans County legislators travelled to Albany to meet with state officials, pressing high-speed Internet, infrastructure money, downtown development and other issues for the county.

“Everyone we met with was very accommodating to us and to hearing about Orleans County and out initiatives,” said Legislature Chairman David Callard. “We are confident that through this trip we have laid the groundwork to be successful in upcoming funding rounds – especially the Upstate Revitalization Intiative and the New NY Broadband Program. We will continue to press our case to ensure that Orleans County gets its fair share.”

Callard travelled to Albany with legislators Lynne Johnson, Ken DeRoller and John DeFilipps. They met on June 10 with local state legislators – Sen. Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda), Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) and Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (R-Clarence) – as well as representatives from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, the Department of State and the Canal Corp.

Callard said the state government officials had advice for the county in seeking state funds. The county would be a prime candidate for state grants for the canal villages and historic downtown business districts in Albion, Holley and Medina, Callard said.
The state urged the Orleans communities to pursue Main Street development grants, Callard said.

Holley and Albion both have received those grants in recent years, and Callard said more of that funding would help the canal communities. He said the county could take the lead in working with the villages for those grants.

The state also recommended the county’s lakeshore towns of Yates, Carlton and Kendall update a lakefront development study from about 20 years ago. A fresh study could help those communities, and the county access state funds.

The county sought about $160,000 in state funds for projects at the Orleans County Marine Park in Carlton. Orleans was approved for half of that amount last year. Callard said the outdated development plan was a one factor in why the county missed out on the full amount.

The county is already working on applications for broadband Internet coverage throughout Orleans, including rural pockets without the service. Orleans also is pursuing funds for its emergency radio system to make it interoperable with neighboring counties and to boost service in schools and larger buildings.

Callard said the trip to Albany is part of the Legislature’s stepped-up efforts for state funding for projects in the county.

“Given that a vast majority of key decision makers on state initiatives critical to Orleans County are based in Albany, it’s imperative that we get to the State Capitol to meet face-to-face on a regular basis,” Callard said. “By taking the time to travel to Albany to press our case directly with state officials, they can gauge both our sense of urgency and our great desire to gain state resources and funding for our top priorities.”

The county has also retained a lobbyist for $60,000 for a year to help Orleans County have better success with state grants. The firm, Park Strategies of Albany, helped arrange the meeting on June 10 with the various state officials.


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