Missing swimmer rescued after 3 ½ hour search

Press Release, Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess Posted 1 August 2015 11:51 p.m.
KENDALL – A 3½ hour search for a missing swimmer on Lake Ontarioonon Saturday afternoon and evening had a happy ending when the individual was located and rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The incident began shortly before 5:30 p.m. James A. Cox, 62, of Holley and his brother William E. Cox, 51, of Albion had left from Point Breeze and taken their boat out on the lake for a pleasure trip.


They were about 3 miles out from the Town of Kendall shoreline when the younger Cox decided to take a swim. They shut down the boat’s engine and William Cox entered the water. Eventually he and the vessel began to drift apart.


The elder brother attempted to start the engine at that time, but was unsuccessful. The boat and the younger Cox continued drifting apart until the brothers were no longer in sight of one another.


James Cox called Orleans County 9-1-1 and the Sheriff’s Marine Unit was dispatched. Deputies E.N. Fuller and J.R. Heinlein responded to the area and, utilizing GPS coordinates supplied by Cox’s cell phone, they eventually located the disabled vessel.


James Cox was taken on-board the Sheriff’s boat and the search for his brother continued. That search also included the U.S. Coast Guard, the New York State Police Aviation Unit, and the Carlton F.D. Marine Unit. Just before 9 p.m., the Coast Guard notified Orleans County 9-1-1 that they had rescued William Cox and were transporting him to Point Breeze to meet with EMS personnel.

Mr. Cox walked off the Coast Guard vessel under his own power. He was transported as a precaution to Strong West Emergency in Brockport by Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance. Cox’s boat was towed back to Point Breeze by the Sheriff’s Marine Unit.


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Big flea market is back at Gaines church

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 1 August 2015
GAINES – Christy Valsente of Holley holds one of the stained glass mosaic art pieces she has for sale. Valsente is one of 33 vendors with merchandise for sale at the Gaines Carlton Community Church on Ridge Road.


The church took a break last year from its “Flea Market Extravaganza,” but the event returned today and is open until 4 p.m.


“We like to have the community come in so we can share a day with them in a nice park-like setting,” said Peggy Bropst, one of the coordinators of the event.

James Nicholson of Medina is pictured with some of the wooden artwork he creates in a style known as intarsia. Nicholson brought alone 45 pieces for the show, and sold 2/3 of them by noon.

Nicholson cuts each piece and fits them together, using different types of wood and colors.

Hope Stirk, left, is selling quilts and Martha Batt is selling baby hats.

Carolyn Ricker, owner of Bindings Bookstore in Albion, has books for sale including the new one, Go Set A Watchman, by Harper Lee.


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More snapshots from Friday at the Fair

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 1 August 2015
KNOWLESVILLE – Friday at the fair once again included a fireworks show by Young Explosives.

These photos were taken near the livestock barns.

The fireworks went off at about 10 p.m. and helped keep a big crowd at the fairgrounds.

The Who Dats put on an entertaining show at the main stage. Ed Hilfiker, right, plays the guitar and Lonnie Froman is the leader singer. John Borello, center, is also a guitarist.

Ed Hilfiker is silhouetted on the main stage during the Who Dats concert.

Aaron Robinson plays the drums for the Who Dats. Another band member includes Marty Hobbs on bass.

A 1947 Cadillac is among about 100 classic cars in a cruise in on Friday evening at the fair.

The Troll Diggers Practice Squad race to the grease pole and begin their climb. The team made it to the top in 27 seconds. They had already qualified for today's championships.

Andrew Jones touches the top of the grease pole while standing on Isaiah Jenks' shoulders. These photos were taken from a lift.


The competition draws several hundred people, perhaps more, as a finale to the fair each night.

Craig Calliste of Lyndonville makes his way up the grease pole for the Udder Suckers, a team of mostly former 4-H'ers who showed dairy animals.

Craig Calliste and the Udder Suckers made it to the top in 1:12. That earned the team a spot in tonight's championships. Calliste is climbing over Noah Preston, who stands on Theo Irwin. Jonathan Trembley is the base for the team.


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Today’s Fair Schedule (Aug. 1, 2015)

Photos by Tom Rivers

John Borello, left, and Ed Hilfiker, guitarists with The Who Dats, perform on Friday at the Orleans County 4-H Fair.


Special Event: Kids Love Trucks: Orleans Emergency, Fire Department, Law Enforcement, and Ambulance Services from across the county.

Daily Feature: Orleans County Flower Show, sponsored by Orleans County Master Gardeners. Display located in the Lartz Exhibit Building, daily presentations at 6 p.m.


Daily Feature Meet Michael Keene, author of five books on hidden history in New York, in the Lartz Building, 3-9 p.m.

8 a.m. Senior Council Stand Opens

9 a.m. Horse Games Day (Gymkhana) - Carlos Marcello Arena

10 a.m. All Buildings Open

1 to 4 p.m. Kids Love Trucks: ORLEANS EMERGENCY, Fire Dept., Law Enforcement, and Ambulance Services from across the county. Education Center Parking Lot

This 1965 Volkswagon was part on the Cruise-In Car Show Friday at the fair.

11:10 a.m. “Chopped” 4-H Youth Cooking Contest Starts - Orleanshub.com Stage


12 p.m. Small-Animal Grand Master Showman Competition - Wachob Pavilion

12 p.m. Leaders’ Pie Stand Opens - Davis Building

12:10 p.m. “Chopped” 4-H Youth Contest Judging - Orleanshub.com Stage

1 p.m. Registration Ends for Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull - Fair Office

1 to 3 p.m. P.Raising Kids Children’s Activity Center with face painting, crafts and art projects - Trolley Building

1:30 p.m. Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull. Pedal Tractor Course - Fair Office

4 p.m. Awards Ceremony and Crowning of the Fair Royalty - Curtis Pavilion

The "Blue Moon" was out Friday night at the fair.

4 p.m. Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull. Pedal Tractor Course - Fair Office

4 p.m. Chainsaw Chix sponsored by HealthE Links - Log Cabin

4:30 p.m. Pork Chop Review- Performing pigs and family fun. Sponsored by Tompkins Bank of Castile - Lawn South of the Knights Building

5 p.m. Steak Dinner: Sponsored by Renovation Lodge #97 Grand Lodge F&AM of NY Cost $12 - Curtis Pavilion

5 p.m. Latin-American dances by Grupo Cultural Latinos En Rochester - Orleanshub.com Stage

5:30 p.m. The Magic of Lee Germain and Judi - West end of Lartz Building


6 p.m. Set up for Band - Orleanshub.com Stage

6 p.m. Chainsaw Chix sponsored by HealthE Links - Log Cabin

6 to 8 p.m. P.Raising Kids Children’s Activity Center with face painting, crafts and art projects - Trolley Building

6:30 p.m. Market Auction Preview and Reception sponsored by Apex Clean Energy - Show Arena

Friday included fireworks at the fair.

6:30 p.m. Pork Chop Review- Performing pigs and family fun. Sponsored by Tompkins Bank of Castile - Lawn South of the Knights Building

7 p.m. “Mr Mustard” Beatles Tribute Band - Orleanshub.com Stage

7 p.m. Orleans County 4-H Market Auction sponsored by Apex Clean Energy - Show Arena


7:30 p.m. The Magic of Lee Germain and Judi - West end of Lartz Building

8 p.m. Chainsaw Chix sponsored by HealthE Links - Log Cabin

8:30 p.m. Pork Chop Review- Performing pigs and family fun. Sponsored by Tompkins Bank of Castile - Lawn South of the Knights Building

9 p.m. The Magic of Lee Germain and Judi - West end of Lartz Building

9 p.m. 4-H Dairy Cow Bingo - Cattle Building

Barry Flansburg serves as the emcee for the grease pole competition.

10 p.m. Buildings Close

10 p.m. Greased Pole Climbing Contest, Final Qualifying Round (Teams Must Pre-register at Fair Office) At Greased Pole

10:30 p.m. Greased Pole Championship. At Greased Pole


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Sisters declared top master showmen at fair

Natalie Mrzywka, 16, of Holley wins the title

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 1 August 2015

Nicole Mrzywka, left, and her sister Natalie hold their trophies after the Grand Master Showmen Competition at the Orleans County 4-H Fair on Friday. Nicole was the reserve champion and Natalie won the event. Their mother Annette (Lear) Mrzywka won the title in the early 1990s.


The event includes the top showman in nine different animal breeds and has them compete for the grand master showman, showing nine different types of animals. It is a grueling three-hour event.

Natalie Mrzywka, 16, of Holley leads a dairy cow in the show ring on Friday. She qualified for the competition after winning the showmanship award for meat goats.


Natalie shows sheep, goats, horses and dogs. That experience helped her show the range of animals in Friday's competition.


"It's a lot of hard work," she said.


Natalie said showing the beef cattle are the most difficult because they are often unruly.


Her sister gave her a big hug after Natalie was declared the winner of one of the fair's most prestigious titles. Natalie said the sisters push each other to learn about animals and excel in the show ring.

Nicole Mrzywka, 14, keeps a dairy animal under control during the Grand Master Showman Competition. Nicole qualified as the top showman for dairy goats.

Emily Harling, 11, of Barre tries to get a sheep set up during the Grand Master Showmen Competition. Emily qualified as the top showman for horse (western). Jayne Bannister is behind Emily and judge Tammi Kron listens to an answer about the breed from Janie Schutz. Both Jayne and Janie are past winners of the Grand Master Showmen.

Janie Schutz, left, of Waterport and Elizabeth Bentley of Albion show sheep in the competition.


Schutz qualified as the beef cattle showman and Elizabeth represented the llamas.


Elizabeth, 17, has shown llamas outside of 4-H for years. This year she joined the 4-H program and also showed in the dairy competition.


"I would definitely do it again," she said. "The people in the barns, we've all worked together and taught each other how to show the animals."

Judge Tammi Kron of Alden eyes the showmen as the lead dairy animals in the show ring.


Kron said the competition was very close. It came down to a tie-breaking question that Natalie Mrzywka answered. Kron wanted to know the best spot for a showman to be in the show ring. Natalie said it's best to have the animal in the center of a show ring so it can be easily visible to the judge.


The master showmen included Janie Schutz, representing beef cattle; Justin Robinson, representing dairy cattle; Nicole Mrzywka, representing dairy goats; Natalie Mrzywka, representing meat goats; Kelsey Hilburger, representing horse – English; Emily Harling, representing horse – Western; Elizabeth Bentley, representing llamas; and Jayne Bannister, representing sheep and swine.

While waiting for the scores to be tallied, the participants each took turns introducing themselves to the crowd and sharing a highlight from the competition. Emily Harling told the crowd she learned to step outside her comfort zone. Other master showmen include, from left in back: Justin Robinson of Albion, Kelsey Hilburger of Elba, Janie Schutz of Waterport and Jayne Bannister of Point Breeze.


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FastFitness expands, hailed as small business success

Photos by Tom Rivers

Kim Lockwood, owner of FastFitness in Medina, recently added a tanning business, FasTan. Lockwood, right, is pictured with FasTan manager Danielle Waters at the site, which was a garage and has been renovated with five tanning booths.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 July 2015
MEDINA – In 2004, Kim Lockwood wanted to start a women’s-only gym. She was working as an occupational therapist for the VA in Batavia at the time.

But Lockwood believed there was potential in a business that catered to women with their own gym.

She brought passion and lots of energy to her goal. But she didn’t have a business background. She took a 10-week class through the Orleans Economic Development Agency, a class that helped her develop a business plan and also included insights on taxes, marketing, legal issues, computer skills and other issues.

Lockwood also used a low-interest loan through the EDA’s revolving loan fund to open FastFitness in 2004. She started the business in Albion and added a FastFitness in Medina in 2010. (She sold the Albion location which is now XPress Fitness.)

In 2013, with the Medina site on Main Street crammed for space, Lockwood moved to 627 West Ave., in a former hardware store. She tripled the space for the gym, and six months later opened a fitness room next to the gym for women to take Zumba and other exercise classes. During her winter peak, Lockwood has more than 400 members at FastFitness.


When she was in the MAP program in 2004, she worked with Sam Campanella, one of the class instructors and a small business advisor with the NYS Small Business Development Center.


Campanella has been a frequent resource for Lockwood, connecting her with consultants for marketing, legal issues and accounting. He pitched an idea to Lockwood. He thought a tanning business would complement FastFitness.


Lockwood researched the issue and crunched the numbers with Campanella. She opened FasTan in March at 627 West Ave., in the same building with FastFitness. She already has more than 200 tanning clients using five tanning booths, including a stand-up booth, a 10-minute tanning booth and a 12-minute tanning booth.


The quick tanning sessions give people a chance to swing by on a lunch break, Lockwood said.

Lockwood is considered one of the biggest success stories in the small business training and assistance program through the EDA, said Diane Blanchard, MAP coordinator.

Kim Lockwood, left, gave up a job as an occupational therapist with the VA in Batavia to start FastFitness, a gym for women only. Lockwood credited assistance and ongoing expertise from her business advisor through the Small Business Development Center. Lockwood is pictured with her advisor Sam Campanella, third from left, and another business advisor Dick Pettine, left. Both serve as instructors with the Microenterprise Assistance Program, which is directed by Diane Blanchard, second from left. Lockwood graduated from that 10-week program in 2004 and continues to get advice from her business advisor.


Lockwood said the small business assistance has been invaluable, and critical for her to grow her business.


Campanella said Lockwood has the key qualities for a successul entrepreneur.


"You need the ability to work hard and work smart," he said today while visiting Lockwood at FastFitness and FasTan. "You need to have vision and determination and a don't-give-up attitude. You need to understand the business you're in."


Campanella and Pettine are both part-time certified business advisors. Campanella works out of GCC in Batavia and has 48 clients while Pettine works out of Brockport State College and has 58 clients.


Diane Blanchard, the Microenterprise Assistance Program coordinator, said the two are great resources for business owners. They can help get a business off to a good start and help as business owners grapple with other issues later on.


"They are an advisor forever," Blanchard said.

Kim Lockwood has a stand-up tanning booth at FasTan, which has five tanning booths at 627 West Ave.


Lockwood has grown from using 1,200 square feet on Main Street in Medina to 7,500 square feet at the current location, a former hardware store and garage.


She said the success of the business has her thinking about adding more locations. She has applied to be on the Shark Tank show for a big capital investment to turn FastFitness into franchises. She is waiting to hear from the show.


In the meantime, she may add another location nearby. She said she is grateful she made the decision in 2004 to start the business, and see the hundreds of people who have improved their health and confidence through FastFitness.


The EDA is starting another MAP class on Sept. 8. The program runs through Nov. 17. For more information about MAP, call Blanchard at (585) 589-7060 ext. 101.


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Flowers, rabbits and butter keep fair participants hopping

Photos by Kristina Gabalski Posted 31 July 2015
KNOWLESVILLE – There is a lot going on at the fair this week, and the annual event includes some new additions, including a flower show sponsored by Orleans County Master Gardeners.


Fairy Gardens (pictured above) are popular entries in the flower show, which is being held in the Lartz Building at the fairgrounds.

Orleans County 4-Her Rachel Gregoire, left, and Kate Hardner participated in the first-ever Master Gardener Floral Design Contest on Wednesday evening. The two were awarded trophies for their efforts. The contest was part of the flower show.

This clever and colorful container garden entry by Paula Bensley is part of the flower show. Paula used an old enamelware container to hold dishes and flower “soapsuds.” The flower show continues through Saturday.

Rebecca Semmel (standing, far left) headed to the Trolley Building on the 4-H Fairgrounds with her family to help churn and sample homemade butter and fresh, homemade rolls made by Jane Read (seated, far right). Also in the photo are Abigal Schrieber and Grace VanSlyke (seated).

Jane Read demonstrates butter making with a circa 1920-1930's glass butter churn in the Trolley Building at the Orleans County 4-H Fair on Wednesday afternoon.


Lucky fairgoers had the chance to work the antique churn and sample the results on warm, fresh-baked rolls Jane had made in the Trolley Building kitchen. Here Jane is using a wooden paddle to gently press buttermilk out of the solid butter.

Orleans County 4-H Rabbit Raisers await while their entries are judged for Best of Show at the conclusion of the Rabbit Show at the Fair Tuesday evening while Mike Ross judges. Ross, a former Orleans County 4-H Rabbit Raiser, thanked show organizers for, “bringing me home” to judge the show. He said it was great to see the Rabbit Raiser program continue to flourish in Orleans County.

Orleans County 4-H Rabbit Raisers celebrate their Best of Show entries for the 2015 Rabbit Show at the Fair. On the right is Zach Albright who won Best of Show with his
Satin Rabbit. On the left is John Gabalski who won Reserve of Show with his Californian rabbit. Looking on is Grace Gregoire who won Best of Show for cavies (guinea pig).


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Collins wants to block funds for college programs for inmates

Press Release, Congressman Chris Collins Posted 31 July 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Chris Collins (R-Clarence) released the following statement after introducing H.R. 3327, the Kids Before Cons Act, which will block the Obama administration’s plans to use Pell grants to fund college programs for prisoners.

“The Obama administration’s plan to put the cost of a free college education for criminals on the backs of the taxpayers is consistent with their policy of rewarding lawbreakers while penalizing hardworking Americans,” said Congressman Collins. “The Kids Before Cons Act closes the loophole the Obama administration is trying to exploit, and protects taxpayers from footing the bill for criminals’ educations. This legislation ensures that Pell grants will be used for their intended purpose of assisting financially disadvantaged students struggling to attain a college education.”

H.R. 3327 does the following:


• Upholds the 1994 law that prohibits prisoners from receiving federal Pell grants by forbidding the Department of Education from using its experimental authority to provide funding for higher education for prisoners.


• Instructs the Department of Education to conduct a study on whether students enrolled in a charter school or in private schools as a result of participation in a voucher program run a higher or lower risk of incarceration than students who attend public school.

Full text of the legislation can be read by clicking here.


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