Canal is calm before the storm

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 26 May 2015
ALBION – It’s tranquil on the Erie Canal this evening, but the National Weather Service warns of thunderstorms that could hit around 5 this morning with more thunderstorms on Wednesday night between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for western and central New York due to a chance of flooding from the storms.

“Showers and thunderstorms during the morning and midday will have the potential to produce very heavy slow moving downpours that could result in localized flooding,” the Weather Service stated. “A second round of thunderstorms Wednesday evening could contain the risk of strong to damaging wind gusts.”

Wednesday is forecast for a high of 85, followed by a high of 75 on Thursday and a high of 82 on Friday.

These photos show the canal in Albion looking west towards the Gaines Basin Road bridge. This photo was taken from a bridge on Albion-Eagle Harbor Road.


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Advice for protecting yourself and pets from rabies

By Nola Goodrich-Kresse and Kristine Voos, Genesee-Orleans Public Health Education Team Posted 26 May 2015
Springtime is a perfect time to remind everyone about how dangerous rabies can be and what you can do to prevent infection to you, your family and your pets.

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Infected mammals can spread rabies virus to humans and other mammals. Rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms appear. The good news is only a few human cases are reported each year in the United States.

Rabies is most often seen among wild animals such as raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes, but any mammal can be infected with rabies. Pets and livestock can get rabies if they are not vaccinated to protect them against infection. Among domestic animals, cats are most often diagnosed with rabies in New York State.

People usually get exposed to the rabies virus when an infected animal bites them. Exposure may also occur if saliva (spit) from a rabid animal enters an open cut or mucous membrane (eyes, nose or mouth).

If you are bitten or get saliva on you from an unknown animal, it is important to wash the area carefully with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. Report all animal bites to your county health department, even if they seem minor.

Exposure to a rabid animal does not always result in rabies. If treatment is initiated promptly following a rabies exposure, rabies can be prevented. If a rabies exposure is not treated and a person develops clinical signs of rabies, the disease almost always results in death.

If a bat is found in a room where there are unattended children, someone sleeping or someone who cannot speak for him/herself or your family pet, do not let the bat out of the house. Call your local health department for instructions; you may be able to safely capture it yourself.

The best way to keep pets safe from rabies is to vaccinate them and keep their shots up-to-date. If your pet has been injured by a rabid animal, call your local health department and contact your veterinarian to get medical care.

If your pet has saliva on it from a sick animal, don’t touch it…let it dry or give your pet a bath while wearing gloves and protecting your eyes, nose and mouth from splashing water. Even though your pet has been vaccinated, a booster dose of rabies vaccine may be needed within five days of the incident. Contact your county health department to find out what additional follow-up may be needed and check when the next anti-rabies vaccination clinic will be held in your county.

Here are some more ways to protect your family and your animals from rabies:

• Don't feed, touch or adopt wild animals, stray dogs or cats, including the babies.

• Be sure your pet dogs, cats and ferrets as well as horses and valuable livestock animals are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. Vaccination protects pets if they are exposed to rabid animals. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors and allowed outside only under direct observation. Keep family pets indoors at night. Do not leave them outside unattended or let them roam free.

• Do not attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your property free of stored bird seed or other foods that may attract wild animals. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cap or put away garbage cans. Board up any openings to your attic, basement, porch or garage. Cap your chimney with screens. Bats can get in spaces as small as the width of a pencil.

• If nuisance wild animals are living in parts of your home, consult with a nuisance wildlife control expert about having them removed. You can find wildlife control experts, who work on a fee-for-service basis, in your telephone directory under pest control.

• Teach children not to touch any animal they do not know and to tell an adult immediately if they are bitten by any animal.

• If a wild animal is on your property, let it wander away. Bring children and pets indoors and alert neighbors who are outside. You may contact a nuisance wildlife control expert who will remove the animal for a fee.

For more information about rabies check out the NYS Department of Health web site by clicking here.


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County, Albion village seek state remedy for TV recycling

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 May 2015
ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature and Albion Village Board are both pressing state officials to update a law for recycling TVs and other electronic waste.


The state on Jan. 1 began banning curbside disposal of older TVs with cathode-ray technology. Many residents have upgraded from those televisions, switching to popular flat screens. Many of the older TVs have been dumped in ditches along rural roads, local officials said.


Municipalities would like to help residents properly get rid of the older televisions without it being an expensive burden. The state said manufacturers were supposed to take back older TVs, but the state capped the amount of discarded material companies have to accept each year.


Manufacturers have been hitting that cap midway through the year, Orleans County legislators said. Once the cap is hit, “cash-strapped” local governments are left to bear the burden, county legislators said.

“The issue is exacerbated by the fact that electronics currently sold today are much lighter than the obsolete CRT devices that make up about 70 percent of the weight of e-scrap generated, which are cost intensive to responsibly manage,” according to a resolution passed by the County Legislature and also the Albion Village Board.

“As a result, may local governments across the state have grappled with the burden to fund or cease e-scrap collection, which has been particularly difficult in rural communities that do not benefit from retail collectors or economies of scale,” according to the resolution.


The County Legislature and Village Board are asking Gov. Cuomo, the State Legislature and State Department of Environmental Conservation to work towards a long-term solution for electronic waste recycling for both urban and rural areas.


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Orchard Manor celebrates National Nursing Home Week

Provided photos Posted 26 May 2015
MEDINA – Cassidy Oliver sees how low she can go at the limbo competition, one of the events at the Orchard Manor Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Medina during National Nursing Home Week.


This year’s theme for the event from May 10-16 at Orchard Manor was “Bring on the Fiesta!”

Leonel and Lola Rosario, co-owners of Mariachi De Oro, a Mexican restaurant in Medina, performed Mexican dances with audience participation. The Rosarios also brought refried beans for sampling.

Other events included music, a book fair, ice cream social and a line dancing performance by the Hot Country Liners

Service awards were also presented to staff members for years of service. Dave Denny, administrator, presented the awards. The following are pictured, front row, from left: Vicki Boyd and Roxanne Rhodes. Middle row: Carolyn Dix, Lynn Goodrich, LuAnn Thompson, Jackie Wheatley, Sarah Drier and Laura Bruton. Back row: Administrator Dave Denny and Jim Young.


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Holley school adds exercise equipment, grant renewed for second year

Provided photos
Holley has a variety of exercise equipment in the Family Fitness Center.

Staff Reports Posted 26 May 2015
HOLLEY – The school district has been notified that the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grant has been approved for a second year for $214,601.


Holley received this continuance of the grant because they have “good performance of the grant’s goals and objectives and have improved on all three Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) measures,” the school district announced.

Those measures Holley must meet include:

1. Students completing 60 minutes of daily physical activity, measured with pedometers and activity logs;

2. Students meeting the standard of a healthy fitness zone in at least five of the six fitness areas of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program;

3. Students consuming two fruits and three vegetables per day, measured with surveys.

Holley students wore movable bands to record their physical activity, participated in fitness and nutrition activities through physical education classes and FIT4U! sessions throughout the year, and were provided with fruits and vegetables through the cafeteria services program during and after school.

Holley received $438,430 in the first year of the PEP grant, which made the creation of the Family Fitness Center in the Elementary School possible, along with the programs mentioned above.

Physical Education teacher Lisa Campbell has been the administrator of the grant.

“I wish to commend Lisa Campbell on her efforts to help secure the grant,” said District Superintendent Robert D’Angelo. “I also commend her for her hard work with the Family Fitness Center and all of the activities associated with educating students, staff, parents and the community about the importance of good nutrition and physical activity. I look forward to the second year of this grant and the good things to come from it.”

If Holley shows further improvement in the GPRA measures in its second year, the district can receive a continuance award of $128,612.

“Our physical education staff has worked diligently to ensure that we not only meet, but exceed, the standards of the grant requirements,” Campbell said. “Their support and fine efforts are sincerely appreciated.”

Cora Bennage, a Holley fifth grader, is pictured on the elliptical machine in the Holley Family Fitness Center.


Holley recently added more state-of-the-art equipment to its Family Fitness Center. An abdominal machine, leg press, rowing machine and lateral elliptical machine have been added.

This is in addition to the treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical machines, iDance system, cross trainer, upper body ergometer, adaptive motion trainer, weight bench and free weights that the center currently has. Some pieces of equipment are youth-sized to enable children ages 10 and older to exercise alongside their family members.

The Family Fitness Center is open Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. when school is in session. The Family Fitness Center is available for use by residents of the Holley Central School District free of charge. Children age 10 and older may use the center with their families in the evening.

The Family Fitness Center is available for use by classes during the school day and by staff when not in use by classes. Trained supervisors are on duty during family fitness times to assist participants and to promote a safe and orderly environment in which to work out.

Nicole Rose, a Holley graduate, has been coming to the Family Fitness Center for the last couple of months.

“It saves me on gym membership if I come here,” said Rose.

Scott Allen, who lives nearby, also echoes that sentiment. “I like being able to come here four nights a week and it’s easy to get here,” said Allen.

Holley parent Kevin McGuire agrees. “I can work out here when I drop off my kids to play a sport – it’s really convenient,” said McGuire. “It’s never crowded and they have brand new equipment.”

The district qualified for almost $800,000 of federal funding to promote good nutrition and physical exercise among the students, staff and district families.


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Firefighters respond to falling glass from Fischer’s

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 26 May 2015 9:46 a.m.
ALBION – Firefighters were called to Fischer’s News Stand this morning after glass shattered from one of the second-floor windows and fell on the sidewalk.

The building was inspected for electrical problems, but none were found.

Firefighters are pictured at about 9 a.m. this morning at Fischer's.

After speculation the building may have shifted, causing the window to break and fall out, Code Enforcement Officer Ron Vendetti said the building may need to be inspected by an engineer to make sure it is structurally sound.

Vendetti said it may just have been a tight window or a bird could have caused the problem.

Fischer’s owner Gary Withey had a new roof and other building repairs made in 2009. The building at 105-107 North Main St. was built in 1828 and is one of the oldest on Main Street.


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Family rides canal from Albany to Buffalo to promote foster parenting

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 26 May 2015
ALBION – The Capuano family, which is riding the entire Erie Canal to promote foster parenting, passed through Orleans County on Monday. They are pictured in Albion.


Renee and John Capuano and their two oldest children – Paul and Priscilla – want to encourage families to give foster parenting a try.

“Even if a child spends one night in your home and they are safe, you’ve made a difference in their life,” Mrs. Capuano said.


Paul Capuano, 16, came up with the idea of riding the canal length, hoping to inspire more people to try adoption and foster care. His family has recently adopted five children they were fostering: Edgar, 5; Vinny, 5; Nico, 6; Emilio, 6; and Franny, 8.

Paul has been pedaling a cargo bike with room for the four youngest to ride together. His sister Priscilla, 14, is riding a tandem bike with room for a sibling.

Priscilla leads the pack coming into Albion on Monday followed by her brother Paul and mother Renee.

There are 2,000 children in need of foster homes throughout the state, including 35 in Orleans County.

“We need foster homes desperately,” said Holli Nenni, deputy commissioner of Department of Social Services in Orleans County.

She met with the Capuanos in Albion on Monday. The family kept going to Lockport on Monday and today will complete the trip to Buffalo.

They are wearing bright orange shirts that urge people to try foster care.

“If we can do it, so can you,” reads the shirts.

Mrs. Capuano said the family considered adopting a child from another country before they pursued becoming foster parents.

“It seemed monumental but the county works with you,” Mrs. Capuano said.

Her oldest children have been welcoming to the adopted kids.

“Our message is give it a try,” Mr. Capuano said.

For more on the foster care program in Orleans County, call DSS at (585) 589-7000.

Paul Capuano crosses the Main Street lift bridge with four of his young siblings in tow on a cargo bike.


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Long-time band enthusiast gets chance to lead Mustangs

Mike Dreyfus ‘made his commands very sharp’

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 26 May 2015
MEDINA – Mike Dreyfus, a Medina Mustang Band booster for nearly 20 years, leads the band while it plays patriotic songs on Memorial Day at State Street Park. Dreyfus also led the band on the parade route from the Olde Pickle Factory on Park Avenue to the park on East Center Street.

He won a contest to be guest conductor for the parade. People paid $1 to vote for one of five guest conductors and Dreyfus was the winner.

“They march real fast,” Dreyfus said after the parade.

Dreyfus joined drum major Chris Keller (pictured at right) in keeping the band on pace.

“He did a good job,” sophomore Kristian Snyder said about Dreyfus. “He kept in time very well and he made his commands very clear.”

Snyder said Dreyfus is popular among the 130-plus kids in the band. He is a vocal supporter at their many parades and events, and works hard to raise money for the Mustangs.

“He’s been one of the biggest boosters,” Snyder said. “He’s a very nice man.”

Chris Keller, left, and Mike Dreyfus lead the band while it plays the National Anthem and other patriotic songs at State Street Park.

Dreyfus became active with the band when his son Kip, Class of 2003, joined as an eighth-grader. Dreyfus has been impressed by the band members’ dedication and accomplishment, and the pride they bring to the community.

He worked 20 years in probation and then 20 years as a substance abuse counselor. He said the band is a great prevention program, helping the kids to connect to the community, learn discipline and resist temptations with drugs and alcohol.

Dreyfus, 68, said he doesn’t have too much musical ability. But it was a thrill to join the band on Memorial Day, with an enthusiastic crowd along the way.

“This is something I can cross off my bucket list,” he said.


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Family gives diary, dog tag to Medina from Medal of Honor recipient

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 25 May 2015

MEDINA – John Butts and his family treasure the dog tag and diary from John E. Butts, the only Medal of Honor recipient in Medina’s history.

However, the Butts family didn’t want to just store the diary and dog tag in a drawer or in a display at one of the relative’s. The family decided to give the identification and diary to the Medina community.


The top photo shows the dog tag with the name Anna Butts, the mother of the soldier. The dog tag was covered in blood, and that blood corroded the metal, causing it to split in half, Butts family members said today.

John Butts, nephew to Medina’s famed soldier from World War II, presented the dog tag and diary to Steve Johnson, commander of the American Legion, during a Memorial Day service today at State Street Park.

Steve Johnson, right, accepts the dog tag and diary from John Butts, nephew of the Medal of Honor recipient from Medina.


Johnson then presented the dog tag and diary to Catherine Cooper, director of Lee-Whedon Memorial Library, which already has a display about Butts with his medals, Medal of Honor citation and photographs.

“They are better served here than being locked in a closet or drawer,” said John Butts, who travelled to Medina from Portland, Maine. “It is more proper here. Medina is the origin.”

Butts and 10 other family members have been in Medina the past few days, learning more about John E. Butts.

The village named a park for Butts and the American Legion post also bears his name. He died in World War II in Normandy. Butts had already been wounded when he led a charge to distract the enemy. He was fatally wounded, but his battalion was able to advance.

Butts had five brothers serve in the war. The family is now spread around the country. They met for a reunion in Medina the past few days with Butts family members traveling from Portland, Maine; San Diego, Calif; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Rock Hill, South Carolina; and Virginia.

The Butts family is pictured with Catherine Cooper, back right, following the Memorial Day service today at State Street Park.

The family came together to give the treasured items from John E. Butts to Medina.

“I’m very appreciative and proud of Medina,” John Butts told a crowd gathered at State Street Park. “I’m very proud of the town of Medina and the kindness and generosity of the people.”

Butts said the big crowds of people that turned out for Memorial Day is unusual in America today. He said his uncle was like many from the community who heeded the call to serve the country.

The family started talking more in the past year when Tim Butts was contacted by a documentary filmmaker about John E. Butts. The family worked to assemble information. They discussed the diary and the dog tag and where those artifacts should go. They decided they wanted back in the community where Butts grew up.

This diary, held by Catherine Cooper, details the boot camp experiences by John E. Butts.

Catherine Cooper, the library director and also Ridgeway town historian, thanked the family for their generosity. She said the diary, with the family’s blessing, would be reproduced for the public.

Doug Butts, a family member from Grand Rapids, Mich., thanked the community for keeping up the park, Legion Post and grave for John E. Butts. Doug Butts said the family is impressed by the small-town charm in Medina.

“It’s a beautiful town with a Rockwellian Main Street,” he said.


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Medina shows patriotic spirit on Memorial Day

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 25 May 2015
MEDINA – Rick Forder, a member of the VFW in Medina, carries the American flag down Main Street during the parade today.

Gary Hill hands an American flag to Torry Dames, 4, of Medina. Hill and other members of the Sons of the American Legion handed out hundreds of flags today some people were in a patriotic mood for the parade.

Boy Scouts joined veterans and other service organizations and community groups in the parade today.

Abbigail Smith, 1, of Middleport watches the parade with her father, Johnathan Smith of Middleport.

The color guard performs with the Medina Mustang Marching Band on Main Street today.

The band makes its way down Main Street on a parade route that ended at State Street Park.

The band has about 130 members.

The band stays in position during today's Memorial Day parade.

A long lineup of community participants joined in the parade, shown here on East Center Street.

A Medina Little Leaguer tosses candy to a spectator along the parade route.

Jack Hill and other members of the Medina FFA were part of the parade today.

Stan Thurber addresses the group at State Street Park. He gives a special shout out to all the Marines in attendance before leading the group in an opening prayer.

Thomas J. Walders, a member of the Medina VFW, plays "Taps" with the Honor Guard at the conclusion of today's Memorial Day service at the park.


County Legislator Lynne Johnson and State Assemblyman Steve Hawley both spoke at the service. Tristan Sanders, a Boys State representative from Medina, also addressed the crowd.


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Patriotic display at Memorial Day parade in Albion

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 25 May 2015
ALBION – Emma Wadhams, an Albion Girl Scout, carries the American flag while leading Scouts down East Avenue in this morning’s Memorial Day parade in Albion.


The parade started on Main Street near the Courthouse and headed to Route 31 where it concluded at the Middle School lawn for a ceremony that included speeches by County legislator Don Allport and former State Assemblyman Charlie Nesbitt, who served in the Vietnam War as a pilot.

Veterans from Albion carry the flag and other colors down Main Street in this morning's parade.

The Knights of Columbus march in the parade.

Some members of the Albion Marching Band, including Jared Hollinger (with eagle), perform for the crowd.

Char Olick, a drum major, is one of the leaders of the marching band.

Logan London, left, and Nita Bela are members of the color guard in the marching band.

Kennedy Allport takes in the sights and sounds of the marching band while being held by her grandfather, Mark Webster of Albion.

Scouts from West Barre head down Main Street. John Schreiner is holding the American flag, while Ben Hickman carries the troop flag (center), and Tristan Lusk holds the pack flag.

Nathan Olmstead, an Albion Boy Scout, carries the American flag during the parade.

This group of Brownies in Albion includes from left: Sophia Albanese, Liana Flugel, Autumn Flugel and Julia Knight.

Albion firefighters Greg Marston, left, and Steven Papponetti join the parade processional.


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Holley community turns out for Memorial Day observance

Photos by Kristina Gabalski Posted 25 May 2015
HOLLEY – Members of the Honor Guard prepare for ceremonies at the V.F.W. Post 202 in Holley this morning as part of the Memorial Day observance in the community.


Members of the Holley/Murray/Clarendon community came together on Memorial Day to remember the brave men and women who gave their lives for our country. The community also acknowledged the sacrifice of veterans who returned home, but have since passed away.


Ceremonies began shortly after 9 a.m. at the American Legion Jewell Buckman Post 529 in the village.

Holley Mayor John Kenney speaks during Memorial Day ceremonies this morning at the American Legion. He is joined by other community leaders and members of American Legion Jewell Buckman Post 529. Orleans County Deputy Sheriff James DeFilipps is on the far right.


Mayor Kenney said the freedoms enjoyed in this country should never be
taken for granted and stem from the sacrifices made by those who serve and served in the Armed Forces.. He noted that every year, the community loses more and more if its veterans. "Thank these men and women while you can," he told those in attendance.

Orleans County Deputy Sheriff James DeFilipps and Holley Village Trustee Kevin Lynch, both members of the Sons of American Legion Jewell Buckman Post 529, place a wreath at the memorial in the village morning during Memorial Day ceremonies.


Wreaths were laid by members of the Post, the Ladies Auxiliary and members of the Sons of the Legion at the monument located outside the Post.

Members of the community then processed to the V.F.W. Post 202 in the village for another wreath laying ceremony and then to Hillside Cemetery for a wreath laying, and a ceremony at the grave of Jewell Buckman.


The group then moved to Holy Cross Cemetery. Members of the Clarendon Historical Society opened the Hillside Cemetery Chapel for the public to visit and offered refreshments outside. After the ceremonies, refreshments were also available at the American Legion.

Holley Central School Senior Nicole Boyle reads President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address during Memorial Day ceremonies Monday morning at Hillside Cemetery in Holley.

A wreath is placed at the grave of Jewell Buckman In Hillside Cemetery in Holley this morning. Buckman was the first local soldier killed in action in France during WWI. The American Legion Post in Holley is named for him.

Al Pulcino of American Legion Jewell Buckman Post 529 in Holley plays "Taps" during ceremonies Monday at the grave of Private Jewell Buckman in Hillside Cemetery in Holley.


Buckman was 26 years old when he was killed in action in France during WWI, the first local man to die in that war.

Major Ryan D'Andrea, retired, third vice commander of the Holley American Legion Jewell Buckman Post 529, speaks during Memorial Day ceremonies this morning in Holley. He discussed the history of the Memorial Day.


"We should never lose focus on what it means," he said of the observance. "It is a day to remember ... once a year is not enough."


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A day to pause and remember

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 25 May 2015
CASTILE – This community in Wyoming County last June rededicated a bronze statue of a doughboy, a memorial for soldiers from the Castile community who served in World War I. (I drove by this site on Sunday when coming back home from Letchworth State Park.)

The weather will cooperate for today’s Memorial Day holiday with temperatures reaching a high of 83. It will be partly sunny, according to the National Weather Service.

The statue in Castile was in need of refurbishing and was sent to Illinois for repairs before being rededicated last June 14 as part of a Flag Day ceremony. The statue is now 89 years old.

The statute was first erected in 1926. It was designed by sculptor Ernest M. Visquey.

Some Medina community members are working to have a bronze statue of a World War I solider placed atop the monument by the former Armory, which is now the Orleans County YMCA on Pearl Street. For more information on that project, click here.


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Driver of Hummer in satisfactory condition, facing DWI

Photo by Tom Rivers
Albion police officers David Mogle, left, and Will Francis respond to the scene of an accident on Saturday on Route 98, north of the village near the Five Corners.


Press Release, Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess Posted 24 May 2015
GAINES – An Albion man remains hospitalized in satisfactory condition this afternoon following a two-vehicle crash on Saturday in the Town of Gaines.


The incident occurred shortly after 5:30 p.m., at the intersection of routes 98 and 279 and Bacon Road. This intersection is commonly known as the Five Corners.

A 2007 Hummer HU3 Suburban was traveling south on 279 at a high rate of speed. A 2001 Chevrolet Malibu 4dr was northbound on Route 98 in the turn lane and preparing to turn left onto 279. The Hummer entered the intersection and struck the front end of the Malibu.

The Hummer continued southbound on Route 98 crossing and exiting on the east side of the roadway. The vehicle became airborne and overturned, then grounded and struck some shrubbery before becoming airborne a second time and striking a tree while still in the air. The vehicle then came to rest in an upright position against some other trees.

The driver (sole occupant) of the Hummer is identified as David W. Kuhns, 38, of Albion. He was extricated from his vehicle by Albion firefighters and flown by Mercy Flight helicopter to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.


The driver (sole occupant) of the Malibu is identified as Michael J. Pommerening, 56, of Kent. He was treated at the scene by personnel from Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance. He was not transported to the hospital.

While the investigation is continuing, it’s apparent that alcohol, excessive speed, and reckless operation were contributing factors. Pending his recovery, Kuhns is facing DWI and other charges.

The incident was investigated by Sergeant G.T. Gunkler. He was assisted by Sergeant D.W. Covis, Investigator D.E. Foeller Jr., Deputy T.C. Marano, and Deputy T.N. Tooley.


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New master gardener pursued passion for plants

Provided photo
Kristina Gabalski, an Orleans Hub correspondent, completed the master gardener course in Orleans County. She is pictured with her flowering shrubs.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 24 May 2015

You might call me a “plant-a-holic” or maybe a “compulsive planter”, whichever the case, I’ve loved growing things since I was a kindergartener.


Up until a few months ago, gardening had always been a hobby for me. I love the seasonal process of clearing, digging, planting, watching something grow and harvest. I even love weeding.


Last fall I decided to finally get some formal training in horticulture and since my kids are Orleans County 4-Hers and I’ve really enjoyed Master Gardener programs I’ve attended in the past, I signed up for the 16-week Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Training Program. I knew I would enjoy helping and being a part of the activities and programs organized by Master Gardeners.


A group of more than 25 people started the program last October and those of us who made it all the way through – a few less than the beginning number – received our Certificates of Completion during the May 20 regular monthly meeting of the Orleans County Master Gardeners.


We celebrated with a pot luck dinner and cake before the business meeting took place and now Orleans County can boast of a register of 32 Master Gardeners – both experienced and new.


The training was rigorous and the size of the training manual itself a bit daunting, but the course was broken up with eight classes last fall and eight classes this spring. We covered a long list of topics – garden botany, soils and fertilizers, insects, plant diseases, diagnosing plant problems, woody plant materials, pruning, ecological lawn care, organic gardening, vegetable gardening, herbaceous perennial gardening, annuals and bedding plants, growing herbs, and nuisance wildlife management.


The training included open book mid-term and final exams. The most important part of training, however, was to provide us with the skills necessary to find information provided by Cornell University to help answer questions from residents and gardeners.

This spring we were also excited to welcome our new Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension horticulture educator, Katie Oakes. She taught several of the spring training classes and was particularly helpful in learning more about fruit production, a subject in which she has great expertise, as she is a member of the Oakes family, owners of Lynoaken Farms.


Master Gardener volunteers will now begin applying their knowledge and information gathering skills in a wide variety of ways. It is hoped that the Master Gardener hotline will be staffed soon, enabling residents with questions to call or come into the Extension office during mid-day hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Details will be determined in the near future.


Now that we are into the growing season, a number of special events are also planned by Master Gardeners. A Healthy Garden Walk is set for July 11 and features a walking garden tour of the Village of Medina.


Master Gardeners will have a strong presence at the 4-H Fair, July 27-Aug. 1, with a booth in the Lartz Building and the first ever Flower Show planned. The annual Plant Sale is set for Sept. 12 and the winner of the Master Gardener Makeover will be also be announced that day in the Lartz Building on the fairgrounds.


Tickets for the Makeover are available now for $10 each and can be purchased at the Extension office, 12690 Rt. 31, in Knowlesville. The winner will receive a beautiful new perennial garden installed by Orleans County Master Gardeners. The design will be created by Master Gardeners with the approval of the winner. The makeover sight can be a new planting or addition to an existing garden. The prize, including installation and plant material, is valued at $1,000.


Horticulture Educator Katie Oakes is also working with Master Gardener volunteers to develop summer children's programming for local libraries and Master Gardeners will again be teaching local 6th graders about composting during Conservation Field Days May 26 and 27 at the fairgrounds.


New Master Gardeners are always welcome. If you would like to become involved, contact the Extension office at 585-798-4265 or click here.


Other graduates in the new class of Master Gardeners include: Catherine Adams, Erin Anheier, Denise Bedard, Paula Bensley, Jena Buckwell, Colin Butgereit, Cindy Confer, Janelle Flammger, Kristine Fredrick, Mari Hoffmeister, Deborah Hoy, Audry Liao, Barbara Linhart, Wayne Litchfield, Mary Mann, Amanda Mrzywka, Eileen Sorochty, Jennifer Tynan, and Mary Jane Woodworth.


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