DeFilipps will be presented ‘Deputy of the Year’ award on Thursday at Fair

James DeFilipps


Staff Reports Posted 27 July 2016
KNOWLESVILLE – An Orleans County deputy will be presented with the “Deputy of the Year” award on Thursday at the Orleans County 4-H Fair.

DeFilipps was named 2015 “Deputy of the Year” by the New York State Sheriff’s Association. He will receive the award during a 6 p.m. presentation at the Orleans Hub stage at the Fairgrounds, 12690 Route 31.


Roald Spike, Yates County sheriff, is chairman of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute. He will present the award to DeFilipps.


DeFilipps was recognized for performing an act of valor and heroism, above the normal call of duty, the Sheriff’s Association said.
It was 3 a.m. on March 21 when DeFilipps was shot twice following a high-speed chase with James Ellis of Wyoming County.
DeFilipps was the first police officer on scene when Ellis wrecked his vehicle in Clarendon on Route 31A. Police were pursuing Ellis after a 911 call when he threatened an ex-girlfriend in Shelby with a gun.


After the crash in Clarendon, Ellis fled to a nearby wooded area and opened fire on DeFilipps and other deputies and police to arrive on the scene. DeFilipps, despite getting hit twice by gunfire, shot Ellis, killing him and ending his threat.


Police feared Ellis could have shot more officers on the scene if DeFilipps hadn’t been there. Ellis could have fled to a neighbor’s house.


DeFilipps as wearing a bullet-proof vest which likely saved his life. After recovering from his wound to his stomach, he returned to the night shift for the Orleans County Sheriff's Department, where he has worked for more than 13 years.


Oreans County Sheriff Randy Bower urged the community to attend the celebration on Thursday for DeFilipps.


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Albion woman faces numerous charges for criminal conduct against children

Jessica L. Smith


Press Release, Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni III Posted 27 July 2016
ALBION – The Albion Police Department has made an arrest following the investigation into a woman involved in criminal conduct with children ranging from age 8 to 13 years old.

Jessica L. Smith, 31, of 53 Sandy Creek Apartments located in the Village of Albion was arrested on several charges on July 12.

It is alleged that from February to June 2016 that Smith engaged in several inappropriate activities ranging from moral and ethical inappropriate behavior to criminal behavior, involving both physical and sexual contact with children.

To protect the identity and privacy of the children involved in the case, the names of the victims, the alleged specific type of conduct by the defendant as well as their relationship to Jessica Smith will not be released.

Smith has been charged with three counts of Promoting a Sexual Performance by a Child (D-Felony), eights counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (A-Misdemeanor), six counts of 1st Degree Unlawfully Dealing with a Child (A-Misdemeanor), three counts of 2nd Degree Unlawful Imprisonment (A-Misdemeanor) and one count of 2nd Degree Sexual Abuse (A-Misdemeanor).

Smith was arraigned in the Town of Gaines Court and placed in the Orleans County Jail on $1,500 bail. Anyone that may have additional information is asked to contact the Albion Police at 585-589-5627.


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4-H’ers are busy at the Fair

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 27 July 2016
KNOWLESVILLE – The livestock showing competitions and other activities at the Orleans County 4-H fair were in full swing on Tuesday. The top photo shows Rylie Lear, 16, of Waterport at the beef showmanship event. Rylie took first place.

Meganne Moore, 10, of Albion snuggles with her sheep, Beatrice.

Cheyan Palmer of Holley leads this animal during the beef showmanship competition on Tuesday.

Lalie Panek, 3, of Albion is ready to compete in the Small Fry Tractor Pull.

Evan Kirby, 4, of Waterport pedals the tractor and a weight down the course during the Small Fry Tractor Pull.

Photos by Kristina Gabalski

The Rabbit and Cavy Showmanship was held in the Wachob Pavilion Tuesday afternoon. Here, 10-year-old Lydia Scharlau of Medina is questioned about
her rabbit by Orleans County Rabbit Raisers 4-H Club leader Bill Gerling.

Siblings Jacques and Grace Gregoire of Murray took the two top spots in the cavy portion of the Rabbit and Cavy Show. Grace received Best of Show for her White Crested Cavy and Jacques earned Reserve of Show for his American Cavy. They pose here with show judge Derek Poole.

Members of the Orleans County Rabbit Raisers 4-H Club prepare for the Rabbit Costume Contest Tuesday evening at the start of the Rabbit and Cavy
Show in the Wachob Pavilion.

Young fairgoers play a game of "passing the pancake" during story time Tuesday afternoon in the Trolley Building.  Story Times are set for 12:30 pm and
7:30 pm (Spanish) through Friday at the Fair.

Deegan James Bragg of Medina, left, and Robert Morehouse of Albion are members of the Orleans County 4-H Robotics Club. They manned the club's popular interactive display in the Trolley building Tuesday morning.


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Unemployment rate in Orleans falls to 5.0%

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 July 2016
The unemployment rate in Orleans County fell to 5.0 percent in June 2016, that’s down from 6.2 percent in June 2015, according to the state Department of Labor.
The state-wide unemployment rate was 4.5 percent last month, compared to 5.2 percent in June 2015.

The DOL reports there were 17,200 people working in Orleans last month, compared to 900 unemployed. That compares to 17,300 working in June 2015, and 1,100 who were unemployed.

The unemployment rates for other nearby counties include: Niagara, 4.8; Monroe, 4.3; Erie, 4.4; Genesee, 3.8; Wyoming, 4.1; and Livingston, 4.4.

Columbia County has the lowest unemployment rate of any county in the state at 3.2 percent, and the Bronx has the highest at 7.0 percent.


The state DOL reports the state’s private sector job count increased by 120,700 since June 2015. In June 2016, the number of private sector jobs in the state was an all-time high at 7,918,400, according to the DOL.


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Today’s Fair Schedule (July 27, 2016)

Photos by Tom Rivers

Jenelle Stalker, 6, of Medina competes in the Small Fry Tractor Pull on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. She won the competition for kids 45 pounds and under. They had to pedal a tractor pulling a weight. It's 50 feet for a full pull. Jenelle advances to the finals at 4 p.m. on Saturday.


Special Events: Senior Citizen Coffee, free coffee for senior citizens from 1-4 p.m., compliments of the Orleans County 4-H Senior Council.

Special Service: Litter Pickup by Reality Check youth, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Daily Feature: Orleans County Flower Show, sponsored by Orleans County Master Gardeners. Lartz Exhibit Building


8 a.m. Senior Council Stand opens

8 a.m. Dressage Horse Show. Carlos Marcello Arena

9 a.m. Poultry Show. Wachob Pavilion

Arianna McGurn of Albion competes with her horse Peaches in the English Trail event on Tuesday. The horse needs to step inside the box and do a 360 without touching the rails or going outside the box.

10 a.m. $5 Admission per car starts

10 a.m. All buildings open

10 a.m. Goat Show (Dairy, Companion, and Pack). Knights Building

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nutrifare Senior Luncheon with music by Al Howe (Food will be served at noon). Curtis Pavilion

12 p.m. Leader’s Pie Stand opens

12 p.m. Calf Feeding and Care demonstrations. Cattle Barn

12:30 p.m. Story Time. Trolley Building

Grace Smith, 6, of Medina gets her face painted on Tuesday by Stephanie Kellogg, director of the P.Raising Kids in Medina.

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

1:30 - 3 p.m. Bread & Butter Making Demo and tasting. Trolley Building

2 p.m. Llama/Alpaca Costume, Leaping Llama/Alpaca, Llama/ Alpaca Limbo. Show Arena

2 p.m. Meat Goat Show. Knights Building


2:30 p.m. Little Britches Llama/Alpaca. Public may participate in Llama walk. Show Arena

3 p.m. - 10 p.m. Main Event Amusements $20 unlimited rides wristband. Midway

3 p.m. Dog Knowledge Bowl. Orleans Hub Stage

3 p.m. Fair Official Meeting. Fair Office

Lucas O'Connor, 13, (left) and his brother Ben, 9, of Albion hang out Tuesday by their Shetland pony, Starlight, (left) and Opps, a miniature horse owned by their friend Meganne Moore.

4 p.m. Dairy Cattle Showmanship. Show Arena

4 p.m. Chainsaw Chix sponsored by Pasco Bins and Lakeshore Lawncare. Log Cabin

4 p.m. 4-H Youth Rabbit Hopping Contest. Wachob Pavilion

5 p.m. BBQ Pulled Pork Dinner, Sponsored by Dance Theater. Cost: $8. Curtis Pavilion

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

6 p.m. Donut Eating Contest sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts. Orleans Hub Stage

6 p.m. Mounted Games Competition. Carlos Marcello Arena

Kyalee Moyer, 3, of Albion gets ready for the 26th annual Small Fry Tractor Pull on Tuesday. Hunter Albright, 16, of Albion volunteered to help with the event, attaching the wagon on the tractor and helping the kids to steer straight.

6 p.m. Registration Ends for the Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull. Orleans Hub Stage

6 p.m. Chainsaw Chix sponsored by Pasco Bins and Lakeshore Lawncare. Log Cabin

6 p.m. Master Gardener Floral Design Contest (open to public) Lartz Building

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

6:30 p.m. Dairy Cattle Show sponsored by Mathes Farms. Show Arena

6:30 p.m.Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull. Tractor Pull Course: Fair Office

Emma Mathes, 14, of Barre competes in the beef showmanship competition on Tuesday.

6:30 p.m.Pirates of the Columbian Caribbean High Wire Thrill Show sponsored by the Batavia Daily News. Lawn South of the Knights Building

7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Open Mic with the Oak Orchard Review Online Literary Magazine (8:00-8:30 Editor’s choice). Orleans Hub Stage

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

8 p.m. Chainsaw Chix sponsored by Pasco Bins and Lakeshore Lawncare. Log Cabin

8:30 p.m. Pirates of the Columbian Caribbean High Wire Thrill Show sponsored by the Batavia Daily News. Lawn South of the Knights Building

9 p.m. Orleans County 4-H Fair $1,000 Karaoke Challenge. Orleans Hub Stage

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

10 p.m. Buildings Close

10 p.m. Greased Pole Climbing Contest (teams must pre-register at the fair office) Greased Pole


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Miniature carnival built by Albion men makes debut at Orleans Fair

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 26 July 2016
ALBION – The Hudson Magic Midway is making its local debut at the Orleans County 4-H Fair. The attraction is housed in a 40-foot-long semi-truck trailer. Inside is a collection of 40 miniature replicas of midway rides from the 1950s to the most recent innovations in amusement park rides.


Jay Pahura at right and his friends, brothers Charlie and Frank Zicari, have been working on the Midway for several years. It made its first fair appearance last August at the Erie County Fair.


The trailer has flags on top and panels that tell the history of the project. Hudson Magic Midway costs $2 per person to see inside or $1 each person in groups of at least 5. Hudson's Magic Midway is open the same time as the real amusement rides at the Fairgrounds, from 3 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

The inside is blacklight, giving a glow-in-the-dark feel. The rides are hand-built. They are illuminated and show a history of amusement park attractions, including Midway rides to popular concessions and games such as Skee Ball.


The rides are all fully operational on a small scale – but not too small. The Sky Wheel, for example, is nearly 5 feet tall at 56 inches.

The miniature carnival started in 1953, when the late Albion resident Harold Hudson started building miniature midway rides in the basement of his home on Caroline Street. The display eventually filled two garages from front to back and Hudson welcomed the community to see them.
Hudson used ordinary materials found around his house, plus his creative ingenuity to make the rides. He hand-built many of the rides just as they were being introduced by ride manufacturers to carnivals across the United States.
Charlie Zicari was a boy when he saw “Hudson’s Exposition Shows.” Zicari was hooked. He became friends with Hudson and started building rides and helping him with the set up. When Hudson died in 1989, he left his miniature carnival to Zicari.

The display inside the trailer includes a skyscape, giving the mini carnival a planetarium feel.

Zicari has built many of his own rides, including more recent additions to carnivals.


The Zicari brothers and Pahura set up the mini midway at the former Erie Canal Schoolhouse Bed & Breakfast in Albion a few years ago. That was the first time the public had seen the rides in many years.
The bed and breakfast has since closed. The Zicaris and Pahura worked on a home for the attraction: the long trailer that needs to be moved by a semi truck.
The Zicaris and Pahura have strengthened some of Hudson's creations to make them sturdy for trips to fairs and other festivals. The rides have been painted with five to six coats of a reflective paint to make them better illuminate in the black light.


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DOT puts Parkway paving, canal bridge repairs in capital plan

File photo by Tom Rivers
The Main Street lift bridge in Albion is slated for rehabilitation in 2018-19 as part of the DOT's capital plan. The Albion bridge, plus the one on Route 19 in Brockport, are scheduled for $7.8 million in rehab work.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 July 2016
ALBION – A five-year capital by the State Department of Transportation includes repairs to the lift bridge on Main Street in Albion, $13 million to rehab six other canal bridges in Orleans County, and money to pave the Lake Ontario State Parkway.

Orleans County officials have been pressing the state to spend money to fix bridges and pave the Parkway. The DOT plan includes more than $14 million for Parkway work and nearly all of it is in Monroe County.

The Parkway paving includes $8.97 million to pave the parkway from Route 19 east to Payne Beach, and $5.2 million to pave the Parkway from Route 19 in Hamlin to Route 237 in Kendall. The Parkway paving projects are slated for 2017-18.


Some of the other projects in Orleans, identified in the capital plan, include:

• $430,000 in preventive maintenance for 8 bridges in Orleans County (2016-17)

• $3.13 million to pave Route 98 in Albion (2017-18)

• $13 million to rehab six bridges over the Erie Canal in Orleans County (2017-18)

• $1.63 million for Holley pavement preservation on Route 31 and 237 (2018-19)

• $7.8 million for lift bridge rehab on Route 98 in Albion and Route 19 in Brockport (2018-19)


• $1.35 million for bridge rehabilitation on Route 104 over Oak Orchard Creek (2019-20)


State Senator Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) highlighted the list of projects. He said he was pleased to see several canal bridges in the five-year DOT capital program plan.


In addition to the bridge construction work, the state will install sensors on weight restricted canal lift bridges to monitor the structural integrity and to better assess appropriate corrective measures, Ortt said.        


“For years, our local roads and bridges have been dangerously underfunded by the state,” Ortt said. “For the first time in more than a decade, the State Legislature has achieved true parity in transportation funding between upstate and downstate – the DOT and the MTA – with $27.1 billion for each entity over a five-year period.”


There are 16 lift bridges on the canal and seven of them are in Orleans County. There are more than a dozen other steel truss canal bridges in Orleans that are about a century old.


“This money is a good start to help fix the structural problems in our region,” Ortt said. “The infrastructure improvements to the two canal lift bridges will contribute to economic growth while maintaining the safety of the individuals who use them, including our farmers and emergency personnel. We need reliable infrastructure to stimulate the economy, create jobs and protect future generations.”

A complete list of DOT projects can be found by clicking here.


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Brockport man sentenced to state prison for stealing copper in Clarendon

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 July 2016
ALBION – A Brockport man who admitted to stealing $3,533 worth of copper from a trailer on South Holley Road last August was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison on Monday.


David Corbitt, 52, of Capen Road has five prior felonies and two parole violations. Judge James Punch sentenced Corbitt to state prison.


In other cases in County Court:


• A Lyndonville man was arraigned for third-degree criminal possession and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree.

Jarod Hodgins, 28, of South Townline Road, allegedly sold cocaine on March 16 in Ridgeway. He was charged on June 16. He has been free on bail at $25,000 or $50,000 bond.


• A Holley woman who has been on probation after being sentenced for attempted promotion of prison contraband in the first degree was arraigned for violating her probation.
Stephanie M. Rauch, 27, of North Main Street was first sentenced after she allegedly took a controlled substance into the Orleans County Jail on Oct. 1. Rauch tried to bring suboxone into the jail to give to an inmate. She was stopped at the jail gate.


She violated her probation by allegedly trying to get contraband into the jail, the District Attorney’s Office said.


Jada Sorta, 20, of Sawyer Road in Kent was arraigned for second-degree burglary, fourth-degree grand larceny, petit larceny and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree.


She allegedly entered a Ridge Road house in Murray on May 21 and took a bank card, keys to a vehicle and a MP3 player.


Brandi Ralph, 32, of Yates Center Road in Lyndonville was arraigned on third-degree burglary and petit larceny. She allegedly entered a garage on April 18 and stole tools.


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2 men accused of smuggling kilo of cocaine arraigned in county court

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 July 2016
ALBION – Two men accused of trying to smuggle cocaine from Texas were arraigned in Orleans County Court on Monday.


Daniel Guzman, 29, of Texas and Luis Alberto Sanchez-Garza, 31, of Mexico each are in jail on $500,000 bail. They were arrested on June 17 in the biggest cocaine seizure in Orleans County history.


Police seized 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cocaine that was hidden in the engine compartment of a vehicle that was stopped on East Avenue in Albion. The arrests were made following an investigation into the sale and distribution of cocaine from Texas to Orleans County.


Both men face Class A-1 felony charges for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree. The drug seized has a street value of about $150,000.


Guzman faces additional charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree and criminal impersonation in the second degree for allegedly presenting a false Green Card to law enforcement, District Attorney Joe Cardone told Judge James Punch.

Guzman has “repeated out-of-state convictions,” Punch said. Guzman, a resident of Houston, also is wanted on a warrant from Texas.


The two men have assigned counsel due to their indigent status. They are to next appear in court on Aug. 8.


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2 admit to selling cocaine in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 July 2016
ALBION – Two people admitted to selling cocaine in the Medina in separate cases in Orleans County Court on Monday.


Reginald A. Kendrick, 40, pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. He faces up to 2 ½ years in state prison when he is sentenced at 2 p.m. on Oct. 17.


Kendrick admitted in court he had cocaine on July 31, 2015, and sold it. Kendrick was living in Medina at 703 Church St. Apt. 2. He has been in the county jail since April when he was arraigned on multiple drug charges.

Joshua Lopez, 36, of Lockport also pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree.


Lopez admitted he sold cocaine at the McDonalds in Medina on April 27, 2015. Lopez is a second felony offender, which means the maximum sentence for the crime would normally be 4 years in state prison. As part of a plea deal on Monday, he will face a maximum of 3 years in prison when he is sentenced at 2 p.m. on Oct. 17.


In another case, an inmate in the Orleans Correctional Facility was sentenced to 3 to 6 years in prison for of promoting prison contraband in the first degree. Jesus Vega allegedly had a sharpened metal rod in the prison. He has four prior felonies.


Vega asked that he not have to pay a $325 court surcharge, but Judge James Punch said Vega, who isn't disabled, can earn money in the prison and pay the $325.


In another case, a Batavia man declined a plea deal and will go to trial beginning Oct. 26. Nicholas L. McKague, 24, faces charges of endangering the welfare of a child and course of sexual conduct against a child. The crimes allegedly occurred in Clarendon against a child 7 to 10 years old.


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Fair gets started with many activities

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 25 July 2016
KNOWLESVILLE – The Orleans County 4-H Fair started today and included veterans raising the flag. Ron Ayrault, left, of Holley and Tony Vicknair worked together to raise the American flag during opening ceremonies.

Congressman Chris Collins stands during the flag raising to start the fair. Collins praised the Cornell Cooperative Extension for organizing the fair that celebrates agriculture and local 4-H youth.

Abby Allen, 13, of Albion competes in the dog showmanship competition with her dog Willie, a Bluetick Coonhound.

Nicole Mrzywka, right, of Holley won the dog showmanship competition today.

Zachary Neal, left, of Albion and Jack Cecchini of Medina compete in junior showmanship during the swine show this evening.

Michaela Cardone, 18, of Medina, right, and Andrea Toussaint, 18, of Medina wash Michaela's horse, Teddy.

Pirates of the Columbian Caribbean High Wire Thrill Show debuted on Monday at the lawn south of the Knights Building. The group will be at the fair throughout the week.

Hailey Bader, left, of Albion sings and plays the keyboard while Carly Fox of Albion dances in a duet called "Come Home" during the talent show.

These dancers from Kendall – Paige Beers, Paige Hardenbrook and Lauren Miller – perform "Toy Soldiers" in a tap dance routine.

Aubrey Schoolcraft of Medina, center, joins other dancers in performing "Hard Knocks" during the talent show.


For more on the fair, click here.


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200 corrections officers try to highlight rise in violence, contraband at state prisons

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 25 July 2016
ALBION – State Sen. Rob Ortt and State Assemblyman Steve Hawley meet with corrections officers this afternoon who lined Route 31 by the former Apollo Restaurant, just west of the Village of Albion.


About 200 corrections officers were part of the informational picket today from 2 to 4 p.m. The COs want to highlight a rise in violence inside prisons, staffing shortages, an increase in contraband and inmate weapons, and press the state for more technology, such as thermal imaging, to make prisons safer.   


"We are here to show solidarity with you," Ortt corrections officers. "I appreciate what you do."

Mike Powers, president of the union (NYSCOPBA) that represents corrections officers, said the state has closed prisons, which has strained the capacity at other sites. Many inmates that should be in maximum-security facilities are in medium-security prisons, Powers said, and that has led to increased violence and contraband with more drugs and weapons being smuggled into prisons.


Powers and the union want more staffing and training for officers, a removal of double bunks which would increase safety for inmates and staff, and investment in more equipment and technology to help COs make prisons safer. Powers also said the state needs to fill positions faster when they are vacated with retirements.

A corrections officer holds a sign during the picket today. Another sign said, "Fighting For Our Lives."


The union for corrections officers said statewide since 2010 the number of assaults on staff by inmates has risen 55 percent, and inmate-on-inmate violence is up 60 percent. 


This is the latest informational picket that NYSCOPBA has held in the past two months. Previous pickets were at Elmira, Attica, Livingston, Collins, Shawangunk, Greene and Coxsackie Correctional Facilities.    

There are about 675 corrections officers that work at prisons in Albion, with 425 at the Albion Correctional Facility (for women) and 250 at the Orleans Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison for men.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley speaks with corrections officers. Hawley said many state legislators from New York City do not support the COs or understand the working conditions. Hawley said some state legislators believe New York City residents are wrongly convicted and sent to prisons upstate to support the economy in the state's rural communities.


Hawley said he tries to bring a voice of reality in conversations with state legislators from downstate. He said he urges his colleagues in the Legislature to make the sites safer with more staff and less overcrowding of inmates.


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Big turnout for golf tournament honoring Wounded Warriors

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 25 July 2016
HOLLEY – Hickory Ridge Golf Course hosted its fifth annual “Honoring Heroes” Golf Tournament on Sunday. Cindy Diehl, co-owner of Hickory Ridge, welcomes a big crowd at dinner to the event, which raised money for the New York Warrior Alliance.


The first four golf tournaments events raised $57,000 to assist wounded American soldiers and their families.

The fund-raising totals have increased each year from $10,000 in 2012, $13,000 in 2013, $16,000 in 2014 to $18,000 last year. The total from yesterday isn't available.

Lyndonville native David Bellavia, an Iraq War veteran with the U.S. Army, was keynote speaker during Sunday's banquet at at golf tournament. Bellavia was awarded the Silver Star for his actions during the Second Battle of Fallujah. He wrote about his war experiences in House to House: An Epic Memoir of War.


Bellavia has been a leader in advocating for veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars through Vets for Freedom.


Bellavia said he is proud of Orleans County and how the community rallies around veterans, whether at the Hickory Ridge golf tournament, or standing in bitter cold weather to welcome home a fallen soldier. He noted the county has a long record of sacrifice. Nearly 500 people from Orleans died in the Civil War. Holley had the highest per capita death rate for young men who died serving in the Vietnam War.


The county continues to have young men and women sign up to serve in the military, Bellavia said, calling them "the best of their generation."


Bellavia also praised the New York Warrior Alliance, the beneficiary of the golf tournament, for its work on behalf of injured vetetrans and their families. The VA is "overburdened," Bellavia said, and NY Warrior Alliance helps fill some of the gaps.

Amy Tausch, president of the NY Warrior Alliance, shares some of the group's outreach. NY Warrior Alliance started as a ministry at Northfield Church in Pittsford.


The all-volunteer alliance provides financial support and basic essentials for wounded warriors and their caregivers. Tausch and a group of volunteers each year take a mission trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and deliver supplies. Tausch noted that Carol Culhane of Albion is part of the annual trip and presents ornaments with her patriotic artwork to veterans.


For more on the NY Warrior Alliance, click here.

A big crowd turned out to support the golf tournament to benefit wounded soldiers.

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Big tractors show might in pulling competition at Murray

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 24 July 2016
MURRAY – Faron Reding Sr. of Lawtons in Erie County competes in the light pro stock class during today's Murray Tractor Pull. There were about 50 competitors in the tractor pulls, which started on Saturday.


Lloyd Christ developed the track and grounds on Groth Road, which has been hosting the "Fury in Murray" for more than 20 years.

These young fans watch Kirsten Voelpel of Newfane get ready to go in a light super stock tractor she calls "Farmer's Daughter." Voelpel, 24, has been pulling for five years. She was second in the light super stock with a pull of 345.9 feet.


The tractors have to pull a 40,000-pound sled along a dirt track.

The Farmer's Daughter emits dark smoke as it heads down the track.

Stan Farone was among the volunteers in the concession stand. Proceeds from the Murray Tractor Pull are shared with the St. Mary's Catholic Parish, Fancher-Hulberton-Murray Fire Company, and Holley Fire Department.

Skip Bartz cuts open a new bag of French fries at the concession stand.

About 600 fans watched the tractor pulling, including this group with close seats to the track.

Chris Jeffres of Wyoming, NY, competed in the semi division and had the biggest pull of the day at 380.4 feet.

Matt Darling of Strykersville drives "Forever Red," a super farm tractor, as an exhibition pull this afternoon.

Adam Foss of Clarendon watches the action with his son Cian, 2, who covers his ears due to the noise.

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