Site in Ridgeway part of inaugural ‘Covered Bridge Challenge’
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 8 February 2016
RIDGEWAY – Rich Kilger of Clarence rides his snowmobile into the Canal Culvert on Sunday as part of the "Covered Bridge Challenge," which includes 10 spots in six counties.
Snowmobilers are encouraged to visit each site and take a photo or "selfie." Kilger has visited nine of the 10 spots so far this winter, and hopes to complete the challenge with a visit soon to Oswego.
"We've been trying to ride the trails and see new places," Kilger said.
There was a ribbon-cutting by the Canal Culvert to celebrate the "Covered Bridge Challenge." Pictured from left include: Lynne Menz, tourism coordinator for Orleans County; Cathy Light, director of sales and marketing for Mohawk Valley GIS, which developed the Covered Bridge Challenge; Josh Narburgh, president of the Orleans County Snowdrifters; and Bruce Phillips, a member of the Snowdrifters.
The Mohawk Valley GIS developed the challenge with 10 sites after soliciting feedback from snowmobilers for covered bridges. Although the Culvert isn't a covered bridge, many snowmobilers pushed for it to be on the challenge.
Kilger, the Clarence snowmobiler, said the challenge is really "nine covered bridges and one really cool tunnel."
This group gathered at the Culvert after the Snowdrifters put on their annual pancake breakfast at the Carlton Rec Hall.
Narburgh said the warm winter has been tough on snowmobilers. The Snowdrifters will usually have about 300 members for winters with lots of snow, but only have about 100 who have paid the annual dues so far this year.
Narbrugh said he is still optimistic there will be enough snow for later in February and March. There needs to be at least 4 to 6 inches of snow for a hard base for snowmobilers, Narburgh said.
Kilger said he has been able to get out on his snowmobile a few times. He has driven it to some of the spots for the Covered Bridge Challenge to get a photo at the site.
Light said the challenge has brought attention to the 11,000 miles of snowmobile trails in th state and helped riders meet each other.
"Even though there hasn't been a lot of snow there has been a lot of new friendships," she said.
She said the Covered Bridge Challenge should become an annual event with different locations each year. Some of the spots, like the culvert, may not technically be a covered bridge.
"You need to stretch the definition of a covered bridge," Light said. "This is just intended to be fun."
Rich Kilger rides into the Culvert, the only spot where motorists can ride under the historic Erie Canal.
For more on the Covered Bridge Challenge, click here.
By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 7 February 2016
Led by a repeat champion, Middleport's Super Bowl Sunday tradition continued this morning as several hundred running enthusiasts from all around Western New York took part in the 27th annual Mr. Ed's 5K race under sunny skies with temperatures in the mid 40's.
Vince Donner, a Roy-Hart High graduate and current Niagara Falls resident, took first place honors for the second year in a row with a winning time of :17.09.
Kimberly Mills of Basom was the first female finisher in a time of :19.25.
In all some 550 runners took part in the morning's actives which included a 5 K walk and a 1K fun run in addition to the main 5K run which had over 400 competitors.
Proceeds from the event go to the Mr. Ed's Scholarship Fund which benefits current and former Roy-Hart graduates.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 February 2016
YATES – The president of the citizens group opposed to the wind turbine project proposed in Yates and Somerset has written Gov. Cuomo a letter, asking him to fill the seat on a Siting Board for the "Lighthouse Wind" project.
There are supposed to be two local representatives and five leaders of state agencies on the “New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment.” That board will review the proposed project that includes up to 71 turbines that could peak at 620-feet high in the two towns.
One local representative has been named to the board. Randy Atwater, president of the Barker Board of Education, was appointed by John Flanagan, majority leader of the State Senate.
Carl Heastie, speaker of the State Assembly, also could have named a local representative but he didn’t act on the matter.
Now Pamela Atwater, president of Save Ontario Shores and wife of Randy Atwater, is pressing Gov. Cuomo to fill the other local seat.
“The Article 10 Board, even with two local appointees, is already heavily skewed against local government and community Home Rule,” Atwater wrote to Cuomo. “To enter the next phase of the siting process with one local representative position unfilled would be unfair, a further insult to the concept of Home Rule and would send a signal that the entire Article 10 process is preconfigured to ignore legitimate local and regional concerns.”
The board includes five leaders of state agencies – chairman of the Department of Public Service, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, commissioner of the Department of Health, chairman of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the commissioner of Economic Development.
The loss of “home rule” for the project has been denounced by many local municipal boards and elected officials, including the town boards in Yates and Somerset; the Erie, Niagara and Orleans county legislatures; and Congressman Chris Collins, State Sen. Robert Ortt and State Assemblyman Steve Hawley.
Surveys in Yates and Somerset have also showed strong opposition by residents to the project.
Apex Clean Energy has submitted a preliminary scoping statement and has until Feb. 11 to respond to “several hundred” comments on the PSS. After those responses, Apex officials said they look forward to more formal conversations about the project with the community and state agencies, said Taylor Quarles, development manager for Apex’s proposed Lighthouse Wind project.
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 6 February 2016
MEDINA – A big crowd of 900 people are participating at the eighth annual Wine About Winter in downtown Medina.
Celebrity Day Spa is one of 30 wine-tasting stops on the event. This picture shows, from left: Brandy McKinney, Day Spa owner Edee Hoffmeister, and Amanda Riggle.
They were giving out gift certificates and coupons, as well as sips of wine. Hoffmeister said the event draws people to the downtown business district, giving them a chance to socialize and see many of the businesses.
Hoffmeister praised the Medina Business Association for its effort in planning and organizing the event.
"They have done a wonderful job with it," she said.
Some of the commemorative wine glasses are displayed on a table at the start of the wine-tasting.
The 900 people is up from 850 a year ago. Cindy Robinson, the Business Association president, said the event will likely be capped at 900 in the future.
"We're going to have to limit it because we don't want long lines and we don't want to overload the businesses," she said.
Some of the Wine About Winter participants are lined up on Main Street to sample some of the wines.
Joel Hurlbutt, 23, of Albion and his friend Angela Corloni of Albion are pictured at the English Rose Tea Shoppe in Medina. They said they were impressed by number of family-owned businesses in Medina.
This group of friends and family stayed together on the wine stops. They are inside The Bread Basket. The group includes, from left: Dalton Vercruysse, Erika Myhill, Lisa Wheatley, Lori Myhill, Kirk Myhill, Mary Washak, and Dale Watts.
Paul Schwenk, right, of Schwenk Wine Cellars in Kent pours wine for Jim and Paula Dresser of Medina at A Kut Above.
Mrs. Dresser said the event has become a chance to reconnect with friends and visit Medina's many shops in the downtown.
Peggy Johnson, one of the co-owners of Kut Above, said the event has proven popular.
"It's a perfect time of the year," she said. "In February a lot of people have cabin fever."
By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 6 February 2016
ALBION – I received a few calls and inquiries about Thomas A. Kirby following the recent news article highlighting newly established scholarships through the Albion Central School District – who was he and why a scholarship in his name?
Albion Council #1330 Knights of Columbus developed an annual memorial award for a deserving graduating senior who showed commitment and service to the community. This image shows Thomas A. Kirby as a young man, a freshly minted lawyer eager to establish a local partnership in Albion. The photograph is paired in the collection with that of Thomas L. Hughes.
Thomas Kirby was born on March 22, 1869 in Albion to John and Catherine Hayes Kirby. As a young man, he was no stranger to patriotic duty and service to the community.
Undoubtedly a young Thomas would have heard the stories told by his father, who served with the 8th New York Cavalry during the Civil War, was taken prisoner at Gettysburg, and sent to Andersonville Prison Camp. He received his earliest education in the common schools of Albion and took an interest in law at a young age, studying with John Cunneen who would later serve one term as New York State Attorney General.
A flourishing partnership developed between Kirby and Thomas L. Hughes and the two practiced law together until Hughes decided to move to New York City. The relocation forced Kirby to practice on his own, maintaining an office on East Bank Street.
As an Irish Catholic, Kirby was dedicated to the church committee serving as a trustee of St. Joseph’s Church for a number of years. He was active in the local branch of the Catholic Mutual Benefit Association in its earliest years during the 1880s, an organization largely responsible for supporting working Catholic men with life insurance during times of economic hardship, personal injury, and death.
For reasons unknown, the C.M.B.A. branch eventually developed into the Knights of Columbus Albion Council #1330 which focused its efforts on similar endeavors. The respected community member was selected as the organization’s first Grand Knight (president) when the council formed in 1908.
As a prominent member of the Republican Party and members of the New York State Bar Association, Kirby was elected for one term as Orleans County District Attorney from 1899-1901. During the famed trial of Charles Stielow, Kirby assisted the District Attorney with the prosecution of Stielow for the murder of Charles Phelps of Shelby, a role that created a heavy criticism of local officials involved in the case.
Kirby was instrumental in establishing the Albion Chapter of the American Red Cross during the First World War, acting as the organization’s first Vice Chairman. He was the attorney for the Village of Albion and President of the Board of Education at the time of his death on Jan. 29, 1922.
As an exceptional trial lawyer, Kirby developed a reputation throughout Orleans County and across Western New York as an outstanding and prominent orator. In Carl Carmer’s book, “Dark Trees to the Wind” published in 1949, Carmer recalls a Fourth of July celebration in Albion where “…the Town’s lawyer-orator, corpulent and elegant in his best blue suit and white waistcoat, stood on the platform and with calculated deliberation began his patriotic oration. Twenty minutes later his rich deep voice was pouring out his devotion to his country and his flag with all the poetry and rhetoric born in his Irish soul. His audience was spellbound…” It is without a doubt that Carmer was writing of Thomas Kirby.
His obituary concluded, “Thomas A. Kirby always stood for the right as he saw it and was fearless in his denunciation of wrong…Faithful in every trust reposed in him…” The Knights of Columbus chose to honor a man who was well respected within their organization and a man who was held in high regard throughout the community for his commitment to service and patriotism.
Provided photo Posted 5 February 2016
MEDINA – Orchard Manor Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Medina took part today in National Wear Red Day.
Orchard Manor residents and staff wore red to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke. Donations made will help fund research and education efforts by the American Heart Association to fight against the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers – heart disease and stroke.
Pictured, include, front row, from left: Jenna Rath, Amy Martin, Dave Denny, Brenda Cherry, Richard Pizzuto and Michelle Clor.
Back Row: Patty DiNardo, Karen Biehl, Laurie Seager, Kari Root, LuAnn Thompson, Lori Sutton, Rose Ann Velesko, Katy Owczarczak, Jamie Murphy and Laura Lechner.
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 5 February 2016 4:25 p.m. UPDATED 10:45 p.m.
GAINES – A fire at Par-Me Golf Course this afternoon destroyed a barn and trailer at the site on Brown Road owned by Parm Wilder.
The fire broke out just before 3 p.m. and spewed dark smoke into the sky.
Albion, Carlton, Holley and Kendall firefighters worked together to put out the fire. The Orleans County Emergency Management Office and fire investigators also assisted.
Parm Wilder said he was thankful for the strong response from the fire department. He lost several lawn mowers in the fire but the garage to the right was spared from the blaze. Wilder has two precious vehicles in that barn, including a 1949 Chevy truck and a Lamborghini.
"They were here right away and they got it out," Wilder said.
Wilder created a 9-hole golf course at the property, 2998 Brown Rd.
Albion firefighter Darryl Szklany checks the back of the structures while firefighters apply water to the blaze.
Szklany had a radio and updated firefighters on the other side about the intensity of the fire at the back of the barn.
Firefighters work through the smoke to get the fire out.
The Orleans County Highway Department also was deployed and helped demolish the building so the fire could be put out due to all of the sheet metal.
Press Release, United Way of Orleans County Posted 5 February 2016
ALBION – The United Way of Orleans County is pleased to announce three new members to its Board of Directors.
Cathy Balys of Holley and Rebecca Mannella of Medina were voted in last month. Carol D’Agostino of Kendall joined last summer.
Balys is manager of financial reporting and analysis for the Catholic Family Center in Rochester. Mannella oversees the ICU/Respiratory Therapy Department and Out-Patient Lab for Orleans Community Health. D’Agostino is principal of Kendall Junior/Senior High School.
“These women not only represent different geographic areas of our county, but they also bring a range of expertise and new ideas to our Board,” said Jessica Downey of Albion, Board President. “It’s fantastic to have them join us!”
Orleans United Way, which merged Eastern UW and Western UW four years ago, focuses on community improvement in three impact areas: education, health and income (jobs). A funding application process each fall helps the board select partner agencies that most effectively fulfill community needs.
Funds collected from individuals and employees at workplaces county-wide are distributed according to evidence-based results. The 2016 campaign goal is $279,104.31, coinciding with three major routes criss-crossing Orleans County.
Latest reports showed the campaign about 60 percent complete with five months remaining. This year’s campaign officially ends June 30.
“The local emphasis of our United Way is so important and, I think, misunderstood by some people,” said Executive Director Marsha Rivers of Albion, who serves as the organization’s lone full-time employee. A part-time financial coordinator, Tiffani Ford of Waterport, keeps the books. Volunteers – including the 14-member Board – do all the rest. “Our Board is a group of local leaders using local dollars to help local causes – we’re neighbors helping neighbors.
“Our affiliation dues to United Way Worldwide, because of our small size, are very modest – we get a ‘big bang for our buck.’ With UWW, we can identify with a widely known, well-respected brand while also taking advantage of community-building resources from all over the world, applying best practices right here at home.”
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 February 2016
RIDGEWAY – There may not be much snow on the ground this winter, but a state-wide snowmobile challenge will kick off on Sunday with the first stop at the famed Canal Culvert in Ridgeway, the only spot on the Erie Canal where motorists drive under the historic waterway.
The 2015-16 Covered Bridge Challenge includes 10 covered bridges. Most of them are wooden structures over creeks. The Canal Culvert is massive, an engineering feat made of Medina sandstone.
Snowmobilers will gather at the Culvert at 1 p.m. on Sunday to kick off the Covered Bridge Challenge.
The 10 bridges cover a 663-mile snowmobile route. Participants who ride through each bridge and submit selfies online will receive a decal for their snowmobiles.
The Covered Bridge Challenge is a collaborative effort among several of the state's snowmobile clubs, tourism offices and Mohawk Valley GIS. They are trying to promote tourism in some of the more remote parts of the state in the dead of winter.
There are 85,000 registered snowmobilers in the state. They represent a big economic lift to their communities.
The entire challenge route is 663 miles, spanning 14 counties. Organizers of the challenge encourage riders to take their time, spreading the challenge out and exploring side trails and local happenings.
To enter the challenge, visit www.CoveredBridgeChallenge.com. By personally visiting each of 10 locations, riders earn their own Covered Bridge Challenge decal.
Riders must take a photo of themselves and their sled with the bridge visible in the background. Others may be included in the photo. Photos of all ten locations must be posted on www.NYSnowmobileWebMap.com no later than April 15, 2016. Winners will be contacted and decals mailed out the end of the month.
Snowmobilers are encouraged to share their experiences and their questions on public forums, such as Facebook, Twitter, and at snowmobile club meetings. They are also invited to let local businesses know why they are in town.
The 10 bridges on the challenge include:
1. Culvert Road tunnel in Ridgeway, 3699 Culvert Rd., Medina (Orleans County)
2. John D. Hojnowski Memorial Bridge on Clinton Road in Attica (Wyoming County)
3. The Lodge at Hidden Valley Bridge on Royce Road in Varysburg (Wyoming County)
4. The Old Truck Bridge on Bartz Road in Strykersville (Wyoming County)
5. Cuba Driftbuster’s Bridge on Genesee Street in Cuba (Allegany County)
6. Oswego County/Square Valley Trailblazers, Trail C5 between routes 69 and 26 (Oswego County)
7. Boonville Bridge, State Route 12, Boonville (Oneida County)
8. Deerfield (Hajdasz Family) Bridge, Miller Road, Deerfield (Oneida County)
9. Salisbury Center Bridge, Curtis Road, Salisbury Center (Herkimer County)
10. Old Forge/Town of Webb Bridge, State Route 28, Old Forge (Herkimer County)
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 5 February 2016
ALBION – Earl Schmidt stands in the main office of the Orleans County Veterans Service Agency, where a inside service window is being added, doors widened, and space reconfigured to make the place more accessibility for veterans and more secure for staff.
The County Legislature has authorized up to $7,560 for the project, which is expected to completed later this month at 13996 Route 31 West, next to The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center.
The sign out in front of the office will be changed from Veterans Administration to Orleans County Veterans Service Agency.
Schmidt, the new director of the Veterans Service Agency since December, said the Veterans Administration sign is confusing to the public. Some residents and veterans think the county office is part of the VA, and Schmidt said the county site isn't affiliated with the federal agency, although he can help veterans navigate the VA bureaucracy.
Bert Mathes, a Buildings and Grounds employee for the county, measures the new window in the office.
Buildings and Grounds employees are making doors wider for veterans in wheeelchairs and motorized scooters so they can get through the front door and a bathroom.
Schmidt said he expects there will be an open house for the community after the project is done.
Press Release, Gov. Cuomo’s Office Posted 5 February 2016
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced New York State Police and local law enforcement agencies statewide will crack down on impaired driving during Super Bowl weekend from Saturday, Feb. 6 until midnight, Feb. 8.
The STOP-DWI campaign will include underage drinking enforcement, along with increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints to deter, identify, and arrest impaired drivers.
“State Police will be out in force to help ensure New Yorkers have a safe Super Bowl weekend,” Governor Cuomo said. “There is zero tolerance for impaired and reckless driving, and I encourage all drivers to celebrate responsibly and exercise caution when getting behind the wheel.”
While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the number of drinking and driving fatalities, too many lives are still being lost because of crashes caused by impaired drivers. During the 2015 campaign, State Police made 31 impaired driving arrests and issued more than 1,000 tickets. Additionally, county crackdowns resulted in more than 100 DWI and DWAI arrests, five DWAI drug-only arrests, 82 other arrests, and nearly 1,100 tickets being issued.
The campaign will be promoted on various message boards on highways across the state, including the New York State Thruway. The enforcement initiative is funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.
An impaired driving conviction carries a maximum fine of $10,000, up to seven years in prison and license revocation.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2014, 9,967 people in the U.S. were killed in crashes involving a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher – 31 percent of total traffic fatalities for the year. Drivers should remember that they are putting not only their lives, but the lives of others, in jeopardy when they choose to drink and drive: NHTSA reports that of the traffic fatalities among children 14 and younger in 2014, 19 percent occurred in alcohol-impaired driving crashes.
If you are hosting, designate a responsible driver in advance to help your guests get home safely.
• Ask all of your guests to designate their sober drivers ahead of time, or help them arrange ride-sharing with sober drivers. If you don’t drink, offer to drive guests home.
• Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
• Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter—this is a good time to serve coffee and dessert.
• Sign up online for a ride sharing service and keep the phone numbers of local cab companies on hand and take the keys away from any guests who are thinking of driving after drinking.
• Remember, if you serve a guest alcohol and he or she gets in a crash that night, you could be held liable.
• If an underage person drinks and drives, the parent or guardian can be legally liable for any damage, injury or death caused by the underage driver.
Photos by Cheryl Wertman Posted 4 February 2016
LYNDONVILLE – Lyndonville’s Eric Neace jumps into the arms of fellow teammate Ken Kalson in celebration of the Tigers 67-49 win over Notre Dame tonight, making it nine straight wins for Lyndonville in the Genesee Region League.
Lyndonville is now 15-4 on the season and 11-2 in the league.
Lyndonville fans cheer their team on during the big victory at home.
For more on the game and local sports, click here.
Staff Reports Posted 4 February 2016
HOLLEY – Four people have been charged this morning after a month-long investigation into the manufacturing, sale and distribution of methamphetamine in the Village of Holley, the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force is reporting.
The Task Force worked with other law enforcement agencies in executing search warrants at 1 Thomas St. (commonly known as the Holley Hotel) and charged four people.
The following were arrested:
• Christopher J. Price, 28, of 1 Thomas St., Apt. D., Holley. He was charged with one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree (Class AII felony), one count of conspiracy in the second degree (Class B felony), one count of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree (Class D felony), one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree (Class D felony), one count of unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine in the third degree (Class D felony) and one count of criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine (Class E felony).
Price was arraigned in Orleans County Court by Judge James Punch and committed to county jail on no bail. He is due back in court at 11 a.m. on Friday.
• Michael A. Parkinson, 31, of 1 Thomas St. Apt. G, Holley. He was charged with one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree (Class AII felony), one count of conspiracy in the second degree (Class B felony), one count of unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine in the third degree (Class D felony) and one count of criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine (Class E felony).
Parkinson was arraigned in County Court by Judge Punch and committed to county jail on no bail. He is due back in court at 11 a.m. on Friday.
• Samantha Jo Williams, 20, of 1 Thomas St., Apt. D., Holley. She was charged with one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree (Class AII felony), one count of conspiracy in the second degree (Class B felony), one count of unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine in the third degree (Class D felony) and one count of criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine (Class E felony).
Williams was arraigned in County Court by Judge Punch and committed to county jail on no bail. She is due back in court at 11 a.m. on Friday.
• Angelica L. Hyer, 22, of 1 Thomas St., Apt. G., Holley. She was charged with one count of conspiracy in the second degree (Class B felony).
Hyer was arraigned in Murray Town Court by Town Justice Gary Passarell, and committed to county jail on $5,000 bail. She is to return to Murray Town Court on Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m.
The Task Force was assisted in the search warrants by the New York State Police Special Operation Response Team, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Holley Police Department.
The Orleans County Probation Department and Genesee County Drug Task Force also assisted in the investigation.
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