Courthouse is a focal point on Albion landscape

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 5 May 2015
ALBION – The Orleans County Courthouse looms large and high in the sky on the Albion landscape.

This photo was taken this evening at dusk on Platt Street in the parking lot across from Dunkin’ Donuts.

I try to look for different angles and views of some of our more prominent buildings. I hadn’t taken a picture of the Courthouse from this spot before.

The courthouse was built in 1858 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.


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Hoag Library has $51K left in unpaid pledges

Photo by Tom Rivers
Hoag Library is pictured this evening after the library on South Main Street closed after 8 p.m.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 May 2015
ALBION – Hoag Library has received most of the $1.3 million in pledges and gifts promised for a new library, but $51,000 remains in outstanding pledges, Library President Kevin Doherty said at the annual meeting on Monday.

Doherty was asked by some community members for that information. There were 502 people who made pledges or one-time gifts for the new 14,600-square-foot Hoag Library, which opened in July 2012.


The library had 195 people make pledges and 127 have been paid in full, Doherty said. Some people asked to stagger the payments over five years. Doherty said 20 donors are in arrears, having missed pledge payments.

Overall, about 96 percent of the pledges and gifts have been received. The $1.3 million in the capitol campaign exceeded the goal by about $300,000.

The library owes $1,742,000 on the mortgage for the building, and pays about $11,000 a month towards than loan, Doherty said.

The library board is considering wrapping the mortgage with the expense for a solar project for the roof of the building in a revised long-term, low-interest loan. A state grant is covering some of the costs for the solar project, and other incentives should reduce the library’s cost for that project, Doherty said. The solar project is still being finalized. The library is working with Arista Power on the solar initiative, which could be about $225,000.

The library presented its proposed $698,601 budget for 2015 during the annual meeting. Local property taxes would cover $680,411 of the budget, a 1.6 percent increase from the $669,860 in 2014. The library budget will be voted on May 19 from noon to 8 p.m. as part of the school budget vote at the elementary school.

The library typically elects trustees during the annual meeting. Dele Theodorakos opted against re-election. One community member, former library employee Grace Kent, submitted petitions signed by at least 25 people to be on the ballot. But Doherty said Kent withdrew from the election.

The board decided not to have the vacant position filled during the election because no one else submitted petitions.

Gerard Morrisey said the board should have allowed write-in ballots so the trustee could have been elected by residents and not filled by a board appointment. Doherty said the board intends to fill the position at its May 13 meeting.

Doherty said the board didn’t make provisions for a write-in ballot, and preferred the process of candidates submitting petitions to be on the ballot.

“The public should have a say,” Morrisey said.


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Deputy Sheriff’s Association endorses Randy Bower for sheriff

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 May 2015
ALBION – Randy Bower has received another key endorsement in his campaign to be Orleans County’s next sheriff.

Bower today was endorsed by the Orleans County Deputy Sheriff’s Association. The 23-member group “overwhelmingly supported” Bower to succeed Scott Hess as sheriff, said Erin Fuller, the association president. Hess is retiring Dec. 31.

Bower, a dispatcher for the county for more than 20 years, is vying with Chief Deputy Tom Drennan to be sheriff. The Orleans County Conservative Party endorsed Bower on Monday to be sheriff.

“The membership feels Randy would do a superior job,” said Deputy Fuller. “He has a plan for how he wants the department to progress.”

Bower works closely with deputies and other emergency services personnel in his job as dispatcher, Fuller said.

“Certainly Tom Drennan as chief deputy is qualified enough,” Fuller said. “But the membership endorsed Randy for a multitude of reasons. Randy being who he is we know he will do a great job.”

Both Drennan and Bower have spent months courting Republican leaders. The Republican Party Committee meets 7 p.m. Thursday at Tillman’s Village Inn to make its endorsement.


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Blossom time arrives at fruit orchards

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 5 May 2015
The blossoms are starting to come out in local fruit orchards. These photos show blossoms on peach trees this afternoon at Watt Farms along East Bacon Road in Albion.

The peach trees tend to have pink blossoms. In a few days the apple blossoms should be out and those white blossoms will make for stunning drives in the countryside.

Chris Watt, owner of Watt Farms, said the blossom season can be an anxious time for fruit growers. When the blossoms are out, bees need to be busy pollinating so the fruit can grow, Watt said.


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Hoag Library in no rush to replace interim director

Photo by Tom Rivers
Betty Sue Miller, interim director at Hoag Library, is pictured during a February meeting of the Board of Trustees.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 May 2015
ALBION – In her four months on the job as interim director at Hoag Library, Betty Sue Miller has been tasked with reorganizing some of the library’s layout, removing valuables and other items from the former Swan Library, and rebuilding some strained relationships among library staff and patrons.

Miller has met those objectives, Library President Kevin Doherty said. Two staff members, Cheryl Mowatt and Dee Robinson, both voiced support for Miller at Monday’s annual meeting for the library.

“Betty Sue Miller is just what the doctor ordered,” said Mowatt, a reference librarian at Hoag.

Miller, an Albion resident, was hired as interim director in January after the board parted ways with the previous director. Miller was hired with the intention it would be a short-term assignment, providing time for the board to prepare for another search.

But Doherty said Miller, a retired teacher and school library director in Holley, has done so well that the board isn’t pushing for her replacement.

“We are in no rush to start a search process,” Doherty said. “She is the right person at the right time.”

It’s been a busy four months with library staff and volunteers cleaning out the former Swan Library. That building is being sold to Chad Fabry of Holley for $53,000. A final closing date hasn’t been scheduled yet as lawyers work on the closing documents.

Some of the furniture pieces, paintings and other prized artifacts from Swan have either been moved to the Hoag or long-term storage.

Miller and staff also reorganized the adult section in the Hoag Library to better utilize space, and a future reorganization of the children’s library is being planned.

Miller also is working with the state on a NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) grant for solar panels on the roof of the new library and she worked on a $2,500 grant through the Orleans County Youth Bureau for the library’s summer reading program.

She has added to the collection of library books and other materials and begun weeding the collection based on circulation reports.

“It’s been a fabulous four months and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it,” she said.


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Several plead guilty to crimes in Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 May 2015
ALBION – Several people pleaded guilty in Orleans County Court on Monday, and they could face time in jail or prison.

Amanda L. Major, 24, of Medina admitted she had cocaine with the intent to sell it at her residence on Starr Street in Medina on Jan. 14. She pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a charge that carries a maximum of 2 ½ years in state prison.

As part of a plea deal, Major would avoid state prison and be sentenced to up to a year in county jail. If Judge James Punch decides on state prison for Major, she can reject the plea deal and go to trial.

Major, a first-time offender, will be sentenced on July 13.

In other cases in County Court:

• Three people that were arraigned in March on fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance pleaded guilty to reduced charges and will enter Drug Court. If they can pass Drug Court – staying off drugs and not committing additional crimes – their felony charge will be dismissed and they will instead have a misdemeanor drug charge with no jail time.

Nathan L. Parsad, 24, of Williamson, was driving on Jan. 12 on Ridge Road in Gaines when he was in an accident. Parsad and two of his passengers – Caitlin E. Jones, 29, of Canandaigua and Eric L. Shirley, 28, of Canandaigua – all faced drug charges after police found drugs in the vehicle.

The three all told Judge Punch they knew there were drugs in the car and that they intended to use the drugs.

They pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth and seventh degrees. If they pass Drug Court, the fifth-degree charge will be dismissed.

• An Albion teen admitted he entered a house on West Park Street without permission and stole from the owner on Aug. 18.

Corey Baerman, 18, faced a charge of second-degree burglary, which carries a maximum of 15 years in state prison. But in a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree burglary which carries a maximum of 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison if he is granted youthful offender status by Judge Punch.

If Baerman is not given youthful offender status, he would face a maximum of 2 to 7 years in state prison for attempted second-degree burglary. If the judge decides against youthful offender status for Baerman, he can reject the plea and go to trial.

Baerman said the house was unlocked when he went inside.

“Did you go into the house with the intent to steal something?” Punch asked Baerman.

“Yes, sir,” he answered.

Baerman will be sentenced on July 13.

• A Holley woman admitted she violated her probation by driving a vehicle without a license, drinking alcohol, driving without an interlock ignition device, and missing several probation appointments.

Dana Hubler will be sentenced on June 1 and could face up to 4 years in state prison.


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Conservative Party endorses Randy Bower for sheriff

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 May 2015
ALBION – The Orleans County Conservative Party has endorsed a long-time dispatcher to replace Scott Hess as sheriff. Hess is retiring after Dec. 31 and isn’t seeking re-election.

The Conservative Party endorsed Bower on Monday, choosing him over Tom Drennan, the chief deputy at the Sheriff’s Department.

Al Lofthouse, Conservative Party chairman, said Bower impressed party leaders during an interview. He wants to run a lean department with its budget and also step up efforts to pursue welfare fraud, Lofthouse said.

“He came across a little better in the interview,” Lofthouse said about Bower, a Holley resident. “People felt Randy was more attuned to Conservative values.”

The Orleans County Republican Party Committee meets on Thursday to make its endorsements, and the sheriff choice may be the most anticipated selection.

The nine-member Conservative Party Committee did not endorse any incumbent county legislators for re-election. Lofthouse said the county leaders haven’t done enough to bring down property taxes in the community.

The Conservatives did endorse Paul Lauricella Jr. of Lyndonville to run against incumbent Lynne Johnson. Lauricella is vice chairman of the Conservative Party. He recused himself from the legislator endorsement discussions, Lofthouse said.

“The county is not headed in the right direction,” Lofthouse said this morning. “We have the highest taxes for home assessments in the country. The legislators don’t seem to be willing to take the bull by the horns and cut expenses.”


In addition to Bower and Lauricella, the Conservative Party endorsed the following candidates:


Rocco L. Sidari for county coroner, Joseph R. Kujawa for Ridgeway town justice, Ronald Mannella for Gaines highway superintendent, Edward Houseknecht for Shelby highway superintendent, Tracy Bruce Chalker for Clarendon highway superintendent, Carol Culhane for Gaines town supervisor, Mary R. Neilans for Gaines town councilwoman, and Matthew Passarell for Albion town supervisor.


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Hawley doesn’t support police lights and sirens for Cuomo’s top staff

Press Release, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley Posted 5 May 2015
Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) commented on the new emergency regulation that will allow Gov. Cuomo and the upper echelon of his administration to use police lights and sirens on their personal vehicles.

Hawley said this new privilege has the potential for abuse and creates an elitist mentality where high-ranking officials in the governor’s administration are given too much power to circumvent the law even on their off hours.

“It is unnecessary for the governor and his top aides to be awarded the ability to sidestep basic traffic requirements and speed limits even when off duty,” Hawley said. “I can’t imagine too many situations where the commissioner of environmental conservation or secretary to Gov. Cuomo would be ‘involved in emergency operations.’ There is definitely a high potential for abuse because ‘emergency operations’ could be used in a variety of contexts.”

Many top state officials, including Gov. Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, already travel with state police protection but the new regulation would allow police lights and sirens to be installed on their personal vehicles.


“I am concerned that such disregard for traffic laws will put other drivers and bystanders in danger,” Hawley said. “This is another example of how the governor’s office thinks the law does not apply to them and will expand executive power without properly vetting and debating it first.”


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April was another strong month for the Orleans Hub

Photo by Tom Rivers
Orleans Hub posted many stories on the 200-plus Santas in Albion from April 16-19 for the Charles W. Howard Legendary Santa Claus Conference. The group gathered for a photo on the courthouse steps on April 18.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 May 2015
April proved a photo-friendly month for Orleans Hub with 200-plus Santas in Albion for a Santa Claus conference, a Civil War Encampment in Medina and arrival of spring following a brutal winter.

It was also a controversial month with parents and students “opting out” of standardized tests, residents fighting against a wind energy project in Yates and Somerset, and local villages wrestling with budgets that raised taxes.

Orleans Hub continued a strong 2015 with our fourth straight month with over 600,000 pageviews. We had 636,842 in April, an average of 21,228 each day. We set a new record in April for pageviews for obituaries with 113,722.

We also averaged 6,552 unique daily visitors for the month, our fourth straight month topping 6,000.

Here are the top five most viewed stories for April:


1. Truck driver from Medina killed in Wyoming County accident


2. Albion grad gets football coaching position at the U. of Findlay


3. Albion again named top music school district in US


4. Superintendents urge students, parents not to refuse state tests


5. Cobblestone house badly damaged in fire

Photo by Cheryl Wertman
Medina's Shane Freeman slides into home as Lyndonville catcher James Ianni tries to dig out the ball during the Mustangs 10-4 win over the visiting Tigers on April 3 at Vets Park in Medina.

Mike and Cheryl Wertman have also been busy covering spring sports, offering a complete daily report on high school baseball, softball, tennis, track and field, and lacrosse.


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Park cleanup shows signs of former grand estate

Golden Hill is looking for original photos of residence

Photos by Cheryl Wertman

This photo shows a long section of the Drake estate wall facing west.


By Cheryl Wertman Posted 4 May 2015
BARKER – A camping visit to one of our state parks is always fun occasion and sometimes provides a pleasant and interesting surprise and that was certainly the case on Saturday.


This weekend while camping at Golden Hill State Park near Barker, we took part in the New York State Park's “I Love My Park Day.”


Several projects were available to work on and the one we chose was to help clean up a section of the Drake House ruins.

This photo shows a corner of the wall with a fancy curve section. A portion of the wall has broke apart revealing how it was constructed.


We have camped at Golden Hill for many years but had not heard of the ruins of the former Drake estate which are located at the extreme east end of the state park property along County Line Road.


We did not know what to expect but were really surprised with what we found. While the house no longer exits large sections of the very elaborately decorated walls which surrounded a large section the property still exits as does a brick patio area, fish pond and large stone barbecue feature.

A view of the wall from the curved corner looking east.


The accompanying photos show sections of the wall that include colorful inlaid mosaic tiles as well as brick and stone design features including an anchor and a horseshoe.

According to a pamphlet published by Town of Somerset Historian Lorraine Wayner, the estate's house was constructed in the 1850s by Aaron Drake. Interestingly, one of the later owners was Robert Newell of Medina who owned the Newell Shirt factory.


Historian Wayner notes that the Newells, who owned the property in the 1930s, “restored the house, built a tea room and the fish pond was an added attraction.” She adds that in the following years the property was owned for a time by a religious group, the Bethesda Gospel Tabernacle.

Here is a close up view of a section of the wall showing several of the colorful mosaic tiles and a cross detail made of brick.

Historian Wayner notes that the property was “very much run down when Dr. Harry Parker, from Buffalo bought the property. He restored it to a point but the family didn’t live there long. Finally in 1962 New York State acquired the land as part of the development of Golden Hill State Park. Historian Wayner notes that ‘the house was demolished.’ The only thing left was the crumbling walls.”

It is those historic and intricately decorated estate walks that park officials are now looking to try to make a more active part of the park for visitors to enjoy, possibly including a picnic area.


The park welcomes any historic photos that show the original building. For more information on Golden Hill State Park, click here.

A close up section of the wall appears showing the inlaid anchor detail in stone.

Here is a section of the wall showing a cross and horseshoe details in brick and stone.

Here is a view of the patio with a large section of the estate wall.

The large stone barbecue feature was part of the Drake estate.

The property includes this fish pond.


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Rochester man could get 5 years for selling cocaine

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 May 2015
ALBION – A Rochester man could face up to 5 years in state prison after he admitted in Orleans County Court today that he sold cocaine.


Keith Toney, 36, of Rochester faces up to 5 years in state prison as a second felony offender.

Toney and a Rochester woman Lakusha McMorris, 35, both were arrested on Jan. 27 following a six-month investigation into the sale and distribution of crack cocaine from the City of Rochester to Medina.

Toney admitted in court today he arranged the transactions by phone and McMorris said she was the delivery person on three occasions. Toney was charged in January with nine counts of criminal sale of controlled substance in the third degree.


Toney pleaded guilty today to third-degree attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance. He pleaded guilty specifically to arranging for a cocaine sale at the Wal-Mart parking lot in Brockport on Aug. 27, 2014.

He made the deal with an informant from Orleans County, which is why the case is being handled in Orleans County Court. Brockport is located in neighboring Monroe County.

Judge James Punch wanted another week to study the case law regarding whether McMorris’s crime should be handled in Orleans County. She said she didn’t make the phone calls or have contact in Orleans County with the drug buyers. She said she was delivering the drug for Toney.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said case law supports McMorris being tried in Orleans County as an accomplice to the sales arranged by Toney.

“We’ll check the jurisdictional aspect,” Punch said. “It’s an unusual case.”

McMorris, a first time felony offender, is due back in court on May 11.


Toney will be sentenced on Aug. 17.


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Man who stole and forged checks gets state prison

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 May 2015
ALBION – A Lockport man who pleaded guilty to grand larceny in December was sentenced today in Orleans County Court to 2 to 4 years in state prison.


Richard Wheeler, 45, admitted in a previous court appearance that he took checks from a local farmer, forged signatures and cashed them. As part of a plea deal, he was ordered to pay $4,971 in restitution. Wheeler worked for the victim in the crime, according to the District Attorney’s Office.


Wheeler has a prior driving while intoxicated conviction, making him a second felony offender. That required Judge James Punch to sentence Wheeler to at least half of the maximum sentence, the judge said.


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Brush fire spreads to woods in Murray

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 4 May 2015
MURRAY – A brush fire at Red Rock Ponds on Canal Road in Murray spread to the nearby woods with at least one tree catching on fire.


In the top photo, Captain Dave Smith of the Fancher-Hulberton-Murray Fire Company sprays water on the burning tree stump after firefighter Gary Sicurella cleared a path for Smith.

Gary Sicurella chopped down vegetation so other firefighters could get to the spot in the woods with a fire hose.

Firefighters had to wind the hose through the woods and many pricker bushes to get to the burning tree stump.

Firefighters from FHM were on scene at about 12:30 p.m. and put out the fire in the wooded area. Firefighters also extinguished the pile of brush that was burning.

Firefighter Patrick Hayes sprays water on the bigger pile of burning brush. Firefighters suspect a hot spark from that pile was blown into the woods, catching a tree stump on fire.

The National Weather Service has issued a “red flag warning" from noon to 7 p.m. today for western and northern central New York, saying the area is vulnerable to grass and forest fires.

Winds will move from southwest at 10 to 20 miles per hour with gusts up to 30 to 35 mph, the Weather Service said.


Temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s, combined with humidity as low as 25 percent, have made the forest and grass fuels very dry.

The combination of factors “may result in dangerous fire behavior,” the Weather Service said. “Any fires that do occur could spread quickly, burn intensely and be difficult to contain.”


The Weather Service reminded the public a burn ban is in place until mid-May.

Firefighters Debbie Fiorito, foreground, and Kevin Dann try to break apart the burn pile at Red Rock Ponds.


Firefighters were also called to brush, tree and grass fire this afternoon at East Shelby Road near Millville Cemetery in the Town of Shelby.


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WNY cautioned about possible field and forest fires today

Photo by Tom Rivers
Barre firefighter Chris Flansburg works to put out a fire in a hedgerow along Route 98 on Sunday after a brush fire spread.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 May 2015

The National Weather Service has issued a “red flag warning" from noon to 7 p.m. today for western and northern central New York, saying the area is vulnerable to grass and forest fires.


Winds will move from southwest at 10 to 20 miles per hour with gusts up to 30 to 35 mph, the Weather Service said.

Temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s, combined with humidity as low as 25 percent, have made the forest and grass fuels very dry.


The combination of factors “may result in dangerous fire behavior,” the Weather Service said. “Any fires that do occur could spread quickly, burn intensely and be difficult to contain.”

The Weather Service reminded the public a burn ban is in place until mid-May.


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Medina library won’t raise taxes in new budget

Staff Reports Posted 4 May 2015

MEDINA – Lee-Whedon Memorial Library will have its annual meeting at 7 p.m. May 11 at the library, 620 West Ave.

Library leaders will present the budget for 2015-16, which keeps the tax levy at $520,641. Because there is no increase in taxes, the budget doesn’t need a public vote.

“The board is sensitive to the pressures felt by taxpayers, particularly in the Village of Medina,” said Maryellen Dale, president of board. “As fiscal stewards, we constantly strive to balance increased operation costs with a conservative revenue request. We are proud of our staff and our high standards of service.”


Besides the presentation of budget, the annual meeting on May 11 will include voting on a trustee position and the presentation of the annual report.


Trustee Cynthia Kiebala is seeking re-election as a trustee for a five-year term. Qualified residents of Medina Central School District (18 and older and a resident for at least 30 days) may vote for the trustee vacancy.


The library’s service area includes Medina Central School District, and district residents are welcome to attend the meeting.


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Hospice honors volunteers, supporters

Provided photos

Ceil Feldman, a Hospice volunteer for more than 20 years, received a “gag” gift of a bag of flour in recognition of many gifts of baked goods to the staff and volunteers.


Staff Reports Posted 4 May 2015
ALBION – Hospice of Orleans honored volunteers and supporters who serve the agency during a recognition banquet and annual meeting last week.

Don Algeo received Hospice’s Volunteer of the Year Award.

Don Algeo was named “Volunteer of the Year” for Hospice of Orleans.

“Don is always willing to help,” said Volunteer Coordinator Christine Fancher. “He volunteers at the Residence four or more hours a week and goes to a patient’s home and prepares meals twice a week.” Algeo also serves on the Hospice of Orleans Board of Directors.

Jerome Pawlak received the Mary Janet Sahukar Award, named for Hospice of Orleans’ founding director. The award recognizes a community member who understands, embraces and supports the organization’s mission in sacrificial ways.

Jerome Pawlak is pictured with Mary Anne Fischer, Hospice executive director, after Pawlak received the Mary Janet Sahukar Award, named for the founding director of Hospice in Orleans County.

“Jerome always says ‘yes’ when we ask if we can sell bouquets at his Save-A-Lot Stores or ask for any other assistance,” said Mary Anne Fischer, Hospice executive director, as she presented the award.


Pawlak told the group that his father had been a supporter of Hospice since its inception and that he is proud to carry on that tradition.

Merrill Grinnell Funeral Home received the Hospice Business/Civic Award for its role in developing and supporting the Classic Car Show for the past two years.

A Special Recognition Award was presented to Leonard Oakes Estate Winery for their many contributions to fundraising for Hospice. Wendy Wilson accepted the award for the Winery.


Her voice filled with emotion, as she said “I can’t thank Hospice enough for taking care of one of our long time, much loved employees this past year. Two of our employees are receiving services now. Hospice staff has been incredible! Hospice has been near and dear to our family and we are happy to support them in any way we can.”

John Girvin was recognized for his service on the Hospice of Orleans Board of Directors.

John Girvin was honored for completion of his term on the Hospice of Orleans Board of Directors.

Lynn Short, former owner of Arjuna Florist, and Pamela Reamer, professor of Nursing at SUNY Brockport, were elected to serve two-year terms on the Board of Directors. The Board had previously elected Dennis Piedimonte, owner of JP’s Farm Market in Holley, to a three-year term.

Fischer applauded the work of the Hospice volunteers and reported that in 2014, more than 150 volunteers contributed over 6,800 hours to the Hospice mission of providing comfort, compassion and expertise to Orleans County residents facing serious illness. She attributed a cost savings of over $110,000 last year to volunteer involvement.

“Our mission would be impossible without you – our volunteers,” she told about 100 people at the Medina United Methodist Church.

In her remarks she pointed out some concerning trends in utilization of Hospice services.


“While 75 percent of those referred were admitted to care, 31 percent reached out to us too late,” she said. “Most people are admitted to Hospice services on the same day or within 24 hours of a referral. Clearly, more people could benefit from Hospice services if they were referred earlier.”

Fischer called on Hospice volunteers and supporters to help educate our community.


“Hospice is not about giving up on your loved one,” she said. “It is about giving to them.”

She cited a new study that shows that hospice care not only improves the quality of life but also the length of life.

“On average, patients lived 29 days longer on hospice than those with the same disease who didn’t have hospice services,” she said.

In her remarks, Fischer noted that it was of concern that in 2014, “14 percent of those referred, but not admitted, to hospice care were routed to futile efforts at rehabilitation in nursing homes where they subsequently died.”

She also cautioned that the community needs to be wary of the recent push to legalize physician assisted suicide.

“I could talk at length on this topic, but the important point I want to make is that Hospice is the answer,” she said. “Hospice is the answer for anyone who is contemplating ending their life because of a terminal health issue … make sure your loved ones and friends know how important the hospice choice is.”

Fischer detailed key accomplishments of 2014, including implementing changes in employee medical and dental coverage, evaluation of the agency’s cost structure and saving over $350 in postage alone with increased use of email and online volunteer scheduling.


Finance Director Joel Allen reviewed the 2014 Budget Expenses for the agency and pointed out that more than 90 percent of the expenses billed for patient services go to direct patient care. He noted that patient costs for the Martin-Linsin Residence are in line with budget projections. While there has been a slight decrease in home care, all other expenses and revenue projections were on target for 2014.

Nyla Gaylord, director of Development and Community Relations, reported on past and upcoming events and thanked Wendy Wilson of Leonard Oakes Estate Winery for her support in initiating a new fundraising event at the Winery, “Beat the Winter Blues.” Gaylord noted that in the future Hospice will be producing a screening tool “What Help Do You Need?” to better assist people to identify the need for in-home support, palliative care and hospice services.

The agency will continue to look for new opportunities to raise funds through events and grant seeking, as well as promoting new financial giving options that fall outside of probate and wills, Gaylord said.

Agency priorities for 2015 include implementing the new Pet Peace of Mind program, strengthening the infrastructure of the agency to ensure its long-term viability, investigating a group purchasing program with other area hospice programs, and continuing to educate the community about the benefits of hospice.


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Compost education site dedicated to Master Gardener

Photos by Kristina Gabalski
Joe Heath and Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener John Myers install a sign at the new compost education site on the Orleans 4-H Fairgrounds. The site is dedicated in memory of Joe's dad, Joe Heath, who volunteered as a Master Gardener.

By Kristina Gabalski, Orleans Hub Correspondent Posted 4 May 2015
KNOWLESVILLE – Master Gardener volunteers at the Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension have dedicated a new educational composting display site in memory of fellow Master Gardener Joe Heath of Medina, who was dedicated to teaching children about conservation.


Mr. Heath died on Jan. 5. A dedication ceremony was held on Saturday morning at the site which is located just outside the Buzz Hill Education Center at the 4-H Fairgrounds.


Heath's family – his wife Marie, daughter Jen, son Joe, Joe’s wife Lisa, and their children Connor and Kylie – all attended the ceremony and helped to place a sign at the site.

The family of Joe Heath is pictured by the new compost education site at the 4-H Fairgrounds in Knowlesville. The family includes, front, Joe Heath’s granddaughter, Kylie; wife, Marie; and grandson Connor. Back row: son, Joe; daughter-in-law, Lisa; and daughter, Jen.


Currently the composting site contains a cinder (concrete) block turning unit and an example of a ready-made commercial compost bin.


“This is nowhere near complete,” Master Gardener John Myers said during the dedication.


Examples of other composting systems will be added to the display. Myers, a long-time friend of Heath's, led the effort to prepare the site. He noted Joe Heath was always very involved in teaching Orleans County sixth graders about composting during the annual Conservation Field Days held at the Fairgrounds in late May.


“We really, truly appreciate everything Joe did for us,” said Kim Hazel, agriculture administrative assistant at the Cooperative Extension.

This shows the site and proximity to Education Building before the dedication ceremony

This is a picture of the sign, before they put it into place.


Hazel is also a Master Gardener and she said Joe always managed to “brighten up my day” when he would be at the Fairgrounds for various events or to work on projects.


“We really loved to do it,” said Joe's wife Marie, who also volunteered as a Master Gardener.


Master Gardeners formerly had a composting display with various examples of composting systems next to the log cabin on the Fairgrounds.

The new site puts the display in a more visible location – it can be seen from Rt. 31 and from the roadway/walkway that runs through the Fairgrounds, Hazel said.


It will also be easier for staff at Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension to use of the site for composting since it is so close to the Buzz Hill Education Center which houses their offices.


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Beautiful sunset, warm weather draw a crowd to Point Breeze

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 3 May 2015
POINT BREEZE – There were a lot of people at Point Breeze this evening as the sun was setting. People were fishing, kayaking, throwing rocks in the water and enjoying a stroll along the pier.

Willow Groth, 8, of Albion has a pile of rocks she was tossing in Lake Ontario.

These kayakers paddle into the Oak Orchard River.

The Oak Orchard Lighthouse is one of the landmarks at Point Breeze.

The lighthouse was built in 2010 and was designed as a replica of one that toppled in a storm in 1916.

A full moon was also out, opposite of the setting sun. This photo was taken at the shoreline in front of the lighthouse, looking east.

Here is another one of the shoreline with the full moon.


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