Democrat who wants to succeed Maziarz says he’ll fight for more WNY aid

Photos by Tom Rivers
Johnny Destino speaks to about 75 people at the Orleans County Democratic Party picnic this afternoon at Bullard Park in Albion.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 27 July 2014
ALBION – It’s a rallying cry repeated often by Republican leaders locally and state-wide: the State Senate needs to remain in Republican control or the downstate Democrats will give free rein to the State Legislature and governor to pass a liberal agenda and drive up taxes.

Johnny Destino doesn’t buy that argument. He is running as a Democrat for Senate in the 62nd District, George Maziarz’s seat.

“Look at the downturn in Western New York over the last 40 years while we’ve had a Republican majority in the State Senate,” Destino said today in Albion. “That argument that all of a sudden it’s going flip to Democratic control and I’m going to succumb to downstate liberal interests is just false. I’ll be a strong advocate for the 62nd District.”

Destino, 37, is an attorney in Niagara Falls. He said he would make increased state funding for local schools a top priority. He serves on the Niagara Falls Board of Education and the board for the Orleans-Niagara BOCES.

He was critical of Maziarz for giving “bullet aid” to each school district in Orleans County rather than pushing for more state aid that would be outside the whims and influence of a state senator. Maziarz this past school year directed $67,800 in bullet aid to each of the five districts in Orleans.

Destino ran against Maziarz in a Republican primary two years ago and was soundly defeated. He didn’t want to associate with the Niagara County Republican Party this election, saying the party is corrupt.

Maziarz opted against re-election two weeks ago, a day before the deadline to decline the nomination. Many Republican Party leaders are rallying behind North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt, who faces a GOP primary challenge from Gia Arnold of Holley.

Maziarz’s campaign fund is being investigated by the US Attorney. Maziarz’s sudden absence from the race gives voters a chance to pick a senator who will fight for Middle Class families, Destino said.

Using the region’s low-cost hydropower to create and sustain jobs can keep more hard-working residents in Western New York, Destino said. The state government can also enact policies to bring down the cost of electricity for everyone.

“That will lead directly to the increase in jobs that we all deserve so our children don’t have to graduate from college and leave the area to find work and raise families,” he said.

Destino said he supports a fiscally conservative government “but not at an expense of the people.”

He vowed to be a strong advocate for the area if he is sent to Albany.

“I’m going to be a team player working for labor’s interests, for Western New York and to get our families back into good-paying jobs where they can start raising families and actually afford to stay in Western New York,” he said. “I’m not going to play games with my position. I’m not going to try and cut deals in exchange for votes. That’s what got us into this position in the first place.”

Three candidates for State Supreme Court Justice also addressed Demcorats at the picnic.

Alisa Lukasiewicz

Alisa Lukasiewicz works a special counsel for the Phillips Lytle firm in Buffalo. She is a past corporation counsel for the City of Buffalo, the first woman to serve in the position. Lukasiewicz said she has worked hard in her career.

Dennis Glascott

Dennis Glascott, current village of Angola judge and acting Buffalo City Court judge, has 25 years of trial experience across New York. He worked as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Navy.

Daniel Furlong

Daniel Furlong has worked the past four years as a confidential law clerk for State Supreme Court Judge Joseph Glownia. Furlong also worked 26 years in private practice as an attorney.

Orleans Hub will have an article Monday about Jim O’Donnell, a Buffalo police officer running against Chris Collins for Congress.


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Auction brings home the bacon for 4-H’ers

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 27 July 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – Ethan Bannister looks for bids at the 4-H Animal Meat Auction on Saturday. His sister Jayne is in the ring with a lamb. Jayne had the grand champion market lamb for the auction.


Her brother Robert, in back, serves as auctioneer for the event, which brought in about $27,000 for 4-H’ers. Emily Bannister was clerk for the auction and Skip Lear, back right, serves on the 4-H Livestock Auction Committee.

Trevor Bentley of Lyndonville leads the reserve champion steer out of the ring after the 1,170-pound animal sold for $6.75 a pound or $7,904 total, the biggest price on the day. Bill and Stacy Corcoran bought the steer, paying well above the market price to support Trevor and the 4-H program.

Robert Bannister, a former Orleans County 4-H member, serves as auctioneer for the event, which is now in its fifth year at the fair since it started in 2010. Robert’s sister Jayne of Point Breeze is in the ring with a lamb.

Some turkeys raised by 4-H youths wait to be auctioned off on Saturday.

Janie Schutz of Waterport raised this lamb that was sold during Saturday’s auction.

Ian Smith of Lyndonville stands with his rabbit during the auction. Andy Beach, right, assisted with the event that included $26,988 in sale prices.


4-H’ers sold beef cattle, pigs, lambs, meat goats, meat rabbits, chickens and turkeys.


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Baseball fans delight in meeting Hall of Famers at Cooperstown

Photos by Cheryl Wertman
New Hall of Fame inductee, former New York Manager Joe Torre, waves to the crowd during a parade in Cooperstown on Saturday.

(Editor’s note: Orleans Hub sportswriter Mike Wertman and his wife Cheryl, a Hub sports photographer, have been at Cooperstown since Friday for the Hall of Fame Induction weekend.)


By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 26 July 2014

COOPERSTOWN – The crowds ballooned at the Hall of Fame, along Main Street and at the golf course Saturday during our second and final day at the 75th annual Baseball Hall of Fame weekend.


With a good vantage point just off the ninth tee, Cheryl and I spent the morning watching the annual Hall of Famers golf tournament at the Leatherstocking Country Club. 

One of this year's Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, former Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine makes a shot during this morning's golf tournament at the Leatherstocking Country Club.

It was a treat to see several of the new inductees including former Atlanta Braves pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, former Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas and former Cardinals', A's and White Sox Manager Tony LaRussa as well as some Hall of Fame favorites including Phil Niekro, George Brett and Lou Brock.

Hall of Famer George Brett signs for a very enthusiastic group of “autograph hounds” during the golf tourney. 


However, the biggest entertainment of the tourney was in watching the antics and reaction of the scores of “autograph hounds” who lined the stone wall every time a Hall of Famer would come by.


And boy if one of the players stopped to sign a few autographs, look out, you might get trampled. It was a feeding frenzy like sharks going after blood in the water as the over enthusiastic fans surged to try and get a precious autograph. 


And while most of the players ignored the calls and pleas for them to sign and just concentrated on their golf game things at times did get interesting when a player stopped. One such instance happened when Maddux halted his golf cart to sign before crossing the road to get to the next hole. It took only seconds and the cart was surrounded and engulfed by swarming autograph seeking fans who raced to the scene at full speed. 

Hall of Famer Jim Rice was a very congenial signer for a small group of fans.


We enjoyed watching these scenes from a safe distance satisfied to just take photos. However, our patience did pay off once as Hall of Famer Jim Rice stopped for a water break near where we were standing with about a half dozen other fans. When one of the fans asked if he would sign, Rice gladly responded and we all were able to get a signature of the Red Sox great without any stampede.


From the golf course we walked to downtown and along the way enjoyed checking out the many interesting buildings at the Farmers Museum.


While downtown we took a bit of a break from baseball and checked out some of the village's rich heritage including the local Indian sites of Council Rock and the burial mound, a marker to the Clinton and Sullivan Revolutionary War campaign as well as the James Fenimore Cooper Park and statue.

The plaque rotunda area of the Hall of Fame was named with fans on Saturday afternoon.


By early afternoon the crowds trying to get into the Hall of Fame were more than a block long stretching around the corner and fans had already placed chairs along Main Street to reserve spots to watch this evening's parade of Hall of Famers.


And not surprisingly with such a large crowd there were lines for everything from ice cream to the trolley.

The line of fans waiting into get into the Hall of Fame stretched for over a block. 

And what a parade it was.


With thousands of fans lining the route, as much as eight to 10 deep at many places, over 50 Hall of Famers paraded riding in pickup trucks up the length of Main Street to the Hall of Fame.


The Hall of Famers paraded by their year of induction leaving the biggest part of the evening for the end - the arrival of his year's class of inductees.

Part of the huge crowd that lined Main Street for the Hall of Famers parade. The truck carrying Cal Ripken Jr. is shown here.


That was especially true for the huge number of Atlanta Braves in attendance.  With three of their own set to be formally inducted on Sunday the Braves contingent greeted Cox, Glavine and Maddux with the famous Tomahawk Chop and the Braves war chant which echoed throughout the downtown area.


We enjoyed our two-day stay at Induction Weekend which will conclude this afternoon with the formal induction of the six new Hall of Famers at the Clark Complex on the edge of Cooperstown. A crowd of over 40,000 is expected.


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Drechsel named Grand Master Showman of Small Animals

Photos by Sue Cook
Claudia Drechsel explains to judge Linda Wilbur how to check rabbits for ear mites.


By Sue Cook, staff reporter Posted 27 July 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – The Grand Master Showman of Small Animals competition tested participants’ skills in showing chickens, rabbits and dogs.

Competitors were chosen for their excellence at earlier shows in the week for the small animals. Six competed for Grand Master Showman including Jordyn Smith and Rachel Gregoire, representing rabbits; Andrew Moore and Claudia Drechsel, representing poultry; and Brooke Kiefer and Bailey Jackson, representing dogs.

Judges were brought from outside the area so that they would not have a bias or prior knowledge of any of the competitors.

Rachel Gregoire shows the Australian cattle dog.

Jordyn Smith went into the chicken portion of the show with great confidence.


During each portion of the show, the 4-H’ers had to demonstrate the correct care and handling of the animal. During the dog portion, they also had to run the dog around the show ring and make the animal perform patterns for the judge. They also had to know the nomenclature and what each of the body parts did or how it should be cared for.

Brooke Kiefer shows the dog to judge Toni Garcia.


Claudia Drechsel of Holley was named the Grand Master Showman for her competence of all three species of animals. Brooke Kiefer was named the Reserve Champion.


“This is my third year participating in small animal grand master and I really enjoy learning about all the different breeds,” said Drechsel. “I like that they switch up what we use (each year). It's really cool to learn about all the different breeds.”

Dreschel also competed in the Grand Master Showman competition on Friday for large animals, qualifying for her prowess in showing sheep.

Kiefer (left) and Drechsel received trophies for their hard work.


Poultry judge Bill Ziehm found the 4-H'ers impressive. He said that when they weren't sure about an answer or gave a wrong answer “they maintained their composure and moved on to the next question with a positive attitude.”


“You have to study. You really do,” said Drechsel. “Small animals are lots of knowledge. Large animals are more how you present the animal and present yourself. It's a really good experience and a good thing to have fun with. It's not all about winning. From a personal standpoint, I'd rather lose and have fun, than win and not have fun.”

Andrew Moore answers questions for Bill Ziehm.

Bailey Johnson talks to the judge while the audience looks on.


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Grapplers extend streak to 4 grease pole crowns

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 27 July 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – Jed Platt of Appleton, dressed in a turtle outfit, slips down on the grease pole with teammates Royal Snyder of Lyndonville, right, and Elliott Perkins of Barker. The team, Udder Suckers Reloaded, wasn’t able to get to the top of the grease pole during Saturday’s competition.

The Grease Grapplers, a team made up of guys from Albion and Lyndonville, extended their grease pole titles to 4 after climbing the pole in 16.06 seconds, their fastest time in any championship road. In this photo Tyler Palmer is headed to the top of the pole, with Jesse Follman the next man up with Andy Follman below.

The Grease Grapplers sprint to the pole after the starting horn is sounded. The team includes Jordan Mufford, Phil Panek, Joe Smith, Josh Smith, Dutch Smith, Andy Follman, Jesse Follman and Tyler Palmer.

Mufford helped form the team in 2011 when it took its first title. The secret to the Grapplers’ success: “Communication and good teamwork,” Mufford said.


Most of the team put crosses made out of duct tape on their shirts. Most of the Grapplers attend a Bible study at the Oak Orchard Assembly of God on Ridge Road in Medina.

The Grapplers have an enthusiastic cheering section.

The Troll Diggers, a new team from Hamlin, finished a close second to the Grapplers with a time of 19.18 seconds. In this photo, Andrew Jones is on top, followed by Jeff Ebel and then Isaiah Jenks.

Sam Remley, the only man on the BB Queens, slides down the pole after reaching the top. The BB Queens finished third with a time of 29 seconds.

Jeremy Neal, one of the grease pole chairmen, tells the rules of the contest to the BB Queens.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, right, attended the championships and conrgatulated all of the teams, while praising the Cornell Cooperative Extension and the fans for supporting the contest. Barry Flansburg, left, serves as emcee for the event.

Puddles of grease landed all over the grounds near the grease pole.


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Rainbow brightens final day at Fair

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 26 July 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – The rain starting coming down around 5:30 p.m. at the Orleans County 4-H Fair. It put a damper on the atmosphere, but some hearty folks still ventured out to the Midway and other fair activities.

I was there with three of my kids and they said they didn’t mind the rain. At about 7, the rain stopped, the sun came out and then a big rainbow stretched across the sky.

I always seem to miss a good rainbow. Sometimes I’ll chase after them and they seem to vanish before my eyes. But today I was in the perfect spot.


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Orleans gets some help laying cornerstone of new ‘infirmary’

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 26 July 2014
ALBION – State Sen. Austin Erwin is seen on Aug. 28, 1960, laying the cornerstone at the new Orleans County Infirmary on Route 31 in Albion.

On the 25th anniversary of this event, the name was changed to the Orleans County Nursing Home. It is now known as The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center.


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Farmers make hay in sunshine

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 26 July 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – This farmer works on a crop of hay on Friday evening just south of the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo says there is potential for severe thunderstorms late tonight through Monday afternoon, which could lead to flooding in Orleans and other Western New York counties.

The field of hay bales as it appears at sunset, looking west from Wood Road.


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Today’s Fair Schedule (July 26, 2014)

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 26 July 2014

Blacey Bakutis, 18, of Kendall practices dodging barrels with her horse Boomer Fritz during a drill on Friday evening.


Special Event: Kids Love Trucks: Orleans Emergency, Fire Departments, Law Enforcement, and Ambulance Services from across the county will have vehicles on display from 1 to 4 p.m.


Strolling Entertainment: Amazing Magic Joe, throughout the grounds, 5-9 p.m.


8 am: Senior Council Stand Opens

9:30 am: Horse Games Day (Gymkhana) - Carlos Marcello Arena

10 am: All Buildings Open


10 am: Little Britches Swine Show: Open to the Public - Swine Pavilion


11:10 am: Iron Chef 4-H Youth Activity Starts - Trolley Building


12 pm: Small-Animal Grand Master Showman Competition - Wachob Pavilion

Aaron Sugar of Albion pedals down the lane in the small fry tractor pull on Friday evening. Aaron won the 45 pounds and under division with a full pull that went 45 feet.


12 pm: Leaders’ Pie Stand Opens - Davis Building

12 pm to 8:30 pm: Master Gardner - Lawn of Education Center


12:10 pm: Iron Chef 4-H Youth Activity Judging - Trolley Building


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


1 pm: Registration Ends for Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull - Fair Office


1:30 pm: Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull - Pedal Tractor Course: Fair Office


1:30 pm: AirPlay Jugglers - Stage

A classic car show drew about 100 participants and big crowds by the Trolley Building and Education Center. Fire trucks and emergency vehicles from around the county will be stationed there for tours today from 1 to 4 p.m.

The classic car show took a break from the Medina Canal Basin to move to the fairgrounds on Friday.


2:30 pm: The Barnyard Review: Entertainment for your whole family - Lawn South of Knights Building

3:30 pm: Market Animal Auction Preview - Show Arena


3:30 pm: AirPlay Jugglers - Stage


4 pm: Market Animal Auction - Show Arena


4 pm: Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull - Pedal Tractor Course: Fair Office


4 pm: Chainsaw Chix - Log Cabin


4:30 pm: The Barnyard Review: Entertainment for your whole family - Lawn South of Knights Building


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

Trenton Jones, right, greets a horse ridden by Faith Woody of Albion on Friday evening. The horse riders were practicing a dance pattern set to music. Part of the routine includes a brief meeting with people along the fence.


5:30 pm: AirPlay Jugglers - Stage


6 pm: Set up for Band - Stage


6 pm: Chainsaw Chix - Log Cabin


7 pm: Julie Dunlap & High Maintenance Country Band - Stage


7 pm: Master Gardener Lecture - Education Center


7 pm: Awards Ceremony and Crowning of Fair Royalty - Curtis Pavilion


8 pm: Chainsaw Chix - Log Cabin


8:30 pm: The Barnyard Review: Entertainment for your whole family - Lawn South of Knights Building


9 pm: 4-H Dairy Cow Bingo - Cattle Building


10 pm: Buildings Close


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


10:30 pm: Greased Pole Championship - At Greased Pole


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Grease pole teams work together to get to the top

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 26 July 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – Coming In Greasy works their way to the top of the pole. The team climbed the pole in 51.28 seconds.

The A Team works its way up the grease pole on Friday. The A Team was the second fastest of five teams with a time of 40.33 seconds. The Troll Diggers had the fastest time with 22.33 seconds to advance to tonight’s championship at 10:30 p.m.

The team 5 Guys And 2 Chicks are all smiles after climbing the grease pole in 44.95 seconds. Some of the team members include Brandi Newman of Medina, center, and Sean Poprawski, right, of Albion.

Mikayla Jackson of Barker made it to the top of the grease pole with 5 Guys And 2 Chicks. She smiles while sliding down the pole.

Iva McKenna of Barre acknowledges a cheering crowd after she was introduced by Barry Flansburg, emcee of the grease pole competition, as “the greatest female grease pole climber ever.”


Iva competed with the Iron Fists, which included two of her daughters, Jenny McKenna and Kerri Richardson. The team came about a foot short of getting to the top of the pole.

The Iron Fists gave a valiant effort in climbing the pole. The group includes, from left: Emily Bannister, Jessica Derefinko, Julie Cecchini (in back), Kerri Richardson, Zach Welker (in back), Andy Beach, Jenny McKenna, Iva McKenna and Amber Demmin.


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Jenny McKenna wins Grand Master Showman

Barre girl follows her 3 sisters in winning title

Photos by Tom Rivers
Jenny McKenna, back left, shows a goat while next to Elizabeth Storm during the Grand Master Showman Competition on Friday. Tammi Kron serves as one of the judges.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 26 July 2014

KNOWLESVILLE – Jenny McKenna captured won the Orleans County 4-H Fair’s most prestigious titles on Friday, winning the Grand Master Showman.


The competition takes the top showman in nine different animal breeds and has them compete for the grand master showman, showing nine different types of animals. Jenny, 19, won in her final year as a 4-H’er.

“It’s a great way to end my 4-H career,” she said. “It’s been a lot of hard work and determination.”

Jenny McKenna shows a dairy cow during Friday's event. She showed eight other animal breeds in the grueling three-hour competition.

Her three sisters – Caton, Kerri and Betsey – have all won the title. Jenny just completed her first year of college at Roberts Wesleyan. She is transferring to Cornell University to major in animal science with a minor in agricultural business.


After the grand master event, McKenna quickly changed clothes to compete in the grease pole competition. She was part of the Iron Fists team that included her mother, Iva.

Tammi Kron of Alden was one of the judges for the Grand Master Showman. She said McKenna stayed positive in the show ring and could answer her questions about each of the animal breeds.

“She had a lot of show ring presence,” Kron said.

Jayne Bannister, 16, of Point Breeze was the reserve champion. She is shown working with a goat during the Gand Master Showman Competition. Jayne has won the title before.

Melanie Klossner sets up a llama before judge Jim Lasel of Albion during the Grand Master Showman Competition.

Nicole Mrzywka answers a question from judge Tammi Kron while Nicole's sister Natalie, left, waits her turn.

McKenna qualified by winning the dairy cattle showman title. Other master showmen include Elizabeth Storm, representing Horses – English; Kiley Stadmiller, Horses – Western; Claudia Drechsel, sheep; Natalie Mrzywka, meat goats; Nicole Mrzywka, dairy goats; Rylie Lear, swine; Melanie Klossner, llama; and Jayne Bannister, beef cattle. Last year’s grand master showman, Janie Schutz, also was invited back for the competition on Friday.


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Fireworks and fun cap Friday at Fair

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 26 July 2014
A crowd gathered near the Grease Pole to watch a fireworks show put on by Young Explosives.

The crowd seemed to get bigger after the fireworks for the grease pole climbing competition. In this picture, Coming In Greasy members work their way up the pole. Mallori Wienke is on the bottom while Alexis Hartway works to go higher. The team climbed the pole. Five teams tried it on Friday night.

Marisa Hanlon of Kendall weaves between barrels during a drill at the fairgrounds on Friday while the sun was setting.

Ty Reilly, 5, of Albion powers a tractor in the small-fry tractor pull. Ty finished second in the 45 and under division with a pull of 26 feet, inches.

Jason Clark keeps several meat goats corralled while waiting for participants in the Grand Master Showman competition. Clark is superintendent of the dairy goats. The top showmen from eight different livestock breeds competed for the grand master showman title on Friday.

Kiley Stadmiller shows a dairy cow in the Grand Master Showman Competition. She qualified after winning the Western Horse title.

People filled the stands near the horse arena and grease pole grounds to watch the fireworks.


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Stomach power put to the test

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 26 July 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – Sierra VerHagen, 14, of Holley pauses to take a breath during Friday’s pie-eating contest at the Orleans County 4-H Fair. Sierra gobbled up most of a cherry pie.


Brown’s Berry Patch in Waterport donates the pies for the annual exploit of eating.

Elijah Van Epps, 15, of Albion has been competing in the contest for the past 10 years. He said he always gets a peach pie and would welcome a change next year. He is part of the Moyer family that has been a mainstay in the pie-eating contest for about four decades.

Andrew Moore, 14, of Albion comes up for air before plunging into the pie.


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DOT will add rumble strips to 450 miles of roads

A map from the state Department of Transportation shows where 450 miles of rumble strips are planned for in the region. In Orleans, the seems to show the strips will be added to portions of Route 104, 98 and 63.

Staff reports Posted 25 July 2014
The state Department of Transportation will add 450 miles of rumble strips to state highways next year.

The centerline strips will go on state roads in Orleans, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Wayne and Wyoming counties, according to State Sen. George Maziarz’s office.

The strips have been shown to reduce head-on collisions on high-volume, non-divided, high-speed roads, the DOT told Maziarz in an advisory.

“This work will be done during 2015 and drivers should expect only minor delays due to construction on the affected roadways,” the DOT advised Maziarz. “The work zone will be similar to what drivers encounter when meeting a striping crew, with the exception that flaggers will be stationed with the work zone to allow an alternating single lane of traffic to pass while the work is done.”


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County will fix more bridges with money freed up from nursing home

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 25 July 2014
ALBION – Orleans County expects a sale to be complete soon for the county-owned nursing home, a 120-bed healthcare facility that has needed county subsidies to pay its bills.

The county budgeted an $825,000 contribution from taxpayers for the nursing home’s operations this year and that is projected to jump to $1.65 million next year. County officials fear the gap between government reimbursements and costs will get larger, necessitating county subsidies of $2 million to $4 million annually in the future.


That burden prompted county officials to sell the nursing home – The Villages of Orleans Health & Rehabilitation Center – for $7.8 million to Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services LLC. The sale needs the approval of the state and the Public Health Council is expected to vote on it Aug. 7. The state board has already given the sale contingent approval.

The nursing home sale is on target to be finalized by Jan. 1, 2015. If the sale isn’t finalized by then, county officials put a clause in the contract for Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services to pay for the operating losses for each month, beginning with January, until the sale is finalized, said Chuck Nesbitt, the county’s chief administrative officer.

Most of the sale price will be used to pay off existing debt, about $6.5 million, for the nursing home. The county will be spared from paying the shortfall for the nursing home in the future once its owned by a private firm.

The sale comes at a time when the county needs to repair or replace bridges and culverts. State and federal government dollars have been harder to come by for the county infrastructure. The nursing home savings will allow the county to direct more local dollars to infrastructure.

“We’re looking to address a number of bridge projects,” Nesbitt said.

The federal and state dollars are already scheduled for the next three years through a regional transportation council. Little of that money was directed to Orleans.

Nesbitt and the county don’t want to wait until 2018 for the next transportation funding plan to have a chance at state and federal money for local bridges.

“It’s problematic because of the number of the bridges and culverts that need attention,” Nesbitt said. “They can’t be deferred until 2016 or 2017.”

He expects the county will fix six bridges next year, with more to be targeted in the following years.

Besides the money it will be spared from the nursing home, Orleans also is projected to receive $268,000 in casino funds through a compact between the state and the Seneca Nation of Indians. Those dollars can help with the infrastructure projects, Nesbitt said.

The Legislature on Wednesday approved a bridge replacement on Hulberton Road in the town of Murray for $1,338,900. That project will be paid 80 percent by the federal government, 15 percent by the state and 5 percent by the county.

Crane Hogan Structural Systems in Spencerport submitted the low construction bid of $894,275 for the new bridge over the west branch of Sandy Creek.


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Midway proves popular at the Fair

Photos by Sue Cook Posted 25 July 2014

KNOWLESVILLE – Besides the animals, the Orleans County 4-H Fair also has a variety of amusement park-style attractions. Midway Rides of Utica provides the entertainment.

Here is a snapshot of the fun:

The carousel topper in a horse in mid-gallop.

Kyle, 6, and Tyler Brett, 8, ride The Caterpillar rollercoaster.

The horses look like they’re racing each other as they move around the carousel.

The Vortex turns stomachs during the day.

At night, the Vortex lights up as it continues taking riders for a spin.
Food and rides sit side by side down a busy main path.

The dizzy dragons whirl riders around. The riders can use the wheel inside of each dragon to spin themselves independently and make for an exhilarating ride.


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County gives management 2% raises

Contract makes everyone pay towards health insurance

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 25 July 2014
ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature approved a two-year contract with management that gives about 65 employees 2 percent raises in 2015 and 2016.

The labor deal also continues a prior agreement for all management to pay towards their health insurance. The previous deal started a phase-in for veteran managers to pay more towards their health insurance in 2 percent increments.

That five-year roll-in continues in the new contract until it’s at a 10 percent share for all management, unless the manager is a new hire who chooses family insurance coverage. Then the employee has to pay 20 percent of the cost.

The new contract mirrors a three-year deal approved in October with about 70 employees in the Sheriff’s Department. They received 2 percent pay hikes annually and agreed to higher deductibles to their health insurance, which will reduce county health premium expenses.

The management staff also agreed to the higher deductible plan.

The county is now focusing on a labor accord with its largest union, CSEA. That contract expires on Dec. 31.


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Documentary focuses on immigration crisis at WNY dairies


‘This absurd, unjust system is easy enough to fix. It will just take a little courage from Congress to do so.’

– documentary producer Roy Germano


Image from Vice News

Cows are pictured in a milking parlor at a dairy farm in Western New York.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 25 July 2014
New York’s dairy industry is growing, and it’s especially hot in Western New York with new yogurt plants opening in Batavia. Farmers don’t need to worry about a supply for their product.

The state’s farms generate about $5 billion in sales, and about half comes from dairy producers. We’re the third-leading dairy state and the top producer of yogurt in the country.

However, the industry is vulnerable because of a broken immigration system, a new documentary highlights. Roy Germano was in the area in April, talking to dairy farmers, workers, an immigration attorney, a retired immigration officer and others affected by the issue.

Vice News on Wednesday debuted the documentary, “Immigrant America: They Steal Our Jobs?” Germano says dairy farms have grown larger, requiring 24-hour milking operations. Workers from Mexico, many without legal documents to be in the country, typically are working the overnight shifts at the dairy farms, doing “a dirty monotonous job that most Americans don’t want to do.”

Vice News

A federal program that allows farmers to hire foreign workers legally can't be used by dairy farmers because the dairy jobs aren't considered seasonal.

Fruit and vegetable farms have access to legal foreign workers through the H2A program, but the federal government hasn’t made that possible for dairies because the work isn’t considered seasonal. Dairies haven’t had much success finding local Americans to work the night shifts.

Many dairies say they have been forced to hire Mexicans who don’t have proper documents. They are hard-working and dedicated, but they are also vulnerable to sudden removal by immigration officers. Germano interviews one dairy farmer who will soon have long-term milking employees deported.

“I am tired of the inaction in Washington,” a WNY dairy farmer tells Germano. “We’re trying to run a business. We’re the ones caught in the crosshairs between the government that makes the laws and the other agency that has to enforce the laws.”


The dairy farmer says he and others in the industry don’t have legitimate access to foreign workers for their farms. (Germano doesn't identify the farmer because he fears retaliation from ICE.)


“What incentive is there to grow our business when at any given time our workers can be taken away?” he said.

Vice News

Roy Germano visited local dairies for his documentary about the immigration crisis in WNY.

Germano tries working in the milking parlor and strugglesto attach the milker units to the cows teats. He pushes liquid manure with a squeegee to drains and seems overwhelmed by the smells in the parlor.

Germano wonders if any local Americans who are looking for a job would work at a dairy. He does an experiment, going to unemployment office in Batavia. He tells people looking for jobs that he has immediate openings at dairies, but they’ll have to work the night shift from 2 a.m. to noon. There are plenty of jobs for $9 an hour with housing, he tells them.


The local residents overwhelmingly declined the positions, not wanting to work on a farm especially during the night. (Some dairies are turning to robots to milk cows, and Germano shows a robot in action. The robots cost about $250,000 each and can milk about 50 cows a day, a big investment for the farms. The farms are "price takers" and can't demand an increase in milk to pay their employees more, perhaps making the jobs more attractive to local Americans, Germano says.)

Western New York is a dairy powerhouse. The area is also home to the largest immigration detention facility in the country outside of Arizona. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers have arrested many farm workers, often without probable cause, because of pressure to meet quotas to fill the ICE facility in Batavia, according to the documentary.

Vice News

Many local farmworkers are arrested and placed at the immigration and detention facility in Batavia.

Germano interviews a dairy worker who is soon to be deported. He is married to an American with an American child. He doesn’t want to be separated from his family. So he said he will make the dangerous journey back to the area once he is deported to Mexico.

The racial profiling by police and ICE, when farmworkers try to go to the store or church, has many rarely leaving farms, Germano says. The workers pay people to get them groceries. They don’t fully participate in community life.

Germano advocates for immigration policies that meet employer needs, and stop treating family farmers and hardworking immigrants like criminals.

“This absurd unjust system is easy enough to fix. It will just take a little courage from Congress to do so.” Germano said in concluding the documentary.


(Editor's note: Orleans Hub editor Tom Rivers wrote "Farm Hands: Hard work and hard lessons from Western New Yorks farms." The book is based on his experiences working at local farms in 2008. Germano said that book was part of his inspiration for the documentary on the WNY dairies.)


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Today’s Fair Schedule (July 25, 2014)

Photos by Sue Cook

Games at the fair attracted a lot of attention throughout the day on Thursday. Many people were happy to walk away with stuffed animals or other prizes.


Special Event: Orleans County 4-H Fair 2nd Annual Craft Sale located in the Buzz Hill Education Center Lot, including professional appraisals from 4 to 7 pm at a special price of $5 per item (bring photos for your larger items).


Strolling Entertainment: Amazing Magic Joe, throughout the grounds, 5 to 9 p.m.

8 am: Senior Council Stand Opens

9:30 am: Youth Ag Olympics Fun Activities - South Lawn

9:30 am: Miniature Horse Show & Driving Competition - Carlos Marcello Arena

10 am: $5 Admission per car starts

10 am: All Buildings Open

The Hot Country Liners do a line dance on Thursday evening to “What Does the Fox Say,” a song by Norwegian comedy band Ylvis.

10 am: Grand Master Showman Workshop Starting in Show Arena

10:30 am: Tractor Driving Contest - South Parking Lot


12 pm: Leaders’ Pie Stand Opens


12 pm: Goat Knowledge Bowl: Dairy and Meat - Knights Building


12:30 pm: Dog Show, Agility Competition (Classes 23-30) - Show Arena


1 pm: Little Shepherds Sheep Show – Open to Public - Knights Building


1 pm: Story Time sponsored by Medina Community Library - Trolley Building


3 pm to 10 pm: Midway Rides of Utica $20 Unlimited Ride wristband - Midway


3 pm: Story Time sponsored by Medina Community Library - Trolley Building

Jayne Bannister squares the back legs of her animal during the sheep show.

3 pm: Horse Judging Contest - Education Center

3:30 pm: AirPlay Jugglers - Stage


4 pm: Royalty questionnaires due - Fair Office


4 pm: Chainsaw Chix - Log Cabin


4 pm to 8:30 pm: Master Gardener - Lawn of Education Center


4:30 pm: The Barnyard Review: Entertainment for your whole family - Lawn South of Knights Building


5 pm: Friday Night Fish Fry: Sponsored by Renovation Lodge #97 Cost: $9 Adult (Half portion $7) - Curtis Pavilion


5:30 pm: AirPlay Jugglers - Stage


5:30 pm: Classic Car Cruise-In - Education Center Parking Lot

The Mathes sisters Emma (front) and Lillian speak with judge Chad Swartz during the wool-outfit show.

6 pm: Set Up for Band - Stage

6 pm: Registration Ends for Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull - Fair Office


6 pm: Grand Master Showman - Livestock Areas


6 pm to 8 pm: Pie Eating Contest: Sponsored by Brown’s Berry Patch - (Register at Fair Office during the week) - Curtis Pavilion


6 pm: Chainsaw Chix - Log Cabin

Lakeside Karate invited children from the community to join them on stage and learn some basics in front of the audience.


6:30 pm: The Barnyard Review: Entertainment for your whole family - Lawn South of Knights Building


6:30 pm: Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull - Pedal Tractor Course: Fair Office


7 pm: The Music of Jonesy (Rock and Roll) - Stage


7 pm: Quadrille Horse Demonstration - Carlos Marcello Arena


7 pm: Spanish/English Story Time: Sponsored by Medina Community Library - Trolley Building


8 pm: Chainsaw Chix - Log Cabin


8:30 pm: The Barnyard Review: Entertainment for your whole family - Lawn South of Knights Building


10 pm: Buildings Close


10 pm: Fireworks (Rain Date Saturday @ 10 pm)


10:30 pm: Greased Pole Climbing Contest (Teams must pre-register at Fair Office) - At Greased Pole

The sun sets over the fair.


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Crooners make karaoke a crowd-pleaser for Fair

Photos by Sue Cook

Morgan Parnitzke belts out “Listen” by Beyonce.


By Sue Cook, staff reporter Posted 25 July 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – Thursday night marked the finals of the karaoke contest at the 4-H Fair and a big crowd turned out for one of the fair's most popular events.


Seventeen contestants were chosen from prior qualifying rounds throughout the week to compete for the $1,000 prize donated by M&T Bank.


Another prize of 16 hours of studio time was donated by John Wragg, owner of TORQUIL Studios. Wragg was personally judging the contest seeking someone who was very passionate about their and was not simply there trying to win the cash prize. The prize also includes time to make a music video with the studio.

Jessica Stamp entertains the crowd of more than 400 onlookers.


Wragg commented that he was not judging based on age, looks or gender. The important part was that the singer was full of energy and having a great time, while making it clear they lived to be a performer.

“Wide Open Spaces” by the Dixie Chicks receives a sweet rendition by Laura Mullen.


Brandon Johnson, the entertainment coordinator for the fair, was one of the judges for the karaoke contest.


“This is one of the biggest competitions in the entertainment portion of the fair that happens throughout the week,” he said. “Lots of people come out for this and come back night after night to try to qualify for finals. We’re looking for stage presence, vocal ability and crowd recognition.”

Olivia Redick gets energized during her performance.


He added that pure talent was the key to winning high marks from the judges.


“I like all types of music, said Johnson. “It just depends on who is singing it and their vocal ability and whether the song fits them or not.”


Contestant Rich Nolan performed “Eight-Second Ride” by Jake Owen.


“I've been singing my whole life, so it's just natural,” said Nolan. “I've been practicing that way and doing other contests. There's a lot of good competition. It's going to be hard.”

Taylor Whittier rocks the crowd to AC/DC.


Taylor Whittier performed an AC/DC for the finals, but also used the band for his qualifier song on Monday. One way he says he gets positive feedback is to get the crowd involved.


“I play music in a local band called Terrible Ideas,” Whittier said. “I've been singing since I was 12 or 13 in local places. I just do it for fun.”

Jessica Reigle donned a candy-sweet pin-up look for her number.


Lydia Piazza, a resident of New Jersey, moves to the area in the summer and enters the 4-H karaoke contest each year.


“I love it,” she said about being on stage. “I've been dancing since I was 5, so it's just calming to me. I've always been singing just for fun.”

John Gursslin got the ladies in the audience screaming as he sang “Bed of Roses” by Bon Jovi.


Morgan Parnitzke, 17, was not intimidated by some of the older singers because she was competing for the enjoyment of it.


“I just took a lot of time rehearsing the song over and over again. I just felt it,” she said. “I'm glad I got the chance to sing today.”

Parnitzke (left) went on to win the contest with a score of 88 out of 90. The other competitors to make it to the top five included (from left): Rich Nolan, Olivia Redick, Jessica Reigle and Emily Kordovich.


Jessica Reigle also won over Wragg with her fun performance of “Candy Man” by Christina Aguilera. Reigle will be given the opportunity to use the studio space for 16 hours.


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