Press release, Medina Marching Band Posted 9 March 2014
Medina's Winterguard competed Saturday at Marcus Whitman High School, the Mustangs’ fifth competitive performance this season.
There were four guard units in the Scholastic A Class and Medina took second place with a score of 80.22. Victor was first with 81.81, while Lancaster came in third with 78.69 and Hinsdale was fourth with 71.60.
Guard Instructor Diana Baker thought the performance was very good for this
time of the season. She said the schools were appropriately placed in the
Scholastic A class and the students were receptive to trying new things.
The Winterguard’s next performance is March 22 in Holley. The Championships are March 29 at Brockport State College.
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 9 March 2014
MEDINA - There’s been a lot talk in the news recently about the frozen Niagara Falls. It’s a spectacle getting world-wide attention and drawing tourists to the natural wonder when we were in our deep freeze recently. (Click here to see a story about the phenomenon.)
I wondered about the most powerful waterfalls in Orleans County. How has it held up in the freeze?
A good portion has been held up in ice. But the fast-moving part is still flowing strong, plummeting over a gorge.
I had never seen the Medina Waterfalls until November. I had heard about it and wanted to see it. It has the “wow” effect.
It’s disappointing to me how difficult it is to reach the falls. I stopped by on Saturday morning. It’s somewhat of a perilous journey through a wooded area, climbing over fallen trees. There are steep embankments and one slip could send you into the Oak Orchard Creek.
The powers-that-be should recognize this is a great untapped resource for tourism, recreation and improving our quality of life. I’d highly recommend a safe walking trail to the waterfalls, a ladder from the towpath, perhaps a pavilion area and some guardrails to improve the safety.
Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 8 March 2014
Here’s another reminder to turn your clocks ahead by an hour tonight. Daylight saving time officially starts at 2 a.m. Firefighters also encourage you to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
The photo above shows the very impressive clock tower at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown. This church was built from 1892 to 1894 and is one of the most impressive Medina sandstone churches I’ve seen. The four-sided clock tower is home to the only chime bells in the city of Jamestown.
Article by FFA reporter Megan Rosato Posted 8 March 2014
BATAVIA – Albion FFA members went to BOCES in Batavia on Thursday to compete in FFA Districts. Students competed in Career Development Events (CDEs), which help students develop the abilities to think critically, communicate clearly, and perform effectively in a competitive manner.
There are 24 CDEs, covering job skills in everything from communications to mechanics. The finalists moving on to substates include:
Junior prepared: Lauren Beam 2nd;
Junior Creed: Alexis Maines 2nd, Alexis Bentley 4th, Clara Stilwell 5th;
Senior Prepared: Sara Millspaugh 3rd;
Senior Extemporaneous: Jayne Bannister 1st, Elizabeth Bentley 2nd, Abigail Maines 4th, Megan Rosato 5th;
Job Interview: Sara Millspaugh 3rd, Logan London 5th.
Congratulations to everyone who competed and also to those who will be advancing on to the next level.
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 8 March 2014
MEDINA – The Orleans County Music Educators Association put on an All County Music Festival this afternoon at Medina High School Auditorium.
Three retired music teachers from the county led the students. David Stacey, pictured in the top photo, retired from Lyndonville in 2012 after 35 years of teaching.
He directs the All County Senior High Band, which is performing “Amazing Grace.” Stacey said he was thankful to have a chance to work with music students again. The band played four numbers.
Kyler McQuillan, left, of Albion plays a trumpet solo while Thomas Follman of Lyndonville plays a solo with his tuba during the Senior High Band’s performance of several Beatles songs. There were about 80 students in the All County Senior High band from the five school districts in Orleans County.
Mary Campbell, a retired music teacher who worked in Kendall and Medina, leads the All County Junior High Chorus. The group performed five songs, including “Come In From The Firefly Darkness.” There were about 110 students in the chorus.
Mike Grammatico, a retired music teacher who worked 10 years in Lyndonville and 23 years in Albion, directs the All County Elementary Band. The band of 80 students is performing “March Of The Phantom Brigade.”
Another music teacher, Matt Schroeder, also worked with the elementary students. Schroeder teaches music at Cleveland Hill Schools in Cheektowaga.
The Orleans County Music Educators Association is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.
Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 8 March 2014
MEDINA – Stephanie Ferris walks her dog Marti this morning along the towpath by the Glenwood Avenue canal bridge. Ferris said a group of regulars are usually out walking the canal on Saturdays in Medina.
Only 3 districts in country recognized with Magna
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 8 March 2014
MEDINA – A program through the Orleans/Niagara BOCES that connected the community with veterans has been recognized with one of three national awards “for taking bold and innovative steps to advance public education,” according to the National School Boards Association.
The local BOCES will receive a Magna Award for its Literacy Zone/Men’s Cooking Class. The Literacy Zone provides adult education and is run by the Orleans/Niagara BOCES.
“This project encompasses lifelong learning at its best,” said Susan Diemert, literacy specialist for Orleans/Niagara BOCES. “From children to adults, the value of education and support for each other was a result of a project that developed from a simple idea. A community worked together to provide the awareness needed to help those less fortunate.”
An independent panel of school board members, administrators, and other educators selected the Magna winners from nearly 250 submissions. The NSBA recognized the program for advancing student learning and encouraging community involvement in schools.
Orleans/Niagara BOCES Adult Literacy program began a new initiative in July 2013 called a Literacy Zone Welcome Center located at the Christ Community Church in Lockport. It was patterned after the Niagara Falls program that was started in 2009.
A Literacy Zone Welcome Center is located in an impoverished neighborhood in a city with high levels of unemployment, illiteracy, and underemployment. It invites individuals and families to come to a facility for high school equivalency, remediation, computers skills, and job readiness and career preparation.
The Literacy Zone staff can assist the individual to find solutions to help break barriers and move in a positive direction toward employment, training, post secondary, and a more productive life.
“This project made a difference in the lives of all that were involved,” Diemert said. “Orleans/Niagara BOCES Adult literacy program is more than just an academic program. Our goal is to help people to recognize what challenges they have and how to develop a plan to overcome the barriers to create a brighter life for themselves and their families.”
The Orleans/Niagara BOCES won the grand prize for districts with 5,000 or fewer students. Other Magana winners include the St. Charles Parish Public Schools in Luling, La., and the Kent School District in Kent, Wash. Each of the grand prize-winning school districts will receive a $5,000 contribution from Sodexo during a special presentation at NSBA Annual Conference on April 5-7 in New Orleans.
Diemert said the Lockport program has been successful due to partnerships in the community. The BOCES worked with more than 60 agencies and community organizations to run the program and strive for successful solutions for the students.
The group partnered with the Kids Breaking Free Foundation, a community enrichment organization supportive of educating at-risk youth and their families. The Men’s Cooking Class was a result of this partnership. The men learned how to slice and dice, learn recipes, and budget for healthy meals for their families. The idea to cook for the veterans sparked other community involvement and partnerships to raise awareness for the local veterans in Niagara County.
KBFF was also running a book club for fourth- to sixth-graders who were reading a book about veterans. This resulted in a canned food drive to benefit veterans and their families.
The class on July 5 last year prepared salads and manned the grills on one of the warmest days of the summer at the Elks Lodge in Lockport. Kids Breaking Free Foundation, volunteers from veterans’ organizations, and Orleans/Niagara BOCES staff helped plan and run the event on July 5.
“It was a wonderful day and uplifting to see so many people supporting our local veterans,” said Chuck Diemert, Literacy Zone Coordinator. “What started as a simple lunch developed into a partnership with many groups and individuals resulting in a community project that would raise money and awareness to address the needs of thousands of veterans in our community.”
The Orleans/Niagara BOCES serves 13 school districts in the two counties.
Dr. Clark Godshall, District Superintendent of Orleans/Niagara BOCES, said he is proud of the Board of Education and the Literacy Zone staff members.
“To receive national recognition for their outstanding achievement just highlights the thoughtful and deliberate work they do to improve the lives of our students and the community,” Godshall said.
Photos by Michael Karcz Posted 7 March 2014
HOLLEY – The extended harsh cold has turned the Holley Waterfalls into ice. Michael Karrc stopped by late this afternoon and took the photo of the ice formations that have replaced flowing water.
The waterfalls are one of the nicest spots in Orleans County. The east branch of Sandy Creek plummets 35 feet at the spot. (If you want to see photos of this spot in November, click here.)
While Karcz was at the waterfalls today, he spotted a heron in a tree, not far from the birdhouse near the falls.
Melayla Wenner is healthy with strong lungs
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 7 March 2014
ALBION – Ayla Staats has watched television shows before when babies were born in an ambulance. She didn’t think that would ever happen in real life. She thought a woman would feel the baby coming, and give herself plenty of time to get to the hospital.
Staats gave birth to two children before her third child was born on Feb. 27. She was in labor for 17 hours with the first baby, followed by 15 hours with the second child.
Her daughter was due Feb. 24. Last Thursday, after the baby missed her due date by three days, she suddenly decided she wouldn’t wait any longer.
Melayla Wenner was born only 30 minutes after Staats’s water broke. Melayla was born in an ambulance on Feb. 27 at 11:51 a.m. The ambulance was staffed by Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance and was traveling on Route 31 near Manitou Road when the baby took her first breath.
Today, eight days after her birth, Melayla and her mother visited the COVA headquarters at 239 South Main St.
“I just wanted to say, ‘Thank you,’” said Ayla Staats. “They did an awesome job.”
Staats live in Medina. She was visiting her mother in Albion last Thursday when they decided to call the ambulance. That was 11:15 a.m. COVA was on the scene at 11:20.
The birth was a first for Steve Cooley during his 22-year career as a firefighter and paramedic for 22 years. He took the lead in the delivery and was assisted by Terry Bentley, an intermediate EMT.
Both Cooley and Bentley tried to keep Staats calm. Initially they didn’t want her to push too hard. But when the baby’s head showed, they encouraged Staats to keep going and push out the baby.
When the baby was born, they wiped her off and kept her warm. It was another seven minutes before they reached Unity Hospital in Rochester. Hospital staff and another ambulance crew were waiting for them.
Staats said she was scared and nervous as the birth moved quickly. She praised Cooley and Bentley for taking control of the situation and delivering a healthy baby, weighing 8 pounds, 4 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches long.
COVA has delivered other babies during its 35-year history, but it’s not very common, said Jason Spencer, paramedic and administrator for COVA. The crew trains for it, and was ready on Feb. 27.
If Lakeside Memorial Hospital in Brockport was still open, Melayla probably would have been born there. Medina Memorial Hospital also would have been a close option, but that hospital closed its maternity wing in July 2011.
Spencer said Melayla is the first baby COVA has delivered since the two hospitals stopped delivering babies. Now, COVA has a longer ride to get a patient to a hospital.
Jake Crooks drove the ambulance last Thursday during a cold, snowy day. Staats was on a stretcher in the ambulance, which she said was kept warm.
Staats said she is grateful she called for an ambulance. She thought she had a lot of time. She almost had her mother drive her to the hospital.
“I’m happy they delivered my baby,” Staats said. “She’s healthy and her siblings love her.”
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 7 March 2014
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is seeking federal disaster assistance for fruit growers who expect to face a decimated crop due to the extended periods of sub-freezing temperatures.
The harsh cold will likely hurt the grape, cherry and peach crops. Apples are more hearty and are expected to be fine, said Larry Meyer, the director of the Farm Service Agency in Orleans County.
The extent of the damage won’t be known for months, but Gillibrand wants to get the process started. She is asking Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to swiftly grant a disaster designation for Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Oswego, Yates and additional counties as more crop losses are determined.
Meyer doesn’t expect Orleans to be included on the list because there aren’t a lot of acres for cherries, peaches and grapes, the fruit that has been harmed the most from the deep freeze. Orleans farmers grow about 200 acres each of peaches and cherries and 20 acres of grapes. Farmers have about 6,000 acres of apples in Orleans.
“There’s definitely been a couple of very cold days that have caused damage to the minor crops,” he said.
Grapes are big business in other counties, especially in the Finger Lakes area. New York State’s vineyards generate an estimated $4.8 billion toward the state’s economy. Jobs in New York’s wine and grape industry grew by 20 percent in the last decade, she said.
Gillibrand said some vineyards have lost 90 percent of their crop.
“When New York’s farmers struggle, our entire economy struggles,” she said in a statement. “This long and bitter cold winter has been extremely harmful to grape growers and vineyards. Losing out on these crops will set them behind all season, and hurt local businesses and jobs at a time we just can’t afford anymore setbacks. We need these federal resources on the ground without delay so we can help our farms recover, and grow our economy.”
The federal assistance can help provide farmers with prompt access to the financial and technical assistance they need to recover, including assistance through the Emergency Loan Program, the Supplemental Revenue Assistance (SURE) program, the Emergency Conservation Program and the Emergency Watershed Protection Program.
Meyer said the FSA in Orleans will be assessing the impact of the freeze. The damage should be more clear in the spring, he said.
Provided photos Posted 7 March 2014
ALBION – Teachers at Albion Elementary School dressed in blue today in support of Wayne Burlison, the elementary band teacher who is fighting colon cancer.
Teachers wore blue and signed a “Go Team Wayne” banner. Mr. Burlison’s wife Lisa teaches second grade at Albion.
Today happens to be “National Dress in Blue Day.” This started in 2009 on the first Friday of March to bring national attention to colon cancer and to celebrate the courage of those affected by this disease.
Photo by Rich Miller Posted 7 March 2014
KENDALL – The sun casts an array of colors while rising this morning over Lake Ontario at Cleng Peerson's Point, a spot overlooking Bald Eagle Bay in Kendall.
Rich Miller shared the photo with Orleans Hub. Today will provide a break from the harsh cold. Temperatures will be in the high 30s, low 40s.
Apples should be fine, fruit specialist says
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 7 March 2014
ALBION – If you love local peaches you might be out of luck this year. The punishing winter has damaged the buds on many of the trees, a local fruit expert said.
“Peach growers and consumers will be sorely disappointed,” said Debbie Breth, a fruit specialist with the Cornell Cooperative Extension.
The trees start to suffer with some thinning of the crop at about 5 degrees below 0. When it’s 10 below, the buds see a lot of damage. The temperatures have plummeted as far as 12 below this winter, Breth said.
“We’re definitely going to have a short peach crop,” she said.
The grape industry has also suffered, especially in Chautauqua County, where growers there fear 90 percent loss of some of their most valuable varieties for producing wine.
Farmers grow some grapes and peaches in Orleans County, but apples are the main fruit crop. Those trees are hearty and go dormant during the winter. They seem to have weathered the cold just fine, Breth said.
There is a chance some trees that were pruned right before the harsh cold may have injuries, she said. But she doesn’t expect there to be too much damage.
The deep freeze may have a benefit for farmers. Some of the invasive species that have survived recent warm winters may show up in smaller numbers this year, and they may show up later in the season, Breth said.
Fruit growers have worried in recent years about the Spotted Wing Drosophila, a destructive fruit fly. The cold may keep that pest out of the area until later in the season when the crops are harvested or close to harvest.
By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 7 March 2014
MEDINA – In this photo taken from the Medina Canal Basin during the 1890s, we see the freight boat “Celina.” Stenciled on the boat it says, “The Buffalo Rochester Transit Co.”
The sign on the roof of the building at dockside states: “Buffalo and Rochester Steamboat Express Inc.” This was a fast way for local farmers and produce dealers to ship fruit at the time. Note the seven-story tower of the White’s Hotel in the background.
Terry Laubisch, 66, owned Flyway Farm in Shelby
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 6 March 2014
SHELBY – Drive on Route 63 in Shelby and you’ll see a sign for Flyway Farms, noting a maple syrup producer is on West Shelby Road.
Many maple producers in the state have the signs on state highways, pointing potential customers to sugar shacks on rural roads. Terry Laubisch pushed for the signs more than a decade ago. He saw how vineyards and wine trails used the roadside signs to brand their product and help promote tourism.
The Flyway sign near Laubisch’s farm was the first for all the maple producers in the state. It’s one of the many ways Laubisch helped promote the maple industry in New York, which is the country’s second-leading maple producer behind only Vermont.
“That really helped get customers out there to some of the places off the beaten path,” said Lyle Merle, a maple producer from Attica.
Laubisch was 66 when he died on Feb. 20. He was a participant in the popular Maple Weekend events in March, when producers opened their sugar shacks to the public. Laubisch saw the weekend as another way for maple producers to promote their industry.
“He was creative and innovative and always looking for new ways to do things,” Merle said.
Laubisch and Merle had a friendly rivalry every State Fair when their syrup and maple flavored products were judged. Laubisch perennially challenged for some of the most prestigious awards. He took pride in the quality of his syrup.
He urged the other producers to use the blue ribbons and awards to help brand NY maple as a superior product and to help the individual farms sell their syrup.
The other producers welcomed Laubisch’s ideas, whether it was in selling the syrup or trying technology and techniques for tapping trees and making maple products. However, one time Laubisch had an idea that had the other producers shaking their heads in disbelief.
Laubisch saw the popularity of cotton candy and he thought a maple-flavored cotton candy would be a big seller. The cotton candy machine would have to be altered for maple, and Laubisch talked the manufacturer into making the changes.
"We thought it was crazy," Merle said.
Maple cotton candy has been a sensation at the State Fair in recent years. Laubisch was often behind the booth, volunteering and happily selling the treat.
"I was impressed with that," Merle said. "He found a way to make it happen."
Laubisch and his wife Pat tapped about 900 trees for Flyway Farm. They attended many industry events. Mrs. Laubisch said her husband liked to experiment with maple and growing orchids. If Laubisch was involved in something, he gave it his full attention, his wife said.
“He was a special man who did it all and did it in a big way,” she said.
Laubisch first tapped trees and captured the sap with lasagna pans. He learned to use sophisticated equipment, and had a network of tubes to collect and move the sap at his maple farm.
When he made a discovery or perfected a process, Laubisch would eagerly share what he learned. He taught maple classes at the Erie County and State Fairs. He served as a director on the NYS Maple Producers Association and also was a president for the NYS Maple Foundation.
“Whatever Terry got into, he jumped in with both feet,” his wife said.
Friends and family celebrated his life this past Saturday during a memorial service at East Shelby Community Bible Church. For many summers, Laubisch and his wife manned the candy store at the church’s Old Fashioned Day celebration.
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 6 March 2014
A Rochester man faces numerous drug charges after being arrested today following a year-long investigation in the sale and distribution of crack cocaine from Rochester to Orleans County, the OC Major Felony Crime Task Force reported.
Luke L. Lawhorn, 27, of 136 Copeland St., Rochester, was charged with four counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree.
The Task Force arrested Lawhorn today on Lyell Avenue in the city with assistance from the Rochester Police Department. He was arraigned by Judge James Punch in Orleans County Court on a sealed indictment. Lawhorn was remanded to Orleans County jail on $25,000 bail or bond.
Lawhorn was to graduate from the Monroe County Drug Court on Friday. He was in that program following a 2011 drug arrest in Rochester, the Task Force reported.
The Monroe County Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team assisted with the investigation. The Task Force said the investigation is ongoing and additional charges and arrests are pending.
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 6 March 2014
MURRAY – Three teen-agers have been charged with second-degree burglary and petty larceny after they allegedly broke into a home on Monroe-Orleans Countyline Road in Murray on Tuesday, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department reported today.
The three teens are suspected in numerous burglaries in eastern Orleans and possibly in Monroe County as well, the Sheriff’s Department said.
Deputies arrested the following: Benjamin A. Odeychuk, 19, of 4335 Holley Byron Rd., Holley; Victor P. Odeychuk, 17, of 4335 Holley Byron Rd., Holley; and Louis D. Monacelli, 17, of 4104 Monroe-Orleans Countyline Rd., Brockport.
The three were taken into custody on Tuesday by members of the State Police and Orleans County Sheriff’s Department after a homeowner returned home to find the burglary in progress, the Sheriff’s Department reported.
The department learned through its investigation that the three were responsible for a burglary that occurred on Feb. 26 on Countyline Road in the town of Murray. The three were charged with second-degree burglary and fourth-degree grand larceny for that incident. All three were arraigned in the Town of Murray Court for the two incidents and were remanded to the Orleans County Jail on $25,000 bail.
Numerous items have been recovered that were previously reported stolen. Additional charges are forthcoming on the three, as well as others that may have been involved, the department reported.
The Sheriff’s Department was assisted by the State Police, Albion Police Department and the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force.
Medina FD has 50 smoke detectors available
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 5 March 2014
It might not feel like it today, after more snow fell on Orleans County and temperatures remain below freezing, but spring is around the corner. One annual rite will be early Sunday morning when the clocks spring forward an hour.
That officially happens at 2 a.m. on Sunday. The Medina Fire Department urges people to use this time to also inspect, test and clean their smoke detectors.
About 3,000 people die in fires each year, and nearly two-thirds die in homes without smoke alarms or without working smoke detectors, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
The Medina firefighters union, IAFF Local Union 2161, has teamed with Evans Ace Hardware to purchase 50 smoke detectors at a discounted price. Those smoke detectors are available to village of Medina residents.
Firefighters are willing to install them. Any village resident can stop in or call the firehouse at 798-1661 during business hours to inquire about a smoke detector install.
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