Cobblestone Museum displays ‘death mask’ of famed Buffalo doctor

Photos by Tom Rivers

This death mask, believed to be one of three cast of Dr. Roswell Park of Buffalo, is on display at the Cobblestone Museum until Oct. 13.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 August 2014
GAINES – The Cobblestone Museum has added two new pieces to an ongoing exhibit about medicine in Orleans County and Western New York.

The museum just acquired a wooden wheelchair that is likely at least a century old. It was donated by Francis London of Waterport, who bought it at a garage sale.

The other new addition is on loan until the end of the museum’s season on Oct. 13. The “death mask” of Dr. Roswell Park shows the likeness of the doctor best known for starting a cancer research laboratory in Buffalo, now known as Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Park was a well-respected doctor who cared for President William McKinley after he was shot in Buffalo.

Park was born on May 4, 1852, and lived until 1914. The death mask is on loan from a private collection. The local owner acquired it from an antique dealer, said Matt Ballard, co-director of the museum. UB’s School of Medicine and Buffalo’s History Museum each have a death mask of Park.

Death masks were created of deceased family members. It is a practice that goes back to Ancient Egypt, Ballard said. At the time of Dr. Park’s death, the practice was becoming uncommon with the rise of photography.

This wooden wheelchair was recently donated to the Cobblestone Museum by Francis London of Waterport.


The wheelchair looks like a regular wooden chair with large wooden wheels attached. It was made by the J.S. Ford, Johnson & Company from Chicago.


The company was started in 1867 John Sherlock Ford and Henry W. Johnson in 1867, according to Ballard’s research. The two men operated a chair manufacturing company out of Columbus, Ohio. They relocated the business to Chicago in 1872. It became well respected for manufacturing high quality Mission Style furniture. They were best known for their chairs and settees, Ballard said.


The exact date of the chair’s manufacturer is not known. The back label reads, “J.S. Ford, Johnson & Co. – Manufacturers – Chicago.”

“So we know the piece is dated after 1872 when the company moved to Chicago,” Ballard said.


The exhibit is located in the Danolds Room at the Cobblestone Universalist Church on Route 104, just east of Route 98.


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Gia Arnold re-enters state senate race

Staff reports Posted 22 August 2014

LOCKPORT - Gia Arnold has announced that she will resume her campaign for the state senate seat currently held by George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane. Maziarz issued a statement in July stating he would not seek re-election.


Earlier this month Arnold announced that she would suspend her campaign after she admitted to having an extramartial affair. At that point it was too late to remove her name from the ballot for the Sept. 9 Republican Primary.


The Buffalo News has reported that Arnold is reconsidering her withdrawl after many of her supporters reached out encouraging Arnold to stay in the race for the 62nd district seat. (Click here to see the Buffalo News article.)


“To say that I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and well wishes, would be an understatement.” Arnold said.


“When I made my announcement last week, I never fathomed the hundreds of texts, calls and emails that I received, almost all of which called for me to stay in this race and fight what truth, honesty and what is right for our senate district. For me, telling the truth and being honest with my supporters and the citizens is the most important aspect of running for and representing the people, even if it means losing some support and not helping myself,” she added.


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‘Angel’ appears on Route 98 in Albion

Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 22 August 2014
GAINES – An Orleans Hub reader asked me to take a picture of the “big green angel” on Route 98. The ivy-covered pole has turned a little brown in late summer. I’ve noticed this for more than a year and finally stopped to get a picture.

The “angel” is north of Watt Farms and south of Route 104.


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Conference will highlight public art in canal communities

‘Mural Mania’ leader wants murals in every canal town

Photo by Tom Rivers
Orleans County’s canal towns already have many murals, including eight in Holley on an octagonal building by the Canal Park and lift bridge. Artist Stacey Kirby created these murals called Treasures of Holley. They were unveiled in the spring 2010.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 August 2014
An international conference focusing on the power of murals to beautify and educate will be in the Rochester region in 2016, and the leader of the local effort wants to see more murals in canal communities.

Mark Decracker, founder of Mural Mania, has spearheaded many murals in the Wayne County area. He pushed to bring the Global Mural Conference to the Rochester area in 2016. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced the international will be coming to highlight public art along the canal.

Provided photo
Arthur Barnes is pictured next to a 10-foot-long mural he installed in January at the corner of Presbyterian and Knowlesville roads at a former fire station. The mural highlights the nearby Widewaters section of the canal.

Decracker said there are now murals in every canal community for 75 miles heading east of Rochester from Macedon to Syracuse. He would like to see at least one mural in every canal community – all 363 miles of the canal – within two years.

“You can take an unsightly area and turn it around,” Decracker said. “People will come to see a corridor of art.”

Decracker is working to create an inventory of all of the public art along the canal trail. He also wants to encourage communities to add more. The conference can provide a goal to get the projects done by 2016, but Decracker said the murals will be a benefit long after the conference.

“We should do anything we can to improve the space,” he said. “Murals have a proven track record. They promote our heritage. They are a place to learn. Tourists will also stay longer if they can learn about local history.”

Photo courtesy of Mural Mania
This mural highlights the Battle of Sodus. It is one of several historical-themed murals in Wayne County.

Decracker pushed for his first mural in 2007 in the village of Lyons. The community continues to embrace the projects and more towns reach out to him for help with projects.

“It’s a new renaissance along the canal,” he said. “We are filling in the gaps pretty quick. We can really make this place (the Canal Corridor) pretty special.”

Gillibrand held a press conference with Decracker on Aug. 11, announcing her support for the region to host the murals conference. A week later, an official announcement was made that the conference would be coming to the Rochester area.

“This is great news for the Finger Lakes Region and for everyone along the Erie Canal Corridor,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “This convention will bring welcome attention to the wealth of murals along the Erie Canal, as well as highlight everything that the region has to offer. It will bring together international, national, and local artists and give greater visibility to the talented artists in the area. The conference will encourage community discussion about how the arts can help to narrate the story of the Erie Canal and showcase our history in unique ways.”

Decracker would like to work with schools to create individual art pieces that could be included in a larger mosaic. He would like that collective piece to then be showcased along the canal in a traveling boat.

Photo by Tom Rivers
Suzanne Wells, a retired Albion art teacher, created this Erie Canal-themed bench for downtown Albion. It is one of 10 benches painted as murals in Albion.

Gordon Prestoungrange, president of the Global Mural Conference, said Decracker and Mural Mania put on a compelling presentation, convincing the conference leaders to come to the canal communities.


“This location was chosen because we wanted to learn about all that this region has to offer, and we are excited to aid in the revitalization of the canal corridor,” he said. “The Global Mural Conference will bring enthusiasm about the arts to Western New York and inspire even greater creativity in the area in the future.”


For more information, click here to see the web site for Mural Mania.


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Something Different was a popular party band in the 1980s

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 22 August 2014
This photo taken in 1982 shows the band, “Something Different.” This group played for parties and weddings, but disbanded in 1988.

Front row, from left: Gary Withey, keyboard and vocal; and Paul Churchfield, bass and vocal.

Back row: Larry Waters, light man; Dave Viterna, guitar and vocal; Tamie Mooney, guitar and vocal; John Wragg, sound man; and Tim Korff, drums.


Note the egg cartons in the background, which were on the walls of John’s studio located on South Main Street in Medina.


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Summer soaked up at Holley Canal Park

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 22 August 2014
HOLLEY – A resident is out with his dog for a walk on Thursday at the Holley’s Canal Park.

The village created the park in the late 1990s with some funds from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s Canal Corridor Initiative. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was HUD secretary at the time and Holley decided to name the canalway trail in his honor in 2000.

Today’s weather is forecast for a high of 78 degrees with a slight chance of showers. On Saturday, it will reach 75 with a slight chance of a thunderstorm. It will be mostly sunny on Sunday with a high of 78, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.


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Nursing Home hosts first concert

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 22 August 2014
ALBION – The Villages of Orleans, a county-owned nursing home on Route 31, hosted its first outdoor concert on Thursday for residents and their families. The band Sophisticats entertained.


In the top photo, Jessica Condes and Gary Deiboldt perform for the crowd.

Residents attended the concert in a garden and patio area by The Villages of Orleans.

Brittaney Anderson, an activities aide at the nursing home, fills a bag of popcorn, which was served for free. Residents were also treated to ice tea.


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Summer reading program ends with ice cream

Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 21 August 2014
ALBION – Hoag Library capped its summer reading program this evening with an ice cream social on the front lawn.

Local clergy members and Friends of the Library scooped out ice cream and served up toppings to 225 people. Father Richard Csizmar, pastor of Holy Family Parish, is pictured serving ice cream at front left with Ken Braunbach, a Friend of the Library, next to him. The Rev. Jack Laskowski, pastor of the First United Methodist Church, is in back putting on a rubber glove and getting ready to take a turn in the lineup.


The library had 400 people participate in the summer reading program. Collectively they read about 1,300 books.


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GOP governor candidate details economic plan

File photo by Tom Rivers
Rob Astorino, the Republican Party candidate for governor, is pictured in this photo from May when he stopped in Holley at Precision Packaging Products.


Staff reports Posted 21 August 2014
Rob Astorino asks New Yorkers if the state is winning or losing under Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Astorino, the Westchester County executive, says the state ranks near dead last for having the worst business climate in the state.

Astorino, the GOP candidate for governor, on Tuesday unveiled a plan to improve the state’s economy and business climate. He and his running mate, Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss, welcome “fracking” for natural gas, and want to cut taxes and regulations, and increase high-tech and agriculture.

Key components of the economic plan, as released by Astorino’s campaign, include:

1. Regulatory Reform

• Sign executive order on first day instituting a moratorium on any new regulation and a thorough review of the approximately 750,000 regulations currently on the books.

• Adopt the 2,219 regulatory reforms proposed last January and thoroughly vetted by a bipartisan Senatorial working group that conducted nine industry-specific forums across the state.

• Repeal the Scaffold Law

• Reform the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) by reducing costly delays and redundancies and increasing timeframe predictability.

• Reform the Workers Compensation system to include adopting American Medical Association guidelines and American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine treatment protocols to cut down on costs.

• Require agencies to publicly post approval timeframes for permits and licenses and if not adhered to, compensate the applicant for permit and licensing costs.


• Eliminate the incorporation fees for LLCs and Partnerships.


• Allow small businesses with less than 50 employees the option of self-insurance that would allow numerous exemptions from ObamaCare mandates.


2. Tax Relief

• Reduce or hold flat state spending in each of the next four years to begin to get state expenses and costs under control.

• Make permanent the property tax cap.

• Reduce property taxes and strengthen the effectiveness of the property tax cap by passing mandate relief, including reforms to the Medicaid program and Pension system.

• Repeal hidden taxes on health insurance premiums levied through HCRA.

• Eliminate the 18a tax assessment on utility ratepayers.

3. Invest in New York’s Infrastructure


• Start by investing the $3.6 billion BNP Paribas bank settlement money into the most desperately needed repairs to our roads, bridges and mass transit.

• Use portion of BNP settlement money to pay Canal Corporation debt, separate Canal from the Thruway budget and free up money that would otherwise have gone for Canal debt service to pay for infrastructure projects like the new Tappan Zee Bridge.

• Dedicate sales tax revenue from gasoline purchases to pay for investments in roads, bridges and mass transit.

4. Accelerate Energy Development

• Move forward with natural gas exploration and drilling in Upstate.

• Use SBC (System Benefit Charge) funds now at NYSERDA to help pay for the cost of bringing natural gas distribution lines to communities where the service currently doesn’t exist.

• Renew the Indian Point Energy Center license, support Massena in their efforts to be approved for a new plant.

• Alleviate transmission congestion and upgrade the power grid.

• Support other renewable energy sources like Solar, Wind and Hydro and provide grants and low interest loans to farms and businesses that make energy efficient improvements.

5. Accelerate Technology Start-Up Creation

• Offer individuals a state income tax credit to encourage private investing in qualified start-up ventures.

• Streamline the tech-transfer process at state colleges and universities so students and professors can more easily commercialize their inventions.

• Pass a law that bans the enforceability of “non-compete agreements” – keeping more top talent in New York as it would open up greater opportunities for hi-tech workers and entrepreneurs by eliminating unnecessary restrictions on the flow of talent between companies.

• Support entrepreneurial networks with technical assistance to encourage collaboration across communities and organizations that support start-ups.

6. Increase Availability of Skilled Workers

• Create regional councils comprised of local educators and employers to help high schools tailor vocational education programs to match the needs and demands of local employers.

• Make job-training investments directly to community colleges to streamline the training of new workers for local industry needs.

• Increase coordination between community colleges, local school districts and local industry so students can be properly counseled on the present and future availability of jobs, the types of jobs, their pay and benefits, and the skills needed to do these jobs.

7. Strengthening our Agricultural Heritage and Economy

• Create a New York Farmer’s EZ-Pass that eliminates Thruway tolls for New York farm-based trucks transporting farm-to-market products.

• Support the Ritchie/Magee legislation (S.4260/A.6024) that reduces taxes, fees and regulatory burdens on New York’s family farmers.

• Support a pilot program where beginning farmers receive tax incentives to start a farm in New York State.


For more on Astorino and Moss, click here.


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Holley man, 18, makes up hoax about homicide in Hamlin

Mason Requa is charged with falsely reporting an incident

Mason Requa


Staff reports Posted 21 August 2014
HAMLIN – A Holley resident had law enforcement officers searching for several hours last night for perpetrators of a homicide in Hamlin, until Mason Requa admitted it was a hoax.

He told police he made up the story after he was late delivering a pizza and didn’t want to get fired.

Requa, 18, of Holley called 911 to report he witnessed a homicide at about 9 p.m. Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies, the U.S. Border Patrol and State Police searched the area for about four hours until Requa admitted the incident did not occur, Cpl. John Helfer of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office told reporters today.

Requa has been charged with falsely reporting an incident. He was arraigned in Hamlin Town Court and jailed in lieu of $1,000 cash or $2,500 bond.


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Holley school taxes will be smaller

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 August 2014
HOLLEY – With school tax bills soon to go out, Holley district residents can expect to see smaller tax bills. The Board of Education approved a tax levy on Monday that cuts taxes by 10.6 percent.


The school district in 2013-14 set a tax levy for $7,541,779. That will drop by $800,000 to $6,741,780 for the new school year.


“We are very happy to provide our residents with some tax relief and we are grateful for the support that our community has provided and continues to provide the district,” said Robert D’Angelo, the district superintendent.


Holley moved to cut taxes after a state comptroller’s report said the district had too much money in its reserves.


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Canal inspectors say lift bridges in great shape

Photos by Tom Rvers

The Tug Syracuse carries inspectors and officials from the State Canal Corporation after checking the lift bridge in Holley this morning. The hydraulic, mechanical and electrical systems all passed inspection. The seven lift bridges in Orleans County all passed the Canal Corporation’s review on Wednesday and Thursday, part of a canal-wide inspection of the locks, guard gates and lift bridges.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 August 2014
HOLLEY – They may be 100 years old, but the lift bridges in Orleans County were all given strong passing grades during inspections on Wednesday and Thursday.

Canal inspectors checked the electrical, mechanical and hydraulic systems, and also rated the lift bridges for appearance.

“Everything is in good working order,” John Callaghan, deputy director of the Canal Corp., said about the lift bridges. “They have held up wonderfully after a century of service.”

The Canal Corporation began its annual inspection of the canal system began on Tuesday in Buffalo when the Tug Syracuse departed from Canalside to assess the historic waterway.

The legally mandated inspection takes place over the next two months in two- and three-day segments. The Canal Corp. will assess the overall condition and capital needs of the nearly 200-year-old Canal system, which supports $380 million in tourism-based and $6.4 billion in non-tourism-based economic activity, Canal Corp. officials said. The canal also provides a vital resource for drinking water, agriculture, industry and hydroelectric power generation, officials said.

Don Brace works in the control tower at lift bridge in Holley. State Assemblyman Steve Hawley stopped by to see the inspection of the Holley lift bridge. He said he is working on inviting several state legislators from New York City for a boat ride on the canal where they could then see farms, historic downtowns and other local attractions.
“New York’s Canal system is one of our greatest treasures, as a historical resource and an engine that supports economic activity throughout the Empire State,” Thruway and Canal Executive Director Tom Madison said in a statement earlier this week.  


Callaghan, the deputy canal director, while in Holley today praised the canal employees.

“They take their job seriously,” he said. “They’re out greasing, prepping and painting. It’s a constant when you have 100-year-old infrastructure.”

While the bridges mechanical, electrical and hydraulic components are working well, at least one of the lift bridges – Knowlesville – has a weight reduction due to structural issues and is limited to one-lane traffic. Callaghan said the Department of Transportation inspects the spans for structural integrity. The canal inspectors are focused on other issues with the bridges.

The Tug Syracuse heads east from Holley to check the two lift bridges in Brockport.

Darren McGuirk, assistant canal equipment specialist, headed the inspections today, which started in Albion and headed east. He marveled at how well the lift bridges are holding up.

“The employees are dedicated,” he said. “They know these bridges are the center of these communities. They keep them going.”


The inspection tour is a tradition dating from Oct. 26, 1825, when Gov. DeWitt Clinton departed from Buffalo aboard the Seneca Chief to mark the opening of the Erie Canal after eight years of construction.


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Bouie, Buffalo Bills help raise money for Ministry of Concern

Provided Photo Posted 21 August 2014
Several sports celebrities joined the Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern in raising money for the agency during its golf tournament last month at the Batavia Country Club.

In this photo, Roosevelt Bouie, left, is pictured with two former wide receivers for the Buffalo Bills, Lou Piccone and Ed Rutkowski. Bouie starred on the basketball court for Kendall High School, Syracuse University and then in pro leagues overseas.


About 50 people played in the tournament and raised about $1,000 for the agency. The Ministry of Concern is selling raffle tickets for the Nov. 9 Bills game against the Chiefs as well as for a chance to win a football signed by members of the 1995 Bills team. Call 589-9210 for more information.


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BOCES students partner with Medina for new bike racks

Provided photo
Medina officials dedicated this new bike rack and two others on Aug. 9. Pictured, from left, includes: Mary Lewis (Medina Business Association), Dawn Meland (Medina Tourism Committee), Rene Schuner and James Hancock (both from the Village of Medina Tourism) and Orleans Career and Technical Education Welding teacher Eric Farrell and his daughters Addison and Charlotte.


Press release, Orleans-Niagara BOCES Posted 21 August 2014
MEDINA – Last year students in Eric Farrell’s Welding Program at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center made creative welding sculptures at the request of the Village of Medina Tourism Committee. Those sculptures that resemble apples have been installed in Medina’s downtown as bike racks.


“We wanted some bike racks in downtown Medina,” says James Hancock, chairman of the committee. “The apple is Medina’s symbol because of all the fruit we produce and the students decided to make that their theme and made some gorgeous pieces. We were all impressed how beautiful they are.”

Mr. Farrell’s class designed the bike racks and made each individual part in AutoCAD and then used a CNC machine and a plasma cutter to bend the material and then weld and grind it. They were then delivered to F&H Metal Finishing Company who painted them. The Medina Department of Public Works placed two of them on Main Street and the third by the canal.

The bike racks were officially dedicated on Aug. 9 by the Medina Tourism Committee with Mr. Farrell being the honored guest.

“We are just thrilled to have them for our riders to use and so thankful to the Orleans/Niagara BOCES Welding students for the amazing job they did,” Hancock said.


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Hawley applauds new law assisting veterans and their families

Press release, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley Posted 21 August 2014

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia), a veteran of the National Guard and Army Reserves and ranking member of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee, is applauding Gov. Cuomo for signing a military assistance bill into law that the assemblyman wholeheartedly supported in the Assembly. 
“Our state and our country are forever indebted to those who have served us at home and abroad,” Hawley said.  “This law tackles the red tape that hampers professional certification for family members of active duty officers who are moved from station to station.  We have also expanded New York’s supplemental burial allowance to include those who were injured on the battlefield, but died here at home − an oversight that was far too tragic to continue.”


Hawley added, “Another great aspect of this newly-signed law is how it assists children affected when their families move from station to station.  Every state has its own difficult requirements for high school graduation, and that is often overlooked in legislation that attempts to honor our servicemen and women.  Through this much-needed law, we have cut the red tape affecting children’s academic well-being and enrollment issues.  This is one law we can all support, and I’m proud to have helped pass it.”


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9 bands will perform Saturday to raise money for Bullard Park

‘Rock the Park’ will showcase musicians

Provided photo
Albion native Jim Benedetti plays the drums and sings for The Bad Hands in New Jersey. The band is coming to Albion to perform in Saturday’s event.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 August 2014
ALBION – Organizers of a first-ever music jamboree in Albion this Saturday hope the power of music generates money to rebuild the community’s largest park.

Nine bands will perform at the Elks Lodge at 428 West State St. The bands start rocking at noon with Whiskey Rebellion and continue to 11 p.m. with Zero the last act.

The lineup includes new local bands and well-established ones, such as The Who Dats. An Albion native, Jim Benedetti, is returning home to perform with his blues band, The Bad Hands, from New Jersey. They will perform from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

“This isn’t a battle of the bands,” said Ron Albertson, one of the event’s coordinators. “It’s a music festival for a good cause.”

Albertson is a member of the Albion Lions Club. The service organization is leading an effort to raise money for Bullard Park upgrades. The Lions have already pledged $10,000 to park improvements. It would like to raise significantly more. Saturday’s event is jointly sponsored by the Lions and the Elks Club.

The music fest won’t lose money because all of the bands are playing for free. Tickets are $5 and proceeds from the food and beverages will go towards Bullard.

“Every nickel will go to Bullard Park,” Albertson said.

Provided photo
Zack Burgess of Albion and the band Zero are scheduled to perform in the final slot on Saturday from 9:45 to 11 p.m. at the Elks Club on West State State Street. Burgess helped coordinate Saturday’s music festival.

Two local musicians also helped plan the “Rock the Park” event. Zack Burgess and Dylan DeSmit are both members of the band Zero.

“I’ve been in Albion all of my life,” Burgess said. “I have a niece and nephew and I’d like to have nice things for them to play on that are safe.”

He expects a big crowd to watch the entertainment Saturday. He thanked Mark’s Pizzeria and Uncle Sal’s Pizzeria for putting flyers on their pizza boxes this week, helping to promote the music fest.

The Village of Albion twice applied for state funding to upgrade Bullard but was denied.

A committee identified about $600,000 in possible improvements, including a spray park, new playground equipment, a walking trail, reseeded ball fields, a concession stand with new bathrooms, and other improvements.

The lineup of musicians on Saturday includes:


12:00-12:30: Whiskey Rebellion
12:45-1:15: Painted Silence
1:30-2:30: Route 98.
2:45-3:45: Delano Steele
4:00-5:00: Rock Of Love
5:15-6:15: The Who Dats
6:30-8:00: The Bad Hands
8:15-9:30: Terrible Ideas
9:45-11:00: Zero

File photo courtesy of Michael Whiting
This photo from August 2013 shows the final concert for the band Above the Fog. Dylan DeSmit, left, and Taylor Whittier gave an enthusiastic performance during the band’s final concert. DeSmit will perform with three different bands Saturday during the Bullard Park benefit while Whittier will perform as lead singer for the band Terrible Ideas.


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Second-graders from former Waterport school pose for picture in 1958

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 20 August 2014
WATERPORT – In June 1958, Mrs. Phoebe Beales sat with her second grade students at the Waterport School for this class picture.


Front row, from left: Jason Jeffords, Sandra Peruzzini, John Jurs, Kathleen Woolston, Susan Peruzzini, Janet Brown, Kenneth Kuhns, and Linda Garrod.


Middle row: Robert Canham, Ronald Gurrslin, Frank Gould, Karen Van Wycke, Michele Nesbitt, Ronald Marek and Graig Milliman.


Back row: Michael Budynski, Lynn Miller, Thomas Taber, Rosemary Pinson, Michael Kuhn, David Thomas, Curtis Beam, Bertha Walker, Sue Batt, John Mack and Lynn Gursslin.


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Collins wants NY to allow fracking to lower energy costs, create jobs

Press release, Congressman Chris Collins Posted 20 August 2014
LOCKPORT – During a press conference at the Crosby’s Gas Station in Lockport, Congressman Chris Collins, R-Clarence, released the following remarks on Tuesday about current energy policies.

“As New Yorkers struggle with some of the highest energy rates in the country, it is clear they deserve significantly better when it comes to our energy policies,” Collins said. “Due to burdensome regulations by the Cuomo Administration, Western New York has had to sit on the sidelines and watch as states with similar resources have been able to capitalize on technologies like hydraulic fracking to provide thousands of jobs and new revenue streams. It is time for Gov. Cuomo to stop hiding behind continuously delayed studies and provide a definitive answer on when the people of New York can expect a decision on fracking.

“It is essential that going forward we pursue the many energy opportunities available. These include exploring hydraulic fracking, protecting of our state’s coal industry, and utilizing a variety of other energy production methods. I will continue to ensure that when it comes to energy, Western New Yorkers will have every opportunity available to benefit from our state’s resources.”


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BOCES receives $400K grant to reduce some student testing

'Teaching Is The Core' to strengthen assessment practices

Press release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES Posted 20 August 2014
MEDINA – The Orleans/Niagara BOCES has been approved for a $400,000 grant from the State Education Department for the “Teaching is the Core” initiative, said Dr. Clark Godshall, BOCES Superintendent.

The grant, funded through New York’s Federal Race to the Top grant, will support the 13 component school districts and the BOCES in their efforts to eliminate locally adopted tests that do not contribute to teaching and learning. In addition, the funds will help the districts identify and improve high-quality assessments already in use that can be included as a component of multiple measures of student learning and school and educator effectiveness.

“The recent outcry over too many school assessments belies the need for quality assessments that are an integral part of teaching and learning,” Godshall said. “While tests provide useful feedback to teachers, parents and students, they must be of high quality and informative.”

Some of the tests do not always support good instruction and sometimes even crowd out time for student learning, Godshall said.

“Testing should be the minimum necessary to inform effective decision-making in classrooms, schools and districts,” he said. “This grant will help reduce non-essential local testing in our region. And, more important, they’ll help teachers teach more and test less, which is exactly what our students need.”

The grant will also support professional development throughout the districts to maintain educational excellence. Albion, Medina and Lyndonville are part of the Orleans/Niagara BOCES.

The “Teaching is the Core” funding will allow the 13 districts and BOCES to:

• Determine which assessments support the instructional goals of the district;

• Determine an appropriate action plan that will eliminate unnecessary assessments and increase the use of diverse and quality assessment;

• Support the use of diversified assessment strategies by encouraging a review of local assessments currently in use for teacher evaluations (APPR); and

• Establish a professional development program that will aid teachers in identifying high-quality assessments and improving assessment practices.


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