Heritage Hero: Chris Busch

Medina resident has pushed preservation policies and action

Photos by Tom Rivers

Chris Busch is chairman of the Village of Medina’s Planning Board and Medina’s Tree Board. He also is vice chairman of the Orleans Renaissance Group, which is working to restore the Bent’s Opera House, pictured behind him on Main Street.

 

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 18 April 2014

MEDINA – In small-town Upstate New York, there aren’t too many downtown business districts like Medina’s these days. The buildings are well maintained with a high occupancy rate.

 

It feels like a Norman Rockwell painting, a step back in time with so many independent merchants and sense of history with buildings from the mid to late 1800s and the early 20th Century.

 

Chris Busch sees the downtown’s historical integrity as a draw for the community. He has served nearly 20 years on the Village Planning Board and helped to craft zoning and design standards for the downtown. As chairman of the Planning Board, he also heads the village’s Historic and Architectural Review Board, which provides guidance to downtown building owners for signs, paint and other exterior work.

 

“We’ve been very successful promoting and implementing preservation because we’ve been able to do it in such a fashion that the community has been able to embrace it without angst and suspicion,” Busch said.

 

He praised Kay Revelas, former director of the Medina Chamber of Commerce, for rallying business owners to back preservation and a historic designation for the downtown a generation ago. Many in the community have championed the issue and the building owners have embraced it, Busch said.

 

“It’s taken the diligence of many people to protect the downtown business district,” he said. “It’s paying off because people very much enjoy the look and feel of downtown Medina with its history and heritage.”

 

Busch will be honored as a “Heritage Hero” on April 25 during a Civil War Encampment at GCC in Medina. He was picked for his leadership on the Planning Board and his many civic contributions, including the design of 11 interpretative panels in the downtown that will highlight Medina history. Those panels should be installed later this month or in early May.

Medina elementary students are part of an annual Arbor Day celebration. Students write poems and sing songs about trees. They also help plant them. Busch is chairman of the Tree Board. The National Arbor Day Foundation has given Medina a “Tree City Growth Award” and has designated the community a “Tree City USA” for its commitment to planting trees every year.

 

Busch works as a history teacher in Lockport. His heart is in Medina.

 

He served as village historian and later joined the Municipal Tree Board and has been its chairman for several years. Medina has been planting 50 to 100 trees most years in the past decade and that is helping to replenish an urban forest that was diminished by road projects, wind storms and disease.

 

“Medina was once known for beautiful residences and tree-lined streets,” he said. “Many years of neglect led to a severely depleted urban forest.”

 

The village’s commitment to planting trees has earned it awards from the National Arbor Day Foundation. It has recognized Medina with a “Tree City Growth Award” and has designated the community a “Tree City USA.”

 

Busch said the trees make neighborhoods more appealing visually and should make the homes more valuable and inviting for residents.

Chris Busch is pictured inside the Bent's Opera House about a year ago during a tour as part of the Civil War Encampment in Medina. The opera house was constructed during the Civil War.

 

He has been a leader with the Orleans Renaissance Group, organizing the efforts to bring concerts into the community. He is vice chairman of the ORG, which is working to restore the Bent's Opera House on Main Street. That Medina sandstone building was constructed during the Civil War.

 

The ORG wants to again have performances in the top floor of the site, with a restaurant on the second floor and the first floor available for businesses. Busch sees the site as an anchor for the downtown, drawing customers for other businesses nearby.

 

The “Heritage Hero” Committee also picked Busch for the award because of his efforts designing the 11 interpretive panels and helping to secure funding for the project.

 

The panels will be on Main Street with one on West Center Street by the Newell building, which was once a high-end shirt manufacturer.

A series of 11 interpretive panels that highlight Medina history and notable residents will be installed this spring in downtown Medina. Chris Busch designed the panels, including this one of the former U.S. President Grover Cleveland, who married a Medina girl, Frances Folsom.

 

Busch believes the panels will help locals and visitors better appreciate Medina’s rich heritage and history. He often sees people gawking at the downtown structures, aiming cameras at the buildings.

 

“It’s something that needed to be done to help people visualize it,” he said.

 

The panels will tell the stories of some of the people behind the downtown buildings and the community’s early days with a bustling Erie Canal, sandstone quarries and other industries.

 

"People will be surprised how much they will have an impact on tourist visitors,” Busch said. “These will without a doubt provide a reason for tourists to linger and learn.”

 

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Mexican restaurant will open next month in Albion

Courtesy Albion Historic Preservation Commission

A Mexican restaurant called “El Gallo” will give a building that is currently painted all white a vastly different look. The site at 33 North Main St. also includes an awning. This design is by the LonoWood Art Company in Albion.

 

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 17 April 2014

ALBION – A building that has sat mostly vacant for nearly two decades is expected to open next month as a Mexican restaurant.

 

Miguel Jimenez has been working almost every day since February to renovate 33 North Main St. He would like to open “ El Gallo” – Spanish for “The Rooster” – in time for Cinco de Mayo on May 5.

 

The building is currently painted white and is located next to a parking lot by the First Presbyterian Church.

Photo by Tom Rivers

Here is the building as it appeared at about 8:30 tonight. The site is prominent in the downtown historic district.

 

Jimenez received approval for the building’s paint, new sign and an awning during tonight’s Historic Preservation Commission meeting. Commission members praised him for turning a long-vacant structure into a productive use for the community.

 

“I’m delighted something will be done with the building,” Commission member told Jimenez during the meeting.

 

The downtown hasn’t had a new awning in many years.

 

“I love the idea of an awning,” said Commission member Ric Albright. “It will be great.”

 

The building will be painted in Roycroft Copper Red, Rookwood Amber and Rookwood Dark Green.

 

Village Code Enforcement Officer Ron Vendetti said he welcomed a new look in the downtown, which is named to the National Register of Historic Places.

 

“Different colors add character to the district,” Vendetti said.

 

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New signs point to Cobblestone Museum

Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 17 April 2014

GAINES – The state Department of Transportation about two weeks ago added new signs near the routes 98 and 104 intersection, highlighting the presence of the Cobblestone Society Museum.

 

The museum has eight historic buildings, including three with cobblestone masonry. The Cobblestone Church, pictured on Route 104, was built in 1834 and is the oldest cobblestone church in North America.

 

The museum, which is a National Historic Landmark, opens on Mother’s Day. For more on the museum, click here.

 

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Fairhaven Treasures will have second Peace Garden in Orleans County

Photo by Tom Rivers

The front lawn at Fairhaven Treasures will soon be transformed into an international peace garden.

 

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 17 April 2014

GAINES – A historic homestead that was renovated and reopened as an art gallery and high-end co-op late last year will soon have an International Peace Garden in its front lawn.

 

Fairhaven Treasures, at the southeast corner of routes 98 and 104, will have a garden, three flag poles and a stone wall that says “Fairhaven.” That is the name John Proctor gave for the hamlet when he lived there more than 200 years ago.

 

Proctor is known as the Paul Revere of Ridge Road because he rode along the Ridge warning settlers that the British were coming during the War of 1812. He had a log cabin at the corner of 98 and 104 before the large brick house was built in 1834.

File photo by Tom Rivers

The creek that runs by the Cobblestone Society Museum on Route 98, just south of Route 104, is named for John Proctor. The creek is called "Proctor Brook."

 

Ray Burke and his wife Linda now own the property and they worked most of last year upgrading the site. There will be a grand opening for Fairhaven Treasures on May 3-4.

 

Gaines Town Supervisor Carol Culhane assisted with the renovation providing some of the manual labor. She also connected with the International Peace Garden Foundation about having a site in Gaines at Proctor’s former property.

 

“It’s a great tourist possibility,” she said.

 

Fairhaven will be the second peace garden in the county. Brown’s Berry Patch dedicated the first one last year.

File photo by Tom Rivers

Bob and Deborah Brown dedicated a peace garden at Brown’s Berry Patch last October. They were joined by Paula Savage, right, of Batavia who is founder of the Peace Garden Foundation.

 

The garden locations need to have a historical connection to the War of 1812. At the Browns, family matriarch Bathshua Brown settled in the area in 1804 when the trees were so dense in Carlton the area was known as the Black North. She helped fight off the British in the war and took one of their captains captive.

 

Bathshua and her pioneering spirit also is noted on a historical marker in front of Brown’s Berry Patch.

 

The Fairhaven garden will include flag poles for the American, Canadian and Peace Garden flags. Culhane said it will enhance the historic district along the Ridge, which includes the Cobblestone Society Museum.

 

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Photo shows Medina’s Canal Basin before it was widened

Area by Waterfalls was used for hydropower

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 17 April 2014

MEDINA – In this panoramic view from 1905, we see Oak Orchard Creek from the Erie Canal in Medina.

 

On the right is the Medina Waterfalls and next to it is Station No. 1 of the A.L. Swett Electric Light and Power Company.

 

This photo was taken before the present canal basin was enlarged as we know it. Oak Orchard Creek below the Falls is a reservoir for electric generation known as Glenwood Lake. In this picture we are looking at the southern end of Glenwood.

 

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Holley village wants 8 ‘Diaz houses’ back on the market

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 17 April 2014

HOLLEY – Mayor John Kenney has reached out to state and federal officials, trying to get eight houses that have been declared safe by the federal EPA to be put up for sale.

 

The Environmental Protection Agency acquired the homes in 2005. They have been off the tax rolls since then.

 

The properties were feared contaminated after a January 2002 leak at the former Diaz Chemical. The EPA has cleaned and tested the eight houses. They were declared safe more than two years ago, but Kenney said they continue to sit idle.

 

“We want them back on the market,” Kenney said this morning. “We’ve waited long enough as it is.”

 

Village officials will meet with staff members of U.S. Congressman Chris Collins at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday. They will first meet at the Village Office and will then go tour the eight houses, Kenney said.

 

He is hoping the EPA will work with a real estate company to get the properties sold and back contributing to the tax base and neighborhoods. The houses are on Jackson, Geddes, Van Buren and North Main streets.

 

The EPA is planning a $14 million cleanup of the Diaz site. The agency has already taken down many of the buildings from the former Diaz. For more on the clean up, click here.

 

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WNY economic development officials will pitch STAMP benefits for Orleans

Courtesy of Genesee County EDC

A rendering shows a build-out of the 1,250-acre STAMP site in the town of Alabama.

 

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 17 April 2014

ALBION – A mega-project 1 mile south of the Orleans County border could provide significant benefits to Orleans and the Western New York region, economic development officials said.

 

A contingent of officials will address the Orleans County Legislature at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, updating Orleans officials on WNY STAMP (Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park).

 

That 1,250-acre site is in the town of Alabama. STAMP will accommodate nanotechnology companies including semiconductor 450mm chip fab, flat panel display, solar manufacturing, and advanced manufacturing. 

 

Genesee County Economic Development Center officials have been working on the site for nine years. It received a huge boost in the new state budget with a $33 million commitment from the state. That has local officials thinking there must be companies interested and ready to build at the site.

 

Long term, the STAMP project would likely employ nearly 10,000 workers on site and the total regional employment, including supply chain and construction trades, would likely exceed 20,000 to 50,000 jobs, according to GCEDC.

 

Orleans County legislators are scheduled to hear from Raymond Cianfrini, Genesee County Legislative Chairman; Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the Genesee County EDC; Tom Kucharski, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise; and Mark Peterson, president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Enterprise.

 

The meeting begins at 4 p.m. in the Legislative Chambers of the County Clerks Building and the public is welcome to attend.

 

“This will be a game-changer for the entire community,” Medina Mayor Andrew Meier said.

 

He sees the Medina community as being a primary beneficiary of the project. It is one of the closest population centers to the site. He expects many of the workers to live and shop in the Medina area.

 

“We’re an easy drive up 63,” he said.

 

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2 weeks before canal opens

Historic waterway starts 190th season on May 1

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 17 April 2014

ALBION – The Erie Canal is mostly empty now, but soon it will be filled and will be operational for its 190th season.

 

The State Canal Corp. is planning a May 1 opening for the canal (depending on the weather). The top photo was taken last evening in the bottom of the canal in Albion, east of the Main Street lift bridge looking towards a privately owned bridge. Gaines Basin Road is about another ½ mile to the east.

The gates on the canal along Albion-Eagle Harbor Road are reflected in the shallow canal in this photo taken from the privately owned bridge, which I have heard referred to as Bowman’s Bridge. The bridge leads to a couple houses and the former Albion water treatment plant.

Here is a picture of a puddle in a field by the towpath.

 

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Barre boy, 9, raises and donates heritage sheep

Hog Island sheep is nearing extinction

Photos by Sue Cook

Frost, a Hog Island sheep raised by William Trembley, will be going to Washington, D.C. on Friday.

 

By Sue Cook, staff reporter Posted 16 April 2014

BARRE – Heritage breeds are a look back at the yesteryear of the way farm animals used to exist for our forefathers. One farm in Barre has taken on the responsibility on raising some of these animals that may otherwise go extinct.

 

Nine-year-old William Trembley is the registered farmer for a flock of Hog Island sheep. The breed originated from their namesake island in Virginia. They have been rated as critical by The Livestock Conservancy. This means that there are fewer than 200 annual registrations of the breed in the United States and they are estimated to have a global population of less than 2,000. The Hog Island sheep that William has are one of only two flocks in New York state.

 

“These are a breed from 1600,” said Julie Trembley, William’s mother. “You can make socks like the colonists had. You can make blankets like them, too.”

She has found that many people are interested in the wool from heritage sheep that allows people to create period pieces of clothing and goods that existed long ago.

William is holding one of the black variations of the Hog Island sheep. There is color variation in the breed, but it is not a breed standard for them to be mostly black or white. He is pictured with his mother Julie.

 

This Friday, two of the sheep will be taking a trip to their new home in Washington, D.C. There, the Accokeek Foundation will take them in as permanent residents of their Colonial farm to become a part of their flock of Hog Island sheep from around the country.

 

The family originally connected with the foundation when Julie called for assistance to ensure they were taking care of the breed correctly. They spoke with Polly Festa, the livestock manager. She asked if they would be willing to donate couple lambs to the foundation for the sake of furthering the breed. William agreed that it would be a great idea and the family will begin the transport of the sheep before dawn on Friday.

 

The two sheep that will be going will be a female named Frost who was born on a bitterly cold day to Martha, named after Martha Washington. The male lamb they are sending is Supersheep, who got his name from his black mask like a superhero’s. He was born to Betsy, named for Betsy Ross. The family picked the historic names in honor of the fact that they are a heritage breed. William was given the privilege of naming the sheep and his parents loved what he chose.

 

Julie saw an advertisement that simply read “Six sheep, need a home.” The owners, who could no longer keep them due to the need to relocate, discovered through questioning Julie that the older Trembley boys each had half of the family’s flock of American Tunis, which is another heritage breed of sheep with red coloration that date back to when Thomas Jefferson kept them. Tunis sheep are classified as rare, which is a better standing than critical. The owners felt comfortable giving the sheep to a family that already understood a heritage breed.

 

This year around the first week of March, during the bitter cold, little lambs were born. Eight of the nine were abandoned by the mother. The family thinks it was due to the bitter cold, but also because the flock is feral and behaves somewhat different from modern domesticated breeds, though they do remain an overall close-knit group.

 

“They’re like a synchronized swimming team. They don’t look left or right without being in sync with each other,” said Julie.

 

The lambs’ care needs were extensive at birth. They were already freezing, and some had begun to suffer from frostbite. On top of that, they also needed to be fed every three hours and kept very warm. Julie said it was not only hard, but nearly impossible. Todd Eick, Medina’s agriculture teacher, recognized the breed when he first saw them and immediately wanted to help.

When the lambs were born, they needed to be fed frequently. Through diluted bottles, they are now being weaned off of milk.

 

After transporting them to the school, the ag students assisted in the care of the sheep as part of their class studies. Julie said that the family made the decision that three of the sheep will be given as scholarships to Medina students that participated in their care. The family will be at the 4-H Fair in July with some of their remaining Hog Island breed, where they will show the sheep in an attempt to win ribbons.

 

Julie is deeply grateful for the help that the Medina students provided and that Mr. Eick was willing to reach out. Taking care of the lambs was so difficult that many helping hands made all the difference in the world.

 

“I really want to thank Mr. Eick, and the Medina Ag classes because they helped us bottle feed when we had eight bottle babies,” Julie said. “They're the reason these babies survived and thrived and can go to D.C. I want to thank them for their help. We were exhausted!”

 

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Albion man wins $300K in Lotto

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 16 April 2014

ALBION – Bruce Good has worked in downtown Albion for many years as a real estate agent for Morrison Realty. He has been a faithful customer at Fischer’s Newsroom, buying a few scratch-off tickets most days.

 

Today, Good won the jackpot, a $300,000 prize on a Double Triple Cashword.

 

“I hit the mother lode,” Good said late this afternoon. “It’s a game changer. It’s nice to know there will be a nest egg for retirement and that I can help out some friends and family if they need it.”

 

Good thought the $5 ticket initially was worth $2,500. The game is like a crossword puzzle and the more words on the ticket, the better. (Click here to see a sample ticket.)

 

Good thought he had nine words, which is worth $2,500. It was also on a triple word, which jumped the prize to $7,500.

 

However Gary Withey, owner of Fischer’s, checked the ticket and it showed 10 words, the most possible. That is worth $100,000. The jackpot then jumped to $300,000 because of the triple word.

 

“I was in the right place at the right time,” Good said.

 

Withey has owned Fischer’s for 19 years and this is the biggest winner since he and his wife Denise bought the store.

 

“All we ever wanted to do was make a living and make somebody rich,” Withey said.

 

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Residents can turn in unused prescriptions on April 26

Locations also added for April 19 drop off

Press release, Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess Posted 16 April 2014

ALBION – The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office will once again participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative on April 26.

 

Residents can drop off unused prescriptions from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the following collection points:

 

• Orleans County Public Safety Building, 13925 State Route 31, Albion;

 

• Holley Fire Department, 7 Thomas St., Holley;

 

• Medina Fire Department, 600 Main St., Medina.

 

This is a collaborative effort with the U.S. Department of Justice – Drug Enforcement Administration, the Orleans County Health Department, and the Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse (GCASA).

 

This is a great opportunity for the public to surrender unwanted and/or expired medications for safe & proper disposal. During this cycle we have added one-hour “early-bird” drop off on Saturday, April 19, with times and locations as follows:

 

• Lyndonville Fire Department and Shelby Fire Dire Recreation Hall from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.;

 

• Carlton FD Recreation Hall and Barre Fire Department from 11 a.m. to noon;

 

• Kendall Fire Department and Clarendon Fire Department from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

 

Special thanks to all fire departments for assisting us with this event.

 

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Blue Bus stopped in Albion in 1920s

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 16 April 2014

ALBION – This snapshot was taken in the late 1920s in front of the Rialto Theater on Main Street in Albion.

 

The bus signage indicates: “Ride The Blue Bus – Rochester Batavia Buffalo.” The word “Special” is also displayed. This may have been a special excursion for Odd Fellows or Rebeccas as the 100F Temple was located next to the theater.

 

A storefront at the time in the Odd Fellows building has "Billiards" painted on a window.

 

Note a man placing luggage on top of the bus. Hope it didn’t rain!

 

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‘Rebuild Bullard’ sets $50,000 fund-raising goal

Photos by Tom Rivers

The Albion Lions Club, Village of Albion and community members are trying to raise $50,000 to update playground equipment and make other improvements at Bullard Park.

 

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 16 April 2014

ALBION – Some of the equipment may go back 50 years, and some of the playground apparatus have been removed or modified due to safety concerns.

 

Bullard Park is in need of an update, said Dale Brooks, superintendent for the Department of Public Works.

 

The village sought state funding in 2012 and 2013, but both grant applications were denied. Brooks and the village want to forge ahead with improvements.

 

The “Rebuild Bullard” Committee met Tuesday and set a $50,000 fund-raising goal. That should be enough to put in new playground for bigger kids and make other improvements.

 

However, the committee hasn’t established a priority for the first project at Bullard. Recreation Director John Grillo believes a spray park would be a major draw to the park, bringing people from throughout the county.

Some of the equipment at the park goes back generations.

 

However, the village needs to run water and sewer lines to a central location for the spray park, and Brooks would like to see bathrooms and a changing area built for a spray park. He will seek construction estimates for the infrastructure, spray park and bathroom. That should be well in excess of $50,000.

 

Brooks would prefer to first address safety issues with the playground. The village has updated equipment at Pee Wee Park, a section of Bullard for toddlers and younger children. The spot with playground equipment for older children hasn’t been updated in many years.

 

“My concern is the safety part,” Brooks said at a meeting at Hoag Library.

 

Brooks is also a member of the Albion Lions Club, and the club is helping to raise funds for the project. Lions Cub President Bill Robinson said the fund-raising and improvements will likely take years. But he wants to get started “so the children’s playground is a safe place to play and the park is a credit to the community.”

 

The committee brainstormed several fund-raisers including a Battle of Bands, car wash, bowling tournament, dunk tank at the Strawberry Festival and donations that would go into a village account designated for the park.

 

Brooks and Grillo also would like to see neighboring towns provide some funding for the park because it is used by children and families outside the village.

 

The improvements will depend on the money coming to fruition. However, Brooks said some safety improvements may be required by the village’s insurance provider.

 

The committee will meet next at 7 p.m. on May 20 at Hoag Library.

 

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With home renovations be mindful of lead exposure

By Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Public Health Educator for the Orleans County Health Department Posted 16 April 2014

Spring had finally sprung!!!  Many are doing their spring cleaning and finding they want to go further and make some updates to their home or apartment. If you have an older home, the Orleans County Health Department has some tips for your safety.

 

Lead exposure can cause serious problems, especially for children less than six years old and pregnant women. Lead-based paint was used in millions of homes until it was banned in 1978. If your home was built before then, here are some facts you should know: 

 

• Lead can affect a child’s brain and developing nervous system causing reduced IQ and learning disability. Infants and children under 6 are at most risk. It can also hurt the developing baby during pregnancy.

 

• Lead exposure can cause behavioral problems.

 

• Lead in dust is the most common way people are exposed to lead. Lead dust is often invisible. You can get lead in your body by breathing or swallowing lead dust or by eating soil or paint chips containing lead.

 

• Even children who seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies.

These same facts apply to childcare facilities or any building built before 1978.

 

If renovation is taking place in your day care center or your home, the work areas should not be accessible while the work is being done. You may even want to move out of your home temporarily while all or part of the work is done. Childcare facilities and schools may want to consider alternative accommodations for children.

 

For renovations, repair and painting in homes, childcare centers and schools built before 1978 that disturb painted surfaces, federal law requires contractors to be certified and follow specific practices to prevent lead contamination. Landlords who do renovations, repairs and painting must also be certified. Lead-based paint may be unsafe on surfaces that children can chew on such as windowsills, doors and doorframes, stairs, railings, banisters, porches and fences. Lead can also be found in drinking water in homes that have plumbing with lead or lead solder.

 

If you suspect that your house has lead hazards, here are some important things you can do to protect your family:

 

• Always use a damp cloth or damp mop for dusty surfaces and floors.

 

• If you rent, call the landlord immediately to report peeling or chipping paint.

 

• Clean up paint chips right away with a damp cloth and clean all other surfaces with a general all-purpose cleaner.

 

• Wash children’s hands often to wash off any lead dust. Keep them way from chipping paint and prevent destructive behaviors like chewing on painted surfaces.

 

• Always hire certified contractors for work that will disrupt paint in housing or child occupied buildings before 1978 or check on how you can become properly trained.  You can search for a certified firm by clicking here.

 

Remember, lead can also be dangerous for adults. Lead exposure can cause reproductive problems for men and women, high blood pressure and hypertension, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems and muscle and joint pain. Lead exposure can also harm developing babies in pregnant women.

 

For more information about renovating right and about the dangers of lead exposure to children and adults and for testing information contact your local health department.

 

For more information about the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule visit the Environmental Protection Agency web site (click here) or call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD.

 

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Holley man sentenced to prison for taking prized coins

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 16 April 2014

ALBION – A Holley man was sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison for taking valuable coins from a Kendall resident on Oct. 22.

 

James Calus, 42, of Perry Street pleaded guilty to attempted burglary in the third degree. He has a prior record, but his attorney Shirley Gorman said the previous crimes were more than 20 years ago.

 

Calus took the coins to help pay for college tuition for his girlfriend’s son, and to help with family bills, Gorman told County Court Judge James Punch.

 

“It wasn’t for drugs or gambling,” she said.

 

Calus took the coins not knowing how valuable they were, Gorman said. The victim in the crime asked Punch to sentence Calus to weekends in jail so he could work and pay towards restitution.

 

But Punch said the seriousness of crime warranted state prison.

 

“Just because you need money doesn’t give you the right to wander into someone else’s property and take their hard-earned property,” the judge said during sentencing on Monday.

 

In other cases in county court:

 

• A Medina man was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison for felony aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and driving while intoxicated.

 

Milton Hinkley III, 41, of Glenwood Avenue was charged with DWI and AUO after he was stopped on May 18, 2013 on Glenwood Avenue.

 

He had been on Probation three times and “apparently it’s had no effect,” Punch said. Hinkley has a prior DWI in 1999.

 

• An inmate at Orleans Correctional Facility was sentenced to another year in prison for promoting prison contraband.

 

Jason Seifert, 28, has been at the prison in Albion since April 23, 2010. He pleaded guilty to promoting prison contraband when he received a controlled substance, the drug buprenorphine, in the mail from his mother.

 

His mother Tracey Stratton, 51, of Vermont last week was sentenced to a year in county jail for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree.

 

• A Kent man was sent to jail on $15,000 bail. Daniel Flanagan, 28, of Bills Road appeared in court after a bench warrant was issued for his arrest for missing a previous scheduled appearance.

 

He faces charges of DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle after being stopped Dec. 7 on East State Street in Albion.

 

• An Albion man was arraigned for violation of probation and jailed on $20,000 bail. Dennis Calkins, 34, faces more serious charges but they are yet to be brought before the grand jury.

 

Calkins on Feb. 13 allegedly jumped from a moving vehicle and fled police on foot. He was wanted on a parole warrant. Albion police and Orleans County Sheriff's deputies found a backpack full of ingredients for making methamphetamine in the back seat of the car he was driving.

 

Calkins was charged with felony unlawful manufacturing or possession of meth or meth lab materials, punishable by up to seven years in prison, and misdemeanor counts of obstruction of governmental administration and possession of a hypodermic instrument.

 

Police also charged him with use of a car without an Interlock device, reckless driving, aggravated unlicensed operation, unlawful fleeing from a police officer and resisting arrest.

 

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Fish arrive in pens to grow bigger, and imprint on Oak Orchard

106K Chinook, 21K steelhead delivered by DEC

Photos by Tom Rivers

Department of Environmental Conservation officials deliver Steelhead from the Altmar Hatchery this afternoon at the Oak Orchard River. The fish will spend the next month in pens by Ernst's Lake Breeze Marina.

The Steelhead are six months old and about 3 or 4 inches long. They will nearly double in size in the next month in the pens.

 

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 15 April 2014

POINT BREEZE – Charter boat captains and other Point Breeze stakeholders welcomed more than 100,000 fish today that will be nurtured in pens for the next month or so.

 

The tiny Chinook salmon and steelhead will be released about twice their current size. That will increase their chances of surviving in Lake Ontario and its tributaries. The fish, while they grow in the pens, also will imprint on the river.

 

When they are mature and ready to spawn, they are more likely to return to the Oak Orchard to lay their eggs.

Mike Waterhouse, the Orleans County sportsfishing promotion coordinator, helps with the fish stocking in one of the pens.

 

The Point Breeze community started the pen-rearing project in 1998. Bob Songin, charter boat captain with Reel Excitement, has been leader of the project each year.

Volunteers are up at 5 a.m. each morning to feed the fish, which are fed five times a day.

 

Songin said the project has resulted in more mature fish that return to the Oak Orchard and also in Lake Ontario near Point Breeze.

 

“We have double the survival rate, which means we have more fish to catch,” he said.

Bob Songin, in red, leads the pen-rearing project. About 20 volunteers assist with the effort each year.

 

The Department of Environmental Conservation brought truckloads of fish from the Altmar Hatchery. The agency stocked 106,000 Chinook in the pens, and 14,000 Steelhead or Rainbow Trout for the pens. The DEC also stocked 7,000 Steelhead in the Oak Orchard River by the Twin Bridges near Narby’s.

 

Volunteers are welcome to sign up at Ernst’s Lake Breeze Marina for a chance to feed the fish. The DEC provides the food for the fish.

The pens will keep the fish safe from predators while the Steelhead and Chinook grow in the next month.

 

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Rochester man arrested for possessing, selling crack cocaine in Albion

Laquan Simmons

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 15 April 2014

ALBION – A Rochester man currently on parole was arrested with 6.7 grams of crack cocaine in the Wal-Mart parking lot on Monday, the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force reported.

 

Laquan J. Simmons, 22, of 259 Arborwood Lane was charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree (a Class B felony) for alleged previous sales to an undercover officer, said Joseph Sacco, the Task Force supervising officer.

 

Simmons arrest follows an investigation into the possession, sale and distribution of crack cocaine from the city of Rochester to the town of Albion.

 

Simmons also was charged with one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree (a Class A felony).

 

Police seized 22 bags of crack cocaine packaged for sale and a larger bag of crack cocaine. They have a street value of more than $1,500, the Task Force reported.

 

Simmons was arraigned in Albion Town Court by Justice Kevin Howard, who remanded Simmons to county jail on $25,000 cash or bond bail. He is to appear in Town Court on Wednesday at 9 a.m.

 

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Decorated mannequin taken in Shelby

Orleans Hub file photo by Peggy Barringer Posted 15 April 2014

SHELBY – Doug Bracey gets a lot of comments about a mannequin he decorates for different holidays at the corner of Route 63 and Fletcher Chapel Road. Orleans Hub featured the mannequin in St. Patrick’s Day garb last month.

 

Bracey most recently has the mannequin decorated as the Easter Bunny. He’s disappointed someone took the mannequin on Monday, sometime between noon and 3 p.m.

 

He would like the mannequin returned so he can continue his tradition.

 

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Mayor says dissolution plan positions Medina area for future

Press release, Medina Mayor Andrew Meier Posted 15 April 2014

(Editor’s note: Medina Mayor Andrew Meier sent this response to a press release issued by the towns of Ridgeway and Shelby about a dissolution plan. Click here to see that press release, “Ridgeway and Shelby say village dissolution process has been flawed.”)

 

MEDINA – The taxpayers of Medina, Ridgeway and Shelby deserve honest solutions that have been thoughtfully considered, discussed, researched and arrived at with transparency. 

 

The Dissolution Committee has done that by proposing solutions that eliminate costly layers of government, improve quality of life for residents, and create the conditions for economic opportunity in a competitive environment. 

 

The Committee is comprised of a diverse group of independent, honorable, and unbiased citizens who have invested great effort in this plan, and I thank them for their continuing contributions.  

 

Our community’s motto is “Roots in the past, eyes on the future.”  We all find inspiration in the work of those who built our village with bold determination. But we can’t live in the past, doing the same old things we’ve done for years. Challenging and changing times demand that we think and act anew. 

 

I remain confident that our local elected officials are capable of fair-minded and unfiltered dialogue about our future, and I welcome idea-sharing with residents at all times. 

 

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