Albion's painted benches move indoors for winter

Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 31 October 2014

ALBION – The 10 painted benches on Albion’s Main Street have moved inside for the cold weather months. They will be back out in the spring with two new benches.
The benches have been moved indoors at Five Star Bank, Hoag Library and the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce.

The photo above at Five Star shows a cobblestone themed bench by Arthur Barnes and one of Grace Bedell and Abraham Lincoln by Peter Loran. Bedell is the Albion girl who wrote a letter to Lincoln, urging him to grow a beard. He took her advice.


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Bear spotted crossing 31 in Albion

Photo by David Rotoli Posted 31 October 2014
ALBION – A black bear created a stir on Route 31 on Thursday afternoon when it crossed the road heading north, about a half mile east of Riches Corners Road.

David Rotoli and his wife Shari just happened to be driving by at about 5:30. They and other motorists pulled over to take pictures.

“It meandered across the road,” Mrs. Rotoli said. “It was awesome.”

There have been numerous bear sightings in the county this year, but this may be the closest to the village.

People should be cautious if they see the bear. A bear isn’t expected to attack, but if it feels cornered or threatened, it could be aggressive, said Tom Roster, manager of the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.


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Car show raises $1,100 for Hospice

Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 31 October 2014
ALBION – Becky Karls, director for Merrill-Grinnell Funeral Home, presents a check for $1,100 today to Patty Leight, an administrative assistant for Hospice of Orleans.


Karls organized a car show on Sept. 28 with classic cars, food and raffle tickets. The event topped the $1,000 raised a year ago in the debut car show.

“Next year we’ll shoot for even more,” Karls said.


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Workplaces dress up for Halloween

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 31 October 2014

Staff at The Village of Orleans are dressed in many different costumes today including a Raggedy Ann Doll, The Stay Puft Marshmallow, Little Bo Peep, a werewolf and other characters. William Gillick, the nurse home administrator, is dressed as a Yankees fan. He is seating on an original seat from Yankee Stadium.

The group includes, front kneeling or seated, from left: Kelly Daigler, Rachel Drew, Tanya Foster, William Gillick and Nikole Fix.


Back row: Teiona Kemp, Ondrea Pate, Tab Pearce, Paul Parsons, Sandy Webster, Tara Churchfield, Debra Albertson, Deb Donnelly and Sue Williams.

The staff at the Five Star Bank in Albion also kept up a tradition of dressing up for Halloween. They all wore football jerseys today. Jamie Bennett, the assistant manager, is wearing a Brett Favre jersey from when he played for the Atlanta Falcons and Susan Plummer, a teller, is wearing a jersey from LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers.


Any other workplaces with employees dressed up for Halloween can send pictures to


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Hotel would be far better in heart of Medina

Courtesy of Joseph Cardone
This rendering shows how the Medina Theatre and a neighboring warehouse could be transformed into a hotel and conference center on Main Street next to the railroad tracks.


Editorial by Tom Rivers Posted 31 October 2014
MEDINA – A report from a consultant says a hotel could make money and be sustainable in Medina. That’s the good news for our county, which loses out on longer stays from visitors. Orleans County actually ranks dead last among the 62 counties in the state for visitor spending.

Many of our visitors are day-trippers, who make a drive out and then head back, often choosing to stay in hotels in Batavia. That deprives Orleans County and our businesses of the full economic impact of these guests.

The Orleans Economic Development Agency has been working to see if a hotel is sustainable in the county. The EDA hired Interim Hospitality Consultants to do a feasibility study for a new hotel in Medina. The firm, led by Edward Xanders, concluded a small hotel with 41 to 49 rooms would be profitable with at least an average daily occupancy rate of 60 percent.

That’s the good news.

The EDA has warmed up to a new chain, Cobblestone Inn and Suites, for the project that will need local investors. The EDA has land on Route 31A across from GCC in an industrial park. That spot would be prime for the project, EDA officials said during a board meeting on Oct. 10.

A chain motel might be an ideal fit for a community with not much of an entity, or for a Thruway stop. But it seems a poor choice for a place like Medina, which is seeing a rebound in its historic business district because it feels anti-chain with a distinctive collection of buildings and merchants. Visitors like Medina's sense of place. It feels like a Norman Rockwell painting.

I think the chain model on the edge of town is the worst choice for the project and I hope local investors will steer the hotel to the downtown area. If investors go with the chain model it could find a home in the historic district, so more businesses could benefit from the visitors who would no doubt like to go for a walk in the downtown and along the canal, rather than by cornfields on 31A.

If the investors decide to follow the Cobblestone chain model, it seems to me the large parking lot across from the Post Office and next to the R.H. Newell building would work for the project, putting it right in the heart of the downtown.

If that spot isn’t quite right, the Snappy manufacturing site on Commercial Street along the canal might be the best choice. The investors could acquire the property, which is for sale, demolish it and put up the chain hotel. The visitors would be next to the historic Erie Canal, a lift bridge and lots of independent merchants.

I thought those might be the best options for a downtown location, but then Joe Cardone met with the Medina Business Association and presented renderings of hotel and conference center on Main Street. The Cardone family has owned the historic Medina theatre for decades and upgraded the site last year, opening it for events.

Photo by Tom Rivers
This warehouse could be converted into a hotel, giving Medina a distinctive place for visitors to stay in a historic district.


It is part of a block of big Medina sandstone buildings, including a giant warehouse along the railroad tracks. Cardone said the site is beyond shovel ready. It’s “hammer ready,” he told the Business Association.

Cardone envisions a shared entryway between the two buildings. He believes the conference center and hotel would drive traffic for each other, and other downtown businesses.

“They would be demand generators,” he said. “The conference center would help with the success and occupancy of the hotel.”

Those dominant Medina sandstone buildings would give the community a one-of-a-kind hotel and conference center that is sure to make a stronger impression on visitors than a cookie-cutter chain hotel. Cardone said the warehouse, owned by the Fuller family, is a 20,000-square-foot four-story site that could be carved up into hotel rooms.

“I have a keen interest in what’s best for the village and this would be a wonderful asset,” Cardone told the Orleans Hub. “There would be a big ripple effect for businesses. It merits looking into.”

There is an existing large parking lot behind the buildings and there is also room to expand.

The sandstone buildings happen to be in a state and national historic district, making renovations eligible for 40 percent in tax credits. Developers have used those credits to push through renovations of hotels at historic sites in Buffalo.

A project at the Cardone and Fuller buildings would use existing structures, solid buildings that can’t be duplicated by today’s build-it-in-a-hurry chain stores. And the 40 percent in tax credits is a major financial incentive.

Let’s say it cost $4 million to turn the Cardone and Fuller sites into a first-class hotel and conference center (I don’t think there are any cost estimates yet), the tax credits would turn that into a $2.4 million project. If it’s a $5 million project, the tax credits would make it $3 million. An $8 million project would be $4.8 million.


A chain hotel isn't eligible for those tax benefits.

The reduced costs through tax credits is a major reason why the developers have been renovating some of the grand old buildings in Buffalo. And those projects have been a big part of the renaissance in Buffalo. It could do the same for Medina.


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Medina increases ambulance mileage rates

Village adds $50 out-of-district surcharge

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 October 2014
MEDINA – It will cost more to be transported in Medina ambulance and calls outside western Orleans County will soon be assessed a $50 out-of-district surcharge.


The Village Board approved raising the mileage rate for ambulance transports from $20 to $30. Medina had been on the low end for mileage rates and is now in the middle of the pack, Fire Chief Todd Zinkievich told the Village Board.

“We’re still at a respectable level,” he said.

The Fire Department has seen its calls increase outside its contract area – the Village of Medina and towns of Shelby, Yates and Ridgeway. Zinkievich said the Medina ambulance responds to calls in Albion and central Orleans, and Genesee and Niagara counties. Some ambulance squads will include surcharges for up to $100 for out-of-district work.

Zinkievich said $100 may be too high to start with. He suggested $50 and the Village Board agreed.


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Albion spikers romp in Class B2 semis

Photo by Cheryl Wertman
Albion's Chanyce Powell tries to spike the ball against the block attempt of East Aurora's Maddie McLaughline (10) and Kayla Norton (8) during the host Purple Eagles sectional semifinal win over the Blue Devils this evening.


By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 30 October 2014

Rebounding quickly from an 8-1 deficit at the outset, No. 2 seed Albion romped to a 25-18, 25-14, 25-6 victory over visiting No. 3 East Aurora this evening in the Section VI Class B2 semifinals.

Kelsee Soule had 13 spiking kills and 9 digs, Chanyce Powell 9 kills and 3 aces, Meghan Hurley 16 assists, 3 aces and 2 kills and Olivia Neidert 10 assists to lead the way for Albion which will face either No. 1 Depew or No .4 Cheektowaga in the B2 title match next Tuesday at Lockport at 8 p.m.

Breaking away from a 17-17 deadlock, Albion regained the lead for good in the opening set as Powell served up points 18-20 registering aces for both points 19 and 20.

Mallory Broda then quickly closed out the set by serving up points 22-25 as Soule registered kills to polish off points 23 and 25.

Keeping the momentum, Albion used two big scoring runs to key the second set win. Hurley served up points 3-8, a run which featured two kills and a block by Powell, and Ashley Bocach scored points 16-21.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman
Olivia Neidert serves up a point for the Purple Eagles.

The Purple Eagles wasted little time in closing out the win by rolling to a 25-6 win in the third set. Powell served up points 5-10, a run which featured kills by Aleah Foos and Soule; Neidert scored points 13-18, a run capped off by a kill by Soule, and Bocach served up points 20-23, a run started with a kill by Soule and finished with a block by Powell.

Another kill by Powell polished off point 24 and Morgan Ferris followed up by serving an ace for the st and match winner.

Albion is now 18-1 overall on the season.


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Bundle up for Halloween

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 30 October 2014
The moon is out tonight and tomorrow the costumed characters will be roaming the streets.


Dressing up for Halloween might require an extra layer of clothing on Friday. Temperatures are forecast for a high of 48 degrees with a chance of showers. Temperatures are forecast to fall to a low of 41 on Friday night, according to the National Weather Service.

I stopped by Mount Albion Cemetery today to grab a few photos of the leaves.

The Mount Albion crew is aggressive in getting the leaves out. I wished I had stopped by a couple days ago before this lane was mostly emptied of leaves. Looks like there are more to fall.

The temperatures will be cooler this weekend with highs of 43 on Saturday and 42 on Sunday.


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GCASA films anti-gambling commercial

Provided photo
An anti-gambling commercial was filmed Tuesday in Albion in front of Fischer’s News Stand. The group includes, from left: Paul Figlow, film director from Figlow Productions; Carol Pritchard, Albion High School senior; Alise Pangrazio, GCC student; Phil Ricci, Batavia resident; and Paul Suleski, GCASA intern.


Staff Reports Posted 30 October 2014
ALBION – The Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse filmed a commercial in Albion on Tuesday that is intended to get families talking about gambling. (The video is expected to be released through YouTube next month.)

GCASA received funding from the New York Council on Problem Gambling for 2014 to increase the number of parents who are committed to talking to their children about the dangers associated with underage gambling, said Pat Crowley, project director for Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition.

“This year the focus of the project is getting parents to talk to their children about problem gambling,” she said.

She said fewer than half of parents discuss gambling issues with their children, and research shows that only 13 percent believe their children gamble for money.

“As with many challenging issues for youth, it is important for parents to talk about gambling,” Crowley said. “It is important for parents to examine their own attitudes and habits around gambling and make sure you are modeling healthy behaviors.”


Gambling has become more accepted than ever before as a pastime, not only for adults but also for youth. Crowley wants parents to about gambling to prevent serious addiction problems.

For more information regarding problem gambling contact GCASA at 585-589-0055 in Albion or 585-343-1124 in Batavia or you can reach the NYS HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY.


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Sheriff honors long-time volunteer with jail ministry team

Provided photo from Orleans County Sheriff's Department Posted 30 October 2014
ALBION – Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess recognized members of the correctional services faith-based ministry during a luncheon on Oct. 17.


David H. Ferris has been ministering to inmates since 1986. He received a plaque from the sheriff, in recognition of his “28 Years of Dedicated and Faithful Service to the Sheriff’s Office and the County of Orleans.” While Ferris is planning to “scale back” his ministry, he has no intention of retiring completely from this unselfish calling.

Seated from left: Mrs. Ben Harris, Rev. Ella Mae Hawkins, Dave Ferris and Mrs. Dawn King.

Standing from left: Sheriff Hess, Rev. Leroy Hawkins, Rev. Ben Harris, Rev. Richard Allis, Rev. Neil Samborski, Rev. Charles Barkowski, Mr. Dylan Parfitt, Rev. Dan Thurber, Rev. Don Snyder and Rev. Tim Lindsay (Jail Chaplain and Ministry Coordinator).


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IJC member agrees lake plan is flawed

File photo by Tom Rivers
This photo was taken in October 2013 from a sailboat on Lake Ontario.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 October 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – One of the members of a binational board charged with managing the water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River system believes a proposal backed by the majority of the board will result in flooding on the southshore.

Frank Sciremammano, a professor of mechanical engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology, has voiced his concerns about Plan 2014 and what he sees as an unfair burden put on southshore property owners.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea and I’ve been fighting it,” Sciremammano said Wednesday when he was in Orleans County. He has been hired as a consultant to help six southshore counties come out with a dredging and harbor maintenance plan.


Sciremammano said the International Joint Commission, which is tasked with regulating the water levels, should ensure that no one group or geographic area bears a disproportionate loss. The new plan would concentrate damage to the south shore of the lake, he said.

“Quebec said no more damage so the damage and flooding will shift to the southshore,” Sciremammano said.

Orleans and other southshore counties are trying to thwart the plan. It has been approved by the IJC, but needs the backing from both countries.

“Where it goes, no one knows,” Sciremammano said.

For more on the IJC, click here.


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Before it was Extension office, building was home for Burrows family

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 30 October 2014
ALBION – In this picture from circa 1890 we see members of the Lorenzo Burrows Jr. family posed in front of their residence on Main Street in Albion.

Seated in the little surrey with fringe on top is Lynn Moore Burrows (1884-1944). The ponies hitched to this were named Dot and Dime.

For many years this house was the offices for Cornell Cooperative Extension next to the Post Office.


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Villages set trick-or-treating hours

Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 30 October 2014
People in costume cross East Center Street on Friday during Beggar’s Night in Medina. The village of Medina has set 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for trick-or-treating hours on Halloween, which is Friday.

Medina also is limiting trick-or-treating to children 12 and younger, and advises people to only knock on doors of homes with their outdoor lights on. Residents wishing to participate in Halloween are asked to have their porch lights on at 5:30 p.m. to indicate participation.

Albion has set trick-or-treating hours from 5 to 8 p.m. and Lyndonville will have trick-or-treating from 6 to 8 p.m.

If any other towns or villages have established hours for trick-or-treating, they are welcome to send that information to


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