Hawley says he will again push to split Upstate, NYC

Staff Reports Posted 17 November 2014

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley says he will again push to split New York City from Upstate New York. The recent governor’s election highlighted the “deep divide” between NYC and Upstate, said Hawley, R-Batavia.


Hawley is pushing a “Two New Yorks” legislation, would seek a referendum in each county asking voters, “Do you support the division of New York into two separate states?”


Hawley says this is an important first step toward true representation for upstate New York.


“I’ll be making my ‘Two New Yorks’ legislation a top priority to find out if Upstate New Yorkers want to take the step to separate from New York City and downstate interests,” Hawley said.

The upstate/downstate divide was made abundantly clear in this year’s gubernatorial elections, where Gov. Cuomo’s entire margin of victory came from New York City alone, Hawley said.

New York City gave Cuomo an edge by 569,278 votes. The incumbent only won the election by 480,605 votes. This means that without New York City, Cuomo would have lost and New York’s next governor would be someone more aligned with the Upstate priorities of lower taxes, a better business climate, and the restoration of Second Amendment rights, Hawley said.

“These recent elections have made one thing clear: New York City has a tight grip on the electoral politics of this state, and it is not working for Upstate New York,” Hawley said. “Longtime Upstate New Yorkers are being driven out of the state they were raised in because of oppressive taxes and the lack of well-paying jobs.”

Orleans County was the second most anti-Cuomo county in the state. Voters in Orleans cast 73.4 percent of their votes for Astorino (6,530), compared to 24.2 percent for Cuomo (2,179). Only Wyoming County was more pro-Astorino, giving him 76.0 percent of its vote.


return to top of page


Officials celebrate opening of Waterport bridge on Route 279

County plans work on 6 more bridges next 3 years

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 17 November 2014
WATERPORT – Pictured in a ribbon cutting this morning for the reopening of the Waterport Bridge on Route 279 include, from left: Kathy Blackburn, executive director of Orleans County Chamber of Commerce; Gayle Ashbery, Carlton town supervisor; Jackie Tarricone, secretary to county highway superintendent; County Legislator Ken DeRoller; Legislature Chairman David Callard, County Legislator Bill Eick, Highway Superintendent Jerry Gray (with scissors); Legislator John DeFillipps; Legislator Fred Miller; John Papponetti, project manager for LaBella Associates; Chris Bayer, structural engineer with LaBella; Scott Scharping, chief engineer and project manager for Keeler Construction; Tom Keeler, vice president at Keeler Construction; Lucinda Mayer, resident engineer for LaBella; and Tracy Sheffer, project supervisor for Keeler.

The bridge was closed for five months while it received $1.5 million in upgrades, including new railings, repairs to concrete piers, a new deck, asphalt top, two new fascia beams and drainage improvements.


With proper maintenance, the bridge should last another 50 years, said John Papponetti, project manager for Labella Associates, a Rochester engineering firm.

The bridge is the longest county-owned span at 700 feet, crossing Lake Alice and the Oak Orchard River.

“It was inconvenient while it was closed,” said Gayle Ashbery, Carlton town supervisor. “We’re glad it’s back open.”

David Callard (center), chairman of the Orleans County Legislature, praised county employees, Labella Associates and Keeler Construction for their efforts with the project.

The federal government paid 80 percent of the costs, with the state contributing 15 percent and the county the remaining 5 percent. The county opened another bridge last week on Hulberton Road after a new bridge was completed. Federal and state funds paid 95 percent of that project's cost.


Those state and federal dollars for bridges will be hard to come by for rural counties in the next few years.

The county has opted to borrow $8 million for capital projects, including about $5 million to repair or replace six bridges, with two being tackled annually from 2015 to 2017. The two targeted next year include a bridge from 1934 over Beardsley Creek on Waterport-Carlton Road in Carlton, and a bridge from 1968 in Barre over Manning Muckland Creek on Oak Orchard Road.

“We’re continue with our efforts,” Callard said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony today.

Other bridges identified for improvements include a 1959 bridge in Kendall on Carton Road over Sandy Creek, a bridge from 1936 in Ridgeway over Fish Creek on East Scott Road, one from 1928 in Ridgeway over Fish Creek on Culvert Road, and a bridge from 1956 in Kendall over Sandy Creek on Norway Road.


return to top of page


Collins, House GOP vote for Keystone pipeline

Staff Reports Posted 14 November 2014
WASHINGTON, DC – The House Republican majority gave strong support for a controversial oil pipeline project today. The Keystone XL oil pipeline was approved in the House, 252-161, and now heads to the Senate.


The 1,179-mile project would go from Canada through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska. It would connect with existing pipelines to carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Congressman Chris Collins, R-Clarence, issued this statement after the vote:

“Achieving energy independence is vital for our nation’s economic growth and national security. For the past six years, the President’s Administration has hidden behind political motives to delay a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. While the Obama Administration and Senate Democrats have delayed, the American people have missed out on the thousands of jobs and lower energy costs that would be created by approval of the pipeline.

“As November’s elections results prove, Americans want economic growth and jobs now, and House Republicans are taking a major step towards those goals. It is time for the President and Senate Democrats to put aside their punitive political agenda and harness our nation’s energy potential.”


return to top of page


County gives thanks to veterans for service

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 11 November 2014
ALBION – An Honor Guard stands at attention during a Veterans Day ceremony today outside the Veterans Service Agency at 13996 Route 31 West.


Carl Boyle, a member of the American Legion in Lyndonville, is pictured at the far right. The Honor Guard did a 21-gun salute at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Frank Berger, left, and Ken Schaal are part of the Honor Guard doing a 21-gun salute at today’s Veterans Day ceremony.

The Rev. Tim Lindsay, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Albion, gave the invocation at the service. Three of Lindsay’s sons enlisted in the military and one continues in active duty.


Lindsay said veterans are role models, providing examples of putting service before themselves. He prayed for the families of veterans, who may feel anxiety while loved ones are deployed. Lindsay also prayed for veterans when they transition from active duty to civilian life.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley addressed about 50 people at the ceremony. Hawley, a former member of the Army National Guard, said veterans have secured other rights for Americans, including freedom of press and freedom of speech.

“We should never forget the sacrifice of veterans,” Hawley said. “Let’s not forget the families of those deployed. They bear a special burden this season.”

The U.S. military ensures a safer world, Hawley said, responding to terrorists including Osama bin Laden and the ISIS.

Orleans County Legislator Don Allport said American soldiers have secured freedom for the United States, and much of the world. Allport, pictured next to Veterans Service Agency Director Paul Fulcomer, noted that 4,000 current Orleans County residents are veterans, about 10 percent of the county population.

Allport urged all county residents to take an oath to defend the Constitution. If everyone did that, Allport said, “America would be an unstoppable force in the world.”

Orleans County Legislator Lynne Johnson shared the words of General Douglas A. MacArthur, who addressed the Military Academy at West Point on May 12, 1962. “Duty, Honor, Country,” MacArthur told the cadets at the time.

Those words from MacArthur represent the ideals of the U.S. military Johnson said. She recently joined veterans on a trip to the Nation’s capital to see war memorials. She said she was touched by the veterans’ stories of service.

Jennifer Printup sings “America the Beautiful” during a Veterans Day ceremony today.

Veterans stand at attention during the service.

Russell Young of Medina plays “Taps” near the end of the service. He is using his father’s trumpet. His father Russell Young served in World War II. Behind Young is a 105 MM Howitzer, Model 101A1. It was used in the Korean War from June 27, 1950 to July 27, 1953. The memorial was dedicated on July 27, 2003, the 50th anniversary of the ending of the war.

A crowd gathers outside the Veterans Service Agency on Route 31 for a Veterans Day service today.


return to top of page


New online resource connects vets to temporary state positions

Press Release, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley Posted 11 November 2014

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) is announcing a new online resource that will connect out-of-work veterans to temporary state employment opportunities.

The Veteran’s Temporary Hiring Portal (click here) allows veterans to upload their resumes so that state agencies can find candidates for open positions within their organization. Hawley calls the portal a positive step for veterans who are struggling to find employment in New York.

“As the ranking member of the Assembly’s Veterans Affairs Committee, I understand the difficulty that veterans face when they look for work after returning from deployment,” Hawley said. “This important resource will connect veterans with critical temporary work that will help them get by while they look for long term employment.”

Hawley, a former member of the Army National Guard, also issued this statement for Veterans Day:

“Our nation’s prosperity has been secured by our nation’s veterans from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror. It is important that we take time to remember the sacrifices that veterans have made so that we understand the vigilance with which we must defend our freedoms. Along with my constituents and the rest of our nation, I express my heartfelt gratitude to our nation’s veterans for their sacrifice on our behalf.”


return to top of page


Toy drive aims to spread Christmas cheer in Orleans County

Photo by Tom Rivers
Businesses in Orleans County will team with Community Action to try to provide at least one toy for what is expected to be at least 350 families. Community Action met with business representatives this morning at Hoag Library. Pictured include, front row, from left: Carolyn Wagner, human resource manager for BMP in Medina; Anni Skowneski, case manager for Community Action; and Kris Hartwig, administrative assistant at S.B. Whistler and Sons (Phinney Tool and Die). Back row: Marsha Rivers, executive director for the Orleans County United Way; Annette Finch, community services director for Community Action; and Wendy Hinkley.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 November 2014
ALBION – It started in 2011 as a challenge for Medina businesses. Andrew Szatkowski was Worthington Cylinder’s quality control manager. He wanted to see which Medina manufacturer could give the most toys to needy families served by Community Action.

Szatkowski has since taken another job and Worthington Cylinders closed this summer, putting about 150 people out of work.

The toy challenge has been such a success that the effort will continue and it has spread around the county. It also isn’t being called a “Toy Challenge.” It’s part of Community Action’s “Holiday Giving Program” that welcomes toys, food donations, Christmas trees, ornaments and donations.

Last year 370 families were served through the effort coordinated by Community Action. The toy donations make it possible for each child to receive at least one toy at Christmas. The toy drive accounts for most of those gifts, said Anni Skowneski, case manager for Community Action.

“Without this we wouldn’t be able to do what we do,” Skowneski said during a kickoff meeting today at the Hoag Library.

Companies that donate to the cause receive certificates of participation. The company that gives the most gifts, as a percentage of its employees, will get a plaque.

Carolyn Wagner, human resources manager for BMP in Medina, urged businesses to tout the toy giving effort. BMP wraps a box and urges employees to leave unwrapped toys in it. The company offers prizes for employees that donate.

Precision Packaging Products in Holley has offered to give participating companies boxes for the effort, which will run until Dec. 5. Community Action will pick up the gifts and they will be stored in the First Baptist Church basement in Albion. Parents of the children can come to the church, pick out a gift and wrap the present.

Skowneski said many of the families have working parents who struggle to pay their bills. Paying for Christmas presents is difficult for many of the working poor, who are already struggling with rising heat and energy costs, she said.

She said the community continues to come through with generosity during the holiday season.

“God smiles on us and finds a way for us to take care of our families,” Skowneski said.

Annette Finch, community services director for Community Action, has been filling holiday baskets for families for more than three decades.

“I was hoping we’d be out of job,” she said. “It’s horrible that we still have to do this. These families are not asking for iPods or big things. They’re asking for clothing or a football.”

For more information on the toy drive, call Skowneski at 585-589-5605 or Kris Hartwig at S.B. Whistler and Sons in Medina at 585-798-3000.


return to top of page


Orleans Extension unveils legacy campaign

CCE seeks renovations to Trolley Building, other improvements

File photo by Tom Rivers
In this photo from July 2013, Noah Preston of Barre hoses down livestock at the wash rack. The Cooperative Extension wants to upgrade the wash rack as part of a series of improvements at the fairgrounds.

Press Release, Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension

Posted 9 November 2014
KNOWLESVILLE – The Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension has announced a new Legacy Capital Campaign. The campaign identifies several critical improvements needed at the Orleans County Fairgrounds to continue the Extension’s long-standing tradition of education and community service.


These projects include extensive renovation to the Trolley Building that will feature an updated kitchen, installing a new floor in the Wachob Building, replacing a wash rack by the Cattle Barn, purchasing a generator, and paying the debt on a new finish mower.

The legacies of past generations are featured by the campaign as a reminder that Orleans County residents are pretty amazing. For example, Harold “Mike” Trolley, for which the Trolley Building is named, led the purchase and development of the present day fairgrounds, creating a legacy for the 4-H Fair.


Later, in 1968, Paul Klatt began a walk-a-thon that spanned over three decades and raised thousands of dollars for fairgrounds improvements, building a legacy of tradition and service. Then Corkey Van Den Bosch served as baker for the 1977 world’s largest pie, leaving a legacy of ingenuity and community pride. To this day, residents visit the fairgrounds, often with children, to see the famous pie pan.

Orleans Extension seeks to honor those who have made a difference in Orleans County by continuing their efforts to build a legacy of improving people’s lives. The Board of Directors will meet with committee leaders this month as part of their strategic planning efforts to identify how to best serve more people, expand high quality educational opportunities, further youth development and leadership, and increase volunteer engagement to develop goals for Extension 2020.


Long-term plans for the 4-H food stands are also a topic for discussion as the initial community center proposal has transitioned to a Trolley Building expansion due to costs and maintenance constraints.

While many volunteers are optimistic about the future, they acknowledge improvement will take a great deal of hard work and collaboration. However, the outcomes far outweigh the costs. As Board President, Ed Neal, noted, “Even if the 4-H fair only makes a difference in the life of one kid, it is worth it.” Given 4-H’s enrollment is at about 350 youth and 70 volunteers, Orleans Extension is making a tremendous impact, and the Legacy Capital Campaign will allow this impact to continue long into the future.

The first campaign contribution received was $1,400 toward the Wachob Building project. The Board of Directors will provide an update on the campaign’s progress and the proposed projects at the OCCCE annual meeting on Dec. 2. The event will begin at 6:30 pm in the Trolley Building at the Fairgrounds.


All county residents are welcome to attend the annual meeting, enjoy dinner, and participate in voting for new board members, approving a constitutional amendment, and recognizing the exemplary service of OCCCE volunteers. Dinner tickets are $15 each and RSVPs can be made through the Extension office at 585-798-4265 or orleans@cornell.edu.


return to top of page


Hawley says he’s ready for another term in Assembly

Batavia resident scored decisive win in 139th District

File photo by Tom Rivers

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley speaks at a rally against the SAFE Act in Albion on Sept. 8. He said he will work to repeal the legislation.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 November 2014
ALBION – State Assemblyman Steve Hawley thanked voters in the 139th Assembly District for strong support at the polls on Tuesday.

Hawley received about 95 percent of the vote against Mark Glogowski, a Libertarian Party candidate from Hamlin.


Hawley, in a statement this morning, said his priorities for the next two years will include creating a better business climate in Western New York that creates well-paying jobs. He also said he will work to restore Second Amendment rights.

“I am humbled by the overwhelming support that the people of the 139th Assembly District have shown me,” he said. “I will continue to faithfully represent them by holding town halls across the district so that constituents have the chance to let me know what they want to see from our state and bringing those concerns to Albany. I look forward to keeping a good thing going representing the good people of Western New York for another two years.”


Hawley, owner of an insurance agency in Batavia, has served in the Assembly for nearly nine years. The district includes all of Genesee, all of Orleans except the Town of Shelby, and four towns in western Monroe County.

In Genesee County, Hawley received 96.2 percent of the vote compared to Glogowski. In Orleans, Hawley had 95.1 percent over Glogowski and 94.4 percent in Monroe County.


return to top of page



Local government taking proactive steps to solve some nagging problems

File photo
A dredging barge is near the breakwall at the end of the Oak Orchard channel when the harbor was dredged in August for the first time in 10 years. Orleans and other southshore counties may pool their money and buy dredging equipment to ensure the harbors stay open.


Editorial By Tom Rivers Posted 6 November 2014
Local government leaders are devising proactive solutions to help solve some long-festering problems. They deserve a pat on the back and I’m happy to give it to them.


Consider the following:

County will tackle bridge projects

New York State and the federal government used to be counted on to help pay the lion’s share for bridge replacement projects in Orleans County. Those bridge projects could top $1 million or more. The federal government would pay 80 percent with the state covering 15 percent. But those dollars have been in short supply in our county.


There are less federal and state dollars for bridge projects and the money tends to go to bridges with higher traffic counts in more populous counties.

We have aging infrastructure in our county. Many of the 70 county-owned bridges are at least a half-century old. Without a bridge replacement plan we could face a lot of blocked off roads in the future, delaying residents, emergency vehicles and commercial trucks. That would threaten public safety and the economy in the county.

Rather than waiting on the state or federal government, Orleans County leaders came up with their own plan for replacing six bridges in the next three years. The county will bond the project using low-interest financing to get the work done.

The following bridges have been identified for replacement, starting with two in 2015: a bridge from 1934 over Beardsley Creek on Waterport-Carlton Road in Carlton, and a bridge from 1968 in Barre over Manning Muckland Creek on Oak Orchard Road.

Other bridges to follow include one from 1959 in Kendall on Carton Road over Sandy Creek, a bridge from 1936 in Ridgeway over Fish Creek on East Scott Road, one from 1928 in Ridgeway over Fish Creek on Culvert Road, and a bridge from 1956 in Kendall over Sandy Creek on Norway Road.

The bridge work will cost $5 million and is part of an $8 million bond that will also include culvert work, new roofs on county buildings and other infrastructure work.

Southshore counties may dredge harbors

The Oak Orchard Harbor should be dredged every six years to make sure sediment in the harbor doesn’t build up, making the channel impassable for boats. The harbor was dredged in August, the first time in 10 years using federal recovery funds from the Sandy Superstorm.

The federal government is directing dredging funds to commercial harbors and not to recreational harbors like Oak Orchard. However, that harbor is critical to the county’s recreational and sportsfishing industries.


The harbor generates $7,087,101 in economic activity for Orleans, resulting in 117 direct and indirect jobs. It also yields $283,484 in sales tax revenue for both the county and the state, according to a consultant, Frank Sciremammano of FES Environmental and Marine Consultants.

Rather than wait on the federal government and Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the harbors, the southshore counties may pool their funds and buy dredging equipment to keep 19 harbors open. Buying the equipment would result in annual $23,655 share from Orleans County. That seems like a small price to pay for the economic and recreational activity at the harbor, as well as the peace of mind in knowing it will stay open.

Holley finds partners to help revive old school

It’s a dominant landmark on the east end of our county, but it’s been left to wither and rot for the past two decades. The old Holley High School remains a solid structure despite the neglect, and officials from the Landmark Society of Western New York believe the building is worth saving and renovating.

The Landmark Society and Preservation League of NYS are working with the village to get the school on the state and national registers of historic places. That would make a rehabilitation project at the school eligible for 40 percent in tax credits. That could be enough to make a project, perhaps senior apartments, financially feasible for a developer.

Holley Mayor John Kenney deserves credit for connecting with the preservation groups and for seeing potential in the site. (The Preservation League is providing a $5,000 grant to help Holley with its application to get the school and Public Square on the state and national registers.)

Albion and Holley pursue LDCs for distressed properties

Eight homes in Holley were abandoned after a leak at the former Diaz Chemical plant more than 12 years ago. The Environmental Protection Agency has deemed those eight houses safe. But they remain empty and under EPA control.

The village is working to form a local development corporation that would take ownership of the sites and work to sell them. That is a proactive move by Holley. The funds from the housing sales could be used to advance other community projects. The LDC could also have a role in the redevelopment of the old school.

The Village of Albion is also working on an LDC to target distressed housing. The LDC would have a specific focus of either taking down or rehabilitating run-down homes. The LDC could also seek and accept grants and partner with other agencies.


In both cases, Holley and Albion are developing a framework to address difficult problems.


It's good to see the government leaders being proactive and not reactive to some of our challenges.


return to top of page