Friday, January 31, 2020

Cicirello retires from State Police, takes on new role with District Attorney's office

A seasoned law enforcement professional has retired, trading one badge for another. On Thursday, Wellsville native Scott Cicirello walked into the Amity-based State Police barracks for the final time as a member of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and former uniformed Trooper. After a twenty-five and a half year career in law enforcement, Cicirello retired. That doesn't mean you'll see him at the golf course seven days a week...the lawman traded one badge for another. Cicirello has accepted the position of Investigator with the Allegany County District Attorney's Office. He will take over for another former retired State Trooper, Dennis Vespucci, who served in the DA's Office for years. Vespucci is retiring (#2). Cicirello says his first day on the job will be March 2. The role of DA Investigator is broad-ranging. Cicirello has a lengthy career in law enforcement, from patrol officer in local agencies to police chief in multiple communities and a lengthy stint with the New York State Police, where he was elevated from a uniformed Trooper to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. He proudly served at the Wellsville Police Department, where his father James Cicirello, served as police chief. The family man says he'll enjoy a few weeks of 'R&R' before returning to "the job." We have reached out to District Attorney Keith Slep for comment. We'll share his thoughts when he responds. 
 It must be noted that the county legislature still must approve the hiring.

Allegany County listed in natural disaster declaration

Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Sonny Perdue, approved a natural disaster designation for 43 Upstate New York counties that suffered heavy rains and severe flooding during the 2019 farming season. This designation allows communities hurt by extreme weather to access certain federal assistance, such as emergency loans and other aid programs, from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to help recover their losses.
Specifically, Albany, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Erie, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuler, Seneca, Steuben, Sullivan, Tioga, Washington, Wyoming, and Yates Counties were designated primary natural disaster areas and farm operators in these counties are eligible for FSA emergency loans, provided they meet other requirements.
Additionally, farm operators in Broome, Cortland, Dutchess, Orange, St. Lawrence, Tompkins, Ulster, Warren, and Wayne Counties are also eligible for assistance.
“After weathering a brutal farming season last year, the USDA’s disaster designation will provide much needed assistance to farmers and growers throughout Upstate New York,” said Senator Schumer. “From corner to corner of the state, I have seen firsthand the aftermath of last year’s severe rain and flooding. Thankfully, this disaster declaration means our Upstate farmers and growers will have access to critical emergency loans and more, at a time when they need it the most.”
“I’m pleased that the USDA has approved natural disaster designations across Upstate New York for counties that suffered extensive damage due to severe weather during last year’s farming season,” said Senator Gillibrand, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “This will allow FSA emergency loans and other assistance to flow to communities that need it. New York has a strong farming tradition, and it is past time for our farmers to get the help they need to recover. I will always do everything I can to ensure that New Yorkers have the resources to rebuild.”
USDA offers a variety of programs and services to help communities, farmers, ranchers, and businesses recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, and other natural disasters. More information may be found here.

Obituary: Samuel E. Speta, 73, Friendship

Samuel E. Speta, 73, of 4450 Route 275, Friendship passed away unexpectedly, Thursday, January 30, 2020 shortly after arrival at Jones Memorial Hospital.
Born on September 16, 1946, in Cuba, he was a son of Louis and Violet Lewis Speta.  On November 18, 1972, in Friendship he married the former Gayle E. Dunshie who survives.
Sam was a graduate of Richburg Central Schools Class of 1964.  He then served in the United States Army from 1966-68.  He received the National Defense Service Medal for his service.
He had been employed as a Truck Driver for the New York State Department of Transportation in Friendship prior to his retirement.  He had also owned and operated S, G, & M Farm Equipment for several years. 
He was lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, Shooters Committee on Political Education, the Friendship American Legion Post 1168, and the Allegany County Veterans Organization.   Hunting and going to auctions, and various collections were several of his hobbies. 

He is also survived by son John (Jennifer) French of Friendship
In addition to his parents he was predeceased by A Brother Charles Speta and a sister Sylvia Scott.
Graveside services will be held in Maple Grove Cemetery, Friendship at a date and time to be announced this coming spring.
Online condolences may be sent at  Cremation arrangements are under direction of the Mark F. Rinker Funeral Home & Memorial Service, Inc., Cuba.

One person injured in horse & buggy and vehicle collision in Angelica

State Police on Thursday investigated a collision involving a vehicle and an Amish buggy. It happened at 8:37 a.m. on Peavy Road in Angelica. The vehicle operator was listed as a name-protected 17-year-old from Angelica.  31-year-old Eli E. Wengerd, also from Angelica, was operating the buggy. The injured person was transported to Jones Memorial Hospital.

Obituary: Julia M. “Julie” Bossard, 69, formerly of Hornell & Arkport

Julia M. “Julie” Bossard, 69, formerly of Hornell & Arkport, died early Thursday morning (January 30th, 2020) at her home surrounded by her children, following a long illness. Julie was diagnosed with cancer last March & fought with pride & dignity until the very end.
Born in Hornell on August 17th, 1950, she was the daughter of James & Annie (Roselli) Eveland.
Julie grew up in Hornell & attended St. Ann’s school. She later graduated from Hornell High School (class of 1969).
She had been employed for a time as a receptionist for Richard Andolina DDS & for about 20 years was employed through GST BOCES as a teacher’s aide & worked in the Adolescent Psychiatric Care Unit in St. James Hospital in Hornell where she retired in 2012.
Julie was a member of Our Lady of the Valley Parish & a communicant if St. Ann’s Church. She was an avid golfer & a member of the Hornell Golf Club. She enjoyed dancing & riding motorcycles. Julie loved to go to different fall festivals & craft shows to find her handmade one of a kind jewelry that she loved to collect. She loved being at the lake & the beach & would spend her days in the sun. Julie also enjoyed being with her dog, Henley, who she loved to walk & take for rides.
In addition to her parents, Julie was preceded in death by her first husband, Daniel Swift who died in 1973 & her second husband, Steven “Boz” Bossard who died in 2002. She also had lost her sister-in-law, Cathy Bossard, to her own battle with cancer in 2006.
Surviving are her son, Daniel (Angela Webster) Swift of Millerton, NY; her 3 daughters, Jennifer (Jeff) Walsh of Conifer, CO, Natalie (Nathan) Donahue of Howard, NY & Rachel (Devin Webb) Bossard of Corning; 6 brothers; & 7 grandchildren, Danny Swift, Reghan Swift, Hayden Swift, Jack Walsh, Raelyn Webb, Glenna Webb & Morrison Webb; her mother-in-law, Mary Bossard; along with several very loved nephews & nieces.
At Julie’s request there will be no calling hours. Private services will be held at the convenience of the family.  A “Celebration of Life” will be held at a day & time to be announced.
Funeral arrangements are in care of the Dagon Funeral Home, 38 Church St., Hornell, NY.
Julie’s family request that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in her name be made to the Cathy Bossard Scholarship at Hornell Alumni Association at PO BOX 135, Hornell, NY 14843.
To leave an online condolence or share a memory, visit

Police will step up patrols for Super Bowl weekend

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the State Police will partner with local law enforcement agencies statewide to crack down on impaired and reckless driving during Super Bowl weekend. The STOP-DWI campaign will include underage drinking enforcement, along with increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints to deter, identify, and arrest impaired drivers. The enforcement initiative, which runs from Saturday, February 1 through Monday, February 3, is funded by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee.

"The Super Bowl is one of the biggest events of the entire year, and I am encouraging New Yorkers to enjoy it responsibly,"
Governor Cuomo said.
"It is simple: If you are drinking, do not get behind the wheel. New York has zero tolerance for drunk driving, and our police will be aggressively enforcing the law this weekend to keep New Yorkers safe."
Too many lives are still being lost because of crashes caused by impaired drivers. The STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the number of drinking and driving fatalities. During the 2019 Super Bowl campaign, State Police arrested 139 people for impaired driving and issued 7,891 tickets.

State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, "State Troopers will be highly visible throughout the weekend, cracking down on impaired drivers and other reckless driving behaviors. If your celebrations include alcohol, make a game plan now for a safe ride home. Don't jeopardize your life or the lives of others by driving impaired."
New York DMV Commissioner and GTSC Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "Super Bowl Sunday is a great time to celebrate with friends, but please do so responsibly. We appreciate our partners in law enforcement being out to prevent drivers from making a tragic decision that can have lifelong and life-threatening consequences. Just as you make plans for how to spend the day of the game, take the time to make plans to get home safely."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,511 people were killed in alcohol-impaired crashes in 2018. Drivers should remember that they are putting not only their lives, but the lives of others, in jeopardy when they choose to drink and drive. NHTSA reports that 30 people die each day in alcohol-related vehicle crashes. That's one person every 48 minutes.
If you are hosting guests during the Super Bowl, please designate a responsible driver in advance to help your guests get home safely.

Almond woman charged with grand larceny

Bath-based State Police arrested 37-year-old Michelle S. Stevens of Almond. She was charged with felony counts of fourth-degree grand larceny and first-degree falsifying business records. Troopers said the charges stem from an incident in the City of Hornell that was reported December 4, 2019. She was issued an appearance ticket for court and released. Stevens is also the Almond Town Clerk, however, the crime did not involve her town duties.

Angelica man charged with felony vehicular assault and more

An Angelica man faces multiple felony counts stemming from an incident not long after midnight on County Road 16 in Angelica. State Police arrested 25-year-old Cody A. Hogue. He was charged with felony second-degree vehicular assault causing injury, felony leaving the scene of an accident involving serious injury, driving while intoxicated, having a blood alcohol level above .08% and reckless driving. He was released on his own recognizance.

Potter County: Police investigating attempted kidnapping

Pennsylvania State Police are investigating an attempted kidnapping. It happened Wednesday afternoon on Rose Lake Road in Allegany Township. Troopers said a 33-year-old woman from Coudersport observed a red SUV stopped along the fence line in the roadway. She attempted to make contact with the individual when an unknown white male reached through her open car window, attempting to pull her out. Police said the woman hit the gas pedal and drove away before the suspect could do anything more. The victim sustained minor injuries. The woman provided descriptors of the man and Troopers are tracking down leads. State police said it is believed that there is no risk to public safety at this time.

Allegany County: Upcoming Foodlink Mobile Food Pantries

Join ACCORD Corporation and Foodlink on Thursday, February 13, 2020 at the Free Mobile Food Pantry located at the Belmont Fire Hall in Belmont, NY, from 4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.  Please note the new time. Early arrivals are welcome, however please arrive after 3pm for your health and safety.
-          No I.D. required
-          Food will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.  We cannot guarantee enough food for all attending.
-          Must be 18 or older to accept food; No one over 18 will be turned away
-          No geographic or income limits
Upcoming Foodlink Mobile Pantries:
MARCH 12th
4:00 - 5:30 PM
Whitesville Fire Hall
496 Main St., Whitesville, NY
4:00 - 5:30 PM
Rushford Fire Hall
8911 Upper St., Rushford, NY
MAY 29th
4:00 - 5:30 PM
Richburg Fire Hall
277 Main St., Richburg, NY
JUNE 5th
4:00 - 5:30 PM
Belfast Fire Hall
11 Merton Ave., Belfast, NY
JUNE 30th
4:00 - 5:30 PM
Andover Fire Hall
1300 Dyke Rd., Andover, NY
For more information or to sign up to volunteer, please call ACCORD at 585-268-7605 ext. 1001 or 1401.

Allegany County: The Art of Fighting a Nuke Dump

In April 2020, Concerned Citizens of Allegany County will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the “Bump the Dump” protest, a multi-year citizen action that prevented the establishment of a nuclear waste dump. This extraordinary episode in our history was ultimately argued and won in US Supreme Court. In taking a stand against the dangers of radioactive contamination on environmental and human health, thousands of regular folks have become folk heroes. We invite you to learn more about them.

The Art of Fighting a Nuke Dump
By Susan Beckhorn

How were the arts used to fight the siting of a radioactive waste dump in Allegany County? Just as David fought Goliath with the only weapon he had, people used every possible means to express their outrage and stop the process. Some were pretty creative. Literally thousands of people asked themselves, “What can I do?” If they had a talent or a skill, they used it.  
Like David’s small missile, these efforts were on target and effective. Dozens of artists offered work, from Hope Zaccagni (now an accomplished painter) who designed posters and the iconic mushroom masks, to Suzanne Bloom of Cortland County (now a well-known children’s book illustrator) who drew many cartoons including the “Loves me Loves Me Not” Daisy-morphing into-Radioactive warning symbol. Many T-shirts, buttons, and bumper stickers were created.
Photography documented events as they unfolded. Kathryn Ross of the Wellsville Daily Reporter wrote articles and took countless photographs. Her work forms an important collection. Steve Meyers, the first chair of the Concerned Citizens group and a professional photographer, produced a legacy of stunning images. An excellent summary of the dump fight was captured for history in Kevin O’Shaughnessy’s documentary, My Name is Allegany County.
Using pens as swords, writers contributed mightily. Sun Publishing in Alfred and Vanmark Printing in Wellsville donated paper and printer’s ink like blood transfusions and, in the tradition of our revolutionary ancestors, worked long into the night producing posters, newsletters, and of course, the masks. One publication, edited by poet Walt Franklin was aptly named “The Stone and Sling.” Novelist Megan Staffel researched and wrote a paper on the connection between radioactivity and dairy, which was distributed to dairy farmers, presented to the governor, and inspired Dale Meisenheimer’s song, “If I was a cow.” Staffel’s husband Graham Marks wrote an article for The Studio Potter. Anna Eskenazi Bush and John Arden-Hopkins, then editor of the Cuba Patriot, co-wrote a musical, “Bump the Dump,” produced at Alfred State College. One of the final choruses resonates today: “Come celebrate, oh Allegany, don’t let memories fade. Hold high the torch of history, pass on the truth we’ve made.”
There was more: A beautiful quilt constructed from squares designed and sewn by many hands was put together by Jenny Kelly and Pat Kaake and displayed in Albany and Washington, D.C. Culinary artists created nourishing hot stews made from local ingredients to sustain protestors during the cold “nuclear winters” of protests. They also put together a cookbook as a fundraiser with both silly and useful recipes. There was an abundance of street theater: When the infamous “Information Van” came into Wellsville, it was blocked with tractors and a manure spreader. In Almond, it was escorted down Main Street to the entrance ramp to Route 17 dragging a box of cow manure scattered with mushrooms (referencing a Siting Commission statement that the Concerned Citizens group was “Keeping people in the dark and feeding them s---). A dead skunk was crammed into its heating vent as a gesture which implied that the siting process stank. In Albany, people from the sited areas staged a “funeral march” from the statehouse, where eulogies were read, to the governor’s mansion, each county represented by a coffin. Fred Beckhorn built the one for Allegany County. Children dressed as angels helped carry a banner of photos of Allegany kids created by Mary Gardner Ruch. And the Grim Reaper was present at many of the protests in full regalia.
A “Night of Rage,” brainchild of Jim Lucey, then CCAC co-chair, was staged at the West Almond encampment on an October evening, advertised by a poster with charred edges. Stuffed effigies of the siting commission were torched. Jack o’ Lanterns carved by Glenna Fredrickson with images of Governor Cuomo lit the stage. All non-violent actions were as carefully choreographed as a dance, from the first circles of singing citizens with locked arms to the seniors chained across the Caneadea bridge, backed by a blockade of farm equipment, and a final blockade of horsemen. 
There was music. Says Native American singer-songwriter, Buffy Sainte-Marie (Universal Soldier), “A great three-minute protest song can be more effective than a 400-page textbook: immediate and replicable, portable and efficient, wrapped in music, easy to understand by ordinary people. It’s distributed word-of-mouth by artists, as opposed to news stories marketed by the fellas who may own the town, the company store and the mine.” Local musicians came together with original songs to form B.A.N.D.I.T.S. (Bands Against Nuclear Dumps In This State). Ed Whitney’s Nasty Boys introduced at the first non-violent action in Belmont inspired Cher Appell’s Nasty Girls. The two songs served as a warning wrapped in humor: “We fool around with shotguns—they’re about our favorite toys . . .” The message was, We’re serious. We intend to defend ourselves.  Howard Appell’s haunting Caneadea evoked the legacy of the land under our stewardship, as did Irma Howard’s “Keep Free the Land.” Gary Barteau’s Reduce, Recycle and Reuse foretold the way of life humans must adopt to live sustainably. My song Allegany was a channeling of a few phrases: “rise to your feet . . . lock arms and stand . . .  no radiation without representation. . .” simple lines, easy to sing and share. The power of the music was clear when my arrest at Caneadea included the seizure of my guitar—clearly a weapon of the people. That moment inspired Never Stop Singing: “when power gives power the right to do wrong, you might get arrested for singing your song . . .”
There were those who said the dump was a done deal, it was useless to fight. But we did fight and while there is still no solution for radioactive waste, we don’t have a dump. We made a difference. To those who gave creative juices and energy, who have not been mentioned here, please know it was not by intention. I urge you to share your part in history and I personally thank you.   
AUTHOR BIO:  Susan Williams Beckhorn is the award-winning author and illustrator of half a dozen children's books who grew up in a family where kids, animals, and the outdoors were cherished. Susan lives and writes in Rexville, NY.
Save the Date for the Anniversary Weekend:  April 4-5, 2020.  Follow Concerned Citizens’ FB page or join us at our next meeting.  Phone/text 585-466-4474 or email

Allegany County: Business Training Class available

NYSUT ‘Fund Our Future’ bus tour draws attention to underfunding of Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley schools

ELMIRA, N.Y. — New York State United Teachers is visiting schools in the Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley today to draw attention to the severe impact a lack of state funding has had on schools statewide. Union activists are also highlighting the need for new revenues that will enable the state to tackle educational inequality, and other pressing needs.
“Our children do not get a do-over,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “We hear every year that there is a budget gap, but the state can’t close it on the backs of New York’s middle class families and students through more underfunding of our education system. Fully funding our students’ futures can’t wait any longer.”
Meeting with local union leaders, school administrators and elected officials Thursday morning in Elmira, NYSUT called on state officials to make full funding of Foundation Aid, the underpinning of how New York funds schools, a top priority this legislative session. NYSUT also advocated for new taxes on billionaires and ultramillionaires that would generate billions of dollars in new revenue for essential state services.
During a stop at Diven Elementary School, educators and administrators noted that the Elmira City School District is owed $12.5 million in Foundation Aid. Educators and administrators say full funding would go a long way toward addressing students’ social-emotional needs, providing after-school programming and continuing the district’s 1:1 device program, which allows students to access laptops necessary for 21st Century lessons.
“We are excited to work with NYSUT to address the challenges we face with funding, so we can improve the programs and experiences we provide for Elmira’s students,” Elmira Superintendent Hillary Austin said. “Through our collaboration, we are hopeful that we can achieve full funding for our schools and provide the high-quality education our students deserve.”
The Fund Our Future bus is set to travel to the Schenevus Central School District later Thursday afternoon.
Schenevus is owed more than $700,000 and has been forced to cut AP classes, increase class sizes and go without a librarian because of underfunding. 
“The state can’t just expect school districts to make due with another year of underfunding, forcing us to consider more cuts to our programs and services,” Schenevus Superintendent Theresa Carlin said. “Schenevus students deserve better. It’s time they got their fair share from the state.”
State lawmakers are joining with NYSUT in drawing attention to the serious needs schools are facing.
“I firmly believe that we must invest in our students and our schools, today, to ensure a better world tomorrow,” Assemblymember Brian Miller said. “When we properly fund our schools, we are funding essential resources and programs that help shape who our children will become: technology, new course offerings, art and music programs, athletics. All of these are important to the development of well-rounded individuals. Our school districts should not be forced into a ‘Hunger Games’ style of choosing which programs to keep or cut.”
As the state budget takes shape, the Fund Our Future bus tour will stop in school districts around New York that, like Elmira and Schenevus, have been underfunded by the state. Additional tour dates and locations will be announced in the near future.
NYSUT, as a member of the New York State Educational Conference Board, is calling fora $2.1 billion increase in state aid in the 2020-21 state budget, which includes the first installment of a three-year phase-in of the more than $3.4 billion in Foundation Aid owed to more than 400 school districts around New York.
In order to generate the revenue needed to fully fund Foundation Aid, in addition to other state services like health care, housing and transportation, NYSUT is supportive of new taxes on billionaires and ultramillionaires. 
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

VanEtten brings wide experience to Steuben county Legislature leadership

BATH – Recently-elected Steuben County Legislature Chairman Scott VanEtten, R-Caton brings a wealth of governmental and business experience to his new appointment. "An accountant by profession, I tend to analyze everything with respect to numbers," VanEtten said. "And given that I sat on the Administration and Finance committees all 12 years I’ve been a legislator I feel that I have an in-depth knowledge of how the county operates, and what it takes to keep us moving forward." Steuben has a number of projects moving forward in 2020, including an extensive overhaul of the County Office Building in order to accommodate the state’s new court requirements, balancing justice system reforms, and state demands with the county’s priorities of economic development and serving the needs of county residents. VanEtten recently told the board Steuben’s leaders have shown their ability to work through challenges, noting the joint efforts of the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency (SCIDA), county and state working together with Upstate Niagara to keep the cheese plant in Campbell open. He also noted the positive activity in Hornell’s rail car industry and supporting businesses. As chairman of the county Legislature, VanEtten will sit on the SCIDA board and appoint members. "Serving on the IDA Board will help me to learn their processes and take part in evaluation opportunities that might surface," he said. "From the county's perspective, we need to continue making Steuben County a business-friendly region by encouraging growth, providing incentives where possible, and supporting workforce development which is one of the big common issues all employers are going to be facing." The county’s sound fiscal health is built on a history of hard work by many legislators including newly retired legislative Chairman Joe Hauryski, R-Campbell, department heads and county managers such as Mark Alger and Jack Wheeler, according to VanEtten. "After many years of tightening belts, developing budgets with conservative estimates in both revenue and departmental expenditure lines, we have steadily grown our Fund Balance to a comfortable level," VanEtten recently told legislators. "Combine that with the fact that we have very little long-term debt that we need to service on an annual basis, and it allows us to be reactive, and address almost an unexpected issue with the comfort of knowing that when pressed, we can pay for it." In fact, Steuben benefits from the personal and professional diversity of its employees and county legislators, VanEtten said. "We all come from different backgrounds, which means we look at and analyze issues from completely different perspectives which is the best way to arrive at a common solution," he said. VanEtten said the excellent roadwork in Steuben encourages business opportunities and serves county residents. He credits the county Public Works Department’s Five-Year Road Plan for its consistent improvements while remaining flexible enough to deal with unforeseen problems caused by significant weather events, such as the severe damage to county roads 85 and 127 during a damaging thunderstorm in late September 2019. "It is critical that we continue to fund and maintain the road and bridge system based on an annually updated plan," he said. "Our residents and taxpayers are used to having their roads in top condition."

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Obituary: Groves E. “Grover” West, 85, of Shinglehouse

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Groves E. West “Grover”

SHINGLEHOUSE, Pa.---Groves E. “Grover” West, 85, of Shinglehouse, passed away on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, in Olean General Hospital, Olean, N.Y., after a short illness.
Born on Wednesday, September 5, 1934 in Millport, he was a son of John R. and Pauline M. Presher West.  On January 4, 1959 in the Millport United Methodist Church, he married Janice E. “Janie” Taylor, who passed away on April 15, 2005.
Groves attended school in Millport and Shinglehouse.  He was a veteran of the U.S. Army.
As a teenager and young man, Groves worked for his father’s gas and oil well drilling business.  After serving his country, he was employed by Nichols Drilling in Shinglehouse.  He and his wife moved to Ohio, where he was employed by Flanigan Brothers as a gas and oil well driller, followed by Perkins and Summers Drilling Company, Armstrong Drilling, and Cubby Drilling.  Returning in 1980 to Shinglehouse, Groves worked for the family business, West Brothers, which is now Gas Field Specialists.  Groves was a hard worker who started at the bottom and completed his gas and oil career as a work over operator.
Groves was a member of the First Baptist Church in Shinglehouse; was a member of the New York State Oil and Gas Association; and along with his wife, was a charter member of the former Oswayo Valley Lions Club in Shinglehouse, where they were very active in club functions.  Every year Groves and his family made their annual trip to “Jamboree in the Hills”, a country music gathering in St. Clairsville, Ohio.  Groves greatest love was his family, especially his grandchildren, who were such an important part of his life.
Surviving are six children, David L. (Juanita Blau) West of Shinglehouse, Edward R. (Sandi Perkins) West of Franklinville, N.Y., Katherine E. Hays of Olean, N.Y., Michael R. (Vera) West of Shinglehouse, Steven G. (Jamie) West of Prairieville, Louisiana, and Renee A. (Shawn) White of Shinglehouse; twenty-four grandchildren; thirty-one great-grandchildren; a brother, Lee (June) West of Hinsdale, N.Y.; and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents and wife, Groves was predeceased by a daughter, Deborah L. Slutz; five brothers, Loyd, Lynn, Burdett, John, and Jerry; and five sisters, Mary, Virginia, Lucille, Louise, and Myrtle.
Family and friends may call from 6pm to 8pm on Monday and from 11am to 1pm on Tuesday, February, 4, 2020, at the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home, 118 South Union Street, Shinglehouse, where funeral services will follow at 1pm with the Rev. Russell J. Horning, pastor of the First Baptist Church, officiating.  Burial will be in the Pauline M. West Cemetery, Millport.
Members of the Potter County Honor Guard will accord full military honors on Tuesday.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church, PO Box 68, Shinglehouse, PA 16748 or to the Shinglehouse Volunteer Ambulance Association, PO Box 98, Shinglehouse, PA 16748.
Groves entrusted his care to Kevin J. Dusenbury, funeral director/owner of the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home, Shinglehouse.
To express condolences or share a fond memory of Groves, please visit or the funeral home Facebook page, Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home.

Obituary: Phillip L. Mesler, 86, Wellsville and formerly from Bolivar

WELLSVILLE - Phillip L. Mesler, 86, of 4192 Bolivar Rd. and a former Bolivar resident passed away on Wednesday January 29, 2020 in the Jones Memorial Hospital Wellsville following a lengthy illness.
Born on July 20, 1933 in Weston Mills N.Y. he was the son of Raymond and Marion Newton Mesler.
Phil married Maryann Klien on September 29, 1990. Mrs. Mesler preceded him in death on August 30, 2005. Phil was employed as a machinist with Dresser Rand Co. Olean for over thirty years, prior to his retirement. Phil was a veteran of the U.S. Navy serving from 1952-1956. In his retirement Phil was a dedicated volunteer at Jones Memorial Wellsville for eleven years.
He was a longtime member of the Southside Union Chapel Olean and Faith Bible Church Little Genesee. He was a member of Heritage AFlame Ministries traveling to India on a Missionary Trip to help dig water wells. Phil also was a volunteer driver for the Allegany Co. Office for the Aging.
Surviving are five children; Destry (Sheryl) Mesler of Panama City Beach, FL., Meg (Tim) Ingram of Charlotte, N.C., Wendy (Kirk) Orr of LaPorte City, Iowa, Lisa Mesler of Niagara Falls N.Y. and Vicki Mesler of Niagara Falls N.Y.; Sixteen Grandchildren, Nineteen Great-grandchildren, a Brother, Raymond Mesler; one sister, Bernice Clark of Hamburg N.Y. He was preceded in death by two sisters, Audrey White and JoAnn Haynes.
There will be no prior visitation. A celebration of Life will be held at a later date that will be announced. Burial in Maple Lawn Cemetery in Bolivar. Memorials to Jones Memorial Hospital, 191 North Main St., Wellsville N.Y. 14895. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Schaffner Funeral Home Inc. Bolivar.

NY State Police Blotter

1/29/20 9:37pm- During a traffic stop on Hesselton Gully Road in Independence, State Police arrested 52-year-old Lisa L. Jordan of Wellsville. She was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated. She was released on an appearance ticket for court.

Almond: Hornell man charged for providing alcohol to a minor

Troopers arrested Daniel J. Fleishman, 47, of Hornell, NY for Unlawfully Dealing with a Child 1st Degree – Providing Alcohol to a Minor.
Troopers investigating a complaint at a business on North Main Street in the village of Almond determined Fleishman had allegedly provided alcohol to an underage person.
Fleishman was arrested and released with an appearance ticket for Almond Town Court, where he is due to appear in February.
 Police said the incident occurred on November 11, 2019.

NYS Lawmakers consider lowering BAC limit from .08 to .05

Two lawmakers are proposing to lower the state’s legal blood-alcohol limit for drinking and driving from .08 to .05. The bill has been introduced three times before and never made it out of committee, but the bill sponsors are optimistic this time around.  
Assemblyman Felix Ortiz and Senator John Liu want New York to become the second state in the country to lower the blood alcohol limit to .05. Click the link for the rest of the story...
NYS Lawmakers consider lowering BAC limit from .08 to .05

PA: Causer to Host Veterans Service Representative

BRADFORD – In an effort to ensure area veterans receive the services and support they need, Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) is hosting a veterans service representative from the American Legion at his local offices in February.
The schedule is as follows:
  • Coudersport office: Thursday, Feb. 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Coudersport office is located at 107 S. Main St. Please call 814-274-9769 to schedule an appointment.
  • Bradford office: Wednesday, Feb. 12, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Bradford office is located at 78 Main St., first floor. Please call 814-362-4400 to schedule an appointment.
  •  Kane office: Wednesday, Feb. 26, from 9 a.m. to noon. The Kane office is located at 55 Fraley St. Please call 814-837-0880 to schedule an appointment.
Assistance is available with issues such as compensation, education, pension, health care and death benefits. Veterans need not be a member of the American Legion to participate.

Wellsville Chamber Wine Walk 2020 SOLD OUT

NYPD commissioner links crime spike to bail reform — says judges must be able to hold repeat offenders

NYPD commissioner links crime spike to bail reform — says judges must be able to hold repeat offenders
This article is taken from the January 24th, 2020 edition of the New York Daily News. 
A rise in crime during the first weeks of 2020 is directly tied to bail reforms that took away New York judges’ discretion to lock up potentially violent offenders, NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea said Friday.  It’s not the police department’s fault, he said — “either we forgot how to police New York City, or there’s a correlation” with the bail laws.  Murders are down so far this year — the NYPD has counted 10 in the city so far in 2020, compared to 20 in the same period of 2019. 
“In the first three weeks of this year, were seeing significant spikes in crime," Shea said.  The overall crime rate is up 11%, NYPD Compstat data through January 19th shows.  In raw numbers, the police count 5,043 serious crimes this year, up from 4,542 in the same period in 2019.
For the full article, visit:
Thank you!
New York State Association of Chiefs of Police

Senate Republican Conference To Hold Bail Reform Roundtables Throughout New York State

The New York State Senate Republican Conference today announced a statewide ‘Repeal Bail Reform Taskforce’ to collect testimony from law enforcement officers, prosecutors, victims, local leaders, and the public who were shut out from publicly commenting before Democrats forced dangerous criminal justice reform changes upon the state.
Senate Republican Leader John J. Flanagan appointed Senator George Borrello to chair the effort, and Senators Patrick Gallivan and Sue Serino to serve as co-chairs.
The Repeal Bail Reform Taskforce will convene on February 6 in Buffalo, with upcoming roundtables on Long Island, and in the Hudson Valley and Syracuse.
“Dangerous pro-criminal bail reform has made a mockery of the justice system, allowing violent criminals, serial bank robbers, and even killers to freely parade the streets. This is not justice. It is an insult to crime victims and their families, to the public and to every person who serves to uphold our law. The Senate Republican Repeal Bail Reform Taskforce will listen to the facts about how this is impacting communities as we continue to fight to repeal this disastrous law,” said Leader Flanagan.
“There is no band aid or half-measure that can stop the horrible impact of this irresponsible ‘reform.’ The voices of law enforcement, victim advocates, local government officials, and victims themselves, who have been ignored, will now be heard,” said Senator Borrello.
“The so-called bail reforms implemented this year have presented new challenges for law enforcement, judges, and prosecutors. We need to hear from these individuals and others who have been impacted by these changes. As a former State Trooper and Sheriff of Erie County, I believe ensuring public safety is our most important job, and I look forward to hearing from those responsible for keeping our communities safe,” said Senator Gallivan.
“It’s only January and we are already seeing how this rush to reform is clearly jeopardizing public safety. If Albany refuses to hear the voices of victims, and of the men and women who work to keep our communities safe, at the very least, we can give them a platform so the public can hear their concerns clearly. This Repeal Bail Reform Task Force will play a critical role in making these voices be heard as we continue to fight for a repeal of the measures. I govern by listening and I suggest Albany starts doing the same before these changes result in any more senseless tragedies,” said Senator Serino.
The Repeal Bail Reform Taskforce will solicit testimony from experts and the public directly impacted by the new law. Democrats failed to hold a single public hearing before passing sweeping changes to the state’s criminal justice laws, which include major changes to bail and discovery law. These pro-criminal shifts in policy have been panned by the public, and a recent Siena poll found that over half of New Yorkers disagree with the policy change.
Since the bail reform took effect on January 1, over 90% of crimes became eligible for mandatory release, including manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, violent assault, and burglary.
Please click here to join the effort to REPEAL BAIL REFORM!!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Wellsville: Weidrick Road bridge won't open until late 2021

The currently closed and red-flagged Weidrick Road bridge in Wellsville won't see traffic again until late 2021, at the earliest. That was the news delivered Wednesday night during a sparsely attended public meeting on the project. Town Highway Superintendent Dean Arnold said it was his understanding that the 67-year-old span would be replaced and re-opened this year; However, officials with Foit-Albert Associates, the lead consultant said that was not the case. The consultants said the bridge needs to be replaced because it has "exceeded its useful life." The $1.7 million dollar project will yield a longer span, 115 feet and will create a two lane span with a  four foot shoulder. Arnold said he has received plenty of calls, from area residents, the school and Amish families who routinely cross the bridge. The new span will be three feet higher than the current structure and a roadside pull-off will remain for parking. The bridge was shut down last month after the Department of Transportation issued a red flag notice.

Obituary: William "Duane" Allen, 88, Whitesville

WHITESVILLE - William "Duane" Allen, 88, a long-time resident of Whitesville, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020 at the Hart Comfort House in Wellsville following a brief illness. He was born March 4, 1931 in North Hornell to the late William D. &Marguerite (Dennison) Allen. On March 24, 1956 Duane and Shirley Patterson were married in Whitesville. He had dearly missed the love of his life since her passing in May. He was a kind, generous man and was loved by many and will be missed by all.
He was raised on the farm in West Union. He walked to the one room school house in West Union before to going to school in Whitesville. He went into the US Army in 1952 during the Korean War. He served in the 1st Calvary Division, 27th Ord., M Co., until 1954. 
In the 1950's Duane could be seen in Wellsville working at Burdicks Garage and driving the ambulance or hearse for Embser's. Duane worked for Heart's Delight as a truck driver, and in construction for Dalrymple's. He attended Breeden's School of Welding in Genesee, PA, and worked at both Air Preheater and Worthington Corporations in Wellsville. In the 70's Duane changed his profession and worked as an owner-operator, transporting eggs for Fitzpatrick Poultry. He later purchased a tractor trailer and hauled Quaker State oil products until his retirement. 
He is survived by three children, Judy (Tommy) Johanson of Wellsville, William “Bill” Allen (Patti) of Whitesville, and Steven D. Allen (Nancy Wyant) of Jasper; 4 grandchildren, Shawna Cwiklinski of Wellsville, Stanley “Josh” Cwiklinski of Whitesville, W. Danie Allen of Whitesville and Alyssa Allen of Derrick City, PA; three siblings: Ronald (Carol) Allen of Wellsville; Phyllis (Bruce) Green of Portville and Sandra (James) Fitzpatrick of Whitesville, in-laws:N orma (Donald) Chapman of North Bingham, PA and Jack (Bessie)Patterson of West Bingham, PA; as well as several great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins also a multitude of friends.
He was predeceased in addition to his parents by two sisters, Rachel Lewis of Tulsa, OK and Arlouine Seeley of Belmont, NY and a brother, Richard Allen of Belmont, a granddaughter and a great grand daughter.
A private funeral is being
planned and there will be no prior visitation. Burial will be in North
Bingham Cemetery. Please consider memorial donations to the Hart Comfort
House or to any charity of the donor's choice. To leave online
condolences, please visit

Southern Tier Lightning Theme Basket Auction

Public meeting tonight on Weidrick Road bridge replacement

Potter County: Project 2025 - Steering Committee looking for volunteers

Potter County Commissioners are seeking young adults who are residents of Potter County and are interested in becoming more involved in their communities by serving on a steering committee for Project 2025.
Project 2025 is the county’s newest initiative to encourage community pride and participation, promote growth and migration to Potter County, and reverse the steady population decline.
Committee members will advise county leaders on the direction and implementation of Project 2025. Those willing to provide their voice for the county’s future should contact Community Development Director Ellen Russell at (814) 274-8290, extension 209, or by emailing by Friday, Feb 14.

ALMOND seeks HGTV Town makeover

Almond is hoping for a "town makeover" from HGTV in a new series the cable broadcaster is featuring. Deputy Town Supervisor Dan Hegarty says community members can gather at the Almond library at noon on Saturday Feb. 1st for a group photo.

Almond, NY – “The place where you wish you grew up!” Or better yet, “The place you’d like your kids to grow up!” Almond may be centrally isolated in western New York, BUT what other rural town with 1,600 residents has:

-           A thriving ballet studio that started as an annual neighborhood show on a small side porch and is now in the building that was once the school, and later – a chair factory?
-           A well-stocked, two-story brick library more than 100 years old, built and funded by a few dedicated women of the community for most of its existence?
-           Or a fascinating museum in one of the oldest houses in town, featuring a crutch used as a diary, personalized wedding plates by the village potter, up-to-date archives on each family in town, and volunteers eager to answer inquiries from all over the country or to dress up every year as figures from local history to introduce the fourth grade social studies classes to their heritage?
- a highly-ranked public school, whose alumni give thousands of dollars in scholarships to new graduates every year, and also an accomplished, supportive homeschool community,
- active youth sports programs for all, which build into high school teams who are contenders for state championships,
- ambitious plans for playground improvements with special opportunities for children with disabilities,
- thousands of acres of state forest land, perfect for hunting or hiking, with access to the Finger Lakes Trail,
- friendly churches,
- easy access to the interstate, AND
- two world-renowned colleges less than ten miles away?
Where else but Almond?
There’s a saying that, “You don’t have to be nuts to live in Almond, but it helps,” which might make you think that Almond and almonds have something to do with each other, but really the town was named for a place in Scotland, and so it should NOT be pronounced, /awl mund/.  Allegany, Alfred, Alma, Allen, Angelica – the county and nearby towns all start with the same sound.  The first house was built in 1796, and the names early families still sound familiar.  Many of the current residents grew up here, and now keep busy watching their grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s soccer games and ballet shows.
There are a variety of small businesses, such as The Big Dipper ice cream shop, the Almond Veterinary Hospital, and Mullen Carpets, but no major employer in town.  Most people work either at Alfred University or Alfred State College, or else in the small nearby city of Hornell.  Hornell has had its own share of economic troubles in recent years, but is now on an upswing, since its largest employer, Alstom, won a major, long-term contract to build high speed railcars for the northeast corridor.  Also, last year Hornell was awarded $10 million for a Downtown Revitalization Initiative.   Unfortunately, that economic boost has yet to be felt much in Almond.
Almond is the gateway to the newly-branded Western New York Wilds for thousands of artists, hunters, Tough Mudders, and other nature lovers.  It’s also the gateway to Alfred for thousands of college students arriving from destinations as different from Almond as New York City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Beijing, China each semester - and so the town could really use some sprucing up!
That museum we mentioned, where the 4th graders visit every year?  It needs a new coat of paint and a thorough deep cleaning.  The church building next door may need a new roof.  The house two doors up, that used to be a sanitarium with a lovely sun-room upstairs? - is in a sad state of disrepair.  So are many other houses, and also the big white building downtown that used to house a nice family restaurant, renowned for its prime ribs on Saturday night.  There the roof is blowing off.  The building was once a shoe factory and later included a grocery store, the post office, and some apartments.  It even had a ballroom upstairs!  But now it lacks a working septic system, and the cost to bring it all up to code has been prohibitive.
And the historic Library building, while it looks good from the road, is in urgent need of major renovation.  Years of vibrations from the road and the relentless pull of electric wires have loosened mortar, displaced bricks, and generated cracks that run right down through the foundational concrete.  Windows need to be replaced with tempered glass.  The kitchen last had a major upgrade in 1958, and folks are afraid to use the vintage gas stove, once the key to many community-building and fund-raising events. This village hub and after-school haven needs at least $20,000 for the contractor to get started on the reconstruction, and $90,000 - more than its entire annual tax-supported operating budget - in order to stay open, without completely depleting its savings.  Money is tight for many folks, and fund-raising efforts have been slow, indeed, compared to these goals.
Opportunities for entrepreneurs abound!  There are openings for day-care centers, cafes, bakeries, produce markets or other small food stores, card and antique shops, hair salons, bed & breakfasts, retreat centers and the like. Other ideas proposed by the Town’s 2018 Comprehensive Plan include "agri-tainment" type industries such as laser tag, paintball, u-pick fruit or vegetable farms or co-ops, Christmas tree farms, and similar low impact development that would preserve Almond's rural character while providing entertainment, recreation, goods and services, and employment to the area.
The Comprehensive Plan states the Town’s Development Goal: “To be able to provide a better quality of life for the Town of Almond’s residents and taxpayers by encouraging new business growth and improved housing, while retaining the rural character and ‘hometown’ feeling of the area.”  Anything that could jumpstart fulfillment of that goal would be a tremendous blessing for years to come.