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Turin church, sold at tax auction, marks a dream transferred

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LOWVILLE — A unique Russian Orthodox Church, up for sale at Lewis County’s tax auction Wednesday, was the highlight of the annual sale.

The 3-acre parcel in Turin brought a high bid of $82,000 — just $100 less than its full-market value.

It was one of 32 lots available at the auction, but this particular property, at 6584 Milk House Road, held special meaning for two bidders.

Dynall M. York was the high bidder for the parcel that holds the church, a mobile home, cottage, two-car garage, shed and cascading creek. She and her husband, Michael, own a farm adjacent to the property, but their desire was not for farm use.

The church building, now in serious disrepair, was not a priority, either.

“I read the headline ‘Death of a Dream,’” said Mrs. York, referring to a Times article Sunday on the church’s neglected condition.

“I thought, ‘Honey, it’s not dead,’” she said.

While noting the church is too far gone for restoration, Mrs. York said the dream of the late Charles “Ed” Scherneck will continue in another manner — she plans to donate remnants and religious artifacts from the building, such as its hand-painted altar doors, to the Orthodox Christian Mission of Potsdam.

“I know that would make Ed happy,” she said.

It was a desire to honor Mr. Scherneck and his wife, Dorothy, that prompted interest in purchasing the property, Mrs. York said.

It was a similar respect for the Schernecks that inspired the second highest bidder, Beverly A. Wickman, to offer $81,000 for the property.

“We considered them our adopted family,” Ms. Wickman said. She, four sisters and three brothers spent a great deal of time with the Schernecks, whom she said they called “Uncle Ed and Aunt Dottie.”

Ms. Wickman said she had hoped to secure the property and make it her own residence.

Now living in Chicago, she is looking to join her sisters, who have all returned to Lewis County.

All together, the auctioned parcels brought in $385,300 to the county.

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