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Mobile Apps make it easier to be prepared for emergencies
Posted 25 September 2016


By Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Public Health Educator for Orleans County

September is National Preparedness Month! In our area we generally think of snow and ice-related emergencies, however it is also important to be ready for threats caused by flooding, high winds, earthquakes, fires, chemical spills and infectious diseases.

Thankfully, getting prepared for all types of emergencies is made easier with the assistance of Mobile Apps like Ready Genesee, Orleans Aware and FEMA.

These apps are similar in nature in that all connect consumers to weather alerts, planning features and information on available shelters. Apps like these are user-friendly and give consumers the tools to take part in their own preparedness, which will positively impact the outcome of any emergency.

If you live, work, or visit Genesee or Orleans Counties download the Ready Genesee (click here) and Orleans Aware (click here) Apps, which are available on apple and android devices, as well as in English and Spanish too.

“The Emergency Management Offices and Health Departments in both counties teamed up to have these apps made available in an effort to have a local focus,” said Bill Schutt, Deputy Coordinator of Emergency Management Services. “County officials can use this app not only to get information to users before, during, and after emergencies in a more direct and modern way but also to share knowledge on a regular basis too.

“Since Ready Genesee and Orleans Aware became available to download earlier this year, the counties have utilized the apps to notify users of road closings, a boil water notice, a gas leak, rabies clinics, as well as sharing of informational articles on the recent drought, Zika virus, Lyme Disease and lightning safety,” Schutt said.

If you don’t travel to either county, the FEMA app is a good, reputable option too but it is important to note that users will not receive notifications or general information from their county officials, stated Schutt.

Features of Ready Genesee and Orleans Aware Mobile Apps

My Plan: By answering five simple questions, the app will create a customized emergency supply checklist and plan based on your family’s needs, including pets and relatives with special needs.

Alerts: Get information from the National Weather Service and local county officials.  Local officials can instantly inform you of situations including, but not limited to, road closings, evacuation notices, boil water notices, gas leaks, an active shooter or missing persons.

My Status: With the push of a button let friends and loved ones know “I’m Safe” or “I Need Help.”

EvacMap & Shelters: Find evacuation routes and shelters with on and offline mapping.

Need to Know: E-books on various topics including Public Health Emergencies, Need to Know Preparedness for Pet Owners, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Floods and Fire Safety.

Services: Have contact information to services helpful in an emergency

“The full potential of these new apps will be recognized more so as different emergencies arise and I predict that utilization will increase too,” stated Al Cheverie, Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for Genesee and Orleans. “After downloading your App, please take the time to collect the emergency supplies for your home and car.  Being ill prepared for a situation where you are unable to leave your house or car can be dangerous if certain supplies such as necessary medications, blankets, food and water aren’t on hand.”

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Warrior House receives $1,000 from Metro 10 race in Albion
Posted 25 September 2016


Provided photo

SHELBY – Organizers of the Metro 10 race presented a $1,000 donation to the Warrior House of WNY on Saturday. That site in West Shelby provides a hunting retreat for wounded veterans.

About 300 participated in the 5- and 10-mile races on Aug. 20 in Albion, where runners pick a team, either Rochester or Buffalo. Rochester has won the first two Metro 10 events. (Next year’s event will be Aug. 19, with the race starting and ending at Bullard Park.)

The photo shows race organizer Thom Jennings, left in center, with former US Marine Corporal Ed Spence of Operation Injured Soldier.

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Bands put on a show at Vets Park in Medina
Posted 25 September 2016


Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – The Jamestown Red Raiders presented a show called, “Crazy Train,” during Saturday’s Fall Festival of Bands at Vets Park in Medina.

There were 13 bands that performed for about five hours at the Fall Festival of Bands. The competition attracted about 800 spectators.


The Medina Mustang Band enters the field for competition. The band is celebrating its 50th anniversary this school year. There will be a 50th anniversary performance and reunion on May 29, 2017. Click here for more information.

Here are the scores from Saturday:

• Small School 3: 5th place – 59.9 – Falconer; 4th place – 61.05 – Marcus Whitman; 3rd place – 62.8 – Girard; 2nd – 64.3 – Pioneer; 1st place – 67.55  – Jordan Elbridge.

• Small School 2:  1st place – 74.15 – Northwestern.

• Small School 1:  1st place – 79.6 – Medina.

• Large School 2: 3rd place – 75.19 – Orchard Park; 2nd place – 75.75 – Webster; 1st place – 80.4 – Cicero-North Syracuse.

• National: 2nd place – 80.1 – Jamestown; 1st place – 80.55 – Lancaster.


Andrew Roof, drum major for Jamestown, leads the band before a big crowd at Medina.



The band from Cicero-North Syracuse gets in position at Vets Park. Cicero-North Syracuse had the top score, 80.4, for bands in the Large School 2 class. Only Lancaster, in the National class, had a higher score during the competition at Medina.


Cicero-North Syracuse presented a show called “Wild, Wild West.” Students travelled back in time to the Wild, Wild West with saloons, cowboys, outlaws a legendary sheriff who maintained law and order. Stephen Schermerhorn is drum major for the band.


The Mustangs take their positions on the field. Nick Bogan, back to camera, is the back field conductor, staying in sync with Drum Major Madison Holland.


Medina band members make their first move of the show, getting in position as a matador. This year’s show is called “The Matador.” The band took spectators to “the coliseum” to witness a bull fight.


The band used colorful props, flags and Colorguard costumes while playing fiery and exciting Latin compositions to tell stories of bullfighters. Madison Holland, on platform, is drum major for the Mustangs.


Medina Band Director James Steele is joined by his son Robert in leading the band onto the field. They have blowpops in their mouths because staff are not allowed to yell instructions to the band once the show starts.


Randy Allen serves as announcer for the competition and gives the Medina Mustangs and enthusiastic introduction.


Orchard Park performed a show called “Labyrinth.” The band marched in patterns as if attempting to get out of a maze. Student Alyssa Strade, far left, is drum major.


Orchard Park performs at Medina. The band finished third among in the Large School II Class.


The Webster Marching Band, led by Drum Major Bella Altieri, performs a show called “Autumn Sky Sketches.” Webster came in second among the large schools.

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Big turnout for Bruski memorial at St. Mary’s
Posted 24 September 2016


Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – It’s still early, but a big crowd has turned out for the spaghetti dinner and basket raffle to benefit a memorial scholarship in honor of Brandon Bruski. St. Mary’s Athletic Club on Moore Street is hosting the benefit.

Bruski, who was 18 when he was killed in a car accident about a decade ago. His mother, Bonnie Velez, has been awarding a $250 fine arts scholarship to a graduating senior the past nine years.

Brandon graduated from Albion in 2006. He was a hard worker with a creative side. He enjoyed art. He had just finished his first year at Monroe Community College, when he fell asleep while driving and was in a fatal crash. He was also working with his mother at the Bonduelle vegetable packing facility in Brockport.


Marsha Gaddis of Albion looks over some of the gift baskets at the scholarship benefit today. There are about 100 baskets up for raffle. The benefit continues until 7 p.m.

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Homecoming adds to atmosphere at local high school football games
Posted 24 September 2016


Photos by Cheryl Wertman

ALBION – Kory Reynolds, a senior on the varsity football team, leads the team in charging through a banner onto the football field last night during the Homecoming game vs. Depew. For game highlights of that game and other local teams, click here to go to Local Sports.


The pep band, including the tuba section, added to a festive night at Spierdowis Field in Albion for Homecoming.

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Arundell was queen of Lake Ontario
Posted 24 September 2016

092416_arundell2By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian

Overlooked Orleans, Volume 2, Issue 39

This image shows the steamer Arundell approaching Oak Orchard Harbor around 1904 or 1905. Built by the Bell Iron Works at Buffalo in 1879, this iron hull steamer was operated along the southern coast of Lake Ontario during the summer months through 1910.

When this photograph was taken, the Arundell was owned and operated by the Cole & Holt Lines of Bay City, Michigan and was brought each spring to Lake Ontario by way of the Welland Canal. The steamer frequently carried Orleans County passengers during picnic days and pioneer events.

The company advertised “Good meals on steamer at 50 cents,” and “No dust, cool breeze and a pleasant time guaranteed” for its excursion trips across the lake. These relaxing jaunts included stops at Olcott Beach, Point Breeze, Charlotte, Sodus Point, Fairhaven, Oswego, Cape Vincent, and Clayton; the typical cost of a round trip ticket from Olcott to the Thousand Islands was $5 per person. During the earliest years of operation around the Buffalo Harbor in the 1880s, a ticket would run approximately 50 cents for gentlemen and 25 cents for women and children.

In 1904, the company operating the steamer was charged in the death of George Reed of Niles, NY, a passenger who boarded the previous year for an excursion trip to the Thousand Islands. Reed’s wife claimed that the employees and agents on board the Arundell got her husband “beastly drunk” and stowed him away in a bunk below deck. When reaching Fairhaven, the crew allegedly carried the semiconscious man to shore and left him there. At some point the man regained his composure and attempted to find his way inland but stumbled into the water and drowned. The $15,000 lawsuit did not appear to have any long-term effect on the operation of the steamer.

The steamer suffered an unfortunate accident in 1908 when she travelled too close to the shores of the St. Lawrence River and ran aground on the Fineview Shoals near Wellesley Island. She was towed to Kingston and placed in dry dock for several weeks for repairs; the accident set the company back several thousand dollars.

Shortly after this image was taken, the steamer was sold to the Crawford Transportation Company of Chicago, who used her as a ferry on Lake Michigan until she suffered a tragic fire and burned in 1911. Although her time as a transportation vessel was not over, her time as the “Queen of Lake Ontario” was complete. The Arundell was rebuilt, sold, and renamed Brewster in 1921. The steamer sank after a collision with the Sterling Lake on the James River in Virginia in 1922.

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Kendall pride on display at Homecoming
Posted 24 September 2016


Photos by Tom Rivers
KENDALL – It’s Homecoming in Kendall and students celebrated the special week with a parade on Friday evening. This year, classes had to create floats in a biome theme. The top photo shows the junior class with their rainforest-themed float. They are headed down Route 237 near the Kendall Elementary School.


These junior high students join the parade with their float which was in a savanna theme.


Sarah Pieniaszek, a senior, is in a boat on top of the seniors’ float which is in an underwater theme.


These two seniors, Kacey Menge (left) and Lizzie Rath, carry goldfish on the parade route. Rath is dressed as a mermaid.


The senior float makes its way down Route 237 before heading to the junior-senior high school, where there were games and a carnival for the community, as well as an alumni soccer game.


Sophomores, including Anna Oakley (left), created a float with an alpine theme.


The freshmen made a Cowboys and Indians float. Kendall’s Homecoming continues today.

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Purple comes out at Albion Homecoming
Posted 23 September 2016


Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Enoch Martin has an “Albion Batman” painted on his face while he was part of the pep band during the Albion homecoming game vs. Depew.


Albion cheerleaders and the Eagle mascot rooted for the Purple Eagles during their game vs. Depew in front of the big Homecoming crowd.


Albion graduates Marissa Olles (Class of 2000) and Crystal Hollenbeck (Class of 2001) sold popcorn and Albion High School merchandise from the alumni booth at the football game.


Bruce Landis took this group photo of the Class of 2017.


Provided photo: The Homecoming royalty was crowned during the pep rally this afternoon. The group includes, from left: King/Queen – Sam Slick, Vivian Rivers; Prince/Princess – Demetrius Gardner, Natalie DiCuriea; Duke/Dutchess – Connor McQuillan, Brylie Hapeman; and Lord/Lady – Chase Froman, Kendall Derisley.

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Faces from Medina Homecoming
Posted 23 September 2016


Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Katie Bilicki and Kristian Snyder, right, were crowned king and queen of Medina Homecoming. Jake Cotter and Elena Wilson-Drury, left, were members of the court. They were introduced during halftime of the Medina football game against the University Prep Griffins.


Madison Holland, drum major, leads the Mustang band during its halftime show.


Maverick the Mustang entertained the crowd during the football game. The mascot was played by Medina senior Matt Hann.


Kristian Snyder, after being introduced as king, joined the Medina band during a performance at halftime. Medina hosts the Fall Festival of Bands on Saturday at Vets Park beginning at 6 with Medina expected to perform at 8:30 p.m.


Katie Bilicki, the Homecoming queen, also joined the band for the halftime show.


Alexandra Strong, a flyer with the cheerleading squad, is up high during a halftime routine.


Kali James, left, and Keara Pitts help to fire up the home crowd during the football game.

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School spirit celebrated during Homecoming
Posted 23 September 2016

Albion, Kendall and Medina all mark festive week


Photos by Tom Rivers: Albion is celebrating Homecoming this week and today started off with the hall decorating contest among the four high school classes. Seniors used an Alice in Wonderland theme to create “Senior Land.” This photo shows Class President Emily Blanchard serving as a guide, leading judges into the hall. Bella Prest, back left, and Kastriot Bela are dressed as cards.


Skyler Smith, a senior, serves tea (actually a cookie with candy) to the judges (Board of Education member Steve LaLonde is at left) as they make their way down the seniors’ hall.


Albion seniors painted this van, owned by senior Donato Rosario’s father, last night and parked the vehicle on the front lawn of the school today as part of the Homecoming celebration at Albion.


Photos courtesy of Marlene Seierstad: Victor Benjovsky and Riley Sielestad, members of the junior class, welcome judges in viewing their hall decorating theme set to Hogwarts and Harry Potter.


One of the banners by the junior class includes Simboli’s Owl Emporium for Gary Simboli, a popular music and drama teacher in the high school.

Medina, Kendall and Roy-Hart are also celebrating Homecoming this week, and Lyndonville’s Homecoming is next week. Holley and Barker have Homecoming Oct. 2-8.

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Ortt directs $35K in state funds to Orleans libraries
Posted 23 September 2016
Provided photo: State Sen. Robert Ortt met with library leaders in Orleans County on Wednesday and presented ceremonial checks for $35,000 total. Pictured at the Community Free Library in Holley, include front row, from left: Community Free Library Director Sandra Shaw; Senator Rob Ortt; and Kristine Mostyn, assistant director and librarian at Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in medina. Back Row: Community Free Library board member Sue Orman; Community Free Library board member Barbara Lehning; Community Free Library supporter Sue Persia; Yates Community Library Director Emily Cebula; Yates Community Library board member Kathleen Sillick; Betty Sue Miller, director of Hoag Library in Albion; and Barbara Kerns, president of board for Community Free Library in Holley.

Provided photo: State Sen. Robert Ortt met with library leaders in Orleans County on Wednesday and presented ceremonial checks for $35,000 total. Pictured at the Community Free Library in Holley, include front row, from left: Community Free Library Director Sandra Shaw; Senator Rob Ortt; and Kristine Mostyn, assistant director and librarian at Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in medina. Back Row: Community Free Library board member Sue Orman; Community Free Library board member Barbara Lehning; Community Free Library supporter Sue Persia; Yates Community Library Director Emily Cebula; Yates Community Library board member Kathleen Sillick; Betty Sue Miller, director of Hoag Library in Albion; and Barbara Kerns, president of board for Community Free Library in Holley.

Staff Reports

HOLLEY – The four public libraries in Orleans County collectively were presented $35,000 in state support on Wednesday from State Sen. Robert Ortt (R-North Tonawanda).

The bullet aid funding, included in this year’s State Budget, will help the libraries with educational services and programming, purchasing materials, renovations, operations, or events that serve the community.

The Community Free Library in Holley received $20,000, while Hoag Library in Albion, Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in Medina and Yates Community Library in Lyndonville received $5,000 each.

The Holley library received the largest check at $20,000. Sandra Shaw, library director, said the funding could be used to hire a part-time children’s librarian and also increase children’s and adult programming. The library’s board of directors will determine how the funds will be used, she said.

Shaw said she and the other library directors appreciate that Ortt is directing some state funds to the local libraries.

“It’s wonderful,” Shaw said. “We were so excited to receive it. He values libraries and the services we provide to our communities.”

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Hawley: Pay-to-play scheme in Buffalo Billion shows state’s ‘dysfunctional economic development programs’
Posted 23 September 2016

Staff Reports

Charges of a massive scheme involving bid rigging with hundreds of millions of dollars in state funds in the Buffalo Billion program shows the need for reform in Albany, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, said.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara outlined a federal case on Thursday that includes long-time advisors and donors of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The case alleges bribery, extortion and tax evasion. Bharara said there is no sign of wrongdoing by the governor.

Cuomo issued this statement on Thursday:

“I learned this morning of the charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office that include a former member of my administration. If the allegations are true, I am saddened and profoundly disappointed. I hold my administration to the highest level of integrity. I have zero tolerance for abuse of the public trust from anyone. If anything, a friend should be held to an even higher standard. Like my father before me, I believe public integrity is paramount. This sort of breach, if true, should be and will be punished.

“SUNY has rightly relieved Alain Kaloyeros from his duties and has suspended him without pay, effective immediately.

“This matter is now in the hands of the court, which is exactly where it belongs. My administration will continue to be fully cooperative in the matter as we have been since it began.”

Assemblyman Hawley issued this statement after the charges were announced:

“In recent months we have watched details surrounding the state’s dysfunctional economic development programs unfold. Today, two individuals with close ties to the governor and his administration have been charged with alleged bid-rigging and bribery.

“The time for change – dramatic change – is now.

“Every investigation surrounding public officials, now one including Joseph Percoco and Alain Kaloyeros, has highlighted a desperate need for reform. Entrusted with the public’s confidence to effect positive change, I am calling for a comprehensive and meaningful response to these issues.

“I will continue to fight for increased accountability and transparency; the status quo must be changed.”

United Way sets $235K goal to support 16 agencies
Posted 23 September 2016


Photos by Tom Rivers: Jessica Downey, the United Way of Orleans County executive director, announces the $235,000 fund-raising goal during a kick-off event Thursday at Leonard Oakes Estate Winery in Medina. Members of the board of directors are pictured with her.

By Tom Rivers, Editor

MEDINA – The United Way of Orleans County is asking residents to open their hearts and wallets to support 16 agencies that receive funds through the annual fund-raising appeal.

The United Way kicked off the campaign on Thursday with a $235,000 goal. The money supports agencies that serve youth, senior citizens, people with disabilities and people in crisis.

Jessica Downey, the United Way’s executive director, said the campaign can bring needed funding to the agencies. United Way has reduced its goal from $279,104,98 last year and $325,000 two years ago.

Orleans County has experienced population loss, which has hindered efforts to reach previous goals, Downey said during a kick-off event at the Leonard Oakes Estate Winery. Some of the appropriations to member agencies have had to be reduced, but Downey said the new goal represents a realistic target for the community.

She is the lone full-time employee for the United Way, which has moved to a rent-free office at CRFS, where Downey was a vice president. She said United Way doesn’t have any frivolous spending and is dedicated to helping the local agencies.

The agencies said the United Way funding is important for them to carry out their work.

“We don’t get any money from the government,” said Nyla Gaylord, the director of development for the Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern. “We are extremely bare bones. There is nowhere left that we can cut.”

The United Way funding helps support the Just Friends mentoring program through GOMOC and also the furniture program, where the Ministry of Concern picks up donated furniture and delivers it to residents who need stoves, refrigerators, couches and other larger household items.

“A lot of people we serve are working poor and they fall through the cracks,” she said.

Mary Lee Knights is president of the Orleans County Adult Learning Services, which provides tutoring and family literacy programing. It has 22 tutors and 15 students in the adult literacy program and 11 tutors in the family literacy program.

OCALS provides its services for free, but needs United Way support for three part-time employees as well as educational materials. Knights said the United Way funding helps the agency in its mission. Those educational services help people develop skills and become more self efficient.

Some workplace campaigns have already begun, and Downey welcomed any business or group to invite her to give a presentation. She can be reached by email at (She also said retired residents are welcome to give. Anyone can send a contribution to the United Way of Orleans County at P.O. Box 468, Albion, NY 14411.)

David Cook, president of the United Way board of directors, urged the community to be supportive of the United Way and the 16 agencies that receive funding in the annual campaign.

David Cook (right), president of the United Way board of directors, urged the community to be supportive of the United Way and the 16 agencies that receive funding in the annual campaign.

David Cook is chairman of the board of directors. He said many of the county’s largest companies have representatives on the board, including the leaders from CRFS, Brunner, and Takeform Architectural Graphics. There are also representatives from the Lyndonville and Kendall school districts, Iroquois Job Corps Center, Pawlak’s Save-A-Lot, Bank of Castile, Orleans Community Health, The Daily News of Batavia, and the Catholic Family Center.

The kickoff event also included representatives from Baxter in Medina, which has been critical to the most recent campaigns, with fund-raising there topping $60,000.

Cook of Lyndonville was working at Kodak 25 years ago when he led a workplace campaign in his department. He has stayed committed to United Way. He now works as territory manager for Innovative Surface Solutions. He said he travels the county and region and sees the need.

The agencies that benefit from the campaign include:

4-H Youth – Cornell Cooperative Extension; Arc of Orleans County Camp Rainbow; Arc of Orleans County Meals on Wheels & Nutri-Fair; Boy Scouts of America – Iroquois Trail Council, Inc.; Christ Church Community Kitchen; Community Action – Main Street Store Employment Support Project; GCASA; Girl Scouts of Western New York; Hospice of Orleans Martin-Linsin Residence; Ministry of Concern; Orleans County Adult Learning Services; Regional Action Phone; Senior Citizens of WNY; YMCA; Just Friends; Medina Youth Commission; Independent Living of Genesee Region; Community Action: Holley Community Center; Ministry of Concern, Last Resort; and the Town of Yates, Summer Recreation Program. Donors can also request their donation go to another agency.

For more on the United Way of Orleans County, click here.

Orleans/Niagara BOCES names employees of the year
Posted 22 September 2016

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – The Orleans/Niagara BOCES kicked off the new school year by announcing the employees of the year. District Superintendent Dr. Clark Godshall announced the winners at opening day ceremonies.

The winners were nominated by their peers in the categories of administrator, clerical, maintenance, staff specialist, substitute, teacher aide and teacher, all for doing an outstanding job the previous school year.

Dr. Michael Weyrauch

Dr. Michael Weyrauch

• The Administrator of the Year was Dr. Michael Weyrauch, principal at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center.  He has been with BOCES for 4 ½ years and says his favorite part of his job is the staff and students that he gets to work with on a daily basis.

“I felt very honored that in this organization, which has a large number of outstanding staff who give it their all each and every day, that I was chosen,” he said. “It is an outstanding feeling.”

Theresa Clause

Theresa Clause

• Special education teacher Theresa Clause was named the Teacher of the Year. She has worked at BOCES for 20 years.

“My favorite part of my job is the paperwork – Just kidding!” she said. “Of course it is the kids! My personal experiences are the greatest contributing factors to me becoming a teacher. These experiences shaped my views and continue to influence my teaching style. I love the fact that I can give back.

“I have a learning disability (dyslexia) and I have been on the other side of the classroom. I understand the daily struggles our kids have to overcome just to be on an even playing field with peers and hope I can be a positive role model for them. I want to challenge them to dream bigger and imagine themselves in a different set of circumstances. I want to make them aware of the opportunities they may be oblivious to because they do not know they exist outside of school or the life they know. I strive to meet students where they are, and not dwell on where they should be. I truly believe that you can accomplish anything your put your mind to. When I was in school I always wanted to be a teacher and with hard work and family support I made it happen. I was so surprised and humbled by this award.”

Shirley Campbell

Shirley Campbell

• In the clerical category, Shirley Campbell works for the Special Education Department and has been with BOCES for 14 years.

“My favorite part of my job is working with the secretaries in all the districts,” she said. “They are a wonderful group of women. I was very shocked that I won. It was a wonderful surprise.”

Rene Becht

Rene Becht

• Rene Becht has worked at BOCES for 22 years and is the teacher aide in the Welding Program. She was named the outstanding teacher aide during the past school year.

“I started working in the day care as a Toddler Room teacher and after 10 years, I started working with the high school vocational students where I have been an aide since 2008.

“My favorite part of my job is working with the students, helping them realize their potential. I have enjoyed the positive relationships I’ve built with many of them and the daily interactions in and out of school. The staff at the Niagara Career and Technical Education Center are all great and I would not be able to do my job without them. It was a great honor to be recognized. I especially want to thank Dr. Elaine Black-Richards for all her advice over the years and always being there for me.”


Tom Wright

Tom Wright

• In the maintenance category Tom Wright has worked in the Print Shop for seven years.

“The best part of working at BOCES is the people, of course! “ he said. “All my coworkers and administrators are great to work with. I was very surprised and excited that I was named an employee of the year.”

• Staff Specialist Leon Szczerbinski has been with BOCES’ Safety Risk Department for eight years. He was employee of the year for the staff specialists.

Leon Szczerbinski

Leon Szczerbinski

“I work in a very solid unit that provides a valuable and necessary service for our component districts,” he said. “I am impressed by the quality of service the Safety Risk unit has been able to provide and I am encouraged daily to see the end result; a safer place to learn and work.

“I have also met so many wonderful people at BOCES and in all the districts wherever I am assigned.  I am grateful for their cooperation, assistance and the opportunity to know and interact with them. Being named an employee of the year is an awesome tribute!

“I am humbled and grateful by this honor and recognition, but I am certain that my inspiration and dedication was and is instilled from my parents, family and my BOCES family of whom I work and interact with daily.”

Robin Quinones

Robin Quinones

• Robin Quinones is an independent hair stylist at the Blue Door Salon, NYS Certified Instructor for Career and Technical Education and a Career Coach for Beauty Industry Professionals. She has substituted at BOCES since 2006. She was named the outstanding substitute for the past year.

“It’s incredibly gratifying helping students prepare for future careers and continued education. I am honored to be chosen as Orleans/Niagara BOCES’ Substitute of the Year. It truly validates my efforts that I brought into the career and technical ed classrooms.”

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Used books are money-maker for Cobblestone Museum
Posted 22 September 2016

Former Voting House has become popular spot at historic site in Gaines

Photos by Tom Rivers: The former Voting House in Hamlin was moved to the Cobblestone Museum in Gaines in 1999. The Voting House was built in 1909 by the Monroe County Board of Elections. Monroe County made many of the voting houses that were placed in voting districts in Monroe.

Photos by Tom Rivers: The former Voting House in Hamlin was moved to the Cobblestone Museum in Gaines in 1999. The Voting House was built in 1909 by the Monroe County Board of Elections. Monroe County made many of the voting houses that were placed in voting districts in Monroe. The gray tote in the lower right is a spot to place donated books.

By Tom Rivers, Editor

GAINES – Twenty years ago the Hamlin town historian offered the community’s old Voting House to the Cobblestone Museum Hamlin had a local history museum but it went defunct and the Voting House was available.

Bill Lattin, the museum’s director at the time, didn’t think there was room at the museum for the small building. But Lattin kept thinking about the Voting House. He knew there used to be some in Orleans County, but they had vanished from the landscape.

Sue Bonafini, the volunteer coordinator for the museum, restocks books inside the Voting House.

Sue Bonafini, the volunteer coordinator for the museum, restocks books inside the Voting House.

The museum also had an annual used book sale on the Fourth of July weekend. It was always a chore to set up for the book sale, and to put leftovers back into storage.

Lattin thought the Voting House would be a good fit as a permanent location for used books. In 1999, the Hamlin and Gaines highway departments moved the building to the museum.

It’s behind the brick house, next to the Crosby’s gas station. The Voting House was cleaned up and repainted to resemble its original colors.

It also is stocked with books, and is popular in the community. Hardcover books sell for $1 and paperbacks are 50 cents. A metal box is mounted inside the site and people pay on the honor system.

Last year the used book sale raised $1,000 for the museum. It generated $550 in sales through the end of August.

“I originally didn’t think we had room for it,” Lattin, now retired as museum director, said today. “But it’s been a nice little addition for the community.”

The Cobblestone Museum has donated books on the shelves in the former Voting House.

The Cobblestone Museum has donated books on the shelves in the former Voting House.

There are two plastic garbage totes by the voting house for people to donate books. Museum volunteers go through them and organize by topics.

Two volunteers, R.J. Bannan and Erica Wanecski, have been instrumental in keeping the Voting House replenished with books this year, said Sue Bonafini, the museum’s volunteer coordinator.

“We get really good merchandise,” she said.

Popular authors such as Stephen King, Danielle Steel and Nora Roberts are quickly snatched up, and many classics also are popular, as well as coffee table books and the latest best-sellers. (On Wednesday, I bought “The Boys in the Boat” – the story of the 1936 US Olympic rowing team.)

The used book sale is open during regular museum hours, and often later. Bonafini noted many of the sales happen after hours.

She thanked the community for donating their books, and the customers for buying them on the honor system.

For more on the museum, click here.

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