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Cobblestone Museum one of 7 WNY heritage sites in running for ‘Creativity Incubator’

Photos by Tom Rivers: A bridge steps inside the Cobblestone Church during a wedding in July 2014.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 March 2018 at 9:13 pm

CHILDS – The Cobblestone Church is one of seven heritage sites in Western New York in the running to have a team of experts visit and make suggestions for interpretation and other ways to connect with visitors.

An online contest which determine which site will receive the expertise. The contest for the Heritage Network Creativity Incubator program runs until April 1. The Incubator is sponsored by the New York State Council on the Arts/Greater Hudson Heritage Network.

The Cobblestone Museum is included with some prestigious sites in WNY, including the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda, Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History in Jamestown, Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site in Buffalo, Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, Geneva Historical Society and Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University.

(The Cobblestone Museum currently has the third most votes, behind the leader Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University and then the Memorial Art Gallery. Click here to vote.)

Doug Farley, the Cobblestone Museum director, said the contest has already help spread the word about the Cobblestone Museum, a National Historic Landmark in Gaines.

A Bible is displayed inside the Cobblestone Church, which was constructed in 1834, making it the oldest cobblestone church in North America.

The Incubator series was launched to assist museums and historical sites that are pressured from changing demographics, shrinking attendance, tightened budgets, increased competition, and exponential growth of technology and social media.

The Creativity Incubator includes workshop series led by the Museum Mavericks, who are some of the most creative thinkers in the field today.

The winning museum or heritage site will have its collections or permanent installations re-imagined by the Museum Mavericks and session participants. The group will also explore the chosen site’s collections, discovering the amazing stories they hold and creating new ones.

“The end goal of the program is to open our eyes to the possibilities and encourage museums to think more imaginatively about the interpretation of their collections and the visitor experience,” according to the Incubator.

The Cobblestone Museum also has a few seats left for a maple bus tour on Friday. Georgia Thomas of Medina is leading the tour to Merle’s Maple Farm in Attica and Cartwright’s Maple Tree Inn in Angelica. For reservations call (585) 589-9013 or book online at

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GCC to induct new members of Alumni Hall of Fame
Posted 21 March 2018 at 4:36 pm

Press Release, GCC

BATAVIA – The Genesee Community College Foundation is proud to announce its 2017 and 2018 Alumni Hall of Fame Inductees. The community is invited to the induction ceremony at 4 p.m. on March 28 at the Conable Technology Building, One College Road.

Candidates for the Alumni Hall of Fame are nominated by friends, family, colleagues or other associates. Each of the selected honorees has made significant contributions to their profession and has provided distinguished service to the community and/or Genesee Community College.

The GCC Alumni Hall of Fame, which is located on the second floor of the Conable Technology Building, boasts honorees from a wide variety of industries and backgrounds.

Each of these outstanding GCC graduates has made a lasting impact on their communities and earned this honor. We are proud to welcome the following to the Alumni Hall of Fame:

2017 Inductees:

• George Walker IV, ’98, SVP of Creative Development, Dynamic Attractions

• James Branciforte, ’80, CEO Lifetime Assistance, Inc.

2018 Inductees:

• Georgann Carrubba, ’03, President and CEO, Tencar

• Scott Gardner, ’98, President and CEO, Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce

The complete list of Hall of Fame members is available at

The Alumni Hall of Fame Induction is free and open to the public. GCC welcomes all Hall of Fame members, GCC alumni, and of course, the friends and family of our newest inductees to attend this celebration.

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Lyndonville and Medina students will perform The Addams Family
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 March 2018 at 10:49 am

A zany cast of characters hits the stage in Lyndonville

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – Qasim Huzair stars as Uncle Fester in the upcoming production of The Addams family by Lyndonville and Medina students. Huzair is shown at rehearsal on Wednesday. The people in the back are the “Ancestors.” Uncle Fester sings about his love for the Moon.

The show features 38 students from the two schools, plus another 17 in the stage crew. In addition, the superintendents from both school districts are playing in the pit band. Jason Smith of Lyndonville is playing the trombone and Mark Kruzynski of Medina is on the drums.

The performances are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday at 2 pm. The shows are at Lyndonville High School’s Stroyan Auditorium, 25 Housel Ave. Tickets are available at the door.

Shelby Green plays Grandma, who is 102. She calls out to a 90-year-old man in the crowd and welcomes a get together.

Jennifer Trupo is director of the musical. She held auditions in November and students have been rehearsing for about four months.

She wanted to do the show because it is zany and features several character actors. She knew the cast had the talent to pull off the show.

“They have embraced it and they are having fun with it,” Trupo said. “We have a lot of phenomenal character actors. Most of the leads are in 9th or 10th grade. They’re very young but they are very amazing.”

It’s a love story, really. There may be some dark themes and an obsession with death, but the latest musical by Lyndonville and Medina students is also a love story between Wednesday Addams (Layna Viloria) and Lucas Beineke (Jacob Corser), who come from two very different families.

Christian Hahn portrays Gomez Addams, the patriarch of the family. He is shown while the Addams family welcomes the Beineke family for dinner. The Beinekes increasingly grow alarmed by the ghoulishness of the Addams family.

Cora Payne plays Morticia Addams, the family matriarch who fears, with her daughter’s engagement, that Morticia is less needed to her family. She is shown with two Dancing Ancestors, Sawyer Wilson (left) and Trenton Crews.

The Ancestors make many appearances during the show.

Brian Cunningham plays Pugsley Addams. He steals a potion from Grandma and intends to give it to his sister, hoping she wouldn’t go through with the wedding. The potion is supposed to bring out someone’s dark nature.

Tamara Huzair stars as Alice Beineke, the mother of Lucas. She drinks the potion intended for Wednesday and in front of everyone declares her marriage is passionless.

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Medina Scouts have annual Pinewood Derby
Posted 21 March 2018 at 9:20 am

Provided photos

MEDINA – Scouts in Pack 28 & Pack 25 held their annual Pinewood Derby on March 10 at the Medina United Methodist Church. The top four finishers, from left, were Brandon Brueckner, 1st place; Matthew Jacobs, 2nd place; Austin, 3rd place; and Milo Vidovich, 4th place.

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Voss Manufacturing gives BOCES students paid internships

Provided photo, from left: Tom Kammerer, Kyle Toth (North Tonawanda), Coby Sortore (Starpoint), Tom Culmo (Lyndonville), Austin Cox (Medina), Ethan Kujawa (Medina), Steven Schumacher (Royalton-Hartland) and Alex Kammerer (Project Engineer).

Posted 21 March 2018 at 8:32 am

‘I really wish more students were going into the trades. Manufacturing is cool again. It is a fantastic career and it is growing.’

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – Six students from Orleans/Niagara BOCES Niagara (NCTEC) and Orleans (OCTEC) Career and Technical Education Centers have been lucky enough to obtain a paid internship, also known as capstoning, at Voss Manufacturing, Inc.

The Sanborn company is a diversified manufacturer that specializes in the design and manufacture of tooling, equipment, machining and fabrications.

Tom Kammerer, general manager, and his son Alex, who is the company’s project engineer, are giving the students real-world experience that will work in conjunction with their education in their career and technical education programs to boost their career success.

“We have had a great relationship with BOCES for almost 40 years now,” he said. “I am an advocate of BOCES. The facilities are good, the equipment is really good and the teachers do an excellent job at training. I can’t say enough about it.”

The company offers a shadowing program in the students’ junior year and if they do well they are asked back for the capstoning program in their senior year. They work at Voss in lieu of attending their BOCES program for several months.

“It’s a great way for them to go into the workforce and see what it is all about,” said Mr. Kammerer. “For us, it’s like a prolonged interview process. We put them to work with all the basic skills and see if they can master them and if they fit in as part of our team.”

The students currently capstoning there are Colby Sortore (Welding Program/NCTEC), Kyle Toth (Electricity and Electronics/NCTEC), Austin Cox (Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering/OCTEC), Ethan Kujawa (Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering/OCTEC), Tom Culmo (Auto Body/OCTEC) and Steven Schumacher (Welding/OCTEC).

Mr. Kammerer says he and his employees progressively give them exposure to higher level training.

“The analogy I use is that if you don’t master algebra, you can’t take calculus,” he said. “All the skills they are learning here in the shop are the building blocks and they have to master the basics and then we will move them up. They will rely on those basics the rest of their lives in their trade so they are very important.”

Welding teacher Eric Farrell says he is grateful to Mr. Kammerer.

“Tom is very interested in working with students and training them,” Farrell said. “Voss tries to train the students in many different areas so that they understand the workings of the company and the processes that take place at the company. Voss is a big believer in education first, work second and with that being said, they are very flexible with our students.  Voss is a great place for the students to learn and start their career.”

Jackie Coyle, a Work Based Learning Coordinator at BOCES, said, “Voss is an excellent partner for Orleans/Niagara BOCES. They understand that students are young and need to learn from experiences in the work world.”

BOCES would like to continue these type of partnerships with many local businesses.  A Work Based Learning Coordinator collaboratively engages employers and schools in providing structured learning experiences for students. These experiences focus on assisting students to develop broad, transferable skills that are needed in the workplace.

Bill Rakonczay, Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering teacher, said, “The opportunities they give my students year in and year out in the capstoning program is tremendous. They are taking what they learn here in class and applying it to real state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing machines such as CNC mills and lathes. It reinforces that the skills we are teaching here in class apply directly out in the workforce.”

Mr. Kammerer said he is hoping that some of the students stick with Voss.

“We are expanding and we could really use them,” he said. “They start their capstoning with us in December. At the end of it, around June, if they are performing well and we have a job opening, we will offer it to them. I really wish more students were going into the trades.

“Manufacturing is cool again. It is a fantastic career and it is growing. The work is difficult and demanding, but it’s different and it is more computer based. I would say 40 to 50 percent of our workforce is from BOCES. Our shop foreman is even a graduate from BOCES. It is our lifeline for our future.”

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Forum at Arc focuses on low wages for direct care workers

Provided photos: Wearing shirts that say “My heart is full but my wallet is empty” are direct support staff employed by Arc of Genesee  Orleans Without Walls Day Habilitation program in Albion. Pictured are Ramona Fuller, Sherri Weese, Suzanne Verheyn and Laurie Moyer.

Posted 21 March 2018 at 7:50 am

Press Release, Arc of Genesee Orleans

BATAVIA – The fight for a living wage for Direct Support Professionals in New York State took center stage Friday night at the Arc of Genesee Orleans Community Center.

Amid signs and buttons proclaiming #bFair2DirectCare, Arc staff and individuals sat down with Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Jay Grasso of Senator Mike Ranzenhofer’s office and Maddilyn Genovese  representing Senator Robert Ortt.

Agencies like Arc of Genesee Orleans were promised funding last year to be able to give direct care staff a 3.25 percent wage increase, effective in January.

“If the State of New York has promised someone something, then they need to deliver,” Assemblyman Hawley said. “You should have had it.  You should have been able to spend it. You should have received what you were promised. The state of New York too often doesn’t deliver on its promises.”

For nearly eight years, non-profit agencies which serve New Yorkers with developmental disabilities went without a funding increase, leaving Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) at low wages despite their critical work. To address this issue, #bFair2DirectCare formed and waged a statewide educational campaign to win funding for a living wage, phased in over six years.

Deb Fox, associate executive director of Residential Services for the Arc, oversees 16 community homes and several supportive apartments in two counties. She asked the legislative representatives for their insight.

“While the fast food industry has the ability to raise prices and reduce their overhead to raise wages, our reimbursement rates are set,” she said. “The regulatory expectations of social programs ties our hands. What is your suggestion on how we can compete for quality labor?”

Assemblyman Hawley replied, “I’m in business myself. It certainly is ludicrous that someone who is ‘working hard’ flipping burgers, pulling fries and onion rings can make $15 an hour when you and some of my employees don’t make that much.”

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Maddilyn Genovese from State Sen. Robert Ortt’s office and Jay Grasso from State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer hold up signs made by Arc of Genesee Orleans staff.  One sign stood out – it states “Sorry I could not attend today, I am working my second job.”

This is an issue that hits particularly close to home for Mr. Grasso.

“I have a family member with special needs and receives extra care,” he said. “I see the people who help… and then I see their salaries. It’s abysmally unfair.”

He urged the Arc of Genesee Orleans to keep up the fight for fair direct care wages.

Ortt is the chairman of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee in the Senate. He will continue to be a strong advocate for each and every one of you this year, said Maddilyn Genovese, communications director for Ortt.

Staff who spoke to the representatives shared their love for the work they do and the people they serve, but also having to work multiple jobs to make ends meet.

Direct Support Professional Nevada Burch told the panel that besides her full time job at the Day Habilitation Center in Elba, she has two other direct care jobs, works in a restaurant and sells essential oils. She asked them to please find out why Direct Support Professionals in residential and day programs operated by the New York State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities are paid a significantly higher wage for doing the same work.

Arc of Genesee Orleans posts frequent updates on its Facebook page on news surrounding the #bFair2DirectCare campaign.

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Medina re-elects mayor, 2 trustees
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 March 2018 at 11:06 pm

Sidari, Sherman and Elliott ran without opposition

MEDINA – The incumbent mayor and two trustees were re-elected today in a low-key election without any opposition.

Mike Sidari was elected mayor with 41 votes, while Marguerite Sherman received 46 for trustee and Tim Elliott was picked on 43 ballots.

The trio ran together two years ago under the “The Village Party” and is back for two more years.

Sidari is an active member of the Medina Fire Department. He is retired as the food service administrator for the Orleans Correctional Facility in Albion.

Sherman is a special education teacher at Medina. Elliott is co-owner of Brushstrokes Studios in Medina.

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Darren Wilson elected trustee in Lyndonville
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 March 2018 at 10:51 pm

LYNDONVILLE – Darren Wilson won a close race for village trustee, 33-30, over Anne Marie Holland in today’s village election.

Darren Wilson

Holland was appointed to the board in September. The election was to fill the remaining year of the term as trustee.

Holland and Wilson are both friends who said good things about each other.

Wilson serves as president of the Lyndonville Area Foundation, and Holland is a member of that board. She is also president of the Lions Club and director of special programs, staff development and pupil services at Lyndonville Central School.

Wilson is a Florida native who works as a graphic and industrial designer with a focus in the automotive industry. His office is on Route 63. His wife Wendy is general manager of LynOaken Farms and president of Leonard Oakes Estate Winery.

He sees lots of potential for the community, and is pleased to see progress on Main Street with a new grocery store opening and a new owner for the Pennysaver building. Wilson, in his role on the Village Planning Board, favored a tax exemption for the downtown that would not increase a building’s assessment for five years if there were upgrades, and then would phase in the assessment 20 percent from years 6 through 10.

Lyndonville has 485 registered voters. The 63 who voted represents 13 percent of the registered voters.

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Banker elected Albion mayor in close vote
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 March 2018 at 10:16 pm

Republicans sweep in winning all 3 Village Board seats

Eileen Banker

ALBION – Village residents elected Eileen Banker today, and also picked two Republicans for trustees.

That gives the Republicans a sweep for the three positions up for election. It was a close race, however.

Banker received 250 votes, followed by 211 for Joyce Riley and 153 for Kevin Doherty. Riley was backed by the Democrats and Doherty ran under the independent “Spark Some Action” line.

Voters also elected the Republican duo of Gary Katsanis, 306 votes, and Stan Farone, 300. The put them ahead of the Democratic Party candidates, Jason Dragon with 274 votes and Sandra Walter with 264.

Banker has been on the board for eight years, including the past four as deputy mayor. She works as the chief of staff for Assemblyman Steve Hawley. Banker’s husband Dale also is a former Village Board member and fire chief, who currently is the county’s emergency management coordinator.

Eileen and Dale are Albion natives who raised their daughter in the village.

“I love this village,” Banker said after the results were announced at the Village Hall. “This is our home. We eat, sleep and live here.”

Banker is the second woman to be elected mayor in Albion. She recalled when Donna Rodden served in the role in the 1970s.

“I remember thinking how cool it was to have a woman as mayor,” Banker said.

She ran her campaign with Farone and Katsanis. They went door to door, instead of holding a meet and greet.

“We wanted to go out and see the voter instead of having them come to us,” she said.

The Republican team was elected to new four-year terms which start April 1. Banker said approving the village budget by the end of April will be the first big job for the board.

The Republicans were adamant in their support of keeping the Albion Police Department in its current staffing of at least two officers on duty at all times, including overnight shifts. The Democratic candidates said they were open to considering scaling back the overnight to one officer. They were also opening to seeing if the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department and State Police would pick up policing in the village. If that happened, it would result in a big tax cut for village property owners. Riley, Walter and Dragon said the village tax rate is too high and isn’t sustainable for attracting residents and businesses.

Doherty favors looking at all village expenses and making customer service a higher priority. He said the current board hasn’t done enough to fight decline in the village and position Albion for a better future.

The village had 500 ballots printed for the election but the turnout passed expectations with 614 total. After the 500 votes, the village used paper ballots. It took nearly an hour to count the paper ballots. The results were announced just before 10 p.m.

Katsanis, who served on the board from 2014 to 2016, said he was encouraged by the turnout at the polls and seven candidates seeking three positions.

“I have to give the Democrats and Kevin Doherty credit for getting involved and making sure the issues were heard,” Katsanis said.

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Counties want NY to make large out-of-state companies collect sales tax on Internet purchases
Posted 20 March 2018 at 4:25 pm

Press Release, New York State Association of Counties

Photo by Tom Rivers: Downtown Albion is pictured recently. The Main Street businesses collect sales tax while large out-of-state companies do not for Internet purchases, which puts the local businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

On behalf of its member counties, the state’s retailers and property taxpayers, today the New York State Association of Counties called on state legislators to support the Internet Fairness and Conformity Act in the 2018-19 State Budget.

The Internet Fairness and Conformity Act would require online marketplaces with more than $100 million in annual sales, such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy, to collect sales tax on any sales coming into New York. Currently, the state’s outdated tax collection system does not require out-of-state Internet-based competitors to collect sales taxes.

“Current state sales tax law favors out-of-state businesses over our own Main Street and mall businesses,” said NYSAC President MaryEllen Odell, the Putnam County Executive. “These are businesses that operate in our communities, employ our family members and neighbors, belong to our Rotary Clubs and sponsor youth athletics. If you have a brick and mortar store in New York than you must collect sales taxes whether you are selling in person or online. But the online seller from Nebraska does not have to collect those sales taxes, and they also are not employing our neighbors or sponsoring our Little League teams.”

From a government revenue standpoint, counties rely on two forms of taxes: property taxes and sales taxes.

“The loss of retail activity on Main Streets and malls is having a negative impact in our communities,” said Stephen J. Acquario, NYSAC executive director. “We are losing businesses. We are losing jobs. We are losing retail activity, and we are losing revenue. Local governments are struggling with high property taxes and need alternate forms of revenue to provide essential public services and alleviate the need to ask property taxpayers for more. We need marketplace fairness in New York now.”

Property taxes were capped at about a 2 percent growth rate by the state in 2011 and sales tax revenues have been largely stagnant since the recession of 2008. The result is that counties and local governments that rely on these two forms of revenues have been dipping into reserves, cutting services and programs, reducing their workforces, and delaying critical infrastructure projects.

“If we do not modernize our sales tax system, counties will have no choice but to start raising property taxes to sustain our programs and services, and no one wants that,” said NYSAC Vice President Chuck Nesbitt, the Orleans County Chief Administrative Officer. “We need to level the playing field for the businesses in our community, and we need state lawmakers to enact the Internet Fairness and Conformity Act in this year’s state budget.”

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Gillibrand proposes legislation to help communities upgrade water and sewer systems
Posted 20 March 2018 at 3:51 pm

Press Release, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced new legislation, the Promoting Infrastructure and Protecting the Economy (PIPE) Act, which would create a new grant program for water infrastructure projects.

The bill would authorize $5 billion over 10 years to provide discretionary grants to state and local governments, tribal governments, and public water utilities for projects related to drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

Grants funded by Gillibrand’s PIPE Act could be used to construct, replace, or repair public drinking water and waste water infrastructure, including projects to upgrade facilities to comply with water quality regulations to protect public health and the environment.

According to a report by the New York State Office of the Comptroller, New York State drinking water and wastewater infrastructure will require tens of billions of dollars in investment in the coming decades. Wastewater treatment facilities are, on average, 30 years old, and 30 percent of the underground sewers are over 60 years old and operating beyond their useful life expectancy. Gillibrand’s legislation would allow communities to make critical upgrades to their water systems, ensuring clean water for their residents and reliable water systems to help promote economic development.

“Too many communities in New York that pipes that are old and leaking, lack sewer systems, and have outdated technology that isn’t doing a good enough job of keeping wastewater from polluting the environment,” said Senator Gillibrand. “No New Yorker should ever have to worry about whether their water is safe to drink. My new bill, the PIPE Act, would create a new discretionary grant program to fund drinking water and sewer projects so that communities can have the resources they need to fix their broken water infrastructure.”

Specifically, the PIPE Act would do the following:

• Establish a new discretionary grant program for water infrastructure and authorize it to be funded at $5 billion over the next 10 years.

• Allow state, local, and tribal governments and public water utilities to apply for grants for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

• Allow multiple projects to be bundled into one grant application to help small and rural projects compete for funds.

• Ensure that grants are spent on a mix of rural, suburban, and urban projects by capping the maximum amount of the total funding any one state can receive at 20 percent.

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Holley is switching to 8 man football
By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 20 March 2018 at 12:46 pm

In recent years a dwindling number of participants has caused problems for many small football playing high schools across the state.

In order to keep their football programs going some schools have turned to merging with neighboring districts, such as Medina and Lyndonville have done for the past several years. Others have turned to another alternative – 8 man football – and that is the direction Holley is taking.

“It’s a done deal. We’re going to play 8 man football this fall,” said Holley Athletic Director Dan Courtney. “Our numbers have been low so this came around at the right time for us and we’re going to give it a try. It’s nothing new. Eight man football has been around for a long time and is played in many states. We want to give our kids the opportunity to continue to play football and this provides us the chance to do that.”

Section V has given its approval for 8 man competition, a decision which follows the Section III (Central New York) move to form an 8 man division last year. That division included Cooperstown, South Lewis, New York Mills, Bishop Grimes, Oriskany and Pulaski.

“Our coaches and players are excited that we will have football,” said Hawks head Coach Wil Prince. “We’re really excited. We’ve done our research and have talked to the Section III people and they have nothing but positives to say about it. I think it will really help us. It really was going to 8 man or nothing so it is a way for us to not only keep football but to build the program.”

Some of those Section III schools likely loom as possible opponents for Holley this fall as to date CG Finney is the only other Section V school to indicate its plans to go to 8 man football though Courtney notes several other districts have expressed interest.

“Schools have until August to make a decision to switch from 11 to 8 man football so we will have to see what schools choose to do so but playing some of the Section III schools is something we’re looking at,” noted Courtney.

Played on a regulation field 8 man football requires a minimum squad of only 12 players as opposed to the 16 which the state requires for an 11 man team.

Interestingly, for Holley the switch to 8 man football is almost going back to the Hawks gridiron roots as when Genesee Region League (then Genesee Orleans League) schools formed football teams after World War II they were 6 man teams. Holley in fact played 6 man football from 1948-1955 before dropping the sport until it was reinstated as 11 man football in 2002.

Albion man ‘vehemently denies’ raping child
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 March 2018 at 10:24 am

Judge sets bail at $25K for Richard Hering Jr.

ALBION – An Albion man facing charges of rape and incest against a child and sexual abuse against three children denied the charges in Orleans County Court on Monday, when the judge set bail at $25,000.

Richard Hering Jr., 45, said he is innocent and offered to take a polygraph test.

“He vehemently denies having done this,” said Mark Lewis, Hering’s attorney. “He should be presumed innocent.”

Hering and his girlfriend Renee Koch, 54, were charged on Feb. 27 with forcible touching, sex abuse and act in manner injurious to a child less than 17 years of age. There were allegedly three victims.

After those charges, Hering was arrested again on March 9 after additional information was developed, Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni said.

The charges include two counts of predatory sexual assault against a child (felony), two counts of first-degree rape (felony) and two counts of incest in the first degree (felony).

The crimes are alleged to have occurred in 2008 and 2010 in the Village of Albion. District Attorney Joe Cardone said the victim of the alleged crime is very credible.

Cardone asked Sara Sheldon, interim County Court judge, to set bail for Hering at $50,000 during a bail hearing Monday in County Court.

“These are extremely serious charges,” Cardone said. “We are concerned he is a flight risk.”

Lewis said the charges against Hering are only accusations. The attorney asked for a lower bail.

Cardone noted that Hering has a previous conviction in 1994 for a misdemeanor of attempted sexual abuse in the 2nd degree in Clarendon.

Sheldon said she was concerned about that charge as well as allegations that there are three victims in the latest case.

She set bail at $25,000 cash and $50,000 bond.

In other cases in County Court on Monday:

• The judge agreed to accept a Rochester woman into a judicial diversion program where her felony charge will be dismissed if she can avoid drugs and complete treatment in the next two years.

Adrienne Williams, 52, has been to state prison three times. She has battled addictions for many years. The diversion program, which requires treatment, gives her a chance for breaking the cycle, said her attorney, Dominic Saraceno.

Williams thanked Judge Sheldon for the opportunity. Williams pleaded guilty to promoting prison contraband in the first degree. She admitted to bringing 49 pills to the Albion Correctional Facility.

If she fails in the diversion program, she could face up to 3 ½ to 7 years in state prison.

Cardone opposed the diversion program for Williams, saying she has “led a life of criminal behavior” with 35 convictions.

If Williams can complete the program, the felony charges will be dismissed and she will be sentenced to three years of probation to be served in Monroe County.

“It’s going to be hard,” Sheldon told Williams. “You need to make your appointments and you’re going to be tested constantly. It’s going to be hard work, and you need to do the heavy lifting.”

• A trial will start April 30 for Lamar L. Nelson, 29, of Rochester, who is accused of selling cocaine in Albion on May 1. He faces multiple charges of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminal possession in the fourth degree as well as criminally using drug paraphernalia. Nelson has declined any plea offers.

• A trial for another Rochester man facing drug charges is scheduled to begin on May 7. Victor T. Simmons, 47, is accusing of selling heroin and cocaine in Albion.

Simmons declined a plea deal with a maximum sentence of 2 ½ years in state prison if he pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree.

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Medina mayor, unopposed in today’s election, seeks to build on recent successes
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 March 2018 at 8:35 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Medina Mayor Mike Sidari is pictured with elementary students during an Arbor Day celebration on April 29, 2016. The village has been planting about 60 to 80 trees each year for more than a decade.

MEDINA – Mike Sidari says it’s a good time to be Medina mayor with the downtown thriving, new businesses opening in the Medina Business Park and many residents committed to volunteering and improving the community.

Sidari is finishing his first two-year term as mayor and is unopposed in today’s election. He said years of groundwork are paying off with the revived downtown and businesses such as Pride Pak opening in the Medina Business Park. Takeform Architectural Graphics also is doing a big expansion and a new hotel, Cobblestone Suites, is expected to start construction this year on a 58-bed hotel.

The Orleans Economic Development Agency is marketing more land in Medina for businesses. The sites have access to infrastructure and the low-cost hydropower from Niagara Falls.

“There are a few projects coming up,” Sidari said. “The village is starting to make a comeback.”

Medina can’t sit idle and wait for the development. Sidari said the village will be doing a study of its sewer plant with assistance from the Orleans EDA.

“We will be looking at what we have now and where we need to be in the future,” Sidari said.

The village should look to increase sewer capacity to meet the demands of an anticipated buildout in the business parks, he said.

Sidari sees the downtown getting stronger with the renovation of the Bent’s Opera House into a restaurant, boutique hotel, and wedding venue with space for a market serving healthy options next door. Talis Equity and Roger Hungerford are driving that project. They are also planning to convert the former Medina High School into apartments.

Medina last year applied for a $10 million downtown grant from the state, but was denied with the funds going to Batavia. Sidari said village stakeholders are working on another application for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. If Medina is approved for those funds, it would speed up more projects in the downtown and by the canal waterfront.

“We’re definitely applying for that again,” Sidari said.

He is retired from the Orleans Correctional Facility, a men’s prison in Albion where he was the food service administrator providing meals to 1,000 inmates. He oversaw 7 employees plus 80 inmate workers.

Sidari has been on the Village Board for four years, with the first two as a trustee and the past two as mayor.

“I’ve enjoyed it,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot and I’m still learning. Our goal is to make Medina better.”

Sidari is unopposed today along with Trustees Marguerite Sherman and Tim Elliott. The trio is running under “The Village Party.” Voting is from noon to 9 p.m. at the Senior Center, 615 West Ave.

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Spring finally makes its debut
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 March 2018 at 7:51 am

Photo courtesy of Jodi Shaffer: Horses at Long Bridge and Route 31 in Albion were outside in the snow on a chilly morning last week.

Today is the start of spring but it will still feel like winter with a high of 34 and low tonight of 24.

The highs for the next few days will barely break freezing with Wednesday at 34, Thursday at 36, Friday at 36 and Saturday at 35, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

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