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Mariachi De Oro brings Mexican food, culture to community

Photos by Tom Rivers: Some of the Rosario family members who work at Mariachi De Oro Mexican Grill include, front row, from left: Leonel, Dolores, Isabel and Gladys. Back row: Sergio, Kevin and Donato.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 September 2017 at 9:24 am

Chamber names popular restaurant ‘Business of the Year’

MEDINA – Six years ago the Rosario family opened Mariachi De Oro Mexican Grill on Maple Ridge Road, following nearly a year of renovations.

Six brothers – Francisco, Sergio, Martin, Pablo, Donato and Leonel – plus their sister Elba transformed the site. They rebuilt and expanded the kitchen and gave the dining area and grounds a new look. The restaurant showcases their Mexican culture.

The family members had all worked for years at local farms. They wanted to try their own business. Mariachi has been a stunning success, Orleans County Chamber of Commerce officials said in naming Mariachi its “Business of the Year.” The Rosarios and other Chamber award winners will be celebrated Friday during an awards banquet at the White Birth in Lyndonville.

The business has grown since it opened on Sept. 9, 2011, putting on an addition for a bar and bathrooms, an outdoor patio, and continued additions to the menu. Mariachi is waiting for its outdoor liquor license to cater to customers on the patio. Mariachi hired artists for Mexican-themed murals inside the restaurant, and has a mariachi band perform monthly.

Mariachi De Oro Mexican Grill is located at 11417 Maple Ridge Rd.

The restaurant draws many out-of-county visitors to Medina for the authentic Mexican cuisine. Mariachi has been featured in very positive reviews from The Buffalo News and Buffalo Spree.

“Everything is fresh, that is our secret,” said Leonel Rosario, co-owner of the restaurant and the head cook and manager.

Mariachi has Mexican staples – burritos, tacos, fajitas – and much more, from seafood, to steak and pork dinners. They make their own fresh tortillas. Many of the spices used in the kitchen are imported from Mexico. Leonel uses many of his family’s recipes from the state of Oaxaca.

“When people ask me about Mariachi, I tell them we are a Mexican restaurant, but we are more than a Mexican restaurant,” said Leonel, 35, the youngest of the brothers.

Some of the family continues to work in local agriculture. The family also runs Monte Alban, a Mexican grocery and clothing store that opened about a decade ago on Route 31 in Medina. There is also a taco stand behind Monte Alban’s.

Leonel is a steady presence at mariachi. He is often joined by his wife Dolores and their children, Leonel Jr., 16; and Galilea, 15.

He was interviewed on Tuesday after the lunch rush.

Question: Are you surprised by the Chamber award?

Answer: Yes. When I found out I was really happy and excited. In the first year that we opened and I was back there cooking, sometimes we didn’t have any customers for a couple hours. You feel like, ‘What’s the point being back there?’ And then you keep pushing more, and doing more things and you start seeing more customers. You get better at things. When you see these kind of achievements happen, it makes you feel really proud and thankful. It gives you more energy to do things that you’ve already been thinking about.

For me it was like a payoff for 80-hour weeks. I’m used to being inside the kitchen.

Leonel Rosario is pictured at Mariachi De Oro with the main dining room behind him.

Question: Eighty hours a week for six years?

Answer: Yes. You get time off here and there. But like any other business owner you can never leave your place.

Question: You and your family are really quite a success story. I am impressed with the Rosarios. You guys seem to get along well, too.

Answer: For us it hasn’t been uphill all of the time. We have always run businesses together. We have respect for the older siblings. That’s a main reason why we’re able to work so well together. And also because we lived together as brothers and sisters with no parents.

There is plenty of Mariachi merchandise available at the restaurant.

Question: You mentioned you were working on an outdoor liquor license. How much more can you do here?

Answer: I want to have Mariachi del Oro be a place where you can have a real authentic Mexican meal plus have an awesome experience with what’s happening. I want us to have more than food. I want to bring my culture and our traditions into the place and share it with everybody.

We’re bringing in a mariachi band and let people come in and learn about other cultures. The mariachi band comes every month. I want to do more music. I want to do more events just so people can have fun.

Question: I noticed you do many public events, with dancing and food, despite a busy schedule.

Answer: That was always one of things that helped me to get out of my self zone and achieve more because I studied my dancing and the sharing of the Oaxaca and Mexican culture. Anytime they ask, I always go for it. It’s one of the things I also enjoy a lot. Dancing will always be one of my biggest hobbies.

Leonel and Dolores Rosario perform a Mexican folk dance in March 2016 at the “The Colonnade.” That site is the former Masonic Temple now used a cultural center by the World Life Institute.

Question: It’s pretty high energy dancing. You got to be in good shape to do that.

Answer: Yes. Before I could dance like it was nothing, but now that I’m 35, I’m started to feel it a little more. Me and my wife we have always loved dancing.

Question: Why has Medina worked for you, especially at this site?

Answer: I think Medina is the type of community where everybody is starting to think and bring so many more ideas that it is helping the town to bring people in from miles away. They are doing a lot of events, which I think is really nice for all of the business owners in the community. The MBA (Medina Business Association) comes up with all of these ideas.

With us, we wanted to join them and share with them what we can offer to help bring people into Medina.

Kevin Rosario cooks a big pot of pork on Tuesday for the dinner crowd at Mariachi’s. His cousin Sergio is in back working as the grill cook.

Question: It seems like this location by creek has also worked out well for you?

Answer: Yes. We found this place. We saw it and we liked it. We went for it. I think it’s a beautiful spot. We get people from the city.

Question: The name Mariachi De Oro, what does that mean?

Answer: The Golden Mariachi. That’s what it means. When we were thinking about what to name it, some us love mariachi music. I love mariachi music. We wanted to always bring a mariachi band to play. So that’s why it’s Mariachi De Oro.

The bar stools have saddles to sit on at Mariachi Del Oro.

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Kendall grad awarded scholarship for occupational therapy at Husson University

Staff Reports Posted 18 September 2017 at 9:08 pm

Husson University announced that Allison N. Christensen, a fifth-year student pursuing her Master of Science in occupational therapy, is this year’s recipient of the Margaret Louise Burckes Scholarship. Christensen is a graduate of Kendall Junior Senior High School.

Each year the Burckes Scholarship is given to a Husson University student, in good academic standing, who demonstrates a commitment to service and occupational therapy as a profession. Financial need is also taken into consideration. Recipients are selected by faculty members in Husson’s School of Occupational Therapy.

Allison’s mother, Cindy Christensen, recalls how her daughter first became interested in occupational therapy. “I work at a school that has an occupational therapy department. At the time, Allison was struggling to figure out what she wanted to do with her life.  She ended up shadowing the preschool’s occupational therapist and completed a research paper on this profession in high school. After learning more about occupational therapy, she decided that it would be a good career choice and she’s never regretted it.”

An outstanding student, Allison began her studies at Husson in the fall of 2013. She has been named to the Honors, Dean’s or President’s List for seven of the past eight semesters. In 2017, she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in healthcare studies from the University, which is based in Bangor, ME.

“Receiving this $1,000 scholarship means so much to me,” said Allison. “I’m just overwhelmed that the faculty gave me this vote of confidence.  It’s like they’re saying, ‘we believe in you and know that you have what it takes to provide care to others.’”

Allison continued: “As part of the scholarship presentation, I got to hear about the life of Margaret Louise Burckes. One of my closest friends leaned over and whispered to me, ‘she sounds just like your twin!’  I’ve always dreamed about going on mission trips and doing the kinds of things that Margaret has done.”

This scholarship is made possible through the generosity of Margaret Louise Burckes. Burckes career afforded her the opportunity to work in rehabilitation hospitals, nursing homes, and in homecare services with people who had both mental and physical disabilities.

Over the course of her career, Burckes travelled to 15 countries, including Singapore and Thailand, in order to serve populations in need of occupational therapy (OT) services.

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Holley native advances to finals in Food Truck Challenge

Food Network: Nick Hunter, Steven Klatt (center) and Brandon Lapp are teammates in Braised in the South which has advanced to the finals of the Food Network’s “Great Food Truck Race.” Klatt, a Holley graduate, is the son of Ryan Klatt and Susan Colby, the Clarendon town clerk.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 September 2017 at 1:30 pm

Holley native Steven Klatt and his teammates on Braised in the South have advanced to the finals of a Food Network show after Sunday’s show in Athens, Ga.

Klatt and Braised have been the top team the past two weeks in the “Great Food Truck Race.” The show airs on Sundays at 9 p.m.

The competition features Southern-style food. The Great Food Truck Race started with seven teams, but each week one is eliminated, the team with lowest sales.

Braised in the South is based in Charlotte, South Carolina. It will face Mr. Po’ Boys from Dallas, Texas, in the finals.

The Clarendon Rec Hall will be open for a viewing party this Sunday for the finale.

“We’re very excited,” said Susan Colby, Klatt’s mother and the Clarendon town clerk. “We’re very proud of him.”

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Kendall man earns top national poultry award

Staff Reports Posted 12 September 2017 at 5:03 pm

Photo courtesy of Dan Schuth

KENDALL – Over the past weekend, Dan Schuth of Kendall received the Super Champion of Show Award at the National Poultry Show sponsored by the American Poultry Association (APA) held in Bath, N.Y. There were 242 exhibitors present from across the country showing a total of 2,542 birds.

After each bird was judged by class, breed and variety, the six APA licensed judges present worked together to pick the Super Champion bird of all the ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys and guinea fowl in the show. Schuth took the award with a white embden goose which he had raised from an egg, from parents he had also raised. Schuth said he knew he had a good bird but was shocked to hear he won the award. He said that “after years of work, it was like winning a million bucks on the Lottery.”

Dan and his wife, Marietta, also breed and exhibit several varieties of chickens and are members of the Rochester Poultry Association, which will hold its annual Club Show at Genesee Country Museum in Mumford on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

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Orleans/Niagara BOCES announces Employees of the Year

Provided photo: The honored employees at the Orleans/Niagara BOCES include top row, from left: Ann Logel, Janet Fitch, Stephanie Bevacqua and Colleen Bronschidle.  Bottom row: Dave Perry, Frank Riforgiato, Eric Farrell and Sharon Librera. 

Posted 11 September 2017 at 3:14 pm

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

The school year at Orleans/Niagara BOCES started on a great note with the announcement of its 2016-2017 Employees of the Year. District Superintendent, Dr. Clark Godshall, played a movie at opening day where he surprised the winning employees in each category: administration, clerical, continuing education, custodian/maintenance, staff specialist, substitute, teacher and teacher aide to tell them that they had been chosen by their peers for the honor and awarded them a plaque.

• The Administrator of the Year was Ann Logel, the Coordinator at the North Tonawanda Learning Center. Ms. Logel started at Orleans/Niagara BOCES in 1996 as a Cosmetology teacher and has been a special education administrator since 2004.  “My favorite part of my job is watching staff work with students every day. I am very thankful I have a professional staff to work with and good relationships with our districts and parents. It makes for a great working environment.”

• The Clerical Person of the Year was Janet Fitch, who has been at BOCES for 35 years. She has worked at many different special education sites during her years at BOCES.  “I was at Project SASH for 25 years at Niagara East, Good Shepard, Meadow Elementary in North Tonawanda and the North Tonawanda Learning Center.  I currently work at the Newfane Learning Center and Orleans Learning Center.”  She says her favorite part of the job is seeing the kids every day and the variety of jobs that she does. “I’ve worked with amazing people throughout the years. Special education has a caring and compassionate staff.  I also enjoy the interaction with the other BOCES offices and the school districts. It is definitely an honor to receive this award and I’d like to thank those who nominated me. My sincere gratitude to all my coworkers, both past and present, for all that they have done and continue to do every day.”

Stephanie Bevacqua has been the named the Continuing Education Employee of the Year.  She has been a teacher since 2009.  “My favorite part of my job is getting former high school dropouts to recommit to their education.  It’s extremely rewarding to help a student transition from the label “dropout” to the label “graduate”.  My students often tell me that no one has ever believed in them before, no one “cared”.  Now that they know I care, they are inspired to move forward, be it on to college, or a training program or even a promotion at their jobs.”  She says she was shocked when she was named an employee of the year.  “Continuing education has never had an employee of the year before, so I was astonished when Dr. Godshall approached me over the summer to give me the award. I am truly humbled by this honor, but I have to stress that I am simply part of a great team. We all work hard to give second chances to students.”

Colleen Bronschidle was recognized as the Custodian/Maintenance Person of the Year. She has been working with BOCES for eight years. She started running the kitchen at the Niagara Academy for five years, worked as a teacher aide for 2 and a half years and also worked as a night cleaner for two hours every day. She eventually switched to a full time cleaner. She says the part she likes best about her job is the people at the Niagara Academy. “They have become like family and I enjoy every part of my day at work. I would not want to be working anywhere else. I have done my best as much as I could, I will try and learn as much as I can at the job. I am always at work and very rarely miss a day. I have overcome any challenges the job has offered me and succeed at the best of my abilities.” She says the award has been a great honor to her. “I have worked long and hard at this establishment and I appreciate being noticed and liked by my coworkers. I am blessed to have been able to show my abilities and work ethics. My parents did not believe in slackers, you have to work for you want. I would like to thank everyone at the BOCES and Niagara Academy sites for giving me the chance.”

• Staff Specialist of the Year is Dave Perry, a Computer Specialist in the Technology Department. He has been at BOCES for 16 years. “My favorite part of the job is my interaction in the classroom with staff and students and being able to travel to all the different sites to help resolve issues.” He says he really likes the people in his department and thinks they work well together as a team. “Receiving this is a real honor because you are nominated by your peers, and that someone took the time to write a letter on my behalf means a lot to me.”

• Substitute of the Year is Frank Riforgiato. He is a retired Blind and Partially Sighted teacher at BOCES and says he loves still being part of the organization. “I am very honored.  Working at BOCES were some of the best years of my life.”

• Teacher of the Year was Eric Farrell. Mr. Farrell teaches Welding at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center. He has been at BOCES for 14 years. “I was very fortunate to start this job when I was 22 years old. I feel so very lucky that they took a chance on me as such as young guy. My favorite part of the job is when you see success. Not all of our successes come in the career area we teach, some of those successes can be as simple as getting a student to come to school more than they used to, dressing properly for the workplace, using proper language, etc. Another part of the job that I really enjoy is watching the students grow over the two years that we have had them. Some of the students come into the welding shop knowing little information and actually end up very successful in this career path later in life.” He says he is very honored to be named the Teacher of the Year. “I realize that this award is something that has to go to one individual, but I really feel as though this is something we earned as a building. I would not be the teacher I am today without the amazing teachers and staff that I work next to daily.”

• Sharon Librera was named the Teacher Aide of the Year. Sharon works at Orleans Learning Center that houses special education classes. She has worked for BOCES since 2004. “My favorite part of this job is being with the kids!  They can be tough at times, but hilarious other times. I really care about them. I was very shocked, happy and grateful for winning this award.”

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Holley dancers shine at State Fair

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 September 2017 at 9:51 am

Lisa’s Dance Boutique had seven acts qualify for fair

SYARCUSE – Lisa’s Dance Boutique in Holley had another impressive showing at the State Fair in the talent competition. There were seven numbers from Lisa’s competing at the fair after performing at the Orleans County 4-H Fair in late July.

The top photo shows dancers that performed to “Burnin Up” in the maxi division, ages 13 and older. They advanced to the finals, which included the top 25 acts at the fair.

Four of the seven numbers from Lisa’s advanced to the finals, which includes the top 25 in the state in the mini (ages 12 and under) and maxi (ages 13 and older). This photo shows the Lisa’s dancers that competed in the finals on Labor Day.

Allison Amoroso, left, danced to “Slay” and Savanna Isenberg danced to “Queen Bee” in the mini division in the finals at the State Fair. They made it to the final 25 acts (Allison placed fifth in the semifinals). The semifinals included the top 80 in each division.

Bailey Amoroso also competed in the mini division, performing “Perfect Day For Fun.”

“Bosa Nova Baby” also made it to the finals, competing against the top 25 acts in the maxi division.

This group of dancers performed “Special Angel” in the maxi division.

“Salute” made it through the preliminary rounds and competed in the semifinals of the maxi division.

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Holley native advances past first two rounds on Food Network’s ‘Great Food Truck Race’

Food Network: Nick Hunter, Steven Klatt (center) and Brandon Lapp are teammates in Braised in the South which has advanced past the first two rounds of the Food Network’s Food Truck Race. Klatt, a Holley graduate, is the son of Ryan Klatt and Susan Colby, the Clarendon town clerk.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 August 2017 at 1:19 pm

Steven Klatt and Braised in the South make sumptuous shrimp and grits

HOLLEY – When Steven Klatt was a kid in Holley, he preferred the Food Network over cartoons, his father Ryan Klatt said.

Now Steven, 30, is actually on the Food Network. The past two Sundays (9 p.m. locally) he and his teammates with the Braised in the South food truck have advanced in Food Network’s “Great Food Truck Race,” which features Southern-style food.

The competition started with seven teams, but each week one is eliminated, the team with lowest sales.

Braised in the South competed in New Orleans for the opening show (and came in second just missing first by $7). This past Sunday the show featured the teams in Pensacola, Fla. This week the show heads to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The finale is Sept. 24 with the winner gets $50,000.

Klatt and the Braised in the South co-teammates Nick Hunter and Brandon Lapp serve up pulled pork, shrimp and grits, macaroni and cheese and other tasty food.

“It’s been awesome,” said Steven’s father, Ryan Klatt. “We’re so proud of them.”

Steven is also the son of Susan Colby, the Clarendon town clerk.

Steven graduated from Holley in 2005, and then earned a culinary degree from Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks.

He moved South about a decade ago. He and his two friends run the Braised in the South food truck out of Charleston, S.C. Klatt applied to be on the show.

The action is fast paced on the episodes, and takes a lot of salesmanship as well as cooking skills.

Ryan Klatt said his son has always been an overachiever.

“He’s got it all,” his father said. “The two guys with him are also really good guys. Steven has worked very hard. His work ethic is incredible. He’s a super hard worker and it’s paying off.”

For more on the show, click here.

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Orleans County 4-H’ers competing at State Fair

Posted 26 August 2017 at 11:18 am

Photos courtesy of Missy Call, 4-H program coordinator in Orleans County

SYRACUSE – Several Orleans County 4-H youth are competing at the State Fair in Syracuse, 4-Hers Nicole Mrzywka, Natalie Mrzywka and Riley Lear, who are participating in the 4-H State Goat Bowl Challenge. Competitions take place throughout the week.

This pillow made by Makenzie McGrath won a blue ribbon along with a purple rosette. Purple rosettes are for “special recognition for outstanding exhibits.” Riley Seielstad’s angel food cake also won a purple rosette.

Sadie Gregoire’s hedgehog was a huge hit at the Orleans County 4-H Booth and won a blue ribbon.

Riley Seielstad participates in Prix Caprilli.

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3 Scouts from Troop 35 in Medina earn Eagle Rank

Provided photo: Three Boy Scouts from Troop 35 in medina recently earned their Eagle rank at the Eagle Scout Board of Review. Pictured include, bottom row, from left: Kevin Bogan, Parent Committee Chair; John Dieter, Cub Scout Master. Top Row: Jason Dodge, Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 23 in Middleport (a member of the Board of Review); Eagle Scouts Coby Albone, Nick Bogan and Kristian Snyder; and Troop Master, Mike Hill.

Posted 25 August 2017 at 10:00 am

Courtesy of Troop 35 in Medina

MEDINA – Three exceptional community service projects propelled Boy Scout members of Medina’s Troop 35 to be awarded the highest rank in Scouts, the Eagle Scout.

Following the Eagle Scout Board of Review on July 31 at the Iroquois Trail Council’s office in Lockport, three members of Medina’s Boy Scout Troop 35 – Coby Albone, Nick Bogan and Kristian Snyder – were awarded the highest rank in the organization.

Coby Albone, the son of Richard Albone of Medina and Denise and Barry Pawloski of Middleport, looked to helping the environment in and around the lakes of Orleans County for his Eagle Scout project.  Coby engineered and installed Recycling Tubes for unwanted and cut off fishing line at 15 different fishing spots in and around the lakes of the area. His goal is to prevent the tangled fishing line from being discarded along the shores and in the lakes of the popular fishing areas to prevent harm to fish and wildlife.

Kristian Snyder is the son of the late former Troop Master of Medina’s Troop 35, Karl Snyder, and the late Nancy Snyder. Kristian held a free movie event at the Medina Theater with the admission being a donation of a can food item to help restock the shelves of the Medina Area Association of Churches (MAAC) Food Pantry. Kristian showed two movies to accommodate younger children with the first showing and older kids for the second movie. His movie night was a big success and over 300 pounds of food as well as a monetary donation was made to the MAAC Food Pantry, helping several in need throughout the community.

Nick Bogan, son of Kevin and Kathy Bogan, decided to help out the history of Orleans County by making and installing a sign at one of the oldest unmarked cemeteries in the area. Nick made and installed a 7’ by 8’ sign at the previously unmarked Daniels Cemetery on South Lyndonville Road in the Town of Ridgeway.  Nick was amazed at the age of some of the grave stones in the Daniels Cemetery, several dating back to the turn of the century and include some of the early pioneers that helped to settle Orleans County and the Town of Ridgeway.

The three newest Eagle Ranks are added to the several other Eagles in the Medina Troop 35, including Nick and Kristian’s older brothers. Troop 35’s long history of serving others and doing good deeds throughout the community exemplify the goals of the Scouting organization.

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Erie County Fair puts Barry Flansburg in its Hall of Fame

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 August 2017 at 2:16 pm

Provided photo: Barry Flansburg, center with plaque, was honored on Aug. 12 at the Erie County Fair in Hamburg by being inducted in the Erie County Agriculture Education Center’s Hall of Fame.

Flansburg has been attending the fair since 2000 with his family. His kids – Ben Flansburg, now 32, and Chris and Amanda Flansburg, 27 – all showed dairy animals at the fair and won the master showman title.

Barry Flansburg goes to the fair every year, spending 12 days there. He volunteers in the Agriculture Discovery Center, explaining modern agriculture to the public. This year seven calves were born at the fair, and Flansburg is there to emcee the births and also calf feedings.

He was presented the award by members of the Fair Board and an the Agriculture Committee at the fair. A plaque with his name will be on permanent display at the fairgrounds.

“I was very surprised,” Flansburg said. “It’s quite an honor.”

Flansburg, a Barre resident, also has been an active volunteer with the Orleans County 4-H Fair for many years.

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