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Busy community volunteer honored by Office for the Aging

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 May 2017 at 1:12 pm

Mary Ann Tillman recognized locally and in Albany for contributions to many local efforts

Provided photo: Mary Ann Tillman, right, accepts an award on May 12 from Melissa Blanar, director of the Office for the Aging in Orleans County. Tillman was recognized during a program at the Trolley Building at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds.

KNOWLESVILLE – A long-time community volunteer was recently recognized in Orleans County and at the State Capitol.

Mary Ann Tillman traveled to Albany on May 9 and was recognized there, joining senior ctiizens who were honored throughout the state for making a difference in their communities.

Tillman then on May 12 was honored during the Office for the Aging’s annual Spring Jubilee at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Tillman is the former owner of the Carlton Grill for 12 years. She also worked as executive director of the American Cancer Society in Orleans County.

Since she retired, she has been active in many organizations, including:

• Hospice of Orleans with nursing/indirect care/companionship/promotional activities/fundraising

• Office for the Aging with newsletter/special event support

• Holy Family Parish with fundraising, as a eucharistic minister delivering communion to homebound members, the local soup kitchen, President of Ladies of Charity, and director of the support group for her church’s bereavement committee.

She also volunteers with the American Red Cross, local libraries, St. Joseph’s School, the VA in Batavia, Catholic Daughters, Oak Orchard Neighborhood Association, the Garden Club, Carlton Ladies Auxiliary, Knights of Columbus, Board of Public Health office and at her exercise class.

“She is a prime example of what a volunteer is,” said Melissa Blanar, Office for the Aging director. “She is active in her community and making a difference. She is staying active in life which is very important for older adults.”

Mary Ann Tillman wears an apron about her “Famous Polish Bread,” which makes each year at the annual Lawn Fete to benefit the Holy Family Parish in Albion. This photo is from August 2015.

Tillman, a  Kent resident, and her late husband Robert raised two children, Richard and Patricia. Mary Ann has two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Tillman in 2016 also was named “Volunteer of the Year” by Hospice of Orleans. She said there are numerous ways to get involved in the community.

“She does not like to hear peple say there is nothing to do,” Blanar said. “There is a world full of possibilities if someone wants to help.”

Tillman said she has made many friends by volunteering. She urges others to find ways to give of their time and help local organizations.

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Lyndonville resident, nursing professor at NCCC, earns SUNY distinguished teaching award

Staff Reports Posted 20 May 2017 at 9:51 am

Dr. Julie Woodworth one of 21 honored with distinction in NY

Dr. Julie Woodworth

A Lyndonville resident who teaches nursing at Niagara County Community College is the first professor from NCCC to receive the SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professorship.

The state recognizes 21 professors throughout the SUNY system with the distinction and Dr. Julie Woodworth was among the honored group.

“Each year it is an honor to review the collective work of SUNY’s outstanding faculty, and to recognize the sheer academic strength within our walls that inspires our students,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “The standards of our distinguished ranks are rigorous, with high demands set for leadership and innovation. Congratulations to all of today’s honorees, who have led our students by an excellent example, created new research opportunities, and challenged those around them to reach higher levels of achievement.”

Dr. Woodworth is a member of the Department of Nursing and Allied Health at Niagara County Community College and has implemented evidence-based teaching techniques that support student engagement and learning. She received the SUNY Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2008 and the Professional Nurses Association of Western New York’s Ruth T. McGrorey Award in June 2017. She also maintains her nursing practice at Medina Memorial Hospital in the surgery area.

Woodworth has completed recent research within the nursing education field and has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals to add to the evidence-based literature in the nursing education field. She is generous with her personal time, easily accessible, and demonstrates a continual concern with the intellectual growth of individual students.

She maintains high standards of care and knowledge level attainment for patient care delivery in the very rigorous nursing program. She is also involved in the promotion of curricular reform at Niagara County Community College to advance the nursing curriculum to an up-to-date, rigorous student centered program with above average NCLEX-RN pass rates.

“I love working with nursing students and help them to succeed,” she said. “NCCC’s pass rates for 2016 on the NCLEX testing for licensure is a 94%. This is a great pass rate and notably one of the highest in the area.”

Kendall, Medina make U.S. News list of top high schools

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 May 2017 at 5:17 pm

Kendall and Medina both earned “Silver Medals” and made the list of high-performing high schools in the latest ranking by U.S. News and World Report.

The news publication posted its annual ranking of the 22,000 high schools in the country, and Kendall placed 2,295th and Medina 2,468th, which puts them near the top 10 percent.

In New York, Kendall was ranked 181st and Medina, 195th. The U.S. News’ Best High Schools List is compiled by first analyzing how well students performed on qualifying high school state assessments such as Regents Exams in Algebra 1 and ELA.

The high schools identified as over performing were then ranked nationally in terms of college readiness, using participation and success in the Advanced Placement program. U.S. News then awarded more than 6,040 gold, silver, and bronze medals to the top-performing schools.

“This is great validation at how well our staff does in preparing our students for post-secondary education and careers,” said Mark Kruzynski, the Medina school district superintendent. “We are very proud to once again receive this honor and be able to recognize the dedication of our students, staff and the community to make Medina High School one of the best high schools in the country.  This award is truly an achievement that the entire district can celebrate, as the success we have in the high school builds upon the foundations our students have received at Oak Orchard and Clifford Wise Intermediate Middle School. Congratulations to the entire Medina Central School District.”

Kendall is also a repeat winner.

“This honor respects the hard work and commitment by the entire staff and community of Kendall,” Julie Christensen, Kendall Central School superintendent, said when Kendall was recognized last year.

To see the breakdowns, visit

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Albion 4th grader wins WNY spelling bee

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 May 2017 at 8:19 am

Provided photos: Adam Burlison, 10, of Albion holds his trophy after winning a spelling bee on Saturday in Grand Island.

ALBION — An Albion fourth-grader won a spelling bee on Saturday that featured 46 of the top spellers in Western New York from grades 4 and 5.

Adam Burlison, 10, was perfect as the field of spellers was winnowed from 46 to 1. The second-place finisher misspelled “heritage.” After Adam spelled it right, he sealed his victory with the word, “sentimental.”

It was a heart-pounding 2 1/2 hour event for many in the Albion community. Adam’s mother Lisa, an Albion elementary school teacher, posted the competition on Facebook live. When Adam won, the bus for the Albion marching band burst into cheers and applause. The band was coming home from the Lilac Festival in Rochester.

Adam’s father is the late Wayne Burlison, the assistant marching band director and elementary school band teacher. Wayne was 36 when he died from colon cancer on March 26, 2014.

The announcer at the spelling bee used each of the words in the contest in sentence. For “sentimental,” the announcer said: “Sentimental. She gave her father a sentimental card for Father’s Day. Sentimental.”

Adam was like a machine as he spelled his words – geothermal, successful, voluntary, stockade, fantastic, dilute, ventricle and many others.

Adam Burlison competed against 45 other top spellers. His winning word: “sentimental.”

He was one of three Albion students at the competition in Grand Island. Madison Banker and Sawyer Brigham also competed. All three students are in Meghan Kania’s class. Sawyer also finished in the top 10.

The final three in the spelling bee made it through all of “expert” words on the fourth grade list. Then the judges asked words from a fifth grade list that contestants didn’t study.

Adam has honed his spelling skills by reading lots of books, his mother said. His favorite books are fiction/fantasy, which Mrs. Burlison said have a lot of unusual words.

The closed captioning also is on the TV in the Burlison home because Lisa has a slight hearing loss.

“I realized at an early age that he was learning to read from that as well,” she said about the words on TV.

She thanked his friends at school for helping prepare him for the spelling bee. They asked him words over lunch in the cafeteria.

“It really was a community effort,” Lisa said.

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High waters don’t deter big fish

Photos by Tom Rivers: This group from Port Austin, Michigan is pictured with the grand prize winning salmon in the Lake Ontario Counties Fishing Derby, which concluded today with an awards program at the Bald Eagle Marina in Kendall. The 27-pound, 8-ounce salmon won the $15,000 grand prize. The group includes, from left: Paul Nienaltowski, Kenny Rutz, Chris McConnell and Alex Nienaltowski.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 May 2017 at 7:50 pm

LOC Derby ends with celebration in Kendall

KENDAL — The fish are still biting in Lake Ontario, despite all the media reports of doom on the lake. The high waters and erosion don’t bother the fish, sports fishing promotion officials said today during an awards presentation at Bald Eagle Marina in Kendall.

“The lake isn’t off limits,” said Bill Hiltz Jr., a long-time sportsfishing promoter in Niagara County. “Once you get on the lake, the fishing is still good.”

Hilts was in Kendall today as emcee for the Spring Lake Ontario Counties Derby. About 4,500 people fished in the LOC Derby, where $44,350 in prize money was up for grabs. There are also summer and fall LOC fishing derbies. The awards ceremonies are typically at Captain Jack’s, a tavern in Sodus Point. But a road to that site was blocked off due to flooding.

LOC organizers decided to have the awards show in Kendall at the Bald Eagle Marina, which is a new weigh station for the derby. The Bald Eagle Marina has floating docks that move up or down, depending on the lake levels. It’s boat launch remains open.

Other marinas with stationary docks are struggling due to the high lake levels, or their boat launches aren’t open.

Dave Chilson, owner and director of the LOC Derby, said fishermen and the sports fishing industry remains concerned about access at some marinas. Chilson also worries the extensive media coverage of the high lake waters, erosion and flooding may scare off fishermen and customers for the marinas and lakeside businesses.

“All of the publicity has made it worse,” Chilson said about the impact on businesses by the lake.

A group from Port Austin, Michigan made their second annual trip to Lake Ontario. They stayed in Wilson and caught the biggest fish, a 27-pound, 8-ounce salmon. They caught it off the Niagara bar, near the mouth of the Niagara River. The group brought its own boat from Michigan and tried to launch it in St. Catharines, Canada, but those marinas were off limits due to the high lake and flooding.

They were directed to Wilson, where they were able to get their boat in the water.

Pul Nienaltowski reeled in the fish on May 9. He said Lake Huron has few salmon. He and his brother and their friends like the Chinook salmon. They put up a fight when they are caught, Nienaltowski said.

Chilson moved the awards program to the Bald Eagle Marina, which is opening a restaurant, Lures, next month, and is making other improvements.

“We wanted to highlight it because it’s obviously a great facility,” Chilson said.

Other first place winners include:

• Chinook salmon, 25 pounds, 5 ounces – Lee Beaton of Clifton Springs, NY

• Brown trout, 16 pounds, 12 ounces – David Rafle of Edinboro, Pa.

• Lake trout, 22 pounds, 10 ounces – Brian Marketich of Beaver Falls, Pa.

• Walleye, 13 pounds, 1 ounce – Mitch Franz of Henderson Harbor, NY

David Rafle of Edinboro, Pa. talks about his first-place winning brown trout. All of the first place winners won $1,000. David Chilson, center, is the LOC president and director. Bill Hilts, Jr., left, served as emcee for the event.






Outstanding youths, adults honored for service

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Orleans County Youth Bureau on Thursday recognized three adults - Medina teacher Eric Gross, Holley school social worker Samantha Zelent, and Albion youth football coach Geno Allport - for their service to youth. The following students were also recognized: Serenity Baumgart, Hannah Biedlingmaier, Emily Blanchard, Anna Brasted, Thomas Bummer, Sarah Granchelli, Ashley Kingsbury, Brandon Miller, Chad Miller, Charles Edward Moore II, Tiffany Petry, Zachary Petry, Hayley Rowley, James Sharp, Ashley Sietmann, Nicholas Smith, Robert Vidovich III and Vincent Viterna.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 May 2017 at 2:51 pm

Keynote speaker, Sheriff Randy Bower, tells group to follow moral compass, be challenge-driven

Vincent Viterna, 17, of Medina accepts a youth recognition award on Thursday. Vincent has been active as a firefighter with the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company, taking numerous training courses and helping with fundraisers.

MURRAY – The Orleans County Youth Board honored three adults and 18 young people for their service to the community during the 35th annual Youth Recognition Banquet on Thursday at Hickory Ridge Golf and Country Club.

The youths do numerous acts of service, from volunteering at animals shelters, their local fire department, nursing homes, Scouts and other community organizations.

The following students will be recognized for their outstanding service in the community and/or family: Serenity Baumgart of Medina, Hannah Biedlingmaier of Holley, Emily Blanchard of Albion, Anna Brasted of Holley, Thomas Bummer of Lyndonville, Sarah Granchelli of Medina, Ashley Kingsbury of Kendall, Brandon Miller of Kendall, Chad Miller of Kendall, Charles Edward Moore II of Albion, Tiffany Petry of Medina, Zachary Petry of Medina, Hayley Rowley of Holley, James Sharp of Holley, Ashley Sietmann of Kendall, Nicholas Smith of Holley, Robert Vidovich III of Medina and Vincent Veteran of Medina.

The Youth Board also recognized three adults for their service to youths.

Eric Gross

Eric Gross and Samantha Zelent received the Helen R. Brinsmaid Memorial Youth Worker Award, given to a paid professional whose work exceeds normal expectations.

Gross is a physical education teacher and coach at Medina’s Clifford H. Wise Intermediate/Middle School. A co-worker, Kristy Young, said Gross is a humble person with a contagious positive attitude. He gives his own money and time to help student athletes at Medina, taking them to appointments and making sure they have the proper equipment.

Gross grew up in Medina and has worked as a teacher for 16 years, coaching cross country, track and wrestling.

Samantha Zelent

Gross said he is fortunate in his job to have strong support from Medina families, his co-workers and the staff at the school, as well as his own family.

Samantha Zelent is a social worker for grades 7-12 at Holley Junior-Senior High School. Her dedication, compassion and genuine concern for her students are exhibited on a daily basis, the Youth Board said.

Penny Cole, a secretary in the guidance office at the school, said Zelent has a heart for the students at the school and a radar for their needs. She gives students and their families her personal cell phone number to reach out to her off hours if necessary.

Zelent thanked the entire school community of teachers, staff, administrators, students and parents for stepping forward to support kids in crisis.

“Holley is a wonderful community and I’m so blessed,” she said. “I can ask for help and they’re right there.”

The Holley students are “awesome kids” who make her career so rewarding. “They are a tremendous part of my life,” Zelent said.

She also thanked her parents, former Holley principal John Heise and retired Albion teacher Sandra Heise, for instilling a love for community service and people. Zelent’s husband John is a second grade teacher at Brockport. He had a bone marrow transplant two years ago. Relent thanked the community for their support during her husband’s illness.

She and John have a son Alex, 8, who is his mother’s driving force to do good.

“It’s my responsibility to make this world a little better for him,” she said.

Geno Allport was recognized for his years of volunteering with the Albion youth football program.

Geno Allport of Albion received the Eileen Heye Adult Volunteer Award. He is always setting a great example of guidance, values and respect when working with the youth in the community in his role as a youth football coach in the Albion Youth Sports Athletic Program and as an official with the Niagara Orleans Football Association, the Youth Board said.

D.J. Moore has been alongside Allport for years as a youth football coach. Moore said Allport spends 12 hours at the field on game days, setting up the field, making sure officials are on time, leading his team and cheering on the others. He makes sure everything is put away.

Allport has been a leader in the region for player safety, Moore said. Allport also finds grants for the program that make Albion’s football registration the lowest cost in Western New York “so our parents can afford it.”

“He teaches the kids about not just football, but about life itself,” Moore said. “Without Geno, our program would not survive.”

Allport said he considers the Youth Board recognition “a team award.” He thanked his sister Jaime Allport, Moore and other volunteers in the program.

Randy Bower holds one of the compasses he handed out on Thursday when he was keynote speaker during the annual Youth Recognition Banquet.

Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower was the keynote speaker for the event. He shared about the challenge of becoming paralyzed at age 18, four months after high school graduation.

Bower was working a full-time job at the the time as a line technician for a cable company. He had all the overtime he wanted and enjoyed an active social life.

On Oct. 10, 1983, Bower was driving home from a friend’s house at about midnight. He fell asleep at the wheel. Clarendon firefighters saved his life that night, Bower said.

When he awoke paralyzed at Strong Memorial Hospital, facing the greatest challenge of his life. His family and friends pushed him to overcome the challenge. Bower said most people with his spinal cord injury are hospitalized for six months. He was able to push himself to be home in 2 months after the accident, in time for Christmas that year.

Bower said he has adopted a “challenge driven” approach to life. Challenges develop mental and physical toughness, challenges stand down fear, inspire courageous acts, tests your limits, builds self confidence, empowers freedman mold who we become, Bower said.

The sheriff urged people to volunteer. He cited the service of coaches and firefighters who give to others, not seeking any compensation. Even the current crisis with the flooding on lake Ontario was a testimony of volunteerism, with neighbors helping to fill and distribute heavy sandbags, Bower said.

He gave everyone a compass. A moral compass should always be used when making decision, he said.

“Your moral compass is the thing inside us that tells us which direction we should go when we have to make a decision involving right and wrong,” Bower said. “Use your moral compass, fly straight, embrace challenges, think forward and always, when able, be there for others.”

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Albion’s Tarzan named ‘outstanding musical’

Photos by Tom Rivers: Angela Tarricone starred as Jane in Albion High School's production of Tarzan, which won several awards during the Stars of Tomorrow program that honors high school theater productions in the Rochester region. Tarricone was named "outstanding leading actress" for Division B schools.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 May 2017 at 2:15 pm

Lyndonville-Medina production also recognized at Stars of Tomorrow

Albion and the Lyndonville-Medina theater productions were both recognized on Thursday for excellence in the annual Stars of Tomorrow program by the Rochester Broadway Theatre League.

Albion was one of four schools in Division B to be named an “outstanding musical” for its production of Tarzan. Albion also won for Outstanding Acting Ensemble, Outstanding Production Crew, and Outstanding Student Orchestra.

Thomas Bummer plays Gaston, an egotistical villain determined to marry Belle, who declines the offer in Beauty and the Beast. Gaston is shown here with five “Silly Girls” played by Sophia Cardone, Emily Green, Maisie Griffin, Cora Payne and Layna Vitoria.

Lyndonville and Medina students worked together in their production of Beauty and the Beast. They won an award for Outstanding Singing Ensemble.

Student performers in both musicals also won individual awards, including:

Victor Benjovsky won an Outstanding Supporting Actor award for his role as “Kerchak,” the gorilla father in Tarzan. Benjovsky is shown here getting his makeup on before the March 31 show.

Leif Isaacson, left, played “Cogsworth” in Beauty and the Beast for Lyndonville-Medina. He also won an “Outstanding Supporting Actor” award. Cogsworth (Leif Isaacson) and Lumière (Christian Hahn).

Enoch Martin, as Tarzan in Albion’s production, was named an Outstanding Leading Actor. Martin swings into the jungle with Jane (played by Angela Tarricone), who was recognized with an Outstanding Leading Actress award.

Enoch Martin and Angela Tarricone now move on to a new competition. On May 25, they will go back to RBTL at 7 p.m. and will perform. It is an elimination contest. If they make it through the first round, they will advance to the next round, and the next, until there is only one winner for leading man and leading woman. The winners will go to New York City.

The public can also vote for them. The person who receives the most votes is called the “Fan Favorite” and will receive prizes (tickets to School of Rock, etc). Click here for the link for Fan Favorite voting. Angela: text SOT02 to 75327 and Enoch: text SOT16 to 75327.

In addition, the following were recognized from Albion:

• Future Stars Award – Autumn Flugel and Maia Pate

• Special Recognition to the Special Olympics Club for their outstanding work on the gorilla costumes and flower/vine backdrop

• Adjudicator Tip of the Hat Award: Nate Grammatico, Evan Steier, Caleb and Tess Pettit, Brennan Moody, Donato Rosario and the Ape Family Ensemble.

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Albion teacher wins state-wide award from VFW

Photos by Tom Rivers: Tim Archer is pictured with one of his service learning classes on Tuesday after member of the VFW presented him with his teaching award. Archer said the students are committed to the many service projects.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 May 2017 at 1:17 pm

Tim Archer praised for honoring veterans, promoting citizenship

ALBION – An Albion teacher has won a state-wide teaching award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars for his work promoting citizenship and connecting his seventh-grade students with projects honoring veterans.

Tim Archer is now under consideration for the national VFW award for a middle school teacher. The VFW each year honors an elementary, middle and high school teacher.

“I’m impressed with everything he’s done,” said Earl Schmidt, the Orleans County Veterans Service Agency director, and a member of the VFW. “He goes above and beyond.”

Archer and his class have worked on several projects honoring veterans. Their next effort will be rededicating a World War I bronze plaque on the Orleans County Courthouse.

The memorial was given by the American Legion, which asked Archer to help find a suitable place to display it. That marker will be rededicated at 3 p.m. on June 9, going back to its original spot on the Courthouse.

Tim Archer, right, received surprise visitors on Tuesday afternoon at his seventh grade service learning class. Three members of the VFW stopped by to present him with the New York “teacher of the year” award from the VFW.  The VFW representatives include, from left: Earl Schmidt, the Orleans County Veterans Service Agency director; Jim Freas, Medina VFW post commander; and Rebecca Hucknall, a senior master sergeant and VFW post adjutant.

Dan Monacelli, the middle school principal, said Archer has been “an amazing mentor” to his students, inspiring them in them service projects, while promoting citizenship and flag etiquette.

“This is a big deal,” Monacelli told one of Archer’s classes on Tuesday. “It’s big because of his hard work and because you kids buy into it.”

Students secured a proper cemetery marker for one Civil War veteran at the old St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Albion. Hey painted 160 Civil War markers (Grand Army of the Republic) that were rusting at Mount Albion Cemetery. They dedicated a historical marker for the lone Orleans County veteran who died at Gettysburg.

“He brings the curriculum to life,” Monacelli said. “You can reach out and touch it.”

Archer, in addition to the community projects honoring veterans, has many veterans come and and speak to his classes.

Some of the recent projects Archer has led with his students include:

Historical marker unveiled for local soldier who died at Gettysburg

On Oct. 8, 2016, a new historical marker for Herbert Charles Taylor, the only Orleans County resident believed to have been killed in the Battle at Gettysburg, was unveiled at Hillside Cemetery.

The local Honor Guard is pictured in the background of this photo. Taylor is buried in the older section of Hillside Cemetery, a historic site in the Town of Clarendon, just south of the Village of Holley.

Gettysburg was the Civil War’s deadliest battle with about 23,000 Union casualties and about 28,000 killed from the Confederacy. Taylor,  a member of the 140th N.Y. Infantry, was with his regiment at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863 and repulsed the attack on Little Round Top.

Marker added at Civil War section of Mount Albion, and GAR markers repainted

Albion students on May 26, 2016 died a new marker at the Civl War section of historic Mount Albion Cemetery. Students researched local Civil War soldiers. Archer and the students also repainted about 160 GAR grave markers for soldiers who fought for the Union in the Civil War.

Seventh-grader Emily Merger wore a period dress for the ceremony last May. She said women also made many sacrifices during the Civil War, keeping houses, farms and businesses running while caring for children while their husbands were at war or killed in battle. Tim Archer, the Service Learning teacher, is in back.

Civil War soldier gets headstone 101 years after death

A new headstone was unveiled on April 30, 2016 for John Frost, a principal musician (chief bugler) for the 33rd New York Infantry and also the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division of 6th Corps. Frost was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery on Brown Road in 1915.

Frost raised five children in Orleans County and sold coal for a living. In 2015, the Holy Family Parish was going through records at the cemetery and realized that John Frost never had a headstone. County Historian Matt Ballard, a member of the parish and also the Knights of Columbus, shared the story with Archer,who then told his students about Frost.

The students wanted Frost to have a headstone. They worked with the Veterans Service Agency in Orleans and Niagara counties to secure a headstone for Frost. The marble stone was unveiled about a year ago.

Bronze memorial for World War I vets headed back to Courthouse

Provided photo: American Legion Sheret Post #35 Commander Wally Skrypnik is pictured with a large bronze plaque memorializing 24 area soldiers who died during World War I. Skrypnik is pictured with Albion seventh graders Leah Pritchard, center, and Emily Harling. The seventh grade service learning class is working on having the memorial placed at the Orleans County Courthouse.

The latest project for Archer and the students includes finding a fitting home for the bronze marker that lists the names of 24 local residents from the school district (towns of Albion, Barre, Carlton and Gaines) who died in World War I.

The American Legion Sheret Post #35 donated the large 3-by-5-foot bronze plaque memorializing 24 local WWI soldiers. The plaque has been displayed in various indoor locations, but was most recently in storage, not visible to the public.

After being impressed by the students work last year on area Civil War soldiers, the local American Legion Post felt it fitting to donate the plaque to the hard-working students on the 100th anniversary of the United States entrance into WWI.

Archer was willing to accept the challenge to have the memorial placed back in the community.

“Our kids will learn a great deal about courage, integrity, and self-sacrifice,” Archer said in September. “There is no greater example of ‘loving thy neighbor’ than laying down your life for another. We all need role models like this.”

Those listed on the plaque include: John D. Arnett, Albert Beary, Jesse S. Brooks, John A. Butler, Leo. F. Christopher, Oliver E. Clement, Ronald F. Corey, Robert B. Densmore, Harry H. Dibley, Frederick Green, John Kurzawski, Martin Larwood, Louis Monacelli, Dewey Mott, Benjamin A. Needles, Leonard Osborne, Adolfo Passarelli, Stanley Rutkowski, James A. Sheret, Egbert Sheret, John H. Stevens, Alexander Wilson and Stanley P. Zyglarski.

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Annette Finch of Albion named ‘Woman of Distinction’ by NY State Senate

Posted 9 May 2017 at 9:58 pm

Long-time Community Action employee serves the agency, community in many ways

Provided photos: Annette Finch is pictured with State Sen. Robert Ortt in the State Capitol today.

Press Release, State Sen. Robert Ortt

ALBANY – State Senator Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) today recognized Annette Finch of Albion as one of the New York State Senate’s “Women of Distinction” during a ceremony at the Legislative Office Building in Albany.

Finch was personally selected by Ortt and was among 61 other distinguished women who were honored by the State Senate this evening.

The Senate’s Women of Distinction program celebrates outstanding women from all walks of life throughout New York State whose contributions have enriched the quality of life in our communities.

“The Women of Distinction program allows us to pause and recognize the extraordinary women in our communities whose lives, work or accomplishments contribute to enriching our society and neighborhoods,” Ortt said. “Annette is one of those women. I am proud to honor her for her achievements, and I thank her for making our communities better and brighter.”

Finch is a dedicated and passionate advocate for low-income and disadvantaged families throughout Orleans and Genesee counties. She has worked for Community Action of Orleans & Genesee Counties since 1977, and because of her exceptional leadership skills, was appointed as the nonprofit’s Director of Community Services in 1990.

“I’m honored that Senator Ortt selected me as the ‘Woman of Distinction’ for his district,” said Finch. “What I do is not for recognition or awards. I do it from my heart to better families, children, senior citizens and individuals with disabilities. It’s a privilege to work for Community Action and volunteer in my community.”

Among Finch’s responsibilities, she assists individuals with emergency services, job training, clothing, and transportation, while ensuring clients are treated with dignity and respect. She works diligently to provide programs, services, and opportunities that can enable all people to reach their fullest potential in becoming self-sufficient.

For 40 years, Finch has compassionately worked to initiate and develop life-changing programs through Community Action, including its garden projects, thrift store, care packages for veterans, school supplies for children, the annual holiday basket, coat drives. In addition, she has worked in conjunction with the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign and camp for families and children in need, as well as the work release program through the Albion Correctional Facility to help teach life skills.

Orleans County Legislator Lynne Johnson, left, joined Finch and Ortt in Albany today for the program when Finch was honored.

Finch plays a vital role in her community, dedicating her time, talent and energy to numerous local organizations. For the past 39 years, Finch has volunteered as the Treasurer for the Salvation Army Service Unit for Orleans County. She also serves as both an advisory committee and board member of the following: Orleans & Albion Correctional facilities; the Village Recreation Committee for more than 35 years; the Bereavement Committee for Holy Family Church; Genesee Community College; Job Corps; the statewide Angels in Action program; Food Link; and as Chairperson for Orleans County, FEMA to name a few.

Finch has been honored for her community service with several awards, such as Salvation Army Volunteer of the Year; Rosemary Fleming Memorial Award presented by the New York State Community Action Association; Orleans Chamber of Commerce Award for Community Service; Local American Legion Award for Continued Service; and a New York State Certificate of Recognition.

“Annette’s commitment to her community is commendable,” said Senator Ortt. “Her reputation as an outstanding administrator is a direct reflection of her love for and dedication to the individuals and families in her community. She truly is an inspiration and embodies the word ‘distinction.’”

The “Women of Distinction” celebration started in 1998. Previous winners in the annual event have included leading women from the world of business, academics and civic life, as well as those who have performed heroic or selfless acts, made significant discoveries, or provided examples of personal excellence against difficult odds.

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Orleans students among winners in BOCES SkillsUSA competition

Posted 3 May 2017 at 10:50 pm

Kennedy Smelski, first place winner

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – Many SkillsUSA students from Orleans/Niagara BOCES returned to their career and technical education (CTE) centers with medals from the New York State SkillsUSA Competition held in Syracuse.

SkillsUSA is a national partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.

Congratulations go to:

Student Name District Place Contest CTE Program
Kennedy Smelski Lyndonville 1st Health Occupations Portfolio Allied Health
Noah Rocklein Barker 1st Welding Welding
Marisol Cabrera Barker 1st Esthetics Cosmetology
Eliza Serth Newfane 1st Esthetics Model Cosmetology
Brendan Schyve Royalton Hartland 1st Electronics Technology Electricity/Electronics
Tanner Rees Royalton Hartland 2nd Related Technical Math Graphic Communications
Stephen Zayac Albion 2nd


Diesel Equipment Tech Diesel Technology/Ag Mechanics
Alex Freeman Lyndonville 3rd Welding Sculpture Welding
Joshua Barnett Albion 3rd Web Design Computer Technology
Albert Burch Lyndonville 3rd Web Design Computer Technology
Jack Muscarella Royalton Hartland 3rd Technical Drafting Precision Machine Technology
Chandler Heary Lockport 3rd Criminal Justice Security and Law Enforcement
(William) Powell Stephens

Brandon Ptak

Nicholas Albone




3rd Automated Manufacturing Team Precision Machine Technology
Rebecca Albright

Nicholas Monaco

Royalton Hartland


3rd 3-D Visualization & Animation

Provided photos: Brendan Schyve of Royalton-Hartland won first in electronics technology. He is pictured with his teacher Bill Leggett.

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