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3 from Orleans compete in National Dog Show in Philadelphia

Provided photos: Nicole Mrzywka of Holley is interviewed by professional ice skating stars Tara Lapinski and Johnny Weir.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 21 November 2017 at 1:53 pm

Nicole Mrzywka, Madison Ploof and Kaitlyn Johnson were among a contingent from the Orleans County 4-H program that participated in the National Dog Show last weekend in Philadelphia.

Last February Nicole Mrzywka and Kaitlyn Johnson of the Orleans County 4-H Heelers Dog Club received national attention when Nicole traveled to New York City to compete in the Westminster Dog Show with her English springer spaniel Champ. Cerise Renaissance Man.

Kaitlyn was featured in a cover story in the January 2017 issue of Front and Finish, a national on-line magazine for dog trainers, with her rough collie dog, Poirot.

Now, they and members of the Heelers 4-H Dog Club have participated in the prestigious National Dog Show, sanctioned by the American Kennel Club.

Last weekend Kaitlyn, Nicole and fellow Heelers Club member Madison Ploof traveled to Philadephia for the show.

Nicole is a junior at Holley Central School, and said this is the second year she has exhibited at the National Dog Show.

This year she competed with her English springer spaniel in the Best of Breed competition; Kaitlyn Johnson competed in the Jr. Showmanship competition; and Madison Ploof competed with her German pincher in the Best of Breed competition.

Nicole Mrzywka of Holley is pictured in the show arena.

The National Dog Show is broadcast at noon on Thanksgiving Day on NBC, and Nicole said that although she and her fellow 4-Hers did not make it to the best of show competition for the telecast this year, she was interviewed by Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir for a segment which will air at some point in the broadcast.

“It was really cool,” Nicole said of the interview, which occurred while she was grooming her dog. “They were very nice people.”

Nicole said several members of the Orleans County 4-H Heelers Dog Club traveled to Philadelphia to watch the competition.

“We all did fundraising as a club,” Nicole said about funding the trip.

Club members who exhibited paid their own entry fees, she said.

Participating in a national event does make her nervous, Nicole said, but she also has lots of fun. She said the show was more crowded than in the past.

“It’s a great experience and one of my favorite shows… next year I plan to make it to the blue carpet,” Nicole said of reaching the portion of the competition which is televised.

She said all club members who attended learned much from the experience which they will be able to utilize as they compete with their dogs in the future.

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Albion, Holley PDs honored by AAA for traffic safety enforcement

Staff Reports Posted 20 November 2017 at 4:30 pm

Albion and Holley police departments both have been recognized by the American Automobile Association with 2017 Community Traffic Safety awards.

The Albion Police Department received the Platinum Award. The nationally recognized AAA Platinum Community Traffic Safety Award is the highest award AAA can bestow on any Police Department.

It’s awarded to departments that have developed and maintained traffic safety initiatives in their communities and who have shown success in those initiatives.

The Albion Police Department has used programs such as; Buckle Up New York, Selective Traffic Enforcement Program, Stop DWI, Pedestrian Crossing Safety and Awareness and the Child Passenger Safety Seat Program to enforce vehicle and traffic laws as well as to educate and assist motorist.

“Throughout 2017 the Albion Police Department conducted several targeted details that focused on specific areas of safety for both motorists and pedestrians,” Police Chief Roland Nenni said. “These details were done in non-traditional ways to increase their effectiveness. Several more details are planned using techniques that have never been done in our area and will increase awareness and effectiveness with the end goal of making our community safer.”

This is the seventh consecutive year that the Albion Police Department has received the Community Traffic Safety Platinum Award.

“The Albion Police Department is dedicated to making our highways and streets safer for all who use them,” Nenni said. “Throughout the holiday season we will continue our efforts by adding more patrols and details and we urge motorist to make responsible decisions.”

Nenni also leads the Holley Police Department, which was awarded the Bronze Award for the department’s efforts in traffic safety.

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Ortt will receive national award from Arc for advocacy for direct care workers

Posted 1 November 2017 at 4:45 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: State Sen. Robert Ortt speaks in Medina in June.

Press Release, State Sen. Robert Ortt

SAN DIEGO, CA – State Senator Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) will be recognized by the Arc of the United States this week at the organization’s annual convention in San Diego.

Ortt will receive the Catalyst Award for the “Public Policy Victory of the Year” for his work to support direct care professionals serving individuals with disabilities.

“It’s a true honor to be recognized for my role in what was a tremendous team effort by dedicated individuals, families, and workers in the disability community,” Ortt said. “We knew that direct care workers not only care for the needs of these vulnerable individuals, but also help them to lead complete lives. And while government can be slow or difficult, what happened here was that through effective communication, advocacy, and education; we were able to take a significant policy goal – funding our hard-working direct care professionals – and turn it into a reality.”

As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, Ortt prioritized direct care and worked with families, advocates, and legislators as part of the bFair2DirectCare campaign. Ortt fought to include the funding in the Senate Republican budget and urged the Governor to recognize the urgency of the issue. The final adopted budget provides a $146 million multi-year boost in wages to compensate direct care and other clinical professionals for the work they do in caring for others. Ortt noted that the increases will help state-funded non-profits that specialize in the care of vulnerable New Yorkers not only recruit and retain employees, but continue to provide the same level of care that allows them to lead fuller, more independent lives.

The Arc is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. They encompass all ages and more than 100 different diagnoses including autism, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and various other developmental disabilities. With nearly 700 state and local chapters nationwide, the Arc works with its federation of state and local chapters to create an impressive network of human service agencies ensuring they have the strongest civil rights advocates promoting and protecting their needs at all levels.

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22 students from Orleans Career and Tech into the National Technical Honor Society

Provided photo – First row (from left): Destiny Satkowski, Alexis Stratton, Kennedy Smelski, Alisha Scroger and Samantha Lawson. Middle row: Heaven Flood, Madeline Kraus, Carly Eldridge, Catherine Fleischhut, Tristen Johnson, Richard Miles and Desereé Brewer. Back Row: Skyler Christopher, Jamasen Johnson, Steven Schumacher, Porter Bellan, Malik Abdulghani, Jordan Klosin, Elijah Klosin, Matt Steves and John Reed.

Posted 31 October 2017 at 3:44 pm

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – Congratulations to the 22 students from the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center who were recently inducted into the National Technical Honor Society.

Congratulations go to Malik Abdukghani (Lockport/Building Trades), Caleb Bellan (Medina/Welding), Desereé Brewer (Lockport/Security and Law Enforcement), Josephine Capen (Royalton Hartland/Allied Health), Skyler Christopher (Royalton Hartland/Early Childhood Ed), Carly Eldridge (Royalton Hartland/Allied Health), Catherine Fleischhut (Roylaton Hartland/Early Childhood Ed), Heaven Flood (Lyndonville/Cosmetology), Jamasen Johnson (Royalton Hartland/Electricity & Electronics), Tristen Johnson (Newfane/Electricity & Electronics), Jordan Klosin (Barker/Building Trades), Madeline Kraus (Medina/Allied Health), Samantha Lawson (Barker/Cosmetology), Richard Miles (Royalton Hartland/Early Childhood Ed), John Reed (Lockport/Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering), Destiny Satkowski (Medina/Allied Health), Steven Schumacher (Royalton Hartland/Welding), Alisha Scroger (Medina/Culinary Arts), Kennedy Smelski (Lyndonville/Allued Health), Elijah Sones (Medina/Building Trades), Matthew Steves (Royalton Hartland/Building Trades) and Alexis Stratton (Barker/Cosmetology).

The students were honored at the Orleans/Niagara BOCES’ technical education center in front of their teachers, families and school district representatives.

The students had to maintain an 89.5 average in their career and technical education programs and an 84.5 average at their high schools, have superior attendance, exemplary behavior, be a member in good standing with SkillsUSA and have a recommendation from a faculty member.

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Director says Medina band serves as great ambassadors for community

Provided photos: Medina band members wait for the scores to be announced and awards handed out on Sunday at the Carrier Dome.

Posted 30 October 2017 at 7:09 pm

Band narrowly misses winning state championship

Courtesy of Medina Mustang Band

The Medina Mustang Marching Band narrowly missed winning a state title on Sunday when it competed in the 44th annual New York State Field Band Conference Championship at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

This was Medina’s 41st appearance in the championship show.  There are 52 schools in the Field Band conference coming from New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Congratulations to the schools that offer and support this art form for their student body.

The day started off at 8 a.m. with the Dome Breakfast put on by the Boosters for the students and their families as a form of pep rally. From there the students, staff, boosters and all of the equipment and props travel to Hobart College where they practiced for several hours before heading to Syracuse for more practice and then their performance.

This photo shows the band forming a heart shape at the end of the show, which was entitled “With Every Heartbeat.”

The band was led onto the field by Drum Major Shelby Green and Assistant Drum Majors Madison Kenward and Brigid Keller.

In Small School 1 Division (SS1), Medina competed against seven other schools and came in second place with a score of 92.35, bested by East Syracuse-Minoa at 92.60. The difference between 1st and 2nd place was a mere .24.

First place scores for the other classes are:

• SS3: Roslyn – 80.85

• SS2: Phoenix –  86.40

• LS3: Corning Painted Post – 84.70

• LS2: Cicero North Syracuse – 90.0

• National: Arlington – 97.25

Jim Steele, Medina’s band director, commented that he feels totally at peace knowing that the Mustang Band went to Championships and performed their best.

“Regardless of placement these kids are great ambassadors for our school and our community and should be commended for their hard work and dedication to better themselves as musicians and more importantly, as people,” Steele said. “They again are all champions in my eyes.  A heartfelt thanks needs to go out to our high school Principal and Vice Principal, Mike Cavanaugh and Kevin Lasky in addition to our Superintendent, Mark Kruzynski for attending the show with countless other Medina fans and followers. They all witnessed a top notch performance by our kids. Our Boosters are second to none and again proved yesterday that we are the luckiest organization in the world to have them with us. They too were true ‘rock stars’ last night.”

Seniors in the band are shown on stage at the Senior Recognition on Oct. 25.

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Students at BOCES praised for work designing parts for NASA

Photos by Tom Rivers: Tyler Choate of Roy-Hart signs his name on a panel that will be part of a locker at the space station. Bill Gibbs, a representative from NASA, met with Tyler's class this morning at the Orleans Career and Technical Center at the Orleans/Niagara BOCES.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 October 2017 at 1:56 pm

Precision machining students sign panel that will be part of locker headed to space

MEDINA – Students in the Advanced Manufacturing Program at the Orleans Career and Technical Center were praised this morning by representatives from NASA for their dedication designing parts for the agency.

The students are pictured with their teacher William S. Rakonczay, front third from left, and Bill Gibbs (in white coat) from NASA.

Gibbs thanked the students and the class for their four years of participation in the NASA HUNCH program, where students design and build parts for NASA. Students have made a knob and other parts, working with NASA liaison, Amanda Phelps, who travels from Ohio to visit the class about every two weeks.

Rakonczay has led the class for 25 years with the Orleans/Niagara BOCES. He said the partnership with NASA has raised the expectations for students.

“The accuracy and quality needs to be 100 percent,” Rakonczay said. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with NASA and be recognized.”

Students’ names are signed on the panel in a type of marker where the ink won’t float off in space. The panel will be used for the stowage lockers on the space station.

The Orleans/Niagara students have been successful meeting NASA standards. Gibbs said the students are using the latest technology that will prepare them for careers for precision machining.

“The HUNCH program is a small step in your education, but a giant step in your future,” Gibbs said.

For students to meet the NASA standards, Gibbs said they need dedication and “inner fortitude” to push for perfection.

Gibbs talks with students and their family members this morning. Orleans County Legislator Lynne Johnson and Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey also attended the morning session and presented the class with certificates of commendation.

Brooke Moreland of Roy-Hart signs her name on the panel. The class has 38 students. Brooke is one of three girls in the class. She said she loves math and wants to work with technology and precision manufacturing.

“It’s a growing field with a lot of promising opportunities,” she said.

For more on the HUNCH program, click here.

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Medina band takes 2nd at states

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 October 2017 at 7:54 am

Provided photo

SYRACUSE – After months of hard work, the Medina Mustang Band earned its highest score of the season on Sunday at the state competition in the Carrier Dome.

Medina’s score of 92.35 was good for second place in the Small School 1 Division. Medina finished just behind East Syracuse Minoa, which scored 92.60.

More than 4,000 high school students competed Sunday at the 44th annual New York State Field Band Conference championships in the Carrier Dome. There were more than 50 high school marching bands from three states.

Each band performs a seven- to 10-minute show, and they are evaluated on their musical and visual presentation.

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Achievement Night is chance for 4-H program to recognize dedicated youth

Photos by Kristina Gabalski: 4-H club officers pledge to attend and preside at meetings regularly, appoint committees, and give all members a chance to take part in club decisions and activities.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 27 October 2017 at 8:18 am

Orleans County 4-Her Nicole Mrzywka welcomed 4-Hers, their families and club leaders to Achievement Night Thursday evening in the Trolley Building on the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds. This year’s theme was “A night at the movies!” 4-Hers were encouraged to dress as their favorite movie character.

KNOWLESVILLE – Orleans County 4-Hers gathered Thursday evening in the Trolley Building on the 4-H Fairgrounds to recognize contributions made by members and leaders during the past 4-H year.

Fair Royalty, 4-H Fair Master Showmen, large and small animal Grand Master Showmen and Orleans County 4-Hers who exhibited at the 2017 New York State Fair were recognized.

The Adventurers, Heelers, OC Beef and Dairy, and Hooves and Heartbeats 4-H Clubs were recognized for 100 percent re-enrollment, which compares the number of club members at the end of last year to the number of club members on September 30, 2017.

4-Hers Aeddon Cayea and Rachel Gregoire received the 2017 4-H Martin David Scholarship, which is awarded to worthy 4-H youth who apply and plan to enter college or the Armed Forces. Cayea and Gregoire received their awards prior to Achievement Night. Their selection was based on their 4-H Leadership and participation, school activities and integrity.

4-Hers who participated in the Public Presentation Program, District Public Presentations, and 2017 Project Champions were recognized. Project Champions will be invited to the Teen Recognition Dinner in January and will receive a project champion pin at that event.

Five Star Horse Awards went to Riley Seielstad, Faith Woody, Kate Spierdowis, Jaime Schieber, Zayda Moyle, Ari McGurn, Becca Albright, Andrew Moore and Emily Mergler. The 5-Star Horse Award is the highest recognition for knowledge and mastery in the area of the horse program.

Kayla Sucy presented the Five Star Dog Award to Brooke Kiefer.

4-H Leaders were also recognized and thanked for their volunteer efforts.

Long-time Orleans County 4-H Leader and volunteer Pauline Lanning lights candles of 4-H Club presidents and officers during the installation ceremony.  The candles are the symbols of the 4-Her’s office.

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Nation’s highest civilian award will be given to Rho Mitchell, late Albion resident

Staff Reports Posted 26 October 2017 at 5:07 pm

Collins will present Congressional Gold Medal for the Civil Air Patrol member

Rho Mitchell, right, is pictured in 2012 with his son David and grandson Josh. All three made their careers as funeral directors. Bruce Landis took this photo that hangs inside Christopher Mitchell Funeral Homes.

ALBION – Congressman Chris Collins on Saturday will present a Congressional Gold Medal, the Nation’s highest civilian award, to the widow of Rho B. Mitchell of Albion.

Mrs. Beverly Mitchell will be presented the award for her late husband’s efforts in the United States Civil Air Patrol during World War II. The award will be presented as part of a ceremony held at 11 a.m. at the family business which is the Christopher Mitchell Funeral Home, 21 West Ave.

Senator Robert Ortt will be in attendance along with Ed Morgan from Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s office. The Civil Air Patrol New York Wing Commander, Col. Tom Carello, will be the Master of Ceremony for the event.

Mr. Mitchell was born in Elmira in 1928. He joined the Civil Air Patrol as a cadet while in High School in Elmira. During his service with the Civil Air Patrol, Mr. Mitchell earned his pilot’s license. Mr. Mitchell was also in the Navy Reserve and while in college, he was called to duty with the Navy two weeks after marrying his high school sweetheart Beverly.

After one year on a carrier in the Atlantic, Mr. Mitchell returned to the US to serve a second year of duty. Upon discharge from the Navy, Mr. Mitchell completed college at the Simmons Institute of Funeral Services and moved to Albion in 1957 to open the Christopher Mitchell Funeral Home.

Assigned to the War Department under the jurisdiction of the Army Air Corps, the Civil Air Patrol had more than 120,000 volunteers. CAP members patrolled the country’s coastline from Maine to Mexico and the southern border with Mexico by air, vigilant for enemy submarines and potential saboteurs. Others towed targets for military trainees, watched for forest fires, conducted search and rescue missions, provided disaster relief and emergency transport of people and parts and conducted orientation flights for future pilots. The Civil Air Patrol Cadet Corps was formed in October 1942 to provide pre-military and aviation training to potential future recruits.

In all, 68 CAP members lost their lives in the line of duty by the end of the war.

Since the first Congressional Gold Medal was awarded in 1776 to General George Washington by the Second Continental Congress, there have been more than 300 recipients. The Senate passed legislation authorizing the award of Congressional Gold Medal to Civil Air Patrol WWII members in May 2013, with the House following suit a year later. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law May 30.

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Medina band has top score at Orchard Park

Posted 22 October 2017 at 5:31 pm

Photo and article courtesy of Medina Mustang Band

The Orchard Park school district hosted the Cavalcade of Bands on Saturday with 13 bands from Western NY and Pennsylvania competing.

It was a beautiful Fall night for this activity as evidenced by the large crowd in attendance. In SS1 Medina took first place with a score of 87.75, followed by East Irondequoit with 82.30.

First place winners in the other classes were Pioneer in SS3 with 73.20; Northwestern in SS2, 78.55;  Webster in LS2, 85.60; and Lancaster in the National class with 87.15.

Every week the band director makes subtle changes to the show to improve the performance and the presentation of Medina show theme for this year, “With Every Heartbeat.” This week the band members were wearing shirts with an image depicting an EKG image of a heartbeat.

On Wednesday at 7 p.m. the band will perform their show in Vets’ Park followed by a Senior Recognition. This is open to the public and a great opportunity to see these young people perform without having to travel.

The State Championships are on Sunday, Oct. 29, at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse when every band in the conference will compete.  In LS3 there are 7 bands and the show starts at 8 a.m. LS2 has 9 bands starting at 9:36 a.m.; SS3 has 11 bands beginning at 12:25 p.m.; SS2 has 10 bands, including UB in exhibition, starting at 3 p.m.;  SS1 has 8 bands starting at 6:10 p.m. with Medina performing at 7:02 p.m.

The National class has 9 bands beginning at 8:05 p.m. and includes Syracuse University in exhibition.

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