Albion Alumni Foundation gives nearly $52K in scholarships

Photos courtesy of Kim Pritt

Adam Burlison and his mother, Lisa Burlison, present the Wayne A. Burlison Memorial Scholarship to Zachary Shaffer. This scholarship honors Adam's father, Wayne Burlison, a former elementary school music teacher at Albion. Meredith Patterson also was awarded a Burlison scholarship.


Press Release, Albion High School Alumni Foundation Posted 21 June 2016

ALBION – The Albion High School Alumni Foundation takes great pride in making a difference for a lifetime for the Albion Central School District community – alumni, students, teachers, and friends. The main focus of the Foundation is a Scholarship Program that continues to grow and benefit more students each and every year.


Each year at the Class Night celebration, the Foundation presents scholarships to graduating seniors who meet the criteria of each specific scholarship. These awards provide financial assistance so that our bright young scholars may continue their educational goals and be successful in their future endeavors.


The funding for the scholarships are made possible through memberships and gifts from AHS Alumni, as well as individuals or organizations that contact the Foundation to establish a scholarship. The Foundation manages the funds and awards the scholarships annually during the Class Night event, along with other scholarships that are awarded that evening.


This year, the Foundation awarded 24 scholarships to 32 students, totaling $51,650.

Elizabeth Goff accepts the A.B. "Dick" Eddy "Service Above Self" Scholarship presented by Foundation President Chris Haines.

Here are the results of the 2016 scholarships managed and awarded by the Albion HS Alumni Foundation.


Albion High School Alumni Foundation Scholarships ($1,500 each): This year’s recipients are Daniel Beam, McKayla Hastings, Kyle Thaine, and Mikayla Yaskulski.


Paul R. Haines Memorial Scholarship ($1,500): This year’s recipient is Meredith Patterson.


Smith Foundation Challenge ($1,000): These scholarships are awarded annually by the Foundation to students entering the second year of college. This year’s recipients are Charlyne Olick and Brittany Francis.


Saint-Gobain Technical Fabrics Scholarship ($1,000): This year’s recipient is Randal Eblacker.


Elizabeth Balcom Smith Scholarship ($500): This year’s recipient is Matthew DeCarlo.


Golden Performance Award ($500): This year’s recipient is Elijah VanEpps.


Jim and Susie Fraser Health Careers Scholarship ($500): This year’s recipient is Kassidy Hastings.


Dr. Lee Minier Science Scholarship ($500): This year’s recipient is Miranda Allen.


Albion Alumni Foundation Performing Arts Scholarship ($1,000): This year’s recipient is Zachary Shaffer.

Madeline Gibbs receives her award and a hug from Mrs. Karen Sodoma, retired Albion teacher and wife of Ronald Sodoma, retired Superintendant of Albion Central Schools. The Ronald L. Sodoma Memorial Scholarship is one of four scholarships added to the Foundation's Scholarship Program in 2016 and honors Sodoma, who passed away in April 2015.


Coach Richard Diminuco Scholarship for Athletic Excellence ($1,500): This year’s recipient is Kyle Smith.


Harry W. Salchak Science Scholarship ($2,500): This year’s recipient is Miranda Allen.

A.B. “Dick” Eddy “Service Above Self” Scholarship ($1,250): This year’s recipient is Elizabeth Goff.


The Nancy Elaine LaGamba Scholarship ($1,000): This year’s recipient is Bethany Bowman.


The Dr. Paul Mahany Family Scholarships ($2,500 each): This year's recipients are Cheyenna Eagle, Meghan Hurley, Chlow Weis, and Raven White.


Hoag Scholarships ($10,000 each): This year's recipient for the Engineering Scholarship is Matthew Flanagan. The Chemical Engineering Scholarship was not awarded this year.


Panek Family Farm Agriculture Scholarship ($1,000): This year’s recipient is Sarah Kuehne.


The Rex and Marilyn Horton Scholarship ($500): This year's recipient is Allyson Irwin.


The Wayne A. Burlison Memorial Scholarship ($500 each): This year's recipients are Meredith Patterson and Zachary Shaffer.


Glassner Family Scholarship ($1,400): This year's recipient is Sarah Graham.


John Panek Scholarship ($2,000): This year's recipient is Kelsee Soule.


The next four scholarships are new to the Foundation's Scholarship Program in 2016.


Ronald L. Sodoma Memorial Scholarship ($1,500): This year's recipient is Madeline Gibbs.


Masonic Renovation Lodge # 97 Scholarship ($750): This year's recipient is Jason Downs.


Edward B. Archbald Memorial Scholarship ($1,250): This year's recipient is Kyle Smith.


David R. Long Agricultural Scholarship ($2,500): This year's recipient is Kelsee Soule.

To view more photos and to learn how you can be a part of making a difference for a lifetime for Albion students, visit


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Gaines, Albion reach 3-year deal for fire protection

File photo by Tom Rivers
Albion firefighter Darryl Szklany checks the back of structures at the Par-Me Golf Course on Feb. 5. The site is on Brown Road in the Town of Gaines.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 June 2016
GAINES – The Gaines Town Board today agreed to pay much more for fire contract in a new three-year deal with the Village of Albion.


The Village Board notified Gaines in April that it was terminating the fire contract on Aug. 31, at 11:59 p.m. The contract between the town and village expired on Dec. 31, 2015.


Village officials wanted Gaines to pay $100,000 for fire protection outside the village, the same as the Town of Albion pays for property outside the village.


The new agreement, approved today, will have Gaines pay $75,000 in 2016, $90,000 in 2017 and $100,000 in 2018.


Gaines paid $33,860 in 2015. That was a fire protection rate of 32 cents per $1,000 of assessed property, by far the lowest in the county. The Town of Yates is next lowest at 49 cents with Carlton at 75 cents. Every other town pays at least $1 per $1,000 for fire protection.


Gaines Town Board members asked for a four-year deal with $60,000 for 2016, $80,000 in 2017, $90,000 in 2018, and $100,000 in 2019.


But Village Board members wanted Gaines at $100,000. Mayor Dean London said the board gave Gaines a $35,000 break from the $100,000 by agreeing to $75,000 for 2016 and $90,000 in 2017.


Gaines has had a discount on its fire protection rate since 1995 when the Town Board then and Village Board agreed to a 20-year discounted fire protection rate in exchange for Gaines making the sewer plant on Densmore Street tax exempt.


Gaines officials had proposed making the new contract based on call volume, but the village resisted that. London said the board was unified in demanding $100,000 for providing fire protection to the town.

Village Trustee Pete Sidari has been a long-time member of the Albion Fire Department. He said costs are climbing for volunteer fire departments, especially with equipment and fire trucks.


The Fire Department just received a new truck that costs $668,796. The vehicle from Churchville Fire Equipment is a new triple combination pumping engine. It will replace two vehicles for the Albion Fire Department: a pumper from 1974 and a smaller truck used to respond to motor vehicle accidents. That truck from 2004 has extrication equipment.


“The equipment is more expensive than it used to be,” Sidari said after the meeting today at the Gaines Town Hall.


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Buffalo and Rochester captains help promote big race in Albion

Metro 10 returns Aug. 20, partnering with Rock the Park

Provided photo
Thom Jennings, race director for Metro 10 in Albion, is pictured with Buffalo captain Marissa Pace, left, and Vickey Beaver, captain for Rochester. They met Saturday to discuss promoting the Aug. 20 race in Albion.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 June 2016
ALBION – The second Metro 10 race competition, pitting runners between Rochester and Buffalo, is set for Aug. 20. The event tests runners in a 10-mile course and they earn points for either Rochester or Buffalo. The metro with the most points wins the rights to display the Metro 10 cup for a year.

The debut event attracted about 400 participants last year, including runners on relay teams. This year, organizers have added a 5-mile option and the race also will be the same day as the Rock the Park music festival at Bullard Park.

The race starts at 8:20 a.m., up from the 10 a.m. start last year. That will help runners “beat the heat.” Some of the runners complained last year’s start had them on the course while the sun was beating down overhead.

Rochester runners won the inaugural event on the strength of their many participants. Buffalo, however, had more fast runners. Organizers use a formula that gives participation points, as well as added points for where runners place overall and in their age groups.


This race will also award added “tenacity” points for the last place finisher in the 5- and 10-mile races. The slower runners are on the course longer than faster runners, and they show plenty of fortitude in completing the race, said Vickey Beaver, the team captain for Rochester.

File photos by Tom Rivers

Some Rochester runners hold the Metro 10 Cup after Rochester was announced as the winning team for 2015. Matt Kistner of Albion, second from right, created the cup. He is a metal artist and welder. Thom Jennings, right, is serving as race director this year.


Race organizer Thom Jennings recruited captains for each team, and Beaver and Marrisa Pace, the Buffalo captain, have been spreading the word about the race. They have taken the Metro 10 trophy to popular sites in each location, to help create some buzz for the race.


The captains also are trying to put together groups to train for the race.


Beaver ran the race last August and she said she was impressed with the community support, from energetic fans along the course with cowbells to the enthusiastic water stops. In particular she enjoyed the Girl Scout water stop. Scouts offered runners peppermint patties and wash cloth strips with cold water. (This year there will be $250 in prizes awarded for the best water stop, as determined by the runners. That includes $125 for first, $75 for second, and $50 for third. There will also be a $250 prize offered for the barefoot challenge.)


"I had so much fun," Beaver said. "I really liked the vibe of the race. It was really laid back."


Beaver also remembers how members of the Albion cross country held colorful signs and shouted encouragement to the runners at Mile 9. That was a nice boost to get the runners going for the final mile.

Kirsten Struble, a member of the Albion Cross Country team, and her teammates were enthusiastic boosters at Mile 9 in the Metro 10 race in Albion last year.

Beaver also enjoyed the party at Bullard Park after the race. There were chicken wings, hot dogs, a wine-tasting and two bands. The party will be bigger this year after Metro 10 joined forces with organizers of Rock the Park. Buffalo based Tiger Chung Lee will be the featured band in the post-race party.


She said the race features a "very interesting course" that starts by the CRFS parking lot and heads to historic downtown Albion and continues north on 98 to Watt Farms. After a jaunt through the orchard, runners head to the rural countryside, before getting on the canal towpath. The course finishes with a stretch on Route 31 before ending at Bullard Park.


"People were out cheering and smiling," Beaver said about the course. "There were community members out with cowbells. I wouldn't have expected that with a debut race."


The Buffalo team is led by Marissa Pace, who started running eight years ago. She has lost 50 pounds since then and embraced a healthier lifestyle. She helps coach beginner runners and is affiliated with several running groups.


"I want to give the gift of running," she said.


In addition to promoting training groups in the Buffalo area for the Metro 10, Pace said the community will have a team dinner and pep rally before the race on Aug. 20.


She raised the Metro 10 organizers for picking a challenging distance at the right time for runners who may be training for half marathons (13.1 miles) or full marathons later in the fall season.


"This is a friendly competition for the two cities," she said. "It's a chance to bring the running communities together."


For more on Metro 10, click here.

Runners for Rochester cross the Main Street lift bridge as part of the Metro 10 race in Albion last Aug. 22.


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Albion kicks off new season of canal concerts

Photos by Kim Pritt Posted 17 June 2016
ALBION – The band Grand Canyon Rescue Episode kicked off a new season on the concerts on the Erie Canal in Albion on Thursday.


The bands will perform every Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the gazebo behind the Albion Fire Department, between the two lift bridges.

Music fans listen to the band play on a sunny Thursday evening.


The concerts are sponsored by the Village of Albion and CRFS, with additional funding from the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council and the State Council on the Arts.


The schedule includes:


• June 23, The Who Dats; June 30, Old Hippies; July 7, The Dady Brothers; July 14, The Lonely Ones; July 21, Triple Play Band; July 28, Don Newcomb Band; Aug. 4, The Legendary Jonesie & the Cruisers.

The band Grand Canyon Rescue Episode includes guitarists Tom Mahoney and Miles McHugh, Steve Day on dobro, Jim Howe on banjo, bassist Ron Permoda and drummer Jimmy McAvaney.

Albion firefighters were selling refreshments during the concert. Pictured, from left, includes Bill Francis, Fire Chief Harry Papponetti, Code Enforcement Officer Ron Vendetti and firefighter Jeremy Graham.


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Albion wins county’s best-tasting water contest

Staff Reports Posted 13 June 2016
ALBION – The Village of Albion public water supply won the best-tasting water contest held during the Strawberry Festival.

The Orleans County Department of Health invited the public to taste water from Lyndonville (Sample A), Albion (Sample B) and Holley (Sample C).

Albion won the 25th annual competition and will advance to a regional contest. The winner of that event goes to the New York State Fair in Syracuse.

“We thank all the water suppliers for providing safe drinking water to our communities!” the Health Department announced on its Facebook page. “Great job everyone!”


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Santa Committee pleased with early response to Charles Howard memorial

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 13 June 2016

ALBION – Santa Claus (Phil McKenna) and Mrs. Claus (Valerie Rush) appeared in Strawberry Festival Parade on Saturday to help promote a memorial for Charles W. Howard, the founder of a Santa Claus School in Albion from 1937 to 1966.


Santa and Mrs. Claus are pictured at the parade's staging area at the back of the elementary school parking lot. Dan Parker of Albion drove a 1936 Ford truck in the parade, carrying a banner that said, "Welcome Home, Santa! Albion's Charles W. Howard"

Santa and Mrs. Claus head down Main Street in the parade with two youngsters, Maleah Knight, 11, and Lucy Rivers, 10, right.


The Albion Betterment Committee is working on the memorial for Charles Howard at the current Waterman Park next to Cropsey and Cropsey's law office, about a half-block south of the Erie Canal.


The committee sent out appeal letters late last month and already has received close to $3,000, said Gary Kent, one of the directors for the Betterment Group.


The memorial for Howard, which would include a bronze statue and other improvements to the downtown park, could cost $80,000 to $100,000.


The Santa community, the people who portray Santa, are very interested in the project and are expected to help. Phil Wenz portrays Santa full-time throughout the year at Santa’s Village Theme Park in Dundee, Illinois. He also helps coordinate an annual Santa convention that was in Albion last year and will be next month in Branson, Missouri. Wenz said he will promote the Howard project with the Santas next month in Branson. Wenz said about 1,000 Santas will be at that convention.


Howard remains a revered figure among Santas. The Santa School continues in his name in Midland, Mich.

Gary Kent rode in the truck with Parker for most of the parade route. Kent said children were ecstatic to see Santa in the parade.


"To see the reaction of those kids was unforgettable," Kent said. "They just lit up."


The committee is also selling "Believe" T-shirts designed by Rush (Mrs. Claus).


Donations for the project can be sent to Albion Betterment Committee/Charles Howard Project, 14487 Baker Rd., Kent NY, 14477. That is the address for Joe Gehl, one of the directors of the Albion Betterment Committee.


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See first place winners in Strawberry Festival Parade

Photo by Kim Pritt Posted 13 June 2015
ALBION – The Strawberry Festival Parade added award winners to the festival processional this year, and Hospice of Orleans won first place for "Best Use of Theme" for this display.


The 30th annual festival this year included a theme that celebrated the historic Erie Canal. Judges gave Hospice the first place for the water imagery in its float.

A group of judges picked first place winners in several categories. (The winners will receive certificates.)
The judges were looking for creativity and enthusiasm – participants who celebrate the community.


The following were first place winners:

Photo by Tom Rivers

• “Most original” – Preston's Landscaping of Albion for creating a lush landscape on a float.

Photo by Kim Pritt

• “Best Cheer/Dance” – Kendall Lawnchair Ladies won this category for the second straight year. The Lawnchair Ladies kept a beat throughout the parade route, judges noted.

Photo by Tom Rivers

• “Special recognition/community service” – Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern. The agency was praised by judges for including many children in the float as well as sending many positive messages.

Photo by Kim Pritt

• “Best public safety agency – fire/police/ambulance” – Albion Fire Department. The department impressed judges by having so many members out on the parade route, as well as several fire trucks. "They were absolutely outstanding," a judge said. "They looked very dapper out there."

Photo by Kim Pritt

• “Best classic car” – Judges were tied in picking a winner. This Model A was used to promote the Orleans County Historical Association.

Photo by Kim Pritt

This 1947 Cadillac is owned by Brad Shelp and is a favorite of the judges. The car needed a little push after stalling on Main Street. Shelp is the parade chairman.

• “Best Band” – Albion Marching Band. The band, in its final parade of the season, makes its way up Main Street.

Photo by Tom Rivers

Albion seniors Cody Osborne, left, and Stephen Williams play with the drum line.

Photo by Tom Rivers

The band, including percussionist Ben Miller, left, perform for the crowd in front of the First Presbyterian Church.


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Santa Hall of Fame to induct Christmas Park Santa from Albion

George Cond


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 June 2016

ALBION – In 2010 the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame was established in Santa Claus, Ind. The inaugural class included Charles W. Howard, the Albion resident who started a Santa Claus School in 1937. He ran that school until his death in 1966.


Each year, a new class of Santas are inducted into the Hall of Fame and the 2015 group includes another Santa from Albion: George Cond. He portrayed Santa at Christmas Park, which was developed by Howard on Phipps Road by the Santa Claus School.


Cond will be formally inducted into the Santa Claus Hall of Fame next month during a Santa Convention in Branson, Missouri. The convention was in Albion last year. The event will be in Branson from July 6-10 and about 1,000 Santas from around the world are expected. (Click here for more on the Santa conference in Branson.)


A committee reviews nominations for the Santa Hall of Fame and Cond was selected. He joins a Hall of Fame class that includes Ed Asner, who played Santa on the big screen. (Click here for more on the new Hall of Fame inductees.)

Ed Asner


Cond was born in 1925 and lived until 1996. He is best known as the man who portrayed Santa Claus at Charles W. Howard’s Christmas Park in Albion, according to Cond's Hall of Fame announcement.


"A student of Howard’s Santa Claus School, Cond assumed the role of Santa at Christmas Park in late 1950s and continued until the close of the park in 1966," according to the Hall of Fame. "With Howard busy as the Executive Director and away on business during the Christmas Season, Cond handled most of the day-to-day Santa appearances throughout the park. He appeared in and around the Western New York State region on behalf of Christmas Park."


Phil Wenz is spokesman for the Hall of Fame. He also was in the inaugural Hall of Fame class and portrays Santa full-time throughout the year at Santa’s Village Theme Park in Dundee, Illinois. Wenz also coordinated the convention in Albion last year.


"George Cond probably played Santa in Albion more than Charlie Howard," Wenz said in an interview. "George was the day-to-day operational Santa. Charlie was a national star and George was more local. But to be Charlie's hand chosen Santa that had to be a great honor."

Cond also modeled Santa Claus suits for the Santa Claus Suit and Equipment Company owner Elizabeth W. Babcock in the 1970s and 1980s. Cond continued to make special Santa appearances to local families and events through the 1990s.


(Editor's note: If anyone has pictures of Cond as Santa, please send them to


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Strawberry Fest will have more vendors, crafters and marching bands

Christopher Mitchell Funeral Homes named honorary chair

David Mitchell chairs the Strawberry Festival

Provided photo
David Mitchell, center, owner of Christopher Mitchell Funeral Homes is pictured with Albion Rotary Club President Karen Sawicz and Strawberry Festival Committee Chairman Michael Bonafede at Mitchell received a surprise award on Thursday, naming Christopher Mitchell as honorary chairman of the festival.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 June 2016
ALBION – The 30th annual Strawberry Festival will include more vendors, more crafters and more marching bands than the festival has seen in many years.

“There is a lot of buzz and excitement,” said Michael Bonafede, chairman of the festival committee.

The two-day festival starts Friday (June 10) with the food court opening at 11 a.m. There are five different entertainment venues and there will be music past 9 p.m. Saturday also includes a packed schedule of entertainment until about 9 p.m. (Click here to see the full schedule.)

The parade at 10 a.m. Saturday will feature 11 marching bands, including the first-time appearance in Albion for the Buffalo Stampede, the drumline for the Buffalo Bills. Bonafede said that band, and many other exhibitors at the festival, reached out to organizers to be in Albion’s showcase community event this weekend.


The festival will bring back a trout pond on West Bank Street, a demo tent, car show and includes the debut of a chalk art competition. (Click here for more on the chalk art festival.)

fishing pond on West Bank Street

The festival includes a trout pond where people can try to hook a fish on West Bank Street.

The theme for the festival highlight the historic Erie Canal, which next year marks the 200th anniversary of the start of construction of the important waterway.


The festival committee decided this year to name an honorary chairman and picked Christopher Mitchell Funeral Homes. Bonafede and Karen Sawicz, president of the Albion Rotary Club, presented David Mitchell, owner of the funeral homes in Albion and Holley, with a certificate of appreciation. (The Rotary Club is one of the main sponsors of the festival and many Rotarians volunteer on the festival committees.)


Bonafede said Christopher Mitchell has generously supported many community causes for decades. David Mitchell is "a role model for others in how he conducts himself," Bonafede said. "He is always giving. He has created a culture at Christopher Mitchell of supporting the community."


Mitchell and his son Josh are both members of the Holley Rotary Club. Mitchell said he appreciates the work of volunteers in planning and running the Strawberry Festival.


He recalled how his late father, Rho Mitchell, led an American Legion band that performed at the Courthouse Square, trying to bring music to the community and draw people to the downtown area. Mitchell said the Strawberry Festival is important in bringing the community together.


Mitchell said he appreciated the recognition as honorary festival chairman, but he said so many in Albion and the county step up and serve in many ways.


"The vast majority of the people in our community are giving of their time," he said. "It takes a collective effort. The best commodity Albion and Orleans County has is its residents."

Ken Kuehne's snake

Ken Kuehne, right, holds a snake that proved popular with a crowd last August at The Olde Dogge Inn in Gaines. Kuehne brought along many reptiles and other creatures. He owns Know Your Rep, and brings the animals to parties and festivals. He will do a reptile show during the Strawberry Festival on Saturday from 1 to 3 and 4 to 6 p.m. on the Courthouse lawn.


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With prom tonight, Albion students get sobering message about drunk driving

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 10 June 2016
ALBION – Cheyanna Eagle, an Albion High School senior, lays on the front of a damaged car this morning during a simulation to warn students about driving drunk, impaired or distracted.


Tonight is Albion's prom, and it's also soon to be the start of graduation parties. Albion High School leaders welcomed about 35 first responders for this morning's simulation that included six students who wore makeup to appear bloodied from an accident.

Albion, Barre and Carlton firefighters work to tear off the top of this vehicle to rescue a trapped student. This was the first time in six years Albion staged the simulation.


"We want to show you what happens when people make bad choices, whether driving drunk or after using drugs or pills," Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni told students watching the simulation.

Joe Madejski, an Albion junior, is put through drunk driving field sobriety tests.

Katie Mann waits in an ambulance. She was one of six students who wore makeup to help send a message about the seriousness of driving impaired or drunk.


"This is not a lecture," Chief Nenni told the students. "We're going to show you what happens when someone makes a bad choice."

COVA medics Barb Morlino, Jason Spencer (back) and Bob Snekser work on student Evan Steier after he was pulled from the wreck.

Evan Steier is taken by stretcher to a Mercy Flight helicopter.

Mercy Flight arrives for a transport.

Firefighters and medics tend to student Emma Wadhams.

Allyson Irwin, an Albion senior, is also an Albion firefighter. She joined the other firefighters in today's simulation.

The arm of Cheyanna Eagle hangs off the car while firefighters work to free another student.

Cheyanna Eagle is pronounced dead at the scene. Her mother, Renee Hungerford, sees her. Hungerford hugged her daughter and screamed in agony.


Even though it was a simulation, Hungerford said after that it was a shock to see her daughter on a stretcher, pretending to be dead.


"The emotions took over," she said.


Hungerford was asked about two weeks ago to be part of today's simulation. She said she reluctantly agreed to the exercise.


"I've had nightmares for two weeks," she said. "But it's an important message the kids need to know."


Cheyanna has been an active member of the Albion drama program. She could hear some of her classmates crying while watching the simulation this morning.


"We wanted to send this message especially with prom tonight," she said.

Matthew Peterson, the high school principal, talks to students after the simulation. He thanked the first responders for their work with the exercise.


"This was done because we care deeply about everyone of you and we want you to make the right decision," Peterson told the students.


Peterson said after that he had never seen such a simulation. He said it was powerful to witness.


"It's difficult to simulate emotions, but there were tears and shock," he said. "I think it will leave a lasting impression."


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Albion shows patriotism in Memorial Day parade

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 30 May 2016
ALBION – Beau Piskorowski, a member of the Albion Fire Department, joins other firefighters in today's Memorial Day parade down Main Street in Albion.


The parade concluded at the Albion Middle School, where there was a service to honor veterans.

Matt Passarell carries the American flag with other veterans in the Color Guard in this morning's parade. Passarell is also the Albion town supervisor.

The group of veterans head south on Main Street. It was about 80 degrees out with bright sunshine during the parade.

The Albion High School Marching Band has been a parade mainstay for decades.

The band performs on Main Street before heading to the Middle School, where it played more music on the school lawn.

Katlin Pieniaszek holds the American flag in leading Girl Scouts in the parade.

These younger Girl Scouts carry a banner down Main Street.

Scouts from Troop 175 in West Barre are part of the parade procession.

These Scouts are part of Pack and Troop 164 in Albion.


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Albion board gives blessing for Santa statue on Main Street

Charles W. Howard

Photos by Tom Rivers

Charles Howard, founder of Santa Claus School in Albion, died 50 years ago today
This image shows Charles W. Howard on the cover on a report from January 1961 about the previous season at Christmas Park.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 May 2016
ALBION – Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of Charles Howard, one of Albion’s most prominent residents. Howard was a farmer and toymaker who started a Santa Claus School in 1937 on Phipps Road in Albion.

He played Santa in the Macy’s televised parades for about 20 years. He established standards for how Santas should look and act with children, principles that are still taught today to Santas around the world.

Howard expanded his school into Christmas Park, a destination for the community that remains a cherished memory for many local residents. After Howard’s death in 1966, the school was moved to Michigan. Today it is in Midland, Mich., and still bears Howard’s name.

A committee in Albion has been working for more than a year on a memorial for Howard. The Village Board last week agreed to make Waterman Park, a half block south of the Erie Canal, available for a bronze statue of Howard as Santa Claus. The park will likely include interpretative panels, murals and other displays about Howard and Santa Claus.
Waterman Park
Waterman Park has room for a statue of Charles Howard and other displays about the founder of a Santa Claus School.

The committee will now work on designs of the statue and park, hoping to have them ready for the community at the Strawberry Festival in June.

“I’m excited about it,” Mayor Dean London said on Wednesday when the board voted to back the effort.

The Albion Betterment Committee is taking the lead in a fund-raising campaign that could be about $100,000.

The group was determined to have a site for Howard on Main Street, seeing a statue as a boost for other downtown businesses.

Santa suit
Photo by Tom Rivers
Howard made Santa Claus suits and other Christmas items from Christmas Park in Albion. This picture shows the tag inside a Santa suit.


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