Melayla Wenner is healthy with strong lungs
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 7 March 2014
ALBION – Ayla Staats has watched television shows before when babies were born in an ambulance. She didn’t think that would ever happen in real life. She thought a woman would feel the baby coming, and give herself plenty of time to get to the hospital.
Staats gave birth to two children before her third child was born on Feb. 27. She was in labor for 17 hours with the first baby, followed by 15 hours with the second child.
Her daughter was due Feb. 24. Last Thursday, after the baby missed her due date by three days, she suddenly decided she wouldn’t wait any longer.
Melayla Wenner was born only 30 minutes after Staats’s water broke. Melayla was born in an ambulance on Feb. 27 at 11:51 a.m. The ambulance was staffed by Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance and was traveling on Route 31 near Manitou Road when the baby took her first breath.
Today, eight days after her birth, Melayla and her mother visited the COVA headquarters at 239 South Main St.
“I just wanted to say, ‘Thank you,’” said Ayla Staats. “They did an awesome job.”
Staats live in Medina. She was visiting her mother in Albion last Thursday when they decided to call the ambulance. That was 11:15 a.m. COVA was on the scene at 11:20.
The birth was a first for Steve Cooley during his 22-year career as a firefighter and paramedic for 22 years. He took the lead in the delivery and was assisted by Terry Bentley, an intermediate EMT.
Both Cooley and Bentley tried to keep Staats calm. Initially they didn’t want her to push too hard. But when the baby’s head showed, they encouraged Staats to keep going and push out the baby.
When the baby was born, they wiped her off and kept her warm. It was another seven minutes before they reached Unity Hospital in Rochester. Hospital staff and another ambulance crew were waiting for them.
Staats said she was scared and nervous as the birth moved quickly. She praised Cooley and Bentley for taking control of the situation and delivering a healthy baby, weighing 8 pounds, 4 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches long.
COVA has delivered other babies during its 35-year history, but it’s not very common, said Jason Spencer, paramedic and administrator for COVA. The crew trains for it, and was ready on Feb. 27.
If Lakeside Memorial Hospital in Brockport was still open, Melayla probably would have been born there. Medina Memorial Hospital also would have been a close option, but that hospital closed its maternity wing in July 2011.
Spencer said Melayla is the first baby COVA has delivered since the two hospitals stopped delivering babies. Now, COVA has a longer ride to get a patient to a hospital.
Jake Crooks drove the ambulance last Thursday during a cold, snowy day. Staats was on a stretcher in the ambulance, which she said was kept warm.
Staats said she is grateful she called for an ambulance. She thought she had a lot of time. She almost had her mother drive her to the hospital.
“I’m happy they delivered my baby,” Staats said. “She’s healthy and her siblings love her.”
Provided photos Posted 7 March 2014
ALBION – Teachers at Albion Elementary School dressed in blue today in support of Wayne Burlison, the elementary band teacher who is fighting colon cancer.
Teachers wore blue and signed a “Go Team Wayne” banner. Mr. Burlison’s wife Lisa teaches second grade at Albion.
Today happens to be “National Dress in Blue Day.” This started in 2009 on the first Friday of March to bring national attention to colon cancer and to celebrate the courage of those affected by this disease.
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 5 March 2014
ALBION – Pastors from four churches in the Albion area led an Ash Wednesday service tonight at the First United Methodist Church.
About 40 people attended the service, which included music by the Joyful Good Shepherd Ringers, a group that includes Diane Scharping, pictured in front.
Ash Wednesday was celebrated by millions of Christians around the world today. They received an ash marking on their foreheads in the shape of a cross, an outward symbol that Christians have been marked by God, said David Beach, pastor of the Gaines Carlton Community Church.
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, a time of reflection, repentance and sacrifice leading up to Easter.
Jack Laskowski, pastor of the United Methodist Church in Albion, delivered the message during the service. Marie Follett, the organist, is pictured in back.
Other pastors that participated in the service include Jon Rieley-Goddard of the Gaines Congregational United Church of Christ and Edward John Devine of the First Baptist Church in Albion.
District plans new playground for elementary school
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 4 March 2014
ALBION – The school district has a relatively small budget gap that it is working to close before the spending plan is approved by the Board of Education next month.
The district has a $139,000 gap to close if it doesn’t want to raise taxes and still maintain the same level of staff and programming. The district could reduce the gap if the State Legislature directs more state aid to Albion, compared to what Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed in his budget.
The governor's budget in January gave Albion about $330,000 more in state aid, just shy of a 2 percent increase. The state Legislature has historically tended to provide more than the governor’s proposal, but those increases have been relatively small increases in recent years.
“That’s not a large gap compared to the past,” Shawn Liddle, the district’s assistant superintendent of business, said about $139,000.
If Albion’s state aid is unchanged from the governor’s budget and it makes no other reductions, property owners would be looking at a 1.6 percent tax increase, which is already under the state-imposed 2 percent tax cap.
School administrators and Board of Education will continue to look for ways to pare expenses, Liddle said. He expects the Board of Education to approve a budget on April 7. That will then go before voters in May.
The district’s budget gap is relatively small partly because five veterans teachers and staff are retiring. They will either be replaced with less experienced employees at lower salaries or those positions may not be filled at all, Liddle said.
“We’re continuing to look at our staffing levels,” he said this morning.
The 2013-14 budget totaled $33.3 million. That budget included a 1.5 percent tax increase, the first time Albion raised taxes since the 2006-07 school year. The tax levy, at $8,446,946, is down compared to the $9,094,194 levy in 2006-07.
Liddle discussed the budget during Monday’s Board of Education meeting. The BOE also recognized Freeze-Dry Foods in Albion. George Lawson, the company’s general manager, was picked as a “Friend of Education.”
Freeze-Dry is storing new playground equipment for the elementary school at the company’s East Avenue site, the former Lipton’s in Albion. The district was able to buy the equipment at a discount but didn’t have its own space to store it during the winter.
The new playground includes painted steel posts and plastic decking and slides. It will replace a playground with a lot of wooden pieces. The new playground should be installed in the spring or summer, Liddle said.
Uptown Browsery and Cobble-Ridge feature many vendors
By Tom Rivers Posted 2 March 2014
Two new co-ops with antiques, collectibles and other items celebrated their grand openings on Saturday.
The Uptown Browsery is located downtown Albion with 15 vendors. Uptown is a spinoff of the Downtown Browsery at 14 East Bank St. Downtown Browsery opened eight years ago.
That site became too crowded for more vendors. Browsery leaders found additional vendors and some of the same ones decided to expand their merchandise at the Uptown location. The two sites collectively have 20 vendors.
Karen Appleman was one of the founding vendors of the Browsery nearly a decade ago. She said the vendors share the costs and workload in running the stores.
“We have a big variety,” Appleman said.
The Uptown site is a little more upscale than the Downtown Browsery, she said.
“We’ve had some big-ticket items go out the door,” she said.
The Uptown Browsery also sells coffee and there are plans for baked goods and sandwiches to be sold at the site.
The Cobble-Ridge Co-op on Ridge Road opened on Saturday with 10 vendors. Kim Rowe is owner of the site at 14462 Ridge Rd.
Rowe also is the owner of U Make Scents shampoos and conditioners. She welcomed vendors for the site, wanting to create an old-time variety store.
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 27 February 2014
ALBION – For the first time in 36 years, The Albion High School Jazz Band Dinner Dance is changing its venue, moving from the high school gym to the Cabaret at Studio B inside Gotta Dance by Miss Amy on West Bank Street.
Michael Thaine, the AHS Director of Bands, wants to recreate the intimacy and atmosphere one would experience at a real, Big Apple jazz club.
“Jazz was originally created for an intimate setting where the audience sits very close to the musicians. Even the most famous NYC jazz clubs like the Cotton Club, Blue Note and the House of Blues are not big venues,” Thaine said.
The Jazz Band will perform two shows on April 5. There will be 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. concerts.
Thaine and the Jazz Band have prepared arrangements to the theme of “An Evening at the Club with the Rat Pack.” Songs of Sinatra, Davis and Martin will be featured. Students participating in Gary Simboli’s musical/vocal programs will assist patrons during the concerts.
Seating is limited. For information about tickets, call the Cabaret at 585-354-2320 or visit the web site by clicking here.
Big roadblock removed for redeveloping property
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 26 February 2014
ALBION – Orleans County legislators voted today to forgive about $60,000 in back taxes for two run-down houses in Albion, a decision that removes a roadblock for getting the houses knocked down and the site redeveloped.
The two houses, at 134 and 136 Liberty St., are in a spot that could be potentially attractive for development, Mayor Dean Theodorakos said.
The land is right across from the new Hoag Library, and many businesses are within walking distance.
“It’s appealing because it’s all walkable with the library, Tim Hortons, Ace Hardware and the churches,” the mayor said this evening.
The county voted to forgive the taxes, and would like to see the houses demolished so the land could be reused. It isn't the norm for the county to forgive the taxes. The property is owned by the county and will be transferred to the village. The county can forgive taxes if the property is owned by a municipality, the EDA or a non-profit.
The village has obtained two bids from licensed asbestos contractors for a controlled demolition. It would cost $64,975 for the demolition.
Theodorakos said the village doesn’t have that in it’s budget in the immediate future.
He would welcome a scenario where a developer would pay to remove the two houses and add a residential project. He thinks the site would be ideal for a senior citizen complex given the close access to so many businesses and other services.
He thanked the county for forgiving the taxes today. That made a redevelopment $65,000 cheaper for a developer.
“We felt like they were in a no-win situation,” Chuck Nesbitt, the county’s chief administrative officer, said about the rundown properties. “It’s difficult for the villages to decide what to do with properties that are challenged.”
Nesbitt and David Callard, the Legislature chairman, are hopeful a new building or complex is built at the Liberty Street site soon.
“We want to see it return to a productive use,” Nesbitt said.
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 25 February 2014
ALBION – The village of Albion has twice sought state funding to upgrade Bullard Park, but has been denied.
The Lions Club wants to see some improvements move forward, so the local service club wants to work with the village to raise funds for projects at the park along Route 31. The Lions is planning a 7 p.m. public meeting on March 11 at the Hoag Library to talk about possible projects for the park.
The village’s Recreation Committee identified about $600,000 in projects, with a walking trail, reseeded ball fields, new playground equipment, a concession stand with new bathrooms, a spray park and other amenities.
That is probably too much for the community to tackle at once. Dale Brooks, the DPW superintendent, would like to see new playground equipment at Bullard for the first project. Brooks is a member of the Lions Club.
“That equipment is older than me,” he told the Lions Club members at its meeting tonight. “It’s getting to the point where it’s difficult to keep safe.”
Brooks would like to see the community aim for a $50,000 fund-raising goal initially and work on tackling the park upgrades in stages. The Lions Club will reach out to other service organizations and community members for help in funding the improvements. Any checks would go to the Village of Albion in the “Rebuild Bullard Park” fund.
Brooks said the park has a lot of needs. He would like to see the bathrooms moved to Pee Wee Park, which is more centrally located in Bullard. The current bathrooms are on the west side of the park in a spot that isn’t very visible from the Route 31. Those bathrooms and nearby pavilions are prone to vandalism, Brooks said.
One of the ball fields also is set downward from the rest of the park and has problems with wetness. Brooks said that field would benefit from some fill.
The park is popular for many youth and adult sports leagues, a summer recreation program and many other community events, including dog shows on Labor Day weekend.
The village added new playground equipment to Pee Wee about two years ago. It will install a new swing set this spring in memory of Kathy LaLonde, who was 54 when she died on Oct. 6 after fighting cancer. LaLonde was a member of the Recreation Committee and helped to develop the master plan for the park.
No independent candidates step forward; London unopposed
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 18 February 2014
ALBION – Dean London, Albion’s retired police chief, will be unopposed on March 18 in the election for village mayor.
London has been endorsed by both the Republican and Democratic parties. No independent candidates stepped forward by the deadline Feb. 11 to run for mayor or village trustee.
London, a Republican, worked for the Albion Police Department for 20 years before retiring in April 2011. He currently works for Baxter Healthcare in Medina in the service department.
While London is unopposed for mayor, three trustee positions have both Republican and Democratic candidates.
Republicans have backed incumbent Eileen Banker and Stan Farone for four-year terms. The party also endorsed Gary Katsanis for a two-year term.
Democrats endorsed Terry Wilbert and Patricia Cammarata for four-year terms. Cammarata wasn’t at the Democratic caucus on Jan. 28, but she has accepted the party’s nomination to run.
Democrats also endorsed Sandra Walter to run for the two-year term that fills the vacated seat by Fred Miller. He resigned in December so he could become a county legislator.
The village election will be noon to 9 p.m. at the Village Hall, 35-37 East Bank St.
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