Credit Union moving to Route 31 in Albion

Cobblestone Country buys site from Medina hospital

Photos by Tom Rivers

This site at 299 West Ave. is being renovated and will become the new home for the Cobblestone Country Federal Credit Union.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 21 April 2014

ALBION – A credit union that started nearly a half century ago is planning a move to a more modern building on Route 31.


The Cobblestone Country Federal Credit Union currently operates out of 239 South Main St., a building next to COVA and the Arnold Gregory Memorial Complex.


The Credit Union has purchased 299 West Ave. from Medina Memorial Hospital (Orleans Community Health). The site is being renovated and a drive-through window will be installed at the site at the corner of West Avenue and Hamilton Street.


The Orleans County Planning Board is reviewing the site plan for the project at its 7 p.m. meeting on Thursday at the County Administration Building.

The Credit Union currently operates out of this building owned by Lissow Development at 239 South Main St.


The Credit Union expects to move into the renovated site in late June, said Nancy Zielonko, manager of the Credit Union.


“We are expanding on the Avenue,” she said. “It will give us more visibility and everything will be on one floor.”


The Credit Union started in 1965 as the Liptons Federal Credit Union. It was most recently the Central Orleans Credit Union until it’s name was changed about a decade ago to the Cobblestone Country Federal Credit Union.


The not-for-profit organization at that time expanded its service area from the central Orleans County towns to all of Orleans – "anyone who lives, works or worships in Orleans County,” Zielonko said.


The financial institution is federally regulated and loans money, and has checking and savings accounts, and other banking services. Because it’s not-for-profit, it doesn’t charge its customers with higher fees, Zielonko said.


Besides Zielonko, the Credit Union has four other employees. It currently leases a building from Lissow Development.


For more information, check Cobblestone Country's web site by clicking here.


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Albion churches will host stained glass tour on Saturday

Merchants also planning for ‘Sip and Stroll Through History’ wine-tasting event for August

File photos by Tom Rivers

A crowd views the stained glass window at the First United Methodist Church during a tour of windows in the seven historic Albion churches in December. The Good Shepherd window was a gift to the congregation by the church’s pastor in 1914, the Rev. Henry Clay Woods.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 21 April 2014

ALBION – On a very cold December day about 30 people, including several from outside Orleans County, came to Albion for a first-time tour of the stained glass windows at the seven churches in the historic Courthouse Square.


County Historian Bill Lattin led the tour, and he shared details about the designers of the windows, the symbolism and Biblical stories in the designs, and some background on the people memorialized with some of the windows.


“We had such good feedback about the event that we wanted to do it again,” said Debbie Grimm, one of the organizers for this Saturday’s stained glass tour.


It runs from noon to 1:30. Besides tours of the churches, the event will conclude with refreshments at Hoag Library. The library also includes a stained glass window of a swan. For more than a century Albion’s public library was called the Swan Library until a new site opened in July 2012.

Tony Mancuso of Elba takes a photo on the stained glass window tour in December. He is shown inside the sanctuary at Christ (Episcopal) Church.


The tour on Saturday starts at the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church at the corner of East Park and Main streets. The Pullman church has more than 40 windows created by Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company, perhaps the most esteemed stained glass artist.  


Tiffany revolutionized the stained glass world. Stained glass windows, prior to Tiffany, tended to have clear glass with a stencil pattern painted on the glass. Lattin discusses breakthroughs and changing techniques in stained glass.


The Albion churches have examples of windows from the 1860s to 1960s. Lattin wrote a book about Orleans County’s stained glass windows: “Luminaries in the Firmament.”


The Albion Merchants Association is organizing the stained glass tour and a sidewalk sale. Many businesses will participate in the sidewalk sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern will also be having an open house and collecting household and personal care items.


The Merchants Association also is planning a wine-tasting event with about 20 stops on Aug. 9. The “Sip & Stroll Through History” will show off the historic downtown and Courthouse Square.


“We want to put on community events and bring people to Albion,” said Carolyn Ricker, president of the Merchants Association. “We want to promote our history and draw people here.”


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32-year-old rookie named Albion firefighter of the year

Jim Peruzzini joined AFD after firefighters responded to a call at his house

Photos by Tom Rivers

Albion Fire Chief Rocky Sidari, left, presents the “Firefighter of the Year” award to Jim Peruzzini, who joined the AFD last May.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 19 April 2014

ALBION – Jim Peruzzini and his wife Stephanie had just moved into a new home in Gaines with their twin daughters when the smoke alarm went off.


They called 911 and Albion firefighters showed up to check out the situation. Peruzzini was impressed by their response and willingness to help.


“I thought it was great that they would give up their time and come to my house and help someone out,” Peruzzini said.


Fire Chief Rocky Sidari and Assistant Chief Jeremy Graham encouraged Peruzzini to join the Fire Department. He thought about it before, but didn’t pursue it, assuming he was too busy to meet the training requirements and to respond to emergency calls.


But last May he made the commitment. He took an intense two-week firefighter boot camp and by July had enough training to be an interior firefighter. He is often one of the first firefighters at a scene.


“He has really taken off like a rocket,” Sidari said tonight when he named Peruzzini the department’s “Firefighter of the Year.”


Peruzzini, 32, works full-time at Adfors (formerly called Saint-Gobain) as a setup technician. He didn’t grow up in a firefighting family. He encouraged others in the community to consider volunteering with the fire department.


“I love it,” he said. I like the guys and there’s the thrill with every call that it could be something huge.”

File photo by Tom Rivers

Jim Peruzzini and his twin daughters watch a Mercy Flight helicopter from Batavia land by the Albion Elk's Club just before a Sept. 11 memorial service.


His wife said Peruzzini is quick to head out the door when his pager goes off, unless he is caring for their children.


Sidari said a committed volunteer like Peruzzini is a great addition to the fire department.


“It’s huge to have someone step in like that,” he said.

Kevin Sheehan (left), Albion’s former deputy mayor, reads the oath of office for Albion Fire Department leaders, including from left: Chief Rocky Sidari, Deputy Chief Harry Papponetti and Assistant Chief Jeremy Graham.


Sidari and the fire department honored others during their annual banquet tonight at the Carlton Recreation Hall. The following received awards:


• Chief’s Award: Dan Gleason. He is active with the fire police and responded to the second most calls for the department last year. Gleason also fixes the department’s computers, will make key fobs and handle other requests from Sidari.


“Anything I ask him to do, he will do it,” Sidari said.


Gleason is moving to North Carolina. “It’s going to a be a big loss for our department,” Sidari said.


• Officer’s Award: Will Francis, the department’s first lieutenant. Francis led the department in calls, responding to 62 percent of more than 400 calls last year.

File photo by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Will Francis of the Albion Fire Department keeps a steady stream of water on the smoking ruins of the Orleans Pallet warehouse last Oct. 19. Firefighters were on the scene for several days after the fire to douse any flare-ups.


“He’s gone above and beyond and exceeded all of my expectations,” Sidari said. “He’s there day or night.”


• Drivers of the Year: Dale Banker and Ron Armstrong. They are reliable, especially during the late mornings and early afternoon when the department is often short-handed.


• President’s Award: AFD President Lee Miesner honored two members of the Village Board who recently ended their terms. Both former Mayor Dean Theodorakos and Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheehan were advocates for the department in the village budget, Miesner said.


“They made sure the funding was there,” Miesner said. “Without our Village Board we’d have nothing.”


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Marine surprises friends in return home for Easter

Cali Pietroboni, 19, was just promoted private first class

Photos by Tom Rivers

Chelsea Hare, right, recognizes the person taking the order at Tim Hortons in Albion this afternoon.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 18 April 2014

ALBION – Cali Pietroboni told her closest friends she would get a few days off around Easter but would be spending that time in Miami.


Pietroboni, 19, is a Marine from Lyndonville. She was home for 10 days in January. That’s been it since leaving for Boot Camp last October. Her decision to go to Florida didn’t sit well with her best friend, Chelsea Hare.


Pietroboni and Hare have been close friends since elementary school at Lyndonville. They both graduated in 2013. They like to tease and surprise each other.


Pietroboni pulled off a shocker this afternoon. Hare’s mother Tina Hare was at the Tim Hortons in Albion. She had her daughter and another friend Rachael Allen come over at 1:30 p.m.


When they went to the counter to order, they saw a familiar face in the Tim Hortons uniform. Chelsea stood for a minute in disbelief and with a blank expression. They she broke out in a smile and in tears.

Cali Pietroboni and Chelsea Hare embrace at Tim Hortons in Albion.


Pietroboni met her at the end of the counter and the two had a long embrace.


“I thought there’s no way that’s Cali right now,” Hare said.


Pietroboni completed Boot Camp at Parris Island in South Carolina in January. She has been at Camp Johnson in North Carolina most of the past three months. She was recently promoted to private first class. She graduates from a personal administration school at Camp Johnson on June 3. She is eager to see her assignment. Many of the Marines at Camp Johnson have been assigned to service in foreign countries, she said.


Pietroboni also wanted to come home this weekend to see her parents, Derek and Vickie Dix, and her little brother Connor Dell.


“It’s been a great opportunity to travel and meet new people,” Pietroboni said. “There’s also pride in being a part of the world’s most elite fighting force.”

Cali Pietroboni hugs her friend Rachael Allen while Chelsea Hare watches.


Tina Hare helped orchestrate the surprise this afternoon. She has known Pietroboni for more than a decade. Despite Pietroboni’s diminutive stature – she’s only 4’ 11’’ – she has proven her strength and determination in recent months, Hare said.


“Ever since she was a little girl she wouldn’t back down,” Hare said. “And she’s always liked to joke around.”


Rachel Godfrey, the Tim Hortons manager, was happy to loan a uniform to Pietroboni for the surprise.


"I give her a lot of credit for going into the Marines," Godfrey said.


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Mexican restaurant will open next month in Albion

Courtesy Albion Historic Preservation Commission

A Mexican restaurant called “El Gallo” will give a building that is currently painted all white a vastly different look. The site at 33 North Main St. also includes an awning. This design is by the LonoWood Art Company in Albion.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 17 April 2014

ALBION – A building that has sat mostly vacant for nearly two decades is expected to open next month as a Mexican restaurant.


Miguel Jimenez has been working almost every day since February to renovate 33 North Main St. He would like to open “ El Gallo” – Spanish for “The Rooster” – in time for Cinco de Mayo on May 5.


The building is currently painted white and is located next to a parking lot by the First Presbyterian Church.

Photo by Tom Rivers

Here is the building as it appeared at about 8:30 tonight. The site is prominent in the downtown historic district.


Jimenez received approval for the building’s paint, new sign and an awning during tonight’s Historic Preservation Commission meeting. Commission members praised him for turning a long-vacant structure into a productive use for the community.


“I’m delighted something will be done with the building,” Commission member told Jimenez during the meeting.


The downtown hasn’t had a new awning in many years.


“I love the idea of an awning,” said Commission member Ric Albright. “It will be great.”


The building will be painted in Roycroft Copper Red, Rookwood Amber and Rookwood Dark Green.


Village Code Enforcement Officer Ron Vendetti said he welcomed a new look in the downtown, which is named to the National Register of Historic Places.


“Different colors add character to the district,” Vendetti said.


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Albion man wins $300K in Lotto

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 16 April 2014

ALBION – Bruce Good has worked in downtown Albion for many years as a real estate agent for Morrison Realty. He has been a faithful customer at Fischer’s Newsroom, buying a few scratch-off tickets most days.


Today, Good won the jackpot, a $300,000 prize on a Double Triple Cashword.


“I hit the mother lode,” Good said late this afternoon. “It’s a game changer. It’s nice to know there will be a nest egg for retirement and that I can help out some friends and family if they need it.”


Good thought the $5 ticket initially was worth $2,500. The game is like a crossword puzzle and the more words on the ticket, the better. (Click here to see a sample ticket.)


Good thought he had nine words, which is worth $2,500. It was also on a triple word, which jumped the prize to $7,500.


However Gary Withey, owner of Fischer’s, checked the ticket and it showed 10 words, the most possible. That is worth $100,000. The jackpot then jumped to $300,000 because of the triple word.


“I was in the right place at the right time,” Good said.


Withey has owned Fischer’s for 19 years and this is the biggest winner since he and his wife Denise bought the store.


“All we ever wanted to do was make a living and make somebody rich,” Withey said.


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‘Rebuild Bullard’ sets $50,000 fund-raising goal

Photos by Tom Rivers

The Albion Lions Club, Village of Albion and community members are trying to raise $50,000 to update playground equipment and make other improvements at Bullard Park.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 16 April 2014

ALBION – Some of the equipment may go back 50 years, and some of the playground apparatus have been removed or modified due to safety concerns.


Bullard Park is in need of an update, said Dale Brooks, superintendent for the Department of Public Works.


The village sought state funding in 2012 and 2013, but both grant applications were denied. Brooks and the village want to forge ahead with improvements.


The “Rebuild Bullard” Committee met Tuesday and set a $50,000 fund-raising goal. That should be enough to put in new playground for bigger kids and make other improvements.


However, the committee hasn’t established a priority for the first project at Bullard. Recreation Director John Grillo believes a spray park would be a major draw to the park, bringing people from throughout the county.

Some of the equipment at the park goes back generations.


However, the village needs to run water and sewer lines to a central location for the spray park, and Brooks would like to see bathrooms and a changing area built for a spray park. He will seek construction estimates for the infrastructure, spray park and bathroom. That should be well in excess of $50,000.


Brooks would prefer to first address safety issues with the playground. The village has updated equipment at Pee Wee Park, a section of Bullard for toddlers and younger children. The spot with playground equipment for older children hasn’t been updated in many years.


“My concern is the safety part,” Brooks said at a meeting at Hoag Library.


Brooks is also a member of the Albion Lions Club, and the club is helping to raise funds for the project. Lions Cub President Bill Robinson said the fund-raising and improvements will likely take years. But he wants to get started “so the children’s playground is a safe place to play and the park is a credit to the community.”


The committee brainstormed several fund-raisers including a Battle of Bands, car wash, bowling tournament, dunk tank at the Strawberry Festival and donations that would go into a village account designated for the park.


Brooks and Grillo also would like to see neighboring towns provide some funding for the park because it is used by children and families outside the village.


The improvements will depend on the money coming to fruition. However, Brooks said some safety improvements may be required by the village’s insurance provider.


The committee will meet next at 7 p.m. on May 20 at Hoag Library.


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Fresh coat of paint for 98

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 14 April 2014

ALBION – The state roads in the village of Albion got a fresh coat of paint for center lines and other road markings today.


The top photo shows Accent Stripe Inc. of Orchard Park working on the cross walk at the intersection of Beaver Street and Route 98.


Earlier in the day they were in front of Rite Aid on the south side of the routes 98 and 31 intersection. The rain in late afternoon sent the crews home early.


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3 Albion sisters released from hospital after crash

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 13 April 2014

ALBION – Three sisters who were in a car accident Saturday morning have all been released from the hospital, and their mother is thankful they weren’t seriously injured.


Kayla Strickland, 18, of Albion suffered a broken neck but she could have been paralyzed if her neck had twisted, her mother Linda said this afternoon. Kayla will have to wear a neck brace for about 12 weeks.


“It could have been much worse,” Mrs. Strickland said. “I’m thankful to God and the guys who worked on her.”


Medina and Ridgeway firefighters responded to the scene. Kayla was taken by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital. She was released today.


Her 16-year-old twin sisters, Laura and Lilly, were taken by ambulance to Medina Memorial Hospital. They had bumps and bruises, but no injuries, their mother said.


“I am praising God in every way possible that they are all home today,” Mrs. Strickland said.


Kayla, a student at Genesee Community College, was driving her twin sisters home after the three attended a all-nighter at Calvary Tabernacle Church in Medina. Kayla fell asleep at about 7:40 a.m. while driving a 2005 Ford sedan on Knowlesville Rd. The vehicle went off the east side of the road into a field and overturned, coming to rest on its side, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department reported.


Kayla attended the Orleans County Christian School at Calvary Tabernacle, where her mother is the school administrator. Kayla's twin sisters are both juniors at the school.


The church hosted an all-night youth event that included a praise worship team, preaching, games and fun activities, their mother said.


She and her husband Curt thanked the community for their prayers after the accident.


“I’ve heard from a lot of people and it’s very comforting,” she said.


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Egg hunt extravaganza

Communities host celebrations throughout Orleans

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 12 April 2014

ALBION – Youngsters ages 7 to 9 run to get Easter eggs during an egg hunt this morning on the Courthouse lawn in Albion.


Community Action of Orleans and Genesee organized the event that included about 1,000 eggs.


Community Action will have another egg hunt in Holley today. Participants should gather at the Eastern Orleans Community Center at 1 p.m. for the event.

Nathalie Holmes, who is almost 2, picks up an egg with her father Doug Holmes. He is the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Albion, which hosted some of the egg hunt activities this morning.


There were also egg hunts in Medina, Lyndonville and Kendall today.

The Easter Bunny made an appearance inside the Presbyterian Church. Jaxson Reamer, 6 months, of Lyndonville sat on the bunny’s lap. Jaxson was at the event with his mother, Maranda Reamer, who is a volunteer with Community Action.

Tweety Bird joined the Easter Bunny in visiting with children. Autumn Rhoades, 3, of Medina was happy to meet the bird. Autumn is joined by her aunt Jenia Rhoades of Medina.


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3 Albion sisters hurt in Ridgeway crash

Girls were returning from overnight activity at church

Press release, Orleans County Undersheriff Steve Smith Posted 12 April 2014

RIDGEWAY – Three sisters from Albion are hospitalized this morning following a one-car rollover crash in the town of Ridgeway.


The incident occurred at about 7:40 a.m. in the 2800 block of Knowlesville Road.  Kayla M. Strickland, 18, of Albion, was operating a 2005 Ford sedan travelling north on Knowlesville Rd., when the vehicle ran off the east side of the roadway into a field and overturned, coming to rest on its side.  Kayla’s twin 16-year-old sisters, Laura and Lilly Strickland, were both passengers in the car.


All three girls had to be extricated from the wreckage by Ridgeway firefighters.  Kayla was flown to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester by MercyFlight helicopter.  The twins were both transported to Medina Memorial Hospital by Medina Fire Department ambulance.


At the time of the crash, the girls were returning home from an overnight activity at their church.  Kayla told Sheriff’s deputies that she fell asleep at the wheel. There does not appear to be any other contributing factors in the crash.


The incident was investigated by Deputy J.W. Halstead, assisted by Deputy K.J. Colonna and Sergeant D.W. Covis.


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Farm comes to Albion school to cap off FFA Week

Photos by Tom Rivers, editor Posted 11 April 2014

ALBION – The Albion FFA chapter hosted its annual Mini-Farm Day today when hundreds of elementary students visited livestock, tractors and other farm equipment.


In the top photo, fourth-graders feed a llama under the care of FFA member Elizabeth Bentley.


“We’re bringing the farm to the kids,” said Adam Krenning, FFA advisor and agriculture teacher. “It’s hard to take a field trip to a farm so why not bring the farm to them.”

Elizabeth's cousin Brian Bentley discussed tractors with a group of students. Kast Farms, Panek Farms and Bentley Brothers all brought over tractors and equipment for the exhibit.

Aaron Burnside shows some of the tractors. There were track tractors and ones with tires. The tires were taller than many of the students.

Riley Kelly, a senior, brushes the feathers on a duck he brought for the Mini-Farm Day. Students brought in all of the animals, except for the pigs. They came from Poverty Hill Farms in Albion, which is owned by the Neal family.


Today’s Mini-Farm Day capped off FFA Week at the school. The Albion chapter last year hosted the state FFA convention. Medina is hosting that event for more than 1,000 students across the state from May 8-10.


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