Albion accepts bid for bridge demo

Photo by Tom Rivers
Tearing out the Clarendon Street bridge over the railroad tracks will require the removal of embankments that reach 11 feet high. This file photo is the view looking north past Crimson Drive.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 January 2015
ALBION – The Village Board accepted a $442,639 bid from Keeler Construction in Barre to tear out a village-owned bridge, a project that could start in March and be complete in the summer.

Keeler’s bid was about $300,000 less than the next closest proposal. There were six bidders on the project with the highest bid at $1,130,089.

“That’s amazing,” said Village Trustee Eileen Banker.

Keeler is a home-town contractor, and the low bid reflects the company wanted to work on a project in the local community, said Dale Brooks, Albion DPW superintendent.


Kevin Miller, project manager and an engineer from Bergmann Associates in Buffalo, reviewed the bids and recommended Albion accept Keeler’s proposal. Miller had projected the project would cost about $700,000.


The village is paying 5 percent of the overall project costs, while the state pays 15 percent and the federal government 80 percent.


Besides removing the 50-year-old bridge, the highway embankments will be lowered and the street will be blocked off at a 90-degree angle at Crimson Drive. On the north side, it will also be blocked off with a turnaround spot near Childs Street.

The Village Board may pursue at at-grade crossing for the site in the future.


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Albion hires grantwriter to help with Bullard Park upgrades

Focus is on splash pad, new playground

(Editor's note: This story was changed from the original version to reflect that the Town of Albion won't be giving $1,500 towards the grant as was originally reported. That town did give $8,000 towards Bullard, but that money wasn't specified for the grant.)

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 January 2015

ALBION – The Village Board intends to seek a grant for up to $400,000 for improvements at Bullard Park with the top goals a new spray park and playground equipment.

The village may also look to establish a recreational trail around the park and perhaps other improvements, depending on the cost.

Albion twice sought state funding for up to $600,000, but was denied in 2012 and 2013. A pared down application could sway state officials this time, Kim Remley, a member of the Rebuild Bullard Committee, told the Village Board tonight.

“The belief of the committee is there is no way this could happen without a grant,” Remley told village officials.

Rebuild Bullard met with grantwriter Jean O’Connell of Clarence. She said there are several pots of money that could be used for funding the park upgrades (which would also likely include a local match.)

The Village Board agreed to hire O’Connell for $6,000 to prepare grant applications. A music fest organized by the Lions Club last summer raised $2,000 towards a grantwriter. The Elks Club also is committing $1,000 to the grantwriter. The village will pay the other $3,000.

There will be some additional engineering costs to update the estimates for the spray park, playground and other improvements. The village would like a changing area/bathroom and concession stand near the spray park.

Albion had sought regrading and building up its ball fields with past grant applications. That likely won’t be part of the new grant application. The village plans to use fill from the Clarendon Street bridge to improve the field on the north side of the playground.

The bridge will be removed this spring and early summer, and the dirt for the approaches will be removed. That material will be used at Bullard, said Dale Brooks, DPW superintendent.

John Grillo, Albion’s recreation director, said the committee is enthusiastic about the project and other energy in the community, including the Metro 10 race on Aug. 22, a 10-mile running race that will finish at Bullard. There could be 3,000 runners in the debut event which is being organized by the Albion Running Club. Some of the proceeds from the race are planned for Bullard improvements.

“Albion is starting to pop,” Grillo said at the Village Board meeting. “The future looks bright.”


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Organizers of Strawberry Fest welcome help with annual event

Photos by Tom Rivers
Michael Bonafede, chairman of the Strawberry Festival Committee, addresses the Albion Rotary Club last week about this year’s festival on June 12-13. The Rotary Club helps plan and run the event.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 January 2015
ALBION – Albion’s biggest community bash, the Strawberry Festival, is several months away, but many volunteers are busy working on the two-day celebration.

The Strawberry Festival Committee welcomes help and money for the 29th annual festival on June 12-13. The event draws several thousand people to Albion for the two days. This year’s festival will have a fishing-related theme – "Hook, Line and Strawberry!" – to celebrate the Chinook salmon, brown trout and rainbow trout that are one of the county’s top attractions.


There will be a contest among Albion students to design artwork for the poster for the festival, a poster that will include a fishing theme. The festival committee wants to incorporate fishing themed events for festival. Michael Bonafede, committee chairman, said the organizers welcome ideas on how to best embrace fishing for the Strawberry Festival.

The committee welcomes help and money to put on the event. The Village of Albion provides many in-kind services for the festival. The festival committee will reach out to the towns of Albion and Gaines to help support the event, Bonafede said.

“This is part economic development, it’s tourism, it’s bringing people in here and showcasing the area,” Bonafede told the Albion Rotary Club.

The Rotary Club is sponsor of the festival and provides much of the manpower in planning the event, which costs about $16,000 for entertainment, bands for the parade, prizes, equipment and other expenses including portable potties, postage, dumpsters and advertising.

A member of the Rochester Scottish Pipes and Drums plays the bagpipes during the 28th annual Strawberry Festival Parade last June. The parade accounts for $5,000 or about a third of festival's overall costs.

Members of the Rotary Club and other community members are heading up different parts of the festival. The following are in charge of different aspects of the festival: Karen Sawicz, advertising; Brad London, food vendors; Don Bishop, logistics; Website, Lake Country Pennysaver; Tammy Yaskulski, major sponsors/fundraising; Brad Shelp, parade; Bill Pileggi and Karen Appleman, entertainment; Joe DiBella from Don Davis Chevrolet Buick GMC, car show and cruise in; June Persia, craft vendors; Marsha Rivers, Family Fun Faire; and Michael Bonafede, overall chairman.

The committee is looking for someone to manage the Turtle Race.

Bonafede wants to see the event continue for years to come. Costs have climbed in recent years to put on the festival.

“Looking to the future we’ll need to get more revenue in,” he said.


For more information, contact Bonafede at 585-749-1413, by email at or click here to go to the festival website.


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DOT will soon make repairs to Main Street Lift Bridge in Albion

Photo by Tom Rivers
The century-old lift bridge on Main Street will have its weight limit reduced today from 22 to 19 tons.


Staff Reports Posted 28 January 2015
ALBION – The Main Street Lift Bridge will soon be getting repairs, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley announced today.

The state Department of Transportation is reducing the maximum weight limit today from 22 to 19 tons so repairs can soon get underway, Hawley said.

The DOT may need to close the bridge for some of the construction. Notifications will be sent to the media if the bridge is shut down for repairs, he said.

“I am proud to announce that infrastructure improvements are taking place right here in Albion,” Hawley said. “Work is scheduled to begin very soon on the lift bridge and I have been told that we could see a completed project as early as March. Projects such as these are crucial for the transportation of heavy materials that go through Albion. These repairs will not only improve the safety of the bridge but allow heavier loads to cross once repairs are complete, which in turn cuts down on travel time and reduces costs for local businesses.”


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Police identify 5 people injured in Saturday crash in Albion

Photo by Tom Rivers
Firefighters, including Marty Zwifka in red, respond to a two-vehicle accident on Saturday in Albion at the corner of West County House Road and Gaines Basin Road.


Staff Reports Posted 26 January 2015
ALBION – State Police have released the names of the five people in a two-vehicle crash on Saturday at the intersection of West County House and Gaines Basin roads. All five were transported to hospitals by either ambulance or Mercy Flight helicopter.

An initial investigation has shown that a vehicle operated by Edward R. Read of Rochester was headed southbound on Gaines Basin Road, failed to stop for a posted stop sign at the intersection of West County Road and struck a westbound vehicle.


Read, 72, and a passenger Tina D. Elliot, 56, of Rochester were ejected from the vehicle, which then rolled onto its side on the westbound shoulder. Read also had two other passengers in his vehicle: Christina J. Elliott, 32, of Rochester and Kathy A. Jones, 50, of Rochester.

The second vehicle, which was westbound on West County House Road, was operated by a sole occupant, Brandon J. Grimes, 20, of Medina. He entered the intersection was struck by Read, and then crossed into the eastbound lane, struck a mailbox then came to rest on the eastbound shoulder of West County House Road.

Grimes sustained facial injuries and was transported by ambulance to United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, where he was treated and released, State Police reported.

Edward Read, the driver, and Tina Elliott, the front seat passenger, were ejected from the vehicle and were transported by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial with unknown internal injuries. Read was admitted and was listed in guarded condition. Tina Elliott was treated and released.

Passenger Christina J. Elliott also was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital via Mercy Flight as a precaution due to her injuries. She was treated and released.

Kathy A. Jones was transported by ambulance to Strong Memorial Hospital, where she was treated and released.

The collision is still under investigation with charges pending, State Police reported.


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5 injured in Albion accident

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 24 January 2015 12:20 p.m.
ALBION – Five people were injured in a two-vehicle accident this morning at the intersection of Gaines Basin Road and West Countyhouse Road.

The accident occurred at about 10:50 a.m. The driver of a pickup truck likely sustained internal injuries while four people in a minivan had lacerations and other injuries, firefighters at the scene said.

Two of the people in the minivan were ejected.

Two Mercy Flight helicopters, and ambulances from COVA and the Medina Fire Department transported those with injuries.

State Police, Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance and firefighters from Medina, Albion and Barre all responded to the scene.


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Church holds food drive in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 20 January 2015
ALBION – Members of the Royal Church of God in Christ collected about eight boxes of canned and other nonperishable food on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Rev. William Washington, pastor of the church on Sawyer Road in Kent, delivered the food today to Community Action of Orleans & Genesee in Albion. Rev. Washington is pictured in the top photo with his nephews, Mark Washington (center) and Anthony Washington.

The donations for the food pantry come at a good time, said Nate Varland, director of housing and supportive services for Community Action. The agency sees a surge in donations around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but giving tends to drop after the holidays.


“Post holidays we have a lull in donations,” he said. “Mid-winter is a time when we don’t see a lull in need.”

Nate Varland of Community Action is pictured with Rev. William Morrell Washington, pastor of the Royal Church of God in Christ.


Washington said the church wants to make service a big part of honoring Dr. King every year his holiday is celebrated. About 100 people attend the church, and Washington said the group would like to work with Community Action with other projects during the year.

“This is just a start,” he said about the food donations. “We’d like to see the real needs for Community Action so we can assist them on a regular basis.”


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Homeowner puts out chimney fire

Firefighters help clear out clogged chimney pipe

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 19 January 2015 4:08 p.m.
ALBION – Albion firefighter Nathan Bloom carries a bucket to a house owned by Gary and Barb Ostrowski at 13344 Route 31 in Albion after a chimney fire there today at about 3 p.m.

Bloom and other firefighters helped clean out a clogged chimney pipe. Mr. Ostrowski used a fire extinguisher to put out a fire that was in the pipe that connected a stove to the chimney, firefighters said.

Firefighters responded from the Albion, Barre and Medina fire departments.

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Crooked Door closes in Albion

Restaurant opened 4 years ago after renovations

Photo by Tom Rivers
Sue Holmes, owner of the Crooked Door in Albion, is pictured at the site last April. She announced to employees on Saturday she was closing the business at 469 East State St.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 January 2015
ALBION – A restaurant that opened four years ago at 469 East State St. closed on Saturday night.

Sue Holmes, owner of the Crooked Door since April, told employees the business was closing. She purchased the Crooked Door on April 3 from Joe and Debbie Martillotta. The Martillottas opened the restaurant on Jan. 31, 2011 following extensive renovations of the former Club 469.

The business employed 17 people, and drew customers from Orleans, Monroe, Genesee, Niagara and Erie counties.

Sue (Schafer) Holmes grew up down the street from the tavern. She told the Orleans Hub in April she remembered the site when it was an Italian neighborhood bar.

Holmes worked as a software engineer for Xerox until the company sold its research and development, and laid her off in December 2012. A Hamlin resident, she set out looking to own a business. A business broker mentioned the Crooked Door was for sale and Holmes was thrilled to reconnect with her hometown. She had never worked in the restaurant business after a career in a corporate setting.

Holmes said in April she liked the excitement in the restaurant business and the chance to connect with so many people.


She has had the business up for sale in recent months.

Orleans Hub was unable to reach her for comment today.


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Hoag Library parts ways with director

Jeff Davignon


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 January 2015
ALBION – Hoag Library has a new director following a Board of Trustees’ decision this morning to end Jaff Davignon’s employment with the library.

Davignon joined Hoag as director in August. After about five months on the job, Board President Kevin Doherty said it was clear there would be long-standing differences over management strategies.

Davignon was hired with an undefined probation period. Doherty said Davignon implemented some good changes, including a more robust programming schedule that was drawing more people to the library. Davignon also was working to strengthen the library’s relationship with Genesee Community College and the school district, Doherty said.

However, the board decided this morning it wanted a new direction with the library director. It voted to hire Betty Sue Miller, an Albion resident and former librarian at Holley Central School, as the interim director.

“While we were pleased with a number of the initiatives begun by former Director Jeff Davignon, it was clear that he and the Trustees were not aligned in management strategies,” Doherty said in a statement. “We expect Betty Sue to continue with the positive aspects of changes made in the past six months, while tweaking some others.”

The monthly board meetings have been crowded in the past three months with many residents attending the sessions to express their concern over staff changes. At least four long-term employees either resigned, retired or were fired since Davignon started.

Doherty acknowledged there was “discomfort” among the staff with Davignon’s management style.

The library is consulting with an attorney about whether a fired staffer can return to her job.

“There may be movement or not,” Doherty said. “It has not yet been determined.”

Davignon came to the Albion library after working as director of the Walworth-Seely Public Library in Wayne County. He was also a former children’s library directory at the Seymour Library in Brockport.

Hoag will now have its fourth leader in less than a year. After Susan Rudnicky was terminated last March after 16 years as library director, the board hired Terry Wilbert on an interim basis before Davignon started.

Betty Sue Miller is a 1970 Albion graduate. She taught at Albion Central School and was a librarian at Holley. She has her master’s degree in Library Science from the University at Buffalo. She is married to County Legislator Fred Miller, owner of the Family Hardware in Albion. They have two adult children.

Mrs. Miller will serve on an interim basis before a search may begin for a new director.

“After an appropriate waiting period, we may start a new search process, but with Betty Sue on board, we have reduced the pressure to start that process immediately,” Doherty said.


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