New marker proclaims historic district in Downtown Albion

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 28 August 2014
ALBION – A new historical marker stands in Waterman Park in Downtown Albion and notes the downtown’s status on the National Register of Historic Places. The U.S. Department of the Interior included the business district on Main and Bank streets in 1994.

The new two-sided marker was paid for with a Main Street grant approved by the state. The Department of Public Works installed the marker on Friday. It was originally intended to be placed in a sidewalk on Main Street, but the state Department of Transportation wouldn’t approve that location.


The marker stands in a park about a half-block south of the Erie Canal. The marker also includes a logo of a tugboat.


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Many Model T’s will be out over the weekend

Local ‘Flivver Drivers’ are hosting about 20 of the cars

Photos by Tom Rivers
Joe Baker is pictured with his daughter Stephanie Carrico and her children, from left: Rachel, 1; Bailey, 2; and Annabelle, 4. They are posed with a 1920 Ford Model T.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 August 2014
ALBION – The “Easy Ride Tour” is returning to Albion this weekend and about 20 Model T Fords will be out visiting local sights.

Joe Baker of Albion is organizing the local tour that will include cars from Upstate New York and Southern Ontario. Baker is a member of the local “Flivver Drivers.”

He welcomes the public to stop and chat with the car owners when they make their stops over the weekend. Many of the Model T’s were restored – cars sometimes rescued from hedge rows.

Joe Baker’s grandchildren enjoy the comfy seats in a 1920 Ford Model T. Baker owns three Model T’s that will be featured in this weekend’s “Easy Ride Tour.”

“We try to get as many people interested in this hobby,” Baker said this morning at his home on West Bacon Road. “These cars are 100 years old and will need someone to take care of them.”

Baker will have three Model T’s on the road for the weekend. His daughter, Stephanie Carrico, is bringing a 1931 Model A from her home in Albany.

Carrico grew up with the old cars and has embraced the hobby. She takes her car to store and often drops off her daughter at preschool. People have lots of questions. When she got married, a caravan of Model A’s delivered the wedding party. Her father used to take her to school on the first day in the Model A.

“These clubs are very family oriented,” said Mr. Baker, owner of Quality Construction.


This year’s tour coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Model T. Orleans Ford in Medina will host 20 of the Model T’s, including at least 3 from 1914 or older, on Saturday morning beginning at 9 a.m.

Joe Baker of Albion stands next to a 1926 Ford Model T C Cab Pickup with a 1916 Model T in the middle and a 1920 Model T at the end.

The cars will arrive Friday evening and will visit Rocking R Ranch and Café, Cobble-Ridge Cooperative and Fair Haven Treasures on Ridge Road.

On Saturday, after going to Orleans Ford, they will head to Mac’s Antique Auto Parts in Lockport and then they’re off to Olcott.

Sunday the cars head to Pine Hill Airport in Barre for breakfast, then they go to Brockport and swing back to Schwenk’s Winery in Kent.

Monday they are going to Mount Albion Cemetery before heading out to see the Shoe Tree in Lyndonville, and nearby Amish and Mennonite businesses.


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Hoag welcomes Davignon as new director

Photos by Sue Cook
Jeffrey Davignon (left) and Kevin Doherty, President of the Board of Trustees

By Sue Cook, staff reporter Posted 24 August 2014
ALBION - The Hoag Library trustees recently chose their new library director. The library held a meet-and-greet event today to allow the public to welcome Jeffrey Davignon and ask questions before his official start next Saturday.


Davignon was recently the director of the Walworth-Seely Public Library in Wayne County, and was also a former children's library directory at the Seymour Library in Brockport. Davignon will now be the sixth director in 115 years in Albion.


Davignon said, “I'm really excited about this opportunity and there's a lot to celebrate and a lot to look forward to. We had a reception the other night and it was overwhelmingly positive. I'm an optimistic person by nature, but it gave me more optimism about what we can do here.”


Kevin Doherty, President of the Board of Trustees, explained what the board was looking for.


“We have a beautiful facility that was supported by the community,” he said. “Now we want to fulfill its potential. I think we can go to the next level and touch parts of the population in our service area that we haven't before.”


He believes that Davignon will expand the library's user base by including Spanish language and different youth programming. Doherty said that especially among children they would like to see older elementary- and middle-school students implement the library more.


“I bring a lot of myself to this position,” said Davignon. “I think it's important to listen, ask questions of the people we serve and then to deliver on promises. Our excellence in library services is defined locally and we really want to start a conversation about what this community wants and deserves.”


He continued, “A good library is plugged into the needs of the community and responds to those needs. Libraries are learning places and that means we need to be open to trying new things and we need to be open to growing our patron base. My goal has always been to create a warm and welcoming environment, a place where people want to come.”

Davignon was welcomed with a cake reading “Welcome to the Library's Next Chapter.”


The trustees chose their final three options out of a pool of 20 applicants. After individually interviewing those three, who were all fully qualified, the decision among the board was unanimous in choosing Davignon.


Doherty explained, “I think it's fair to say that he has energy and experience. He has focus on what he wants to accomplish in the future. There are the stock answers people give in interviews, but it wasn't that way. He was genuine. It looked like he would be a great fit based on the staff we have and the community we have.”


As director, Davignon will be responsible for managing staff, carrying out strategic plans of the board and serving the community with patron-focused library services. He also would like to have the library work closer with merchants, the school district and elected officials to get the community more involved.


“I think the library can be a catalyst for good and positive change,” said Davignon. “We have an opportunity to change lives. If we do this correctly, the library will be an important component in the success of many people. I want to be sure that we organize our resources in such a way that we can show the people who fund us that we're good stewards of public funds and can get the most value out of every dollar we're given.”


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Elks Lodge hosts Lions Club Rock the Park concert

Photos by Sue Cook

The Bad Hands rocks the house as the sun sets.

By Sue Cook, staff reporter Posted 24 August 2014
ALBION - Nearly 200 people came out to the Rock the Park event put on in a collaboration between the Albion Lions Club and the Elks Lodge. The concert proceeds will be used to benefit rebuilding and renovating Bullard Park in Albion.

Several people dance to The Who Dats.


Albion Lions Club member and event organizer, Ron Albertson, said the club extends their gratitude to everyone that made the event possible. Volunteers worked the event and sold concessions and 50/50 raffle tickets. The Albion Elks Lodge donated proceeds from the beer stand. To further increase earnings, all of the bands for the evening played free of charge.


The nine bands that donated their time and talents included Whiskey Rebellion, Painted Silence, Route 98, Delano Steele, Rock of Love, The Who Dats, The Bad Hands, Terrible Ideas and Zero.


“It shows you what you can do when you get two civic-minded organizations together. You can really pull off something nice and this has gone off without a hitch,” said Albertson.


Jill Albertson added, “We're hoping that this event spearheads more community involvement in trying to renovate the park through local businesses and individuals.”

The Who Dats are a popular local band that donated their talents with other musicians.

Terrible Ideas treats the crowd to “Use Somebody” by the Kings of Leon.


Jim Benedetti brought his band, The Bad Hands, back from New Jersey to help with the park-rebuilding fundraiser. Benedetti is a former Waterport resident and heard about the event through his friendship with Ron Albertson.


“I hit my first home run in Bullard Park. Probably my only one to be quite accurate,” he laughed. He wanted to come back and support the town and their attempts to improve the park.

The Bad Hands invited blues musician J.B. Lawson (left) from Georgia and former Albion resident Steven Collichio (far right) from Rockwall, Texas, to come play with them. Pictured between them, John Meola plays bass.


Terrible Ideas featuring lead singer Taylor Whittier played later in the evening. At the end of July, Whittier's mother, Deborah, passed away due to pancreatic cancer. He also lost his father, Scott Whittier, two years ago when he fell from a roof and had complications during surgery. His entire family has offered extensive support, including his brother Shawn.


“It's been overwhelming to me because my band mates are like brothers to me,” said Whittier. “They're always there when I'm down to get me back to the place I need to be and moving forward. They always let me know she's still around. A lot of people at Community Action have helped me out with getting housing sorted out and things like that. I've had a lot of support and it's very meaningful to me.”


Whittier continued, “My mom was the whole reason that I started singing. She got me into chorus in second grade. I sang ever since. She's definitely the reason I got into music and kept going all these years. My dad is another reason I got into music and stayed with it. I definitely appreciate both of my parents being there for me and supporting me through everything.”

Taylor Whittier (left) leans against Rodney Staats during an energetic AC/DC number.


The Lions Club estimated that they surpassed their goal of $1,500, though a final total has not been made yet.


Because of the successful turnout, they plan to hold the event again next year and are hoping even more people attend to bolster the proceeds and also to foster a closer community through a fun public event.


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New owner turns B & B into home for seniors

Photos by Tom Rivers
The former Erie Canal Schoolhouse Bed and Breakfast at 43 Brown St. will soon be open as an assisted living site with an adult daycare. There will be open houses from Aug. 29-31 before the site opens in early September.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 August 2014
ALBION – A former Catholic school that found new life as a bed and breakfast now has been changed into an assisted living home for senior citizens.

The former Erie Canal Schoolhouse Bed and Breakfast also will provide an adult daycare. The site, “Canal View,” will open in early September.

“This is not an institutional-type setting,” said Gail Kendig, marketing and community liaison for Tender Loving Family Care.

Canal View will keep rooms that celebrate local heritage, including "The Albion Room."

Jeri and Lou Becker sold the former school to Annika D’Andrea. She has refinished some of the hardwood floors and is adding an elevator. For the most part, the building will remain as the Beckers had it with rooms decorated to highlight local history. There are bigger rooms for group activities, including the upstairs auditorium.

D’Andrea has taken down some small trees to better showcase the property next to the Erie Canal. She believes residents will benefit from the peaceful location by the canal.

“It’s so much better to have this kind of atmosphere for them,” Kendig said. “People can see the natural beauty that’s around here.”

Tender Loving also owns an assisted living site in Le Roy. The business has offices in Brockport and Rochester. Tender Loving also provides home health care services in the Rochester region. The business has about 100 employees.

Kendig said it will add five or six employees who will provide a 24-hour presence as the site in Albion.

The Erie Canal Room includes a border celebrating the song, "Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal."

D’Andrea and Tender Loving will have opens houses at Canal View on Aug. 29 from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. and Aug. 30-31 from 2 to 4 p.m.

The site was a school before being turned into an apartment house. The Beckers bought it in 2004 and made many upgrades while preserving and celebrating the building’s heritage.

“This is a true landmark,” D’Andrea said. “From a school where children played and learned, a B&B that beautifully restored the rich history of the school, now the perfect place for our loved ones. Our seniors will live a well dignified life in a comfortable, safe and professional home environment. Our residents and adult day care visitors will enjoy maximum independence, freedom and comfort while receiving the quality assistance they need.”


Canal View isn’t a nursing home, although some medical services are provided for wound care, medication administration, glucose monitoring and other services. The adult daycare allows some seniors to spend part of the day in structured activities, including social programs, fitness and wellness, and meals.


For more on Tender Loving, click here.


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Variety Show brings laughs to Albion

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 15 August 2014
ALBION – Jim Babcock portrays Sonny and Sandra Monacelli-McNall is Cher in a performance of “I Got You Babe” during tonight’s Cabaret Variety Show.

Amy Sidari and her cast of performers put on their second variety show at the Cabaret at Studio B in Albion. Sidari performed in many of the comedic routines. She also danced, sang and was hostess for the two-hour show.

Marcy Downey also played a big role in the show. In this photo she is Marge, the Red Hat Lady. Downey also did a singing and dancing duet with Sidari. Downey also sang with Gary Simboli and performed with her 95-year-old father, Clyde Downey.

A full house attended the show at 28 West Bank St.


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Closed bridge invites the wild

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 15 August 2014
ALBION – Nature is on the move at the closed Brown Street bridge in Albion. Woodchucks hang out on the approaches to the bridge and weeds have sprouted up through the pavement.

The bridge was closed on July 18, 2012 by the state Department of Transportation after an inspection showed serious deterioration of major elements of the steel truss floor system.

There is no timetable for repairing the bridge over the Erie Canal.

This photo is on the north side of the bridge, looking south.

This photo is closer to the bridge, looking north towards the former St. Mary’s Catholic Church.


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Triple Play gives final concert in Albion’s debut series

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 15 August 2014
ALBION – Bill Pileggi and the Triple Play Band closed out an eight-week concert series last night in downtown Albion. The Village of Albion coordinated the series for Thursday evenings.

About 1,000 people attended concerts over the two months, said Sid Beaty, program coordinator for the village. Besides the village, the series was sponsored by the Albion Rotary Club and the Albion Merchants Association.

Pileggi plays on East Bank Street with the band, which also includes Jim Booden and Tim Hess.


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Albion accepts new flags from AMSA

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 15 August 2014
ALBION – The Village Board accepted 50 new American flags and unfurlers, poles and finials from the Albion Main Street Alliance. The organization raised about $2,500 for the project, which should keep Main Street and the downtown looking patriotic for at least the next three years.

Community members donated to buy the flags and hardware for the poles through a “Friend of the Flag” campaign.

“We were honored to help,” AMSA President Kevin Lake told the Village Board on Wednesday. “It was a great project for the community.”

In other action at Wednesday’s Board meeting:

• The board declared 4,000 tons of recycled asphalt as surplus. DPW Superintendent Dale Brooks said a company already is interested in the asphalt for $3 a ton. He asked the board to designate proceeds of the sale, at $12,000 or more, for the DPW budget.

• National Grid is taking down several trees in the village on Clinton Street and one on Hazard Parkway, Brooks said. The company cuts them down below the power wires with the village taking them down from there, Brooks said. Most of the trees are towering silver or sugar maples.

“They are huge,” Brooks said. “We’ve got their useful life out of them. Now they’re a hazard.”

• Kelly Irwin was accepted as a new member of the Albion Fire Department.


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Church serves up 300-plus chicken dinners

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 14 August 2014
ALBION – Members of Christ Church, an Episcopal parish in Albion, served more than 300 chicken barbecue dinners on Wednesday. In the top photo Mitzy Peglow gets ready to take six of the dinners home as take-outs. Matilda Erakare, one of the church parishioners, assisted at the event.

Several church members and volunteers worked in the kitchen including (from front to back) Lori Draper, Faith Smith, Mike Smith and Jim Theodorakos.


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Albion could limit garage sales

By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 13 August 2014
ALBION – Some members of the Village Board want to limit how often residents can have garage sales after complaints that two locations currently have sales almost every day during the summer.

The board is considering enacting a local law that would limit garage sales to Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Code Enforcement Officer Ron Vendetti suggested residents be required to register a garage sale. There won’t be a fee to the village, but Vendetti would like to have a record of when residents have garage sales. He would like to limit locations to no more than two different garage sales a year.

Village Board members didn’t want to go that route yet. Limiting sales to three-day maximums would address some of the current sites that seem to have sales perpetually during the summer.

“This is an attempt to define a garage sale so it’s not a business,” Vendetti told the board.

Trustee Stan Farone doesn’t want to see any restrictions on garage sales, especially when there are only two that are prolonged.

Mayor Dean London would like to see some guidelines in a local law. “There’s only two now but there could be 10 in the future,” London responded.

The village will have a public hearing on the proposal at 7 p.m. on Sept. 10. That hearing is for setting Friday through Sundays as options for garage sales.

Vendetti also would like to see the village impose sign standards for garage sales. He said the signs advertising a sale should be limited to a person’s property, and not be posted on telephone poles and other prominent spots in the community.

“You have no idea how we chase down all these people with yard sale signs,” Vendetti said. “They’re good at putting up the signs but not so good about taking them down.”

Farone said he opposed a local law about garage sales. He said the sales draw people to the village.

“I don’t want to punish everyone in the village because one person has a garage sale seven days a week,” Farone said. “I don’t want to be known as the village that restricts or bans garage sales.”

London said he welcomes feedback from the community during the public hearing.

“We can look at it and start somewhere,” he said. “We can always revisit it.”


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Family seeks medical dog for son with diabetes

Photos by Tom Rivers
Tyler Orr, 9, climbs the rope in a pirate ship playground in his backyard. He is pictured with his brother Ben, 3; mother Jennifer; brother Jack, 1; and brother Ryan, 8.


By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 13 August 2014
ALBION – Tyler Orr is an active 9-year-old. He swings from ropes on his pirate ship playground in his backyard.

He plays with animal figurines and has a notebook full of designs for a future zoo he’d like to own. He is excited about fourth grade and playing the trumpet in band.

Tyler also has juvenile diabetes. He was diagnosed almost two years ago, just before Halloween. He checks his sugar levels 10 times a day. He and his family learned to live with it and the insulin shots.

But the situation changed about two weeks ago when his mother heard him thrashing on his bedroom floor. It was 6:30 in the morning and Tyler was having a seizure. On Sunday, he was walking and talking, when he sensed something wasn’t quite right. He had another seizure, falling into his mother’s arms. She administered an emergency glucagon shot.

Jennifer and John Orr worry about their son. They have a continuous glucose monitor on him, and have installed a video monitor to watch him at night.

But they fear those aren’t enough to alert them if their son is having a seizure. They are pursuing a diabetic alert dog that can detect a drop or spike in blood sugar levels.

“The dog can pick up on it much sooner,” said Mrs. Orr.

Tyler plays with some of his animal figurines. He would like to own his own zoo someday. He has many designs of spaces for zoo animals.

The dog also sleeps in short cycles, and is awake often during the night.

The family has ordered a dog, a trained British retriever, from a breeder in Alaska. The dog is due to be born in October. It will then be trained a minimum of one year. It will be a service dog and can join Tyler as he goes about his day.

The Orr family needs to make a $5,000 down payment with another $20,000 due when the dog arrives. The Orrs are working on fund-raisers and have established a Facebook page and an account – “Bring Kenai Home” – at First Niagara Bank. Donations may also be made online through

“There are ton a people that want to help,” said Mrs. Orr, an LPN at Oak Orchard Health. “The community has really responded.”

Her husband works as the general manager of the Wendy’s in Batavia. They have three other sons: Ryan, 8; Ben, 3; and Jack, 1.

While they wait for the dog, the family is experimenting with foods to see if that will eliminate seizures.

Tyler has been taking it all in stride. He was chasing his brothers earlier today when he wasn’t playing with his animal figurines.

The Orrs will list upcoming events through the “Bring Kenai Home” Facebook page.


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