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Kendall grads told be bold and courageous

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 24 June 2017 at 7:32 am

Photos by Kristina Gabalski

KENDALL – Carol D’Agostino, Kendall’s Jr./Sr. High School principal, presents a diploma to Alanna Gordon on Friday during commencement at the school auditorium. Gordon was one of 54 graduates. She has passed the NYS Boards as a CNA and hopes to work in a nursing home.

District Superintendent Julie Christensen addressed the crowd. She 77 percent of the Class of 2017 graduated with at least Regents diploma and 72 percent are entering college. Five percent of the class are entering the Armed Forces.

Christensen told graduates that graduation is a process that continues every day of their lives.  “Your fireworks begin today,” she said, “reach for the stars … work hard, exhibit a passion for your chosen path … be bold, be courageous, be your best.”

Members of the Color Guard, Matthew Murray and Allen Tonas, present the flags. Miguel Aguirre and Lyndsay Wright served as Marshals.

Members of the Band Ensemble, directed by Ashlea Strouse, perform “America the Beautiful.”

Graduate Alexis Payton gives the invocation. District Superintendent Julie Christensen is at left.

Salutatorian Chelsea Wright told graduates as they complete this chapter of their lives, there is no way to escape change.

“When faced with challenges we do not crumble, we must learn to adjust as we go,” she said.  “You will be the ones who change the world.”

Wright will attend St. Bonaventure University in the fall and major in accounting.

The 2017 Commencement Address was given by Kendall Class of 2000 graduate Michael Turbeville.  Turbeville returned to Kendall as a high school teacher in 2006, but decided to change careers and graduated from the Police Academy in 2015.  He now works for the Rochester Police Department in the Lake Section.

Turbeville advised graduates on “How to Succeed According to Turbs.”

He challenged them to take a step back and slow down. “You don’t have to have life figured out,” he said.

Turbeville also told graduates to be kind.  “No one has ever said, ‘this has been a great day,’ from the back seat of a police car,” he said, and noted he deals with the challenges of police work through kindness.

“I think of how I want to be treated,” Turbeville said.  “You can respond with anger and fear or love and kindness. Different and bad are not synonyms. We can disagree and still be kind.”

Lastly, he advised students to be humble as they make their way into the next phase of their lives.

Cooper James Rowley receives his diploma. He will attend Monroe Community College in the fall, majoring in agriculture and food studies.

Elizabeth Rath gives the valedictory address. She challenged her fellow graduates to, “jump out of your comfort zone … take this passion, this excitement and drive it into the world.”

Rath said the compassion and support graduates have received all their lives from family and friends in the Kendall community have given them a strong base as they move forward. She will study biomedical engineering at the University of Rochester this fall.

James Longrod gives the benediction.

With class officers facing fellow graduates, tassels are moved from right to left, to signify commencement is completed and they have graduated high school.

The Kendall Class of 2017 acknowledges the crowd before leaving the stage.

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120 graduates from Albion urged to keep small-town values

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 June 2017 at 10:48 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Chanyce Powell smiles after receiving her diploma  from Board of Education President Margy Brown during the 139th annual commencement at Albion High School this evening.

Powell was one of 120 graduates at Albion, which celebrated the graduation in the high school gym.

Tessa Pollock heads to the stage to receive her diploma.

Emily Blanchard gave two speeches during commencement – one as class president and a second for being the class valedictorian. She said the class of 120 developed close friendships and supported each other while showing lots of school spirit.

She urged her classmates to turn their dreams into action. The classmates are all likely feeling some uncertainty as they leave high school, but Blanchard said they are well grounded from their small-town values. She thanked the teachers, administrators, staff and the students’ parents for instilling strong values in the class.

Joe Madejski, the class salutatorian, congratulated Blanchard for putting in the hard work to be valedictorian. Madejski used humor in his speech. He urged his classmates to laugh and be optimistic in their lives.

Seniors in the chorus sing, “For Good” after they led the crowd in singing the National Anthem.

Vivian Rivers, class vice president, stands at attention with members of the Board of Education during the National Anthem.

Connor Zicari heads up to get his diploma.

Friends and family of graduates line up to take pictures of graduates as they receive their diplomas.

Kory Reynolds hugs Morgan Aina, the little sister of his friend and fellow graduate, Blake Aina.

Tyler Nashburn heads to the stage for his diploma.

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State legislators fail to pass sales tax extender for Orleans, putting $4 million in jeopardy

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 June 2017 at 8:39 am

State legislators adjourned the 2017 legislative session in Albany on Thursday without approving sales tax extenders for 53 counties, including Orleans.

The extender allows the counties to receive 4 cents per taxable dollar instead of 3 cents. (The state gets 4 cents.)

Orleans County uses that extra penny to raise about $3.85 million in revenue to fund county government services and take some pressure off property taxes. Orleans receives about $15.5 million in sales tax annually, and about $1.3 million is shared with the 10 towns and four villages in the county.

The county needs the state’s permission every two years to collect the extra penny in sales tax. It is usually a routine vote with no drama.

The sales tax extenders are being used as a bargaining chip as the Assembly tries to pressure the Senate to back mayoral control over New York City schools, the New York State Association of Counties said.

“We acknowledge the nature of today’s political environment that is focused on leveraging powerful interests against each other, but the consequences of this inaction reveal the state’s lack of understanding of how other levels of government operate in New York, and is an affront to the State Constitutional Home Rule authority intended to protect the unique needs of our communities,” NYSAC President William E. Cherry said in a statement on Thursday.

NYSAC is calling on state legislators to return to Albany and pass the sales tax extenders, or else the local governments will be deprived of $1.8 billion in revenue.

The counties are already working on their budgets for 2018.

“Prolonged inaction by the state will inject grave uncertainty in the budget-making process for counties and their property taxpayers across the state,” Cherry said.

Without action from the state legislators, Cherry said counties will face “dramatic increases in local property taxes.” The local government leaders will also be forced to cut programs and eliminate services, he said.

“Combating the opioid crisis, reforming public defense services, raising the age, maintaining local infrastructure, and providing Meals on Wheels to seniors are among the many local programs that will impacted by the state’s inaction,” he said.

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Medina family receives overdue medals for World War II soldier missing in action since 1945

Photos by Tom Rivers: Catherine “Connie” Caldwell accepts a Purple Heart earned by her brother, Baptist John “Buddy” Massar. Curtis Schultz, a chief warrant officer based at Fort Drum, presented the medal today at the VFW in Medina. Several veterans attended the presentation.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 June 2017 at 10:37 pm

Baptist John “Buddy” Massar is pictured in his military uniform. His name is inscribed in the Wall of the Missing  in the American Cemetery in the Netherlands.

MEDINA – For the past several years, Catherine “Connie” Caldwell wrote letters to Congressmen and Veterans officials, seeking her brother’s medals from when he served in World War II.

She never got a response until recently.

Caldwell’s brother, Baptist John “Buddy” Massar, went missing in Germany on April 7, 1945. He is believed to have been killed in action. His remains have never been recovered.

Caldwell, 90, said her parents spent many years after the war, hopeful her brother would return.

“My parents always thought that the knock at the door would be Buddy and he’d be home,” Caldwell said.

The family accepted his loss. But Caldwell wanted his medals.

Today she received her brother’s Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals. They were presented to Caldwell by Curtis Schultz, a chief warrant officer based at Fort Drum in Watertown.

“I’ve tried and tried every year,” she said.

Catherine “Connie” Caldwell thanked local veterans for attending a presentation today at the VFW in Medina, when she received her brother’s long overdue medals.

Caldwell reached out to Fort Drum earlier this year, and the base secured Massar’s medals. Besides the two prestigious awards today, the family last week’s received these medals for Massar: Good Conduct Medal, Presidential Unit Citation & Oak Leak Cluster (large), American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Silver Star attachment (single) & Arrowhead, World War II Victory Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award, Belgian Fourragere, Netherlands Orange Lanyard.

Massar would be 97 if he were alive today. He was born Nov. 29, 1919. Thanksgiving was difficult for the family for many years after Massar’s went missing, Caldwell said.

She said her brother was quiet – “He was such a nice guy.” Buddy’s laid-back manner was a contrast to another brother, the boisterous Joe. Massar also had three sisters, Isabelle, Mary and Connie. (Connie is the lone surviving sibling.)

Buddy graduated from Medina High School in 1937, and attended Bryant and Stratton for two years, learning accounting. He enlisted in the Army on Feb. 6, 1941 and was deployed overseas in December 1942.

LuAnn Howe, right, is Buddy Massar’s niece. She shared his background and service history during today’s presentation at the VFW in Medina.

In September 1944 he was transferred to the A Company 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Buddy Massar crossed the Rhine River in an attack at Holdorf, Germany, his niece LuAnn Howe shared today.

The company withdrew to the other side of the river, but Massar was missing. The squad leader searched for Massar but had to leave due to enemy fire. A more thorough search was conducted but Massar wasn’t found. He was declared missing in action on April 8, 1946.

Caldwell, Howe and Massar’s nephew Jack Massar all submitted DNA samples earlier this year to Army Mortuary Affairs in the hopes there would be a match with Massar’s remains. That hasn’t happened yet.

Caldwell said she was grateful to have her brother’s medals.

Howe said the medals give the family some closure.

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$10K-$15K grants give several small businesses a chance to upgrade equipment

Photos by Tom Rivers: Kustom Kreations in Medina used a $10,000 grant through the Orleans Economic Development Agency to add a four-color press, and upgrade its oven and also graphics software. The business is owned by Kevin and Patty Gursslin. They are pictured with their son-in-law, Dave Holmes.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 June 2017 at 11:04 am

The Orleans Economic Development Agency has given several small business owners a chance to upgrade equipment through a state grant.

The Orleans EDA received a state grant to assist small businesses about two years. The local agency has awarded 11 grants from $10,000 to $15,000 for $135,000 total.

All of the grant recipients needed to complete the 10-week small business training program – the Microenterprise Assistance Program – run by the EDA.

The EDA set a $10,000 maximum for existing businesses and $15,000 for new enterprises.

“This has been the best part of my job, getting them funding,” said Diana Blanchard, the MAP coordinator who has been overseeing the grant program. “It’s been very rewarding because there is so little help for small businesses.”

The EDA has used up the funds for the grants. It initially expected it had $100,000 for grants, but was able to push it to $135,000 total.

Kevin Gursslin was able to use $10,000 for Kustom Kreations, which does screen printing for T-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets, and other products.

Gursslin, owner of the business with his wife Patty, upgraded his graphics software, the oven to dry the printing, and added a 4-color press.

Kevin Gursslin and Dave Holmes use the 4-color press for a shirt for a customer in Hamlin.

Gursslin graduated from MAP about 15 years ago when he opened Orleans Outdoor in downtown Medina. He has shifted the focus of the business from sporting goods to printing – and changed the name to Kustom Kreations.

Gursslin has “endured the highs and lows of the economy,” with the toughest challenge the disruption caused by the Main Street road reconstruction about a decade ago.

“We’ve found ways to keep moving,” he said.

The business added sublimation printing three years ago and now “a ton of coffee mugs” and mouse pads.

Gursslin said the EDA grant takes some financial pressure off the business so it could upgrade and continue to serve customers.

Blanchard said Gursslin has proven himself in the 15 years of running the business, showing he is willing to adapt and serve his customers.

“Kevin has worked so hard,” Blanchard said.

Provided photo: Kylie Hughson opened Tease about a year ago on East Bank Street in Albion.

The EDA also approved a $15,000 for Kylie Hughson, who opened a hair salon, Tease, on East Bank Street.

Hughson, 28, said the grant allowed her to speed up her business goals. She was able to purchase three stations with cabinets and chairs. The grant also paid for a reception desk, computer, printer, and products and inventory so Hughson could expand beyond hair services to pedicures and spray tans.

Hughson is looking to hire a nail technician. She also used her own funds to put in tanning bed.

She said her business is much farther along than she expected when she opened about a year ago.

“It’s definitely helped my business,” Hughson said. “I’ve grown a lot in the past year. I have a lot more to offer.”

Other businesses that received EDA grants include:

• The Shirt Factory Café, $10,000

• Sugar’s Shears for the Sweetest Pets, $15,000

• Cobble Ridge Co-Op,  $10,000

• Sue the Sew it All,  $10,000

• Make It Take It Experiences, $15,000

• 810 Meadworks, $10,000

• The Missing Peace, $10,000

• Holley Bottle and Can Return, $15,000

• Preston’s Farms, $15,000

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Kendall approves solar permit process for residential use

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 22 June 2017 at 9:51 am

KENDALL – The Kendall Town Board has adopted a standardized residential/home business/non-commercial solar permit process which also moves the town closer to Clean Energy Community designation.

The New York State Energy Research and Development  Authority (NYSERDA) is offering a $2,500 grant to municipalities which adopt a uniform NYS solar permit process. Town of Kendall Code Enforcement Officer Paul Hennekey has advised the Town Board that the state process is consistent and compatible with the Town’s zoning code and permitting process.

Under the NYS Unified Solar Permit process, a permit fee of $20 for each application is established. Town leaders said that cost is consistent with current town fees.

Councilperson Bruce Newell said the adoption of the state solar permit process moves the town forward on one of four high impact actions necessary for Clean Energy Community certification and additional grant funds.

“We are making good progress,” Newell said during Tuesday’s meeting.

The New York State Unified Solar Permit process streamlines the approval process for local solar projects. Additionally, Kendall is moving forward on other high impact actions including energy reviews and energy tracking – a benchmarking policy which tracks and reports energy use in municipal buildings.

Newell said Kendall is also working to convert lighting in municipal buildings to LED as well as street lighting to LED.

As part of the LED street light conversion effort, Town Board members passed a resolution authorizing the supervisor to sign a non-disclosure agreement with National Grid- subject to review by the town attorney.

“This moves us towards overall certification,” Newell said.

He added that the Genesee Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council has informed him that small communities like Kendall can aggregate LED lighting together with other small communities in order to obtain additional support from National Grid in the process.

Governor Cuomo announced the $16 million Clean Energy Communities initiative last August.  The initiative supports local government leaders across NY State to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable development projects in their communities.

It also advances the Governor’s Reforming the Energy strategy by demonstrating the importance of communities in helping New York reach its goal of 50 percent of the state’s electricity coming from renewable energy resources by 2030.

United Shoreline praised for advocacy for shoreline property owners

Councilperson Newell and Supervisor Tony Cammarata discussed the United Shore effort by residents along the Lake Ontario shoreline to band together as a group to advocate at the local, state and national levels for residents and businesses adversely affected by the high water levels of Lake Ontario this spring and resultant flooding and property damage and loss.

The group met for the first time Friday, June 16, and plans a second meeting this Friday at the Hamlin Town Hall at 6:30 p.m.

Newell and Cammarata said United Shore is trying to be a voice for south shore property owners along Lake Ontario.

“It’s a small group of people we hope will grow much larger,” Cammarata said. “The group wants to contact representatives on a repeated bases…. you don’t have to be a lakeshore resident to join, you can join to help your fellow neighbor.”

Earlier in the meeting, Supervisor Cammarata commended Kendall Highway Superintendent Warren Kruger for his continuing work to help residents along the shoreline and assist the state and Army Corps of Engineers in its work.

Cammarata said officials from Homeland Security have walked the shoreline from the Town of Yates east to talk to homeowners and businesses and assess damage in Orleans County.  If the agency finds there is at least $27 million in damage along the entire south shore, the governor can petition President Trump to declare the flooding and damage a major disaster, opening up FEMA monies and more assistance from the Army Corps of Engineers beyond technical support, Cammarata said.

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Masons get thanks from Strawberry Fest Committee

Staff Reports Posted 21 June 2017 at 9:28 am

Photo by Amy Fox

ALBION – Members of the Albion Masonic Lodge on Tuesday accepted congratulations for their volunteer efforts at the 2017 Strawberry Festival.

First row, from left: Norman Karcher Sr.; Michael Bonafede, festival coordinating chairman; Steven LaLonde; Timothy McGee; and Alexander Allport; Back row, from left: Jason Herman, Glen Busch Sr.; Joe Gangi Jr.; and Jim Horncastle.

Bonafede presented a certificate of appreciation to the Masons, who are a familiar presence in the festival’s food court each year.

Bonafede said the festival coordinators are “thrilled” to partner with the Masons to ensure that the Strawberry Festival remains a wholesome event that offers fun and entertainment for the whole family.

“Having partners like the Masons, we don’t have a problem living up to that mission and vision,” Bonafede said.

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Holley recognizes retiring teachers, honors top grads

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 21 June 2017 at 7:42 am

Photos by Kristina Gabalski: The following retiring Holley teachers and staff members were recognized for years of service to the school district, from left: Mimi Reyngoudt (30 years), John Grillo (28 years), Patti Gauer (33 years), Lisa Campbell (40 years), Beth Ann Sanford (27 years) and Lynn Vendetti (18 years).

HOLLEY – The Holley School Board of Education recognized retiring teachers and staff during the board meeting Monday evening.

Board President Brenda Swanger said this is the first time “in a long time” the board as recognized teacher and staff retirements. This year’s retirees have “a total of 176 years working hard helping children,” Swanger said. “Thank you and have a wonderful retirement, you will be missed.”

Each was presented with a gift.

“Some of you, I remember your interviews,” said board member John Heise, a retired Holley principal. “Thank you for your years of service.”

Holley Middle School/High School principal Susan Cory (center) poses with Class of 2017 valedictorian Anna Brasted (left) and Salutatorian Jesse Beach (right) Monday evening. The top two scholars received Soaring to New Heights awards during the regular meeting of the school Board of Education for their academic accomplishments. Graduation ceremonies are 10 a.m. Saturday at the Middle/High School Stadium.

The Holley High School Geometry in Construction class was also recognized by the Board of Education with a Soaring to New Heights Award. Teacher Russ Albright, Leslie Tanner – Monroe 2 – Orleans BOCES STEM coach, and teacher Tim Rogers received the awards. Tanner presented the idea for the class to the Holley School District and it was offered for the first time in the 2016-2017 school year.

Students learned how math concepts can be applied to real-world problems to create solutions and took part in a service project – constructing a small house for Second Wind Cottages in Newfield, NY.  After assembling the house at the school, students, teachers and administrators transported it to the Second Wind site near Ithaca and re-assembled it on site. Second Wind Cottages provides one-man shelters for homeless men as they work to turn their lives around.

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Honored deputy sheriff is top vote-getter in Holley election

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 June 2017 at 10:52 pm

Jim DeFilipps and Rochelle Moroz both elected to 2-year terms

Jim DeFilipps, an Orleans County deputy, pictured in June 2016 at Policemen’s Ball in Rochester.

HOLLEY – Village residents elected two trustees to the Village Board today, with Jim DeFilipps the leading vote-getter with 122. Rochelle Moroz also was elected with 72 votes.

Kurt Wannenwetsch made it a three-way race. He received 52 votes.

DeFillipps, the 2016 New York State Deputy of the Year, started his career with the Holley Police Department. He was named Deputy of the Year after surviving a shootout and critically wounding a gunman.

He has already served about a year on the board. He was appointed to the board last year when Brian Sorochty was elected mayor and gave up his trustee position.

DeFilipps has grown up in Holley. His mother, Marsha DeFilipps, is the long-time Holley and Murray historian.

Moroz moved to the village four years ago to be closer to family.

She has served as a church secretary/treasurer and said she understands the importance of maintaining a balanced budget and spending frugally.

Wannenwetsch, an active local photographer, has lived in the village for close to ten years.

Wannenwetsch said the village government needs to better communicate with residents, work to attract more businesses, and find solutions for the deterioration of historic buildings in the Public Square.

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Lyndonville teacher wins ‘Better Beginnings’ state award

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 June 2017 at 1:58 pm

Photos courtesy of Leylah Huzair: John Bailey, a Lyndonville elementary band teacher, was presented with the Helen Bach Moss Memorial Better Beginnings Award during last week’s band concert. The award is given the by the New York State Education Department.

LYNDONVILLE – A Lyndonville elementary school teacher who last week won the school district’s first-ever “Educator of the Year” award has added another prestigious honor.

John Bailey was recognized with a state “Better Beginnings Award” during last Thursday’s elementary concert.

Bailey, 27, is finishing his fifth year at Lyndonville. He is a high-energy teacher, inspiring students of all backgrounds and skill levels to work hard in band, and in other classes and activities at Lyndonville.

Bailey pushes his students to excel, with a nurturing approach. He uses that same style as the JV girls softball coach, helping the team to win games with skills, and not looking for scapegoats in defeat.

Bailey last year worked with Best to start a marching band for the annual Fourth of July Parade. There are nearly 100 students in the band. Working with that group extends the school year for Bailey. Other teachers are happily enjoying summer vacation while he is getting students ready for the parade.

Elementary Principal Dr. Elissa Smith nominated Bailey for the Helen Bach Moss Memorial Better Beginnings Award presented by the New York State Education Department.

The spirit of the award is that better beginnings make stronger completions. The honor recognizes teachers who are skilled at engaging young minds and developing nurturing relationships with elementary school students.

Dr. Michael Moss, founder of the award, attended the Lyndonville concert and presented Bailey with a plaque.

“This achievement speaks to the powerful impact that a teacher like you can have on education,” Dr. Moss told Bailey.

John Bailey is pictured with Dr. Michael Moss, left, and Dr. Elissa Good, principal of the elementary school and Bailey’s nominator for the award, which includes a $1,000 stipend. The award was created to honor Helen Bach Moss, a young educator who died suddenly in 1988, after touching the lives of many people.

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