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American Legion makes sure veterans’ graves in Lyndonville are honored for Memorial Day

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 May 2018 at 9:15 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

LNDONVILLE – Carl Boyle, a member of the American Legion in Lyndonville, was among a small group of volunteers who placed flags at 504 veterans’ graves in Lyndonville cemeteries on Thursday.

Boyle said the number of veterans to honor on Memorial Day increases each year. Boyle is shown at Lynhaven Cemetery in Lyndonville. Legion members and other volunteers also set flags at four other cemeteries.

Weldon Barnum, another American Legion member, eyes veterans’ graves at Lynhaven to set flags.

Lyndonville will observe Memorial Day on Monday with a parade starting at 9 a.m. at the Catholic Church on Lake Avenue and ending near the library on Main Street. A ceremony will be held there. The Yates Community Library has arranged to have many flags in the school front yard.

Steve Goodrich, commander of Houseman-Tanner Post 1603 in Lyndonville, presented a certificate of appreciation to Luke DiFato of Lockport on Thursday. DiFato, 16, volunteered a few days last summer to remove lichens, mold and mildew from veterans’ gravestones. This headstone was covered in lichens last summer, and could barely be read.

Photo courtesy of Steve Goodrich: This picture from last summer shows the lichens growing on the headstone.

Goodrich heard that Wet & Forget was effective as a moss, mold, mildew and algae stain remover. The solution doesn’t need pressure washing or scrubbing. Goodrich heard that DiFato was looking to do community service with a veterans’ project. He applied the Wet & Forget last summer and the solution knocked off the lichens from the headstones, many of which are more than a century old.

The Town of Yates is now interested in having Wet & Go used on other headstones that have lichens. Goodrich said the town is looking for volunteers to apply the solution. Interested volunteers should contact the Yates Town Hall (585) 765-9716 and leave a message for Goodrich to contact them.

Luke DiFato helped place flags on veterans’ graves at Lynhaven Cemetery on Thursday afternoon.

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Engine power loss preceded April 24 helicopter crash in Gaines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 May 2018 at 11:37 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Firefighters and neighbors worked to put out a fire after a helicopter crashed on April 24 in a field on Route 279.

GAINES – The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a preliminary report on the cause of an April 24 crash of an experimental helicopter in Gaines.

Alan Heard, 64, of Waterport had taken off about 2 p.m. that day in an Mosquito XE. He was seriously injured when the aircraft crashed and burst into flames in a field across from the Gaines Valley Aviation Airport on Route 279.

The NTSB reported that the helicopter experienced a partial loss of power shortly after takeoff. Mr. Heard began looking for a place to land before the engine experienced a total loss of power. “The helicopter did not have adequate main rotor rpm to autorotate and, as a result, it impacted hard upon landing,” according to a report in Rotar & Wing International.

Click here to see the article.

Mark Bennett of Waterport had been driving by and saw the helicopter preparing to take off. He pulled over to watch and saw it crash. Bennett climbed through an electric fence ran to Heard, getting him free from the wreckage. Heard’s clothes were on fire. Bennett cut Heard’s shirt off and was able to extinguish the flames.

Heard was transported to Strong Hospital in Rochester by COVA Ambulance.

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Canal Corp. will discuss next phase of embankment maintenance at June 6 meeting

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 May 2018 at 10:22 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Tree stumps line the towpath in Albion after trees were cut down last fall. This photo was taken on Nov. 16.

ALBION – Representatives from the state Canal Corporation will be in Albion on June 6 to detail the next phases of “Embankment Maintenance” program.

A contractor late last year started cutting down trees near the Orleans-Niagara county line and headed east. The felled trees were removed but the stumps remain. The tree-clearing alarmed many local residents and elected officials who preferred a tree-lined towpath.

Canal Corporation officials said the tree roots threatened to integrity of the canal walls and made the system vulnerable to leaks.

The June 6 meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at Hoag Library, 134 S. Main St.

During a meeting in Brockport in March, Canal Corp. officials told Brockport residents the state agency would hire arborists to consult with Brockport homeowners about appropriate property lines to provide privacy, with the Canal Corp. paying the cost.

The Canal Corp. also said it would do low-growing vegetation on the cleared embankment, and will work with Brockport to identify and develop several public access points along the canal path.

The tree stumps also will be removed and the banks will become grassy slopes that will be mowed, the Canal Corp. said.

Officials from Orleans County and its canal communities have been pushing for a public meeting in Orleans County to update the community about the next steps of the embankment maintenance.

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Albion high schooler earns college degree

Photos by Tom Rivers: Sami Hollenbeck, a senior at Albion High School, will graduate from Albion on June 22. On Sunday, she received her degree at Genesee Community College.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 May 2018 at 9:45 pm

‘I was very motivated to challenge myself.’ – Sami Hollenbeck

ALBION – Sami Hollenbeck was a sophomore in high school when she took her first college course. Trigonometry was taught right at Albion High School.

She would take many other college-level classes at the high school – biology, pre-calculus, calculus, statistics, Spanish and Western Civilization.

Provided photo: Sami Hollenbeck is pictured with her parents, Dawn and Brian Hollenbeck, during Sunday’s commencement at GCC.

“They offer so many at Albion,” she said.

As her college credits were adding up, she set a goal in her junior year to graduate with a college degree – before she was done with high school.

On Sunday she graduated with 72 college credits from Genesee Community College, earning an associate’s degree in liberal arts and general studies. On June 22, she will graduate from high school.

“I was very motivated,” she said. “I wanted to challenge myself.”

That doesn’t mean it was easy.

“In my junior year when I had eight classes, it was very overwhelming,” she said. “But once I learned to block out my time it was a breeze. It can be done.”

Graduating from college before completing high school isn’t an unprecedented feat at Albion. Robert June earned a GCC degree in 2014, graduating a month before walking across the stage in the high school gym. Machaon Bonafede also earned his GCC degree about 20 years ago while he was still in high school.

Hollenbeck took many GCC classes in the summer and on-line, as well as at GCC’s Albion campus center. At times she was trying to manage eight classes of coursework, while also working 20 to 30 hours a week at the Albion Burger King.

“When she puts her mind to it, she’s going to do it,” said her mother, Dawn Hollenbeck, who is the assistant manager at the Burger King. Sami’s sister-in-law, Shelby Hollenbeck, is the site’s general manager.

Sami said Burger King has been flexible with her hours when she needed extra time to write a paper or study for an exam. She has worked at Burger King since she was 15, starting as a cashier.

Sami Hollenbeck has managed a busy workload in the classroom while working 20 to 30 hours a week at Burger King. She is pictured with her mother Dawn, who is the assistant manager of the Burger King in Albion.

“It has been a great first job,” she said. “It teaches responsibility. I really love this job. I get to talk with customers and make sure people are happy.”

Dawn Hollenbeck is amazed her daughter could keep up with the coursework, while working her job at Burger King and also being so connected with her classmates. Sami was picked as the homecoming queen in the fall.

Hollenbeck also took five internships through the high school internship program. Two of those internship were with special education teachers in the middle school. Those experiences confirmed her career goal to work as a special education teacher. She will transfer this fall to The College at Brockport to work on her teaching degree.

Sami, 18, has 13 siblings, including eight younger brothers and sisters.

“I can’t wait to be a teacher,” she said. “I’ve been around younger children my entire life.”

Her father, Brian Hollenbeck, said Sami is dedicated to her family.

“She is a wonderful role model to her siblings,” he said. “She is very humble and a heart as big as her mind.”

Sami urges other high schoolers to take college-level classes while in high school. They get a step closer to a college degree, and the courses are typically at a deep discount.

“It’s insane the opportunities that are out there,” she said. “I feel like more students would do this if they knew about it.”

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Communities in Orleans County schedule Memorial Day observances

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 May 2018 at 5:10 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Local veterans are pictured during Memorial Day last year, headed down Park Avenue in Medina. This year’s parade starts at 11 a.m.

Five events are planned for Memorial Day in Orleans County. The schedule includes:

• Albion – The parade starts near the Orleans County Court House on Main Street at 10 a.m. and proceeds to the Albion Middle School front lawn where there will be a service near the Vietnam Memorial.

• Holley – Participants will form up at the American Legion Post at 10:30 a.m. with the parade starting at 11 and ending at the Hillside Cemetery.

Lyndonville – The parade will start at 9 a.m. at the Catholic Church on Lake Avenue and end near the library on Main Street.  A ceremony will be held there. The Yates Community Library has arranged to have many flags in the school front yard.

Medina – The parade will start at 11 a.m. at the Olde Pickle Factory building and proceed to the State Street Park where a ceremony will be held at about noon.

Kendall – The town has its Memorial Day observance on May 30. Kendall alternates the location among three cemeteries. This year Memorial Day will be observed at Greenwood Cemetery on Roosevelt Highway (Route 18). The ceremony starts at 7 p.m.

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Students help get Albion flowers ready for downtown

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 May 2018 at 10:13 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Zach Moore and his classmates in the Albion AP Biology class this morning helped plant flowers in 17 planters that soon will be set in downtown Albion.

The students are in Sandy Climenhaga’s class. The bio students learn about flowers as part of their class. They study photosynthesis and dissect flowers to learn about plants.

“They are active students who really care about their community,” Climenhaga said.

Her students have been helping plant and water flowers for the downtown the past six years.

The group includes, front to back: Hannah VanEpps, Sandy Climenhaga, Kaykyn Holman, Albion Merchants Association President Lisa Stratton (standing at right), Conner Hollenbeck, Isabella Gibbs, Garrett Derisley, Zach Moore and Nate Fearby.

The Village of Albion, Town of Albion and area businesses all shared in buying the flowers. Lisa Stratton, president of the Merchants Association, coordinated the effort. She said the flowers should be out on Main Street, along with hanging baskets, in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Conner Hollenbeck plants some of the flowers this morning.

Kaylyn Holman, right, fills a planter with a planting mix.

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Barre will dedicate new flagpole, monument for veterans on June 30

Staff Reports Posted 23 May 2018 at 8:24 am

BARRE — The Town of Barre will dedicate a new flagpole and monument for veterans at 9:30 a.m. on June 30 at the Barre Town Hall.

The family of the late Fred Daniels is donating the flagpole and plaque. The stone for the monument is being donated by Keeler Construction.

Mr. Daniels was 75 when he passed away on Oct. 22, 2014. He was a member of the Honor Guard in Orleans County for many years, and a member of the American Legion in Albion and the VFW. He also served on the Orleans County Joint Veterans Council.

Adrienne Daniels, wife of Fred Daniels, is Barre’s town historian. She welcomes the community and the Honor Guard to attend the dedication program. Don Allport, an Orleans County legislator, is Fred’s nephew. He will speak at the dedication.

A parade will follow the service. The Orleans Veterans Van Service will have vehicles available to transport veterans who want to be in the parade.

The dedication on June 30 is part of the town’s 200th anniversary celebration.

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Artist puts finishing touches on large Santa mural

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 May 2018 at 5:12 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: Stacey Kirby Steward, an Albion native, is nearly done with a 24-foot-long mural of Santa in a sleigh flying over Courthouse Square and downtown Albion.

She is putting the finishing touches on the mural, which is currently inside the Albion fire hall.

The mural will be mounted on a frame and likely installed next month in Waterman Park, which is about a half block south of the Erie Canal.

The Albion Rotary Club is leading the project, with assistance from a grant from Rotary District 7090 as well as many community donations. The mural honors Albion’s history as home to the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School from 1937 to 1966. Howard also ran Christmas Park in Albion. Mr. Howard passed away in 1966. The Santa School continues in his name in Midland, Michigan.

Steward has painted many Erie Canal-themed murals in Orleans, Niagara and Monroe counties. Some of her work promoting family life is also inside the Lyceum of Holy Family Parish in Albion.

Steward gave the courthouse some Christmas lights. The courthouse used to be decorated for the holidays with lights.

Some final additions include wreaths on Main Street light poles and decorated storefronts.

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Albion’s honor grads urged to pursue lofty goals with passion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 May 2018 at 8:40 am

23 students in 2018 graduating with GPAs at 90 or above

Photos by Tom Rivers: Kaitlin Zwifka receives her honor cords on Monday from her parents, Teresa and Marty Zwifka. Kaitlin is one of 23 students in the Albion Class of 2018 graduating with grade point averages at 90 percent or higher. Those students were recognized during an Academic Honors Convocation Dinner at Hickory Ridge Golf and Country Club in Holley.

Gricelda Maldonado goes through a receiving line of well-wishers, including Board of Education member Wayne Wadhams.

The honors students at Albion heard from a recent Albion graduate who has stayed active in the local community while working as a state trooper. Steven Papponetti, Class of 2011, was guest speaker for Monday’s event.

He spoke of the importance of setting short- and long-term goals, and embracing assignments with a passion, whether it’s writing an essay, doing homework and taking needed training to improve your skills.

Papponetti said he had stumbles on his career path, but didn’t let disappointments deter him.

Students, as they move on to college or other stages in life, should surround themselves with good friends, Papponetti said. He urged the honor grads to be involved in clubs in college. That will give them a network of support and friends who will be like a family.

Papponetti was a swimmer at Albion and played on the golf team. A favorite memory from school was the loud cheering during the home swim meets.

Albion firefighters Steven Papponetti, left, and Jim Peruzzini use a Hurst tool to cut a door in a car that was T-boned at the intersection of Route 31 and Butts Road on March 25. Papponetti has stayed an active volunteer with the Albion Fire Department while working full-time as a state trooper.

While a student at Albion, Papponetti participated in the Workplace Internship Program, interning at the Medina Fire Department and the Albion Police Department. He was also involved in the Albion Fire Department’s Explorer program and in 2009 was named Explorer of the Year.

He attended Hilbert College and participated in the Leadership Program his freshman through senior years. He graduated with honors and earned his Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science/Crime Scene Investigation. He attended the Law Enforcement Training Academy in 2015 and the New York State Police Academy in 2016.

He worked as a police officer for the Holley and Brockport police departments, with his ultimate goal to be a state trooper. Papponetti became a trooper on April 5, 2016. He wants to become an investigator and a K9 officer for the State Police.

He continues to be a volunteer firefighter and is currently a 1st Lieutenant in the Albion Fire Department. Three times he has been named Albion’s Firefighter of the Year.

He ended his speech with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Margy Brown, Albion Board of Education president, said Papponetti is an “excellent example of our district motto of ‘Achievement, Character and Success for Life.'”

Allison Graham is congratulated by her mother, Staci.

The honor grads include Richard Daniels (valedictorian), Tyler Kast (salutatorian), Hailey Bader, Elisabeth Baker, Victor Benjovsky, Emily Caldwell, Garrett Derisley, Natalie DiCureia, Nathan Fearby, Josiah Finzer, Emma Fox, Allison Graham, Sara Hillman, Emma Lonnen, Gricelda Maldonado, Alana Petronio, Caleb Pettit, Justin Robinson, Riley Seielstad, Nathanael Smith, Samantha Vanacore, Noah Wadhams and Kaitlin Zwifka.

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