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Scouts honor Frank Sidari with special graveside marker

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 May 2017 at 3:08 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Scouts from Troop 164 dedicated a special Boy Scouts of America gravesite marker today at St. Joseph’s Cemetery for Frank Sidari, who was an active member of the troop for about 75 years.

Sidari was a Scout in the troop when he was a kid, and went on to be a Scoutmaster for more than 30 years. He was an active volunteer with the troop up until his death at age 90 on April 18, 2015.

The gravesite markers were created by former Albion resident Bob Capurso, who now lives in Bergen. Capurso was a Scout in Troop 164 in the 1960s through 1972. Sidari was his Scoutmaster. Capurso has started a company called Legacy markers that create the bronze markers for influential Scouting leaders. The marker for Sidari is the fourth one made by Legacy Markers.

Sidari also is a Silver Beaver winner, the highest award given by the Boy Scouts of America.

Sidari was in the last Mounted Cavalry Division in WWII. He was an Infantryman and Rifleman from 1943-1946 in the 124th Cavalry in the China-Burma-India Theater. After the war, Sidari worked as a union carpenter and then as the Albion Code Enforcement Officer.

Sidari’s wife Jane and her and Frank’s sons attended the dedication today. They include, from left: Frank, Bruce and Mike Sidari.

Members of Troop 164 were part of the dedication today. They include, from left: Bob Capurso, Cubmaster Mike Beach, Oliver Beach, Noah Shiffer, Assistant Scoutmaster Bryan Catlin, Matt Flanagan, Sue Flanagan, Scoutmaster Dan Flanagan, Jonathan Doherty, Tom Madejski, Assistant Scoutmaster Rick Merrill, Ethan Merrill and Michael Grabowski.

Frank Sidari is pictured here on March 15, 2015 during a 90th birthday celebration.

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Albion students and East High in Rochester continue cultural exchange

Staff Reports Posted 25 May 2017 at 11:46 am

Provided photo

Members of the Albion High School Rotary Interact Club recently visited East High School in inner city Rochester as part of a student cultural exchange.

The students learned how life in an urban school is both similar and different than one in a rural district. Earlier in the year East High students visited Albion, enjoying both time at the school as well as a visit to a dairy farm and Mt. Albion Cemetery.

Tim Archer, advisor of the Albion Interact Club, called the activity an “enriching experience” for both sets of students. AHS Interact students who attended East High included Emily Blanchard, Nikki Eldred, Shannon Broda, Riley Seielstad, Evan Steier, Jarod Hollinger, Celeste Hoffman, Emilie Barleban, Haley Bader and Matilda Erakare.

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Albion honor grads urged to be open to ‘whatever comes next’

Photos by Tom Rivers: Laurence’ Walker was among 37 honor grads recognized during an Academic Honors Convocation Dinner on Monday at Hickory Ridge Country Club. The honored students are all graduating with cumulative grade point average at 90 percent or higher. Walker is shown shaking hands with members of the Board of Education and school administrators.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 May 2017 at 7:08 am

Jamie (Chappius) Edwards served as keynote speaker Monday during the dinner. “Don’t be afraid of what comes next,” she said.

FANCHER – The 37 students from Albion graduating with a 90 percent of higher grade point average all have big plans for the future.

However, they shouldn’t think success is only possible following a narrow path. Jamie Lee (Chappius) Edwards, a 2007 Albion graduate, told the soon-to-graduate seniors that she went to college to become a kindergarten teacher.

The job market was tough for teachers a decade ago so she switched her major to nursing. But she didn’t feel like that was the right career for her.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Buffalo and then a master’s in higher education administration. She works for Genesee Community College in Batavia as a career services specialist.

She showed pictures of her closest classmates from 2007, with their career goals at the time and what they are currently doing. Everyone of her closest friends found a career that differed from what they were expecting at the end of their senior years in high school.

One classmate, Jeremy Reamer, is a New Hampshire police officer. Kit Lyman wrote a book and is working in Boston as an inbound consultant. Morgan Eastlack started her own wedding videography business. Joshua Kirby started his own health and wellness company in Washington. Kerri McKenna Richardson runs an agriculture program for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership in Batavia.

“Be open to whatever comes next,” Edwards said.

Katie Mann receives her honor cords from her mother Christine Mann and father Scott.

The honor grads include: Nicholas Arieno, Rose Arnold, Kari Ashworth, Emilie Barleben, Lauren Becht, Kastriot Bela, Emily Blanchard, Shannon Broda, Sierra Chudy, Jillian Doyle, Nicole Eldred, Owen Foos, Elizabeth Furmanski, Celeste Hoffman, Jared Hollinger, Megan Leight, Mackenzie Luft, Joseph Madejski, Bailey Maier, Katherine Mann, Isabella Prest, Jacqueline Quintana Aragon, Shelby Restivo, Vivian Rivers, Donato Rosario, Karina Rosario, Katherine Rustay, Yasmeen Shabazz, Samuel Slick, Skyler Smith, Clara Stilwell, Angela Tarricone, Catherine Thom, Emma Wadhams, Laurence’ Walker, Savanah Wirth and Stephen Zayac.

Owen Foos is congratulated by his parents, Sherrie and John Foos.

Nikki Eldred shakes hands with the Board of Education members. This is the eighth time Albion has done the convocation dinner. Students and their families like the special dinner that is off campus, district officials said.

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Albion bio students get flowers ready for downtown debut

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 May 2017 at 11:11 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Students the Albion AP Biology class this morning helped plant and water flowers in 17 planters that soon will be set in downtown Albion. The top photo shows Shelby Restivo, right, and Brandon McGuire working on the project.

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.

“I want them to have an appreciation for their small downtown,” Climenhaga said. “Now they are invested. They can go by the flowers and know they helped do that.”

Jessy Cruz and Bryce Pritchard water the flowers, which will be placed on Main Street and in the downtown later this week.

The bio students are pictured this morning. The group includes, front row, from left: Elizabeth Furmanski, Yasmeen Shabazz, Shelb Restivo, Brandon McGuire and Leah Shildt. Back row: Sandy Climenhaga, Kirsten Wroblewski, Chanynce Powell, Kastriot Bela, Kirk Ellison, Bryce Pritchard, Jessy Cruz, Kaitlin Zwifka, Jessica Schleede, and Lisa Stratton, president of Albion Merchants Association and coordinator of the flower project.

The Village of Albion, Town of Albion and Merchants Association all shared in buying the flowers.

Kastriot Bela and Yasmeen Shabazz plant flowers this morning behind the DPW garage on Washington Street.

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Purple Eagle band wins first place honors at Seneca Falls

Posted 23 May 2017 at 3:19 pm

Press Release, Albion Marching Band

Provided photos: The Albion High School Marching Band took top honors in both events they competed in at the Seneca Falls Pageant of Bands this past weekend.  The top photo shows part of the band entering the judging area at Saturday’s competition in Seneca Falls.

The AHS Jazz Ensemble earned the 1st Place trophy in Class B, scoring 96 out a possible 100 points. The Purple Eagles also came home with the first place award in Open Class, after receiving a score of 91 for their 2017 show, “Bond….James Bond,” which is based on the music of that iconic spy film series.

Both the jazz and marching bands continue their competition season this coming weekend at the Darien Lake Music Festival. As always, the band will also march in Monday’s Albion Memorial Day parade.

From left: Jerico Chudy, Matt Kovaleski and Sierra Chudy play snare drums with the AHS Marching Band in Seneca Falls on Saturday.

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VFW Auxiliary discusses stars and stripes with kindergarteners

Staff Reports Posted 18 May 2017 at 10:43 pm

Provided photos

ALBION – Members of the VFW Auxiliary Strickland Post #4635 paid a visit to the Albion Elementary School and met with kindergarten students today.  Corinne Padura, left, read a book to the students about the origins of the American Flag as well as the symbolism of the stars and stripes.  She talked about the importance of respecting the flag and proper care of the flag.

The top photo shows the VFW Auxiliary members with students in Mrs. Perry’s class. The group includes, from left: Corinne Pahura, Payton Babcock, Sue Boyce, Olivia Ginger, Debbie Ashe, Dalmas Weese and Edwin Dudley.

Corinne Pahura reads a book about the origins of the flag to the entire kindergarten class. She was a former kindergarten teacher.

Students sang “We Love Our Flag” and recited a poem about the flag.

Red, white and blue,

These colors run true;

Red, white and blue,

waving I love you!

At the end of the program each child received a flag.  Students will use these flags during their annual Flag Day program on June 14. This community outreach effort is part of the VFW Auxiliary Americanism program.

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Strawberry Festival picks winning poster

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 May 2017 at 4:02 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The winning poster has been chosen to help promote this year’s Albion Strawberry Festival. Destini Hurlbert holds the poster with a depiction of a Santa Claus.

This year’s festival, June 9-10, celebrates a Santa theme in honor of Albion native son, Charles W. Howard, who operated a school for Santa, served as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Santa for 18 years, and also ran the popular Christmas Park in Albion.

Jackie Quintana, last year’s winner, came in second with this photo. The students all researched historic photos of Howard and the Santa School to help with the poster design.

Charity Henhawk came in third with this design to help promote the Strawberry Festival.

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Strawberry Festival urges parade participants to celebrate Santa theme

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 May 2017 at 11:28 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Dance Reflections in Albion won for “Best use of theme” in last year’s Strawberry Festival, which had a theme: Hook, Line & Strawberry, to promote the local fishing resources and to play on the strawberry theme of the festival.

ALBION – The Albion Strawberry Festival parade is less than a month away and festival organizers want parade participants to start thinking about their floats.

The parade this year has a Charles W. Howard theme, in honor of the man who founded a Santa Claus School in Albion. Parade participants are urged to incorporate Santa and Christmas decorations in their displays.

There will, however, only be one Santa Claus in the parade. He is expected to make a guest appearance with Mrs. Claus. Some members of Charles Howard’s family also are expected to be in the parade with his granddaughter serving as the parade grand marshal.

Parade participants are welcome to wear Santa hats, dress as elves or think of other ways to promote a Santa theme.

The festival has expanded its list of parade categories for awards. All of the winners will receive certificates.

The categories include:

• Best use of theme (Charles W. Howard and Santa Claus)

• Most original

• Best band

• Best cheer/dance

• Special recognition/community service

• Best public safety agency (fire department, police, ambulance)

• Best classic car

• Best wooden boat

• Best use of humor

Santa is expected to make an appearance in the Albion Strawberry Festival. He may opt for his casual wear because Santa doesn’t tend to wear his full Santa suit during the the off-season.

The Albion Merchants Association also will have a holiday window decorating contest during the 31st annual Strawberry Festival on June 9-10.

Charles Howard ran a Santa School in Albion from 1937 to 1966. Howard also served as the Santa in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for 18 years. He remains revered among people who portray Santa for establishing standards in how to act and dress as Santa.

The Albion Betterment Committee is working on raising money for a bronze statue and memorial in downtown Albion in honor of Howard. The group is hoping to celebrate Howard, and promote Albion’s history with Santa Claus.

The two-day Strawberry Festival has many activities, from a food court, craft vendors, a classic car show, turtle race, trout pond, 5k and 8k race, and family fun center. A chalk art festival also will be back.

For more information, check the festival’s website by clicking here.

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Albion, Medina school budgets easily pass

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 May 2017 at 8:40 pm

Wadhams and Harling elected in Albion, while Keppler, Pawlaczyk and Sevenski elected in Medina

The school budgets in Albion and Medina received wide support in budget votes today.

ALBION – The district’s $34,796,676 budget passed 526 to 123. The budget includes a 1.4 percent tax increase, only the second time school taxes are going up in last 11 years.

Voters elected retired teacher Wayne Wadhams, 513 votes, and Kathy Harling, 491 votes, to five-year terms. Marlene Seielstad wasn’t re-elected. She received 211 votes.

A proposition for $460,000 for bus purchases passed, 559 to 91, and a proposition to collect $687,211 for Hoag Library was approved, 469 to 177.

MEDINA – The proposed $36,620,793 budget received 91.2 percent support, 423 to 41. The budget reduces taxes by 0.22 percent, down from $8,660,915 to $8,641,861, or $19,054 less in taxes.

The district has steadily been reducing taxes in recent years. The 2013-14 budget had a $9,135,636 tax levy. Medina has now reduced school taxes by $493,775 in four years, a 5.4 percent decrease.

A proposal to reduce the size of the Board of Education from 9 to 7 seats passed, 259 to 198. The board will remain at nine seats in the 2017-18 school year, with the reduction taking effect beginning July 1, 2018.

Four ran for three open seats. The following were elected: Bill Keppler, 329; Arlene Pawlaczyk, 299; and Dave Sevenski, 292 votes. Mary Hare received 267 votes.

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Albion 4th grader wins WNY spelling bee

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 May 2017 at 8:19 am

Provided photos: Adam Burlison, 10, of Albion holds his trophy after winning a spelling bee on Saturday in Grand Island.

ALBION — An Albion fourth-grader won a spelling bee on Saturday that featured 46 of the top spellers in Western New York from grades 4 and 5.

Adam Burlison, 10, was perfect as the field of spellers was winnowed from 46 to 1. The second-place finisher misspelled “heritage.” After Adam spelled it right, he sealed his victory with the word, “sentimental.”

It was a heart-pounding 2 1/2 hour event for many in the Albion community. Adam’s mother Lisa, an Albion elementary school teacher, posted the competition on Facebook live. When Adam won, the bus for the Albion marching band burst into cheers and applause. The band was coming home from the Lilac Festival in Rochester.

Adam’s father is the late Wayne Burlison, the assistant marching band director and elementary school band teacher. Wayne was 36 when he died from colon cancer on March 26, 2014.

The announcer at the spelling bee used each of the words in the contest in sentence. For “sentimental,” the announcer said: “Sentimental. She gave her father a sentimental card for Father’s Day. Sentimental.”

Adam was like a machine as he spelled his words – geothermal, successful, voluntary, stockade, fantastic, dilute, ventricle and many others.

Adam Burlison competed against 45 other top spellers. His winning word: “sentimental.”

He was one of three Albion students at the competition in Grand Island. Madison Banker and Sawyer Brigham also competed. All three students are in Meghan Kania’s class. Sawyer also finished in the top 10.

The final three in the spelling bee made it through all of “expert” words on the fourth grade list. Then the judges asked words from a fifth grade list that contestants didn’t study.

Adam has honed his spelling skills by reading lots of books, his mother said. His favorite books are fiction/fantasy, which Mrs. Burlison said have a lot of unusual words.

The closed captioning also is on the TV in the Burlison home because Lisa has a slight hearing loss.

“I realized at an early age that he was learning to read from that as well,” she said about the words on TV.

She thanked his friends at school for helping prepare him for the spelling bee. They asked him words over lunch in the cafeteria.

“It really was a community effort,” Lisa said.

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