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Large solar array headed to Albion on Eagle Harbor Road

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 May 2019 at 7:35 am

ALBION – The Orleans County Planning Board on Thursday voted in support of a ground-mounted solar array for Panek Farms on Eagle Harbor Road, north of Route 31.

The project includes 2,268 panels and will generate 748.44 kilowatts of power to be used by the farm. Panek is working with Solar Liberty Energy Systems on the project, with the electricity to be used by the Panek for drying corn and other farm needs. The solar power is expected to reduce the farm’s electricity bill by $75,000 annually.

Jim Panek, one of the farm owners, said the solar arrays will cover about 32 acres of non-productive farmland at an area that used to be a practice track for harness racing.

The farm has planted a row of trees as a visual buffer for the solar panels. The site is ideally located about a quarter-mile from an electricity substation. As part of the application, Panek is taking responsibility for removing and decommissioning the solar panels should the project become obsolete.

This is the third solar project backed recently by the County Planning Board. In December the board approved two projects in Ridgeway – 11,745 panels on Beals Road that would be for 4.3 megawatts and 18,295 panels on Allis Road that would be for 6.8 megawatts.

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Albion bio students get flowers ready for Main Street

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 May 2019 at 6:53 am

Provided photo

ALBION – Eighteen of the AP Biology students from Albion High School did the class’s annual planting of the downtown flowers this week. The bio students have been providing this community service for the past six years. It is a fitting end to the year-long class, said teacher Sandy Climenhaga.

Students study the importance of plants as well as structure and biological properties. The students will also continue to plant and care for the downtown flower bed by the canal. This is planted as pollinator friendly with plants known to attract the bees as well as butterflies, Climenhaga said.

Pictured include, front row, from left: Emma Mathes, Laiken Ricker, Emily Harling and Rylee Pearles.

Middle row: Alexa Adams, Trinity Allen, Nolberto Marinez, Logan Conlon, Josh DePoty, Avalina Hand, Kirsten Struble, Katelyn Spierdowis and Alex Zaczek.

Top row: Spencer Sietmann, Tyler Goslau, Kolin VanGorder, Jacob Thom and Addison Christ.

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.

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Royalty ready to serve at Strawberry Festival

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 May 2019 at 3:17 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The royalty has been picked for the 33rd annual Strawberry Festival, which will be June 7-8 in Albion.

Pictured from left include Hunter Zambito, prince; Ryan Krenning, king; Melissa Barnosky, queen; and Monica Thomas, princess.

They all submitted either an essay or artwork about the festival theme, “Albion’s lift bridges celebrating 100 years and still lifting.” Albion has two lift bridges and Orleans County has seven of the 16 on the Erie Canal.

In her essay, Barnosky praised the lift bridges for their century of service carrying many tons of traffic, while making way, when needed, for boaters.

“They are more incredible than most people in the community realize,” Barnosky said about the lift bridges.

The royalty will be in a carriage in the parade at 10 a.m. on June 8. They will also help drop the plastic turtles into the canal during the Turtle Race at 2 p.m. on June 8.

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Ron Vendetti retires as Albion code enforcement officer

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 May 2019 at 8:18 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: Ron Vendetti, center, speaks during a meeting in April 2018 with other local municipal officials, including County Legislator Ken DeRoller, right. Vendetti advocated for local municipalities to have standardized forms, setbacks and many regulations. He has worked as the code officer in Albion, Holley and Murray.

ALBION – The Albion Village Board this evening accepted the retirement notice from Ron Vendetti. His last day as code enforcement officer will be Thursday.

That will end a career spanning nearly 20 years with Albion. Many residents have complained he was often rude and abrasive, or too nit-picky when he would cite them for code violations.

Vendetti did have fans, especially with several corporations which invested in new buildings or major renovations in the village.

Many significant projects happened in his tenure, especially on Route 31 and South Main Street with new stores or major renovations by Tops, Dollar General, Monro Muffler, McDonald’s, Eckerd (now Rite Aid), Tim Hortons, Dunkin’ Donuts, Kentucky Fried Chicken and several others.

“We appreciate everything he did with the grants and the developments,” said Mayor Eileen Banker.

She said the village will advertise the position. Some of the workload in the meantime will be picked up by Tracy Van Skiver and Scott Bradshaw, current village employees who work part-time in code enforcement.

Vendetti was fired by the village as codes officer on Feb. 27, 2008, where he was accused of a pattern of rudeness with residents and incompetence on the job when he missed a court date to defend a ticket.

Vendetti sued and got his job back as well as back pay.

He was hired in 2002, when Ed Salvatore was mayor. Vendetti went about “cleaning up the village,” ridding Albion of many unlicensed vehicles and cracking down on unkempt homes and properties.

He acknowledges it can be a difficult job, with many people not happy to hear from him.

He wrote a letter to the editor of the Orleans Hub that was posted on June 27, 2018, after a Murray resident complained about his work as well as his role with the local Republican Party.

“No there is no politics in code enforcement, every violation has a picture,” Vendetti wrote. “The code enforcement position is a Civil Service job, it has nothing to do with politics. I was number 1 on the list when I was hired. There is a lot more to code enforcement than property maintenance. My job is to protect the people in the Town. When there is a fire, a faulty appliance producing carbon monoxide, a car crashing into a house, I go out whatever time of night. When a contractor does faulty work I inspect and have it corrected.”

Vendetti continues to work as codes officer in Holley. He wasn’t reappointed as Murray code enforcement officer this year, although the town approved a “confidential separation agreement” with him for an undisclosed sum.

Vendetti and the Town of Murray last month were both sued by Anthony Manno, owner of A & M Automotive and Transmissions in Fancher. He was in the parking lot at the Fancher Post Office on Route 31 on Feb. 23, 2018, when Vendetti drove over Manno’s right foot.

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Albion honor grads urged to wade into deep waters

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 May 2019 at 9:02 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Bryce Pritchard, one of 39 Albion seniors with a GPA at 90 or above, is presented his honor cords from his parents Lisa and Brad Pritchard. The Albion academic honors convocation dinner was held at Hickory Ridge Country Club.

Elissa Good Smith, a 1998 Albion graduate, addresses this year’s honor grads. She has earned a Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy from Niagara University and works as the Pre-K to 6 grade principal at Lyndonville.

ALBION – The top-ranked students in Albion’s Class of 2019 were recognized on Monday during the 11th annual academic honors convocation dinner.

The school district invites students and their families to the annual dinner for seniors with cumulative grade point averages at 90.0 or above. This year’s class has 39 students at that level. They were all presented certificates and honor cords.

The dinner’s tradition includes welcoming back a recent honors graduate who has attained professional success.

Elissa Good Smith, a 1998 Albion grad, addressed the group. She works as the PreK-6 principal at Lyndonville. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish at the University of Mount Vernon, master’s degrees in Educational Leadership from St. Bonaventure University and Communications from SUNY Brockport. She then earned her Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy from Niagara University.

Smith said she dabbled in many activities at Albion, from running track to cheerleading to being in the band, changing her instrument in ninth grade from flute to bassoon.

She thought she would be a minister. But Smith has a love for languages and made that her focus in college.

She told students to go from the shallow waters to a deep lake, and really immerse themselves in something they are passionate about.

She didn’t intend on a career in education, but Albion needed a Spanish teacher when she was right out of college. Ron Sodoma was the superintendent at the time and he urged her to apply.

She loved the job.

Jeff Evoy, the late Medina school district superintendent, was one of her teachers at Albion. When she was comfortable in her role as a teacher, Evoy urged her to pursue school administration.

That prompted her to “swim a little deeper” into her career as an educator.

She thanked her “Purple Eagle family” for their encouragement. That network will be there for the new Albion grads, too, Smith said.

She urged students to reach out to their Albion teachers, coaches, school counselors, even after graduation when they are at a crossroads or a time of doubt in college or their careers.

They offer buckets of water, helping the new grads to turn puddles into lakes, and wade deeper into their career and life paths, Smith said.

The Albion students graduating with a cumulative weighted GPA of 90.0 percent or higher include: Alexa Adams, Malory Adams, Evan Allen, Trinity Allen, Haylie Allis, Jocelyn Bedard, McKenna Boyer, Morgan Brower, Harrison Brown, Addison Christ, Jace Conn, Jessy Cruz, Kirk Ellison, Jacob Ettinger, Delaney Ford, Anna Geldard, Angelica Genno, Avalina Hand, Brylie Hapeman, Susan He, April Henchen, Kaylyn Holman, Arella Ives, Kate Krieger, Matthew Kovaleski, Natalie Lathrop, Enoch Martin, Emma Mathes, Madison Narburgh, Sierra Newton, Devin Olles, Emma Papponetti, Tess Pettit, Bryce Pritchard, Marie Reynolds, Jessica Schleede, Kirsten Struble, Chantel VanDeGenachte, and Hannah VanEpps.

Jacob Ettinger was among the 39 students recognized at the academic honors convocation dinner.

Trinity Allen is congratulated by the Board of Education for her academic success.

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National Night Out planned for Bullard on Aug. 6

Photo by Tom Rivers: Robert Wagner, an Albion police officer, did a demonstration with Rex, the department’s K9, during National Night Out on Aug. 7, 2018. Wagner had Rex sit and show other obedience. Rex also found a ball that one of the children hid in the field as part of the demonstration. Bullard will be under construction for much of the summer, but that work is expected to be done in time for National Night Out. If it isn’t, the event may shift to the elementary school parking lot.

Posted 20 May 2019 at 11:51 am

Press Release, Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni

ALBION – The Albion Police Department and Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition are co-organizers of the Orleans County National Night Out and are proud to give an update on this year’s event that will take place on Aug. 6 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Bullard Park on East Avenue. This is the fifth year of our event and it is going to be largest so far.

National Night Out started in the 1980s as a way to bring law enforcement and citizens together on the same night each year. We have expanded on that principle and put together an event that focuses on bringing many agencies and organizations together on the annual National Night Out date each year. Participants in the event will include law enforcement, fire agencies, EMS responders, civic organizations and other groups that will be providing activities, demonstrations and giveaways.

Our mission is simple. We want an event where families can come for a night and be entertained at no cost and eat for free in an environment that is free of violence, alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Our goal is to have those that attend walk away with a positive contact that can assist with any needs a person may need. We strive to make this event a one-day event that lasts all year long.

This year we have been very fortunate to have had many organizations not only willing to participate in the event but we have received donations and support from many local organizations and businesses. This year’s event features free hot dogs and water, child seat inspections with free replacements, a bike rodeo with bikes on hand, helmet giveaways, and much more.

We are very excited to doing a “Battle of Belts” competition again this year to promote vehicle passenger safety. The competition entails teams of 4 who compete to see who is the fastest getting into car and fastening their seatbelts. Each contestant then must switch seats and again fasten their seat belts. The time ends when each person has sat in each seat in the car. This event is fun to participate in and even more fun to watch. There is still time to enter and details can be found on the event Facebook Page (click here).

We are always looking for organizations that wish to be a part of the event or those who wish to donate. Any group that wants to be a part of this great community event is asked to contact us for more details.

For more information contact Chief Nenni at the Albion Police Department 585-589-5627, or Pat Crowley at 585-331-8732,

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Lots of recognition for Albion, Lyndonville-Medina school musicals at Stars of Tomorrow

Photos by Tom Rivers: Kate Krieger starred as Cinderella in Albion High School’s production of Into the Woods, which was named an outstanding musical in the annual Stars of Tomorrow competition.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2019 at 4:02 pm

ROCHESTER – Two musical productions by schools in Orleans County received lots of accolades Thursday night at the Stars of Tomorrow competition in Rochester, which recognizes the top school musicals in the Rochester area.

Albion and Lyndonville-Medina both won several awards. Albion, which competes with many large suburban schools in Division B, performed Into the Woods on March 29-30 and Lyndonville-Medina, in Division D, performed Sister Act from March 22-24.

Albion was recognized with the following awards:

• Outstanding Overall Musical

• Outstanding Production Crew

• Outstanding Orchestra

Laiken Ricker, left, as Milky Way and Nate Grammatico as Jack were both recognized by Stars of Tomorrow.

• Outstanding supporting actor for Nate Grammatico as Jack

• Outstanding supporting actress with Myleigh Miller as Little Red Riding Hood

Myleigh Miller was named an outstanding supporting actress in her role as Little Red Riding Hood, shown here in a scene with the Wolf, played by Zach Kilner.

• Adjudicator’s Tip of the Hat award to Laiken Ricker for her portrayal of Milky White

• Special Recognition to April Henchen (actress), Morgan Brower (costume design) and stage crew/production team members Dan Grabowski, Ashley Ames, Aisha Drisdom and Kyle Sidari.

Enoch Martin performed the role of the Baker for Albion. He is featured in round 2 of Stars of Tomorrow next week.

• In addition, Enoch Martin, who had the lead role as the Baker, advances to round 2 of the Stars at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Rochester Auditorium Theatre. Tickets are free and available at the door. Martin is hoping to earn a spot competing at the NYC Jimmy Awards. He also has the opportunity to be chosen as “Fan Favorite” earning him 4 box seat tickets to the National Tour premiere of the new Donna Summer musical. To vote for him, text SOT12 to 75327. People can vote every 24 hours in that contest. Nate Grammatico also was nominated but decided not to be in that competition.

Layna Viloria, second from right in front, portrays Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act. Deloris is a nightclub singer who is sent to a convent in hiding after she witnesses someone being killed. She takes over the choir and the nuns respond to her high-energy style.

Lyndonville-Medina won the following awards for Sister Act:

• Outstanding student pit orchestra

• Outstanding acting ensemble

• Tip of the hat for Qasim Huzair, Sawyer Wilson, Anna Lewis and Sarah Cochrane

• Rising star awards to Layne Hodgins and Elizabeth Whipple

Sawyer Wilson, who played the role of a dancing custodian, was recognized for his efforts on the stage.

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Albion students recognized for Strawberry Festival poster designs

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2019 at 7:39 am

Photo courtesy of Deb Boyer

ALBION – The Albion Rotary Club on Thursday recognized three Albion students for their poster designs for the upcoming Strawberry Festival, which this year has a theme celebrating the lift bridges in the community.

Evan Allen had the winning design, which will be featured in posters and other promotions for the festival on June 7-8.

Pictured from left include Nicolina Creasey, second place; Evan Allen, first place; Leonel Rosario, third place; Don Bishop, chairman of the Strawberry Festival planning committee; and Richard Remley, Rotary president.

The Strawberry Festival is in its 33rd year and includes music, food vendors, arts and crafts vendors, a big parade on June 8, a 5K and 8K race, and many other events. For more on the festival, click here.

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Scouts put flags on veterans’ graves at Mount Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 May 2019 at 9:22 am

Photo courtesy of Rick Merrill

ALBION – Scouts from the Albion area spent Wednesday evening putting American flags on the graves of soldiers at Mount Albion Cemetery.

Scouts in the Albion area every year place flags on veterans’ graves at Mount Albion and St. Joseph’s Cemetery, both on Route 31. The Scouts take care of the veterans at the two cemeteries before Memorial Day, which this year is May 27. The effort includes about 2,000 flags.

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Rain forces Albion to push back start of youth baseball season to June 1

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 May 2019 at 10:53 pm

ALBION – Normally the Albion Midget League is well into its season but this year the six teams have only been on the field a few times for practice.

The season was scheduled to open on May 4 but was pushed back to May 18. Today, after a walk-through on the soggy Midget League Field behind the Albion Town Hall, opening day was pushed back two more weeks until June 1, nearly a month later than usual.

Dan Bartlett, coach of Sandstone Park, said the extra two weeks should ensure the six teams all get in enough practices to be ready for opening day.

After washouts on Monday and Tuesday, the teams hoped to practice today. But then the rains returned late this afternoon.

“Enough of this rain, enough,” Bartlett said.

Besides the muddy base paths, pitcher’s mound and batter’s box, the fields are so wet it’s hard to get a lawn mower out to cut the high grass.

The Albion Midget League, which started in 1956, will have an opening day ceremony at 11 a.m. on June 1, and all of the players – about 125 in the league – will be introduced at the Midget League Field. A ceremonial first pitch will be tossed and then it’s time to play ball.

June 1 also is the date for the annual chicken barbecue to benefit the league.

The season is slated to end with the championship game on July 20. The Barre Cubs have won the title the last four years. The other teams include Sandstone, St. Mary’s, the Vets, Rotary-Lions and Carlton.

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