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Kids delight in sledding and fun at Bullard

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 February 2018 at 5:40 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Aria Santiago, 4, heads down the hill at Bullard Park when many kids were at the park enjoying a sledding and snowboarding competition.

The park is hosting games and competitions from 3 to 7 p.m., with a bonfire of Christmas trees at 6.

Patrick Fox of Albion, lower left, and Mason Rhoda of Albion head back up the hill for another trip.

It was ideal sledding conditions with lots of snow and temperatures in the high 20s without much wind.

Charles Santiago, 8, of Albion enjoys a fast trip down the sledding hill.

Kim Remley, one of the organizers of the event with Energize Albion, calls out for snowboarders to see how far they could go down the hill.

Lisa and Skip Stratton made this igloo out of milk jugs. There also is a food truck at the event.

Mason Rhoda and Aria Santiago help each other walk up the hill for another turn of sledding.

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Bonfire, snow events return to Bullard today

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 February 2018 at 10:04 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Christmas trees are piled up at Bullard Park on Friday. Today they will be set on fire in a bonfire at the park.

Bullard is hosting sledding, snowboarding and snowman building competitions at the park today from 3 to 7 p.m. Winners for all contests will be announced immediately prior to the lighting the bonfire. All contests and games are free.

At 3:30, the contests start with sledding until 4 p.m. Judges will be measuring distance for sledders from the top of the hill. That is the same for the snowboarding contest from 4 to 4:30 p.m.

There will be a snowman building competition from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Albion has hosted winter games at Bullard twice before, but this is the first time there is lots of snow on the ground.

“We’ve never had the proper weather to do this,” said Kim Remley, one of the organizers. “Last year there was no snow.”

There will also be kiddie games at Pee Wee Park, the little kids’ section of Bullard, from 3 to 5 p.m.

At 6 p.m., the trees will be set ablaze for the bonfire.

There is also free hot chocolate and S’mores while supplies last. Other food items will be available for purchase.

The Village of Albion, the Albion Fire Department, Energize Albion, the Albion Merchant’s Association and United Structural, LLC have organized the event at Bullard.

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Father-Daughter Dance draws a big crowd

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 February 2018 at 9:07 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The 20th annual Father-Daughter Dance drew 250 people to the Ronald L. Sodoma Elementary School cafeteria on Friday evening. Jeremiah Knight of Albion was a first-time attendee. He is dancing with his daughter McKinley, wearing the red and black dress.

Harvest Christian Fellowship in Albion organizes the annual dance held on the Friday near Valentine’s Day.

The 250 attendees just missed setting a record for the biggest crowd ever for the dance. Last year there were 260. The event has grown in popularity over the years. Prior to last year, it had only topped 200 people once. Some of the fathers and daughters have been attending the event each year for more than a decade.

Many of the girls who attended the event were happy to dance with their friends, as well as their fathers.

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Albion and Holley police officers will carry Narcan

Posted 8 February 2018 at 2:37 pm

Albion also will start using “less-lethal” bean bag projectiles

Press Release, Roland Nenni, chief of Albion and Holley police departments

All Albion and Holley police officers have been trained in the use of the newest form of Naloxone, commonly known as Narcan. Every officer has completed the required training and will be carrying the lifesaving drug.

Naloxone is a drug that temporarily blocks the opiate from acting on the body and allows enough time for more advanced medical treatment. Naloxone is safe and will not cause harm if it is administered to someone suffering from an overdose of a non-opiate or other medical condition. Naloxone is administered via a Nasal Atomizer and does not require a needle.

“With the rise in the use of heroin and other opiates there have been many overdoses that have caused death and other serious long term medical issues,” Police Chief Roland Nenni said.

Police officers from Albion and Holley often are the first on scene at medical emergencies. If a person has overdosed on an opiate and is in serious condition, officers will be able to administer Naloxone in an attempt to save the person’s life. The administration of Naloxone has saved many lives across the country.

“These saved lives have not been isolated to drug users but have also involved children that have accidently ingested an opiate,” Nenni said.

This is only one of the many initiatives that the Albion and Holley police departments are conducting to fight this horrible epidemic that are impacting lives of not only the persons using illegal opiates but the families and associates of users.

The Albion Police Department has recently placed into service a “Less Lethal Program” that will allow officers additional options other than lethal force in certain situations.

Less-lethal guns that fire a Drag Stabilized Bean Bag Projectile have been placed in each Albion patrol vehicle. While less-lethal is not always an option in volatile fast-moving situations, it gives officers additional tools to use when appropriate, that will hopefully reduce death and injuries, Nenni said.

While every police officer carries a Taser, this option requires close proximity, increasing the officer’s likelihood for injury. The Drag Stabilized Bean Bag Projectile allows for greater distance for deployment, reducing the risk of injury to officers and suspects.

This type of less-lethal option was only available to officers in Orleans County by the Multi Agency SWAT Team, which has an array of less-lethal options.

“The problem with only SWAT having this type of less lethal option is the time involved in getting SWAT operators on scene,” Nenni said. “Often the types of incidents that can be handled by less-lethal are quickly evolving and time is of the essence.”

The Albion Police Department being the only road patrol at this time having this option will respond anywhere they are requested to assist other agencies.

The training that Albion Police Officers went through to be certified consisted of both classroom instruction and live-fire range qualification.

The cost of the program was minimal as the guns that are used were obtained through a legal seizure process from guns that were possessed by the Police Department. The guns were seized in cases involving a crime or weapons that were turned over the department because of other situations.

“The goal of the Albion Police Department is to save lives in any way that we can,” the police chief said. “Human life regardless if a victim or suspect is precious and we must always work toward the protection of life.”

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Kevin Doherty will run for Albion mayor on independent line

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 February 2018 at 8:36 pm

Will seek to ‘Spark Some Action’ with focus on customer service from village and better relationships with EDA, neighboring municipalities

Kevin Doherty

ALBION – The election for the next Albion mayor will likely include three candidates. Kevin Doherty, the president of the Hoag Library board of trustees, announced today he will run for mayor under the independent “Spark Some Action.”

Doherty operates a communications maintenance business. He lives on West Park Street. He and his wife Linda have six grown children.

Doherty said the Democratic and Republican parties are backing candidates who won’t push the change that is needed in Albion.

“If re-treading candidates were an effective strategy, would the conversations continue to only be about the deterioration of downtown, property taxes and keeping everything the same? Quoting Ronald Reagan, ‘Here we go again!’”

The Republican Party on Tuesday backed Eileen Banker, a village trustee for eight years, as its mayoral candidate while the Democratic Party picked Joyce Riley. The election is March 20.

Doherty needs a petition signed by at least 100 registered voters in the village to be eligible to be on the ballot. He can start circulating petitions Feb. 6 and they are due in the Village Office by Feb. 13.

“The elected officials of our Village have and have had good hearts and great intentions, but their results have been limited,” Doherty states on his campaign website – kevindohertyformayor. “In this year when there is no incumbent mayor, I offer 40 years of experience highlighted by the building the Hoag Library, to lead the Village of Albion into a future of thoughtful progress through collaborations with all the people, not just the few and faithful Democrats or Republicans.”

Photo by Tom Rivers: Kevin Doherty, president of the Hoag Library board of trustees, speaks during a ribbon-cutting celebration for the new library on July 7, 2012.

Albion is the only village in Orleans County that has candidates run under the two major political party lines.

“Although the backing of a major party organization may still be necessary for election to county-wide and higher office, limiting the pool of candidates to party faithful in a village of 6,000 people is self-defeating,” he said.

Doherty, in his role with Hoag Library, was instrumental in the design and 2012 construction of their new facility on South Main Street. Prior to starting his own business, he was superintendent of Buildings and Grounds for the Albion School District, an industrial electrician at the A&P’s soap manufacturing plant in Brockport, and a field service technician, later Operations Manager, for Ronco Communications’ Rochester branch. He was a member of the Albion School Board for 12 years.

He said there needs to be “purposeful direction by the village leadership” to entice more people to invest in the community.

“We need to separate ourselves from our peers – coming to Albion has to be the best experience for homeowners and business locators,” he said. “The library folks may tire of the mantra, but they, and the village, need to be like Wegman’s. Customer service is so consistently high that you like to shop there. Albion needs to be the place where people want to come!”

Doherty said he would “diligently drill down into the numbers” of the village budget. He was chided during a recent forum on law enforcement efficiency when he suggested the village could reduce some costs in the police budget, which accounts for about half of the village tax rate.

Doherty said “whining” about more state aid and local sales tax revenue won’t lead to results. Albion can better attract people, businesses and investment by creating a community where people want to live.

“Anyone who visits the Village MUST be impressed with our outstanding customer service and willingness to support any effort to improve the tax base,” he writes on his website. “Any Village employee or elected official who leaves a less than exemplary impression, on a vendor, a constituent, another municipal employee or visitor will have to be counseled.”

Other nearby villages – Medina, Holley, Fairport and Mount Morris – are seeing success by working with their local and state economic development officials, and real estate professionals to market their communities, Doherty said.

“We are 30 miles from the Rochester Tech Zone, even closer to the coming Alabama Technology Park in Genesee County,” he writes. “Are we ready to build houses and welcome some of their projected thousands of employees?”

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Republicans back Eileen Banker for Albion mayor

Photo by Tom Rivers: The three Republican candidates for the March 20 election chat after being nominated for the positions at the GOP caucus this evening at Hoag Library. Gary Katsanis, left, was nominated to serve as a village trustee, while Eileen Banker was backed to be mayor, and Stan Farone was supported for another term as village trustee.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 January 2018 at 9:28 pm

Gary Katsanis, Stan Farone are GOP candidates for village trustees

ALBION – The Albion Republican Committee tonight picked its candidates for the March 20 village election with Eileen Banker topping the slate as the mayoral pick.

She will be joined on the ballot by Republicans for village trustee, Gary Katsanis and Stan Farone.

Banker has been on the board the past eight years as a trustee, including the past four years as deputy mayor. She works as the chief of staff for Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

Dean London, the current mayor, is not seeking re-election. He nominated Banker to be his successor during the Republican caucus at the Hoag Library.

“She is very committed and dedicated to the village,” London told the room of about 35 Republicans.

Banker also is on the board of directors for Community Action of Orleans & Genesee, and on the advisory council for Genesee Community College. She also has been a long-time supporter of the Albion Fire Department. (Her husband Dale is a former chief and the current emergency management coordinator for Orleans County.)

Banker said she favors continued shared services with neighboring municipalities. She said the Department of Public Works shares equipment and personnel with local town and the county highway departments.

Albion also has agreements with the Village of Holley for providing personnel. Roland Nenni, the Albion police chief, also leads he Holley department. Albion sewer staff also run Holley’s sewer plant and the sewer system in Elba.

“We are looking at shared services and that is huge,” Banker said after the caucus.

She said the village has some positive projects in the works, including a major upgrade at the Bullard Park this year, including a new spray park. A state grant is covering nearly $500,000 of the work.

Albion has also started offering a downtown rental subsidy program to encourage more businesses to locate in the historic district.

The village also created a new local development corporation with a focus on acquiring vacant houses and getting them occupied and back on the tax rolls.

“There is no quick, easy answer,” she said about the vacant houses and some of the empty storefronts.

One issue Banker doesn’t support is eliminating the village police force. A study by the Center for Governmental Research said an option in local law enforcement services would be eliminating the village police departments and have the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office provide the service in the villages. That would result in a big tax cut for village residents while raising county taxes.

Banker doesn’t want to see the village lose local control, or have a slower response time for police calls.

“We have a police department that is second to none,” she said. “We have top-of-the-line police officers and with our police chief.”

Republicans also backed Stan Farone for the Village Board. Farone, a Kodak retiree, has been on the board for one term. He helped start the Energize Albion group, which has planned several events in Albion.

“We have started a lot of projects,” he said. “I want to see them finished.”

He is looking forward to the work at Bullard Park and sees the LDC making a difference in getting residents living in many of the vacant houses.

Farone works part-time for the Mental Health Association of Orleans & Genesee Counties as a project manager. He works out of the Albion drop-in center at the Arnold Gregory Office Complex.

Gary Katsanis previously served as a village trustee. He was backed for a return this evening. (Former Mayor Ed Salvatore also received six votes to be a trustee candidate, but Farone had 22 and Katsanis, 30.)

Katsanis is retired after working in medical data analysis for Strong and then Blue Cross. He managed a staff that stretched from Buffalo to Utica.

Banker said she is pleased to see Farone and Katsanis want to be on the board. Banker said Katsanis is “a numbers guy” who digs into the “nitty, gritty.”

Katsanis was on the board when the village started discussing a project that would have solar panels on village-owned land. Those panels are expected to be in place at the sewer plant this year, reducing electric bills by $100,000 a year, Katsanis said.

The Democratic Party endorsed its candidates on Monday with Joyce Riley for mayor, and Jason Dragon and Sandra Walter for village trustees. There is still time for candidates to submit petitions to run as independents.

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Democrats back Joyce Riley for Albion mayor, 2 for trustees

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 January 2018 at 10:41 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: Joyce Riley, a retired nurse and former Albion Board of Education member, was nominated for Albion mayor during the Democratic Party caucus this evening at Hoag Library.

ALBION – The Democratic Party has three candidates to run for the Albion Village Board during the election on March 20.

The Democrats held the party caucus at the Hoag Library this evening and nominated Joyce Riley for mayor, and Jason Dragon and Sandra Walter for trustees. The positions are all for four years. The election will be from noon to 9 p.m. at the Village Hall, 35-37 E. Bank St.

The Republican Party will have its caucus at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Dean London, the current mayor, has said he isn’t running again.

Riley is a former member of the Albion Board of Education. She worked as a registered nurse and later supervised an ambulatory surgical unit in Washington, D.C., overseeing 200 employees. When she retired, she moved back to Albion in 2015. She lives on Linwood Avenue.

“I think it would be very good for the village to have someone coming in who wouldn’t be an insider, someone who has open eyes,” Riley told 19 Democrats who cast votes at the caucus.

Riley said she worries about the village’s shrinking tax base and declining population. That will make it a challenge to maintain existing services without raising taxes.

“We need to form alliances and work collaboratively with the towns, county and the other villages,” Riley said. “The business owners and residents all have an investment in this community. I believe you can get good ideas from anybody. We’re married to what’s best overall.”

Riley said she would have an open-door policy and would welcome input from “people who want the best for the community.”

Sandra Walter

The Democrats also endorsed Walter and Dragon for village trustees.

Walter ran for the board four years ago and wasn’t elected. Her concerns from four years ago haven’t gone away. She said she worries about the decline in the community. She sees it when she goes for walks around Albion.

Walter retired about two years ago. She worked as a claims processor for CRFS in Albion. Before that she was a supervisor in collections for Dime Bank and North American Mortgage in Albion.

The West Bank Street resident said the village residents are overtaxed, and that has led to some of the decay in the neighborhoods. The high taxes also chase out some residents and businesses.

Jason Dragon

Walter said the Democratic Party candidates will present their platform soon, and will have ideas for reducing the village taxes.

Dragon, an East Avenue resident, works as a software engineer/consultant. He also manages the website for the Orleans County Democrats.

Dragon grew up in Albion, moved away and returned. Despite its challenges, Albion remains an attractive place to live, Dragon said.

“Our goal is to make sure Albion continues to be a good place to live in the next 20, 30 and 40 years,” he said at the caucus.

Dragon said the government may need to change how it provides services to be more efficient and in line with the resources in the community.

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Retired Albion teacher publishes book, featuring student reflections from 7th grade

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 29 January 2018 at 4:57 pm

‘The book is a resource for anyone dealing with transitioning students. Teachers and parents can often be bewildered by their 7th grader and changes in attitude.’

John Adriance

Former Albion Middle School students who had John Adriance for 7th grade Social Studies may remember well writing a paragraph about themselves during the first week of the school year.

Adriance taught at Albion from 1979-2006 and recently compiled an e-book with the help of his son Patrick, which features 165 of the paragraphs and is entitled, “There Are a Lot of Things I Could Tell You About Myself, But I’ll Keep It Short: Expectations, Self Perceptions, Aspirations, and Concerns on the Eve of 7th Grade.”

The paragraphs were selected out of over 2,700 which Adriance reviewed. The names of the students who wrote the paragraphs are kept private, he says, and explains that the paragraph writing assignment served a number of purposes.

“I wanted to get to know the students, their likes and dislikes so that I wouldn’t offend them,” Adriance says. “I wanted them to know I was interested in them and that I cared.”

The paragraph also provided Adriance with a sample of the students’ writing, enabling him to assess their grammar and communication skills.

Adriance saved all the paragraphs he collected over his 27 years at Albion and eventually began to consider compiling a book of them.

“The book is a resource for anyone dealing with transitioning students,” Adriance said. “Teachers and parents can often be bewildered by their 7th grader and changes in attitude.”

Seventh grade is a time of great changes for young people as they begin adolescence and move from childhood to adulthood. Young people become more social and their friendships change, Adriance observed, some begin to have boyfriends and girlfriends.

He said the paragraphs reflect the emotional and physical changes 7th graders experience and range from the unusual to the thought-provoking, providing a unique and personal window into the world of young people ages 11 and 12.

Patrick Adriance designed the cover and other illustrations in the book.

“The book helps one to learn what they value and what concerns them,” Adriance said. He added that many of the same issues came up over the nearly 30 years of paragraphs, while other things changed – more students coming from broken families, for example, and less and less use of cursive handwriting.

Adriance worked with his son, Patrick, a 1994 graduate of Spencerport Central High School, to edit and publish the book. Patrick also provided 16 illustrations for the book designed to compliment the thoughts that are conveyed and to create a humorous vision in the reader’s mind.

Patrick, who lives in North Carolina, said he enjoyed working with his dad on the project.

“I was blown away that my dad had saved all of these student passages from his entire career,” Patrick said. “To me, it just shows his dedication and love of teaching.”

Patrick said both he and his dad learned a lot about the process of publishing e-books and found formatting the illustrations proved especially challenging, but he hopes to publish more e-books in the future.

“There Are a Lot of Things I Could Tell You About Myself, But I’ll Keep it Short” was published in December 2017 through Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes and Nobel.  Click here for the Amazon link to the book.

Adriance said his years of teaching at Albion were very rewarding and he enjoyed the 7th grade age group.

“They are a nice group to teach,” he said. “They are still open-minded.”

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Big community turnout to support Matt Grammatico, who is awaiting heart and liver transplant

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 January 2018 at 6:11 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

CARLTON – Albion High School chorus members perform during a benefit today for Matt Grammatico and his family. Matt’s son Nate, far right, is in the chorus.

Matt, 45, is awaiting a heart and liver transplant.

Matt Grammatico greets some of the many friends and community members who attended the benefit today at the Carlton Rec Hall. The event continues until 7 p.m.

Grammatico, a former truck driver for 17 years for Nabisco in Batavia, opened his own automotive repair business in June in Hamlin.

Richard Flanagan, left, and Jacob Ettinger join other students in the music program in serving up spaghetti dinners today.

Brian Krieger, left, and Patrick Holman both volunteered to cook spaghetti. There was enough food for 1,000 dinners.

Nate Grammatico and his grandfather Mike Grammatico, a retired Albion music teacher, play their saxophones during the benefit.

There were also more than 100 gift baskets to be raffled off.

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Long-time insurance agent in Albion retiring – sort of

Photo by Tom Rivers: Bernie Baldwin is pictured today in his Albion office at 121 North Main St. He has worked out of the building for 13 years selling MetLife insurance. He started his career with MetLife at an office in Rochester.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 January 2018 at 5:49 pm

Bernie Baldwin has been selling MetLife for 25 years

ALBION – A local insurance agent for MetLife is closing his office in Albion next week and retiring – sort of.

Bernie Baldwin has 30 years in the insurance business, including 25 years with MetLife. He started with MetLife 25 years ago out of an office on Latta Road in Rochester. The Albion resident convinced the company to open an office in Albion in 2005. Baldwin has been running that one-man office since then out of 121 North Main St.

He is retiring as an agent and closing the office next week. However, Baldwin will continue as a customer service representative for MetLife, working out of his Albion home.

Baldwin wanted to stay on and help many of his clients while the they transition to a new agent.

“The clients have been great – that’s what I’ll miss the most,” Baldwin said today.

But he said the job is demanding – “everybody needs something.”

At his Albion office, he has done it all without any coworkers. He thinks the clients liked talking directly to him, whenever they reached out to the office.

Baldwin started his career selling auto and home insurance, but expanded into life insurance, and coverage for boats and small businesses.

He used to go door to door, meeting clients in their homes and filling out applications by hand on paper. Now, much of the work is online. Some clients he’s never actually met in person. But most he knows quite well and considers friends.

Baldwin said 121 North Main has been a great spot for the business. The building is owned by the Village of Albion. He shares space with the Orleans Economic Development Agency, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, the Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern and Crossroads Abstract.

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