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325 students perform in All-District Concert at Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 March 2017 at 9:59 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Chris Shabazz, an Albion eighth-grader, plays the saxophone during this evening’s All-District concert in the high school gym.

Shabazz was one of 325 students in grades 4 through 12 to play in a instrumental band for the school.

Albion fourth- and fifth-graders performed in the concert, which was the first public performance for the fourth-graders in the band. The school district has the concert to celebrate March as Music in Our Schools Month.

Sophia Zambito plays the chimes as a percussionist in the high school band. All of the students in the bands joined together to conclude the concert by playing “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey.

Mike Thaine leads the high school band. He thanked the parents and community for supporting the music program at the school district.

Albion eighth-grader Jacob Thom plays the trumpet during the concert.

Members of the junior high band wait for their turn to perform.

Elementary band teacher Lindsey Fix directs a group of fifth grade musicians.

The Albion music program has been honored the past eight years with national awards through the North American Music Merchants. NAMM has named Albion a “Best Communities for Music Education.” The NAMM organization gives out the award to recognize districts that make music a priority, especially in an era of tight school budgets and packed student schedules.

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2 congregations say ‘win-win’ with shared church building

Photos by Tom Rivers: Linda Glantz, pastor of the United Methodist Church in Albion, preaches during this morning’s service held at Christ Church, an Episcopal Church. The United Methodists have their service at 9:30, followed the Episcopalians at 11 a.m.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 February 2017 at 5:08 pm

2 years ago United Methodists in Albion started holding services at Episcopal Church

Christ Church holds services for the United Methodist Church at 9:30 on Sundays, followed by the Episcopalians at 11 a.m.

ALBION – Two church congregations have been sharing a building for almost two years now, and the partnership has gone extremely well, leaders from both the United Methodist Church and Christ Church said today.

The United Methodists have been holding services at Christ Church, an Episcopal Church building, since Easter in April 2015. The United Methodists left their historic building at the corner of Platt and East State streets. That building faces a costly roof repair that church members said would take $1 million to fix. That proved too much for the congregation.

They have had the building up for sale and the North Point Chapel, which currently meets at the Arnold Gregory Memorial Complex, has submitted an offer. The sale needs a final approval from the state Attorney General’s Office.

North Point is the church that paid for fireworks in Albion on July 5 for three years. North Point has scheduled a 10 a.m. service on April 2 for the church launch at the former United Methodist building. Click here for more information.

“It will be nice to see the building rejuvenated,” said Reid Cole, chairman of the United Methodist church board of trustees.

He has been a part of the church for more than 50 years, since he was a kid.

The United Methodist Church building has been vacant for about two years. North Point Chapel has submitted an offer than has been accepted by the United Methodists, but needs final approval from the State Attorney General’s Office.

Cole and other United Methodists praised the Episcopalians for sharing their building at 26 South Main St.

“The Episcopalians have been more than welcoming,” said Marie Follett. “They have been wonderful.”

Follett attended services at the United Methodist building for more than 50 years. She continues to play the organ for church services. The United Methodists also have choir practice on Wednesday at Christ Church.

The United Methodists have their hymnals and songbooks on a cart and hand them out for their services. There are about 30 to 50 regular attendees on Sundays for the 9:30 service.

“It’s been good to be able to share space,” Follett said.

The churches share the costs for heating, snow plowing and cleaning services. That has helped the Episcopalians.

Each congregation goes to each other’s community dinners, and other celebrations.

“It’s been a win-win,” said Jan Cheverie, a member of the Christ Church vestry.

Christ Church holds services at 11 a.m. That later service worked well with scheduling for the United Methodists, which have had an earlier worship time.

Jan Cheverie, serving as acolyte during this morning’s Episcopal service, extinguishes the candles at the end of the service.

The United Methodists have a coffee hour after their service, and sometimes that stretches until after the Episcopal service. Members from both congregations can find themselves socializing until well after noon.

Linda Glantz became pastor on July 1 of the United Methodist churches in Albion and Holley. She is pictured inside Christ Church today. Glantz is leading both United Methodist churches in planning for the future.

Linda Glantz started as the United Methodist pastor on July 1. She also leads the United Methodist congregation in Holley.

She said the Albion congregation experienced a loss with leaving its building that was its home for more than 150 years. Now the focus is on the future and being a vital congregation for years to come.

The church leadership is meeting to focus on the next steps – including where to hold services. The United Methodists may decide to stay long-term in the shared role with Christ Church, or it may look for another spot. The church leadership will weigh that decision.

“It is a process to get the church from healing to seeing what the future holds,” Glantz said.

The United Methodists are going to meet the next few weeks in the fellowship hall for church services. That way they can decorate for the Lenten season. Right now there is some shuffling of sacraments and other elements in between the two services.

The Episcopalians are grateful to see their historic building, the oldest of the church buildings at the Courthouse Square, being better utilized, said Kevin Doherty, a warden with the church.

“A used church building is much better than an unused one,” he said after today’s services.

During announcements today at Christ Church, Doherty urged the group to attend an Ash Wednesday observance this Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. led by the United Methodists.

The Rev. Judy Hefner, supply priest for Christ Church, shares an announcement at today’s service. Hefner is holding a prayer devotional that the United Methodists have available for the everyone.

Judy Hefner, the church’s priest, also held up a prayer devotional made available by the United Methodists. She urged the congregation, which today numbered 10, to read the booklet. She said she would include it in her own daily devotionals.

Hefner, a supply priest, said there hasn’t been any hard feelings among the two congregations, which have different styles of worship.

“It’s been good to be able to share space,” she said.


Marie Follett plays the organ at the Christ Church. Follett has been a member of the United Methodist Church for more than 50 years.

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National Night Out returns Aug. 1 at Bullard Park

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 February 2017 at 2:37 pm

Metro 10 will also be back on Aug. 19

File photos by Tom Rivers: Local firefighters did an extrication drill, removing the top of a car, during last year’s National Night Out, one of many activities at Bullard Park. This year’s National Night Out will be Aug. 1.

ALBION – Two events will be back at Bullard Park for their third year in August.

The National Night Out is scheduled for Aug. 1. It has grown from 200 people in 2015 to 1,200 last year.

The Metro 10 race, pitting runners from Rochester and Buffalo, will also be back, starting and ending at Bullard Park after a 10-mile course. That race will start at 8 a.m. on Aug. 19.

Police Chief Roland Nenni advised the Village Board on Wednesday of the events. Nenni asked for exclusive use of Bullard for National Night Out. The event is free to the community with games and activities, as well as free food and the chance to meet law enforcement officers and representatives from many local agencies.

The event also includes a Battle of the Belts competition where teams of four run to a vehicle, buckle their seat belts and then throw their hands in the air. A referee then yells rotate and the four team members have to buckle belts at four different seats in the vehicle.

Runners start the Metro 10 race last August on Route 31 in front of Bullard Park. This year’s race is scheduled for Aug. 19.

There has also been a bike rodeo, and other demonstrations by local agencies. Nenni said plans are taking shape for this year’s event, which is sponsored by the Orleans County United Against Substance Abuse Coalition.

The Metro 10 race needed some last-minute assistance from the village to secure permits from the state Department of Transportation to close down a section of Route 31 briefly for the race last August.

Nenni told the Village Board that he will take the lead in securing the DOT permit, as well as permission from the State Canal Corporation because a section of the course is along the towpath.

Thom Jennings, the race director, attended Wednesday’s Village Board and thanked Nenni and the village for their help with the race, which includes a post-race party at Bullard Park.

“I can’t say enough about the work Chief Nenni has done for the event,” Jennings told the board. “We wouldn’t be able to do it without him.”

Jennings said 120 runners have already committed to the race on Aug. 19, which is well ahead of the registrations at this time of the year in the first two races. Last year’s race was capped at 300 runners. Jennings said the cap will likely to expanded to about 400 to 500 this year. He is looking for manageable growth for the race. Click here for more on Metro 10.

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Albion village looks for ways to boost water pressure/volume on Allen Road

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 February 2017 at 11:35 am

ALBION – The Village of Albion has heard from residents on Allen Road for many years who complain about low water pressure and volume.

The village has tried to improve the situation, but Allen Road residents, and some who live on the side streets, continue to say there is a problem.

Village Trustee Mattea Navarra met with several residents on Allen Road recently and they told her they feel like the village has given up on the problem.

The water pressure often falls below 42 pounds per square inch, and some residents see their water slow to a trickle if they try to wash their car outside.

The village Department of Public Works isolated valves along the line to check for pressure and that wasn’t the problem, said Todd Sargent, DPW superintendent.

The village would like some expertise from John Papponetti, an engineer with Labella Associates. Papponetti is a former village resident and Village Board member.

His father, Harry Papponetti, has endured low water pressure or volume for 27 years. Harry Papponetti said the pressure and volume were better when Albion had standpipes at the corner of Route 98 and Allen Road. They were removed in the early-1990s and the Allen Road neighborhood now gets its water from a 3-million-gallon tank at the corner of Route 31A and 98 in Barre.

That tank has higher elevation, and engineers expected it would boost pressure and volume for Allen Road, but Harry Papponetti said that hasn’t been the case since the new storage tank went on line more than 20 years ago.

When the tank is full, there is stronger water pressure, village officials said.

“We’ve been talking about this for months,” said Trustee Stan Farone. “We need to come up with a game plan.”

Village officials, including Sargent, said they would meet next week to focus on resolving the issue.

“We need to communicate with the residents to let them know we’re working on it,” Navarra said.

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Schools get ready for busy March

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 February 2017 at 9:21 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Larry Gaylord, a member of the Building and Grounds Department for Albion Central School, changes the sign this morning for the school, advertising a March 3 basketball game between faculty and state troopers. That game starts at 6:30 and is a benefit for the Middle School FFA.

Albion, Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina school districts are all closed for classes this week for mid-winter break.

Next week, the districts begin a busy stretch of the school year. Gaylord said March will require many updates for the sign.

The other side of the sign promotes a March 1 district-wide concert.

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National carnival magazine highlights attraction created in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 February 2017 at 8:46 am

The February issue of “Carnival” has a four-page feature on Hudson Magic Midway.

“Carnival” is a monthly magazine highlighting trends and attractions in the amusement industry.

ALBION – A carnival attraction, that has been 65 years in the making, is highlighted in the February issue of the magazine, Carnival. (Click here for more on the magazine.)

The magazine features the amusement industry, and includes a four-page article on Hudson Midway Magic, which was created by Jay Pahura and Charlie Zicari. They followed Harold Hudson, who initially created large-scale model rides of carnival attractions. Hudson created rides for more than 30 years.

Hudson’s miniature carnival started in 1953 when he first made miniature midway rides in the basement of his home on Caroline Street in Albion. The display eventually filled two garages from front to back and Hudson welcomed the community to see them. When Hudson died in 1989, he left his miniature carnival to Zicari.

Zicari and Pahura, who have been friends since elementary school, have refurbished many of Hudson’s rides, and created new ones. They have replicas of the rides from the 1950s to the most recent ones. They rides are all motorized and illuminated. The display at Hudson Magic Midway gives a history of midway rides.

Hudson Magic Midway is in a 40-foot-long air-conditioned trailer. Pahura and Zicari have taken the Magic Midway to the Erie County Fair, Orleans County Fair and to a Fourth of July celebration in Lancaster.

This photo published in “Carnival” shows the rides created by Harold Hudson.

“There’s a lot of interest,” Pahura said in taking Magic Midway to other fairs. “Right now we’re taking baby steps.”

Both Pahura and Zicari have full-time jobs – Zicari works for Wegmans and Pahura is a motor equipment operator for the Village of Albion Department of Public Works.

“We’re both working full-time and we only have so much vacation,” Pahura said.

But retirement isn’t too far away, and Pahura thinks the Magic Midway could be popular at major state fairs.

“This is so unique,” he said about the one-of-kind attraction.

The rides are hand made without kits. Hudson made his midway models with cardboard, wire and dowel rods.

Zicari and Pahura have made the new midway replicas out of brass, casting resin, styrene and water jet cut aluminum.

The inside of the trailer is black-lit and the walls  are painted with a night scene with clouds and stars to give it a planetarium feel. Zicari and Pahura used several coats of fluorescent paint on the rides.

Many of the visitors to the Magic Midway like to take selfies and videos, and they share them on social media.

Pahura and Zicari said they continue to look for ways to add to the customer experience at Hudson Magic Midway. They are planning to add video screens outside and inside the attraction, featuring the Magic Midway, the amusement and also highlighting sponsors.

Photos by Tom Rivers: Hudson Magic Midway is a one-of-kind experience that pays tribute to an Albion man who loved the carnival scene. Pahura and Zicari have 50 grand-scale reproductions of carnival rides, showing an evolution of carnival rides from the 1950s to the most recent ones.

The rides are illuminated and show a history of amusement park attractions, as well as popular concessions and games such as Skee Ball. The rides are all fully operational on a small scale – but not too small. The Sky Wheel is nearly 5 feet tall at 56 inches.

Pahura and Zicari spent many years developing this attraction, meticulously creating the models by hand that are a showcase of midway history.

The trailer that houses the miniature carnival has flags on top, panels that tell the history of the project, and a striking design.

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No snow, still lots of fun at Bullard winter event

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 February 2017 at 8:44 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Christmas trees are burned in a bonfire at Bullard Park this evening in an event put on by Energize Albion.

The Albion DPW collected the trees that were discarded at the curb after the holidays.

The bonfire was part of what was intended to be a winter celebration at Bullard today, with snow-related challenges, such as a sledding distance and snowboarding contest. The snow didn’t last long when the temperatures hit 60.

Energize Albion was able to switch to spring-weather events, with basketball, kite-flying and other challenges.

Isaac Sugar, 8, tries to throw a tennis ball through one of the holes in the snowman. Skip Stratton made the snowman cut-outs.

Isaac Sugar, left, and his cousin Aaron Sugar had fun trying to throw the tennis balls through the snowman targets.

Crystal Hand, left, and Jessica Downey serve hot cocoa, which proved popular even on a warm day.

A food truck served hot dogs, hamburgers, fries and other food.

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‘Hope and Love’ at Albion community concert in honor of Elaina Webb

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 February 2017 at 4:51 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – This ballet quartet – Michayla Kovaleski, front left, and Lauren Thomas, and Laiken Ricker, back left, and Rylie Lear – perform Landslide during a community concert this afternoon at the First Baptist Church in Albion. The dancers are part of Gotta Dance by Miss Amy.

The concert is a benefit for Elaina Webb’s family. Elaina, 2 ½, passed away from cancer on Feb. 7. Her mother, Beth Webb, worked several years as a dance instructor at Gotta Dance.

Aleka Schmidt, pastor at First Baptist, welcomes about 150 people for the concert, “Hope and Love are in the Air.”

Amy Sidari, the Gotta Dance owner, shares an inspirational message she called, “Greatness.”

Zachary Neal played three solos on the piano.

The High School Men’s Select Chorus sang two songs, “Blue Skies” and “Catch a Falling Star.”

Gary Simboli directs the Men’s Select Chorus. Simboli also sang two solos, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Make You Feel My Love.” He also directed at the High School Women’s Select Choir.

Albion High School senior Angela Tarricone sang, “Let It Be” and “My Heart Will Go On.”

There were 18 different performing acts altogether in the concert.

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Big crowd comes out for basket auction to benefit Albion Middle School musical

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 February 2017 at 9:45 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Sydney Mulka plays Glinda the Good Witch in the Albion Middle School production of The Wizard of Oz. Aubrey Boyer, front right, is playing Dorothy.

The cast gave a preview of the show tonight during a benefit at The Pillars. The show is more expensive than most middle school shows and tonight’s basket auction will help cover the costs for costumes, backdrops, sets, licensing, etc.

Carrie Kozody, the middle school musical director, addresses about 175 people at the event. The show will be March 17-18 at the Middle School Auditorium.

Community members and businesses donated 80 baskets for the raffle. The event was organized by parents of students in the middle school cast and crew.

Aubrey Boyer sings as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

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Albion Merchants have new leader, more events in 2017

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 February 2017 at 7:49 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Lisa Stratton, owner of the Hazy Jade Gift Shop in Albion, is pictured with two of the wine bottle cutouts that will promote a wine-tasting event next month.

ALBION – The Albion Merchants Association has a new leader for 2017 and an expanded lineup of events to promote the downtown and community.

Lisa Stratton last month was elected by the membership to serve as president. She succeeds Adam Johnson, who led the group in 2016. Sarah Brigham also was elected as the vice president.

Brigham is the owner of S-n-L Sweet Escapes. She doesn’t have a storefront. She has a commercial kitchen at her home in Knowlesville.

Brigham has been active in the Merchants, and is taking the lead in planning the upcoming wine-tasting event on March 11. The “Sip and Stroll” wine-tasting had been in August but was moved up to better accommodate wineries.

“I don’t have a storefront but I want to see Albion grow,” Brigham said. “There is a lot of stuff going on in Albion. We just need people to come down and support it.”

Brigham and Stratton worked together to make two 8-foot-high cutouts of wine bottles to promote the wine-tasting event. Those signs will be placed on Main Street, with one planned for the routes 98 and 31 intersection and another a few blocks north of the canal. Stratton will keep an existing one by her store, the Hazy Jade Gift Shop.

Stratton will be celebrating the five-year anniversary of her store next month. She has been active with the Merchants Association for five years, but this is her first time leading the group as president.

“I just want to see our community thrive and our businesses succeed,” she said.

She has spearheaded the downtown flower effort, making sure there are flowers in planters and hanging baskets. She also organizes a group of volunteers who water them on weekends over the summer.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Stratton: Sarah Brigham, owner of S-n-L Sweet Escapes in Albion, paints a sign promoting the March 11 wine-tasting event in Albion.

Stratton is a regular at Village Board meetings and she has pressed the Village Board to establish a downtown rental subsidy for businesses that move into the downtown. Those funds could be combined with a rental subsidy through the Orleans Economic Development Agency to help a business cover the rent while the merchant gets established.

The more businesses in the downtown, the bigger a shopping destination Albion could become, with the businesses drawing traffic for each other, Stratton said.

She would like to see more specialty shops. She said the U-Need-O Burrito store, which opened last year on July 1, has been a welcome addition to Main Street.

Brigham said Stratton has strong support of the AMA’s 32 members.

“She promotes everywhere she goes and she gets things done,” Brigham said.

Some upcoming events for 2017 include: a 14411 Doors Tour on April 22, led by Tom Rivers and highlighting Albion architecture; May 20, community yard sale; flower planting in May; June 9-10, Strawberry Festival; July 10, Cycling the Erie Canal welcome booth; Aug. 12, community yard sale and sidewalk sales; Oct. 7, scarecrow contest and shopping tour; Oct. 27, Beggars’ Night; Nov. 25, Small Business Saturday; and Dec. 9, Hometown Holiday.

“The events bring people in the shops and see what we have to offer,” Stratton said.

The Merchants welcome more members and volunteers for the events. Check the group’s Facebook page for more information.

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