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Holley library celebrates new Saturday hours, children’s librarian

Photos by Kristina Gabalski: Families listen as “Miss Grace” (Grace Azzolino), the new children's librarian at the Community Free Library in Holley, reads books featuring library themes during a special story time on Saturday morning.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 6 February 2017 at 10:15 am

“Miss Grace” reads a story about Dewey, the Library Cat, during story time on Take Your Child to the Library Day.

HOLLEY – New Saturday hours at the Community Free Library in Holley proved to be very popular as many families with young children turned out for a celebration Satruday morning in honor of the new hours and the library’s new Children’s Librarian Grace Azzolino.

A special story time featuring books about libraries, book-related crafts and refreshments were all part of the celebration which took place on “Take Your Child to the Library Day.”

Library Director Sandra Shaw said the new Saturday hours (10 a.m. to 2 p.m. throughout the school year) are made possible by a grant obtained from State Senator Robert Ortt.

“The grant enabled us to hire a children’s librarian and expand our programs,” Shaw said. “We are also expanding our adult programs ….  we’re gonna have a fun time.”

“Wacky Wednesdays” for adults began on Feb. 1 with a digital photography workshop and will continue on Wedneday, March 1 with a beginning quilting program at 6:30 pm.

“It’s absolutely wonderful,” Holley resident Michele Antram said of the Saturday hours. She brought her youngest daughter,

Savanna, 4, to Saturday morning’s festivities. Antram said she works during the week, so having the library open on Saturdays means she can enjoy library visits with her daughter.

Families attending the Community Free Library celebration enjoy a story from Children’s Librarian “Miss Grace.”

Families had an opportunity to craft library card holders, book marks, and “turtleneck” bookmarks made from popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners following story time.


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Holley girls’ basketball teams will raise funds to fight cancer on Wednesday

Staff Reports Posted 30 January 2017 at 4:25 pm

Press Release, Holley Central School

HOLLEY – The Holley Girls’ Basketball program on Wednesday will be hosting their fourth annual “More Than a Game Fight Against Cancer Basketball Fundraiser.”

The JV game will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Holley Middle School/High School Gym with the varsity game to follow at 7:30 p.m. The Hawks will be playing against the Alexander Trojans.

Spectators are encouraged to wear lavender to support all cancer research. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go directly to the More Than a Game Foundation. Holley has raised over $10,000 the past three years.

At the game, there will be a chance to purchase tickets for a Chinese auction gift basket raffle, a 50/50 drawing, and grand prize raffle; the opportunity to participate in a half-court shooting contest; and other activities. Grand prize tickets can be purchased from a girls’ basketball player or coach.

Keith Roth Allstate Insurance Company has donated a 49″ LG Ultra 4K TV and a brand-new Xbox One S as one of the grand prizes. The other grand prize, donated by Holley Central School District Faculty and Staff, is a pair of tickets to the Maroon 5 concert on Sunday, March 5, and a gift card to Blu Wolf Bistro. Raffle ticket holders do not have to be present at the event to win a prize.

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Holley keeps ambitious jump-roping goal to benefit Heart Association

Photos by Kristina Gabalski: Rene Bibaud gets ready for her performance/presentation to Holley Elementary students Friday morning.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 27 January 2017 at 6:26 pm

Four-year-old Lucas, a member of the Holley Central Pre-K class, promises to maintain a positive attitude before “Double Dutch” jumping.

HOLLEY – Five-time world jump rope champion, ESPN commentator, and former Cirque du Soleil performer Rene Bibaud wowed students at Holley Elementary School Friday morning with her jump-roping skills during a high-energy, interactive assembly to kick off the school’s annual Jump Rope for Heart event.

This is the school’s 33rd year participating in the program to benefit the American Heart Association.

Holley Central School has raised more than $251,000 during that time. Last year, nearly $7,750 dollars was raised, and this year’s goal is $8,000.

Bibaud told students she became interested in jump roping in fifth grade, after a jump roping team visited her elementary school.

“I have been jump roping for 37 years,” she told students. “It is a wonderful way to have fun and be active.”

Bibaud lives in Seattle, Wa., and owns her own company called Ropeworks, which shares the benefits of jump roping.

Robyn Swan, director of Youth Markets for the American Heart Association in the Buffalo-Niagara Region, also spoke to students during the assembly about how their efforts help young people with sick hearts and about heart-healthy habits.

The school will hold its Jump Rope For Heart family event Saturday morning at the intermediate gym in the Elementary School from 9 to 11 a.m. Registration begins at 8:30 am.

Bibaud will be attending to share more of her skills with participants.

Teachers were not left out of the fun. Sixth grade teacher Mrs. Melanie Montague did a “Double Dutch” jump.

Banners from previous Jump Rope for Heart events are displayed in the hall of Holley Elementary School.

Bibaud had no trouble finding volunteers from a throng of enthusiastic students.

Robyn Swan presented this year’s orange Jump Rope for Heart banner to students.

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Despite ‘freeze’ at EPA, Schumer tells Holley he will push agency to transfer 8 homes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 January 2017 at 5:22 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, shown speaking in Holley on Aug. 14, 2014, at the former Diaz Chemical site. John Kenney, Holley’s mayor at the time, is in back.

HOLLEY – U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer told Holley officials today that a “freeze” on all contracts and grants from the Environmental Protection Agency shouldn’t slow down the transfer of eight homes owned by the EPA.

Those houses were abandoned by previous homeowners when they feared the homes were contaminated by a release at the former Diaz Chemical in January 2002.

The EPA has had the sites cleaned. The village has been trying for years to have them put back on the market, boosting the village’s tax base and population.

Schumer sent a letter to the EPA today, Schumer’s office notified Holley Mayor Brian Sorothcy and Dan Schiavone, chairman of the Village of Holley Development Corporation – the entity that would take possession and then try to resell the properties. Some of the proceeds from the sale would go to the village to be used for other economic and community development.

“In light of the reported new policy requiring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to freeze and review action on all pending EPA contracts and grants, I write to strenuously oppose any delay or any reversal in the EPA’s long anticipated and soon-expected transfer of eight houses in the Village of Holley to the Village of Holley Development Corporation (VHDC).

“When the EPA purchased these eight houses a decade ago as part of its response and clean-up of the 2002 Diaz Chemical toxic chemical release, the Village of Holley lost an estimated $700,000 from its tax base and neighboring homeowners suffered from vacant properties marring their community.

“Fortunately by 2014 the EPA determined the eight houses were free of any contamination from the Diaz release and together with the VHDC initiated a plan to transfer ownership of the houses to the VHDC, which in turn would put the houses on the market for sale to new owners.

“This agreement was codified in a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the EPA that the Village of Holley signed in September 2016.  Prior to enacting this new freeze and review policy on January 24th, quitclaim deeds to the properties were being prepared for the EPA by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers  (USACE) along with related materials needed for the EPA to process the deed transfers within a matter of weeks. ‎

“This new freeze and review policy must not side-track or derail the transfer of these properties.  A promise is a promise and the signed Memorandum of Agreement directing the transfer of these properties back to the Village of Holley must be abided.  I request your immediate assurance that the transfer process will not now be reversed or delayed.”


Charles Schumer

U.S. Senator

Schumer also issued this statement to the media about the Trump administration decision’s to freeze all EPA grants and contracts:

“EPA’s fundamental mission to protect clean air and clean water for public health and safety is being impeded by the unprecedented decision to freeze all grants and contracts. This decision could have damaging implications‎ for communities across New York, from delaying testing for lead in schools to restricting efforts to keep drinking water clean to holding up much-needed funding to revitalize toxic brownfield sites. The Administration should reverse this damaging policy immediately.”

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Residents sign petition for new bank in Holley

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 26 January 2017 at 8:05 am

Photo by Kristina Gabalski: The former First Niagara Bank sits empty in a prominent spot of the Public Square in Holley.

HOLLEY – There has been “quite a response” to a petition in support of an effort to bring a new bank to the Village of Holley.

Holley Village Clerk Deborah Schiavone said two pages of the petition at the village offices are full (there are about 30 signatures per page). Local businesses have the petition available and they have requested more pages as the ones they have fill up.  Schiavone said she planned to get petition sheets to the Town of Clarendon offices this week.

The First Niagara branch in Holley closed this past October as part of a consolidation by Key Bank.  Prior to the closing, local officials made a concerted effort to convince KeyBank to keep the Holley First Niagara branch open.

Those stakeholders included officials from the Towns of Kendall, Murray, Clarendon, the Village of Holley, the Holley Central School District, the Kendall Central School District, the Holley Community Free Library and the Holley Joint Fire District.

That effort didn’t sway KeyBank, but the local group is now focusing on finding another bank to take up residence at the Public Square site.

Orleans County Legislator Ken DeRoller has been working to reach out to players in the marketplace.

“It’s a very important issue,” he said of bringing a bank back to the community. “We are all trying our best to bring some kind of banking opportunity to Holley.”

DeRoller said that might come in the in the form of anything from full service banking to an ATM.

“We believe there is an opportunity here,” he said, while noting, “banking has changed.”

The former First Niagara branch building has everything necessary for full-service banking, including safety deposit boxes and a safe, but DeRoller said he is finding that the footprint of the building is considered large.

He said it is important that the community makes it clear through signing the petition, that they want banking opportunities in Holley and that they will make use of the service if an interested bank is found.

“You’ve got to use it or lose it,” DeRoller said. “We still have hope (of finding a new bank) if people step up and sign those petitions.”

In addition to municipal offices in eastern Orleans County, the petition is also available at local businesses.

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Holley grads from 2016, now in military, attend basketball game

Posted 24 January 2017 at 1:34 pm

Photo courtesy of Holley Central School

HOLLEY – Close to the holidays, some familiar faces were seen at a Holley Middle School/High School home basketball game. Five students from last year’s senior class attended the game together in their military uniforms. They are pictured from left: Ronnie DeWaal and Ross Pinson from the Marines, Thomas Kelly Jr. from the Air Force, and Clarence Moyer and Santino Morales from the Army.

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Health Department director says bed bugs are growing concern countywide

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 January 2017 at 6:56 pm
Photo from New York State Department of Health: Bed bugs are small, flat wingless insects that are reddish-brown in color and approximately one-quarter inch long. They don’t fly but can crawl rapidly.

Photo from New York State Department of Health: Bed bugs are small, flat wingless insects that are reddish-brown in color and approximately one-quarter inch long. They don’t fly but can crawl rapidly.

Holley Central School isn’t alone in battling bed bugs. The district has been in the news today after discovering bed bugs in two elementary school classrooms.

The district brought in an exterminator to treat the classroom, as well as the hallway and neighboring classrooms.

Bed bugs have a growing problem throughout Orleans County, said Paul Pettit, public health director.

“It’s definitely on the increase,” Pettit said today. “Year by year we’re getting more calls and complaints.”

The bed bugs don’t carry disease but they are a nuisance, and difficult to get rid of, Pettit said.

They are “hitch hikers” attaching themselves to clothing, backpacks, coats, sofas and suitcases.

When they are in a house, they often hide in cracks and crevices in couches, or behind beds. They feed on blood and some people may wake up with bite marks. That’s a sign they should look closer to see if there are bed bugs in their home, Pettit said.

People are transient, going to movie theaters, hotels and other public places. It ‘s no surprise the bed bug complaints are on the rise, Pettit said.

He advised people to get rid of clutter, and try to keep a clean house, regularly washing bed sheets and pillow cases.

He urged people not to pick up discarded furniture by the curb. That furniture might be infested.

“This is an issue people need to be aware of,” Pettit said. “Anybody can get them.”

The New York State Department of Health issued these recommendations to avoid bringing bed bugs into your home:

• When staying in a hotel, place your bag on a suitcase stand rather than on the bed or floor. Keep the rack away from walls or furniture. When returning home, wash the clothes from your trip and put them in a hot dryer.

• Inspect new and used furniture before bringing it inside. Look in seams, tufts and under cushions.

If you have bed bugs, the Health Department recommends these actions:

• Clean and get rid of clutter, especially in your bedroom.

• Move your bed away from walls or furniture.

• Vacuum molding, windows and floors every day. Vacuum sides and seams of mattresses, box springs and furniture. Empty the vacuum or the bag immediately and dispose of outside in a sealed container or bag.

• Wash sheets, pillow cases, blankets and bed skirts and put them in a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes. Consider using mattress and box spring covers –the kind used for dust mite control–and put duct tape over the zippers.

• Seal cracks and crevices and any openings where pipes or wires come into the home.

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Holley school takes action after finding bed bugs in 2 elementary classrooms

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 January 2017 at 9:59 am

HOLLEY – The school district has found bed bugs in two elementary school classrooms recently. It brought in an exterminator to treat the classroom, as well as adjacent rooms and the hallway.

“We’re staying on top of it,” said Robert D’Angelo, the school district superintendent. “At this point it looks like we’re in good shape.”

Karri Schiavone, the elementary school principal, sent a notice to parents urging them to be on the look out for the bugs.

They are “hitch hikers” and can attach to student backpacks, coats and clothes, and move from one location to another, D’Angelo said.

The district has advised people to wash and dry clothes on the highest heat for 60 minutes. That heat is effective at killing bed bugs and their eggs.

Clothing, linens and other items that cannot be washed should be dried on high heat for 20 to 30 minutes, the district suggested.

Schiavone told parents in a letter that two live bed bugs and two dead ones were discovered. D’Angelo said district staff continue to be looking closely for any of the bugs. He urged the community to also take precautions.

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Reward for reading in Holley: limo ride

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 19 January 2017 at 3:30 pm
Provided photo: Students received a limo ride on Wednesday as a reward for leading their grade levels in reading.

Provided photo: Students received a limo ride on Wednesday as a reward for leading their grade levels in reading.

HOLLEY – Winners of the Holley Elementary Pick A Reading Partner (PARP) program were treated to a very special lunch Wednesday – a chauffeured limo ride to the Brockport McDonald’s.

The PARP program is designed to encourage kids to read with their parents on a regular basis.

This year’s program began Dec. 5 with students reading either on their own or with a partner. Minutes spent reading were tracked through Jan. 6 and two winners from each grade level were announced during an assembly Jan. 13.

This year’s winners are Ian Bannister, Jayden Rivera, Julianna Church, Caiden Murray, Kaitlyn Dodson, Felicity Virgilio, Dylan Warner, Brianna Pellegrino, Addison Probst, Parker Tower, Dawson Arnold, Hailey Gonzalez, Alyssa Armstrong, Allison Merle, Kayla Neale, Matthew Bull, Sarah Kelly and Casey Onisk.

The annual event is sponsored by the PTSA to encourage students to enjoy reading.

The students were recognized during an assembly on Jan. 13.

The students were recognized during an assembly on Jan. 13.

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Holley school officials discuss starting target shooting team

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 18 January 2017 at 9:52 am

HOLLEY – The Board of Education discussed forming a team for students to compete in target shooting.

Board member Melissa Ierlan during the Tuesday board meeting brought up having Holley join NYS HS Clay Target League.

Ierlan said she was approached by the Holley Rod & Gun Club regarding formation of a club/team for students.

Ierlan noted the Orleans County Clay Crushers youth shooting team, which includes trap, skeet and sporting clays shooting. She noted that trap shooting trap shooting is a long-standing Olympic sport which became popular as a high school sport nationally in the U.S. in the year 2000.

Teams would consist of five members, she said.  Both boys and girls in grades 6-12 would be eligible.

Ierlan said the club would provide an opportunity for, “kids who may not be served by other sports or academic clubs. It would teach teamwork as well as safety with firearms.”  Participants would take part in a safety course required for hunting licenses as well as an additional safety course after they join. Certified firearms instructors would serve as coaches.

“There are 12 schools involved in New York State,” Ierlan said. “It is growing every year.”

The Holley Rod & Gun Club would help to cover the cost of ammunition and targets, Ierlan said. That would keep the cost for students to between $50-$75. Participants would have to have their own transportation to the Rod & Gun Club and their own firearm to participate.

Ierlan said she has contacted Kendall School Board President Nadine Hanlon regarding the opportunity. The two school districts have been sharing some extracurricular programs.

“The idea sounds awesome,” said Holley Middle School/High School Principal Susan Corey. She said she would like additional information.

Superintendent Robert D’Angelo requested that the district consult with its insurance carrier regarding whether or not creation of the club would necessitate changes in the district’s liability insurance.

During the discussion, Middle School/High School assistant principal/athletic director Dan Courtney explained that clay target shooting is not a state-sanctioned school sport, meaning the group would be considered a school club rather than a school sports team.  He mentioned bass fishing is a sanctioned school sport, a sport which the Kendall Central School District offers students.

Cory said there are Holley students interested in a fishing team.

In other action, the Holley Board of Education on Tuesday evening approved having school principals set up Twitter accounts.

Board vice-president Robin Silvis made the proposal for Cory and Elementary Principal Karri Schiavone to set up accounts, saying Twitter is “a very good vehicle” for sharing information, particularly positive news.

(This article was updated from an earlier version to clarify trap shooting is a long-standing Olympic sport.)

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