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Holley school superintendent to retire June 30

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 March 2018 at 1:29 pm

D’Angelo leaves with praise from school leaders

Photos by Tom Rivers: Holley Central School Superintendent Robert D’Angelo and Susan Cory, the middle-high school principal, greet graduates at commencement on June 27, 2015.

HOLLEY – Robert D’Angelo, the school district superintendent for the past decade, is retiring on June 30. He leaves a transformed school district that tackled $40 million in capital improvements, and pushed to raise student achievement in the classroom, athletics and in extracurricular programs.

D’Angelo has been out on extended medical leave for nearly three months. On March 7, he notified the district he will retire on June 30. The district will be led by an interim superintendent the rest of the year. John Carlevatti, a retired Penfield superintendent, is Holley’s current interim leader.

D’Angelo leaves with deep appreciation from staff and the Board of Education for raising the bar for the district, including securing the community’s support for a major capitol project. D’Angelo attended numerous community meetings to convince residents to back the project.

“He was very instrumental getting the capitol projects going and changing the whole face of the district,” said Susan Cory, the middle-high school principal.

Robert D’Angelo served about a decade as Holley’s school superintendent.

The building was radically changed and upgraded with a capital project about five years ago. The building had been largely unchanged for 40 years.

“The students say we now have a real school,” Cory said.

D’Angelo was also promoting excellence in the classroom and with school programs, Cory said.

“He pushed high standards,” she said. “He had high expectations for instruction.”

The superintendent also backed an alternative education program for at-risk students in the high school. They take their classes at a wing in the elementary school.

He was willing to try new programs to give students opportunities, whether supporting the football program or a new geometry and construction class.

“He was student-focused first,” Cory said. “We try to think of what we can do to offer the best opportunity.”

Brenda Swanger, president of the Board of Education, said D’Angelo had an open door policy for students and community members. He worked hard to meet community leaders and was happy to have breakfast with students periodically. He also pushed to welcome senior citizens in the school for different events, including a senior citizen breakfast.

“The capital projects were his biggest accomplishment,” Swanger said today. “He was right on top of all the projects. He was very fussy how everything looked.”

She was impressed that D’Angelo welcomed feedback from parents and students, and also pushed to improve the safety of the school campus.

Even during a tight budget, D’Angelo was reluctant to eliminate programs.

“Bob was always in favor of offering the students opportunities,” Swanger said. “He didn’t want to abolish anything.”

The Holley Board of Education meets this evening and will discuss how it plans to pursue filling the vacancy. The district expects to work with the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES for a superintendent’s search that will include community feedback, Swanger said.

Robert D’Angelo, the district superintendent, is pictured on Dec. 1, 2014 while children try new exercise equipment in the fitness center, which includes four large flat screen televisions. The new fitness room was part of a series of capital improvements at the district.

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Murray hopes for late spring-summer construction for new water district

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 March 2018 at 8:33 am

MURRAY – The town expects construction to start in late spring for a new water district. There is one issue that needs to be resolved. Murray is trying to secure an easement from a resident for the project.

Jeff Martin, the town attorney, told the Town Board he is hopeful the issue is resolved soon. If the easement isn’t granted, the town may have to pursue eminent domain, where private property is taken for public use. That can be a drawn-out process.

Water District 3 Extension 1 will serve about 20 homes and 40 parcels. It covers about 3 miles on portions of Hindsburg, West Kendall and Center roads. The extension is off three roads on the western end of Ridge Road in Murray. The project will bring public water to some of the last remaining sections of the town without a waterline.

The federal government is providing $825,000 in assistance for the project through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program, with $456,000 in a loan and $369,000 in a grant.

In other action at last week’s Town Board meeting:

• Adopted a new local law where animal control now is under the county. The town used to have its own law for animal control, but the county has pushed for all municipalities to have the same law so there is uniformity in the county, which has two full-time animal control officers.

Residents will still need to get their dog licenses at the Town Hall.

• Discussed putting “No Trespassing” signs on town property, including land behind the Town Hall and the triangle by the Town Hall. Board members said snowmobilers and all-terrain vehicles have been seen on the land.

“There has been a plethora of motorized vehicles,” said Bob Miller, the town supervisor.

Martin, the town attorney, said he will check with Murray’s insurance provider on the language for the signs.

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Murray votes to keep tax exemption for Cold War vets

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 March 2018 at 10:05 am

MURRAY – The Town Board has approved keeping a tax exemption for Cold War veterans.

The exemption was set to expire. The board unanimously voted to continue it, this time without a sunset.

The exemption is good for eligible veterans who served in the military from Sept. 2, 1945 to Dec. 26, 1991. The exemption is good for up to 10 percent or a maximum of $4,000 off the assessed value of a property.

Murray has a tax rate of $4.83 per $1,000 of assessed property outside the village and $3.05 inside the village of Holley. At a $4,000 maximum for assessed value, the exemption would save a Cold War vet $19.32 outside the village and $12.20 inside the village.

Lynn Wood, the town assessor, urged Cold War vets to stop by the Town Hall and apply for the exemption, which also includes up to $20,000 off the assessment value for property owned by disabled veterans.

The Orleans County Legislature also recently voted to continue a tax exemption for Cold War veterans.

With a county tax rate of about $10 per $1,000 of assessed property, the maximum exemption would save a Cold War veteran about $40 in county taxes.

There are about 100 veterans in the county currently receiving the exemption, said Dawn Allen, the county’s director of Real Property Tax Services Department.

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Teachers, law enforcement continue charity basketball game tradition at Holley

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 March 2018 at 8:10 am

Provided photos

HOLLEY – Holley teachers and law enforcement officers in Orleans County played a charity basketball game on Tuesday that was part of a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House. Spectators paid a $2 admission for adults and $1 for students. There were also about 80 baskets up for raffle. The event raised $4,444, a new record for Holley.

The Holley teachers were the victors, 60-32. The teachers and law enforcement have played several basketball games in recent years for fun and to raise funds for a good cause.

The team from the school includes: front row, from left: Mike Crissman, Jen Boerner, Emily Harms, Mark Thomas, Brooke Sherburne and Jeff Cumpston. Back row: Coach Wil Prince, Andrew Grillo, Matt Hennard, Bill Silpoch, Nick D’Amuro, Sheena Hamiter, Tim Artessa, Jason Kinem and Jason Cole.

The law enforcement team included several graduates from Holley Central School. Front row: Deputy Jeff Cole (Kendall grad), Holley Police Officer Chris Glogowski (2007 Holley grad), Sheriff Randy Bower (1983 Holley grad), Chief Deputy Mike Mele (1995 Holley grad), and Gates Police Officer Shawn O’Mara (1990 Holley grad).

Top row: OC Sheriff’s Office Corrections Sgt. Mike Christopher (1987 Holley grad), Gates Police Officer Eddie Bower (2010 Holley grad), Greece Police Office Ryan O’Mara (2011 Holley grad), Deputy Jason Barnum (Lyndonville grad), Albion Corrections Officer Mike Sheppard (1997 Holley grad), Greece Police Officer Eric Sheffer (Holley grad) and OCSO Corrections Sgt. Chris Caufield (1996 Holley grad).

Photos by Tom Rivers: Eddie Bower waits to go in the game on Tuesday. Penny Cole, a cheerleader coach and secretary at the high school, is the lead organizer for the games. She will receive a community service award from the Ronald McDonald House next week for her support of the House.

Posters encourage teachers in their game against the law enforcement officers.

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Orleans officials seek meeting with Canal Corp. about next steps with tree clearing

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 March 2018 at 10:16 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: A tree stump sticks out of the snow by Sandy Creek in Albion in a spot just west of the Brown Street bridge in this photo from March 6.

MURRAY – Several officials from local municipalities attended a meeting last week in Brockport with the State Canal Corp., which detailed the next steps of the tree clearing. That meeting was largely focused on what the Canal Corp. plans to do in Brockport.

A contingent from Orleans County asked the Canal Corp. to hold a similar presentation in Orleans. Paul Hendel, a Murray town councilman, said the Canal Corp. is willing to hold a similar session, which would likely be in Albion.

Hendel attended the Brockport meeting along with Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty, Albion Deputy Mayor Eileen Banker, Medina Mayor Mike Sidari and County Legislators Ken DeRoller and John DeFilipps.

Hendel said Orleans County deserves to know the next steps in the project. Residents want to know how the canal banks will be remediated.

The Canal Corp. told Brockport residents the state agency would hire arborists to consult with Brockport homeowners about appropriate property lines to provide privacy, with the Canal Corp. paying the cost.

The Canal Corp. also will do low-growing vegetation on the cleared embankment, and will work with Brockport to identify and develop several public access points along the canal path.

The Canal Corp. hired a contractor to remove trees on canal-owned land beginning last fall. The clearing started in Medina and headed east. The tree removal upset many local residents.

The Canal Corp. said the clear cutting was necessary because the trees and their roots threaten the integrity of the canal banks, and make them vulnerable to leaks.

The stumps will be removed and the banks will become grassy slopes that will be mowed, the Canal Corp. said.

Kerri Neale, a Holley resident, said the loss of the trees by his property has eliminated a wind break. Two trees toppled on his property last month due to the loss of the buffer of trees by the canal. He told the Murray Town Board on Tuesday that he worries the tree cutters will take down many of the trees by Holley’s Canal Park, a popular spot that includes the Holley Waterfalls.

He said the community needs to be vigilant and know the Canal Corp.’s plans on whether there will be additional tree clearing.

He noted that three Monroe County towns – Pittsford, Perinton and Brighton – won an injunction to halt the tree clearing in their towns until the Canal Corp. and New York Power Authority complete an environmental review of the work.

Neale said the canal banks needed maintenance, but he questioned why so many trees were removed in Orleans and western Monroe.

“They didn’t give us the same respect as the people to the east,” he told the Murray Town Board. “They did it with such speed that the people couldn’t react to it.”

Bob Miller, the Murray town supervisor, said the three Monroe towns who filed the lawsuit were able to take action after seeing a “denuded” canal in Orleans and western Monroe.

“The rate at which they went through Orleans County was rather rapid,” he said.

Hendel said he is hopeful a public information meeting will soon be announced in Orleans County to detail the next steps of the canal bank maintenance plan.

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Students observe a solemn silence in memory of school shooting victims in Florida

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 March 2018 at 1:29 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Students at Holley Junior-Senior High School held a 17-minute memorial observance this morning in the auditorium. The Humanities class in the high school created 17 posters of the victims from the shooting a month ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Members of the class made the posters, and included the victims’ photographs, age, and information about their hobbies and activities at school.

“They’re not just names,” said Matt DeSimone, a member of the Humanities class and also the senior class president.

He read the names of each of the victims during the observance. There was 45 seconds of silence after each name was read.

Alaina Petty, 14, and Meadow Pollack, 18, were two of the victims in the shooting at the Florida school. Other victims include:

Alyssa Alhadeff, 14

Scott Beigel, 35, geography teacher

Martin Duque Anguiano, 14

Nicholas Dworet, 17

Aaron Feis, 37, assistant football coach

Jaime Guttenberg, 14

Chris Hixon, 49, athletic director

Luke Hoyer, 15

Cara Loughran, 14

Gina Montalto, 14

Joaquin Oliver, 17

Helena Ramsay, 17

Alex Schachter, 14

Carmen Schentrup, 16

Peter Wang, 15

Ricky Hodge holds a folded American flag in honor of Chris Hixon, the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas who was also a veteran.

The Humanities class worked on the program for the past two weeks, researching the victims and created the posters. DeSimone said the class didn’t want the observance to be a political stand about gun control.

“We just wanted to honor the victims,” DeSimone said.

He did the research on Alaina Petty, 14. She was a member of the Junior ROTC. She had strong faith and loved her family and friends, DeSimone said.

“She was just a 14-year-old kid who was going to school,” he said after the program in the auditorium.

Students weren’t required to attend the observance. Susan Cory, the school principal, said about 85 percent of the students in grades 7 through 12 attended the ceremony. Some students chose not to attend because they felt the service might be more against gun rights rather than remembering the victims.

Cory discussed the program with the Humanities class. She didn’t want students to walk out of the school, like so many have done today throughout the country. She worried about the students’ safety if hundreds went outside.

She was impressed with the power of the 17-minute program this morning. Many of the students in the crowd had tears.

“I got choked up,” she said. “It was hard not to.”

Dan Courtney (pictured at right) is Holley’s assistant principal and athletic director. He held the poster for Chris Hixon, the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Every 45 seconds, a different poster representing a victim in the school shooting was turned around, with the face of the victim showing.

“It definitely made it more real,” Courtney said about the service.

After the service, the 17 members of the school held the posters in the hallway.

DeSimone said he appreciated the respect shown by the student body.

“We want to thank you for coming and honoring these victims of school violence,” he said at the close of the program. “Please remember that we as students have a strong voice and that positive change can and will come from our efforts.”

Briana Colucci, a student in the Humanities class, said the Holley students were focused on honoring the victims from the shooting.

“Their lives were lost, but their memory lives on through our unity as a school, as a community, and as a nation,” she said in an opening message to start the program.

Wrist bands are being sold for $1 with proceeds to be sent to Marjory Stonemason Douglas.

Other schools in Orleans County also planned memorial observances inside the schools and team-building exercises to help students connect with their classmates.

The flag is lowered at Holley today.

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Lots of fun with charity basketball game at Holley

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 March 2018 at 11:31 am

Penny Cole named winner of McDonald’s Community Service Award

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – The Holley faculty and staff team, including social studies teacher Mike Crissman (center), is all smiles at a pep talk just before a charity basketball game on Monday evening in Holley.

The Holley teachers and staff won 60-32 in the game versus law enforcement officers in Orleans County. Holley started the game on a 15-0 run. About 300 people attended the game which was a benefit for the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester.

The event raised $4,444, by far the most in the 12 years Holley has been raising money for the Ronald McDonald House.

Several people tried their luck with half-court shots at halftime. Younger kids were able to get much closer to the basket, including Brynn Thomas, a Holley second-grader. Mike Sander, a referee for the game, hands the ball to Brynn. Her father, Mark Thomas (in back) played for the Holley faculty team. Thomas teaches seventh and eighth grade English at Holley.

Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower, a Holley graduate, coached the law enforcement team. Bower used to coach the Holley girls varsity basketball team. Many of the law enforcement team members who played on Monday were Holley graduates.

The Ronald McDonald House provides a place for families to stay while their children are hospitalized. Penny Cole, center, has organized several benefits for the Ronald McDonald House in recent years at Holley. She is shown announcing the winner of a 50-50 raffle.

“I think it’s a great cause,” she said.

Matt DeSimone, left, is a Holley student who served as announcer for the game. Julia Buck, the cheerleader, was hospitalized for five days in Rochester last summer after a boating accident at Brockport. Her mother was able to stay in the Ronald McDonald House.

Roxanne Wagner won the 50-50 raffle and donated the $170.50 to the Ronald McDonald House.

Representatives from the Ronald McDonald House High School All-Star Basketball Games attended the benefit game in Holley and announced that Penny Cole was a unanimous choice for the McDonald’s community service award for her efforts to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House.

David Dence, from the Ronald McDonald All-Star Basketball Game, gives Penny Cole a hug after announcing to the crowd she will receive a community service award for her work raising money for the Ronald McDonald House. She will be honored on March 21 at a banquet for the upcoming all-star game.

Holley cheerleaders celebrate after Cole was announced as a community service award winner. Cole and her daughter Heather Kelley are the cheerleading coaches.

The cheerleaders, including Kylie Towne, performed during halftime. The group recently finished second in the Genesee-Region League and third at Sectionals. Penny Cole and Heather Kelley were named the cheerleading coaches of the year for Section V and the G-R League.

Kennedy Jones and the cheerleaders gave a high-energy performance at halftime.

There were about 80 baskets up for raffle during the benefit.

Sal DeLuca, a former Holley Board of Education member, chats with some vocal members of the student body. DeLuca was one of the referees for the game.

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Holley elementary students raise $6K in jump rope event for American Heart Association

Posted 9 March 2018 at 10:26 am

Provided photos: Three students prepare to hula hoop at the Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart event at Holley Elementary.

Press Release, Holley Central School

HOLLEY –Holley Elementary School participated in their 33rd Annual Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart event on Feb. 10.  There were 67 students who participated in the event, and over 100 elementary students collected donations. To date, Holley elementary students have collected $6,300 in donations, exceeding the school’s target goal of $6,000 this year for the American Heart Association.

Students rotated through various stations where they could make cards, sign a large valentine heart and play games. Food Services Director Vickie Scroger provided participants with healthy snack options. Activities were supervised by current and retired elementary staff, and parent volunteers. Everyone enjoyed participating in this worthwhile cause and earning a variety of prizes.

A student is busy jumping rope during the event.

This year’s Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart event was held in honor of the late Jim Campbell, husband of recently retired Holley Elementary Physical Education Teacher Lisa Campbell. Lisa successfully organized this annual event at Holley Elementary for many years. Holley Elementary staff and retirees donated $543.50 to the event in honor of Mr. Campbell and presented a check to Mrs. Campbell for the American Heart Association. Special thanks to Lisa Campbell, her sons, daughter-in-law and mother-in-law, who came from out of state, to help support this worthy cause in memory of Jim Campbell.

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Holley kicks off spring musical season with Wizard of Oz

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 March 2018 at 9:58 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – It’s high school spring musical season and Holley High School’s Theatre Department will be performing three shows of The Wizard of Oz on Friday and Saturday.

The top photo is from this afternoon’s rehearsal and includes Matt DeSimone as the Tin Man, Sonya Kordovich as the Cowardly Lion, Hannah Bailey as Dorothy and Nina DiLella as the Scarecrow.

Dan Burke has been directing the Holley shows for 27 years. This is the first time he has directed The Wizard of Oz. He said Holley has the students with the zany personalities and talent to put on the show.

The Holley cast includes 60 students, 25 more in stage crew, and four helping with makeup, and six others that painted some of the set pieces.

Hanna Waterman portrays Glinda, the Good Witch. She is shown in Munchkinland.

Hannah Bailey is Dorothy and Toto is Oscar Harrington. Holley has a different student playing Dorothy for each of the three shows. Hannah is Dorothy for the 7 p.m. show on Saturday, while Abrianna Kruger is Dorothy on Friday and Jocelyn Cervone has the part on Saturday for the 2 p.m. show.

Holley rotates the lead roles and some other parts, so it isn’t the same students in those key roles for all three productions.

“It’s important to be inclusive and make sure every kid has a visible presence on the stage,” Burke said. “For a small school to put out three casts and put on the shows we do, it says a lot about the kids we have.”

Burke is the high school biology teacher and also coaches varsity baseball. He said the musical draws together students from different backgrounds and interests.

“The kids get to know each other,” he said. “They are working on a common goal.”

Jessica Sedore is the Wicked Witch of the West on the Saturday night show. Cheyan Palmer and Callie Updike also perform in the role.

Cory Spychalski is the mayor of Munchkinland. She makes her entrance after realizing Dorothy’s house landed on one of the Wicked Witches.

The munchkins are happy to see a nemesis, the Wicked Witch of the East, is dead.

Nina DiLella plays the Scarecrow on Saturday night. Matt Skehan plays the part as well.

Matt DeSimone is the Tin Man on Friday and Saturday nights. Dalton Thurley plays in the role on Saturday afternoon.

Holley has shows on Friday at 7 p.m., and Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m. For more information about tickets, click here.

Holley resident says canal tree-clearing led to more trees being toppled by wind today

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 February 2018 at 4:28 pm

Photos courtesy of Kerri Neale

HOLLEY – The fierce winds today knocked down two trees at Kerri Neale’s home that is just north of the Erie Canal. One of the trees landed on his house by the front door.

Neale has lived there for 40 years. He never had a tree come down from the wind, even last March when powerful winds left the majority of the county without electricity.

Neale said the tree-clearing in Holley along the canal left his property without a buffer to absorb strong winds. Today, the National Weather Service in Buffalo said the strongest gust in Orleans County was 47 miles per hour in Medina.

“We didn’t have any damage in last March’s wind storm,” he said. “Today, we have a marginal wind storm and two trees come down.”

Neale said a neighbor also had trees toppled by the wind today. Neale said his property gets hit harder by the wind since the tree clearing.

“Right after they cut the trees we noticed the wind chimes were rattling more and we had stuff blow over that never would,” Neale said. “Even the snow drifts a little different.”

The trees came down about 2 this afternoon. Neale took this photo from his roof, looking over the fallen trees toward the canal.

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