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Holley gives Class of 2017 a big sendoff at graduation

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 24 June 2017 at 8:21 pm

Photos by Kristina Gabalski

HOLLEY – Members of the Holley’s Class of 2017 toss their caps by the stadium scoreboard following commencement this morning at the Holley Hawks Stadium.

There are 92 students in this year’s graduating class.

The cafeteria at Holley Middle School/High School was a sea of red Saturday morning as the Class of 2017 gathered to prepare for commencement. Megan Fribance plans to study psychology at The College at Brockport in the fall and McKenzie Hendrickson will study nursing at Walsh University.

Will Harrington plans to attend Elmira College in the fall majoring in pre-vet studies, Anna Adams will attend Genesee Community College to major in general studies, and James Skehan will study computer science at Monroe Community College.

Big smiles on a big day from Jessica Mandigo, who will study psychology and social work at SUNY Fredonia, and Makenzie Ferranti, who plans to study liberal arts at Genesee Community College beginning next spring. Ferranti also sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” during commencement.

Holley graduates and faculty process from the Middle School/High School to the Holley Hawks Stadium for commencement.

The Holley Central School Class of 2017 enters the stadium to “Pomp and Circumstance”

In his salutatory address, Jesse Beach noted that graduates have “survived high school (including Common Core).”  He encouraged the Class of 2017 to celebrate their accomplishments. “We all worked hard to be here today.”

Anna Brasted, Class of 2017 valedictorian,  called graduation a “bittersweet day.” She thanked teachers for helping the Class of 2017 to be, “ready for tomorrow’s challenges….. thank you for caring so much,” Brasted said.

Veronica Mendoza, vice president of the Class of 2017, presented her class’s parting gift to the Holley Central School District – a new digital camera for the yearbook staff.

“Yearbooks let us reflect on a piece of our lives,” Mendoza said.  “We hope the new camera will capture the fun memories that high school has.”

Evinn Neadow, Holley Middle/High School art teacher, gave the commencement address. She said she turned to her Facebook page for help in writing her speech by asking friends what they wish they had known at the time they graduated from high school.

She received many responses including – “Don’t be afraid to ask for help….. You won’t know how great your parents are until you become one yourself…. we all make mistakes, learn from it and move on.”

Neadow described her journey after high school and how she turned to a career in art education after she graduated from RIT with an undergraduate degree in fine art and photography.

“There was no job waiting for me,” Neadow said. She realized she loved being in school and knew art education was the right path for her.

“You are an awesome group of intelligent, talented and kind individuals,” she told graduates.  “Find what makes you happy and gives you a sense of fulfillment….. and keep moving toward that goal.”

Neadow advised graduates to enjoy the journey wherever they choose to go.  “Work hard and be proud of everything you are,” she said.

Andrew Cary receives his diploma from Holley School Board President Brenda Swanger.  Cary will be attending the Valley Forge Military Academy and College and plans to eventually join the military. High School Principal Sue Cory is at left by Robert D’Angelo, the district superintendent.

Ashlyn Hotchkiss receives her diploma from Brenda Swanger. Ashlyn will study psychology at SUNY Geneseo in the fall.

Jennah McMillion toped her graduation cap with a sparkly tiara.

Holley graduates move their tassels following the Declaration of Graduation by Superintendent Robert D’Angelo.

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Holley recognizes retiring teachers, honors top grads

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 21 June 2017 at 7:42 am

Photos by Kristina Gabalski: The following retiring Holley teachers and staff members were recognized for years of service to the school district, from left: Mimi Reyngoudt (30 years), John Grillo (28 years), Patti Gauer (33 years), Lisa Campbell (40 years), Beth Ann Sanford (27 years) and Lynn Vendetti (18 years).

HOLLEY – The Holley School Board of Education recognized retiring teachers and staff during the board meeting Monday evening.

Board President Brenda Swanger said this is the first time “in a long time” the board as recognized teacher and staff retirements. This year’s retirees have “a total of 176 years working hard helping children,” Swanger said. “Thank you and have a wonderful retirement, you will be missed.”

Each was presented with a gift.

“Some of you, I remember your interviews,” said board member John Heise, a retired Holley principal. “Thank you for your years of service.”

Holley Middle School/High School principal Susan Cory (center) poses with Class of 2017 valedictorian Anna Brasted (left) and Salutatorian Jesse Beach (right) Monday evening. The top two scholars received Soaring to New Heights awards during the regular meeting of the school Board of Education for their academic accomplishments. Graduation ceremonies are 10 a.m. Saturday at the Middle/High School Stadium.

The Holley High School Geometry in Construction class was also recognized by the Board of Education with a Soaring to New Heights Award. Teacher Russ Albright, Leslie Tanner – Monroe 2 – Orleans BOCES STEM coach, and teacher Tim Rogers received the awards. Tanner presented the idea for the class to the Holley School District and it was offered for the first time in the 2016-2017 school year.

Students learned how math concepts can be applied to real-world problems to create solutions and took part in a service project – constructing a small house for Second Wind Cottages in Newfield, NY.  After assembling the house at the school, students, teachers and administrators transported it to the Second Wind site near Ithaca and re-assembled it on site. Second Wind Cottages provides one-man shelters for homeless men as they work to turn their lives around.

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Honored deputy sheriff is top vote-getter in Holley election

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 June 2017 at 10:52 pm

Jim DeFilipps and Rochelle Moroz both elected to 2-year terms

Jim DeFilipps, an Orleans County deputy, pictured in June 2016 at Policemen’s Ball in Rochester.

HOLLEY – Village residents elected two trustees to the Village Board today, with Jim DeFilipps the leading vote-getter with 122. Rochelle Moroz also was elected with 72 votes.

Kurt Wannenwetsch made it a three-way race. He received 52 votes.

DeFillipps, the 2016 New York State Deputy of the Year, started his career with the Holley Police Department. He was named Deputy of the Year after surviving a shootout and critically wounding a gunman.

He has already served about a year on the board. He was appointed to the board last year when Brian Sorochty was elected mayor and gave up his trustee position.

DeFilipps has grown up in Holley. His mother, Marsha DeFilipps, is the long-time Holley and Murray historian.

Moroz moved to the village four years ago to be closer to family.

She has served as a church secretary/treasurer and said she understands the importance of maintaining a balanced budget and spending frugally.

Wannenwetsch, an active local photographer, has lived in the village for close to ten years.

Wannenwetsch said the village government needs to better communicate with residents, work to attract more businesses, and find solutions for the deterioration of historic buildings in the Public Square.

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3 will be on ballot in Tuesday’s Holley village election

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 19 June 2017 at 12:19 pm

HOLLEY – The Village of Holley will hold its election Tuesday from noon to 9 p.m. at the Village Clerk’s Office, 72 Public Square.

Voters will select two trustees for 2-year terms from a field of three candidates.

Current Trustee James DeFilipps was appointed to the board following the election last year of former trustee Brian Sorochty as mayor.

DeFilipps is an Orleans County Deputy Sheriff and received the New York State Sheriffs Association Deputy of the Year award in 2016. He has lived in Holley for most of his life.

“I worked for the village years ago in the police department,” he said. “I have a lot of family and friends in the village, and the village has always meant a lot to me.  I hope to be able to keep taxes down while we keep services up and get our infrastructure more up to date. Holley is a wonderful small village that I am, and will be, proud to serve as a trustee.”

DeFilipps is running on the Peoples Party line.

Rochelle Moroz moved to the village four years ago to be closer to family. She and her husband have one daughter and two granddaughters.

“We love the quiet, friendly charm of the village and have met many wonderful people since moving here,” she said.  “And, we really enjoy the canal – walking around it and kayaking on it.”

Moroz holds a bachelor’s degree from Saint Leo College in Florida and is a Vietnam Era military veteran. She formerly served as a church secretary/treasurer and said she understands the importance of maintaining a balanced budget and spending frugally.

“I am excited about the revival of the old school and the possibility of brining other businesses and services to this village,” Moroz said. “I was encouraged to run for trustee by a few village residents who think I would be a positive addition to the board. I want to continue the good work already started, with the desire to even better enhance the community experience.”

Moroz is running on the Common Sense Party line.

Kurt Wannenwetsch has lived in the village for close to ten years, “and I grew up just two miles outside the village. As a life-long resident of the area, I have seen first hand the decline of the village,” he said. “I would truly like to see Holley become a better community.”

Wannenwetsch says there are many important issues facing the village including the need for more control over spending; lack of businesses in the village; lack of communication back to residents; more accessible public board meetings and better communication to the residents as to when they take place; the need of a more proactive approach to curbing the known drug use and illegal activities in and around the Holley Hotel; and degradation of the old buildings in the Public Square.

He enjoys living in the village because, “It is a great little historic country town (and), with exception (of) a few specific areas, a quiet town,” Wannenwetsch said.

He is running on the Citizens Voice Party line.

Current Trustee Skip Carpenter decided not to run for re-election due to ongoing health issues in his family.

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Holley Interact Club collects 285 pairs of shoes for Soles4Souls

Staff Reports Posted 19 June 2017 at 10:26 am

Provided photo

HOLLEY – Brooklyn Bartholomew, a senior at Holley Jr./Sr. High School, is pictured with some of the shoes donated in a shoe drive to benefit Soles4Souls.

The Holley Interact Club decided for its Global Community Service project to partner with Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization with a mission to create sustainable jobs and provide relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world.

Bartholomew and the Interact Club set a goal of collecting 100 pairs of shoes. Letters were sent home with all Elementary School students asking for donation of gently used shoes.  Donation boxes were set up in the High School and in the Elementary School.

At the end of the drive, 285 pairs of shoes were donated by the Holley community and Brooklyn delivered them all to Soles4Souls on Friday.

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Holley’s debut trap shooting team competes at state tourney

Provided photos: The Holley trap shooting team includes, from left: Coach John Waldron, Ethan Tupis, Ethan Waldron, Hunter Cleveland, Alex Penna, Joseph Silpoch, Jacob Silpoch, Triston McFadden, and Coach Doug Baker.

Posted 16 June 2017 at 12:50 pm

Ethan Waldon holds the second-place award the Holley team won for its place during regular season play, while Alexis Penna won for 2nd for “High Gun – Jr. Varsity – Female.”

Contributed article

HOLLEY – Holley High School’s Trap Shooting Club joined almost 250 other students from 16 other teams in Cicero on June 10 to compete in the New York State Clay Target League’s State Tournament.

Athletes shot two rounds of 50 shells at clay targets that launched from 16 yards in front of them and arced at various angles across their field-of-view.

Participants were grouped as Novice, JV and Varsity, based on how well they scored through the regular season. Holley started its trap shooting team this year. The athletes competed in all three categories.

Despite fielding one of the smallest teams in the league, the Hawks came home with two league honors; one for placing second in their division during regular season play and another to Alexis Penna for placing 2nd in the tournaments’ “High Gun – Jr. Varsity – Female” category.

Despite missing the top spots, other Hawks still placed well in their categories as well.

Athletes send their thanks to the Holley Central School District for their support, the Holley Rod and Gun Club for their sponsorship and to coaches John Waldron and Doug Baker who lead the way in Cicero.

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Developer keeps pushing for funding to redevelop old Holley High School

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 16 June 2017 at 12:15 pm

File photo Tom Rivers: Developers want to convert the old Holley High School, which has been vacant for two decades, into apartments and offices.

HOLLEY – A developer continues to work on securing funding for the renovation of the old Holley High School, Mayor Brian Sorotchy said.

In May, the mayor announced the project was not funded in this year’s competitive Homes and Community Renewal financing round, but that developers were updating the application for the next funding round this fall.

On Tuesday, Sorochty said Edgemere Development, which is partnering with Home Leasing on the old Holley High School project, is currently pursuing a “separate funding source” for the portion of the project which involves the move of the Village of Holley offices to the school.

The process involves the village registering for the NYS Grants Gateway program, Sorochty said.  The Gateway program provides assistance in locating funding opportunities through state agencies.

Village attorney John Sansone will review any necessary paperwork, Sorochty said, to make sure that the village is protected if funding does not end up coming through for the entire school renovation process.

He explained that Edgemere specializes in seeking out funding sources as part of the development process.

Photo by Kristina Gabalski: A large pile of broken-up concrete was recently dumped on a lot located on Jackson Street in the Village of Holley. Neighbor Glenn Hughson says he wants the village to take action to have the material removed.

In other business, Jackson Street resident Glenn Hughson asked for help from the board regarding the dumping of “ten trailer loads of concrete” on property across the street from his home.

The property is located adjacent to and just west of the former Diaz chemical plant. The person believed to be the current owner does not live on the site but Hughson said a contractor working for the owner dumped the concrete.

“I can’t be looking at this,” Hughson said.

Sorochty said the village is aware of the situation, but village code enforcement officer Ron Vendetti said he felt the village was “hand-cuffed” over taking any action.

Hughson told the board he believed the EPA had taken the property and leveled the site.

Sorochty said he was not aware if the property had changed ownership.

Sansone, the attorney, advised that as a first step, the village needs to determine who owns the property.

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Holley eyes $2 million upgrade to water system

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 15 June 2017 at 9:33 am

HOLLEY – The Village Board is working on a big upgrade to the village’s water infrastructure.

The Village Board on Tuesday unanimously approved resolutions regarding the proposed $2 million Holley Water System Improvement Project. The water grant resolution authorizes Mayor Brian Sorochty to submit an application to the Environmental Facilities Corporation for the NYS Water Infrastructure Improvement Act  Program and to execute all financial and administrative processes relating to the completion of the project.

The village has also passed a bond resolution in the amount of $2.09 million for the total project cost.

The village anticipates receiving a Water Infrastructure Improvement Grant for $1.25 million and will provide $406,000 in in-kind services. The balance of $430,000 will be bonded.

The project includes replacement of approximately 9,050 linear feet of water main within the existing right-of-way throughout various locations within the village. Additionally, the project will replace fire hydrants, valves, water service transfers and a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system for improved operation of the village water storage tank and pumping system.

The location of the water main improvements include portions of South Main Street, North Main Street, East Union Street, Park Place, East Albion Street, Geddes Street, and the water storage tank. The improvements coincide with sidewalk upgrades being completed as part of the Sidewalk Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Grant the village has received.

A fact sheet provided by the village states the water mains are being considered for replacement due to age, deteriorating conditions, inoperable fire hydrants and valves, and brown water complaints received by the village. Village officials say it is desirous to replace the water mains prior to excavation for new sidewalks.

“This project will address the concerns with the aged system (some piping dates to the 1920’s).  The proposed improvements are modest and economical,” the fact sheet states. “The improvements proposed will help to solve health, safety and maintenance issues associated with the existing system.”

Residents are encouraged to provide the village with letters of support for the project. They can be sent to Mayor Brian Sorochty, Village of Holley, 72 Public Square, Holley, NY, 14470, or by email at

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3 are running for two trustee spots in Holley

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 15 June 2017 at 8:32 am

HOLLEY – Three candidates are running for two open seats on the Holley Village Board.

James DeFilipps, who is currently serving the remainder of Mayor Brian Sorochty’s trustee term, is running on the Peoples Party line;  Rochelle Moroz is running on the Common Sense Party line and Kurt Wannenwetsch is running on the Citizens Voice Party line.

“I wish all the candidates well,” Mayor Brian Sorochty said during Tuesday evening’s regular meeting of the Village Board.

He explained that Trustee Skip Carpenter is not seeking re-election due to health issues in his family.

The election will be held Tuesday, June 20, from noon to 9 p.m. at the Village Office, 72 Public Square in Holley.

Both trustee terms are for two years.

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Stella the Hedgehog wins ‘special election’ in Holley

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 June 2017 at 8:10 am

Stella the Hedgehog won the special election that raised funds for the After School Friends program.

HOLLEY – The Holley Elementary Student Council held its second annual “special election” featuring four animals. Stella the Hedgehog emerged as the winner in the contest, which raised $415 for an afterschool program.

Stella’s victory was announced on Wednesday during Holley’s Flag Day celebration.

Stella is owned by Hannah Bock, an elementary instrumental music teacher. She keeps Stella in her classroom, and the animal has proven popular with students.

Stella will now serve as an ambassador for the After School Friends program.

Last year, the election was a fundraiser for the chapel at Hillside Cemetery. Gamma the Dog was the winner.

In her campaign literature, Stella was touted as being energetic and  enjoying fun. She is always excited to meet new people and make new friends. She enjoys running around, digging tunnels and playing with toys. Stella enjoys crafts and building things.

Stella was the top vote-getter against Mabel the Goat, Simon the Alpaca and Bubba the Turtle.

The After School Friends program is held each Wednesday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Holley.  The program, which is free for students in grades 4-6, is now funded through Fit 4 U, which offers nutritional programming and activities for participants.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Hannah Bock, Holley elementary instrumental music teacher, accepts the award on behalf of Stella, which was resting in her classroom during Wednesday’s Flag Day celebration.

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