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Shrek, Fairytale creatures hit the Kendall stage

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 March 2018 at 8:37 am

Photos courtesy of David Klafehn

KENDALL – Kendall High School students performed Shrek the Musical with three shows last Friday and Saturday.

Hanna Hofstra portrayed Fiona, while Ryan Barrett was Donkey and Caleb Henion played Shrek. Shrek and Donkey strike an unlikely friendship and the two rescue Fiona who is trapped in a castle surrounded by lava.

The cast of characters put on a high-energy show. Michael Billotti and Daniel Lauritzson directed the musical for Kendall.

Archer Knapp played Lord Farquaard, who sends Shrek to rescue Princess Fiona, with Farquaard intending to marry her. The Duloc Dancers include Brianna Drennan, Olivia Reed, Kiersten Rodas, Willow Clark, Paige Beers, Grace Robinson, Sara Mattle, Megan Elliott and Anna Oakley.

Young Fiona is played by Abby Barrett, Teen Fiona by Lauren Miller and Fiona by Hanna Hofstra. Fiona spends many years in the castle waiting to be rescued by a prince. She is surprised when Shrek, an ogre, pulls off the feat.

Many Fairytale creatures descend on Shrek’s swamp, to his annoyance.

Shrek and Fiona discover they have a lot in common and fall in love.

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Kendall students, staff raise nearly $2,000 for Special Olympics at Polar Plunge

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 February 2018 at 11:26 am

Provided photos

ROCHESTER – Michela Hanlon, a senior at Kendall Central School, runs from the cold water of Lake Ontario on Sunday during the Polar Plunge. The water was at 39 degrees on Sunday.

A group from Kendall Central School raised $1,675 for the Special Olympics on Sunday at the Polar Plunge at Ontario Beach Park in Rochester.

The group from Kendall includes, bottom row, from left: Lizzie Sutphen, Michela Hanlon, Shianna Patten, Adriana Passarell and Kierstyn Christensen.

Top row: Lyndsay Wright, John Rath, Megan Hardenbrook, Nate Warters, Mickey Gardner, KCS staff and team captain Kevin Watson and Lovette French.

Kevin Watson (left), Kendall’s athletic director and middle school administrator, heads for the water.

Michela Hanlon, Lovette French (a security guard at Kendall) and Adriana Passarell enjoyed the Polar Plunge, which is a fund-raiser for the Special Olympics.

There were about 2,000 participants in the Plunge, who raised about $175,000.

A team from Holley also jumped into the lake. The Holley group raised $665. Anyone with photos of the Holley participants is welcome to send them to

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Kendall students, alumni shine during talent show

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 12 February 2018 at 7:32 am

Photos by Kristina Gabalski

KENDALL – Ryan Barrett and Hanna Hofstra sang their way to the “Most Colorful” Award for their animated performance of “A Whole New World” in the Jr./Sr. High Acts division.

It was a night of song, dance and comedy Friday evening at Kendall Central Jr./Sr. High School as the Kendall Central chapter of AFS and the Class of 2020 hosted the annual Kendall’s Got Talent program.

Kendall students and alumni performed. The most memorable acts received “Paper Plate Awards.”

Two Kendall graduates Bethanie Mason (Class of 2001) and Kaitlyn Curtis (Class of 2008) served as judges for the event. They also performed. Mason is now a Kendall Central school nurse and Curtis teaches math at Kendall Central.

The first alumni act featured Cody and Carley Lester (Class of 2010 and Class of 2015) performing, “The House that Built Me.”

Elementary students Jonny Conte, Nicholas Cole, Aidan Kwiatkowski, Vinnie D’Agostino, C.J. D’Agostino, Brooke Rodas and Brady Werth (not in order shown) performed a skit satirizing Olympic synchronized swimming. The blue tarp served to mimic pool water. The ensemble received the “Most Colorful” Award in the Elementary Acts category.

Irelynn Maloney and Alivia May received the “Star Quality” Award in the Elementary division for their performance of “Fly.”

Caleb Henion and Megan Hardenbrook joined forces to sing “Somewhere Only We Know.”

Elementary students Amberlyn Pruner and Lana Strapp danced their way across the stage.

Emily Brundage received the “Out of This World Performance” Award in the Elementary division for her rendition of “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.”

Michela Hanlon and Kierstyn Christensen took home the “Star Quality” Award in the Jr./Sr. High Acts division for their dance performance.

Brothers Eric and Kirk Warren were awarded the “Out of This World Performance” in the Jr./Sr. High Act division for their hilarious “Who’s on First?” skit.

Brandi Stephens sings “Lost Boy” in the Jr./Sr. High Acts division.

The evening wrapped up with a performance by the AFS 2018 Crew who helped make the evening such a success. This year’s AFS advisors are Mirjam Bauer and Katie Driesel.

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Kendall Lions Club donates $1,700 to Food Cupboard

Staff Reports Posted 2 February 2018 at 4:32 pm

Provided photo

KENDALL – The Kendall Lions Club donated $1,700 on Thursday to the Kendall Food Cupboard. Lion President Mike Cusimano, left, presents a ceremonial check for $1,700 to Marty Goodenberry for the Food Cupboard.

Each year at their holiday party, Lions Club members donate and bid on items to be auctioned. This year club members raised a record amount.  Marty thanked the club and shared that they prepared 270 boxes and gifts for 120 kids at Christmas.

He shared that the Food Cupboard is now a 501c3 organization. This status will allow the organization to seek grants to further support the Food Cupboard.

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Kendall man trains for Boston Marathon year after chemo for colon cancer

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 January 2018 at 7:51 pm

Jim Baker says running saved his life, allowing for detection of tumor

Photos courtesy of Jim Baker: Jim Baker is pictured on Sept.17 when he finished the Rochester marathon, covering the 26.2-mile course in 3 hours, 35 minutes, which qualified him to run in the Boston Marathon in April.

KENDALL – Jim Baker had achieved a dream in April 2016 when he ran the Boston Marathon. Baker expected to feel triumph that day, but he struggled to get to the finish line.

His time of 4 hours, 59 minutes was more than an hour off what he was expecting for the race. Baker’s best time of 3:27 was at the Rochester marathon in September 2015. That time qualified him for Boston.

But on April 18, 2016, he felt a cramp and “side stitch” during the prestigious race in Boston. He almost stopped, but pushed on to the finish. It was the Boston Marathon after all.

“I wasn’t my normal self,” he recalled on Saturday. “But I gutted it out.”

The slow time wasn’t a one-day aberration. Baker, a Kendall resident who works as a chemist for Kodak, didn’t get back to his brisk 8-minute pace in the weeks after Boston.

The pain also continued when he ran. He went to the doctor and was diagnosed with colon cancer. He had run Boston with a plum-size tumor in his colon.

“I had a huge tumor in my side,” he said. “It had grown like wildlife.”

The tumor was removed and he started chemotherapy in June 2016. After seven months of treatment, his doctors declared him cancer-free a year ago on Jan. 13, 2017.

Baker didn’t let cancer derail his running. Even during chemo, he typically ran 15-20 miles a week – “at a very slow pace.” He battled nausea but kept going, except when it was cold out. The chemo made him especially sensitive to cold temperatures. He decided to take a two-month break from running during the harsh winter weather.

Jim Baker is shown on Jan. 13, 2017 when he received a certificate of completion for chemotherapy at Interlakes Oncology at Wilmot Cancer Institute.

He picked up his mileage after completing chemo, with a goal of running a marathon again and qualifying for Boston. On Sept. 17, he ran the Rochester marathon in 3:35, and that 8-minute, 12-second pace earned him another chance to run Boston.

He will be back at the starting line for that big race on April 16.

“I’ve got redemption on my mind,” he said.

Baker wants to break 3:45.

Although he’s disappointed in his time at Boston in 2016, Baker said that race was a sign that something was wrong with his health. When he didn’t bounce back after Boston, he went to the doctor for a colonoscopy, which revealed the tumor.

“If I didn’t run I’d be gone,” he said. “I wouldn’t have known I had the tumor if I didn’t run. There were no other warning signs. I had no loss of appetite.”

He also didn’t get what he thought was a cramp, except when he was running. If he wasn’t a runner, he would have felt that pain.

He had a colonoscopy two years before the one that showed the tumor. Baker had been fighting Crohn’s Disease for 15 years. (When his tumor was removed, taking out part of his colon, Baker said the Crohn’s Disease went away, too.)

Jim Baker completed a half marathon in Rochester on Jan. 6 when temperatures were just above 0 degrees. Baker ran the course in 1:47.

Baker started running 11 years ago when he was 44. He would go for walks during lunch breaks at Kodak, but Baker said that walking didn’t do anything to chip away at his extra pounds. He initially couldn’t run more than 200 yards without stopping. But he didn’t give up.

Conquering 2 miles while running was a milestone. He ran his first race at a 10K (6.2 miles) and enjoyed the energy and people at the races. He signed up for more races and joined the Bagel Bunch, a running group in Greece.

The other runners have become good friends and given him plenty of advice on increasing his speed and avoiding injury. He has completed 11 half marathons and five marathons – and shed 40 pounds.

Baker grew up in Albion and wasn’t a runner. He didn’t have the slightest inkling to run in high school or as a young adult. “Back then softball was my form of exercise,” he said, laughing.

Baker and his wife Stacey moved to Kendall about 27 years ago. They have two grown children, Kyle and Megan.

He knows running is difficult for many people, especially when they start. He encourages people to stick with it. It took him about six months of steady running to feel comfortable and really enjoy his runs.

Running also makes you more in tune with your body. If you’re running a little slower than normal, and that time lingers, you should go to the doctor.

Baker said that ultimately saved his life.

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Kendall student recites oratorical speech for Board of Education

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 18 January 2018 at 11:24 am

Photo by Kristina Gabalski

KENDALL – Ethan Billings, a junior at Kendall, recites his winning oratorical speech from this year’s American Legion Oratorical Contest to members of the Kendall Board of Education on Wednesday evening.

Billings was second in Orleans County and placed 3rd at the regional competition held Jan. 14. Kendall High School Principal Carol D’Agostino described Billings as a quiet young man, “and one of those students you want around everyday.”

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Comptroller critical of Kendall on $25 million capital project

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 18 January 2018 at 11:02 am

Says district didn’t properly notify residents of project, and veered from scope of work approved by voters

Photo by Tom Rivers: Kendall’s capital project included a dramatic change to the exterior and front entrance of the junior-senior high school.

KENDALL – Julie Christensen, school district superintendent, on Wednesday evening responded to a recent critical audit by the State Comptroller’s Office.

The Comptroller’s Office faulted the district for not informing the public enough about the $25.2 million capital project, which stretched from 2012 to 2017.

Key findings of the audit released Jan. 5 criticized the Kendall Central School District for not properly informing district residents prior to voting on a proposition for a district-wide capital improvement project because the Board and district officials did not develop or provide the public with a formal project plan detailing the scope and related costs, the Comptroller’s Office said.

The audit also states that because bids for the project came in significantly lower than anticipated, the Board decided to expand the original scope and spend the remaining authorized appropriations.

“Project reports did not include cost information or sufficient information to allow the Board to properly monitor the project’s progress or determine whether expenditures were properly authorized, funding sources were being used properly, or sufficient funds remained,” the audit states.

The State Comptroller’s Office recommended that the district provide voters with specific information on what will be included in proposed capital projects, including detailed descriptions of the improvements to be made and the locations where work will be performed as well as ensure the district stays within the scope of a capital project, and actively monitor capital project activity.

Christensen spoke during Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting. She said the audit results were frustrating as the State Comptroller’s Office, “doesn’t really understand” the process the district must follow. She said the district does not have project details when a capital project is first proposed as the expense of design work is significant and is not undertaken until after a project is approved by voters.

She also called some of the detailed expenses the Comptroller’s Office would like to see reported, “unreasonable, we may not have access to all the details,” Christensen said.

Kendall School Board President Nadine Hanlon said the Comptroller’s Office, “should let us know what our duties are when it comes to a capital project.”

The district recently held a public information meeting regarding the next capital project it would like to pursue. Christensen said that moving forward, the Board of Education will make certain to take action on budget summaries of capital projects to ensure that they are included in board meeting minutes.

In their written response to the Comptroller’s Office, Christensen and Hanlon noted the district provided the community with information about the proposed capital improvement project during a public forum in April 2013. Information about the scope and locations was posted on the district website, in the district newsletter and displayed on boards in the offices and at events beginning in Jan. 2013 and continuing through the duration of the capital project.

“The Board will continue to provide the community with information about the scope and location of work; including as much detail as possible given required design work and unforeseen conditions that may impact scope.  This information will continue to be shared at the Board meetings, on our website and in District newsletters,” Christensen and Hanlon wrote.

A written project and budget was shared with the board and monthly updates on the plan and budget was reviewed at board meetings for the duration of the project, Christensen and Hanlon wrote. “In the future, the Board will ensure that these documents are formally approved and clearly reflected in the Board minutes.”

The response noted that the capital improvement project stayed within the voter authorization of $25.2 million and, “in actuality, the District stayed below the authorized amount … The Board will continue to stay within the scope of the capital project as authorized by the voters.  The Board and District will ensure an updated project plan is available at the District Office for public review,” the District’s response states.

Additionally, the response states that Turner Construction Company and the Turner Project Manager attended most Board of Education meetings before, during and after construction to directly answer questions, and that the Board will continue to monitor project activity and individuals responsible for oversight through regular communications.

Christensen and Hanlon state that they are pleased, “the Comptroller’s Office will be developing a guidance document on Board roles and responsibilities during a Capital Improvement Project to ensure expectations are understood clearly from your office’s perspective.”

To see the Comptroller’s report on Kendall’s capital project, click here.

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Community ready to assist people suffering traumatic loss

Photos by Kristina Gabalski: Mark O’Brien, director of the Orleans County Department of Mental Health, led the panel discussion which included information on the grieving process and resources for those who are dealing with sudden traumatic loss.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 17 January 2018 at 9:14 am

KENDALL – “Healing is a process and a journey,” observed Don Snyder, a local clergy member and chaplain of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department.

Snyder spoke during the conclusion of an “Evening of Healing” on Tuesday at the Kendall Jr./Sr. High School. Snyder said he felt an “incredible power of family” during the event which included a panel discussion, a short informational film featuring personal stories of those who have survived the suicide of a loved one, and an opportunity for questions and answers.

Snyder was part of the panel discussion which covered topics surrounding sudden traumatic loss of a loved one – either through suicide, accident, or medical emergency – and the grieving process of those left behind. Snyder said when people talk about their shared emotions, help and healing are the result.

“Tonight, we are better, and that’s the reason for this gathering tonight,” he said. “There are many caring people here in Orleans County, we know our neighbors here in Orleans County.”

Members of the panel from left to right: Don Snyder, retired minister and  chaplain Orleans County Sheriff’s Office; Holly Baxter, program director of The Care and Crisis Helpline; Paula Callahan, Orleans County Department of Mental Health; Danielle Figura, clinic coordinator for Orleans County Department of Mental Health; Meredith Minier, who lost her husband Lee to suicide and is an Orleans County Suicide Prevention Coalition volunteer; Nola Goodrich-Kresse, public health educator and member of the Suicide Prevention Coalition. Panel members said there is no way to get around the hurt of sudden traumatic loss, but “you don’t have to do it alone, you don’t have to do it without help.”

The evening was sponsored by the Orleans County Suicide Prevention Coalition and the Orleans County Department of Mental Health.

Mark O’Brien, director of the Department of Mental Health, served as emcee for the evening. He noted the Kendall community has suffered much loss over the past several months with the deaths of two young people and four parents.

“There is healing,” O’Brien told those in attendance. “The pain is real. Together we will get to the other side … We are here with you, we are here for you.”

O’Brien said local agencies, including the Department of Mental Health, provide support services.

Advice was also provided for those who know people suffering from depression or thoughts of suicide. Warning signs of suicide such as hopelessness, withdrawal from normal social activities and curiosity about ways to harm oneself, were discussed. Panel members told those attending to “be there” for those who might try to harm themselves – “engage them in conversation.”

A number of local agencies including the Mental Health Association, GCASA, Orleans County Veterans Service Agency, Community Action, Hospice and the county Department of Mental Health provided information on services available locally to those in attendance.

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County legislator says best future for Parkway is improved maintenance as current 4-lane highway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2018 at 4:21 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Lake Ontario State Parkway in Orleans County has suffered from deteriorating road conditions in recent years, which has deterred some motorists from using the road. A study is looking at the future of the Parkway.

An Orleans County legislator believes keeping the Lake Ontario State Parkway in its current form as a four-lane divided highway offers the best benefit for the Orleans County and likely makes the most sense for the state financially.

Ken DeRoller, a county legislator and member of the board of directors for the Orleans Economic Development Agency, is part of a committee looking at the future of the Parkway in Orleans County.

The Genesee Transportation Council in Rochester and the county are studying the future of the Parkway, looking at possible alternatives for the westernmost 12.7 miles of the Parkway that runs along the lake through Kendall and part of Carlton.

One idea was to close the northern side, currently the western lanes, and have the Parkway be a regular two-lane state road on the south side. That could free up the northern side for possible housing development. Except, DeRoller said, there wouldn’t be enough room to accommodate new development because the road is too close to the lake.

DeRoller said the idea of lakefront housing by the northern lanes of the parkway “is a fallacy.”

“There is not enough room to build on the north side,” DeRoller told the EDA board on Friday.

The Transportation Council also is considering closing off either the north or south sides to traffic and designating one side for cyclists and snowmobiles. But DeRoller said snow doesn’t seem to “stick” too well on the Parkway surface.

And the state would need to modify the interchanges if traffic was allowed on only one side. The cost of redoing the interchanges might negate any maintenance savings from closing off one side to traffic, DeRoller said.

The committee looking at the Parkway also is considering a reduced speed of 40 miles per hour for the Parkway, or perhaps an elevated speed limit to make the road faster for motorists.

DeRoller told the EDA board he favors more maintenance and paving in the current Parkway setup. He thinks the roadway should be better marketed as a connector to popular state parks at Lakeside Beach in Carlton and Hamlin Beach. Those two state parks together draw 443,000 visitors annually, DeRoller said. They each have about 250 camp sites.

The state Department of Transportation last year resurfaced the Parkway from Route 19 in Hamlin to Payne Beach Road in Parma. This year the resurfacing will continue west from Route 19 in Hamlin to Route 237 in Kendall in 2018. Altogether, the DOT is spending about $14 million on the paving projects.

DeRoller sees the road – when it’s in good shape – as an asset for the county, leading to the state park in Carlton, sites at Point Breeze, and a revamped marina and other businesses in Kendall.

“It’s very important to our southshore and tourism,” DeRoller said about the Parkway.

To complete a survey about the future of the Parkway, click here.

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Kendall reminds community of Evening of Healing on Jan. 16

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 13 January 2018 at 6:37 pm

KENDALL – The school district will host an “Evening of Healing” on Tuesday at the Kendall Jr./Sr. High School Cafeteria. The event will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and is not limited to those in the Kendall School District.

An Evening of Healing is a collaborative effort between state, local leaders and the Kendall Central School District to promote safety and wellness. It is appropriate for ages 12 to adult. Childcare will be available on site.

The Evening of Healing will provide an opportunity for area residents to come together in conversation and support in an effort to learn positive ways to cope with sudden traumatic loss and foster resiliency and mental wellness.

The event includes a table discussion enabling participants to gain knowledge of local resources and support and how to support oneself or others who may be struggling with the challenges associated with sudden loss of a loved one or mental health issues.

Topics discussed will include loss from suicide and unexpected loss, such as from accidents and unforeseen health issues, as well as mental health.

Julie Christensen, the school district superintendent, said the goal of the evening is to promote healing and resiliency. An opportunity will exist before and after the panel presentation for people to visit and familiarize themselves with available resources.

Pre-registration is preferred but not required. Refreshments will be served.

To pre-register call the Kendall Central School District Office at 659-2741, or email your intent to

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