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‘Beauty and the Beast’ comes to Lyndonville stage

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 March 2017 at 10:40 am

Show features 100 students from Lyndonville and Medina

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – Jadiel Flores Medina plays the Beast, shown here chastising Belle (Natalie Allen) soon after she arrived in his castle.

Lyndonville and Medina students are working together on their sixth musical with Beauty and the Beast. Performances are 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday at Lyndonville’s Stroyan Auditorium, 25 Housel Ave.

The two schools have a shared drama program, beginning in 2012. Jennifer Nerone-Trupo, the show’s director, said the arrangement has worked well for the two schools, allowing for bigger casts and more ambitious shows.

“I knew I had the kids who could pull off these parts,” she said about the many charismatic characters in Beauty and the Beast. “This is a great show that features many students.”

Thomas Bummer plays Gaston, a vain, egotistical, narcissistic, ultra-masculine villain determined to marry Belle, who declines the offer. Gaston is shown here with five “Silly Girls” played by Sophia Cardone, Emily Green, Maisie Griffin, Cora Payne and Layna Vitoria.

Belle (Natalie Allen) is shocked to see her father Maurice (William Bellan) being held in a dungeon by the Beast. Belle offers to take her father’s place.

Two of the Beast’s servants include Cogsworth (Leif Isaacson) and Lumière (Christian Hahn). Cogsworth is a tightly wound, enchanted stuffy mantle clock and head of the Beast’s castle. Lumière is suave, French, and a debonair enchanted candelabra.

Babette (Madison Holland) is a flirtatious maid turned into a feather duster.

Mrs. Potts (Sierra Blanar) is the head of the kitchen turned into a tea pot. Chip (Jacob Corser) is her son who has been turned into a teacup.

Brian Cunningham plays LeFou, Gaston’s bumbling sidekick.

These dancers are high-energy inside the tavern, where Gaston announces he will go after the Beast.

Belle (Natalie Allen) sulks in the guest room and bemoans her situation, trapped in the castle. Mrs. Potts (Sierra Blanar) and Madame de la Grande Bouche (Alissa Blount), an operatic wardrobe, attempt to cheer her up.

The cast performs “Be Our Guest” to make Belle feel welcome.

“Be Our Guest” is one of the show’s biggest numbers. The cast includes 58 students. There are also 20 students in the pit orchestra, 17 on stage crew, and five working the lights and sound.

Lumière (Christian Hahn) treats Belle (Natalie Allen) are part of the “Be Our Guest” scene. He would also give Belle a tour of the castle, which leads to the forbidden West Wing. Belle sees the mysterious rose floating in a bell jar, and she reaches out to touch it. Before she can, the Beast stops her and orders her to get out accidentally shoving her in the process. Fearing for her life, Belle flees from the castle.

The Beast is mournful after Belle leaves the castle. He would soon redeem himself, saving her from wolves in the woods. He needs Belle to fall in love with him to break a spell so he can return to being human again.

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Lyndonville FD welcomes new rescue truck

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 March 2017 at 11:12 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – The Lyndonville Fire Department received a new rescue truck this evening at about 8 p.m. The truck can be used for EMS calls and also for extrication at motor vehicle accidents.

Pictured with the vehicle, include right to left: Mayor John Belson, Fire Chief Ben Bane, 2nd Assistant Chief Lee Kistner, Lt. Mike Heideman, EMS Captain Scott Buffin and Fire Captain TJ Heideman.

The new rescue truck replaces a truck from 1989. This is also Lyndonville’s first new fire truck in several years. Mayor Belson said the vehicle cost about $170,000 and will be paid over seven years.

Firefighters, including Lee Kistner, left, and TJ Heideman look over the new truck, which was manufactured by Rosenbauer and includes a Ford F 550.

(The Holley and Fancher-Hulberton-Murray fire departments also welcomed new Rosenbauer rescue trucks in the past year, said Jim Tabor of Carlton, who is the Senior Sales Representative at Empire Emergency Apparatus, New York State’s Rosenbauer Fire Apparatus Dealer.)

The Lyndonville truck committee was headed by David Hydock. Other members included Scott Buffin, Jason Gerety, Mike Tabor and Mike Heideman. They spent about a year working on the project.

Ben Bane, the fire chief, said the truck will be easier to get around on EMS and extrication calls than a larger fire truck.

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Yates approves construction on water district expansion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 March 2017 at 3:28 pm

YATES – The Town Board approved a construction bid last week that was below estimates for a water district expansion.

Pilon Construction in Albion was the low bidder for the project will serve 12 residences east of the Village of Lyndonville. Pilon’s bid of $280,168 was the lowest of four bidders. The next lowest bid was $354,657 from Blue Heron Construction.

The project, Water District No. 4 – Phase 10, covers Ward and Goodwin roads and is the last stretch of Yates without public waterlines. Ward and Goodwin are between Alps and Platten roads, and west of the Ashwood hamlet.

Yates has $100,000 set aside in a water district reserve. The town plans to borrow the remaining costs with a low-interest loan.

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No surprises in village elections

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 March 2017 at 9:47 pm

Candidates in Lyndonville, Medina – all unopposed – elected

It was a low-key election in Lyndonville and Medina today. The candidates were all unopposed and re-elected with a small turnout at the polls.

In Lyndonville, Mary Kage was elected to a two-year term for village trustee. She received 14 out of 17 total votes.

Kage was appointed to the board in September, filling a vacancy created when Jim Tuk resigned. The election was for the final two years of Tuk’s term.

In Medina, two incumbents were uncontested for re-election. Owen Toale, 59 votes, and Todd Bensley, 61 votes, were both backed for two-year terms on the Village Board.

Toale is a retired publisher of the former Journal-Register in Medina. Bensley teaches AP government and participation in government in Medina, and also is the village historian.

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‘Lyndonville Reads’ debuts 1 book, 1 community reading initiative

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 March 2017 at 4:41 pm

First book is a memoir of Rochester family detained in Nazi Germany during World War II

Photo by Tom Rivers: Emily Cebula, director of Yates Community Library, is pictured with The Queen of the Bremen, a memoir written by Marlies Adams DiFante. She will visit the library at 7 p.m. on April 27 to discuss the book.

LYNDONVILLE – For 14 years the public libraries in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties worked together in a community reading project where a book was picked for everyone to read and discuss each year, with a visit by the author.

The “Tale for Three Counties” reading initiative was discontinued after the last author visit a year ago. Sarah M. Hulse of Spokane, Wa., made several stops in the three counties to discuss her book, “Black River,” last March.

The “Tale” project was popular with readers, but it also proved challenging to organize each year. When the committee announced “Tale” was ending, the Yates Community Library director wasn’t ready to totally abandon the community reading effort.

Emily Cebula thought a smaller scale project could work in the Lyndonville area.

“It was difficult sustaining something that massive,” Cebula said about the three-county reading initiative. “A few us here wanted to continue something on a smaller, local scale.”

Marlies Adams DiFante

The debut “Lyndonville Reads” features a book by a Rochester author, “The Queen of the Bremen.” The book by Marlies Adams DiFante is her memoir of travelling from Naples at age 5 to Nazi Germany during World War II. Her family left to see her mother’s ailing father. They expected to be gone three months. It turned into seven years of struggling to stay alive.

Yates Community Library will host a book discussion at 6:30 p.m. on April 10, and DiFante will visit the library at 7 p.m. on April 27 to talk about the book. Cebula heard DiFante give a presentation on the book last September for the Medina Historical Society.

“She is a wonderful speaker,” Cebula said. “She is such a gracious lady.”

Yates Community Library has had the book for about five years, and it has been popular, checked out 32 times, Cebula said. She also knew of book clubs in the community that picked the book and enjoyed it.

The library purchased 20 books for the community reading effort, and most are currently checked out. Some Lyndonville students in grades 11 and 12 are also reading the book in their English classes. Students who write the best essays about the book will be able to have lunch with DiFante and her husband.

Cebula said the book is nonfiction, which is different from the Tale selections. The author is also local with a self-published book. Cebula said the story is powerful, detailing hunger, separation, fear, and torment during DiFante’s young years.

Cebula hopes “Lyndonville Reads” is the beginning of a new annual event for the community.

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Candidates unopposed in Medina, Lyndonville elections today

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 March 2017 at 9:44 am

Polls are open today from noon to 9 p.m. for village elections in in Medina and Lyndonville. The candidates in both villages are unopposed.

In Lyndonville, Mary Kage is the lone candidate for a two-year term as a village trustee. Kage was appointed to the board in September, filling a vacancy created when Jim Tuk resigned. The election is for the final two years of Tuk’s term. Lyndonville’s election is from noon to 9 p.m. at the Village Hall.

In Medina, two incumbents are uncontested for re-election. Owen Toale and Todd Bensley are seeking two-year terms on the board. Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. at the Senior Citizens Center, 615 West Ave.

Toale is a retired publisher of the former Journal-Register in Medina. Bensley teaches AP government and participation in government in Medina, and also is the village historian.

“I’m proud to be a member of a board that discusses issues and goals and comes up with a plan,” Toale posted on Facebook on Sunday. “Communication and cooperation are hallmarks of this board. No agendas here other than the betterment of our community.”

Toale said negotiating and ratifying contracts for the DPW, fire and police are among his biggest accomplishments in the past two years. The agreements were approved without an outside negotiator which Toale said saved thousands of dollars..

“We sat down with the union people, came to fair agreements for both, got full board approval and union ratification and sealed the deal,” he said.

Tool, in his Facebook post, said he has time to tend to village issues during the day because he is retired. He often meets with agencies, village employees and department heads, and attends webinars to learn how to better run the village.

Toale praised Bensley, calling him, “a deep thinker who looks for solutions before jumping to conclusions.”

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Conservative Party vice chairman cries foul over ‘double dipping’ by elected officials

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 March 2017 at 12:02 pm

YATES – Paul Lauricella said “politicians” continue to shock his senses, taking advantage of ways to enrich themselves at the public’s expense.

Lauricella, the vice chairman of the Orleans County Conservative Party, said it should not be legal for some elected officials to “retire” from their positions, collect their pensions, and then stay on in their elected positions receiving their full pay.

Lauricella addressed the Yates Town Board on Thursday. He is upset that Roger Wolfe, the town highway superintendent, is considered retired and able to collect his public pension, while continuing to work as town highway and water superintendent. Wolfe is paid $64,180 as highway superintendent and $13,658 as water superintendent in 2017.

He entered the NYS Employees Retirement System on Dec. 31, 2015, eligible for a pension at $50,619 annually. (He can’t receive that full pension each year because he is younger than 65. But he can receive a prorated amount until he surpasses $30,000 in pay in a year. A letter from the state comptroller’s office on March 15 said Wolfe was able to receive his monthly pension of $4,209.02 until May 2016, when he hit the $30,000 level in income.)

Once over 65, retired municipal employees have no income restrictions that affect their pensions, according to the state Retirement and Social Security Law.

Lauricella has been sending Freedom of Information Act requests to the town and comptroller’s office. He presented the responses to the Town Board on Thursday. Town Supervisor Jim Simon asked Lauriella to present his questions in writing, and the board would work to answer them.

Lauricella shared some of his concerns during the meeting on Thursday. He said the town minutes don’t show any record of Wolfe retiring. Town Councilman Jim Whipple said he recalls the Town Board accepting the resignation at a December 2015 meeting. Whipple said the minutes could be modified to show that.

Wolfe had been re-elected that November and started a new term on Jan. 1, 2016. That is how some of the elected officials who then collect their pensions handle the timing. When they have already been re-elected to start new terms on Jan. 1, they retire typically the day before the new term starts.

Ed Morgan, the Murray highway superintendent, and Larry Swanger, the Clarendon highway superintendent, also are retired and continuing to work full-time in the jobs. Many long-term state legislators, such as David Gantt in Rochester, also are retired, collecting a pension and their regular pay for their elected positions.

Simon, the Yates town supervisor, said Wolfe has done nothing illegal. As an elected official, the rules are different for “double dipping,” collecting a pension and full-time pay.

Normally a public employee has to get a waiver to continue working on the government payroll and collect a pension. The municipality needs to show the person is difficult to replace, without a qualified successor ready to take over.

Lauricella said other capable people could serve as highway and water superintendent for Yates.

Normally municipal retirees also have to stay out of the same position they were working in for at least a year, before they are brought back to that job. But that stipulation doesn’t apply to elected officials.

Lauricella said it was wrong to have different rules for elected officials and other public employees.

“I’m sure there is some loophole because when you’re a politician you can get away with anything,” Lauricella said at the meeting.

Simon said he would research Lauricella’s questions to make sure the answers were correct.

Simon praised Wolfe and the highway workers for their recent effort cleaning up after the powerful wind storm last week and then for their work clearing town roads from the big snowstorm this week.

Simon also praised the Lyndonville Fire Department and Village of Lyndonville for making their facilities available as warming shelters for people without electricity. Simon said some residents went four days before their power was restored.

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Yates votes no on money for Medina ambulance, but intends to help fund effort

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 March 2017 at 9:33 am

YATES – The Yates Town Board voted against a contract with the Village of Medina on Thursday night, where the town would contribute to the ambulance service.

Town Board members say they want to pay towards a new ambulance, but don’t like the language in the contract referring to a “deficit” with the ambulance service.

The Medina Fire Department provides ambulance service for the western Orleans County towns of Yates, Ridgeway and Shelby. The Fire Department has four ambulances and wants to replace one every two years. The ambulances cost about $160,000 each, so each year the department wants to set aside $80,000 towards an ambulance.

The three towns and village of Medina will pay a pro-rated share towards the ambulance based on percentage of ambulance calls in each municipality between Sept. 1 to Aug. 31 each year.

In Yates, the town share, including for residents in the Village of Lyndonville, would be about $15,000 a year, said Jim Simon, the town supervisor.

The current contract with Medina expires June 30. Yates has been in a contract with Medina since 2007 for ambulance services. Yates hasn’t been contributing to the cost in recent years.

Town Board members said they want to support paying for an ambulance, but don’t want to be pulled into financing other operational costs.

Yates officials have been meeting with Medina officials for more than a year, discussing the ambulance contract. Wes Bradley, a Yates town councilman, said the focus initially had been on an ambulance replacement fund and having the three towns contribute. But it has expanded to helping with an undefined deficit for the service.

“I’m still not 100 percent comfortable (with the contract),” Bradley said during the Town Board meeting.

Bradley has been a member of the Lyndonville Fire Department for 37 years. He said the Medina Fire Department provides “top-notch” service to the Yates community. He just wants the language clear in the contract.

The proposed contract would establish an Advisory Board, with Yates, Shelby, Ridgeway and Medina all appointing a representative. That board is welcome to make recommendations to the Medina Village Board on how to reduce a deficit with the service.

Medina Mayor Mike Sidari declined to discuss the issue until he had a chance to talk with the Village Board. He said he wanted to three towns to view the ambulance as a shared service.

Jim Whipple was the lone Yates board member to vote for the new contract. Whipple, however, didn’t want the town to be pulled into management of the service.

“We just want to support the ambulance and not get involved in collections and operations,” Whipple said.

The Medina Village Board would still oversee the service, but the new Advisory Board would give the towns more input in how the ambulance service is run.

Town Supervisor Jim Simon, and councilmen John Riggi and Wes Bradley voted against the contract. Councilman Brad Bentley was absent from the meeting.

Simon said the town already budgeted $15,000 this year to support the ambulance. He said Yates is pleased with the service and wants to help pay for new ambulances in the future.

The contract in the past has been rolling over each year. Simon and the Yates officials would like to have the issue settled soon.

“We don’t have another ambulance service we can turn to,” Simon said.

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4 Lyndonville students have award-winning photos in Rural Schools contest

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 March 2017 at 5:23 pm

Photo courtesy of Lyndonville Central School

LYNDONVILLE – These four Lyndonville students hold their award-winning photos in the Rural Schools Association Student Photo Contest. The students include from left: Victoria Wagner, Skyler Lear, Devon Allen and Jessica Smith.

Students were asked to submit photographs of their schools, their community or their surroundings. RSA has already used some of these photos for the cover of the organization’s testimony before the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Feb. 14.

The photos will also be displayed at Lyndonville Central School and at the Yates Town Hall.

Devon Allen took this photograph, entitled, “Community Red Barn.”

Victoria Wagner took this picture, entitled, “Johnson’s Creek on School Grounds.”

Jessica Smith’s award-winning photos feature Johnson’s Creek & the Lyndonville Library, and also one of a tree by Johnson’s Creek.

Skyler Lear’s photo shows a swan swimming on Johnson’s Creek.

To see all the winning entries in the contest, click here.

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Lyndonville school roof has been repaired

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 March 2017 at 3:32 pm

Photo courtesy of Jason Smith

LYNDONVILLE – The wind storm on Wednesday ripped off a chunk of the rubber membrane on the Lyndonville school. The Elmer W. Davis roofing company has been at the school today and made a temporary repair.

“Through the hard work of roofers in coordination with district personnel, the roof has been repaired and is safe for students and staff to occupy,” said Jason Smith, Lyndonville Central School superintendent.

If power is restored, Smith said he expects there will be school on Friday.

“There has been no decision made to close school tomorrow as the building is safe for occupancy,” he said. “If a decision is made to close tomorrow, parents will be notified through normal closing procedures.”

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