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Simulation shows students dangers of drunk and distracted driving

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 June 2018 at 1:55 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – Norm McDonald, a Lyndonville student, is led away on a stretcher by Medina firefighters during a simulation this morning at the school. Lyndonville firefighters created a scene that looked like a two-car accident.

Firefighters then extricated students. The school has hosted the simulation the past seven years just before the prom and graduation season to remind students of the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Lyndonville has its prom on Friday.

Miranda Lembcke pretended to be the driver that caused the accident. She is led away by Deputy Torry Tooley of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office after failing sobriety tests.

Lembcke, a senior, agreed to be part of the simulation because she wanted to send a strong message to students to be safe and not drive under the influence.

“We wanted to bring awareness to everyone and let our class know that this happens,” she said about the accident scene.

Luke Isaacson also is taken by stretcher after being freed from the wreck.

Ken Strickland, an investigator with the Sheriff’s Office, said local law enforcement agencies respond to many car crashes with teen-agers each year, with drug and alcohol use often a factor.

Paige Gardner was one of two people who were fatalities in the simulation. Kevin Bogan of Bogan and Tuttle Funeral Home is at the scene. He brought a hearse. Gardner was put in a body bag and put in that vehicle.

Kim Bow, an administrative assistant at Lyndonville, pretends to me the mother who has just seen her deceased child.

Bow is led from the scene by Lt. Mike Heideman of the Lyndonville Fire Department.

Norm McDonald is in a damaged car. He needed to be extricated. Students in grades 10-12 witnessed the simulation.

After the simulation, Deputy Torry Tooley led a discussion with students about the dangers of distracted and drunken driving. He said texting, talking on the phone, watching videos, and navigational aids can all distract drivers. Even a moment of inattention can result in a fatal accident.

Provided photo: The Sheriff’s Office also brought its new STOP DWI Driving Simulator to Lyndonville. Dep. Tooley observes Anna Lewis in the simulator, where students and other users can see the effects of driving while texting, drowsy or if they are impaired or intoxicated.

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Boy Scouts honor Lyndonville school superintendent

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 June 2018 at 11:43 am

Provided photos: Jason Smith, superintendent for Lyndonville Central School, was honored as a distinguished citizen on Thursday by the Iroquois Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The event was held at Batavia Downs.

BATAVIA – The Iroquois Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America held its 43rd annual Boypower Dinner on Thursday and honored distinguished from five counties that are part of the council.

Jason Smith, the superintendent of schools for Lyndonville, was picked as the distinguished citizen for Orleans County. Smith actually lives in Batavia, Genesee County, with his wife Lori and their three children.

He is heavily involved in Orleans County. Smith started his career as a social studies teacher in Albion for six years. After a year as a dean of students at Albion, he worked as an assistant principal for three years. Then he was hired to work in Elba as a principal from 2004 to 2011. in December 2011, he started as Lyndonville’s school superintendent.

He was praised by the Boy Scouts for his leadership in character education and substance abuse education at Lyndonville. He has also forged strong partnerships between the school and its booster organizations, the Lion’s Club, GCC and the Yates Community Library, which have resulted in expanded opportunities for students.

The school has partnered with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office and others to offer substance abuse prevention programs.

Smith has a strong rapport with the student body. He has regular lunch meetings with class officers and played in the pit orchestra for the recent school musical.

“He is highly motivated to provide every opportunity for the school to have a positive impact on students and the community by responding to the current educational needs, safety concerns, and having a high-quality staff,” according to the Iroquois Trail Council.

Smith also is active in community organizations, including the Lion’s Club, Lyndonville Area Foundation, Orleans United Way and GCASA. He plays the trombone in Mark Time Marchers Fireman’s Band and the Batavia Concert Band, and runs in many local 5K races.

Smith also is a eucharistic minister and faith formation teacher at Resurrection Parish in Batavia.

The local Boy Scouts honored the following on Thursday, from left: Wyoming County Distinguished Citizen Hans Kunze, Livingston County Distinguished Citizen Matt Gaynor, Orleans County Distinguished Citizen Jason Smith, Genesee County Distinguished Citizen Jay Gsell, and Niagara County Distinguished Citizens Rosemary and Jim Sansone.

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Lyndonville career day shows students some job options locally

Staff Reports Posted 30 May 2018 at 3:25 pm

Provided photos

LYNDONVILLE – Ken Strickland, an investigator with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, was among the speakers Friday during a career day at Lyndonville Central School.

Students in grades 6 through 8 met with many professionals in the community, and also students in the BOCES programs to learn about options for employment after graduation.

Allied health nursing student Kennedy Smelski discusses her program.

Ariel Strickland, an animal control officer with the Sheriff’s Officer, dscussed her job.

Cosmetology students also made a presentation.

Vern Fonda, a conservation officer with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, was a featured guest during the career day.

Wendy Wilson of LynOaken Farms in Lyndonville and the Leonard Oakes Estate Winery in Medina brought along apples as well as her insight.

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7 take the ‘Murph Challenge’ to honor fallen soldier on Memorial Day

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 May 2018 at 9:44 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – These two state conservation officers – Vern Fonda, left, and Nate Mead – were among seven people to complete the “Murph Challenge” on Memorial Day in Lyndonville.

Fonda, a Lyndonville resident, has organized the event the past two years in Lyndonville by the Yates Community Library. Participants wear a 20-pound vest or armor and start the challenge by running a mile, and then must do 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats and one final 1-mile run.

Josh Wolgast, a conservation officer based in Niagara County, finishes the final mile of the Murph Challenge on Monday. He is joined for the last stretch by Rick Townsend of Lyndonville, who works for KeyBank in Buffalo. Wolgast finished the challenge in 40:44.65. Townsend was done in 1:29:50.68.

The Murph Challenge has been an annual event for more than a decade and is a fundraiser of the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation. Participants pay a $45 fee and their times and entered into a database. Torry Tooley, an Orleans County deputy sheriff, completed the challenge in 27:19.82, which is in the top 10 in the country. Many of the participants are law enforcement officers and active duty soldiers.

Michael P. Murphy was a United States Navy (SEAL). He was 29 when he was killed in Asadabad, Afghanistan on June 28, 2005. LT. Michael Murphy was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on October 27, 2007.

Murphy would push himself with fitness challenges, including the tasks in the “Murph Challenge.”

These participants do pushups, pullups and squats as part of the Murph Challenge, which had the added strain of a hot day on Monday.

Townsend has completed 12-mile “Tough Mudders.” The Murph Challenge was difficult, especially with temperatures in the mid-80s on Memorial Day.

“I do it for the challenge,” Townsend said.

He also wanted to support the cause – scholarships for children of fallen soldiers.

Nate Mead, a conservation officer in Cattaraugus County, completed the challenge in 46:02.33. He had a big blister on his right hand from the pullups.

He wanted to do a physically exhausting challenge on Memorial Day, to pay tribute to the soldiers “who had it a lot worse than we did.”

Fonda agreed that the challenge is a way to pay homage to fallen soldiers, such as Murphy, by offering some pain, sweat and tears. He made it through the challenge in 52:30.11.

“It’s grueling, but I can hurt for one day a year,” Fonda said.

Vern Fonda, left, and Nate Mead do squats for the Murph Challenge. They needed to do 300 while wearing a 20-pound vest.

Lucas VanDervort, a Brockport police officer and medic with COVA in Albion, said there is a fellowship among the participants, knowing that so many around the country are pushing themselves to finish the challenge.

“It’s a way to honor the veterans who sacrificed so much for us,” he said.

For more on The Murph Challenge, click here.

Lucas VanDervort, a Brockport police officer and medic with COVA in Albion, runs the final mile of the Murph Challenge on Monday. He completed the event in 52:02.83.

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American Legion makes sure veterans’ graves in Lyndonville are honored for Memorial Day

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 May 2018 at 9:15 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

LNDONVILLE – Carl Boyle, a member of the American Legion in Lyndonville, was among a small group of volunteers who placed flags at 504 veterans’ graves in Lyndonville cemeteries on Thursday.

Boyle said the number of veterans to honor on Memorial Day increases each year. Boyle is shown at Lynhaven Cemetery in Lyndonville. Legion members and other volunteers also set flags at four other cemeteries.

Weldon Barnum, another American Legion member, eyes veterans’ graves at Lynhaven to set flags.

Lyndonville will observe Memorial Day on Monday with a parade starting at 9 a.m. at the Catholic Church on Lake Avenue and ending near the library on Main Street. A ceremony will be held there. The Yates Community Library has arranged to have many flags in the school front yard.

Steve Goodrich, commander of Houseman-Tanner Post 1603 in Lyndonville, presented a certificate of appreciation to Luke DiFato of Lockport on Thursday. DiFato, 16, volunteered a few days last summer to remove lichens, mold and mildew from veterans’ gravestones. This headstone was covered in lichens last summer, and could barely be read.

Photo courtesy of Steve Goodrich: This picture from last summer shows the lichens growing on the headstone.

Goodrich heard that Wet & Forget was effective as a moss, mold, mildew and algae stain remover. The solution doesn’t need pressure washing or scrubbing. Goodrich heard that DiFato was looking to do community service with a veterans’ project. He applied the Wet & Forget last summer and the solution knocked off the lichens from the headstones, many of which are more than a century old.

The Town of Yates is now interested in having Wet & Go used on other headstones that have lichens. Goodrich said the town is looking for volunteers to apply the solution. Interested volunteers should contact the Yates Town Hall (585) 765-9716 and leave a message for Goodrich to contact them.

Luke DiFato helped place flags on veterans’ graves at Lynhaven Cemetery on Thursday afternoon.

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Lyndonville church’s fashion show is tribute to ‘Wonderful World of Weddings’

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Wanda Oakes of Lyndonville stands next to her wedding gown which she wore at her wedding to James Oakes in 1950.

Posted 21 May 2018 at 11:49 am

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent

LYNDONVILLE – A spring luncheon event has become a tradition at the Lyndonville United Methodist Church, and this year’s drew inspiration from the past.

Organized by Ruth Hedges, the spring fling on Saturday paid tribute to the Wonderful World of Weddings, and featured a fashion show of gowns worn by brides at their weddings dating as far back as 1870.

Hedges got the idea after doing one with town of Shelby historian Alice Zacher when she attended the Millville United Methodist Church about 10 years ago.

“It was a huge success,” Hedges said.

Men of the Lyndonville church served the luncheon Saturday, which included a bridal cake shaped from cupcakes from Case-Nic Cookies.

Guest speaker was Georgia Thomas, who shared the “History of Weddings,” and how many wedding traditions originated.

Marilyn Kenyon stands next to Haley Shafer, who is modeling the wedding gown Kenyon wore at her 1951 wedding at the Lyndonville United Methodist Church.

June weddings go back in antiquity, she said.

“It was warm in June, and back then they only took a bath once a year, so people got married in June when they smelled good,” she said.

The wedding band, a circle of gold, represents never-ending love and is worn on the third finger of the left hand because it was said a vein runs up that finger to the heart.

Early bridal bouquets were made from field flowers and herbs, and every bride had rosemary and a sprig of myrtle in her bouquet. Rosemary signified remembrance, while myrtle is the flower of love and marriage, dating back to Greek mythology. All royal bouquets had a sprig of myrtle.

The “something old” each bride must carry was meant to be something from the bride’s past, while “something new” was meant to signify a happy future. “Something borrowed” had to be from a happily married couple, and “something blue” ensured fertility and love.

Through the decades, brides and grooms have tied the knot in hot air balloons and airplanes, on television and even by telegraph in a transatlantic wedding between Stockholm, Sweden and Detroit.

Special music was provided at the luncheon by Darrel Oakes of Lyndonville, who sang “I Love You Truly.” He also sang the song at Hedges first wedding to James Valentine in 1960.

It was a challenge to find models who could fit in the bridal gowns worn decades ago, and only Carla Woodworth was able to fit in the gown she wore when she married Terry Woodworth in 1975.

Hedges’ granddaughter Bridget Boland of Albany came to visit so she could model her grandmother’s gown. She had purchased it from a lady in Lockport for $25.

Haley Shafer modeled the gown worn by Marilyn Cook when she married Roger Kenyon in the Lyndonville Methodist Church in 1951.

“My sister and I took the bus to Sattlers at 998 Broadway to shop for my gown,” Marilyn Kenyon said. “They were remodeling and their bridal gowns were on sale. The clerk asked me what I was looking for and I told her I wanted a mandarin collar and pointed sleeves. It was the first and only dress I tried on. The headpiece cost more than the dress.”

Caelen Crowley was a perfect fit for her grandmother Charlotte Owen Crowley Bruning’s wedding dress.

The Rev. Beth Malone, pastor of the Lyndonville United Methodist Church, was married by her mom to Darren Malone in 1988 in Geneseo. Her gown, which she said she bought at an end-of-year sale, was modeled by Karen Brown.

Boland modeled two gowns – her grandmother’s and the gown worn by Christine Pask of Millville when she married Ed Urbanik of Lyndonville in 1985 at the Millville United Methodist Church.

Perhaps Laura Campbell had one of the most unique weddings. She and her husband were married in 2002 on 97 Rock in a promotion which included 97 couples. Rebecca Strickland modeled Campbell’s gown, which she purchased on sale at Blissett’s in Medina for $99.

Several bridal gowns and accessories were on display in the church sanctuary during the fashion show. One was Georgia Thomas’ which she wore at her December 1964 wedding to Terry Thomas of Medina. It was peau de soire with a silk organic overlay and court train.

Georgia also brought a c.1870 gray gown from the Medina Historical Society’s collection, with gloves and high button shoes.

Two other gowns on display were the one Wanda Oakes wore at her wedding to James Oakes and the one her mother-in-law Eloise Oakes’ worn at her wedding to Leonard Oakes. Wanda and James were married Dec. 22, 1950, while Eloise and Leonard were married Dec. 21, 1926. Eloise’s gown was muslin, while Wanda’s was candlelight satin.

Wanda said their colors and flowers were unusual, as they were married so close to Christmas. Her bridesmaids wore red and green velvet, and her flowers were poinsettias.

Alexis Strickland brought a beige muslin gown worn by her grandmother in 1919 and her grandfather’s wedding shirt to display.

Hedges said they are already planning on next year’s ladies’ spring luncheon. It will be a Kentucky Derby tea party, and ladies are encouraged to start thinking about the hat they will wear.

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Fashion show features antique wedding gowns

Posted 20 May 2018 at 10:04 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf

LYNDONVILLE – Georgia Thomas of Medina stands next to her wedding dress, which she wore in 1964 when she married the late Terry Thomas of Medina. Second from the right is the muslin wedding dress worn by Wanda Oakes’ mother-in-law Eloise at her marriage to Leonard Oakes in 1926.

At far right is Wanda’s gown of candlelight satin, which she wore when she married James Oakes in 1950. The gray gown and high button shoes at far left are from the Medina Historical Society and date back to 1870. The gowns were all on display for a luncheon and fashion show of antique wedding gowns Saturday at the First United Methodist Church of Lyndonville, at which Thomas was guest speaker, talking about wedding traditions.

Among the models wearing antique wedding gowns at a fashion show Saturday at the First United Methodist Church of Lyndonville are, from left, Carla Woodworth in the gown she wore at her wedding in 1975; Julia Goheen in the gown Sally Quintern wore at her wedding to Robert Quintern in 1967; Bridget Boland in the gown worn by Christine Pask at her 1985 marriage to Ed Urbanik; Rebecca Strickland wearing Laura Campbell’s gown from her 2002 wedding; Caelen Crowley in her grandmother Charlotte Owen Crowley’s wedding gown; Haley Shafer in the gown worn by Marilyn Kenyon in 1951; and Karen Brown in Pastor Beth Malone’s gown worn at her 1988 wedding.

Bridget Boland, granddaughter of Ruth Hedges of Lyndonville, models the wedding gown worn by Christine Pask at her marriage to Ed Urbanik of Lyndonville in 1985.

Caelen Crowley wears her grandmother Charlotte Owen Crowley’s wedding gown at an antique wedding gown fashion show Saturday at the Lyndonville United Methodist Church.

Rebecca Strickland models the wedding gown worn by Laura Campbell, right. Campbell was married in 2002 on 97 Rock with 97 couples.

Julia Goheen, left, models the gown worn by Sally Quintern at her 1967 marriage to Robert Quintern, while Haley Shafer is shown in the gown worn by Marilyn Kenyon at her 1951 wedding at the Lyndonville United Methodist Church.

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$200,000 loan will help LynOaken Farms update packing line

Posted 17 May 2018 at 6:04 pm

Press Release, Orleans Economic Development Agency

ALBION – The Orleans County Economic Development Agency secured $200,000 in GAIN (Growing the Agriculture Industry Now) loan proceeds for LynOaken Farms of Lyndonville through the agency’s Orleans Land Restoration Corporation.

LynOaken Farms will use the funds to update a packing line through the purchase of machinery and equipment, allowing the company to meet upcoming USDA, FDA and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) requirements, increasing efficiencies and adding new markets and product streams.

“We’re thrilled to be making this investment in local agriculture and for the assistance from the Orleans County Economic Development Agency,” said Wendy Oakes Wilson, general manager of LynOaken. “It will enable us to grow and expand our markets for years to come.”

The overall project includes the construction of a pole barn to house the new packing line and refrigerated finished storage, an internal build out of office administrative space and a pallet racking system at the Ridge Road location in Medina.

“The expansion of LynOaken is an outstanding example of an Orleans County farm business that has successfully grown, over the past 99 years, and diversified to actively compete in the marketplace,” said Jim Whipple, chief executive officer of the EDA. “Our agency was eager to support this newest expansion project through OLRC and the GAIN program.”

Apple growers in Orleans County since 1919, LynOaken Farms is a 250-plus acre diversified family farm operation that has consistently expanded to adapt and meet changes in the industry. They currently operate with 27 full-time, year around, employees supported by 50-60 seasonal employees; additional employment is projected over the next 3 years. The orchard operation began on Platten Road in Lyndonville and now includes a sales, u-pick, packing and storage operation on Ridge Road in Medina, New York.

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Albion, Lyndonville-Medina musicals both are big winners at Stars of Tomorrow

Photos by Tom Rivers: Qasim Huzair plays the role of Uncle Fester in Lyndonville-Medina’s production of The Addams Family in March. Qasim won a “best supporting actor” award from the Stars of Tomorrow. The “Dancesters” in back also received a “Tip of the Hat” award.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 May 2018 at 11:01 am

Both named outstanding musicals, among many awards

ROCHESTER – Two high school musical productions in Orleans County were big winners Thursday night at the Stars of Tomorrow competition in Rochester, which recognizes the top school musicals in the Rochester area.

Albion and Lyndonville-Medina both won the top award for outstanding musical. Albion, which competes with many large suburban schools in Division B, performed Godspell on March 23-24 and Lyndonville-Medina, in Division D, performed The Addams Family from March 23-25.

Enoch Martin (Judas), Victor Benjovsky (Jesus) and Laiken Ricker (disciple) perform a high-energy song in Godspell, Albion’s musical in March.

Both programs won many other awards and five students from the two programs also advanced in an individual competition where the winner goes to the Jimmy Awards program in New York City in June.

Lyndonville-Medina won the following awards for The Addams Family:

• Outstanding musical

• Outstanding Dance Ensemble

• Outstanding Acting Ensemble

• Outstanding Orchestra

• Outstanding supporting actor for Brian Cunningham, Qasim Huzair and Jacob Corser

Christian Hahn, center, portrays Gomez Addams, the patriarch of the family. He is shown with Brian Cunningham, left, who portrayed Pugsley Addams and Cora Payne, who portrayed Gomez’s wife Morticia. The three all received awards for their performances.

• Outstanding leading actor for Christian Hahn

• Outstanding leading actress for Cora Payne and Layna Viloria.

• Future Stars – Meagan Hardner

• Special Recognition – Grace Masse and Miranda Lembcke

• Tip of the Hat – Ethan Bowie, Sarah Cochrane, Zayda Moyle and the Dancesters.

(Hahn, Huzair, Payne and Viloria advance to round 2 of the Stars on May 24.)

Albion won the following awards for Godspell:

• Outstanding Musical

• Outstanding Dance Ensemble

• Outstanding Singing Ensemble

• Outstanding Acting Ensemble

• Outstanding Orchestra

• Outstanding supporting actor for Enoch Martin

• “Tip of the Hat” recognitions from the adjudicators for Nate Grammatico, Riley Seielstad, Emma Tower, Sophia Zambito, Matt Kovaleski, Richard Flanagan, Miranda Smith and the Albion HS Special Olympics Club

(Enoch Martin advances to round 2 of the Stars on May 24.)

Sophia Zambito, left, and Riley Seielstad, center, both were recognized by judges.

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Lyndonville, Medina school districts say shared programs have been successful

Photos by Bruce and Associates: Medina and Lyndonville students worked together to perform The Addams Family in March. The show was in Lyndonville.

Posted 8 May 2018 at 12:27 pm

Press Release, Lyndonville and Medina school districts

Jason Smith, Lyndonville Central School District Superintendent, and Mark Kruzynski, Medina Central School District Superintendent, say that their districts’ collaboration over the last several years has proven to be very successful.

The districts, like many communities across America, find their student populations dwindling as families get smaller.

“In the six and a half years I have been at Lyndonville, we have worked with Medina on a variety of projects, most notably athletics,” Smith said. “We have been able to offer our students marching band, cross country, soccer, football and of course the musical. Looking at our declining populations from both schools and keeping an eye on the long-term, we believe that working together whenever possible is the best thing for our students.”

Kruzynski said the partnership benefits both districts.

“This expands the amount of programs available for kids, which is the ultimate goal, and expands the quality of the programs for the kids as well,” he said. “We are always evaluating and always looking at different things that we can share and save money.”

The annual musical has been very well received by both the districts’ communities. Smith makes the observation that it helps the directors have a bigger cast and more talent to draw from.

“It has become a richer experience for the cast, crew and the audience,” he said.

The two superintendents have even got in on the act with both performing in the pit band this year for The Addams Family.

The superintendents and the athletic directors meet on a regular basis as well to update one another on their findings and discuss how to improve upon their success.

“One thing that we are looking at in Lyndonville, in respect to sports, is the transportation department here at the schools to offer more comprehensive transportation,” Smith said.  “We don’t want to put the students at a disadvantage to travel to and from Medina. That is something we have heard from our community over the past couple of months and we are looking to make some improvements there.”

Medina is exploring that as well, Kruzynski said.

“Now that the girls soccer will be hosted by Lyndonville next year, we will also be providing transportation for all of our soccer players who need it,” he said.

The combined Medina-Lyndonville varsity team wears Medina mustang uniforms and plays their home games in medina at Vets’ Park.

The superintendents have walked a fine line providing collaborative opportunities for all their students while maintaining their individual identities. Both districts believe that their school colors and mascots provide a common thread that runs through generations as symbols of their town’s character and history.

“It is interesting because both districts wanted to retain their identity as Tigers and Mustangs,” Smith said. “But both of our districts recognize the need to share.  We have two districts that work very well together and both Mark and I work well together professionally and that is the key to our relationship.”

There has been a nice side benefit for partnering together on the activities as well.

“Many of our students have become friends across both districts,” Kruzynski said. “Relationships are being formed that would not be formed otherwise. That was not the primary goal, but it was definitely a benefit.”

Planning ahead, both superintendents says they will continue to meet to map out how they can provide the best opportunities for their students.

“Our board officers have met and are going to meet again in July to see how things are progressing, assess what is going well and see what we can improve,” Smith said.

“We are always looking for ways to save money for both the districts,” Kruzynski added. “In the long-term we are hoping this partnership can evolve to see where we can share costs well into the future.”

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