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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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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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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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Artist begins work on bronze statue of soldier to go by Medina Armory

Staff Reports Posted 21 March 2017 at 9:12 am

Provided photos: Sculptor Brian Porter is pictured with a subframe for a statue of a soldier that will go by the former Medina Armory, which is now the YMCA on Pearl Street.

The statue of a soldier that will go by the former Medina Armory is taking shape.

Brian Porter, a sculptor who works as an assistant professor for Erie Community College, is working on the statue that will resemble a young soldier, someone who looks between 18 and 21.

That was typical soldier of Company F, which trained out of the Armory in Medina. The Company F Memorial Committee wants the statue to look like a typical soldier from the site when they left the community in October 1940 during World War II.

The 7-foot-high bronze statue will be erected outside the Armory, which was used for about 75 years to train soldiers for battle. The statue will honor those soldiers and help people appreciate the building’s past in training soldiers to defend the country

Porter created the statue for the Seabees Memorial in North Tonawanda.

Porter is trying a new process using 3D technology. He scans in the image of the miniature clay model, and data sent to a CNC machine is used to cut out thin plywood slices that are then glued together. The wood structure is a subframe for the clay to be shaped upon.

“It was a really interesting process to get to this point and many people that viewed it on campus were excited about the look of this stage of the structure,” Porter said.

The next step will be to begin carving and prepping the surface for clay modelling.

The plywood slices have been glued together in sections of about 10 pieces each. Porter anticipates that they will be easier to model and mold in this way.

The miniature clay model, about 20 inches high, is next to the wood structure which will be covered in clay in the next step in the process.

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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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20 winterguards competed at Medina event

Posted 13 March 2017 at 12:09 pm

Photos and article courtesy of Medina Mustang Band

MEDINA – Medina hosted a Winterguard show, Colorburst 2017, on Saturday with 20 guards performing, traveling from schools in Western New York and Canada.

Overall the home show was a success in terms of attendance despite the weather. A majority of the guards are sponsored by a school district, but there were five independent guards that are not connected to a school but are community sponsored.

The independent groups include the Patriots from Rochester, the Magic of Scout House and the Ventures from Kitchener, Ontario, Lakeside from Oswego and Prizm from Hamilton, Ontario. The independent guards are made up of people who participated in this activity while in school and want to continue by joining these other groups.

In the Cadet class, Medina took second place. In the Scholastic A class, Medina was awarded first place with a score of 76.09.

In the other classes, 1st place went to Victor Cadets,  Patriots Too in RA with 72.33, Corning Painted Post in A1 with 65.05,  Magic of Scout House in Senior with 68.38,  Patriots in IA with 82.05 and Orchard Park in SO with 76.30.

Medina’s next competition is Saturday, March 25, in Jamestown and then the Championships on Sunday, April 2, at The College at Brockport.

Medina’s cadet group finished second in Saturday’s competition.

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Second Heritage Festival will be a bigger event, spread out over 10 days

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 March 2017 at 6:35 pm

Event coordinated by GCC, volunteers returns Sept. 8-17

File photos by Tom Rivers: Last year’s debut Orleans County Heritage Festival including a timeline event at GCC’s Medina campus, which included re-enactors. impressionists and displays covering decades and centuries of American history. Ed Brodbeck, left, of Cheektowaga is Gen. Ulysses Grant. Jay Black, right, of Batavia portrays a provost marshal during the Civil War. Black brought along a collection of weapons that were used in the Civil War for people to look over.

The Orleans County Heritage Festival will return in September, and this time, instead of one activity-packed weekend, the festival will be spread out over 10 days, from Sept. 8-17.

“People felt overwhelmed with the choices available,” said Derek Maxfield, GCC associate professor of history and a festival organizer. “Instead of a couple days we’re going to have two weekends book-ending the whole festival.”

Last year’s county-wide celebration of historically and culturally significant locations involved 29 sites including special programming at GCC’s Albion and Medina campus centers. Maxfield said about 500 people attended, and they received a collectible button and ribbon.

GCC’s Albion campus will host events the first weekend, with the action shifting to the Medina campus the second weekend for a timeline festival. The timeline festival will include re-enactors, impressionists and artisans.

Local historic sites will be highlighted during the weekdays with an afternoon and evening event, Maxfield said.

“We’re going to be spotlighting one at a time,” he said. “We’re still in the early stages of planning.”

The debut festival highlighted historic cemeteries, farms, homes and other historic gems.

The new themes for this year include the following:

  • Erie Canal – locations associated with the historic canal to celebrate the bicentennial of this extraordinary 19th century transportation system;
  • Military – locations associated with the military history of Orleans County ranging from the French and Indian Wars through 20th Century Wars with special emphasis on the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I;
  • Cobblestone & Sandstone – locations associated with the substantial use of cobblestone and/or sandstone in the historic architecture;
  • Legends and Lore, Spirits and Supernatural – locations associated with a history of spirits, supernatural and/or ghost activities.

Lynne Menz, the Orleans County Tourism Marketing Manager, is excited about what the expansion of time will mean for visitors.

“In addition to being very pleased with the events and programs held in each location last year, almost all visitors wished they could have made it to more locations during the 3-day weekend,” Menz said. “This new 10-day format will allow people to experience a much wider range of events without having to force people to choose between events held at the same time but in different locations.”

Sam Maryjanowski of Medina, front, and Steven Burley of Barker are dressed as German soldiers from World War I during the Heritage Festival on Sept. 10, 2016.

Another first for this year is that the Heritage Festival is being organized by a board of directors.

“We had great cooperation from many community volunteers as well as GCC faculty, staff and students for the first heritage festival,” said Jim Simon, GCC associate dean. “But we realized that a more organized leadership structure would allow for the festival to provide even more to the community.”

The Board of Directors includes Derek Maxfield, Lynne Menz, Tracy Ford, Matt Ballard, Erin Anheier, Al Capurso, Cindy Robinson and Jim Simon.

Any locations or presenters interested in participating in the Second Annual Orleans County Heritage Festival should submit an application to Jim Simon, GCC Medina Campus Center, 11470 Maple Ridge Rd, Medina, NY 14103. Application forms can be found at the Heritage Festival website at Applications are due by March 20, 2017.

For more information please contact Jim Simon, associate dean of GCC’s Orleans County Campus Centers at (585)798-1688, ext. 4191, or Donna Rae Sutherland, associate director of Marketing Communications at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or

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A Facebook group devoted to promoting Medina tops 6,000 members

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 March 2017 at 10:12 am

‘I call myself Medina’s biggest cheerleader’ – Missy Schening

Photo by Tom Rivers: Missy Schening is pictured at Rotary Park in downtown Medina.

MEDINA – It was January 2009 when Missy Schening started the “Memories of Medina” Facebook page. She was looking for a way to promote the community and help residents connect.

She started posting historical photos from the community. She stopped by new businesses and gave organizations and residents a chance to share news about fundraisers and benefits.

The Facebook page immediately developed a following, and continues to add “friends” every day. As of this morning, Memories of Medina is up to 6,079 friends. Schening notes that has passed the village’s population, listed as 6,065 in the 2010 Census.

“I just focus on what people want to talk about,” Schening said on Friday during an interview at Meggie Moo’s, one of the many new businesses that has opened recently in the downtown.

Schening said the business resurgence in the the downtown is one of the many positives she has witnessed since Memories of Medina started.

A photo of the Wolcott’s Dairy Bar posted on March 2 garnered nearly 100 likes and 30 comments.

She has standards for the Facebook group: keep it positive and no politics. There wasn’t any talk on Memories of Medina of the controversial village dissolution, which polarized the community about two years ago. There hasn’t been any posts about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

“We don’t want anything political or the whole thing could fall apart,” she said about the group. “I just want it mellow. I just want fun.”

She posts older, silly photos and challenges people to “Caption This” – this morning posting a picture of a pillow fight among two children. She gets many of those photos from the social networking site, Tumblr.

She shares other nostalgic images, including of kindergarteners taking a nap, and asks the group if they remember doing that in school.

The photos often ring up more than a hundred likes and dozens of comments.

“I try to put something funny out to get them chatting,” Schening said.

It eight-plus years Memories of Medina hasn’t hurt for positive material. The Facebook group is fortunate that many talented photographers share photos, Schening said.

She also shares positive news articles about Medina, including many from the Orleans Hub.

She checks old newspapers at Lee-Whedon Memorial Library and posts some tidbits and historical photos. She is given tours of historic buildings, and shows people spots they don’t often see, such as the two jail cells that are in the basement of the Napa Auto Parts in Medina.

This photo that Schening found shows a parade from Old Home Week in 1906.

Memories of Medina recently shared news about two lost dogs, and their reunification with their owners. The post about the dogs’ return topped 300 likes.

Schening is the main administrator for Memories of Medina, but there are others as well who keep an eye on the site and will delete posts that are political or have a nasty tone.

“I want it to be like back in the day when you talked over the fence or on your porch,” Schening said.

She credited Dawn Meland and the late Michelle Stanton Jones for encouraging her in the early days of Memories of Medina. Back then, 2,000 friends for Memories of Medina seemed like a longshot. But the group has steadily grown.

Schening, who said she is shy by nature, has made numerous friends through the site.

“I know a lot more people now,” she said. “I call myself Medina’s biggest cheerleader. I’m just letting people know what Medina is.”

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With power out, Medina will use Senior Center as warming center

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 March 2017 at 9:40 am

MEDINA – The Senior Citizens Center at 615 West Ave. will be used as warming center until at least 4 p.m. while a portion of the village has electricity out, Fire Chief Tom Lupo said.

The Senior Citizens Center will be open with staffing while National Grid works to restore power for about 500 customers on the west side of the village. The fierce winds on Wednesday evening knocked down two utility poles, including one with a transformer, at the Olde Pickle Factory.

National Grid estimated this morning it could be six to eight hours before the power is restored.

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