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Medina and Lyndonville village elections have unopposed candidates

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 February 2017 at 9:48 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: Owen Toale, left, and Todd Bensley are unopposed in the March 21 village election at Medina.

Two villages in Orleans County will hold elections on March 21 for positions on the Village Board. The candidates in Medina and Lyndonville are all unopposed.

The deadline for submitting petitions passed on Feb. 14.

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 on March 21 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.

There aren’t any positions up for election in Albion, and Holley holds its election in June.

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Medina ranked one of most affordable housing markets in NY

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 February 2017 at 9:40 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: Main Street in Medina is pictured in May 2015 with a banner, American flag and hanging basket.

Medina is among the top 10 in New York State for being the most affordable housing in New York.

SmartAsset looked at closing costs, taxes, insurance premiums, mortgage payments and median incomes in making its list of most affordable communities for housing. Medina is ranked ninth in New York.

The housing costs in Medina are all well below the state average including Medina’s average closing cost of $3,408, annual property tax of $2,786, annual homeowner’s insurance of $308, and average annual mortgage payment of $3,289.

SmartAsset determined affordability by adding those four costs as a percentage of the median household income.

The $41,538 median income in Medina is well below the state average and also is the third lowest of the 10 communities in NY with the most affordable housing. Hornell, which is ranked No. 3 as most affordable, has a median income $38,598, and Dunkirk, which is ranked No. 4, has a median income of $38,937.

SmartAsset ranked communities with populations of at least 5,000. The most affordable communities had the smallest proportion of median income devoted to total housing costs.

To see the report from SmartAsset, click here.

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BOCES students help Medina K-9 by fixing malfunctioning equipment

Posted 15 February 2017 at 11:56 am

Provided photo (from left) – Medina Sgt. Todd Draper and Kye the K-9 are pictured with James Trembley (Lockport), Brendan Schyve (Royalton Hartland) and Fessor Thomas (Lockport).

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – Bill Leggett’s Electricity/Electronics students at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center occasionally take on projects to help out those in the community.

Recently Medina K-9 Officer Todd Draper asked if the class could help him and his four legged partner, Kye. A device they use for narcotics odor recognition was malfunctioning.

“It was battery operated and in need of repair,” said Mr. Leggett.  “Several students worked on it and were able to fix it for Officers Draper and Kye.”

Kye, a Belgian Malinois, has been part of the Medina Police Department since 2012, working with Draper, who is the dog’s handler.

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Medina winter guard units off to a good start this season

Posted 12 February 2017 at 9:49 pm

Provided photos, Medina Marching Band

MEDINA – The Medina Mustang Band is hosting two winter guard units this season. Both started practicing in November and students had to audition for both.

The Varsity Guard consists of 20 students in grades 8 through 12. This year their show “Frame(d)” features choreography surrounding different parts of a frame that evolve into one large geometric shapes.

They first performed in competition on Jan. 28 at Orchard Park. In the Scholastic A class Medina took first place with a score of 60.93. They performed for the second time on Feb. 11 at Victor and came in first place with a score of 64.39.

The Cadet Guard consists of 24 students in grades 2 thru 9.  Their show is “There’s No Place I’d Rather Be” and portrays the idea of when you find the right person in life, there’s no place you’d rather be. The music is a woven composition of the original from the group “Clean Bandit” and the A’Cappella version by the “Pentatonixs”.

They performed for the first time on Jan. 28 at Orchard Park in the Cadet class and took second place with a score of 44.7. They also competed at Victor on Feb. 11 and came in second with a score of 49.2.

The next competition for both guards is Saturday, Feb. 25, at Gates. The WG Home show in Medina is Saturday, March 11, and gives the community an opportunity to see these students perform without having to travel far.

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Medina FFA will refurbish vintage tractor

Provided photo: Medina FFA members Ian Joseph, left, and Jack Hill are pictured with advisor Todd Eick and a 1947 Farmall A tractor. 

Posted 7 February 2017 at 1:46 pm

Press Release, Medina Central School

MEDINA – Members of the Medina’s FFA Chapter have a new project on their hands: refurbishing a 1947 Farmall A tractor.

Teacher Todd Eick issued a challenge to two of his students, Ian Joseph and Jack Hill.  “I told them if they could find a 1947 Farmall A tractor for sale or for $1,000 or less, our chapter would consider purchasing it. I thought it would be a good project for the students to work on.”

The Farmall A was built by International Harvester from 1939 to 1947 in Chicago, Illinois and Louisville, Kentucky. The frame, engine and drive train are offset to the left and the driver’s seat and controls are offset to the right to give the driver an unobstructed view of the ground and crop being cultivated.  “I think it is a very fitting tractor for our chapter and Medina,” said Ian Joseph.

The students had been itching to get a tractor to use in the village’s Memorial Day parade and immediately started working on finding a tractor. One day when Mr. Eick was driving through Albion his spotted his quarry. He told the students about it and Ian set about negotiating the price from its owner. Ian then worked up a business plan to present to the other members of FFA and they decided to purchase it.

“The tractor runs, but has some mechanical issues,” Eick said. “But I feel like it came together so fast for a reason.”

He said if the project goes well he would like to purchase two more tractors for the class.  “A lot of chapters like to take something in rough shape and fix it up and then donate one to the FFA to auction off for a fundraiser. Hopefully in five years we will be in a position to do this.”

“The students are determined to have it running by the time the parade comes,” Eick said. “It will probably take weeks to fix this one. It will not be instant gratification. But I can tell they have a real appreciation of this vehicle and they are excited about getting started on it.”

“We are really looking forward to refurbishing it,” Ian said.  “It will need some basic mechanics, engine work and the painting will need to be redone. We would like to get it show quality. We can’t wait to show it off at the parade.”

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Condemned house damaged by fire in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 February 2017 at 9:50 pm

MEDINA – Firefighters were dispatched to a condemned house this evening that had smoke spewing and fire shooting from some of the upper floor windows.

The house is located at 536 Bates Road, just south of Brunner and Ringer Avenue. Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at about 7:45 p.m.

Firefighters were inside the house but were called out due to safety concerns. Firefighters continued to work outside, trying to put the fire out.

Many firefighters were on scene, including crews from Medina, Shelby, Ridgeway, Albion and others.

Medina Fire Department’s ladder truck was brought to the scene.

One firefighter helps another to secure an air pack.

No additional information was available.

(Editor’s Note: The house address was initially reported by dispatch as 530 Bates Rd., but it is 536 Bates.)

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Medina announces winners in high school reading challenge

Posted 1 February 2017 at 9:25 pm

Provided photo: Pictured from left include Alwyn Cayea (Grade 8), Alissa Blount (Grade 10), Hannah Sones (Grade 11) and Tiffany Poynter (Grade 11).

Press Release, Medina Central School

MEDINA – When Medina High School Librarian Jennifer O’Toole issued a reading challenge to the students at the school, she was cautiously optimistic that some of the students would be willing to participate.

“I wanted to see them spend more time with a good book instead of being on their phones.”

The Reading Challenge runs for each marking period and is voluntary. Students were able to choose their own book fitting criteria designed by Mrs. O’Toole and the school’s English teachers, and then had to write a complete assessment when they completed it.

They then became eligible for winning one of the gift baskets that were generously donated by members of the community and if they read four books they were eligible for a grand prize drawing.

“We had a great response to the first round of our challenge,” says Mrs. O’Toole.  “Many students in grades 8-12 participated and we are hoping will continue to do so for our next period.  I want to say congratulations to winners: Alissa Blount, Alwyn Cayea, Tiffany Poynter and Hannah Sones.”

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Medina names retired Pembroke business administrator to interim finance job

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 February 2017 at 4:16 pm

District begins discussion of shared girls soccer team with Lyndonville

MEDINA – The Board of Education on Tuesday hired Bill Lang, a retired school administrator for Pembroke, to serve as Medina’s director of finance for Medina until a permanent hire is in place.

Medina has been without a full-time business administrator since Jan. 16. That day Mark Kruzynski started as district superintendent. He was working as the school district’s director of finance.

Medina has advertised for the position, and Kruzynski said today he expects a hire to be made in mid-April.

The district needs a full-time professional in the role the next 10 weeks or so, as Medina works on its school budget, a $34 million capital project and the day to day operations, Kruzynski said.

The Board of Education during a workshop meeting on Tuesday also discussed ongoing shared services with Lyndonville for extracurricular programs, including athletics.

Medina is interested in looking at sharing a girls soccer team. Medina offers girls soccer, field hockey, cross country and volleyball in the fall.

“There’s only so many girls to pull from,” Kruzynski said.

The district superintendent said a shared girls soccer team is just in the preliminary stages, and may not become a reality this fall.

The district wants to continue shared programs with Lyndonville with Medina students playing on Lyndonville’s Varsity and JV Boys Volleyball and Lyndonville’s drama program. Lyndonville students are also welcome to continue with Medina’s Varsity and JV Football, Varsity and JV Cross Country and the Marching Band.

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Medina FFA makes repairs to giant Chinook salmon

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 January 2017 at 8:17 pm

13-foot-long fish expected to be in local parades, events

Photos courtesy of Todd Eick: Medina FFA member Jack Hill did a lot of work rehabbing the 13-foot-long fiberglass fish.

MEDINA – It may be Orleans County’s most recognizable fish, a monstrous 13-foot-long Chinook salmon.

The fish was created in the 1980s and used to promote the Orleans County Trout and Salmon Derby, which was run by the local Rotary clubs.

The fish was sold in 1990 to Al Capurso, who displayed it outside the Bait Barn, a shop with fishing supplies on Route 279 in Gaines.

Capurso gave the fish to the county tourism department about two years ago. The county’s sportsfishing coordinator, Mike Waterhouse, was hopeful the fish could return to parades and other events to promote the fishery.

But the fish had declined over 30 years. Waterhouse reached out to Todd Eick, Medina FFA advisor and agricultural teacher, to see if his students could rehab the fish.

Eick agreed, but it proved a big job. Students needed to rebuild the tail, strip down and rebuild the fins, fix holes and re-do the interior wire structure.

They applied many coats of paint and studied the right coloring to make the fish look like a Chinook salmon – it’s green and brown with some blue, with a gray belly and a pink stripe on the sides.

“There was autobody work and artistic creativity involved,” Eick said. “We want it to look like a king salmon.”

Photo by Tom Rivers: Here’s how the fish looked when it was outside the Bait Barn, Al Capurso’s shop in Gaines. Capurso had the fish for about 15 before giving it to the county tourism department to use for promoting the fishery.

Rhett Wagner works on a trailer that will hold the fish for events.

Students sanded, patched and painted the fish. They had to be careful timing the work. They didn’t want to stink up the school with epoxy so that was put off until the weekends.

Eick and the students received the fish in the spring 2015. They evaluated what was needed to get it back into shape, and realized a lot of work would be involved. The rehab work began in earnest this fall and is now nearly done. Eick said the fish will make its first community appearance on April 7 when the FFA hosts an animal appreciation day.

The big salmon could be back in parades this June and July. Eick remembers seeing the fish in parades when he was a kid.

“We still have a little more work to do,” Eick said. “I want it to be the best quality we can put out.”

Eick said many students chipped in with the fish restoration, with Jack Hill, Rhett Wagner and Ian Joseph, in particular, working many hours on the project.

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Medina hospital employee celebrated on retirement after 44 years of work

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 January 2017 at 1:21 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Anna Pittler is pictured today during a retirement party in her honor at Medina Memorial Hospital, where she has worked for 44 years.

Pittler works in housekeeping and has been a beloved member of the staff, said her boss, Sue Birch, the hospital’s director of environmental services.

“She has been an exemplary worker for us,” Birch said. “She is well-loved, and she is dedicated. She has missed no time.”

Pittler, a Middleport resident, said she has made a lot of friends through the job among her co-workers and the community members who use the hospital.

“I’ve just kept pushing along,” she said. “You meet a lot of people. It’s not a bad job.”

She remembers early in her career when the Blizzard of ’77 hit and she was stuck at the hospital for three straight days and had to sleep in the lobby.

Her co-workers through a surprise party for her today, with about 30 people waiting in the board room for a party. Pittler opened the door, and the room was dark, before the lights came on with all the people shouting, “Surprise!”

Her co-workers went one-by-one, hugging Pittler, and thanking her for all the hard work over the years.

“When I first started, she made me feel comfortable,” said Kathleen Paulsen, a co-worker the past nine years. “Her work ethic, her integrity is all spot on. She does her job well.”

Paulsen said she received many birthday cards and other notes from Pittler.

“I’m happy for her on her retirement but she is going to be missed,” Paulsen said.

Wendy Jacobson, the hospital chief executive officer, could count on a cheerful greeting each morning from Pittler, as well as the day’s weather report.

Jacobson said Pittler is an example of the hard-working staff at the hospital, where the average employee has 20 years of service to the hospital, and some employees have followed their parents in working at Medina Memorial.

“We have very dedicated people here, who are dedicated to each other, the hospital and the patients,” Jacobson said.

Anna Pittler gets a surprise party on her retirement today after 44 years of service to Medina Memorial Hospital.

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