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Medina

Artist commissioned for statue of Company F soldier

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 January 2017 at 12:33 pm
Provided photos: Artist Brian Porter is pictured with Bill Menz, chairman of the Company F Memorial Committee, after the group on Monday officially entered into an agreement to create the statue.

Provided photos: Artist Brian Porter is pictured with Bill Menz, chairman of the Company F Memorial Committee, after the group on Monday officially entered into an agreement to create the statue. The clay model shows how the statue will look.

MEDINA – The Company F Memorial Committee is moving along with its effort to have a 7-foot-high bronze statue erected outside the former Armory in Medina.

That site is now the Orleans County YMCA. But for about 75 years the site trained soldiers for battle. The statue will honor those soldiers and help people appreciate the building’s past in training soldiers to defend the country.

The Company F Memorial Committee worked for several years to raise $65,000 for the statue and also to make improvements to a monument outside the Armory on Pearl Street.

On Monday, the committee signed an agreement with Brian Porter of Lockport to create the statue.

The soldier will resemble a young soldier, someone who looks between 18 and 21. That was typical of Company F. The 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.

Porter is an assistant professor of art at Erie Community College. He has created the statue for the Seabees Memorial in North Tonawanda and is currently working with the University of Buffalo to create two statues of graduates to be installed at their North Campus.

This project will be the first where he will incorporate 3-D imaging to assist in creating the molds for the cast bronze statue, said Lynne Menz, a member of the Company F Committee.

Porter is collecting accessories such as the WWI campaign hat, backpack and rifle that were carried the day they left Medina in October 1940.

The 3-D imaging should speed up the process, but Bill Menz said it will still be one to two years before the statue is ready to be installed on a base that was unveiled in 2008.

The memorial fund-raising effort will update some of the plaques for the base. Menz said the committee also wants to add a third flag pole, improve the walkway and replace bushes with flower beds.

For more on the effort, click here.

Committee members include, from left, seated: Bob Weet (Company C Veteran), Artist Brian Porter, Chairman Bill Menz and Lynne Menz. Standing: sons and daughters of Company F veterans: Kathy Iorio, Cathy Fox and Joe Franklin. They are pictured at the VFW Post in Medina, which was formed by Company F soldiers after they returned from World War II.

Committee members include, from left, seated: Bob Weet (Company C Veteran), Artist Brian Porter, Chairman Bill Menz and Lynne Menz. Standing: sons and daughters of Company F veterans: Kathy Iorio, Cathy Fox and Joe Franklin. They are pictured at the VFW Post in Medina, which was formed by Company F soldiers after they returned from World War II.

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EDA says 300-acre business park in Medina could be largest certified, shovel-ready site in upstate

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 January 2017 at 9:04 am
Courtesy of the Orleans EDA: This map shows the 300 acres for the Medina Business Park and the Keppler Site near Maple Ridge Road. The Orleans EDA is looking to combine the land in one large business park.

Courtesy of the Orleans EDA: This map shows the 300 acres for the Medina Business Park and the Keppler Site near Maple Ridge Road. The Orleans EDA is looking to combine the land in one large business park.

MEDINA – The Orleans Economic Development Agency is looking to step up its marketing efforts for shovel-ready land in Medina and Shelby.

The EDA also is looking to combine the Medina Business Park, on the north side of Maple Ridge Road in the Village of Medina, with the “Keppler Site” on the south side on Maple Ridge in the Town Shelby (outside village). The land is just west of Bates Road.

The two sites represent 300 acres of land that has been certified by Empire State Development as being shovel-ready. The sites have major utilities and companies could start construction soon on the land if they were interested, using lots ranging from 5 acres to 125.

The EDA wants to combine the two business parks, which would be the largest certified shovel-ready site in Western New York, said Jim Whipple, chief executive officer for the Orleans Economic Development Agency.

He believes the site would also be the largest certified shovel-ready business park in all of upstate. He hasn’t found a bigger site in his research, and he is checking with Empire State Development to make sure that is true. If it is, the EDA wants to push that fact in a marketing campaign.

“To market the largest certified site, that’s huge,” said Paul Hendel, chairman of the Orleans EDA board of directors. “It’s time to take it to the next level. It’s time to start thinking big.”

Hendel said the EDA has worked hard to acquire the sites and make infrastructure available, work that goes back 20 years.

The Medina site has access to Village of Medina sewer and water, and also falls within the 30-mile zone to be eligible for low-cost electricity from the New York Power Authority.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Jim Whipple, chief executive officer of the Orleans EDA, discusses opportunities in promoting what may be the largest certified shovel-ready site in Upstate NY. Whipple is shown during Friday’s board meeting for the Orleans EDA in Albion.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Jim Whipple, chief executive officer of the Orleans EDA, discusses opportunities in promoting what may be the largest certified shovel-ready site in Upstate NY. Whipple is shown during Friday’s board meeting for the Orleans EDA in Albion.

Pride Pak moved to the business park last year, and a new hotel may commit this year to build at the Medina Business Park.

Whipple said the EDA needs to consider a name for the 300-acre business park. It could become a bigger Medina Business Park,” or Whipple said the EDA might consider a different name, such as “Orleans County West.”

He wants to hear from Andina Barone, the EDA’s consultant for marketing, as well as local officials. EDA board members noted the agency has already invested in signs and marketing the past 20 years for the Medina Business Park and it may make sense to keep that name.

The Keppler site is just outside the Village of Medina. Whipple and the EDA want to see how the Shelby community, including the political leaders there, feel about including that land in the “Medina” Business Park.

The 300 acres could be a mixed-use site, Whipple said. He could see smaller lots along the Oak Orchard River being desired for residences, he told the EDA board.

The agency also should look to build a “spec building” because its inventory of available buildings for companies is shrinking, said Gabrielle Barone, vice president of business development for the EDA.

The agency already has been approved for a $600,000 state grant towards a 40,000-square-foot pre-permitted building site. However, it would cost closer to $2 million to put up a building and there is no guarantee it would be filled right away by a company, Whipple said.

The EDA board said it would continue to mull the issues. Hendel said the agency is in a good position for the immediate future with the 300 acres of certified shovel-ready land in Medina.

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Big crowd at Medina library for ‘Finally Fridays’ concert

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 January 2017 at 8:31 pm

011317_Newcomb1

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Don Newcomb, lead singer and bass guitarist for the Don Newcomb Country Band, performs this evening at Lee-Whedon Memorial Library as part of the “Finally Fridays” concert series. About 200 people attended the concert today.

The concerts started last week and continue each Friday at 7 p.m. until March 10. The concerts are free, and made possible with funding from the Friends of the Library and state funds administered by the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.

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The band members include, from left: Don Newcomb, George Stolz on drums, Chris McGauley on the pedal steel guitar, and Sandy Watson on fiddle and guitar.

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About 175 to 200 people attend most of the concerts.

Upcoming performers include: Jan. 20, The Roadrunners & Lisa Saletta; Jan. 27, The LeftOvers; Feb. 3, Creek Bend; Fed. 10, Mr. Mustard; Feb. 17, Lake Effect; Feb. 24, The Easy Street Big Band; March 3, LeeRon Zydeco and the Hot Tamales; and March 10, Marcy Downey.

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Orleans legislator wants to see canal communities develop waterfront plan

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 January 2017 at 10:07 pm
Photo by Tom Rivers: The Canal Basin in Medina is pictured in this photo from Oct. 28.

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Canal Basin in Medina is pictured in this photo from Oct. 28.

MEDINA – An Orleans County legislator wants the canal villages and towns to work together on a plan to better optimize the historic waterway.

Ken DeRoller met with Medina Village Board this week to discuss working on a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program for the canal communities.

Medina officials were open to teaming with the other towns and villages for a canal corridor plan in the county.

The county is currently working on a plan for about 25 miles of the Lake Ontario shoreline towns of Kendall, Carlton and Yates. The state approved a $40,000 grant to help with that effort.

DeRoller would like to see the canal villages and towns also pursue a plan that would bolster activities and attractions on the canal, whether for boating, biking, kayaking, people having picnics or doing other recreational activities.

The plan could also look at residential and commercial opportunities.

The county has added a planning professional who could assist with the project. DeRoller said he would like to hear from the other canal community leaders.

“This is just planting a seed,” he said after meeting with the Medina officials. “I would like to see a coordinated effort.”

For more on Local Waterfront Revitalization Programs, click here.

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Medina names former principal as new superintendent

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 January 2017 at 9:48 pm
Photo by Tom Rivers: Mark Kruzynski, director of finance for Medina Central School, is pictured on Dec. 13, going over $34 million in work to the school district as part of two propositions that went before voters on Dec. 21. Residents supported the capital project with about 90 percent of the votes in favor of the work.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Mark Kruzynski, director of finance for Medina Central School, is pictured on Dec. 13, going over $34 million in work to the school district as part of two propositions that went before voters on Dec. 21. Residents supported the capital project with about 90 percent of the votes in favor of the work.

MEDINA – The school district will soon have a new superintendent, and he’s very familiar with the district’s operations.

Mark Kruzynski was high school principal before transitioning to the district director of finance. Kruzynski will start as superintendent on Jan. 16.

Wendi Pencille, Board of Education president, announced Kruzynski’s hiring this evening, about a week after the board didn’t select any of the three finalists for the position.

“Mr. Kruzynski will be an excellent leader for our district, bringing his many Medina experiences to his new role as superintendent,” Pencille said in a statement. “His student-centered focus combined with his understanding of curriculum and instruction, school finance and sound personnel practice will continue the tradition of educational excellence in which our community takes great pride.”

The board intends to fill Kruzynski’s job as director of finance. He will work in tandem the next month with Tom Cox, who is the current interim superintendent.

Kruzynski has also been actively involved in the planning for a $34 million capital project at the district, which was approved by voters last month.

Pencille praised Kruzynski for his dedication to the district, and for stepping in as acting superintendent on June 23, when Jeff Evoy passed away unexpectedly a day before before high school graduation.

“The Board is excited about Mr. Kruzynksi leading our district particularly after observing his success as our High School and Middle School Principal and, most recently, as the Director of Finance and as the Acting Superintendent during the very difficult time surrounding Mr. Evoy’s illness,” Pencille said.

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Medina sets March 21 for village election

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 January 2017 at 3:43 pm

MEDINA – Village residents will go to the polls on March 21 to elect two trustees to two-year terms on the Village Board.

Trustees Owen Toale and Todd Bensley are both up for election and they said on Monday they intend to seek another term.

The board on Monday set March 21 for the election with polls open from noon to 9 p.m. at the Senior Citizens Center, 615 West Ave.

Candidates can turn in petitions to the village clerk between Feb. 7 and Feb. 14. The petitions must be signed by at least 100 residents.

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Medina Fire Department will seek federal grant for staffing

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 January 2017 at 1:26 pm
Tom Lupo

Tom Lupo

MEDINA – The village is going to apply for a federal grant to cover the salaries of four additional firefighters.

The Village Board on Monday gave Fire Chief Tom Lupo authorization to apply for a federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant.

The village has been seeking the grants in recent years, but has been denied funding for additional staff. Medina has typically sought funds for two positions.

Lupo joined the Medina Fire Department in March. He is the chief of a department with 14 full-time firefighters. Lupo joined Medina after working for the Lockport Fire Department, where Lupo said that department received a SAFER grant two years ago for two positions and then another grant last year for four positions.

Lupo will be writing the grant for Medina.

He said the additional staff would ease overtime costs for the department. Medina is the primary ambulance provider for western Orleans (Shelby, Ridgeway, Yates, Medina and Lyndonville) but is seeing more mutual aid calls outside that area. Lupo said Medina was called to Royalton 87 times last year. He is notifying Royalton officials that Medina won’t be available to respond to that volume of calls in 2017.

Royalton has struggled to find enough personnel with the proper training to respond to ambulance calls, Lupo told the Village Board on Monday. Royalton will need to find another solution besides calling Medina because it is pushing up the department’s overtime costs, village officials said.

Congressman Chris Collins (R-Clarence) today announced the application period SAFER grants. The program is administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The program aims to increase the the number of trained, “front line” firefighters available in their communities, Collins said.

“The SAFER Grant Program delivers funding assistance to our local fire departments and EMS providers that helps recruit new members and ensure that current members are properly trained,” Collins said. “I look forward to working with this year’s applicants and I encourage all NY-27 fire departments and EMS providers to apply.”

FEMA began accepting applications from eligible departments on Monday (Jan. 9) and will accept applications until Feb. 10 at 5 p.m.

Interested applicants with further questions or those seeking letters of support from Congressman Collins are asked to call his Geneseo District Office at (585) 519-4002.

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Pub opens in Medina after 8-year ‘labor of love’

Photos by Tom Rivers: Amy Cifelli, co-owner of Fitzgibbons Public House, is pictured in the pub this afternoon. She and her husband Kevin worked for eight years to create the space.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 January 2017 at 7:09 pm

Fitzgibbon’s Public House gets praise on opening day

The former Silver Dollar on Main Street was radically renovated to become Fitzgibbons Public House.

The former Silver Dollar on Main Street was radically renovated to become Fitzgibbons Public House.

MEDINA – The Medina community has eagerly awaited the opening of Fitzgibbons Public House. The site at 429 Main St., the former Silver Dollar, has been painstakingly created in a Celtic style.

This summer the facade on Main Street was done, but the pub wasn’t ready for customers – until today.

Fitzgibbons opened to the public after an 8-year renovation and construction effort.

“It’s beautiful,” said Angela Waldriff, owner of Ashlee’s Place. “I believe it will bring more people downtown.”

Amy and Kevin Cifelli worked for nearly a decade to create the place. When they bought the former Silver Dollar, the building was badly deteriorated.

They gutted and strengthened the building but didn’t want it to feel “new.” Mr. Cifelli, a software engineer, also is a woodworking artist and created the railings and other pieces that adorn the interior.

“It’s been a labor of love,” Mrs. Cifelli said this afternoon.

Tony McMurtrie is pictured in the mezzanine with a Erie Canal mural created by Stacey Kirby.

Tony McMurtrie is pictured in the mezzanine with a Erie Canal mural created by Stacey Kirby.

The Cifellis were bolstered by a partnership with Tony McMurtrie, owner and operator of The Pillars in Albion. McMurtrie joined the Cifellis in finishing the space and creating the Celtic menu with a range of beers – Guinness, four nitro taps, IPAs and many other varieties.

The Cifellis worked for years, grabbing time on weeknights and weekends. Mrs. Cifelli is a math teacher at GCC and St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Batavia.

Amy Cifelli pours a glass of beer. She said the pub offers a variety of beers in a comfortable atmosphere.

Amy Cifelli pours a glass of beer. She said the pub offers a variety of beers in a comfortable atmosphere.

The Cifellis wanted a place in Medina where people could enjoy a beer – and good conversation.

“This is comfortable and homey,” Mrs. Cifelli said. “We wanted a nice calm atmosphere.”

They also wanted to honor Medina history. The site used to be a pub run by John and Emma Fitzgibbons in 1905.

The new pub has a nautical theme with a large Erie Canal mural painted by Albion native Stacey Kirby. That mural over the bar facing a mezzanine includes a tugboat on the canal, at the spot by the Medina Waterfalls.

McMurtrie often threw lavish Titanic parties at The Pillars. He has many large photos displayed at Fitzgibbons of the famed ship that sank on April 14, 1912.

Mr. Cifelli created the archway inside the pub that looks like an archway from a ship, McMurtrie said.

There are numerous photos and souvenirs that add to the Celtic ambiance. McMurtie and Cifelli wanted each seat to offer a different experience with different photos and memorabilia.

“The walls tell a story,” McMurtrie said.

Amy Cifelli and Tony McMurtrie pause from the hustle of and bustle of opening day for a picture inside Fitzgibbons. "I'm so happy we teamed up," McMurtrie said. "It's a match made in heaven."

Amy Cifelli and Tony McMurtrie pause from the hustle of and bustle of opening day for a picture inside Fitzgibbons. “I’m so happy we teamed up,” McMurtrie said. “It’s a match made in Heaven.”

The pub also serves up a Celtic menu with fish and chips, steak and other entrees.

McMurtrie said Fitzgibbons caters to the “everyman,” just as a pub should.

“There are no reservations,” he said. “Any walk of life can come in here.”

Fitzgibbons is opening with 11 employees.

The Cifellis and McMurtrie also are planning on opening an outdoor space later this year in the façade facing the Canal Basin. Cifelli said she has heard from many boaters who would welcome the chance to grab a beer by the canal.

This design shows how the outdoor facade facing the Canal Basin will look later this year during the canal boating season.

This design shows the plan for the outdoor facade with a balcony facing the Canal Basin.

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No decision on new Medina school superintendent

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 January 2017 at 1:28 pm

MEDINA – The Board of Education hasn’t selected a new superintendent, and “is in the process of pursuing other alternatives at this time,” said Wendi Pencille, president of the BOE.

The board and many community members interviewed three finalists in late November.

The finalists all had Medina connections.

Dr. Stephen Lunden is assistant superintendent at the Maryvale and a Medina resident. Lunden also served as Medina’s director of finance from November 1998 to July 2000.

Dr. Aaron Slack, Principal of the Lyndonville High School, grew up in Medina and is a Medina resident.

Dr. Michael Weyrauch, Principal at the Orleans-Niagara BOCES in Medina, is a former Medina teacher and vice principal.

Tom Cox will continue to serve as interim superintendent until mid-February, Pnecille said today.

She issued the following statement and said she could not add any more information at this time:

“In October, the Board of Education of the Medina Central School District initiated a search for its Superintendent and vetted and interviewed a number of candidates. At this time, no candidate has been selected. The Board would like to express its sincere gratitude to all community members and district employees who contributed their time and effort in this important process. In addition, the Board would like to thank Orleans-Niagara BOCES for their assistance throughout. The Board is in the process of pursuing other alternatives at this time.”

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Medina Memorial announces closing of ICU, staffing reductions

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 December 2016 at 3:46 pm

MEDINA – Medina Memorial Hospital will close its 4-bed Intensive Care Unit and eliminate 10 full-time equivalent positions on Jan. 31, 2017.

The ICU is no longer a six-figure deficit, but it continued to operate at a loss this year, Wendy M. Jacobson, President/CEO of Medina Memorial Hospital/Orleans Community Health, said in a statement this afternoon.

The staff in the positions being eliminated will be able to apply for other jobs with Orleans Community Health.

Here is the full statement from Jacobson:

“Related to the change in designation in 2015 to a Critical Access Hospital and the decrease in patient volume that the majority of hospitals saw in 2016, Orleans Community Health is conducting some reductions and re-assignment of staff.

“In 2016, staffing was modified in the ICU to make up for a six-figure loss in 2015. Unfortunately, though not as high as in 2015, the losses continued for 2016. The 4 bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) will therefore close due to consistent low patient volume and patients not meeting required acuity levels for reimbursement. There are eighteen CAHs in NYS and only three have the patient volume and acuity level to support an ICU. The NYS Department of health has been notified and a Limited Review CON submitted.

“Approximately 2% (approximately 10 FTEs) of the employees including staff from Nursing and Rehabilitation are affected by the necessary reductions system wide.  OCH expects to minimize the actual number of reductions by offering impacted associates the opportunity to apply for other vacant positions within the health system. The layoffs will take effect 1/31/17.

“Additionally, Outpatient Rehabilitation services will be consolidated and all outpatient rehabilitation services will be located in Albion at the Health Center on Rt 31 and Butts Road.

“The reductions and reassignments also come at a time when area health providers are facing increasing pressure to find operational efficiencies amid continued state and federal cutbacks in healthcare reimbursement and an overall weak economy. Operational efficiencies are imperative for designated Critical Access Hospitals and those efficiencies are closely monitored by State and Federal regulatory bodies.

“OCH will continue to meet your needs as a community hospital and we will continue to offer Medical Surgical, Surgical, and Emergency Department Services, as well as Imaging, Cardiac, and Laboratory services, Comprehensive Medical Rehabilitation onsite.

“We still offer Renal Dialysis in Batavia and Medina and Primary, Urgent, Laboratory, Imaging and Rehabilitation Services in Albion. We also hope to be adding new outpatient and long term services to better meet the community’s needs in 2017 and 2018 as a result of grant funding.”

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