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Medina high school senior becomes blood donor advocate

Posted 21 February 2018 at 8:49 am

Tiffany Poynter received life-saving transfusions as baby

Courtesy of the Red Cross

Photo courtesy of Red Cross: Tiffany Poynter, pictured with her parents, Merle and Michelle Poynter, needed a blood transfusion at birth and is now a Medina high school senior who donates blood.

MEDINA – Tiffany Poynter was born two weeks early by emergency cesarean section. During the procedure, the doctor cut her mother’s placenta, causing Tiffany to bleed out through her umbilical cord.

She was given a blood transfusion immediately after birth and a second transfusion the following day. Tiffany recovered in the neonatal intensive care unit.

“All in all, I am forever grateful for whoever donated the blood I received because I wouldn’t be here today without it,” said Tiffany. “I remember being very excited to turn 16 so I could donate!”

Tiffany is now a high school senior and blood donor. She has donated four times and intends to keep giving.

“I donate blood because I want to help those who need it like I did.”

Due to blood drives canceled because of winter weather and illnesses such as the seasonal flu, there is a critical need for blood donations. Eligible donors are urged to give now. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are encouraged. Visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to make an appointment.

Upcoming local blood drives will be held at:

• Medina Memorial Hospital on Saturday, February 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Medina Sacred Heart Club on Tuesday, February 27, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

• St. Gobain in Albion on Tuesday, February 27, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

• You can help earn scholarship money for Kendall High School by donating at the school on Wednesday, February 28, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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Medina police and fire department planning emergency drill on April 20 at high school

Posted 20 February 2018 at 5:11 pm

Press Release, Medina Police Dept. Lt. Todd Draper

MEDINA – The Medina Police Department would like to announce that it has an upcoming Emergency Drill scheduled at the Medina High School on April 20 at 1 p.m.

The Medina Police Department has been partnering with the Medina Fire Department and the Medina Central School District to conduct ongoing training so that all personnel involved are better prepared in the event of a large-scale emergency.

In light of recent events, we felt it was appropriate to inform the public that we have been and are continuing to take efforts to increase safety and planning for an emergencies that arise in the Village of Medina. We have previously conducted a readiness drill at the Medina Hospital in the spring of 2016.

In the 2016-2017 school year, local first responders and school leadership took part in a classroom type in-service training at the high school auditorium. Discussions with school administration continued in the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, and this drill was scheduled in a planning meeting in January 2018.

Although these efforts are not on showcase on a daily basis, we are always working behind the scenes to make local schools, businesses, and gathering places as safe as possible. We are committed to working and cooperating with local organizations as well as surrounding agencies to do everything in our power to keep our village residents and visitors safe. We feel this drill will help us continue our progress in this area.

A reminder that this drill will be on April 20 at 1 p.m. This day is an early dismissal day for the Medina students, and they will not be taking part in the drill. Role players will substitute for a realistic simulation. Citizens are asked to avoid the entire Medina School campus during this drill. Area residences can expect a high amount of emergency equipment: police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances, in the area. Further reminders will be put out on the Medina Police and Fire Department’s social media as the event becomes closer.

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New Y director has already expanded programs, partnerships

Photos by Tom Rivers: Greg Reed, the director of the Orleans County YMCA, will be leading a new spin bike class beginning today. Reed found 10 nearly new spin bikes at a deep discount for the Y. Reed started as director on Oct. 2.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 February 2018 at 9:49 am

MEDINA – The new director of the YMCA in Orleans County is focused on bringing more people to the Y on Pearl Street.

Greg Reed has the site open a half hour later each day while adding new programs and partnerships in the community.

The efforts seem to be paying off. The Y added 50 new members in January and now has 450 “member units.” A unit may include a family with multiple people under the membership.

“Our goal is to have more people in here,” said Reed, who started as director on Oct. 2. “I see it as a community center.”

Soon after he started the new job, Reed sent out emails introducing himself to different community members. He sent one email to Dan Doctor, Medina Central School’s director of community outreach. Doctor just happened to be looking for a site for an afterschool program that wouldn’t be on campus.

He was at the Y 10 minutes after getting the email. The district and Y formed a partnership for an after-school program in the Y’s basement. Doctor and volunteers gave the basement a fresh coat of paint and brought in furniture and games. The Y is offering the space rent free.

The new Education Recreation Club celebrated its grand opening on Feb. 2.

Doctor said Reed has been “awesome” to work with. Doctor had been working on the ERC for 18 months. It came together quickly at the end with Reed’s support, Doctor said.

Reed is hopeful many of the kids and their families will become Y members once they see what the organization has to offer.

“We just wanted to have a partnership with the school,” he said. “I just wanted more people in the building. When they’re here, they’ll see what assets we have.”

Reed is pictured on Friday with Dan Doctor, Medina Central School’s director of community outreach. The Y is offering use of the basement for a new Education Recreation Club, which meets after school at the Y.

Reed, 33, joined the Y after working five years as a physical education teacher and athletic director at a charter school in Denver, Colorado. Reed moved to Stafford with his wife and three children to be closer to her family. Her father is pastor of the Grace Baptist Church in Batavia.

When he was athletic director at the charter school, Reed made providing opportunities for kids his focus. He is bringing the same philosophy to the Y.

That may mean partnering or complementing what is offered at a school district. Reed stressed he doesn’t see the Y as a competitor for existing programs at the school or in the community.

The Y has two full-time employees and 35 part-timers. Besides the main site at the former Armory on Pearl Street, the Y runs a before- and after-school childcare program at Albion Central School, and an after-school program at Medina Central School.

The Y is running a “Strong Communities Campaign” with a goal of $28,000. That would support memberships and programs for people unable to pay. Reed said the organization doesn’t turn people away if the can’t pay for a program.

The Y offers many youth and adult sports programs, as well as other group exercise classes, including sunrise yoga.

Some other recent changes at the Y include:

• The site is open a half hour later, now 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 on Friday, and 1:30 on Saturday. The Y also is staying open on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Reed expects the Sunday hours to continue around Memorial Day. Once it gets warm out, there is less demand to be open on Sundays.

• A batting cage in the attic is now available.

• The facility is brighter after Reed used a lift to change 60 lift bulbs at the ceiling. He also got the big fans working.

• The Y purchased 10 spin bikes at a deep discount and Reed is leading a class with those bikes that starts today.

• The weight room was reorganized with one wall knocked out to open up the space.

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This year’s Medina Arbor Day celebration will be in honor of the late Wilson Southworth

Posted 17 February 2018 at 5:42 pm

Press Release, Medina Tree Board

MEDINA – The 2018 re-organizational meeting of the Medina Municipal Tree Board began with a moment of silence.

Tree Board members paused to remember their friend and fellow board member, Wilson Southworth, who sadly passed away at age 70 on Dec. 8. Southworth was a long-time member of the Tree Board, its Vice-Chairman and a staunch proponent of reforesting the Village of Medina.

Wilson Southworth

“I spent many a sunny winter afternoon with Wilson, pruning young trees in the village,” said Chris Busch, Tree Board chairman. “Sometimes it was just he and I, sometimes we were joined by other tree board members. We had such a great time pruning trees, conversing and enjoying ourselves. He was such an asset to the board and such a good friend. We all miss him very much.”

Southworth was a strong advocate for planting trees and a very dedicated board member, said Busch.

“I’ll bet not many people knew he was a member of the Tree Board let alone Vice-Chairman.” said Busch. “He really got it when came to the value of street trees in the village. Wilson really understood the impact that tree-lined streets have on neighborhoods and people, and he had an excellent grasp of what was involved in planning, planting and maintaining a village forest. He took the job very seriously and enjoyed it.”

As a fitting tribute to him, the Tree Board voted unanimously to dedicate this years’ Arbor Day celebration to him.

“He’d be so tickled to see this,” said newly elected Tree Board Vice-Chair and Arbor Day Coordinator, Nicole Goyette. “Each year, hundreds of school children attend the Arbor Day celebration in Medina. When he was teaching, his classes were always there with a special song or poem prepared for the occasion. So, it is right and proper that this years’ celebration should be for him.”

Arbor Day in Medina has been billed as “WNY’s biggest and best” Arbor Day celebration.

“As far as we know, it is the biggest and best,” said Goyette. “We’ve had 700-plus school children and dozens of citizens attend for many years. I don’t know of any other Arbor Day in WNY that can top that.”

Goyette said that as part of the tribute to Southworth, some of the Arbor Day activities he created as a teacher will be performed again. A memorial tree will be planted in his memory as well.

“The Tree Board provides a memorial tree program,” said Goyette. “For $250, a tree will be planted somewhere in the village forest and an engraved granite brick placed in the Memorial Tree Garden in front of City Hall. Wilson helped plant that garden.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Village Tree Fund in Wilson Southworth’s memory or wishing to donate a memorial tree and brick in his memory may do so at the Village Clerk’s office.

Credit cards, cash and checks are accepted, and the phone number is 798-0710. Memorial Tree donation forms are available for download by clicking here or at the Clerk’s Office. Completed forms should be turned in to the Village Clerk with the $250 fee.

This years’ celebration will take place at Butts Park on Friday, April 27, at 9 a.m. and will be known as the Wilson Southworth Memorial Arbor Day Celebration.

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Medina mayor and incumbents unopposed in village election

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 February 2018 at 9:58 am

Doherty submits petition to run as independent in Albion

File photo by Tom Rivers: Medina Village Board members have a discussion on April 4 at a board meeting. Mayor Mike Sidari, center, is joined by trustees, from left, Marguerite Sherman, Tim Elliott, Todd Bensley (in back) and Owen Toale.

The slate is set for the March 20 village elections in Orleans County after the deadline passed Tuesday for candidates to submit petitions.

In Medina, three incumbents are all unopposed, including Mayor Mike Sidari and Trustees Marguerite Sherman and Tim Elliott. The trio is running under “The Village Party.” The three were also unopposed when they ran for election two years ago.

In Medina, voting is from noon to 9 p.m. at the Senior Center.

Albion has the most hotly contested race. Incumbent Mayor Dean London isn’t seeking re-election. There is a three-way battle to be the next mayor. Eileen Banker, the current deputy mayor, has the backing of the Republican Party while Joyce Riley is running under the Democratic Party line.

Kevin Doherty will run under the independent “Spark Some Action” party line. He needed to submit a petition signed by 100 registered voters by the deadline on Tuesday. He met that threshold, Village Clerk Linda Babcock said.

There are also two trustee positions up for election. The Republicans endorsed Gary Katsanis and incumbent Stan Farone, while Democrats picked Sandra Walter and Jason Dragon for their candidates.

The voting is from noon to 9 p.m. at the Village Hall.

In Lyndonville, there is one position up for election and it’s to fill one year for a trustee. Ann Marie Holland was appointed to board last year when there was a vacancy. She is running under the “Lyndonville Party.” Darren Wilson also submitted a petition to run under the “Main Street Party” in the election.

Voting is from noon to 9 p.m. at Village Hall.

In Lyndonville and Medina, candidates run under independent parties without the official backing of either Republicans or Democrats. Holley used to have its elections in March, but now has them in June.

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Orleans EDA wants to create package for breweries and distilleries to locate in downtowns

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 February 2018 at 6:40 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: A crowd gathers in 810 Meadworks in September 2014 during an Ale in Autumn tasting event in Medina. The village updated its zoning to allow wineries, breweries, distilleries, cideries and meaderies to be allowed uses in the Downtown Historic District.

The Orleans Economic Development Agency sees the success of many microbreweries and distilleries in historic buildings in other communities.

In Batavia, the Eli Fish Brewing Company will open soon in a former Newberry’s building in the downtown.

In Wilson, the Woodcock Brothers Brewing Co. has become a big attraction in Wilson, Niagara County. Other projects in Western New York are emerging, including an effort to establish a microbrewery and restaurant in an old firehouse in Buffalo.

Orleans County already has a similar success story. 810 Meadworks opened in November 2014 in part of the historic Newell building on West Center Street. Bryan and LaRissa DeGraw operate the business out of space that was most recently a barber shop.

The DeGraws produce mead on site and have a tasting room. Meads are alcoholic drinks made by fermenting honey with water and often fruits, spices, grains and hops.

The Village of Medina had to change its zoning to allow onsite production in the historic district.

The Orleans EDA wants to encourage more similar-type processing facilities. Jim Whipple, chief executive officer of the EDA, said the historic buildings have proven ideal venues for the businesses.

810 Meadworks is located in part of the first floor at 113 West Center St., the R.H. Newell building.

The EDA wants to develop an incentive package for distilleries and micro-breweries, which can attract people to the downtowns, and give other businesses a boost.

The EDA also is willing to work with local governments on adopting zoning to encourage the projects. The EDA wants to partner with local officials to identify buildings for the breweries and distilleries and help to develop a marketing plan to attract potential developers for the businesses, Whipple said.

The agency’s board of directors discussed the issue during Friday’s monthly meeting. Right now the EDA is in the beginning stages. Whipple said he is hopeful other village and town leaders will show an interest in the initiative and work with the EDA.

Medina discussed the issue for several months before revising its zoning ordinance in June 2014. Medina’s zoning now allows for wineries and microbreweries in the historic district and the ordinance gives the village more oversight on the businesses.

The revised regulations state that wineries, breweries, distilleries, cideries and meaderies will all be allowed uses in the Downtown Historic District. The village doesn’t limit those businesses to the downtown. They are also be allowed in the General Business District as well as the Light Industrial and Industrial Zones.

The owners of the businesses will need to secure a Special Use Permit. That gives the village more say in the operations for odor, storage, noise and other issues.

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Artist returns to create new mural in children’s section of Lee-Whedon

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 February 2018 at 6:17 pm

Provided photos

MEDINA – Judith Villavisanis, a former Albion resident who now lives in Florida, is back locally to work on a new mural in the children’s section of Lee-Whedon Memorial Library.

Villavisanis in 2014 created a new entrance leading to the children’s section. That entrance resembles a giant book and features many characters from children’s books, such as Wilbur, the pig from Charlotte’s Web.

Villavisanis is painting more characters from popular children’s books with the new mural, which is on the south wall of the library.

“When I finished with the book three years ago, I mentioned that the expanse on the south wall was crying out for a visual component,” she said. “But, I never thought I would be back to work on it. Being able to continue my vision in this way is very special to me.”

The current project is a tribute to two people who each served the library for over 20 years: Maryellen Dale as President of the Board of Trustees and Elaine Jamele as Children’s Librarian.

“They both delighted in introducing children to the joys of reading and the wonder of books,” said Catherine Cooper, the library director. “They each derived a particular joy from children’s literature and from the imaginatively iconic, whimsical characters that are now featured on the wall.”

Judith Villavisanis is shown in December 2014, taking a break to pose with a new entrance leading to the children’s section. The entrance resembles a giant book.The portals in the book cover are spots for people to place books. The pig is Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web. She also painted Winnie the Pooh, fairies, elves and other characters.

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Another big crowd enjoys wine-tasting event at Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 February 2018 at 8:41 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Roland Phillips of the Book Shoppe in Medina pours a glass Rosé Hard Cider for Roger and Annette Allis of Medina. The Book Shoppe was one of 28 stops during the 10th annual Wine About Winter in Medina.

There were 854 tickets sold for the event, which includes wine-tastings.

The Rosé Hard Cider served by Phillips was produced as a collaboration by Leonard Oakes Estates Winery in Medina and Rootstocks Ciderworks in Williamson.

Canalside Tattoo was one of the stops on Wine About Winter, which is organized by the Medina Business Association.

Cindy Robinson and Kathy Blackburn are long-time leaders of the MBA. They said the downtown business district is ideal for the event because there are so many shops and businesses that are one-day hosts for the wine-tastings.

Joe Gould of Into The Enigma pours Sauvignon Blanc from 90 + Cellars in Brighton, Mass. He is serving Tony Hipes, Molly Butler, second from left, and Judy Hipes, left. Most of the wines are from the Niagara Wine Trail and Finger Lakes wineries.

Regular tickets for the event are $15. The Medina Business Association pays the wineries a wholesale rate for the wine, rather than asking them to share samples for free. Blackburn of the MBA said the wineries are small businesses and the MBA wants to support them, too, as well as provide a fun outing in the downtown with Wine About Winter.

A souvenir glass highlights the 10th anniversary of Wine About Winter. Blackburn and Robinson of the MBA recalled the first event when they hoped to sell 144 tickets. They had 144 glasses made in 2009. There were 250 tickets for the debut Wine About Winter, with more than 100 people bringing their own glasses.

The event peaked in 2016 with 900 tickets sold. The MBA has considered capping it at 750 but there is too much demand.

Robinson said the wine-tasting has helped introduce people to many of the businesses in the downtown.

The MBA also has an Ale in Autumn event in September and a Sweets in Summer with chocolate and other treats in August.

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Medina school teams with Y for new Education Recreation Club

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 February 2018 at 9:14 am

Provided photos

MEDINA – The Medina school district and the Orleans County YMCA celebrated the grand opening of a new Education Recreation Club on Friday evening at the Y.

Dan Doctor, left, is the district’s director of community outreach. He watches kids try some of the games at the site, 306 Pearl St., the former Medina Armory.

The district and Y updated the bottom floor of the YMCA. The district will have after-school programs with tutoring and games in the new Rec Club.

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DEC will detail proposed $5 million cleanup of former Abex site in Medina

Staff Reports Posted 31 January 2018 at 5:06 pm

MEDINA – The state Department of Environmental Conservation will detail a proposed $5.1 million of the former Abex Manufacturing facility in Medina at 3959 Bates Rd. The DEC will present a cleanup plan during a public meeting at 6;:30 p.m. on Feb. 21 at Ridgeway Town Hall, 401 West Ave.

The public can make comments at the meeting, or submit them during the 45-day comment period.

The site was originally part of the 48-acre parcel known as the former Abex Corporation Foundry. The 48-acre parcel was subdivided in September 1992 into 2 parcels – 36.7 and 12.3 acre parcels. The 12.3-acre parcel that contains the former foundry buildings was purchased by Brunner International. The 36.7-acre parcel ownership was transferred from Abex to MCG Intermediate Holdings Inc. in 1995 and then in 2006 to County of Orleans Industrial Development Agency.

The former foundry was constructed in the early 1950s. Prior to development the parcels were undeveloped woodland and tilled farmland, according to the DEC fact sheet.

The lagoons were used to collect wash water from the foundry process as well as storm water discharge. The former foundry and manufacturing facility used foundry sands for the casting of metal parts. Foundry sands and waste have been identified across the site and within the settling lagoons. Settled foundry sands in the lagoons was reclaimed for reuse at the former foundry facility by staging adjacent to lagoons or were collected for disposal.

Several Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments were conducted on the site and the adjoining Brunner parcel from 1990 to 2008, the DEC said. The Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments indicated the disposal of remaining foundry sand inventory on site, accumulation of sediment in two of the lagoons, reclaimed foundry sand was staged near the lagoons, and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) concentrations in foundry sand disposal area exceeded state standards and guidance values.

A spill of Dasco Kleen and Dasco ARC 417 occurred December 1999 at a pond located behind the former foundry building. A review of past site development and use indicates that site disposal of waste occurred primarily on the western half of the site while the eastern portion of the site has remained largely unaffected by site operations or disposal.

A remedial investigation was conducted under a DEC approved work plan. A total of 159 environmental media samples were collected for laboratory analysis. Investigational activities included:

• Groundwater monitoring well installation and groundwater sampling

• Soil borings and subsurface and surface soil sampling including the lagoons and drainage swales/ditches at the site,

•  Soil gas sampling, and

• Surface water sampling.

The laboratory results indicate that the surface and subsurface soil, groundwater, and surface water are impacted above the DEC’s standards and guidance levels for semi-volatile organic compounds and metals, the DEC said.

The impacts appear to be a result of historical activities conducted at the site. Based on the investigation results, the DEC is recommending that the site be remediated.

The remedy proposed for the site includes the following:

• The excavation of all soils in the lagoon areas and along the perimeter of the site that exceed the industrial or protection of groundwater soil cleanup objectives (SCOs).

• The soil/fill material excavated will be transported off-site for disposal at a permitted landfill facility.

• Site restoration activities will include backfill of the excavation areas with clean fill and restore the site to existing grade.

• A cover system will be installed at the site which will include the placement of one foot of cover across approximately 9.50-acres of the site.

• A Site Management Plan will be developed. The Site Management Plan will include an Institutional and Engineering Control Plan that identifies site use restrictions and engineering controls.

The estimated cost to implement the proposed remedy is $5.1 million. Oversight of the cleanup activities will be provided by the DEC.

The DEC is accepting written comments about the proposed remedial action plan for 45 days, from Feb. 2 through March 19.

For more on the proposed cleanup, click here.

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