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Officers lead boating and water safety program for Medina students

Provided photo: Deputy James DeFilipps (back left), Deputy James Burke (back right) and Medina police officer Brian Marsceill (front right) are pictured with Medina 6th graders on May 19.

Posted 1 June 2017 at 10:14 am

Courtesy of Medina Central School

MEDINA – Three local police officers led a boating and water safety program on May 19 with sixth graders at the Clifford Wise Middle School.

Medina police officer Brian Marsceill teamed up with James Burke and James DeFilipps, both Marine Unit deputies with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

They presented a detailed boating and water safety assembly for Medina’s Clifford Wise Middle School 6th Graders. The program highlighted accident prevention and the importance of age appropriate Personal Flotation Devices/Life Jackets. They reminded students about the boating regulations pertaining to their age group.

Officer Marsceill showed the students how to develop a “float plan.” He insisted that a detailed float plan should be written up prior to any boating trip. It should include the names of all passengers on the boat, as well as a contact number. The plan could be used as a tool to assist authorities in locating boaters if reported missing. Float plan templates can be found online.

Deputies Burke and DeFilipps presented a hands-on demonstration to the students on how to size a PFD for themselves. They emphasized to the students that all children 12 years of age and under are required to always wear a PFD on a boat. Multiple styles of throwing lines were available for the students to view.

All three officers stressed the importance of acquiring boating certification and shared important resource information to the students. This seasonally appropriate assembly will equip these young students with safety awareness while they are around our local waters, whether fishing or boating.

Medina basks in patriotic parade

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 May 2017 at 10:08 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Frank Berger served in the Honor Guard during today’s Memorial Day observance at State Street Park. Berger and the Honor Guard are watching the American flag be raised to start the ceremony.

A big crowd packed downtown Medina and a route that ended at State Street Park for the annual Memorial Day Parade.

A Medina police car leads the parade, followed by veterans in the Honor Guard.

These Boy Scouts head down Main Street. Many community organizations were part of the parade.

These two friends waves mini American flags. Jameson Mickley, left, is from Chicago and is visiting family in Medina. Lanie Feder, right, lives in Medina.

Hannah Sones waves to the crowd. She is headed to Girls State as a representative from Orleans County.

A group from P.raising Kids joined the parade participants.

These members of the youth baseball program tossed candy to kids along the parade route.

The Medina FFA pulled a float with an old tractor.

Mark Watts drives a 1933 fire truck that was used by the Medina Fire Department until 1972, when it was taken out of service. The truck was purchased by Joe Conley and he owned it until Watts bought it in 2007.

Devin Taylor acknowledges people in the crowd while driving an East Shelby fire truck in the parade.

Chase Mahnke and other members of the Medina Mustang Band pause on Main Street while waiting for the alumni marching band. After the alumni band passed, the students followed them on the parade route to State Street Park.

The color guard, including Danielle Schmidt (center), perform on Main Street.

The Medina Mustang Band capped off the parade.

The crowd salutes as the American flag is raised at State Street Park.

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Medina alumni band members put on a show for 50th reunion

Photos by Tom Rivers: Wendy Hall Scharlau, Class 1991, joins the Medina Alumni Marching Band during today's parade that included 168 participants from 47 different classes.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 May 2017 at 4:30 pm

Joe McKain, retired Medina band director, is pictured with sisters Debbie Stack, left, and Shelly Smith.

MEDINA – They marched, played music and smiled along the parade route, getting loud applause and shouts of, “You still got it.”

The alumni members of Medina’s Marching Band were nearly 200 strong for their 50th anniversary reunion celebration, capped with a performance in Medina’s Memorial Day Parade.

Joe McKain started the program in 1967. At the time there was little money for the program, and no drums, flags or equipment – or instructors.

“Orleans County has a hub for marching bands when I was hired in 1967,” McKain said today.

Holley was a perennial state champion, and Albion and Kendall also had strong marching bands.

Medina started in 1967 with 24 kids. The band would grow to 150, and played in Washington D.C., the Kentucky Derby, Toronto, and the Indianapolis 500 track, which is 2 ½ miles. The band became a strong source of pride for the community, and remains so.

McKain joined the alumni band in the parade today. Their participation is a tribute to the program and strong ties they feel for Medina, McKain said.

The band makes its way down a packed Main Street.

McKain addressed the band before they marched down Park Avenue, through downtown on main Street and down East Center Street to State Street Park.

“Your presence here is obviously an honor to me,” he said. “But as far as I’m concerned it’s also a tribute to the program that you helped build in your own special way.”

McKain thanked the community and the students for their support of the program. He also praised the Medina Band Boosters which started in 1968 and helped take the band to new heights.

“It took years and years to build it up,” he said about the program.

Traci Phillips Culver, Class of 1987, enjoys being part of the reunion parade.

The horn section is loud and enthusiastic.

The drumline acknowledges a cheering crowd.

Jim Steele, current band director, watches the alumni band. He offered lots of applause as the group passed by on Main Street.

Julie Waters and other alumni head down East Center Street and are close to the finish at State Street Park.

The alumni band and current band (behind them) march and perform in the parade.

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Thomas wraps up 13th visit to Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 May 2017 at 10:46 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Thomas the Tank Engine pulls away from Medina for a 25-minute train ride today as part of the Day Out with Thomas event. Thomas spent two weekends in Medina in a visit hosted by the Medina Railroad Museum.

Thomas drew about 10,000 people to Medina for the two weekends. The train engine made his 13th stop in Medina. Thomas has 42 events this year in the United and Canada. Medina is the lone stop in New York.

Brennon Castle, 4, of Wheatfield plays at one of the activities, which includes Harold the Helicopter. This display allows kids to simulate putting coal in an engine.

Nasier Wooten, 3, of Buffalo gives Sir Topham Hat a high five.

This family poses for a photo in front of Thomas.

There was lots of Thomas merchandise for sale.

A young passenger looks out the window of the train as it heads out of Medina.

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Nearly 200 will play in Medina reunion band for Memorial Day Parade

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 May 2017 at 3:36 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Medina graduates who played in marching band are out rehearsing today for Monday’s Memorial Day Parade at 11 a.m. from downtown to State Street Park. The marching band is celebrating 50 years of competing in competitions, including many state championships.

Joe McKain was the band director in the fall of 1967.

“He took it to a whole new level,” said  Alana Kozody Koneski, a 1973 graduate.

She has been helping with the reunion plans, and will be part of the band’s performance on Monday in the parade.

Greg Nellist, center, also has been working on the 50th anniversary celebration. Nellist graduated in 1975. The band was able to collect about 400 contacts of former band members. For the parade on Monday, 168 graduates have signed up to play with at least one representative from 47 graduating classes.

This will be the biggest reunion for the band. In 2005 and 2006, Nellist said smaller groups played during the homecoming football game.

Nellist would like to see the band get together for a bigger reunion every five years, with the possibility of forming a concert band that could perform during the year.

The drumline practices its music and formation int he high school parking lot and driveway this afternoon.

The band had a get-together on Friday evening at the Sacred Heart Club with about 175 people. They looked at old photographs of the band, watched videos of competitions and enjoyed some fellowship.

Today they are rehearsing for several hours before enjoying at picnic together at 3 p.m.

“Band members here share almost a spiritual connection,” Nellist said. “Once you’re a band geek, you’re always a band geek.”

Some of the band’s twirlers go over their steps during today’s rehearsal.

Alana Kozody Koneski, Class of 1973, remains a big advocate for the band.

“The band to me is one of the best organizations a child can get into,” she said. “It teaches discipline and how to work together as a unit.”

The band has stayed strong for a half century. Nellist said that is a tribute to the community, which has stayed behind the band.

Monday’s performance by the alumni band is also a chance for the band graduates to thank the community.

“They have supported us for 50 years,” Nellist said. “For as small as this community is, and for as this community is, they have always been behind us.”

Brian Kozody, a 1985 graduate, and Jim Lichtenthal, Class of 1989, enjoy today’s rehearsal for the alumni band.

Cellist, who now works as an industrial electrician, said the band has endured because it enjoyable for the kids.

“The main thing about the band is we wanted to have fun,” Nellist said. “We were no where’s near as good as the kids are today. These kids today are phenomenal.”

Buttons say the band members’ names, the year they graduated, and what instrument or role they had with the band.

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Medina band brings home several 1sts in NJ Parks Festival

Posted 23 May 2017 at 3:02 pm

Press Release, Medina Mustang Band

Provided photo: The Medina Mustang Band traveled to New York City and New Jersey to perform in competition in the Music in the Parks Festival in Jackson, NJ.

This festival was started in 1981 and is a day-long event for students of choral, orchestral and band ensembles, held annually across the US. Music groups perform before adjudicators who rate the ensemble and then awards are issued at the end of the day.

There are many different categories in the Parks Festival, such as band, orchestra and choir. Each of these has a high school and junior high category. In parade, Medina won 1st place with a Superior rating and a score of 97.  In Concert, they won 1st place with a Superior rating and a score of 95.5, competing against six other bands which came from larger schools.  The jazz  band took 1st place with a Superior rating and a score of 94.  They competed against five other bands which also came from bigger schools.

Jim Steele, Medina band director, said the students did a great job in their performances. In addition to the competitions, the students and chaperones went sight-seeing around Midtown, took a boat tour around Manhattan and attended performances of “Wicked” and “Miss Saigon”.  The chaperones are also to be commended for all of their diligence in keeping everyone on track with their busy schedule.

The next opportunity for the community to see the band perform their street show will be the Memorial Day parade on May 29th in Medina.

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Citizens seek to restore historic memorial in Medina

Provided photos: A "cannon" at State Street Park is actually British Heavy Field Gun. It is in need of rehabilitation.

Posted 21 May 2017 at 9:49 pm

Rare British artillery piece in need of rehabilitation

Press Release, Village of Medina Waterfront Development Committee

MEDINA – The day was October 3, 1935. About 300 persons gathered in what was then known as City Park to remember friends and family who served in the Great War. A cold rain fell on the crowd that day as an airplane dropped roses on the ceremony from above.

A monument had been erected through the efforts of local veterans and businessmen – a British artillery piece with a distinguished history of service on the Western Front had been procured and was prominently placed at the corner of the park.

A bronze tablet at the site bears the inscription: Erected by the James P. Clark Post of the American Legion in memory of those who lost their lives in the World War.

Every Memorial Day for over 80 years, citizens and veterans gather by the dozens at the World War I Memorial in State Street Park to remember in solemn ceremony.

Today, 80 years later, the centerpiece of this memorial is in dire need of rehabilitation and a local committee is spearheading that project.

Recently, the Village Board authorized the Village of Medina Waterfront Development Committee. The group has been meeting regularly to assess community assets along Medina’s considerable waterfront, and establish a comprehensive plan for development along the entire length within the village. The committee is chaired by Kathy Blackburn and draws its members from the village Planning Board, local businesses and organizations.

State Street Park, along with the World War I memorial, is included in that waterfront area.

“This site is one of the most hallowed, historic and important sites in our community,” said Chris Busch, member of the committee.

According to local archives, the “cannon” is a British Heavy Field Gun known as a B.L. 60 Pounder, manufactured in 1916 by Elswick Ordnance Company, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

It weighs 6 tons, is a 5 inch/127mm caliber, 21 feet in length and 6 feet in width.

The gun was originally issued to battery in France, April 1917 and fired 2,871 rounds during its first tour. It was returned to England in 1917 for repairs and reissued to battery in France, September 1918, firing an additional 1,471 rounds.

The cannon is deteriorating at State Street Park.

“The United States procured a number of these batteries from Great Britain for use with American troops when the we entered the war,” said Busch. “This gun is likely part of those ceded to the U.S. and came back with the troops as war materiel.”

There are ten known possible surviving examples: five in museums, two in the U.S., and five parks or cemeteries in the U.S., including the memorial in Medina.

“There may be others, but we’re not aware of them. This piece is reasonably rare,” said Busch.

Through the years it has come to be know by all as “the cannon in State Street Park.” It has been the backdrop of thousands of photographs and memories. More importantly, it is a place of solemn remembrance.

During a review of waterfront assets by the committee, the question of the “cannon” came up. There had been reports that is was deteriorating despite having had some repairs made nearly two decades ago.

The committee decided that expert assessment was needed. After some research, the committee reached out to Dave Seedenberg of Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration in Altoona, PA.

Seedenberg is an expert in the field of restoring and reproducing functioning historic artillery pieces and has been practicing his craft for over eighteen years. His work is used in reenactments as well as at historic sites such as Fort Pulaski, GA. Seed Artillery has gained a national reputation as the “go to place for those who expect perfection.”

“In this day and age, people don’t realize how significant these war memorials are,” said Seedenberg. “The BL-60 was a very important piece to the Allies and we owe it to future generations to preserve it. We cannot afford to forget our history.”

Seedenberg traveled to Medina in February with two military historians. They were keenly interested in what they found.

“It was a great pleasure to have visited this monument- this cannon is rare in our country.” Seedenberg said. “Once I saw it, I was very concerned with the corrosion and structural damage we found. This is a very heavy artillery piece and corrosion has taken its toll. There are holes in some of the structural members.”

The rehabilitation process will require the gun to be transported to Altoona and stripped down. Parts will be repaired and actually re-manufactured if necessary. The gun will be primed and painted with epoxy primer and finished to match the original WWI paint scheme. The goal is to restore the piece to withstand exposure for another one hundred years or more. The entire process will take five to six months.

The gun will then be transported back to Medina and returned to the site where improvements will be made to the concrete base and landscape. New flagpoles and an interpretive sign will be added with the possible addition of benches.

Total cost for restoration and site improvements: $40,000.

Is it worth the cost? The committee, the Mayor and the Village Board think so.

This rendering shows how the memorial site could look with about $40,000 in improvements.

“This historic and rare cannon that has been used to memorialize those who served our community and nation over the last 80 years. Its preservation will safeguard the solemn ceremony at future Memorial Day observances for generations,” said Mayor Sidari. “I urge everyone to support the Medina Waterfront Development Committee in their effort to restore the cannon at State Street Park.”

Waterfront Development Committee Chairwoman Kathy Blackburn echoed those sentiments.

“This cannon has been in the park for as long as I can remember. It’s part of Medina’s past and future,” said Blackburn.

“We owe it to future generations to keep history alive; to be able to take our children and their children to see this piece of history and learn its lessons. If we don’t care for the artifacts of our history, they will turn to dust and our heritage along with it.”

“The piece is worthy of preservation for many reasons,” said Chris Busch, Planning Board Chair and Waterfront Committee member. “It is a rare and significant piece of military history. It is of interest to tourists, history enthusiasts, military buffs and is a well-known local landmark.”

According to Busch, every Memorial Day observance has been held at this site since the memorial was erected over 80 years ago. He calls it,”a hallowed part of the fabric of our community.” As part of the elaborate annual observance, the names of those who served and passed away that year are read aloud to a silent gathering of citizens.

“We neglect our history at our own peril,” said Busch “Life becomes easy. We forget the price that has been paid by generations before us on our behalf. Memorials like this one were erected to allow generations past to speak to us of the sacrifices that have secured our future.”

Blackburn said the project will not commence until enough funds have been raised to complete it . The committee has been quietly reaching out to community members to gauge support and have found enthusiasm for the project.

“We have several incredibly generous commitments for donations from community members and organizations at this point,” Blackburn said. “Now we’re appealing to the public at large. As soon as sufficient funds have been raised, the committee will begin the restoration.”

A little over one year away will mark a significant date for the memorial: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month when the guns fell silent.

“The one-hundredth anniversary of the World War I is coming up on November 11, 2018,” said Blackburn. “We are hoping that we can have the restoration completely finished in time for Memorial Day 2018 and for Veteran’s Day 2018.”

The Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc. is facilitating collection of donations for the committee’s efforts. Donations can be mailed to: Orleans Renaissance Group, PO Box 543, Medina, NY 14103 with the notation “Memorial Restoration Project”.

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Tattoo business celebrates move to bigger site on Main Street in Medina

Photos by Tom Rivers: Shawn Ramsey, owner of the Canalside Tattoo Company, is pictured inside the new location for his business. He had a grand opening today at the site of the former Curvin’s News, 540 Main St.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 May 2017 at 7:04 pm

MEDINA – Shawn Ramsey, 41, took a chance on his hometown in 2015.

After two decades in Pittsburgh, he came home to open Canalside Tattoo Company on East Center Street. It proved popular. In March, he moved to a bigger location on Main Street at the former Curvin’s News.

Ramsey has a degree from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He started his career with a sign company and then worked in web design and software development. For the past 12 years, he has also been a tattoo artist.

“The quality has gone up exponentially,” Ramsey said about tattoos in general. “It has become more artwork. The colors and quality last better. There are better tattoo machines, and needles and pigments.”

Ramsey has seen a surge in the general public’s acceptance, even embrace of tattoos.

“The culture has made them more popular,” he said. “The 20-somethings are looking for more ways to individualize themselves and set themselves apart.”

Ramsey, center, has added two tattoo artists to Canalside Tattoo Company: Tyler Vercruysse, left, and Joshua Schutrum

Ramsey moved the business from a 750-square-foot spot to 2,500 square feet. He also added two tattoo artists – Tyler Vercruysse and Joshua Schutrum.

Ramsey was the lone tattoo artist in the business but added the two because of demand. The business starting next week will also be open seven days a week.

“The visibility of Main Street is second to none,” Ramsey said.

Canalside Tattoo also sells body jewelry, apparel (shirts and socks), and stickers.

Today’s grand opening celebration included Medina’s “Worst Tattoo Contest.” Ramsey had judges consider the worst tattoos, and prizes went towards helping to remove the unwanted tattoos, which typically included the name of a former significant other.

A panel of judges deemed the worst tattoos in a special grand opening contest at Canalside Tattoo’s new location. The judges pictured include, from left: Jeremy Hogan, owner of O’Briens; Mike LaVoice, co-owner of Into the Enigma; Nick D’Angelo, owner of Ink & Style Tattoo & Salon in Lockport; and J.J. Heideman, owner of BAD-AsH-BBQ.

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Thomas proves popular, bringing several thousand visitors to Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 May 2017 at 5:23 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Thomas the Tank Engine has brought thousands of people to Medina this weekend to see the popular train that is much loved by young children.

This photo shows the crowd of people in front of the train by the Medina Railroad Museum on West Avenue. Thomas will be back next weekend as well.

About 10,000 to 12,000 riders are expected to take 25-minute train ride on Thomas.

The train engine is making his 13th stop in Medina. Thomas has 42 events this year in the United and Canada. Medina is the lone stop in New York.

Jameson Cooper, 2, of Buffalo plays with a toy train on the railroad tracks. His parents said they had a lot of fun riding the big train.

Brody George, 18, of Clarence, left, and Cody Catlin, 18, of Carlton are both serving as safety conductors for the train rides.

A section of West Avenue is blocked off near the museum grounds.

Claire Zgaljardic of Orchard Park holds her son Ryan, 2, while he waves to Thomas as the train leaves for a short trip down the railroad tracks.

Gary Lamar of Shelby worked his way through a maze with his grandson Benjamin Strife, 3, of Sanborn.

Rick Hughes, a member of the Medina Lions Club, cooks hot dogs and hamburgers at the food booth run by the Lions Club. His daughter Gracie (left), 14, also is helping.

Many of the families stopped inside the railroad museum.

The museum has a 204-foot-long model train layout, which includes this scene of the Erie Canal in its early days. The HO scale layout is one of the largest in the nation.

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Thomas the Tank Engine expected to draw 10,000-plus to Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 May 2017 at 2:56 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Thomas the Tank Engine is covered up today behind the Olde Pickle Factory in Medina.

He will be busy the next two weekends in Medina, with 10,000 to 12,000 riders expected to take 25-minute train rides on Thomas.

The train engine is making his 13th stop in Medina. Thomas has 42 events this year in the United and Canada. Medina is the lone stop in New York. Thomas is hosted by the Medina Railroad Museum, and many activities are planned on May 20-21, and May 27-28.

In addition to riding the train, there is an imagination station at the Railroad Museum with crafts, photo opportunities, giveaways, storytelling and other live entertainment.

Thomas the Tank Engine is pictured in May 2015, when the train drew big crowds of children and families to Medina.

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