MEDINA – Jim Freas, right, is the outgoing commander of the VFW Post 1483 in Medina. He hands the gavel over to new commander Dan Anderson during their meeting Thursday night. Freas has completed two terms as commander.
The VFW Post 1483 Auxiliary elected officers during their meeting Thursday night. Seated from left are president Cindy Harris of Gasport and junior vice president Becky Persons of Medina. Standing are Art Kreutz of Medina, chaplain; Donna Little of Lockport, secretary; Lynn Poler of Medina, treasurer; Kimmie Persons of Medina; and Tim Elliott of Medina, trustee.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 June 2018 at 7:34 am
Photo by Tom Rivers
LYNDONVILLE – Lyndonville Elementary band teacher John Bailey, front left, is pictured with composer Robert Grice of Florida on Thursday evening before the band’s spring concert.
Grice wrote a new composition – “Industrial Revolution: The Rise of a Nation” – that was performed for the first time by the Lyndonville band.
Bailey last year was the first winner of Lyndonville’s Educator of the Year, which came with a $1,000 award for Bailey to use at his discretion to promote education. He wanted to have a new song written for the band.
He reached out to Grice, who has 140 published works. Grice also worked 30 years as a school band teacher. Click here for more on Grice.
Grice thought about Lyndonville and Western New York, and the region’s role in the Industrial Revolution and the country’s growing economic power about two centuries ago. He wrote parts for the percussionists to sound like factories working. He is hopeful the composition will catch on with more bands.
Whenever it’s performed again, the music should indicate it had its world premiere in Lyndonville, NY.
John Bailey, the Lyndonville band teacher, said he and the students are thrilled to be the first group to play the composition.
“It’s really cool,” he said before the concert. “We get to do a world premiere.”
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 June 2018 at 10:43 pm
Photo by Tom Rivers
LYNDONVILLE – Steve Goodrich, commander of the Houseman-Tanner American Legion Post 1603, puts faded and torn flags in a pig roaster this evening, when the flags were retired and given a proper disposal at Lynhaven Cemetery.
“I’d rather see a bare flag pole than one with a flag that is ripped or tore up,” Goodrich said.
Three veterans from the American Legion – Joe Hausler, Carl Boyle and Steve Goodrich – burned 2,300 of the American flags. Most of them have been collected the past five years. They are typically the flags the veterans put out just before Memorial Day at about 500 graves for veterans. They usually become faded or ripped by about Veterans’ Day in November.
Goodrich holds a flag he has kept for 23 years. It was flown in South Carolina at the Naval Hospital Beaufort. He was given the flag on his last day of active duty. He served in the Navy for 10 years.
Goodrich said the flag became faded in the center and the seams ripped. He said the flag should have been retired a few years ago but he couldn’t bear to part with it.
“There is a time to let go,” he said. “Now is the time.”
Carl Boyle gives these flags a dignified disposal.
Joe Hausler retires some of the flags, which were “destroyed with honor.”
Press Release, United States Attorney’s Office – Western District of New York
ROCHESTER – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Roland Yockel, II, 31, of Hilton, who was convicted of receipt of child pornography, was sentenced to serve 13 years in federal prison and 15 years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford.
The defendant was also ordered to pay $7,200 in restitution to victims and he will have to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle P. Rossi, who handled the case, stated that Yockel was employed as a full-time kindergarten teacher in the Brockport Central School District and also held positions with the Town of Hamlin Recreation Department as a summer youth camp counselor, program assistant, health director, and camp coordinator. The defendant traded, received, and possessed approximately 6,000 images and videos of child pornography, including child pornography that depicted the sexual abuse of infants and toddlers.
In July 2017, the defendant was identified by Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) Special Agents in Phoenix involved in an ongoing child pornography probe with investigators from New Zealand. That investigation identified individuals who utilized the Internet based application “Chatstep.com” to receive and distribute child pornography.
On November 21, 2017, during the execution of a search warrant at Yockel’s Hilton home, Homeland Security Agents seized multiple devices from the defendant’s bedroom, which were later analyzed and found to contain recovered approximately 5,500 images and 247 videos of child pornography. Agents further discovered that Yockel engaged in online chats with other individuals trading child pornography in which the defendant pretended to be the father of two prepubescent girls. In those conversations, Yockel offered to allow other child pornographers to have sex with his supposed daughters, and talked about having sex with the other individuals’ children.
The sentencing is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly, and the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Richard Allen, and the Bivona Child Advocacy Center, under the direction of Executive Director Deb Rosen.
Provided photo: State Sen. Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) speaks at today’s “Make the Change” rally in Albany.
Press Release, State Sen. Rob Ortt
ALBANY – State Sen. Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) joined dozens of New Yorkers with disabilities, their families and disability advocates to voice their desire to update the 43-year-old New York State Preferred Source law during a “Make the Change” rally at the Legislative Office Building in Albany.
With the unemployment in New York’s disabled community reaching a staggering 70 percent, legislators are looking to change the current and outdated Preferred Source law, create more jobs for people with disabilities and facilitate a sense of belonging to a vastly underserved community, Ortt said.
“The legislation that is currently on the books in our state has made hiring those with disabilities much more difficult than it needs to be,” said Sen. Rob Ortt. “There are so many individuals in New York’s disabled community who have a desire to work and contribute to the community they are a part of, however, state law prevents employers from hiring them. This ‘Make the Change’ movement will help update current Preferred Source law, allow more disabled individuals to enter the workforce and help change the stigma surrounding those with disabilities in our state.”
For more information on “Make the Change,” including personal stories of Preferred Source workers positively impacted by the campaign, visit www.makethechange-ny.com.
KENDALL – Elementary school students at Kendall celebrated Flag Day today with students wearing red, white and blue. The students gather for a group picture every Flag Day by the flag pole. This year the school decided to pose in the shape of a flag. In the past the students have assembled in the shape of the peace sign and the letters for USA.
MEDINA – Two people from Medina were charged on Wednesday after an investigation into the sale and distribution of prescription opiates and edible marijuana candies, the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force reported.
Jeremy L. Lonnen
The Task Force worked with the Medina Police Department and ICE/Homeland Security Investigations to execute a search warrant at 715 South Main St, lower apartment, in Medina.
Police seized a quantity of prescription opiates (hydrocodone), a quantity of edible marijuana chocolate, edible marijuana gummy bears, a quantity of THC oil (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol)-(a controlled substance), numerous molds for making the marijuana candy, marijuana and other drug paraphernalia.
The marijuana edibles are made with THC oil extracted from the marijuana plant, which is the most potent form of marijuana called THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the Task Force said. This oil is then mixed with sugar, water and corn syrup, cooked and poured into molds. it is also added to chocolate and into baked goods.
The following have been charged:
Nakeisha A. Colf
• Jeremy L. Lonnen, 27, of 715 South Main St., lower apartment, Medina, who has been charged with1 count of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and 1 count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, both class D felonies.
• Nakeisha A. Colf, 23, of the same address has been charged with 1 count of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, a class C felony, and 1 count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a class D felony.
Lonnen and Colf were arraigned in the Shelby Tow Court by Town Justice Dawn Keppler. Lonnen was committed to the Orleans County Jail on $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond. Colf was committed to the jail on $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond. They are to return back to the Shelby Town Court on June 19 at 1 p.m.
This investigation is ongoing, and further charges will be filed pending lab results, the Task Force said.
HOLLEY – The Holley Board of Education has selected Brian Bartalo as the next superintendent of the school district pending formal appointment to the position at the next Board of Education meeting on June 18.
He will start as superintendent on July 16. He replaces Robert D’Angelo, who retired.
“Throughout the rigorous search process, Brian demonstrated an ability to connect with students, staff and community members,” said Board President Brenda Swanger. “His long experience and track record of success make him the ideal leader to move our district forward.”
Bartalo is currently the principal and International Baccalaureate Head of School at Hilton High School, a post he has held since 2005. From 1999 until 2005, Bartalo was an assistant principal at Hilton HS. Prior to that, he served for one year as the dean of students at Hilton HS. In 1988, Bartalo began his teaching career as a special education teacher at Merton Williams Middle School in the Hilton Central School District, where he taught and coached until 1998.
“The Holley community has been very welcoming to me through this search process,” said Bartalo. “I look forward to working with the Board to further the district’s mission of instilling a passion for lifelong learning within our students.”
Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES District Superintendent Jo Anne L. Antonacci assisted the Holley Board of Education as search consultant throughout the process.
Photos by Tom Rivers: Six candidates running for the Holley Village Board were part of a candidate forum on Wednesday evening at the Holley Junior-Senior High School Auditorium. Pictured from left include mayoral candidates Shawn O’Mara and Brian Sorochty, and trustee candidates Connie Nenni, Alexa Downey, Robyn Schubmehl and Kevin Lynch.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 June 2018 at 10:24 am
HOLLEY – Village residents have choices on Tuesday when they go to the polls to elect a mayor and two trustees. There are six candidates running for three positions on the Village Board. Those candidates shared their views and goals for the village during a candidate forum on Wednesday evening at the Holley Junior-Senior High School Auditorium. The event was sponsored by the Lake Country Pennysaver and Orleans Hub.
The incumbents – Mayor Brian Sorochty and trustees Connie Nenni and Kevin Lynch – see great progress in the village in the past two years with Holley securing grants for new sidewalks and water infrastructure, as well as a planning grant to help redevelop the downtown and bolster the economic, housing and recreational opportunities in the village.
Sorochty sees the $17 million renovation of the old Holley High School into 41 apartments for seniors and the village offices as a major victory for the village. Construction will start in the fall and the project should be complete within two years.
The soon-to-start improvements in the village will show potential developers and businesses that Holley is headed in the right direction, Sorochty said.
“One of the best things we can do is show that we’re a community on the move,” Sorochty told about 75 people at the candidate forum.
Shawn O’Mara, a candidate for mayor, sees a lot of empty storefronts, as well as the recent closures of Holley’s only bank and grocery store. He said he would push to find another bank and grocery store for the community. He also said the village suffers from deteriorating roads and sidewalks.
“I have determination,” he said. “I can think on my feet and get results.”
Sorochty works as Vice President of Engineering for an engineering/construction company, overseeing 35 employees.
O’Mara is a Gates police officer. He has worked 25 years in law enforcement, including the beginning of his career with the Holley Police Department.
The incumbent trustees – Nenni and Lynch – said the current board has put in the hard work to have Holley positioned for success, with grants for sidewalks and water infrastructure. The old high school redevelopment also was years in the making.
“We’ve definitely made a lot of progress but there is more to do,” Nenni said. “We’ve been working hard to transform this village with multi-million-dollar projects. You’ll see and feel every bit of them when they are done.”
Connie Nenni, left, answers a question during the candidate forum on Wednesday. Other trustee candidates include Alexa Downey, Robyn Schubmehl and Kevin Lynch.
Nenni currently works as secretary to the Holley school district superintendent. She previously was Holley’s village clerk-treasurer. She has written grants for the village concert series, and helped rally the community to support the sidewalk grant, which will replace about a third of sidewalks in Holley.
Kevin Lynch is retired after 36 years from the Canal Corp., including about 20 years in Pittsford as the chief lock operator.
Lynch said the village government can be daunting to understand for a newcomer on the board. He is currently Holley’s deputy mayor and said he is very familiar with the staff and duties of the Electric Department, Department of Public Works and the Clerk’s Office. He said he is proud of Holley’s recent successes, especially with the redevelopment of the old school. He was a member of the last graduating class in the building.
Alexa Downey works as a teacher’s assistant in prekindergarten. She is a Brooklyn native who sees lots of potential for Holley as a historic canal town, especially if the storefronts can be filled.
She said she would bring a positive presence to the board and would be active in the community, getting resident feedback. She is currently co-president of the Holley PTSA and a volunteer with the Sports Boosters.
Robyn Schubmehl works as a supervisor and paralegal for a foreclosure firm in Medina. She said the Village Board would benefit from fresh ideas. She said she has the commitment and dedication to be an asset to the board.
“Everyone brings something to the table,” she said. “We need to work together cohesively.”
O’Mara, Schubmehl and Downey are running as a team. They congratulated the current board for the success with grants and projects, but said more work is needed, especially with sidewalks and the deteriorating road conditions.
Sorochty, Nenni and Lynch also cited efforts to maintain services without raising taxes. The village has contracts with the Village of Albion to run Holley’s sewer plant and also for leadership in the police department. Roland Nenni serves as both Holley’s and Albion’s police chief.
Sorochty said the arrangements have resulted in superior service for Holley and at much-reduced cost than hiring full-time personnel for the positions.
O’Mara said more consolidation of village government would keep taxes from rising. But Sorochty and Lynch said Holley is running a “bare bones” staff. The shared services approach is the best way to preserve services with local control, without being too costly for the village, they said.
Michael Bonafede served as moderator of the forum, which was attended by about 75 people.
The candidates were asked many questions during the forum, including whether the police department should be dissolved, how to stabilize taxes, whether the village should have a full-time administrator, how Holley can best capitalize on the canal and other topics.
None of the candidates favored dissolving the village police force and having the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office assume the work.
O’Mara said Holley is start for many in law enforcement and the new officers prove their dedication to the community. Sorochty also said the current board has made keeping a 24-7 police presence a priority.
None of the candidates want to see Holley hire a full-time administrator. They all said Holley is too small and shouldn’t be adding positions that would increase the burden on taxpayers.
Some villages in other counties have full-time administrators. But the candidates said Holley has enough staff to keep the village government working.
Sorochty said a rumor went around the village that an administrator position would be created.
“It’s false,” he said. “It’s absolutely ridiculous. The village is too small.”
The canal park is one of the village’s assets, with a gazebo for concerts, boat tie-ins and camping sites along the canal in Holley. O’Mara said more docking and expanded amenities could draw more boaters and kayakers to Holley.
The candidates were asked if a kayak and boat launch should be pursued near the lift bridge. Sorochty said there could be grant funding available for that. But Lynch, a former Canal Corp. employee, said he doubted the Canal Corp. would support that because there is already a boat launch a mile east of Holley.
Sorochty said clearing out an original canal bed, the only section west of Rochester, could be a tourism draw and a source of pride for the community. Orleans County officials are interested in helping to remove trees and brush from that original canal bed this fall, Sorochty said.
The candidates were also asked about code enforcement, including the possibility of county-wide code enforcement, rather than each town and village doing the service. That might require a uniform code for all the municipalities, or code officers being familiar with varying codes in towns and villages.
Schubmehl and Downey both said the community needs to have fair code enforcement. Right now there is a perception code enforcement picks on some people.
“I want to make sure code enforcement is fair and truly look out for Holley and not have another agenda,” Downey said.
Schubmehl said, “Code enforcement needs to be fair across the board.”
The candidates were also asked about the controversial tree clearing along the northern side of the Erie Canal. There is concern trees could be cut down on the south side near Holley’s Canal Park and the waterfalls. Sorochty said Canal Corp. officials have no plans of removing those trees. But if they did in the future, the candidates said Holley should hire a lawyer and pursue an injunction, like Perinton, Brighton and Pittsford did to halt the project.
“If those trees come down you’ll lose the beauty of the canal,” O’Mara said.
The candidates were asked how many village meetings they have attended in the past two years. O’Mara, Downey and Schubmehl all said they haven’t been to a Village Board meeting. Lynch has been to them all, while Sorochty and Nenni have near-perfect attendance.
The election is from noon to 9 p.m. on Tuesday at the Village Office.
LYNDONVILLE – David Bellavia, of graduate of the Class of 1994 in Lyndonville, addressed Lyndonville’s Top 10 students during a Lyndonville Lion’s Club meeting on Wednesday. Bellavia is a distinguished veteran, author, and radio show host.
John Riggi, a member of the Lions Club, is at left. The event was at the White Birch Golf Course.
Bellavia, an Iraq War veteran, wrote a book that detailed his experiences as a staff sergeant in the second battle of Fallujah. He wrote House to House with John R. Bruning, describing the efforts of front line forces in urban combat against insurgents. Bellavia was part of a campaign that took the heavily fortified city. He was recognized with a Silver Star.
In 2005, Bellavia was inducted into the New York Veterans’ Hall of Fame.
He has been active in politics, twice running for Congress.
Bellavia now works as a radio talk show host and as an advocate for veterans in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
He grew up in Lyndonville as son of local dentist Bill Bellavia. He performed in the high school musicals, including a lead role of Jack in Lyndonville’s production of Into The Woods.
Lyndonville’s top 10 graduates for 2018 include Mercedes Benedict, Brody Brown, Heaven Flood, Paige Gardner, Mariah Grabowski, Skyler Lear, Miranda Lembcke, Cassie Maynard, Taylor Paniccia and Kennedy Smelski.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 June 2018 at 11:22 pm
Photo by Tom Rivers: Town Supervisor Sean Pogue, right, leads the Town Board meeting on Wednesday evening at the Barre Town Hall. Tom McCabe, left, is a Barre town councilman.
BARRE – The Town Board voted 4-0 on Wednesday to allow two meteorological towers for Apex Clean Energy, despite requests from some residents to take more time to consider the issue before voting.
Town Supervisor Sean Pogue joined Town Board members Richard Bennett, Tom McCabe and Lynn Hill in approving a special use permit for the two met towers. Town Councilman Larry Gaylard abstained due to a conflict of interest.
Pogue asked the board members how many were ready to vote at the meeting, and they were all affirmative, except for Gaylard who didn’t participate in the discussion.
“We got to make a decision,” Bennett said. “We’re not going to make everybody happy.”
The board held a public hearing on the met towers last week. Apex is seeking special use permits to have a 262.5-foot-high met tower at 5140 Angevine Rd., on land owned by Jon and James Peglow, and a 196-foot-high tower on Root Road, on land owned by Richard Miller.
Apex is the developer of the proposed Heritage Wind, which would include 47 much-larger wind turbines. Pogue, the town supervisor, said the turbine project would be dealt with through the Article 10 process, with a state siting board having the final say.
Pogue urged the residents who attended Wednesday’s meeting to focus on the met towers, and not the potential larger turbine project.
Resident MaryAnn Donnelly told the board she worries the met towers will lead to the wind towers. She asked the board to consider “environmental justice” with the turbines, how she said a few landowners with leases stand to gain far more the other town residents.
“Look at the bigger picture for people who will not profit from this but will see a loss of their property values,” she said.
Pogue said he wouldn’t support a project that favors only a few.
“As I’ve said before I want every taxpayer to benefit in the town,” Pogue said.
Apex has an existing met tower on Thorpe Road and wants the two additional towers to determine the wind strength and consistency, and discover other data that could be useful in possibly siting a project.
Kerri Richardson, president of Clear Skies Above Barre, asked the board to delay a vote on the met towers until an environmental impact study could be done, especially for the tower on Root Road which she said is in a sensitive area near wetlands, ponds and the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.
Richardson said the met towers with their guy-wires have been destructive to birds, bats and other wildlife.
“I just ask that diligence be done,” she said.
Resident John Metzler said he was concerned that some Barre town officials with ties to Apex were not abstaining and being impartial as the company courts the town.
Metzler quoted the April 11 Town Board minutes where the board identified the following officials as “conflicted” with Apex: Larry Gaylord on the Town Board; Planning Board members Jean Peglow, Paul Gillette and Kirk Mathes; and Richard Miller on the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Those officials are not to vote on any applications from Apex, or lobby on behalf of the company, according to the minutes.
Metzler wanted the town to investigate whether those officials have abstained and refrained from lobbying to advance the Apex project.
“I am asking for a cooling-off period to determine conflicts of interest,” he said.
The Town Board should also consider if family members of the town officials stand to gain from the Apex project, Metzler said.
He asked the board members if they have conflicts of interest with Apex. McCabe said he was approached about signing a lease but did not. Hill doesn’t have enough land so he wasn’t considered. Bennett and Pogue both live near Pine Hill Airport in a buffer zone where there won’t be any turbines under consideration.
Bennett said he would have signed a lease if his property was out of the buffer zone. He said he supports the project for the town.
Mathes presented a letter from a local ATV club, signed by nine board members, stating their support for landowners’ rights to lease land to Apex.
That prompted Metzler to say Mathes should either be removed from the Planning Board or be fined for violating the town’s ethics code for officials. Mathes was identified as having a conflict of interest because he has a lease with Apex.
“I ask for your resignation,” Metzler told Mathes, who responded, “No.”
George McKenna asked the board to hold off on the met tower vote until a survey could be taken of the town, to get a sense if the town supports the Apex project.
“I don’t think there is a rush on,” McKenna said. “I think we should slow down because this is a lifetime decision.”
Pogue said a survey is being developed and should be available soon with results to be tabulated in late July.
The survey will likely be mailed to residents, and also be available on the town website, at the Hoag Library and the Barre Town Hall, Pogue said.
CLARENDON – This photo shows Tim Wheeler of TSW Masonry on the lift as Russ Bosch, project engineer, and Steve Swiat of Northwood Historic Restoration discuss the window restoration project for the chapel at Hillside Cemetery.
Wheeler has repointed the interior walls of the basement and the chimney and ventilating tower. That project was completed last week.
Swiat has begun scraping and repairing the decorative wooden frames of the windows. He will remove the sashes when Clarendon has a ship date for the replacement glass and he will restore them and replace broken panes, said Erin Anheier, a member of the Clarendon Historical Society which has helped spearhead the project. Unbroken panes will be reused. The replacement glass is being specially made to match the color and texture of the original glass. The glass has an 18-week lead time.
Soon, Tom DiFante will be repainting the wooden eaves.
The state has approved a $126,210 matching grant for work on the chapel at Hillside Cemetery. Matching funds are a combination of other local grants (Elisabeth Dye Curtiss and Rochester Area Community Fund), cash donations from local residents, some funds that the Town of Clarendon received from the Cemetery Association when the Association disbanded and fundraising events run or coordinated by the Clarendon Historical Society.
The chapel’s roof has already been replaced as part of the efforts to preserve the chapel, which was built in 1894 of locally quarried Medina Sandstone in a Greek Revival style.
Hillside Cemetery was placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 2013 with the chapel being a major contributing asset. In 2014, the Landmark Society of Western New York named the chapel to its “Five to Revive” list.
The next step is to restore the interior. Clarendon is currently awaiting for the specifications to be approved by the State for that work.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 June 2018 at 2:49 pm
Photos by Tom Rivers: Steve Jordan, a preservationist who focuses on restoring historic wooden windows, is leading a seminar at the Cobblestone Museum this week on window repair.
GAINES – It’s becoming a lost art, repairing windows that are more than a century old.
The Cobblestone Museum and the Landmark Society of Western New York are teaming this week to train more people in fixing old windows.
Steve Jordan, a window preservation specialist and author of The Window Sash Bible, is leading the historic wood window repair seminar. There is a four-day intensive seminar that started Tuesday and continues through Friday. Jordan and his students are removing windows from the Cobblestone Schoolhouse, originally built in 1849, and making window repairs as part of the seminar. There will also be a one-day introductory seminar on Saturday.
Jordan is teaching how to evaluate old windows, removing sashes from the window opening, remove putty, remove paint, remove glass, install new sash cords, weather strip old windows and other skills for preserving old windows.
Steve Jordan is leading in intensive window repair seminar this week at the Cobblestone Museum.
Erin Anheier, a Cobblestone Museum board member, suggested the seminar to the Landmark Society. She saw it as a way to repair windows at the Cobblestone Schoolhouse and educate more people in the task.
The Landmark Society each year presents a list of “Five to Revive,” which are typically sites in the Rochester region in need of preservation or they could be lost from disrepair.
The Landmark Society in October 2016 included “historic trades” to the Five to Revive, because the organization was concerned there weren’t enough trained professionals in carpentry, masonry, stained/decorative glass, painting, roof repair, metalwork, and window restoration with historic buildings.
Photos by Ginny Kropf: Graduates of the spring class for Microenterprise Assistance Program posed outside Tillman’s Village Inn Tuesday night with their advisers/mentors. From left, front, are Sam Campanella, business adviser with the Small Business Development Corporation of New York; Diane Blanchard, director of MAP; Marcell Taylor, guest speaker and former graduate; Maurice Taylor; Jenelle Boyd; and Adam Papaj. Back row: Jake Olles; Kelly Furness, Michelle Hampton; Richard Gallo; Kin Chesher-Nguyen; Julie Hess; Richard Petitte, business adviser for the Buffalo District of Small Business Development Centers of New York State; and Jon Costello with SCORE.
Posted 13 June 2018 at 12:05 pm
Nearly 500 have now completed microenterprise training program
Kim Chester-Nguyen of North Chili explains the nursery/furniture wedge she designed to fellow graduates of the Microenterprise Assistance Program during a graduation program Tuesday night at Tillman’s Village Inn.
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent
ALBION – The latest class of graduates in Orleans Economic Development Agency’s Microenterprise Assistance Program brings the total of aspiring entrepreneurs to 485 individuals since the program started about two decades ago.
Ten of the spring class’s 11 participants shared their business plans and received diplomas Tuesday night at the Village Inn.
Diane Blanchard, director of the MAP, introduced guests, advisers and graduates.
Those lending support to the program were Jon Costello, a business mentor with SCORE; Richard Petitte with the Buffalo District of the Small Business Development Centers of NYS; Sam Campanella with the Small Business Development Corporation of New York; Karen Sawicz, board member and owner of Lake Country Pennysaver/Orleans Hub; Kathy Blackburn, president of the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce and owner of Meggie Moo’s in Medina; and Ken DeRoller, an Orleans County legislator.
Graduates and their proposed businesses were Jenelle Boyd of Lyndonville, whose tentative plan is to open a coffee house/café in the block which her uncle Robert Smith is renovating in Lyndonville; Richard Gallo and Michelle Hampton of Holley, expansion of a towing business; Kim Chester-Nguyen of North Chili, production of a nursery/furniture wedge; Kelly Furness of Waterport, flipping homes; Julie Hess of Lyndonville, the Wed Shed; Jake Olles of Albion, house inspection/property management for cottagers and snowbirds; Robert Owens of Albion, a hydroponics supply store; Adam Papaj of Medina, a multi-purpose sports training facility; Maurice Taylor, a consultant in workplace diversity; and John Brabon, nutrition meals.
Michelle Hampton and Richard Gallo of Holley took the class to further their plans of expanding a towing business in Orleans County.
Each graduate explained their business plan to the audience, what they expected their start-up costs to be, what they would need for operating revenue and what their projected profits would be.
Graduates of the class not only learn how to develop a business plan, but are eligible for low-interest loans.
Several were looking for assistance in expanding a current business, while others are first-time entrepreneurs.
An ambitious plan was unveiled by Adam Papaj of Medina, who wants to open a multi-purpose sports training facility. He would provide sports-specific training in a facility which would have bounce houses, an area for toddlers, a small restaurant with pizza and fast food, a cage for hitting training for baseball and training spaces for soccer and lacrosse. He would coordinate activities with special events happening in the area, such as Thomas the Train, Ale in Autumn and the Steampunk Festival. He is looking for financing to build or renovate an existing building.
Jake Olles of Albion saw a need for the business he hopes to establish – monitoring and managing property for cottage owners and snowbirds.
His plan is to offer his services to open and close cottages for the season and inspect those properties and homes of snowbirds who go south for the winter.
With cell phone technology, he says he can inspect a property every two weeks, take pictures and send them to owners who can then determine if everything is in place. This would also be a check for broken pipes or power outages which could cause extensive damage if not discovered in a timely manner. He has a snowmobile to give him access to lake property when driveways are full of snow. He would also look for footprints in the snow, which might indicate someone had been trespassing on the property.
Jenelle Boyd of Lyndonville explains her business plan to fellow graduates of the Microenterprise Assistance Program. Her tentative plans are to open a coffee house/café in the block her uncle Robert Smith is renovating on Main Street in Lyndonville.
Kim Chesher-Nguyen’s business is the production of a wedge she designed to prevent items from falling down between the wall and a piece of furniture, especially in the nursery.
Julie Hess of Lyndonville hit on her business quite by accident after spending a lot of money buying items for her son’s wedding.
“I had so much stuff left I decided to rent it out,” Hess said. “It became clear there needed to be a resource for couples planning a wedding or special event where they could rent items at a reasonable price and not have to go out and buy them.”
Her Wed Shed offers tables, decorating, lighting and backdrops, among other things. She plans to keep up on trends in wedding planning and has opened a showroom in a chicken coop on their property.
She will set up decorations and tear them down, or the customer can do it themselves.
Her goal is to provide low-cost decorations to create the WOW factor.
Marcell Taylor, a former MAP graduate, told the class how much the program helped him get established. He now owns barber shops in Albion and Batavia.
“Every week I was excited about what I was going to learn at the next class,” Taylor said. “When you are in business for yourself, you speak a different language than the person who goes to work 9 to 5. People don’t understand the passion and drive an entrepreneur has. In this class, I met people I could relate to.”
He said was exited to hear all the ideas this latest class wants to get into.
“You are here with people who share your goals,” he said.
Ken DeRoller has been on the board of directors for the Orleans EDA since 2001 and has been an avid supporter of the microenterprise program. He was amazed at the ideas presented by graduates.