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Month: May 2013

Jenn Suhr, pole vault stars soar in Lyndonville

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Jenn Suhr is a silhouette in this photo, where she cleared 15 feet, 7 inches in the pole vault tonight during a competition on the second hole of the White Birch Golf Course in Lyndonville. That vault was the heighest mark cleared by the six competitors.

Jenn Suhr sprints with a 15-foot-long pole as part of the pole vaulting competition tonight in Lyndonville.

LYNDONVILLE – Jenn Suhr cleared 15 feet, 7 inches in a pole vaulting competition tonight in Lyndonville. That matched her Gold Medal winning height last August at the London Olympics.

About 300 people watched Suhr and five other pole vaulters at the White Birch Golf Course. Suhr won the event, the New York Invite Series. Medina resident Janice Keppler was second with a 14-foot, 6-inch effort.

Other competitors included Heather Hamilton, the top-ranked vaulter in Canada; Claire Dishong of Brockport and Cornell University; Linda Hadfield of Utica and Tennessee University; and Erin Champion of Tennessee University.

(I’ll have more on the event later, including comments from Jenn Suhr.)

Medina resident Janice Keppler reacts after clearing14 feet, 6 inches, good for second place in the New York Invite Series, which will take place again next Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the White Birch Golf Course.

Medina native was Susan B. Anthony’s cousin, Kansas governor

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Susan B. Anthony is depcited in this statue down the street from the Susan B. Anthony House on Madison Street in Rochester.

MEDINA – Before he became governor of Kansas, George Anthony led 240 soldiers from Orleans County into battle during the Civil War.

Anthony’s life – his roots in Medina, his leadership in the war and his service as Kansas governor – are noted on a historical marker on West Center Street in Medina.

He was also the cousin of famed suffragist, abolitionist and temperance activist Susan B. Anthony.

A historical marker on West Center Street in Medina notes the home of George Anthony, who went on to be governor of Kansas.

The cousins, who were raised by Quakers, were radical people in the mid to late 1800s.

I was in Rochester today and swung by the Susan B. Anthony House on Madison Street. I’ve driven by the bronze statues of Anthony and Frederick Douglass up the street, but never took the time to stop and experience them until today. They are the centerpieces of the Susan B. Anthony Square Park.

Anthony and her friend Douglass, a noted abolitionist, are depicted having tea together. One resident saw me taking photos, and exclaimed about the beauty of the statues, which were erected in 2001. They certainly give a lift to the neighborhood.

Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass are depicted in “Let’s Have Tea,” statues in the Susan B. Anthony Square Park.

This is an old street in Rochester and I couldn’t help but notice sandstone foundations on the houses, a couple hitching posts in front yards, and sandstone posts to hold up the sign with the park’s name.

I’d like to see some bronze statues honoring the quarrymen who built the canal villages in Orleans County. I like how the Susan B. Anthony Square Park doesn’t have Anthony by herself. She appears very much engaged with Douglass.

The quarrymen’s job involved a lot of teamwork. I hope as a community we could come up with a memorial site that would give a glimpse of that difficult work from more than a century ago.

Regarding George Anthony, Tom Taber of Albion features the Medina resident in “The Orleans Battery – A History of the 17th New York Light Artillery in the War of Rebellion.” Taber published that 320-page book last year. It’s a remarkable research effort.

He found a letter that Anthony wrote to his brother on April 9, 1865, the day of the Confederate surrender. Anthony was outside the Appomattox Court House only a few yards away from the where General Robert E. Lee surrendered.

“This is a glorious hour, and will live in history,” he wrote his brother Benjamin Anthony of Medina. “The work is done. Gen. Ord announces to us the surrender of Lee, and the entire army under his command, and that are present. Thus ends the Army of the Virginia, and, virtually, the Rebellion.”

After the war, Anthony moved to Kansas, working as a newspaper editor. He was elected the state’s governor, serving two years from January 1877 to January 1879.

Queen, winning poster picked for Albion Strawberry Festival

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Alison O’Hearn, a senior at Albion, will serve as Strawberry Festival queen during the June 7-8 event.

ALBION – The queen for next weekend’s Strawberry Festival is feeling a mix of emotions as she prepares to graduate from high school and begin college.

Alison O’Hearn, 18, was selected as queen after writing an essay about Albion. She has been active in the school as an honors student involved in sports and other activities, including vice president of FFA.

She will study biology at Grove City College beginning in the fall.

“I’m feeling sentimental,” she said about Albion. “For such a small school and small town we have so much to offer and so much going on. We have a lot of people who genuinely care about the community.”

O’Hearn will ride in the 10 a.m. parade on June 8 and will also help with the 2 p.m. turtle race in the canal, as well as performing other ceremonial duties during the festival.

Gabrielle Vagg, a sophomore at Albion, designed the poster that will be used to promote the Strawberry Festival. The festival is in its 27th year and features a canal theme this year.

An Albion student, Gabrielle Vagg, designed the poster that will be used to promote the 27th annual festival, featuring a canal theme this year. Vagg, a sophomore, highlighted the bridge collapse from Sept. 28, 1859.

That day more than 250 people crowded on the Main Street bridge over the canal to watch a wirewalker. The bridge couldn’t take the weight and collapsed. Fifteen people drowned and the calamity is noted with a historic marker on a patch of grass just west of the Main Street Lift Bridge.

Three generations of Girl Scouts

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – A family with a Girl Scouting tradition was recognized Thursday during the “Court of Awards.” The Sidari and Ricker families have three generations involved in Girl Scouts. They include, from left: Kelly Ricker, Laiken Ricker and Carolyn Sidari.

ALBION – Forty-five years ago Carolyn Sidari joined a Girl Scout troop in Barre Center. Twenty years later, as a young mother, she would lead a Brownie Troop of 25 girls.

Sidari’s daughter Kelly Ricker has followed the Girl Scouting path for 35 years, volunteering as the Cobblestone service unit manager, which includes Scouts in the Albion area. Ricker has been a troop leader and outdoor program specialist.

Her 10-year-old daughter Laiken has been in the program for five years. All three of the Sidari-Ricker ladies were honored Thursday during the “Court of Awards” at the Elks’ Lodge. The Scouting program recognizes Scouts and adult volunteers for every five-year milestone in the program.

Sidari continues to help with the program, especially with the annual cake auction. She said Scouts has been good for her family and the community.

“I love the girls, that’s the main reason,” she said about her involvement.

COVA plans open house tonight

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Guy Scribner, a past director of operations with the Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance, poses with an ambulance this afternoon outside COVA’s headquarters at 239 South Main St., Albion. Scribner is an advanced EMT with COVA.

ALBION – Residents are welcome to meet the staff and take a peek at ambulances and fire trucks tonight at Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance, 239 South Main St.

The organization is having its annual open house from 5:30 to 8:30 tonight. Hot dogs, hamburgers and other refreshments will be served, and children’s games will also be available.

Neighboring fire departments are expected to bring fire trucks for the event, and Mercy Flight is scheduled to stop by with one of its helicopters.

Keep nursing home, change the Legislature

Posted 30 May 2013 at 12:00 am

To the Editor,

I am a taxpaying resident and family member to many residents at the Villages in Orleans County. I don’t usually have a lot on my mind that I care to share with people but I find myself pondering how to express my disappointment in the lawmakers of Orleans County. So many people in this country and county today have made it a way of life to take the easy way out in everything they do.

We have forgotten how to work for anything, we have forgotten how to handle our money and we have forgotten how to give back to the community that has given us so much. It is a new way of life to just throw things away when you have grown tired of them. Now, that is what we are doing to our elderly. We don’t need them for anything. They aren’t useful anymore. What does it matter where they are or if they are happy. Sad part is the county legislators are going to be old soon. Where are they going when they are no longer useful?

I have a 95 year old mother, who is a resident at the Villages. She told my son last week when asked how she liked it there, “It’s like heaven.” She looks better than she has in years and she is happy. What a load off my sister’s and my mind that we made the right decision to put her there six months ago. The best part is that my brother is also a resident there and has been there for several years. He is also pleased with the care he gets and was anxious for our mother to be there with him. It is a comfort to both of them to be in the same facility and to see each other when they want.

My mother-in-law was also there until two months ago when she passed away. She was given the very best care by a skilled staff with the highest standard of professionalism.

Sounds like a lot of family in one facility. Can’t leave out my brother-in-law. He is also a resident. Who knows where they will all be when the sale is final. It seems to me the lawmakers we elected don’t really care. They also like to take the easy way out. Things get a little tough just get rid of it.

I think that it is time to get some new people in office. This country was founded on a two-party system. Orleans County has only one party. Most of the time we don’t even have two candidates to choose from. Primaries are almost unheard of. It is time to make some changes. It is time that we elect some new people that listen to us. Are we just not making enough noise?

Diana Jeffords
Albion, NY

Albion Rotary awards scholarships

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 May 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Pictured, from left: Rotarian Chris Haines, Alessaundra Rivera, Christopher Reed, Brooke Bensley and Rotarian Bonnie Malakie.

The Albion Rotary Club awarded $2,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors this year. The scholarship winners attended today’s Rotary Club meeting at The Village Inn.

Brooke Bensley won the Dick Eddy “Service Above Self” Scholarship, a $1,250 award that is given to a student committed to community service and leadership, and who displays high potential for future accomplishment. Brooke will major in business this fall at St. Bonaventure University.

Christopher Reed won the $500 Edward Archbald Memorial Scholarship, given to a senior who shares Archbald’s love of sports, recreational activities, community service and work experience. Christopher plans to major in engineering and science at Monroe Community College.

Alessaundra Rivera was awarded the $250 Rotary Career Advancement Prize for a senior committed to community service, school activities and work experience. Alessaundra plays to study business administration at MCC.

‘She was a special lady,’ governor says in recalling Teresa Martillotta

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 May 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo courtesy of Jeanne Crane – Teresa Martillotta greets Andrew Cuomo at a function in this photo from 2001. Martillotta was well known by influential Democrats in the state.

ALBION – Teresa Martillotta was a popular person in the leading circles of the state’s Democratic Party for the past half century.

She was beloved for her sense of humor and spunk.

“She had a personality that was bigger than life,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said about Martillotta, who died at age 87 on May 23. “She was a special lady with a great energy and a great heart.”

Cuomo spoke about Martillotta today while he was in Batavia. Lieutenant Gov. Robert Duffy attended Martillotta’s calling hours yesterday at Christopher Mitchell Funeral Homes.

Martillotta was a committee member of the state Democratic Party for more than 50 years. In that role she hobnobbed with party leaders and candidates. At her home in Albion she had photos of herself with some of the state’s most prominent Democrats the past two generations, including Cuomo, his father and former governor Mario Cuomo, Geraldine Ferrarro, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and many others.

“She was a people-person and a dedicated Democrat,” said Jeanne Crane, the Orleans County Democratic Party chairwoman. “She loved the camaraderie and interaction with people.”

Martillotta lived locally all of her life. She retired as executive housekeeper at the Orleans County Nursing Home. She enjoyed the parties and functions with the big-name Democrats, Crane said.

But Martillotta was also a loyal and hard-working Democrat in Orleans County, where Republicans have a 2-to-1 enrollment advantage and fill nearly every elected position at the town and county levels.

“She was such a dedicated Democrat,” Crane said. “She was always supporting.”

Martillotta often had the political shows on television when Crane visited her home.

When Martillotta was at hospice in recent weeks, she asked Crane about this November’s elections. She wanted to know who was running for the Democrats.

Crane traveled with Martillotta to many of the state events. Martillotta was treated like a star.

“She took command of a room when she walked in,” Crane said.

Bigger June Fest planned for Holley community on Saturday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 May 2013 at 12:00 am

Fifth annual event adds wine tasting, ‘Holleywood Idol’

HOLLEY – The fifth annual Murray/Holley June Fest is only two days away. The event starts with a 5-kilometer race in the morning and ends with fireworks at night.

In between there will be plenty of live music, food and games for children. Adults are also welcome to try a wine-tasting event, which is new to the festival. That runs from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $7 each and are available at the wine tent, or in advance at the Village Office or First Niagara Bank.

Organizers also have a “Holleywood Idol” talent show planned for 5 p.m. at the Woodlands Soccer Field.

The day kicks off with the Jim Ferris Memorial 5k, beginning at the elementary school. Village-wide yard sales also start at 9 and go until 4 p.m.

A parade starts at 10:30 a.m. and features the White Sabers Drum and Bugle Corps, the Ghost Riders Drum and Bugle Corps, the Prime Time Brass Drum and Bugle Corps and the Mark Time Marchers Marching Band. The parade route starts on Veteran’s Drive, then to Batavia Street, to the Public Square, to White Street to East Avenue, and ends at the park entrance.The reviewing stand will be on East Avenue just past East Albion Street.

Arts, craft, food vendors, a bounce house, pony rides, and live entertainment will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the park. St. Mary’s will host a chicken barbecue starting at 11 a.m.

“We tried to find something for everybody,” said Mary Ridley, the village’s deputy clerk/treasurer and a member of the planning committee. “We want to get people involved and come out to see their neighbors.”

A free Drum Corps Show is set for 7 p.m. at Woodlands Field and will feature the Drum Corps from the parade, plus the Hitmen Drum Corps, the Kendall-Holley Marching Band and Color Guard, and the Holley High School chorus.

Shuttle buses will run all day from the high school and elementary school parking lot and the Holley firemen’s field.

Medina auto businesses seek tax on ‘gypsy dealers’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 May 2013 at 12:00 am

MEDINA – Medina car dealers who pay local property taxes are complaining about an out-of-town outfit that sets up for 10 days outside the Medina bowling alley.

The village requires a license fee for the transient business, but it pales in comparison to the taxes the local dealers pay.

“They should be regulated so we can level the playing field,” said Mark Kuhmann, the used car manager for Hartway Motors.

Kuhmann asked the Village Board to pass an ordinance for “transient retail merchants” that would increase their costs to sell in Medina. That would make the operations on par with the local merchants paying property taxes. It would also bring in tax revenue for the community, Kuhmann said.

The proposal would require a local tax on retail sales. That tax would be the same as other merchants pay in the village, which is about $50 per $1,000 of assessed property for village, county, town and school taxes.

That could be significant for the auto dealer, Transitowne, which has now had several “tent sales” in Medina. The company is rumored to have sold 80 vehicles in its latest 10-day sales event in Medina earlier this month. If those used vehicles sold for an average of $10,000 that would be $800,000 in total gross. At a $50 tax rate, the local governments would be due $40,000, according to the proposal submitted by Kuhmann on behalf of Hartway and Orleans Ford.

Medina Mayor Andrew Meier said the village would consider the proposal, which doesn’t impact non-profits.

“We’ll discuss it,” Meier told Kuhmann on Tuesday. “We want to make sure we don’t over-legislate.”

The proposal would also establish a minimum 1,000-foot buffer from the transient business and one that is selling similar merchandise in the village.

Kuhmann said other communities have approved similar legislation for “gypsy dealers.” Village officials asked their attorney, Matt Brooks, to look over the proposal.

“We all support our local businesses, but we have to operate within the law,” said Trustee Mark Irwin.