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Month: November 2013

Highlights from the Mustangs gridiron victory over the rival Purple Eagles

Posted 30 November 2013 at 12:00 am


Photos by Cheryl Wertman
Medina’s Tom Follman (39) tries to tackle Albion’s Tyler Rotoli (35) as Brett Pecoraro comes in to assist during the Mustangs 46-30 victory over the rival Purple Eagles Friday night at Vets Park.

Pecoraro scored two touchdowns on the night.


Albion quarterback Kyle Smith (1) tries to pass as Tom Follman puts on pressure for Medina. Smith threw three touchdown passes on the night including two to Trey Hart and one to Des Blackmon.


Albion’s Tom Mattison (22) heads up field as Des Blackmon (21) tries to block Medina’s duo of Ty Hrovat (10) and Trevor Bentley (35).


Buffalo radio station WYRK morning DJ Dale Mussen was the referee for the rivalry contest.


Medina quarterback Jason Hellwig tries to get away from a sack attempt by Albion’s Clayton Stanton. Hellwig threw for three touchdowns, one each to Brett Pecoraro, Ty Hrovat and Brandon Schoolcraft, and also ran for another score.


Albion Coach Gary Parisi talks to his defensive unit during a timeout.


Medina Coach Eric Valley talks with quarterback Jason Hellwig. The victory was the third in a row and the fourth in the last five years for Valley’s Mustangs over the rival Purple Eagles which still hold a 64-48-5 lead in the series which dates back to 1898.


Ty Hrovat intercepts an Albion pass against Des Blackmon in the final minute to close out Medina’s victory.


Charles Beach (66) and Devonte Howard (58) celebrate the Mustangs victory.


Mustang quarterback Jason Hellwig gets congratulations from Brian Fuller who quarterbacked Medina’s 1988 undefeated (10-0) Section VI championship team. Fuller guided Medina to a pair of wins over Albion that year, 28-12 during the regular season and then a come-from-behind 14-7 victory at Rich Stadium (now Ralph Wilson Stadium) in the sectional championship contest.

Local merchants welcome support on Small Business Saturday

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

They have their shops decorated, their merchandise all spiffed up and deals aplenty. Local merchants hope the community will spend some of their holiday shopping dollars in Orleans County, away from the big box stores and malls.

It seemed awfully quiet yesterday in our business districts as folks fled to the malls. That has become an annual tradition the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday is built up by the big media – the television and radio stations, and the big city dailies that count the national chains as advertising customers.

Orleans Hub relies on the local small-town merchants to pay our bills. Spend some of your money with them and have some fun while you’re at it.

Medina will be in its glory today during its seventh annual Old Tyme Christmas celebration that includes children’s activities, music, Santa, elves, a parade of lighted floats and live music. (Click here to see the schedule and more information.)

Albion businesses, including restaurants, have also joined to offer discounts on Small Business Saturday, which has been an official national event since 2010.

If we shop small, we can have a bigger and better community in Orleans County.

Santa, elves arrive for Medina’s big day

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

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Santa Claus arrived in Medina today by horse-drawn carriage. He was led into town in a mini-parade down Main Street with a band, color guard and elves.

Kathy Blackburn, president of the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce, dressed as an elf and helped direct children in costumes through the downtown business district.

Santa rode in the carriage with Ben Root, 2 ½ of Medina. He won the award for best-dressed elf. Ben is the son of Patrick and Jennifer Root. Ben also was the first one to sit with Santa in the Medina Theater Company. Ben is pictured in his award-winning outfit with Santa, who is scheduled for photos with children from 12:30 to 3 p.m.

Santa will help light the Christmas display in Rotary Park at 5:30.

The parade of lights will be at 6 p.m. More events are also on the schedule. For more information, click here.

Getting ready for the big parade

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

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Before they ventured down Park Avenue and emerged on Main Street in downtown Medina, the floats for the Parade of Lights gathered in the parking lot at the Olde Pickle Factory.

It was a spectacular site, seeing about 50 floats altogether. All of the entries showed a lot of spirit and many were very creative.

I thought the fleet of reindeer, with Rudolph as the leader, was particularly good. It looked like a bunch of real reindeer with a red-nosed Rudolph. Matt C.M. Contracting created this float.

I took the pre-parade photos with a SmartPhone. Some of them are a little fuzzy, including this one of East Shelby firefighters, with Fire Chief Mike Fuller in the front. I wanted to use it on the Orleans Hub because it shows the spirit and willingness of the participants to put on a good parade.

The Town of Oakfield joined Medina’s parade, one of several participants from outside Medina.

The Wildwood Lake KOA Campground in Medina was part of the Parade of Lights for the first time.

These parade participants have a few things to go over before heading out on the parade route.

Albion FFA members created a float with a Grinch and Whoville theme.

Parade of Lights brings holiday magic to Medina

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

Photos by Tom Rivers – The Albion FFA had a Grinch and Whoville themed float. Adam Krenning, the club advisor and agriculture teacher, dressed as the Grinch and drove the tractor.

The Town Clerks Association of Orleans County joined the Parade of Lights for the first time tonight. Shelby Town Clerk Darlene Rich, left, greets the crowd from the lighted display.

MEDINA – More than 50 community groups created floats and decorated them in brilliant glowing colors for the fifth annual Parade of Lights in Medina.

The event was a dazzling display that left many folks, including myself, awestruck. There was an enormous crowd of people along Main Street and a line of people along Park Avenue. Many of them were in lawn chairs.

The parade included several new entries. It keeps growing and getting better each year.

Stanton Signs put a friendly face at the end of its float.

Habitat for Humanity makes its way down Main Street with its lighted float.

The Medina Transportation Association turned a 15-passenger bus into a pirate ship as part of their float.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Dancing Derrick Bradley was part of the Weed Man display from Albion.

The Master Gardeners joined the parade with a “Hoe, Hoe, Hoe” themed float.

The Abominable Snowman was one of the stars of the Roberts Farm Market float.

One of the fire trucks has a giant glowing Mickey Mouse at the back as it heads down Main Street through a big crowd in downtown Medina.

Nearly 100 runners brave chill for first 5K holiday race in Medina

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

Outfits included tutus, Santa hats and other holiday spirit

Photos by Tom Rivers – Mercedes Houseman of Oakfield, left, and Debbie Tompkins of Medina are in the home stretch of the first Home for the Holidays 5K this morning. The race ended on Main Street by the American Legion.

Patty Hastreiter of Lancaster sprints to the finish line in the 5K. She also ran the Turkey Trot in Buffalo on Thursday. Her sister-in-law, Cindy Robinson, organized today’s race with her husband Jim Robinson.

MEDINA – The first Home for the Holidays 5k attracted 85 runners this morning in Medina. Many of the participants ran in Santa hats, jingle bells and other outrageous outfits, including tutus.

Race organizer Cindy Robinson was pleased with the turnout for the first race. She wants it to become an annual tradition, a kickoff to Medina’s Old Tyme Christmas celebration that continues until 11 p.m. today.

Robinson has seen how a holiday-themed race can become a major draw. Seneca Falls started the “It’s A Wonderful Life 5K” in 2009. Last year it attracted 2,000 participants to the small village that was used for the classic film starring Jimmy Stewart.

“For the first race I’m thrilled,” Robinson said. “We can build on this and make it better.”

Many of the runners in this morning’s 5-kilometer race were dressed for the holidays. This group includes, from left: Stephanie Hill of Medina, John Ritter Jr. of Pembroke, Jennifer Pritchett of Basom, Katy Owczarczak of Medina and Sharon Koszuta of Akron.

The fastest runners were awarded prizes for completing the 5K course. Robinson wants to add prizes in the future for best costumes.

The race attracted many participants from outside Medina. Robinson is hopeful that the race will bring people to the community who will stick around for more events as part of Medina’s Old Tyme Christmas. (Click here for the schedule.)

I heard people exclaim about the beautiful course along the canal. The only complaint: It was a little slippery for some of the runners. But everyone seemed in good spirits.

“It was fun and we wanted to do it for the first year,” said Sharon Koszuta of Akron. “We want to support running events.”

Gary Lantinen, 58, of Gasport is all alone and ahead of the pack while running along the towpath next to a frozen Erie Canal. He won today’s race with a time of 20:36.

Stephanie Schmidt of Sanborn finishes in 21:19, the fastest time for all of the women runners.

Roy-Hart cagers return veteran lineup

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 30 November 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Mike Wertman – Roy-Hart’s large contingent of veterans includes, in front Sam White, Austin Heschke and Alex Stoddard. In back are Cody Breedlove, DaRon Woods, Marc Roman and Andy Xapsos.

MIDDLEPORT – Bolstered by the return of eight veterans, Roy-Hart is prepping for the Dec. 3 non league season opener at Tonawanda.

Seniors Alex Stoddard, Austin Heschke, Marc Roman, Cody Breedlove and DaRon Woods, along with juniors Sam White and Nelson Andrade and sophomore Andy Xapsos lead the way for Roy-Hart which went 9-5 in Niagara-Orleans League competition a year ago.

Roy-Hart, which lost the starting trio of Brad Bobbitt, Blake Copella and Ryan Farewell to graduation, also has senior Robert Frasier and juniors Aaron Metz and Baily Hudson on the squad. Bobbitt earned first team Niagara-Orleans All-League honors while Copella was a second team pick and Farewell an honorable mention selection.

“Consistency is the key word for us,” Coach Mark Rydza said. “We’re looking for a more consistent performance from our players, eliminating costly errors and making solid basketball plays on a regular basis. Fundamentals, such as positioning, reading the other nine players on the court, 100 percent effort, not giving up on a play and solid defense will be stressed.”

The Rams are also slated to host Buffalo Arts on Dec. 11 before opening the N-O campaign at home against Wilson on Dec. 13.

Roy-Hart’s Schedule

Dec. 3 – at Tonawanda, 7 p.m.
Dec. 11 – Buffalo Arts, 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 13 – Wilson, 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 17 – at Tapestry, 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 20 – Medina, 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 27 – at Alden, 7 p.m.
Jan. 7 – at Newfane, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 10 – Albion, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 14 – at Barker, 6 p.m.
Jan. 17 – at CSAT, 6 p.m.
Jan. 21 – at Wilson, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 24 – at Medina, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 28 – Akron, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 31 – Newfane, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 4 – at Albion, 7 p.m.
Feb. 7 – at Akron, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 11 – Barker, 6 p.m.
Feb. 13 – CSAT, 6 p.m.

Dry houses popular locally to preserve food a century ago

Posted 30 November 2013 at 12:00 am

By Bill Lattin
Orleans County Historian

ASHWOOD – Our photo was take a little over 100 years ago and shows the Ashwood Dry House in Ashwood.

This was located on the Yates-Carlton Townline Road along the old “Hojack” Railroad. Back at this time there were more than 40 dry houses in the county producing dried apples each season.

Women were hired each fall during harvest to peel and slice the apples for drying purposes. This was one method of food preservation before freezing and more modern canning methods.

Buggy, picked up at yard sale, finds a home at Panek’s

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 November 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Jim Panek saw it at a yard sale in Gaines, an old buggy with wobbly wheels.

The buggy likely dates back at least a century. You don’t see too many of them around anymore.

“I thought it was pretty cool,” Panek said.

He bought it and has given it shelter in a barn next to his family’s home at 13420 Countyhouse Rd.

I was at the barn today for a story on Panek’s daughter Katie Klotzbach, who opened County House Christmas Trees. She is selling about 300 trees from the barn. I tend to get distracted around old stuff, especially items that are part of the horse-and-buggy culture.

The Albion and Gaines area is loaded with hitching posts, carriage steps and mounting blocks. I really think a trail of these artifacts could draw people out here and stir some community pride.

A dream some day for the community would be to turn one of these old carriage barns into a museum. There are a lot of these old barns behind some of the nicer houses in the community.

Before today I knew one local person who had a buggy from the pre-automobile era. I know of two sleighs. If we ever had a museum or historic site in a carriage barn, we really should have a buggy in there.

For now, the public can see one of these while they go hunt for a Christmas tree. The buggy is even decorated for the holidays.

Panek has rescued other horse-and-buggy artifacts. He moved the carriage step from his grandparents’ property on Route 18 in Lyndonville and now has it by his house.

He also bought a hitching post that was removed from a property in Eagle Harbor. Panek intends to set it up by the carriage step in front of his house. I’m happy the trail of these relics keeps getting bigger.

Greater Niagara tourism promotes Medina Old Tyme event

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 November 2013 at 12:00 am

MEDINA – Medina’s “Old Tyme Christmas” celebration on Saturday is being promoted by Greater Niagara Region USA as an alternative “to the chaotic mall scene.”

The tourism promotion agency is urging people to spend Saturday in Medina to see a parade of lights at 6 p.m. and numerous other activities that make for a “nostalgia-filled adventure.”

“Welcome the arrival of Santa, indulge in holiday delicacies, enjoy children’s activities and experience the festive lights as Medina greets the holidays,” the tourism agency proclaims.

The group touts the historic charm of Medina’s downtown business district, which includes many buildings from the 1800s with shops run by local merchants rather than chain stores.

“Medina escaped the ‘urban renewal’ craze of the 60’s, and its commercial district boasts locally owned stores and eateries,” according to the Greater Niagara tourism organization.

To see the group’s news release about Medina and Old Tyme Christmas, click here.