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Month: April 2014

Retired teacher named top Hospice volunteer

Posted 30 April 2014 at 12:00 am

Agency thanks supporters, announces education emphasis for 2014

Provided photos – Ann McElwee accepts the volunteer award from Volunteer Coordinator Christine Fancher, right.

Press release
Hospice of Orleans

MEDINA – Hospice of Orleans held its annual organizational meeting and honored its volunteers in a dual-purpose luncheon on April 24 at the Medina United Methodist Church (the former Apple Grove Restaurant).

In 2013, more than 150 volunteers contributed nearly 7,000 hours to the Hospice mission of providing comfort, compassion and expertise to Orleans County residents facing serious illness, Hospice Executive Director Mary Anne Fischer reported. She attributed a cost savings of over $110,000 last year to volunteer involvement.

“It goes without saying that we could not do this without you,” Fischer told the crowd of about 120. “We consider ourselves truly blessed by the giving nature of this community.”

Ann McElwee received Hospice’s Volunteer of the Year Award. Volunteer Coordinator Christine Fancher called McElwee “an incredible lady who gives tirelessly of her time, compassion and care to hospice patients.” McElwee regularly visits two clients in the community and takes time to get to know patients’ likes and dislikes, Fancher said.

“She spoils them!” Fancher also noted that McElwee has “broken all of the records with regards to hours of service dedicated to hospice.”

McElwee is a retired special education teacher at the Orleans-Niagara BOCES. The Medina resident volunteers about 10 hours a week with Hospice.

“After you meet the residents and patients, you get a lot more than you give,” McElwee said.

Carol Culhane, left, is presented the Mary Janet Sahukar Award from Mary Anne Fischer, Hospice executive director.

Carol Culhane received the Mary Janet Sahukar Award, named for Hospice of Orleans’ founding director. The award recognizes a community member who understands, embraces and supports the organization’s mission in sacrificial ways.

As an artist, Culhane has contributed hundreds of hours to the creation of murals in the Martin-Linsin Hospice Residence, as well as custom-designed ornaments for the organization’s Light-A-Life memorial Christmas tree.

Culhane worked eight years as a nurse’s aide at the Orleans County Nursing Home and that experience made her want to support Hospice.

“I saw then the tremendous need for compassionate care at the end of life,” Culhane said.

Baxter Healthcare of Medina received the Hospice Business/Civic Award, recognizing that company’s annual sponsorship of Hospice’s Ducks Ahoy Race, held each Independence Day in Lyndonville. Baxter provides cash prizes for the race, an important fundraiser and publicity event for Hospice, according to Development Director Marsha Rivers.

Baxter employees have also shown exceptional enthusiasm for the Hospice mission, Rivers said – supporting the spring bouquet sale by the dozens of dozens, and volunteering at Hospice headquarters on the United Way Day of Caring. Baxter Vice President Nelson Patterson received the award on behalf of his company.

Baxter Healthcare was awarded the Hospice Business/Civic Award for its efforts assisting Hospice. Nelson Patterson, Baxter vice president, accepts the award from Marsha Rivers, Hospice director of development.

Douglas Miller, of Albion, was elected as a new Hospice Board member. Henry Lehning, of Holley, and Jon Costello, of Waterport, were honored for completion of their board terms, Lehning for 15 years and Costello for 9 years. Costello was elected as a director emeritus, which allows him to continue attending board meetings as an adviser.

Mary Anne Fischer noted that Hospice of Orleans achieved several organizational goals in 2013, including: Development of a palliative care program to assist community members still undergoing treatment for serious illness; tailoring policies and procedures to become a 24/7 agency; streamlining medication ordering to increase efficiency and decrease costs; upgrading clinical software to enable direct care staff to record visits remotely; documentation of all agency processes; updating financial policies pertaining to investments and billing; starting an e-newsletter to provide caregivers with high quality, pertinent information.

In the coming year, during which Fischer noted the agency will celebrate its 20th year as a state-certified hospice provider, Hospice of Orleans will emphasize education about its services and important end of life care decisions that everyone should consider in advance. The organization will also strive to increase use of electronic media for efficiency and cost savings, and encourage planned giving among its supporters.

(Editor’s note: Orleans Hub editor Tom Rivers interviewed Culhane and McElwee for this article.)

Underage drinking forum focus of GCASA meeting tonight in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2014 at 12:00 am

MEDINA – Community members are welcome to attend a forum about underage drinking tonight at Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in Medina.

The Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition will lead the meeting, which begins at 6:45 p.m. The coalition is part of the Genesee-Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

Medina Police Chief Jose Avila will speak during the forum, which will include participation from the coalition members.

A survey of high schoolers at four of the five school districts in Orleans County showed that 25 percent report they binge drink, said Patricia Crowley, project director for GCASA.

“We all know it’s going on more than the statistics say,” Crowley said. “These are kids who are drinking to get drunk.”

She welcomed students and their parents to attend tonight’s forum at the library, 620 West Ave.

“We want to hear from the kids about what they hear and see,” Crowley said.

The coalition also wants to talk to parents. Many are permissive in allowing children to drink alcohol and host drinking parties. The survey in 2013 of 6th through 12th showed that 46 percent of students in those ages drink alcohol at home with their parents’ permission.

Crowley said the coalition’s goal is to educate community members about underage drinking consequences and empower communities to use evidence-based approaches to stop underage drinking.

Tonight’s meeting will also include an appearance by “Kye,” Medina’s K-9 that is used in tracking, drug detection, building searches and criminal apprehension.

Second DWI gets Albion man 90 days in county jail

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2014 at 12:00 am

ALBION – An Albion man will spend 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated on Sept. 7 in Medina.

Josh Porter, 40, of East Park Street has a prior DWI from Oct. 27, 2011 in Lockport. He registered a 0.13 percent blood alcohol content on Sept. 7, above the legal limit of 0.8 percent.

Porter apologized in court for the crime. He said he has been sober for 7 months and 20 days and is determined to be a better family man and citizen.

“We’re lucky this isn’t a vehicular manslaughter,” County Court Judge James Punch said at sentencing on Monday. “It’s a wonder to me more people aren’t killed by people like you.”

The judge also sentenced Porter to five years on probation and revoked his driver’s license for a year. Porter also must install an inter-lock ignition device for the next three years on any vehicle he drives. That device makes sure he hasn’t been drinking.

In another case on Monday, an Appleton woman pleaded guilty to grand larceny. Dawn Papazian admitted she stole a horse trailer from Lynn-Ette and Sons farm in Kent. She will be sentenced at a later date and won’t receive a state prison sentence, but could receive up to a year in the county jail.

Collins seeks ‘swift action’ with Holley houses currently off market

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2014 at 12:00 am

HOLLEY – Congressman Chris Collins is asking the federal Environmental Protection Agency to sell eight houses that have been off the tax rolls and vacant for about a decade.

The houses were feared to be contaminated by a chemical leak in January 2002 by the former Diaz Chemical, which has gone bankrupt.

The EPA acquired the sites. It’s testing has shown no harmful on-site contaminants remain at the eight properties, Collins noted in a letter on Tuesday to Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator.

Village officials want them back on the market. The houses are on Jackson, Geddes, Van Buren and North Main streets. The houses could boost the local tax rolls by $700,000 and eliminate vacant properties in the community, Collins said in the letter.

Collins’ staff toured the properties last week with village officials, who were told the sites would be put on the market more than 2 ½ years ago.

“With 2014 upon us, I would like to request the EPA take swift action in addressing the concerns of the Village of Holley and place the suitable properties up for sale,” Collins wrote to McCarthy. “This action is in the best interest of the Village of Holley, the EPA, and the taxpayers.”

Business leaders share tips for young entrepreneurs in Lyndonville

Posted 30 April 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Sue Cook – Cal Tuohey addresses the group of students and teachers. He explains the importance of being honest.

By Sue Cook, staff reporter

LYNDONVILLE – Students in Lyndonville’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy heard directly from local CEOs and business owners in the area about the keys to success.

The panel of four included a diverse group: Cal Tuohey, author, actor and comedian; Jim Simon, Dean of Genesee Community College (Albion and Medina); Barb Champlin, co-owner of Hojack Ice Cream Shack, EZ Shop and Champs; and Peter Woodward, Senior Human Resource Manager of Baxter, Inc.

“The genesis of the idea for this evening started probably over a year ago when we started discovering that there was a disconnect between our school and the business community in the region,” said Aaron Slack, Middle/High School Principal.

Technology and business teacher Todd Wolford came up with the idea as a way to inspire students. With input from others at the school, Wolford chose a list of people who were both local and well established that he felt would inspire the students.

“Don’t lie,” said Tuohey, explaining how an attempt to fool a prospective customer backfired on him. “You can connect better with people if you are yourself.”

That message was repeated throughout the night. The panel agreed honesty was a huge way for an applicant to be considered by a company when job hunting. They also suggested volunteering and being a well-rounded person through hobbies and free-time activities that benefit the community in some way.

“You don’t have to be the best student, but you have to apply yourself and find what you love,” said Woodward.

He wasn’t in the top of his class, but once he found passion for something he was able to focus and begin to guide his life into the path he wanted.

Peter Woodward said having a belief in your company and what you make or do is an extremely powerful motivator. Baxter makes medical products and he constantly thinks about how the devices help to save or sustain lives.

Barb Champlin echoed that finding something you love is the route to success. “It’s a lot of long hours, a lot of sacrifices, but well worth it. I don’t wake up in the morning saying I have to go to work. I wake every morning going to do what I love to do. It’s not work when you do that.”

The group also discussed their regrets of what they wish they had done when they were younger. They offered advice of how to overcome things that might hold someone back that could cause them regret later on.

Jim Simon said that he did learn some hard lessons in his youth, but was able to change himself through them. “It’s really about what happens if you hit bottom and you pick yourself up by the bootstraps. What do you do now? It’s about standing back up if you get knocked down. Don’t feel like your life is set in stone.”

Tuohey wishes he had started by telling his parents what he wanted in life, but didn’t think they would approve of him wanting to pursue comedy. “I didn’t have the courage to tell my parents what I wanted to do. I didn’t want them to hear the wrong answer from me.”

Barb Champlin says she loves running her own businesses because it makes her the ruler of her own destiny. “I like the freedom that it gives me,” she said.

The students all thanked the group for coming to speak to them and some even asked for personal advice afterward about their own futures and choices. They were gracious of the time that was set aside just for them.

“I’ve really learned a lot,” stressed senior Abigail Feldman. She said she did gain some insight and even learned more about their what the panel’s jobs are in the community. She commented that she had no idea that positions like Human Resources did so much.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy has already started students on the path to finding a career they would like to pursue. The YEA runs the school store, which makes a profit. The students then partner up with each other and make real business proposals and present their ideas to a group of investors. The investors vote on the proposals with a yea, nay or can adjust the amount of money the students are asking for. The investors divide the store profits among the students to provide them with the equipment and resources asked for on their proposal.

Two groups within the YEA have already applied for DBAs for their businesses. Feldman and her partner are sharing a Nikon camera that was approved by the investors for their business Fabulous Fotos.

The other approved group is Cashmere Cupcakes and consists of three students. The students rent space in a certified kitchen and are planning to cater cupcakes at local events such as birthday parties. The students for both businesses will be attending college, but will continue to operate as they have time.

N-O diamond title chase is tight four way race

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 30 April 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Devonte Howard and his Mustang teammates are in a tight four way race for the Niagara-Orleans League baseball title.

It’s too bad that Mother Nature is not a baseball fan because despite repeated interruptions due to bad weather the Niagara-Orleans League title race is developing into a very competitive, tight four way battle.

Akron and Roy-Hart are currently tied for first place at 5-1 followed closely by defending champion Albion at 4-1 and Medina at 5-2.

In head-to-head match ups to date, Akron has defeated Roy-Hart (10-6) and Albion (8-7), Roy-Hart has defeated Medina (14-3), Medina has defeated Akron (4-1) and Albion has defeated Medina (7-5).

Including today’s washout, the N-O has a total of eight games to make up including two big ones for Albion against Roy-Hart and the rematch against Akron which had been scheduled for today.

In the Genesee Region League, Lyndonville is off to a strong 7-0 start including close wins over Norte Dame (6-4), Byron-Bergen (4-1) and Alexander (3-1). The Tigers are 9-0 overall.

Weather related postponements have hit the N-O softball schedule even harder than the baseball as Roy-Hart for example has played only two of the nine games which has been scheduled to date.

In fact, including today’s washout, the N-O has some 19 softball games to make up.

Roy-Hart, at 2-0, is the only unbeaten team while Akron and Wilson are deadlocked at 3-1 while Barker, which has played the most games, is at 4-2.

In the G-R League plans are already underway to schedule five inning doubleheaders but ironically rain washed out the first of those twin bills, Lyndonville vs. Notre Dame, on Tuesday.

Lyndonville is off to a 2-0 start in the league. The Lady Tigers are 4-0 overall.

The N-O tennis league, which was scheduled to reach the halfway point of the season today, is likewise very backed up due to the persistent bad weather.

Defending champion Medina for example is only 2-0 with four matches to makeup.

Wilson currently has the most wins at 4-1 followed by Albion at 3-1 and Barker at 3-2.

The N-O track competition has not been immune from the effects of the bad weather as Roy-Hart has meets against Medina/Lyndonville and Newfane postponed until after the All-League meet. In addition, the outcome of the Barker vs. Medina/Lyndonville girls meet is still up in the air as the shot-put and discus were not able to be held during last week’s meet due to wet grounds.

Maziarz will deliver GCC commencement address

Posted 30 April 2014 at 12:00 am


Press release, GCC

BATAVIA – A local state senator and community college graduate will deliver the commencement address on May 18 at Genesee Community College.

George Maziarz graduated from Niagara County Community College before earning a degree from Niagara University. Maziarz has served in the State Senate since 1995. His district includes all of Orleans, a portion of western Monroe and most of Niagara County.

“We are honored to have Sen. Maziarz speak and be part of this year’s celebration,” said GCC President Dr. James Sunser. “I think having a speaker from our own area who is familiar with the college and with the demographics of our students provides a meaningful address for everyone attending the ceremony.”

GCC is expecting 1,017 students to graduate next month, with another 44 graduates pending completion of their studies this summer.

While Commencement is open to the public, seats in the gymnasium are reserved for family and friends of graduates. The ceremony will be streamed live on campus through a video cast to the Stuart Steiner Theatre, Room T102 and on all the monitors throughout the campus – including the Student Union and cafeteria for those who would like to tune in. Tickets are not necessary to watch the ceremony in these areas.

Graduates, families and friends are encouraged to record memories, well wishes and pictures from commencement using #sunygcc14 on Twitter and Instagram to be shared throughout the day. Those attending the reception following the commencement ceremony are also invited to have their picture taken on the Forum stage, which will be posted to the college’s Facebook account.

Immediately following commencement, a reception with light refreshments will be hosted in the Forum for all guests and graduates.

Journal-Register will close on May 30

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2014 at 12:00 am

MEDINA – A newspaper with roots in the Medina community since 1903 has announced it will close next month.The Journal-Register will publish its final edition on Friday, May 30, Publisher Diane Crowe announced today on the JR’s website.

The newspaper is printed Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The paper used to have a Main Street presence until the operation was moved to Lockport at the Union-Sun & Journal about two years ago.

The move to Lockport was part of a cost-saving measure. The JR could not sustain itself economically despite the efforts to consolidate business and production operations at nearby sister publications, Crowe said on the JR website.

The Journal-Register’s circulation was about 1,500. The paper used to be printed five days a week, then four days before the three-days-a-week schedule. The Journal has four employees and they were notified today of the closing, Crowe said.

The Daily Journal started in Medina in 1903, followed by a rival, the Medina Register. The two merged in 1970 to form The Journal-Register.

The Journal is owned by Community First Holdings, Inc., which runs the Greater Niagara Newspapers group that includes The Journal-Register, Union-Sun & Journal, Tonawanda News and the Niagara Gazette. Community First also owned the Albion Advertiser, a weekly publication. That newspaper closed about a year ago.

Medina youth soccer teams join new summer league

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 30 April 2014 at 12:00 am

After several years of competition in the Genesee Youth Soccer League, Medina’s upper age group teams will be competing in the Buffalo and Western New York Junior Soccer League this summer.

Medina will have boys teams in the U17 and U19 division and a girls team in the U14 Division.

Roy-Hart will also be competing in the boys U19 Division after competing in the GYSL the last couple of summers.

“The competition will be top notch,” said Medina Coach Steve Luksch. “The league has some really quality teams and this is a good opportunity for our guys to see tougher teams. It will give us an idea of where we are. I think we can play with them, It should be fun.”

Medina and Roy-Hart will be joined in the U19 B North Division by the Akron Fusion, Lockport Lightning and Niagara Pioneer Militia.

In the U17 Division Medina’s foes will include the Newfane Panthers, Grand Island United, Niagara Pioneer Cyclones and Northtown Thunder.

Medina’s U14 girls team is scheduled to open the season at Grand Island on May 5, the Medina boys U17 at home on May 28 against the Niagara Cyclones, the Medina U19 boys team at home on May 21 against Amherst AC United and the Roy-Hart U19 boys team at home on May 28 against the Lockport Lightning.

Medina’s U15, U12 and U10 boys teams and U12 girls team will still be competing in the GYSL this coming season.

Big crowd turns out to oppose quarry in Shelby

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2014 at 12:00 am

About 250 attend hearing at Town Hall

Photos by Tom Rivers – Shelby resident Russell Cree speaks against a proposed quarry, saying it would be disruptive to a peaceful neighborhood.

Town Hall was packed with residents tonight during a public hearing about a proposed quarry on Fletcher Chapel Road.

SHELBY – Town Hall was at capacity – and then some – for a public hearing tonight about a proposed quarry on Fletcher Chapel Road.

Residents voiced concerns about the proposed quarry’s impact on nearby residential wells, the Iroquois Wildlife Refuge, and a proposed high-tech manufacturing park only a few miles away in the town of Alabama. That site is projected to have 10,000 jobs at full build-out. The state has committed $33 million in this year’s budget to advance that project.

The quarry would have a 75-year mining life. The 215-acre site would add 15 jobs to the community, according to Frontier Stone LLC.

The company has been working eight years on studies to get its draft environmental impact statement accepted by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The DEC held a public hearing about that 1,000-page plus report, and 250 residents turned out for the 2 ½ hour hearing.

Residents said the quarry would bring dust, noise, vibrations, heavy trucks, and foul water to a quiet and pristine area.

Brian McCarty lives on Dunlap Road. He enjoys the wildlife in the community, and said the refuge needs to remain a sanctuary for birds and animals.

“There is a higher calling as stewards of the earth that we all have to address,” he said at the hearing.  “Where will the eagles go?”

Orleans Hub will have more on the hearing later.