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Month: May 2014

Fire trucks welcome home Sectional champs

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – There was a lot of honking and hollering around 7:30 p.m. today when the Albion varsity baseball team returned after claiming the Sectional title.

Albion defeated Springville 8-3 in the Section VI Class A2 championship game at Lewiston-Porter.

A processional of fire trucks led the school bus along Route 31 in Albion before the team returned to the school campus.

Purple Eagles capture A2 championship

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 May 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo By Cheryl Wertman – Albion players and coaches proudly display the Section VI championship plaque they earned by defeating Springville 8-3 for the Class A2 title this afternoon at Lewiston-Porter.

Moving on top to stay with a quick first inning scoring burst, No. 2 seed Albion went on to defeat No. 4 Springville 8-3 this afternoon in the Section VI Class A2 championship game at Lewiston-Porter.

Avenging a 13-7 loss in last year’s semifinal, Albion scored three runs in the first inning and quickly tacked on three more in the third in route to capturing a Section VI championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

“It was a great team effort. Offensively we came to play today. We put some hits on them,” said Albion Coach Bruce Blanchard whose Purple Eagles will now face former long-time Niagara-Orleans League foe Starpoint for the Section VI Class A berth in the state playoffs at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Lew-Port. Starpoint downed Williamsville South 5-2 to win the Class A1 title.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Connor Barleben delivers a pitch for Albion. He also banged out a pair of run producing doubles.

Winning pitcher Connor Barleben, who scattered six hits and struck out six, also helped himself at the plate by banging out run producing doubles to highlight both the first and third inning scoring bursts.

“Connor was huge for us on the mound,” said Blanchard. “He threw strikes and had real good control.”

It was Springville though that mounted the first big threat getting runners to second and third with two out in the top of the first inning. However, the Griffins couldn’t capitalize as Albion quickly got out of the jam on a groundout to Dominic DiCureia at third base.

Purple Eagles catcher John Warne also came up with a big play in the frame throwing out Springville’s Adam Wolfley as he tried to steal second for the first out. Wolfley had lead off the game with a single.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion shortstop JJ Downs takes the throw at second base from catcher John Warne to get Springville’s Adam Wolfley. Albion second baseman Aaron Burnside backs up the play.

Bolstered by that big defensive stand, the Albion offense quickly went to work in the home half of the first plating three runs on a sacrifice fly by Steven Stauss, a double by Barleben and a single by Noah Preston, A walk and an error set up the threat.

“Connor’s double got us rolling,” said Blanchard.

Springville banged out three singles in the top of the third but could score only one run. The Griffins again left two runners stranded as Barleben ended the threat himself on a pop out to the mound for the final out.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion third baseman Dominic DiCureia puts the tag on Springville’s Andrew Scharra.

The Purple Eagles offense again answered the challenge getting that run back with interest in the home half of the third. A walk to Warne and a single by Stauss ignited the uprising as a double by Barleben, a fielders choice play off the bat of Preston and a sacrifice fly by Aaron Burnside plated three more runs to boost the lead to 6-1. A single by Trey Hart helped to keep the inning going.

“We brought our bats today,” said Blanchard.

Springville cut the deficit a bit to 6-2 with a run in the fifth on an error and Kyle Crotty’s third hit of the afternoon but the Griffins would get no closer.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion seniors Steven Stauss, Connor Barleben and John Warne celebrate the victory seconds after the final out.

Albion put a lock on the victory by scoring twice in the sixth on an error and an RBI double by Warne for a commanding 8-2 lead. A walk, a sacrifice bunt by DiCureia and a single by John Krieger set up that opportunity.

Springville did pick up one run in the top of the seventh on a pair of errors but Albion quickly shut down that rally and put a lock on the title on infield outs by Warne and JJ Downs at shortstop.

The Albion defense also had Burnside with two assists at second base in both the third and fourth innings while Barleben struck out two in the fourth and sixth frames.

Albion, which will take a 16-2 record into the Class A state qualifier, previously captured Section VI championships in 2010, 2011 and 2012 during this recent title run.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion players give an unsuspecting head Coach Bruce Blanchard a victory douse with the water bucket as the Purple Eagles mentor has a post game chat with a sectional official.

Gladiators blank Tiger gridders

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 May 2014 at 12:00 am

In a season opening matchup of long time rivals, the GO Tigers (formerly Lyndonville Tigers) dropped a 13-0 decision to the Buffalo Gladiators in a Northeastern Football Alliance game this evening at Orchard Park High School.

Benefitting from five interceptions, the Gladiators scored what proved to be the game winning touchdown in the first quarter and later added an insurance tally in the final stanza.

Now in their 11th season, the Tigers, which had only 20 players on hand for the game, will next visit the Jamestown Chiefs next Saturday.

Medina woman, 85, hit by car

Posted 31 May 2014 at 12:00 am

Press release, Orleans County Undersheriff Steven Smith

MEDINA – A Medina woman is hospitalized after being struck by a car this afternoon in the Town of Ridgeway.

The incident occurred at about 2:45 p.m., in the 10800 block of Telegraph Road (State Route 31-E). Marilyn E. Bell, 85, was crossing the highway in front of her residence, to retrieve the mail, when she was struck. She was transported by Medina Fire Department ambulance to Medina Memorial Hospital.

Bell was struck by a westbound 2012 Chevrolet sedan was operated by Jean P. Bruning, 79, of Middleport. Bruning was the sole occupant of her vehicle and she was not injured.

The on-scene investigation was conducted by Deputy J.W. Halstead, assisted by Deputy T.C. Marano, Lieutenant C.M. Bourke, Investigator D.E. Foeller Jr., and Chief Deputy T.L. Drennan.  The Ridgeway Fire Department also assisted at the scene.

The investigation by the Sheriff’s Office is continuing.

Mexican restaurant in Medina expands business

Posted 31 May 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Sue Cook – Leonel Rosario (center), one of the business owners, stands with his wife Doloers and Zach McKenna, a chef of two years at Mariachi de Oro. The new addition to the building is behind them.

By Sue Cook, staff reporter

MEDINA – For a taste of authentic Mexican food, residents of Western New York flock to Mariachi de Oro Mexican Restaurant in Medina.

The Rosario family opened the restaurant nearly three years ago, and recently put on an expansion because of the popularity of the place.

The Rosarios first came from Mexico to work locally as farm workers. On Sept. 9, 2011, they opened their family restaurant to provide Medina with a taste of their home.

The flavorful recipes served are traditional dishes passed down through generations of the family, said Leonel Rosario, who shares ownership of the business with his brothers Francisco, Danato, Pablo, Sergio and Martin.

“I think that’s why we’ve had a reaction from our customers,” Leonel said during an interview at the restaurant on Route 31A, just east of the Route 63 intersection. “We have some Tex-Mex on the menu, but I’ve always focused more on really authentic traditional food. It’s mostly from Oaxaca where we are from in Mexico. Everything I cook I try to do from scratch. For me, in my heart, I want to make sure it feels good and that I’m really confident that they’re going to like it.”

Mariachi de Oro has been so popular that the business is being expanded. A new addition was added onto the front of the building.

“It looks really good,” said Leonel’s wife Doloers. “It went up really fast.”

The new addition took two half days to complete the exterior. The interior is currently being finished and set up. There will be more seating, two bathrooms, and a bar. The addition is expected to be in use sometime in June. The restaurant will also hire new employees to add to the current staff of eight.

Leonel and his family have decorated the interior of the restaurant festively to reflect their Mexican culture.

The extra seating is vital, especially on weekends, when people drive from outside the county to come eat.

“We have people from Canada coming here and Niagara Falls, Tonawanda, Orchard Park, Le Roy, Williamsville, Lewiston,” Leonel said. “It’s mostly people from Buffalo are that are driving here a lot. That’s one thing that’s keeping us so busy throughout the weekend. Even in wintertime, we have a lot of them.”

“I think they find us on the Internet and read our reviews. They are willing to come try it out and they love us.”

Once the addition is completed, Leonel says the Rosarios plan to remove the old bathroom area and utilize the space for a small stage. He wants to give customers more than just Mexican food.

“I love to cook and to do a good service to my customers, but at the same time I want to do little different things with the restaurant,” said Leonel.

He plans to have mariachi bands, live music, and dancing. Leonel was a Mexican folkloric dancer for almost 10 years. He wants to share the Mexican culture with people in the area and feels this would be a great way to do it.

He says that they are also looking to create outdoor seating at some point with an open porch some time in the future so that customers can enjoy nice weather along with their meals.

Leonel has been very happy with the community’s response to the family business as well as their own success.

“We have really loyal customers,” he said. “I’m starting to get to know some more people and my employees are really good. It’s hard to find the right people, but we’ve been so lucky.”

Leonel added, “We’re trying to bring a little more to the community. I think it will be nice for people to come to Medina and they will get a little bit of Mexico, too.”

For more information and a preview of their menu, visit their website by clicking here.

Jellybean and other dogs get a day at camp

Posted 31 May 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Sue Cook – Lisa Beam, 8, tells Jellybean “over” to get him to hop over the obstacle. Instructor Sue Meier helps Lisa learn the technique for the leash.

The senior group lines up their dogs as if presenting them for a judge.

By Sue Cook, staff reporter

KNOWLESVILLE –  Today 21 4-H’ers and their dogs attended a first-time Dog Camp at the 4-H Fairgrounds and the handlers worked with their dogs to be more agile and obedient while learnig other skills.

The morning lessons were agility, competition, grooming and handling. The afternoon included emergency care, rally, basic care and fly ball.

Cornell Cooperative Extension organized the Dog Camp. The Extension works to create programs in the community to provide education, including programs for other 4-H groups that train or raise other animals.

Garrett May, 15, has his Siberian husky, Cruise, walk up a plank under instructor Susan Meier’s instruction. Cruise was reluctant to complete the walk, but with each practice run the dog would become more successful.

4-H’ers from ages 8 to 18 enrolled in the camp for the opportunity to learn more about the care and training of their dogs. Most of those enrolled in the program are working to show their dogs in shows and competition. A benefit of showing a dog through 4-H is that participants build friendships with others who share the same interests and may live outside of the area in other counties.

“It’s all about improving their relationship with their dogs, learning correct training, learning basic dog care and some of these kids do go on to compete in fairs,” said Pat Leight, leader for Canine Companions, one of the county’s three dog groups. “It’s our first year doing it, and next year we’d like to have it as an overnight camp.”

Rachel Muller, 15, trots her corgi, Teddy, to a cone and back. It requires controlling with the leash to make sure the dog keeps its head up and trots straight.

Lilianna Hanning, 12, has been in a 4-H dog group for one year. She brought her black lab with her who has won Reserve Champion at the state fair.

“We had trained Jack, but he wasn’t very good and we didn’t do competition. I went to a 4-H open house and I saw that other kids had their dogs and I thought this would be really fun. I’m glad that I joined. Today, we have to work on our agility,” said Hanning, who was excited for the day’s events.

The morning began with the kids breaking into groups based on skill level. Dog Camp students with very little experience with their dogs were put in the junior group, regardless of age.

Instructor Kathy Zipkin assisted the 4-H’ers with obedience training. “I like to try and teach kids the correct way to start obedience and hopefully build enthusiasm to stick with it.”

Jordan Crowley (front), 15, rewards Goldie for focusing her attention where he wants.

Zipkin explained that dogs are often trained with food until the behavior is established, then they are weaned off of requiring treats to perform the desired command.

Melanie Uderitz brought her son Andrew to dog camp today to work with Tank, their yellow lab.

During obedience training, Tank sat like a good boy for Andrew Uderitz, 9.

“He really wanted to join and do agility especially, so he joined the Canine Companions 4-H club. Tank gets excited to come and Andrew gets excited to come. Tank is a fast learner,” she said.

Patrick Macaluso, 14, has his terrier-mix, Zoe, show her teeth. Instructor Joanne Dohr explains how dogs need to be comfortable having their faces touched so that their teeth can be presented to a judge.

Instructor Sue Meier guided 4-H’ers on the agility course.

“There are a lot of new kids. They’ve never been acclimated to agility. They’re doing very well,” she said. “The handlers are handling them great and usually the dogs pick up on it really quick. Today, I’m teaching them how to make their dogs focus because agility is all about focusing and listening to the handler.”

The junior group learns about “stacking” their dogs from Joanne Dohr. Stacking means the dog stands straight. Their trainer adjusts their legs if needed to make them stand in a natural, squared-off position.

Dogs in 4-H shows are not required to be purebred or owned by the person training, which allows any child with any dog to participate, even with a borrowed one.

Enrollment is encouraged by the 4-H leaders because they feel it brings a stronger bond with the dog, but also provides an outlet to find new friends. It also raises confidence as kids are able to get the dog to listen to commands better over time.

4-H accepts new members throughout the year. To ask about joining 4-H, call the Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension at 585-798-4265 or e-mail

Police, firefighters train for active shooter at school

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2014 at 12:00 am

Mass casualty drill trains responders to limit chaos as much as possible

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – About 25 police officers and 25 firefighters and medics spent several hours this morning at Medina Central School, training for an active shooter drill with mass casualties.

Members of a multi-agency SWAT team are pictured outside the Clifford Wise Intermediate/Middle School before the start of a drill this morning. It was the largest mass casualty drill in the county’s history.

Tom Drennan, chief deputy for the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, gives firefighters some last-minute instructions about the drill, where 10 people were role playing as victims.

Drennan has been working with police and firefighters for more than a year on mass casualty and active shooter training. Drennan said recent school shootings in the country prompted local law enforcement to press for training to improve their response to try to minimize any chaos and casualties.

Corey Black, an investigator with the Sheriff’s Department, talks with police officers before the drill began. Black said the training will be helpful for responders at any larger location in the country with dozens of people, including schools, factories and government buildings.

“Denial is what gets people hurt,” Black said.

Police officers enter Medina High School and put the building in lock down.

School officials from several districts in the county observed the drill. Michael Cavanagh, Medina High School co-principal, role plays with an injury near the front entrance to the high school.

Drennan, the chief deputy, said the drill will be critiqued.

“We’ll see what we’re strong at and what we need to improve,” he said.

Mercy Flight flew in with a helicopter as part of the drill that included many medics and firefighters. (This photo was taken by Valerie Childs.)

Kendall has state track qualifiers

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 May 2014 at 12:00 am

Kendall advanced athletes to the state track championships in three events during competition at the Section V Meet of Champions Friday at Eastridge High.

Kendall’s 400 relay quartet of Maya Rutland, Taylor Rutland, Jamie Smith and Taylor ReQua finished second in a state meet qualifying time of :49.99.

Taylor Rutland also finished fourth in the 200 in a state qualifying time of :26.49 and Maya Rutland fifth in the 100 in a state qualifying time of :12.82.

Holley’s Martin Beadle finished second in the 1600 (4:36.41) and third in the 800 (2:01.79).

In the first day of the Section VI meet at Olean, Albion’s Chanyce Powell placed second in the triple jump with a state qualifying leap of 36-5.25, Medina’s Holly Heil placed second in the 800 (2:27.04) and Barker’s Jacob Haight second in the long jump (20-8.5). Barker’s Bryce Moeller is also leading in the pentathlon after three events.

The Section VI meet concludes today.

“Frank” is popular in Medina

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

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Four years ago “Frank” was introduced to the Medina community. He has been popular from Day 1, with people posing for photos with him.

Frank is about 6 feet high. He stands outside Rudy’s at 118 West Center St. The giant hot dog was a gift to Rudy’s owner, Kelly Duffied, from her father Joe Russo. Joe and Debbie Russo started Rudy’s, a diner, in 1988.

Their daughter now runs the business. She keeps Frank in the back behind the business over the winter. He recently came out front next to the Post Office for a new season.

“He has many friends,” Duffield said about Frank.

J-R calls all citizens to ‘exercise right to know’

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

Final issue of newspaper is more than a commemorative piece

The final issue of The Journal-Register includes a picture of former Publisher Alonzo L. Waters, left, and pressman Bill Knuth, shown here in the 1950s.

MEDINA – The final issue of The Journal-Register is more than souvenir or nostalgic piece as the newspaper printed its final edition on Friday after 113 years.

The paper issued a call to action to residents, urging them to “exercise your right to know.”

Managing Editor Joyce Miles expressed her disappointment with Shelby and Ridgeway town officials for missing a deadline to fulfill a Freedom of Information Act request from J-R reporter Howard Balaban.

He sought information on the towns’ expenses for a PR firm and attorney in the towns’ push to fight an effort to dissolve the village of Medina and shift some services to the towns. That would push up the tax burden in the towns, while cutting the cost for village residents.

Balaban sought all expenses from the two towns for a “Cares and Concerns” hotline, and other print, electronic advertising for the hotline. He also sought the expenses for three mailers that were sent to residents in Shelby and Ridgeway from the two Town Boards.

His FOIA request also sought copies of written and email correspondence from the town officials as it relates to dissolution, consolidation or political campaign.

The towns missed the legal deadline for providing the information. The final issue of the J-R and the newspaper’s website includes the full FOIA request. Miles urges residents to submit their own requests for the information. Orleans Hub hand-delivered its request for the information at both Town Halls on Friday.

“I feel personal outrage at the way Howie has been treated,” Miles said on Friday.

The final issue of the paper is mostly a commemorative edition with reflections from readers, current and former staff about the publication and its role in community life. Miles said she wanted to honor the paper’s long history in the community, and its faithful readers and dedicated employees.

Miles started as a reporter with The Journal on Sept. 4, 2001. That was the day a Medina police officer, Mike Russell, was shot and wounded while on duty. A week later, the country was under attack by terrorists.

She would later shift to the Lockport Union Sun & Journal. Last September she filled the dual role of managing editor for both the Lockport and Medina newspapers.

Miles said she is a “public policy nerd” and enjoyed the dissolution issue. She supports further discussion of the issue and would like to see village residents have a vote about the issue.

“I’m sorry we’re leaving just when things are starting to get interesting,” she said.