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Posted 7 November 2020 at 7:00 am

We appreciate input from our readers, and we publish letters to the editor without charge. While open speech and responsibility are encouraged, comments may be rejected if they are purely a personal attack, offensive or repetitive. Comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Orleans Hub. Although care is taken to moderate comments, we have no control over how they are interpreted and we are unable to guarantee the accuracy of comments and the rationality of the opinions expressed. We reserve the right to edit letters for content and brevity. Please limit the length of your letter (we suggest no more than 500 words) and provide your name, telephone number, mailing address and a verifiable email address for verification purposes. Letters should be emailed to news@orleanshub.com.

Posted 21 September 2020 at 7:00 am

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Jacobs urges Biden to expand cross-border travel with Canada

Posted 22 January 2021 at 1:23 pm

Press Release, Congressman Chris Jacobs

ORCHARD PARK – Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) is issuing the following statement in response to the executive order signed by President Biden, in part, calling for the study and eventual safe re-opening of US-Canadian land ports of entry.

“Cross-border travel is a significant economic driver for our region and of immense personal significance for many Western New Yorkers,” Jacobs said. “For close to a year, border closures have prevented many Americans from reuniting with their families or even simply checking on property they own in Canada. We know how to open safely, and we need to implement these solutions. I urge the Biden Administration to work with the Canadian government to correct inconsistent policies and to expand cross-border travel.”

Background:

Yesterday President Biden signed an executive order titled “Executive Order on Promoting Covid-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel.”

The order reads in part: (Sec 5, c, Land Travel). The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of HHS, the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of CDC, shall immediately commence diplomatic outreach to the governments of Canada and Mexico regarding public health protocols for land ports of entry.

Based on this diplomatic engagement, within 14 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of HHS (including through the Director of CDC), the Secretary of Transportation, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to the President a plan to implement appropriate public health measures at land ports of entry.

The plan should implement CDC guidelines, consistent with applicable law, and take into account the operational considerations relevant to the different populations who enter the United States by land.

Seahorses had long wait for first home win

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 22 January 2021 at 1:17 pm

Contributed Photos – Swimmers take off from the blocks to begin Medina’s first ever home meet in the new community pool against Roy-Hart during the 1984-85 season.

Medina’s varsity swim program began competition in 1975 but it was a full decade later before the Seahorses were able to host their first true home meet.

From 1975 through the 1983–84 season’s Medina’s practices and “Home” meets were held at Roy-Hart. It was a very generous and neighborly agreement by Roy-Hart that made the Medina program possible.

Finally, with the completion of Medina’s long awaited community pool, the Seahorses were able to have their first true home meet in late January 1985 and fittingly Roy-Hart was the opponent.

Pre meet ceremonies were highlighted by the pouring of a large jar of Roy-Hart pool water into the new pool by Medina Superintendent Tom Schirmer and Roy-Hart Superintendent Bill Bassett signifying the close ties of cooperation between the two programs. It also included the firing of the starting gun for the first event by retired Medina teacher, coach and administrator Ozzie Martin for whom the pool was named.

Roy-Hart, which went on to claim the Niagara-Orleans League title with a 10-0 record won the meet 54-29.

The  honor of being the first Medina winner in the pool went to Chris Hendee in the 50 Freestyle. He also won the 100 Backstroke.

Medina’s first win in the new pool came early in the following season (1985-86) when the Seahorses downed rival Albion 47-36.

Hendee was a double winner in the 200 Free and Backstroke to lead the Seahorses whose other individual winners were Kevin Huth in the 100 Breaststroke and Mark Pregmon in the diving competition.

Ironically, it was also a win over Albion by a 91-81 margin at Middleport two years earlier during the 1983-84 season, that enabled the Seahorses to snap a lengthy seven year long losing streak.

School record efforts by Tom Draper in diving  and Eric Fuller in the 100 Butterfly highlighted the win for the Seahorses which also got individual event wins from Jim Tarr in the 100 Freestyle and Hendee in the Backstroke.

Medina swimmers celebrate their first ever home meet victory by downing Albion during the 1985-86 season.

Norris, Assembly GOP want to connect more farm products to fill hunger needs in state

Posted 22 January 2021 at 1:07 pm

Press Release, Assembly Mike Norris

Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,C-Lockport) joined colleagues from the Assembly Minority Conference this week to launch their newest omnibus package known as the Food Insecurity, Farm Resiliency and Rural Poverty Initiative.

The initiative is a direct response to issues of hunger, breaks in the food supply chain caused by red tape and other concerns that rose to the surface across the state during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“No one should have to go hungry in our state. You look around New York and we are surrounded by a bounty of farmland, but our farmers are being put out of business by burdensome costs and regulations. They can’t get their goods to market because of too much red tape. It’s totally unacceptable,” Norris said. “Food insecurity was brought to the surface last year as New Yorkers read about milk being dumped while their local grocery store shelves were bare and the dairy farm down the street couldn’t help them because of outdated bureaucracy. This is not what should be happening in America. Our plan fixes it, and we need the governor and legislative leaders to get on board with us to make this plan a reality now, before this year’s harvest is threatened again.”

The omnibus legislation offers a complete recovery plan to the agriculture and food industries, while also helping to further develop these industries for the future and create much-needed jobs. First and foremost, Norris said the restoration of the New Farmers Grant Program was most welcome. Norris had championed this program when he was first elected, only to see it vetoed by the governor. The program helps encourage more New Yorkers to enter the field of farming by providing grants for start-up operating costs.

To further help farmers, the initiative proposes a new grant program for existing farmers to assist with infrastructure improvements or the purchase of equipment. During 2020, as the pandemic expanded across New York, many farmers, including those in the 144th Assembly District (Shelby in Orleans County, and parts of Niagara and Erie counties), had to consolidate expenses in order to meet the costs associated with the newly mandated higher labor wages. Coupled with the problems associated with the food supply chain being broken, farmers put off plans to expand growing operations and many only planted or harvested part of their fields. These grants would help farmers get back on track.

To address the issues of hunger and food insecurity that were brought to the surface during Covid, Norris and his colleagues have proposed a substantial plan that matches local farms across the state to regional food banks, food pantries and others who coordinate to get food into the hands of those who need it.

This would be a permanent, annual program funded at $10 million and would greatly reduce the number of New Yorkers going hungry in our state. The plan’s most innovative component is it allows for the purchase and installation of cold storage for foods like dairy and meat, two foods that were notoriously wasted because of red tape last year. Additionally, the plan increases aid for local governments to help with the delivery of food to those in need during times of emergencies by $20 million.

Finally, to create jobs and reduce antiquated regulations that led to the food supply shortage for the general public, Norris and his colleagues propose creating the Commercial Meat and Dairy Processing Initiative. This component of their plan would bring together the state’s land purchasing power with the private-sector management of meat or dairy processing facilities across our state. An oversight Blue Ribbon Commission would provide further recommendations and regulatory advice on how to further promote the industry and make the business climate more favorable, as well.

United Way looks to build on successes from 2020 after securing several new grants

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 22 January 2021 at 9:40 am

Organization trying new approach in annual fundraising campaign

United Way of Orleans County’s announcement earlier this month of a $100,000 grant from Eastman Savings and Loan is among the latest funding which has been targeted for the county, through United Way, to help with Covid-related hardships.

Dean Bellack

This week, United Way of Orleans County’s director Dean Bellack announced another grant of $45,000 from the Western New York Covid-19 Community Response Fund, which has been distributed to 16 of the nearly two dozen agencies United Way funds in Orleans County. Bellack formed a committee to set the allocations from the grant.

So far the biggest amount from this grant, $7,000, was given to Community Action to purchase a refrigerator and freezer for the Eastern Orleans Community Center in Holley. In addition, $5,000 was awarded to Meals on Wheels, $4,000 to the Kendall Food Pantry to help with their move and new refrigerator units, and $4,000 to the YMCA in Medina for childcare needs and supplies.

Bellack joined United Way as a board member in March 2019. At that same meeting director Kaitlyn Delamarter submitted her resignation to take another job, and Bellack volunteered to offer his services as director, as he had just sold his company and retired.

He immediately saw potential for the United Way to accomplish more in Orleans County if the organization changed how it was viewed and how it asked for money. He began to broaden United Way’s image by working with other non-profits in the county and reaching outside the county for financial assistance.

His strategy paid off.

During a recent meeting with Community Action and Ministry of Concern, at which a $100,000 grant from Eastman Savings and Loan was announced, Annette Finch, director of emergency services at Community Action, praised Bellack’s insight for reaching outside the county for much-needed funding.  Although 2020 was a very challenging year due to the pandemic, nearly a quarter of a million dollars was received (and distributed) in Orleans County by United Way.

Several more grants were received, including $40,000 from ESL Bank, which was passed on to Community Action to use for housing assistance. Another grant for $50,000 was received from FEMA, which was again directed to Community Action for different housing needs.

The Buffalo Community Foundation reached out to United Way of Orleans County and gave $25,000. Another $15,000 was received from ESL, and $10,000 was received through United Health Care’s Blue Fund. This is one of the foundations around Orleans County that have reached out to United Way this year to help. These efforts by them and the communications United Way has established with them have formed new partnerships which will benefit the community moving forward, Bellack said.

“We were fortunate this year because foundations expanded their giving into Orleans,” he said.

United Way of Orleans County also received $10,000 from the Western New York Covid-19 Community Response Fund through the Buffalo Community Foundation, and $55,000 to hire a consultant to lead the county’s current efforts to bridge the digital divide.


‘We have to work together. We have to think bigger. We have to expand our horizon. By looking at it from a different perspective, we are changing the landscape.’ – Dean Bellack, United Way executive director


Bellack said Orleans County didn’t receive dollars from these large foundations outside the county in the past because “We never asked.”

“Only 6 percent of Foundation dollars goes to rural communities, even though we represent 18 percent of the national population,” Bellack said. “Only 3 percent of large corporate gifting goes to rural areas. We had the president of the Ralph Wilson Foundation on a Hub call a few weeks ago and he told us they want to give to rural communities. These foundations and corporations want to help rural communities, but they are not giving nearly as much as they can because the requests are not coming in.”

The major reason for not asking is because small charities often don’t have the personnel to write and administer a grant, Bellack added. For that reason, United Way’s goal is to hire a grant writer, who would be an employee of United Way, along with an administrative assistant. This grant writer would be available to any non-profit agency in the county.

“The benefits are obvious,” Bellack said. “Most of our non-profits do not have the time or the expertise to consistently apply for the large dollars that surround us.”

Bellack has also tried to increase communication and networking between local agencies and help them connect to the resources they need, especially from sources other than United Way. An example of the success of this is the monthly “Hub calls” Bellack has initiated, often connecting all county agencies and government institutions with information, such as outside pro-bono resources, new foundations to apply to and other agencies with needs they can collaborate with. Last week’s call also included the Ralph Wilson Foundation who reached out to the United Way to introduce our opportunities to create youth activities. The Ralph Wilson Foundation will be distributing $3 million dollars soon. Bellack has invited the YMCA, schools and other charities which could benefit to be on these calls.

One of the most visible projects in the county, which is occurring because of United Way, is the work taking place on the digital divide initiative. United Way brought together several community leaders, including County Legislator Ken DeRoller, Robert Batt from the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Kelly Kiebala from the Job Development Agency, Greg Reed from the YMCA and several larger employers and half a dozen representatives of non-profit organizations. Batt wrote the grant which resulted in $55,000 to hire a consultant.

Bellack urged all Orleans County residents to respond to the survey regarding the digital divide. The survey is available in English and Spanish by clicking here.

“The more people who respond means the more impact we have in the political and foundation world,” Bellack said.

United Way has also secured another round of funding for $10,000 from the Blue Fund. Bellack said they reached out to United Way after becoming aware of our efforts. This is the first time the Blue Fund has donated to Orleans County. This funding was allocated to local charities and included for the first time funds for Orleans Recovery Hope Begins Here.


‘Our workplace campaigns are vital and necessary for our yearly allocations which all our local charities count on. The stresses on our charities have been great this year, and the grant dollars we have been fortunate enough to receive are a bonus, but we cannot operate without healthy giving in the workplace campaigns.’


To decide where to distribute these funds received into the county, Bellack formed a committee, which includes himself, Darren Wilson from the Lyndonville Foundation, Jodi Gaines and Jackie Gardner from United Way and Bruce Schmidt from Community Action and Ministry of Concern.

“We have to work together. We have to think bigger. We have to expand our horizon,” Bellack said. “By looking at it from a different perspective, we are changing the landscape.”

While a lot of the grant money which came into Orleans County was because of Covid, Bellack said it is also because of the pandemic that United Way is not able to conduct workplace campaigns. Instead, they are making a fundraising pitch through a video created by Lynne Menz of Orleans County Tourism. Click here to see the video.

“Our workplace campaigns are vital and necessary for our yearly allocations which all our local charities count on,” Bellack said. “The stresses on our charities have been great this year, and the grant dollars we have been fortunate enough to receive are a bonus, but we cannot operate without healthy giving in the workplace campaigns.”

Charlie Nesbitt of Albion, former Assemblyman who served as chairman of United Way’s annual campaign several years ago, put it this way. “It is important that you recognize the value of United Way to effectively deliver what you contribute. However small, it can be the largest amount to the agency that needs it most.”

“Also, please visit our website to give,” Bellack added. “We now accept Venmo, Cash App, Pay Pal, Credit Card or Check. We are currently sending out our annual donation letters. If you get one please try and help. Even with the extra dollars we have gotten in we can only fund 50% of the requests we get across the county.”

Bellack also added a word of thanks to members of Orleans County United Way’s board, and issued a special thanks to four members who recently retired – Bill Hungerford, Dave Cook, Melinda Rhim and Kaitlyn Delamarter. He called them “long serving, dedicated community leaders.”

Three new members recently joined the United Way board – Laura Olinger, Jim Punch and Lynn Vendetti.

“These are all strong community leaders,” Bellack said. “We are thrilled to have these new members on board, and we thank all those who serve us and their community.”

Dean’s List at FLCC includes student from Medina

Staff Reports Posted 22 January 2021 at 9:01 am

CANANDAIGUA – Finger Lakes Community College announces the Dean’s List for the fall 2020 semester. A total of 474 students earned this honor.

To be eligible for the FLCC fall Dean’s List, full-time students enrolled in a degree or certificate program must earn a grade point average of 3.5 or higher and have completed 12 or more credit hours.

Kaylyn Holman of Medina made the Dean’s List, the only one from Orleans County.

There are three from Genesee County on the Dean’s List: Rose Hubbard and Daniel Jensen of Byron, and Nathan Coy of Pavilion.

Cut-up tree in Medina yard turned into big display to cheer on the Buffalo Bills

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Sherry Tuohey of Elm Street in Medina arranges tree stumps in her yard to send a message to the Buffalo Bills. The ash tree serves as a canvass for her art work cheering on the Buffalo Bills.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 21 January 2021 at 7:57 pm

When the village of Medina cut down this ash tree in Sherry Tuohey’s yard on Elm Street, they left this 10-foot stump, along with some cut-up chunks on the ground, so she decided to decorate them and support the Bills.

MEDINA – Sherry Tuohey really isn’t a diehard football fan, but when the Buffalo Bills are playing, she’s watching the game.

Recently, the village of Medina cut down a dead ash tree in her yard on Elm Street and left a 10-foot trunk standing along with 10 large chunks of wood. She looked at them for a few days and then decided she had to do something with them.

She went to the hardware store and bought paint. She brought out her ladder and paint brush, and climbing up the trunk, she started painting “Go Bills” down its length with red paint. Problem is, she didn’t calculate her lettering right, and ended up running out of room at the bottom for the letter “S” in Bills.

So she put her creative hat on and decided to use all the smaller chunks and spell out “‘Bill’ieve.”

First, she found a roll of newspaper print in her basement, on which she drew free hand the Bills’ buffalo logo from a picture on her cell phone. Then she transferred it to a piece of plastic to make a stencil and painted that on the largest chunk of wood. That took up the space where the “S” should have gone. An extra small chunk of wood was painted with a red heart.

She truly loves the Bills who are playing Sunday in the AFC championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The winner goes to the Super Bowl.

Tuohey said when she finished painting she had red paint in her hair and on her sweatshirt, but it was worth it.

“With this pandemic, there’s nothing going on and I wanted to do something,” Tuohey said, eyeing her completed display. “I just had to stir up some excitement. I don’t claim to be artistic, but I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out.”

Tuohey said moving the heavy chunks of wood was a challenge and she had to attach rope around some of them to pull them into place.

Village workers have since come by and she asked them if they could put off removing the stumps until after Bills’ season is over – hopefully ending with the franchise first Super Bowl trophy.

The DPW said they would wait.

Tuohey lives on south end of Elm Street, on the east side of the road, and welcomes drive-bys.

75 more Covid cases to report today in Orleans, Genesee

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 January 2021 at 4:48 pm

2 counties have 3 more deaths from Covid

Orleans and Genesee counties combined are reporting 75 more cases of Covid-19 today for a total of 5,529 cases during the pandemic.

The two counties combined also have three more deaths from Covid with two in Orleans for 71 total during the pandemic and one in Genesee for 101 total during the pandemic.

In Orleans County, there are 37 new positive cases reported today for a total of 1,983 confirmed cases since March.

The positive cases are residents in the West Region (Yates, Ridgeway, Shelby), Central Region (Carlton, Gaines, Albion, Barre) and East Region (Kendall, Murray, Clarendon).

The individuals are in the age groups of 0-19, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

None of the new positive individuals were on quarantine prior to testing positive, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments said.

Of the new cases, 8 are residents of Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Medina and 1 of the new positive cases is an inmate at the Albion Correctional Facility.

Orleans also is reporting 20 more of the previous positive individuals have recovered and been removed from the isolation list.

The county also has 12 residents currently hospitalized due to Covid.

• Rapid Test results from clinic at Fairgrounds: Orleans County conducted a rapid test clinic on Wednesday at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds. There were 382 people tested and 3.9 percent of the total or 15 were positive for Covid, including 12 Orleans County residents.

There is another rapid test clinic set for Jan. 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Fairgrounds. Click here to be directed to the state site for registering for the free test.

• Lyndonville Central School is reporting that afternoon the district was notified that a student has tested positive for Covid-19. The student was last present on district property on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

Contact tracing was completed in collaboration with the Orleans County Health Department.  As a result, some students and staff members were placed under quarantine by the Orleans County Health Department.

“We will continue to support the Health Department by providing any required information for their process and will adhere to their directives,” District Superintendent Jason Smith said in a letter posted on the district website.

In Genesee County, there are 38 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 for a total of 3,546 positive cases since March.

The new positive cases are residents in the West Region (Alabama, Darien, Pembroke), Central Region (Alexander, Batavia, Bethany, Elba, Oakfield) and East Region (Bergen, Byron, LeRoy, Pavilion, Stafford).

The individuals are in the age groups of 0-19, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 80s.

Genesee also is reporting 28 of the previous positive individuals have recovered and been removed from the isolation list.

Genesee has 17 residents currently hospitalized due to Covid.

Courtesy of the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments: Here are graphs showing the 90-day rolling average in Genesee and Orleans counties.

• Covid-19 related fatality data: The G-O Health Departments said they are only able to report the number of Covid-related deaths that are provided by the hospitals, nursing homes and family members.

The hospitals and nursing homes are not required to report these deaths to the local health departments, but have been as they are able. Please note the chart will now include the state fatalities link on Monday through Thursday and will include the state’s updated data on the Friday report. Click here to see the state data on Covid deaths per county.

Albion man recovering after heart, liver transplant

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 January 2021 at 1:13 pm

Matt Grammatico had surgery last week at Cleveland Clinic

Photo courtesy of Grammatico family: Matt Grammatico gives thumbs up while he recovers after getting a heart and liver transplant on Jan. 12. Grammatico has been at the Cleveland Clinic for more than three months.

CLEVELAND – An Albion man is recovering so well after getting a heart and liver transplant last week that he has been moved out of the intensive care unit at the Cleveland Clinic – a week ahead of schedule .

Matt Grammatico, 47, has been at the hospital in Cleveland since Oct. 16. He had the transplant surgery on Jan. 12.

“I’m hopeful for the future,” Grammatico said by phone on Wednesday. “The doctors are all happy where I’m at. Honestly, they are stunned with how fast I’m coming out of it.”

Grammatico was born with a congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome. He had major heart surgery as a baby followed by an open-heart reconstructive surgery when he was 11. He has needed multiple procedures and surgeries throughout the next 30-plus years of his life.

During one of the surgeries as a child, he was unknowingly given a Hepatitis C tainted blood transfusion. The virus attacked his liver, undiscovered, for more than 20 years, further complicating his health. He has endured end-stage liver disease.

Grammatico’s health deteriorated in the past year, and Cleveland Clinic kept him in good enough condition for the surgery. He was in the operating room for about 19 hours.

Normally patients are in the ICU for two weeks after the surgery. Grammatico was able to move out of ICU after one week and is now in a transplant step down unit. He said he is in a lot of pain and feels a little groggy.

But he is very thankful for the medical team, the organ donor and for a supportive community. He praises God for the surgery’s success so far.

It was almost three years ago when the Albion community put on a spaghetti dinner and basket raffle for Grammatico on Jan. 27, 2018 at the Carlton Rec Hall.

Photos by Tom Rivers: Matt Grammatico is pictured in January 2018 at his former auto repair shop, MPG Automotive in Hamlin.

Grammatico’s wife Rhonda has been in Cleveland since Oct. 16, but hasn’t been able to see her husband, face to face, due to Covid restrictions. She has been staying in a hotel room and having frequent phone and video conversations with her husband.

Grammatico said the separation from his family, including son Nate, has been very difficult. If he continues to progress, he could be released from the hospital possibly next week. Usually patients are in the transplant step down unit for a week to three weeks before being released. He then has to stay in Cleveland and check in for daily tests at the hospital for at least a month.

His wife has been providing updates on her husband’s journey at the Cleveland Clinic on Facebook through the “Feel The Love With Matt” page.

Matt Grammatico chats with friends on Jan. 27, 2018 during a fundraiser on his behalf at the Carlton Rec Hall.

Grammatico worked as a truck driver for 17 years and then owned his auto repair business in Hamlin. His father, Mike Grammatico, was a long-time music teacher at Albion.

Matt was informed there were organs for him and he was prepped for the transplant surgery on Dec. 30. But the doctors determined the liver had “declined” and it would be better to wait. Mrs. Grammatico shared that patients and their loved ones need to be prepared for “dry runs” where the surgery gets cancelled.

“We love you so much, thank you for rallying and praying and cheerleading alongside of us,” Mrs. Grammatico wrote on Facebook on Dec. 30. “We know the next call is coming in God’s good time. Praise God, Matt is in great spirits and he is in the wonderful hands of the doctors and our Lord! We will continue to be patient and wait for the next call.”

The call came in the morning on Jan. 12. Grammatico was prepared for surgery and his donor heart was in place inside his chest just after noon. The liver proved to be more time consuming. He was out of surgery at about 2:30 a.m.

“Transplant surgeries are done, Matt is doing well!” Mrs. Grammatico posted at 2:31 a.m. on Jan. 13. “He is closed and is heading down to Cardio/Vascular ICU now.

“While we are full of joy for this opportunity for a new and healthy life for Matt we are closing out tonight in a moment of silence in honor of the angel donor who saved the lives of multiple people today~ Beautiful Soul, may God bless you and keep you in perfect joy and peace with Him, all the days of eternity~”

Grammatico was able to call his wife later that day and came through with a strong voice – “I AM HERE, THANK YOU GOD, I AM HERE, PRAISE YOU LORD, I AM HERE,” he proclaimed on the call to his wife.

Mrs. Grammatico, an aide at the Ronald L. Sodoma Elementary School in Albion, said the family is very thankful to be at this stage. She said the nurses, physician assistants, doctors, surgeons and medical staff are “God-appointed miracle workers.”

“We can never say thank you enough to these absolutely outstanding folks, and we will never stop saying it – God bless you all, we are forever thankful for each one of you!” Mrs. Grammatico wrote.

Albion native inducted into NYS Athletic Administrators Assoc. Hall of Fame

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 21 January 2021 at 12:25 pm

Contributed Photo – Michael Monacelli

Albion native and former long time Caledonia-Mumford High varsity football coach and Athletic Director Michael Monacelli has been inducted into the New York State Athletic Administrators Association Hall of Fame.

“It came as quite a surprise when I was notified last fall,” said Monacelli who noted that there will be a Virtual induction ceremony next month in Saratoga.

Monacelli, who received his B.S. Degree at Eastern Kentucky University and his M.S. in Education degree and post masters studies in Educational Administration at SUNY Brockport, taught and coached at Cal-Mum for 44 years before retiring in 2014. He coached football for 39 years as served as Director of Athletics for 11 years.

During his 23 years as head football coach Cal-Mum compiled a won-loss record of 186- 50 which including winning four state championships and 10 Section V titles.

He previously has been inducted into the Section V Football Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Frontier Field Walk of Fame in Rochester in 2010.

In addition, he received the Gerald R. Ford Coaching Excellence and Power of Influence Award in 2004 from the American Football Coaches Association and American Coaches Foundation. Also in 2004, he was a nominee for the National High School Athletes Association Coach of the Year award.

He was a member of the Chapter 5 Executive Committee and an original member of the Chapter 5 Concussion Management Team.

The release announcing his induction notes that “Mike realized the need to have his district be on task with concussion protocols. He developed and implemented this new district policy. As a result of this, in May of 2010, Mike appeared before the House Committee on Education and Labor in Washington, D.C., presenting on how the districts’ concussion management policies were integrated into the school’s master plan. Caledonia-Mumford’s Concussion Management Protocols were eventually used as a template for local high schools as they developed their own.”

The release adds that “in his years as Director of Athletics, Mike developed and implemented new district policies: Coaching manuals, Middle School Athletic Policies and Procedures, Coaching Evaluations, Contest Management Procedures and Security Protocols.

“Caledonia-Mumford is a small district comparatively, but when I was asked to the Athletic Director position I saw a need to get us into the 21st century with our polices and protocols,” said Monacelli. “I was fortunate at the time to have school administrators backing my moves that allowed me to attend state and national conferences, take administrative classes, time off to be involved in local, state, and national level committees. Not many have the forward thinking to spend the money to have stipend personnel do this. I always brought back something that helped our district’s athletic program. And of course, helped the most important component of that –  our student-athletes.”

“Being on the initial Section 5 Concussion Management Committee and then attending a conference presentation – I was able to bring back and institute our concussion management program in our district. One of the first in section 5,” he added. “Now it seems to be an everyday discussionable item – not so in 2008.”

“All the projects I was involved in I surely wasn’t seeking any accolades. Just trying to help our coaches and student-athletes be better and safer,” he said.

Over the years Monacelli has also been very active in the Caledonia-Mumford community having served as the village recreation director and as a member of the Lions Club, the Knights of Columbus and the Sons of the American Legion.

Orleans, Genesee set schedule for vaccine clinics

Staff Reports Posted 21 January 2021 at 10:57 am

Orleans will have clinics at Ridgeway Fire Hall while GCC hosts the events in Genesee

Orleans and Genesee counties are announcing they will be hosting vaccine clinics.

Orleans will administer Covid-19 vaccinations on Tuesdays and Thursdays 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. starting Tuesday, January 26, at the Ridgeway Fire Hall (11392 Ridge Road, Medina, NY).

Vaccinations for the Orleans County vaccine clinic are through online appointment only (click here for more information).

Genesee will administer the vaccines on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. at Genesee Community College (1 College Road, Batavia, NY) starting Monday, January 25.

Vaccinations for the GCC clinics are through online appointment only (click here for more information).

Vaccinations at both sites will be conducted inside and are based on the availability of the vaccine, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments said.

“As we have stressed since the vaccine became available and the number of people eligible to receive the vaccine has increased significantly, we are urging people to be patient,” said Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments Director Paul Pettit. “Everything regarding scheduling a vaccine appointment no matter if you are trying through the county health department, through a local pharmacy or for the state-run clinics is being funneled to the state’s data management page.”

People should not be calling the health departments, vaccination sites such as pharmacies or their provider to schedule a test, the local public health officials said.

The registration links will direct people to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) website specific to available appointments for that provider. If a person visits the Genesee County Department of Health Vaccine Webpage, click the Clinic Schedule button and click one of the listed provider links to schedule an appointment. People will be directed to the appointment page on NYSDOH data management system for that provider’s vaccine clinic.

Those making appointments should be aware that the state appointment system has experienced technical issues due to the volume of people trying to access it for appointments.

If a person tries to schedule an appointment at a local pharmacy e.g. Tops Markets, Rite-Aid, etc. by visiting their website, whatever link you click on will direct you to the NYSDOH website for that location. Providers’ clinic schedules are subject to change based on vaccine availability.

Pettit noted that there are approximately 50,000 residents in Genesee and Orleans currently eligible to get the Covid-19 vaccine and approximately 1,600 doses available this week, although all appointments are full. Vaccine allocation is on a week-by-week schedule, with the possibility of no vaccine to each of the providers requesting it.

“This is resulting in people receiving the message of ‘no appointments available’ when clicking on the link and we are being told anecdotally that some people keep clicking on the link for hours at a time and getting this same message,” Pettit said. “We don’t want to deter people for going on-line and trying to schedule an appointment, but we want to make them aware of what to expect because it can get frustrating very easily.”

Please continue to monitor the local vaccine site and the state site for a list of additional clinics to receive the vaccine.

Albion students in Rotary Interact deliver donuts to essential workers

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 January 2021 at 9:48 am

Provided photos

ALBION – Members of the Rotary Interact Club at Albion High School delivered 10 dozen donut boxes to different groups of essential workers in community. Rotary Interact wanted to show their appreciation to the groups for their extra hard work during the pandemic.

The top photo shows the group delivering two boxes of donuts to staff at Community Action of Orleans & Genesee.

Pictured form left include Sarah Mathes, Kiarra Shuler, advisor Tim Archer, Leah Kania, Bonnie Malakie (director of children and youth service for Community Action), Renee Hungerford (director of Community Action), Annette Finch (director of community services for the agency) and Alison Mathes.

Leah Kania of the Rotary Interact presents a box of donuts to Vicki Havholm, Nutrition Program Coordinator for Meals on Wheels.

Sarah Mathes hands off a box of donuts to Melissa Blanar, director of the Orleans County Office for the Aging.

The Rotary Interact members delivered a box of donuts Supportive Care of Orleans (Hospice). Kathy Strong, an RN for Supportive Care, accepted the donuts on behalf of her coworkers.

Rotary Interact also brought donuts to The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center, the Public Health Department in Orleans County and the Orleans County Veterans Service Agency.

Teacher says public shouldn’t take business model and view students as products

Posted 21 January 2021 at 9:10 am

Editor:

I read with interest Mr. Glogowski’s letter urging public schools to adopt a business practice to improve efficiency—a methodology called Six Sigma.

He stated, “If the educational system pursued a business-quality standard for education, and achieved the business standard of Six Sigma, they would have just 1 person out of the last 100,000 students to pass through the school system not graduate with a functional high school education. We are not coming anywhere close to that standard.”

He insisted that public schools strive for a “Six Sigma quality education product.”

Curious as to his view of students as “products”, I began to read up on this technique that promised such incredible results. Wikipedia states Six Sigma “… seeks to improve the quality of the output of a process by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimizing impact variability in manufacturing and business processes.”

I spent most of my professional career as a teacher in Orleans County, and I can say with certitude that I never envisioned my kids as a products that I was stamping out on a production line. Maybe this method was revolutionary for Motorola and General Electric when it was adopted in 1986. “Removing causes of defects”? Some kids have troubling home environments, some come to school hungry, some have learning disabilities, and brains don’t all develop at the same rate.

I don’t think any teacher today who cares about his or her students would seriously equate the classroom experience as some kind of manufacturing process, striving for “defect-free” high school graduates.

We are talking about people—human beings here. Teachers today are doing the best that they can dealing with evolving human intelligences and emotions on a one-to-one basis. A school system where only one student in 100,000 would be “defective”? That kind of thinking defies logic.

Christine Bronson

Crossville, TN

3 in Army National Guard killed in helicopter crash in Mendon

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 January 2021 at 9:26 pm

Governor directs flags to be lowered in their honor on Thursday

MENDON – Three soldiers in the NY Army National Guard were killed this evening in Mendon when a helicopter crashed while on a routine training mission.

The UH-60 medical evacuation helicopter is based at the Army Aviation Support Facility at Rochester International Airport. In crashed in the Town of Mendon in Monroe County at about 6:30 p.m. The aircraft was assigned to the C Company of the 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation battalion, the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs said in a statement.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued this statement:

“I am devastated by the news tonight of a New York Army National Guard helicopter crash in the Town of Mendon that killed three of New York’s bravest during a training mission.

“National Guard members are our citizen soldiers who voluntarily serve and protect both here and abroad, and I extend prayers and condolences from all New Yorkers to the family, loved ones and fellow soldiers of these honorable heroes who we will never forget.

“I am directing that flags on all State buildings be lowered to half-staff tomorrow in honor of and in tribute to these New Yorkers who dedicated their service to nation and state.”

State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, issued this statement:

“The men and women of our armed forces risk their lives every day, and some even make the ultimate sacrifice serving our country. Whether serving overseas or at home, what they do is extremely dangerous and puts our nation’s needs before the needs of oneself. Tonight’s news of a crash involving a New York Army National Guard aircraft and the loss of three soldiers’ lives is a sober reminder of the dangers that come with service. We pray for those who have perished, and our thoughts are with the loved ones they leave behind.”

Congressman Chris Jacobs, R-Orchard Park, issued this statement:

“I am deeply saddened by the news of the National Guard helicopter crash in Mendon this evening that resulted in the loss of three lives. My prayers are with the loved ones of these service members lost. I am closely monitoring the situation as details emerge, and stand ready to provide assistance in any way I can.”

John Keding – “Mr. Lion” – passes away at 85, just months after retiring as mechanic

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 January 2021 at 7:13 pm

Albion man worked as a mechanic for 70 years, served in Lions Club for more than 50 years

Photos by Tom Rivers: John Keding is shown outside Keding Automotive in Albion when he celebrated his 80th birthday on Sept. 2, 2015.

ALBION – The community is mourning John Keding, a long-time mechanic and active member of the Albion Lions Club for more than a half century.

Besides fixing automobiles for decades, Keding served with the Lions since 1968. If people had the sausage and peppers at the Lions Club booth at the Strawberry Festival or at other community events, there’s a good chance that Keding was working the grill.

He was “the keeper of the roses” for the Lions Club, using space at his shop to store about 350 dozen roses that the Lions Club sold as a fundraiser near Mother’s Day. He also had a collection box at Keding Automotive for people to donate used glasses to Lions, which would give them to people in need.

Keding also cooked pancakes at the fly-in breakfasts at the Pine Hill Airport in Barre.

“He was the backbone of the Albion Lions Club,” said longtime member Dennis Smith. “He really helped to establish the Lions Club in Albion.”

For 25 years he did the thankless job of being club secretary, keeping track of reports and other paperwork and sending monthly reports to Lions International. The other club members often referred to him as “Mr. Lion.”

“I enjoy the camaraderie with the guys,” Keding told the Orleans Hub in February 2014, when he was recognized for 45 years in the Lions Club. “We do things for the community without getting paid for it.”

John Keding works the grill during the Rock the Park Festival at Bullard Park in July 2015.

Keding retired as a mechanic in August, a month before his 85thbirthday. He intended to retire at 65 but enjoyed interacting with customers and getting their vehicles back on the road, said his daughter Christine Buorgiorne.

His last three years he continued to run Keding Automotive on East Avenue, despite needing dialysis three times a week due to failed kidneys. Often he would take a short nap after dialysis and show up at the shop, grabbing a wrench.

Kevin Howard, a retire state trooper and senior investigator, met Keding in the late ’70s when Keding worked on the patrol cars for the State Police.

“He was always so accommodating to us,” Howard said today.

Howard joined the Lions Club about 15 years ago and also served as a local town justice. Keding, even while battling health issues, kept showing up at work and for the Lions, Howard said.

“He was always willing to help the community,” Howard said. “He never seemed to want to quit.”

Keding started as a mechanic at age 14, first fixing lawn mowers and installing turning signals. He learned the auto mechanic trade at the General Motors Institute in Flint, Mich., beginning the two-year program in 1953. He worked for General Motors for three years before a two-year stint in Army at Fort Dix from 1958 to 1960.

He returned to Albion in 1960 and worked as a mechanic for a car dealership for 13 years before a brief stint as an electrician.

John Keding of Albion cooks sausage at the fly-in breakfast at Pine Hill Airport in September 2013.

He opened his own business at the East Avenue location in January 1974. During an interview in August, Keding said the work has become more high-tech with problems in cars more difficult to diagnose due to computers and electronics in vehicles.

“I’ve really enjoyed it,” he said about his career. “It’s something I always wanted to do.”

Keding also taught mechanics at BOCES and led an evening class that he called W.O.W. (Women on Wheels), giving women the basics in keeping a car running.

Keding and his wife of 63 years, Pat, raised three children in Albion. Their daughter Christine Buongiorne said her dad made family time a priority and enjoyed Sunday drives with his wife, including trips to Letchworth State Park.

Keding was a good teacher, and encouraged his kids, including two daughters, to know how to use tools.

“Dad was from a different era and time,” Buongiorne said today. “Being in a service club was a way for him to give back. With his career as a mechanic, he loved what he did. He was not a quitter in any way, shape or form.”