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Month: August 2014

Roy-Hart spikers face rebuilding task

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

Photo by Mike Wertman – Seniors Ayleen Brewer, Allison Chapman, Renee Koch, Sara Meal and Jenna Snell will help to lead the Roy-Hart varsity volleyball squad into the upcoming Niagara-Orleans League season. Missing from the photo is senior Malissa Maines.

Hit hard by the loss of nine seniors to graduation, the Roy-Hart volleyball team is in a bit of a rebuilding mode heading into the Niagara-Orleans League season.

Ayleen Brewer, who earned second team N-O All-League honors last season, heads Roy-Hart’s senior group which also includes Allison Chapman, Renee Koch, Malissa Maines, Sara Meal and Jenna Snell.

“We certainly lost a lot so we are rebuilding but we’ve got a good, hard working group and we’re looking to get better as the season goes on,” said Coach Bill Holahan.

The Lady Rams graduation losses from last year’s 9-3 squad include N-O first team All-League selections Eliza Schwab and Courtney VanBuren along with second team honoree Justine Wittcop.

Looking to help fill those voids the Roy-Hart roster also includes juniors Rebecca Albrecht, Savoy Laubacker, Morgan Mathews, DesRee Taylor and Denise Ulrich; sophomores Beatrice Bacon and Breanna Brewer and freshmen Skyler Christopher and Olivia Vorholzer.

Roy-Hart will open the season with a non league match at Lyndonville on Tuesday. The Lady Rams will then begin N-O competition at home on September 8 against CSAT.

Roy-Hart’s Schedule

Sept. 2 – at Lyndonville, 6:15 p.m.
Sept. 6 – at Albion Tournament, 8 a.m.
Sept. 8 – CSAT, 6:15 p.m.
Sept. 10 – Albion, 6:15 p.m.
Sept. 16 – at Medina, 6:15 p.m.
Sept. 22 – at Akron, 6:15 p.m.
Sept. 24 – Newfane, 6:15 p.m.
Sept. 26 – at Wilson, 6:15 p.m.
Sept. 30 – at CSAT, 6:15 p.m.
Oct. 2 – at Cheektowaga, 6:15 p.m.
Oct. 3 – at Albion, 6:15 p.m.
Oct. 8 – Medina, 6:15 p.m.
Oct. 15 – Akron, 6:15 p.m.
Oct. 17 – at Newfane, 6:15 p.m.
Oct. 20 – Wilson, 6:15 p.m.

Outrageous feats, costumes at Steampunk Fest

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

Outrageous feats, costumes at Steampunk Fest

Photos by Tom Rivers
MEDINA – Pyromancy Fire Performance Troupe members Fuego Vicki and Potter Dee blow fire in one of the group’s daring pyrotechnic displays on Saturday at the Steampunk Festival at Leonard Oakes Estate Winery.

Pyromancy of Buffalo performed before a big crowd. Nearly 1,000 people attended the fourth annual festival.

“It continues to gain steam,” said Jerod Thurber, event coordinator for Leonard Oakes. “It’s a nice laid-back funky festival.”

Jacob Verghese plays the banjo and sings for the band, Pine Fever from Buffalo, at the pavilion at Leonard Oakes.

The five-member band plays American rag-time music. Besides Jacob Verghese, other members include Patrick “Thor” Johnson on upright bass, Andrew Pother on drums, Levi Van Cleve on guitar and Alex Cleve on trumpet.

Many of the festival-goers wore costumes that combined the Victorian era with the future. This group includes, from left: brothers Adam and Mike Florczyk of Hamburg, Chase from Buffalo, and Dave Lelito of Orchard Park.

The vendors sold items related to the Steampunk culture, included Victorian hats, dresses and other clothing.

George Lama of Medina takes a picture of a group of belly dancers from Batavia, the Troupe Nissa. They performed during the Steampunk Festival on Saturday at Leonard Oakes Estate Winery.

Several food trucks attended the festival, and the Steampunk logo was projected onto the cold storage building at Leonard Oakes.

Jonathan Oakes, the wine maker at Leonard Oakes Estate Winery, serves up some Steampunk Cider from the tasting room. Oakes dressed up for the festival.

Asha from Pyromancy performs with fire for the crowd.


Dog days of summer return

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

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Kyle Townley of Rochester shows his dog “Pembroke” during Saturday’s dog show in Albion. About 600 dogs entered the Tonawanda Valley Kennel Club show at Bullard Park. Another TVKC show will be today at the park from 8:30 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m.

Kyle Townley competes in the novice showmanship competition.

Lorinda Vasuta preps her Pomeranian, “Animation’s Marina,” for the dog show Saturday in Albion at Bullard Park. Her dog is currently in the top 20 of all Pomeranians in the country.

Vasuta is from Medina, Ohio, and has been showing dogs for 40 years.

“It’s very rewarding,” she said. “Producing something that aspires to her level does the heart good,” she said. “This is a sport. There aren’t many sports where old people can compete with the youngsters. Old people actually have an advantage because of our experience.”

Tim Terella of Edinboro, Pa. leads a Siberian Husky named “Gus” during the dog show on Saturday. Gus won best in breed.

Two handlers show these Siberian Huskies during the dog show on Saturday.

Trophies for the top dogs at the Tonawanda Valley Kennel Club dog show are lined up. The club has had its annual dog shows over Labor Day weekend in Albion for the past two decades.

Bullard Park has been taking over by the dogs this weekend with large tents and several show areas set up at the along the site on Route 31.

Lady Tigers return large veteran group

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

Photo by Mike Wertman – Getting set to lead Lyndonville into the Genesee Region League girls soccer season is this large group of returnees. In front are Masson Bayne, Maddy Boyle, Kaity Albone and Rebekah Hoffee. In back are Chelsea Poler, Leann Balcerzak, Gabby Dusett, Fancy Silversmith, Hannah Travis and Katie O’Connor.

Boasting a large group of 10 returnees, the Lyndonville High girls varsity soccer team is looking to improve upon last fall’s 4-10 Genesee Region League 7-11 overall record.

That veteran contingent includes seniors Gabby Dusett (forward), Rebekah Hoffee (midfield), Leann Balcerzak (defender), Masson Bayne (midfield/forward), Fancy Silversmith (defender), Hannah Travis (defender), Kaity Albone (forward), Maddy Boyle (midfield), Chelsea Poler (midfield/forward) and junior Katie O’Connor (midfield).

Dusett had six goals and five assists and Albone three goals last season.

Sophomore Makenzie Muck looks to step into the key goalie position.

“We’re looking to get better and hoping to advance a bit in the division and the sectionals,” said Coach Jim O’Connor. “Defensively we’ll be young with a new goalie so a big key will be to keep the ball in the offensive end and convert that into goals. We’ve got good depth across the board so we’re optimistic.”

The Lady Tigers key losses to graduation include goalie Jenna Castricone, defenders Madison Gardepe and Cheyenne Button and midfield/forewards Autumn Nesbitt and Alyssa Mahnke.

Lyndonville is slated to open the G-R season on September 2 at Oakfield-Alabama.

Lyndonville’s Schedule

Sept. 2 – at Oakfield-Alabama, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 4 – Elba, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 8 – at Medina, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 – Wheatland-Chili, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 15 – at Notre Dame, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 17 – at Kendall, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 19 – Byron-Bergen, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 – Holley, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 – at Alexander, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 29 – at Attica, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 1 – Pembroke, 4:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 – Barker, 2 p.m.
Oct. 9 – at Wheatland-Chili, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 11 – Notre Dame, 10 a.m.
Oct. 14 – at Elba, 4:30 p.m.
Oct. 16 – Oakfield-Alabama, 4:30 p.m.

Italian culture embraced at St. Rocco’s Festival

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

Photos by Tom Rivers

HULBERTON – Jeff Gifaldi of Holley throws the bocce ball during today’s tournament in Hulberton. Gifaldi, 35, formed a team for the tournament for the first time and they won their first three games.

“It’s a blast,” Gifaldi said. “It’s a good bunch of people here.”

The Holley community embraced its Italian heritage with the annual St. Rocco’s Festival today. The festival features lots of Italian food, a bocce tournament, produce sales and other events to raise money for the St. Mary’s and St. Mark’s Parish for Holley and Kendall.

Rosemary Bower gets some Italian sausage ready for a customer. Popular Italian foods such as eggplant parmesan, meatball sandwiches, pasta fagioli, pizza and shells were served.

Dan Mawn works on some fried waffles that would then be covered in confectionary sugar.

Emilio Monti of Rochester reacts after rolling the bocce ball during a game today. Monti’s team won its first four matches. The team won the tournament last year. They practice twice a week at the Italian American Community Center in Rochester.

The festival included several games for children. Joey Camacho, 5, of Brockport tosses a ping pong ball towards a table of jars. His mother, Dana Swanger, cheers him on. If the ball made it in a jar, the child would win a goldfish.

Summer going out with blaze of glory

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

Photos by Tom Rivers

It was another gorgeous sunset this evening as summer winds down with school only a few days from opening for a new year. The top photo shows the sun setting over Lake Ontario near the Golden Hill State Park in Barker.

The 30 Mile Point Lighthouse, built in 1875, is a focal point of the state park just across the Orleans County line in Niagara County.

This photo shows Atwater Farms, a dairy farm in Barker near the Golden Hill State Park.

The weather looks good for most of Labor Day. The National Weather Service in Buffalo is forecasting a chance of thunderstorms with a high of 82 degrees.

Veteran Albion girls soccer squad set to open N-O season

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

Photo by Mike Wertman – Veteran members of the Albion girls varsity soccer team include, in front, Jacia Schick, Ally Page, Monica Bonjovsky, Mariah Elsenheimer and Emily Blanchard. In back are Kellie O’Hearn, Mandi Covis, Mikayla Yaskulski, Ashley Hapeman , Ellen Narburgh, Justice Nauden and Jayne Bannister.

A dozen veterans return to anchor the lineup for the Albion High girls varsity soccer squad which opens Niagara-Orleans League competition on September 2 at Barker.

Junior forward Mariah Elsenheimer, who earned second team N-O All-League honors last fall, along with senior defender/midfielders Mandi Covis and Monica Benjovsky, who were both honorable mention selections, head that large veteran contingent.

That group also includes seniors Ashley Hapeman (defender), Kellie O’Hearn (defender), Justice Nauden (goalie) and Jayne Bannister (midfield/goalie) along with juniors Ally Page (forward), Jacia Schick (defender), Mikayla Yaskulski (forward), Ellen Narburgh (defender/goalie) and sophomore Emily Blanchard (midfielder).

The Purple Eagles senior group also includes defender Cristal Quintana.

Elsenheimer had 17 goals and 10 assists, Blanchard 8 goals and 7 assists, Yaskulski 7 goals and 2 assists and Page 4 goals and 2 assists last season.

“We have talent and some depth and the potential is there to be very good” said Coach Bruce Blanchard. “But we lost some quality kids to graduation so the girls have to step up to fill some big shoes.”

The Purple Eagles key graduation losses include defender Kelsey Schmitt, a first team N-O All-League selection, forward Abby Squicciarini (18 goals, 7 assists) and defender Arianna Smith, both second team N-O All-Leaguers, and midfielders Kayla Doyle (9 goals, 6 assists) and Kendall Piccirilli.

“A key will be how well we play defensively, as we’ll be young there, but we have good speed, quickness and ball skills,” said Blanchard. “We have a lot of speed and talent back we just have to play together.”

Albion went 9-5 in N-O action and 11-7 overall last season.

Albion’s Schedule

Sept. 2 – at Barker, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 5 – at Wilson, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 9 – Roy-Hart, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 12 – at Newfane, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 15 – at Akron, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 18 – at CSAT, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 – Kendall, 10 a.m.
Sept. 22 – at Alexander, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 24 – at Medina, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 27 – Barker, 10 a.m.
Sept. 30 – at Wilson, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 – at Roy-Hart, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 – CSAT, 3 p.m.
Oct. 7 – Newfane, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 9 – Akron, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 15 – Medina, 6:30 p.m.

Remediating 2 sites in downtown Medina would cost $177K

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

Photo by Tom Rivers – The former Starlite Dry Cleaners has been vacant on Main Street in Medina since a fire damaged the building a decade ago. Environmental concerns have a holdup in the site’s redevelopment.

MEDINA – An environmental audit of two vacant side-by-side sites on Main Street puts the costs of a cleanup at $177,000.

The former Starlite Dry Cleaners at 331 North Main St. has been empty since a fire in the building a decade ago. Its neighbor at 333 North Main also is vacant.

Great Lakes Environmental in Buffalo said remediating the sites, with a partial takedown, would cost $177,000.

Addressing the environmental issues is critical for the two sites to be contributing locations to Medina’s Main Street and community, said Mayor Andrew Meier.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation pledged $50,000 to $60,000 to the cleanup in 2008. The village is trying to make sure that funding is still committed for the cleanup. Medina could also pursue state funding through the Consolidated Funding Application. Meier expects the state would welcome the project because the two buildings are in a historic business district by the Erie Canal.

“It’s a very important project in that neighborhood,” he said. “It’s precluding other projects from happening.”

A previous study showed some dry-cleaning solvents were in the soil at Starlite. The site has been in limbo for years. A previous owner stopped paying taxes on the site. Normally the property would then be owned by Orleans County, but the county hasn’t accepted the property due to the potential environmental liabilities.

High school gridders tune up on ‘Scrimmage Saturday’

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

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Brett Pecoraro returns a pass interception against Wilson during the Mustangs scrimmage this morning at Vets Park.

The preparation of area high school football teams for the upcoming season shifted into high gear this morning on “Scrimmage Saturday” as Albion and Medina both hosted multi team sessions.

Albion hosted a four-way scrimmage which also included Batavia, LeRoy and Elba/Byron-Bergen.

“It’s very valuable” said Albion head Coach Gary Parisi of the scrimmage session. “You want to scrimmage teams that are very good. That helps you to see what you need to work on. It also helps to look for anything you may have missed in practice.”

Medina hosted a three-way scrimmage involving Wilson and East High of Buffalo.

“It’s a great opportunity for the kids to start to jell and to work on our execution,” said Medina head Coach Eric Valley.

Holley took part in a multi team scrimmage at East Rochester and Barker/Roy-Hart scrimmaged at Pembroke which is being coached this season by former long-time Albion mentor Dick Diminuco.

The scrimmages help to get the teams ready for next weekend’s season openers which will have Barker/Roy-Hart hosting Lew-Port on Friday and Albion at Burgard, Medina at Newfane and Holley hosting Attica on Saturday afternoon.

Medina spikers return veteran lineup

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

Photo by Mike Wertman – Anchoring the lineup for the Medina High girls varsity volleyball team this season is this group of returnees. They include Emily Kams, Emma Ambrose, Molley Gross, Brittany Schultz, Amanda McCauley and Nicole Blount.

Anchored by a veteran nucleus of six returnees, Medina is looking to improve upon last year’s 4-8 finish in Niagara-Orleans League volleyball competition.

Senior Nicole Blount and sophomore Emily Kams, who both earned N-O All-League honorable mention, head that veteran group which also includes seniors Emma Ambrose, Amanda McCauley, Brittany Schultz and sophomore Molley Gross.

The Mustangs are also looking for contributions from juniors Abby Maines and Megan O’Keefe and sophomore Carly Schultz who are up from the JV ranks.

“We’ve got a good group with some good experience,” said Coach Tim Lincoln. “And they’ve been working very hard in the off season. They played in the Starpoint summer league, the YMCA leagues and they’ve come to open gym during the off season so that shows real good commitment.”

Medina is scheduled to open the season by hosting Holley on Sept. 3 and by competing in the Albion Tournament on September 6. The Mustangs then begin N-O competition at home on September 8 against defending champion Albion.

“That will be a couple of real good tests right at the start,” said Lincoln.

Medina’s Schedule

Sept. 3 – Holley, 5 p.m. JV
Sept. 6 – at Albion Tournament, 8 a.m.
Sept. 8 – Albion, 5 p.m. JV
Sept. 10 – Wilson, 5 p.m. JV
Sept. 13 – at Starpoint Tournament, 8 a.m.
Sept. 16 – Roy-Hart, 5 p.m. JV
Sept. 18 – at CSAT, 5 p.m. JV
Sept. 22 – at Newfane, 5 p.m. JV
Sept. 26 – Akron, 5 p.m. JV
Sept. 27 – at West Seneca Invite, 8 a.m.
Sept. 30 – at Albion, 5 p.m. JV
Oct. 2 – at Wilson, 5 p.m. JV
Oct. 4 – at Lyndonville, 10 a.m. JV
Oct. 8 – at Roy-Hart, 5 p.m. JV
Oct. 10 – CSAT, 5 p.m. JV
Oct. 11 – at West Seneca Invite, 8 a.m.
Oct. 15 – Newfane, 5 p.m. JV
Oct. 17 at Byron-Bergen, 5 p.m. JV
Oct. 20 – at Akron, 5 p.m. JV