2016 Portraits and Personalities

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 December 2016 at 5:29 pm


Photos by Tom Rivers

These are my annual picks for some of my favorite “people pictures” from the past year.

The top photo shows Raymond James of Medina dancing with his daughter Tanaya, 2, during the Father-Daughter Dance on June 4 at the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company. The Ladies Auxiliary put on the event for the first time and it sold out with 150 people attending.


Lt. Tom O’Hearn of the Albion Police Department patrols in the food court on June 10 during the Albion Strawberry Festival. The next day was his last day in uniform after a 20-year career with the Albion PD.


Sebastian Stritzinger, almost 2 of Albion, watches the Albion Strawberry Festival parade from the shoulders of Ben Metcalf on June 11. It was a long parade and the participants avoided a storm despite ominous skies and a forecast for fierce winds, heavy rain and lightning.


A participant has outstretched hands on June 12 during a multi-church service at Oak Orchard Assembly of God in Medina. Jennifer Printup and Steve Hodgins, right, are members of the praise band at the church. About 300 people attended the “Awakening” service at Oak Orchard. Oak Orchard and several other churches and their pastors are part of PACT, Pastors Aligned for Community Transformation. The pastors and many of their church members get together regularly for prayer and ecumenical services. This year they had a focus of helping people break the cycles the addiction.


Martin and Jenna Bruning are pictured on July 2 at the first wedding at The Gallagher, a former dilapidated barn they turned into an events venue with room for 250 people. The Brunings are pictured inside the barn before the wedding. They spent more than a year working on the site, one of the area’s most iconic barns on North Gravel Road.

“Everything that we wanted it turned out better than we expected,” said Mr. Bruning, 31. “There is more to do. The wish-list goes on.”


Jeanette Sheliga of Medina directs an honors band featuring students from Albion, Medina and Lyndonville during the Summer Honor Music Festival concert in Medina on July 21.


Members of Borinquen Dance Theatre performed several high-energy dances on April 2 at the Medina Theatre as part of the Fiesta Latina celebration organized by the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.


Corrections officers at the state prisons in Albion held an informational picket in Albion on July 25, seeking more staff for the prisons.


Marines Pvt. Trey Liberatore and Sgt. Derek Yertich raise the American flag on May 26 during a ceremony at Mount Albion Cemetery, where a new memorial plaque was unveiled in honor of the Civil War soldiers from the county.


Eddie English, pastor of The Lord’s House, is pictured on May 15 when the church in Waterport celebrated its 10th anniversary. The church moved from downtown Albion to the former United Methodist Church in Waterport after acquiring the building at the county tax auction in 2011.


Joe Mahley of Lockport works on a portrait of Ben Franklin on June 11 during a chalk art competition at the Albion Strawberry Festival. Mahley won the top prize, $150, for adults. He said chalk art is a “serious hobby.” “Chalk the Walk” debuted at this year’s festival.


Nate Olmstead of Carlton empties the dugout and gets a big greeting from his teammates after hitting a home run against St. Mary’s on May 26 during Albion Midget League action.


Viennah, 1, is held by Josh Nickerson of Gerry, near Jamestown, while the bubble machine generates lots of bubbles at the Thomas the Train event on May 21 at the Medina Railroad Museum. In addition to riding the train, there were numerous activities at the museum and on its grounds for children. About 2,500 people rode the train that day.


Bob Schumacher of Schumacher Farm in Ridgeway gives a tour of his sugar shack on Mill Road on March 19. Schumacher Farm was one of 160 maple farms in New York that participated in Maple Weekend.


Members of the World Life Institute stand at attention after raising the American flag on April 2 when the organization held a dedication service for The Colonnade, the former Medina Masonic Temple at 229 West Center St. The Colonnade is now the world-wide headquarters for World Life Institute, which runs humanitarian and educational programs in several countries. These WLI members Chad Scott, left, and Ameen Ghani, right, both served in the military with Scott enlisted from 1999 to 2003 while Ghani served from 1964 to 1967. Chris Wilson, center, is World Life’s international director of the Project Life program. That program has hosted about 135 children from war-torn Bosnia, Afghanistan and Chechnya for a summer of peace and education.


Albion police officer Karol Hughes takes a photo of the damage at the Ronald L. Sodoma Elementary School after an SUV crashed into a wall of the school on April 4. Police determined the cause of the accident to be a medical condition involving the driver of the vehicle.


Medina Band Director James Steele is joined by his son Robert in leading the Mustang band onto the field on Sept. 24 during the Fall Festival of Bands at Vets Park. They have blow pops in their mouths because staff are not allowed to yell instructions to the band once the show starts.


Brian Kent is pictured with his Nissan Leaf in May after he completed a 43,000-mile trip in the Lower 48 States in the electric car. He set a new record for longest journey in an electric vehicle. Kent, an Albion native who now lives in Batavia, also planted trees in most of the states and visited the state capitals. He wanted to show electric cars can make a long-distance trip.


Maria Higgs of Medina walks down a Main Street sidewalk with her twin 19-month-old sons, Lincoln (Thing 2) and Wyatt (Thing 1) during Beggar’s Night in Medina on Oct. 28.


Madison Holland, drum major for the Medina Mustang Band, leads the band during its halftime show on Sept. 23 at Medina’s Homecoming game.


Ben Atwater leads a tour of the family’s dairy farm in Somerset on Aug. 9 as part of an open house for supporters of the Lighthouse Wind project in Somerset and Yates. Ben has his daughter Lydia in his arms and another daughter Adeline by his side for the tour of the farm, which has been in his family since 1852. Karlis Povisils, vice president of development for Apex Clean Energy, is at left.


Albion firefighters Chuck Prentice, right, and Mike Dalle spray water on the smoldering remains of a house in Eagle Harbor on July 30. Fire tore through the house, leveling the structure at 3248 Eagle Harbor Rd.


Ellen Robinson, owner of Lone Oak Stables, saw many friends along the parade route during the parade July 8 at the Kendall Firemen’s Carnival.


This team poses for a photo after attempting to climb the grease pole on July 29 at the Orleans County 4-H Fair. The team includes, front row, from left: Iva McKenna, Jenny McKenna and Kerri Richardson. Back row: Adam Eick, Zach Welker, Kelsee Soule, Julie Cecchini, Emily Bannister, Jayne Bannister and Janie Schutz.


Thomas Follman plays the tuba in the Lyndonville Marching Band in the Fourth of July parade in Lyndonville. Follman joined about 85 other students in grades 5 through 12 in the band for the parade.


Torry Dames, 6, of Medina on Dec. 3 checks out some of the decorated Christmas trees in Lyndonville, when 61 trees were lit up for the holidays. The trees were decorated by local residents, businesses and organizations.

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