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Month: March 2017

Medina stickmen rally past Salamanca

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 March 2017 at 8:16 pm

A big second period scoring burst keyed Medina to a come-from-behind 15-6 victory over host Salamanca this evening in a rain soaked Class D Division lacrosse game.

Trailing 4-3, Medina scored five straight goals to close the second period, including two by Brendan Luthart and one each by Coby Albone, Jake Cotter and Mike Carson, to rally into an 8-4 lead at the half.

“That was the turning point of the game,” said Coach Gordy Luthart. “We played very solid defense.”

Keeping the momentum, the Mustangs increased their advantage to 12-5 at the three-quarter mark.

Luthart and Cotter both finished with 4 goals, Albone 3, Mason Lewis 2 and Carson and Tyler Howard 1 each.  Luthart also had 3 assists and Cotter 2.

Improving to 2-0 in the division at 3-0 overall, Medina next hosts Silver Creek in another D Division contest at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Hawley blames governor, legislative leaders for keeping public in dark about budget progress

Staff Reports Posted 31 March 2017 at 5:54 pm

The state budget is due to be adopted by midnight today in order to meet the deadline. State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, issued this statement this afternoon:

“It is unconscionable that an agreement, which state leaders have had months to negotiate, must wait until the absolute last minute year after year, leaving the public and legislators in the dark.

“In keeping all 213 state legislators in Albany this week voting on useless legislation while a deal is struck behind the scenes, state leaders will have potentially cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in per diems because they are too incompetent and beholden to special interests to agree on a deal anytime in the previous several months.

“At this point, it seems as though the ‘Three Men in a Room’ are hashing out various policy and spending proposals behind closed doors. Unfortunately, this troubling lack of transparency is usual during the final days of budget negotiations, but it is certainly not the appropriate way to do the people’s business.

“Rumors are circulating surrounding an agreement on upstate ride-sharing, a major clean water infrastructure investment and raising the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18, but little legislation has been introduced or printed and we are at the will of the nebulous legislative leaders.

“I am hopeful that the 2017 Charitable Gaming Act, increased money to repair our roads and bridges and small-business relief are included in the final budget and I will be fighting for our community every step of the way. I will keep you updated and issue reports when more information is known.”

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7th-graders use empty bowls to raise awareness and funds to fight hunger

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 March 2017 at 3:54 pm

Photos courtesy of Albion Central School

ALBION – Seventh-graders at Albion once again had their Empty Bowls project to raise awareness and funds for hunger locally.

Students made bowls of pottery in an art class led by Kamie Feder. This is the ninth year students have participated in Empty Bowls.

The students in the top photo include, from left: Leah Kania, Annaleese Wright, Diana Moreno and Riley Hollenbeck.

The students raised $555 last week, with the money donated to Community Action of Orleans & Genesee. There are about 40 bowls left and they will be for sale for $5 each at tonight’s Tarzan show at the Middle School Auditorium beginning at 7 p.m.

Orleans County Lynne Johnson bought one of the empty bowls. She is chatting with Loren Reid, Faith Bennett and Diana Moreno.

Each student who made a bowl also produced their own quote. Altogether, 145 bowls were made by the students.

Loren Reid, James Beach and Faith Bennett do their best to promote the event, which was last week at the middle school.

Dan Monicelli, the middle school principal, chooses a bowl. James Beach, teacher Kamie Feder and Leah Kania are behind the table.

Community Action presented a certificate of appreciation to the students.

In addition to the Empty Bowls event, students assist Community Action during the holidays by helping fill holiday food boxes. Many of the students also go to FoodLink in Rochester to help pack food boxes for surrounding food pantries, including in Albion.

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Trout and salmon season opens on Saturday

Staff Reports Posted 31 March 2017 at 1:30 pm

DEC will stock 31,350 brown trout in Lake Ontario at Carlton

File photo by Tom Rivers: This photo from May 28, 2015 shows Joel Fuller standing on a rock along the pier with the sun setting at Point Breeze.

The 2017 trout and salmon fishing season begins on Saturday. The best early season angling opportunities for trout are typically in lakes and ponds, with some of the best fishing found immediately after ice thaws, according to an announcement today from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation operates 12 fish hatcheries in New York and plans to stock more than 2.2 million catchable-size brook, brown and rainbow trout in 314 lakes and ponds and roughly 2,850 miles of streams across the state, which over the course of the spring will include 1.6 million brown trout, 426,300 rainbow trout, and 160,200 brook trout.

That’s in addition to the stocking of nearly 2 million yearling lake trout, steelhead, landlocked salmon, splake, Chinook salmon, and coho salmon that will grow over the years to become catchable size fish.

In Orleans County the DEC will stock 31,350 “catchable” brown trout in Lake Ontario at Carlton. Those fish will be 8 to 9 inches long.

“New York is home to world-class fishing in virtually every corner of the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “From the Catskills to the Adirondacks, from the Finger Lakes to Lake Ontario, or a small stream or neighborhood pond, I encourage New Yorkers and visitors alike to get out and enjoy all the great fishing that New York’s waters have to offer.”

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Kendall returns veteran softball squad

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 March 2017 at 1:15 pm

Photo by Mike Wertman – The senior trio of Kasey Menge, Madison Rath and Chelsea Wright  will help anchor the lineup for the Kendall softball team this season.

Seven returning starters anchor the lineup for the Kendall softball squad as the Lady Eagles look to improve upon last years 5-12 (3-11 Genesee Region League) record.

The senior battery of pitcher Chelsea Wright, a four year starter and G-R All-Star last year, and catcher Kasey Menge, a three year starter and Honorable Mention G-R selection, along with senior first baseman Madison Rath, also a three year starter and G-R Honorable Mention pick, head that veteran group.

The veteran infield also includes junior Michela Hanlon at second base, senior Emily Mattle at third base and senior Eliya Cooper at shortstop as freshman Rebecca Banker also returns in left field.

The Lady Eagles lineup also received a boost with the addition of senior Lizzie Rath in centerfield.

Kendall’s roster also includes senior Ruth Seabolt (outfield/second base) and juniors Kierstyn Christensen (third base), Ashley Kingsbury (third base), Adriana Passarell (outfield) and, Shianna Patten (outfield).

“We’re going to be pretty solid,” said Coach Jeff Parizek.”We need to make the routine plays defensively, take advantage of runners in scoring position as much as possible and work hard day in and day out in a very competitive G-R League.”

The Lady Eagles are scheduled to open G-R competition at Notre Dame on Monday.

(Games at 4:30 p.m. unless noted)
April: 3 – at Notre Dame, 4 – Monroe (4:45 p.m.), 7 – Wheatland-Chili, 11 – at Lyndonville, 13 – Elba,  21 – Alexander, 25 – Byron-Bergen, 27 – at Holley, 28 – Pembroke, 29 – Wilson Magnet (11 a.m.).
May: 1 – at Attica, 2 – at Oakfield-Alabama, 3 – Notre Dame, 4 – Northstar, 8 – at Wheatland-Chili, 9 – Lyndonville, 10 – at Wilson Magnet, 11 – at Elba.

Community, creativity helped make Tarzan costumes and sets

Photos by Tom Rivers: Autumn Flugel plays a young Tarzan during a rehearsal for the Albion High School production of Tarzan. Autumn is a fifth grader. She is shown talking to Tarzan’s mother, Kala, played by Matilda Erakare. Matilda is one of 23 gorillas in the show, which will be performed today at 7 p.m. and Saturday at noon and 7 p.m. in the Middle School Auditorium.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 March 2017 at 11:10 am

1,000 T-shirts, 5,000 shopping bags donated

Kathy Winans helps Sophia Zambito with her gorilla wig before rehearsal on Wednesday.

ALBION – The drama department used creativity and lots of community support to make the gorilla costumes and the sets for the production of Tarzan, which opens tonight at 7, with shows at noon and 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Each of the 23 gorillas needed about 20 to 30 T-shirts for their costume. The drama department didn’t have the funds to rent gorilla suits for the cast, and those suits also wouldn’t have worked well with the many dancing scenes.

Kathy Winans, the co-director, wanted loose-fitting and sleeveless costumes for the gorillas. She had the idea of cutting up T-shirt in 5-inch strips. She and her many volunteers used a rotary cutter to make the strips. They were sewn onto a mesh shirt underneath.

“The movement gives the illusion of fur,” Winans said.

All of the gorilla costumes have a base of black strips. But Winans didn’t want them to be all black. Each gorilla could pick other colors to help differentiate them on stage. The gorillas have different color highlights, whether purple, white, brown, red, pink, green, yellow, gray, blue and other colors.

Each gorilla costume included layers of 5-inch strips made from donated T-shirts.

(Those colors will help parents and the crowd identify the gorillas during the show. The gorillas will have face makeup on during the shows and would be hard to pick out on stage without the flairs of color.)

Winans needed nearly 1,000 T-shirts to pull off the feat, which includes more T-shirt strands for wigs. The community came through.

“I’d get to school and there would be a bag of T-shirts in my mailbox,” she said.

Each gorilla costume took 10 to 15 hours to make. Winans had her home room students help when they had free time. Winans, a special education teacher, also called on students in her 12:1:1 class to help.

Karen Dibley, the costume coordinator, also was busy formonths making the outfits. Sara Moore, Tara Thom and Marlene Seielstad, parents of gorillas in the cast, also helped make some of the costumes.

Winans started the process last June, after Gary Simboli, the show’s director, announced Tarzan would be the spring musical. Winans checked fabric samples at stores, and didn’t like the price ($18 a yard) or how the cut fabric “moved.”

Provided photos: Students in Kathy Winans’ class are pictured with the cast of Tarzan. The students helped make the costumes and the vines in the production.

It took several months of effort to make the costumes, with the final gorilla outfit finished in February. Winans likes the look of the gorillas.

“I was nervous if it would work,” she said. “But once I saw the colors, I was very excited and knew it would work.”

Saving money on those costumes allowed the drama department to spend more in other areas, particularly for flying equipment, so seven characters could be lifted above the stage. That harness and rigging system cost about $7,000.

These gorillas in the Tarzan show include, from left: Nate Grammatico, Evan Steier, Kate Krieger, Kelsey Froman (a fifth grader in front), Victor Benjovsky, Matilda Erakare and Riley Seielstad.

Simboli had an idea that also took a community effort to pull off. He wanted vines to move on stage and not be stagnant.

He thought tying together plastic grocery bags from Wegmans would do the trick. It took more than 5,000 bags to pull it off with many donated by Wegmans.

The stage crew and Winans’ students also made flowers from shopping bags.

“Pinterest has been our friend,” Winans joked.

Wegmans shopping bags were tied together to create the vines for the jungle scene in Tarzan.

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Contaminated soil will be removed at 34 properties in Middleport

Staff Reports Posted 31 March 2017 at 8:16 am

MIDDLEPORT – Up to 34 properties, contaminated with arsenic by operations at FMC Corporation, will have soil removed in May, pending property owner agreements.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation urged property owners to grant permission for the DEC to see the sites and develop cleanup plans.

The work won’t occur at a property unless a homeowner gives written permission. During construction, contaminated soils will be excavated and transported off‐site for disposal at a permitted facility.

Specific excavation depths will be identified during the remedial design. Clean fill material will be brought in to restore the areas that are disturbed during the clean‐up process to pre‐remediation conditions, the DEC said.

Landscaping and other restoration activities will be completed at properties where remediation was completed during 2016, but final restoration could not be completed before winter. Residential cleanup activities will occur in the area of Alfred Street and Freeman Avenue west of the Roy‐Hart Schools, and along South Vernon Street between the railroad tracks and Route 31.

All areas that are disturbed during the cleanup will be restored to pre‐existing conditions, in consultation with each property owner. Prior to being brought to the site, all backfill materials will be tested to demonstrate that they meet DEC soil cleanup requirements, the DEC said.

Restoration activities will also be completed at St. Stephen’s Church at 21 Vernon Street. Remediation of the church grounds was completed during 2016 but final restoration could not be completed before winter.

Mobilization is anticipated to begin in April. Work and equipment operation will typically take place five days per week (Monday through Friday), generally between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. A Property‐Specific Safety Plan and a Community Air Monitoring Plan will continue to be implemented to provide protection for site workers, property owners, residents, and the nearby community during remediation and restoration activities.

FMC Corporation currently owns and operates a facility in the village. As a result of historic air emissions, the company contaminated a significant number of nearby residential and other properties, predominantly with arsenic, the DEC said. In May 2013, a final remedy was selected to clean up a portion of those areas. A phased approach is being implemented in an effort to minimize disruption to the community, with a limited area closest to the FMC facility initially targeted for cleanup and restoration.

For more information on the cleanup plan, click here.

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Medina netters prep to defend N-O title

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 March 2017 at 7:30 am

Photo by Mike Wertman – Set to lead Medina into the defense of its Niagara-Orleans League tennis title is this group of returnees. In front are Abel Zavitz, Nick Bogan and Kyla Leno. In back are Brandon Harris, Toby Kiebala, Mike Cardone, Kristian Snyder and Ray Paull.

Boasting a good nucleus of eight returning regulars, the Medina High tennis squad is prepping to defend its Niagara-Orleans League title.

Senior Kristian Snyder, a three time first team N-O All-League honoree, heads that veteran contingent whig also includes seniors Mike Cardone, Nick Bogan, Kyla Leno, Brandon Harris, Abel Zavitz along with junior Toby Kiebala and sophomore Ray Paull.  Cardone and Leno were both second team N-O selections while Bogan and Paull both received Honroable Mention.

“We’re glad to have as much experience as we do now we have to make the most of it,” said Coach Chris Horgan whose Mustangs have claimed the N-O title four of the last five years.

The Mustangs main loss to graduation was Tristan Sanders who earned first team N-O All-League honors.

The Mustangs are slated to begin defense of their title at Albion on Monday.

April: 3 – at Albion, 4:30 p.m.; 7 – at Roy-Hart, 4 p.m.; 19 – at Wilson, 4 p.m.; 21 – at Newfane, 4 p.m.; 24 – Barker, 4 p.m.; 26 – Akron, 4 p.m.
May: 3 – Roy-Hart, 4 p.m.; 4 – Albion, 4 p.m.; 5 – Wilson, 4 p.m.; 8 – Newfane, 4 p.m.;10 – at Barker, 4:30 p.m.; 12 – at Akron, 4 p.m.

Heritage Wind project would bring needed revenue to Barre

Posted 30 March 2017 at 10:32 pm


It was with great interest that I read your article on the proposed Barre Fire Hall. This would be a wonderful thing for Barre – not just from a safety perspective, but the Community Center would be a much needed anchor for bringing the residents together for many important community events.

The recent wind storm is a perfect example when 636 of 927 customers served in the Town of Barre were without power. The new proposed Fire Hall and Community Center would have served as a Community Warming Center.

Since the original price tag of $1.4 million was voted down in 2014, the costs have increased nearly double to $ 2.5 million. But something else has also increased, and that is a possible funding source for the new Fire Hall and Community Center.

Barre residents have the opportunity, through Heritage Wind, to reap the wonderful community benefits of a wind farm. Local taxing jurisdictions (County, School, and Town) would share the estimated $1.6 million per year. This is over and above what the participating land owners would be paid.

Barre’s Town portion would give them a great jump on this needed Fire Hall and Community Center. I feel certain that the Town of Barre residents will continue their methodical review of the Heritage project as they have done so far. They will logically and rationally look for the facts and follow the Article 10 process in hopes of bringing new prosperity to their hometown.

I would encourage others to look into wind energy and how it can revitalize our counties, our schools, and our towns. Look for the facts, rather than hearsay, and realize what a great opportunity we all have in front of us!

Howard Pierce


New church kicks off services on Sunday at historic site that has been vacant for 2 years

Photos by Tom Rivers: Mike Outten, pastor of North Point Chapel, is pictured inside the sanctuary of the former United Methodist Church in Albion. There are wooden beams used to support the roof.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 March 2017 at 10:13 pm

North Point Chapel will work to preserve building, with bigger focus on serving community

The former United Methodist Church in Albion was vacated two years ago when the congregation left the building. The United Methodists now share a building with the Episcopalians in Albion.

ALBION – The former United Methodist Church building in Albion, a historic site more than 150 years old, will be reopened for church services this Sunday.

The church has been closed for two years since the United Methodists left the building and went to Christ Church, which is owned by the Episcopal church. The two congregations share the site for services.

The United Methodists left their building, facing a daunting challenge, an estimated $1 million to fix a roof that is supported with wooden beams in the sanctuary. The congregation put the building up for sale.

North Point Chapel thinks God still has a plan for the building, which includes many stunning stained-glass windows, a pipe organ and space for more than 250 people.

“I walked in here and I just dropped,” said Mike Outten, pastor of North Point.

It was the windows or the architecture that stunned Outten. It was all of the empty seats. He imagined the sanctuary full of earnest Christians. The church, like so many in the United States, seems way too big for the congregations today.

“There used to be people who sat in these seats and believed in Jesus Christ,” Outten said. “I look around and I see 250 saints singing to God.”

The Good Shepherd Window is stunning ecclesiastical artwork inside the church.

North Point Chapel will open the building to the public for coffee at 10 a.m. this Sunday, followed by a church service at 10:30.

The service will be in the Sunday School wing of the church, in what was a double classroom. Outten said the space could fit about 75 to 80 people.

He will preach the sermon and the church’s contemporary music team will lead in worship.

“We’re here to meet people where they’re at,” Outten said today, giving a tour of the church. “Jesus didn’t look at people’s exterior, but at their hearts. This building is just a tool. We will show people that we care for them and love them.”

North Point is a new church that has been meeting since last April at the Arnold Gregory Office Complex on South Main Street. About 20 people have been attending services at Arnold Gregory.

The church is part of the Southern Baptist Convention. North Point has the support of the High Point Community Church in Pembroke and the Ridge Wood Bible Church in Lockport on Route 104. High Point is the church that paid for fireworks in Albion on July 5, as well as hot dogs and family activities for four years until 2015.

North Point was active at last year’s Strawberry Festival, running a face painting booth and doing a lot of the garbage cleanup. They were a big boost to the festival’s volunteers.

Outten, a Gasport resident, is a third-generation bricklayer who had his own construction company. Northern Exposures Inc. is now run by his son.

Outten felt a call to the ministry and took on-line theology courses from Liberty University for five years. He did his coursework in the mornings form 5 to 8 a.m., went to work, and did his course reading at night. He graduated in 2014.

He believes in the power of God to transform lives, and neighborhoods. He sees many vacant houses in Albion, or homes in need of significant repair. He would be interested in the church helping with neighborhood revitalization, acquiring some houses, fixing them up, and selling to families.

North Point Chapel will have its first service this Sunday at the former United Methodist Church. The service will be in the Sunday School wing where there was a double classroom. Coffee will be served at 10 a.m. with the service to start at 10:30.

He is open to where God wants to lead North Point. But Outten said he didn’t initially feel that way. He thought his ministry would be in Medina. Outten thought North Point was destined for that village. He would stop in that community, and walk the streets, praying for the residents.

God, however, had a different plan for the new pastor, Outten said.

Two of his sons have taken their driver’s tests in Albion, starting at a spot next to the former United Methodist Church at the corner of East State and Platt streets. Outten’s wife called him both times, to tell him about the glorious church edifice.

North Point is putting down new carpet in the classroom wing of the church. There are about seven rooms that have been repainted, from a light green. Outten also added a quarter-inch of dry wall to cover wainscoting that was cracked.

Two years ago, while their son was taking his driver’s test, Mrs. Outten noticed the church building was for sale. Her husband was reluctant. He was still thinking Medina for the new church.

But he was confronted with a passage from the Bible in Philippians 2:14-16: “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.”

Outten said he needed to “cease his grumbling and complaining” and be open to what God had in store for Albion and the North Point Chapel.

“I realized that God was calling me here,” he said.

Outten looked at sites in Albion for the church. He didn’t want to be in an office building. Other sites, the former OTB and building where NAPA Auto Parts was located on Hamilton Street, seemed too costly, he said.

He was drawn to the United Methodist building. North Point is still waiting for the sale to go through. The two churches have agreed on a price and contract, but a final OK needs to given by the Attorney General’s Office. That was expected in January.

Outten said he has a plan for stabilizing the roof. The sanctuary will be off limits for the short term. First the church is working on the classrooms and office. Outten said the building won’t be forsaken.

“It’s going to be a lot of work,” the pastor said. “God wants us to bring it back. We won’t do it ourselves. The Lord will be our strength.”

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