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Month: February 2018

Huskies oust Mustangs in Class B1 semifinal

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 28 February 2018 at 11:21 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Jalin Cooper puts up a shot over Olean’s Jack Dwaileebe during the Mustangs loss to the Huskies in the Class B1 semifinal this evening at Buffalo State College. Cooper scored 18 on the night to become the Mustangs single season scoring leader with 468 points.

Unable to rebound from a disastrous opening period, No. 3 seed Medina dropped a 59-45 decision to No. 2 Olean in the semifinal round of Section VI Class B1 boys basketball tournament this evening at Buffalo State College.

Mike Schmidt poured in a game high 26 points, including 11 in the decisive opening stanza, to set the pace for Olean as Matt Droney added 10 and Josh Bihler and Alex Weakfall 9 each.

Medina’s Nate Sherman puts up a shot as Olean’s Matt Droney tries to block.

Jalin Cooper led Medina with 18 to become the Mustangs all-time single season scoring leader. He hit a three to close the third period to break the old record of 458 which he shared with Jim Snyder (1987-89 seasons). He finishes the season with 468 points. He also finishes his career with a school record of 1,383 points.

Brian Fry added 11 for the Mustangs as Izaiah Rhim had 8, Mason Lewis and Nate Sherman 3 and Tyler Chinn 2.

Plagued by a costly combination of 7 turnovers and 0 for 12 shooting from the field, Medina fell behind 18-0 at the outset and never recovered. The Mustangs avoided a shutout quarter as Cooper hit a three at the buzzer.

Threes by Lewis and Fry, along with a jumper by Cooper, did pull Medina back to within nine, 20-11 midway through the second quarter but the Mustangs would get no closer.

Olean closed the period with an 8-3 run, including four by Droney, to move back out to a 14 point, 28-14, advantage at the half.

The Huskies extended the lead to as much as 21, 41-20, with 3:30 to go in the third period after a 9-0 run including a 3 and a 2 by Weakfall.

Threes by Rhim and Cooper did keep Medina within 12, 45-33, at the three-quarter mark but Olean wasted no time in putting the lead back up to 17, 50-33, at the outset of the final period as Droney had a layup and a rebound bucket. The Huskies went on to lead by as much as 20, 57-37, with 3:20 to go in the contest.

Improving to 21-1, Olean next faces No. 4 Newfane for the B1 title at 1:45 p.m. Saturday at Buffalo State.

Medina finishes the season at 11-11.

Medina’s Izaiah Rhim looks to drive by Olean’s Matt Droney.

It’s last call for O’Brien’s Tavern owner who is ready for new challenge

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 February 2018 at 9:22 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Today is the last day for Alicia Hogan as owner of O’Brien’s Tavern on Main Street in Medina. Hogan, left, is pictured with her daughter Allie Hogan at O’Brien’s just before an open mic night. When Hogan started as owner 6 ½ years ago, there was an open mic the first night.

Many musicians are expected to be part of the celebration tonight.

The Irish pub has a long tradition in Medina, with Hogan saying the site has been a bar for more than a century.

Hogan said she looks forward to a new chapter in her life, but will miss the O’Brien’s customers.

“The bar business is a hard business,” she said. “I love this place, and I love the people. I pretty much know everyone by first name.”

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State grant will fund detox site in Batavia that will serve Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 February 2018 at 6:12 pm

BATAVIA – State funding will pay for a new detox facility in Batavia to be run by the Genesee-Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

GCASA currently offers supported living facilities. The new detox site will provide around-the-clock care to people who are under the influence of alcohol, opioids, or other substances, or who are suffering from withdrawal, and help stabilize them and connect them to long-term treatment services.

The closest sites currently residents in Orleans County are in Rochester or Buffalo, and there is often a waiting list.

GCASA was awarded a $1.9 million grant to open the facility that will have 16 beds. It will serve residents in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

Mark O’Brien, director of the Orleans County Mental Health Department, told county legislators today the detox facility, which is planned to open in mid 2019, is great news for Orleans County and residents struggling with addiction.

The GCASA grant is one of five approved by the state, which making $10 million in capital funding available for five providers for the development of 84 new community-based Medically Supervised Withdrawal and Stabilization Services beds.

“Communities across the country have felt the impact of the opioid epidemic and New York will continue to combat this scourge until this crisis has been eradicated once and for all,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in announcing the grants. “This funding will bring desperately needed resources to communities across state, allowing us to reach more people and get them the help they need.”

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Lenten lunches bring together many Albion churches

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 February 2018 at 4:02 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Bob Dexter, right, of the Holy Family Parish enjoys lunch and conversation today with other local church goers during a Lenten Luncheon at the fellowship hall at Christ Church in Albion.

The church for many years has hosted the luncheons during Lent. Churches in the Albion area take turns preparing meals and messages every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m.

“You get to meet people from different churches,” said Dexter, a Catholic. “For five weeks everyone gets together and talks with each other. It’s one of the things about Albion, there are a lot of nice things in the community that get people together.”

The Rev. Aleka Schmidt, pastor of the First Baptist Church, shared the message and also led the group in singing hymns.

Marie Follett of the United Methodist Church in Albion plays the piano. Some of the hymns sung today included, “Standing in the need of prayer,” “The Old Rugged Cross,” and “Bind us together.”

Schmidt had a 10-minute message for the group today. The luncheons are open to the community each Wednesday during Lent.

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Medina man killed Saturday after being struck by drunk driver in Rochester

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 February 2018 at 2:00 pm

Jordan AskewA Medina man was killed Saturday in a tragic accident in Rochester, when he was walking on the sidewalk and was struck by a drunk driver.

Jordan Askew, 26, was standing on the sidewalk on Lyell Avenue near Child Street when he was hit by a car that jumped the curb at about 2:49 a.m. Saturday, according to news reports.

Askew died at the scene. He was with Alex Krunz, 21, who was also hit by the car and is critically injured and remains hospitalized.

The Rochester Police Department has charged Chermasia Collins, 29, of Rochester, with aggravated vehicular assault, driving while intoxicated and reckless driving and many traffic tickets.

Askew has many family members in Medina, Albion and Orleans County. He was also known as “Shug.” He is survived by his mother, Stephanie Askew, and his fathers, Greg Griffin and William Coley.

Calling hours are scheduled from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Glad Tidings Baptist Church in Medina, where his funeral service will follow.

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Medina’s longtime school district clerk to retire

Photo by Tom Rivers: Janice Jovanelly, Medina district clerk/secretary to the superintendent, will retire on June 30. The Board of Education on Tuesday named Julie Kuhn, secretary to the middle school principal, to succeed Jovanelly.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 February 2018 at 12:05 pm

Janice Jovanelly has been steady presence while district had changes in superintendents

MEDINA – Janice Jovanelly is the “voice of the school district” and often the first face people see when they stop by the district office.

Jovanelly is the district clerk and secretary to the school superintendent. Her voice is also on the district’s phone system.

She has worked in her current job since 2001. Since then the school district has had five superintendents with Judith Staples, Richard Galante, Neil Miller, Jeff Evoy and Mark Kruzynski, as well as several interim school leaders.

Jovanelly has been a steadying influence in the district office, and also been a key resource for the superintendents, helping them to connect with staff, community leaders and other school officials in Orleans and Niagara counties. She knows all of the district’s 330-340 employees.

Jovanelly will retire on June 30.

Mark Kruzynski, Medina’s district superintendent, said Jovanelly has been an important asset for the school district.

“Janice is irreplaceable, and her knowledge of the district and how things operate has been invaluable to me and every other superintendent,” he said. “I am especially going to miss her kindness and her sense of humor.”

The Board of Education on Tuesday named Julie Kuhn, the current middle school principal’s secretary, to succeed Jovanelly. Kuhn will get to work alongside Jovanelly for three months before taking over July 1.

That will give her a chance to go through a school election. As district clerk, Jovanelly has to line up the election inspectors, have the ballots ready and the the voting machines. She also has to post the legal notices.

Jovanelly joined the school district after working 10 years at the Orleans County Mental Health Department, first as a receptionist for two years and then as secretary to the director for eight years.

She is looking forward to having summers off, and expects to be active in her garden.

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News station in Buffalo highlights how state’s AIM program is grossly unfair to villages

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 February 2018 at 10:15 am

A news station in Buffalo has published a piece on the state’s inequitable AIM program, which grossly favors cities over villages and towns. Click here to see “Short Changed: How a State Aid Program is Generous to Cities, Stingy to Towns and Villages.”

WGRZ on Tuesday focused an investigative report on Aid and Incentives for Municipalities, and how the $714 million in state revenues for municipalities are not distributed on a per capita basis among cities, villages and towns.

WGRZ highlighted the disparity between two neighboring communities in Chautauqua County. In Fredonia, the state gives $89,000 in AIM funding for the 11,000 village residents. Dunkirk, only a few miles away, has 12,000 residents but gets $1.6 million in AIM. Dunkirk happens to be a city.

In Orleans Hub’s nearly five years of existence we have frequently written about the state’s unfair AIM program and how it offers crumbs to villages and towns, while propping up cities. The lack of AIM is one of the main culprits in why the villages in Orleans County have among the highest tax rates in the region.

We don’t begrudge the cities their money. The densely populated areas deserve more AIM because those municipalities bear the brunt of providing so many public services with police, water, sewer, fire protection, streets and other many programs. The villages and cities also have a higher concentration of poor residents, aging housing stock and century-old infrastructure. The cities and villages are centers for civic life with government buildings, schools, churches and other tax-exempt properties.

Villages function as mini-cities but only get a tiny fraction of what a city gets per capita in AIM. Cities get an average of $277 per capita from the state while the towns and villages only get $7 per capita. (Most of the smaller cities get about $100 to $150 per capita with bigger cities getting much more.)

The Village of Albion and its 6,056 residents receives $38,811 in AIM funding. Salamanca in Cattaraugus County is nearly the same size with 5,815 people. Salamanca gets $928,131 in AIM funding. The difference: Salamanca is a city.

The lack of AIM is particularly painful for a county like Orleans, where there are no cities. We don’t get at least one municipality with the resources to offer the park upgrades, well-maintained streets and sidewalks, and other “curb appeal” that attracts residents and businesses. We do what we can on a shoe string, and still have crushing taxes because almost the entire village and town budgets are on the backs of the local taxpayers. In cities, residents only cover a fraction of the budgets because the state aid pays for so many services and programs.

It’s disappointing this clear inequity and structural discrimination against village and town residents doesn’t get mentioned much in the media or by state legislators. It should be a top priority and a frequent call for reform.

We are glad to see WGRZ shined a light on the issue.

We’ve published the following chart many times in recent years. Here it is again. You should feel your blood boil if you live in Orleans County. Equitable AIM is the transformative change we need to help stop the population losses, the shrinking tax assessments and other decline we see in our communities.

City (County) State aid Population Per Capita
Salamanca (Cattaraugus) $928,131 5,815 $159.61
Dunkirk (Chautauqua) $1,575,527 12,563 $125.41
Batavia (Genesee) $1,750,975 15,465 $113.22
Sherrill (Oneida) $372,689 3,071 $121.35
Norwich (Chenango) $1,089,279 7,190 $151.50
Waverliet (Albany) $1,210,193 10,254 $118.02
Cortland (Cortland) $2,018,330 11,183 $180.48
Beacon (Dutchess) $1,537,478 15,541 $98.93
Gloversville (Fulton) $2,302,592 15,665 $146.99
Johnstown (Fulton) $1,388,910 8,743 $158.86
Canandaigua (Ontario) $1,119,304 10,545 $106.15
Geneva (Ontario) $1,942,613 13,261 $146.49
Rensselaer (Rensselaer) $1,137,317 9,392 $121.09
Mechanicville (Saratoga) $662,392 5,196 $127.48
Ogdensburg (St. Lawrence) $1,708,659 11,128 $153.55
Village (County) State aid Population Per Capita
Albion (Orleans) $38,811 6,056 $6.41
Medina (Orleans) $45,523 6,065 $7.51
Holley (Orleans) $17,786 1,811 $9.82
Lyndonville (Orleans) $6,251 838 $7.46
Brockport (Monroe) $110,171 8,366 $13.17
Fredonia (Chautauqua) $89,140 11,230 $7.94
East Aurora (Erie) $50,569 6,236 $8.11
Le Roy (Genesee) $34,391 4,391 $7.83
Geneseo (Livingston) $72,701 8,031 $9.05
Whitesboro (Oneida) $73,012 3,772 $19.36
Cobleskill (Schoharie) $36,461 4,678 $7.79
Massena (St. Lawrence) $132,671 10,936 $12.13
Potsdam (St. Lawrence) $111,864 9,428 $11.87
Bath (Steuben) $103,906 5,786 $17.96
Monticello (Sullivan) $46,903 6,726 $6.97
Newark (Wayne) $65,833 9,145 $7.20

Source: New York State Division of Budget for state aid. Population is from U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 population count. Orleans Hub calculated the per capita numbers.

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Narrow win puts Panthers in B1 final

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 28 February 2018 at 9:34 am

The Niagara-Orleans League will have at least one team in the Section VI boys basketball finals as No. 4 seed Newfane nipped No. 1 Lackawanna 54-53 in a Class B1 semifinal Tuesday evening at Buffalo State Colege.

The Panthers will now face the winner of tonight’s No. 3 Medina vs. No. 2 Olean semi (8:15 p.m. at Buffalo St.) in the B1 championship game at 1:45 p.m. Saturday also at Buffalo St.

Newfane, which held a 10 point, 51-41, lead heading into the final period, survived a late scoring drought to emerge with the narrow one point victory over the Steelers.

Kyle DeVoogel scored 20 and Max Weber 14 to lead Newfane.  A three by Weber with over four minutes to go provided the Panthers only points of the final period and proved to be the game winning shot.

Girls Basketball
No. 10 seed Medina will face No. 11 Dunkirk in the Class B1 semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Kenmore West High School. The victor will face the winner of the No. 5 Fredonia vs. No. 1 Newfane semi in the title contest at noon on Sunday at Buffalo State.

Winter storm could bring 5-10 inches of snow

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 February 2018 at 9:14 am

Jodi Shaffer took this photo of the sunrise this morning on Presbyterian and Long Bridge roads in Knowlesville. “I love living in Western New York!” she said in an email. “It is a wonderful place. I grew up in Western Pennsylvania and we didn’t have the opportunity to see sunrises and sunsets like here. There were too many mountains in the way!”

The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a winter storm watch from Thursday evening to Friday evening, when 5 to 10 inches of snow could fall in Orleans and other Western New York counties.

The Weather Service said difficult travel conditions are possible, including during the morning commute on Friday.

“Gusty winds and wet heavy snow could cause tree branches to fall,” the Weather Service said. “Significant reductions in visibility are possible. Forecast confidence is lower than normal as temperatures will be near the freezing mark and a wide range of snowfall totals remains possible.”

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Purple Eagles and Mustangs will be football division foes once again this fall

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 28 February 2018 at 9:13 am

Last fall long time football rivals Albion and Medina met as non league opponents as the Purple Eagles were in the B2 Division and the Mustangs in the B3 Division.

However, the teams will resume meeting as division foes this coming season as the proposed Section VI Football Federation Aligment has Albion and Medina both in the six team B2 Division along with Depew, Lackawanna, Springville and Olean.

The upcoming season also looks to have the Mustangs fielding a tri-school Medina/Lyndonville/Barker squad pending the expected approval by the Medina and Barker Boards of Education.

In all there are 20 Class B teams in Section VI for the upcoming season. The seven team B1 Division will include Lake Shore, East Aurora/Holland, Pioneer, Iroquois, Cheektowaga, Maryvale and Lew-Port. The seven team B3 Division will include Dunkirk, Fredonia/Brocton, Tonawanda, Newfane, Alden, Burgard and Eden/North Collins.

Roy-Hart, which ended its merger agreement with Barker after this past season, has dropped into Class C. The Rams will be in the C North Division along with Akron, Wilson, Cleve Hill, Gowanda/Pine Valley and Silver Creek/Forestville.