Search Results for: cannon

Medina rededicates cannon from World War I

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 May 2019 at 3:19 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – A wreath was placed on a World War I cannon at State Street Park today when the cannon was rededicated following more than a year of restoration work by Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration, in Altoona, Pa.

Since 1935, the B.L. 60 Pounder British field gun has been the centerpiece of not only the World War I memorial in Medina and also village’s annual Memorial Day observances.

The cannon was removed in March 2018 to Seed Artillery Reproduction & Restoration, where it was completely stripped, disassembled, and rebuilt using newly repaired and remanufactured parts.

The display for the cannon now includes three new flagpoles – one for an American Flag, signifying the soldiers of Medina who served and gave their lives in France during the Great War; one for a British flag, signifying the gun’s heritage; and one for a French flag, signifying the theater of service for the big gun and our local soldiers.

A new granite slant was installed, featuring a refurbished bronze plaque that was originally with the monument in 1935. New lighting to up-light both the cannon and flags also has been installed.

Dan Anderson, left, is commander of the VFW and Glenn Whitmore is commander of the American Legion. They place the wreath on the cannon.

The rare and historic artillery piece was manufactured by the Elswick Ordnance Company, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, in 1916 and saw extensive service on the Western Front during World War I, firing a total of 4,342 rounds in combat action. It weighs six tons and is a 5 inch/127mm caliber gun. There are few left in the world today.

George Bildleman, owner of Orleans Ford, contributed $40,000 to have the cannon restored.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley gives a glance to the refurbished cannon during his remarks today.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley was among the speakers during today’s Memorial Day service and rededication. He also noted this year is the 100th anniversary of the American Legion.

Medina Mayor Mike Sidari also addressed the crowd. He said the community has several memorials for veterans — the historic cannons at Boxwood Cemetery, the tank at Vets Park, the bronze statue and monument outside the former Medina Armory, and Butts Park named for John Butts who was killed in World War I and awarded the Medal of Honor.

The mayor urged the community members, when they are passing by those memorials, to “remember those who fought and died for our freedom to gather and to live in this great nation.”

Sidari thanked Bidleman for the $40,000 donation, and others who contributed to the effort: the Orleans Renaissance Group, the VFW, the American Legion, Village of Medina DPW, Lyons Collision, Automotive Solutions, Orleans Ready Mix Concrete, BarnesMetal Finishing, Brigden Memorials and Anzalone Electric.

Orleans County Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson thanked veterans and their families for their sacrifice and service. That includes 1.1 million soldiers who have died during wartime in the country’s history, and about 2.8 million who have been wounded.

“These numbers should truly humble us, as they represent people – individuals – who were brothers, husbands, mothers, sisters, friends. These were people woven into the fabric of communities across the nation. They were loved. They were mourned. And they were missed.”

She urged the community to befriend veterans who are their neighbors, to visit veterans in nursing homes, and to volunteer as drivers in the van service that takes vets to medical appointments.

“Working together with friends, neighbors, veteran groups and entire communities, we can ensure that the sacrifices made by our nation’s finest and bravest never go unappreciated and that their memories are never forgotten,” Johnson said.

Jim Steele, director of the Medina Marching Band, directs the group in playing, “The Star Spangled Banner.”

The Rev. Lambert Duncan, pastor of the Glad Tidings Baptist Church in Medina, gives the invocation.

Tom Walders plays Taps while local veterans stand at attention.

Return to top

Medina will rededicate WWI cannon on Memorial Day

Photos courtesy of Chris Busch: The newly renovated WWI Memorial in Medina, featuring the fully restored BL 60 Pounder British field gun, will be rededicated at noon on Monday, Memorial Day.

Posted 21 May 2019 at 7:35 am

Press Release, Orleans Renaissance Group

There is new granite and a refurbished bronze plaque for the cannon.

MEDINA – Since 1935, a B.L. 60 Pounder British field gun has been the centerpiece of not only the World War I memorial in Medina, but also of the village’s annual Memorial Day observances.

This year’s observance will be a historic occasion as the British field gun has undergone 14 months of extensive restoration and arrived back home in Medina just a few weeks ago. The local landmark was removed in March 2018 to Seed Artillery Reproduction & Restoration in Altoona, PA, where it was completely stripped, disassembled, and rebuilt using newly repaired and remanufactured parts.

Local benefactor and businessman, George Bidleman, covered the entire cost of the work to the cannon, donating $40,000 for the job. Additional site improvements were made possible through donations to the Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc. Concrete for the project was donated by Orleans Ready Mix LLC. Beauman’s Garage, Inc. of Lockport donated services to hoist the huge cannon onto its new concrete pad.

The rare and historic artillery piece was manufactured by the Elswick Ordnance Company, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, in 1916 and saw extensive service on the Western Front during World War I, firing a total of 4,342 rounds in combat action. It weighs six tons and is a 5 inch/127mm caliber gun. There are few left in the world today.

Three new flagpoles have recently been installed on site – one for an American Flag, signifying the soldiers of Medina who served and gave their lives in France during the Great War; one for a British flag, signifying the gun’s heritage; and one for a French flag, signifying the theater of service for the big gun and our local soldiers.

A new granite slant was installed, featuring a refurbished bronze plaque that was originally with the monument in 1935. New lighting to up-light both the cannon and flags will also be installed before Memorial Day.

The memorial will be re-dedicated as part of special expanded Memorial Day observance at noon in State Street Park, Medina, following the conclusion of the annual parade.

Return to top

Restored WWI cannon gets warm welcome from veterans, Medina community

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 May 2019 at 2:42 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – A World War I cannon is hoisted from a trailer this morning at State Street Park. The cannon returned to Medina following more than a year of restoration work by Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration, in Altoona, Pa.

The B.L. 60 Pounder British field gun was a fixture at State Street Park since 1935. It was hauled away on March 12, 2018 for its restoration work.

These veterans capture the moment of the cannon being lifted from the trailer. They include from left Ken Schaal, Larry Szatkowski and Dave Higgins.

Local veterans gather around the cannon after it was put back at State Street Park this morning.

The cannon was falling apart. Dave Seedenberg of Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration was in Medina this morning to watch the cannon be put back in pace at the local park.

Seedenberg completely stripped and disassembled the cannon, and needed to fabricate some new parts. The big 15,000-pound gun was reassembled and painted with historic accuracy.

“It’s absolutely stunning,” said George Bidleman, owner of Orleans Ford who paid the $40,000 restoration cost. “It’s beautiful.”

Local veterans including Earl Schmidt (left), the County’s Veterans Service Agency director, push the cannon in place.

There are only 10 of the cannons like this remaining, with five in Europe and five in the United States, said Jim Freas, a past commander of the Butts-Clark Post for the American Legion in Medina.

“We have one of them,” Freas said. “It’s priceless.”

The cannon needed a little push to be centered on the concrete pad.

The Orleans Renaissance Group pushed to have the cannon restored. Chris Busch, chairman of the ORG, thought it might take a few years to raise the money. But Bidleman offered to cover the entire cost of the cannon restoration.

The ORG also raised $12,000 for three new flag poles, a new granite slant for a plaque about the cannon, and other site improvements. Orleans Ready Mix also donated the concrete where the cannon is displayed.

The new flag poles will carry flags for the United States, Great Britain and France. The cannon was manufactured in 1916 by Elswick Ordnance Company, Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It was used in battle in France and fired 2,871 rounds during its first tour. It was returned to England in 1917 for repairs and reissued to battery in France, September 1918, firing an additional 1,471 rounds.

George Bidleman, left, is presented a photo of the cannon with local veterans by Glenn Whitmore, commander of the American Legion Post in Medina.

“When George stepped forward we couldn’t believe it,” Whitmore said. “His heart is bigger than he is.”

Bidleman shook hands with each veteran at the park today, thanking them for their service. He said he was happy to help with the restoration of a prominent local landmark.

Whitmore said the cannon will be rededicated during the Memorial Day celebration on May 27. He said it will be a big event, and he welcomed veterans of all eras for the observance, and then an additional celebration at the American Legion, which is marking its 100th anniversary this year.

“It’s something that’s not being taken away because we’re losing so much of our history every day,” Whitmore said about the cannon. “Memorial Day is going to be a big day for this village and county.”

WJW Associates in Syracuse delivered the cannon to Medina this morning. The trucking company picked up the cannon in Altoona on Tuesday and brought it to Salamanca last night, before leaving this morning for Medina.

Jeff Karol of WJW said he got a lot of friendly honks and waves bringing the cannon up on Route 219 to Buffalo and then the Thruway this morning.

George Bidleman, left, watches the cannon be delivered to its spot in front of State Street Park.

Ron Ettinger, left, of Lyons Collision in Medina helps steer the cannon in place while a group of people, including Medina Mayor Mike Sidari (center), help push the cannon back on the concrete pad.

Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration put a small plaque on the cannon noting the restoration efforts were completed this year. The cannon was rusty with rot in spots and was missing chucks that Seed recreated.

Jeff Lyons, left, of Lyons Collision works with John Beauman of Beauman’s Garage in Lockport to remove straps from the cannon. Beaumont’s Garage brought a crane with a rotator to remove the cannon from the trailer.

Return to top

World War One cannon arrives at State Street Park in Medina

Staff Reports Posted 1 May 2019 at 10:21 am

After 14 months of restoration work, the 6-ton British field gun that has been a fixture in Medina since 1935 arrives on a flat bed truck. The cannon will be placed on a new concrete pad today with new flagpoles and lighting.

 

The 6-ton cannon was completely stripped, reassembled and painted. George Bidleman paid the $40,000 restoration cost, with help from the Orleans Renaissance Group and Orleans Ready Mix. The cannon will be ready for this year’s Memorial Day observance on May 27.

Restored WWI cannon coming back to Medina on May 1

Staff Reports Posted 24 April 2019 at 4:09 pm

Provided photos: Parts on the cannon from World War I looks like new after more than a year of restoration work.

MEDINA – A World War I cannon will be going back to Medina on May 1 following 14 months of restoration work.

Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration stripped and disassembled the field gun, and created new parts. The gun was then reassembled and painted with historic accuracy.

The B.L. 60 Pounder British field gun was a fixture at State Street Park since 1935. It was hauled away on March 12, 2018 for its restoration work.

The cannon was falling apart. George Bidleman, owner of Orleans Ford, paid the $40,000 cost to have the cannon restored by Dave Seedenberg of Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration in Altoona, Pa.

The field gun was completely stripped and disassembled, new parts were fabricated, and the gun was reassembled and painted with historic accuracy.

The cannon is expected to arrive back in Medina at State Street Park at 10 a.m. on May 1. The cannon will be placed on a new concrete pad with new flagpoles, lighting, and a new granite slate for the original plaque. Those were paid for with donations through the Orleans Renaissance Group with the concrete donated by Orleans Ready Mix.

The cannon, manufactured in 1916, was fired during World War I. There are few of these cannons left in the world.

Every Memorial Day for about 80 years, the Medina community has gathered by the cannon for the solemn ceremony. The cannon wasn’t there for Memorial Day last year. It will be back for the observance this Memorial Day, May 27.

The cannon is a British Heavy Field Gun known as a B.L. 60 Pounder, manufactured in 1916 by Elswick Ordnance Company, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

It weighs 6 tons, is a 5 inch/127mm caliber, 21 feet in length and 6 feet in width. The gun was originally issued to battery in France, April 1917, and fired 2,871 rounds during its first tour. It was returned to England in 1917 for repairs and reissued to battery in France, September 1918, firing an additional 1,471 rounds.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Veterans watch a World War I cannon be loaded up on a trailer on march 12, 2018. The cannon was taken to Altoona, Pa., the location of Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration. George Bidleman, Orleans Ford owner, is second from right.

Return to top

World War I cannon heads to Pennsylvania for restoration

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 March 2018 at 11:54 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – A cannon from World War I that has been a fixture at State Street Park for about 80 years is leaving Medina for several months. A group of local veterans gathered at the park this morning to watch it be loaded on a flatbed owned by Automotive Solutions.

The cannon, manufactured in 1916, was fired during World War I. The cannon was moved from the front of State Street Park on Friday by the Medina DPW to back of the park so it could more easily be loaded up for a five-hour trip to Altoona, Pa. That is the location of Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration.

“It’s a piece of history,” said Jim Freas, commander of the VFW in Medina.

Steve Johnson is commander of the American Legion in Medina. His grandfather also served in World War I a century ago.

“This cannon is part of our heritage,” Johnson said. “We have to preserve our history.”

George Bidleman, owner of Orleans Ford, is paying $40,000 to have the cannon restored. Bidleman started at Orleans Ford as general manager in 1987. In 2002, he became the owner. He said the cannon is a prominent memorial, a reminder of the sacrifices of veterans.

“They all risked their lives,” he said about veterans.

Bidleman, center, is pictured with local veterans and Eileen Banker, chief of staff for State Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

The cannon was manufactured in 1916 and was fired during World War I. Every Memorial Day for about 80 years, the Medina community has gathered by the cannon for the solemn ceremony.

The cannon, however, has become badly deteriorated and will be restored for $40,000. George Bidleman of Orleans Ford is raising the funds for the project.

The cannon will be stripped down. The parts will be repaired and re-manufactured if necessary. The gun will be primed and painted with epoxy primer and finished to match the original WWI paint scheme.

The Orleans Renaissance Group first pushed for saving the cannon about two years ago. The VFW and American Legion both supported the effort. The ORG raised $12,000 that will be used for site improvements for when the cannon comes back, which could be in time for Veterans’ Day in November.

Local veterans including David Kusmiersczak and Glenn Whitmore watched the cannon be pulled to the road in the park, so it could be put on the truck.

The cannon is a British Heavy Field Gun known as a B.L. 60 Pounder, manufactured in 1916 by Elswick Ordnance Company, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

It weighs 6 tons, is a 5 inch/127mm caliber, 21 feet in length and 6 feet in width. The gun was originally issued to battery in France, April 1917 and fired 2,871 rounds during its first tour. It was returned to England in 1917 for repairs and reissued to battery in France, September 1918, firing an additional 1,471 rounds.

Chris Seefeldt, left, of Automotive Solutions works with owner Shawn Callard, right, to secure the cannon on the truck for the trip to Pennsylvania.

The cannon is strapped down for the trip.

Automotive Solutions heads down State Street with the cannon.

Return to top 

Medina’s WWI cannon at State Street Park heading to Pa. for restoration

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 February 2018 at 9:45 pm

Provided photos: A cannon that was used in World War I about a century ago will be removed from State Street Park in Medina on March 12 and taken for restoration work in Altoona, Pa.

MEDINA – A cannon used in World War I that has been a prominent memorial at State Street Park will get much-needed restoration work beginning next month.

The cannon, manufactured in 1916, was fired during World War I. Every Memorial Day for about 80 years, the Medina community has gathered by the cannon for the solemn ceremony.

The cannon, however, has become badly deteriorated and will be restored for $40,000. George Bidleman of Orleans Ford is raising the funds for the project.

The Orleans Renaissance Group first pushed for saving the cannon about two years ago. The VFW and American Legion both supported the effort.

“She is in dire need of being restored – not just the paint but the whole body,” said David Kusmiersczak, a member of the Legion.

The cannon has become badly deteriorated. It will be refurbished and should last another century.

The cannon will be moved on March 12 and taken to Altoona, Pa. That is the location of Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration.

The cannon will be stripped down. The parts will be repaired and re-manufactured if necessary. The gun will be primed and painted with epoxy primer and finished to match the original WWI paint scheme.

Seed Artillery will try to have the project done in time to be back in Medina for Veterans Day in November, said Steve Johnson, American Legion commander in Medina.

The cannon will return to a concrete base and landscape improvements. The Orleans Renaissance Group also is working to add new flagpoles and an interpretive sign at the site.

The cannon is a British Heavy Field Gun known as a B.L. 60 Pounder, manufactured in 1916 by Elswick Ordnance Company, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

It weighs 6 tons, is a 5 inch/127mm caliber, 21 feet in length and 6 feet in width. The gun was originally issued to battery in France, April 1917 and fired 2,871 rounds during its first tour. It was returned to England in 1917 for repairs and reissued to battery in France, September 1918, firing an additional 1,471 rounds.

Return to top

Albion downtown hosted many holiday activities on Saturday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 December 2020 at 10:37 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Jennifer Mateo of Albion takes a photo of her daughters, Eva and Elise, with Santa and Mrs. Claus in front of a holiday backdrop in Beaver Alley. That spot hosted “Selfies with Santa and Mrs. Claus” as part of Saturday’s Hometown Holiday celebration.

The Albion Merchants Association organized the annual event, which included more outdoor activities due to Covid-19 concerns.

Elise Mateo, left, and sister Eva join Santa and Mrs. Claus for a photo.

Gavin O’Brocta, 7, of Albion writes a letter to Santa inside the Dwontown Browsery. His mother, Laura Lechner, took him to some of the holiday activities.

There was also ornament making, ribbon ornaments, free ice cream, hot cocoa and other fun during the event.

Valerie Rush portrayed Mrs. Claus and handed out ornament kits outside The Back Room and Little Sweet Bakery.

Lori Laine brought a selfie stick to get a photo with Mrs. Claus.

Community members and the Albion Merchants Association lighted the Christmas tree at Waterman Park which is in front of a big mural celebrating the late Charles W. Howard, who started the first Santa Claus School. He ran the school in Albion from 1937 to 1966.

Click here to see a video of the tree-lighting, which included confetti cannons.

Medina Lions Club, DPW get State Street Park ready for holidays

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 25 November 2020 at 6:36 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf

MEDINA – Employees with the village of Medina strung lights on this giant Christmas tree next to the cannon in State Street Park on Tuesday.

The two Department of Public Works employees worked high in their bucket trucks to string Christmas lights in this tree at State Street Park.

Decorating the park for the holidays has been a tradition for Medina Lions for several decades, and this year is no exception.

The Christmas display which extends the full length of State Street Park is an annual tradition in Medina. The manger and Three Wise Men are just part of the extensive display, which Medina Lions put up on Saturday.

Lions’ members spent several hours putting up the decorations, which run almost the entire length of the park and include the Manger scene, Three Wise Men and Advent wreath.

Lion Dean Bellack said this a favorite project of the Lions and members support it wholeheartedly. More than two dozen members showed up to help put up the decorations, he said.

After the holidays, the Lions will remove the decorations and store them away for next year.

Honor Guard, firing squad pay tribute to veterans in Medina

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Veterans from the American Legion and VFW in Medina prepare to conduct services for the first time at the cannon in State Street Park on Veterans Day.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 12 November 2020 at 9:18 am

MEDINA – Honoring veterans has been a tradition for the American Legion and VFW posts in Medina for decades.

Each Veterans Day, several dozen members of the local posts visit all the memorials in Medina, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the American Legion, the Company F Memorial in front of Medina Armory (now the YMCA), the Korean War Memorial on Park Avenue, the tank in front of Oak Orchard Elementary School and the Butts-Clark Memorial in Butts Park on South Main Street.

This is the first year the veterans haven’t visited the veterans’ plot at Boxwood Cemetery. Also, for the first time this year, the veterans fired a tribute at the historic cannon in State Street Park, which was restored a year ago.

The ceremony at each memorial included a reading by David Kusmierczak, playing of Taps by Don Hinman, and a three-gun salute.

Typically, Veterans’ Day would begin with breakfast at the VFW, but because of Covid, that was discontinued this year.

Jim Freas, front, addresses the Honor Guard as they prepare to fire at the Vietnam Memorial at the American Legion in Medina. The Legion and VFW have fired at all the memorials in Medina on every Veterans Day for years.

Dave Kusmierczak salutes after reading a tribute to veterans in front of the Company F Memorial on Wednesday morning.

Don Hinman plays Taps for ceremonies at the veterans’ memorials in Medina on Memorial Day. He plays here at the cannon in State Street Park.

Members of the American Legion and VFW in Medina fire a tribute at the Company F Memorial in front of Medina Armory (Orleans County YMCA) on Wednesday morning.

Return to top

Vietnam War Monument in Medina upgraded with flower bed, sandstone edging

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Six members of the American Legion and VFW in Medina are veterans of the Vietnam War. Posing here with the Vietnam Memorial at the American Legion on North Main Street are, from left, David Higgins, Don Hinman, Jim Freas, David Kusmierczak, David Walker and Tony Vicknair. Walker and a friend, Tom Beach, recent updated the monument with a flower bed and sandstone edging.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 11 November 2020 at 12:18 pm

MEDINA – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial next to the Butts-Clark American Legion Post in Medina has recently undergone an updating, with the addition of a flower bed and sandstone edging.

The work was done by Vietnam veteran David Walker and his friend Tom Beach, who have been friends since before the Vietnam War era.

“When I returned from Vietnam, Tom was the first one to recognize my service,” Walker said.

Walker lives across the road from the American Legion and didn’t like the way the memorial was looking.

“I got tired of sitting on my porch and watching the grass grow up around the monument,” Walker said. “I asked the Legion why they didn’t take better care of it, and they said it belonged to the village.”

The monument consists of a large stone with a plaque of the names of the seven soldiers from Medina who were killed in Vietnam. They are Rolland Shubbuck, who is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Roger Cook, Charles Seefeldt Jr., LeRoy Keller, Nicholas Natale, John Albanese and George Underdown.

“I went to school with all of them except Shubbuck,” Walker said. “I came home alive and intact and these guys didn’t. People don’t realize the brotherhood of those in the military. “

For that reason, Walker wanted to see their memorial taken care of.

The memorial sits at the north end of the Legion on the bank of the Erie Canal. It is backed by a large American flag and bullets from a cannon stand on either side.

Travel Thoughts By Kim

By Kim Pritt, Contributor Posted 13 June 2020 at 3:00 pm

Let’s go on an adventure together….to Hershey and Gettysburg, Pa.!

Sharing an adventure with great friends you don’t get to see very often is a special treat. In October 2017, I met some friends in Hershey, Pa. for a few days – I drove down from Albion and they drove up from Sanford, N.C. I went down a day early because I wanted some time to explore along the way and not feel rushed to get there. It also gave me the pleasure of stumbling on some cool attractions to kill the time until they arrived.

When thinking of the Hershey / Gettysburg area, you typically think of Hershey Park and the battlefield. But there is so much more to see and do, if you have the time. I got there just after dusk, so I got some dinner and settled into a nice little motel in Hershey. The next day, I had several hours before my friends were expected to arrive later in the day, so I got up early and started exploring. I found a great vintage diner in nearby Hummelstown called the “Soda Jerk Diner” for breakfast. I went to Hummelstown looking for a dam that was listed on a local attractions list as a “must see.” I never found the dam … must be a well-kept secret location … but I did find “Indian Echo Caverns” and decided to stop and check it out. It turned out to be a great way to spend an hour or so of my morning. If you like caverns, it is well worth the time to visit and it isn’t far from Hershey.

A crystal lake inside Indian Echo Caverns in Hummelstown, Pa.

After my cavern tour, I headed back to Hershey to see what I could find. I drove by Hershey Park – it was closed for the season (we were there over Halloween weekend), but what I could see of it looked really nice. I’m not a big theme park fan, but it looked like a great place to go, if you are! Near the entrance to the park, I spotted “Zoo America” full of wonderful animals that can be found in North America. Well, I love animals and zoos, so my next stop to kill time was a no-brainer. I spent the next few hours enjoying the lovely little zoo and all of its residents.

My friends arrived from North Carolina late afternoon, so after an adventurous morning, I met up with them at the condo they had booked for us. We heard that a visit to Hershey must include chocolate martinis … we all agreed that sounded scrumptious, so we asked for a recommendation for a restaurant that could deliver on a good dinner and chocolate martinis. We found a great restaurant and had a fantastic meal … and topped it off with the famous chocolate martinis! WOW – they were so good – very potent – but so good! There were several to choose from – I chose one with caramel and my friends chose one with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and one that was with Special Dark Chocolate. We tried each other’s and decided that, while they were all amazing, our favorite by unanimous vote was the Special Dark Chocolate one.
Of course, the trip included a tour of the battlefield at Gettysburg.

A row of cannons on the Gettysburg Battlefield

When we were planning the trip, we debated how we would do the tour. We could save money and drive through ourselves at our leisure, but since none of us had ever been there, we wanted a guided tour so we could learn more about what we were going to see. There are bus tours available, and that was what we were leaning towards doing … until I stumbled on the option of a personal guided tour with a park ranger! I found it on the park’s website – the option to have a licensed park ranger drive your vehicle and give you a personal tour. The cost was a flat fee per vehicle and it ended up being less than the three of us would have paid for our bus tour tickets … so, yeah – that’s what we did! And we were so very glad! If you really want to do Gettysburg right, get a personal guided tour – you get to go somewhat at your leisure (they do have a time schedule, but it is a bit flexible) with photo stops at all the major monuments, impromptu stops as time permits, and the best information, stories, conversation, and answers you can’t possibly get in a large group or on your own. If you’ve never been to Gettysburg, I really recommend you go … it isn’t like any other battlefield or war memorial site. There are so many monuments – one for every state and regiment that participated in the battle, even ones to honor the dogs and horses that lost their lives beside their humans. Some homes and structures are still standing after all these years with cannon and bullet holes in the walls. It really is amazing, overwhelming and emotional.

My favorite photo from the trip – this is one of the key farm houses involved in the Battle of Gettysburg.

After we finished our tour of the battlefield, we went to The Hershey Story Museum. This is a nice little museum that tells the story of Milton Hershey, his very interesting life, and how he brought chocolate to Pennsylvania. It really was quite fascinating. We got our tickets for the museum off Groupon and it included a special chocolate tasting, which is usually an additional charge. At the end of the tour, we sat down for our tastings. Each set had six flights of hot chocolate made from cocoa beans from different places around the world in shot glasses. Each one had a distinctly different taste, and we were instructed to taste them in order – darkest to lightest. My favorite was the one from Java with 33% cocoa and a subtle caramel flavor. There were three of us and our ticket gave us four tastings, so we got to share the fourth for even more delightful deliciousness … and I so wanted even more!!! (hahaha)

Flights of hot chocolate from around the world for a chocolate tasting at the Hershey Story Museum.

Another fun attraction in Hershey is Hershey’s Chocolate World. We were told they had the best gift shop and chocolate shop – they were RIGHT!!! What a place! Candy and candy-related gifts as far as the eye can see. They also had rides and other activities, but we were just there for the shopping.

I like to find little local favorite spots for meals when I’m traveling. We drove past a place that had a big sign saying “Best Food in Town.” We had to stop to see if they were just full of themselves or if it was true … it was true!!! If you’re in Hershey, check out the Parkside Hotel. It’s a small pub-style bar and grill that’s not much to look at, but has really great food, friendly staff, and the locals at the bar made sure to make us feel welcome, too.

So, our trip came to an end and we went our separate ways – I headed back to NY and my friends back to NC. I would have liked to tour the Hershey factory, but sadly they stopped allowing tours back in the 70s. But, you can drive by and see the factory and smoke towers. It is pretty cool – I pulled in there to check it out on my way out of town. All in all, it was a really fun couple of days with good friends and exciting adventures.

If you’d like to see more photos from my Hershey / Gettysburg trip, visit my blog post.

Happy Adventuring,
Kim Pritt

Photos from Memorial Day ceremony in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 May 2020 at 9:46 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Steve Johnson salutes after he presented flowers at State Street Park during a Memorial Day ceremony today at about noon.

It was a smaller service today due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Local veterans insisted on having a service to honor veterans who have served the country.

To see a video of the gun salute and Tom Walders playing Taps at the service, click here.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley reads the names of veterans from the Medina area who have died since last Memorial Day. Jim Freas, one of the organziers of the service, is in back.

That roll includes:

• Donald Durow, Army; Charles Marcinowski, Army; Raymond Callard, Army; Walter Hird, Air Force; Kenneth Schaal, Marines; John Baron, Navy; Charles Sutliff, Navy; Jack Bellack, Army; Leonard Balcerzak, Army; Douglas Birch, Army; Eugene Schwarzott, Navy;

• Steven Sills, Army; Robert Holtz, Air Force; William Ames, Navy; Frank Nicometi, Army; Robert Simpson, Army; David Watts, Army; Curtis Bentley, Army; James Johnson, Marines; Leonard Levandowski; Frederick Grant, Air Force; Peter Hallows; Jake Grehlinger, Army;

• William Brazzell, National Guard; Charles Marcinowski, Army; Roger Seefeldt, Army; William Renouf, Navy; Joseph Nieboer, Navy; Charles Sutliff, Navy; Gordon Tooley, Army; William Arnett, Army;

• Lavern “Bud” Fuller, Army; Eugene Schwarzott, Jr., Navy; Leonard Balcerzak, Army; Curtis Bentley, Air Force; and David Watts, Army.

Bernard Nowak, a former Navy chaplain, shared a prayer during the service. Nowak now serves as the priest for Holy Trinity Parish in Medina and Middleport.

Veterans gather by the World War I cannon at State Street Park. That cannon was refurbished and rededicated at last year’s Memorial Day.

Steve Earl carries the flag for the American Legion from State Street Park to the VFW after today’s Memorial Day service at the park.

Return to top

County Tourism urges residents to visit a military memorial

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 May 2020 at 10:35 pm

New online database lists memorials dedicated to soldiers from Orleans County

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Civil War cannon at Greenwood Cemetery on Route 18 is a memorial for the community’s Civil War veterans.

There won’t be any big parades or official public gatherings in Orleans County on Memorial Day.

Residents can still have a meaningful Memorial Day without a crowd. The Orleans County Tourism Department has created a database of military memorials.

There is a war memorial in all 10 towns in the county. The most remarkable by size and for the number of dead it honors may be the tower at Mount Albion Cemetery, a 68-foot-high sandstone structure that includes the names of 463 county residents killed in the war. The names are in marble slabs inside the tower. That memorial was dedicated in 1876, on the country’s 100th anniversary.

The most recent new memorial is a bronze statue of a soldier that was dedicated on Sept. 7, 2019. That statue honors the soldiers who trained at the former Medina Armory, which is now the Orleans County YMCA.

All of the memorials throughout the county pay homage to sacrifice of soldiers.

“Orleans County’s deepest respect and patriotism is demonstrated in the memorials and monuments scattered throughout the county,” the County Tourism Departments states in a message about the memorials. “Dedicated organizations and individuals have led the efforts to create these monuments in honor of those who served in the Armed Forces and several who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

Click here to see the online site about the local memorials dedicated to soldiers from Orleans County.

This memorial in front of the Albion Middle School is a memorial to Orleans County residents who were killed in action during the Vietnam War. The memorial was dedicated on May 24, 1996.

Return to top

Orleans/Niagara BOCES students will hold signing day as they pursue careers in trades, tech

Posted 26 February 2020 at 8:33 am

Press Release, Rochester Technology & Manufacturing Association and Monroe Community College

MEDINA – “Signing Events” aren’t just for professional athletes anymore. Today high school students from Orleans/Niagara BOCES and their families will gather in Medina at 5:15 p.m. for the second  “Signing Day” for the Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship Program. The students are in the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Class led William Rakonczay.

Modeled after the NFL’s high-energy, suspense-filled Draft Day, the Youth Apprenticeship “Signing Day” will feature an official “Draft Clock,” contract announcements, signings between students and employers, photo ops, team swag, and the first steps to bright careers for these youth.

This unprecedented program, coordinated by the Rochester Technology & Manufacturing Association and Monroe Community College, was launched in Fall 2019 and includes a competitive, multi-phased application and interview process that pairs qualified high school students with local manufacturing companies for related instruction, job shadowing, and paid co-ops.

Developed by the RTMA and MCC, this unparalleled initiative was created to proactively address the increasing need for a well-trained labor supply in the manufacturing sector.

“We are experiencing a resurgence of American Manufacturing in our region and must take bold steps to provide highly skilled workforce to grow manufacturing capacity,” stated Bob Coyne, Workforce Development Director for the RTMA.  “The former days of manufacturing are behind us and we are proud to usher in the next generation of talented students who will help lead the industry to a new era of technology, international competition, and manufacturing distinction.”

Twenty leading manufacturers have stepped forward to serve as Student Sponsors for the inaugural Youth Apprenticeship Program. These companies include: E&R Machine Inc, JT Precision Inc, NAC, Niagara Precision Limited, Pivot Precision, TF Enterprise, Voss, Precision Grinding & Manufacturing, Acro Industries, Inc., Jrlon Engineered Products, JML Optical, Love Beets, OptiPro, Optimax, Kodak, PEKO Precision Products, Micro Instrument Corp., Precise Tooling & Manufacturing, and Cannon Industries.  The Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship Program is supported by funding from RG&E and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.

Return to top