4 from Orleans promoted in New York Army National Guard

Staff Reports Posted 31 May 2023 at 1:01 pm

Four residents of Orleans County have been promoted in the New York Army National Guard. Major General Ray Shields, the Adjutant General for the State of New York, announced the promotions for the following:

  • Walter Adams of Holley and assigned to the 427th Brigade Support Battalion. He received a promotion Jan. 17 to the rank of sergeant.
  • James Bolton of Lyndonville and assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 204th Engineer Battalion. He received a promotion March 3 to the rank of sergeant 1st class.
  • William Kelly of Holley and assigned to the Headquarters and Support Company, 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. he received a promotion March 2 to the rank of master sergeant.
  • Robert Reis of Kent and assigned to the Company D, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment. He received a promotion Jan. 4 to the rank of sergeant 1st class.

Army National Guard promotions are based on a soldier’s overall performance, demonstrated leadership abilities, professionalism and future development potential. These promotions recognize the best qualified soldiers for a career in the New York Army National Guard.

Army National Guard Citizen Soldiers who serve our state and nation are eligible for monthly pay, educational benefits (from the state and federal government), travel across the globe, technical and leadership training, health and dental insurance and contributions towards retirement programs similar to a 401(k).

Roy-Hart’s Colleen Burkett named ‘Outstanding Science Teacher of the Year’ in WNY

Posted 31 May 2023 at 12:53 pm

Press Release, Roy-Hart Central School

Provided photo: from left include Dr. Christopher Patridge (Associate Professor of Chemistry at D’Youville and Western New York American Chemical Society Section Chair), Roy-Hart science teacher Colleen Burkett and Gary Bell, the Roy-Hart High School Principal.

MIDDLEPORT – Royalton-Hartland High School teacher Colleen Burkett was recognized as Outstanding High School Science Teacher of the Year by the Western New York American Chemical Society (WNY ACS).

The ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative scientific information.

“I am honored to be recognized as the Outstanding Science Teacher of the Year by the American Chemical Society,” Burkett said.  “I have been a member of this professional society since college and have seen so many wonderful educators and scientists recognized for their efforts in their field of expertise. I am honored to be included in that list of individuals!”

Burkett received her Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry in 2006 from the College of Wooster.  Following this she joined the University of Arizona’s Surface and Imaging Facilities as a research assistant. She completed her Master’s in 2017 at Arizona and began as a chemistry teacher at Royalton-Hartland High School in January 2018.

Superintendent Jill Heck remembers fondly when Burkett came to work for the district, “She was experienced, knowledgeable and had such a great background in chemistry from her work in the field.  We were fortunate to get her on our staff, and she will continue to be an asset to Roy-Hart Central School District in the future.”

Burkett also teaches both Regents Chemistry and College Chemistry through Niagara County Community College. She has developed a new curriculum through a professional development grant and implemented a modern classroom format often referred to as “Flipped Classroom”, with student-centered self-paced learning.

She has ensured that her students meet academic benchmarks while remaining up-to-date and well-informed on science industry topics and progress.

“The single best thing about being an educator is seeing the ‘lightbulb moment’ for a student,” she said. “It’s the moment that they finally make a connection between something we’re learning and a real-world phenomenon. It’s the moment that they finally grasp a difficult topic we’ve been working on for a while. I know most of my students won’t go on to study chemistry beyond high school, but I love getting kids excited about science in their real lives and I hope they carry this enthusiasm with them into the future.”

Burkett is known for offering support to her fellow teachers at Roy-Hart with her expertise in digital tools and learning management systems. She is very dedicated to her students, colleagues and the community.  Burkett is grateful for the support she receives in return.

“This award also made me incredibly thankful for a supportive administration,” she said. “My principal, Gary Bell, and superintendent, Jill Heck, have given me the freedom to explore new and interesting teaching methodologies in my classroom and we see it paying off dividends in the way my students are motivated to learn! A big thank you to Sarah English from Sweet Home High School, who has been a great mentor over the past five years. It would also be remiss of me to not thank my parents, Thomas and Cynthia Burkett, who were excellent examples of dedicated educators in the Western New York region.”

4 musicals in Orleans receive many awards, recognition by Stars of Tomorrow

Photos by Tom Rivers: Lyndonville's production of The Wizard of Oz included 108 students in the cast, crew and pit orchestra, including 38 in grades 1 to 6 who were Munchkins. Here the munchkins see Sarah Corser as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, who greets (Dorothy) Elizabeth Whipple. Lyndonville's production earned many awards from the Stars of Tomorrow.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 May 2023 at 2:58 pm

Four musicals that were performed in March in Orleans County received many awards and recognition by the Stars of Tomorrow program through the Rochester Broadway Theatre League.

The Stars held its 25th annual awards program last week and 32 schools in the Rochester region were able to perform a selection from their musicals on the RBTL’s Auditorium Theatre, including Albion, Lyndonville and Medina.

Those three schools, plus Holley, all received several recognition awards for their productions.

Lyndonville took home a top honor for “Excellence in Overall Production” for The Wizard of Oz.

Lyndonville and Holley are grouped in schools with population less than 500, while Albion and Medina are with larger schools with more than 500 students.

“I am so proud of our wonderfully talented Lyndonville kids,” said Jen Trupo, the Lyndonville director. “They have worked so hard and made our district proud. Not only that but Orleans County was well-represented in the program this year. It was great for the kids to support their friends in Albion, Medina and Holley. There is so much talent in our county!”

This year was the first in more than a decade where Lyndonville and Medina performed their own musicals. The districts had a shared program based at Lyndonville. Medina brought back its own theater program and performed Little Mermaid.

Seagan Majchrzak starred as Ariel in Medina’s production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. She has been nominated as one of the top 40 leads in the Rochester region and will perform again at the Auditorium Theatre on May 25.

Seagan Majchrak starred as Ariel in that musical. She is one of 40 female or male leads who will compete on May 25 for the chance to represent the Rochester region at a national competition in New York City in June. This is the National High School Musical Theatre Awards.

Annabelle Follman, who was the Cowardly Lion in Wizard of Oz, also is among the 40 to be featured next Thursday at the Auditorium Theatre in Rochester.

Holley for the first time participated in the Stars of Tomorrow program with adjudicators coming to the production to judge Willy Wonka and offer critiques and highlight outstanding performances.

“The committee provides us with a report of what we did well and things to consider for the future – this report will help us each year as we shine brighter and brighter,” said Dustin Gardner, the Holley musical director the past two years.

Gardner was picked for one of four prestigious Impact Awards among the 37 districts in the Stars program.

Gabe Lindsay received a “Tip of the Hat” recognition for his role as Willy Wonka and the Candy Man in Holley’s production of Willy Wonka. Ava Quincey also was recognized for her performance as “Charlie Bucket.”

Holley students also were honored with awards for acting, singing and vocal performances.

“It felt awesome for Holley to be recognized,” Gardner said. “For the students, they put so much hard work into their performances, and they deserved each recognition given.

“For me, I was stunned. They began introducing the winner of the award before announcing the name and I thought in my head, ‘Hey, it sounds like they are talking about me!’ and sure enough, it was. I am incredibly thankful and honored. Did I cry? Possibly.”

Gardner said he wanted the Holley cast and crew to be a part of Stars and attend the show at the Auditorium Theatre to see the other schools.

“There are so many different schools out there that are doing some big things when it comes to the world of musical theater,” Gardner said. “We don’t always get to see those schools and their performances. This was a way to get a mini preview of all of the shows. It is important to celebrate those schools and their performances. The energy in the room was amazing!

The districts in Orleans County in the Stars program and their awards include:

Albion – The Addams Family

Natalie Baron received a “Tip of the Hat” recognition for her performance as the zany “Grandma” in Albion’s performance of The Addams Family.

  • Excellence in student orchestra
  • Excellence in production crew
  • Special Recognition – Samantha Basinait for going above and beyond in the stage crew, including coming in on Saturdays and during February break.
  • Round of Applause (for special involvement or performance) – Julia Button and Chloe Gray who were dance captains.
  • A Tip of the Hat (for outstanding performances and special recognition in non-adjudicated roles) – Samantha Basinait, Flynn Morrison and Lucy Rivers in stage crew; Natalie Baron as “Grandma,” Willem DeRuysscher as “Lurch” and Chloe Gray as “Flapper Ancestor.”

Holley – Willy Wonka

  • Excellence in dance ensemble
  • Excellence in vocal ensemble
  • Excellence in production crew
  • Impact Award (one of four awarded) – Dustin Gardner as director of the Holley musical.
  • Future Star – Addison Bevins, a 7th-grader, who made her debut as Charlie’s friend, Matilda. “Addison’s vocals were a highlight in the show. Due to Addison’s vocal abilities, she was able to positively influence other performers to sing out and confidently.”
  • Special Recognition – Ellie Quincey for taking her character, Violet Beauregarde, to the next level with a southern accent and for being a role model to other cast and crew members.
  • Special Recognition – Gabe Lindsay portrayed the lead role of Willy Wonka, and often brought ideas on how to enhance his character. “He was a leader many could count on.”
  • Round of Applause (for special involvement or performance) – Ava Quincey who starred as “Charlie Bucket,” Owen Schultz who was “Grandpa Joe” and Jayda Shampine who was “Veruca Salt.”
  • A Tip of the Hat (for outstanding performances and special recognition in non-adjudicated roles) – Lance Babcock as “Grandpa George,” Gabriel Lindsay as “Willy Wonka” and Owen Schultz as “Grandpa Joe.”

Lyndonville – The Wizard of Oz

The four leads in the Wizard of Oz include Amir Huzair as the Scarecrow, Noah Fox as the Tinman, Elizabeth Whipple as Dorothy and Annabelle Follman as the Cowardly Lion. Follman was picked as one of the 40 top leads in the Rochester region and will perform again May 25 in Rochester for a chance to go to a national competition next month in New York City.

  • Excellence in overall production
  • Excellence in performance: Lyndonville Amir Huzair as Scarecrow, Annabelle Follman as Cowardly Lion and Elizabeth Whipple as Dorothy
  • Excellence in vocal ensemble
  • Excellence in acting ensemble
  • Excellence in dance ensemble
  • Excellence in student orchestra
  • Future Star – Isabella Bresett, an 8th-grader, was a standout performer in the ensemble with her singing, dancing and acting, and always eager to volunteer when something needed to be done.
  • Future Star – Sarah Corser played the role of Glinda despite being only an 8th-grader. She was one of five in the show who were able to fly with a harness and pulley system. “She challenged herself, took direction well and was fearless with her flying,” the Stars program states.
  • Special Recognition – Kevin Travis, the flight manager who coordinated the five flying members of the cast. He did all of the safety checks to make sure the operators and flying performers were working smoothly. Travis, a senior, has been part of the crew since seventh grade.
  • Special Recognition – Meagan Hardner, who played the Wicked Witch, and was “frighteningly wonderful on stage.” She also was a leader off-stage, helping with many aspects of the show.
  • Round of Applause (for special involvement or performance) – Lorelei Dillenbeck for playing the saxophone in the pit orchestra, Amber Grabowski for “Emerald City Guard” and Amir Zimmerman for “Nikko.”
  • A Tip of the Hat (for outstanding performances and special recognition in non-adjudicated roles) – Meagan Hardner as “Wicked Witch,” Laci Giarla as “Aunt Em/Ensemble,” Fantima Lieberman as “Munchkin Coroner,” Hannah Marker/Hanna Foz as “Crows/Trees” and Amir Zimmerman in the ensemble.

Medina – The Little Mermaid

  • Excellence in performance: Seagan Majchrak as Ariel and Elaina Huntington as Ursula
  • Excellence in student orchestra
  • Excellence in production crew
  • Future Star – Madelyn Elliott performed as Scuttle despite having a dislocated knee. She impressed the director and cast with her talent, work ethic and willingness to push herself.
  • Special Recognition – Bailey Clare for her role as stage manager, helping to organize the cast, crew and props/sets.
  • Special Recognition – Elaina Huntington who played Ursula, the villain in Little Mermaid. “Not only is she incredibly talented, she was also a support and positive role model for her peers.”
  • Round of Applause (for special involvement or performance) – Theresa Biesinger for sound crew, and Bryson Costich and Ella Dahlhaus for stage crew.
  • A Tip of the Hat (for outstanding performances and special recognition in non-adjudicated roles) – Ava Blount as “Flounder,” Elaina Bitsas as “Flotsam,” Bailey Clare as stage manager, Madelyn Elliott as “Scuttle” and Lilian Wilson as “Jetsam.”

Several students at Orleans/Niagara BOCES win at New York State SkillsUSA competition

Photos courtesy of Orleans/Niagara BOCES: These students won gold in the Cosmetology Quiz Bowl – Kortney Schwartz (Royalton-Hartland), Taylor Frentz (Medina), Olivia Kroening (Medina), Sara Smith (Medina) and Madelyn Breeze (Lockport). Anthony Cercone of Lockport won first place in CNC Milling.

Posted 3 May 2023 at 3:18 pm

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

The Orleans and Niagara Career and Technical Education Centers would like to take this opportunity to recognize the winners of the SkillsUSA State competition.

Electronics: Electricity/Electronics teacher Bill Leggett with Austin Gardner of Lyndonville, left, and Zach Luick of Lockport.

Congratulations to all our competitors and we are looking forward to seeing what our first place winners will do at the National SkillUSA competition in Atlanta next month.

Tech winners at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center on Shelby Basin Road in Medina include:

  • Gold – Arie Decker of Roy-Hart, Health Occupations Technician program, for Health Occupations Professional Portfolio
  • Gold – Nathaniel Wolf of Roy-Hart, Computer Tech program, for Internet of Things competition
  • Gold – Anthony Cercone of Lockport, Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, for CNC Milling
  • Gold – Zachary Luick of Lockport, Electronics, for Electronic Technology
  • Gold – Taylor Frentz of Medina, Maddie Breeze of Lockport, Sarah Smith of Medina, Kortney Schwartz of Roy-Hart and Olivia Kroening of Medina, Cosmetology, for the Cosmetology quiz bowl
  • Gold – Lydia Samson of Barker, Allied Health program for basic health care
  • Silver – Caleb Joseph of Newfane, Computer Technology, for Technical Computer Applications
  • Silver – Austin Gardner of Lyndonville, Electronics, for Electronics Technology
  • Silver – Mia Albone of Medina, Early Childhood program, for Early Childhood Education
  • Silver – Tyler Halifax of Lockport, Computer Technology, for Information Technology competition
  • Bronze – Anthony Marullo of Lockport, Building Trades, for plumbing competition
  • Bronze – Ian Jones of Lockport and J Reynolds of HGL, Computer Technology program, for web design and development
  • Bronze – Jayden Swygert of Roy-Hart, Cosmetology, for barbering
  • Bronze – Miya Goodale of Barker, Health Occupations Technician program for first aid/CPR
  • Bronze – Jayden Colleta of Roy-Hart, Vincent Molisani of Albion, Tyler Chraston of Roy-Hart, Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering program, for automated manufacturing technology

Anthony Cercone of Lockport won first place in CNC Milling.

GCC’s Kristen Schuth honored for excellence in leading athletic program

Posted 28 April 2023 at 7:49 am

Since 2013 GCC has won two national championships, 12 regional titles and 17 conference titles

Press Release, Genesee Community College

BATAVIA – Genesee Community College is thrilled to announce that Kristen Schuth has been awarded the NJCAA 2023 George Killian Award of Excellence.

Kristen Schuth

Schuth, who serves as the Assistant Vice President of Student Engagement and Inclusion and Director of Athletics at GCC, has been recognized for her outstanding commitment to voluntarism, achievement, service, leadership, and excellence.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to receive the NJCAA 2023 George Killian Award of Excellence,” she said. “This award represents the values that I strive to embody every day – voluntarism, achievement, service, leadership, and excellence. I share this recognition with the outstanding coaches, staff, and student-athletes at Genesee Community College who have worked tirelessly to achieve success on and off the field.”

Schuth has been a driving force behind GCC’s athletic programs since she was named Director of Athletics in 2013. Under her leadership, the college has achieved incredible success on the field, capturing two national championships, 12 regional titles, and 17 conference titles. The athletic department has produced numerous All-Americans and academic award winners, a testament to Schuth’s dedication to both athletics and academics.

Beyond her contributions to GCC, she has also become involved at the regional and national levels, serving as the NJCAA Region 3 Women’s Director and NJCAA Region 3 Board of Regents member. She chairs several NJCAA Division III committees and has played a crucial role in hosting several regional and national championship events at GCC.

The George E. Killian Award of Excellence is a prestigious honor within the NJCAA, and Schuth’s selection is a testament to her outstanding contributions to the association and the college community. We congratulate Kristen on this well-deserved recognition and look forward to her continued leadership and success at Genesee Community College.

14 students, 2 adults to be honored at youth recognition banquet on June 1

Posted 25 April 2023 at 9:47 am

Press Release, Orleans County Youth Board

LYNDONVILLE – The Orleans County Youth Board will sponsor its 41st annual Youth Recognition Dinner at White Birch Golf Couse in Lyndonville on June 1.

Fourteen young people will be honored for their commitment to community service and/or their impressive role in their family. Additionally, the dinner will recognize an Adult Youth Worker and an Adult Youth Volunteer. During the banquet, the board members will also include a remembrance of Jonathan Doherty, who was one of Orleans County’s most active volunteers.

The following young people will be recognized for their outstanding service in the community and/or family:  Nicholas Andrews, Natalie Baron, Samantha Basinait, Hunter Conner, Amari Jones, Matthew Miner, Tyler Moore, Trenton Muck, Casey Onisk, Jax Richards-Dyson, Ava Quincey, Elise Quincey, David Vanderwalker and Abigail Worsley.

Vivian Neroni is receiving the Adult Youth Worker Award from her position as a Social Worker at the Orleans County Department of Social Services.  Vivian goes above and beyond her job requirements to do whatever she can for her youth and their families.

Alice Mathes is receiving the Adult Youth Volunteer Award for her extensive time spent leading the Adventurers 4H club and 4H events with Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Registration and refreshments will begin at 6 p.m. The program and dinner will commence at 6:30 p.m. Seating is limited. If you are interested in attending the banquet, contact the Orleans County Youth Bureau at (585) 344-3960 no later than May 12.

Albion 3rd-grader Gianna Hyde wins Tops essay contest

Posted 19 April 2023 at 4:18 pm

Press Release, Albion Central School

Gianna Hyde

ALBION – Third-grader Gianna Hyde loves to write. During a school break, her mom noticed an ad for the Tops Friendly Market Black History Month essay contest. Hyde got to work, ultimately winning the competition, resulting in a $50 gift card for herself and $100 donation for the school district.

The third annual essay contest held by Tops asks students in grades 3-8 to write about an African American that inspires them. Hyde researched Harriet Tubman but then thought about Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin.

“I learned that he got hit in the heart and then his heart stopped,” explained Hyde. “But then they brought him back to life.”

Hyde found Hamlin’s recovery inspiring, but also admired his work away from the football field.

“He has a charity for kids, Chasing M’s Foundation, and if he wasn’t playing football he would do stuff for his neighborhood and all these kids,” she said.

As Hyde wrote in her essay, “Damar wrote this inspiring question in front of the doctors: ‘Who Won The Game?’ he wrote. That showed the world that he cares more about other people than himself.”

Winning the contest was a great surprise for Hyde and she said it made her feel really happy. The personal gift card was a bonus, but she mostly cared about having the opportunity to write and to win money for her school.

It is evident that the nine-year-old Albion student and the professional football player share something in common: both have the selfless intent to bring joy to others.

Hyde added about her essay, “Maybe he could read it sometime. He’s alive, it would probably make him feel happy.”

Local realtors honored by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Provided photo: Mandy Gotham, left, and her brother Mark Zambito pose in Las Vegas, where they attended the annual sales convention of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Fourteen agents with Zambito Realtors were recognized

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 5 April 2023 at 7:47 am

Fourteen agents with Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices Zambito Realtors and Western New York Properties have been named among the best in the international network for 2022 at the company’s annual sales convention in Las Vegas.

Individuals receiving awards include Cynthia Petkus-Barna, Deborah Carpenter, Tammy Fearby, Brian and Sichel Cignarale, James Soliday, Diane Ziehl, Renee Schuner, Michael Manning, Michael Bartlett, Nathan Fox and Mandy Gotham, as well as the ownership.

The awards recognized the network’s top 18, 12 and 6 percent of sales professionals who exemplified great sales measures in closed GCI (gross commission income) or closed units during the past year.

Real estate professionals from across the globe attended the annual business conference to network, educate and celebrate the success of the network, said Mark Zambito, broker/owner with Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices Zambito Realtors and Western New York Properties.

Also attending the conference was Zambito’s sister Mandy Gotham, who runs the Orchard Park office.

“We applaud these amazing individuals for earning these awards among more than 50,000 agents worldwide in a very challenging market that was 2022,” Zambito said. “It is a remarkable achievement and is a testament to their dedication to the industry. Their knowledge, strong work ethic and natural leadership culminates their service to the local market. We strive to provide the best possible real estate experience for all of our clients, and these agents went above and beyond.”

Zambito Realtors entered the real estate industry in 2007 and joined Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices in February 2021. Since that time it has earned a host of honors, including Top Office in the region for 2022.

The global real estate brokerage franchise of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is boldly focused on building a personally connected future through relationship-driven business, with best-in-class leadership, mentorships. Business tools and a worldwide network that’s committed to making a lasting impact through lifelong relationships, Zambito said.

More information on the company can be found on their website at

Mark’s mother Rita Zambito started selling real estate 25 years ago, earning her real estate broker’s license one year later. In 2007 she decided it was time to go on her own with Mark and opened Zambito Realtors on Main Street in Medina with just four agents.

Since that time, the business has grown substantially, and today, consists of four offices in Western New York with more than 50 agents.

“We are family owned and have experience in selling all types of property,” Mark Zambito said. “Whether it be residential, waterfront, multi-family, commercial or foreclose properties, whatever your real estate needs, we have a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices realtor available to help find what you’re looking for. “

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Zambito Realtors has offices in Medina, Batavia, Lockport and Orchard Park.

Velocitii in Medina named a ‘top workplace’ in the Rochester region

Posted 27 March 2023 at 12:13 pm

Press Release, Velocitii

Provided photo: Heather Smith is CEO of Velocitii, which is based in the Olde Pickle Factory on Park Avenue in Medina. The company was founded in 2014 by Roger Hungerford.

MEDINA – Velocitii LLC, a business process outsourcing company, has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2023 award by The Rochester Top Workplaces. Velocitii is one of 79 companies in the Rochester region to receive the honor.

This award recognizes the company’s commitment to fostering a culture of excellence, employee development, and engagement.

Velocitii’s win is a testament to the company’s strong focus on its employees. The company has implemented several initiatives to improve its workplace culture, including its Future Leaders Development Program, monthly town hall meetings, pay-for-performance structure, employee appreciation days and a generous holiday bonus system.

Additionally, Velocitii implemented Yammer, an internal social network, to keep employees connected and engaged, even while working remotely.

“We are thrilled to be recognized as a top workplace in our region!” said Heather Smith, CEO of Velocitii. “At Velocitii, we believe that culture is the secret ingredient to success as a company. Employees who feel valued and rewarded provide exceptional service to our customers and that is a win-win. I want to personally thank all of our employees for continuing to provide input and suggestions that help Velocitii be an employer of choice. This award would not have been possible without open communication and mutual trust”

This prestigious award serves as a testament to the company’s commitment to its employees, and underscores the fact that a strong focus on employee satisfaction and fulfillment is key to achieving long-term success in the highly competitive BPO industry.

Velocitii’s ability to foster a workplace environment that promotes growth, innovation, and collaboration has positioned it as an employer of choice, that is well-poised to continue its growth and success in the years to come.

Editor’s Note: Velocitii, as a business process outsourcing company, provides support for other businesses, handling calls for customers about plans, billing and troubleshooting. Velocitii works with companies in healthcare, waste management, hospitality, e-commerce, auto insurance and technology.

Orleans/Niagara BOCES celebrates 9 new LPN grads

Provided photo: Pictured from left in front include Katie Dunning, Lauren Wiley, Tikera Ralands and Nina D'Arcangelo. Back row includes teacher Debra Dittmer, RN, Arianna Chiappone, Danielle Walker, Brennen O'Connor, Ashleigh Brownlee, Emily Koerner and teacher Roxanne Burke-Smith, RN.

Posted 14 March 2023 at 4:36 pm

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

LOCKPORT – At a ceremony on March 8, Orleans/Niagara BOCES celebrated the accomplishments of Ashleigh Brownlee, Arianna Chiappone, Nina D’Arcangelo, Katie Dunning, Emily Koerner, Brennen O’Connor, Tikera Ralands, Danielle Walker and Lauren Wiley.

The nine adult learners graduated from the Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) program at the Lockport Community Education Center.

Health Sciences Coordinator Diana Petrizzo, RN had this to say about the rigorous 13-month program and its graduates.

“This program requires much focus, dedication and commitment,” she said. “These graduates chose to enter the nursing profession at a critical, much needed time…a global pandemic. While many were isolating from others, they chose to reach out, to help others. Some of them were already health care workers and witnessed so many leaving the field, but instead of leaving, they stepped up and asked, ‘What more can I do?’”

The graduates thanked their instructors Debra Dittmer, RN, Roxanne Burke-Smith, RN, Diane Stauder, RN, Nicole Zglinicki, RN and Haley Alfieri, RN along with the support staff that helped them get through the program.

“When I reflect on this class, the thing that immediately comes to mind is teamwork,” Petrizzo said. “They all wanted to see each other succeed and they provided support to each other along the way. This class displayed amazing perseverance, tenacity, commitment and leadership skills.”

For more information on the Spring LPN programs offered at the Lockport Community Education Center and the Niagara Falls Workforce Training Center, go to the Orleans/Niagara BOCES website under Education and Programs (Adult/Continuing Education).

Medina volunteer with New York Guard state defense force recognized for service

Staff Reports Posted 1 March 2023 at 8:00 am

Spc. Samuel Maryjanowski of Medina serving with the 10th Area Command, received the New York Guard Achievement Award, NYS Lifetime Service Award and the New York Pandemic Response Service Ribbon during recent unit training events between December 2022 and February 2023.

The New York Guard is a force of 500 uniformed volunteers, organized as a military unit, who augment the New York National Guard during state emergencies. They provide administrative and logistics support to the National Guard.

Members of the New York Guard supported flood control efforts along the Lake Ontario shoreline in 2019 and 2020 and have been part of the statewide Covid-19 pandemic response since March 2020.

Unlike members of the New York National Guard, New York Guard members do not have a federal military role and do not deploy outside the state. New York Guard members usually train in a volunteer status and are only paid when they are placed on state duty during emergencies.

People who have served in the military can serve in the New York Guard up until age 68. Those who have never served in the military must be between age 18 and age 55 to join.

Candace Pitts named Job Corps employee of the year

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 25 February 2023 at 8:58 am

Provided photo: Candace Pitts holds her award as employee of the year.

MEDINA – Iroquois Job Corps has recognized a dedicated employee for her ongoing efforts toward guiding students throughout their journey at the Job Corps center in the Town of Shelby.

Candace Pitts was recently named the Job Corps “Employee of the Year” for 2022.

Her honor is a result of selflessly altering her work schedule to help with getting students to and from their work-based learning jobs, according to Jen Barr, senior administrative assistant at Job Corps.

Pitts has gone above and beyond to make connections with communities for partnerships for the work-based learning program, Barr said.

“Ms. Pitts often has lines of students waiting for her outside her door and she makes time to talk to each one individually to address all of their questions or concerns,” Barr said. “The results she has achieved are impressive. We are grateful to have her as our compassionate and caring teammate who is always willing to go above and beyond.”

Medina native honored with prestigious Wolf Prize in Chemistry

Posted 9 February 2023 at 3:20 pm

Press Release, Scripps Research

Dr. Jeffery Kelly, a 1978 Medina graduate, won a prestigious award for his work in chemistry. (Photo from Scripps Research)

LA JOLLA, CA — Jeffery Kelly, PhD, the Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Chemistry at Scripps Research, has been awarded the distinguished 2023 Wolf Prize in Chemistry.

The honor recognizes Kelly’s research developing therapeutic strategies that amend misfolded proteins that toxically aggregate in the body—a hallmark of many severe diseases, including Alzheimer’s.

Kelly shares this award with Chuan He, PhD, University of Chicago, and Hiroaki Suga, PhD, University of Tokyo, for “pioneering discoveries that illuminate the functions and pathological dysfunctions of RNA and proteins and for creating strategies to harness the capabilities of these biopolymers in new ways to ameliorate human diseases.”

“Receiving the Wolf Prize was a genuine surprise and is an immense privilege, especially considering all the incredible scientists who could have been chosen and who have been chosen before me,” Kelly says. “I am grateful to the remarkable scientists who selected me for this award, to numerous gifted trainees in my laboratory for their creative experimental contributions, and to my Scripps Research colleagues for cultivating the discovery culture that has made me a better scientist.”

In the award citation, the Wolf Foundation highlighted Kelly’s work in “developing a new and clinically impactful strategy to ameliorate disease caused by pathological protein aggregation.” Kelly has had a significant impact in understanding how proteins fold, misfold and aggregate in toxic quantities in the blood, the foundation noted, which leads to a host of severe diseases affecting both the cardiovascular and nervous systems.

With these key insights, Kelly and his lab have focused on translating their discoveries into therapies that can help alleviate these conditions. This includes the FDA-approved drug tafamidis (Vyndaqel® and Vyndamax®): a treatment that slows the progression of familial amyloid polyneuropathy (a neurodegenerative disease), and familial and sporadic TTR cardiomyopathy disease (a condition that ultimately causes heart failure).

“Kelly’s foundational research into protein folding homeostasis and novel therapeutic discoveries have made a global impact, which this award helps showcase,” said Peter Schultz, PhD, Scripps Family Chair Professor and President and CEO of Scripps Research. “His pioneering, multifaceted work—which is at the intersection of chemistry, biology and biophysics—has not only transformed the scientific world, but more importantly, has shaped the lives of countless patients.”

Kelly has won numerous additional awards and honors for his groundbreaking research in protein folding mechanics and multi-disciplinary therapeutic strategies. This includes the 2022 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the 2021 Royal Society Robert Robinson Award in Synthetic Organic Chemistry–SuFEx team, the Edward E. Smissman Award from the American Chemical Society and the 2016 American Institute of Chemists Chemical Pioneer Award, among many others.

Kelly earned his PhD in organic chemistry at the University of North Carolina and went on to Rockefeller University for postdoctoral work. He also graduated from Fredonia in 1982. He joined Scripps Research in 1997 and served as dean of the Skaggs Graduate School of Chemical and Biological Sciences from 2000 to 2008.

“I thank the Wolf Foundation for celebrating humankind’s quest for basic scientific knowledge and for creating an awareness in young people through this award that pursuing fundamental knowledge is fun and wholesomely addictive,” Kelly said.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Kelly is a 1978 graduate of Medina High School. He is the son of Janice Kelly-Mack and the late John W. Kelly. He heads The Kelly Laboratory at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. He was recognized in 2003 in the inaugural group of distinguished alumni at Medina High School.

6 from Orleans earn dean’s list honors at Alfred State

Staff Reports Posted 9 January 2023 at 1:17 pm

ALFRED – Six students from Orleans County were among the 901 Alfred State College students who earned dean’s list honors for their academic success during the fall 2022 semester.

The students from Orleans County include:

  • Jayce Ashton of Albion, a Note Dame High School graduate in Batavia
  • Julia Buck, Holley Senior High School
  • Ethan Kuhn, Kendall Jr-Sr High School
  • Reagan London, Lyndonville Central School
  • Joshua Smith, Kendall Jr-Sr High School
  • Jacob Thom, Albion Senior High School

Students must have completed at least 12 credit hours for the semester and earned a 3.5 grade point average out of a possible 4.0, to qualify for the dean’s list.

Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Craig Clark, PhD is pleased to see the success. “Our students are learning real world skills through our hands-on approach. Congratulations to all that have achieved this academic success and I encourage them to continue to excel in our classrooms and labs.”

Patrick Fitzsimmons, an Albion native, named partner at Hodgson Russ LLP

Posted 21 December 2022 at 3:50 pm

Press Release, Hodgson Russ LLP

Patrick Fitzsimmons

BUFFALO – Patrick E. Fitzsimmons, an Albion native, has been named a partner at Hodgson Russ LLP, effective January 1, 2023, the Buffalo firm announced.

Fitzsimmons is a litigation and cybersecurity attorney at Hodgson Russ and focuses his practice on white-collar criminal defense, privacy, and data security matters.

As a criminal defense lawyer, he represents individuals and companies facing criminal investigations and charges. In his privacy and data security practice, Fitzsimmons regularly counsels clients under an array of international, federal, and state privacy and data security laws.

He also assists clients in managing ransomware attacks and other data breaches and advises clients on breach notification obligations. Fitzsimmons currently serves on the Firm’s Security Committee.

A graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Law, Fitzsimmons served as an assistant district attorney in the Erie County District Attorney’s Office before joining Hodgson Russ.

Hodgson Russ attorneys facilitate business transactions around the world. As a full service law firm, Hodgson Russ utilizes multidisciplinary work teams to meet clients’ specific, often complex needs. Clients include public and privately held businesses, governmental entities, nonprofit institutions, and individuals. Hodgson Russ has offices in Albany, Buffalo, Greensboro, Hackensack, New York, Palm Beach, Rochester, Saratoga Springs and Toronto.