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Orleans Hub’s ‘Outstanding Citizens’ recognized for community service

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 February 2019 at 10:11 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Orleans Hub’s “Outstanding Citizens” for 2018 were recognized during an awards program on Wednesday evening at Hoag Library. Pictured, front row, Pete Sidari (accepting for Tony and Laura Sidari), Penny Cole, Melissa Ostrom and Tami Ashton. Back row: Leonel Rosario, Deborah and Samuel Wilson (accepting for the late Chris Wilson), Michael Hungerford, Jak Kohmann and Brett Sobieraski.

ALBION – Orleans Hub held its annual awards program on Wednesday evening at Hoag Library and recognized our choices for “Outstanding Citizens” for 2018.

Each year since the Hub started, we’ve highlighted people who made a big impact in the community.

The following were recognized:

Leonel Rosario has worked with his family to create a popular Mexican restaurant on Maple Ridge Road in Medina. Mariachi de Oro Restaurant of Medina draws people from all over Western New York, and has received many glowing reviews in The Buffalo News and other publications.

Rosario is busy as the chef and co-owner of the business. He finds time for many community events, welcoming the chance to share food and dances about the Mexican culture.

This year on Nov. 1 he helped organize a Day of the Dead celebration, which for the first time was in downtown Medina. Rosario previously hosted a scaled-down version of the Day of the Dead at Mariachi. Moving it to the downtown was a way to include Main Street businesses and have more room to share food and the festive dances.

Rosario also is active in the very popular Farm-To-Table dinner in downtown Medina. Rosario has worked with Michael Zambito of Zambistros the past two years with the fine dining experience. This year it was expanded to include Mile 303, Sourced Market & Eatery and The Shirt Factory Cafe. Rosario is generous with his time and can be counted on to enthusiastically join with others for community events.

Brett Sobieraski, a Kent resident and sergeant with the Rochester Police Department, ran over 175 miles for 50 hours nonstop to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics.

Sobieraski started his journey in Buffalo on July 13 and ran along the Erie Canal to just outside Syracuse. He ran through Orleans County the first night of the challenge. He called it the 50 for 50 running campaign to signify 50 hours of running for the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics.

Sobieraski set a $10,000 fundraising goal and topped that with $13,000. He was joined by many first responders for parts of the run, and finished the last leg carrying a torch alongside people with disabilities.

Tony and Laura Sidari, Albion natives, suffered the tragic loss of their son Leon, 4 1/2, on Christmas Day in 2017. Leon died two days after getting the flu. He was a very healthy and happy boy.

The Sidaris are both medical doctors. They have become very outspoken in urging people to get flu vaccinations. Leon hadn’t been vaccinated from the flu last year. At an Oct. 8 flu shot clinic in Albion, 59 children were vaccinated at Orleans Community Health. That clinic was made possible through Leon’s Fund, a non-profit organization the Sidaris helped form that promotes flu shots. Leon’s Fund also has money to be given to help children with medical problems at Christmas time.

Orleans Community Health also has educated about 2,500 parents in Orleans County, encouraging them to have their children vaccinated from the flu.

The Sidaris were living in San Antonio for six years before moving recently to Dayton, Ohio. Tony’s uncle Pete Sidari accepted the award on their behalf on Wednesday.

Mark Bennett Sr., 60, of Waterport was driving by the Gaines Valley Aviation Airport on Route 279 when he saw a small experimental helicopter in the sky. It was about 2 p.m. on April 24.

Bennett pulled over to watch the aircraft. Something went horribly wrong with the Mosquito XE and it crashed. Bennett reacted quickly. He climbed through an electric fence and ran to the crash site. The aircraft had burst into flames. The pilot was on fire. Bennett cut Heard’s shirt off, rolled him over to put out the flames and pulled him from the wreck, saving his life.

Bennett declined the award, saying anyone would have sprung into action.

Michael Hungerford led a major art installation project last year at the former Medina High School. The former school on Catherine Street was sitting empty most of the year. The school will be renovated into apartments.

While the building was idle, Hungerford pushed for it to be used for a major immersive art project. For one weekend in October about 1,000 people went through the building to see 29 different art projects in what was called “PLAY/GROUND.”

Artists were given free rein to create in old classrooms, stairwells, hallways and other space in the school. The project received gushing reviews in Rochester and Buffalo.

Photo courtesy of Melissa Ierlan: Orleans Hub editor Tom Rivers presents an “Outstanding Citizen” award to Jak Kohmann, a Boy Scout leader in Clarendon.

Jak Kohmann has set a standard of excellence for Troop 59 in Clarendon. In the past 16 years, 32 of the Boy Scouts in the troop have earned their Eagle rank, the highest level in Scouting. On Aug. 1 last year, six Scouts were presented with the rank during a Court of Honor celebration. They include Xander Apicella, Matt DeSimone, Dalton Thurley, William Harrington, Jake DeSimone and Ben Downey.

Kohmann was praised by the Scouts and parents for his commitment and guidance to the Scouts, especially since his son aged out of the program about a decade ago. His son Derek Kohmann, 27, was the third of the 32 scouts to earn his Eagle.

Penny Cole is a dynamic presence at Holley’s Junior-Senior High School. She works as a secretary in the guidance department. She also is a dedicated cheerleading coach in Holley. She inspires her cheerleaders to perform their intricate and athletic routines. They have won several Genesee-Region League titles. The cheerleaders also do many community service projects, including visits to local nursing homes.

Cole has become a passionate fund-raiser for the Ronald McDonald House. She engages the entire school community in her fund-raising efforts, whether it be a charity basketball game with numerous gift baskets, or a the chance to buy a shingle on a doll house.

The basketball game last year raised $4,444, by far the most in the 12 years Holley has been raising money for the Ronald McDonald House.

The Ronald McDonald House provides a place for families to stay while their children are hospitalized. Cole said several Holley students have battled cancer in recent years, including a student this year who is fighting leukemia.

Melissa Ostrom of Holley wrote a book published by Macmillan in 2018 that honors the courage and resourcefulness of pioneer settlers in Orleans County and Western New York. In The Beloved Wild, Ostrom brings life to pioneer characters. The pioneers were typically just teen-agers when they set out from New England to brave a hard journey by wagon, through dense forests, to get to Orleans County and Western New York.

There wasn’t a map. The pioneers followed markings on trees as they made their way west. The pioneer settlers were incredibly resourceful in taming the land, building homes and farms in the frontier. The obstacles were many – sickness, uninvited strangers, alcoholism, abuse.

Ostrom, a former Kendall high school English teacher, writes about those challenges and the indomitable spirit of pioneer settlers.

Tami Ashton of Medina knows the pain of losing a loved one to addiction. Her daughter, Christina Ashton, died from a drug overdose on June 27, 2016, at age 34.

Ashton has shared her story publicly, trying to break the stigma of addiction. She also has been an important leader of Orleans – Recovery Hope Begins Here, a new organization that connects people struggling with drug addiction to local resources and mentors. Ashton is vice president of the organization.

The group has also led community forums about addiction and helped families in crisis connect to professionals.Orleans – Recovery Hope Begins Here also has 12 trained mentors and counting to serve as recovery coaches for people with addictions.

Ashton is a trained to be an addiction recovery coach for the Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. She encourages people to be honest about the drug crisis in their own lives, their families and communities – and to then seek help in fighting the addictions.

Chris Wilson was dedicated to peace and serving children from war-torn countries. He passed away on May 28 after a brief battle with a rare form of cancer.

Wilson traveled to Afghanistan many times, and worked with the U.S. and Afghanistan embassies so children who were made orphans by war could come to Orleans County for a summer of respite and fun.

Wilson served as international director of Project Life, which over 20 years brought about 130 children to Orleans County for a summer of recuperation. The children stayed with local host families, including with Wilson and his wife Deborah and their son Samuel. The kids learned English, visited many tourism sites, and mostly had care-free summer days. Three of the children had medical issues and needed to stay longer. Wilson worked out medical plans for each of them, arranging for their care and donations.

Wilson was a high-energy and compassionate person, who wouldn’t be discouraged even when the task seemed insurmountable. He was diagnosed with a rare cancer in April. From his hospital bed he sent emails from his laptop, advocating for children.

His wife and son accepted the award on his behalf on Wednesday.

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Several from Orleans make Dean’s List at RIT

Staff Reports Posted 14 February 2019 at 9:27 pm

ROCHESTER – Several students from Orleans County made the Dean’s List at Rochester Institute of Technology for the 2018 Fall Semester.

Degree-seeking undergraduate students are eligible for Dean’s List if their term GPA is greater than or equal to 3.400 for at least 12 credit hours.

ALBION – Roland Sanford, who is in the computational mathematics program; Ricky Daniels, who is in the chemical engineering program, Hannah Sones, who is in the industrial engineering program; Madeline Gibbs, who is in the dietetics and nutrition program; Amber Smarpat, who is in the illustration program; and Nicholas Ettinger, who is in the electrical engineer technology program.

HOLLEY – Ganna Yaroshchuk, who is in the diagnostic medical sonography program; Isaac Barrett, who is in the software engineering program; Gillian Gallets, who is in the industrial design program, Anne Jewell, who is in the diagnostic medical sonography program; Traci Westcott, who is in the photographic and imaging arts program; and Brady Smith, who is in the civil engineering technology program.

LYNDONVILLE – Jessica Smith, who is in the film and animation program.

MEDINA – Carson Zgoda, who is in the medical illustration program; Stella Russo, who is in the physician assistant program; and Toby Kiebala, who is in the mechanical engineering program.

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GCC recognizes students from Orleans on President’s and Dean’s lists

Staff Reports Posted 5 February 2019 at 10:12 pm

President’s List

Genesee Community College has named the following students from Orleans County to the President’s List. Students honored on the President’s List have maintained full-time enrollment and earned a quality point index of 3.75 (roughly equivalent to an A) or better.

ALBION – Nicholas Johnson, Kastriot Bela, Wendy Cruz, Ivy Blair, Morgan Haak, Lauren Becht, Michelle Martin, Allison Howard, William Gregoire, Jessica Symonds and Lindsay Poole.

HOLLEY – Sarah Westcott, Collin Nothnagle and Hayley Diep.

KENDALL – Michael Sheffield, Ciera Jablonski and Angela McFarlane.

LYNDONVILLE – Julian-Arthur Sgarzi, Abigeil Rodriguez and Gina Hagerty.

MEDINA – Trevor Lemke, Brandie Fidanza-Carson, Madison Reese, Olivia Hill, Joanne Johnson, Ace Strickland, Grace Masse, Grace Fuller, Brennen Harris, Ariana Pluskwa, Jessica Grundner, Alyson Cameron, Joan Garcia, Rebecca Allis and Debra Regan.

WATERPORT – Salma Huzair and Brianna Paniccia.

Dean’s List

GCC has named the following students from Orleans County to the Dean’s List. Students honored on the Dean’s List have maintained full or part-time enrollment and earned a quality point index of 3.50 to 3.74.

ALBION – Matilda Erakare, Valentin Cruz Cruz, Kendall Hastings, Carl Roach, Christina Koester, Jayden Neal, William Mitchell, Cassidy Wolcott and Kaitlyn VanSkiver.

HOLLEY – Kelsey Daniels, Henry Haggerton, Tyler Harkins, Jessica Scott, Bethany Bentivegna and Courtney Winkley.

KENT – Kelli Unger.

LYNDONVILLE – Sharbel Simon and Savannah Tackley.

MEDINA – Ayat Aldroobe, Michael Emery, Alyssa Root, Trenton Jones, Brianna Meyers, Parker Flynn, Kasey Turrell, Rosemarie Albone, Jadon Cameron and Andrew McKee.

WATERPORT – Josiah Finzer, Andrea Nauden, Makayla Obstarczyk and Madyson Coville.

Provost’s List

GCC has named the following students from Orleans County to the Provost’s List. Students honored on the Provost’s List have maintained part-time enrollment and earned a quality point index of 3.75 (roughly equivalent to an A) or better.

ALBION – Peter Gaylard and Caleb Martin.

HOLLEY – Amber Patten, MaryEllen Estela, Kevin Neureuter, Amy Rzeznik, Madeline Rowley, Courtney Strickland, Ceallachan Kelly, Tyler Quaranto, Mary Buggie-Hunt

KENT – Nicholas Brusso

MEDINA – Trisha Brooks, Corinne Johnson, Kayleen Schafer, Arden Zavitz, Jamie Fulwell, Brian Schultz, Zachary Laird, Heather Burd and Deanna Cameron.

WATERPORT – Sherika Coke.

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Albion student advances to state championship in oratorical contest

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 February 2019 at 6:38 pm

Photo courtesy of Sue Starkweather Miller

MOUNT MORRIS – Melissa Barnosky is headed back to Albany to defend her title in the American Legion’s oratorical contest. Barnosky won the Zone 5 contest pn Saturday at Mount Morris.

Pictured form left include: John Miga, 8th district commander; Melissa Barnosky; Walter Ackley, 8th district oratorical chairman; and Norma Weissend, the oratorical Zone 5 chairperson.

Barnosky won on Saturday, competing against three other students. She will be at the state championship on March 2nd in Albany.

Last year she was the first student from Albion to win the competition, and advanced to nationals in Indianapolis.

The students all need to give an 8-10 minute prepared speech on the U.S. Constitution and citizen duties and obligations to the government. If a contestant goes over or under the time frame, there are penalty points. Barnosky’s topic was “The Key to our Vigilance.”

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Many from Orleans recognized on Dean’s List at colleges

Staff Reports Posted 29 January 2019 at 9:37 pm

Several colleges are recognizing students from Orleans County for making the Dean’s List in the for the fall 2018 semester.

Students on the Dean’s List have achieved a grade point average of 3.5 or higher during the semester.

Morgan Seielstad of Albion has been named to the Champlain College Dean’s List. Seielstad is majoring in Computer Science and Innovation.

• Cazenovia College is at Cazenovia near Syracuse. Jenna Doran of Lyndonville, Andrea Payne of Holley and Gabriell Struble of Albion all made the Dean’s List.

• Buffalo State College is pleased to recognize the following students who have been named to the Dean’s List: Wynter Dumont of Albion is majoring in Early Childhood Education. Sara Hillman of Albion is majoring in Political Science. Jessica Skehan of Holley is majoring in Painting.

• Nazareth College is proud to announce the following local students on the Dean’s List: Jacob Adams of Holley, Natalie Allen of Lyndonville, Madeline Bilicki of Medina, Michaela Cardone of Medina, Kierstyn Christensen of Holley, Michela Hanlon of Kendall, Regan Stacey of Medina and Nicole Waild of Medina.

• Elmira College released its Dean’s List for academic achievement and the list includes Brittany Francis of Albion and Caitlin Trembley of Albion.

• SUNY Oneonta students on the Dean’s List include Rubi Luna Mondragon of Albion and Maria Ostafew of Albion.

• The Clarkson University Dean’s List includes Jorge Phillips of Medina, a mechanical engineering major.

• At SUNY Canton, the Dean’s List recognizes Leah M. Schildt of Albion, a Funeral Services Administration major.

• At Grove City College in Pennsylvania, Jon Price of Kendall, a senior History major made the Dean’s List with high distinction.

• Hamilton College in Clinton, NY, named Christopher Keller of Medina to the Dean’s List. Keller is a senior majoring in world politics.

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Medina bowler has 2 perfect 300 games in one night in Albion

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 27 January 2019 at 2:48 pm

Provided photo: Curtis Foss of Medina added to his list of bowling achievements when he bowled two 300 games Friday night at Oak Orchard Lanes in Albion.

MEDINA – Amassing records is nothing new for Curtis Foss.

The Medina bowler added to his achievements Friday night at Oak Orchard Lanes when he bowled an impressive set of 223, 300 and 300.

That is the first time in the history of the bowling alley anyone has bowled two 300 games in one set, said his mother Sue Green of Medina.

Curtis gets his love of bowling from his father, the late Bob Foss who set his first record when he became the youngest New York State Champion Bowler in 1976 at the age of 15.

Curtis bowled his first 300 game at Medina Lanes at the age of 16, and a week later, he bowled his second.

“This had never been heard of at the time,” his mother said.

His feat Friday night was Curtis’ 39th and 40th 300 game and his 26th 800 series.

Like his father, Curtis, 31, is also pursuing the professional bowling circuit, bowling in tournaments whenever he can, usually once or twice a month. Saturday afternoon he was in a tournament in Buffalo.

His record achievement Friday night at Oak Orchard Lanes came during a league on which he bowls. He bowls on a league just about every night of the week, he said.

Curtis claims to have bowled his first game at the age of 11 months.

“My mom and dad were at Medina Lanes and they sat me down on the bowling alley,” Curtis said. “I crawled and pushed the ball down the alley.”

He has known since Middle School bowling is what he wanted to do.

“I really love bowling,” he said in a phone call Sunday afternoon from Rapids, where he was bowling in another tournament.

He does tend bar at Oak Orchard Lanes to supplement his income.

Curtis said his secret can probably be attributed to several things.

First, he is naturally athletic and played all sports. And he practices just about every day.

“My style is unique, people tell me,” he said. “I concentrate on keeping a smooth approach. I throw with a lot of speed, but the ball just flows.”

He has had his professional tour card since 2008, but hasn’t won a Professional Bowing Association title yet.

“That’s my goal,” he said.


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Many from Orleans make Dean’s List at Alfred State

Staff Reports Posted 26 January 2019 at 9:13 am

ALFRED – Dr. Kristin Poppo, provost at Alfred State College, has announced the Dean’s List of academically impressive students for fall 2018. To be listed, students must have completed at least 12 credit hours for the semester and earned a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) out of a possible 4.0.

Those students honored are enrolled full-time in either the School of Applied Technology; School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology; or the School of Arts and Sciences. Alfred State offers both bachelor’s and associate degrees in a wide variety of different majors.

The following Orleans County students were among those recognized:

• Madison Papaj of Albion, Health Sciences

• Katherine Rustay of Albion, Radiologic Technology

• Brandon Dillenbeck of Holley, Mechanical Engineering Tech

• Melody Purtell of Holley, Radiologic Technology

• Jessica Sedore of Holley, Nursing (AAS/BSN)

• Dalton Thurley of Holley, Mechanical Engineering Tech

• Hanna Waterman of Holley, Nursing (AAS/BSN)

• Austin Clay of Kendall, Digital Media and Animation

• Taylor Clay of Kendall, Surveying & Geomatics Eng Tech

• Kyle Hodge of Kendall, Heavy Equipment Operations

• Brandon Miller of Kendall, Bldg Trades-Building Construct

• Robert Wilson of Kendall, Heavy Equipment Operations

• John Ramsdell of Kent, Bldg Trades-Building Construct

• Antoinette Gress of Lyndonville, Sport Management

• Nicholas Albone of Lyndonville, Machine Tool Technology

• Dylan Nicholson of Medina, Digital Media and Animation

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Albion student advances in oratorical contest after winning at district

Staff Reports Posted 15 January 2019 at 3:07 pm

Provided photo

KENMORE – Melissa Barnosky did it again on Sunday. She won an American Legion oratorical contest. Barnosky, a senior at Albion, won the state title last year. She is competing again this school year and won the Albion competition and then at Orleans County. On Sunday she competed at the district competition at Kenmore and came in first place. She advances to the zone competition on Feb. 2 in Mount Morris. If she wins there, she will qualify for the state contest in Albany the first weekend in March.

The students all need to give an 8-10 minute prepared speech on the U.S. Constitution and citizen duties and obligations to the government. Barnosky’s topic was “The Key to our Vigilance.”

Shawn Calmes, a freshman from Alexander High School, placed second. His topic was “The Constitution is Like a Tree.” Gavin Swanson, from Jamestown, placed third. His topic was “Interpretation of Duties and Obligations.”

Pictured from left include: Wayne Sorrentino (Oratorical Contest District level vice chairman), Melissa Barnosky, Shawn Calmes, Gavin Swanson, and John Miga, Eighth District Commander for the American Legion.

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Christopher Keller named to Hamilton College Dean’s List

Posted 7 January 2019 at 6:15 pm

CLINTON – Christopher Keller of Medina has been named to the Dean’s List for the 2018 fall semester at Hamilton College.

To be named to the Dean’s List, a student must have carried throughout the semester a course load of four or more graded credits with an average of 3.5 or above.

Keller, a senior majoring in world politics, is a graduate of Medina High School.

Originally founded in 1793 as the Hamilton-Oneida Academy, Hamilton College offers an open curriculum that gives students the freedom to shape their own liberal arts education within a research- and writing-intensive framework. Hamilton enrolls 1,850 students from 49 states and 49 countries.

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Orleans/Niagara BOCES graduates new class of LPNs

Posted 4 January 2019 at 10:05 am

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

Congratulations to the 18 students from the Orleans/Niagara BOCES’ Licensed Practical Nursing program.  The graduation ceremony was held on Dec. 20.

Pictured, from left, front row: Brittany Murphy, Lauren Cristofanelli, Amy Schrader, Kathleen Siracuse Alyssa Arber, Alexis Jefferds and Lynn Gugino. Back row: Miranda Voelker, Nicolette Warning, Sandra Fresch, Rachel King, Gina Pfohl, Sarah Reynolds, Kirsten Halford, Kimberly Ebanks, Gabrielle Bellina and Hannah Heikoop. Missing: Alexis Rivera.

The LPN program is getting ready for its next class. The ATI test dates are Jan. 9 and Jan. 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the BOCES Conference Center, 4124 Saunders Settlement Rd. in Sanborn.  The next class will be held at the new Orleans/Niagara BOCES Community Education Center at 50 Main St., Lockport in March. For more information call 731-6800, ext: 4445.

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