achievements

Albion photographer earns 1st place in international photo contest

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2021 at 4:13 pm

BARRE – Bruce Landis, an Albion photographer, won first place at the 2021 Professional Photographers of America International photo competition with this photograph titled “Aloha New York.”

Plane owner and professional pilot Chris Caruana from Grand Island was flying out of the Pine Hill Airport.

The photo by Landis, one of the images selected from over 5,000 entries, will be on (virtual) display during the 2021 Professional Photographers of America annual convention from Jan.17 to Jan. 19. This is Landis’ third similar award received for airplanes in flight.

He is the owner/photographer of Photos by Bruce and Associates on Ridge Road in Albion.

4 from Orleans on Dean’s List at Buffalo State College

Posted 14 January 2021 at 9:36 am

BUFFALO – Buffalo State College is pleased to recognize the following students who have been named to the Fall 2020 Dean’s List. In general, students who have completed at least 12 credit hours and who have attained a GPA of 3.5 or higher qualify for the Buffalo State dean’s list. Full criteria and grade-type exceptions can be found in the undergraduate catalog.

The local students on the Dean’s List include:

  • Jason Monska of Albion
  • Alexis Jones of Medina
  • Howard Balaban of Medina
  • Hannah Heil of Medina

Buffalo State is a State University of New York college located in Buffalo. The college offers 79 undergraduate majors as well as many minors and certificate programs. Every year, thousands of students benefit from Buffalo State’s community engagement, hands-on learning opportunities, and affordable SUNY tuition. Buffalo State also offers more than 60 graduate programs.

Jacquelyn Bixler of Medina named chief human resource officer of Lineage Group

Staff Reports Posted 13 January 2021 at 9:19 am

BUFFALO – The Lineage Group has named Jacquelyn P. Bixler of Medina to the newly created position of Chief Human Resource Officer.

Jacquelyn Bixler

The Lineage Group is a recently formed strategic alliance between three Western New York non-profit senior care providers—Niagara Lutheran Health System, Schofield Care, and Lutheran Jamestown. All three operate skilled nursing facilities that are highly rated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and provide the highest standard of care to the elderly and infirm.

A graduate of Genesee Community College and SUNY Empire State, Bixler most recently served as Vice President of Human Resources for Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, where she managed labor relations, recruitment, and benefit and salary administration for 1,250 employees. Previous health care posts included Vice President of Human Resources at BryLin Behavioral Health System, Weinberg Campus in Getzville, United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, and Lockport Memorial Hospital.

In her new role, Bixler will oversee human resource functions for Niagara Lutheran’s affiliate The GreenFields Continuing Care Community in Lancaster, Schofield Care in Kenmore, and Lutheran Jamestown. Bixler graduated in December 2020 with a Masters of Jurisprudence in Labor and Employment Law from Tulane University School of Law.

About Lineage Group

Lineage Group is a joint partnership by Niagara Lutheran Health System, Schofield Care, and Lutheran Jamestown to help oversee strategy and operations and create efficiencies for the three Western New York-based non-profit senior care providers. All three organizations are committed to providing high-quality care that improves the health of the populations they serve.

The full continuum of services provided by Lineage Group includes skilled nursing, certified and licensed home health care, adult day care, assisted living (including special needs and enhanced ALR), memory care, respite care, independent senior housing, outpatient rehabilitation, traumatic brain injuries, veteran’s care, hospice care, and palliative care.

Katelyn Spierdowis of Albion named a Presidential Scholar at Clarkson University

Staff Reports Posted 29 December 2020 at 3:53 pm

POTSDAM – Katelyn Cyane Spierdowis of Albion, a freshman majoring in civil engineering, was named a Presidential Scholar for the fall 2020 semester at Clarkson University.

Presidential Scholars must achieve a minimum 3.80 grade-point average and carry at least 14 credit hours.

As a private, national research university, Clarkson is a leader in technological education and sustainable economic development through teaching, scholarship, research and innovation. With its main campus located in Potsdam and additional graduate program and research facilities in the New York Capital Region, Beacon, N.Y., and New York City, Clarkson educates 4,300 students across 95 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, the arts, education, sciences and health professions.

National Guard soldier from Kent receives new rank

Staff Reports Posted 29 December 2020 at 3:47 pm

Joseph Smith from Kent, N.Y., and assigned to the 222nd Military Police Company received a promotion to the rank of specialist on November 21, 2020.

Major General Ray Shields, the Adjutant General for the State of New York, announced the recent promotion of the member of the New York Army National Guard.

Army National Guard promotions are based on overall performance, attitude, leadership ability, and development potential.

2 local officers receive ‘Life Saver’ award for reviving man at Walmart

Photo courtesy of Orleans County Sheriff’s Office: Pictured from left include Orleans County Undersheriff Michael Mele, Sheriff Christopher Bourke, Sheriff’s Investigator Kevin Colonna, Trooper Scott Gregson, and State Police Sgt. Glenn Rigerman

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 December 2020 at 5:17 pm

ALBION – Two local law enforcement officers have been recognized with “Life Saver” awards from Orleans County Sheriff Chris Bourke after they revived a man in the Albion Walmart.

On Nov. 3, State Trooper Scott Gregson was handling an incident in the Security Office of the Walmart in Albion. Trooper Gregson was in the process of conducting interviews when a 77-year-old man slowly sat down, leaned over face first and grabbed his chest.

Trooper Gregson contacted the Sheriff’s Dispatch Center for an ambulance. Orleans County Sheriff’s Investigator Kevin Colonna arrived on scene.

The man had become unresponsive and was not breathing. Gregson and Colonna began chest compressions and connected an A.E.D. (automated external defibrillator) and a shock was given. Shortly thereafter the man began breathing and had a faint pulse.

Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance (COVA) arrived and took over the medical assistance to the victim, and transported him to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

“The quick decisive actions of Trooper Gregson and Sheriff’s Investigator Kevin Colonna on November 3rd, 2020, without doubt, saved the life of another human being,” Sheriff Bourke said. “The seamless coordination and quick response by these law enforcement officers serves to exemplify the great working relationship that exists between the New York State Police and the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.”

Bourke last month presented Gregson and Colonna with the Sheriff’s “Life Saver” award. The two were also recognized on Wednesday at the Orleans County Legislature meeting. Legislators acknowledged the life-saving actions of the two law enforcement officers and read into the record the details surrounding the Life Saver Award.

Local students named to Dean’s List at Nazareth College in Rochester

Staff Reports Posted 10 December 2020 at 10:46 am

ROCHESTER – Several Orleans County residents who are Nazareth College students have been named to the Fall 2020 Dean’s List. A student’s grade point average must be at least 3.5 or above, and they must complete 12 credit hours of graded work that semester in order to be included on the dean’s list at Nazareth.

The following from Orleans County made the list:

  • Emma Baldwin of Medina
  • Ryan Barrett of Kendall
  • Ally Benson of Holley
  • Kierstyn Christensen of Holley
  • Taylor Frasier of Medina
  • Jessica Granchelli of Medina
  • Michela Hanlon of Kendall
  • Matthew Kovaleski of Albion

Local Hospice volunteer receives state-wide award

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 22 November 2020 at 9:15 am

Photo by Derek Reiner/Supportive Care of Orleans: Gilbert Cain of Medina, a volunteer at Supportive Care of Orleans (Hospice), was honored this week by the New York State Office for the Aging as an outstanding community service volunteer.

ALBION – Gilbert Cain has volunteered for Hospice (now known as Supportive Care of Orleans) since June 2015. This week, in celebration of the annual Older New Yorkers’ Day, Cain was recognized by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and director of the New York State Office for the Aging, Greg Olsen, in a virtual ceremony.

Because Cain does not have access to the internet, Supportive Care of Orleans streamed the broadcast for him at their Conference and Counseling Center on the Hospice grounds on Route 31 in Albion.

Hospice patients and family members are amazed all Cain does at the age of 85. He has mastered the hospice residence volunteer meal service position and now trains new volunteers. He won the 2018 Hospice of Orleans Volunteer of the Year Award for outstanding volunteer service. In 2019, he provided more than 700 hours of service.

“Gil is the kind of volunteer who takes time to learn people’s favorite foods and makes certain those foods are available,” said Derek Reiner, manager of Development and Public Relations at Supportive Care of Orleans. “Gil has been known to deliver spaghetti dinners, lemon pie and special donuts to patients at all hours of the day and night. Gil donates holiday meals prepared by Tops and Wegmans for residence patients and their families. He works at least six shifts per week in the Martin-Linsin Hospice Residence. Gil also participates in hospice fundraisers and is a friendly, welcoming face around the campus. We can’t wait to welcome Gil and all of our volunteers back to campus once the pandemic ends.”

Cain retired from Lipton’s after 38 years, where he worked as a distribution analyst. In addition to volunteering at Hospice, he is an active volunteer in his church.

Cain would tell others that volunteering is a great way to keep your mind and body busy.

“Volunteering and giving to others is a great way to lift your spirits and feel rewarded at the end of the day,” he said.

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National Guard soldier from Holley receives new rank, new responsibilities

Posted 3 November 2020 at 7:50 pm

Press Release, New York National Guard

Major General Ray Shields, the Adjutant General for the State of New York, announces the recent promotion of members of the New York Army National Guard in recognition of their capability for additional responsibility and leadership.

Nickolas Richardson from Holley and assigned to the 222nd Military Police Company received a promotion to the rank of private first class on September 13.

Army National Guard promotions are based on overall performance, attitude, leadership ability, and development potential.

These promotions additionally recognize the best qualified soldiers and attract and retain the highest caliber citizen soldiers for a career in the New York Army National Guard.

The New York National Guard (New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs) is the state’s executive agency responsible to the governor for managing New York’s military forces, which consists of nearly 20,000 members of the New York Army National Guard, the New York Air National Guard, the New York Naval Militia and the New York Guard.

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2 retiring jail corrections officers recognized for 25 years of service

Posted 31 October 2020 at 8:12 am

Provided photos: John Mignano, left, and David Pollock both recently retired after 25 years as corrections officers in the Orleans County Jail.

ALBION – Two leaders among corrections officer sin the Orleans County Jail were recently retired on their retirements. John Mignano and David Pollock both worked 25 years as corrections officers and were lieutenants.

Lt. Michael Christopher sent in the following in the following information about Mignano and Pollock.

John Mignano

John Mignano started full time on Oct. 1, 1990 and retired on June 29, 2020. He was promoted to rank of sergeant after five years as a corrections officer and then was promoted to lieutenant on February 2000.

He was in charge of ordering cleaning materials and inmate products for many years. He took pride in having a clean jail and personally supervised it on the administrative level on a nearly nightly basis.

He is also known to have received over a dozen funny nicknames over his career from staff and inmates. He plans on spending a lot of time with his two young grandsons and has always been an avid German Shepherd owner.

He also is a big Harley Davidson owner and follower often going to Sturgis, South Dakota for the bike rally. He and his wife Janet have frequented the Full Throttle Saloon that was a popular TV series for a few seasons. Interestingly, they have become friends with owners Michael and Angie Ballard.

David Pollock

David Pollock started full time as a corrections officer on Aug. 22, 1995. He retired on Sept. 12, 2020. He was promoted to sergeant in March 2000, and then was promoted to lieutenant in January 2002.

He was also certified NYS instructor, most notably an excellent firearms instructor. He took the most pride in being very precise on facility paperwork, organization, documentation and storage.

He and his wife Sharon plan on spending time with their very young and newly born grandchildren from both his son and his daughter. Interestingly his wife retired from her job the day before his last day.

His retirement decision was made much easier knowing he would get to spends lots of time with the grandchildren and his wife. They spend a lot of time going to craft shows and toy train shows together and both are animal lovers. Dave has a huge hobby of collecting train sets, post cards and is a huge world history buff.

Both John and Dave had farewell parties on June 29th and Sept 10th, respectively.  The parties were put on by the Orleans County Sheriffs Employee Association Local 2966.

Many current and former employees attended both parties. Both had pizza, wings, cakes and laughs.

Superintendent Scott Wilson, Sheriff Christopher Bourke and Undersheriff Michael Mele attended both parties and presented both with recognition plaques and certificates of appreciation.

Union Vice President Michael Christopher presented both with plaques for their 25 years of service to Orleans County. Christopher has started a 25-year Orleans County employee recognition wall at the jail and in 911 dispatch. The two retiring lieutenants make it seven officers on the 25-year jail wall.

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810 Meadworks wins 2 big honors in international mead competition

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 October 2020 at 3:53 pm

Photo courtesy of Thom Jennings: Bryan DeGraw is shown with winning meads produced by 810 Meadworks in Medina.

MEDINA – A Medina meadery has won two international awards for its mead, including the top honor for Scarlett A.

810 Meadworks made that fermented mead with cranberries, blueberries and cider. It won the gold medal, beating out 13 other entries in the cyzer category which include mead made with apples.

Bryan DeGraw, co-owner and meadmaker, also was awarded a bronze medal for Sweet Devotion. It was third out of 36 entries in the fruit/vegetable melomel – semi-sweet category. That mead from 810 Meadworks features currants.

DeGraw and his wife LaRissa opened 810 Meadworks in downtown Medina about six years ago. This is the first time the business has been recognized with a gold medal at the Mazer Cup International, a contest held annually in Denver.

Normally the results are announced in March, but the judging was pushed back due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The winners were announced on Oct. 2.

“I completely forgot about it,” DeGraw said about the competition.

He said a post about the results on the group’s Facebook page and felt humbled to be recognized by the industry.

“the beauty of it is the judges are primarily mead makers,” DeGraw said. “It’s an award of your peers. So I’m very proud of it.”

810 Meadworks has seen an uptick in orders for the winning meads and others since the results were announced.

He acknowledged mead is niche in the alcohol industry, but is on the rise. When 810 Meadworks opened six years ago, there were about 150 meaderies in the United States. Now there are about 600. In New York, it has grown from five to more than 20 during that time.

810 Meadworks has a tasting room/mead bar open Friday through Sunday at 113 West Center St. It has partnered with Sourced Market & Eatery to have sandwiches available to meet guidelines from the state for consuming alcohol.

For more of the Mazer Cup, click here.

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5 from Orleans among new freshmen class at Buffalo State College

Staff Reports Posted 8 October 2020 at 2:57 pm

BUFFALO –  Buffalo State is pleased to welcome the Class of 2024 to campus. The new Bengals started class on August 31, 2020.

  • Hannah Heil of Medina
  • Hunter Heil of Medina
  • Alexis Jones of Medina
  • Zoie McGuire of Albion
  • Riley Schmitt of Medina

Buffalo State is a State University of New York college located in Buffalo, New York. The college offers 79 undergraduate majors as well as many minors and certificate programs. Every year, thousands of students benefit from Buffalo State’s community engagement, hands-on learning opportunities, and affordable SUNY tuition. Buffalo State also offers more than 60 graduate programs.

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Hawley speaks against changing OT threshold on farms

Posted 2 September 2020 at 8:23 am

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) recently testified in a virtual Zoom New York State Department of Labor public hearing regarding an upcoming decision on resetting the overtime threshold for farm laborers.

Concerned with the rashness of the actions attempted to be taken on this issue, during a pandemic, Hawley suggested that a delay in the decision-making would be most advantageous for farmers and their farms, and that the state should be doing as little as possible to interfere with their already modest margins.

“As someone with farming experience myself, I can tell you that however well-intentioned the lowering of the overtime threshold is for the farm workers, the actual farm employers themselves won’t be able to sustain these changes; certainly not in the economic world we’re living in right now,” Hawley said. “The last thing New York needs to be looking to do is strangle our farms and our farmers into submission.”

Hawley said during his testimony on Monday, “Why would we want to increase costs for our agricultural producers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic economic calamity? Workers are considered family; average wages are $13/hour. In many cases, housing and food are provided. Even during good economic times, implementing mandatory increased labor costs for agriculture is a bad idea. Farmers have little to no control over prices they receive for their product, and with variations in factors like weather, long hours are necessary.”

In a closing note, Hawley said, “We need to protect New York state’s number one industry: Agriculture. [We should] delay the implementation of lowering the overtime threshold.”

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Several from Orleans County earn degrees from Alfred State

Staff Reports Posted 24 August 2020 at 3:46 pm

ALFRED – Several Orleans County residents are among the 840 students who earned degrees at Alfred State College recently.

The following from Orleans earned diplomas:

  • Michael Passarell of Holley, who earned an associate’s degree in applied science in Surveying Engineering Tech
  • Melody Purtell of Holley, who an associate’s degree in applied science from Radiologic Technology
  • Mikala Smith of Holley, who earned an associate of science degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in architectural technology
  • Austin Clay of Kendall, who earned a bachelor of science degree in Digital Media and Animation
  • John Ramsdell of Kent, who earned an associate of occupation studies degree in building trades and building construction
  • Jessie Fergen of Medina, who earned a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering Tech
  • Jacob Stehlar of Medina, who earned a bachelor of business administration degree in Technology Management

Several from Orleans County earn degrees at RIT

Staff Reports Posted 18 August 2020 at 7:56 am

ROCHESTER – Rochester Institute of Technology conferred some 4,000 degrees at all of its campuses in the 2019-2020 academic year. A virtual celebration was held May 8.

The following local residents received degrees:

  • Brian Bogan of Lyndonville received a BS in manufacturing engineering technology.
  • Carson Zgoda of Medina received a BFA in medical illustration.
  • Eva Vasquez of Medina received an MBA in business administration-executive.
  • Anne Jewell of Holley received a BS in diagnostic medical sonography.
  • Madeline Gibbs of Waterport received a BS in dietetics and nutrition.
  • Brady Smith of Holley received a BS in civil engineering technology.
  • Tommy Follman of Albion received a BS in criminal justice.
  • Nicholas Ettinger of Albion received a BS in electrical engineering technology.
  • Melissa DiMatteo of Albion received an MBA in business administration-executive.
  • Michael Stilwell of Albion received a BS in chemistry.

Rochester Institute of Technology is home to leading creators, entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers. Founded in 1829, RIT enrolls about 19,000 students in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs, making it among the largest private universities in the U.S.