Orleans/Niagara BOCES recognizes employees of the year

Posted 14 September 2022 at 2:57 pm

Press release and photo courtesy of Orleans/Niagara BOCES

The Orleans/Niagara BOCES recently named its employees of the year for the 2021-2022 school year. Employees are nominated by their peers and a committee selects an awardee in each of these categories: Administrator, Clerical, Continuing Education, Custodial/Maintenance, Staff Specialist, Substitute, Teacher Aide and Teacher.

Amanda Bennett is the Administrator of the Year. She is the former Principal at the Niagara Academy. She worked there for the past seven years. Bennett said her favorite part of her job was the people.  “I loved the kids and being able to help them and watch them succeed. The graduation ceremony was always an emotional time with saying good-bye to them and reflecting on the graduates. I love the staff, especially my office staff. The people at BOCES really have their hearts in the right place. They are all about the kids.”

On learning she was named an employee of the year, she said, “I felt humbled to receive Administrator of the Year. My colleagues in administration are the hardest working people I have ever met in my life. To be selected amongst that group is an incredible honor.”

Bernadette George is the Clerical Person of the Year. She started her position as Senior Clerk in the Labor Relations Department in December 2014.

“I like the people that I work with and that makes any job a lot better,” she said. “I also like creating databases and helping others.”

She is honored being awarded Clerical Person of the Year. “It felt nice. It was a total surprise and the pat on the back was appreciated.”

Jennifer Moreland is the Continuing Education Employee of the Year. She has worked as a case manager at the Lockport Community Education building since 2017. Moreland said her favorite part of her job is her students.

“They are wonderful, hardworking people seeking opportunities,” she said. “In my current position, I serve students with ingenuity and creativity while collaborating with hardworking colleagues who each bring a new perspective and a plethora of experience. There is never a dull moment in our program!”

“I was so grateful to have received this award. I was nice to be nominated and I am appreciative of the people with whom I work.”

Mark Vivian is the Custodian/Maintenance Person of the Year. He has been a maintenance worker at Orleans/Niagara BOCES since 1979.  “My favorite part of my job that every day is different.  It is never the same and I work with great people,” he said.

Vivian said he was very surprised to win the award.  “It was unexpected and very nice to receive it. I am retiring shortly and it was a great going away present.”

Cheryl Herman is the Staff Specialist of the Year. She has been the Director of the Orleans-Niagara Teacher Center since 2007. “I actually started at BOCES in 2001 as a Computer Support Specialist for the career and technical education teachers and the Teacher Center. I left for a couple of years to teach high school Business in Medina from 2003-2005 and returned as a Computer Specialist. So all together I have been at BOCES for almost 18 years!”

When asked her favorite part of her job, she answered, “I love to collaborate and share with fellow colleagues. I love being able to bring awareness about new technologies to teachers and also train them in essential topics like Social Emotional Learning, Culturally Responsive Teaching and Educational Technology. Our NYS Teacher Center Network enables me to make connections across New York that most people do not get to make and these connections provide me the ability to bring vital information and knowledge to all of my consortium teachers.”

She said, “I was very excited and surprised to win Employee of the Year! Our staff specialist group has so many amazing employees and I am honored and humbled to have been chosen to be this year’s recipient. I would not be where I was without the support and friendship of all my colleagues.  A huge thank you and shout out to all of them!”

Mandy Baker was named the Substitute of the Year. She has been a substitute at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center for the past two years and is starting her third year.

Baker said her favorite part is that she is different places every day.  “I love getting to meet all the students!”  She had this to say about winning the Employee of the Year award: “This is very exciting and I feel very blessed. I am glad my hard work pays off for people to notice!”

Jeff LaFountain is the Teacher Aide of the Year. He is currently working at the Orleans Learning Center and has been working with BOCES for 20 years.

“My favorite part of my job working and interacting with the students and my coworkers,” he said. “Winning the award was a pleasant surprise. I thank my coworkers and employers for this honor.”

Richard Tynan was named the Teacher of the Year. He retired this past school year and taught English at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center since 2004. Before that he subbed and taught adult education.

When asked his favorite part of his career, “Undoubtedly the way academics were embedded into the various curricula. Students could see that literacy skills are necessary and helpful to completion of real-world tasks. I also liked working with students as they grappled with more adult workplace situations in which they assumed (sometimes) more adult responsibilities. It was fun to see their enthusiasm and engagement and to see glimmers of the amazing adults many are becoming.”

He had this to say about winning Teacher of the Year, “I am undeserving of the honor, but grateful for the recognition. It has been lots of fun. I’d like to imagine that I did some good. There are many teachers I feel are more deserving than I. The skill and dedication of the O-N BOCES staff has always made me proud to be part of the organization.”

3 deputies from Orleans graduate from Law Enforcement Academy

Provided photos: Pictured from left include State Sen. Rob Ortt, Deputy Cory Martindale, Deputy Savannah Tackley, Deputy David Lauer and Sheriff Christopher Bourke.

Posted 3 September 2022 at 6:13 pm

Press Release, Orleans County Sheriff Chris Bourke

Sheriff Christopher M. Bourke is pleased to announce three deputy sheriffs have graduated from the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy.

Pictured include from left: Deputy Savannah Tackley, Sheriff Christopher Bourke, Deputy David Lauer and Deputy Cory Martindale.

Deputies David Lauer, Cory Martindale and Savannah Tackley began the Law Enforcement Academy on March 14 and underwent 24 weeks of rigorous academic, physical, practical and field training. Upon graduation all three deputies will complete 12 additional weeks of departmental field training, under the supervision of field training officers. They will then be assigned to a shift within the Patrol Division.

Bourke is proud of the hard work, dedication, and resilience displayed by Deputies Lauer, Martindale, and Tackley.

The Law Enforcement Academy is mentally, academically and physically demanding. All three deputies represented the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office well.

Please congratulate all three deputies, and wish them a long, safe and successful career!

GCC recognizes students from Orleans on spring 2022 Dean’s List

Staff Reports Posted 26 July 2022 at 2:06 pm

BATAVIA – Genesee Community College has announced Orleans County reisdents who have made the Dean’s List for the spring semester.

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.

The students include:

  • Kyle Smith of Albion
  • Casey Starkweather of Albion
  • Grace Gregoire of Albion
  • Sadie Gregoire of Albion
  • Cameron Ecker of Albion
  • Alexander Zaczek of Albion
  • Brooklynn Reed of Albion
  • Maranda O’Donnell of Albion
  • Keli Madden of Holley
  • Brian Gay of Holley
  • Samantha Oleksyn of Holley
  • Madelyn St. John of Holley
  • Laura Morrissey of Holley
  • Samuel Yousey of Lyndonville
  • Kiera Dent of Lyndonville
  • Alexis Hughes of Lyndonville
  • Katrina Potter of Medina
  • Reita Fletcher of Medina
  • Priscilla McQueen of Medina
  • Cierra Riley of Medina
  • Felicia Snook of Medina
  • Samantha Stewart of Waterport

Genesee Community College serves over 6,000 students per semester through more than 70 academic programs, certificates and micro-credentials.

GCC operates campus locations throughout Western New York, as well as a significant online learning program.

Several students from Orleans named to RIT’s Dean’s List

Staff Reports Posted 12 July 2022 at 11:41 am

ROCHESTER – The following local residents have been named to the Dean’s List at Rochester Institute of Technology for the spring 2022 semester:

  • John Costello of Medina, who is in the civil engineering technology program.
  • Conner Hollenbeck of Albion, who is in the mechanical engineering technology program.
  • Nicholas Bogan of Lyndonville, who is in the chemical engineering program.
  • Gillian Gallets of Holley, who is in the industrial design program.
  • Jayden Neal of Albion, who is in the robotics and manufacturing engineering technology program.
  • Sierra Apicella of Holley, who is in the illustration program.
  • Jacques Gregoire of Albion, who is in the game design and development program.
  • Caleb Henion of Holley, who is in the business administration-management program.

Full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students are eligible for Dean’s List if their term GPA is greater than or equal to 3.400; they do not have any grades of “Incomplete”, “D” or “F”; and they have registered for, and completed, at least 12 credit hours.

Rochester Institute of Technology is home to leading creators, entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers. Founded in 1829, RIT enrolls about 19,700 students in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs, making it among the largest private universities in the U.S.

Leader of DAR in Orleans and NYS named national officer for Daughters of American Revolution

Posted 3 July 2022 at 8:54 am

Press Release, Daughters of American Revolution

WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than 4,000 members of the Daughters of the American Revolution gathered this past week in the nation’s capital for their 131st Continental Congress, the service organization’s annual meeting.

Patrice Powley Birner

The week-long convention, which was projected to draw the largest attendance in the organization’s history, consisted of business sessions, committee meetings and social functions, in addition to formal evening ceremonies that honored national award winners and featured outstanding keynote speakers. This year’s convention was the first in-person gathering in three years, after the 2020 and 2021 editions were conducted virtually due to the pandemic.

In attendance was New York State Regent Patrice Powley Birner, a member of the Orleans Chapter in Albion. Birner was elected to the office of Vice President General at this year’s Continental Congress. She will serve a term of three years with NSDAR’s National Board of Management. Each year, seven new Vice Presidents General are elected for a total of twenty-one serving at any one time. These National officers advise and guide the work of the society.

Patrice Powley Birner has served the NSDAR since becoming a member in 2004. At the chapter level, she has served as Treasurer, Regent, and Vice Regent. In 2015, she was selected as the New York State Organization’s State Outstanding Chapter Regent.

While serving as State Historian, she managed the digitizing and rebinding of 102 volumes of state history. During her term as State Regent, Birner’s State Regent’s Project has raised awareness about General Lafayette and his 1824-1825 Farewell Tour by placing historic markers across New York and sponsoring webisodes of “Follow the Frenchmen” as part of the national Lafayette Trail project. In addition to serving as State Regent, she currently serves on the National Board of Management and as National Chair of the VanBuren President General’s Project. Birner also served on the Continental Congress House Committee – President General’s Project Sales, 2013-2016, and participated in the 2019 National DAR Schools Tour.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Patrice Birner, state regent of the DAR, spoke on April 14, 2021 at the dedication event for a new historical marker in Albion to recognize the farewell tour in 1824-1825 to honor Marquis de Lafayette, a young French aristocrat and military officer served with George Washington. Lafayette traveled on the Erie Canal from Lockport to Rochester in June 1825 to great fanfare.

The DAR Continental Congress is a time-honored annual event that has been held in Washington, D.C. since the organization’s founding. Members from across the country and around the world gather at the DAR National Headquarters to report on the year’s work, honor outstanding award recipients, plan future initiatives and reconnect with friends.

To learn more about its important work, visit

Albion man sets state record for biggest smallmouth bass

Posted 29 June 2022 at 11:41 am

Press Release, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

Photo courtesy of DEC: Thomas Russell Jr. of Albion caught this record-setting fish on June 15  at Cayuga Lake in Seneca County.

ALBION – New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced a new state record for smallmouth bass was set on June 15, opening day for bass harvest season.

Thomas Russell Jr. of Albion reeled in an eight-pound, six-ounce smallmouth bass from Cayuga Lake, Seneca County. Russell’s bass surpassed the previous record by two ounces, a tie between fish caught on Lake Erie in 1995, and in the St. Lawrence River in 2016.

“Smallmouth bass are one of New York’s most popular freshwater sportfish and it’s exciting to share the great news of Mr. Russell’s record-breaking catch,” Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “New York’s Finger Lakes are truly an angler’s paradise, providing exceptional fishing opportunities for a variety of sportfish.”

Pound for pound, smallmouth bass are considered one of the hardest-fighting freshwater fish in New York. When hooked, they will often leap acrobatically out of the water, making them a highly desirable sportfish for anglers to target. They can be found across the state in cooler lakes, rivers and creeks in rocky/gravelly areas.

Mr. Russell submitted details of his winning catch as part of DEC’s Angler Achievement Awards Program, which keeps track of state record fish. Through this program, anglers can enter freshwater fish that meet specific qualifying criteria and receive official recognition of their catch and an embroidered patch commemorating their achievement.

This is the second state record set this year. On May 8, the state record for channel catfish was broken when Bailey Williams of Watertown reeled in a 35-pound, 12-ounce channel catfish from the Black River in Jefferson County.

Students from Orleans/Niagara BOCES bring home medals from National SkillsUSA

Posted 27 June 2022 at 12:16 pm

Provided photos: The Eng Tech Team includes Alavaro Atolaguirre (Christian Academy of Western New York), Caleb Poeller (Christian Academy of Western New York) and Liam Robinson (Lewiston-Porter).

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

Orleans/Niagara BOCES could not be prouder of all of their students who competed at the National SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

More than 6,500 outstanding career and technical education students – all contest winners – competed in 108 different trade, technical and leadership fields.

Four students from the Niagara Career and Technical Education Center brought home gold medals and one student from the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center brought home a silver medal.

Gold Medal Winners – Caleb Poeller (Christian Academy), Liam Robinson (Lewiston-Porter) and Alvaro Altolaguirre (Christian Academy) in the Eng Tech/Design Team competition. The students are in Scott Brauer’s Project Based Engineering program at the Niagara Career and Technical Education Center.

Travis Franke of Starpoint celebrates with his teachers, Logan Spain (left),Travis Franke and Bob Fritton.

Gold Medal Winner – Travis Franke (Starpoint) in the Industrial Motor Controls competition. He is a student of Bob Fritton and Logan Spain in the Electricity/Electronics program at the Niagara Career and Technical Education Center.

Silver Medal Winner – Zachary Luick (Lockport) in the Electronics Technology competition. Zach is a student of Bill Leggett’s Electricity/Electronics program at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center.

The students competed against the state champions from all over the country and three US territories.

Teacher Bill Leggett congratulates Zachary Luick of Lockport for his silver medal.

Jorge Phillips of Medina graduates from Clarkson

Staff Reports Posted 26 June 2022 at 11:40 am

POTSDAM – Jorge Miguel Phillips of Medina received a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Clarkson University in May 2022.

As a private, national research university, Clarkson is a leader in technological education and sustainable economic development through teaching, scholarship, research and innovation. Clarkson works to ignite personal connections across academic fields and industries to create the entrepreneurial mindset, knowledge and intellectual curiosity needed to innovate world-relevant solutions and cultivate the leaders of tomorrow.

Retired Teachers Association awards grant to law enforcement educator at BOCES

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 18 June 2022 at 8:40 pm

Photo by Ginny Kropf: The Central Western Zone of the New York State Retired Educators’ Association awarded a grant to Dudley Gilbert, a security and law enforcement teacher at Niagara/Orleans BOCES. From left are Michael Mann, principal; Dudley Gilbert; Frank Berger, president of the Orleans County Retired Teachers Association, who made the presentation; and Nicole Goyette, assistant principal.

MEDINA – It is customary for the Central Western Zone of the Retired Educators of New York to recognize active educators who have shown exemplary service and leadership in their school and community located within the Central Western Zone.

On Thursday, Frank Berger, president of the Orleans County Retired Teachers’ Association, presented a Barrie Fleegel Memorial Active Educator Grant Award to Dudley Gilbert, security and law enforcement teacher at Niagara/Orleans BOCES.

Fleegel was a resident of the Central Western Zone who accomplished great things and also strongly believed and acted on his dreams. He was a family man who deeply loved his wife and daughters and son-in-law. He adored his grandchildren and was involved in many activities at St. Gregory’s Catholic Church.

Fleegel began his educational career as a science teach in Marion in 1955 and was also curriculum coordinator during this period. He became high school principal in 1971 and two years later, he was elevated to the position of Marion superintendent. After retiring in 1995, he immediately became a member of New York State Retired Teachers Association.

The then served as Wayne County president and Central Western Zone vice president from 1998-2000. He was elected zone president from 2000-2003, then moved to the position of NYSRTA senior vice president.

In spite of his busy involvement, Fleegel also supervised student teachers from Oswego State College until his illness in the fall of 2005.

Gilbert, a resident of Buffalo, has a bachelor’s degree in African-American studies from the University of Buffalo. He has taught security and law enforcement at BOCES for the last 4 1/2 years.

A condition of his employment requires him to take six mandatory classes. He took the first five at Buffalo State College and is completing the sixth class there.

Gilbert said he did not receive any financial aid for any of the classes. He has awards for perfect attendance and is tenured.

He has been involved in extracurricular activities at BOCES, including Skills USA, a craft fair which is a major fundraiser for the organization. He employs his student volunteers to act as traffic security officers, which he supervises on his own time.

With commuting 100 miles a day to BOCES and taking extra classes, Gilbert said he is not able at this time to be involved in community service. However, in the past, he was involved with the Boys and Girls Club of America and the African-American Heritage Corridor in Buffalo/Lewiston/Niagara Falls.

He was previously a state trooper, and upon completion of that career he wanted to do something that kept young people out of the back of a troop car, he said.

“I also wanted to teach them not only lesson in my curriculum, but also lessons for life,” Gilbert said. “Every year on the first day of school I write the number of days remaining in the year. If it is 180, I tell my seniors, ‘This is how many days you have remaining in the program. But my real job is to prepare you for day 181.’”

15 high schoolers, 2 home school students earned GCC degree at accelerated pace

Posted 14 June 2022 at 7:58 am

Most completed their college work through GCC’s STEM enrichment program

Press release and photo courtesy of Genesee Community College

BATAVIA – Genesee Community College celebrated its 54th annual commencement ceremony on May 21 with a group of 15 students from area high schools and homeschools deserving special mention.

They completed their GCC degree requirements concurrently with their high school diplomas or New York State Equivalents. These 15 graduates participated in the fourth annual cohort of the College’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) enrichment program through GCC’s Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) Office.

These high achieving individuals include the following: Alexander Wright (Perry), Chase Graham (Alexander), Corden Zimmerman (Byron-Bergen), Elizabeth McCarthy (Batavia), Elli Schelemanow (Byron-Bergen), Jordyn Tobolski (Oakfield), Katarina Luker (Alexander), McKenna Johnson (Oakfield), Megan Zakes (Medina), Rebecca Clemens (Lyndonville), Samantha Nusstein (Attica), Sarah Volpe (Elba), Sophie Fulton (Batavia), Zachary Neal (Homeschool), Bethany Faben (Homeschool) and Markus Faben (Homeschool). Emily Harling (Albion) did not take part in the STEM Enrichment Program, but did earn a GCC degree alongside her high school diploma.

The STEM Enrichment program began in 2012 allowing the students to start their college studies as early as the seventh grade. In addition to their traditional schoolwork, they enrolled in college level coursework each year taking advantage of many academic opportunities and successfully completing all of the rigorous challenges of an associate degree.

“Once again this year, we are delighted to celebrate the achievements of our STEM program students who have worked hard to earn GCC degrees along with their high school diplomas or the New York State Equivalent, in the case of our homeschooled students,” said Ed Levinstein, associate dean of GCC’s ACE program. “I commend their hard work and dedication to their studies, as well as the excellent contributions they make to GCC’s classes and college community.”

Genesee Community College’s 54th annual commencement was held in-person at the Richard C. Call Arena and featured special guest Keynote Speaker Daniel P. Ireland, president of United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia.

Public Works Association honors county DPW employee

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 June 2022 at 9:26 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Wayne Krull, center, recently received a commendation from the Orleans County Legislature for receiving the Douglas C. Zefting Award from the American Public Works Association Genesee Valley Chapter.

County Legislator Bill Eick is at left and John Papponetti, DPW commissioner for the county, is at right.

This award recognizes outstanding public service and achievement of an operational/maintenance level employee of a public works agency. Krull has worked for the county for 21 years.

He started his career with the Orleans County DPW in May 2001 as a motor equipment operator. In July 2015 he was promoted to Lead Motor Equipment Operator, and in January 2021 he was promoted to Deputy Commissioner of the Public Works’ Highway Division.

“He has overseen several large culvert replacement projects,” said John Papponetti, the county’s DPW commissioner. “The most recent being the emergency replacement of the Yates Carlton Townline Road Culvert that collapsed as a result of a recent high water event. His drive and passion for his job sets the tone for our crews each day. Wayne’s positive attitude and willingness to learn on a daily basis is what earned him this award.”

Krull is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day activities and projects for DPW’s Highway Division. This includes project planning, project staffing, coordination with the towns and villages, coordination with vendors and contractors, and assisting the commissioner with planning highway capital improvement projects.

Wayne Krull is shown in an excavator in this photo from January 2020 when the DPW cleared trees, limbs, brush and debris from the original canal loop in Holley. The 2,000-foot long section is a rare remaining piece of the original Erie Canal west of Rochester. It is just west of Bennetts Corners Road and east of the lift bridge.

Honors presented for outstanding youth, adults who work and volunteer on their behalf

Photos by Tom Rivers: Youth recognition award winners include, front row, from left: Jeffrey Brown, Ethan Ferchen, Samantha Johnson, Cooper Traxler, and Amber Kiefer. Back row: Alexis Ramsdell, Libbie Pecora, Jordan Bull, Lance Babcock, Ann Faery, Olivia Bieber and Alicia Allen. Missing from photo include Cora Bennage, Thomas Dobri and Mason Neale.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 June 2022 at 9:44 am

LYNDONVILLE – The Orleans County Youth Board recognized 15 youths for their service to the community or for an extraordinary role in their family.

The awards were presented last week during the 40th annual Youth Recognition Banquet. The event was held at the White Birch Golf Course in Lyndonville.

The following were recognized: Alicia Allen of Albion, Lance Babcock of Holley, Cora Bennage of Holley, Olivia Bieber of Albion, Jeffrey Brown of Albion, Jordan Bull of Holley, Thomas Dobri of Holley, Ann Faery of Albion, Ethan Ferchen of Albion, Samantha Johnson of Albion, Amber Kiefer of Lyndonville, Mason Neale of Holley, Libbie Pecora of Holley, Alexis Ramsdell of Kendall and Cooper Traxsler of Albion.

The youths were praised for their kindness, helpfulness and efforts to make their school and community a better place.

The Youth Board also recognized five adults for their service to local young people.

Each year a volunteer for youth is presented the Eileen Heye Adult Volunteer Recognition Award.

Jaime Allport of Albion received the honor for her 13 years of service to Albion Youth Sports Athletic Program (AYSAP). She is critical to the success of the program through her work with sign-ups, fundraising, organizing practices and collecting all the documentation and needed school information, said her brother Geno Allport, commissioner of the league.

Allport is at the field on games days, from sunrise to sundown. She keeps track of all the rosters, keeps the stats during the games, and will work the concession stands.

Allport thanked all of the volunteers for keeping youth sports and programs going in the community. She gave a special shoutout to John Grillo, the Albion youth recreation director and retired Holley wrestling and tennis coach. Allport said he was her first coach when she was a kid and has been a mentor.

The Orleans County Youth Board last week recognized this trio for their service to youth in Orleans County. From left include Heather Jackson, a juvenile probation officer; Jaime Allport, an active volunteer the past 13 years with the Albion Youth Sports Athletic Program (AYSAP), and Annette Finch, who is recently retired as director of community service for Community Action of Orleans & Genesee. Mike and Cheryl Wertman also were recognized for their work covering youth sports for the Orleans Hub and the former Journal-Register.

Four people received the Helen R. Brinsmaid Adult Youth Worker Award.

Annette Finch was honored for a career over 40 years with Community Action of Orleans & Genesee, where she was instrumental in providing assistance to people in crisis. Finch recently retired as director of community services. She ran the Red Kettle campaign in the county during the Christmas holiday season and oversaw a toy drive. She also pushed to sign children up for a summer camp. Her main job was getting emergency services for families in need.

“Annette is an angel to many and an inspiration of kindness and love,” the Youth Board stated.

Heather Jackson has been serving Orleans County youth for nearly 20 years – with 10 years as a caseworker with the Department of Social Services and the past eight years as a juvenile officer in the Probation Department.

She has been able to keep more at-risk youth out of the criminal justice system by helping them and their families access services and programs to help them succeed.

Mike Wertman, the sports editor at the Orleans Hub, has been covering high school sports locally for 44 years. His wife Cheryl, the Hub’s sports photographer, has been capturing the images of the athletic events for 37 years.

The two are together on the sidelines, baseball diamonds and gyms. They have worked for the Orleans Hub for about nine years. Before that, they were part of the former Journal-Register in Medina.

Many of their write-ups and photos from the games are displayed on refrigerators and in scrapbooks, going back decades now, said Geno Allport, who nominated the Wertmans and presented their award. (They were unable to attend the awards program because they were covering a playoff baseball game.)

The Wertmans keep up the daily coverage at a time when many newspapers have scaled back their local reporting.

The Wertmans not only cover the varsity games, but they include youth sports as well.

“They are beyond important figures to the sports world in Orleans County,” Allport said. “For nearly half a century they have been supporting youth in Orleans County and the surrounding counties. Their work is very important to the kids and their families.”

The awards’ recipients received certificates and citations form the Youth Board, Orleans County Legislature, Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s office and State Sen. Robert Ortt’s office. The Youth Board also gave each of the winners a yard sign to celebrate their recognition.

5 from GCC honored with Chancellor Awards for Excellence

Posted 26 May 2022 at 3:08 pm

College recognizes other staff for achievement during past year

Photo courtesy of GCC: The 2022 SUNY Chancellor Award winners at GCC are, from left: Rachel A. Czechonski, Karen K. Wicka, Esq., Florence A. Radley and Thomas W. Kinsey. Absent: Lina M. LaMattina, Ed. D.

Press Release, Genesee Community College

BATAVIA – Genesee Community College held its fifth annual Employees Serving Beyond Expectations ceremony on May 17 when the college formally honored the many outstanding achievements of GCC’s faculty and staff.

Among the highest honors were recognizing the recipients of the prestigious 2022 State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor’s Award for Excellence, which includes the following:

  • Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching – Rachel A. Czechonski, Adjunct Instructor
  • Award for Excellence in Classified Service – Florence A. Radley, Financial Aid Clerk Typist
  • Award for Excellence in Faculty Service – Karen K. Wicka, Esq., Criminal Justice Professor
  • Award for Excellence in Professional Service – Thomas W. Kinsey, Institutional Research and Planning Reporting Analyst
  • Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities – Lina M. LaMattina, Ed. D., Director of Business Programs, Assistant Professor

“The past few years at Genesee Community College have been unlike any other years we have been through,” GCC’s President James M. Sunser said. “Like our students, GCC faculty and staff have continually adapted to provide the best possible campus environment. For that reason, it is important for all of us to recognize our achievements in serving beyond expectations.”

In addition to the SUNY Chancellors Awards, the “Serving Beyond Expectations” ceremony also recognized 31 employees with extensive years of service with benchmarks of 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years of service to GCC. The college also recognized individuals in seven unique categories of service known as the “Cougar Awards,” which were awarded in the following areas:

  • Innovation Award for one who’s implemented idea made a positive impact on GCC – Karlyn M. Backus, Registrar
  • Cougar Salute for a supervisor or manager consistently demonstrating GCC’s core values – Shelitha W. Williams, Vice President for Student & Enrollment Services
  • Inclusive Excellence Award for a significant role in embracing the diversity, equity and inclusiveness of the campus community – Madeline E. Reichler, Community, Equity & Diversity Specialist
  • Rookie of the Year Award for the outstanding achievements of a new staff member – Allison McAdoo, Student Financial Services Advisor
  • Spirit and Community Award for exemplary school spirit – Deborah A. Erion, Student Success Coach
  • President’s Award for the efforts and services of an individual in support of the college’s mission and strategic priorities – Macy A. Reyngoudt, Counselor
  • Teamwork Award for superior performance by a department or cross functional team –Campus Safety – Erik L. Anderson, Alex C. Brownlie, David P. Childs, Gregg A. Evans, Edgardo Guzman, Randal J. Henning, Brenda D. Hoffman-Case, David J. Lester, Joseph D. Meacham, Elizabeth A. Mills, Allison R. Parente, Daniel J. Wendling, Hunter S. Webster and Stephen P. Wise

The Cougar Award nominees were kept secret until the awards ceremony and recipients were named live during the event.

Seven staff who retired after September 1, 2021 were acknowledged by the college president. They include: Ricky Bezon, Michele Bokman, Donna Ehrhart, Daniel Hoffman, Raymond Strzelecki, Gail Schnabl and Eileen Wekenmann.

Lastly, but no less important, the “Serving Beyond Expectations” ceremony recognizes the numerous accomplishments and contributions made by GCC’s faculty and staff throughout the past academic year.

The number and breadth of these achievements exemplifies the quality and compassion that seems near endemic across all departments and divisions at GCC. Thirty-nine members of GCC’s staff, and many of them with multiple honors and recognitions, are listed under the general awards category.

From Athletic Director of the Year to professional association officers, to serving as a presenter or a member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, from furthering their own education to membership on local community committees and boards, and even a costume designer, GCC employees are an active collection of top-notch professionals motivated by passion, patriotism and the idea of making the community a better place to live and work.

National Guard soldier from Holley receives new rank

Staff Reports Posted 19 May 2022 at 1:42 pm

Andrew Cary of Holley, who is assigned to the Company B, 152nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, has received a promotion to the rank of 1st lieutenant on April 15.

Major General Ray Shields, the adjutant general for the state of New York, announced the promotion of the member of the New York Army National Guard in recognition for capability and for additional responsibility and leadership.

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

Kate Messner, Medina native and author, wins literature award, will visit hometown on May 24

Posted 19 May 2022 at 11:09 am

Press Release, Author’s Note

Provided photo: Kate (Schirmer) Messner recently was honored with the Empire State Award for Excellence In Literature for Young People.

MEDINA – Acclaimed children’s author and Medina native Kate (Schirmer) Messner has won the prestigious Empire State Award for Excellence In Literature for Young People presented by the New York Library Association.

The Empire State Award is given annually and was first presented in 1990. It is a one-time award presented to a living author or illustrator currently residing in New York State.

The award honors a body of work that represents excellence in children’s or young adult literature and that has made a significant contribution to literature for young people. Youth Services librarians throughout the state submit nominations to an awards committee. The committee makes a decision that is then approved by the YSS Executive Board.

Messner, who lives on Lake Champlain with her family, will visit Medina on May 24 at 7 p.m. for an in-person signing and discussion at the Author’s Note bookstore, 519 Main St. In advance of her visit, she has provided free recorded school visits for students in grades PreK-3 and grades 4-8 which schools may utilize to share Messner’s presentations with their students.

The author grew up in Medina and graduated from Medina High School in 1988. She has penned many titles for young readers including award-winning picture books like Over and Under the Pond, The Brilliant Deep, and Rolling Thunder; novels that tackle real-world issues like Chirp, Breakout, and The Seventh Wish; mysteries and thrillers like Capture the Flag, Eye of the Storm, and Waking Up Missing; the Fergus and Zeke easy reader series; and the popular chapter book series Ranger in Time about a time-traveling search and rescue dog and History Smashers, books with fun, well-researched fast history for kids who wants the truth in an engaging and entertaining way.

Messner’s books are often selected for community-wide reads like the One School, One Book Program. Her books are often included on prestigious notable and best lists such as the New York Times Notable, Junior Library Guild, IndieBound, and Bank Street College of Education Best Books. Her novel The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. won the E.B. White Read Aloud Medal and her science picture books have been finalists for the American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences/Subaru SB&F prize for excellence in science writing.