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Outstanding students named at Orleans Career and Technical Education Center

Posted 7 August 2018 at 1:00 pm

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – Fifteen students from the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center were recognized at the end of the year ceremony for being the best in their programs.

One student from each of the Orleans/Niagara BOCES career and tech classes was named the Outstanding Student of the Year.

Congratulations go to:

Automotive Technology: Evan Spearance (Albion)

Building Trades: Malik Abdulghani (Lockport)

Computer Technology: Johann Anderson (Medina)

Cosmetology: Deseree Holland (Albion)

Cosmetology: Heaven Flood (Lyndonville)

Culinary Arts: Alisha Scroger (Medina)

Diesel Technology: Matthew Borel (Royalton-Hartland)

Early Childhood Education: Catherine Fleischhut (Royalton-Hartland)

Electricity/Electronics: Daniel Eakes (Royalton-Hartland)

Graphic Communications: Hanna Butcher (Albion)

Health Occupations Technician: Renee Tobin (Newfane)

Personal Trainer: Aaron Curry (Royalton-Hartland)

Precision Machine Technology: Jacob Kuhmann (Medina)

Security and Law Enforcement: Deseree Brewer (Lockport)

Welding: Madalynn Heschke (Royalton-Hartland)

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6 Scouts from Clarendon earn their Eagle

Photos by Tom Rivers: These six Boy Scouts are pictured with Scoutmaster Jak Kohmann at a Court of Honor celebration on Wednesday evening at the Disciples United Methodist Church in Clarendon. Pictured from left include: Xander Apicella, Matt DeSimone, Dalton Thurley, Jak Kohmann, William Harrington, Jake DeSimone and Ben Downey.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 August 2018 at 8:07 am

32 have now earned Scouting’s top rank from Troop 59 in past 16 years

Ron Boyd, a mentor and volunteer in Troop 59, puts the Eagle kerchief on Xander Apicella. Jake Thurley, not in photo, put the kerchief on his brother Dalton Thurley, right.

CLARENDON – Six Boy Scouts from Troop 59 in Clarendon are the latest to earn their Eagle rank, bringing the number of Eagle Scouts to 32 in the past 16 years from the troop.

Xander Apicella, Matt DeSimone, Dalton Thurley, William Harrington, Jake DeSimone and Ben Downey held their Court of Honor celebration on Wednesday at the Disciples United Methodist Church, where the troop meets every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Scoutmaster Jak Kohmann praised the scouts for their dedication. They pushed themselves to earn merit badges and complete projects in the community.

“They do the work,” Kohmann told the group gathered at the church for the Court of Honor. “They have a true commitment. Without that dedication these six wouldn’t be up here today.”

Eagle Scouts need to earn at least 21 merit badges, but many of the scouts in Clarendon go well beyond that. They have completed projects at Hillside Cemetery, the Clarendon Historical Society, Clarendon Fire Hall and the town park. The projects need to take at least 100 hours, but Kohmann said the Clarendon Scouts put in at least 150, with some taking 400 hours to complete.

“They turn into young men and they get jobs,” Kohmann said about the Eagle Scouts. “We stay in touch and I see these people out in the community and they are pillars of the community.”

Jak Kohmann speaks during the Court of Honor on Wednesday evening. He said the Eagle Scouts are self motivated. Behind him include Ben Downey, Matt DeSimone and Jake DeSimone.

The six new Eagles all presented Kohmann with a mentor pin during the Court of Honor. They also recognized John Crandall, the assistant scoutmaster, and others who have supported their Scouting journey.

Xander Apicella began as a Webelos in the fifth grade. He created a firemen’s memorial at the Clarendon Volunteer Fire Company for his Eagle Scout project. He is entering his junior year at University of California at Santa Barbara, where he is majoring in physics and minoring in writing.

Jake DeSimone started as a Tiger in the first grade. For his Eagle project, he constructed and landscaped a flower bed at the Clarendon Fire Hall. He is pursuing a business degree at Monroe Community College.

Matthew DeSimone, Jake’s younger brother, also started scouts in the first grade as a Tiger. He renovated the park pavilion in Clarendon for his Eagle project. He is pursuing a degree in business/pre-law at Geneseo State College.

Ben Downey started scouts in the second grade as a Wolf. For his Eagle project, he installed a fence at the memorial at Hillside Cemetery. He is currently doing commercial and electrical work for Edwards Electric and Communications in Rochester.

These new Eagle Scouts recite the Scout Oath. They include Will Harrington, Xander Apicella and Dalton Thurley.

William Harrington started as a Tiger Scout in the first grade. He constructed a display wall with lighting in the Clarendon Historical Society for his Eagle project. He is majoring in biology, chemistry and music in a pre-vet program at Elmira College.

Dalton Thurley joined scouts in the first grade as a Tiger. He cleaned and repaired the veterans’ section of Hillside Cemetery for his Eagle project. He will be studying mechanical electrical engineering technology at Alfred State beginning this fall.

Kohmann has served as Scoutmaster for 16 years, including several years after his son aged out of the program. Derek Kohmann, now 27, was the third of the 32 scouts to earn his Eagle under Kohmann.

Kohmann worked 30 years at Kodak and then another eight years at the Holley Pharmacy until he retired in April. He found scouting to be a needed break from the stresses of his job.

“This was a nice release from that,” he said. “I have a good time here.”

The Clarendon troop also has many engaged parents and several active volunteers. Kohmann does the paperwork after the scouts earn their badges and ranks.

He intends to stay active in the troop “as long as the kids keep coming.”

Will Harrington hugs Melissa Ierlan after presenting her with a mentor pin. Irelan helped many of the Eagle Scouts identify their projects in the community.

John Crandall, the assistant Scoutmaster the past nine years, says the many Eagle Scouts in the troop show others that the coveted rank is attainable.

“Once they see their peers get an Eagle, it inspires them,” Crandall said.

His son Jacob, 20, earned his Eagle. Another son, Jeremy, needs three more merit badges and has to complete his project to become an Eagle. Jeremy, 17, expects to become an Eagle next year.

Crandall also praised Melissa Ierlan for connecting many of the Eagle Scouts to their projects. Ierlan is president of the Historical Society and the town’s code enforcement officer.

“She helps with the logistics,” Crandall said. “She has tons of contacts.”

Ultimately, Crandall said Kohmann sets the tone in the troop, and keeps the scouts engaged.

“Jak is very regimented and available for the boys,” Crandall said. “You won’t find someone more dedicated to Boy Scouts. He makes it attainable to the boys.”

Kohmann said the troop welcomes more scouts. They can stop by the Disciples United Methodist Church on a Thursday evening for more information.

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Albion Alumni Foundation presents $88K in scholarships

Posted 30 July 2018 at 10:28 am

Courtesy of Albion High School Alumni Foundation

Photos courtesy of Kim Pritt: Ron LaGamba presents the Nancy Elaine LaGamba Scholarship to Caleb Pettit.

ALBION – The Albion High School Alumni Foundation takes great pride in making a difference for a lifetime for the Albion Central School District community – alumni, students, teachers, and friends. The main focus of the Foundation is a Scholarship Program that continues to grow and benefit more students each and every year.

Each year at the Class Night celebration, the Foundation presents scholarships to graduating seniors who meet the criteria of each specific scholarship. These awards provide financial assistance so that our bright young scholars may continue their educational goals and be successful in their future endeavors.

The Foundation presented 54 scholarships for $88,000 during the recent Class Night.

The funding for the scholarships is made possible through memberships and gifts from AHS Alumni, as well as individuals or organizations that contact the Foundation to establish a scholarship. The Foundation manages the funds and awards the scholarships annually during the Class Night event, along with other scholarships that are awarded that evening.

And, our scholarship list continues to grow! In 2018, the Foundation added five new scholarships to its portfolio, bringing the total scholarships managed by the Foundation to 36.

Congratulations to all scholarship recipients…..your achievements make us proud!

Here are the results:

  • Albion High School Alumni Foundation Scholarships. This year’s winners are Victor Benjovsky, Hailey Bader, Kaitlin Zwifka, and Emma Fox.
  • Paul R. Haines Memorial Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Sara Hillman.
  • Smith Foundation Challenge. This year’s recipients are Megan Leight and Samuel Slick.
  • Saint-Gobain Technical Fabrics Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Elisabeth Baker.
  • Elizabeth Balcom Smith Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Allison Graham.
  • Golden Performance Award. This year’s recipient is Taylor Walczak.
  • Jim and Susie Fraser Health Careers Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Gricelda Maldonado.
  • Dr. Lee Minier Science Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Nathan Fearby.
  • Albion Alumni Foundation Performing Arts Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Miranda Smith.
  • Coach Richard Diminuco Scholarship for Athletic Excellence. This year’s recipient is Natalie DiCureia.
  • Harry W. Salchak Science Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Noah Wadhams.
  • A.B. “Dick” Eddy “Service Above Self” Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Hailey Bader.
  • The Nancy Elaine LaGamba Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Caleb Pettit.
  • The Dr. Paul Mahany Family Scholarships. This year’s recipients are Cassandra Serafin, Emily Caldwell, Gricelda Maldonado and Jasmine Bellines.
  • Hoag Scholarships. This year’s recipients are Tyler Kast and Richard Daniels.

    Emma Fox, center, and Kaitlin Zwifka receive Alumni Foundation Scholarships from Board Member Steve Hicks.

  • Panek Family Farm Agriculture Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Rylie Lear.
  • The Rex & Marilyn Horton Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Nathan Fearby.
  • The Wayne A. Burlison Memorial Scholarships. This year’s recipients are Mykailah Roberts, Victor Benjovsky and Noah Wadhams.
  • Glassner Family Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Jennifer Santiago Garcia.
  • John Panek Memorial Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Justin Robinson.
  • Ronald L. Sodoma Memorial Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Riley Seielstad.
  • Masonic Renovation Lodge # 97 Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Samantha Hollenbeck.
  • Edward B. Archbald Memorial Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Riley Seielstad.
  • David R. Long Agricultural Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Justin Robinson.
  • D’Andrea Family Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Rylie Lear.
  • Brandon Bruski Memorial Scholarship. This year’s recipients are Emma Lonnen and Miranda Smith.
  • The Ralph and Pearl Poelma Good Neighbor / Community Service Scholarships. This year’s recipients are Caleb Pettit and Justin Robinson.
  • The Jake and Anna Vreeburg Scholarships. This year’s recipients are Noah Goudreau – College, and Andrew Moore – Vocational School.
  • The Inge Hume Elementary Education Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Allison Graham.
  • The Robert P. Van Deusen Memorial Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Samantha Hollenbeck.
  • The Moore Family Scholarship Fund. This year’s recipient is Jamelis Mateo.
  • Kelly J. Fairchild Memorial Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Jasmine Ballines.
  • The Sherman Awards. This year’s recipients are Noah Wadhams: Moses Sherman Award, and Riley Seielstad: Margaret Sherman Award.
  • The Benjamin Dennis Kirby Memorial Scholarships. This year’s recipients are Hunter Albright and Victor Benjovsky.
  • The Scott Whittier Memorial Scholarships. This year’s recipients are Elisabeth Baker, Caitlynn Snook, Preston Flugel and Noah Goudreau.
  • Country Lane Veterinary Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Elida Rodriguez.

Again, the Albion HS Alumni Foundation congratulates all scholarship recipients and wishes the best of luck, happiness, and success in all future endeavors!

Alec Sherman presents the Albion Alumni Foundation Performing Arts Scholarship to Miranda Smith.

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Leah Sheelar of Medina wins leadership scholarship through BOCES

Posted 29 July 2018 at 7:02 pm

Provided photo: Leah Sheelar of Medina is pictured with Orleans Career and Technical Education Center Principal Dr. Michael Weyrauch.

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – Congratulations to Leah Sheelar, a welding student at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center, who took home a $500 scholarship from ACTEA (Association of Career and Technical Education Administrators).

Leah is one of six in New York State who received the Thomas Olivo Leadership Award. Mr. Olivo was the New York State Education Department’s Director of Vocational Education in 1966 when SkillsUSA (then known as VICA) was established.

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Rylie Lear defends title as grand master showman

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 July 2018 at 9:35 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

KNOWLESVILLE – Rylie Lear of Waterport won the grand master showman title on Friday at the Orleans County Fair. She is pictured her showing a horse to start the competition.

The contest includes the top showman in nine different animals: horse Western, horse English, dairy goat, meat goat, sheep, swine, llama, dairy cattle and beef cattle.

Rylie, 18, qualified after winning the swine competition on Monday. She also won the title last year and has one more year of showing animals at the 4-H Fair. This fall she is headed to SUNY Cobleskill.

Nicole Mrzywka, 17, of Holley was the reserve master showman for the fourth straight year. She is also Rylie’s cousin. Nicole qualified for the grand master showman after winning the award for showing dairy goats.

Three of the nine master showmen lead dairy goats into the ring. They include, from left: Jamie Schieber, Kaylee Nesbitt and Elizabeth Jurs.

Emma Mathes and Will Trembley show horses in the competition on Friday. Emma qualified after winning meat goats while Will represented the showmen for sheep.

Rylie Lear and her cousin Nicole Mrzywka hold their trophies while posing with a dairy animal following the competition on Friday. The grand master showmen event lasted 2 ½ hours.

The Small Animal Grand Master Showmen Competition starts at noon today.

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2 from Medina on Dean’s List at University of Rochester

Staff Reports Posted 20 July 2018 at 9:23 pm

Two students from Medina are on the Dean’s List at the University of Rochester for academic achievement in the spring 2018 semester.

Anthony Pane is a junior majoring in computational biology and history. He is the son of Joseph Pane and Karen Pane, and a graduate of Medina High School.

Cameron Morgan is a senior majoring in brain & cognitive sciences and linguistics at the University of Rochester. He is the son of Dean and Mary Morgan, and a graduate of Medina High School.

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18-year-old hits hole-in-one at Rotary golf tournament

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 July 2018 at 10:39 am

Event raised funds for Leadership Orleans, Leon Sidari Memorial Fund

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – The 25th annual Albion Rotary Club Golf Tournament on Thursday had a hole-in-one for the first time in the event’s history.

Nic Whittaker, center, travelled from Ithaca to play in the tournament, which is named for the late Curtis Lyman. Whittaker had never played at Hickory Ridge Golf Course before. On hole 3, Whittaker hit the ball 135 yards. It landed 5 feet past the hole, and then spun back and went in.

Whittaker is pictured with Bill Downey, left, the hole sponsor and owner of Downey Signs, and Bill Bixler, co-owner of Albion Agencies which provided the insurance on three holes-in-one.

Whittaker won a new TV for the shot. Other par 3s with prizes included $10,000 and a new set of golf clubs.

Whittaker and his team also posted the lowest score of the day with a 59 on a par 72. Whittaker played in the tournament with his father, Randy Smith, and two friends, Ed Kirker and Rich Banks. They are friends with Nathan Lyman, a former Albion resident who now lives in Ithaca. Nathan is Curtis Lyman’s son.

Whittaker just graduated from high school. He is going to a golf academy in South Carolina and hopes to be able to play for a college team in the future.

Leon Sidari

The tournament included about 100 golfers. The beneficiaries for the event included Leadership Orleans, a new program with 25 residents. They are learning about multiple facets of the community to better understand how local government, businesses and other sectors work. The class draws on a cross section of the community. The program picked residents who have demonstrated leadership abilities, interest in community affairs, and a commitment to Orleans County’s future.

The other beneficiary is the Leon Sidari Memorial Fund, which formed in honor of Leon Sidari, who died from influenza this past Christmas at age 4. His parents are Tony Sidari and Laura (Lyman) Sidari. Laura is Nathan’s daughter.

Tony and Laura are both physicians with the Air Force, based in San Antonio. The memorial fund in Leon’s name will direct 100 percent of the funds to be given to help children with medical problems at Christmas time. In the first year, this will be focused on children of military parents, “but with your help this will grow in the years to come,” Nathan Lyman states on a GoFundMe that has raised nearly $65,000 so far for the fund.

The first placed mixed team had a score of 69 and includes, from left: Richard Pilon, his wife Sibyl, and John Dale, who is Sibyl’s brother. Richard and Sibyl’s son, Mike Pilon, also played on the team.

The first place women’s team had a score of 70 and includes Mary Jane Schultz, Sharon Campfield, Shannon Perry and Chris Lukas. They are from Lockport.

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Shelby Sargent re-enlists in National Guard

Staff Reports Posted 19 July 2018 at 7:02 am

Sergeant Shelby Sargent from Albion has re-enlisted to continue service with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 427th Brigade Support Battalion. Major General Anthony P. German, the Adjutant General, announced Sargent’s recent re-enlistment in the Army National Guard.

“New Yorkers count on our citizen soldiers to be ready and be there when disaster strikes,” German said. “And our nation counts on our soldiers when duty calls for overseas service. I congratulate our members for choosing to stay in service and striking that balance between military duties, education or employment commitments and family obligations.”

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.

“Every one of the men and women serving in our 16,000 strong Army and Air National Guard plays an important role and these soldiers who continue to re-enlist provide experience and continuity for whatever challenges lay ahead for our New York National Guard family,” German said.

For more information about the New York Army National Guard, visit

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Maria Albanese graduates from Purchase College

Staff Reports Posted 17 July 2018 at 9:26 am

PURCHASE – Maria Albanese of Kendall graduated from Purchase College with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Performance on May 18.

The graduates were joined by thousands of family members, friends, college faculty, and staff members who came together to celebrate their achievements.

Purchase College, part of the State University of New York network of 64 universities and colleges, was founded in 1967 by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. His aspiration for Purchase was to create a dynamic campus that combined conservatory training in the visual and performing arts with programs in the liberal arts and sciences, in order to inspire an appreciation for both intellectual and artistic talents in all students.

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Casey MacClaren of Holley earns Master’s from Clarkson

Staff Reports Posted 16 July 2018 at 12:43 pm

POTSDAM – Casey Joseph MacClaren of Holley received a master of business administration degree from Clarkson University in June.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world’s pressing issues.

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