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National Guard soldier from Holley receives new rank

Staff Reports Posted 17 June 2019 at 12:24 pm

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

Bradley Ralph from Holley and assigned to the Headquarters and Service Company, 642nd Support Battalion received a promotion to the rank of Staff Sergeant.

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.

Gabriell Struble of Albion graduates from Cazenovia College

Staff Reports Posted 15 June 2019 at 2:35 pm

CAZENOVIA – Gabriell Struble of Albion has graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Cazenovia College.

Cazenovia College is an independent, co-educational college near Syracuse, offering graduate and bachelor’s degree programs in the liberal arts and professional. Cazenovia has been named a “Best College” for 15 consecutive years and a “Best Value” by U.S. News & World Report.

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Medina native earns medical degree in West Virginia

Staff Reports Posted 14 June 2019 at 8:02 am

Rachael Huwyler Wiig

LEWISBURG, W.Va. — Rachael Huwyler Wiig, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree on May 25.

While at WVSOM, Dr. Huwyler Wiig received a Translating Osteopathic Understanding Into Community Health Gold Award. She was a member of the Rural Health Initiative.

Huwyler Wiig earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical sciences from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2011. She is a 2006 graduate of Medina High School.

Huwyler Wiig is the daughter of Bobbi and Monte Huwyler of Medina. She is married to Jesse Wiig.

She plans to enter an emergency medicine residency at Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson, Mich.

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6 from Orleans on SUNY Geneseo Dean’s List

Staff Reports Posted 13 June 2019 at 4:11 pm

GENESEO – The State University of New York at Geneseo has announced its Dean’s List for the Spring 2019 semester. To be on the list, a student must have achieved at least a 3.5-grade point average while taking a minimum of 12 credit hours.

Students on the Dean’s List from Orleans County include: Caitlyn Davies of Medina, Molley Gross of Medina, Bradley McPherson of Medina, Tyler Waldriff of Medina, Nicole Boyle of Holley and Matthew DeSimone of Holley.

In addition, Brittany Bearss of Medina was named to SUNY Geneseo’s President’s List for Spring 2019. To be on the list, a student must have achieved a 4.0-grade point average while taking at least 12 credit hours.

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Cole Spierdowis of Albion becomes an Eagle Scout

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 June 2019 at 7:12 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Linda Spierdowis puts the Eagle Scout neckerchief and neckerchief slide on her grandson, Colburn “Cole” Spierdowis, during his Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony this afternoon at the Holy Family Parish’s Lyceum.

Cole, 15, earned the highest rank in Scouts. He has been in the program for a decade, joining as a Tiger Scout in 2009.

Cole is joined by other Eagle Scouts at today’s Court of Honor, including Congressman Chris Collins. They are doing the Scout sign.

Cole has earned 31 merit badges as a Boy Scout. He led Scouts in sanding and painting a classroom at the Lyceum for his Eagle Scout project. Cole said he wanted to do a project at the Lyceum because that is where the Scouts hold many of their meetings and the Holy Family Parish sponsors Troop 164.

Sue Flanagan (left), the assistant scout master, said a supportive family is critical for a Scout to succeed. Cole is joined by his mother Karen Spierdowis and grandmother Linda Spierdowis.

Cole is sophomore at Albion High School. He said he has enjoyed the camping trips and working on his merit badges.

He presented mentor pins to Eric Brown and Michael Grabowski, two adult leaders in the troop who have offered Cole lots of encouragement and support.

Congressman Chris Collins attended the ceremony and presented Cole with a flag that has flown on the U.S. Capitol. Collins also gave Cole an official congressional commendation and one of Collins’ challenge coins that include the Cub Scout motto of “Do your best” and the Boy Scout motto of “Be prepared.”

Collins is also an Eagle Scut and a former assistant Scoutmaster. He also served on the Executive Board of the Greater Niagara Frontier Council and was chairman of the GNFC National Jamboree as well as the World Jamboree for 2007.

He said Scouts develops leaders and teaches responsibility. He praised Cole for earning the Eagle and getting it well before he was 18.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley also attended the Court of Honor and presented Cole with a commendation from the Assembly.

Greg Dugan, local leader of the Knights of Columbus, also presented Cole with a citation.

Cole said he plans to stay active in the troop and help other Scouts work on completing merit badges.

“I’ve made a lot of friends and it’s a ton of fun,” Cole said about Scouting.

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Albion junior dog handler will compete in Switzerland next month

Staff Reports Posted 6 June 2019 at 9:15 am

Provided photo: Lydia Hofmann of Albion is one of 19 juniors to qualify for the European Open Dog Agility Team that will compete in Switzerland in July. She is shown with Chase, a Shetland Sheepdog.

ALBION – An Albion girl is headed to Switzerland next month to compete in American Kennel Club’s European Open Juniors Agility Team USA.

Lydia Hofmann and her dog Chase are among 19 juniors and their K-9 partners representing the United States in the competition.

Lydia started training with Chase, a Shetland Sheepdog, by taking a dog obedience class with Ron Leight at Leighthouse Obedience Training in Albion. She joined the Orleans County 4h K-9 Companions Dog Club and continued her training with Ron and Patty Leight and Rachael Kiefer.

Lydia has competed at the Orleans County 4-H Fair and State Fair, winning awards in showmanship, obedience, rally and agility.

Lydia and Chase currently train in agility with Della and Jim Sliker at Agility Dream Dogs on Eagle Harbor Road in Albion. Lydia and Chase regularly compete in AKC agility trials. She would like to thank her family and all who have helped her reach this milestone.

People interested in supporting Lydia financially are welcome to participate in a raffle for a $50 gift certificate that is offered at Olde Dogge Inn in Albion.

For more on the AKC’s European Open Juniors Agility Team USA, click here.

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Seven from GCC receive SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence

Photo from GCC: Seven from Genesee Community College are SUNY Chancellor's Award Winners, including front row, from left: Derek Maxfield, Kristen Mruk, John Molyneaux and Maureen Goodsell. Back row: JoNelle Toriseva, Lori Kubik and Kathleen Kimber.

Posted 4 June 2019 at 9:35 pm

Press Release, GCC

BATAVIA – As Genesee Community College celebrated an all-encompassing and momentous commencement weekend for its students, the college administration, staff and faculty took a few hours to acknowledge and celebrate each other’s accomplishments and dedication that go “beyond expectations.”

“In the spirit of commencement and the hard work of our students, GCC recognizes the dedication of our faculty and staff who go beyond expectations in helping our students succeed,” said GCC President James Sunser. “And so, for a few hours, we close non-essential offices and celebrate our successes as a team.”

Perhaps the most prestigious honors recognized at this ceremony were the 2019 State University of New York Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence bestowed upon seven of GCC’s finest.

Receiving the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service which recognizes consistently superior service contributions of teaching faculty over multiple years, was Professor of Spanish, Kathleen A. Kimber.

Kimber became a member of GCC’s faculty in 1997 and immediately got directly involved with the campus and community. Regularly using her Spanish fluency, Kimber goes above and beyond her duties as a professor to assist in translations, donating countless hours over the years. On multiple occasions, she has served as a medical translator in Honduras – an experience Kimber shares in the classroom providing real-life learning opportunities to her students.

Kimber has chaired and co-chaired many initiatives on campus, collaborated and contributed to grant writing opportunities and campus governance topics, student and faculty mentoring relationships, consistently and clearly demonstrating her commitment to service. Kimber was also the recipient of a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities in 2011 and for Excellence in Teaching in 2004. Kimber earned her Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology Integration from Pennsylvania State University Online, her M.A. from Indiana University, and her B.A. in Spanish from SUNY Potsdam. Kimber resides in Naples.

Recognizing consistently superior professional achievement, the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service was awarded to Student Activities Specialist, Kristen E. Mruk. Mruk, of Lancaster, joined the GCC professional services team in 2013 and since then has completely transformed GCC’s Leadership Certificate Program into an online program making it more accessible and relevant to today’s students.

Additionally, Mruk revised the Student Orientation process to improve new student experiences, and has supported students transition to college through supplemental online programs and working closely with GCC’s six campus centers. All of these efforts and Mruk’s countless hours analyzing data, collaborating with colleagues and implementing new tools have allowed her to execute ideas to improve student participation and satisfaction. She is also actively involved with the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), the College Student Personnel Association of New York State (CSPA-NYS) currently serving as its President Elect, and has been serving as a volunteer with SABAH (Spirited Athletes Bold at Heart) in Buffalo for 20 years. Mruk earned her M.S. in College Student Personnel Administration from Canisius College and her B.A. in Communication from SUNY Buffalo.

For Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, Director of Humanities, JoNelle R. Toriseva received a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence. Toriseva’s passion for scholarship and creativity have been evident through all she has accomplished since joining GCC in 2011. The highlight of Toriseva’s career so far was her work in spearheading the development of GCC’s Scholarship Symposium. Now an annual signature event for GCC, it not only presents the accomplishments of our students and employees by demonstrating and celebrating their creative achievements, but it supports and encourages a culture of research, academic excellence, and innovation as well.

Toriseva has presented at various national, state, and local conferences and published award-winning writing. She brings to the classroom a lifetime of interesting accomplishments and experiences and continues to research and develop collaborative efforts within the college and local community to enhance scholarship and creativity opportunities for all. Toriseva received her M.F.A. in English, Creative Writing from Mills College, her M.A. in English and her B.S. in Spanish Education from Bemidji State University, and her B.A. in Spanish & Speech Communication from Concordia College. Toriseva resides in Rochester.

Receiving the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, which recognizes consistently superior teaching at the graduate, undergraduate, or professional level of the highest quality was Associate Professor of History, Derek D. Maxfield. Since his hire in 2009, Maxfield has been actively involved in GCC’s campus community and dedicated to providing students with an exceptional learning experience.

Described by many as a gifted storyteller, Maxfield has a way of reaching students in the classroom that is memorable. He incorporates applied learning, which gets his students beyond the classroom and experiencing the preservation of history on the ground, has created unique and engaging assignments, created new courses, and coordinates the GCC History Club’s Historical Horizons Lecture Series. Maxfield’s first book, “Hellmira: The Union’s Most Infamous POW Camp of the Civil War” is being published this fall. Maxfield holds an M.A. in History from Villanova University and a B.A. in History from SUNY Cortland. He currently resides in Churchville.

The SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching recognizes consistently superior teaching at the graduate, undergraduate or professional level of the highest quality. Receiving this award was Adjunct Instructors Lori E. Kubik and John R. Molyneux.

Kubik, who lives in Attica, has been a member of GCC’s adjunct faculty since 2012 teaching several Grammar and English courses. In addition, she has been teaching in GCC’s Advanced Learning Program since its inception in 2015. Kubik creates and uses various educational techniques to ensure she reaches all students’ learning styles. Kubik is not only known for her unique ways to engage students, but also for her dedication to go above and beyond her duties as an adjunct teacher. Her breadth of knowledge, commitment to intellectual rigor dazzles students and faculty alike. It is very evident by all she does that she is truly invested in our college, community, and most importantly, our students. Kubik earned her M.S. and B.A. in Secondary English Education from the State University College at Buffalo.

Molyneux has been a member of GCC’s adjunct faculty since 2002 and has taught a variety of courses in English, Literature and Speech. He is a veteran teacher with almost 50 years of teaching experience and is well known for his ability to connect with students. Molyneux is creative, innovative and passionate about educating. His dedication and motivation is an inspiration for all who cross his path. Molyneux is an exceptional instructor who is dedicated to bringing literacy instruction from the library to the classroom and beyond. As a result, his class offerings are in high demand. Molyneux holds a B.A. in English from St. Francis University. He currently resides in Henrietta.

The final SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence was presented to Maureen P. Goodsell, Admissions Data Entry Operator for Excellence in Classified Service. This award is a system-level award established to give recognition for superior performance and extraordinary achievement by employees in the Classified Service. These awards demonstrate SUNY’s commitment to individuals who provide superior service to its students and the community at large.

Goodsell came to GCC in 1999 and has been dedicated to mastering her role and has accomplished a great deal of work beyond the outline of her position description. Goodsell is a wealth of knowledge, a valuable resource for students and staff, and possess extraordinary customer service skills. She is a creative thinker, always flexible with the ever-changing times, and enthusiastic about all she does. Goodsell continually strives to fulfill and exceed all the expectations of her position in an effort to better herself and GCC. She is a role model when it comes to work ethic and a great leader. Goodsell earned her A.A.S in Business Administration from Genesee Community College. She currently resides in Batavia.

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Local 4-Hers compete in 4-county Fashion Revue in Ellicottville

Staff Reports Posted 4 June 2019 at 7:32 am

Photos courtesy of Orleans County 4-H Program

Orleans County 4-H members competed in the Western District Fashion Revue on Saturday at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cattaraugus County in Ellicottville.

The top photo shows 4-Hers from Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Wyoming and Orleans counties taking part in the annual event. Participants modeled their own sewing creations in a fashion show and then enjoyed a tour of the Nannen Arboretum and lunch before returning home.

Six of the Orleans County 4-Hers were able to attend. They are all members of the Adventurers Club based in Barre.

In the front row, from left, includes Dennis Mathes, Shania Mathes and Izzy McCoy. Back row: Allison Mathes, Lillian Mathes and Sarah Mathes.

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GCC recognizes student and instructor of the semester at Albion, Medina centers

Photos courtesy of GCC: Amy Schrader has been selected as the Student of the Semester at GCC’s Medina Campus Center for spring semester.

Posted 14 May 2019 at 6:49 pm

Press Release, GCC

Genesee Community College’s Albion and Medina Campus Centers have announced the Spring 2019 Instructors and Students of the Semester.

Each semester, one instructor and one student from each campus center are recognized for their outstanding instructional and/or academic performances. For several weeks, the campus centers collect nominations from fellow teachers, colleagues and students and a small committee led by James Simon, associate dean at Medina and Albion Campus Centers, determines the winners.


Paul Brew

Paul Brew has been selected as the GCC Albion Campus Center Spring 2019 Instructor of the Semester. Brew is new to the GCC Albion faculty this semester and teaches history and political science. The students who nominated Mr. Brew said, “He is an instructor that will always be there to help, and doesn’t want anybody to fail his class.” Another student stated: “History is a tough subject for me, but the way he teaches it really made me like history!”

Brew of Rochester is a graduate of Churchville-Chili High School, and over his lifetime he gleaned his higher education from Monroe Community College, Empire State College, SUNY Brockport and GCC. He earned a Master’s degree in World History. “I went right from high school to work and instantly became addicted to the paycheck. Money does not equal happiness, and I wish I would have gone to college sooner.”

In his insights on the Albion Campus Center, he shared that “GCC is a place where people trump paperwork every time. You can get just about anything done with an actual person.”

In addition to teaching, Brew enjoys doing Isshin Ryu Karate, playing World of Warships video games and writes Sci-fi. He cites his most rewarding teaching experience as “Every time a student tells me they hate history but enjoyed my class.” His word of advice to new instructors? “Meet students where they are.”

Carl Roach III

Carl Roach III has been selected as the GCC Albion Campus Center Spring 2019 Student of the Semester. Roach is pursuing a degree in Business Administration with expected graduation in Spring 2020. He has a long-term life goal of “achieving a technology breakthrough that will ultimately lead to a greater understanding of our very human nature and the world around us.”

Roach chose to further his education at GCC in order to “achieve his dreams and goals in life.” He notes that the strong support of his family helps drive his aspirations. “Without their support, I would be lost.” Other major influences in his life are the “various learning and teaching styles offered through the intellectual instructors and programs” at GCC. His nominating instructor said, “Carl is driven and curious to be the best version of himself. Not only does he actively participate and add value to every class discussion, but he encourages and teaches his peers to achieve success in the classroom.”

Outside of school, you can find Roach skateboarding, running, playing guitar and pursuing his love of computer technology, philosophy, history and learning. Roach resides in Albion.


Dr. David Voss

Dr. David Voss has been selected as the Instructor of the Semester at Genesee Community College – Medina Campus Center for the spring 2019 semester. Dr. Voss teaches Introduction to Chemistry at the Medina Campus this semester and has taught at GCC since 2007. He also teaches chemistry and forensic science at Medina High School. The student nomination stated, “He is an awesome professor, super helpful, and provides encouragement for his students. I really enjoyed every second of his class!”

When asked about one piece of advice he would give to new instructors, Dr. Voss said, “Smile every day and have fun teaching your class.” He received this advice from a former student on a post-it note during his first year of teaching and he still carries this advice with him. Voss indicated that hearing about former students who are doing well and enjoying life is the most rewarding aspect of his job.

When asked about his feelings regarding GCC Medina Campus Center, he said, “The staff and faculty are incredibly caring and supportive. They want every student to be successful. It’s a great place to go to continue your education.”

Dr. Voss earned his B.S. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Bioinorganic Chemistry from University at Buffalo. He enjoys sports, reading and gardening. He is married and has four children, a dog and two cats, and resides in Barker.

Amy Schrader has been selected as the Student of the Semester at the Medina Campus Center for the spring semester. Amy is pursuing a Nursing A.A.S. degree and she is a full-time student at GCC, expecting to graduate in May 2021. After she completes her degree, she plans to continue her education by pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Amy’s career goal is to work as a registered nurse at Medina Memorial – Orleans Community Health, where she currently works as an L.P.N. in the dialysis department.

The instructors who nominated Amy expressed that she is an excellent student with exceptionally strong work ethic, diligence and determination. Professors commented that she is an “inspiration” and positive role model to traditional students as “they can see in her how hard work pays off.” Amy has certainly made a very positive and lasting impression during her time at GCC.

When asked why she decided to attend college, Amy shared that she wanted to further her education as a nurse and to be better able to provide for her family. Her advice to new students: “Work hard, don’t give up, and have perseverance. It’s all going to be worth it!”

Amy is married, has two children and resides in Medina.

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Sobieraski receives highest community award given to Rochester police officer

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 May 2019 at 9:48 pm

Photo courtesy of Tom Smith

ROCHESTER – Brett Sobieraski of Kent, a sergeant with the Rochester Police Department, today received the Rochester Rotary Club’s Henry H. Jensen Memorial Award, the highest community award presented to a Rochester police officer.

Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, left, presents Sobieraski with the award at today’s Rotary meeting in Rochester. The award is given to a member of Rochester Police Department for serving the community “with great commitment, distinction, compassion, courage, character and integrity, and for upholding the highest performance and ethical standards of the Rochester Police Department.”

A Rochester police officer is nominated for the award by a member of the department, and those nominations are reviewed by the command staff. The Rotary Club presents the award during an annual luncheon.

Sobieraski started his career in Lockport and worked there for four years. He grew up in Lockport, where his late father John was a detective. Sobieraski joined the Rochester Police Department 26 years ago. He supervises the Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team and is a team leader on the SWAT Team. He is also an instructor at the Monroe County Law Enforcement Academy.

Sobieraski said he has attended the luncheon many times in the past and considered many previous winners to be his mentors.

“I was really humbled to be among so many role models of mine,” he said tonight in an interview. “They aren’t just great law enforcement officers, they are great humans.”

Aside from his work in law enforcement, the Rotary Club cited Sobieraski’s work in the community. He has raised over $80,000 for organizations such as the Veterans Outreach Center, New York State Olympics, The Mahoney Family (Former RPD Sergeant Bill Mahoney), Huntington disease, The All in All Time Foundation, The Rochester Police Foundation and other organizations. Sobieraski raises money and awareness through long-distance runs, races, polar plunges and many other endurance activities.

He recently started a non-profit organization called Limitless Racing. This organization gives children of special needs the opportunity to experience the thrill and accomplishment of distance racing.

Sobieraski also is seeking election to be the next Orleans County sheriff. He and Chris Bourke are on the ballot in a June 25 primary.

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