achievements

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.

Several from Orleans on Dean’s List at Alfred State

Staff Reports Posted 3 August 2020 at 2:01 pm

ALFRED – Dr. Kristin Poppo, provost at Alfred State College, has announced the Dean’s List of academically impressive students for spring 2020. To be listed, students must have completed at least 12 credit hours for the semester and earned a 3.5 grade point average out of a possible 4.0. For the most recent semester, the dean’s list includes 980 students. In addition, 293 of these students achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA. The 4.0 GPA students are indicated with an asterisk (*).

Those students honored were enrolled full-time in either the School of Applied Technology; School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology; or the School of Arts and Sciences.

The following Orleans County students were among those recognized:

  • Erin Smith of Albion, Healthcare Management *
  • Erik Balys of Holley, Heavy Equipment Operations
  • Brandon Dillenbeck of Holley, Mechanical Engineering Tech
  • Melody Purtell of Holley, Radiologic Technology *
  • Jessica Sedore of Holley, Nursing (AAS/BS) *
  • Mikala Smith of Holley, Architectural Technology
  • Dalton Thurley of Holley, Mechanical Engineering Tech
  • Hanna Waterman of Holley, Nursing (AAS/BS) *
  • Austin Clay of Kendall, Digital Media and Animation
  • Keegan Bayne of Lyndonville, Machine Tool Technology
  • Olivia Hill of Medina, Healthcare Management
  • Dylan Nicholson of Medina, Digital Media and Animation
  • Jacob Stehlar of Medina, Technology Management
  • Meadow Washak of Medina, Mechanical Engineering Tech

Mike and Cheryl Wertman receive state-wide award for coverage of high school basketball

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 July 2020 at 10:52 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Mike and Cheryl Wertman cover a local track and field competition in this photo from April 30, 2019. The two were honored by the Basketball Coaches Association of New York for their commitment to covering high school sports in Orleans and Niagara counties.

A husband and wife who have been covering local high school sports for several decades have received a state-wide award for their dedication.

Mike Wertman, the Orleans Hub sports editor, and Cheryl Wertman, the Hub’s sports photographer, have been recognized with the “Golden Media Award” by the Basketball Coaches Association of New York.

Brett Sippel, coach of the Wilson boys varsity team, nominated the Wertmans.

“Mike and Cheryl are relentless workers,” Sippel said today.

He has worked with them for 20 years, with both basketball and as the cross country coach. Even though Wilson is outside Orleans County, Mike Wertman does game summaries on the team for the Orleans Hub and previously for The Journal-Register in Medina.

Sippel said the daily papers that are closer by have stopped with the box scores on each game.

“We’re not even an Orleans County school district and he reaches out and wants to know how a game went,” Sippel said. “He does a tremendous job.”

Wilson is on the western end of the Niagara-Orleans League. It’s not in Orleans County, but it’s part of a league that plays schools in Orleans County. The Wertmans also cover Barker, Roy-Hart, Newfane and Akron, which aren’t in Orleans County but are in the N-O League. They also cover the Genesee Region League which includes Holley, Kendall and Lyndonville, as well as many rural districts in the region, mostly from Genesee County.

Mike Wertman has been covering the local sports scene for 42 years. He worked at former Journal-Register for 35 years before joining the Orleans Hub 7 years ago. He has posted 7,900 sports articles on the Orleans Hub.

His wife Cheryl has joined him at the games for more than 35 years. She credits Don Cook, a late JR photographer, for getting her started as a sports photographer.

Sippel said Mrs. Wertman can be counted on for awesome action shots from the games, and her husband gets the details on the players’ scoring, assists and rebounds. Sipped said Wertman did the league a big service by researching and chronicling all the league champs for nearly the past century.

“I think it’s so important to recognize them during this time when the media has dwindled,” Sippel said. “Mike still gets the results every night at a time when other papers don’t do nightly write-ups. They are appreciated by the kids and the coaches. They really do an excellent job.”

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Medina firefighter among 21 grads in state training academy

Staff Reports Posted 20 July 2020 at 10:28 am

MONTOUR FALLS – Tyler Harrington, a Medina firefighter, is among 21 graduates from the state’s Recruit Firefighter Training program at the Office of Fire Prevention and Control’s Academy of Fire Science in Montour Falls.

The graduates hail from 14 fire departments and represent the Academy’s 79th Recruit Firefighter Training class. The typical 11-week residential program provides extensive fire service training in an environment similar to a full-time fire department.

However, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the training was adapted to accommodate remote learning for the classroom-based portions and to ensure the practical training conducted on-site was done so safely. Upon graduation, all recruits will become full-time firefighters in their respective fire departments when they return home.

“As we continue to move forward in this new world, it’s more important than ever we continue to provide critical training to the first responders out there every day helping communities stay safe and secure,” said Patrick A. Murphy, commissioner of the NYS Homeland Security and Emergency Services. “Achieving firefighter certification is no small task, and to have reached this goal amid a global pandemic is all the more impressive. I congratulate these recruits on a job well done and wish them nothing but the best as they begin their careers in public service.”

During the 11-week program, recruits participate in more than 500 hours of training in both classroom and practical settings. Classes focus on areas such as emergency vehicle and pump operations, flammable gas firefighting, basic rescue technician skills and foundational firefighting training and operations.

Recruits also participate in daily physical fitness training in preparation for the Candidate Physical Ability Test. Upon completion, graduates will have received national certification from the National Board of Fire Service Professional Qualifications in Firefighter I, Firefighter II and Hazardous Materials Operations.

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Albion student part of first virtual Girls State program

Staff Reports Posted 5 July 2020 at 12:35 pm

ALBION – Ashley Ames, an incoming senior at Albion in 2020-21, is part of the first ever virtual American Legion Auxiliary Girls State.

Ashley Ames

Ashley is one of 400 young women selected to attend the 79th American Legion Auxiliary Girls State session. The program started June 28 and continues until July 12.

As part of the annual program, outstanding students are chosen from their local high schools to spend a week learning about the inner workings of state, local and county government.

This premier leadership conference is designed to provide practical insight into the workings of the government, promote youth civic engagement, instill a sense of pride in America, and empower the next generation of women leaders, providing them with a network that lasts a lifetime.

Ashley is active in many ways at Charles D’Amico High School in Albion, including Student Council, the school newsletter, drama, concert and marching band, Pride Alliance, National Honor Society, and the Close Up club.

Madison Nardi of Kendall High School also has been picked for the program. Gina Fox of Albion was chosen as an alternate.

“The ALA Girls State experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young women across our state and while we couldn’t hold the program in person, our team worked hard to ensure that this cohort of High School Juniors get to learn some of the important principles of democracy and about the American Legion Auxiliary ” said Jennifer Farley, American Legion Auxiliary Girls State chairman. “Our hope is that after attending the virtual ALA Girls State, the girls will be inspired to participate in the democratic process, volunteer in their communities and be filled with patriotism and pride.”

ALA Girls State:​ The American Legion Auxiliary’s marquee Girls State program, first presented in 1937, is one of the most respected and coveted experiential learning programs presented in the United States.

The program epitomizes the ALA’s mission to honor those who have brought us our freedom through our enduring commitment to develop young women as future leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism. The young women become knowledgeable of the democratic process and how our republic form of government works at the state and national levels.

To learn more about the Auxiliary’s mission, visit www.ALAforVeterans.org​.

For more on the Girl State program, click here.

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2 from Orleans make Dean’s List at FLCC

Staff Reports Posted 30 June 2020 at 10:11 pm

CANANDAIGUA – Two residents of Orleans County made the Dean’s List at Finger Lakes Community College for spring 2020.

Samantha Vanacore of Albion and Kaylyn Holman of Medina were among 556 FLCC students to make the Dean’s List. To be named to the Dean’s List, students must have a 3.5 grade point average.

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Kendall student will be part of first virtual Girls State program

Staff Reports Posted 30 June 2020 at 11:55 am

Provided photo: Madison Nardi and about 400 other students will be part of the first virtual Girl State program. The program runs from June 28 to July 12.

KENDALL – Madison Nardi, who will be a senior at Kendall in 2020-21, will be attending the first ever virtual American Legion Auxiliary Girls State.

Madison is one of 400 young women selected to attend the 79th American Legion Auxiliary Girls State session.  As part of the annual program, outstanding students are chosen from their local high schools to spend a week learning about the inner workings of state, local and county government. Madison is sponsored by the Jewell Buckman Auxiliary Unit in Holley.

This premier leadership conference is designed to provide practical insight into the workings of the government, promote youth civic engagement, instill a sense of pride in America, and empower the next generation of women leaders, providing them with a network that lasts a lifetime.

Madison Nardi is a rising senior at Kendall High School. She is active in many ways in her school and community, including varsity volleyball and various other clubs.

The program included workshops lead by a political instructor, presentations on women in leadership, Activities that inspired patriotism and pride, as well as information on the American Legion Auxiliary.

“The ALA Girls State experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young women across our state and while we couldn’t hold the program in person, our team worked hard to ensure that this cohort of High School Juniors get to learn some of the important principles of democracy and about the American Legion Auxiliary ” said Jennifer Farley, American Legion Auxiliary Girls State chairman. “Our hope is that after attending the virtual ALA Girls State, the girls will be inspired to participate in the democratic process, volunteer in their communities and be filled with patriotism and pride.”

ALA Girls State:​ The American Legion Auxiliary’s marquee Girls State program, first presented in 1937, is one of the most respected and coveted experiential learning programs presented in the United States.

The program epitomizes the ALA’s mission to honor those who have brought us our freedom through our enduring commitment to develop young women as future leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism. The young women become knowledgeable of the democratic process and how our republic form of government works at the state and national levels.

To learn more about the Auxiliary’s mission, visit www.ALAforVeterans.org​.

For more on the Girl State program, click here.

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Albion grad on Dean’s List at Susquehanna University

Staff Reports Posted 27 June 2020 at 9:23 pm

SELINSGROVE, PA – Skyler Smith of Medina has been named to Susquehanna University’s Dean’s List for the spring 2020 semester.

The dean’s list recognizes students who achieve a grade point average of 3.4 or higher out of a possible 4.0 for the semester. To qualify, students must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours.

Smith is a biomedical sciences major in the Class of 2021 and is a graduate of Charles D’Amico High School.

Susquehanna, a liberal arts university offering more than 100 majors and minors in business, humanities, arts and sciences, focuses on intellectual development, global competence and career success.