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Culinary students from Orleans CTE Center shine at Taste of Education

Provided photos from Orleans-Niagara BOCES – Pictured from left include Marie Reynolds (Albion), Chef Atzrott, Brandon Heschke (Medina), Zach Richbart (Barker), Jacob McKernan (Royalton-Hartland) and Courtney Lang (Medina). Not pictured: Carolina Overton, Lillee Gollhardt (Lockport) and David Baier (Royalton-Hartland).

Posted 20 March 2019 at 5:43 pm

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

Jacob McKernan of Roy-Hart won the Iron Chef competition with his partner Darian Bryan, Executive Chef for the Plating Society and head chef at Fisher Price.

DEPEW – The Culinary Arts students from the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center took home three big awards at the 15th Annual Taste of Education.

The Taste of Education introduces Western New York young chefs to the public with a friendly cooking competition where the students present a three course meal with appetizer, main course and dessert.

This year’s theme was “Get Stuffed.” There is also an Iron Chef Competition with three professional chefs paired with student sous chefs. The event was held at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens and the Western New York’s Chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association benefits from the fundraiser which they use for scholarships.

Under the direction of their teacher, Chef James Atzrott, these students won first place: David Baier (Royalton-Hartland), Lillee Gollhardt (Lockport), Brandon Heschke (Medina), Courtney Lang (Medina), Jacob McKernan (Royalton-Hartland), Carolina Overton (Lockport), Marie Reynolds (Albion) and Zach Richbart (Barker).

They won for the People’s Choice and first place for the Judges Choice for their menu of Banh Mi Sausage/Asian Pickled Spring Roll/Gochujang Aioli, Loukaniko Sausage/Stuffed Grape Leaves/Ladolemono Sauce, Stuffed Dates/Chocolate/Peanut Butter/ Sea Salt and Sweet Tofu Rangoon/Mexican Cinnamon/Chipotle Sugar.

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Medina volunteer with New York Guard recognized for service

Staff Reports Posted 19 March 2019 at 10:07 am

Pfc. Samuel Maryjanowski of Medina, serving with the 10th Area Command, received the New York Guard Recruiting Medal.

The New York Guard is a force of 500 uniformed volunteers, organized as a military unit, who augment the New York National Guard during state emergencies. They provide administrative and logistics support to the National Guard. Members of the New York Guard have been involved in flood control efforts along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

Unlike members of the New York National Guard, New York Guard members do not have a federal military role and do not deploy outside the state. New York Guard members usually train in a volunteer status and are only paid when they are placed on state duty during emergencies.

The New York Guard, which is one of 23 state defense forces around the country, is authorized to recruit just over 1,000 volunteers organized into units located across New York. Currently there are 600 New Nork Guard members.

About half of the New York Guard volunteers are former members of the active duty military or National Guard who bring a wealth of experience to the force while the other half have never served in the military. Previous military membership is not a requirement for New York Guard service.

People who have served in the military can serve in the New York Guard up until age 68. Those who have never served in the military must be between age 18 and age 55 to join.

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Albion man graduates from Marine Corps boot camp

Staff Reports Posted 18 March 2019 at 4:59 pm

Pvt. Chester B. Boring

ALBION – Pvt. Chester B. Boring, 18, of Albion graduated from United States Marine Corps boot camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina on Feb. 8, 2019.

Pvt. Boring successfully completed 13 weeks of intensive basic training at Parris Island as one of 514 recruits with 2nd Battalion Hotel Company Platoon 2012. While in recruit training, Pvt. Boring achieved Expert in the Marine Corps Rifle Qualification Course.

Following 10 days home on leave he reported to Camp Geiger for one month for Military Combat Training (MCT).

Pvt. Boring will be headed to Military Occupation Specialty School in Fort Lee, Virginia following his MCT training.

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National Guard soldier from Albion receives new rank and responsibilities

Staff Reports Posted 18 March 2019 at 1:31 pm

Sheldyn Dysard of Albion has been promoted to the rank of specialist in the New York Army National Guard.

Dysard is assigned to the Company D (Forward Support Company Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition), 427th Brigade Support Battalion.

Army National Guard promotions are based on overall performance, attitude, leadership ability, and development potential, said Major General Ray Shields, the Adjutant General for the State of New York.

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.

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O-N BOCES teacher named SkillsUSA advisor of the year

Posted 12 March 2019 at 12:10 pm

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

Provided photo: Scott Brauer has been a SkillsUSA advisor for 28 years.

A huge and much deserved congratulations to Orleans/Niagara BOCES’ Project Based Engineering teacher, Scott Brauer, who has been named the SkillsUSA New York Area 1 Advisor of the Year.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.

Brauer teaches at the Niagara Career and Technical Education Center. His SkillsUSA journey began when he was a junior in high school and attended BOCES. He says being a member of SkillsUSA gave him direction, purpose and focus. It is one of the reasons he decided to become a career and technical education teacher at the same center he attended and become a SkillsUSA advisor himself.

“I just want others to experience what I was able to experience as a student,” he said. “SkillsUSA is life changing!”

Brauer has been a SkillsUSA advisor for 28 years. He has been the lead advisor at the Niagara Career and Technical Education Center for the past 12 years and believes in order to be a great advisor you have to become involved through ardent practice, gathering of information and networking.

He trains others not to do things for the young people, but to assist them on their journey. He coordinates all the competitions that the center participates in at the regional, state and national levels. He is also the contest chair for Advanced Manufacturing Technology, CNC and Machining contests at the regional level. His class has been recognized by the NYS Education Department as a Top Career and Technical Education Program in New York State.

He was nominated by his peers across the Area 1 division. One nominator says, “Young people are always the center of Scott’s decisions and plans. He is forever mindful of any action’s impact on the individual or the group. He is always moving forward, taking others with him into the future and the world beyond his classroom.”

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Batavia couple, long-time supporters of GCC, going into college’s Alumni Hall of Fame

Posted 9 March 2019 at 1:40 pm

Press Release, GCC

Provided photo from GCC: Patti and John Michalak of Batavia

BATAVIA – Members of the Genesee Community College Foundation and the community will gather at GCC’s Batavia Campus at 4 p.m. on March 27 to induct the first married couple into GCC’s Alumni Hall of Fame.

John A. and Patti A. Michalak will be honored for their dedication and support of their alma mater. The event is in the Student Success Center, Room G200

Patti A. (Mancuso) Michalak GCC class of ’70, and passionate equestrian met the love of her life at GCC in 1969, as she worked on her Secretarial Science AS degree. A year later, she married John Michalak. Patti stayed home and raised the couple’s three children, Timothy, Tamara and John Andrew II, then returned to the work force as a teacher aide and eventually a teaching assistant at BOCES (Boards of Cooperative Educational Services).

She also operated her own businesses, The One Stop Party Shop and Bridal Fantasies, both located in The Liberty Square Plaza in Batavia. Most recently, Patti was elected councilwoman for the Board in the Town of Batavia in 2006 and she continues to serve in that role today.

John A. Michalak, GCC class of ’71, graduated from Oakfield-Alabama High School and served in the United States Army from 1966-1968 and was stationed in Vietnam from 1967-1968. He was awarded the Commendation Medal along with several other awards.

After graduation from GCC, John was appointed as the first executive director of the Batavia Youth Bureau, responsible for programs and activities for the city’s youth and summer parks programs. He later became a police officer in the Batavia Police Department. He graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigations Academy in 1992 and worked as a detective, and was eventually promoted to Sergeant. In 2003, John retired after 32 years of service.

Today, John is a security officer for the towns of Batavia, Elba and occasionally Oakfield. He also prepares all of the necessary work for jury trials in local justice courts.

Through the many years, John and Patti have poured countless hours into supporting GCC through many initiatives, among them Homecoming events, Cougar Crawls, Fall Fests, the Car Cruise, Trek the Trails. They encourage many other GCC alumni to support their alma mater, including their own children. They are without a doubt, extraordinary and well-deserved inductees for the College’s Alumni Hall of Fame.

Each year, candidates are nominated by friends, family, colleagues or other associates for their impactful contributions to their profession and distinguished service to the community and/or Genesee Community College. The GCC Alumni Hall of Fame, which is located on the second floor of the Conable Technology Building, boasts honorees from a wide variety of industries and backgrounds.

The complete list of Hall of Fame members is available by clicking here.

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Students at Orleans Career and Tech Center win at SkillsUSA competition

Posted 5 March 2019 at 1:56 pm

Photos courtesy of Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering teacher, Bill Rakonczay, is proud to announce the SkillsUSA winners from his class competition at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center.

The SkillsUSA overall Team winners include, from left: 3rd place: Matt Borowriak (Lockport) and Maddison Bale (Medina). Second place winners include Skyler Munn (Lyndonville) and Cal Stinson (Lyndonville). The 1st place team includes Luke Smeal (Lockport) and Canyon Wood (Royalton-Hartland).

The junior SkillsUSA Mill Competition winners include: 1st place, Caleb Boyce from Medina; 2nd place, Cal Stinson from Lyndonville; and 3rd place, Canyon Wood from Royalton-Hartland.

The junior SkillsUSA Lathe Competition winners include: 1st Place, Luke Smeal (Lockport); 2nd place, Skyler Munn (Lyndonville); and 3rd Place, Matt Borowiak (Lockport).

First place winners will move on to the regional competition at Alfred State University later this month.

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Albion student is repeat champ in state oratorical contest

Staff Reports Posted 3 March 2019 at 7:52 am

Photo by Sue Starkweather Miller: Melissa Barnosky is pictured on Saturday in Albany with Anthony Paternostro, chairman of the American Legion’s oratorical contest. Barnosky won the competition for the second straight year.

ALBANY – Melissa Barnosky is the state champion for the American Legion’s oratorical contest for the second straight year. Barnsoky won the Legion’s 82nd annual oratorical contest in Albany on Saturday.

This was her third appearance in the finals. She competed against students from zones 1 -4.  She represented zone 5 and delivered her 8-10 minute oration entitled “Civic knowledge, the key to our vigilance.”

The 3-5 minute assigned topic was drawn after students finished their initial oration. The chosen topic was on the Fourth Amendment – “The right of the people to secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Barnosky will now move on to the national contest in Indianapolis, IN. It will take place April 5-7.

As the NYS oratorical winner, she will also give her oration at the 101st American Legion department convention to be held in July 18-20 in Buffalo.

“Melissa did an outstanding job and we are so proud of her,” said Sue Starkweather Miller, public information officer for Albion Central School. “She has a solid understanding of our Constitution and has a strong stage presence. She will do a fine job of representing New York State at the national convention.”

Barnosky advanced to the state competition after winning at the school, county, district and zone levels.

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Orleans Hub’s ‘Outstanding Citizens’ recognized for community service

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 February 2019 at 10:11 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Orleans Hub’s “Outstanding Citizens” for 2018 were recognized during an awards program on Wednesday evening at Hoag Library. Pictured, front row, Pete Sidari (accepting for Tony and Laura Sidari), Penny Cole, Melissa Ostrom and Tami Ashton. Back row: Leonel Rosario, Deborah and Samuel Wilson (accepting for the late Chris Wilson), Michael Hungerford, Jak Kohmann and Brett Sobieraski.

ALBION – Orleans Hub held its annual awards program on Wednesday evening at Hoag Library and recognized our choices for “Outstanding Citizens” for 2018.

Each year since the Hub started, we’ve highlighted people who made a big impact in the community.

The following were recognized:

Leonel Rosario has worked with his family to create a popular Mexican restaurant on Maple Ridge Road in Medina. Mariachi de Oro Restaurant of Medina draws people from all over Western New York, and has received many glowing reviews in The Buffalo News and other publications.

Rosario is busy as the chef and co-owner of the business. He finds time for many community events, welcoming the chance to share food and dances about the Mexican culture.

This year on Nov. 1 he helped organize a Day of the Dead celebration, which for the first time was in downtown Medina. Rosario previously hosted a scaled-down version of the Day of the Dead at Mariachi. Moving it to the downtown was a way to include Main Street businesses and have more room to share food and the festive dances.

Rosario also is active in the very popular Farm-To-Table dinner in downtown Medina. Rosario has worked with Michael Zambito of Zambistros the past two years with the fine dining experience. This year it was expanded to include Mile 303, Sourced Market & Eatery and The Shirt Factory Cafe. Rosario is generous with his time and can be counted on to enthusiastically join with others for community events.

Brett Sobieraski, a Kent resident and sergeant with the Rochester Police Department, ran over 175 miles for 50 hours nonstop to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics.

Sobieraski started his journey in Buffalo on July 13 and ran along the Erie Canal to just outside Syracuse. He ran through Orleans County the first night of the challenge. He called it the 50 for 50 running campaign to signify 50 hours of running for the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics.

Sobieraski set a $10,000 fundraising goal and topped that with $13,000. He was joined by many first responders for parts of the run, and finished the last leg carrying a torch alongside people with disabilities.

Tony and Laura Sidari, Albion natives, suffered the tragic loss of their son Leon, 4 1/2, on Christmas Day in 2017. Leon died two days after getting the flu. He was a very healthy and happy boy.

The Sidaris are both medical doctors. They have become very outspoken in urging people to get flu vaccinations. Leon hadn’t been vaccinated from the flu last year. At an Oct. 8 flu shot clinic in Albion, 59 children were vaccinated at Orleans Community Health. That clinic was made possible through Leon’s Fund, a non-profit organization the Sidaris helped form that promotes flu shots. Leon’s Fund also has money to be given to help children with medical problems at Christmas time.

Orleans Community Health also has educated about 2,500 parents in Orleans County, encouraging them to have their children vaccinated from the flu.

The Sidaris were living in San Antonio for six years before moving recently to Dayton, Ohio. Tony’s uncle Pete Sidari accepted the award on their behalf on Wednesday.

Mark Bennett Sr., 60, of Waterport was driving by the Gaines Valley Aviation Airport on Route 279 when he saw a small experimental helicopter in the sky. It was about 2 p.m. on April 24.

Bennett pulled over to watch the aircraft. Something went horribly wrong with the Mosquito XE and it crashed. Bennett reacted quickly. He climbed through an electric fence and ran to the crash site. The aircraft had burst into flames. The pilot was on fire. Bennett cut Heard’s shirt off, rolled him over to put out the flames and pulled him from the wreck, saving his life.

Bennett declined the award, saying anyone would have sprung into action.

Michael Hungerford led a major art installation project last year at the former Medina High School. The former school on Catherine Street was sitting empty most of the year. The school will be renovated into apartments.

While the building was idle, Hungerford pushed for it to be used for a major immersive art project. For one weekend in October about 1,000 people went through the building to see 29 different art projects in what was called “PLAY/GROUND.”

Artists were given free rein to create in old classrooms, stairwells, hallways and other space in the school. The project received gushing reviews in Rochester and Buffalo.

Photo courtesy of Melissa Ierlan: Orleans Hub editor Tom Rivers presents an “Outstanding Citizen” award to Jak Kohmann, a Boy Scout leader in Clarendon.

Jak Kohmann has set a standard of excellence for Troop 59 in Clarendon. In the past 16 years, 32 of the Boy Scouts in the troop have earned their Eagle rank, the highest level in Scouting. On Aug. 1 last year, six Scouts were presented with the rank during a Court of Honor celebration. They include Xander Apicella, Matt DeSimone, Dalton Thurley, William Harrington, Jake DeSimone and Ben Downey.

Kohmann was praised by the Scouts and parents for his commitment and guidance to the Scouts, especially since his son aged out of the program about a decade ago. His son Derek Kohmann, 27, was the third of the 32 scouts to earn his Eagle.

Penny Cole is a dynamic presence at Holley’s Junior-Senior High School. She works as a secretary in the guidance department. She also is a dedicated cheerleading coach in Holley. She inspires her cheerleaders to perform their intricate and athletic routines. They have won several Genesee-Region League titles. The cheerleaders also do many community service projects, including visits to local nursing homes.

Cole has become a passionate fund-raiser for the Ronald McDonald House. She engages the entire school community in her fund-raising efforts, whether it be a charity basketball game with numerous gift baskets, or a the chance to buy a shingle on a doll house.

The basketball game last year raised $4,444, by far the most in the 12 years Holley has been raising money for the Ronald McDonald House.

The Ronald McDonald House provides a place for families to stay while their children are hospitalized. Cole said several Holley students have battled cancer in recent years, including a student this year who is fighting leukemia.

Melissa Ostrom of Holley wrote a book published by Macmillan in 2018 that honors the courage and resourcefulness of pioneer settlers in Orleans County and Western New York. In The Beloved Wild, Ostrom brings life to pioneer characters. The pioneers were typically just teen-agers when they set out from New England to brave a hard journey by wagon, through dense forests, to get to Orleans County and Western New York.

There wasn’t a map. The pioneers followed markings on trees as they made their way west. The pioneer settlers were incredibly resourceful in taming the land, building homes and farms in the frontier. The obstacles were many – sickness, uninvited strangers, alcoholism, abuse.

Ostrom, a former Kendall high school English teacher, writes about those challenges and the indomitable spirit of pioneer settlers.

Tami Ashton of Medina knows the pain of losing a loved one to addiction. Her daughter, Christina Ashton, died from a drug overdose on June 27, 2016, at age 34.

Ashton has shared her story publicly, trying to break the stigma of addiction. She also has been an important leader of Orleans – Recovery Hope Begins Here, a new organization that connects people struggling with drug addiction to local resources and mentors. Ashton is vice president of the organization.

The group has also led community forums about addiction and helped families in crisis connect to professionals.Orleans – Recovery Hope Begins Here also has 12 trained mentors and counting to serve as recovery coaches for people with addictions.

Ashton is a trained to be an addiction recovery coach for the Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. She encourages people to be honest about the drug crisis in their own lives, their families and communities – and to then seek help in fighting the addictions.

Chris Wilson was dedicated to peace and serving children from war-torn countries. He passed away on May 28 after a brief battle with a rare form of cancer.

Wilson traveled to Afghanistan many times, and worked with the U.S. and Afghanistan embassies so children who were made orphans by war could come to Orleans County for a summer of respite and fun.

Wilson served as international director of Project Life, which over 20 years brought about 130 children to Orleans County for a summer of recuperation. The children stayed with local host families, including with Wilson and his wife Deborah and their son Samuel. The kids learned English, visited many tourism sites, and mostly had care-free summer days. Three of the children had medical issues and needed to stay longer. Wilson worked out medical plans for each of them, arranging for their care and donations.

Wilson was a high-energy and compassionate person, who wouldn’t be discouraged even when the task seemed insurmountable. He was diagnosed with a rare cancer in April. From his hospital bed he sent emails from his laptop, advocating for children.

His wife and son accepted the award on his behalf on Wednesday.

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Several from Orleans make Dean’s List at RIT

Staff Reports Posted 14 February 2019 at 9:27 pm

ROCHESTER – Several students from Orleans County made the Dean’s List at Rochester Institute of Technology for the 2018 Fall Semester.

Degree-seeking undergraduate students are eligible for Dean’s List if their term GPA is greater than or equal to 3.400 for at least 12 credit hours.

ALBION – Roland Sanford, who is in the computational mathematics program; Ricky Daniels, who is in the chemical engineering program, Hannah Sones, who is in the industrial engineering program; Madeline Gibbs, who is in the dietetics and nutrition program; Amber Smarpat, who is in the illustration program; and Nicholas Ettinger, who is in the electrical engineer technology program.

HOLLEY – Ganna Yaroshchuk, who is in the diagnostic medical sonography program; Isaac Barrett, who is in the software engineering program; Gillian Gallets, who is in the industrial design program, Anne Jewell, who is in the diagnostic medical sonography program; Traci Westcott, who is in the photographic and imaging arts program; and Brady Smith, who is in the civil engineering technology program.

LYNDONVILLE – Jessica Smith, who is in the film and animation program.

MEDINA – Carson Zgoda, who is in the medical illustration program; Stella Russo, who is in the physician assistant program; and Toby Kiebala, who is in the mechanical engineering program.

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