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Mortgage burned to kick off fair

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

State Sen. George Maziarz, right, joined in the mortgage burning ceremony for the “Buzz” Hill Education Center at the opening ceremonies for this year’s 4-H Fair. Maziarz is joined by CCE Fund Development Committee Chairman Pete Toenniessen, left, and Ed Neal, chairman of the CCE board.

KNOWLESVILLE – Late last year, the board of directors at the Cornell Cooperative Extension set a goal of paying off the remaining $35,000 mortgage for the CCE’s education center, a nearly $1 million complex that opened in 2007.

The group wanted to pay off the mortgage a year early. It sent out letters to supporters in January. Donors responded en masse. The debt has been paid. Tonight, the CCE celebrated the milestone by burning the mortgage.

“It was certainly gratifying to see the donations come in,” said Ed Neal, CCE board chairman.

State Sen. George Maziarz was part of the mortgage burning celebration this evening. He praised the community for rallying their dollars in 2006-07, and for heeding the call again to pay off the debt.

“It was the community that built this education center,” Maziarz said during the opening ceremony.

The center has 6,114 square feet. It allowed the CCE to sell its historic office space on Main Street and move to the fairgrounds, making use of the fairgrounds year-round. The center includes offices, classrooms and a lab. It is named for Buzz Hill, a former buildings and grounds superintendent who died in an accident at the fairgrounds.

Orleans County legislators approved $10,000 to pay off the debt in January, and local private donors gave the remaining $25,000.

Russell Young, a member of the American Legion in Medina, plays the trumpet during the opening ceremonies.

Local veterans were part of the opening ceremonies, raising the flag next to the Trolley Building.

Interim CCE Director Pal Lehman praised the fair supporters, and a dedicated corps of about 100 4-H leaders for making the week-long fair such a success.

“We couldn’t be prouder of the Cooperative Extension and the good work it does,” said David Callard, the Legislature chairman.

Fair royalty also welcomed the community to the fair. That group includes Queen Mikaila Harmer, Duke Joseph Trautwein and Dutchess Megan Blackburn.

World War II veteran Michael Paduchak, right, and George Blakeman, a member of the Marine Corps League in Albion, salute during the flag-raising ceremony.