Albion businesses urge community to ‘shop small’ on Saturday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 November 2020 at 4:39 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: This group helped plan Small Business Saturday in Albion. They are pictured in Tara Thom quilt shop on East Bank Street. Pictured from left include Courtney Henderson (owner of Milk and Honey) and her daughter Lair Alchin, Maureen Bennett (owner of A Lil’ Cottage Chic), Tara Thom (owner of Town and Country Quilt Shop), Beth Schorer, (owner of Beth’s Sewing Box) and Cliff Thom, who assisted in planning the event.

ALBION – Many of Albion’s locally owned businesses are working together in a Small Business Saturday event, urging people to give the local merchants a chance and not spend so much money online with Amazon or through the Big Box stores.

The local stores tomorrow are offering a “shop hop” where people have a chance to win a $100 gift card through members of the Albion Merchants Association. That’s if people get a passport for the event stamped by 10 locations. If they get it stamped by five businesses they have a chance at winning a gift basket.

Many of the stores in the downtown, on Ridge Road and the Arnold Gregory Office Complex will have in-store specials and prizes.

The AMA wants the community to know the stores have been resilient during the pandemic, and together they offer a variety of merchandise and services.

“People say we don’t have anything in Albion but we literally have everything,” said Courtney Henderson, owner of Milk & Honey in Albion, a women’s and children’s clothing boutique.

She is one of the businesses offering discounts for Small Business Saturday, as well as exclusive “swag bags” for the first 10 customers who spend $100.

She is one of the 10 locations on the shop hop. The others include Laura Loxley Vintage Inspired Goods, Town & Country Quilter, The Flying Needle and Thread, Beth’s Sewing Box, The Olde Dogge Inn, How Sweet It Is Bakery (pop up shop at Tinsel), Downtown Browsery, Red Check Rustic and The Backroom – Pretty Sweet Bakery & A Lil’ Cottage Chic.

Saturday’s shop hop will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will also be a country fair at Arnold Gregory’s and Dubby’s Wood Fired Pizza will be at Tinsel’s from noon to 5 p.m.

Albion residents urged to ‘Deck the Town’ and decorate their homes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 November 2020 at 8:29 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: This home on South Clinton Street is pictured on Thanksgiving in Albion. The Albion Merchants Association wants to see more houses decorated for the Christmas holiday.

ALBION – The Albion Merchants Association is offering $900 in gift cards to homeowners who decorate their houses for the upcoming Christmas holiday.

The AMA is hosting its first “Deck the Town” contest, with a goal to spread joy and make the community shine bright, the group said.

The contest includes a $500 gift card to AMA businesses for first place, a $300 gift card for second and a $100 gift card for third. Voting will be done by the public through Facebook. People are welcome to submit photos of exterior of their decorated homes through the Albion Merchants Association’s Facebook page or by email,

Voting will be done through a Facebook album. All submitted entries will be posted with photo and address (no names, but address for public viewing). The winners will be chosen based on the most likes. Winners will be announced December 25th and receive a gift card redeemable at AMA businesses.

The eligible houses need to be located between Route 31A and 104, and between Lattin Road and Eagle Harbor Road.

The photos need to be submitted from Nov. 28 thru Dec. 15. Winners will be announced Dec. 25 and receive a gift card redeemable at AMA businesses

Gaines Basin Road canal bridge reopens after major repairs

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 November 2020 at 9:10 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Traffic passes over the Gaines Basin Road canal bridge this morning. The bridge has reopened after a major rehabilitation.

The bridge has been closed since March 23. It is one of seven canal bridges that have been upgraded as part of a $10.7 million initiative by the state Department of Transportation.

Crane Hogan Structural Systems in Spencerport was the contractor. The company installed high-strength galvanized steel to replace steel floor systems, low chords, gusset plates and truss elements.

The  seven single-lane truss bridges were constructed between 1909 and 1914.

The bridges in the $10.7 million project include Bennetts Corners Road in the Town of Murray, Telegraph Road in the Town of Murray, Transit Road in the Town of Murray, Densmore Road in the Town of Albion, Gaines Basin Road in the Town of Gaines, Bates Road in the Village of Medina, and Marshall Road in the Town of Ridgeway.

Hometown Christmas show in Albion continues – online

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 November 2020 at 12:30 pm

Event that honors memory of Nicholas Kovaleski has raised $25K for scholarships in 10 years

Photos by Tom Rivers: Dancers rehearse the opening number of the 10thannual Nicholas Kovaleski Hometown Christmas. Performers will be videotaped today with the show available to watch online beginning Dec. 4. A $10 purchase gives 24 hours of access of watching the show. There are also baskets up for raffle. Tickets can also be purchased online for the baskets or in person at Gotta Dance by Miss Amy.

ALBION – Covid won’t be stopping the 10th annual Hometown Christmas show in Albion. While there won’t be an in-person audience the show will be available to watch online.

Nicholas Kovaleski

Amy Sidari, owner of Gotta Dance by Miss Amy, has directed the Nicholas Kovaleski Hometown Christmas shows the past decade. They honor the memory of one of her dancers.

Nicholas Kovaleski also excelled in football, swimming and tennis for Albion, and was a Boy Scout. He valiantly battled leukemia and passed away at age 15 on June 29, 2011.

The Hometown Christmas show includes some of Miss Amy’s dancers and other performers from the community, including singing by Gary Simboli, Marcy Downey and Riley Seielstad. Jim Babcock, a local contractor, will appear as Santa and two of his employees, Craig Lane and David Karcz, will be dressed in reindeer costumes.

Sidari also will give a message about love, community and unity during this difficult year.

“With love we can overcome the negativity, the restrictions and feelings of lost hope,” Sidari said. “With Covid, our whole community has gone through its own grief. We’re a group that wants to bring joy to people.”

Kelly Kovaleski will share with the audience about her late son, who was upbeat while pushing himself to excel. The Hometown Christmas shows have raised $25,000 in scholarships which are given to Albion seniors selected by Kelly and Jay Kovaleski who “Live with Purpose.”

Kelly Kovaleski and Amy Sidari have worked together on the Hometown Christmas shows in memory of Kovaleski’s son, who passed away from leukemia at age 15 on June 29, 2011. They are wearing facemasks with the “Live with Purpose” message that a guiding principle in Nicholas’s life.

That was the guiding principle for their son. Albion seniors submit applications for the scholarship, and the Kovaleskis want to honor students who step up for their families and friends.

The scholarships have ranged from $500 to $800. Last year the Kovaleskis were able to award three scholarships – Laiken Ricker, Masey Ferchen and Colby Ferchen were the winners.

The scholarships and fundraising are through the Jim and Diane Salmon Children’s Fund, which is a 501c3 organization, allowing tax exempt donations.

Salmon, a home repair radio host for WHAM in Rochester, had Nicholas as a guest on the show.

“He was sick, but he was wonderful,” Salmon said. “He did a great interview.”

Salmon said the Hometown Christmas continues to honor Nicholas’s memory, and this year provides an important outlet for the performers and the audience.

“This show is a testament of the tenacity of Miss Amy, and Jay and Kelly Kovaleski,” Salmon said. “They have found a way to do the show and do it within the rules.”

Michayla Kovaleski rehearses a dance on Sunday for this year’s Hometown Christmas show. She is Nicholas’s sister and works as a dance instructor at Miss Amy’s. She recently graduated from Nazareth College.

People can purchase an online ticket for $10 and then have 24 hours of access to watch the show, which will be about an hour. The show will be available on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5.

Sidari also will host watch parties at the studio for small groups to view the performance on the big screen. (Sidari’s Cabaret at Studio B has already done online shows with Gary Simboli.)

The event also includes the chance to win at least one of 40 baskets donated by the community. Tickets can be purchased and placed in-person at Miss Amy’s or purchased online with notes sent to Miss Amy on which baskets the tickets should go.

For more information on the Nicholas Kovaleski Hometown Christmas, click here.

Bakery in Albion enjoys busy first year at the ‘Backroom’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 November 2020 at 12:32 pm

Several vendors offer variety of items at the site on North Liberty

Photos by Tom Rivers: Sarah Ebbs and her mother Pamela Jenks own Pretty Sweet Bakery, which is located in “The Backroom” at 117 North Liberty St. The share space with Maureen Bennett’s business, A Lil’ Cottage Chic.

ALBION – A year ago a business opened in downtown Albion with a bakery and a shop with “an eclectic mix of vintage” – handcrafted gifts, gourmet dips, candles and seasonal décor, soaps, spaghetti sauce, lanterns and other items.

“The Backroom” at 117 North Liberty St. has made it to a year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Maureen Bennett pushed to open the business following nine years as a vendor in the Downtown Browsery. She also had retired from Albion Central School.

She was joined at the downtown site by Pamela Jenks and her daughter Sarah Ebbs. They run Pretty Sweet Bakery together.

Jenks, 54, had been working as a servicer for a mortgage company in Elma. She had talked for years of opening a bakery. Her daughter joined the effort, expecting to squeeze in some time when she wasn’t doing a full-time job driving to Geneseo as a student loan collector. That position was eliminated in late March due to the financial impact of Covid-19.

Ebbs, 33, was able to make the bakery a full-time pursuit with her mother. The site and other bakeries were deemed an essential business by the state and never had to close during the pandemic.

Pam and Sarah praised the building’s owner, Michael Bonafede, for putting in a kitchen certified by the Health Department. The location also benefits from a big parking lot that serves Five Star Bank and other businesses.

“There is plenty of parking and people can get in and out quickly,” Pam said. “So many of the people that come in say we finally have a home-made bakery in the downtown.”

Sarah Ebbs decorates a cookie with a holiday theme.

They have seen the business steadily grow the past year. Pam does lots of the baking and her daughter Sarah has an artistic flair for decorating the cookies, scones, muffins, pies and cakes. Sarah is a baker, too, who enjoys experimenting with ingredients to add new flavors.

“We both love what we’re doing,” Sarah said at the bakery on Thursday. “Every day is a science project where we try new things.”

Sarah often brings her daughter Charli to the shop. She will be 3 in January. She is wuick to learn peoples’ names and gives them big greetings and sendoffs.

Sarah has enjoyed baking and decorating since she was a kid, helping her grandmother Beulah Jenks who had a wedding cake business.

Sarah would make cakes and other baked goods for friends and family. She always has had a knack for decorating the cookies, and has the family gene for baking, her mother said.

Sarah is thankful for the response from the community the past year, with many people stopping by the shop or ordering for pickups. That has helped her weather what would have been a rough time with her job being eliminated in March.

“This is a supportive community,” she said about Albion. “There are a lot of people who want to see things work.”

Some of the bakery’s hot sellers have been raspberry cheesecake bars, lemon blueberry cake with whipped cream cheese frosting, pumpkin sandwich cookies, and cookie cutout with royal icing. Pam and Sarah also take orders for cakes for birthdays, weddings and other special events. Sarah posts frequent photos of the creations on the bakery’s Facebook page.

Maureen Bennett opened A Lil’ Cottage Chic a year ago after nine years as a vendor at the Downtown Browsery. She is shown with Charli, Sarah Ebbs’ daughter who delights in greeting customers at the shop.

Bennett, owner of A Lil’ Cottage Chic, said the bakery and Bennett’s shop have been a winning combination.

“We complement each other,” Bennett said. “They have the home-baked goods and we have so many home-made items.”

Bennett urged the community to support the local businesses in the downtown, which she said are safer with generally only a few people in the stores during the Covid pandemic.

“These little stores have far less people,” she said.

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Banners, wreaths decorate Albion downtown for holidays

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 November 2020 at 6:29 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Vance VanSkiver, an Albion Department of Public Works motor equipment operator, secures a banner to a light pole on Main Street today. The DPW put out the holiday and seasonal banners as well as the wreaths.

Vance VanSkiver and Shaun Stephens are in a lift while putting up the holiday decorations. Charlie Ricci is the driver. The spire of the First Presbyterian Church of Albion is in back.

Shaun Stephens makes sure the wreath is plugged in and secured.

VanSkiver and Stephens work together to get the banner in place. They put up decorations on Main Street and Bank Street.

Albion appoints Kevin Sheehan as code enforcement office

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 November 2020 at 8:50 am

Sheehan resigns as village trustee to take part-time position

Kevin Sheehan

ALBION – A village trustee has resigned from the Village Board to take a job as the village’s code enforcement officer.

Kevin Sheehan was elected to a four-year term as trustee on Sept. 15. He previously served eight years on the board through 2014.

He and trustee Gary Katsanis were filling in at code enforcement in October following the resignation of Tracy Vanskiver. Katsanis was handling complaints about property maintenance with Sheehan doing inspections and building permits.

Sheehan was a union plumber for 27 years before working six years with the federal VA in Batavia. He was the maintenance mechanic work lead.

After retiring from the VA, he worked the past 1 ½ years as a safety compliance consultant for Safety York Solutions.

Sheehan applied for the code position with the village and was offered the job. He resigned as trustee on Nov. 1 and last week was appointed by the Village Board to the part-time code enforcement position.

Sheehan said he wants to be a resource to village residents, with property maintenance and construction projects. He said he plans to take classes to be a fully certified code enforcement officer.

His position on the Village Board will likely remain vacant until the village elections in March. The elections are usually the third Tuesday in March but this year was pushed back due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Albion FFA sets big goal in annual food drive: 50,000 pounds of produce

File photos by Tom Rivers: Albion FFA members load a flat bed trailer with produce on Dec. 14, 2019. The students sorted and boxed the produce in the FFA shop.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 November 2020 at 8:49 am

ALBION – The Albion FFA has set a big goal for its annual food drive: 50,000 pounds.

The student-led group last year reached 40,000 pounds for the first time. The Albion FFA started the food drive in 2010 and was able to collect 3,000 pounds of produce that was delivered to Community Action of Orleans & Genesee.

The effort has grown significantly since the first year, and now several churches and food pantries receive produce that is donated by local farmers and ag businesses.

Albion FFA Alumni help to reach out to farmers and collect the produce. It is kept in the FFA shop and then organized by FFA members.

The FFA has reached put to farms and businesses that have given to the food drive in the past. Bailey Nesbitt, the FFA president, welcomes other farms and businesses to contribute to the effort, to try to reach 50,000 pounds during a year that has been especially challenging for many local families due to Covid-19 and the strain on the local economy.

Farms and businesses interested in donating to the food drive can contact the FFA president at or the FFA advisor, Betsy Krenning, at

The FFA will deliver the food to Community Action on the morning of Dec. 12.

Albion FFA members are pictured in December 2016 after the truck was loaded with food that was taken to Community Action.

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Community Action shifts to gift cards, instead of presents for families

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 November 2020 at 3:03 pm

ALBION – Community Action of Orleans and Genesee is shifting its annual holiday effort for local families to gift cards instead of presents.

Annette Finch, director of community service for the agency, doesn’t want to put volunteers and staff for Community Action at risk of contracting Covid-19.

“I’m not putting my volunteers, staff or families in jeopardy,” Finch said today. “We’re doing this differently. It’s the sign of the times. I’m not jeopardizing anyone who volunteers with me or who works the agency.”

Community Action expects to serve about 150 families in Albion, Holley, Kendall and Lyndonville for the holiday drive, but Finch said that number could go up given the economic challenges this year during a pandemic.

Nov. 25 is the deadline for families interested in applying for a gift card through Community Action. People should contact Michelle Figueroa, a Community Action case manager, at (585) 589-5605, ext. 105. Figueroa will set up an appointment.

The size of the gift cards will vary depending on the size of a family. The gift cards are all for Walmart. People who receive the gift cards will then pick out the presents for their children.

Community Action will include food baskets with the gift cards. The agency also will be welcoming the Albion FFA for its annual food drive, with produce delivered to the agency on Dec. 12. That food is shared with several local food pantries.

Finch encouraged anyone with a shortage of food to call Community Action anytime during the year.

“No one should have to go hungry,” she said.

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Albion girls soccer ‘Believe’ as they get ready for sectional final

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 November 2020 at 6:48 pm

Photos courtesy of Barbie Hapeman

ALBION – After practice today, the Albion varsity girls soccer team went by the new mural on the northside of the Lake Country Pennysaver building. The mural highlights Albion as home of the first Santa Claus School, which was led by the late Charles W. Howard from 1937 to 1966.

The team, which plays in the sectional finals on Saturday against undefeated East Aurora, wanted to capture some of the “Believe” magic.

The players are all wearing T-shirts that say, “Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable.” There is a Santa hat on the “B” in Believe.

The group pictured includes, front row, from left: Maddy Snook, Kailey Merrill, Brittney Spies-Hunt (Captain), Lauren Wehling, Bonnie DiCureia and Claire Squicciarini (Captain).

Middle Row: Assistant Coach – Sara Kappenhaver, Olivia Bieber, Ryan Olles, Aurora Serafin, Nora Hapeman, Elisa Bropst, Head Coach – Maggie Orbaker.

Top row: Abby Scanlan, Charley London, Ally Knaak, Olivia Krenning, Sydney Mulka, Emily Harling, Assistant Coach – John King.

Missing from photo: Leah Pritchard, Grace Elscher and Nicolina Creasey.

After a 1-3 start, Albion has won eight in a row to advance to the sectional finals for the third time in the last four years. The team will be leaving Albion at 8:45 Saturday morning. The community is welcome to give them a sendoff along Route 31. A group is expected to gather at the CRFS parking lot to wish them good luck.

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New memorial at Courthouse Square dedicated to veterans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 November 2020 at 5:08 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Members of the Honor Guard were present today for a dedication service at 1 p.m. for a new veterans’ memorial at Courthouse Square.

The Knights of Columbus, Albion Council #1330, took the lead in the project.

The headstone for the monument includes the inscription: “Dedicated to our courageous brothers and sisters of this community who served our country in times of peace and war. We thank them for their service. And especially to those who gave their lives in that service. May God grant them eternal rest.”

The stone includes the insignias of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Army National Guard and Merchant Marine.

Greg Dugan, the grand knight for the Knights of Columbus in Albion, speaks to a crowd of about 50 at the dedication ceremony.

The new flag pole includes a flag that recognizes the different branches of the military.

Dugan, a local barber since 1991, said many of his customers over the years have been veterans. He mentioned the late Albion Town Justice Bill Larimer, who was a POW in World War II. Dugan noted the late Rocco Sidari and Charles Shervin. Other current customers, including Ben Jones, currently serve in the military. Jones just returned from tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I’ve had contact with so many veterans, young and old, since 1991,” Dugan said before today’s ceremony.

Once they are in the barber chair, Dugan said many veterans open up and share about their experiences, including in combat.

Dugan thanked Orleans County officials for supporting the project and allowing it to be in a prominent place in the community.

“It’s been a heart-warming and amazing experience,” he said.

This group salutes and stands at attention while Taps is played. Pictured from left include Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Vietnam War veteran Charlie Nesbitt, County Legislator Don Allport, Medina veteran Dave Kusmierczak, Orleans County Veterans Service Agency Director Nancy Traxler and Greg Dugan, grand knight of the K of C in Albion.

The memorial includes two granite benches. One bench has an inscription, “To Commemorate.” The other has the words, “To Heal.”

“Thank you for taking the time to remember our veterans,” Dugan told the crowd today. “They never gave up on us and we can’t give up on them.”

Rebecca (Hucknall) Platt of Medina was part of the Honor Guard today. She is nearing 20 years in the U.S. Air Force.

Charlie Nesbitt, a decorated helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War, addresses the crowd at the Courthouse Square. He urged the group to take in deep breaths of air and take in their surroundings, with several churches on the Square. In the U.S. people have freedom to attend whatever church they want and to enjoy their surroundings.

“Thank you to the Knights of Columbus for taking the initiative,” Nesbitt said about the new monument. “What a wonderful example to give honor to those who served.”

County Legislator Don Allport said the United States has had brave citizens step forward to defend the country for nearly 250 years.

“I thank God every day for you,” he said about veterans. “Memorials are a reminder of the sacrifices made by those standing in the line and from their families back home.”

Nancy Traxler, director of the Orleans County Veterans Service Agency, said Americans continue to serve the country all over the world.

“It’s not the powerful and sophisticated weapons that make us the greatest military in the world,” she said. “It’s your bravery and skill.”

Nick Fitzak of Medina, a Marine, joined other veterans in the Honor Guard for the ceremony.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley said the freedoms of Americans have come at a great cost, borne by veterans since the Revolutionary War.

He urged people to honor veterans every day. That could be through volunteering at the VA and donating to causes that benefit veterans.

“Or you could look a veteran in the eye and say, ‘Thank you.’”

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Albion music program prepares virtual concert for veterans

Posted 10 November 2020 at 6:36 pm

Students have also written nearly 200 letters to local veterans

Press Release from Albion Central School

ALBION – Despite the changes and challenges Covid-19 has brought this year, students across the Albion school district are celebrating veterans.

Throughout the elementary school, students have been learning about what it means to be a veteran and writing letters to our local heroes, thanking them for their service.

Adelaide, an elementary student, plays her clarinet.

Third grade teacher Danielle Cammarata is spearheading the letter-writing effort.

“Many of our students have family members in the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force right now, so this project is extra meaningful to them,” Cammarata said. “The letters will warm many hearts.”

It’s not only the students who have family members serving but many of the faculty as well. Sixth grade teacher Cathy Schmitt has put together a slideshow to honor staff member who served in the military or who have family members who are veterans.

“We usually play it in classes so the students can make connections with their teachers,” Schmitt said. “It includes the family member’s name, their branch of service and some other information they sent to me.”

While traditionally the middle school has honored local veterans in an assembly, the presentation will be shared virtually this year with students and staff.

Cammarata says it is important to keep these traditions alive.

“It’s really important to give thanks for the time, energy and dedication veterans have given to our country,” Cammarata said. “I want the children to know and understand the sacrifices that they made to make it possible for all of us to live in this country and embrace the freedoms they fought for us.”

This year, they received 192 letters.

Normally, the letters are sent out around the holidays, this is the first year they’ll be sent out on Veterans Day.

“I think the performance and letters will let the community members know how much we appreciate and respect all that they have done for us,” Cammarata said. “It’s a small gesture, but hopefully it will bring a smile to those who have served.”

Students practice in smaller groups for the concert.

Elementary band teacher Lindsey Almeter agrees, saying that while this will be her students’ first Veterans Day performance, it is the perfect time to celebrate and connect with the school community.

“We were just looking for opportunities for students to still get to celebrate, perform on their instruments and connect with the community during a time where that connection is harder to make,” Almeter said. “[We] decided that Veterans Day would be a wonderful chance to encompass all of those goals and the students have been very excited about sharing the work they’ve been doing.”

The elementary school’s performance will be pre-recorded and played over the morning announcements.

According to high school band director Michael Thaine, the High School Music Department has held a concert in early November for over four decades.

“For several years in the ’90s and early 2000’s it was held on the evening of Election Day,” Thaine said. “In 2009, we moved the annual concert to the evening prior to Veterans Day, where it’s been ever since.”

The event is a celebration of our nation’s veterans through American music, by American composers.

“Music has played such an important role in this country’s history,” Thaine said. “ It only makes sense for us to honor our veterans through music.”

These cards will be displayed at some restaurants and stores in Albion.

While the pandemic has caused some limitations, including very limited rehearsal time, partial ensembles, and restrictions on public gatherings, the High School Music Department came up with an abbreviated virtual presentation. The program will still include some music, but also interviews with several veterans connected to our high school community.

“It’s become a loved community tradition over the years, and our veterans deserve to know that, despite the necessary focus on pandemic precautions and those logical complexities, their service and sacrifices are still appreciated and not overlooked,” Thaine said.

Make sure you look for the letters around Albion. They will be posted in Dunkin’, The Village House, Save-A-Lot and Tops.

The 2020 High School Virtual Veterans Day Program will be posted to the district’s YouTube channel (click here) on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m.

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Knights of Columbus will dedicate new memorial in Albion on Veterans Day

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 November 2020 at 11:35 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – A new memorial for veterans at Courthouse Square will be dedicated at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, which is Veterans Day.

The Knights of Columbus, Albion Council #1330, led the project which included support from St. Mary’s Archery Club, St. Mary’s Athletic Club, Orleans Veterans Club, American Legion Sheret Post in Albion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars Strickland Post in Albion.

Besides a monument, there is a flag pole (left) with a flag that recognizes the different branches of the military.

The service at 1 p.m. includes an invocation and blessing of the memorial by Father Bernard Nowak, a former Navy chaplain who now serves as the priest for Holy Trinity Parish in Medina and Middleport. Other local dignitaries will give remarks and there will be a presentation form the Honor Guard.

Attendees need to wear masks and observe social distancing.

There are two benches as part of the memorial. One bench has an inscription, “To Commemorate.”

The other bench has the words, “To Heal.”

The larger stone states the following:

“Dedicated to our courageous brothers and sisters of this community who served our country in times of peace and war. We thank them for their service. And especially to those who gave their lives in that service. May God grant them eternal rest.”

The stone includes the insignias of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Army National Guard and Merchant Marine.

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Albion honors 2 middle schoolers for leadership, character

Posted 4 November 2020 at 9:54 am

Press Release, Albion Central School

Provided photo: Cassie Brown won the Leadership Award in the Albion Middle School.

ALBION – Two students from Albion’s Carl I. Bergerson Middle School were presented with awards during the Board of Education meeting on Monday night.

While the meeting was held virtually, a pre-recorded video aired of Middle School Principal Brad Pritchard officially presenting eighth-graders Cassie Brown and Nick Prest with their awards.

“Cassie Brown was nominated for the Leadership Award because she is viewed in our building as someone who is conscientious, diligent and overall just a pleasant person who people love to be around,” Pritchard said.

The principal explained that Brown does the Middle School morning announcements because her “bubbly personality helps get everyone’s day off to a good start.”

“Cassie consistently demonstrates her leadership qualities by always being pleasant and respectful to everyone,” Pritchard said. “She is always smiling in her eyes (and under her mask.)”

Nick Prest won the character award in the Middle School.

Nick Prest, also in eighth grade, received the BOE Character Award.

“He is a voracious reader and very diligent with his schoolwork,” Pritchard said. “Nick has stood out to his teachers this year for the outstanding job he has done managing the remote learning model. He not only keeps up with the learning, he stays ahead.”

Prest has also taken it upon himself to create “How To” videos for his classmates in an effort to help them navigate programs frequently used in class.

“Nick assists his classmates when they struggle and genuinely wants to help all of his peers be successful,” Pritchard said.

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Albion students have made 600 masks, in a service project where they have learned many skills

Posted 3 November 2020 at 12:24 pm

Provided photos: Students in Kathy Winans’ class are shown with their special edition Halloween masks.

Press Release, Albion Central School

ALBION – In a year filled with unprecedented challenges, two classes are working to make their school and their community a better place.

Two 12:1:1 classes, one at Albion High School the other at the Middle School, have been working to create unique face masks for their classmates, peers teachers and members of the Albion community.

Shari Berg, a teacher at Albion Middle School, says the program is the brainchild of Albion High School teacher Kathy Winans. According to Berg, it all started with a mask-making party that took place over the summer.

“There was a group of teachers and we had a little bit too much fun and we probably bought too much fabric, too much everything, and we made masks,” Berg said. “Then, when we came to school and things had changed, Winans came up with this whole idea.”

A student in Mrs. Winans’ class sews a mask together.

Winans’ classes have traditionally done other work-study and sewing projects like helping create the costumes for the high school shows, an activity that has been suspended due to the coronavirus.

“With the changes from Covid we tried to come up with something that would fit a need, which is the mask, and something that was a skill we could continue to sew and learn along the way,” Winans explained.

The key was to make sure all the students were safe and the classes were following Covid-19 safety regulations.

“They each have an envelope that’s theirs: their scissors, their pins, so that it is safe, and they work in their spaces,” Winans said. “We’ve only set up two [sewing] machines so they’re six feet apart so we can maintain the social distance, but still meet what we thought was a fun need.

According to Winans, the students love making masks.

“They like the opportunity to cut to sew to do all those skills that they’ve learned,” Winans said. “We employed Mrs. Berg’s class too, so now we’re a big team.”

A student in Mrs. Berg’s class uses a pattern to cut out the masks.

The work is split between the two classes: Mrs. Berg’s class cuts the patterns and Mrs. Winan’s class assembles the masks.

However, Mrs. Berg found that her students were missing an integral piece.

“About two weeks ago, I realized my kids were cutting out patterns, but they did not understand how the patterns were turning into masks,” Berg said. “We are just taking these patterns and cutting them.”

Mrs. Winans’ class came up with a solution: “Teaching Time” where Winans’ students invite Berg’s students to a Google meet and demonstrate their skills, ending the session with a complete mask.

“It gives the kids a chance to teach as well and share their skills and knowledge, which has been really cool,” Winans said.

This student in Mrs. Winans’ class irons in the interfacing.

Both teachers said that the design of the masks has been important, allowing the students to have some individuality, highlighting their personalities while staying safe.

“The whole purpose was that they’re two-sided, that’s the key because, when you wear it all day and the kids set them down, I wanted to make sure there was a side that they knew went against their face,” Winans said, explaining why the masks tend to feature two different fabrics.

Berg emphasized that it was also really important their students had their own, clean masks to wear.

“We made special, limited edition masks for our [Berg’s and Winans’] class[es] for Halloween so that we all match,” Berg said. “The students also got to pick out a purple mask they made to keep because our kids needed masks. Our kids physically were wearing the same masks daily and we just we didn’t want that.”

It wasn’t long before the classes began selling the masks to the community, presenting new options for customization and garnering an amazing response.

“The response has been overwhelming. People love them and are now donating fabric or donating the ear strings that are adjustable,” Winans said. “We’ve discovered different sizes now. We have a smaller size, we have sizes for children. It’s very funny how it suddenly has grown into something I never thought was going to happen.”

So far, the classes have sold over 600 masks.

“When we decided they cost $2 each, it was not about making a lot of money,” Winans said. “It was about filling a need that our school community had and the money that’s left over we will use for the club. Ideally, it’ll just be reinvested into the little business that we’ve started.”

Even if the need for masks begins to dwindle, Winans explained that the program will continue.

“I think we would hope to modify it as we need to and then maybe expand it,” Winans said. “Hopefully, if it’s not the masks, we’ll figure out something else fun to create.”

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