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NHL star Brian Gionta presents awards at Albion

Posted 12 November 2018 at 1:08 pm

Students recognized for competing in Empire Games for the Physically Challenged

Photos courtesy of Sue Starkweather Miller from the Albion Central School

ALBION – Albion Central School last week celebrated students who competed in the Empire Games for the Physically Challenged.

A special guest, retired NHL star Brian Gionta, attended the ceremony and presented the athletes with their awards. Gionta, a Rochester native, scored 291 goals in a 16-year career. He was also captain of the U.S. Olympic hockey team.

Gionta, top photo, is shown with Hayden, who is a big hockey fan.

The middle school band played musical selections as student athletes entered the elementary school gym to a cheering audience of over 1,000 students, staff, and family members. The elementary school chorus sang several musical selections. Students watched to a video presentation of the athletes participating in the Games at SUNY Brockport.

Morgan receives her medals from Brian Gionta.  Morgan was also recognized for reading a speech at the Brockport Games.

Gionta, a former captain for the Buffalo Sabres, distributed ribbons and medals to each student athlete.  After the ceremony he took numerous photos with the athletes and their buddies.

The Empire Games for the Physically Challenged took place on Oct. 12 at SUNY Brockport. School districts from all across the region participated in many events on the Brockport campus. Albion’s student athletes participated in the long jump, club throw, precision throw, distance kick, 40 meter race, 60 meter race, 100 meter race, slalom and the soft discus.

Each athlete had a high school “buddy” who attended the Games and assisted them through the day as they moved through their chosen events.

Hannah VanEpps was Analiah’s buddy during the Games. Every student had a special high school buddy to assist them and encourage them during competition.

Student athletes included:

  • Asad Bacht
  • Morgan Brower
  • Hayden Button
  • Dejeanna Conner
  • Brook Drake
  • Ethan Ferchen
  • Analiah Figueroa-Fuentes
  • Kaitlynn Figueroa-Fuentes
  • Rebecca Fugate
  • Nick Garcia
  • Aubree Langmaid
  • Keira Lemcke
  • Tatiana Morales
  • Misty Dawn Mullins
  • David Musacchia
  • Gabrielle Payne
  • Adriana Pelligrino
  • Emily Richardson
  • Aliannah Snitzel

Adriana counts her medals.

Rebecca, Brook and Misty are all smiles as they pose for a photo with Brian Gionta. He spent time with the students after the ceremony and took numerous group photos.

Ethan and his uncle Greg Martillotta, middle school instrumental teacher, celebrate his accomplishment.

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Community invited to write letters to deployed soldiers during Albion event on Nov. 18

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 12 November 2018 at 8:40 am

ALBION – The Orleans County Joseph P. Dwyer Peer-to-Peer Program coordinator has scheduled a special event to help make the holidays a little brighter for veterans who cannot be with their families.

Catherine Schmidt has contacted Adam Johnson, a local veteran and owner of 39 Problems at 43 North Main St. in Albion. Johnson has agreed to open his doors from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 18 for a project called “Letters From Home,” when the public is invited to stop in and write a card or letter to a serviceman.

Anybody who has served, or knows someone who has served overseas understands how much mail call means, especially during the holidays, Schmidt said.

“We need the public’s help,” she said. “Stop in for a few minutes or all afternoon and make one card or letter or dozens.”

The Peer-to-Peer Program will send the mail so they reach the servicemen and women before the holidays.

Catherine’s husband, Earl Schmidt, is director of Orleans Veterans’ Service Agency. He said cards shipped by Nov. 30 will reach servicemen oversees by Christmas.

Complimentary fountain drinks, coffee and cookies will be provided to all participants, sponsored by 39 Problems to say “thank you for supporting those who support us.”

People may bring their own cards, pens or crayons, but there will also be some on hand.

The Albion Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution have committed to writing 10 cards each, Earl said.

“By the way, younger letter writers and artists have a very special way of putting a smile on a veteran’s face half a world away, and we welcome them, too,” Mrs. Schmidt said.

There are also collection boxes for cards at the YMCA in Medina and at the Veterans’ Service Agency in Albion.

The Peer-to-Peer program is funded through a state grant, in which Schmidt’s office received $52,500. Some of the money was used during the summer to fund a picnic at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds for veterans and their families.

The next events to be funded by the grant will be a train ride Dec. 22 at Medina Railroad Museum and future trips to the Buffalo Naval Park and Seabees Memorial in North Tonawanda.

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Albion Rotary gives $7,900 to support Leadership Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 November 2018 at 8:13 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

GAINES – The Albion Rotary Club on Thursday presented $7,900 to the Leadership Orleans program. Skip Helfrich (left), Leadership Orleans director and an Albion Rotarian, accepts a check from Charlie Nesbitt, an Albion Rotarian and member of the committee that planned a July 19 golf tournament.

Some of the proceeds from the tournament were directed to Leadership Orleans, a new leadership program that started in January with 25 people is nearing the conclusion for its first year, with a new class of about 25 to start in two months.

The debut class comes from a cross section of the community, including law enforcement, government department heads, farm owners, agency directors and other business leaders. The program picked residents who have demonstrated leadership abilities, interest in community affairs, and a commitment to Orleans County’s future.

Each month the group learned about a different sector of the community, including government, arts and culture, volunteerism and non-profit organizations, community health, tourism and recreation, agribusiness, economic & workforce development, and education.

Some of the July 19 golf tournament proceeds also went to the Leon Sidari Memorial Fund, which was established as a non-profit organization in memory of Leon Sidari, who was 4 ½ when he died on Christmas, two days after getting the flu. Leo’s Fund pays for flu vaccinations and an awareness campaign about the importance of getting vaccinated.

Leon is the son of Albion natives Laura (Lyman) Sidari and Tony Sidari. Leon’s grandfather is Nathan Lyman, who was a long-time member of the Albion Rotary Club.

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2 billboards added to Albion dance studio, cabaret

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 November 2018 at 5:28 pm

Provided photo

ALBION – Members of the Billies barbershop quartet got a surprise last Sunday when Amy Sidari, owner of Gotta Dance by Miss Amy and the Cabaret at Studio B, unveiled an 8-foot-long billboard of the four high school singers.

Pictured form left include Nate Grammatico, Jacob Ettinger, chorus teacher Gary Simboli, Enoch Martin, Amy Sidari and Evan VanAmeron.

Sidari has been upgrading the exterior of her building at the corner of Liberty and West Bank streets. The building has been the home of her studio for 21 years. She has replaced doors, awnings and repainted the building, and will be doing new signs and exterior lighting.

Photos by Tom Rivers

She wanted to add some pizzazz to the white wall on Liberty Street. She decided to add the billboards. The Cabaret at Studio B frequently hosts musicians and other entertainers. Sidari debated whether the 5-foot by 8-foot billboard should feature one of her professional performers. She decided to focus on the Billies and Simboli, the group’s director. The photo was taken by Bruce Landis of Photos by Bruce.

“It’s marketing what we are inside those doors,” Sidari said today. “ I also wanted to recognize Gary who resists any public recognition. He does so much for our community, the children and the families.”

The two spots for the billboards used to be plain white. Those spots used to bays for a garage. Sidari ordered industrial vinyl images for the billboards and she her father, Ace Caldwell, made the black frames.

The other photo shows her senior high dancers at a recital. The photo was taken on a phone by Ally Page.

“It shows so much love and excitement,” Sidari said.

She is pushing to have all of the exterior upgrades done by Nov. 24, when she is shooting a video on Bank Street in front of the studio. The street will be closed to traffic from Main to Liberty for the video which Sidari said she wants to use to promote Albion.

Many of her alumni dancers and other community members are coming for the video, from 10 a.m. to noon on Nov. 24.

Sidari said she will likely rotate images in the billboards. She said she has received good feedback about how the images enliven a section of Liberty Street.

“It is a spark,” Sidari said. “It’s just celebrating the great things that we do have.”

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Main Street lift bridge in Albion will close for 3 days for repairs

Staff Reports Posted 6 November 2018 at 9:27 am

ALBION – The Main Street lift bridge in Albion will be closed beginning on Wednesday for emergency repairs. The bridge is expected to reopen at the close of business on Friday, said Dale Banker, director of the Orleans County Emergency Management Office.

The State Department of Transportation is closing the bridge, which is more than a century old, for needed work.

Traffic will be routed to use the Ingersoll Street lift bridge.

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Albion honors PTA as ‘Friend of Education’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 November 2018 at 7:20 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Members of the Albion Elementary School PTA were presented a “Friend of Education” Award on Monday. Leaders of the PTA include, from left, Stacey Andrews, Crystal Hand, Heidi Pask and Rose Allen. They accepted the award from Margy Brown (right), the Board of Education president.

“This is a group that works tirelessly on behalf of students,” said Michael Bonnewell, the district superintendent.

The PTA purchases books every year for all fifth-graders, puts on dances, provides gifts for teachers, and sponsors field trips for students to go to the zoo, Old Fort Niagara, to tour canal boats in Lockport, the Cobblestone Museum in Gaines, and the Genesee County Park and Forest in East Bethany.

The PTA also organizes a book fair in February.

“They have truly coalesced as a group of caring parents,” said Rachel Curtin, the elementary school principal.

The board on Monday also recognized two elementary school students. Braydon Blair was presented with a Leadership Award and Gabrielle Payne was recognized with the Character Award.

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Law enforcement in Orleans will increase DWI patrols on Nov. 21

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 November 2018 at 6:12 pm

The law enforcement agencies will increase patrol on Nov. 21 in a crackdown on motorists driving while intoxicated.

The Albion Police Department is hosting the county-wide detail, which is a collaborative effort involving the Albion Police Department, Medina Police Department, Holley Police Department, Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, and the Orleans County Probation Department, Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni said.

Law enforcement will be aggressively enforcing vehicle and traffic violations in search for impaired and intoxicated drivers, he said.

The Albion Police Department has hosted this detail for the past five years. All officers will meet at the Albion Police Department for a short briefing and each agency will then be operating in its own jurisdiction, with the Albion Police Department supervising the detail. Albion Lt. David Mogle and Nenni will be assisting all agencies with support and logistics throughout the night.

The officers have a briefing in Albion because many officers will be teamed up with probation officers, parole officers and possibly some federal agents, Nenni said.

Previous details have involved over 150 vehicle stops resulting in several alcohol and drug-related arrests, he said.

“We have seen over the years that our efforts are working and there has been a reduction of violators,” Nenni said. “We ask that everyone be responsible throughout the year, especially during the holiday season and to find alternatives to driving after consuming alcohol or engaging in drug use. The announcement of this detail and our combined efforts will hopefully save lives, as we are committed to this cause.”

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Theater returns to Albion stage with The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 November 2018 at 7:45 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Albion High School drama program kicks off a new season today and Saturday with the performance of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical.”

Emma Tower portrays Grace Bradley, who is tasked with leading a church Christmas pageant. It is a daunting challenge due to the presence of six unruly children from the Herdman family.

Show times are 7 p.m. today at the Albion Middle School, and noon and 7 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are available at the door.

Enoch Martin, center, plays Ralph Herdman, the oldest of the Herdsman kids. They enter the church looking for dessert and decide to try out for the Christmas pageant, wanting all of the lead roles.

The church kids aren’t too happy about sharing the stage with the Herdmans.

Emma Tower is frazzled trying to put together the Christmas pageant.

Kate Krieger plays Alice Wendleken, a know-it-all who is upset the Herdmans are in the pageant.

Sophia Zambito, Arella Ives and Emily Mergler play three sassy ladies in the show.

Aubrey Boyer is Helen Armstrong, who usually leads the pageants but is sidelined due to a broken leg. That forces Grace to step in to direct the show.

Nick Rodriguez (center) is Teddi Shoemaker, a kid who asks too many questions, and Zach Kilner (right) is Elmer Hopkins, a preacher’s kid who needs to behave and be nice.

Hannah VanEpps (center) plays Imogene Herdman, the leader of the siblings. She is loud, bossy and crafty. She is shown with Kaylin Holman (left) who is Luella McKlusky, and Annalise Steier, who is Betsy Cathcart.

The Herdmans rejuvenate the Christmas story with their energy and unexpected sincerity.

Gary Simboli and Kathy Winans are directors of the show. Simboli said the musical has a message of not judging people based on how they look or their circumstances.

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Orleans EDA seeks buyer for 32 vacant acres at Albion Business Park

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 October 2018 at 8:08 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: The Orleans Community Health facility at the corner of Butts Road and Route 31 is the only building in the Albion Business Park. The land east of the medical center is available for development.

ALBION – The Orleans Economic Development Agency is seeking proposals to purchase and develop the 32 remaining vacant acres of the Albion Business Park.

Orleans Community Health has a medical center at the corner of the Business Park at Butts Road and Route 31. There is more land at the park going east and north that is available for development, although wetlands could make a project more challenging.

Mixed-use developments would be suitable for the site, EDA officials said. Projects could include lodging and event space, residential, commercial or light industrial. The site could also accommodate cultural, agricultural or other seasonal uses.

The Orleans EDA encourages teams and partnerships to jointly respond to the Request for Proposals, which is available to download at or on the OEDA’s website.

There will be a site tour on Nov. 8, with Nov. 16 the deadline for submitting questions. Proposals are due on Dec. 1, with the anticipated date for picking a developer or team of developers on Jan. 11.

The EDA was looking for prime vacant land with access to water and sewer infrastructure in Albion about 15 years ago. The agency acquired about 20 acres at the corner of Butts Road and Route 31 for $75,000.

Six years ago, Orleans Community Health (Medina Memorial Hospital) built a new health care site on the corner lot with OCH paying the EDA $36,000 for the land.

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14 artists in GO Art!’s opening exhibit in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 October 2018 at 9:14 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Gregory Hallock, GO Art! executive director, is pictured Friday evening during the opening reception for a new gallery in downtown Albion.

There are 14 artists and 35 pieces featured in the group exhibit of Orleans County artists. The Salih Studio is serving as the exhibit space at 24 East Bank St.

Hallock said GO Art! formed in 1992, merging the arts councils in Genesee and Orleans counties. There has been dedicated space for artists to show their work in Batavia, Genesee County. Hallock and GO Art! wanted a gallery in Orleans County as well.

Suzanne Wells, one of the artists in the opening exhibit, looks at some of the paintings and other artwork in the show.

Other artists in the exhibit include Janet O. Root, Rich Della Costa, Connie Mosher, E. Pearls, Rosie Patronski, Walter Jakubowski, Rebeccah Demaray, Chris VerSteeg, Judy Wenrich, Arthur Barnes, Shirley Nigro, Idris Salih and Kim Martillotta Muscarella.

Kim Martillotta Muscarella and Judy Wenrich check out the art at the gallery during the opening exhibit. Martillotta Muscarella also has a gallery, Marti’s on Main, in Albion. She is pleased to see GO Art! open the site in Albion.

“The more the merrier,” she said. “I wish 10 more people would open galleries.”

This painting by Rebeccah Demaray was picked as the judge’s choice. Orleans County Legislator Skip Draper served as the guest judge.

There will be new shows at the gallery monthly from April through December, with opening receptions the fourth Friday, from late March to late November.

Gallery hours are Fridays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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