Addams Family cast in Albion embraces quirkiness, being true to self

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 March 2023 at 9:25 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The cast of The Addams Family performs the opening number of the musical on Thursday during a preview day in the middle school auditorium. They are singing, When You’re An Addams.”

The family is visiting the graveyard for an annual gathering of all family members, including the dead who are the Ancestors.

Albion performs the musical with shows at 7 p.m. today, and noon and 7 p.m. on Saturday.

“There are so many parts and so many opportunities for the kids in the cast, crew and all of it,” said Connor Doran, the musical director.

He said the message in the show challenges the audience to consider what is normal.

“They want to be heard, respected and loved,” he said about the Addams family members. “It’s within all of us to look within ourselves and discover who we are.”

The Ancestors, including Chloe Gray in front center, perform throughout the show. The dresses were made by students in Kathy Winans class. Winans is the long-time assistant director for the Albion high school musicals.

The Ancestors include Kailee Anstey, Julia Button, Chloe Gray, Haleigh Pollock, Charlie Allen, Madalyn Ashbery, Neveya Barnes, Samantha Hand, Khalil Thompkins, Danielle Wyant and Keira Zambito.

Nick Andrews plays the role of Uncle Fester, who brings lots of zaniness to the show, including singing a love song to the Moon.

Andrews, a senior, has been in the Albion shows since he was in sixth grade.

He said he has gained confidence and many friends through his years on the stage. He has gravitated toward the characters who provide comic relief.

The role of Uncle Fester caps his acting career at Albion.

“I wanted to get to be the funny person and jump around the stage,” Andrews said.

Fester isn’t just for laughs.

“He sends a deeper message, to love who you want, even if it’s the Moon,” Andrews said.

Pugsley, played by Ella Trupo, is the little brother of Wednesday, played by Alexis Hand.

In this scene Wednesday is torturing Pugsley on a rack.

Pugsley enjoys the punishment by his sister and is sad when she develops a love interest and doesn’t give as much attention to her little brother.

Hand said she enjoys playing the adventurous and very independent role of Wednesday.

“You don’t have to change yourself for other people,” Hand said about the character’s message.

Natalie Baron plays the role of Grandma, a feisty old woman with many concoctions. Pugsley takes one of the potions, hoping to change Wednesday from her love obsession. But the magic liquid ends up in the wrong hands.

The Beineke family follows a map and tries to find the Addams Family home where they are headed for dinner. James Ruiz plays the role of the father, Mal, while Aaron Woodroe is Lucas (Wednesday’s boyfriend) and Mallory Kozody is Alice, Lucas’s mother.

Zack Baron plays the role of Gomez, the head of the family. He loves his wife Morticia deeply but struggles to keep a secret from her, that his daughter wants to get married. Morticia detests secrets.

Morticia played by Mallory Ashbery shares a drink and conversation with Alice (Mallory Kozody). They are joined by Cousin Itt (Keira Zambito).

Morticia tells Alice a marriage should be honest without any secrets.

Ashbery said Morticia is a loving and caring wife and mother, with a strong presence.

“She doesn’t tolerate any secrets, because she believes secrets can break a family,” Ashbery said.

Hoag Library announces new music series that brings different styles to Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 March 2023 at 6:09 pm

Performers will show talents in fingerstyle guitar, harp, African dance and drumming, Chinese Zither and “Pipa”

Provided photos: Hoag Library starts a new music series on April 1, with Kinloch Nelson (right) the leadoff performer. Leah Ou is scheduled for a July 1 concert at the Hoag.

ALBION – Hoag Library is starting a new music series with most of the concerts set for noon on the first Saturday of the month. Hoag has musicians booked through late September and expects to add more.

The new series is the brainchild of Jim Doyle, an adult reference librarian at the library. He joined Hoag in October. He also has been running Jim’s Guitar Studio for 23 years in Albion, and is a founding member of the Rochester Guitar Club.

He knows many of the performers in the series. He is a regular at The Little Theater in Rochester where several have performed in the café.

Many of the performers in the Hoag Music Series are graduates of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, which Doyle said is a world-level conservatory drawing top students from around the globe.

Duo Purla will be at the library on June 3 for a concert.

Doyle wanted to help organize a concert series at Hoag, but wanted something different for the community.

“We wanted to bring in people who haven’t performed in Orleans County before,” Doyle said. “I think the community is hungry for music and the arts.”

Photo by Tom Rivers: Hoag Library staff members Michael Magnuson and Jim Doyle have put together a new music series at the library. Doyle, owner of Jim’s Guitar Studio in Albion, knows many of the musicians in the new series.

The Hoag Music Series kicks off on April 1 with a noon concert in the meeting rooms by  KinLoch Nelson, a professional musician who plays the fingerstyle guitar.

The lineup of performers also includes:

  • Ricardo Saeb: Saturday, May 6, at noon
  • Womba Africa Dancing & Drumming: Monday, May 15, at 6 p.m.
  • Duo Purla: Saturday, June 3, at noon
  • Leah Ou: Saturday, July 1, at noon
  • Trio Ghidorah: Saturday, August 19, at noon
  • Sunshine Quan: Saturday, September 23, at noon

The concerts are free to the public with support from the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council and Friends of Hoag Library.

Michael Magnuson, an adult services librarian at Hoag, also helped organize the events. He said Hoag was careful not to compete with other concert series in the community.

The events will be in the meeting room space at the library which seats well over 100 people.

Magnuson said the noon time on Saturdays may work better for people to attend concerts. Most of those concerts tend to be weekdays in the evenings.

Ricardo Saeb will perform May 6, and Sunshine Quan is scheduled for Sept. 23.

Doyle has connected with musicians in a range of styles, from guitarists, a harpist, the Chinese Zither, the Chinese lute or “Pipa.”

Doyle drives 45 minutes to see them perform, and he said it’s well worth the trip. He is happy the Albion and Orleans County community can have such high-caliber musicians come to the Hoag Library. More musicians are expected to be added to the performance schedule.

Womba Africa Dancing & Drumming performs at the Hoag on May 15, which is a Monday evening. This is the only performance that won’t be at noon on a Saturday.

Albion village asks county for boost in sales tax amount

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 March 2023 at 9:58 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Main Street in Albion is shown on Wednesday, including the businesses for Laura Loxley Vintage Inspired Goods and 39 Problems.

ALBION – The Albion Village Board is asking the Orleans County Legislature to consider an increase in the local sales tax for the village.

The county took in about $22.5 million in local sales tax in 2022, according to the state comptroller.

The county shares $1,366,671 of that with the 10 towns and four villages. The Village of Albion received $165,688 of that amount in 2022, which is 0.7 percent of the total in the county.

The towns and villages have been frozen at $1,366,671 since 2001. The County Legislature gave a slight boost in 2001 after the sales tax share was frozen in 1996 to the towns and villages.

Clarendon Town Supervisor Richard Moy is trying to rally the towns and villages to seek an increase in the local sales tax revenues.

He sent the Albion Village Board a letter and a sample resolution, seeking the sales tax share for towns and villages go back to the 14 percent in 1996.

The $1,366,671 to the towns and villages represents 6.1 percent of the total local sales tax in the county.

“It’s a reasonable ask,” Albion Deputy Mayor Joyce Riley said during Wednesday’s Village Board meeting. “We want an increase.”

County Legislator John Fitzak attended the village meeting. He said legislators are aware some towns and villages are pushing for more in the local sales tax revenue.

“We’ve seen the resolution,” he said. “We’re not in a position to make a determination right now because we don’t know what the state budget will be.”

County legislators are concerned the state budget could shift some Medicaid costs, at a $1 million hit for the county budget.

The Murray and Kendall town boards have approved resolutions asking the Legislature to increase the sales tax revenue for towns and villages, Fitzak said.

The sales tax rate is at 8 percent per taxable $1, with the state getting 4 cents and the county 4 cents.

Orleans County’s sales tax revenue is up by $4.8 million or 27 percent in the past three years. In 2019, the sales tax collections were at $17.7 million, followed by $19.4 million in 2020, $21.8 million in 2021 and $22.5 million last year, according to the state comptroller’s office.

Albion village raises water rates to towns by 40 cents per 1,000 gallons

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 March 2023 at 9:21 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: The Barre water tower is pictured on Sept. 6, 2017 with a rainbow. Barre will be billed more for water from the Village of Albion beginning on June 1.

ALBION – The Village of Albion is raising the water rates charged to towns from $2.94 to $3.34 per 1,000 gallons.

That 13.6 percent increase is effective June 1.

The village directly bills the towns of Carlton, Gaines, Barre and Albion. (Most of Albion’s water however comes through Barre’s water system and Barre bills most of the Town of Albion.) Village water also goes to portions of Ridgeway and Murray, going through the Town of Albion system, with Gaines sending some village water to Murray.

The village pumps about 1.45 million gallons a day on average and the towns and prison account for about 60 percent of that usage.

The Village Board approved the rate hike on Wednesday evening, with trustee Chris Barry casting the lone no vote.

The $3.34 rate for the towns compares to a $3.39 rate charged to the water users inside the village.

The board on Wednesday also voted to increase the penalty for about 20 village water customers who have not allowed the village to put in new water meters. Those meters are put in at no cost to the water customers.

The board voted to increase the penalty by $25 per month to $65, or $195 every quarterly billing cycle.

There are about 2,000 water customers in the village and a small percentage, about 1 percent, continue to hold off on swapping out their old water meters.

Concert helps Albion church with major projects fund

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 March 2023 at 8:43 am

Simboli puts emphasis on positivity with new cabaret show

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Gary Simboli, a retired music teacher and theater director for Albion Central School, performed his new show on Saturday, called “Accentuate the Positive.”

Simboli took people through his ABCs of positivity, and shared songs and reflections about joy and seeing good in the world.

He encouraged people to look at situations from more than one viewpoint to try to get a deeper understanding of others and complex issues.

Simboli also shared photos of hopefulness, including this one of a baby. He also has large images of a double rainbow, and a tiny plant growing in a crack of concrete.

The concert at the First Baptist Church in Albion was fundraiser for the church’s Major Projects Fund. Simboli also is the organist at the historic site that was built from 1860.

Marsha Rivers, the church’s pastor, also was in the theater program led by Simboli when she was a high school student in 1989 to 1992. She did a cameo during the Simboli concert on Saturday, performing, “Broadway Baby.”

The First Baptist Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The congregation wants to be a good steward of the building, including the large stained-glassed windows.

BBQ pulled pork dinners sell out in fundraiser for Albion band program

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 March 2023 at 7:56 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

ALBION – A new fundraiser for the Albion band program was a sell-out today with all 300 dinners gone.

This photo show Scott Mann, left, of Mann vs. Food working with Albion band students and adults involved in the marching band, including Jon Trembley, second from left, who is the percussion instructor.

The meals included the pulled pork, potatoes, cole slaw, a roll and a cookie. They were served from the High School FFA.

Catholic Charities announces new location for Albion office

Posted 13 March 2023 at 11:09 am

Press Release, Catholic Charities

ALBION – Catholic Charities has moved the office down the street and is now housed at 106 S. Main St. inside the Holy Family Catholic Church office.

Services offered at the Albion site include emergency assistance, friendly phones, home visitation, and the Our Kids parent education and awareness program.

Catholic Charities is unable to accommodate walk-ins at this new site. Those in need of assistance should call 585-343-0614 to schedule an appointment.

Father Mark Noonan returns to area to lead new Family of Parishes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 March 2023 at 11:37 am

Priest served Holley and Kendall Catholic churches for 7 ½ years until 2018

Photos by Tom Rivers: Father Mark Noonan is the new pastor of a Family of Parishes that includes Catholic churches in Albion, Holley, Kendall, Medina, Lyndonville, Barker and Middleport. He is shown outside St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Albion today. He and two other priests will serve the Family of Parishes.

ALBION – This weekend is the start of big changes for Catholic churches in Western New York, including in Orleans County and eastern Niagara.

The Diocese has grouped 161 parishes into 36 Families of Parishes. The five churches in Orleans County and two in eastern Niagara are in family No. 11. They are led by pastor Mark Noonan, a priest who previously served for 7 ½ years at St. Mark’s in Kendall and St. Mary’s in Holley. He also was a seminarian at St. Joseph’s in Albion in 2006.

Father Noonan and two other priests will serve the seven churches. (St. Joseph’s in Lyndonville currently is closed after a devastating fire at the church on Feb. 28.)

The three priests will be on a rotation leading Mass at the churches. Father Noonan is joined by Father Jan Trela and Father Richard Csizmar. Father Csizmar retired on Wednesday but will continue as an active priest until a parochial vicar is named to Orleans and eastern Niagara.

“The process will are entering will be a good one, but not without some bumps,” Father Noonan said during an interview on Friday in Albion. “I’m excited to be a part of it.”

The Diocese Road to Renewal plan is in response to a declining number of priests – and parishioners. The number of active priests is down from 179 in 2011 to 144 in 2019. Attendance at Mass dropped 41 percent during those 8 years. The decline is more pronounced in the 8-county Diocese going back to 2012 when attendance was 155,000 for weekends. Now it is about 60,000.

Father Noonan wants to welcome people back to church who haven’t been recently. And he wants to encourage others to be open to attending services.

“Our goal is real renewal,” he said. “We want the church to be really alive, and a source of light an strength in the whole community.”

This week is the temporary start of the new Mass schedule.

  • Circuit 1: Father Jan Trela this weekend, includes Saturday at 4 p.m. at St. Mary’s in Holley, and 5:30 p.m. at St. Mark’s in Kendall. Sunday includes 8 a.m. Mass at St. Joseph’s in Albion, and 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s in Holley.
  • Circuit 2: Father Mark Noonan this weekend, includes Saturday at 4 p.m. at St. Mary’s in Medina, and 5:30 p.m. at St. Joseph’s in Albion. Sunday includes 8:30 a.m. Mass at St. Stephen’s in Middleport, and 10:30 a.m. at St. Joseph’s in Albion.
  • Circuit 3: Father Richard Csizmar this weekend, includes Saturday at 4 p.m. at St. Patrick’s in Barker. Sunday includes 9 a.m. Mass at St. Patrick’s in Barker and 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s in Medina.

The priest in circuit 1 will do circuit 2 the following week, and then circuit 3 after that.

The three active priests assigned to the family of parishes in eastern Niagara and Orleans County is down one priest from before the new alignment.

Father Dick Csizmar is keeping a full schedule until a new parochial vicar is assigned to the family of parishes. Csizmar retired on Wednesday, but is keeping a busy schedule as a priest for now.

Father Mark Noonan has scheduled the following listening sessions at 6:30 p.m.: March 13 at Holy Family in Albion, March 14 for St. Josephs in Lyndonville (to be held at Lyndonville High School library on Housel Avenue), March 16 at St. Mary’s in Medina, March 20 at St. Patrick’s in Barker, March 21 at St. Mary’s in Holley, Mark 27 at St. Mark’s in Kendall, and March 28 at St. Stephen’s in Middleport.

The listening sessions are a chance for Father Noonan to share more about the Families of Parishes process and hear thoughts from parishioners.

Father Mark Noonan is back in Orleans County. He previously was a seminarian at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in 2006, and then was the priest for 7 ½ years at St. Mary’s in Holley and St. Mark’s in Kendall until 2018.

Father Noonan likes the move to group nearby parishes as a family.

“We really are one Catholic community,” he said. “We can live out our Catholic faith in a broader way and see our mission in a broader way. Our goal in this is to pray together and grow together.”

Noonan, 46, is a Cheektowaga native. He most recently served as priest for seven months at a parish in Dunkirk. Before that he spent two years in Detroit, Michigan at a Spanish-speaking congregation.

He has become bilingual and wants to do more outreach with the Spanish-speaking community in Orleans and eastern Niagara.

How to connect with that population will be among the priorities for Father Noonan and the Family of Parishes. He said it will be among six pillars to be discussed among the local parishes in the next six months. Those pillars include liturgy, spiritual life, outreach and “in-reach”, Catholic education/faith formation, stewardship and administration.

The priest said the focus will be on helping to foster a deep spiritual life among the new Family of Parishes.

“Everybody on Earth is looking for happiness,” Father Noonan said. “That’s what is found in God, a happiness that never goes away. People want joy. We all have burdens and challenges that will always be there. But our happiness is grounded in something that is everlasting.”

Albion middle schoolers bring ‘Jungle Book’ to stage

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 March 2023 at 9:45 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Kamryn Simmons plays the role of King Louie in the Albion Middle School production of “The Jungle Book.” Louie, an orangutan, is leader of a gang of monkeys and sings, “I Wanna Be Like You.”

The show opened on Friday and returns today with shows at noon and 7 p.m. at the Albion Middle School Auditorium. Tickets are $5 and are available at the door.

There are 75 students in the cast and crew. This is the 52nd musical directed by Carrie Kozody at the middle school.

She said the program is returning to full strength after being limited during the Covid pandemic. “This show has brought a lot of enthusiasm from our students,” Kozody said. “This is our first full-length story line (since Covid).”

Yaritza Fernandez Perez is Rashka the Mother Wolf, holding the baby Mowgli. The baby is found in a basket in the deep jungles of India. Mowgli will be raised by wolves.

Ayme Vallejo Morales is Kaa, a python that sings “Trust in Me” to Mowgli, played by Sophie Kozody. The snake has powers to hypnotize.

Mowgli, “The Man Child,” prefers life in the jungle and doesn’t want to go back to the village with other humans.

Liam Leader plays the role of Akela the Father Wolf who is the chief and leader of the wolf pack. Cerenity Johnson is Bagheera, a black panther who is one of Mowgli’s protectors.

Sophie Kozody as Mowgli and Aubrielle Barry as Baloo perform “The Bare Necessities.” Baloo, a fun-loving bear, becomes a good friend to Mowgli and vows to not take him to the “man-village.”

ChrisJen Winters is Shere Kan, a dangerous tiger that is determined to destroy Mowgli, fearing the human will bring guns and fire into the jungle.

Carley Smith, center, is Colonel Hathi, leader of the elephant brigade. Hannah Olles, left, and Lily Brigham are part of the group. Hathi gets the elephants in line for their patrol.

‘Souper Bowl’ at Holy Family Parish nets nearly $1,300 for OK Kitchen

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 March 2023 at 5:11 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Representatives from the Holy Family Parish in Albion today presented $1,267 to the Orleans Koinonia Kitchen at Harvest Christian Fellowship.

Holy Family did a collection on Super Bowl weekend, Feb. 11-12, and parishioners donated $1,267, about double what is normally given for the “Souper Bowl” collection. The parish in Albion does the collection for the kitchen each weekend during the Super Bowl because people tend to indulge in snacks and food during the big game.

Pictured from left include Father Dick Csizmar, Father Jan Trela, Agnes Piskorowski (holding the check), Faith Smith of the OK Kitchen, Carolyn Budynski, and Father Mark Noonan.

Trela and Noonan started on Wednesday as priests in a family of Catholic churches in Orleans County and eastern Niagara. Noonan was a seminarian in Albion in 2006 and served at St. Mark’s in Kendall and St. Mary’s in Holley for 7 ½ years until about five years ago.

Volunteers from the Holy Family Parish in Albion are making beef stew for the OK Kitchen today. In front chopping carrots and onions include Gina Boothby at left and Elaine Kovaleski at right.

Albion rec director would like to see volleyball, bocce and pickleball courts

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 March 2023 at 1:11 pm

ALBION – Bullard Park would become an even bigger community asset with courts for volleyball, bocce and pickleball, the Village Board was told on Wednesday.

John Grillo, the village’s long-time recreation director, said those courts wouldn’t cost much to put in and maintain.

He has heard from community members asking for those courts at Bullard. Some people also would like to see a horseshoe playing area.

Grillo said the park has been busier since the new splash park and playground equipment were installed about two years ago. Last year’s summer park’s program averaged 70 kids a day, Grillo said.

The village Department of Public Works will be putting in a disc golf course in the spring with baskets and tee-off areas.

Grillo said he would like to see the bocce, pickleball and volleyball spaces ready by summer. The pickleball could perhaps go where there was a former pavilion near the old bathrooms. That spot still has the asphalt on top of a concrete base. The asphalt would likely need to be removed with new asphalt put down, said Village Trustee Tim McMurray.

The ideas are in the discussion stage right now, Grillo said.

He told the board there is also interest and support in the community to bring back the July 3rd fireworks show which was at Bullard Park.

In other action at Wednesday’s meeting:

The Village Board appointed Chris Kinter as a part-time code enforcement officer at $25 per hour, not to exceed 1,040 hours in a year.

Kinter was a member of the Albion Planning Board and also works at the Town of Albion code officer.

Trustee McMurray abstained from the vote, saying the village should have posted the position and better advertised it.

Mayor Angel Javier Jr., Deputy Mayor Joyce Riley and Trustee Zack Burgess voted for Kinter.

“He is a known quantity and he has served our community well,” Riley said.

In another codes issue, the village’s other part-time code enforcement officer, Anne Podolak, requested that former code officer Ron Vendetti be retained as a consultant to share how handled court cases in the role, and also how he was able to generate so much in revenue for the office. Podolak said Vendetti generated more money for the village through the code office than his successors.

“I want to know his processes and procedures,” Podolak told the Village Board.

Riley, the deputy mayor, made a motion for Vendetti to be retained as a consultant for up to 20 hours in the next two months but no one else backed that motion.

“We’re not asking Mr. Vendetti to come back,” Riley said. “We’re asking Mr. Vendetti for his expertise.”

Fire Chief Rob Conner informed the village he will be done as the Fire Department’s leader on May 1.

“He has done a yeoman’s job leading his men and making sure the village is safe,” Riley said.

The board approved closing East State Street from Main to Platt on April 8 for the second annual Easter Egg Hunt, an event organized by the Royal Body Shop Outreach Ministries.

The board also approved use of Mount Albion Cemetery on march 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the Wayne A. Burlison Colon Cancer Awareness Run. That 5K starts near the elementary school and goes along Route 31 for a loop in the cemetery and then heads back down Route 31 to the school.

New café at former Crooked Door serves up coffee and meals, takes prayer requests

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 March 2023 at 3:56 pm

Risen Café offers ‘safe place with no judgement’

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Risen Café opened on Tuesday the former Crooked Door Tavern at 469 East State St. Pictured from left include Sarah Ferguson, Terry Bryant and Jeannie Sullivan.

ALBION – Pastor Terry Bryant of God’s Voice Ministries wants to lead a 21st Century church where he said everyone is welcome, and they don’t feel out of place if they aren’t familiar with hymns, Bible passages and the usual structure of a church service.

Bryant and the church members at God’s Voice have opened the Risen Café at the former Crooked Door Tavern at 469 East State St. They serve coffee and have a breakfast and lunch menu of soups and sandwiches. They are open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Tuesday through Saturday.

“Cheers without beers,” Bryant said. “Everybody can feel comfortable here.”

However, their main goal is offering people a place to share prayer concerns and develop a deeper spiritual life.

“This is a place to connect with people,” Bryant said today at the café. “We want to reach people that wouldn’t come into a traditional church. This is a very nonthreatening environment.”

The church has been meeting out of Bryant’s home the past four years. It was meeting at a Best Western hotel in Lockport until Covid restrictions sent them to Bryant’s living room.

Two of the church members moved to Brown Road in Albion. Bryant was visiting them when he saw the former Crooked Door. He saw the building as a way to serve the community, giving the public another dine-in option for coffee and meals.

But he also sensed people who aren’t connected to a church might see the site as a place to get spiritual guidance.

The congregation has been meeting in the back side of the building since November for Sunday church services at 11 a.m. That space, with a capacity for 37 people, also is used for Bible studies and other gatherings for the church.

The former bar side of the building is the café, where Bible quotes are now on the walls.

Scripture is displayed on the walls at the Risen Café. There is also a prayer corner and a spot for people to submit prayer requests.

Sarah Ferguson of Lyndonville is one of the servers at the Risen Café. She also is the church’s associate pastor. She has master’s degrees in pastoral counseling and addiction recovery. She wants to lead a Christian-based Celebrate Recovery program to help people with addictions, and also direct them to other resources in the community.

“This is somewhere where I can talk about Jesus, learn about people and pray for people,” she said. “We are creating a safe place with no judgement.”

Bryant has worked as an IT systems administrator for about 30 years. He works out of the Larkin Building in Buffalo for Kaleida Health. In 2009, he said he lost feeling in his legs from symptoms of multiple sclerosis. But he said God restored his health and he has been striving to serve God since. He earned a ministry degree while working his other job in information technology.

Bryant initially pushed his ministry with his wife Denise. She contracted Covid and passed away on Dec. 20, 2021. Bryant said he misses his wife very much. He believes that difficult loss can help him relate to others enduring heartache.

“This can be a place where we can have uncomfortable conversations,” he said. “We want to love people where they are.”

Albion school district upgrades weight rooms with ARPA funds

Photos courtesy of Albion Central School: The weight room at the middle school has new equipment after the district used some of its federal American Rescue Plan Act funds for the upgrades.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 March 2023 at 8:37 am

ALBION – The school district has upgraded three of its weight rooms using $102,074 from its federal American Rescue Plan Act allotment.

The new equipment is now in place at two rooms in the middle and one in the high school. The middle school has two different weight rooms – one for strength and one for function. The high school has a room for cardio fitness.

Albion purchased five new units of strength equipment including dumbbells and benches, a variety of safer functional items – mats, TRX suspension trainers, Rack5 Storage, Kettlebells, Core Bags, Foam Rollers, Medicine Balls, Stability Balls and Resistance Bands, said Rick Recckio, school business administrator.

The new cardio equipment includes rowers, AMTs, a Stair Climber, bikes and treadmills.

Recckio went over the improvements and remodeled weight rooms during Monday’s Board of Education meeting. He said the older equipment will be scrapped because of its poor condition.

The federal government approved $4,265,000 for the district’s total ARPA funding.

The former athletic director’s office in the high school now has cardio machines. This is a room near the cafeteria that is also used by the athletic trainers.

Albion vice principal retiring March 31; Dan Monacelli to return as interim

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 March 2023 at 11:54 am

ALBION – Katharine Waite, Albion’s high school vice principal, will be retiring on March 31. She was worked at Albion for nearly eight years, after 10 years as a principal at Perry Central School.

The Board of Education on Monday appointed Dan Monacelli to fill in as interim vice principal, beginning after spring recess on April 10 until the end of the school year in late June.

Monacelli, an Albion resident, retired as the middle school principal in 2017. He also has filled in as an interim junior-senior high school principal in Holley for three months in late 2018 and early 2019.

Mickey Edwards, the Albion district superintendent, said he reached out across Western New York and there weren’t any other candidates for the position to close out the school year. He said he appreciated Monacelli’s willingness to come back to the district in the interim position.

In other action during the board meeting on Monday:

School resource officer Matthew Prawel, a deputy with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, outlined how his first year has been going with the district so far. Prawel said his main focus is the security of the campus. He has connected with other law enforcement agencies, giving them a color-coded map showing different zones of the school buildings.

Prawel said he would welcome more chances to connect with students and staff but most of his time is dedicated to security and safety.

He recommended the board add a second school resource officer, either through the Sheriff’s Office or Albion Police Department. That would increase a safety response and also allow for more positive connections between students and the school resource officers, Prawel said.

Brad Pritchard, the middle school principal, gave a presentation to the board on how the middle school is doing more computer based testing, which he said not only measures academics but familiarizes students with keyboarding, software and using Google Docs and other software.

Approved a trip to Boston from May 26-28 for 18 students from minority backgrounds. The trip for the Girls Leadership Group is covered through a Community Schools grant.

Changed the date of the Honors Convocation for graduating seniors with GPAs at 90 percent or higher from May 11 to May 4. The date was changed so some of the seniors can be a part of the “Stars of Tomorrow” program featuring students in the musical. They will be able to perform at the Rochester Broadway Theatre League.

Julianna Kuntz was recognized with the elementary student leadership award and Brody Furness was honored with the elementary school character award.

Albion approves another capital project school bid at $2.6 million

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 March 2023 at 10:26 am

$22 million overall construction work starts next week with district office the first project

ALBION – The Board of Education approved a bid for $2,567,090 on Monday from the Day Automation of Victor for access controls, which is a card swipe system that will allow the district to lock down all the doors in case of an emergency.

District personnel will have badges to unlock and lock doors as part of this project.

That brings the total construction bids to $21,866,992. Eight other bids were accepted at last month’s meeting. The board wanted more time to review the proposal from Day Automation for the access control system that will be in all classrooms throughout the district.

School district residents on Dec. 14, 2021 approved the $26.69 million capital project that includes all three schools, as well as the bus garage, and new synthetic playing surfaces for football, soccer and softball.

The other bids accepted last month include:

  • Site work – $6,295,082 by Diehl Development
  • General Trades – $5,441,000 by Javen Construction
  • Mechanical – $2,797,700 by T. Bell
  • Plumbing – $1,636,300 by Blackmon Farrell
  • Playground equipment – $257,027 by GameTime
  • Scoreboards – $124,725 by Toth
  • BMS (Building Management System) Controls – $339,068 by Day Automation

The first project gets started next week at the district office. District office staff will move to the E wing of the elementary school while the dstrict office is upgraded.

People visiting the district office will need to go to the main entrance of the elementary school starting on Monday.

The construction schedule for 2023 and next year includes:

Site Work – In 2023 the work includes the football field replacement, track resurfacing, multi-purpose field replacement (softball and soccer – starting June 1, 2023 and ending July 15, 2024), elementary school hot water service line, elementary school drop-off loop and sidewalks, elementary school playground fence replacement and high school hot water service line.

In 2024, the site work includes middle school hot water service line, tennis court replacement, middle school drop-off loop reconstruction, concrete sidewalk replacements, playground replacement at middle school, baseball field drainage improvements, JV softball field drainage improvements.

Construction at elementary school – In 2023, district office renovation, classroom doors and plumbing fixtures at E wing (Nov. 6 to Dec. 1), classroom doors and plumbing fixtures at D wing (Dec. 11 to Jan. 5), crawl space plumbing and hot water heaters, EIFS replacement, carbon monoxide detectors/fire alarm, and electrical abatement and replacements.

In 2024, classroom doors and plumbing fixtures at C wing (Jan. 1 to Feb. 9), classroom doors and plumbing fixtures at B wing (Feb. 19 to March 15), classroom doors and plumbing fixtures at A wing (March 25 to April 19) and classroom doors and plumbing fixtures at G wing (April 29 to May 24), emergency generator replacement, doors/hardware/security enhancements, main office windows and fire shutter, and gymnasium folding partition replacement.

Construction at middle school (basement) – In 2023, pool deck structural repairs, boiler room abatement and demolition, boiler room plumbing renovations, ad pool pumps.

In 2024, electrical room A/C and auditorium A/C.

Construction at middle school (first floor) – In 2023, domestic hot water repairs, replace insulated window panels, gymnasium renovations, pool lighting and locker room renovation, replace ANSUL system, exhaust fan and relief air work, flooring abatement, flooring installation, carbon monoxide detectors and fire alarm, and electrical service component replacements.

In 2024, doors/hardware/security enhancements and auditorium AC.

Construction at middle school (second floor) – In 2023, exhaust fan and relief air work, replace insulated window panels, flooring abatement, and flooring installation.

In 2024, convert lockers into storage rooms, electrical room A/C, auditorium A/C, and doors/hardware/security enhancements.

Construction at middle school (third floor) – In 2023, exhaust fan and relief air work.

In 2024, doors/hardware/security enhancements.

Construction at high school (first floor) – In 2023, library door reconstruction, window lintel replacements, domestic hot water heaters and carbon monoxide detectors and fire alarm.

In 2024, replace lockers (with wider units), doors/hardware/security upgrades, gym renovations and gym locker room renovations.

Construction at high school (second floor) – In 2023, library door reconstruction, window lintel replacements, domestic hot water heaters, and carbon monoxide detectors and fire alarm.

In 2024, replace lockers, doors/hardware/security upgrades, gym renovations, gym locker room renovations, gym HVAC abatement and demo, gym HVAC installation.