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Albion schools will celebrate virtual sprit week

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 April 2020 at 9:34 am

ALBION — The school district will celebrate a virtual spirit week from April 6-10, which will be the fourth week students are out of school due health concerns with the coronavirus.

Albion students are encouraged to show their school spirit and dress up for the different theme days Monday through Friday. The photos should be posted each day by 5 p.m. to the High School Student Council’s Instagram account – @albionstuco. The Student Council will then post the photos by 6 p.m.

“All entries must be school-appropriate,” according to a flyer from the Student Council. “Have fun and show us your ACS spirit!”

The schedule for virtual spirit week includes:

• Monday – Creativity Day: Show your creative outlets by sending in a picture or a video of your own innovative work, which could anything music, art or literature-oriented.

• Tuesday – Self-Care Day: How do you like to spend your free time? How do you choose to de-stress? Send us a picture of your preferred method of self-care.

• Wednesday – Wacky Socks Wednesday: Send us a picture of you wearing your wackiest pair of socks.

• Thursday – Pet Appreciation Day: It’s always a good time to appreciate your furry friends. Send us a picture of your pet(s).

• Friday – Generosity Day: It’s an important time to be kind to others. While you are at home, do something generous for another or others, and tell us about it!

Click here for more information.

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Albion village closes all parks to help prevent spread of Covid-19

Posted 30 March 2020 at 1:57 pm

Press Release, Police Chief Roland Nenni III

File photo by Tom Rivers: The basketball hoop at Bullard Park is pictured in this photo from Aug. 4, 2015. The governor has banned basketball at parks during the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

ALBION –  The Village of Albion has closed all village parks effective immediately. This closure is to help conform with Center for Disease Control guidance measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus.

Many people have been seen at the parks on playground equipment, playing basketball and football.

The Village of Albion would like all citizens to follow the CDC guidelines below.

Please remember that we are all in this together and we must all do our part.

Know How it Spreads

• There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

• The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

• The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

• Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

• Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

• These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

• There is no exact scientific study as to how long the virus lives on surfaces.

Clean your hands often

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

• If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Put distance between yourself and other people.

• Distance is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

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Strawberry Festival cancelled due to health concerns with drawing big crowd

Photos by Tom Rivers: Sheryl Watts, owner and artistic designer of Air Raising Events, made a strawberry costume out of balloons in marched in last year’s Strawberry Festival Parade on June 8.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 March 2020 at 3:50 pm

ALBION – The 34thannual Albion Strawberry Festival, scheduled for June 12-13, has already been cancelled due to the health concerns with drawing several thousand people together in the Albion downtown and Courthouse Square.

The number of coronavirus cases has steadily been increasing, with the state banning any public gatherings with more than 10 people.

Costumed characters from Enchanted Princess Parties of Rochester met many people along the parade route.

No one knows for certain if the ban will be lifted in June. But the Albion Rotary Club, sponsor of the Strawberry Festival, decided to not wait to see if the situation changes.

Dick Remley, Rotary Club president, said there were practical issues getting in the way of putting on the festival. Rotary International carries the insurance for the event but notified Rotary Clubs it was cancelling insurance in the short-term for any events that were public gatherings. Remley doubts another insurer could be found for the event given the concerns with the coronavirus.

He also said the Rotary Club has an ethical duty to the community to not put people at risk of contracting the virus.

The Strawberry Festival draws a big crowd to the downtown and Courthouse Square for a parade, live music, and food and craft vendors.

“We felt there was a moral obligation to think of the community’s health and welfare,” Remley said. “We felt it was prudent to cancel.”

Remley is also the Albion town supervisor and has closed the town hall to the public due to concerns about the virus.

The festival should be back next year on June 11-12, said Don Bishop, a member of the Strawberry Festival Committee. Many of the craft and food vendors had already sent in deposits. Their money will be returned to them.

Bishop said the committee couldn’t meet in person because of the crackdown of gatherings larger than 10 people. They had two recent meetings online through Zoom.

Bishop supports canceling the festival this year, and coming back next year.

“We didn’t want thousands of people there with possibility of someone passing the infection to a whole crowd,” he said.

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Albion officials not happy with dog poop in the park

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 March 2020 at 9:58 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: The village-owned strip of land along the Erie Canal, between the lift bridges on Main Street and Ingersoll Street, has many dog droppings. Nearby Waterman Park also is a popular spot for people to bring their dogs, and then not clean up after them.

ALBION – The Village Board is looking to make its local dog ordinance tougher for people who don’t pick up after their dogs on public land.

Village officials are irked that Waterman Park on Main Street and village-owned land by the Erie Canal, between Main and Ingersoll streets, have become littered with dog poop.

Jay Pahura, the DPW superintendent, said there are several garbage receptacles at the two sites, but people aren’t picking up after their dogs.

He counted more than 40 piles of dog poop at the two spots.

Right now the village code faults the property owner if dog poop isn’t picked up. Village officials want to rewrite the law establishing a system for lodging a complaint and putting the burden on the dog owner. They would like to make the law applicable to village parks and public land.

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Volunteers won’t be pumping gas today in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 March 2020 at 7:35 am

ALBION – Volunteers with the Albion Betterment Committee are taking a rare break today from pumping gas for senior citizens in Albion.

The volunteers for the past 16 years have been pumping gas from 9 to 11 a.m. on Wednesdays at Crosby’s. Today the team of volunteers from the Albion Betterment Committee isn’t available. The group also didn’t want to encourage senior citizens to be out driving with the county and state in a state of emergency due to the coronavirus.

The Betterment Committee urges others to help senior citizens if they pull up for gas. People can always offer to help pump the gas, regardless of the day and time.

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Toilet paper challenge proves good timing for local ministry; 600-plus rolls collected in February

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 March 2020 at 10:43 am

Hands 4 Hope also has an abundance of socks

Greg Stanton created this graphic to promote a toilet paper challenge among three sites in Orleans County.

ALBION – Jack Burris’s fun challenge last month has yielded an abundance of something in short supply: toilet paper.

Burris leads the Hands 4 Hope ministry. Each Saturday, he brings a red truck with food to one of four locations in the county. Hands 4 Hope goes to Medina, Holley and two sites in Albion each month.

Hands 4 Hope typically gives about 25 people a week a “share,” a bag of food. They usually receives two rolls of toilet paper in the share. Burris and a team of volunteers also will take prayer requests and pray with people if they want that.

Last month Burris kicked off a “Roll For The Bowl! Toilet Paper Drive” that started during the Super Bowl. Holy Family Parish in Albion, Sourced Market and Eatery in Medina, and the Holley Pharmacy.

The toilet paper drive during the month of February yielded more than 600 rolls. Holy Family edged the Sourced Market, 278 to 277. The Holley Pharmacy collected about 100.

Those rolls are being handed out now and the supply should last a while, Burris said.

Hands 4 Hope received other good news on Monday. Burris received a shipment of 2,000 socks from the Bombas company. That company donates a pair of socks for every one they sell.

Wayne Litchfield, a volunteer with Hands 4 Hope, applied for donation of socks through the company’s website. The shipment of the high-quality socks arrived in several boxes.

Burris said they will be given out throughout the year and likely shared with other ministries.

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Empty sanctuaries, but many churches held services today – online

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 March 2020 at 9:18 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Pastor Tom Stroup of the Albion Free Methodist Church shares his sermon today to nearly empty sanctuary.

The church and nearly all others in the region did not allow the public inside their buildings today after the state capped crowd sizes to 10 people.

Albion Free Methodist, and many other churches, still held services and broadcast them online. Albion Free Methodist did Facebook live and the service had about 750 views at 9 p.m.

The church normally posts its service on Facebook. Last Sunday’s service, which was open to the public, had 150 views on Facebook.

“You need to reach people where they are at,” Stroup said about Facebook live.

Pastor Stroup is shown giving his message through Facebook. Stroup has been a pastor for 40 years. He changed his planned sermon to focus on the issue at everyone’s attention: the coronavirus pandemic.

Stroup acknowledged the virus is worrisome, and it’s OK to feel anxiety about the situation. He urged people to bring their concerns to God in prayer. He urged them to know the facts behind the virus, how senior citizens and immune-compromised people are especially vulnerable.

Many people will likely get sick by the virus and will be scared, Stroup said.

Others will be housebound and will feel isolated.

The pastor urged them to turn to God during these times. He shared Psalm 23:4:

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

Rhonda and Gary Smith sang worship songs during this morning’s service.

Stroup said the non-stop news coverage of the virus only adds to people’s sense of worry and fear. He urged people to spend less time watching TV and reading the internet, “and more time listening to God.”

The virus is an opportunity for Christians and the church to reach out to the community. It might be phone calls or it might be going to the grocery store for shut-ins and senior citizens. He urged people to call the church if they need assistance at (585) 589-9115.

There may be a silver lining with the virus.

“This experience will force us to depend on each other, it will force us to love each other and it will force us to serve each other,” he said.

The church has a camera and audiovisual system and has been broadcasting its services live on Facebook for several years. Other churches in the community did their first online service today. The West Barre United Methodist Church was among the first to try it today (click here).

Dee Hansel is the children’s pastor at the church. The church’s leadership was determined to have a service today, even though only a few people were allowed inside the building.

“There is a lot of fear right now and anxiety,” Hansel said. “This is when the church really needs to be there for everyone.”

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Firefighters did a foam drill today, in case of fire with inmates making hand sanitizer

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 March 2020 at 5:07 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Firefighters from Albion, Barre, Holley and Shelby did a joint drill today simulating a response with foam in case there is a fire while inmates at the Albion Correctional Facility bottle hand sanitizer.

There are thousands of gallons of sanitizer at the prison, with a high concentration of alcohol. If there is a spill and fire with the material, firefighters can spray foam which is a fire suppressant. Today’s drill used a soapy material instead of foam.

The drill helped firefighters plan for a response in case it is needed at the prison, where inmates will be working with a flammable material.

“They will bring it in premade and it will be a bottling operation,” said Dale Banker, emergency management director for Orleans County. “We’re training in case there’s an incident.”

His office has already orchestrated the delivery of 192 one-gallon bottles of hand sanitizer in many of the government buildings throughout the county, including fire departments, police stations, and EMS.

The inmates at the Albion Correctional Facility will be bottling sanitizer in 7.1 ounce and 1.7 ounce bottles.

Some of the new bottles will be sent to school districts. Even though the districts are currently closed to students, some staff continue to be at the buildings each day.

Mark Farone of the Barre Volunteer Fire Company shows this group of fireifghters some of the features on the truck.

These firefighters spent time working together and learning about each others’ trucks and different tools.

Holley Fire Chief Harris Reed, left, and firefighter Rick Cary discuss how to best deploy foam in case of a fire.

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Barbershops, hair salons will close temporarily after today

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 March 2020 at 1:58 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Zack Dugan gives a haircut to Frank Strasburger today at Zack’s Barbershop on Main Street in Albion.

Dugan has been busy the past two days since the governor announced barbershops and hair salons are being required to temporarily close at 8 p.m. today until further notice. The governor issued the directive Friday morning as an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The governor announced this morning the state now has more than 10,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

Dugan has been a barber for seven years and has owned his own business in Albion since 2014.

“Everything will work itself out in time,” he said. “Hopefully once I get back up and open when this is over people will storm in to get their hair cut.”

Strasburger, owner of Frank’s Auto Center in Albion, knew this could be the last day for a while to get a haircut. He said his business has suffered during the virus shutdown, with people cancelling appointments for car repairs or to buy a vehicle.

“I’m hoping this won’t last too long,” he said about the slowdown to try to curtail the coronavirus.

Dugan, 30, urged people to not be too stressed by circumstances and try to enjoy more time at home.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to spend time with their families,” Dugan said. “It will slow down life a little bit.”

Marcell Taylor, owner of Absolute Xquisite Cutz on East Bank Street in Albion, gives a hair cut to Dan Perl of Elba today.

Taylor runs the business with another barber. They are open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

“It’s going to hurt,” Taylor said about closing the business. “But in the bigger picture it’s better for everyone to help slow this virus down. You have to take a short-term loss for a longer-term gain.”

Taylor also works as a regional administrator for PathStone and was required to work from home this past week.

Lynn Burgess, owner of Lynn’s Salon on West Park Street in Albion, shares a light moment with Debbie Prest during a haircut.

Burgess has been cutting hair for 20 years. She was planning to close temporarily after Orleans County announced on Thursday afternoon the county had its first confirmed case of coronavirus.

Burgess said she works with many senior citizens and didn’t want to put them at risk, or any of her other customers and her family.

She has a list of customers she will call when she is given the OK to open.

Amber Mogle, owner of the Roots hair salon in Albion, gives a haircut to Carrie Moyer of Albion. Mogle has owned Roots for about 2 ½ years and has been working in Albion the past 10 years.

On Friday when she received the notice from the state that she would need to close indefinitely.

“I’ve already cried over it,” she said. “There’s nothing else I can do about it. You just have to deal with it.”

Three hairdressers and one nail technician work at Roots. Mogle called people with appointments next week and is trying to get in as many people as possible before closing at 8 p.m. today.

“I would feel much more relieved if I knew how long this would last,” she said. “I’m thankful the community here has always supported us.”

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No on-site dining, but Community Kitchen still serving many meals in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 March 2020 at 11:12 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Ron Oliver, left, of Albion receives two to-go meals on Friday from Faith Smith, director of the Community Kitchen at Christ Church in Albion.

Oliver took one of the meals to a friend who is usually a regular participant at Community Kitchen on Fridays.

The kitchen closed off its dining area last week and is continuing with to-go meals.

Smith and her husband Michael wait at the entrance of Christ Church on West Park Street for people to receive their meals. They made 75 meals on Friday which included tuna casserole, with peaches and garlic bread. The bread was donated by Subway.

The Community Kitchen typically welcomes 75 to 200 people. Mr. Smith said many of the people often will spend an hour or more in the dining area. They enjoy the chance to connect with their friends.

“A lot of people who come here love to socialize,” he said.

Peggy Francisco, a volunteer for the Community Kitchen, helps organize the food in the dining area, which was off-limits to the public.

The volunteer crew of three looks for people to serve on Friday at about 5 p.m.

Faith Smith has been the director of the Community Kitchen for 11 years. On Friday she also prepared 15 kids’ bags with cereal, gummy bears, granola bars and juice bags.

She also prepared 40 bags with food for senior citizens and 30 other family bags with food and activities, including kits for making Easter eggs. Some of the food for seniors will be set outside a seniors house to minimize any person-to-person contact.

This sign lets the public know the Community Kitchen is open on Friday.

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