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Keitel Road closes Monday for a month for bridge repairs

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 March 2019 at 8:44 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The railroad bridge on Keitel Road is pictured this evening in Albion. A section of the road will close on Monday between Route 31 and the Erie Canal. That section of the road will be closed until April 23.

Genesee Valley Transportation Company, based in Batavia, is making masonry and steel repairs to the bridge. GVT owns the Falls Road Railroad, which goes from Lockport through Orleans County to Brockport.

When that project is complete, GVT will work on the bridge on Butts Road. Butts Road will be closed between Route 31 and East State Street from April 23 until mid-May.

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120 complete Colon Cancer Awareness 5K in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 March 2019 at 10:22 pm

5th annual ‘Run for Wayne’ honors memory for Albion elementary music teacher

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Brian Krieger, director of the Albion Running Club, welcomes about 120 participants to the fifth annual Wayne Burlison Colon Cancer Awareness 5K.

Krieger was a close friend of Burlison, who was 36 when he passed away from colon cancer on March 26, 2014.

The race is sponsored by Oak Orchard Health, which is trying to raise awareness about colon cancer as the third-leading cause of death by cancer for men and women. Colon cancer is preventable or treatable with the proper knowledge, resources and early detection.

Proceeds from the race go towards a scholarship in Burlison’s name. The Running Club also is donating money in memory of Burlison for a walking/running trail at Bullard Park.

Bob Pastecki shares a welcome message today at the start of the race. Pastecki is Burlison’s brother in law. He is wearing orange compression socks with Burlison’s name. Burlison used to wear orange compression socks for his training runs and at races.

Pastecki shared a welcome message from Lisa Burlison, Wayne’s wife. She was at a spelling bee in Batavia with the couple’s son, Adam.

“As we approach nearly 5 years since my late husband Wayne has passed, I find the passing of days to still be surreal at times,” she wrote. “These days are filled with things to do, seemingly spelled out with to-do lists and tasks. Life seems to move on, yet the longing for how things once were remains.

“This morning my son competed in the Regional Spelling Bee Competition. It required months, weeks, days, and hours of studying and preparing. He had a goal in sight, and he took many steps to get there. Competitive runners do the same. Starting small, increasing the rigor of training, to ultimately run a race. Wayne did this time and time again – Running 5ks, ½ and full marathons, with rest in between, but always setting a future goal to maintain his running stamina, and overall health.

“Wayne was not only intentional in how he ran, but in how he did life. He spelled out his days and knew how and what he needed to do. While he often admitted it was an imperfect process at times, he knew he would and could get back up and work towards his goals. My son did the same as he prepared for the spelling bee today. He experienced frustration with strange spellings and pronunciations, along with having the energy and commitment to work on the lists, with the nerves and strain of being on stage as all watch to see if he would make a mistake or move on to the next round.

“Life can feel like it is spelled out, both intentionally of our choosing, and also unintentionally as change and events of life forces onto our paths.

“So, as I have learned imperfectly there are a few words that are spelled out for me today, words that I remind myself to hold close to my heart. One is P-e-r-s-e-v-e-r-e; persevere, and the other is H-O-P-E, hope. May these be words also be of inspiration for you today.”

Meganne Moore, a seventh-grader and one of Burlison’s former students, finishes the race.

Joel Nowatchik of Lockport won the race in a time of 18:28 and Abigail Sortore of Bolivar was the fastest woman in a time of 21:07, which was third overall.

The runners shrugged off the chill to complete a course that started near the elementary school on Clarendon Road, and then went on Route 31 to Mont Albion Cemetery with a return back on 31 to the elementary school parking lot.

A group supporting Brett Sobieraski for sheriff takes a cool-down jog together after the race. Sobieraski was the 6th finisher overall with a time of 22:52.

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Albion sixth-grader takes 4th in WNY spelling bee

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 March 2019 at 8:28 pm

Photo courtesy of Sue Starkweather Miller

BATAVIA – Adam Burlison is shown competing in today’s Scripps Western New York Regional Spelling Bee at Batavia High School. Adam finished 4th out of about 30 of the region’s top spellers in the grades 6 through 8.

The competition lasted about four hours and was won by Emily Mike, an eighth-grader from Mount Morris.

Adam studied more than 1,000 words to prepare the competition. He was knocked out when he missed how to spell “nadir.”

Today was also the fifth annual Run for Wayne in Albion, a run and walk in memory of Adam’s father, Wayne Burlison, who was 36 when he passed away from colon cancer on March 26, 2014. He was an elementary music teacher at Albion.

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Empty Bowls event marks 10 years at Albion, raising money for food pantry

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 March 2019 at 10:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Albion seventh-graders created 170 bowls in pottery class that were available for $5 each on Thursday during the 10th annual Empty Bowls event at the middle school. The $5 include a bowls of cheese and broccoli soup.

Proceeds from the sale of the bowls will go to the food pantry at Community Action. The event typically raises about $800 to $1,000 for the food pantry.

Michael Bonnewell, the Albion school district superintendent, looks on the bottom of a bowl to see which student made it.

The bowls were made in an art class led by Kamie Feder. The bowls also included origami.

Isaac Hickman, left, and Ethan Merrill help sell some of the bowls during Thursday’s event.

The event was expanded on Thursday to include a literacy night. The Albion Teachers Association, led by President Chris Keller (left), gave away books to students who attended the evening.

Hoag Library also was part of the literacy promotion, and had games for students. The middle school library also had a book fair.

There were many science, math and literacy activities at the school during the evening, including a chance to make slime and figure out an escape room set up in the gym.

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Albion school hosts panel discussion with international students

Posted 21 March 2019 at 9:54 pm

Interact and exchange students get together for a group photo.

Photos courtesy of Sue Starkweather Miller, Albion Central School

Rotary exchange students at today’s panel discussion included Oline (Amsterdam) and Stephen (Australia), who are staying with families in Batavia; Jorge (Venezuela) is in Lockport; Janne (Germany) is in Holley; and Flora (Italy) is in Akron.

ALBION – The Albion High School Interact Club hosted a panel discussion this morning for area Interact groups from Holley, Akron, Lockport and Genesee County.

The panel consisted of Rotary exchange students from Italy, Australia, Germany, Venezuela and Amsterdam. They spoke about their experiences as exchange students and why they decided to participate in the program.

They also shared similarities and differences with their education system and ours, extra-curricular activities, food, shopping, entertainment, culture, and general perceptions of their experiences in the USA.

All of the exchange students felt the program is a worthwhile experience and they seem very open to trying anything and everything while here. They participate in athletics, theater, guitar lessons, and skiing. Many had never before experienced our winter weather or snow days and weren’t adequately prepared for the weather!

The panel was a way for the Interact clubs and their advisors to meet, share ideas, coordinate activities, and gain a more global perspective from the exchange students.

This event was so well received that the Interact advisors will continue to meet annually.

Tim Archer, Albion’s Interact advisor, leads the panel discussion. Albion has had an active Interact club since 2001.

Holley Interact students, including Callie Updike (standing at left), shared a list of activities that they are part of in the Holley community.  The students assist with fall cleanup at Hillside Cemetery, participate in the PTSA elementary school dances, pack bags for Santa’s community visit, help with the school lunch buddy program, donate to the Evan Strong Fundraiser and the Andie Carpenter Scholarship, and collect books for Ronald McDonald House. They will also collect toiletries for the homeless in Rochester, and hold a “Soles 4 Souls” shoe drive (they have already collected 500 pairs of shoes in the last two years).

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Historic church in Albion gets new sign

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 March 2019 at 1:03 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Ulrich Signs in Lockport works on a new sign for North Point Chapel, which owns the former United Methodist Church building at the corner of Platt and East State streets in Albion.

North Point started as a congregation about three years ago. It first met in the Hoag Library before going to the Arnold Gregory Office Complex. About two years ago North Point went to the United Methodist building after that congregation left the building and now shares space at Christ Church with the Episcopalians.

The new sign was unveiled at about 12:30 p.m. today.

“We’re now official,” Mike Outten, the church’s pastor, said about the sign and the church’s presence in the community.

He likes the sign’s style, which he said blends “the 19th Century with the 21st Century.”

Outten said North Point will add gooseneck lights above the sign to illuminate it. An electrician will be arriving next week to discuss the project.

North Point Chapel has 10:30a.m. Sunday services at the church building which was constructed in 1860, and other ministry programs during the week.

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2 Albion roads will be closed while railroad repairs bridges

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 March 2019 at 2:38 pm

ALBION – Two roads in the Town of Albion will be closed while the owner of the railroad makes steel and masonry repairs to the bridges over Butts Road and Keitel Road.

Genesee Valley Transportation Co. in Batavia is the owner of the Falls Road Railroad, which runs from Lockport through Orleans County to Brockport.

Keitel Road will be closed between Route 31 and the Erie Canal from March 25 to April 23.

Butts Road will be closed between Route 31 and East State Street from April 23 to mid May.

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400 people were part of emergency response drill Tuesday at Albion school

Posted 14 March 2019 at 5:33 pm

‘We are much better today thanks to this exercise and the hard work of many involved with it.’ – Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni

Provided photos: Law enforcement officers and firefighters check the hallways and classrooms during a drill Tuesday at the Albion Middle School.

Press Release, Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni

ALBION – The Albion Police Department conducted a full-scale exercise at the Albion Middle School on Tueday, beginning at 9 a.m. The exercise was conducted to evaluate the preparedness, response, and tactical and decision-making abilities of law enforcement, fire and EMS responders. The exercise was designed to simulate high-stress conditions and to incorporate as much realism as possible.

A committee of top-level responders and commanders was formed to organize the drill. The U.S. Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) was utilized in the drill planning. Through the use of HSEEP, exercise program managers were able to develop, execute, and evaluate the exercise that addressed the priorities established by the committee.

Objectives were established to evaluate the response and mitigation to an active shooter at the Albion Middle School by law enforcement, Fire/EMS, command, dispatch and school staff. Several exercise controllers and evaluators were utilized to record the exercise and evaluate the response.

The controllers and evaluators used were from agencies inside and outside of Orleans County with advanced specialties in the areas they were assigned to evaluate.

The responders and school staff role players were given no previous direction or instruction to make the exercise as real as possible. In an effort to simulate realism, police, fire and EMS units were staged and were not allowed to respond to the school until they were dispatched and then held until the appropriate times had passed to simulate actual real times.

The exercise began when role players, acting as suspicious persons, were observed inside the school causing school staff to alert the 911 center which initiated a police response. As law enforcement arrived on scene, gunfire occurred inside the school prompting a full multi agency law enforcement response. (Editor’s Note: The gunfire was actually firecrackers.)

Command was established and additional police, fire and EMS resources were called to the scene to deal with multiple suspects and 18 injured persons with high and low levels of injuries.

The exercise plan called for over 24 objectives to be evaluated using the HSEEP Exercise Evaluation Guide. These evaluations along with the Feedback Forms completed by over 400 exercise participants ranging from commanders, responders, role players, controllers, facilitators and evaluators will be compiled and an Exercise After Action Report will be produced.

The After Action Report will help responders build on the skills they tested during this exercise to make an effective and efficient response even better in the future.

No matter how good we do during an exercise, there is always a need to evaluate and perform at a higher level, regardless of what discipline you are in during an incident of this magnitude. We are much better today thanks to this exercise and the hard work of many involved with it.

This exercise would not have been possible without the assistance of many individuals from many agencies. Below is a list of agencies involved in the exercise as both responders and exercise support staff that assisted as controllers, facilitators, evaluators and technical advisers.

Responding Agencies:

Albion Police Department, Albion Fire Department, Barre Fire Department, Carlton Fire Department, COVA Ambulance, Fancher-Hulberton-Murray Fire Department, Hamlin Ambulance, Holley Fire Department, Holley Police Department, Kendall Fire Department Ambulance, Medina Police Department, Medina Fire Department, Mercy Flight Ambulance, Monroe Ambulance, Orleans County Emergency Management, Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, Orleans County Probation, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Police, US Customs and Border Protection, and Village of Albion DPW.

Exercise Support:

Albion Central School District, Albion Police, Batavia Police Department, COVA Ambulance, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, Greece Volunteer Ambulance, Medina Police, Medina Fire Department, Orleans County Emergency Management, Orleans County Major Felony Crimes Task Force, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, US Customs and Border Protection

The Albion Police Department would like to thank all the agencies involved, as this exercise would not have been possible without the support and assistance from everyone. A special thank you to Albion School District Superintendent Michael Bonnewell, Board of Education and the school staff for allowing such a beneficial exercise to take place.

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Green Eggs and Ham, and much more as Seussical comes to Albion stage

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 March 2019 at 9:05 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Maia Pate stars as The Cat in the Hat in the Albion Middle School production of Seussical the Musical. The show will be performed at the Middle School Auditorium at 7 p.m. Friday, and noon and 7 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are available at the door.

There are 110 middle school students involved in the show, which features some of the favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, the Grinch, Gertrude McFuzz, lazy Mayzie and Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Dallas Ecker plays Horton, an elephant who gets talked into caring for an egg, which eventually hatches. Horton spends most of the show clutching a clover, which holds the microscopic planet populated by the Whos. He needs to take care of the clover to save the Whos from doom.

Corleone Plain plays the mayor of Whoville. Horton can hear the mayor’s calls for help. Horton is mocked mercilessly by the other animals of the jungle, who do not believe him.

Gertrude McFuzz, played by Lucy Rivers, is one of Horton’s bird neighbors. She tries desperately to get Horton to notice her, even growing a long feathered tail. Horton is too preoccupied looking at the clovers, trying to find the one with the Whos.

Marli Thrash is Mayzie LaBird, Horton’s vivacious yet lazy and self-centered bird neighbor.

Emilie Sitzer, center, is one of the leaders of the Wickersham Brothers, a gang of delinquent monkeys. They take the clover from Horton.

Nick Andrews plays General Genghis Khan Schmitz, who is preparing to go to war with those who eat their bread with the butter side down. The soldiers are in military school and include Jojo, the son of the mayor of Whoville. Jojo, back left, is sent to military school after getting into trouble due to The Cat in the Hat’s mischief. Jojo becomes close friends with Horton the elephant.

Garon Thompson is the Grinch who stole Christmas.

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Hoag Library votes to sell Civil War flag

Photos by Tom Rivers: Three trustees for the Hoag Library look at a Civil War flag at the board’s meeting tonight. They include, from left, Anitrice Bennett, Terry Wilbert and Linda Weller.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 March 2019 at 10:09 pm

ALBION – Hoag Library’s board of trustees voted tonight to sell a Civil War flag from a Colored Troops regiment.

The board said preserving the flag would be an estimated $8,000 to $10,000, and properly displaying it would have added more expense.

“Is it the library’s job to pay the money to have it restored?” asked trustee Linda Weller.

The trustees said the library’s mission isn’t to be a museum. It voted, 5-0, to work with Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas to sell the flag. Heritage will receive a 5 percent commission for the sale. Hoag also has to spend up to $750 to have the flag, which is in a frame, crated and shipped to the Heritage Auctions. That expense will include insurance.

The library trustees didn’t want to delay in its vote. The flag can still be featured in the upcoming summer auction that features Civil War artifacts. Waiting another month would have meant the flag would miss the auction. Heritage Auctions needs time to have the flag included in a catalogue of items for the sale.

The library board looks over the flag. Board President Kevin Doherty is in back.

Last month the trustees discussed the issue and decided to wait a month. The possible sale was featured in the local media and only two community members, besides the board, attended the meeting. Weller took that as a sign of little interest from the community.

(Editor’s Note: I was the lone speaker in favor of keeping the flag, of preserving it and displaying it properly. I think the flag could be a draw, and could be part of a larger heritage trail in the Albion community.)

Tom Taber of Albion is a Civil War enthusiast. He spent 15 years researching a book about Orleans County men who fought in the Civil War. Taber’s book, The “Orleans Battery” – A History of the 17th New York Light Artillery in the War of Rebellion, details the service of 240 men from Orleans County who served in the war.

Taber has known about the flag the past decade and has pushed the library the past two years to not just leave it in a back room. Either preserve it or sell it, Taber said.

“It should not sit there and rot away forever,” Taber told the board.

Taber said the flag for the 26th Regiment United States Colored Troops isn’t for a local unit. Those troops were based out of New York City, although County Historian Matt Ballard said in an email to the Orleans Hub they were led by a local white soldier, Charles H. Mattison of Barre.

The flag will only be sold if fetches a minimum bid of $10,000. Heritage Auctions is estimating it will sell for about $20,000.

If the flag doesn’t sell for at least $10,000, it could come back in Albion. Heritage Auctions could also try to sell it online or through a catalogue.

Taber believes it will be a hot item because it is connected to black history in the Civil War.

“I don’t see it not selling,” Taber told the board. “These kind of things don’t come up.”

Kevin Doherty, the board president, said the flag could be sold and end up anywhere. The library can’t limit where it goes.

Hoag officials reached out to African-American museums as well as the Smithsonian to see if they were interested in the flag. The African-American museums said they would accept it, but only if it was restored. The Smithsonian would accept it and put it in storage. It might be decades before it was worked on or displayed.

The board has nine trustee positions. One is currently vacant and three trustees couldn’t make tonight’s meeting. Doherty, Weller, Terry Wilbert, Gloria Nauden and Anitrice Bennett voted to move forward with the sale.

They said they worried the flag would further deteriorate at the library.

“If we keep it, it’s our job to protect it,” Wilbert said. “If we don’t pass this resolution (to sell the flag), we need to preserve, protect and display this. My concern is we would do more damage to it.”

Proceeds from the sale may go to the library’s local history collection, including scanning old newspapers.

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