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Artist puts finishing touches on large Santa mural

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 May 2018 at 5:12 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: Stacey Kirby Steward, an Albion native, is nearly done with a 24-foot-long mural of Santa in a sleigh flying over Courthouse Square and downtown Albion.

She is putting the finishing touches on the mural, which is currently inside the Albion fire hall.

The mural will be mounted on a frame and likely installed next month in Waterman Park, which is about a half block south of the Erie Canal.

The Albion Rotary Club is leading the project, with assistance from a grant from Rotary District 7090 as well as many community donations. The mural honors Albion’s history as home to the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School from 1937 to 1966. Howard also ran Christmas Park in Albion. Mr. Howard passed away in 1966. The Santa School continues in his name in Midland, Michigan.

Steward has painted many Erie Canal-themed murals in Orleans, Niagara and Monroe counties. Some of her work promoting family life is also inside the Lyceum of Holy Family Parish in Albion.

Steward gave the courthouse some Christmas lights. The courthouse used to be decorated for the holidays with lights.

Some final additions include wreaths on Main Street light poles and decorated storefronts.

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Albion’s honor grads urged to pursue lofty goals with passion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 May 2018 at 8:40 am

23 students in 2018 graduating with GPAs at 90 or above

Photos by Tom Rivers: Kaitlin Zwifka receives her honor cords on Monday from her parents, Teresa and Marty Zwifka. Kaitlin is one of 23 students in the Albion Class of 2018 graduating with grade point averages at 90 percent or higher. Those students were recognized during an Academic Honors Convocation Dinner at Hickory Ridge Golf and Country Club in Holley.

Gricelda Maldonado goes through a receiving line of well-wishers, including Board of Education member Wayne Wadhams.

The honors students at Albion heard from a recent Albion graduate who has stayed active in the local community while working as a state trooper. Steven Papponetti, Class of 2011, was guest speaker for Monday’s event.

He spoke of the importance of setting short- and long-term goals, and embracing assignments with a passion, whether it’s writing an essay, doing homework and taking needed training to improve your skills.

Papponetti said he had stumbles on his career path, but didn’t let disappointments deter him.

Students, as they move on to college or other stages in life, should surround themselves with good friends, Papponetti said. He urged the honor grads to be involved in clubs in college. That will give them a network of support and friends who will be like a family.

Papponetti was a swimmer at Albion and played on the golf team. A favorite memory from school was the loud cheering during the home swim meets.

Albion firefighters Steven Papponetti, left, and Jim Peruzzini use a Hurst tool to cut a door in a car that was T-boned at the intersection of Route 31 and Butts Road on March 25. Papponetti has stayed an active volunteer with the Albion Fire Department while working full-time as a state trooper.

While a student at Albion, Papponetti participated in the Workplace Internship Program, interning at the Medina Fire Department and the Albion Police Department. He was also involved in the Albion Fire Department’s Explorer program and in 2009 was named Explorer of the Year.

He attended Hilbert College and participated in the Leadership Program his freshman through senior years. He graduated with honors and earned his Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science/Crime Scene Investigation. He attended the Law Enforcement Training Academy in 2015 and the New York State Police Academy in 2016.

He worked as a police officer for the Holley and Brockport police departments, with his ultimate goal to be a state trooper. Papponetti became a trooper on April 5, 2016. He wants to become an investigator and a K9 officer for the State Police.

He continues to be a volunteer firefighter and is currently a 1st Lieutenant in the Albion Fire Department. Three times he has been named Albion’s Firefighter of the Year.

He ended his speech with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Margy Brown, Albion Board of Education president, said Papponetti is an “excellent example of our district motto of ‘Achievement, Character and Success for Life.'”

Allison Graham is congratulated by her mother, Staci.

The honor grads include Richard Daniels (valedictorian), Tyler Kast (salutatorian), Hailey Bader, Elisabeth Baker, Victor Benjovsky, Emily Caldwell, Garrett Derisley, Natalie DiCureia, Nathan Fearby, Josiah Finzer, Emma Fox, Allison Graham, Sara Hillman, Emma Lonnen, Gricelda Maldonado, Alana Petronio, Caleb Pettit, Justin Robinson, Riley Seielstad, Nathanael Smith, Samantha Vanacore, Noah Wadhams and Kaitlin Zwifka.

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Albion marching band victorious at Seneca Falls

Provided photos:  Senior Drum Major Riley Seielstad conducts a portion of the band during its competition at the Seneca Falls Pageant of Bands on Saturday.

Staff Reports Posted 22 May 2018 at 7:25 am

ALBION – The Albion High School Purple Eagles Marching Band took first place at the Seneca Falls Pageant of Bands this weekend. Albion’s score of 94.75 secured first place in Open Class, and proved to be the high parade score in the entire competition, regardless of division.

The Purple Eagles’ competition program this season is entitled, “We Will Rock You”, and features music by the rock band Queen. Riley Seielstad and Arella Ives are the drum majors, Mykailah Roberts and Julie Ives are the Guard Captains, and Justin Robinson is trumpet soloist.

Last week, the Purple Eagles represented the Albion community in the televised Rochester Lilac Festival Parade. Next week, the band will participate in Albion’s Memorial Day parade and ceremony, then compete in Nunda the following weekend.

Color Guard Captains and Drum Majors collect trophies for the Purple Eagles during the awards presentation at the Seneca Falls Pageant of Bands. From left: Julie Ives, Mykailah Roberts, Arella Ives and Riley Seielstad.

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Albion celebrates opening of Little League season

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 May 2018 at 3:54 pm

Community continues annual tradition since 1956

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Barre Cubs stand at attention for the National Anthem this afternoon at the Midget League Field behind the Albion Town Hall on Clarendon Road.

The Albion Midget League formed in 1956 and remains an annual tradition in the Albion community. Barre is one of the original teams. The Cubs have won the league title the previous three seasons, capped by an undefeated year in 2017.

Carlton is one of six teams in the league this year. Every player is given the microphone during player introductions. The Carlton team is led by Ben Narburgh.

Dennis Mathes of St. Mary’s introduces himself. This year’s team is led by coach Chris Kinter. St. Mary’s is an original team from 1956.

The Sandstone Park team has been runner-up to Barre the past three seasons. Dan Bartlett returns as coach. He has been in the role for more than a decade.

Xavier Byrd introduces himself for the Rotary-Lions team, where Greg Bennett serves as head coach.

The Vets have new uniforms this season. Coach Dave Nashburn hands the microphone to player John Bianchi.

Myles Beach, right, makes his introduction for the Barre Cubs. This year the team is led by head coach Mike Beach, who is Myles’ uncle.

Joe Sacco sings the National Anthem. He has done the honor on opening day for many years.

The season kicked off with Rotary-Lions playing Sandstone. Jacob Edwards fires in a pitch for the Rotary-Lions. The season continues until late July.

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Save-A-Lot will reopen next month in Albion with a new owner

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Save-A-Lot on West Avenue in Albion has received extensive upgrades since mid-January. The site will reopen under different ownership on June 5.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 May 2018 at 8:06 am

ALBION – Contractors have been a steady presence in recent months at 320 West Ave., the site of a Save-A-Lot for 15 years.

The Pawlak family closed the store in November. In January, John Hedlund signed a lease to take over the space and reopen a Save-A-Lot.

But first extensive upgrades would be done with new refrigeration, electrical – an overall transformation of the space, including new public restrooms and cases. The former video store in the front of the building has been changed to be a bagging area for customers.

“We’re bringing the newest, latest Save-A-Lot to this location,” Hedlund said on Friday.

The new Save-A-Lot will open at 8 a.m. on June 5. There will be a ribbon-cutting at 3 p.m. on June 4 with local dignitaries. Hedlund will have 25-30 employees working at the store, including 10 full-time.

Hedlund, a North Tonawanda resident, owns a Save-A-Lot in Salamanca and is co-owner of the stores in Batavia and Le Roy.

His other stores give him more buying power, which will help him offer customers a better price and better selection on groceries.

“There will be a synergy with the other stores,” he said.

Hedlund said he expects the store will be popular in Albion.

“We definitely look forward to coming to the community,” he said.

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Albion PD will have extra officers working during seatbelt enforcement for 2 weeks

Posted 18 May 2018 at 7:14 am

Press Release, Albion Police Chief Roland D. Nenni III

ALBION – The Albion Police Department will be participating in the “Buckle Up New York Campaign” from May 21 to June 3. The Police Department was awarded a $5,984 grant from the New York State Governors Traffic Safety Committee to participate in this statewide initiative.

The Albion Police Department will have extra police officers on duty during this 14-day enforcement wave. These officers will be conducting road checks and patrolling throughout the village to ensure seatbelt compliance.

The main factors that cause fatalities in motor vehicle accidents continues to be speeding, not wearing seatbelts and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The safety of our streets continues to be one of the number one goals of the Albion Police Department. We will continue to strive to make our community safe.

Over the past several years year the Albion Police Department has worked hard to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians. Using details such as pedestrian crosswalk operations, DWI check points and other focused patrols, we have taken several dangerous motorists off our roadways and also prevented countless injuries and deaths through our seat belt enforcement efforts.

The Albion Police Department is proud to have won the Automobile Association of America’s Community Traffic Safety Platinum Award for the past three consecutive years. This award shows the commitment and dedication the officers of the Albion Police Department have for the safety of our motorists and pedestrians.

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Winning poster picked for Strawberry Festival

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2018 at 8:55 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: The top three poster creators for the Albion Strawberry Festival are pictured today after they were recognized at the Albion Rotary Club meeting. Pictured from left include: Janelis Mateo, second place; Rebekah Thompson, first place; and Kaleigh Albanese, third place.

All three are seniors. There were about 40 entries from Albion students in the contest.

This year’s festival will be June 8-9 with the theme celebrating cobblestones. Thompson’s artwork will be used on posters and other promotional materials for the festival, which is now in its 32nd year.

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Albion will host ‘Color Run’ on June 16 at Bullard Park

Photos by Tom Rivers: Class officers for Albion’s Class of 2019 are looking forward to a June 16 Color Run at Bullard Park that will be a fundraiser for the class and also a chance to bring a fun event to the community. Pictured from left include Kate Krieger, vice president; Hannah VanEpps, secretary; Mckenna Boyer, president; and Yadi Rosario, treasurer.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2018 at 7:33 am

ALBION – A popular event is coming to Bullard Park in Albion at 9 a.m. on June 16. For the first time in Orleans County, there will be a Color Fun Run.

Albion’s Class of 2019 is organizing the event, where participants can run loops at the park while getting sprayed with colored corn starch that easily washes off.

Participants can walk or run 3 miles, or much less.

“The goal is to get as much color as you want,” said Kate Krieger, the class vice president.

The races are popular at Darien Lake and at bigger venues in cities.

“Everywhere they do this is at least 40 minutes away,” said Hannah VanEpps, one of the class officers.

McKenna Boyer, the class president, did a Color Run when she was in middle school. That event was at Monroe Community College. Class Advisor Valerie Pettit also did one with a group of teachers at Darien Lake.

The Class of 2019 has been looking for fundraisers that would offer great bonding moments, and also generate revenue to reduce the costs of the prom next year. Prom tickets are usually $50 to $60. The Class of 2019 is hoping to cut those costs in half next year for the prom.

The Color Run is open to everyone, including people outside of Albion.

Boyer said it will be a festive atmosphere with a DJ, and the freshmen and sophomore classes selling refreshments.

The Color Run includes a race bib, color packet and T-shirt. Click here for more information about registration. The Albion Running Club is helping to organize the event on June 16.

Kate Krieger, Hannah VanEpps, Mckenna Boyer and Yadi Rosario said the Color Run provides a great opportunity for photographs.

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Albion FFA has 1,300 chicken barbecue dinners ready

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 May 2018 at 4:22 pm

Schools have a host of activities on day of budget vote

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Albion FFA members Demetrius Gardner, left, and Bryce Pritchard flip some of the chickens that will be served later today for the FFA annual chicken barbecue dinner. The FFA has prepared 1,300 dinners that will be available from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the high school cafeteria.

The dinner is the FFA’s biggest fundraiser of the year and covers costs for summer camp, jackets for some students, a scholarship for a graduating senior, the $15 dues for each FFA member, and meeting supplies.

FFA member Nick Sacco, right, squirts the Cornell sauce on the chicken.

Kerry Panek of Albion made the Cornell sauce for today’s dinner. Dale Root of Medina also picked up the chicken and the rolls donated by Costanzo’s Bakery.

“It’s a big team effort,” said Adam Krenning, the Albion FFA advisor.

Other districts in Orleans County have dinners and other events today during the budget vote.

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Gotta Dance owner has big plans to expand cabaret in Albion

Photos by Tom Rivers: Amy Sidari, owner of Gotta Dance by Miss Amy, is pictured on the second floor at 28 West Bank St., which she wants to renovate and turn into an expanded space for the Cabaret at Studio B. Gary Simboli, in back, would like to be a regular performer at the site after he retires as a teacher at Albion in about four years. Kelly Kovaleski, also in back, in pursuing grants to help with the project.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 May 2018 at 2:01 pm

ALBION – Five years ago Amy Sidari turned part of her dance studio into a cabaret, where she welcomes musicians, comedians, dancers and theatrical groups for performances.

She upgraded the space with professional sound and lighting. Each show she brings out tables and chairs with seats for up to 80 people.

The Cabaret at Studio B has been a success, Sidari said, with the performances regularly selling out.

That success, and a growing list of talent, has her working to take the next step, a major renovation of the second floor for the cabaret. If the cabaret went to the top floor of her building at 28 West Bank St., Sidari said the seating could increase to at least 125. She could also keep the room permanently set up for shows.

Right now she has to bring out tables and chairs for every cabaret performance because the space is also used for her dance studio, Gotta Dance by Miss Amy.

Sidari opened her studio 21 years ago at 28 West Bank St., and has steadily been upgrading the first floor and the building, including a new roof in 2012. She would like to next tackle a major renovation of the second floor.

This Saturday one of the cabaret performers, Dave Mancini of Rochester, is doing a show to benefit the project – the future new cabaret. That show starts at 7 p.m. Click here for more information. This is the first fundraiser in what Sidari said will likely be a multi-year effort.

Mancini is a well-known jazz musician from Rochester who appeared at the Cabaret last August. The Cabaret also welcomed nationally acclaimed jazz singer Erin Boheme, who sang at President Trump’s inauguration.

Sidari gave a tour of the top floor last week. The space is currently used as storage. But Sidari said she envisions it as an elegant performance venue.

“It will have an open, airy environment,” she said.

She is working with an engineer to draw up designs and estimate costs. It will be a big effort with new windows, air-conditioning, heating, lights, sprinklers  and flooring all needed, as well as an elevator.

The Cabaret at Studio B opened in July 28, 2013 with Marcy Downey as the first performer. Sidari routinely sells out shows with a capacity of 80 seats.

Sidari is undaunted in the effort to create the new cabaret. She opened Gotta Dance in the building 21 years ago and worked with family and friends to create the first space for dancers. A second room for dancers was added, as well as a store with dancing supplies, a café area, and a small studio for piano lessons.

“It has the potential,” Sidari said. “To me it’s just the next step. I can smell it – the excitement.”

Gary Simboli, an Albion music teacher, has been a regular performer at the Cabaret the past five years. He wants to stay active as a musician when he retires from teaching in four years.

Sidari said teaming with Simboli would make the space a big draw in Albion and beyond.

“Gary is a superstar, a hometown man who gives more than anyone in the community,” Sidari said.

In addition to performing at the Cabaret, Simboli said he would like to cook for people as part of the expanded space. The new cabaret would lend itself to bus tours, and would be a draw to downtown Albion, Simboli said.

“We are an arts community,” Simboli said. “We support many things. This would be a place to call our own.”

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