VFW seeks donations to help pay for flags, markers on vets’ graves

Photos by Tom Rivers: These flags are shown this morning near the veterans’ section at Mount Albion Cemetery.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 May 2023 at 9:36 am

ALBION – The VFW and American Legion work together each year to place more than 2,000 flags on veterans’ graves at cemeteries in the Albion area.

Most of those flags are placed at Mount Albion Cemetery and St. Joseph’s Cemetery, with lots of assistance from local Scouts. But the VFW and Legion also place flags at smaller cemeteries in central Orleans County – about 2,500 flags altogether.

Mike Donahue, commander of the VFW based in Albion, said it costs about $3,300 to purchase the flags and also some markers for the veterans’ graves. The flags are $1.15 each and the markers are $42.

Donahue is asking the Village of Albion and the four towns in central Orleans – Albion, Barre, Carlton and Gaines – to contribute to the expense.

He attended the Village Board meeting on Wednesday. The village has $150 budgeted to give to the American Legion and the VFW. Board members want more explanation if those funds have typically been used for flags or another effort by the veterans’ organizations.

Donahue said the VFW and Legion haven’t pressed the municipalities for support in recent years.

“With Covid everything went to pieces and we’re trying to get back,” Donahue told the Village Board.

Joyce Riley, the deputy mayor, thanked Donahue, the VFW and Legion for their efforts to honor local veterans.

Anyone interested in donating to buy flags and markers can mail a check to the VFW, 38 Platt St., Albion, NY 14411.

These flags are at the veterans’ companion section of Mount Albion. The VFW and American Legion work team with local Scouts to place about 2,000 flags on veterans’ graves at Mount Albion and St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

Civil War cannon at Mount Albion being repaired, was removed in November

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Civil War cannon is shown last fall during the peak of the leaves changing color. The Civil War section is among the most iconic spots in the cemetery.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 May 2023 at 8:53 am

The Civil War cannon is shown after a light dusting of snow in this file photo.

ALBION – One of the most recognizable features at Mount Albion Cemetery has been missing since November.

The Civil War cannon was removed and put in the cemetery shop after the carriage gave out, leaving the cannon tipped upright, said Jason Zicari, the cemetery superintendent.

“The carriage rotted in half,” he said.

The weight of the cannon was too much for the carriage after many years in harsh outdoor elements.

A new carriage has been built out of hemlock by an Amish-owned business in Lyndonville. Zicari also had new wheels constructed recently from a company in Pennsylvania.

The cemetery workers will need to reassemble all of the parts for the carriage, and cut notches and holes in the carriage.

Zicari said he doesn’t have an exact date for when the cannon will return to its spot on a knoll on the western side of the cemetery in the Civil War section.

Mount Albion workers are busy this time of year with mowing the historic 70-acre cemetery, and getting ready for Memorial Day.

When there are rainy days in the near future, he said the workers will put the new carriage together and assemble the supports for the cannon, which he said dates back to 1841.

The site for the Civil War cannon at Mount Albion is shown this morning on the west side of the historic cemetery along Route 31. The cannon was removed in November due to a rotting carriage.

Senior citizens treated to fun and food at Albion High School

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 May 2023 at 3:12 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Mike Thaine, director of the high school jazz band, leads the group during a lunchtime concert for senior citizens.

Albion students treated about 40 senior citizens to lunch, music and games during the annual senior citizen day, a tradition that goes back to the 1970s.

“We truly celebrate all you have done for the community so thank you,” teacher Sawyer Green, advisor to the High School Student Council, told the senior citizens.

The Student Council organizes the event each year.

Natalie Baron, a high school senior, joined her grandmother Donna Eisermann for songs by the jazz band. Natalie’s brother Zack plays the drums in the jazz band. Natalie and Zack both sing in the chorus and select chorus.

“I love seeing my granddaughter and grandson, and interacting with the kids,” Eisermann said.

The jazz band performs one of their songs, “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson.

Students are ready to serve the seniors, who also were invited to check out a student art display.

“Each and everything is just wonderful and beautiful,” said Agnes Piskorowski, one of the senior citizens.

Her friend Donna Laubacher, a former Board of Education member, said she enjoy “mingling” with the students and seeing so many of her friends.

Albion isn’t the only district opening its doors to seniors. Holley Central School hosts a senior appreciation breakfast on Thursday beginning at 9 a.m.

Photos courtesy of Sawyer Green: Albion students play bingo with senior citizens and also joined them in rock painting.

Albion honor grads celebrated, praised for resilience facing challenges

Photos courtesy of Albion Central School: The 24 members of the Class of 2023 with GPAs at 90 percent of higher were recognized on May 4 during the district’s annual Honors Convocation.

Posted 9 May 2023 at 8:38 am

Press Release, Albion Central School

ALBION – Academic honors seniors were recognized Thursday, May 4, at the annual Honors Convocation held in the high school gymnasium.

The dinner hosts graduating seniors with a cumulative weighted grade point average of 90% or higher, along with their families, administrators and board of education members.

2023 academic honors students are Nicholas Andrews, Natalie Baron, Samantha Basinait, Natalie Bertsch, Clara Bolton, Hailey Crawford, Dallas Ecker, Keyonna Hamilton, Samantha Hand, Nicholas Harling, Amari Jones, Maya Knaak, Ulises Ledesma, Abigail Mancuso, Vincent Molisani, Audrey Pask, Sarina Payne, Jamie Penna, Jessica Penna, Daisy Perez Reyes, Corleone Plain, Grace Plank, Brianna Sample and S’koi Sanders-Smith.

The honors students were called to the stage individually by board of education members, received their certificate, and then were adorned with their honors cords from their parents/guardians.

Gary Simboli, a retired vocal teacher and musical director at Albion, gave the keynote message to the honor grads.

Mr. Gary Simboli, ’81, was the guest speaker for the evening. Simboli worked at Albion for 35 years and was involved in Signor Prize, served as a summer reading and math specialist, directed Swing Choir, Acapella Choir, Women’s and Men’s Select Choir and supported numerous student groups.

As the advisor for the high school drama club, he produced 69 stage shows in addition to directing music for graduation, Senior Tea and accompanying for multiple other events and groups. Simboli was named Educator of the Year by the district for the 1997-1998 school year. His commitment and service to the Albion Central School district and the local community is still felt today.

In his speech, Simboli reflected on resilience, telling the Class of 2023 how they have shown great perseverance while being faced with the Covid-19 pandemic throughout their entire high school careers. He shared personal stories of his own resilience and how they shaped him and led him to where he is today.

The class of 2023 is set to graduate on June 23 with a rain date scheduled for June 24.

Albion’s proposed $41.8 million school budget doesn’t increase taxes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 May 2023 at 12:53 pm

ALBION – The school district once again won’t be increasing the amount of money it collects it taxes. The district’s proposed $41,814,847 budget sets the tax levy at $8,449,039, the same as the current 2022-23 school budget. This is the 15th time in the past 17 years the school taxes have either stayed the same or gone down.

Wayne Wadhams, president of the Board of Education, said the budget provides well-rounded, student-centered educational programs while being responsive to the financial realities of the community.

“It has been our long-term goal to either decrease or keep the tax levy unchanged,” Wadhams said in the district’s budget newsletter. “We continue to strive to ensure a strong financial base that can withstand swings in state funding in order to ensure continuity and improvement in instruction and programs.”

The budget goes to a community vote on May 16. Districts residents 18 and older are eligible to vote if they have lived in the district for at least 30 days before the vote.

Voting will be from noon to 8 p.m. at the elementary school, conference room A near the community entrance at the back of the school.

There will be a public hearing on the budget Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the high school LGI.

The district’s budget increases spending by $3,516,157 or 9.2 percent. A 10.3 percent increase in state aid or by $3,045,607 to $32,473,384 will offset most of the increase. State aid covers about 78 percent of Albion’s total school budget.

The vote on May 16 also includes the following propositions:

  • Authorization to spend up to $550,000 from the school’s bus purchase reserve fund to purchase buses.
  • Authorized to collect $654,510 for Hoag Library.
  • Authorization to establish a transportation reserve fund to acquire school buses and similar vehicles in the future.
  • There is also one seat on the Board of Education up for election. Mary Brown isn’t seeking re-election to a five-year term. Porsche Taylor in the lone candidate on the ballot.

Middle School students create booklet on history of Mount Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 May 2023 at 9:34 am

This is the cover of the 52-page booklet created by Albion service-learning students in the middle school.

ALBION –  Students from Albion Middle School will unveil a 52-page booklet about Mount Albion Cemetery during a ceremony at 11 a.m. on Saturday by the Ingersoll Fountain at the .

Students in Tim Archer’s serving-learning class have worked on the project throughout the school year. The booklet includes a history of the 70-acre cemetery that opened in 1843, photos, notable burials, caretakers and superintendents, the Civil War memorial tower, military sections, mausoleums, tree varieties/arboretum certification, old documents, and many other details.

The booklet will be available for free on a first come, first served with the expense to print 200 copies covered by the Orleans Chapter of the DAR, Christopher-Mitchell Cremations & Funerals, and Brigden Memorials. Some of the copies will be set aside and distributed to local libraries, schools and historians.

Matt Ballard, a former county historian who now lives in North Carolina, will speak at the program about some of the notable residents in the cemetery.

After the program, retired county historian Bill Lattin will give a tour of the cemetery, which was the first site in the county to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. That tour will start at approximately 11:30 a.m.

This is the final service-learning project for Tim Archer, who is retiring next month. He has led many projects with his students in the Albion community, including several at the cemetery.

Motorcyclists out for safety awareness ride in Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 May 2023 at 3:41 pm

ABATE president: ‘Keep an eye out for us. We’re back out riding.’

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Orleans County chapter of ABATE (American Bikers Aimed Toward Education) held a motorcycle safety and awareness rally at the Orleans County Courthouse this afternoon and then went on an awareness ride throughout the county.

“Keep an eye out for us,” said Chuck Persons of Medina, president of ABATE. “We’re back out riding.”

Persons has led the local ABATE chapter the past 15 years. He said the motorcyclists “are a very tight group.”

He enjoys the camaraderie among the other motorcyclists, and loves to be on the road.

“It’s the freedom,” Persons said. “It’s the wind in your face.”

County legislators John Fitzak and Skip Draper presented this proclamation from the County Legislature to leaders of ABATE in Orleans County :

“Whereas, ABATE of New York, Inc. is a Not-For-Profit organization dedicated to rider education and freedom of the road; and

“Whereas, ABATE of New York’s Aims and Purposes are as follows:

  • To act as a legislative monitor with the intent to inform members of pending legislation and promote favorable motorcycle legislation at federal, state, and local levels;
  • To improve road conditions by informing the department of transportation of potential hazards;
  • To help prevent accidents through awareness programs aimed at all drivers;
  • To promote good citizenship by encouraging members to use their right to vote;
  • To act as liaison on behalf of motorcyclists with government agencies;
  • To discourage misrepresentation of motorcyclists in the media;
  • To present and promote a better public understanding of motorcycling in America; and

“Whereas, this organization has dedicated its efforts and does encourage all motorcyclists to become involved in preserving their rights, safety and freedoms,

“Now, therefore, we as Legislators of the County of Orleans do hereby proclaim the month of May 2023 as: Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month in Orleans County.”

Scouts place flags at veterans’ graves at Mount Albion, St. Joseph’s Cemetery

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

Photos courtesy of Megan Gotte

ALBION – Scouts on Saturday morning placed about 2,000 flags at veterans’ graves at Mount Albion and at St. Joseph’s Cemetery. They joined members of the American Legion and VFW in the duty before Memorial Day on May 29.

The Scouts placing the flags include members of 82261 and 82007, the Daisy and Girl Scouts, and the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts with 164 in Albion.

The Scouts covered the area throughout Mount Albion and St. Joseph’s, cemeteries on Route 31.

Albion students give out ‘Blankets of Hope’ and celebrate Diversity Week

Photos courtesy of Albion Central School: Albion students Iris Rosario Reyes, Marli Woods, Samantha Hand and Dylan Narburgh volunteer and give out blankets at the OK Kitchen at Harvest Christian Fellowship on Route 31 in Albion.

Posted 2 May 2023 at 2:56 pm

Press Release, Albion Central School

ALBION – The high school Diversity Club and National Honor Society teamed up to bring Blankets of Hope to members of the community.

Blankets of Hope is an educational nonprofit that helps students practice empathy and kindness in an impactful service-learning experience. The organization ships blankets to schools for free, then students participate in a 30-minute kindness workshop. Students then write handwritten notes of encouragement and deliver the blankets and notes to those in need.

Students from both clubs brought 60 blankets to the Orleans Koinonia Kitchen where they were quickly distributed. The Diversity Club has a long-standing relationship with the kitchen, as students have frequently spent time helping with meals in the past. The food pantry and community kitchen serves meals every Thursday evening with different local groups stepping up to serve and provide.

Diversity Club members with staff show off this year’s signed banner.

The service project was part of diversity week in the high school. The week culminated in the annual banner signing during lunches where students were encouraged to pledge to embrace diversity and stand against racism. Every year, the banner is displayed in the library until the next year’s is complete.

The Diversity Club has been successful in bringing speakers, authors and events to the district in an effort to celebrate our differences and make sure every person of every background is welcome in our schools and community.

Disc golf course goes in at Bullard Park in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 May 2023 at 12:18 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Dylan Coyle of Albion tosses a frisbee at a basket at Bullard Park this morning. The village Department of Public Works put in several of the baskets today as part of a nine-hole disc golf course.

Coyle has been pushing for a disc golf course in Albion for several years. He lives right around the corner from Bullard.

Coyle is up close and tries a frisbee that functions like a putter for short-range tosses. Coyle also has frisbees for mid-range distances and then a driver for long throws.

The new baskets are funded with a grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. The Orleans County YMCA received the grant is spearheading nine-hole courses at Bullard and also at Gulf Street Park in Medina.

The grant covers tee boxes, signs and baskets that are mounted in small concrete foundations – 8 inches wide by 20 inches deep.

Coyle said he plays at courses around the region, including one at Lakeside Beach State Park. He said the sport is fairly inexpensive with the specialized frisbees available for $20 or less.

“There are no green’s fees,” he said. “It’s a great activity to get out into nature and have fun with your friends.”

Village of Albion Department of Public Workers employees put in one of the baskets for the disc golf course. From right to left include Charlie Ricci, Scott Bradshaw (in orange shirt), Shawn Stephens and Jeff Arnett (in backhoe).

The DPW expects to finish putting in all nine baskets on Wednesday.

One of the signature holes for the course has the basket nestled back in the woods along the bank of Sandy Creek.

The creek passes by this hole. One of the hardest holes has a tee-box from the top of the sledding hill.

As book circulation decreases, Hoag sees demand for computers, meeting rooms

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 May 2023 at 10:38 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Betty Sue Miller, Hoag Library director, discusses how the library is making efforts to meet the needs of the community.

ALBION – Hoag Library is a busy place, even as the circulation for books goes down.

The library, at its annual meeting on Monday, reported a total circulation of 40,082 in 2022, with 28,927 from books being checked out and 11,025 non-books. Prior to the Covid pandemic, the circulation was about 90,000. Circulation was at 46,270 in 2021.

Hoag sees lots of demand from the community in other ways, said Betty Sue Miller, the library director.

The meeting rooms were used 1,598 times in 2022. There were 12,260 WiFi sessions for internet use, 3,531 computer sessions, 971 Fax services, 654 reference questions, and 463 notarized documents.

There were 555 programs hosted by the library in 2022 with a total attendance of 5,433. There were 4,695 items from Hoag taken out through the inter-loan library system with 6,274 items borrowed through that program run by the three-county Nioga Library System.

The library last year also started hosting blood drives for the American Red Cross, AAA defensive driving courses, hot spots for the internet and welcomed a piano in memory of Jared Fearby.

This year the library has started a new concert series. Kinloch Nelson opened the series on April with about 75 attending the concert. Ricardo Saeb is the next performer this Saturday at noon.

Veronica Morgan was elected as a trustee on Monday. She received 25 votes as the lone candidate on the ballot. The board then re-elected the same officers for the new year with Linda Weller as president, Mary Covell as vice president, Dawn Squicciarini as secretary and Rachel Hicks as treasurer.

“This isn’t just a library but a community base,” Weller said. “I believe in the vision of this library to provide the services it does to the community.”

The library paid off its mortgage in 2021 following several large donations from Maurice “Mo” Hoag and his wife Courtenay. Their contributions totaled $1 million.

When the mortgage was paid off, the money the library sought from taxpayers through the school budget vote dropped 10.3 percent from $724,260 in 2021-22 to $648,964 in 2022-23. The amount requested with the upcoming May 16 vote will be $683,100.

Betty Sue Miller is shown giving blood during a blood drive at Hoag Library on Dec. 17. She gave blood for the first time that day.

Frosty and Friends plans 40-mile motorcycle ride to benefit Justice for Children

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 May 2023 at 8:52 am

Provided photos: Frosty and Friends has held several community events and fundraisers to support local charities in the past year, including a recent visit from the Easter Bunny. The group is planning a 40-mile motorcycle ride to support Justice for Children Advocacy Center.

ALBION – A motorcycle group that raises funds for non-profit agencies and also gives toys to hundreds of local children is planning a 40-mile motorcycle ride on May 13 to benefit the Justice for Children Advocacy Center.

Frosty and Friends will be escorted by Orleans County Sheriff’s Department on the ride. Frosty and Friends is looking to assist Justice for Children, an organization based in Batavia that serves children who are victims of abuse.

“We will be doing a lot more in the future to support them,” said Sean Paul, Frosty’s director. “At Christmas time we donated over 100 toy rescue pets for them to give to the kids during intake interviews.”

Justice for Children provides forensic interviews, victim advocacy, medical exams, mental health counseling and other services.

Frosty and Friends during the Christmas holiday distributed toys out to nearly 1,000 kids and helped five other nonprofits during an event at the Arnold Gregory Office Building. The bikers for charity motorcycle group has an office at Arnold Gregory, 243 S. Main St., Suite 235.

The ride on May 13 starts at the Arnold Gregory site and ends at the Old Crow Motorcycle Club at 2355 Peter Smith Rd. in Kent. Emelio Sebastian, pastor of Jubilee Christian Church in Brockport, will offer a bike blessing before the ride.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with music, food and drinks, games, vendors and bike blessings. To ride, the cost is $20 for the bike and $5 for a passenger. At the Old Crow, for those not on the ride, admission is $15 per adult and $5 per child.

Registration begins at 10 a.m. with kick stands up at 12:15 p.m. to head out for the ride around the county.

The Old Crow in Kent will host the end-of-ride party with food, drink, live music, vendors and raffles.

Albion village approves budget with 2.5% tax increase

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 May 2023 at 3:18 pm

Assessed value for plaza at 318 West Ave. drops about $1 million

ALBION – The Albion Village Board approved a $7.5 million village budget for 2023-24 that will increase property taxes by 2.5 percent.

The village will collect $2,923,473 with the tax levy, up 2.5 percent from the $2,851,056 in the 2022-23 budget.

The tax rate will increase by 3.6 percent of 67 cents per $1,000 of assessed property, from $18.46 to $19.13.

The tax rate increase was higher than the levy as a percent because the village’s overall assessed value dropped by 1.08 percent or by $1,663,794 – down from $154,457,302 to $152,723,508. Most of the loss in tax base was from the assessed value be lowered at the plaza at 318 West Ave. That plaza includes Save-A-Lot, Pro Hardware, Dollar Tree and the vacant spot formerly for Gordman’s.

That value for the site has been reduced from $1,856,300 to $816,000 as part of a settlement between the Town of Albion and the owner, A & D Properties (Westwood Financial). As part of the agreement the village and taxing entities don’t have to pay back funds collected while the issue was in dispute.

“Our assessments went down by a lot and that really hurt our budget,” said Tracy Van Skiver, the village’s clerk-treasurer.

The budget was approved by the board unanimously on Friday.

The total budget is at $7,543,375, a $390,198 increase or up by 5.45 percent from the $7,153,177 in 2022-23.

The budget includes $4,307,602 in the general fund ($4,106,279 in 2022-23); $1,880,984 in the water fund ($1,797,521 in 2022-23); and $1,354,788 in the sewer fund ($1,249,377 in 2022-23).

The spending plan includes 2.0 percent raises for department heads; 2.5 percent for employees in the DPW, clerks, cemetery, sewer and water department; and 3.0 percent for police officers.

The budget includes the fire department, but the village is talking with the towns of Albion and Gaines about establishing a fire district which would take the fire department out of the village budget, possibly starting in 2024-25. If that happens, there would be a separate fire district tax for village taxpayers. The village tax rate would then likely be lower but there would be the other fire district charge.

Marti’s on Main kicks off 13th season of art shows in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 May 2023 at 9:27 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Kim Martillotta Muscarella, right, talks with Elizabeth Penafiel during the opening reception for an art show on April 21. Penafiel’s father, Robert Wisner, is one of the featured artists in the new show. The wooden sculpture in the foreground was created by Richard Bannister of Barre.

Muscarella has organized a new season of art shows for Marti’s on Main. This is her 13th year of doing the shows and the third season at the former Cornell Cooperative Extension building at 20 South Main St. Mantis is open Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.

This year she is welcoming artists who haven’t shown before at Marti’s.

The works in the current show will be on display until May 31. A new show featuring Jill Gussow, Richard DellaCosta and Will Robinson will be featured from June 16 to July 31. The season then concludes with a show featuring works by Carrie Boyer and Sarah Hyatt from Aug. 18 through Sept. 30.

Robert Wisner is shown with a painting he did in the 1970s showing the inside of the Orleans County Courthouse dome.

“I was fascinated by the architecture,” Wisner said about the dome.

Wisner, a retired art director who worked in advertising in Rochester, has about 20 paintings on display at Marti’s including this one of “Penelope’s End,” an egg tempera painting of Orleans, Cape Cod.

Wisner also painted this watercolor of canal boats in Albion.

This is his first show in Albion in more than 40 years. His first show was in the former Swan Library in Albion. His work is often shown at galleries in Honeoye Falls and in Cape Cod.

Colette Savage of Rochester has been a plain air landscape painter the past 20 years. She is shown with some of her landscape painting at Marti’s. Savage has 50 paintings on display featuring many scenes in Rochester and the Finger Lakes.

Tom Zangerle of Medina greets Colette Savage and compliments her for the many landscape paintings in the show.

Nancy Radzik turned this dollhouse into The Dead Artists’ Residence. It includes rooms featuring famous artists Vincent van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jackson Pollock and a garden in the style of Claude Monet.

Radzik painted the shingles of the doll house in the Starry Night style of van Gogh.

Radzik decorated the rooms featuring prominent artists including Frida Kahlo. Radzik spent several months on the project. She is a resident of Ontario in Wayne County and became friends with Muscarella through the Brockport Art Guild. Radzik also makes assemblage sculptures from drift wood.

Hoag Library annual meeting, election today

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 May 2023 at 8:06 am

Veronica Morgan

ALBION – The annual meeting for Hoag Library will be today at 7 p.m. Residents in the Hoag Library service area also will elect a trustee to the library board.

Veronica Morgan is the lone candidate for the board. She has been a wedding and portrait photographer the past 30 years. She also has received GO ART! grants for projects in the county, including the upcoming live history event in October called, “I was a Hoggee on the Erie Canal.”

The election will be from noon to 7 p.m. at the library, 134 South Main St.

Residents 18 and older in the service area — Albion, Barre, Gaines and Carlton – are eligible to vote.