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Kids receive basketballs in honor of the late Justin Swanger

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 November 2019 at 5:30 pm

Provided photos

ALBION – The family of Justin Swanger on Tuesday handed out 24 basketballs to boys who participate in a basketball program run by a group of the local churches through PACT – Pastors Aligned for Community Transformation. Matt and Sharon Sugar oversee the program at the Albion Middle School.

Swanger was a high-scoring 3-point shooter for the Albion varsity basketball team. He died in his sleep at age 22 on Nov. 28, 2014. Tuesday was near the fifth anniversary of his passing.

His mother, Paula Canne, attended the open shoot basketball program on Tuesday and gave the boys basketballs in honor of her son.

Paula Canne, wearing the Albion basketball jersey, gives away basketballs on Tuesday.

Justin’s basketball coach Tim Archer and Sheriff Randy Bower both spoke about their experiences with Swanger, who was a hard worker and was well liked for sense of humor.

He was a key member of the Albion basketball team. He had a scrappy playing style and a knack for hitting long 3-pointers. He graduated with the Class of 2010.

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Bell ringers needed for Red Kettle campaign

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 November 2019 at 4:04 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Albion High School seniors Martin Molina-Samsel and Ashlyn LeBaron rang the bell for the Red Kettle on Tuesday night at the Albion Tops store. Ashlyn was there for the National Honor Society, which is ringing the bell from 3 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays at Tops for the next month.

The Red Kettle sites in Orleans County raises money for Community Action of Orleans & Genesee. The agency uses the funds to help low-income residents with emergency lodging, food, clothing, some medical expenses and to avoid having their water shut off.

Community Action needs more bell ringers, especially at the Walmart in Albion. Volunteers are urged to sign up for an hour or more.

The Red Kettle campaign continues through Christmas Eve. To volunteer to be a bell ringer, contact Annette Finch or Michelle Figueroa at Community Action, 585-589-5605.

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Stars from Albion stage the past 40 years will perform in reunion concert on Saturday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 November 2019 at 9:19 am

ALBION – For more than four decades Albion High School has been performing full-length musicals, and the shows earn the school honors from the Rochester Broadway Theatre League.

Photo courtesy of Tom Smith: Mary Martin is shown in March 2012 when she portrayed Maria in the Sound of Music. Martin will return to the Albion stage on Saturday to sing a song from that musical.

Albion has done Disney, westerns, and many Broadway classics. The shows have been directed by Gary Simboli since 1985. The musical program started at Albion in 1978 with the high school English teacher Hasha Ring directing Cinderella.

Simboli and his musical production team met over the summer when they started talking about the idea of alumni reunion concert, where some of the stars of the past would come back and sing a song from a musical. Simboli remains friends with many of those performers and he received an enthusiastic response from them.

“It has turned out to be really wonderful,” Simboli said. “To be in touch with these people who performed 30 years ago has been really nice.”

This Saturday about 30 alumni will perform in a concert at the middle school auditorium. Many of those performers live in town, while others are flying in from Texas, Minnesota, New York City and other distant locales.

The show starts at 2 p.m. It is a fundraiser for the drama program with tickets $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and students.

Simboli is excited for the alumni to see an upgraded sound and lighting system, as well as renovated auditorium.

It will be an entertaining concert, and a showcase of the Albion performers, he said.

“We’ve always been blessed with incredibly talented students at Albion,” Simboli said.

He will be accompanying the performers, and often will be singing the backup vocals.

Simboli, when he was a senior in high school, had the lead role in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” In his debut as director, three current Albion teachers had roles in “Snoopy.” Mike Thaine was Charlie Brown, and Karen Conn was Peppermint Patty and Carrie Kozody starred as Sally Brown in that show.

Kathy Winans has been the assistant director since 1987. She will have costumes from each featured show on view during Saturday’s celebration.

Nancy (Williams) Lowery, who performed as Cinderella in 1978, will appear on stage as a representative from that first musical.

The scheduled performers include:

Gary Simboli – Happiness (You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown)

Lance Anderson – On the Street Where You Live (My Fair Lady)

Photo by Tom Rivers: William Grimble performed as the Beast in Albion’s production of Beauty and the Beast in March 2013.

Matt Mooney Galantowicz – Stranded at the Drive-In (Grease)

Gwen (Martillotta) Ferchen – There are Worse Things I Could Do (Grease)

Megan (Neal) Zambito – Freddy My Love (Grease)

William Grimble – If I Can’t Love Her (Beauty and the Beast)

Joshua Smith/Justin Barleben – No More (Into the Woods)

Kailey Winans – Days of Plenty (Little Women)

Katie Tabor – Home (Beauty and the Beast)

Eric Deiboldt – Now I’ve Seen You (Honk!)

Kyle Thaine – Gary Indiana/Any Dream Will Do

Susan (Collins) Thaine – Ribbons Down My Back (Hello Dolly)

Tina (Coville) Bauder & Gloria (Coville) Lear – Wall Flower (2 by 5)

Calvin Smith – Close Every Door (Joseph adn the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat)

Rebekah (Degnan) Smith / Kathleen (Adduci) Barleben – Some Things are Meant to Be (Little Women)

Matt Pettit – It Takes a Woman (Hello Dolly)

Mary Martin – The Sound of Music (The Sound of Music)

Shannon Vanderlaan – Memory (Cats)

Mike Plain – When a Felon’s Not Engaged in His Employment (Pirates of Penzance)

Erin Moody – Oh is There Not One Maiden Here (Pirates of Penzance)

Alaina Albertson – I Know Things Now

Marsha (Bolton) Rivers – Cain’t Say No (Oklahoma)

Jackie Madejski – Neverland (Peter Pan)

Ondeya (Egling) Campbell – More I Cannot Wish You (Guys and Dolls)

Lydia Erakare – Beauty and the Beast (Beauty and the Beast)

Lisa Berray – Hello Dolly (Hello Dolly)

Justin Barleben – No MoreMary

Kathleen Barleben – Some Things are Meant to Be

Karen (Kenney) Conn – Poor Sweet Baby (Snoopy)

Carrie (Miller) Kozody – New York, New York (2 by 5)

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Albion students spend day helping at Foodlink

Posted 24 November 2019 at 9:21 am

Photo courtesy of Tim Archer, Albion Rotary Interact Club advisor

ROCHESTER – Albion High School Rotary Interact Club members recently spent part of the day at Foodlink in Rochester, helping the organization sort and stack food items for families in the local five-county region.

Pictured from left include: Annalise Steier, Aubrey Boyer, Ally Mathes, Cody Wilson, Samantha Basinait, Emily Mergler and Alanna Holman.

Foodlink helps supply Community Action of Orleans & Genesee. Interact students perform numerous community service activities throughout the school year.

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5 Albion students compete in Legion’s oratorical contest

Posted 22 November 2019 at 3:43 pm

Photo courtesy of Albion Central School

ALBION – This morning five Albion High School students participated in the annual Oratorical Contest. They include, from left: Molly Wadhams, Ashlyn LeBaron, William Barnosky, Quinn McCue and Declan McCue.

Students wrote and presented a speech that pertained to some aspect of the U.S. Constitution.  They had to research a topic of interest to them and use supporting documents to state their case.  Social Studies teacher Rich Gannon is the organizer of this event and if requested, offers assistance and feedback to students as they research information and prepare their 8-10 minute speech.

Molly Wadhams took first place with her oration entitled “Freedom of Speech – Stand Up.”

Ashlyn LeBaron was the second place winner. She delivered an oration about “Religious Freedom.”

William Barnosky spoke about the “Multiple Purposes of the U.S. Constitution.”

Quinn McCue’s speech was “The Rights, Duties and Obligations of Citizens,” while her brother, Declan McCue, delivered an oration about the “Rights of Americans.”

The school contest is sponsored by the American Legion Sheret Post #35. Gary Befus (Adjutant), Wally Skrypnik (Commander), Phil Warne (Finance Officer), Joe Gehl (Board Member) and Bob Gilsinan (Vice-Commander) were judges for the contest. Students received a monetary prize from the Legion.

The first and second place winners will now move on to the County level competition.  It will take place on Dec. 7 at noon in Medina.

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Albion Rotary gives $5K check to Leadership Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 November 2019 at 2:14 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Albion Rotary Club today presented a check for $5,311 to Leadership Orleans, which is part of the proceeds from the club’s golf tournament in July.

Skip Helfrich (left), Leadership Orleans director, accepts the check from Richard Remley, Rotary Club president.

Leadership Orleans is in its second year. There have been about 25 members in each class for the first two years. The year-long program meets monthly and the members comes from a cross section of the community, including government department heads, farm leaders, agency directors and other business officials. The program picked residents who have demonstrated leadership abilities, interest in community affairs, and a commitment to Orleans County’s future.

Each month the group learned about a different sector of the community, including government, arts and culture, volunteerism and non-profit organizations, community health, tourism and recreation, agribusiness, economic & workforce development, and education..

The Rotary Club also presented a Paul Harris Fellow to Alex Krebs, left. She is a past president of the club. This is her second Paul Harris award, which is given in honor of Rotary’s founder. Krebs, who works in graphic design, accepts the award from Donna Saskowski, executive director of the Arc of Genesee Orleans. She is also Rotary assistance district governor.

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Miss Nelson Is Missing: In this musical, Albion Middle Schoolers search for teacher

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 November 2019 at 7:45 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Danielle Wyant is Miss Viola Swamp, a scary substitute teacher, in Miss Nelson Is Missing, which will be performed by Albion Middle School students at 7 p.m. Friday, and noon and 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Middle School School Auditorium.

Viola Swamp is brought in as a substitute after Miss Nelson, the class’s regular teacher, doesn’t show up for school. Swamp is mean and scares these students played by Mallory Kozody, center, and Lucy Rivers.

Miss Nelson’s class is the worst behaved in the whole school with uncontrollable students sending spitballs and paper airplanes flying. Miss Nelson is desperate to improve the bad behavior of the students. Cassie Brown is the student standing on a chair.

Mallory Ashbery plays, Mrs. Blandsworth, a nerdy principal who laments about her boring life and sings, “Carried Away.” She also shares with the students they will be having a substitute teacher.

Viola Swamp demands respect from the students and explains the consequences of disobedience in class. “Woe to those who misbehave,” she tells the students, which include Emma Shay, center, and Ella Trupo, right. Swamp also piles on the homework, and bangs her cane on the floor and desks.

The musical is based on a children’s book. The Albion production has 16 students in the cast and 18 in stage crew. The show is directed by Carrie Kozody with Kevin Feder the assistant director.

The students miss their teacher and go to Detective McSmogg (Isabella Gray) for help in finding Miss Nelson. The detective isn’t very helpful, but devises a plan to search the entire globe. Here she holds her magnifying glass that impresses the students.

Miss Nelson (Danielle Wyant) returns after the students send her letters, asking her to come back. Miss Nelson finds the students are much better behaved and more appreciative of her after their time with Miss Viola Swamp.

Adam Burlison plays Pop Hanson, a janitor who serves as a narrator.

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135 play bingo for a good cause

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 November 2019 at 10:35 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Gertie Montulli goes over the rules for the first Orleans Ladies Night Out Vendor Bingo on Monday at the Elks Lodge in Albion.

Montulli organized the event which raised $814 for the Jason Johnston Memorial Scholarship. Each year, the Elks give a $1,000 scholarship in memory of Johnston, who was 24 when he was killed by a roadside bomb in Arghandab, Afghanistan on Dec. 26, 2009.

Specialist Johnston, an Albion native, was on his second deployment. He was also a paratrooper. He completed a 13-month-deployment in 2008 and left again for the war-torn country in October 2009.

Beth Kibbe was one of the vendors at the bingo event. She sells Tupperware products.

Montulli was expecting about 40-50 people on Monday. There were 135 there to play bingo for the chance to win baskets of prizes donated by vendors – Pure Romance, Chalk Couture, Tupperware, Perfectly Posh, Osbourne Books and Color Street.

Montulli said she wanted to put on a fun event and raise money for important causes in the community.

Montulli, a resident of Kuckville, created a Facebook page and Monday’s event was shared by many people. She organized the first event. It will become a monthly program to be organized through the Elks Lodge. Each month a different beneficiary will be picked for the proceeds.

Next month the bingo will be on the third Tuesday with PAWS Animal Shelter to be the recipient of the proceeds. The money is raised through a $5 admission charge and a 50/50 raffle.

In January, Montulli said the dog park to be built in Medina will receive the funding.

Jenny Nowicki of Usborne Books & More sells books as a vendor on Monday. It was her first event with Usborne. Each month, Montulli said she will try to bring in different vendors.

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New shop opens at ‘Backroom’ in downtown Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 November 2019 at 7:20 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: Maureen Bennett on Friday opened The Backroom – Pretty Sweet Bakery & A Lil’ Cottage Chic at 117 North Liberty St. One of her friends, Lisa Stratton (in back at counter), helped on a busy opening day.

ALBION – A new shop opened in downtown Albion on Friday. The Backroom – Pretty Sweet Bakery & A Lil’ Cottage Chic is owned by Maureen Bennett, who was a vendor at the next-door Downtown Browsery for nine years.

Bennett retired about a year ago after working 25 years at Albion High School as a secretary in attendance and the guidance department.

Owning her own shop has been a goal. Her business includes an “eclectic mix of vintage,” handcrafted gifts, baked goods, gourmet dips, candles and seasonal décor.

“This has been my passion to have a little shop like this,” she said Friday, on a busy opening day for the business. “I was able to get my experience at the Browsery.”

Maureen Bennett was a vendor at Downtown Browsery for nine years and decided to venture out with her own storefront.

The Backroom is located at 117 North Liberty St. It is the backroom of the former Landauers department store in Albion, at the spot in the store where people would try on jeans.

The building was recently purchased and upgraded by Michael Bonafede and Judith Koehler. They also own the Pratt and Day buildings next door that include the Downtown Browsery.

The Backroom will have a commercial kitchen for onsite baking and food preparation. Right now, an assortment of baked goods are prepared offsite and sold on location by Pamela Jenks.

Bennett also is selling homemade soaps made by Navarra’s Farm Market, Friday night candle by Lisa Christiaansen, Macramé by Bennett’s daughter Sarah, car-seat covers by Monica Clark, and other locally made products, including bohemian style clothing such as bloomers.

The Backroom is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The Backroom is part of the former Landauer’s store in Albion. This is the part of Landauers known as the “back room” where people would try on jeans. The store is behind the Main Street storefronts, and is next to Five Star Bank.

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Albion will discuss school safety on Nov. 19 at meeting in auditorium

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 November 2019 at 3:13 pm

ALBION — The school district is holding a public meeting for parents at 7 p.m. on Nov. 19 in the Middle School Auditorium to discuss how parents can help their children feel safe at school.

Last week three middle school students were charged with conspiracy for an alleged plot to kill other students and staff at the school.

The students have been suspended, and their cases are being handled in Family Court and by Probation.

Police, mental health personnel and school officials will be at the meeting on Tuesday evening, Michael Bonnewell, district superintendent, said in a letter posted on the district website and that also went home with students today.

“I know that this situation has been unnerving for everyone in our school community,” Bonnewell writes in the letter today. “We at school recognize the concerns that have been expressed and appreciate your ongoing patience and understanding. As we have noted before, the legal and disciplinary processes, as well as student privacy laws, prohibit us from sharing certain information.”

The school superintendent said safety remains the district’s first priority. At this point, the district can share the following:

• The code of conduct for suspensions requires a disciplinary hearing process dictated by the state and the three hearings are forthcoming.

• The district will continue having a school resource officer on campus from the Albion Police Department, with additional patrols from the Albion PD.

• The school resource officer and middle school principal met with middle school students to discuss their safety.

• The district will continue to pursue the best available safety and security, reviewing safety practices and procedures with staff, local law enforcement, State Police, architects and safety design specialists.

Bonnewell said “misinformation” by rumor, social media and the in the press “makes the situation even more difficult.”

He urged any students or parents to share any possible safety concerns with school building principals or the superintendent’s office.

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