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Albion closes park bathrooms after frequent vandalism

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 August 2018 at 8:23 am

Provided photo: This toilet at Bullard Park was yanked out and damaged on Thursday.

The Village of Albion is closing the bathrooms at Bullard Park and Veterans Park (corner of Linwood Avenue and Brown Street) after frequent vandalism at the sites this summer.

The latest happened on Thursday when a toilet was ripped out of a bathroom at Bullard.

“We can’t have this anymore,” said Mayor Eileen Banker. “It’s costing us a fortune.”

Vandals have been ripping out toilets, stuffing T-shirts down pipes and wiping feces on the walls of the bathrooms.

“When is enough, enough?” Banker said this morning. “It’s costing us money and manpower. It’s very frustrating.”

The Department of Public Works has to respond to the vandalism, often pulling the DPW from other pressing tasks in the village, the mayor said.

The village may allow the bathrooms to be open for special events, but they will be locked as soon as the event is over. Albion may also go with porta-potties as an option or more expensive stainless steel toilets that are much more difficult to remove.

The mayor urged people to report vandalism in the parks and community by calling the police.

“If we find out who did this they will pay for it,” Banker said about the damaged toilet and bathroom at Bullard. “We will hold them responsible. We will press charges.”

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Albion Rotary Club welcomes new member

Staff Reports Posted 9 August 2018 at 4:31 pm

Photo by Karen Sawicz

ALBION – The Albion Rotary Club today welcomed a new member, “Skip” Helfrich. He is pictured with Albion Rotarian Marlee Diehl, who is a past district governor.

Helfrich is the executive director of the Leadership Orleans program, which started this year. Diehl is one of the 25 class members in the inaugural program.

Helfrich is currently the president/owner of Human Energies, a human resources and organizational development consulting firm. He has personally been involved in the development of leadership programs such as Leadership Niagara and Leadership for the Youth of Niagara County as well as consultant with Leadership Genesee, Leadership Buffalo and Leadership Rochester. He also has extensive experience in the private manufacturing sector, having worked much of his professional life for General Motors.

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After tragic loss, Kovaleskis help people find hope amidst grief

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 August 2018 at 6:53 pm

New book by Kelly and Jay Kovaleski has advice for ‘Navigating Life’

Photo by Tom Rivers: Jay and Kelly Kovaleski hold a copy of “Navigating Life – Living With Purpose After Catastrophic Loss.” They were presenters at a workshop on July 28 in St. Louis for the Compassionate Friends, a national organization in its 41st year of supporting bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents.

ALBION – An Albion couple that lost their 15-year-old son to leukemia 7 years ago has written a book about their loss and the grief-stricken process to find hope after a tragedy.

Kelly and Jay Kovaleski, both teachers at Albion Central School, have published “Navigating Life – Living With Purpose After Catastrophic Loss.”

Their son Nicholas died on June 29, 2011. He was courageous in his fight against leukemia. He showed great determination, working towards his goals in football, swimming and tennis, and giving of himself by helping at home and through Boy Scouts.

Nicholas adopted “Live with Purpose” as his motto when he was 11.

“Teens should know they have been placed here for a reason,” Mr. Kovaleski writes in the book. “They were created by God for a purpose and need to use these very lives in order to fulfill that purpose.”

The cover of the book by the Kovaleskis includes a photo of a compass. In working through grief and finding direction in life, the couple urges readers to consider the four directions – north, south, east and west.

• North: Who and what people love the most, their particular talents – “What gets you up, your why,” Mrs. Kovaleski said.

• South: Unexpected detours, deep hurts

• East: Where are you going – success is based on hard work, learning, training, tenacity and persistence

• West: Your past, formative moments that have shaped your life – through reflection and gained perspective guide future choices and decisions

The Kovaleskis have been leading “Live with Purpose” workshops where they use a compass and have participants reflect on the four directions. The new book takes people to a deeper level, while sharing the Kovaleskis’ journey.

Mrs. Kovaleski, an elementary intervention teacher, said many people are carrying deep hurts and grief.

“The wilderness is so thick, getting through to the other side has no time line,” she writes in the book.

With their compass exercise, they encourage people to pursue their “north,” the people and activities that give them peace and joy.

Mrs. Kovaleski said many people have unresolved grief. She has used journaling and prayer for comfort since her son’s loss.

Mr. Kovaleski takes an early morning run to process emotions and have his quiet time. Mr. Kovaleski, a physical education teacher and coach at Albion, would like to share the message with youth groups, schools, churches – people of all ages.

The couple along with their daughter, Michayla, and son, Matthew, were presenters on July 28 during a national conference in St. Louis for the Compassionate Friends. (Michayla, 19, will be a sophomore at Nazareth College majoring in dance. Matthew, 17, will be a senior at Albion. Older brother Thomas, 24, is a sergeant in the Army and is based at Fort Riley in Kansas.)

Compassionate Friends created this display with a photo of Nicholas Kovaleski for his parents’ presentation on July 28.

More than 1,000 people attended the three-day event in St. Louis which offers support for bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents.

This was the first time the Kolaleskis presented their workshop at the Compassionate Friends conference. They have attended in previous years. The Kovaleskis were told to prepare for about 35-40 people. They had 150 at their 90-minute session and have been invited to be presenters at Bereaved Parents of the USA and they will be filming a video on Sept. 15 for the “Open to Hope” show in New York City.

Jay and Kelly said they don’t present a “how to” manual for working through grief. Everyone goes at their own pace.

They first tell people to “breathe” and know they aren’t alone.

Kelly battled anxiety attacks after her son’s death. Her husband has been a “rock” and couple has been united, grieving in their own ways but always staying together.

After a tragic loss many marriages end. The Kovaleskis were determined not to lose each other.

They urge people not to simply move on from a loss. It will remain with them the rest of their lives.

“There will always be a part of you that is grieving,” Kelly said. “You’re not healed. You’re able to move forward. You can’t do grief wrong, you just have to do it.”

Jay said the family appreciates the support from the Albion community since Nicholas was diagnosed with leukemia and the years following his death.

The family is grateful for the opportunity to share their son’s story and how they have been able to work through their grief.

“This is part of our purpose,” Jay said at their home in Barre on Tuesday morning. “To be a beacon to somebody else is so rewarding.”

Their book, Navigating Life, is available at The Book Shoppe in Medina, Amazon and through the Kovaleskis’ website,

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Residents, first responders connect at National Night Out

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 August 2018 at 8:11 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Residents get a close look at a Mercy Flight helicopter on Tuesday during the fourth annual National Night Out in Orleans County.

About 1,000 people attended the event, which provided a chance to meet local law enforcement agencies, fire departments and numerous agencies that provide services to people in need.

“Every year it gets bigger and better,” said Roland Nenni, the chief of the Albion and Holley police departments.

He is one of the coordinators of National Night Out. The goal is to bring together the community in a drug-free event where parents don’t have to spend money. There was no cost to parents and their children for food and the other activities.

The organizers also wanted to connect community members to the police officers, firefighters and other agencies who provide assistance.

Madison Schultz, 2, of Medina sits on the lap of her aunt Sami Lynn Denniston, 7, of Middleport. Children were welcome to sit in the pilot’s seat and get a close up of the aircraft which is used to transport people with life-threatening injuries and illnesses.

Robert Wagner, an Albion police officer, did a demonstration with Rex, the department’s K9. Wagner had Rex sit and show other obedience. Rex also found a ball that one of the children hid in the field as part of the demonstration.

Children meet Rex, the K9, and officer Robert Wagner after their demonstration.

Boy Scouts from Troop 175 in West Barre helped serve hot dogs and chips. They teamed with Light of Victory Church in Albion to serve more than 700 hot dogs. From left include Dakota Anstey, Mary Barry (Cubmaster) and Ivan Barry.

The YMCA brought an inflatable obstacle course. Greg Reed, the Y director, gives kids an encouraging word as they slide down the inflatable.

Jaiden Livingston, 6, and her sister Cadence, 4, of Albion follow Medina police officer Corey Ambrose in a bike rodeo that was part of National Night Out.

Mercy Flight takes off after the event ended around 8 p.m.

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Motorists need to contend with 2 big paving projects in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 August 2018 at 4:12 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The state Department of Transportation started a milling project today on Route 31, beginning near the school and going east past Bullard Park.

The entire project calls for milling Route 31 from Butts Road for about 3 miles to near Walmart at Gaines Basin Road.

Several local municipal highway departments are helping to haul away the worn-out pavement this week.

Keeler Construction of Albion will repave the road next month.

The project will cause some delays for motorists.

Albion Central School also is milling and repaving some of its parking lots this summer by the elementary and high schools. This photo shows the main entrance leading to the high school.

(Contractors are also installing new windows in the middle school this summer.)

Contractors work on the parking lot and driveway project at Albion Central School.

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Bands put a rocking show at Bullard Park

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 August 2018 at 9:54 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Several bands and musicians performed for 11 hours at Bullard Park today in the fifth annual Rock the Park fundraiser. The top photo shows the Rock Soulgers performing “Double Vision” by Foreigner. The band members pictured include, from left, lead singer Calvin Nichols, Chris Konieczny and Mike Wisto, both on guitar and vocals.

The Rock the Park Committee rented a large tent for the bands to perform at the park. In addition to Rock Soulgers, the bands included the Eagle Creek Band, Shotgun Pauly, Zero with special guest Jonathan Doherty and 7th Heaven Rocks.

Calvin Nichols didn’t hold back in singing some classic rock songs for the Rock Soulgers. The bands donated their time for today’s benefit.

The Eagle Creek Band started the music under the big tent at 3 p.m. Prior to the bands, there were several acoustic acts at the park, including Lonesome Road, Burial Harbor, Chris Moore, Dylan DeSmit, Al Capurso, Joel Russlett, Jon Strobele and PD3.

Rock the Park was expanded this time and included several crafters and food vendors.

Jim Navarra gave people rides in wagon around the park. He also performed a cowboy show.

Mike Wisto, guitarist for Rock Soulgers, gave a high-energy performance.

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Marti’s on Main features 5 artists during August show

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 August 2018 at 3:48 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Marti’s on Main art gallery in Albion had an opening reception on Friday for a new art show featuring five artists, including Rebecca Maynard of Brockport, pictured above.

Maynard started taking painting seriously about five years ago after many years of “doodling,” she said.

Maynard worked nine years as the care management director for the Orleans County Mental Health Department. She now works for Mental Health in Monroe County.

“I started painting, I got addicted and I couldn’t stop,” she said. “It’s good for my head. It’s a form of meditation.”

Some of her paintings have been featured in art shows, including one of a mouse that was picked for a national show at Old Forge last summer.

Marti’s will be displaying 16 of Maynard’s paintings this month, including this one of a dog retrieving a tennis ball.

“It’s been an incredible adventure,” Maynard said about her artistic pursuits. “I love every minute of it.”

She has taken some art classes and also learned by watching YouTube videos.

Connie Mosher of Albion is pictured with some of her paintings.

Mosher painted these images of Letchworth, showing the previous bridge at top and the new bridge at bottom.

Kim Martillotta Muscarella, owner of the gallery, is pictured with her 14-year-old granddaughter Lily Zambito, who has seven paintings in the art show, including untitled at top and “Pink Sunset” at bottom.

Jan Kisiel has paintings and kumihimo jewelry in the art show.

Chris VerSteeg of Kendall won the blue ribbon for best of show for this painting of her kitten during a recent show at A Different Path Gallery in Brockport. She entitled this portrait, “Determination.” VerSteeg has several other paintings on display at Marti’s.

The gallery is at 229 North Main St. People are welcome to stop by and see if the gallery is open.

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Biggest Rock the Park yet is Saturday, with plans for more music in future at Bullard

Photos by Tom Rivers: Volunteers with the 5th annual Rock the Park are ready for the day-long festival on Saturday at Bullard Park. The music starts at 11 a.m. and continues until 10 p.m. Pictured form left include John Grillo, a member of the Rock the Park committee and the Village of Albion recreation director; Mike Giarrizzo, lead guitarist for 7th Heaven; Bernie Baldwin, a member of the committee; and Zack Burgess, a committee who has helped organized the bands and acoustic musician.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 August 2018 at 8:38 pm

ALBION – Bullard Park will be rocking on Saturday for the fifth annual music festival at Bullard.

Rock the Park features five bands playing from 3 to 10 p.m. There will also be eight acoustical acts, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with two acts performing the same time, one under a pavilion by the playground and another near the entrance of the park.

In between the two acts will be crafters and other vendors. There will also be a farmers’ market stand, hayrides for children and a cowboy show and face painting.

“We’re trying to make it a great one-day event for the community,” said John Grillo, one of the organizers and the director of the Albion Recreation Committee.

He has led the recreation program in Albion for more than 40 years. Grillo is pleased with upgrades planned for the park, including a spray park/splash pad, amphitheater, and walking/jogging trail. Long-term he would like to see a cabin that could hold 50 people and be used for indoor activities at the parks, especially when it’s raining.

Dale Brooks of the Albion Lions Club sets up lights at Bullard Park. The Lions Club is a key sponsor of the music festival on Saturday. Bernie Baldwin is at right.

Grillo sees Bullard as an unrealized asset for the community. The amphitheater, which could be complete this fall, could be used for concerts, movies, and other events. Families could attend concerts and children could use the playground close by while their parents listen to music or take a lap on the trail.

The Rock the Park organizers also think bigger nationally known musicians would perform in Albion, with Bullard known as a mini Art Park.

Zack Burgess said local musicians would also embrace the opportunity to play at Bullard. They already have stepped up to play at Rock the Park.

“There are a ton of god musicians in Albion and the surrounding towns,” he said.

Th headliner for Rock the Park on Saturday is 7th Heaven, a band that plays in the Rochester area but includes several former local residents, including Albion native Mike Giarrizzo. He stopped by Bullard today after a round of golf.

Giarrizzo and 7th Heaven last played in Albion about seven years ago. The band has wanted to play at Rock the Park but its schedule didn’t allow until this time. Giarrizzo lives in Churchville and is recently retired from General Motors. He plays lead guitar for the band.

“I’ve been wanting to do this but we were booked,” he said. “I love being back in Albion.”

Admission for Rock the Park is free, except for a $5 charge to enter the beer tent.

Albion Department of Public Works employees help get the site ready for the concert. The bands will play under a large tent. Scott Bradshaw, front, and DPW Superintendent Jay Pahura set up the temporary fencing.

The schedule for Saturday includes:

9 a.m.  – Craft and Artisan vendors open

11 a. m – Acoustic acts begin

Pavilion Stage:

11 a.m. – Lonesome Road

Noon – Burial Harbor

1 p.m. – Chris Moore

2 p.m. – Dylan DeSmit

Acoustic Tent Stage:

11 a.m. – Al Capurso

Noon – Joel Russlett

1 p.m.– Jon Strobele

2 p.m. – PD3

Beer Tent Stage:

3 p.m. – Eagle Creek Band

4:10 p.m. – Shotgun Pauly

5:20 p.m. – Zero with special guest Jonathan Doherty

6:30 p.m. – Rock Soulgers

8 p.m. – 7th Heaven Rocks

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National Night Out returns on Aug. 7, offering drug-free activities at Bullard Park

Posted 2 August 2018 at 11:36 am

Press Release, Albion Police Department

Photo by Tom Rivers: Aaron Sugar of Albion rides a bike in the bicycle rodeo at National Night Out on Aug. 1, 2017. Albion police officer Will Francis helped run the activity at Bullard Park.

ALBION – The Albion Police Department would like to remind everyone that National Night Out at Bullard Park is less than a week away.

The fourth annual event will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 7 and will be the biggest one so far.

Our mission is simple. We want an event where families can come for a night and be entertained at no cost and eat for free in an environment that is free of violence, alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Our goal is to have those that attend walk away with a positive contact that can assist with any needs a person may need. We strive to make this event a one-day event that lasts all year long.

This year we will have many demonstrations from law enforcement, firefighters and EMS along with over 40 other organizations providing entertainment and give-a-ways. Mercy Flight will be arriving at with an aircraft that everyone is welcome to tour and sit in.

We will have bikes on hand for kids to ride in an obstacle course with police officers and to receive a free bike helmet. There will also be free food and water for everyone.

We are very excited to doing a “Battle of Belts” competition again this year to promote vehicle passenger safety. The competition entails teams of 4 who compete to see who is the fastest getting into car and fastening their seatbelts. Each contestant then must switch seats and again fasten their seat belts. The time ends when each person has sat in each seat in the car. This event is fun to participate in and even more fun to watch. There is still time to enter and details can be found on the event Facebook Page listed below.

See the flyers for the event and check us out on Facebook:

A Webinar (click here) was hosted by the Population Health Collaborative recently where Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni gave insight on what the National Night Out Event is all about.

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Albion Alumni Foundation presents $88K in scholarships

Posted 30 July 2018 at 10:28 am

Courtesy of Albion High School Alumni Foundation

Photos courtesy of Kim Pritt: Ron LaGamba presents the Nancy Elaine LaGamba Scholarship to Caleb Pettit.

ALBION – The Albion High School Alumni Foundation takes great pride in making a difference for a lifetime for the Albion Central School District community – alumni, students, teachers, and friends. The main focus of the Foundation is a Scholarship Program that continues to grow and benefit more students each and every year.

Each year at the Class Night celebration, the Foundation presents scholarships to graduating seniors who meet the criteria of each specific scholarship. These awards provide financial assistance so that our bright young scholars may continue their educational goals and be successful in their future endeavors.

The Foundation presented 54 scholarships for $88,000 during the recent Class Night.

The funding for the scholarships is made possible through memberships and gifts from AHS Alumni, as well as individuals or organizations that contact the Foundation to establish a scholarship. The Foundation manages the funds and awards the scholarships annually during the Class Night event, along with other scholarships that are awarded that evening.

And, our scholarship list continues to grow! In 2018, the Foundation added five new scholarships to its portfolio, bringing the total scholarships managed by the Foundation to 36.

Congratulations to all scholarship recipients…..your achievements make us proud!

Here are the results:

  • Albion High School Alumni Foundation Scholarships. This year’s winners are Victor Benjovsky, Hailey Bader, Kaitlin Zwifka, and Emma Fox.
  • Paul R. Haines Memorial Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Sara Hillman.
  • Smith Foundation Challenge. This year’s recipients are Megan Leight and Samuel Slick.
  • Saint-Gobain Technical Fabrics Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Elisabeth Baker.
  • Elizabeth Balcom Smith Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Allison Graham.
  • Golden Performance Award. This year’s recipient is Taylor Walczak.
  • Jim and Susie Fraser Health Careers Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Gricelda Maldonado.
  • Dr. Lee Minier Science Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Nathan Fearby.
  • Albion Alumni Foundation Performing Arts Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Miranda Smith.
  • Coach Richard Diminuco Scholarship for Athletic Excellence. This year’s recipient is Natalie DiCureia.
  • Harry W. Salchak Science Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Noah Wadhams.
  • A.B. “Dick” Eddy “Service Above Self” Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Hailey Bader.
  • The Nancy Elaine LaGamba Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Caleb Pettit.
  • The Dr. Paul Mahany Family Scholarships. This year’s recipients are Cassandra Serafin, Emily Caldwell, Gricelda Maldonado and Jasmine Bellines.
  • Hoag Scholarships. This year’s recipients are Tyler Kast and Richard Daniels.

    Emma Fox, center, and Kaitlin Zwifka receive Alumni Foundation Scholarships from Board Member Steve Hicks.

  • Panek Family Farm Agriculture Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Rylie Lear.
  • The Rex & Marilyn Horton Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Nathan Fearby.
  • The Wayne A. Burlison Memorial Scholarships. This year’s recipients are Mykailah Roberts, Victor Benjovsky and Noah Wadhams.
  • Glassner Family Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Jennifer Santiago Garcia.
  • John Panek Memorial Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Justin Robinson.
  • Ronald L. Sodoma Memorial Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Riley Seielstad.
  • Masonic Renovation Lodge # 97 Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Samantha Hollenbeck.
  • Edward B. Archbald Memorial Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Riley Seielstad.
  • David R. Long Agricultural Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Justin Robinson.
  • D’Andrea Family Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Rylie Lear.
  • Brandon Bruski Memorial Scholarship. This year’s recipients are Emma Lonnen and Miranda Smith.
  • The Ralph and Pearl Poelma Good Neighbor / Community Service Scholarships. This year’s recipients are Caleb Pettit and Justin Robinson.
  • The Jake and Anna Vreeburg Scholarships. This year’s recipients are Noah Goudreau – College, and Andrew Moore – Vocational School.
  • The Inge Hume Elementary Education Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Allison Graham.
  • The Robert P. Van Deusen Memorial Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Samantha Hollenbeck.
  • The Moore Family Scholarship Fund. This year’s recipient is Jamelis Mateo.
  • Kelly J. Fairchild Memorial Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Jasmine Ballines.
  • The Sherman Awards. This year’s recipients are Noah Wadhams: Moses Sherman Award, and Riley Seielstad: Margaret Sherman Award.
  • The Benjamin Dennis Kirby Memorial Scholarships. This year’s recipients are Hunter Albright and Victor Benjovsky.
  • The Scott Whittier Memorial Scholarships. This year’s recipients are Elisabeth Baker, Caitlynn Snook, Preston Flugel and Noah Goudreau.
  • Country Lane Veterinary Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Elida Rodriguez.

Again, the Albion HS Alumni Foundation congratulates all scholarship recipients and wishes the best of luck, happiness, and success in all future endeavors!

Alec Sherman presents the Albion Alumni Foundation Performing Arts Scholarship to Miranda Smith.

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