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Hoag’s ‘library men’ add some spunk to Saturdays at library

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 April 2019 at 8:48 am

Provided photo

ALBION – Dirk Climenhaga, left, and Michael Magnuson, both staff members at Hoag Library in Albion, have added some pizzazz to the library on Saturdays when the two work together. The two “library men” have been coordinating some interesting fashion selections.

On Saturday they both wore leisure suits. That followed a recent vintage bow tie effort.

Next up, the two will be wearing kilts.

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Albion students in Interact Club spend day at East High in Rochester

Staff Reports Posted 5 April 2019 at 11:08 am

Photo courtesy of Tim Archer, Albion Interact advisor

ROCHESTER – Members of the Albion High School Interact Club recently visited East High School in Rochester as part of a “cultural exchange.” Albion students spent the day shadowing East students, learning about their school, life in an urban area, and ways that they can “learn from each other as we push past stereotypes.”

Next fall East High students will visit Albion and experience life in a rural area. The AHS Interact Club initiated the program seven years ago.

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New roof going on Main Street Thrift Store in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 April 2019 at 3:16 pm

State grant covering the costs for Community Action

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Elmer W. Davis Inc. Roofing in Rochester works on putting a new roof on the Main Street Thrift Store in Albion this afternoon. The company started work on the project on Monday and is expected to be on site until mid-May.

The building for the Main Street Store is owned by Community Action of Orleans & Genesee. The agency purchased the building from the American Legion and moved the thrift store to the site in 2014 after 25 years in the downtown.

A state grant for $358,124 is covering 100 percent of the costs for a new roof, new HVAC units, front doors, upgraded plumbing and some interior renovations.

Testa Construction of Rochester is the general contractor for the project.

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Candidates sought for 3 trustee positions at Hoag Library

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 April 2019 at 11:19 am

ALBION — Three trustee positions will be up for election on May 6 at Hoag Library. Voting is from noon to 7 p.m. with the library’s annual meeting to follow at 7 p.m.

There are two trustee positions with terms for four years, and one trustee with a three-year term.

Candidates for the trustee positions can pick up petitions at the library. Those petitions need to be signed by at least 25 people, ages 18 and older, in the library’s service area, which is the towns of Barre, Albion, Gaines and Carlton in the Albion school district.

Candidates need to turn in their petitions to run for the board by 5 p.m. on Monday. Those petitions are to be turned in at the library, 134 South Main St.

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Albion teachers join girls in elementary school for special tea

Posted 3 April 2019 at 7:30 am

Photos courtesy of Sue Starkweather Miller: Olivia Peterson talks about her special qualities with her invited guest, Mrs. Klips.

Courtesy of Albion Central School

ALBION – The after school “Girls Group” participated in a tea party celebration last Thursday to learn social etiquette and build strong connections.

One of the goals of the group was to help the girls feel like they have a strong connection to someone in the school. To help form this connection, a tea party was organized. Each girl could invite a staff member who they admired. Each girl instantly knew who they wanted to invite. They made a special invitation and hand delivered it to their special person.

Carlyanne Dix and Mr. Plewinski share a cup of tea.

Another goal of the group was to learn social etiquette. During the tea each girl greeted the invited teacher, pulled the chair out for the teacher, and held a conversation with him and/or her.  Prior to the tea, group leaders talked about appropriate responses. An example would be to not say the word “YEP!” and to answer in complete sentences. The group practiced making appropriate eye contact and how to initiate and keep a conversation going.

The girls made paper clouds with rainbows that served as placemats. The girl’s name was written on the cloud and each color of the rainbow was something she liked about herself. This proved to be a great conversation starter.

Madison Velky pours punch for her invited guest, Mrs. Reith.

The girls also made a favor for each teacher. It was a teapot with a teabag attached that said, “Thanks for making time for tea and me!”

Tea, iced tea, lemonade, water, and pink and white cupcakes were served at the party.

The tea party was a great success! The girls were excited and their faces lit up when they saw their teachers. The teachers were just as excited and honored to be invited by the students.

The Girls Group afterschool club is sponsored by the Title I Program. Advisors are Mrs. Keller and Mrs. Lang.

Each student gave their special guest a teabag favor.

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Albion accepts $2,500 from Monsanto for school’s ag program

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 April 2019 at 2:31 pm

ALBION – The Albion Board of Education accepted a $2,500 grant from Monsanto on Monday through the company’s “America’s Farmers Grow Communities program.”

Monsanto chooses a customer for the grant, and that customer picks a local organization for the funding.

Phil Panek of Albion was picked by Monsanto for the grant, and he chose to support the Albion agriculture program at the school.

This is the second time a local Monsanto customer picked the Albion agriculture program to receive the grant. In 2014, Albion farmers Doug and Mitchell Kirby also chose the school’s agriculture program for the $2,500 grant.

This is the 10th year of the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, where farmers have the chance to direct a $2,500 donation to a nonprofit of their choice. So far Monsanto has awarded more than $33 million to over 8,000 nonprofits across rural America.

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Albion school budget doesn’t increase taxes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 April 2019 at 12:57 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Derek Vallese, the new business administrator for Albion Central School, goes over the school district’s proposed $35.5 million budget on Monday. Vallese succeeds Shawn Liddle, who retired last month as the school’s business administrator. Vallese previously worked as treasurer for Newfane Central School.

ALBION — The school district won’t need to increase taxes in the 2019-20 school year. The district is proposing to collect $8,449,094 in property taxes, the same as in 2018-19.

This is now the 11th time in the past 13 years the school district has either kept taxes flat or reduced them.

The $35,555,151 budget will go before district voters on May 21 from noon to 8 p.m. at the elementary school conference room A. The overall budget expenses will increase less than 1 percent (0.94 percent) or by $329,885.

The district is projecting the tax rate will decrease from $15.47 per $1,000 of assessed property to $14.70. The towns have done a reassessment that will take effect with the next school budget. The reassessment will likely increase the tax base, driving down the rate. However, some people will pay more or less in taxes than they currently are, depending on the reassessed value of their property, a value set by town assessors. Overall, the district will be collecting the same amount of taxes.

The district was able to hold off a tax increase due to about $615,000 more in state aid, and a reduction in debt service by $857,942 to $784,408. The district’s contributions to the teacher retirement system also will be down about $289,000.

Those savings and additional state aid are helping to offset transportation costs going up by $607,698 to $2,569,593; maintenance expenses increasing by $218,574 to $3,445,933; and instruction costs up $375,102 to $25,927,654.

The district will also have a full-time school resource officer for the full school year at a cost of $81,250.

Derek Vallese, the district’s new business administrator, went over the budget during Monday’s Board of Education meeting.

State aid is budgeted for $25,852,494. That represents the governor’s proposed aid, plus $30,000. The final state budget included $43,000 more for Albion than what the district has budgeted, however the aid isn’t a solid number and can still change.

Vallese recommended keeping that $43,000 as a cushion in the budget, which the Board of Education supported.

Other propositions for the May 21 vote include:

• Authorization to spend $505,000 from the School Bus Purchase Reserve Fund to buy school buses during the 2020-21 school year.

• Authorization to collect $714,920 for Hoag Library, which is the same amount as 2018-19.

• Two seats with five-year terms are up for election. They are currently filled by David Sidari and Wendy Kirby. Petitions to run for the Board of Education are due to the district office by 5 p.m. on April 22.

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Civil War flag will be displayed at Albion library for special programs this month

Photo by Tom Rivers: Hoag Library this month will display this flag from an African-American unit that fought in the Civil War. The flag has 35 stars. That’s how many stars were on the flag for two years from 1863 to 1865.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 April 2019 at 9:42 am

Hoag is hosting several Civil War events in April

ALBION – A Civil War flag for a Colored Troops regiment will be on display this month at Hoag Library during special programs about the Civil War.

The library’s board of trustees on March 13 voted to have the flag sold through an auctioneer in Dallas, Texas. The flag hasn’t been sent away yet and will stay with the library through at least April.

The library wants to give people a chance to see the flag, which is in a deteriorated condition especially with the white stripes. Betty Sue Miller, the library director, said many people in the community have shared their opinion about whether the flag should stay or be sold.

“Many are commenting and they haven’t seen it,” she said.

The library board voted 5-0 to sell the flag, as long as it gets a minimum of $10,000. The board was concerned that restoring the flag would cost an estimated $8,000 to $10,000, and properly displaying it would cost additional expense.

The library is working with Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas, which wants to make the flag a showpiece item at an upcoming auction.

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

Miller said she has reached out to the New York Public Library and also the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pa. to gauge their interest in the flag.

She is concerned the flag will continue to deteriorate if the library keeps it.

Photo courtesy of GCC: Derek Maxfield, left, is General Ulysses S. Grant and Tracy Ford is General William Tecumseh Sherman in a 45-minute theatrical “conversation” between the two Civil War generals for the Union. They will present “Now we stand by each other always”  on April 17 at Hoag Library.

Meanwhile, the Hoag Library Civil War series begins today at noon with Tea with Dee, a discussion led by historian Dee Robinson who will highlight some local women during the Civil War, including a doctor, a housewife and a spy.

The series is a collaboration with the Orleans County Historical Association. Other programs this month include:

• April 9 at 1 p.m. — Mark Jones discusses Civil War bands and bandsmen

• April 11 at 6:30 p.m. — Peter Turkow leads an open discussion about the Civil War

• April 16 at noon — Dr. John Daly, associate professor of History at the Brockport State, will give a presentation, “When did the Civil War end?”

• April 17 at 7 p.m. — GCC professors Derek Maxfield and Tracy Ford showcase an historic Civil War era meeting in a unique program entitled, “Now we stand by each other always; A conversation between Gens. Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman.” Ford plays the role of General Sherman and Maxfield is General Grant.

• April 22 at 7 p.m. — Albion resident and author Mike McFarland will discuss the Erie Canal during the Civil War.

• April 30 at 6 p.m. — Orleans County Historian Matt Ballard will discuss Civil War era Albion and Rufus Brown Bullock, an Albion resident who served as governor of Georgia during reconstruction from 1868 to 1871.

• May 4 at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. — People, Weapons & Dress of the Civil War featuring the 4th South Carolina Infantry Reenactors.

For more information, click here.

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County Historian named ‘Friend of Education’ at Albion

Photo by Tom Rivers: Matt Ballard, left, is congratulated by Albion teacher Tim Archer after Ballard was recognized as a “Friend of Education” during today’s Board of Education meeting.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 April 2019 at 10:59 pm

ALBION – Matt Ballard, the Orleans County historian, was recognized this evening as a “Friend of Education” by the Albion school district.

Ballard, a 2006 Albion graduate, often visits Tim Archer’s seventh-grade service learning class and helps students with research and also leads informative discussions for the class, Archer said at today’s Board of Education meeting.

Ballard also assists the district each fall for the annual Ghost Walk at Mount Albion Cemetery, where students portray residents buried at the cemetery. About 500 people attend that event each year.

Ballard graduated from Albion in 2006. He works full-time as library director at Roberts Wesleyan College in North Chili. He works part-time as county historian and also is finishing a second master’s degree at Brockport State College. His first master’s was in library science. Now he is pursuing a degree in American history.

Ballard has been the county historian for about four years. He followed Bill Lattin, who also helped Archer’s students on many projects and was a frequent guest in the class.

“Matt had tough shoes to fill following Bill Lattin,” Archer said at this evening’s Board of Education meeting.

Lattin used to bring in a slide projector with images of Albion’s past. Ballard has digitized files and uses a remote to go through a presentation on a flatscreen. Like Lattin, he connects students to the the past, telling stories about people and places.

“He is a good guy and great example for our students,” Archer said.

Starkweather Miller said Ballard has pinpointed some people at the cemetery who hadn’t been included before on the Ghost Walks. He makes suggestions that have improved the annual event, she said.

Ballard has been instrumental in helping Archer’s classes with several community service projects, most recently helping research the former Orleans County Alms House on West Countyhouse Road in Albion.

The classes are researching the 250 names recorded as being buried on the grounds, most with no marker at all, or a simple stone with a number. Ballard has been helping the classes locate and study newly found primary source documents. The students hope to have an interpretive panel erected on the site this spring listing the long forgotten names.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Matt Ballard, seated at left, joins Tim Archer and the community at a rededication ceremony on June 9, 2017 for a bronze tablet listing the names of 24 soldiers from Orleans County who died in World War I. The tablet was rededicated at the County Courthouse. The marker was originally installed at the courthouse but was removed, and later was in possession of the American Legion. The Legion in Albion sold its post building on Main Street to Community Action, and relocated to the former Scottish Pines golf course on Gaines Basin Road. The Legion wanted to find a proper home for the memorial tablet, and reached out to Archer. His seventh grade students were doing research on local soldiers involved in World War I. The memorial tablet had been in storage.

Some of the other projects Ballard has helped Archer’s students with include:

• Research and design for an interpretive panel by the Erie Canal and the waterway’s impact on Albion that was unveiled last year.

• Assisted with last year’s Arbor Day ceremony at Mount Albion.

• Assisted with rededication of a World War I memorial, which was rededicated in June 2017 at the County Courthouse. The bronze marker lists the names of 24 local residents from the school district (towns of Albion, Barre, Carlton and Gaines) who died in World War I.

• Assisted with historical marker for local soldier who died at Gettysburg. On Oct. 8, 2016, the historical marker was unveiled for Herbert Charles Taylor, the only Orleans County resident believed to have been killed in the Battle at Gettysburg. That marker is at Hillside Cemetery in Holley.

• Helped Albion students dedicate a new marker at the Civil War section of historic Mount Albion Cemetery, with the marker dedicated on May 26, 2016. Ballard helped students research local Civil War soldiers.

• Worked with students to secure a proper cemetery marker for one Civil War veteran at the old St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Albion. A new headstone was unveiled on April 30, 2016 for John Frost, a principal musician (chief bugler) for the 33rd New York Infantry and also the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division of 6th Corps. Frost was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery on Brown Road in 1915. He finally received a marker 101 years after his death.

Frost raised five children in Orleans County and sold coal for a living. In 2015, the Holy Family Parish was going through records at the cemetery and realized that John Frost never had a headstone. Ballard, a member of the parish and also the Knights of Columbus, shared the story with Archer, who then told his students about Frost. The students wanted Frost to have a headstone.

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Albion library finds 1903 letter from Susan B. Anthony, written to then Swan Library

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 April 2019 at 4:24 pm

ALBION – Hoag Library found a letter today in the files of its local history room that was written to the former Swan Library from Susan B. Anthony, the women’s rights activist who was a pivotal leader for women’s suffrage.

The Nov. 12, 1903 letter from Anthony encourages Swan Library in Albion to buy four volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage and also two volumes about the Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony.

The History of Woman Suffrage would later include six volumes from 1881 to 1922 and includes more than 5,700 pages about the women’s suffrage movement.

The first two volumes of the Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony were published in 1898 and were written by journalist Ida Husted Harper. She would write a third in 1908, after Anthony’s death.

Dee Robinson, a reference librarian at Hoag, was looking through the files in the local history today when she found the letter from Anthony.

The typed letter to “Librarian Swan Library” says the following:

My Dear Friend : —

Enclosed are the circulars for the Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, in two volumes, and the History of Woman Suffrage in four volumes. Will not your library purchase them? These ought to be in a public place where every student of the High school or public school, as well as every person who wishes to learn anything about the Woman Suffrage movement, can have easy access to them.

I hope you will purchase them.

Sincerely yours,

(signed) Susan B. Anthony

The library last year hired two new librarians and that is freeing up Robinson to search through the old files in the history room, said Betty Sue Miller, the library’s director.

Robinson has also found an original program from the dedication of Swan Library, which opened in 1900. She also found an advertisement for a play from 1873 where community members performed Dickens’ plays to raise money for a library.

“We’re digging through the archives,” Miller said this afternoon. “Who knows what else we’ll find.”

Robinson is checking to see if the books in Anthony’s letter are still in the library’s possession. Miller said she would like to create a timeline display about the library’s history in Albion, and include a copy of the letter from Anthony. The original will be kept in a secure spot.

Anthony signed the letter when she was 83 and serving as the honorary president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Anthony had an office at 17 Madison St., Rochester.

She would die at age 86 on March 13, 1906. She was a leader at age 28 when a group of women held a convention at Seneca Falls in 1848, the first Women’s Rights Convention in the United States. It began the Suffrage movement and Anthony devoted her life to the cause.

She didn’t live to see women get the right to vote. That right was secured in 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment.

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