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Albion school and village finalizing contract for resource officer

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 December 2018 at 1:17 pm

ALBION – The Board of Education and the Village of Albion are working on the contract for a school resource officer who is expected to start in early 2019 at the school district.

The officer would be a member of the Albion Police Department and would work full-time at the district during the school year. The officer would be available during the summer for road patrols and other duties outside the school district.

The Board of Education on Monday approved paying $81,250 annually towards the officer. That will be pro-rated depending on the start date this school year.

The Board of Education and Village Board need to sign an agreement and then the position can be posted. An interview committee will include representatives from the school – administrators and teachers – and the Albion police command staff.

The Board of Education was unanimous in giving the village a commitment of $81,250 towards the officer. That vote will now allow the Police Department to begin the search process.

“I look forward to a positive working relationship,” said Margy Brown, the Board of Education president. “It’s good for the district.”

Albion was the first school in Orleans County to have an school resource officer about 15 years ago.

“Great benefits were seen during the program and it was lost due to funding,” Police Chief Roland Nenni said today. “To have the program back will mean that the partnership and all the benefits that came with it will be once again be achieved.”

Nenni doesn’t have a solid start date for the school resource officer.

“It will all depend on the signing of the agreement and scheduling of the interviews,” he said.

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Chain gang honored for work at Albion football games

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 December 2018 at 8:14 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The chain gang was presented a “Friend of Education” award on Monday at the Albion Board of Education meeting. Pictured from left includes Adam Krenning, head football coach; chain gang members Scott Kaniecki and Garrett Knaak; and Margy Brown, Board of Education president. Missing from photo: chain gang members Jeff Denson and Gary Westlund.

The chain gang volunteers at Albion football games. Two members are on each sideline holding sticks that are separated by the 10-yard chain. One person holds the down marker at the line of scrimmage.

The four chain gang members have nearly 50 years of service, with Westlund accounting for 27 seasons. They are there regardless of weather.

Krenning said the chain gang members are among the many volunteers who contribute to the football program.

“We couldn’t do it without them,” Krenning said.

The Board of Education also recognized two middle school students on Monday.

Kelsey Froman received the Leadership Award. She recently starred in the middle school musical of Pinkalicious and played on the modified soccer team. She also is on the high honor roll.

“She is a person of high effort and high character,” said Brad Pritchard, the school principal. “She is an amazing role model for all of our students at Albion Central School.”

Makayla Klatt was presented with the Character Award. Pritchard said she has a strong work ethic and shows grit and the growth mindset.

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Albion Elementary told it doesn’t have high rate of breast cancer for staff

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 December 2018 at 10:16 pm

ALBION — School officials wondered if there was a higher-than-normal rate of breast cancer among staff at the elementary school after several teachers have fought the disease in recent years.

Albion asked WorkFit Medical for its assessment. WorkFit provides medical services to the school district and other districts and businesses in Western New York.

In a Nov. 27 letter to Michael Bonnewell, the Albion school superintendent, WorkFit officials say the rate of breast cancer occurrence at the elementary school is actually lower than the national average.

At Albion Elementary it’s one in 19 women compared to the national average of one out of eight women getting breast cancer during their lifetime, according to the letter from C. Jay Ellie, MD, general director of WorkFit Medical, and Heather Hosking, director of occupational and comprehensive school health for WorkFit Medical.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for women other than skin cancer.

WorkFit cited many factors that can increase the risk of breast cancer, such as alcohol use, being overweight and physical inactivity.

But none of the risk factors are environmental exposures. WorkFit quoted from the American Cancer Society which says research hasn’t shown a correlation between breast cancer and substances found in some plastics, certain cosmetics and personal care products, pesticides and PCBs.

Early detection is very important with breast cancer, WorkFit said.

After several incidents of breast cancer among staff in recent years, Bonnewell asked WorkFit for its opinion.

The school complex wouldn’t be a factor because environmental exposures haven’t been a culprit in contracting the disease.

Margy Brown, the Board of Education president, thanked Bonnewell for his inquiry to WorkFit.

“It’s something we continue to monitor at the district and take very seriously,” she said at this evening’s Board of Education meeting.

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Albion students test oratorical skills in annual Legion contest

Staff Reports Posted 3 December 2018 at 4:08 pm

Photo courtesy of Albion Central School

ALBON – Albion students competed in the American Legion’s Oratorical contest on Nov. 28. Pictured from left include: American Legion Post # 35 Adjutant Gary Beefus, Joe Gehl (Board of Directors), Post Commander Wally Skrypnik, Phil Warne (Finance Officer), Avalina Hand (in front), Melissa Barnosky, Molly Wadhams, Ashlyn LeBaron and Conner Hollenbeck.

The five students participated in the annual event, which is coordinated by social studies teacher Rich Gannon.

Melissa Barnosky took first place with her oration entitled, “Civic Knowledge: The Key to our Vigilance.”  Molly Wadhams placed second with her oration, “Freedom of Speech.”  Avalina Hand spoke about “The Responsibilities of the American People.”  Ashlyn LeBaron’s speech was entitled, “Religious Freedom through the Ages,” and Conner Hollenbeck delivered his speech, “How the Constitution Shaped our Nation.”

Melissa and Molly will continue on to the County level. They will deliver their speeches on Dec. 8 at noon in the Medina High School Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

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3 librarians join staff at Hoag Library

Photos by Tom Rivers: Teresa Gaylard, an Albion native, returned to the community last year when she was hired as the children’s librarian at Hoag Library. She worked the previous 12 years for the Dayton Metro Library in Ohio.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 December 2018 at 12:49 pm

ALBION – Hoag Library recently has hired three librarians, all with their master’s degrees.

Teresa Gaylard started in September 2017 as the children’s librarian. She started working at the former Swan Library when she was 19. She came back to Albion after 12 years as a librarian at the Dayton Metro Library.

Hoag also has hired two reference librarians. Michael Magnuson started this past Sept. 4, following the retirement of Cheryl Mowatt. Elizabeth Archer Haibach also started as a reference librarian last week.

The new staff are all highly trained and committed to serving library users, said Betty Sue Miller, the library director.

Gaylard has already made a mark at the library, updating the collection, attracting bigger crowds to library programs and connecting with the community, Miller said.

“Teresa has brought a vast amount of experience,” Miller said. “She has revitalized the collection and brought it up to date.”

Gaylard, 36, joined Hoag to be closer to her family. Her mother, Susie Gaylard, was along-time employee at Swan Library.

Teresa worked at Swan from age 19 to 22. She helped run children’s programs and realized then she wanted to make it her career. Back then, before the Hoag Library opened in July 2012, Swan was cramped for space and parking spots.

Many of the library programs were held at the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church. Teresa would dress up as characters from some of the children’s books.

“It was fun to see the children get excited about the stories and characters,” she said. “That’s when I realized this is what I wanted to do.”

After Swan, she worked at the Drake Memorial Library at Brockport State College. She earned her master’s degree in library science and headed to work in Ohio at the Dayton Metro Library. She is grateful for the chance to come back to Albion doing a job she loves.

Gaylard runs four weekly story times, and she often will dress up as characters. She reads the stories, incorporates a dance and ends the stories by blowing bubbles. The routine has proven popular with young children, Miller said.

The story times are Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m., Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.

Gaylard led the reading program for seven weeks this summer and Hoag had its biggest turnout so far with 1,900 people reading books. Gaylard also motivated her co-workers to participate in the Albion Strawberry Festival with a dance with book carts to promote the summer reading program.

She has partnered with the library directors at the elementary and high schools for a “popcorn and Paperbacks,” where students read books in the school and come to the Hoag for popcorn and a book discussion.

The library recently hired two reference librarians. Michael Magnuson started in September and Elizabeth Archer Haibach started last week.

The library also started a new program this year where children from birth to age 5 get a new book on their birthdays and at Christmas. An anonymous donor is funding the program which includes 62 children so far. Gaylard manages the program, including ordering the books. She welcomes more families to sign up for it.

Michael Magnuson, 31, started at Hoag on Sept. 4 after working as a reference librarian at the James Prendergast Library in Jamestown. He said Mowatt, his successor, built up a following in the community in her 33 years at the library.

“She set a very high bar,” Magnuson said. “I really can’t replace her.”

In addition to assisting patrons with research, Magnuson will help people use technology, whether iPads, electronic devices, smart phones or computers. He can help them to access online material with their electronic devices and computers.

Magnuson took the job in Albion partly because his fiance works at the Hamlin library. He is impressed to see how well used the Hoag Library is by local residents.

“This library gets a lot of love and support from the community,” he said.

Elizabeth Archer Haibach, 31, grew up in Albion. She worked the previous 6 ½ years for Agri-Business Child Development in Batavia as a program assistant.

She works as a reference librarian at Hoag and also will handle social media, newsletters and some donor relations. Haibach, a Kendall resident, also is bilingual and will provide a stronger link to the Spanish-speaking population in the Albion area. The library serves many English as a Second Language students.

Haibach said she has reconnected with many of her Albion classmates and other familiar faces in the community during her first week at Hoag.

“I’ve seen so many people I went to high school with and I went to church with,” she said. “It’s nice to be home.”

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Albion community Christmas concert includes many classics

Posted 2 December 2018 at 8:30 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Matthew Mooney, a 1993 Albion graduate, sings, “Thankful,” during today’s Christmas in the Neighborhood concert at the First Presbyterian Church of Albion.

The concert included many Albion students, teachers and alumni. The concert is a benefit for the Albion Alumni Association which distributes about $87,000 annually in scholarships.

Mooney is active in the Buffalo theater scene and is founder and artistic director of Buffalo Chrysalis Theatre.

The crowd at the church is welcomed by Charlie Nesbitt, left, and Susan Thaine, pastor of the Presbyterian church and the concert organizer.

The Billies, a men’s a cappella vocal quartet of Albion High School seniors, sings, “Carol of the Bells.” From left includes: Evan Van Ameron, Jacob Ettinger, Enoch Martin and Nate Grammatico.

Santa went around the sanctuary shaking hands and wishing people a Merry Christmas. That was just before the crowd did a holiday singalong led by Alec Sherman.

Joseph Condoluci, a 2012 Albion grad, plays, “All I want for Christmas is You.” He works as a substitute teacher and with the Albion Marching Band.

Lance Anderson, a 1983 Albion graduate, sings, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” He is a private voice teacher and is very active with the local community theater group, the Lake Plains Players.

The Gramm Crackers performed “Funky Old Saint Nick.” The group includes from left Greg Martillotta, middle school band teacher; Nate Grammatico, an Albion High School senior; Michael Grammatico, retired Albion music teacher and Nate’s grandfather; and Mike Thaine, high school band teacher. Martillotta and Thaine are both Albion graduates.

Other performers included: Angela Tarricone, AHS Trombone Choir, Shannon Vanderlaan, Scott Schmidt, Anna Atwater, Maarit Vaga, Aleka Schmidt, The Kingsmen, AHS Combined Select Choir, Lindsay Almeter, Sue Thaine and Gary Simboli.

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Mount Albion marble tablets with names of Civil War dead are deteriorating

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 November 2018 at 9:21 am

File photos by Tom Rivers: Inside the tower at Mount Albion Cemetery are nine marble tablets with 463 names of soldiers from Orleans County who died in the Civil War.

ALBION – When the Orleans County community built a Civil War monument in 1876 on a hill in the back of Mount Albion Cemetery, it included nine marble tablet inside the tower. The tablets list the names of 463 soldiers from the county who died in the war.

Some of the tablets are deteriorating and the names are hard to read, depending on how much exposure to the elements the tablets face in the base of the tower.

A Buffalo resident, with ties to the county, wants to have the tablets protected with a transparent covering. Donna Augspurger, whose grandfather is buried at Mount Albion, presented the idea to the Albion Village Board on Wednesday.

She is willing to pursue cost estimates for tempered glass and other options. The community may need to do a fundraising effort to pay for the project.

Mayor Elieen Banker said the village doesn’t have money in the budget, but she welcomed Augspurger’s interest in seeing the tablets preserved. Banker encouraged Augspurger to pursue quotes and plan for preserving the tablets.

Augspurger also suggested an interpretive panel be put by the tower to explain its history.

The tower was dedicated on July 4, 1876 as a memorial to the soldiers from Orleans County who died in the Civil War.

The tower is nestled in the southeast section of Mount Albion Cemetery. For 11 years after the Civil War, Orleans County residents pushed to raise money for a memorial to 463 county residents who perished in the war. Augspurger said there are about 35 to 40 other county residents who died in the war but their names aren’t included in the marble tablets. She said they should be recognized, too.

Quarrymen cut the stone and hauled it to the site. The community built a 68-foot-high tower, the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, that has endured for 142 years. An 84-step spiral staircase allows people to climb the tower, to enjoy a view above the trees.

The tower was built in stages. Several times, the community ran out of money for the immense project. But residents met a deadline to have the tower done in time for the country’s centennial celebration. The monument was dedicated on July 4, 1876, the 100th anniversary of the country.

Due to safety concerns, the tower in Albion was off limits in the early 1970s. A group of high school students attended a Village Board meeting when one trustee suggested the tower be torn down. The high schoolers were outraged and spearheaded a “Save a Tower” campaign that raised $30,000 to strengthen masonry joints and repair the staircase. The tower was rededicated on July 4, 1976, the country’s 200th anniversary.

The community raised $30,000 to repair the steps and masonry joints inside the tower in the 1970s.

Augspurger said it is an impressive memorial, but is showing signs of decay, especially with the tablets listing the names of soldiers killed in the war.

“Doesn’t that just seen sad,” she said about the deteriorating tablets. “We can do better by these boys.”

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Albion village will change 433 street lights to LEDs

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 November 2018 at 7:35 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Village of Albion will switch to energy-efficient lights for 433 cobra-head-style street lights, including this one on East Park Street.

ALBION – The Village of Albion will work with National Grid to have 433 street lights replaced with energy-efficient LEDs.

The Village Board approved the agreement with National Grid on Wednesday evening. The change will lower the village’s electricity costs for the street lights by $6,000 annually, said Jay Pahura, the superintendent of the Department of Public Works.

The village also will receive a check for $22,160 as a state incentive for using lights that require less energy. National Grid will coordinate having the high-pressure sodium lights replaced with LEDs, Pahura said.

The Village of Holley and Town of Albion have recently switched out their street lights to LEDs, he said.

“They will be brighter and cost a lot less to run,” Pahura told the Village Board.

In other action at the Village Board meeting:

• Approved a grant disbursement agreement with State Sen. Robert Ortt for a $300,000 grant to go towards buying a new vacuum truck to be used when the DPW does water and sewer repairs.

The board believes this is the last step in getting the grant through Ortt’s office. The money comes through the State and Municipal Facilities Capital Funding Program or SAM.

Once the village has the new vacuum truck, it will sell its current one. The sale of the current one may be enough to cover the difference for a new vacuum truck, which is about $375,000.

• Approved spending $2,346 for a GaGa Ball Pit at Bullard Park. The game with an octagonal pit is similar to dodgeball.

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Albion drama students give gift baskets to be shared with local families

Posted 21 November 2018 at 4:26 pm

Photo courtesy of Albion Central School

ALBION – This week the First Presbyterian Church of Albion and Pastor Susan Thaine received a surprise delivery of more than 20 food baskets from Albion High School drama students. These baskets will be distributed to needy families for Thanksgiving.

Cast members from “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” purchased food items with Drama Club funds and put the baskets together. They were used as props in a scene during the fall musical. Once the show ended, the students wanted to donate the baskets to an organization to help others in their community.

Pictured with Pastor Thaine are several cast members delivering baskets.  Kneeling (left to right): Sophia Zambito, Aubrey Boyer, Emily Mergler, Annaliese Steier and Leah Kania.  Standing: Molly Wadhams, Emma Tower, Chase Froman, Pastor Thaine, Myleigh Miller, Brennan Moody, Colby Ferchen, Nia Rodriguez and Kaylyn Holman.

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Albion village receives $38K state grant for tree initiative

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 November 2018 at 1:02 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: A beech tree is pictured on March 1, 2017 at the corner of Beaver and Liberty streets in Albion. The tree is one of the older trees in the village.

ALBION – The Village of Albion has been approved for a $38,260 state grant for a tree inventory and management plan. The funding was announced today by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, part of $2.24 million in grants for urban forestry projects to protect air quality, water quality and natural resources across the state.

The village doesn’t have to provide any local dollars for the project. An outside organization will do an inventory of all the village-owned trees in the community, including at parks and Mount Albion Cemetery. There will be hazard rating to identify trees that should be removed and spots identified for new trees to be planted.

The village will also be given a recommendation for diverse tree plantings that would thrive in the village. A variety of trees would also protect the village from losing a large percentage of trees to blight.

The grants are part of DEC’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, which helps communities develop and implement comprehensive tree planting, management, maintenance, and education to create healthy forests while enhancing quality of life for residents.

“Continued investments in New York’s urban forestry programs promote clean air, clean water, energy savings, and habitat creation,” Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a news release. “Thanks to Governor Cuomo, funding for these grants was made available through the State’s Environmental Protection Fund, providing crucial assistance for communities to manage their forests, particularly trees lost to the invasive emerald ash borer.”

The village also will soon be receiving a $300,000 grant with State Sen. Rob Ortt’s help that will pay for a Vactor or vacuum truck that can be used when the village Department of Public Works does water and sewer repairs.

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