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Albion students, community members join for Christmas concert

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 December 2019 at 9:32 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Members of Albion High School’s select choirs join with community members in singing Christmas carols during Sunday’s Christmas in the Neighborhood concert at the First Presbyterian Church of Albion.

Sue Thaine, the church’s pastor, directs the group in singing, “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Deck The Halls,” and “Joy To The World.”

The church hosted the annual Christmas concert that is also a fundraiser for the church and the Albion Alumni Foundation.

A combined community choir sings Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” to close out the concert on Sunday. The event was postponed two weeks due to bad weather on Dec. 1.

Alec Sherman sings “O Holy Night.” Scott Schmidt plays the organ.

Albion students sing, “Rise Up Shepherd and Follow.”

The Albion High School Percussion Ensemble performs, “We Three Kings Swing.”

Performers at the concert includd Gary Simboli, Gwen Martillotta Ferchen, Mike Thaine, Kailey Winans, Travis Klossner, Eric Deiboldt, Janet Miller, Mike Grammatico, Kyle Thaine, Karen Kenney Conn, Shannon Broda, Alec Sherman, the Albion High School Percussion Ensemble (led by Mike Thaine), Albion High School Select Choirs (led by Gary Simboli), Community Brass Ensemble, Community Christmas Choir, What About Jane, and a trio that included Aleka Schmidt, Sue Boring and Sue Thaine.

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Albion downtown was busy with activities for Hometown Holiday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 December 2019 at 10:20 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Grinch was a greeter at 39 Problems on Saturday as part of Albion’s Hometown Holiday.

The Grinch is Chet Kwiatkowski. He is pictured with his granddaughter Myleigh Miller, grandson Garrett Miller, and daughter Erica Miller.

39 Problems would later host an ugly sweater contest.

The Albion Merchants Association had many activities in the downtown as part of the annual Hometown Holiday.

Paula Brooks, a vendor at the Downtown Browsery, dressed up as Sparkles the Elf. Many of the stores had opportunities to make Christmas cookies, write letters to Santa, make ornaments and sample holiday treats.

Nathaniel Staines, an Albion police officer, joined children and families in a coloring contest at the Albion Village Hall. Police officers were on hand to share coffee, doughnuts and pizza.

Saturday there was also a benefit by Red Check Rustic for Lisa Wilson and her family. Wilson recently suffered three strokes and is recovering at Unity Hospital in Rochester. The benefit included 105 baskets that were raffled from the second floor of the Pratt Building.

Debbie Prest, second from left, was one of the main organizers of the benefit. She is pictured from left with June Wilson (Lisa’s mother-in-law), Terri Drennan and Lynn Burgess. Lisa’s son Damian, a senior at Albion, is at far left. Lisa also has a son Drake with her husband Chad.

The two went to Albion school together and have stayed in Albion. Lisa works for ESL in Rochester after working about 20 years in Albion at the site that has been Dime Bank, Washington Mutual, Chase and CRFS.

Her husband thanked the community for its support, and the organizers of Saturday’s benefit.

Provided photo: Tinsel hosted a Christmas painting with Santa in the morning and later showed holiday movies and did cookie decorating.

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Albion FFA students loading up thousands of pounds of produce

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 December 2019 at 9:37 am

Food will be delivered to Community Action this morning

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Albion FFA students load a flatbed trailer this morning with produce donated by local farmers. This is the FFA’s 10thannual food drive. Last year there was 35,000 pounds delivered to Community Action.

There isn’t a final tally available yet today, but FFA members said it looks like there is more food this year.

Paige Derisley, left, and Meganne Moore carry crates of carrots from the ag shop. Many of the FFA students arrived at 6:30 this morning for the big effort.

Paige (Levandowski) Hungerford, lower left, is the FFA advisor this year. She was a student in 2010 when the FFA organized the first food drive. They filled four pickup trucks with food the first year. Now the fill a long flatbed trailer and other vehicles.

Barry Flansburg, a member of the Albion FFA Alumni, helps with the food packing this morning. He is moving a bin of squash.

David Bertsch, right, and Patricia Levandowski (Paige Hungerford’s mother), help with the packing this morning.

The FFA students fill bags with squash and other produce which is headed to Community Kitchen and other local food pantries.

(Click here to see a video of the students loading up the flatbed trailer with produce.)

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Albion will busy this weekend with holiday events

Provided photos: These dancers will be performing Saturday at Gotta Dance by Miss Amy on East Bank Street in Albion, where many performers from the community will be doing three shows for the ninth annual Nicholas Kovaleski Hometown Christmas. These dancers include, from left: Evee Heinsler, Sierra Kast, Gina Sidari and Miranda Gebo.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 December 2019 at 4:59 pm

ALBION – It will be a busy weekend in Albion with many events to celebrate Christmas and the holiday season.

After a taking a break last year, Gotta Dance by Miss Amy has put together the ninth show for Nicholas Kovaleski Hometown Christmas. It features many dancers, singers and some comedy in three shows – noon, 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The later show is already sold out. (Click here for ticket ionfromation.)

Amy Sidari is the organizer of the event at her dance studio and cabaret at 28 West Bank St. The Nicholas Kovaleski Hometown Christmas is a showcase of community talent, and also has raised about $20,000 for a scholarship in memory of Nicholas Kovaleski. The scholarships are given annually to graduating high school seniors who “Live with Purpose.”

Nicholas inspired the Albion community with his valiant fight against leukemia. He passed away at age 15 on June 29, 2011. He was a popular student at Albion, excelling at football, swimming and tennis.

These children, ages 5 to 16, practice the opening number for the Nicholas Kovaleski Hometown Christmas. Amy Sidari, owner of Gotta Dance by Miss Amy, said the opening number begins the show with “unbeatable energy and joy.”

The Albion Merchants Association also has many activities planned in the downtown on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. with a coloring contest, bake sale, brunch with the Grinch, caroling, donuts and pizza with the Police Department, letters to Santa, Christmas movies, cookie decorating, watercolor painting and an ugly sweater party.

Click here to see the full schedule from the Merchants Association.

Sunday the First Presbyterian Church is hosting the annual Home for the Holidays Christmas concert at 3 p.m. The concert is organized by the Albion Alumni Association and includes Albion students and adults from the community, including an 80-person community choir.

Tickets are $5 with the proceeds going towards scholarships for Albion High School seniors.

Performers at the concert include Gary Simboli, Gwen Martillotta Ferchen, Mike Thaine, Kailey Winans, Travis Klossner, Eric Deiboldt, Janet Miller, Mike Grammatico, Kyle Thaine, Karen Kenney Conn, Shannon Broda, Alec Sherman, the Albion High School Percussion Ensemble (led by Mike Thaine), Albion High School Select Choirs (led by Gary Simboli), Community Brass Ensemble, Community Christmas Choir and a trio that includes Aleka Schmidt, Sue Boring and Sue Thaine.

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$300K from state helps Albion buy new vacuum truck

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 December 2019 at 5:56 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Village of Albion has a new vacuum truck from the Vactor that will be used when there are waterline breaks, plugged sewers and other work on the water and sewer lines.

Jay Pahura, Albion’s superintendent of the Department of Public Works, shows the new truck to Mayor Eileen Banker, State Sen. Robert Ortt and one of Ortt’s staff members.

Ortt and his office helped secure $300,000 in state funding for the $380,000 vacuum truck. It replaces a Vactor from 2003 that has been declared surplus and will be sold.

Albion will use the vacuum truck to assist other nearby municipalities if they have waterline breaks or clogged sewers. Medina and Carlton also have vacuum trucks in the county.

Mayor Eileen Banker, DPW Superintendent Jay Pahura and State Sen. Robert Ortt are pictured today with a new Vactor in the Albion DPW garage on Washington Street. Ortt is giving Pahura the keys to the vehicle.

Albion applied for the funding through the State and Municipal Facilities Capital Funding Program or SAM. Once the money was approved by Ortt and the State Legislature, the village needed to work with the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.

State Sen. Ortt said the vacuum truck would have been costly for village taxpayers to pay for on their own. He said it is an ideal project for the SAM grants, especially because Albion will use the Vactor to assist other municipalities.

Ortt praised the DPW and highway workers would are often out in extreme cold or heat to fix waterline breaks or clogged sewers and culverts.

“They’re out there doing the work when it is 20 degrees and the water is flying,” Ortt said.

Ortt, who is no longer in the majority conference in the State Senate, said he has less funding than he did when Republicans were in control. He still urged local municipalities to seek SAM funding by identifying needed projects or capital expenses.

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Albion Town Board sets 15-ton weight limit for Gaines Basin Road

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 December 2019 at 12:25 pm

ALBION – The Town Board on Monday gave final approval to set a 15-ton weight limit on Gaines Basin Road. The weight limit includes the section of Gaines Basin from the south entrance of Walmart, going south to the Barre townline, which is between West County House Road and Route 31A (West Lee Road).

Town Highway Superintendent Michael Niedert pushed for the weight limit because he said many big trucks and tractor trailers were using Gaines Basin to bypass going through the village.

Neidert said routes 98 and 31 are better suited for the heavy truck traffic.

The town had a public hearing on the weight limit in November. Albion previously didn’t have a weight limit for the road. Neidert said keeping the heavy trucks off Gaines Basin Road will help the road to last longer without needing major maintenance.

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Today was a great day to go sledding

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 December 2019 at 9:31 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Drew Boyce, 12, of Albion goes flying after hitting a snow ramp on the sledding hill at Bullard Park today.

It was a perfect day to go sledding with temperatures at about 30 degree, little wind and lots of fresh snow.

Aden Frasier, 12, of Albion has a rough landing in the snow after hitting the ramp.

He was quickly back on his feet and headed up the hill for another try.

Rich Furness of Kendall brought his nephew, Greyson Alpert, to Albion to go sledding.

The snow might not last long. On Sunday, the high is forecast for 44, followed by a high of 50 on Monday.

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GO Art! has first juried art show in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 December 2019 at 9:08 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Dave Burke of Bergen and his daughter Fiona Burke look over the artwork on display at the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council’s gallery in Albion. The Salih Studio at 24 E. Bank serves as a gallery space for GO Art!

Burke painted an acrylic on canvas of “Sax Man.”

The arts organization is having its first juried art show at Albion. Artists were invited to submit pieces with a holiday theme.

Chris Manaseri of Kent won first place and $75 with this oil painting of “Christmas at Kuerner’s.”

Lori Laine, right, and Courtney DePalma check out the artwork. Laine is a member of the GO Art! board of directors.

Gregory Hallock, GO Art! director, hosted an opening reception for the exhibit. The gallery is open from 4 to 7 p.m. on Fridays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

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Security firm will evaluate safety of Albion campus

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 December 2019 at 4:15 pm

District wants time to consider metal detectors, added safety measures

Photo by Tom Rivers: Kathy Harling, president of the Albion Board of Education, said the district is evaluating its response to a threat at the Albion Middle School, and is bringing in a firm to look at the security of the campus and the district’s procedures in responding to threats.

ALBION – School leaders will meet with a security firm on Dec. 16 that is offering to do a safety assessment of the district campus, including a review of school procedures in responding to threats.

Armoured One is based in Syracuse and has offered to do the assessment for free. The firm works with school districts, governments and businesses and focuses on preventing active shooter attacks.

The firm was recommended to Albion by King & King Architects in Syracuse, a firm that has helped design several recent security upgrades at Albion school entrances. Kirk Narburgh, an Albion graduate, is one of the leaders of King & King.

Tom Czyz, a former SWAT team operator and homicide detective, is Armoured One’s CEO. He will do a campus safety audit of Albion on Wednesday and then will meet with Albion school leaders on Dec. 16 in a closed-door session to discuss Albion’s security system and response.

Three middle school students from Albion were charged with second-degree conspiracy on Nov. 8 after an alleged plot to bring guns and explosives to the school to harm students and staff.

Those students have been suspended and their cases are being handled in Family Court.

During a community forum on Nov. 19, some parents asked the district to put metal detectors in the school.

Albion has reached out to the New York State School Boards Association, Erie 1 BOCES and other groups for information and policies about installing metal detectors.

The Albion Board of Education wants to review that information before discussing if metal detectors should be added at the school.

The NYS School Boards didn’t submit a policy from its organization, but offered some starting points in a discussion about the issue. NYSSBA urged Albion to have its attorney review a policy before it is adopted by the board.

Hand-held wand metal detectors can be used to search students’ book bags, purses and other personal belongings “in appropriate circumstances,” the group said.

Some districts use unscheduled random screenings that are effective in detecting and deterring possession of weapons. A district can do “as needed screenings” on days chosen to address particular safety concerns (such as recent violence in a neighborhood) or on days with special events (such as athletic competitions), NYSSBA said.

Some other suggestions to consider:

• Daily random screenings can involve searches of randomly selected segment of the entire student body attending a school.

• If a metal detector activation results in the discovery of contraband, such activation and discovery shall be timely documented in accordance with the District’s Code of Conduct, as well as applicable state laws and regulations.

• Districts can have metal detectors at entryways or with wands that take reasonable steps for student safety and also respects the Constitutional rights of students and visitors.

• School administrators can direct a search under “reasonable suspicion that weapons are or will be on school property.”

• Signs need to be posted to inform students and visitors entering the school that they are subject to a screening of weapons as a condition of entry.

• Schools don’t have to screen everyone to avoid delays and a backlog of people, but must screen on a predetermined random basis or allow predetermined number of people to enter without being screened, then resume screening all persons.

• “Under no circumstances may school officials single out a particular individual or individuals to be searched, unless there is reasonable suspicion to believe that such person or persons are in possession of a weapon.”

• With metal detectors, screening should be by school officials of the same sex as the individual seeking admission to the building. Scanning will not be done by “in-house” police officers except at the discretion of other police officers.

• Prior to screening, individuals will be asked to place bags, parcels or coats on a table and to remove any metal objects (which will set off scanner) from their pockets and place them in a tray. Bags, backpacks, parcels and coats will also be scanned.

• If the detector is activated while scanning a bag or parcel, some schools request the owner to open the bag or parcel and remove any remaining metal objects which set off the scanner. The school official will then to a second scan. If a second scan activates the scanner, a school official will then examine the contents for weapons. Reasonable efforts shall be made to protect student privacy by not emptying the contents of bags and backpacks in plain view of other students and visitors.

Groups warn against armed presence, metal detectors in schools

Albion is reviewing information from the American School Counselor Association, National Association of School Psychologists, School Social Work Association of America, National Association of School Resource officers, National Association of Elementary School Principals, and National Association of Secondary School Principals.

These groups say a comprehensive school-wide approach is needed with access to mental health support for children.

“We caution against seemingly quick and potentially harmful solutions, such as arming school personnel, and urge policy leaders to support the following guidance to enact policies that will equip America’s schools to educate and safeguard our children over the long term,” the groups said.

The advocate for fully integrated learning supports – behavioral, mental health and social services.

“Balance physical and psychological safety to avoid overly restrictive measures (armed guards and metal detectors) that can undermine the learning environment and instead combine reasonable physical security measures (locked doors and monitored public spaces) with efforts to enhance school climate, build trusting relationships, and encourage students and adults to report potential threats,” the groups stated. “If a school determines the need for armed security, properly trained school resource officers (SROs) are the only school personnel of any type who should be armed.”

Albion reached out to the Erie 1 BOCES for a policy on metal detectors, but Erie 1 does not have a policy on those.

Erie 1 sent a message to Albion, saying use of metal detectors is “a very complex issue involving searches and privacy issues.”

Metal detectors are very common at airports, courthouses and other public buildings, and are accepted “by and large” from the general population

Erie 1 said hand-held wand metal detectors can be used to search students’ book bags, purses and other personal belongings “in appropriate circumstances.”

Some districts use unscheduled random screenings that are effective in detecting and deterring possession of weapons, Erie 1 said in a message to Albion officials.

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Santa spreads holiday joy at Hoag Library

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 December 2019 at 8:07 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Santa visited children at Hoag Library on Monday evening, and led the group in some stretching before getting their Christmas wishes.

Santa meets Weston Burgio, 5, who wore a Santa hat to the event at the library.

Santa always reads a children’s book when he visits the Hoag Library. This year he is reading, “The Broken Ornament.”

There was a big group of children and their families to meet Santa, who will be at Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in Medina at 7 p.m. on Friday.

To see a video of Santa making his entrance at Hoag Library, click here.

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