New business opens in Holley selling retro toys, vintage collectibles

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 January 2024 at 4:28 pm

Star Wars characters, G.I. Joes, Atari games and more

Photos by Tom Rivers: Jason Royce, owner of Retro World Toys, stands in his store at 32 Public Store with Slimer, one of the characters from the Ghostbusters movies.

HOLLEY – Step in Retro World Toys, and it’s a step back in time, from Star Wars figures from the 1970s and ’80s, Elvis cards, Atari video games, a Rocky III movie poster, Fisher-Price toys, and a lineup of G.I. Joes and Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos.

Jason Royce has been selling retro toys for several years, mostly online. He had a store in West Seneca but shut it down during the height of the Covid pandemic.

He wanted to open in a storefront again, and preferred a small town. The Barker resident looked at Medina and Albion. He picked Holley after going to an estate sale. When he rounded Route 31 and saw the Public Square, he felt like it would be the perfect fit for his business.

“I fell in love with it,” he said about Holley’s business district. “Seeing Holley, it felt like Hallmark.”

These wresting figures include one of Gene Okerlund, center, who was a long-time interviewer, announcer and television host for the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling.

Royce also said the business is close to Brockport, Rochester and Batavia, and can draw people from those communities.

Royce retired as a professional wrestler about two years ago after 25 years wrestling nationally and in more regional syndicates. He generally wrestled as a cowboy character.

With retro toys, he said the sense of nostalgia is a strong among collectors. He expects people will travel to come to the store to check out the merchandise.

The store opened at noon today for the first time and there was a ribbon cutting with leaders from the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce, Village of Holley officials and a representative from Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

There was a ribbon cutting today at noon for the new businesses in Holley. From left include Holley Mayor Mark Bower, Village Trustee John Morriss, Orleans County Chamber of Commerce President Dave Gagne, Retro World Toys owner Jason Royce, Vintage Me This owner Marla Harmon, Assemblyman Steve Hawley chief of staff Eileen Banker, and Darlene Hartway, Chamber of Commerce executive director.

Mayor Mark Bower said Retro World Toys and a companion business, Vintage Me This, are assets to the community.

“It’s great to have another storefront occupied in the village,” Bower said. “It’s unique.”

Royce’s partner Marla Harmon has opened Vintage Me This in the back part of the building. She sells dishes, glasses, zipper pouches, Pyrex stickers, key chains, tote bags and other “fun retro items.”

The businesses are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Marla Harmon also started her own business in the back of the store at 32 Public Square. She touts Vintage Me This as “Not your grandma’s antique store.”

Holley district honors girls soccer team, sports boosters after big season

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 January 2024 at 11:27 am

Photos courtesy of Holley Central School

HOLLEY – The Holley Board of Education last week presented a “Soaring to New Heights” award to members of the Holley’s varsity girls soccer team that won a Sectional title, Far West Regionals and advanced to the state tournament. It was an historic, record-setting season for the team which made its first trip to the state tournament for Holley girls soccer.

The district also thanked the Holley-Murray Joint Fire District for providing special fire truck escorts for the team bus in and out of town for the sectional and regional victories, and when the Hawks headed to states.

The Holley Transportation Department also commended for making many last-minute adjustments in order to provide spectator busses and get the team to their games.

The Holley Sports Boosters received a “Soaring To New Heights Award” for going above and beyond supporting the district athletic program, the student fans and especially the girls varsity team during the fall season.

“Sports Boosters paid for the majority of student ticket fees throughout girls soccer sectionals/regionals which lifted a huge burden for students,” district officials said in presenting the award last week. “Having a student spectator section supporting them at these games made all the difference for the team. This was on top of keeping the concession stands staffed at football and soccer games throughout the season.”

Bartalo to retire June 30 after 6 years as Holley district superintendent

Photo by Tom Rivers: Brian Bartalo, Holley school district superintendent, speaks during the June 24, 2023 graduation ceremony.

Posted 18 January 2024 at 10:00 am

Press Release, Holley Central School

HOLLEY – At the Jan. 8 Holley Board of Education meeting, Brian Bartalo announced his plan to retire at the end of the 2023-24 school year as Holley’s district superintendent.

His last day with the district will be June 30, 2024. Bartalo began his role at Holley in July 2018.

“It has been my distinct honor and privilege to serve as Holley’s superintendent,” Bartalo said. “The staff, families, and especially the students, have been tremendous to work with and have made all the difference for me finishing my career here. I am thankful to have been a part of this wonderful learning community and contribute to creating the best district possible for the students we serve. I look forward to seeing all the great things that will be accomplished here in Holley.”

Bartalo’s retirement comes after a 36-year long career in public education. In 1988, he began his career as a special education teacher at Merton Williams Middle School in the Hilton Central School District, where he taught and coached until 1998. For the next 19 years he worked at Hilton High School. He served for one year as the dean of students, then as assistant principal from 1999 until 2005. From 2005 to 2018, he served as principal and International Baccalaureate head of school.

“The leadership Brian has shown these past six years has steadied our district and put it on a path to success,” said Holley Board of Education President Anne Winkley. “His passion for education and building a welcoming environment in which our students and staff can flourish has been evident from day one. We feel fortunate Holley is where Brian chose to end his career and wish him the best in his retirement.”

The Holley Board of Education will begin the process of hiring a new superintendent by working with Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES District Superintendent Jo Anne Antonacci as search consultant. The Board will formally appoint Antonacci at the next board meeting on Monday, Feb. 12.

Murray puts new pumper-tanker, refurbished rescue truck into service

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 January 2024 at 3:58 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Murray Joint Fire District Chief Rick Cary, left, and Mark Porter, the fire district chairman, are shown with the district’s new fire engine. The pumper-tanker carries 1,000 gallons of water and also has a capacity to pump 1,500 gallons a minute.

It replaces a pumper-tanker from 1992. The new truck was manufactured by Spartan in South Dakota. The fire district picked a white color for the truck, instead of red as part of an rebranding effort for the joint district, which includes the former Holley and Fancher-Hulberton-Murray districts.

Murray also has a refurbished rescue truck in service that functions as a mini-pumper. It holds 300 gallons and has a capacity to pump 1,500 gallons a minute.

Voters in the Murray Joint Fire District on Feb. 21, 2023 approved spending up to $900,000 for the new pumper-tanker fire truck and a refurbished rescue truck that will serve as a mini-pumper – with $680,000 for the new pumper-tanker and $220,000 to convert the rescue truck into a mini-pumper.

Mark Porter, the district chairman, said the joint fire district had $200,000 in reserves towards the trucks, and will borrow about $700,000 through a bond.

New owner at Transit Tire in Murray

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Transit Tire Sales site on Ridge Road in Murray will reopen on Friday as Joe’s Tires. The business will be owned by Joe and Heather Tomasino of Kendall. Pictured from left include employee Matt Eden, Joe’s dad Ron Tomasino, Heather Tomasino, and employee Curtis Russell.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 December 2023 at 6:22 pm

MURRAY – A business that was a mainstay in Murray for about 45 years will reopen on Friday with a new owner.

Joe and Heather Tomasino are taking over the Transit Tires Sales business. They will rename it Joe’s Tires.

Phil and Lenora Portnoy opened the business in 1978. It first operated on Transit Road in Albion before going to 15753 Ridge Road about 30 years ago. They retired from the business and closed in June.

“The Portnoys put their blood, sweat and tears in this business,” said Heather Tomasino, who is a special education teacher at Kendall. “They provided a service to the community. It’s been a staple.”

Joe Tomasino is eager to open Joe’s Tires at the Transit Tire site at 15753 Ridge Road. He will soon have a new inventory of tires.

The Tomasinos said the locally owned tire business has been missed in the community the past six months. Joe was a long-time customer at Transit Tire, especially since he opened his used car business about 2 ½ years ago on Route 104 in Spencerport. He will continue to operate Joe’s Cars in Spencerport while upgrading the Transit Tire site.

“We got a lot coming,” he said today. “We have high hopes.”

Tomasino, 44, has been fixing cars since he was 13. He was a corrections officer for 10 years while working for different dealerships. The Kendall native and resident said he is grateful to have his own business close to home.

Some familiar faces will be part of Joe’s Tires. Curtis Russell worked for Transit Tire for 29 years. He is back at the site working for Tomasino. So is Matt Eden.

Russell said the business has an easy recipe for repeat customers and success: “provide a really great service at an affordable price.”

He said the Portnoys were always upfront on prices “with no hidden costs.”

Tomasino said the business will be open Monday through Saturday. For more information, contact Joe’s Tires at (585) 283-4028.

Holley author featured twice in Christmas Chicken Soup for the Soul book

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 December 2023 at 11:56 am

David Hull has now written stories for 28 different books in the series

(Left) This is the cover of the latest Chicken Soup for the Soul book, featuring 101 tales about the Christmas holiday, including two written by David Hull of Holley. (Right) File photo from 2018 shows David Hull holding two of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books that include a story he wrote.

HOLLEY – David Hull is a prolific contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. He has written stories that are featured in 28 of the books.

The latest book with a Christmas theme include two of his stories. “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Time for Christmas! 101 Tales of Holiday Joy, Love and Gratitude” totals 339 pages. There are now more than 300 Chicken Soup for the Soul tiles that combined have sold more than 110 million copies and been translated into nearly 50 languages.

Hull, 64, is a retired preschool teacher. He has a story in the Christmas book in a section about Holiday Hijinks. In “The Separation,” he writes about his mother not being happy that Hull and sister weren’t visiting for the holidays. She tricked them into thinking she and her husband were getting a separation, which prompted her children to make an emergency trip home – for the holidays.

In a section about Gratitude and Grace, Hull has a story, “Gramma’s Good China.” Hull shares how his father tried to reconnect with him after leaving the family for 16 years. Hull wasn’t happy about seeing his dad and refused to shake his hand or converse with him in that first meeting.

Hull’s grandmother urged him to let go of the bitterness and anger. Hull reached out to his father, invited him for Thanksgiving and they ate on Grandma’s good China, dishes that were only used on special occasions. Hull said the dinner and reconnection with his father helped to soothe his hard feelings.

Hull grew up in Brockport. He did a reading at the Lift Bridge Book Shop in Brockport on Dec. 9, sharing some of his stories from the Chicken Soup series.

Hull said he checks the Chicken Soup website for future book themes and also gets emails from them about topics. He sends in submissions and said he is accepted about 50 percent of the time.

“If you get rejected you have to try again,” he said.

The most popular Chicken Soup books tend to be humorous ones, and books about pets, Hull said.

“At heart I’m really a writer,” he said. “I write quite a bit. I really enjoy seeing my stories get in print.”

Hull studied English in college and earned a degree in education. He worked 28 years as a teacher at the Brockport Child Development Center at Brockport State College. He retired about a decade ago.

The latest Chicken Soup book is one of several in the series earmarked to raise funds for nonprofits. Royalties from this book go to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program.

Holley places 200 wreaths on veterans’ graves at Hillside Cemetery

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 December 2023 at 8:46 am

Provided photos

HOLLEY – Wreaths are placed on veterans’ graves on Saturday during Wreaths Across America. Holley for the first time participated in the event, which is celebrated in about 4,000 communities across the country.

The Holley Rotary Club took the lead in raising the funding and organizing the event at Hillside Cemetery. The club set a goal for 100 wreaths, but doubled that with the 200 on Saturday.

Kim DeFrank, a Holley resident and the Orleans County treasurer, was among about 35 volunteers who placed wreaths at graves.

Craig Lane, an Air Force veteran, spoke at the ceremony before the wreaths were laid.

Wreaths are set at a veterans’ memorial at the cemetery. The memorial includes five granite etched stones for the Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard. The memorial has a pentagon-shaped concrete base and a 25-foot flagpole.

Laura Bentley, right, of the Holley Rotary Club pushed the wreaths in Holley. She is joined by Kerry Lane in getting the out of a box. Bentley said the group of volunteers were pleased to be out honoring veterans.

Hillside Cemetery has a new look with the wreaths at the veterans’ graves.

Medina placed 1,008 wreaths, with most at Boxwood Cemetery. In Lyndonville, about 450 wreaths will be placed at Lynhaven Cemetery on Housel Avenue in Lyndonville with others put at Yates Center Cemetery, Robin Hill Estate, the Greenman Road Cemetery, Lott Cemetery on Angling Road and a cemetery on Marshall Road.

Lyndonville first joined the Wreaths Across America effort in 2019. Medina has been doing it since 2013.

Murray elects 2 fire commissioners, approves capital reserve accounts

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 December 2023 at 8:22 am

MURRAY – Voters in the Murray Joint Fire District elected two fire commissioners to five-year terms on Tuesday, and also approved creating capital reserve accounts.

Chris Middleton was the top vote-getter for “Commissioner A” with 46 votes, to 27 for Tom Knight and 22 for Dave Knapp, an incumbent and original commissioner for the joint fire district.

For Commissioner B, David Smith was elected with 56 votes, followed by 37 for Joseph Morlino and 4 for Greg Johnston.

Voters also approved a proposition to create reserve accounts with 79 yes and 16 no.

The fire district will establish repair and replacement capital reserve accounts for apparatus and motor vehicles, equipment and buildings.

Holley celebrates tree-lighting, adds more features to holiday setting in Public Square

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 December 2023 at 8:14 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – A crowd gathers at the Public Square for Holley’s annual tree-lighting ceremony on Saturday evening.

Holley Mayor Mark Bower reads many names of residents honored with memory bulbs on the tree before the lights were turned on.

Holley added a large Santa statue to the Public Square that will be out during the Christmas season greeting people.

Many of the street lights in the Square also have red and green bulbs to add to the holiday ambiance.

The village put in two tall ornament stackers by the community Christmas tree.

There is also an 8-1/2-foot wide ornament arch in front of the old Holley High School, which are now apartments and the village offices.

Holley students in grades four to six sang Christmas carols before the tree was lighted on Saturday.

There also was an inflatable igloo for people to go inside and get a photo.

The Holley Community Free Library hosted a Christmas social after the tree-lighting.

Benefit on Saturday in Kendall backs Paisley, 2-year-old with health challenges

Provided photos: Paisley stays active despite frequent doctor and hospital visits. Ashley Nenni holds her daughter. There will be a benefit at the Kendall Fire Hall from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, an event that includes breakfast with Santa.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 December 2023 at 9:36 am

KENDALL – Ashley Nenni is grateful for her 2-year-old daughter, Paisley. Despite her health challenges, Paisley shows lots of spunk and love.

Paisley was born with her small intestine outside her body. She was also seven weeks premature. Her small intestines were removed and Paisley only had 15 centimeters left.

Ashley Nenni and Josh Daniels are shown with their daughter, Paisley.

She has a central line and g-tube surgically implanted to receive most of her nutrition. With the central line comes many infections, and hospitalizations for Paisley.

Paisley has Short Bowel Syndrome or “Short Gut Syndrome,” where the body is unable to absorb enough nutrients from food due to the massive loss of intestine. The small intestine is where most of the nutrients are absorbed during digestion.

The community will have a benefit for Paisley and her family on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at the Kendall Fire Hall. There will be breakfast with Santa for $15 for adults and $7 for kids ages 3 to 10. Kids under age 3 are free. Tickets will sold at the door. The food is catered by The Grove 1848. Music will be provided by DJ Mike Neale.

Ashley Nenni, 25, and Paisley’s father Josh Daniels appreciate the community’s support.

Nenni grew up in Holley and lives in Waterport. She said she often takes Paisley to two or three doctor’s appointments each week, and there are frequent hospitalizations due to the infections.

Ashley said Paisley has adapted to the condition because it is all she has ever known. She even cleans the g-tube.

Paisley in February 2023 had her small intestine extended to 45 centimeters. Paisley is working her way off from her Total Parenteral Nutrition.

The family is grateful for the benefit on Saturday. Ashley said they face expenses for driving to doctor appointments and frequent hospital stays, and some missed work.

The benefit is planned by Sue Dann and Paisley’s grandmother Tammy Nenni. There are almost 200 baskets to be raffled and a signed cleat from Tre’Davious White of the Buffalo Bills.

Ashley’s dad is Rollie Nenni, the retired Albion and Holley police chief. He was also fire chief in Holley.

Ashley said her father is a stable presence in what can be often stressful times navigating the healthcare for her daughter.

“He helps to calm me down,” she said.

Historical marker will honor 9 ‘Holley Boys’ killed in Vietnam War

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 November 2023 at 1:35 pm

Provided photo

HOLLEY – Melissa Ierlan, Clarendon town historian, stands next to a new historical marker that will go in front of the former Holley High School in the spring.

The marker notes the ultimate sacrifice of nine young men from Holley who were killed during the Vietnam War: John P. Davis, David D. Case, Ronnie P. Sisson, David P. States, Howard Bowen, Gary E. Bullock, Gary L. Stymus, George W. Fischer Jr. and Paul S. Mandracchia. Holley had one of the highest per capita casualty rates in the country during the Vietnam War.

The marker is planned to be dedicated in front of the school on Memorial Day in 2024. The young men attended school there. The building is now used for apartments and also the Village of Holley offices.

Home Leasing, owner of the property, agreed to allow the sign be installed in the front yard of the building, Ierlan said.

Funding from the Elizabeth Dye Curtis Foundation, Clarendon Historical Society and Murray-Holley Historical Society.

Nicholas D’Amura, a middle/high school history teacher at Holley, and his students helped with the wording on the sign.

“This marker is to commemorate the nine young men who lost their lives in service to their country during the conflict in Vietnam. The ‘Holley Boys’ attended classes here at the high school in the heart of the village before war called them to adulthood. They grew up with stories of their fathers from battlefields past, and each of them served with distinction when the great battle of their age arrived.

“Holley sent her finest when called.”

The marker ends with a quote from Abraham Lincoln: “I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”

Murray approves nearly $53K contract with Monroe Ambulance for 2024

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 November 2023 at 8:29 am

MURRAY – The Town Board voted unanimously to approve a $52,860 contract with Monroe Ambulance on Monday for the Rochester-based company to provide ambulance services in the community.

Murray is one of seven towns in a $300,000 contract with Monroe Ambulance for 2024. The seven towns are divvying up the cost based on a percentage of call volume.

Murray is paying the second-biggest bill after the Town of Albion at $155,820. The other shares of the $300,000 include Barre at $13,740, Carlton at $22,350, Clarendon at $25,350, Gaines at $12,030 and Kendall at $17,850.

Murray’s bill is up from $30,600 in 2023, the first year the town had to pay for ambulance service.

Murray is at least the third of the seven towns to approve the contract, following Barre and Albion.

Murray Town Board members said the new contract is conditional on all seven towns approving the agreement.

100 sign cards at Holley library, expressing appreciation for veterans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 November 2023 at 3:03 pm

Photos courtesy of Sandra Shaw, director of Community Free Library

HOLLEY – The Community Free Library was very happy to host a program called “Christmas Cards for Vets” on Veterans Day this past Saturday.

More than 100 people visited the library on Saturday and signed more than 400 cards that will be delivered to the NYS Veterans Home in Batavia and the VA Medical Center in Batavia. Assemblyman Steve Hawley was among the community members who attended and signed cards.

Elected officials from Holley, Murray and Clarendon also signed messages of appreciation for veterans.

Many veterans, and scouts from Troop 59 and 62 also were part of the effort, and so was Holley Police Chief Bob Barton.

 Sandra Shaw, library director, thanked the community for their time and heartfelt messages in signing the cards.

Holley honors Sabir Khan for his service to community

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 November 2023 at 8:34 am

Khan ran Holley Pharmacy, now working with developer to bring in Dollar General with groceries

HOLLEY – Holley Mayor Mark Bower, left, presents the Mayor Vaughn Award to Sabir Khan during Tuesday’s Village Board meeting. In back are village trustees Rochelle Moroz and Jessica MacClaren. Khan is the sixth recipient of the award which was started by Holley’s mayor from 1976 to 1982.

Khan retired as a pharmacist and owner of Holley Pharmacy in 2014 after nearly 30 years in the village. He has continued to own the building for the former Jubilee and Save-A-Lot grocery store and is close to selling it to Dollar General’s real estate company. The deal is expected to close this month and would bring a DG Market to Holley. Those stores are Dollar Generals with fresh produce and more grocery items.

Mayor Bower said Khan is being recognized by the village for his long-term commitment to the community.

“He has always kept the best interests of Holley at heart,” Bower said.

Khan came to Holley in 1985, preferring to own his own business in a smaller community. He had worked for a large pharmacy chain in Binghamton, Batavia and then in Rochester.

In Holley, he expanded the pharmacy to deliveries, including local customers in the Holley and Kendall area. He would expand that to serving nursing home and healthcare sites. He had drivers in four vans delivering scripts from Medina to Palmyra.

Khan sold the Holley Pharmacy to Luke Miller in 2014. Miller started with Khan at age 16, stocking shelves and cleaning. He eventually became a pharmacist and owner of the business.

“He took me in at 16, gave me a job and taught me everything I know about pharmacy,” Miller said.

Miller sold the pharmacy in 2021 to CDS Life Transitions. He remains the manager.

Khan said he is grateful to the Holley community for making the pharmacy a success and for trusting him for so many years.

“I feel blessed that this town has been so good to me,” he said.

Khan lives in Brockport but spends the winters in Florida.

Sabir Khan said he is thankful for a career in Holley where the community supported his business. “You do your work honestly,” he said about his business philosophy. “You have to do the right thing by the people.”