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Holley Rotary welcomes new foreign exchange student

Staff Reports Posted 15 August 2018 at 12:18 pm

Photo courtesy of John Heise

HOLLEY – Holley Rotary Club President Bob Miller welcomes Janne Grasshoff of Berlin, Germany to the club’s meeting on Monday.

Janne is Rotary’s new inbound exchange student. Miller presented her with a club golf shirt and a club hat.

Janne will spend the school year in Holley. She follows Lara Braun of Switzerland as a Rotary exchange student at Holley. Rotary has welcomed exchange students to Holley for many years, and the Holley Club also sends Holley students to study abroad in other countries for a year.

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Holley Falls Bar & Grill has grand opening on Monday

Photos by Tom Rivers: Damian Alexin, center, and Jesse Seeler are ready to serve customers at the bar at the new Holley Falls Bar & Grill. The business has been serving some customers since Thursday with “soft openings” for the Holley business community and other friends of the Dan and Monica Seeler, owners of the restaurant. Holley Falls opens to the public on Monday at 4 p.m.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 August 2018 at 8:52 am

HOLLEY – A major transformation of a historic downtown building will celebrate a grand opening on Monday with the new Holley Falls Bar & Grill.

Dan and Monica Seeler have been working on the project the past five years. They have given the former Tagg’s Tavern a major overhaul.

“No one can believe it’s the same place,” Mr. Seeler said Saturday during a tour.

He owns Seeler Contracting and has been working on building projects for 45 years, since he was 16.

He and his wife are grateful to have the project complete, and they look forward to the new business drawing people to Holley, to see the waterfalls just down the street from Frisbee Terrace in the Public Square.

Dan and Monica Seeler wanted to create a destination restaurant for Holley.

“It’s been a team effort,” Mr. Seeler said on Saturday during a soft opening for the restaurant, which was open to some of his friends, suppliers and contractors who worked on the project, which includes five upstairs apartments.

Mr. Seeler said it has been a long journey, but he enjoyed the steady progress and giving a new purpose to the site.

“It’s been fun every little step, but I’m relieved because we’re done,” he said.

The Seelers’ sons, Jesse and Sean, also were critical in the construction and will be with the operation of the restaurant and bar.

The Seelers like how the building looks out on the Public Square, offering a great view of a quaint small town with its historic downtown, large American flag in the Public Square and a landmark former church building.

There are 135 seats, with 85 in the dining room and 50 in the bar.

The building used to have a wooden exterior when it was Tagg’s Tavern. The wood was removed to reveal cast iron columns in front. The Seelers needed to rebuild walls, paint them and make numerous other improvements for one of the most prominent buildings in Holley. They also added an awning.

Mr. Seeler led the construction efforts and his wife shaped the look of the restaurant and bar.

“Dan had the vision,” Mrs. Seeler said. “He does this for a living.”

The couple visited many restaurants in the region, and noted many popular establishments are in small towns, including the Red Osier in Stafford and Farmer’s Creekside Tavern & Inn in Le Roy.

The Seelers want to serve the Holley community, but they expect the new restaurant will draw well beyond the local community.

Mrs. Seeler wanted to create an upscale dining experience where everyone would feel welcome. She also wanted to celebrate the beauty of the Holley Waterfalls.

Retired Holley art teacher Tony Barry created a painting of the Holley Waterfalls that hangs prominently in the dining room.

Giant photographs by Kim Miller of the waterfalls, walking trails and canal system in Holley are mounted  on the walls.

The community has watched the improvements at the building the past five years, and residents have been eager for the business to open.

“It’s all of the little details,” Mrs. Seeler said. “It’s all the details and they take time.”

The Seelers have hired 32 people and then will add to the staff. They said the staff is hard-working and committed to making the new business a success. The Seelers have sensed the pride of the employees in getting the new business ready.

Beth Miller, 29, of Holley is the head chef. She holds a Crème Brulee dessert. The Holley graduate developed the menu at Holley Falls. She makes the meals and desserts from scratch.

She earned a culinary degree at Paul Smith’s College and worked five years as a pastry chef at an upscale lodge in Lake Placid. Most recently she was the head chef for a brewing company in the Town of Greece.

“This is an amazing opportunity,” she said about working for the Seelers. “You don’t get an opportunity like this everyday to open a restaurant from the very beginning.”

Nickie Poler is the front of the house manager. The restaurant has tablets where waiters and waitresses enter orders at the customers’ tables, and those orders are sent directly to the kitchen and bar, before the waiters and waitresses have left the table.

Poler said it will speed up service and decrease mistakes in ordering.

Holley Falls will be open for dinners from 4 to 9 p.m., with the bar menu available from 9 p.m. to midnight.

After a couple months, the Seelers said the Holley Falls will likely open for lunches from Thursdays through Sundays.

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Holley wins best-tasting water at Rochester competition, advances to State Fair

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 July 2018 at 9:47 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: The top of the Holley water tank on Route 237 is shown in this photo from Sept. 2, 2017.

HOLLEY – The Village of Holley won the 2018 Western Region Tap Water Taste Contest on Saturday at the City of Rochester Public Market.

Holley finished first, followed by the City of Rochester in second, Village of Albion in third, City of Jamestown in fourth, and Village of Arcade in fifth.

Holley advances to the State Finals which will be held Aug. 30 at the State Fair in Syracuse.

Last year the Village of Lyndonville won the state title for best-tasting water.

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Glass Barge draws crowds to Holley

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 July 2018 at 2:24 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – A big barge pulled into Holley this morning and has been drawing crowds to the Orleans County village today. The Corning Museum of Glass has a 2018 tour includes Holley and Medina in Orleans County, as well as other canal towns in New York.

Glassmakers are doing demonstration on the barge today. It heads west to Buffalo after being in Holley today, and will stop in Medina on Aug. 11-12. Tickets are free and can be ordered by clicking here.

The 30′ x 80′ canal barge is equipped with Corning’s patented all-electric glassmaking equipment. In addition to sharing the story of glassmaking in Corning, the Glass Barge tour emphasizes the continued role of the Erie Canal in shaping the state’s industry, culture and community. The canal was under construction 200 years ago and opened in 1825.

Jeff Mack, a glass artist for Corning, shapes molten glass. Corning has the barge on tour this year for the 150th anniversary celebration of the glass-making business in Corning.

A canal boat passes the barge while the glass artist put the glass in a 2,100-degree furnace.

Steve Gibbs is the narrator and director of the Glass barge. He addressed more than 100 people during an 11:45 presentation today. The barge is expected to draw about 1,000 people for demonstrations today.

The Glass Barge is joined by the Lois McClure, a replica of an 1862 canal barge, and the C.L. Churchill, a 1964 tugboat. They are pictured looking from the lift bridge in Holley.

The Champlain Maritime Museum operates the Lois McClure. The museum shares the story of 19th-century canal life and how materials were shipped on New York’s waterways.

Holley will be providing musical entertainment today from 5 to 7 p.m. by Joe Fiannaca & Wayne Robertson as well as 50-cent hot dogs and free ice cream for children.

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Glass Barge, replica canal sailing boat will be in Holley on Tuesday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 July 2018 at 11:49 am

Provided photo from Corning Museum of Glass: A barge with mobile glassmaking equipment will be in Holley for demonstrations on Tuesday.

HOLLEY – A barge with glassmaking equipment will stop in Holley on Tuesday as part of a summer-long tour along the Erie Canal.

The Corning Museum of Glass has a 2018 GlassBarge tour that is visiting Holley and Medina in Orleans County, as well as other canal towns in New York. The Glass barge will be at Holley’s Canal Park later today and will be open for demonstrations on Tuesday.

The Glass Barge will be in Medina, docking at Medina Canal Basin, on August 11-12.

In celebration of this pivotal journey, the Corning Museum is recreating the voyage with GlassBarge – a 30′ x 80′ canal barge equipped with Corning’s patented all-electric glassmaking equipment. In addition to sharing the story of glassmaking in Corning, the GlassBarge tour emphasizes the continued role of New York’s waterways in shaping the state’s industry, culture, and community.

GlassBarge begins it tour in Brooklyn on May 17 and will travel north on the Hudson River, then westward along the Erie Canal from Albany to Buffalo before making its way to the Finger Lakes. A ceremonial last leg of the trip will take place by land, concluding in Corning with a community-wide celebration on Sept. 22. (Besides stopping in Holley and Medina, GlassBarge will also be in Brockport from Aug. 17-19.)

File photo by Tom Rivers: The Lois McClure passes under the Main Street lift bridge in Albion in August 2013.

The barge will be joined by the Lois McClure, a replica of an 1862 canal barge, and the C.L. Churchill, a 1964 tugboat. They are both part of the permanent collection of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. The museum will share the story of 19th-century canal life and how materials were shipped on New York’s waterways. On the Erie Canal, GlassBarge will be moved by an historic tug from the fleet of the South Street Seaport Museum, connecting upstate and downstate by water.

Holley officials feel very fortunate to be a stop on the GlassBarge tour, Mayor Brian Sorochty said today.

He urged people to visit the GlassBarge, the Lois McClure and the C.L. Churchill tugboat.

The Glass Barge will be available for free glass blowing demonstrations from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Those interested in seeing a demonstration (about 30 minutes in duration) are encouraged to register for a timeslot in advance (click here). The 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. demonstrations are already full.

Limited additional seating is available for walk-up registration on the day of the event. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Holley will also be providing musical entertainment from 5 to 7 p.m. by Joe Fiannaca & Wayne Robertson as well as 50-cent hot dogs and free ice cream for children.

“I am very excited about this event and proud to have the opportunity to have it here in our community,” Sorochty said. “Please plan on attending this wonderful event.”

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Gaines and Murray both have Republican primaries on Sept. 13

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 July 2018 at 5:31 pm

There will be Republican primaries on Sept. 13 in Gaines and Murray. Both towns have one-year terms up for election on the Town Board.

In Gaines, Richard DeCarlo resigned from the Town Board. Town Supervisor Joe Grube and the other board members have decided not to appoint someone to fill the position, instead leaving it to voters this fall.

Corey Black and Joseph Gangi, Jr. have both submitted petitions to run for the position. Black has been endorsed by the Gaines Republican Committee.

In Murray, Town Supervisor Bob Miller and the Town Board have been appointed Neal Valentine to fill a vacancy on the board from the recent death of Ed Bower. Valentine will be challenged in a primary by Joe Sidonio to fill the remaining year of the term.

Murray also has many primaries for members of the Murray Republican Committee. Each district will elect two members to the committee.

District 1: Ed Morgan and Michael Mele are endorsed by the committee and are challenged by Cynthia Piedimonte and Gerald Ramsey.

District 2: Mark Porter and Douglas Heath are endorsed by the committee. Anthony Peone forced a primary.

District 3: Kathleen Case and Ron Vendetti are endorsed by the committee. Kerri Neale forced a primary.

District 4: Kimberly DeFrank is endorsed by the committee. Dirk Lammes Jr. and Joe Sidonio both submitted petitions to serve as members of the Republican Committee.

District 5: Cynthia Oliver and Lynn Wood are endorsed by the committee and are challenged by Arthur Knab and Joseph Kellenberger.

District 6: Robert Miller and Glenn DeFrank are endorsed by the committee. Kellie Gregoire forced a primary.

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After 5 years of renovations, Holley restaurant will open on Aug. 6

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 July 2018 at 4:45 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Holley Falls Bar & Grill is shown in this photo from early April. The business will open in Holley’s Public Square on Aug. 6.

HOLLEY – A project that has been five years in the making, with a major renovation in Holley’s Public Square, will open to the community on Aug. 6.

Dan and Monica Seeler have completed a transformation of the former Tagg’s Tavern in Holley. The Holley Falls Bar & Grill will open with 42 employees.

“We’re excited,” said Mr. Seeler. “We’re going to bring a nice destination to Orleans County.”

Holley Falls will be open for dinners from 4 to 9 p.m., with the bar menu available from 9 p.m. to midnight. Seeler said the bar won’t stay open until 2 a.m.

After a couple months, Mr. Seeler said he expects Holley Falls will open for lunches from Thursdays through Sundays.

In addition to the bar and restaurant, the Seelers renovated the upper levels to create apartments that are all rented.

The building used to have a wooden exterior when it was Tagg’s Tavern. The wood was removed to reveal cast iron columns in front. The Seelers needed to rebuild walls, paint them and make numerous other improvements for one of the most prominent buildings in Holley. They also added an awning.

They named the restaurant and bar for the Holley Falls, a popular spot that is located down Frisbee Terrace, a short walk from the restaurant.

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3 from Holley compete in national clay target championships

Posted 18 July 2018 at 9:16 am

Provided photo: Three members of the Holley Hawks Trap Team competed in the national championships, including, from left: Bradley Kingdollar, Tristan McFadden and Ethan Waldron.

Courtesy of Holley Hawks Trap Team

HOLLEY – Three members of the Holley High School clay target shooting team travelled to Mason, Mich. from July 11-15 to compete in the USA High School Clay Target League National Championships.

Bradley Kingdollar, Tristan McFadden and Ethan Waldron were invited based on their shooting averages throughout the spring season.

The three boys participated in the individual portion of the competition. Brad Kingdollar hit 93 out of 100 birds to rank #459 out of more than 1,200 kids competing. Ethan Waldron hit 92 targets to place #568 and Tristan McFadden hit 82 targets. The score needed to make the finals was 94.

The atmosphere at the event was one of sportsmanship and respect. The competitors handled themselves professionally and enjoyed meeting kids from across the country who share their passion of trapshooting.  Trapshooting is the safest and fast growing high school sport.  To date, there have been no injuries – no concussions and no broken bones.

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Holley village will discuss upcoming projects at meeting today

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 July 2018 at 1:01 pm

HOLLEY – The Village of Holley will go over four upcoming projects during a meeting today from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the American Legion on Wright Street.

The village will be replacing 4 miles of sidewalks and nearly 2 miles of water mains. Home Leasing LLC also will be renovating the old Holley High School and converting it into apartments and the village office building. That is a $17 million project.

In addition, the state Department of Transportation will be resurfacing parts of routes 237 and 31 in Holley.

The waterline project includes 9,050 linear feet and involves replacing 4- to 8-inch water mains with 8- to 12-inch water mains. That project includes portions of South Main, North Main, East Union, Park Place, East Albion and Geddes streets.

The meeting is a chance for residents to speak with project engineers and Village Board members.

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Christopher Mitchell acquires funeral homes in Albion, Holley and Middleport

Photo by Tom Rivers: David Mitchel and his son Josh are pictured by the Merrill-Grinnell funeral home in Albion at the corner of East State and Ingersoll streets. The property, the former home of Lt. Gov. Sanford Church, is one of Albion’s grandest homes.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 July 2018 at 6:11 pm

Merrill-Grinnell sites will be sold, while Christopher Mitchell will honor legacy of that business

ALBION – Christopher Mitchell Funeral Homes has expanded its local presence by acquiring the Merrill-Grinnell Funeral Homes in Albion and Holley and also the Bates, Wallace & Heath Funeral Home in Middleport.

The sale closed Dec. 22 with David Mitchell, Christopher Mitchell’s owner, buying the three sites from Service Corporation International. SCI is based in Houston, Texas and owns about 1,500 funeral homes in 45 states, eight Canadian provinces and Puerto Rico.

Mitchell learned the three local properties were for sale last year and pursued an acquisition. The two Merrill-Grinnell sites will be sold while Bates, Wallace & Heath has already been upgraded. Christopher Mitchell’s four full-time funeral directors are serving the Middleport funeral home as well.

One of the Christopher Mitchell funeral directors, Scott Schmidt, is a Roy-Hart graduate from Middleport.

“Middleport will get to know all of us,” Mitchell said.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Landis: Christopher Mitchell Funeral Homes has four full-time funeral directors, from left: Josh Mitchell, Scott Schmidt, Paula Fuller and David Mitchell.

Mitchell has worked 34 years as a funeral director while Paula Fuller has 24 years of experience, Scott Schmidt 21 years, and Mitchell’s son, Josh, six years. The younger Mitchell is the third generation to work as a funeral director. David’s father Rho was the first.

“I’m very blessed with the staff that I have,” Mitchell said. “And I feel very fortunate my son is with me. There aren’t too many third generation businesses.”

Christopher Mitchell and Merrill-Grinnell were long-time competitors in Albion and Holley. Christopher Mitchell has sites on Route 31 in both Albion and Holley. Mitchell said he has great respect for the Merrill-Grinnell history and will include the Merrill-Grinnell name on the Christopher Mitchell sign when the buildings are sold.

“Merrill-Grinnell did a lot of good in the community for many years,” Mitchell said. “We want to honor that longevity and legacy.”

Bates, Wallace & Heath will keep its name in Middleport. Christopher Mitchell has worked to update the site “from the ground up,” Mitchell said. It has completed masonry work, paint, new windows, HVAC, carpet and other upgrades – “a complete overhaul.”

There will be an open house in August for the community to see the improvements.

“Whether it’s for calling hours or a funeral service, you’re welcoming people into your home,” Mitchell said. “It’s service, service, service, the best that we can.”

Christopher Mitchell Funeral Homes started in 1957, and has remained a locally owned business, donating many thousands of dollars to numerous local causes each year. Christopher Mitchell was recognized with a national “Pursuit of Excellence Award” from the National Funeral Directors Association in 2016. The association represents about 10,000 funeral homes.

Snell Realtors in Albion has listed the Merrill-Grinnell building in Albion for $219,900. The property is zoned commercial and is 5,511 square feet.

The Holley site at 39 Geddes St. is expected to be listed soon.

Mitchell said it doesn’t make sense for Christopher Mitchell to operate two funeral homes in the same small town. Until they are sold, both sites are available to be used for funerals.

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