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Holley Flag Day tradition includes big parade, citizenship awards

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 June 2019 at 5:24 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Maizy Ehrhardt, a Holley fifth-grader, is all decked out in red, white and blue during the elementary school’s Flag Day celebration this morning.

More than 500 elementary students walked from the elementary school to the Historical Society depot past the Public Square. Students sang patriotic songs and the elementary school band also performed the “Star Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful,” and “My Country ’Tis of Thee.”

Lindsay Cooper, a kindergarten teacher, joined her students in wearing red, white and blue on the patriotic day.

Holley has been celebrating Flag Day with a parade through the community for 62 years. It is one the highlights of the year for the school and community.

Ryker Knight, a fifth-grader and a Boy Scout, served as one of the student emcees for the program today.

The program included the presentation of the Catherine B. Press awards, which went to fifth graders, Grant Smith and Caydence Merkley. This is the highest good citizen award at the school district. It was started by Catherine Press, a school secretary. The award goes to students who display character, respect, citizenship, kindness and responsibility.

A student in each classroom was recognized with a “Good Citizen” award. Those students include:

• Pre-kindergarten – Keyana Vicens, Nora Restivo and Emma Marquez.

• Kindergarten – Noah Heller, Isabella Roselli, Alivia Dorland and Aryanna Mogle.

• First grade – Yliazit Cortes, Lauren Fredendall and Savanna Antram.

• Second grade – Jayden Miller, Angel Vazquez-Mendoza, Carsyn Mogle, Cayden Vangelder and Zakkerya Jenks.

• Third grade – Brianna Pellegrino, Max Milazzo and Kailyn Robinson.

• Fourth grade – Haidynn Mullins, Oliver Fox and Isla Schultz.

• Fifth grade – Landen Goodrich, Ryker Knight and Grant Smith.

• Sixth grade – Chris Mosier, Frances Caraballo-Vazquez, Cora Hudzinski and Donovan Hendrick-Hayes.

These students make their way down Route 31 during the parade.

Albion and Holley Police Chief Roland Nenni, left, and Albion Lt. David Mogle helped direct traffic during the parade that passed through the intersection of routes 31 and 237.

These students wave flags while walking through the Public Square.

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Simulation sends message to students about tragic results from drunk driving

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 June 2019 at 3:56 pm

‘I want you guys to fun tonight but please make good decisions.’ – Roland Nenni, Albion and Holley police chief

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Peyton Sargent lays on the front hood of a vehicle this morning during a drunk driving simulation at Holley Junior-Senior High School.

Peyton and her classmates have prom this evening at The Plantation House in Spencerport. First responders in the Holley community created the simulation this morning to send a message about the sometimes fatal consequences of drunk driving.

The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is considered the “100 Deadliest Days,” the period when teen driver-involved crashes rise 14 percent compared to the rest of the year.

Braden Ferranti was a passenger in a vehicle involved in the crash. A Holley police officer, Dillon Black, checks on him. Holley students were told that Ferranti and Kory Puente both suffered serious injuries.

Cade Aina was the driver in the mock accident. Here he is given a test to see if he is impaired. George Barton is the Holley police officer.

Scott Schmidt, an Orleans County coroner and funeral director, was called to the scene. He would declare Peyton deceased and helped put her body in a hearse.

Rachel Sargent, Peyton’s mother, is giving the tragic news about her daughter. Rachel said she reacted with grief because she wanted to send a message to her daughter’s classmates about how serious the consequences can be to driving drunk or impaired.

After the crash simulation, students went into the school auditorium where there was a mock arraignment and sentencing for Aina. Joanne Best, the public defender is at left. Dillon Black, the Holley police officer, leads Aina away in handcuffs.

If this was a real case, Aina would have been charged with first-degree vehicular manslaughter, which carries a maximum of 15 years in prison, and vehicular assault, which has a seven-year maximum.

Orleans County Court Judge Sanford Church used to be Aina’s Little League coach in Albion. He said Aina had a spotless record until the crash. The judge asked the students how many would sentence Aina to the maximum of 15 years in prison. No one put up their hand. The students favored a lesser sentence and Church said he would likely give someone in a similar case a sentence of 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison.

Aina, in that scenario, might not be out of prison until his mid-20s and then would be on parole with supervision. He would see his job prospects severely diminished and would have to pay court fines and attorney fees, Church said.

Roland Nenni, the Albion and Holley police chief, urged students “to be courageous” and not ride with a drunk driver or someone impaired by drugs. In back are Judge Sanford Church, District Attorney Joe Cardone, and Public Defender Joanne Best.

People impaired or drunk shouldn’t drive and Nenni told them to call 911 if they feel stranded and can’t get a ride. Nenni said he has authorized Holley and Albion police officers to give teens a ride if they are impaired or drunk, or don’t want to ride with someone who shouldn’t be driving. Nenni said they wouldn’t face criminal charges in those instances when they need help. (Albion also has its prom tonight at Hickory Ridge Country Club in Holley.)

The police chief is also a former Holley fire chief chief. He has responded to many fatal accidents. Those tragedies happen too often because of bad choices from drivers, Nenni said.

“I want you guys to have fun tonight but please make good decisions,” he told the Holley students.

District Attorney Joe Cardone also told students he has prosecuted many cases where a drunk driver killed someone or caused serious injuries, “due to a few moments of a bad decision.”

“Maybe you think it can’t be you, but it can be you,” Cardone said.

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Scholarship established in honor of Holley soccer player known for intensity on field

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 June 2019 at 1:20 pm

‘He stayed close with everybody. He was a social butterfly. Floyd was the center of everybody’s social circle.’

Floyd Hanes

HOLLEY – Floyd Hanes was a key player in Holley’s state championship boys soccer teams in 1990 and 1991. He was intense, and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with the other team.

Off the field, he was a different person, with a quick smile and many friends.

Hanes died unexpectedly at age 43 on May 24. Many of his grieving friends and family have raised more than $4,000 for a memorial scholarship in his name.

Hanes wore number 12 for Holley as the team’s right wing and striker. His friend Ben Schiavone urged people to donate $12 in honor of Hanes for the scholarship. Many gave $12. Some gave $48, to represent $12 multiplied by the four years he played on varsity.

Others gave $112 with one donor at $512. The school district will award two scholarships at the June 29 graduation. The scholarships re $512 each and will go to graduating seniors who played soccer in a manner like Hanes, a fast and ferocious style of play.

“He played so hard,” said Schiavone, his Holley teammate for two seasons. “He was the enemy of the other team. He was so intense.”

Hanes played soccer for two seasons after Holley at Monroe Community College. He continued to play in soccer leagues and also for a semi=pro football team in Florida.

After about seven years in Florida, he moved back to Holley to be closer to his family.

“He stayed close with everybody,” Schiavone said today. “He was a social butterfly. Floyd was the center of everybody’s social circle.”

Sam Zelent, a school social worker, graduated in 1993, a year before Hanes did from Holley. They remained friends after school. She has been helping to collect the money for Hanes’ scholarship

“I have been getting money from people that I have not heard from in over 20 years, but were impacted by Floyd’s death,” Zelent said. “Floyd was truly one of a kind. He was so incredibly sweet and he loved soccer.”

The scholarship donations continue to climb, with Zelent providing updates on her Facebook page

“That is amazing to me, and a testimony to the generosity of those who loved him,” she said about the donations. “Floyd was loved by so many. This is so noticeable with the amazing amount of money collected for the scholarship in his name.”

The description of the new Floyd Hanes Scholarship says it was created in loving memory by friends and family of Floyd, a 1994 Holley Graduate who proudly wore number 12 on the Soccer Field. “It will be awarded to the senior who best represent all aspects of Floyd: his loving and caring nature towards others and his intensity and fire on the soccer field.”

To donate to the scholarship even at $12, checks to the scholarship can be mailed to Penny Cole, Holley Central School, 3800 North Main St., Holley NY 14470 or to Jeana Hayes at 16480 Telegraph Rd., Holley NY 14470, through Venmo @samantha-zelent, or PayPal at

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Holley June Fest features parade, lots of activities

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 June 2019 at 10:16 pm

Photos courtesy of John Heise

HOLLEY – The Holley community celebrated its June Fest today with activities throughout the day, including a parade from the school through the Public Square.

The top photo shows a group from Enchanted Princess Parties of Rochester. The characters were available to pose for photos after the parade.

This was the first time the group joined in a community parade.

“We had so much fun,” said Jennifer Norton, owner of Enchanted. “The kids were all so happy. The town did a great job with the event.”

Kerri Neale, center, joined the Holley Rod and Gun Club in promoting the club’s 100th anniversary this year.

Cub Scouts toss candy to spectators along the parade route.

The combined Holley-Kendall Marching Band gave an energetic performance.

The Myron Holley Garden Club was among many community organizations in the parade.

The Kendall Lawn Chair Ladies remain a popular presence in the local parade.

The Heads Over Heels dance group joined the parade processional.

After the parade, there were many activities at the canal park and trail, including wine and beer tasting, bands, a climbing wall, face painting, balloon twisting, a chicken barbecue and other craft and food vendors. Fireworks were scheduled to cap the day.

The festival began with yoga at the falls followed by the annual 5K Jim Ferris Memorial Race.

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Holley wins three 1st place awards at Darien Lake Music Festival

Photos courtesy of Holley Jr/Sr High Band: Pictured from left Leigha Walker, Megan Donohue, and Evan Valentine are shown with the awards won by the Holley bands and choir.

Staff Reports Posted 28 May 2019 at 12:55 pm

DARIEN –  The Holley Junior-Senior High School on Friday sent three groups to compete in the Music Festival held at Darien Lake. Groups competed in High School Mixed Choir, Concert Band Class A and Concert Band Class AA.

The Holley High School Concert Choir received first place in the High School Mixed Choir Class, beating six other choirs, with a score of 97.5.

Holley HS Concert Choir Director Kelly Marzano warms up with students before their performance at Darien Lake.

The Holley Middle School Concert Band received first place in the Concert Band A Class, topping seven other bands, with a score of 96.4.

The Holley High School Concert Band also received first place in the Concert Band AA Class, beating eight other bands, with a score of 98.3. The Holley High School Concert Band also received the Grand Judges Award for being the highest scoring ensemble at their performance site.

The Holley Bands and Choir were given a warm welcome home by a police and fire truck escort from Holley and surrounding area fire departments.

Pictured from left include Callie Updike, Evan Valentine, Band Director Zach Busch and Thomas Dobri of the Holley HS Concert Band.

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Holley teachers praise outgoing Board of Education president

Photos by Tom Rivers: Brenda Swanger is hugged by Melanie Montague, president of the Holley Teachers Association, during last week’s Board of Education meeting.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 May 2019 at 9:44 am

Brenda Swanger helped lead overhaul of district campus

HOLLEY – Brenda Swanger is retiring from the Holley Board of Education on June 30, following six years as BOE president and 15 years of service total as a volunteer member of the board.

She was praised during last week’s BOE meeting by leaders of the Holley Teachers Association. Melanie Montague, the HTA president, said Swanger has always been “pro teacher and pro student.” She also worked hard to communicate with teachers and staff, Montague said.

She and HTA Vice President Kathy Monks surprised Swanger and presented her with flowers during the Board of Education meeting.

“I love all of you,” Swanger told the HTA leaders. “I love the staff.”

The school campus has been radically upgraded during her tenure with $32 million of upgrades. The middle-high school was largely untouched for about 40 years until a big renovation project.

The school was built in the early 1970s in the “open classroom” model with most of the classrooms in the center of the school building without access to the windows and natural light on the outer walls.

The $32 million in improvements were spread throughout the district campus. There is a new transportation facility for buses, a new athletic field and all-weather track. The school buildings have new roofs.

The junior-high school received the most attention, with the cafeteria moved out of the instruction portion of the school. That reduces noise and disruption for teachers and students. The hallways have new lockers.

The district created an inner light corridor some all classrooms now have access to existing light. The corridor includes many plants. A new cafeteria is in an addition with big windows that let in lots of light. The district also added a “light corridor” in the center of the school to allow natural light for classrooms in the interior.

Brenda Swanger tears up during the meeting last week. She admitted she can be “an emotional wreck.” She is pleased with the progress at the school district.

Swanger said she is most proud of students that excel in the classroom and through BOCES, sports and community service.

At last week’s meeting, two students were recognized for winning first in a skills competition through BOCES. The humanities class shared about a booklet they created highlighting tourist attractions in Orleans County. Four teachers also were awarded tenure.

“Seeing all of this going on tonight shows us that we are moving in the right direction,” Swanger told the crowd at the meeting. “This is a wonderful place.”

Robin Silvis, a member of the board, also praised Swanger for her leadership for the school district, calling her a “great communicator.”

“You have done a fantastic job,” Silvis said.

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County planners say no to revised Murray law for special events at farms

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 May 2019 at 3:33 pm

ALBION – The Orleans County Planning Board voted again to not support a local law from Murray to regulate special events at farms and wineries.

The town presented the local law to the Orleans County Planning Board in March, and the county didn’t back it.

The town revised the law, and the Planning Board, in a 10-5 vote on Thursday evening, didn’t support approval for the Murray law.

The board said it was concerned that feedback from the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, sent on Thursday morning, wasn’t reflected in the regulations.

The town is trying to allow more farm operations to host special events, operations that currently don’t fall within protections from Ag & Markets and the Right to Farm law. Those regulations allow farm practices and sales if the events directly promote products from the farm.

Murray wants to allow Kateland Farms to legally be able to host weddings and special events. The miniature horse farm on Lake Road has hosted weddings in recent years, but the use doesn’t meet the current zoning for a residential-agriculture district.

Hosting weddings also may not promote miniature horse “products.” Murray is trying to give Kateland an option in the local law for hosting the events, while also including language for restrictions and controls to protect neighbors from noise after-hours and other impacts from the operation.

“We believe we are expanding the opportunities in the Town of Murray to host events,” Paul Hendel, a member of the Planning Board, told the other board members on Thursday.

Hendel also is a member of the Murray Town Board. The town had a public hearing on the proposed law on April 9 and received lots of pushback from other farms, who are concerned they will need a special use permit from the town for their events.

Amy Machamer, co-owner of Hurd Orchards, said that permit, requiring approval every year (now every two years with the revised proposed law), creates uncertainty for farms and leaves the approval to a code enforcement officer who might not fully understand the businesses or may not grant approval for political reasons.

Hendel said the town’s proposal wouldn’t affect farms that currently meet Ag and Markets’ standards for special events.

“This will open the door of opportunity that is currently closed,” he said about operations like Kateland.

But Machamer said the proposed law needs to clearly say the farms that meet Ag & Markets’ standards are exempt and won’t need a special use permit.

The staff at the County Planning Department recommended the Murray law be approved. County staff said it provides a way for the town to address neighbor concerns about noise, traffic by the side of roads and other issues.

Kevin Johnson of Clarendon, a member of the Planning Board, said he worries the town law would have a negative effect of farm markets and wineries, especially through the uncertainty of needing a special use permit.

The Murray Town Board can still approve the local law, without the county’s backing.

(Editor’s note: This article was updated to reflect that the County Planning Board didn’t have enough votes to support Murray’s proposed law, which differs from the first version of the article which said the board recommended denial for the referral.)

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4 Holley teachers granted tenure

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 May 2019 at 2:03 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Crystal Gurney, right, reacts after being recognized at the Holley Board of Education on Tuesday for receiving tenure. She works as an ESL teacher in the elementary school and translates into Spanish many reports, forms and other documents from the school district.

Karri Schiavone, left, is the principal of the elementary school.  She noted that Gurney is a National Board Certified Teacher. She also is a Holley graduate.

Emily Harms, an ESL teacher in the middle-high school, is congratulated for attaining tenure. Susan Cory (left) is the middle-high school principal. She said Harms, a Holley graduate, is an asset to the district.

Kristina Rich, a speech pathologist, in the elementary school also has been approved for tenure. Karri Schiavone, the school principal, said Rich has been very effective and developed a following with students.

Evinn Meadow, a middle-high school art teacher, also attained tenure, but she was unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting.

The tenure process used to take three years, but has been lengthened by the state to now be four years.

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2 from Holley win state SkillsUSA competitions

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 May 2019 at 9:30 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Two Holley seniors won first place in the state-wide SkillsUSA competition last month in Syracuse.

Braden Ferranti, left, and Kory Puente advance to the next level of competition.

Ferranti was on the first place, four-member “Teamworks” group with other students from WeMoCo in Spencerport. Ferranti did the plumbing and electrical work on the team, while the other students did masonry and carpentry.

The team advances to nationals in Louisville, Kentucky, from June 24-29 for the National Leadership and Skills Conference, a showcase of career and technical education students.

This is Ferranti’s second trip to nationals. He came in seventh out of more than 50 students at nationals last year in the plumbing competition. He said he is the first WeMoCo student to go to nationals in back to back years.

Puente won first in the dental assistant competition. He wants to be a dentist. The SkillsUSA competition put students through all the tasks a dental assistant needs to do, as well as answer questions about the occupation.

Puente advances to an international competition from June 19-23 at Disney in Orlando, Fla.

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Holley district will again run free summer breakfast and lunch program

Posted 22 May 2019 at 9:03 am

Press Release, Holley Central School

HOLLEY – In partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Holley Central School will again offer free breakfast and lunch to all children age 18 and younger, from July 8 to Aug. 16.

Children age 18 and younger who live in the district are eligible for this summer program, regardless of income level. Pre-registration is not required. Transportation will not be provided by the district for this program.

Breakfast will be served from 8 to 11 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday, in the Middle School/High School Dining Hall.

Adults may also purchase breakfast and lunch during this program. Breakfast is $2.60 and lunch is $4.35.

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