Find us on Facebook


Downtown Holley building named to ‘5 to Revive’

Photos courtesy of Landmark Society of Western New York: The former Odd Fellows Hall in the Public Square in Holley has been identified as a preservation priority by the Landmark Society.

Staff Reports Posted 9 October 2018 at 12:11 pm

ROCHESTER – The Landmark Society of Western New York today announced its 2018 Five to Revive – a list that identifies opportunities for targeted, strategic revitalization.

The list includes a site in downtown Holley, the former Odd Fellows Hall.

Built in 1890, the former Odd Fellows Hall sits at a prominent corner in the village square and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Holley Village Historic District, the Landmark Society said.

“Vacant for the past two years, this 2 ½-story brick building is at-risk due to neglect and masonry deterioration,” the Landmark Society said. “Larger and more imposing than its immediate neighbors, this anchor building is a key element in Holley’s downtown commercial district. A new owner and a plan for reuse are critical to the ongoing revitalization of downtown Holley.”

The Landmark Society began the Five to Revive in 2013 and previously listed other sites in Holley, including the old Holley High School in 2013 and the Hillside Cemetery and Chapel in 2014. The designation drew attention to the sites and local officials believe it was helpful in getting investment in the old school and also the cemetery chapel.

The announcement today was made at Warner Castle, 5 Castle Drive, the future home of the Landmark Society headquarters.

Other sites on the Five to Revive for 2018 include: Parrott Hall in Geneva, Ontario County; the Former National Yeast Co. and Iroquois Motor Car Factory in Seneca Falls, Seneca County; Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School Campus in Rochester, Monroe County; and Rochester’s Aqueduct Reimagined in Rochester, Monroe County.

“This is the sixth year that The Landmark Society of Western New York is announcing the Five to Revive list to draw attention to key priorities for revitalization in western New York,” said Wayne Goodman, Executive Director. “We are honored to do this today at Warner Castle, the future home of The Landmark Society of Western New York. We are working together with the owner, Monroe County, to repair and restore this historic building, to ensure it stays a vibrant part of this neighborhood.”

The 2018 Five to Revive represents a diverse selection that includes urban, industrial, institutional, and domestic resources. Although their future is uncertain, each has potential to spark positive change and enhance our communities and our lives, the Landmark Society said.

Here are the descriptions from the Landmark Society for why the sites were chosen for Five to Revive:

Parrott Hall – City of Geneva, Ontario County

Built in the 1850s as the home of Nehemiah and Louisa Denton, this Italianate style mansion and farm became the first home of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in 1882. Eventually, the building was named for Percival John Parrott, Director of the Experiment Station from 1938 to 1942. Parrott Hall has sat vacant since ownership was transferred to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in 1975. In recent years, it has experienced significant deterioration.

A non-profit organization, the Friends of Parrot Hall, was formed in 2017 to intervene and advocate for reuse. During the summer of 2018, a coalition formed, including The Landmark Society, the Preservation League of New York State, Friends of Parrott Hall, and the City of Geneva, to save the building from imminent demolition. The Coalition is now working alongside the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to raise funds for stabilization and ultimately to formulate a plan for and raise funds for reuse.

Parrott Hall was the first property in Geneva to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It offers a rich historic, scientific, agricultural, and architectural legacy to the Finger Lakes and New York State. Although the building faces significant repair needs, with an economically viable plan for redevelopment and significant fundraising efforts, Parrott Hall could once again serve as an asset to the Geneva community.

Former National Yeast Co. and Iroquois Motor Car Factory – Town of Seneca Falls, Seneca County

Now vacant, this former industrial building located along Routes 5/20 outside of downtown Seneca Falls, once housed the National Yeast Company and later, a luxury car manufacturer. Most recently, it was occupied by a car dealership that relocated. While proposed plans to construct a gas station and convenience store on the site call for demolition, this prominent brick building would make an excellent candidate for adaptive reuse as housing, artists’ studios, mixed use, and more.

Solidly built and consisting of almost 30,000 square feet of flexible, naturally lit space over three stories, this structure should not be relegated to a landfill. Reuse of the existing building would also help retain the character of this historic corridor in Seneca Falls.

Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School Campus – City of Rochester, Monroe County

Located in the Highland Park neighborhood of Rochester, on a prominent 23-acre hilltop site, the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School campus features architecturally and historically significant buildings as well as a historic designed landscape. The Collegiate Gothic style buildings, which include a chapel, dormitories, classroom building, and President’s residence, were designed by noted architect James Gamble Rogers in the 1930s. The landscape was designed by noted Rochester landscape architect, Alling DeForest. The campus is also historically significant for its association with numerous social and cultural figures and events. It has historically been a center of religious and academic inquiry that educated, fostered, and supported many leaders in the Civil Rights movement including Bernice Fisher, Mordecai Wyatt Johnston, Howard Thurman and Malcolm X.

The property is a designated City of Rochester Landmark and is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

After nearly 90 years, the Divinity School is relocating to a new site, leaving the future of the campus uncertain. Prior and current proposals for redevelopment have called for the construction of new buildings on the south lawn, a character defining element of the campus’ original design and essential to its context adjacent to Highland Park. Current proposals do not address the significance of the existing historic buildings or landscape.

A unique property in the city of Rochester, with its scenic views, grounds, high style buildings, and desirable location, the CRCDS campus possesses great potential for redevelopment. These assets, however, could easily be destroyed by insensitive development and an appropriate fit of program and scale is critical to project success. Any new use of the site must be encouraged to make the best use of these resources, complemented by sensitively designed modern infill where needed.

Rochester’s Aqueduct Reimagined – City of Rochester, Monroe County

With the announcement of the ROC the Riverway’s Phase 1 recommended projects, fueled by a $50 million investment from the State of New York, this is an exciting time for downtown Rochester’s Genesee River corridor. The City of Rochester has consolidated over two dozen riverway projects under one bold vision to maximize their impact and to enhance and leverage one of our city’s most unique assets—the Genesee. The ROC the Riverway Program has the potential to transform the River corridor and bolster the ongoing revitalization of downtown Rochester.

The success of this program will require meaningful community input, strategic decision-making, and inventive concepts that still respect their historic content and context. More than most of the projects covered under the program, the success of the Aqueduct Terrace is particularly dependent on how it is executed and the quality of the design.

The re-imagined Broad Street Aqueduct is billed as the “centerpiece of downtown transformation.” The prospect of such a transformative project is alluring and the Landmark Society supports the ideas and principles underlying the City’s proposal to create a dynamic, human-scaled, connective and accessible public space. Such an important and prominent project in such a sensitive location must, however, be executed with the utmost care. A designated City of Rochester Landmark, the Aqueduct itself is a visual icon for Rochester; it is an integral piece of the city fabric. The proposed project incorporates or connects eight separate historic resources, four of which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

For these reasons, voices representing the interests of historic preservation must be represented in this design discussion and engaged in the planning process. The goal of such an exchange is not to impede a new vision, but to help ensure the catalytic integration of the past in this new, dynamic transformation.

The Landmark Society said the annual list since 2013 has made a big difference for the sites in need of attention.

“The Five to Revive initiative is proving to be very successful and continues to demonstrate that preservation and adaptive reuse are key strategies for revitalization in western New York,” said Tom Castelein, President of the Landmark Society Board and also chairman of the Five to Revive committee.

“Being part of the list gives these properties more visibility and, as a result, may expand their funding options,” he said. “Some on the list may already be on the road to revitalization but placement on this list draws the focused attention of government officials, developers, and preservation advocates and, in many cases, unlocks more resources to effectively preserve our heritage and promote economic development.”

Return to top

Holley puts school pride on display during homecoming parade

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 September 2018 at 7:32 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Homecoming is this week at Holley Central School and one popular tradition continued on Friday when the classes decorated floats for a parade through the village.

The top photo shows the senior class on High Street for the final stretch of the parade which ended in the parking lot for the old bus garage. The seniors won the parade competition.

The classes had to decorate in the theme of a country as part of culture celebration. The seniors picked an American theme.

Will Lavender dressed as Uncle Sam for the parade with the seniors.

Matt Skehan wears a Rochester Americans hockey uniform while joining his classmate on the parade route.

Brian Bartalo, the superintendent at Holley Central School, dressed as Abraham Lincoln for the parade. He joins some of the seniors, including Julia Smith, a suffragette.

Allie Osbourne is a “Holleywood” starlet for the seniors with their American floats.

The juniors decorated with an Egypt theme.

Part of the junior’s display included two students as a camel, led by a shepherd.

These members of the junior class are part of the Egyptian theme.

The sophomores celebrated the country of France.

Freshmen decorated with a German theme.

Junior high students, seventh- and eighth-graders, joined for a theme about the Bahamas.

The parade heads down Geddes Street before reaching the Public Square. The youth football program had a big turnout for the parade.

Return to top

Roadwork starts later this week in Holley on Route 237

Staff Reports Posted 19 September 2018 at 3:10 pm

HOLLEY – A contractor is expected to start work later this week on Route 237, from the canal north to Route 104, the state Department of Transportation said.

The 2-mile stretch will get about 1.5 inches of new asphalt over the current pavement, which will make the roadway smoother.

There will be flaggers in the work zone guiding alternating one-way traffic during the paving operation. No official detour will be posted, so drivers may want to plan ahead and find an alternate route, the DOT said.

Return to top

Holley school acknowledges removing campaign signs was a mistake

Provided photos: Signs for some candidates in last Thursday’s Republican Primary in Murray were set in front of the Holley Junior-Senior High School, which is the polling place for Murray. Because the school is a polling place election signs are allowed.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 September 2018 at 10:33 am

District says candidates had never put signs on school property before

MURRAY – Holley school officials acknowledged the district was wrong last Thursday to take down election signs that had been placed on school property.

The signs were removed from in front of the Holley Junior-Senior High School, which served as Murray’s polling place from noon to 9 p.m.

The district had the signs put back up after a State Supreme Court justice said the signs were allowed. Joe Sidonio and his attorney, Peter Reese, filed an injunction after the signs were taken down. Tracy Bannister, a judge in Erie County, ordered the signs to be put back at about 2 p.m.

Sidonio lost the Primary on Thursday to Neil Valentine, 244-220. Valentine has the Republican line in November for a one-year term on the Murray Town Board.

“This institution influenced the outcome of a free election,” Sidonio said at Monday’s Holley Board of Education meeting. “The effects will never be known.”

Sidonio and eight other candidates also had signs for positions of the Murray Republican Committee. Sidonio and three others in that group – Kerri Neale, Dirk Lammes Jr. and Kellie Gregoire – were elected to the committee.

Five others – Cynthia Piedimonte, Gerald Ramsey, Anthony Peone, Arthur Knab and Joseph Kellenberger – also had campaign signs on school property and weren’t elected.

Removing the signs hurt the candidates’ chances for election, Sidonio told the Holley Board of Education.

“These nine people were injured when this institution violated their Constitutional civil right to free speech,” Sidonio said at the meeting. “Those nine people simply placed their names on small signs for people to see. There was nothing defamatory about them. They simply expressed their desire to do a better job for the community.”

Holley school officials said after the meeting on Monday that they had never seen candidate signs on school property and were caught off guard to see so many not far from the entrance of the school.

Jeff Martin, the school attorney, acknowledged after Monday’s Board of Education meeting the district made a mistake by removing them.

No political signs are allowed within 100 feet of a polling place. Sidonio and the eight other Republican Committee candidates had signs near the school facing Lynch Road, outside the 100-foot limit.

Brian Bartalo, school district superintendent, notified Sidonio at about noon on Thursday during the primary that the signs were removed.

Sidonio asked the Board and school officials to investigate why the signs were removed. Sidonio said he and his election law attorney, Peter Reese of Buffalo, gave the district repeated warnings that the signs were legal. Martin said the district didn’t know the signs were going on the school property until 11 a.m., an hour before the polls opened.

“Determine what happened and fix it,” Sidonio said at the BOE meeting. “Learn something and teach our children. Furthermore, the entire Board of Education should take a course in civics.”

After an executive session with the Board of Education on Monday, Martin said Sidonio’s suggestion is “under advisement” by the board.

Sidonio also acknowledged that political signs haven’t been the norm on school property, but he thinks it is beneficial for students to see active campaigns at the polling location and in the community.

“There is nothing disruptive about hard-fought elections,” he said. “They are a good thing and in the highest traditions of what distinguishes America. No students will be harmed knowing that we have free speech and political contests.”

Sidonio this morning said he and the other candidates who had signs removed could take legal action. He wants to see how the school district responds.

“This is a huge learning experience for the whole community,” he said this morning. “Let’s learn from it and correct it. My campaign for change is bigger than a councilman race. My campaign is for better government and this (political signs on school property) is a big part of that.”

Return to top

Valentine wins in Murray; Black is tops in Gaines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 September 2018 at 10:30 pm

Neil Valentine held off a primary challenge from Joe Sidonio to fill a one-year term on the Murray Town Board, 244-220, in today’s Republican Primary.

Valentine was recently appointed to the board to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Ed Bower.

Murray Republicans also had races for the GOP Committee in six districts. In each district, two people were elected.

District 1: Ed Morgan and Michael Mele were endorsed by the GOP Committee and are challenged by Cynthia Piedimonte and Gerald Ramsey. Morgan, 52, and Mele, 49, topped Piedimonte, 24, and Ramsey, 20.

District 2: Mark Porter and Douglas Heath are endorsed by the committee. Anthony Peone forced a primary. Porter received 25 votes and Heath, 26, in holding off Peone, 17.

District 3: Kathleen Case and Ron Vendetti are endorsed by the committee. Kerri Neale forced a primary. Neale was the top vote-getter with 44, followed by 32 for Case and 24 for Vendetti.

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. Lammes led with 72 votes, followed by Sidonio with 66 and DeFrank with 64.

District 5: Cynthia Oliver and Lynn Wood are endorsed by the committee and are challenged by Arthur Knab and Joseph Kellenberger. Oliver and Wood were both elected with 48 votes, followed by 23 each for Knab and Kellenberger.

District 6: Robert Miller and Glenn DeFrank are endorsed by the committee. Kellie Gregoire forced a primary. Gregoire led with 44, followed by 35 for Miller and 34 for DeFrank.

Murray mailed out 30 absentee ballots and 21 had been returned by today. The ballots will be opened on Tuesday. The Board of Elections will accept ballots until next Thursday as long as they are postmarked by Sept. 12.

Gaines also had a Republican Primary for a Town Board position. Corey Black defeated Joe Gangi, 80-52.

Return to top

Judge orders candidates’ signs back on Holley school property

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 September 2018 at 5:24 pm

HOLLEY – A judge this afternoon ordered candidate signs that were removed from Holley Central School to be put back.

The school district took the signs down just before the polls opened at noon today for a primary. The signs were for Joe Sidonio, who is running for a spot on the Murray Town Board and also the Town Republican Committee. He has been campaigning with about 10 other candidates for spots on the Republican Committee who also had signs removed.

No political signs are allowed within 100 feet of a polling place, which for Murray is at the Holley Junior-Senior High School.

Sidonio and other Republican Committee candidates had signs near the school facing Lynch Road, outside the 100-foot limit.

Brian Bartalo, school district superintendent, notified Sidonio at about noon that the signs were removed.

Sidonio has an election law attorney, Peter Reese of Buffalo, who filed an injunction at the State Supreme Court. Tracy Bannister, a judge in Erie County, ordered the signs to be put back at about 2 p.m.

Reese said he has been working in elections for 50 years and this is the first time heard of a polling place having legal signs taken down.

“We believe this is core constitutional rights,” Reese said. “I’ve never heard of anything like this. This is ridiculous.”

Reese said Sidonio scouted the property so he knew where he could legally place the signs.

Holley is the only school in Orleans County that is used as a polling place. Most of the polling sites are at town halls, although Albion uses Hoag Library and part of Ridgeway uses the Ridgeway fire hall.

“If they don’t want signs, they shouldn’t be a polling place,” Reese said about Holley.

Jeff Martin, the school attorney, was unavailable for comment.

Return to top

Holley comes in 3rd at State Fair for best-tasting water

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 September 2018 at 2:34 pm

SYRACUSE – The Village of Holley came in third at the State Fair in the best-tasting water competition.

New York City’s water system won the top honor for best-tasting tap water, with the Saratoga County Water Authority in second place.

People at the State Far sampled the tap water on Aug. 30 and voted for their favorite. The Village of Lyndonville won the title last year.

Visitors taste samples with each cup labeled with only a letter. The results are unscientific. The New York Water and Wastewater Education and Outreach Committee organizes the competition, trying to highlight the importance of maintaining safe drinking water supplies.

Holley qualified for the State Fair after winning the Western Region Tap Water Taste Contest at the City of Rochester Public Market. Holley topped five water systems at the Rochester event, including the City of Rochester, Village of Albion, City of Jamestown and Village of Arcade.

Holley gets most of its water from a well on Powerline Road. The village pumps about 160,000 to 190,000 gallons a day from the well. Holley also buys some water from the Monroe County Water Authority.

Return to top

Holley welcomes back students with plenty of hugs and high fives

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 September 2018 at 8:08 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – The Holley school district welcomed students back on Tuesday with open houses and a pep assembly. In the elementary school, teachers and staff lined the hallway and applauded for students as they headed to the gym for an assembly.

Each grade level in the elementary school wore T-shirts in a different color. Those grade levels also decorated their wings in their respective color. It will be a unifying theme throughout the school year.

Teachers, staff and administrators who work in more than one grade level wore multi-colored shirts for the open house and pep assembly.

Exzavier Pellegrino gets a hug from Mrs. Susan Thornton, who was his first grade teacher last year. Mrs. Thornton is teaching kindergarten this year while Exzavier heads to second grade.

Brian Fitzpatrick and daughter Olivia, who is headed to third grade, get a big welcome as they head to the gym for the opening assembly.

This is the third year that Holley has lined the corridor with teachers and staff to welcome students.

“It’s to get the kids excited about being here and to show them that we’ve missed them,” said Karri Schiavone, the school principal.

Brian Bartalo, the new superintendent at Holley Central School, addressed parents and students during the assembly. He started as superintendent on July 16 after working as principal at Hilton High School.

Bartalo grew up in Dansville, a small town in Livingston County that is similar in size to Holley.

“It feels like home,” he said about Holley.

Bartalo addresses a crowd of about 500 people in the gym. He said he is impressed by the teachers, staff and administrators at Holley, who make the extra effort in showing they care about the students.

“This was high energy with lots of hugs and high fives,” he said after the students were welcomed in the hallway and at the assembly.

The new superintendent said he appreciates the warm welcome he has received from the community since he started the job. “Everybody has been super-friendly,” he said.

Bartalo also urged parents to be active partners in helping their children learn and excel this school year.

Karri Schiavone, the elementary school principal, said she has been looking forward to the start of the school year.

“I’m very excited,” she told the students.”It’s been very lonely here all summer.”

Schiavone started a new outreach this summer where she, teachers, guidance counselors and a social worker meet in teams of two or three people with kindergarteners and their families at their homes. They go over paperwork and forms needed for the school year and allow the incoming students to meet their teachers.

Schiavone and the school visited about 80 percent of the kindergarteners, an incoming group of about 85 students.

Anne Smith (right), a retired teacher who is now on the Board of Education, also received a round of applause from the teachers.

Ruthie Davis is starting kindergarten. She is led through the hallway by her parents, Joanna and Chuck Davis.

Tarek Garrett, a third grader, is welcomed back by the teachers at Holley.

Return to top

Hulberton hamlet hosts annual Italian Festival

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 September 2018 at 3:41 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HULBERTON – Mike Bove of Clarendon throws the bocce ball during today’s tournament in Hulberton, which features 27 teams with some from southern Ontario and New Jersey. Most of the teams are local and they compete for $600 for first place, $400 for second, $300 for third and $200 for fourth.

This is the first time Bove has competed in the double elimination tournament. He was asked to play for “The Lowballers” who also include Tibor Dobri, Keith Neale and Scott Lang.

Tibor Dobri eyes the target during the bocce tournament.

Some of the bocce players get out the measuring tape to see which of the bigger balls is closer to the pallino, the small white ball.

Dan Mawn prepares sugar waffles “carnival style.” He used to make them at the Holley Firemen’s Carnival and has been doing it for about six years at St. Rocco’s. The annual Rocco’s Festival celebrates Italian culture and includes lots of Italian food. The event is a fundraiser for the St. Mary’s and St. Mark’s Parish in Holley and Kendall.

Kathy Smith gets slices of pizza ready. She has been volunteering at the festival for about 30 years. “Oh, it’s wonderful,” she said. “It’s nice to get together with all of the ladies.”

Other popular Italian foods were available including eggplant parmesan, meatball sandwiches, pasta fagioli, shells and spaghetti.

Lena Pellegrino and Brian Welch worked together making fried dough.

Scott Vogler, his wife Jennifer and their daughter Olivia are part of the team serving eggplant parmesan and shells. They are from Irondequoit. Scott’s mother-in-law Ellen Englert has been a long-time volunteer at St. Rocco’s.

People line up to get their tickets for some of the food.

Joe Chiappone of Lockport wears a T-shirt he bought in Cleveland. He said the shirt gets a lot of comments. “Everybody laughs,” he said. “It’s the truth though,” he said about the shirt’s message. Chiappone attended the festival to play in the bocce tournament. He has been coming every year for 20 years.

Return to top

Albion, Holley police will have defibrillators in patrol cars

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 August 2018 at 7:26 am

ALBION – A grant from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation will allow the Albion and Holley police departments to add defibrillators to all of their patrol cars, as well as one for the police stations.

Roland Nenni, police chief for both departments, was notified on Tuesday that the Foundation approved an $11,700 grant for 11 defibrillators. An Automated External Defibrillator delivers a dose of electric current to the heart.

The Albion and Holley officers go to EMS and fire calls, often the first on the scene. Nenni said the officers have been the first to respond when someone is in cardiac arrest. Having the defibrillators will increase the chances of saving people having a heart attack. Right now, officers can only provide CPR for someone in cardiac arrest.

“I’m really excited about it from a public service standpoint,” Nenni said Wednesday after informing the Albion Village Board of the grant. “We go on hundreds of EMS calls.”

Nenni has been an emergency medical technician the past 28 years. He is a former Holley fire chief. Providing care within 6 minutes of a heart attack is critical, he said.

He also wanted the defibrillators in the patrol cars in case a police officer went into cardiac arrest.

The defibrillators will be installed in six Albion patrol cars, two Holley patrol cars, and one each at the Holley and Albion police stations. There will also be one available for training.

Nenni said he is pushing to have them purchased and in service by Nov. 1.

Return to top