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Holley school’s transformation into apartments nearly complete

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 April 2020 at 3:13 pm

Tenants wait for OK to move in at Holley Gardens

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – A worker cleans in the stairwell at the former Holley High School, which is being transformed into 41 senior apartments and the offices for the Village of Holley.

Wednesday was supposed to be the move-in day for several of the tenants but it has been pushed back due to concerns about the coronavirus.

Most of the 41 apartments are complete with additional work needed on the dozen apartments in the basement. The first and second floors are done.

Home Leasing in Rochester, which spearheaded the $17 million project, also is working on the space in the former auditorium, which will become the village offices. The site will be known as the Holley Gardens.

The company is asking state officials for a date for the tenants to start moving in.

This is the hallway on the second floor where the apartments are ready for residential living. Home Leasing started construction in November 2018 on the project. The school was built in 1931 and closed after 1975. It was vacant for more than two decades. It was last used by a manufacturing company, Liftec, which went bankrupt.

The lockers serve a decorative function. Home Leasing sandblasted the locker faces, and gave them new coats of paint. New handrails stretch throughout the hallways.

Carrie Valone is the site manager for Home Leasing. She said there has been a strong response from the community for the apartments. Only four of the 41 are available.

Tours of the building in February were a big seller of the apartments, Valone said.

“People are ecstatic,” she said. “It holds strong memories for the people around here. Plus, it’s brand new and the rents are affordable.”

George DeRue (right), Home Leasing’s vice president of historical preservation, served as the construction manager for the project. He has 30 years with Home Leasing. He shows an apartment to Ron Vendetti, Holley’s code enforcement officer and grants manager. Vendetti graduated from Holley in 1971. He said Home Leasing has done an amazing job with the construction project.

The apartments include one studio, 35 one-bedrooms, and five two-bedroom apartments, most of which are 700 to 800 square feet. This apartment includes an original hardwood floor from the school. The floor was salvageable and in good enough shape for about eight of the apartments.

Most of the apartments have a chalkboard from the old school. George DeRue said the tenants will find the chalkboard useful for writing down appointments and other reminders.

The trophy case used to be at right in the hallway. Now the space can function as a bench.

This view looks out towards Route 31 and the Community Free Library. Home Leasing put in new glass for the windows while refurbishing the window frames.

The rooms all have new doors but Home Leasing was able to keep the transom windows above the doors.

The original wooden railings in the stairwells were saved and are being put back into place. They were sanded and revarnished.

Home Leasing put a small addition on the building (lower left) that serves as an entryway where there are new mailboxes, a phone system and access to an elevator.

To see how the building looked in October, during another tour, click here.

For more information on the project and to contact Home Leasing, click here.

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Holley accepting PreK and kindergarten registration

Posted 31 March 2020 at 3:04 pm

Press Release, Holley Central School

HOLLEY – If you are interested in enrolling your child in Holley’s universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) or kindergarten program, please complete the form (click here). This enables us to mail you the appropriate registration packet for you to complete.

Please note: If your child currently attends Holley Central’s UPK, you do not need to register for kindergarten. Your student will be automatically enrolled.

Once completed, applications can be mailed back to the school or dropped off by appointment only. Please contact Karen Bower ( or 638-6318, ext. 2580) to set up an appointment.

Copies of birth certificates, proof of residency, immunization records and any applicable custodial paperwork will be collected at a later date. The mailing address is Holley Elementary School, 3800 North Main St., Holley, NY 14470.

Screening dates for UPK and kindergarten will be announced at a later date.

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Holley teachers and staff parade in cars to show students they are missed

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 March 2020 at 9:17 pm

Provided photos

HOLLEY – Many Holley teachers, staff and administrators travelled to neighborhoods in the district today, a caravan of cars to show students they are missed.

The district like others in Orleans County is in its second week of being closed to students due to the health concerns with the coronavirus.

Many students came out of their front porches and yards to wave to the teachers and staff, who put Holley Hawk school colors of red on their vehicles, as well as other messages such as “We Miss You.”

The parade of vehicles started at noon and passed through the Village of Holley, Thomas Estates, Akeley Manor and County Line Mobile Park.

The district also has been celebrating a virtual sprit week, encouraging students to post photos of themselves dressed up in the theme of the day. Those days this week include the following:

• Monday: Superhero Day – Post a photo of yourself dressed like a superhero in honor of all hospital workers, first responders, grocery employees and anyone else considered an essential worker during this time.

• Tuesday: Crazy Hair Day – Post a photo with your craziest hairstyle.

• Wednesday: Pajama Day – Post a photo of yourself in your favorite pajamas.

• Thursday: Jersey Day – Post a photo of yourself in your favorite team jersey in honor of all the athletes whose seasons are on hold right now.

• Friday: School Spirit Day – Post a photo of yourself in your favorite Holley gear of wearing the school color of red.

(Post photos to Twitter: @HolleyCSD and @Holley_MS_HS)

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Virtual Spirit Weeks promote school pride during shutdown

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 March 2020 at 10:23 am

Provided photo: Penny Cole, a secretary in the Holley Junior-Senior High School and the varsity cheerleading coach, wore an orange “Evan Strong” t-shirt in honor of Evan Valentine, a Holley junior who is fighting leukemia the second time. “I’m wearing the shirt of my favorite Super Hero, Evan Valentine,” Cole posted on Facebook. “His super power is strength, courage and determination. He continues to fight his arch enemy everyday and always with a smile on his face. As with all super heroes, there is a fight against the enemy, but in the end, the super hero wins. Stay strong Evey, you WILL win!”

Some local school districts are doing virtual spirit weeks to help students stay connected and to promote school pride during a school shutdown due to concerns about the coronavirus.

Holley and Kendall both start their spirit weeks today while Lyndonville’s will be next week. Students and staff are encouraged to dress up on theme days and post photos on social media.

Here are the days for the spirit weeks.

Kendall (March 23-27)

Monday: Blue Monday – Wear Kendall Blue.

Tuesday: PJ Day! – Stay comfy and cozy in pajamas.

Wednesday: Outdoor adventure – Take a photo or video being active outside.

Thursday: Reading Day! – Take a photo or video of reading by yourself or to a family member or pet.

Friday: Dance Party – Bust out your best dance moves!

(Post photos to Twitter: @kendalleagles, @KendallElement1 or @KendallJrSrHigh

Instagram: @kendallelementaryschool)

Holley (March 23-27)

Monday: Superhero Day – Post a photo of yourself dressed like a superhero in honor of all hospital workers, first responders, grocery employees and anyone else considered an essential worker during this time.

Tuesday: Crazy Hair Day – Post a photo with your craziest hairstyle.

Wednesday: Pajama Day – Post a photo of yourself in your favorite pajamas.

Thursday: Jersey Day – Post a photo of yourself in your favorite team jersey in honor of all the athletes whose seasons are on hold right now.

Friday: School Spirit Day – Post a photo of yourself in your favorite Holley gear of wearing the school color of red.

(Post photos to Twitter: @HolleyCSD and @Holley_MS_HS)

Lyndonville (March 30-April 3)

“Let’s have some fun together, while staying home and practicing social distancing!” the district states on its website. School administriators will pick a winner each day who will receive a $10 Amazon gift card.

Monday: Top Instagram – Post the best Instagram photo you take today making it look like you are on vacation in your own home.

Tuesday: Top TikTok – Post your best original TikTok!

Wednesday: Best Prankster – Happy April Fool’s Day! Post a video or picture of your best prank today. Please make sure your prank is safe! Have some fun with your siblings or parent/guardian!

Thursday: Throwback – Post a picture from your baby or elementary days! Or a picture of you in the best old school clothes you can find in your house.

Friday: LCS Spirit – Post a picture wearing orange and black gear.

(Photos should be posted to LCS social media using the hashtag #LCShomespirit – Facebook: LCS Student Council, Insta: StudentC_LCS, and Twitter: @StudentC_LCS)

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Holley library continues children’s story time, through YouTube

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 March 2020 at 5:58 pm

Children’s Librarian Grace Azzolino reads Bear Sees Colors by Karma Wilson.

HOLLEY – The Community Free Library may be closed to the public during the coronavirus pandemic, but the Wednesday children’s book storytime is continuing.

Grace Azzolino, the children’s librarian, read three books today, sang children’s songs and even taught sing language during a 20-minute video posted on YouTube. Click here to see the video – “Story Hour: March 18th, 2020 (Spring!)”

The Holley library, like most in the area, isn’t allowing patrons inside the building. Azzolino, in her message on YouTube, said she is said the library is closed to the public right now. She encouraged everyone to practice social distancing so the virus doesn’t spread.

She read two books – Bear Sees Colors by Karma Wilson and There is a Bird on Your Head by Mo Willems. She also sang a song about bunnies with a flannel board, and showed children how to do a welcome song with shakers, which can be made using rice, beans or other small items sealed in a jar or cup.

Azzolino ended with a jingle in sign language. She sang, “Goodbye friends, it’s time to say goodbye,” and taught the signs for each word.

She said she will record another storytime next Wednesday.

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‘This is not something we’ve ever experienced in our times’ – Holley school superintendent

Photos by Tom Rivers: Kim Harrington, a Holley kindergarten teacher, retrieves a packet for a student on Monday evening. Holley teachers, administrators and staff prepared packets for 520 students in the elementary school, with homework assignments for the next three weeks.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 March 2020 at 10:15 am

Holley school district providing meals for more than 500 students and educational assignments during shutdown

HOLLEY – The school district on Wednesday will begin providing meals for more than 500 students.

Holley Central School will provide meals and have them available for pick up at the Holley Elementary School bus loop and four other locations in the community – Clarendon Town Hall, Thomas Estates (bus stop loop), County Line Trailer Park (Gulf Road & County Line Road) and the Fancher-Hulberton-Murray Fire Hall.

Brian Bartalo, Holley Central School superintendent, said closure of schools across the state is unprecedented and also a very emotionally taxing time for students, teachers and staff.

Sharon Zacher, Holley’s assistant superintendent, was able to secure approval from the State Education Department on Sunday for the district to provide the program free of charge for students and their families. As of Monday’s Board of Education meeting, 512 students were signed up to receive the meals, which represents about half of the school enrollment.

Robin Silvis, Board of Education president, praised the district for working quickly to get the program in place.

She also praised teachers and administrators for working over the weekend to have an educational plan in place for students while school was shut down due to a pandemic. Gov. Cuomo on Monday announced on Monday school districts across the state would be closed for at least the next two weeks.

Brian Bartalo, the district superintendent, said staff have been working hard to serve students during a very difficult situation.

“The emotion of this is overwhelming,” he said during Monday evening’s Board of Education meeting.

That session was moved from the board room to the elementary school cafeteria, so board members and anyone in the audience could sit farther apart.

Bartalo said future board meetings in the short-term might be livestreamed to reduce the chance of the virus spreading.

He said teachers and administrators are trying to stay connected with students. Elementary school staff prepared packets with school work for students the next three weeks. Those were available at the school Monday and today for parents to pick up.

The Board of Education met in the elementary school cafeteria on Monday, instead of the smaller board room. That allowed board members to be more spread out and gave more spacing for the chairs in the audience.

Bartalo observed one teacher reading a book in a video message to be sent to her students. But the teacher only got halfway through the book before getting choked up and having to stop.

Susan Cory, the middle-high school principal, also is planning to send students a daily message to help them stay connected to the school and not feel so isolated.

“This is not something we’ve ever experienced in our times,” Bartalo said at Monday’s BOE meeting. “It’s just unbelievable. It’s figuring it out as we go.”

Bartalo said the district still needs to conduct other business, including preparing its 2020-21 budget, which is scheduled to go for a public vote in May.

He is waiting to hear from the state about the state assessments for grades 3-8.

The district is waiting out the pandemic, just like the rest of the state.

“If we get back to regular school we hope to have concerts, sports, the musical and graduation,” Bartalo told the board.

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Albion and Holley police make changes in responding to some calls

Posted 16 March 2020 at 9:48 pm

Police chief wants to reduce officers’ potential exposure to virus

Press Release, Roland D. Nenni III Chief of Police for Albion and Holley Police Departments

The Albion and Holley Police Departments are changing some of our operations as how we normally function because of the Covid-19 Coronavirus. As per the guidelines being implemented by the Center for Disease Control and other federal, state and local authorities, the Albion and Holley Police Departments have taken steps to reduce officers’ exposure to the Covid-19 Coronavirus.

These steps are as follows:

• The Albion and Holley police stations’ administrative offices are closed until further notice. Only police officers and other essential persons will be allowed inside the stations.

Officers can be contacted through the County Dispatch by calling 585-589-5527 or in an emergency by calling 911.

For administrative needs, call the Albion PD at (585) 589-5627, and the Holley PD at (585) 638-5308

• Non-essential administrative support personnel will be in the offices to answer the phones on an intermittent basis.

• Officers responding to calls for service that are not priority police calls may utilize phone contact rather than appearing in person.

• Officers may, if the call for service warrants, ask persons to speak with officers outside rather than indoors or in close proximity.

These steps are being taken to reduce officer exposure so there isn’t a greater disruption to police service.

The Albion and Holley Police Departments are making sure that our response to calls for service for the protection of life remains at the highest level and is not jeopardized by the steps indicated above.

These operational changes will remain in effect until further notice is given.

We ask that citizens understand our frustration during this difficult time and we hope to resume normal operations as soon as it is safe to do so.

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Holley closes village offices, keeps dropbox, online payment options

Posted 16 March 2020 at 8:19 pm

From Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty

HOLLEY – In cooperation with the Governor’s directive and what we feel is in the best interest of our community and our staff, we are closing our village offices to the public.

Our critical staff will still be reporting to work providing necessary services. Any payments can be made by using the drop box located on the front of the Village Office Building or through online. (See the village’s website for directions:

We regret having to do this, but do feel this precautionary measure is necessary. If there are any questions or concerns, call the Village Office at 585-638-6367.

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Murray also closing town buildings to public

Posted 16 March 2020 at 11:04 am

(Editor’s Note: An earlier post stated town meetings will be closed to public. That was in error, Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio said. The regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. today will be open to the public.)

From Murray Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio

In light of rapidly escalating reports from the governor and department of health, the Murray Town Hall and the Highway Department offices will be closed to the public. Our staff will be reporting to work but will restrict their exposure in order to provide essential government services.

Please deposit any necessary documents in the drop box during normal business hours located by the front door. Include your name address and phone number so we can contact you if necessary.

We regret this decision. In the best interest of our community it has become necessary to help prevent the spread of the virus. This is a routine precautionary measure and not a cause for panic.

Joe Sidonio

Murray Town Supervisor

585-638-6570 ext. 110

Holley, Lyndonville schools announce plans to make meals available this week

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 March 2020 at 5:07 pm

Holley and Lyndonville school districts announced meals will continue to available to students even though school is closed for at least this week.

Lyndonville beginning on Tuesday will have grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches available for all Lyndonville students at no cost. Families may pick up meals via the drop-off loop off Housel Avenue on the campus. If families have transportation needs or questions, call 765-3101 or email

Holley Central School will provide meals and have them available for pick up at the Holley Elementary School bus loop and four other locations in the community – Clarendon Town Hall, Thomas Estates (bus stop loop), County Line Trailer Park (Gulf Road & County Line Road) and the Fancher-Hulberton-Murray Fire Hall.

The meals are expected to be available beginning on Wednesday. Holley parents and guardians are asked to fill out a short online form or call the school district’s food service director, Vickie Scroger, at (585) 638-6318 x2566.

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