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Fireworks cap June Fest in Holley

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 June 2018 at 8:20 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Fireworks are reflected in the Erie Canal by the lift bridge in Holley at about 10 p.m. on Saturday. A 20-minute fireworks show was an explosive conclusion to the June Fest celebration in Holley.

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Lots of pizzazz in Holley parade

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 June 2018 at 6:13 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – The parade seemed to keep going in Holley today with classic cars, community organizations, fire trucks and other participants as part of a re-energized June Fest.

The top photo shows Koryn Neale tossing candy with a group from Wiley’s Ark Animal Care, which is owned by her mother, Krista Wiley, who also is coordinator of the June Fest.

Al Pulcino of the American Legion greeted many people with a big smile along the parade route, which went from the elementary school through the Public Square.

Maarit Vaga dressed as Cobble the Museum Mouse for the Cobblestone Museum. She rode in a 1911 Reo truck owned by Russ Bosch of Clarendon.

John Brown of Batavia brought this 1964 Amphicar and his dog Reagan, an English Setter, for the parade. Brown also brought several other classic vehicles for the parade and for a car show. Brown, owner of a collision shop in Batavia, was recognized with the business award for his efforts with the parade.

Al Capurso, president of the Orleans County Historical Society, dressed as a pioneer resident with a log cabin shed to honor the pioneers. Capurso said he will have the log cabin shed at upcoming parades in Albion, Barre and Lyndonville.

There were many soccer participants in the parade and that earned the youth soccer program the youth award from the parade judges.

Dan Schiavone, left, and John Kenney, both former Holley mayors, served as parade judges along with Penny Cole.

Some members of the Clarendon-Holley-Hulberton fire youth group march in the parade.

The Holley-Kendall Marching Band was awarded the grand prize from the parade judges.

Carol D’Agostino and the Kendall Lawn Chair Ladies were a big hit with the crowd. They won the award for best group.

Barb Kurzowski walks a llama in the parade to promote the Orleans County 4-H program.

Dustin’s Pizzeria was among many local businesses in the parade.

Dick Holland of West Henrietta drives a 1947 Massey Ferguson tractor through the Public Square. He is followed by Matt Clayton of Knowlesville and Raychelle Wilson with a 1958 Massey Ferguson.

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June Fest is a fun day for Holley

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 June 2018 at 4:30 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – The Village of Holley is bustling today with many activities as part of the June Fest, including a big parade at 11 from the elementary school through the Public Square. The top photo shows Bill Ingham of Morton with his 1954 Model 40 John Deere tractor.

Cameron Kelley, 6, of Holley makes his way up the climbing wall.

Dan Mawn, president of the Murray-Holley Historical Society, rings a bell by the Historical Society Museum. Mawn rang the bell 12 times at noon, the first time in many years the bell had rung out that many times at noon. The bell was originally used by the United Methodist Church when it was in the Public Square. The church built a new site in Clarendon on Route 237. The bell was donated to the Historical Society about a decade ago and was mounted in a display by Mawn and the village in early 2017.

The museum is open today includes many displays of Holley pride, including this uniform of the state champion marching band in the 1950s.

Adam Johnson, owner of 39 Problems in Albion, is debuting a new Chuck Wagon, which is like a food truck. Johnson, a Holley resident, unveiled the new portable trailer on Friday at CRFS in Albion. He plans to take it to community events and parties.

The Clarendon Lions Club sells hot dogs, sausage, hamburgers and cheeseburgers at Holley’s Canal Park. This trio includes, from left: President Kevin Johnson, Roger Boynton and Chris Miller.

Children enjoy a bounce house in the park.

The festival concludes with fireworks tonight at the Firemen’s Field across from the elementary school.

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Holley hosts a bigger June Fest on Saturday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 June 2018 at 3:19 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: Many community organizations participated last year’s June Fest parade, including the Holley-Kendall Marching Band.

HOLLEY – The local festival season is starting to ramp up with Holley’s June Fest on Saturday. The village will be bustling with activities from 9 a.m. until fireworks at night.

The festival took a year off in 2016 but returned last year, and is back again with more activities and volunteers.

When the festival didn’t happen in 2016, people realized how much they valued the event, said Krista Wiley, this year’s coordinator. She was among the new volunteers who stepped forward to help last year with the June Fest.

“It’s something we lost that people really enjoyed,” she said. “They see old classmates and neighbors. It’s a great thing. It maintains that small-town feel.”

The festival has some new twists this year, with wooden boats in the parade, fireworks at night, an expanded wine tasting area that includes beer and cider, as well as other additions including vintage tractors on display by the museum.

Wiley likes how the festival organizers are willing to try new things.

“It can be different each year,” she said. “People are accepting of that. We already have ideas for next year.”

Some highlights for Saturday’s June Fest:

• 5K race starting at 9 a.m. at elementary school

• Arts and crafts vendors from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on canal path

• Village-wide garage and yard sales from 9 a.m.to 4 p.m.

• Gray Wolf Karate for a demonstration at 9:30

• Parade starting at 11 a.m.

• Library book sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Wine tasting from noon to 4 p.m.

• Erie Canal Sal at museum at 1 p.m.

• St. Mary’s chicken barbecue

• Historical Society bake sale

• Expanded kids’ area with bounce house and games

Wiley said many volunteers have worked on the festival, which also has benefitted from the efforts of the Holley villages and school employees.

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Holley elementary students lead Memorial Day observance at school

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 May 2018 at 6:05 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Charlene Favata, president of the VFW Auxiliary in Holley, carries the American flag out of the Holley Elementary School gymnasium after a Memorial Day assembly this morning.

Elementary students took the lead in the organizing and running the event, with help from teachers’ assistants Jennifer Morgan and Alexis Downey, and Tim Artessa, the school’s assistant principal.

Students in the chorus sing, “Fly High, You Grand Old Flag,” during the assembly.

Sloane Kruger, a fifth-grader, and Alexis Downey, a teacher’s assistant, were among students and staff who shared, “Because of their sacrifice …” Downey said because of the sacrifice of soldiers she can teach children, while Sloane said because of that sacrifice she can learn in school.

Julianna Thomas, a fifth-grader, served as an emcee of the assembly. Her grandfather, Jeff Thomas, was among the veterans recognized for his military service.

Leigha and Layne Walker, who are sisters, read the poem, “In Flanders Field,” a poem written in World War I.

Photos courtesy of Jennifer Morgan: Leigha, right, and Layne Walker read the poem in front of about 550 elementary students.

These prekindergarten students, including Brielle Carpenter, show their patriotism during the assembly.

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Holley names 3 finalists for next school superintendent

Staff Reports Posted 25 May 2018 at 1:08 pm

HOLLEY – The Board of Education at Holley Central School has chosen three finalists for the district’s next top administrator. The finalists are:

• Frank Bai-Rossi – Principal, Phelps-Clifton Springs Central School District

• Brian Bartalo – Principal, Hilton Central School District

• Dr. Anthony Cook – Superintendent, Diocese of Rochester Schools

“Our Board is delighted with the qualified candidates we’ve selected to be finalists,” said Board President Brenda Swanger. “We look forward to welcoming the community at the upcoming Meet the Finalist forums so everyone has the opportunity to interact with these three experienced educational leaders.”

The three finalists are scheduled for individual day-long school visits that include a Meet the Finalist community forum from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Holley Middle School/High School Auditorium, 16848 Lynch Rd. The forums will give staff and community members the opportunity to meet each candidate, ask questions, and submit feedback forms to the board. The schedule is as follows:

• Tuesday, May 29: Frank Bai-Rossi

• Wednesday, May 30: Brian Bartalo

• Thursday, May 31: Dr. Anthony Cook

“In keeping with Holley’s focus on instilling a passion for lifelong learning, the members of the Board of Education have been diligent in their efforts to choose a new leader for their administration,” said Jo Anne Antonacci, Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES District Superintendent and Search Consultant. “The Board will continue its commitment to soliciting feedback from Holley district staff and residents in the final stages of this process.”

The BOE will announce the new superintendent sometime in June, with the goal to have the superintendent start Sept. 1.

Frank Bai-Rossi

Frank Bai-Rossi is the principal of the Midlakes Middle and High School in the Phelps-Clifton Springs School District. He previously served as an assistant principal at Penfield High School for seven years. Prior to becoming an administrator, Bai-Rossi began his career in education at Hillside Children’s Center as a special education teacher. He spent the first eight years of his public-school career working as a special education teacher in the Greece Central School District. While in Greece, Bai-Rossi served as a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) to help implement a Small Learning Community Grant and provide professional development.

Bai-Rossi received a Master of Science in Education from Nazareth College and a Master of Science in Educational Administration from Canisius College. He completed the Superintendent Development Program through SUNY Oswego and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting from Alfred University. Bai-Rossi is married and has three children; he is an avid golfer and a die-hard Bills fan.

Brian Bartalo

Brian Bartalo is currently the principal and International Baccalaureate Head of School at Hilton High School, a post he has held since 2005. From 1999 until 2005, Bartalo was an assistant principal at Hilton HS. Prior to that, he served for one year as the dean of students at Hilton HS. In 1988, Bartalo began his teaching career as a special education teacher at Merton Williams Middle School in the Hilton Central School District, where he taught and coached until 1998.

Bartalo holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from SUNY Buffalo State, a Master of Science in Education from Syracuse University and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Education Administration from The College at Brockport. He is also the director of the Genesee Valley Rotary Camp, a camp for children with special needs. Bartalo and his wife Marcia, a counselor at Brockport High School, live in Brockport and have two sons, Jakob, 23 and Nathaniel, 20.

Dr. Anthony Cook

A life-long Rochester resident, Dr. Anthony Cook has served area schools as a teacher, coach, mentor and administrator for 14 years. Since 2013, Cook has held the position of superintendent for the 18 Diocese of Rochester Schools, serving 3,400 students. Cook oversees schools located in Auburn, Avon, Brighton, Canandaigua, Charlotte, Chili, Corning, Geneva, Greece, Elmira, Horseheads, Irondequoit, Penfield, Penn Yan, Pittsford, Rochester, and Webster. Prior to being selected as superintendent, Cook was the principal at Seton Catholic School, located in Brighton.

As the instructional leader, he established processes for curriculum development and managed capital improvement projects, including a state-of-the-art science classroom. Cook is a certified New York State Administrator and Teacher, holding a Doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Rochester’s Warner School, a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from the University of Notre Dame, a Master of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Geneseo and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from SUNY Geneseo. He lives in North Greece with his wife Amy, and two daughters, Leah and Nora.

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Holley candidates include challenger for mayor

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 May 2018 at 2:02 pm

HOLLEY – Six candidates have turned in petitions to run for the Holley Village Board in the June 19 election.

Mayor Brian Sorochty is seeking another two-year term as mayor. He is being challenged by Shawn O’Mara, who works as a police officer with the Gates Police Department.

Two current village trustees – Conni Nenni and Kevin Lynch, the deputy mayor – are also seeking re-election. They are challenged by Alexa Downey and Robyn Schubmehl.

Candidates need to turn in petitions signed by at least 50 village residents who are eligible voters. There is a deadline of Friday for additional candidates, although no one else has picked up a petition.

Holley is the only village in Orleans County that holds its election in June. The others – Albion, Lyndonville and Medina – have elections in March.

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Holley budget passes, and 3 elected to BOE

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 May 2018 at 9:58 pm

HOLLEY – District residents approved the school budget and other propositions, while electing three to the Board of Education, including one new member, retired teacher Anne Smith.

The $25,210,000 school budget passed, 437-207. The budget represents a 2.0 percent tax increase, with the tax levy going from $6,968,766 to $7,108,141.

Other propositions include:

• Authorization to spend up to $222,914 for two school buses and a sport utility vehicle, which passed, 418-224.

• Approval of $153,713 in funding for Community Free Library, passed 473-173.

• There were five candidates running for three positions. Two incumbents were re-elected to three-year terms, including Melissa Ierlan, 441; and Mark Porter, 348. Anne Smith was elected with 351, which was 12 more than incumbent Anne Winkley with 339. Nancy Manard MacPhee received 179 votes. The new terms start July 1.

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Latest state grant for $5M will make renovation of former Holley school a reality

Photos by Tom Rivers: The old Holley High School, vacant and in dilapidation for the past two decades, will be transformed into senior housing and also the village offices for Holley.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 May 2018 at 9:43 am

‘I truly believe this will be a transformative project with great  impact for our village and other communities around us.’ – Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty

HOLLEY – A grant for $5.1 million announced on Thursday for the Holley Gardens project will allow a develop to move forward with the transformation of the old Holley High School into affordable senior housing and also the village offices for Holley.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the $5.1 million on Thursday, part of $200 million for housing projects state-wide.

The adaptive reuse of the former Holley High School into a mixed-use facility will create 41 homes for seniors age 55 and up. The existing school auditorium will be renovated for use by the Village of Holley as meeting space and administrative offices.

Holley Gardens is in the heart of the Village of Holley and residents will have easy access to local small businesses and amenities, Cuomo said.

Home Leasing LLC, a Rochester company, has proposed a $17 million renovation of the former school, to create residential apartments and offices that would be used for the village government. Home Leasing is working along with Edgemere Development, Glasow Simmons Architecture L.L.P. and Marathon Engineering – all Rochester-based firms – on the project.

“We at Home Leasing are truly honored to be part of bringing this historic landmark back to life,” said Nelson Leenhouts, chairman and CEO of Home Leasing LLC. “Holley Gardens will provide housing opportunity to area seniors and updated and accessible Village offices to the community. We are thankful for the unwavering commitment of the Village of Holley, the County of Orleans, Governor Cuomo, New York’s Homes and Community Renewal and Senator Schumer to the revitalization of this quaint canal side Village.”

Cuomo in March announced a $1 million “Restore New York” grant to go towards the renovation of the old Holley High School.

The latest funding will allow Home Leasing to move forward with the project. Brian Sorochty, mayor of Holley, said the revitalization of the old school will have a big impact on the village and Orleans County.

“The governor’s announcement that The Holley Gardens project was awarded $5.1 million is fantastic news and we thank Governor Cuomo for this award and his commitment to these types of adaptive reuse projects,” Sorochty said. “For Holley residents, this means that when combined with the $1 million already granted from Restore NY, this project is a reality!”

Nelson Leenhouts, chairman and CEO of Home Leasing, and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer discussed the importance of keeping federal tax incentives for redeveloping historic sites during this event on Nov. 11, 2016. Leenhouts, during that event, said in his 50 years of real estate development he has never had a community work so hard as Holley to make a project a reality as the redevelopment of the old school.

Holley village officials have been pushing for an answer to the former school for more than a decade. The building sits in the heart of the village at the intersection of two state roads, routes 31 and 237.

“Residents will soon see this landmark building restored to its fullest potential,” the mayor said. “Having an historic building of this magnitude, which is located at the main intersection in our Village revitalized will breathe new life into our community. This project will not only benefit Holley, but also our entire County. I truly believe this will be a transformative project with great  impact for our village and other communities around us.”

The village worked to have the site listed on the National Register of Historic Places, making it eligible for tax incentives. The Landmark Society of Western New York named the old school to its list of “Five to Revive,” and that designation helped get the attention of Home Leasing.

Sorochty said many people have stepped forward to have the school primed for revitalization. The school closed in the early 1970s and was last used by Liftec Manufacturing in the mid-1990s.

“There have been many residents in our village that have been hoping and pushing for this type of project for over 10 years,” he said. “Our Village Board has been working at this with the developers for approximately three years and it is very gratifying to see it come together into this exciting project. We hit this one on all cylinders, including support from all local, county and state officials, our residents, and a wonderful and dedicated development team lead by Home Leasing and Edgemere Development. A project of this magnitude simply can’t happen without everyone pulling in the same direction. My sincere thanks to all who made this a reality.”

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer was in Holley on Nov. 11, 2016 for a news conference at the old school to show his support for keeping federal tax credits for developers who rehab historic sites.

“At long last the decades of watching the beloved former Holley High School building sit vacant and decaying are finally over because we are breathing new life into this local historic treasure,” he said in a statement. “Now with federal historic rehab credits and state and federal housing tax credits we can break ground on the plan to revamp the old Holley High School into Holley Gardens with new senior housing, new larger space to house Village offices and a restored auditorium for community public meetings. Holley Gardens will truly be a win-win-win: for local residents, for local businesses and the entire regional economy.”

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Holley approves village budget without tax rate increase

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2018 at 10:32 pm

HOLLEY – The Village Board approved a budget this evening for the 2018-19 that keeps the tax rate at$15.65 per $1,000 of assessed property.

The $1,120,521 budget includes $268,190 for office, $360,200 in the DPW, $294,700 for the police department, $140,279 for employee benefits and $64,652 for general debt.

There also is $410,634 budgeted for the water department and $167,429 for the sewer department. Those departments are funded by user fees.

“I’m extremely pleased with the budget,” said Brian Sorochty, the Holley mayor. “The board the last two years has done a good job managing spending, and holding the tax rate.”

He also praised the village department heads for working to pare down their expenses to keep the tax rate from increasing.

Although the tax rate will remain the same, the village will collect 1.27 percent more in taxes, from $836,965 to $847,596.

The village’s tax base is up by 0.59 percent or $319,274, from $53,846,841 to $54,166,115.

The village is working on three large grants that will address new sidewalks and water infrastructure. Construction could start in late fall or spring.

Holley also was approved for a $165,600 state grant on Feb. 1 to develop a brownfield opportunities area program.

The Holley grant will complete a Brownfield Opportunity Area Nomination for 813 acres with 55 potential sites, according to the state announcement. The objectives include identifying opportunities surrounding the former high school in the downtown core; improved housing and income opportunities for residents; identifying strategies to reduce commercial vacancies; identifying opportunities at the Diaz Chemical site remediation; leveraging the Erie Canal; improving wayfinding in the Village; preparing design guidelines for the Public Square; and improving the village’s vitality.

Sorochty said the village clerk and code enforcement officer will be working extra hours for the village to implement this grant, which is part of Holley’s 15 percent local share for the project.

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