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Holley student places 1st in state, 7th nationally in plumbing skills competition

Staff Reports Posted 5 July 2018 at 5:46 pm

Provided photo

HOLLEY – Braden Ferranti competes in a the heating and plumbing competition as part of the Skills USA state competition in April at the State Fairgrounds.

Ferranti, who just finished his junior year at Holley, attends WeMoCo in Spencerport. He won the state competition and advanced to Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky, from June 25-29, which is also a National Leadership and Skills Conference, a showcase of career and technical education students.

Ferranti placed 7th in the competition with 50-plus students from all over the country

He is enrolled in the HVAC course this coming year at Wemoco and will continue with the co-op job he has. He will be a senior in Holley this year.

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Holley grads start next chapter of their lives, thankful for small-town roots

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 June 2018 at 1:06 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – The 89 students who graduated from Holley on Saturday toss their caps inside the gymnasium after the commencement ceremony. Holley usually holds commencement outside at the Holley Hawks Stadium but the event was moved inside to the auditorium due to rain.

Salvador Solis is hugged by Board of Education member Melissa Ierlan during commencement on Saturday.

Dalton Thurley decorated the top of his graduation with “Game of Loans.” He is shown in the hallway with his classmates before the start of commencement on Saturday at the Jr./Sr. High Auditorium.

“I thought it was a funny take on Game of Thrones,” Thurley said.

He is headed to Alfred State College to study mechanical engineering technology.

Some schools discourage students from decorating their graduating caps, but Holley encourages it, with the art teachers even lending a hand.

Nicholas D’Amura (center), a middle/high school history teacher, was picked by seniors to be the commencement speaker. He is pictured near the front of the procession with Susan Cory (right), middle/high school principal, and Dan Courtney, middle/high school assistant principal.

The graduates head into the auditorium.

As the graduates filed on to the stage, the smartphones came out to record the event.

Madison Papaj (left), class vice president, and Melody Purtell, class secretary, announce the class gift – a $700 donation to the music department.

Nina DiLella, the class salutatorian, said the graduates’ small-town roots are an asset as they begin the next phase of their lives.

Dakota Thompson gives the valedictory address and urges her classmates to “seize the day.” The new graduates shouldn’t be hung up on their faults. “No one is perfect,” she said. “Go out there and make your dreams a reality. No one will do it for you.”

Nicholas D’Amura

Nicholas D’Amura, a middle/high school history teacher, gave the commencement address. D’Amura is a graduate of Lewiston-Porter High School and Geneseo State College. He has taught at Holley for five years. D’Amura said he is very grateful for the welcome he’s received from students, teachers and the community since he started. He told the student they are fortunate for “the tight family bond in the community.”

D’Amura said the Class of 2018 has left a mark on Holley through their thoughtfulness and caring.

“You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more spirited class,” he said.

D’Amura urged the group to thank their family members, teachers and others who helped them have success in school.

The 89 graduates are now headed in many different directions, and they will encounter numerous challenges, D’Amura said.

“Nothing in life is given to you,” he said. “It is earned. I encourage you to meet the challenges head on. Run through them.”

The commencement speaker said the world has a lot of anger, and doesn’t need any more. The graduates can make a difference by treating others with love and kindness, “even if they are unkind to you.”

Holley graduates, including Cory Caccamise (center), look at a personal note that D’Amura wrote for each student. He asked them to look under their chairs to find the message.

“Holley will remember you,” he said. “You will never be forgotten. Now go show the world what love, kindness and grit looks like.”

Holley Class President Matt DeSimone, left, joins the class in moving his tassel to signify graduation from high school. Nina DiLella is at center and Brandon Dillenbeck is at right.

DeSimone gave the welcome message during graduation. He told his classmates they are lucky to have been in a small school where they could do so many activities together with strong community support. DeSimone also noted the students were wearing ribbons in memory of victims at Parkland, Florida and other school shootings in the country this past year.

Glenn Thrower hams it up during a photo with Susan Cory, middle/high school principal.

Kyle Ierlan gets a hug from Brenda Swanger, president of the Board of Education. Kyle’s mom Melissa, right, is also on the Board of Education.

Briana Coluci stands and is recognized as one of the scholarship winners. Holley presented more than $22,000 in scholarships and awards during commencement.

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Sorochty re-elected Holley mayor

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 June 2018 at 11:09 pm

Nenni and Lynch also will be back on Village Board

Brian Sorochty

HOLLEY – Village residents re-elected Brian Sorochty as mayor and two incumbents as trustees during the village election today.

Sorochty received 219 votes to 132 for Shawn O’Mara. Current trustees Connie Nenni, 231 votes, and Kevin Lynch, 202, were also re-elected to two-year terms over Alexa Downey, 135, and Robyn Schubmehl, 113.

There were 351 voters out of 967 eligible – a 36.3 percent turnout. The village used paper ballots. The results weren’t announced until 10:15 p.m., 75 minutes after the polls closed. A crowd of about 40 people waited outside the Village Office on the sidewalk for more than an hour until the results were announced.

Sorochty, who works as Vice President of Engineering for an engineering/construction company, was elected to a second two-year term. He is thankful he can keep working on village projects, including upcoming initiatives for new sidewalks and water infrastructure that are largely covered by grants. Holley also has received a planning grant for redeveloping vacant buildings in the downtown, finding uses for brownfield sites, including the former Diaz Chemical property, and boosting the village’s housing stock.

Sorochty is also excited for the start of construction on the renovation of the old Holley High School. This fall Home Leasing LLC of Rochester will start on the $17 million project, creating 41 senior apartments and the village offices in the building.

“I’m very pleased with the outcome and the turnout,” he said. “It was a very important election with the projects we have going on. I’m also pleased my fellow trustees were re-elected and we can continue our team.”

O’Mara, a Gates police officer, wants to see more progress in paving village streets, fixing sidewalks and upgrading village parks. He also wants to see the village push harder to have a new bank and grocery store come into the community since Holley lost its bank and a former Save-A-Lot store.

The new terms for the mayor and trustees start July 1.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Holley Village Clerk-Treasurer Deborah Schiavone reads off the election results outside the Village Office at about 10:15 p.m.

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Holley village election today from noon to 9 p.m.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 June 2018 at 8:19 am

HOLLEY – Village residents who are eligible voters, 18 and older, will elect a mayor and two trustees for the Village Board today.

The election is from noon to 9 p.m. at the Village Office, 72 Public Square.

There are two candidates running for a two-year term as mayor: incumbent Brian Sorochty and Shawn O’Mara.

Four candidates are running for two trustee positions that are also for two-year terms. Incumbents Kevin Lynch and Connie Nenni are challenged by Robyn Schubmehl and Alexa Downey.

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Video shows Holley candidate forum

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 June 2018 at 9:27 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Six candidates running for the Holley Village Board were part of a candidate forum on Wednesday evening at the Holley Junior-Senior High School Auditorium. Pictured up front include mayoral candidates Shawn O’Mara and Brian Sorochty, and trustee candidates Connie Nenni, Alexa Downey, Robyn Schubmehl and Kevin Lynch. Michael Bonafede served as moderator and Sandy Heise, Krista Wiley, Chris Sartwell and Judith Koehler were question screeners.

A video of Wednesday’s candidate forum for the Holley is now available on the Lake Country Media YouTube channel by clicking here.

The Lake Country Pennysaver and Orleans Hub sponsored the forum on Wednesday at the Holley Junior-Senior High School Auditorium.

The video is 1 hour, 32 minutes and shows candidates giving opening and closing statements, and responding to questions submitted by the audience.

The candidates for the election on Tuesday include Shawn O’Mara and incumbent Brian Sorochty for mayor; and Alexa Downey and Robyn Schubmehl for village trustee, challenging incumbents Connie Nenni and Kevin Lynch.

Voting is from noon to 9 p.m. at the village office.

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Holley names new school superintendent

Posted 14 June 2018 at 2:10 pm

Press Release, Holley Central School

Brian Bartalo

HOLLEY – The Holley Board of Education has selected Brian Bartalo as the next superintendent of the school district pending formal appointment to the position at the next Board of Education meeting on June 18.

He will start as superintendent on July 16. He replaces Robert D’Angelo, who retired.

“Throughout the rigorous search process, Brian demonstrated an ability to connect with students, staff and community members,” said Board President Brenda Swanger. “His long experience and track record of success make him the ideal leader to move our district forward.”

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.

“The Holley community has been very welcoming to me through this search process,” said Bartalo. “I look forward to working with the Board to further the district’s mission of instilling a passion for lifelong learning within our students.”

Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES District Superintendent Jo Anne L. Antonacci assisted the Holley Board of Education as search consultant throughout the process.

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Holley candidates share views for moving village forward

Photos by Tom Rivers: Six candidates running for the Holley Village Board were part of a candidate forum on Wednesday evening at the Holley Junior-Senior High School Auditorium. Pictured from left include mayoral candidates Shawn O’Mara and Brian Sorochty, and trustee candidates Connie Nenni, Alexa Downey, Robyn Schubmehl and Kevin Lynch.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 June 2018 at 10:24 am

HOLLEY – Village residents have choices on Tuesday when they go to the polls to elect a mayor and two trustees. There are six candidates running for three positions on the Village Board. Those candidates shared their views and goals for the village during a candidate forum on Wednesday evening at the Holley Junior-Senior High School Auditorium. The event was sponsored by the Lake Country Pennysaver and Orleans Hub.

Brian Sorochty

The incumbents – Mayor Brian Sorochty and trustees Connie Nenni and Kevin Lynch – see great progress in the village in the past two years with Holley securing grants for new sidewalks and water infrastructure, as well as a planning grant to help redevelop the downtown and bolster the economic, housing and recreational opportunities in the village.

Sorochty sees the $17 million renovation of the old Holley High School into 41 apartments for seniors and the village offices as a major victory for the village. Construction will start in the fall and the project should be complete within two years.

The soon-to-start improvements in the village will show potential developers and businesses that Holley is headed in the right direction, Sorochty said.

“One of the best things we can do is show that we’re a community on the move,” Sorochty told about 75 people at the candidate forum.

Shawn O’Mara

Shawn O’Mara, a candidate for mayor, sees a lot of empty storefronts, as well as the recent closures of Holley’s only bank and grocery store. He said he would push to find another bank and grocery store for the community. He also said the village suffers from deteriorating roads and sidewalks.

“I have determination,” he said. “I can think on my feet and get results.”

Sorochty works as Vice President of Engineering for an engineering/construction company, overseeing 35 employees.

O’Mara is a Gates police officer. He has worked 25 years in law enforcement, including the beginning of his career with the Holley Police Department.

The incumbent trustees – Nenni and Lynch – said the current board has put in the hard work to have Holley positioned for success, with grants for sidewalks and water infrastructure. The old high school redevelopment also was years in the making.

“We’ve definitely made a lot of progress but there is more to do,” Nenni said. “We’ve been working hard to transform this village with multi-million-dollar projects. You’ll see and feel every bit of them when they are done.”

Connie Nenni, left, answers a question during the candidate forum on Wednesday. Other trustee candidates include Alexa Downey, Robyn Schubmehl and Kevin Lynch.

Nenni currently works as secretary to the Holley school district superintendent. She previously was Holley’s village clerk-treasurer. She has written grants for the village concert series, and helped rally the community to support the sidewalk grant, which will replace about a third of sidewalks in Holley.

Kevin Lynch is retired after 36 years from the Canal Corp., including about 20 years in Pittsford as the chief lock operator.

Lynch said the village government can be daunting to understand for a newcomer on the board. He is currently Holley’s deputy mayor and said he is very familiar with the staff and duties of the Electric Department, Department of Public Works and the Clerk’s Office. He said he is proud of Holley’s recent successes, especially with the redevelopment of the old school. He was a member of the last graduating class in the building.

Alexa Downey

Alexa Downey works as a teacher’s assistant in prekindergarten. She is a Brooklyn native who sees lots of potential for Holley as a historic canal town, especially if the storefronts can be filled.

She said she would bring a positive presence to the board and would be active in the community, getting resident feedback. She is currently co-president of the Holley PTSA and a volunteer with the Sports Boosters.

Robyn Schubmehl works as a supervisor and paralegal for a foreclosure firm in Medina. She said the Village Board would benefit from fresh ideas. She said she has the commitment and dedication to be an asset to the board.

“Everyone brings something to the table,” she said. “We need to work together cohesively.”

O’Mara, Schubmehl and Downey are running as a team. They congratulated the current board for the success with grants and projects, but said more work is needed, especially with sidewalks and the deteriorating road conditions.

Sorochty, Nenni and Lynch also cited efforts to maintain services without raising taxes. The village has contracts with the Village of Albion to run Holley’s sewer plant and also for leadership in the police department. Roland Nenni serves as both Holley’s and Albion’s police chief.

Sorochty said the arrangements have resulted in superior service for Holley and at much-reduced cost than hiring full-time personnel for the positions.

O’Mara said more consolidation of village government would keep taxes from rising. But Sorochty and Lynch said Holley is running a “bare bones” staff. The shared services approach is the best way to preserve services with local control, without being too costly for the village, they said.

Michael Bonafede served as moderator of the forum, which was attended by about 75 people.

The candidates were asked many questions during the forum, including whether the police department should be dissolved, how to stabilize taxes, whether the village should have a full-time administrator, how Holley can best capitalize on the canal and other topics.

None of the candidates favored dissolving the village police force and having the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office assume the work.

O’Mara said Holley is start for many in law enforcement and the new officers prove their dedication to the community. Sorochty also said the current board has made keeping a 24-7 police presence a priority.

None of the candidates want to see Holley hire a full-time administrator. They all said Holley is too small and shouldn’t be adding positions that would increase the burden on taxpayers.

Some villages in other counties have full-time administrators. But the candidates said Holley has enough staff to keep the village government working.

Sorochty said a rumor went around the village that an administrator position would be created.

“It’s false,” he said. “It’s absolutely ridiculous. The village is too small.”

Kevin Lynch

The canal park is one of the village’s assets, with a gazebo for concerts, boat tie-ins and camping sites along the canal in Holley. O’Mara said more docking and expanded amenities could draw more boaters and kayakers to Holley.

The candidates were asked if a kayak and boat launch should be pursued near the lift bridge. Sorochty said there could be grant funding available for that. But Lynch, a former Canal Corp. employee, said he doubted the Canal Corp. would support that because there is already a boat launch a mile east of Holley.

Sorochty said clearing out an original canal bed, the only section west of Rochester, could be a tourism draw and a source of pride for the community. Orleans County officials are interested in helping to remove trees and brush from that original canal bed this fall, Sorochty said.

The candidates were also asked about code enforcement, including the possibility of county-wide code enforcement, rather than each town and village doing the service. That might require a uniform code for all the municipalities, or code officers being familiar with varying codes in towns and villages.

Schubmehl and Downey both said the community needs to have fair code enforcement. Right now there is a perception code enforcement picks on some people.

“I want to make sure code enforcement is fair and truly look out for Holley and not have another agenda,” Downey said.

Robyn Schubmehl

Schubmehl said, “Code enforcement needs to be fair across the board.”

The candidates were also asked about the controversial tree clearing along the northern side of the Erie Canal. There is concern trees could be cut down on the south side near Holley’s Canal Park and the waterfalls. Sorochty said Canal Corp. officials have no plans of removing those trees. But if they did in the future, the candidates said Holley should hire a lawyer and pursue an injunction, like Perinton, Brighton and Pittsford did to halt the project.

“If those trees come down you’ll lose the beauty of the canal,” O’Mara said.

The candidates were asked how many village meetings they have attended in the past two years. O’Mara, Downey and Schubmehl all said they haven’t been to a Village Board meeting. Lynch has been to them all, while Sorochty and Nenni have near-perfect attendance.

The election is from noon to 9 p.m. on Tuesday at the Village Office.

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Candidate forum today for Holley village election

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 June 2018 at 8:55 am

HOLLEY – Village residents can hear directly today from the six candidates running for the Village Board.

The forum begins at 6 p.m. at the Holley Junior-Senior High School Auditorium. The event is sponsored by The Lake Country Pennysaver and Orleans Hub.

The event is set up as a forum and not a debate. Candidates will give opening and closing statements, and will respond to questions submitted by the audience.

Three incumbents are running in the June 19 election, including Mayor Brian Sorochty and two current village trustees – Connie Nenni and Kevin Lynch, the deputy mayor.

The other candidates include Shawn O’Mara for mayor and Alexa Downey and Robyn Schubmehl for village trustees.

The June 19 election will be from noon to 9 p.m. at the village office.

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Hurd Orchards creates a pollinator meadow for bees

Photos by Kristina Gabalski: Amelia Sidonio, 15, of Holley led the planting effort on Thursday for a new bee pollinator meadow on Hurd Road near her family’s farm market at Hurd Orchards. Amelia, left, is joined by Joan-Marie Gabalski and Grace Gregoire in scattering seed in the newly tilled pollinator meadow.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 June 2018 at 7:28 am

HOLLEY – A local teen-ager is leading an effort  to create a pollinator meadow where bees will be encouraged to flourish.

Amelia Sidonio, 15, and a group of local 4-Hers spread wildflower seed on Thursday for the new meadow which is about a half mile from Hurd Orchards, which is owned by Amelia’s family.

Bayer, which has an agricultural products division, provided a $2,500 grant for the project. Bayer is paying for pollinator meadows in all 50 states, part of an effort to encourage native bee populations.

Amelia Sidonio distributes seeds to Grace Gregoire, Sadie Gregoire and Luke Gregoire prior to planting.

The colony collapse disorder and other diseases have decimated the honey bee population, making the fruit industry vulnerable because bees are needed to pollinate crops for them to grow. The new meadows will provide pollen for native bees and honey bees.

“I’m just really happy to have the opportunity to work with Bayer and start the movement of wildflower plantings,” Amelia said.

She is a sophomore at the Harley School in Rochester. She has been involved with the Orleans County 4-H program since she was 5, starting as a Cloverbud with the rabbit program.

During a 4-H public presentation, she researched the crisis with the declining bee population and presented that report. She wanted to do something to help bees, and learned about the funding opportunity through Bayer.

Her mother, Amy Machamer, was honored in 2016 by Bayer with a farming innovation award. Machamer was recognized by Bayer welcoming the public on their farm to learn about agriculture. Hurd Orchards hosts luncheons and dinners that teach about growing fruit. Machamer also teaches people how to prepare dishes with ingredients grown from the Hurd farm.

A 4-Her holds a handful of seed. Wildflower seed planted included red poppies, yarrow, milkweed, oxeye and painted daisies.

The first pollinator meadow is about a half mile from the market at Hurd Orchards. Machamer and her daughter want to add another meadow closer to the market. That was the plan last year but it was too rainy to get the meadow started.

A group of Orleans County 4-Hers met in a small field on Hurd Road in Murray on Thursday to plant a pollinator meadow. Amelia reached out to her 4-H friends who filled pails with wildflower seeds and scattered the seed in the newly tilled meadow.

“It’s important to get the community involved,” Amelia said. “It’s good to connect to different kinds of agriculture.”

Orleans County 4-Hers are pictured after the planting. They are, from left: Luke Gregoire, John Gabalski, Amelia Sidonio, Grace Gregoire, Joan-Marie Gabalski and Sadie Gregoire.

She wants to raise more public awareness of the issue affecting bees. She said the wildflowers also have the added benefit of beautifying the countryside.

The plants will germinate this year and some may flower. Next year the planting will really take hold and provide blooms for many years to come.

“That field will be absolutely gorgeous,” Machamer said. “It will be really pretty. It will be really beautiful. It will provide beauty and a pollinator meadow, and raise consciousness.”

For more on the Bayer program to help bees, click here.

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Holley trap shooting team comes in 3rd in its conference

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 June 2018 at 9:42 pm

Provided photos: The spring Holley trap shooting team includes, front row, from left: Coach Jaime Almeter, Coach Ted Major, Kyle Surowy,  Rayelle Bonacci, Evan Press, Joe Silpoch, Jakob  Silpoch, Coach John Waldron, Coach Doug Baker and Coach Butch Moy. Back row: Hunter Cleveland, Triston McFadden, Alexis Clemens, Kelsie Johnstone, Brandon Dillenbeck, Alexis Penna and Max Hollister.

HOLLEY – The Holley trap team just finished its third season in the NYS High School Clay Target League. Holley was third in its conference out of six teams in the Spring 2018.  Holley also competed in Spring 2017 and Fall 2017.

The schools are broken into conferences based on the size of the trap team. Holley with its 17 members competed in Class 1A in Conference 4. Kendall also had a team this spring for the first time and came in seventh out of seven teams in Conference 1.

The team for the first time was able to give a $500 scholarship. Steve Markle, a supporter of the program, donated the $500. He presents the scholarship last week to Brandon Dillenbeck for his high shooting and academic success.

Markle took up trap shooting himself two years ago at the Holley Rod & Gun Club, where the team practices and holds many of its matches. Markle said the sport teaches discipline and focus.

He said his two daughters were fortunate to get scholarships when they graduated from high school.

“I was looking for a way to give back,” Markle said. “I wanted to know what I could do to help the team out.”

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