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Community shows up in a big way for Evan Valentine

Provided photos: Bob Miller, the Murray town supervisor and a neighbor of the Valentine family, reads a letter from Diane Valentine thanking the community for its support the past month since her son Evan was diagnosed with leukemia.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 November 2018 at 8:15 am

600 buy dinners, 220 donate baskets at fundraiser

Evan Valentine makes a surprise visit to the Clarendon Rec Hall on Sunday for a fundraising dinner.

CLARENDON – There was a big turnout from the Holley community on Sunday for a spaghetti dinner and basket raffle to support Evan Valentine and his family.

Evan, 15, was diagnosed with leukemia on Oct. 19. He has completed his first round of chemotherapy. On Sunday morning, his cell counts were high enough where doctors encouraged him to leave the hospital and attend the fundraiser.

The parking lot at the Clarendon Rec Hall was nearly full before the doors opened for the fundraiser at 1 p.m. Inside there was a sea with people wearing orange T-shirts, many saying “Evan Strong.” There were about 600 dinner tickets sold, 160 pounds of pasta cooked “and trays and trays of meatballs,” said Trina Lorentz-Lang, a family friend.

The community also donated 220 baskets and 10 silent auction items. So far, 800 orange shirts have been printed by B&T Creations with all profits donated to Evan.

Local businesses and organizations that contributed to the dinner include Sam’s Diner, Jimmy Z’s, the Albion Running Club and many other community members, said Lorentz-Lang.

Sue Rowcliffe was instrumental in organizing the dinner and volunteers. Jennifer Morgan and Kerry Lonnen organized the basket raffle, and Troy Kingdollar arranged the use of the Clarendon Rec Hall, secured donated food for the benefit and spent several hours in the kitchen. Clarendon firefighters also cooked food and donated the space for the benefit.

“We literally have an army behind us,” Diane Valentine said in a letter read by family friend and neighbor, Bob Miller. “Without all of you, your kind words of support, your love, your prayers, all of this here tonight, we would be lost.  You have helped us more than you know. The doctors and staff at Golisano are second to none. We are so very fortunate to have such incredible health care so close to where we live.  A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting with Evan and I told him that a lot of people go through their entire lives and never know all the people they have touched. I told him that he has been given a gift because at 15 he definitely knows the people he has touched. You are a gift he will carry with him.”

Heather and Steve Kelley and their children attended the benefit on Sunday. Frank and Sharon Gurzynski are seated next to them.

The Valentine family – Neil, Evan and Diane – are pictured with Breanna Girgangaya, who helped out at the dinner. Many people also signed a board to support Evan.

The Clarendon Rec Hall was a busy place on Sunday for the benefit dinner.

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Benefit today for Holley teen battling leukemia

Photos courtesy of Diane Valentine: Evan Valentine met Jim Kelly, the Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback, on Nov. 12 when Kelly stopped at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 November 2018 at 9:07 am

Evan Valentine has completed first round of chemo

Evan Valentine is shown on Nov. 4 with some of the get well cards he has received. These cards were from Boy Scouts in Holley and the First Presbyterian Church of Holley.

HOLLEY – Evan Valentine, 15, of Holley has completed his first round of chemotherapy and his blood cell counts are high enough where he should be able to go home soon, before beginning another round of chemo.

Valentine was diagnosed with leukemia on Oct. 19, just a day before he expected to join the Holley soccer team for a Sectional playoff game.

The community will have a benefit for Evan and his family today from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Clarendon Rec Hall, 16169 East Lee Rd. There will be a spaghetti dinner, basket raffles and 50/50 drawings.

Evan is the son of Neil and Diane Valentine. The family appreciates the support from the family, including numerous get well cards, prayers and frequent visitors from Evan’s friends.

“We’re just incredibly grateful for all the support from the community from our friends and family, the school and the church,” Mrs. Valentine said on Saturday night. “It feels like we have an army behind us.”

Evan has completed the first round of 10 chemo treatments. He faces at least three more rounds. A bone marrow biopsy on Monday will help determine how much more chemo is needed.

He has fought through many fevers the first round, and his hair has fallen out. But Evan is staying strong and positive, with his spirits lifted by visits from friends and family.

He also has had several surprise visits, including one from Holley native Freddie Kimmel, who is a cancer survivor at age 32 and a Broadway actor.

“The community has just been phenomenal,” Mrs.Valentine said.

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Construction is imminent on old Holley school

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 November 2018 at 8:32 am

$17 million project to be complete by spring 2020

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY — The Holley community saw a welcome sight this week at the old Holley High School. A fence went around the building on Wright Street and contractors could be seen working on windows.

A sign out front on Route 31 also says the project will be done in the spring 2020.

The community has worried about the building for more than two decades since its last occupant, Liftec Manufacturing, went bankrupt.

Home Leasing LLC, a Rochester company, is leading the renovation of the former Holley High School, and will turn the site into a mixed-use facility that will include 41 apartments for seniors age 55 and up. The existing school auditorium will be renovated to be used by the Village of Holley as meeting space and administrative offices.

The ceremony to celebrate the start of construction of the old Holley High School on Dec. 11. The Holley community and graduates of the old school are welcome to attend the “Preservation Celebration” at 2 p.m. People interested in attending are urged to RSVP at maloriele@homeleasing.net.

The site will be known as Holley Gardens. The former school is in the heart of the Village of Holley and residents will have easy access to local small businesses and amenities.

Home Leasing LLC has been working on the $17 million renovation for several years, lining up financing, including some state assistance. Home Leasing is working along with Edgemere Development, Glasow Simmons Architecture L.L.P. and Marathon Engineering – all Rochester-based firms – on the project.

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2 Holley girls collecting items for Veterans Care Packs

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 November 2018 at 9:14 am

Koryn and Kayla Neale are organizing effort for 5th year

File photo: Koryn (front) and Kayla Neale are shown last November with some of the items they collected for care packs for local veterans. This year their goal is 75 packs, up from 35 last year.

HOLLEY – Two sisters from Holley are collecting items for care packs to be given to local veterans.

Koryn and Kayla Neale are collecting the care packs with health/hygiene/comfort items. This is the fifth year they have led the effort. They have set a goal of 75 packs, which is up from 35 last year and 25 in 2016.

The two girls will pack the items at the Community Free Library in Holley today at 4 p.m. They will collect items on Saturday night at the Holley VFW Marine Corps birthday party, Sunday morning at the American Legion Jewell-Buckman Post, and Monday night at the Holley Falls Bar & Grill.

Items can also be dropped off at Wiley’s Ark today from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and  Monday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Every year we are overwhelmed by the generosity of our community and their willingness to help us succeed in thanking and caring for veterans,” said Krista Wiley-Neale, the girls’ mother.

Right now the care packs are short on deodorants, sugar free candy, calendars, Sudoku books, socks, wash cloths, winter hats, and snack cracker packs.

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Preservation Celebration of old Holley HS moved to Dec. 11

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 November 2018 at 2:57 pm

This rendering shows how the former Holley High School would look after $17 million in renovations.

HOLLEY — The ceremony to celebrate the start of construction of the old Holley High School has been changed to Dec. 11. It was planned for Nov. 20.

The Holley community and graduates of the old school are welcome to attend the “Preservation Celebration” at 2 p.m. on Dec. 11 at the former school, 1 Wright St.

People interested in attending are urged to RSVP at maloriele@homeleasing.net.

Home Leasing LLC, a Rochester company, is leading the renovation of the former Holley High School.

The Holley High School will be turned into a mixed-use facility that will include 41 apartments for seniors age 55 and up. The existing school auditorium will be renovated to be used by the Village of Holley as meeting space and administrative offices.

The site will be known as Holley Gardens. The former school is in the heart of the Village of Holley and residents will have easy access to local small businesses and amenities.

Home Leasing LLC has been working on the $17 million renovation for several years, lining up financing, including some state assistance. Home Leasing is working along with Edgemere Development, Glasow Simmons Architecture L.L.P. and Marathon Engineering – all Rochester-based firms – on the project.

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Holley students give cemetery markers a cleaning

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 October 2018 at 10:43 am

Provided photos

HOLLEY – About 30 members of the Interact Club at Holley Central School spent part of Saturday cleaning grave markers at Hillside Cemetery.

The group that helped on the project Saturday include: First row – Emily Bibby, Morgan Cary, Rachael Howard, Harleigh Andrews and Breanna Girangaya. Second row – Kamryn Berner, Kayleigh Neale, Sarah Harrington, Jocelyn Cervone, Rotarian Jessica Mandigo and Rotarian Brian McKeon.

Third row – Chuck Turpyn, Janne Grasshoff, Amaya Cancinco, Ally Lyndaker, Rachel Killian and Historian Melissa Ierlan. Fourth row – Hayley Passarell, Jordan Wright, Madison Marsh, Harley Felerski and Allana  Knopp.

Fifth row –Kohl  Morgan, Jamel Hildreth, KJ Biedlingmaier, Libbie Pecora, Grace McKeon and Hope Falls. Last row – Nathan Nothnagle.  Missing from picture – Casey  Onisk, Ave Quincey and Elise Quincey.

The Interact Club is sponsored by the Holley Rotary Club. Samantha Zelent and Evinn Neadow are advisors of Interact, and John Heise is the Rotary Club adviser.

Melissa Ierlan, a member of the Holley Board of Education, also helps oversee the cemetery and is the town historian. She was instrumental in the cleaning effort on Saturday. She laos gave the student a tour of the cemetery and the chapel.

Harleigh Andrews, Libbie Pecora, Grace McKeon and Hope Falls work on one of the cemetery gravestones.

Hayley Passarell and Rachael Howard give a century-old stone a cleaning.

Sarah Harrington, Kayleigh Neale, Jamel Hildreth and Chuck Turpyn help in the historic section of the cemetery.

Rachel Killian,  Amaya Cancino and Ally Lyndaker volunteered on Saturday.

Kohl Morgan and KJ Biedlingmaier work together to get a high spot of this elaborate gave site.

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‘Preservation Celebration’ for old Holley High School set for Nov. 20

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

Photo by Tom Rivers: The old Holley High School will be transformed into senior housing and also the village offices for Holley.

HOLLEY — Home Leasing LLC, the Rochester company leading the renovation of the former Holley High School, will have a “preservation celebration” on Nov. 20 to kick off the construction project which has been years in the making.

The 2 p.m. ceremony will be at the school at 1 Wright St.

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.

The site will be known as Holley Gardens. The former school is in the heart of the Village of Holley and residents will have easy access to local small businesses and amenities.

Home Leasing LLC has been working on the $17 million renovation for several years, lining up financing, including some state assistance. 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,” Nelson Leenhouts, chairman and CEO of Home Leasing LLC, said in May. “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.”


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Holley student’s family thankful for community support in leukemia fight

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 October 2018 at 3:38 pm

Photos courtesy of Diane Valentine: Evan Valentine was up and playing in the teen center at Golisano Children’s Hospital this morning. He received his fourth chemo treatment today since being admitted to the hospital on Friday.

HOLLEY – Evan Valentine, 15, was battling some digestive issues last week. But it didn’t keep him out of school or off the soccer field.

The sophomore plays center defense for the Holley Hawks varsity team. He was excited about Saturday’s Sectional game.

But after getting his blood drawn on Friday morning, doctors were concerned about the presence of blast cells. Evan was diagnosed with leukemia and was admitted to Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong on Friday evening.

He has had four chemo treatments with six more to go.

He has also been inundated with love from his classmates and teachers. There are many cards, signed by hundreds of students and staff, in his hospital room. He and his family have seen the social media posts, showing the school community wearing orange T-shirts in his honor on Monday.

“We can’t thank the community enough for what’s going on,” his mother Diane Valentine said by phone this afternoon. “We’re just so grateful for everything the community has done.”

Many of Evan’s friends and teachers have visited him in the hospital. The text messages also keep coming, offering kind words and encouragement.

“It has been overwhelming and amazing and so moving,” Valentine said.

Evan didn’t have any symptoms of leukemia. There were no bruises or fatigue.

His mother considers it a blessing from God that the leukemia was detected early, and Evan is receiving high-quality care at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Evan is a laid back kid, she said, and isn’t complaining about the chemo and the side effects. He has been sick from the treatments, but knows he needs the chemo to get better, his mother said.

Evan is an altar boy at St. Mary’s Parish in Holley. The youth group had a prayer vigil for him on Sunday night.

After 10 straight days of chemo, he is expected to be in the hospital for another two to three weeks.

He looks forward to getting back to school. In the meantime, he is making new friends at the hospital.

“We’ve met some amazing people here,” his mother said.

The family appreciated seeing a rainbow on Tuesday, when Evan was sick from the side effects of chemo. “I think God was sending His love to Evan,” his mother said.

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Holley community rallies for student diagnosed with leukemia

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 October 2018 at 2:48 pm

Provided photos

Photo by Tom Rivers: Evan Valentine joined the sophomore class during the homecoming parade on Sept. 28. The sophomores were celebrating the culture of France.

HOLLEY – This big group of Holley students, teachers and staff wore orange on Monday as a show of support for sophomore Evan Valentine, who was diagnosed with leukemia on Friday and was admitted to Strong Memorial Hospital.

Evan is a member of the boys varsity soccer team. When his friends heard of his illness, they put they call out on social media for students to wear orange. One of his teammates, Brad Kingdollar, also worked with his father Troy to make orange T-shirts that say “Evan Strong — In this family nobody fights alone.”

The T-shirts will be available for $10 (presale) on Thursday at the High School Library at 6 p.m. with about $6 per shirt going to the Valentine family.

There will soon be 500 orange “Evan Strong” wristbands available.

“Our kids are amazing,” said Samantha Zelent, a high school social worker. “When a crisis hits, this town rallies.”

Holley Rotary Club members Krista Wiley-Neale and Bob Miller hold a check for $1,000 that the Rotary Club approved on Monday to be given to the Valentine family.

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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.”

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