Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville school budgets approved by voters

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2022 at 10:05 pm

Voters in Holley, Kendall and Lyndonville approved their school budgets today.

Holley’s proposed $26,982,000 budget passed with a 235-130 vote.

The budget increases taxes by 1.95 percent. The budget maintains all current educational programs and represents a 3.18 percent budget-to-budget increase.

Other Holley propositions also were approved by voters:

  • Capital improvements reserve fund at a maximum of $6 million – 233 yes votes, 138 no votes
  • Proposition to purchase new school buses as a maximum of $334,000 – 232 yes votes, 139 no votes
  • Proposition to collect $194,966 for Community Free Library – 274 yes votes, 100 no votes

Two candidates for two three-year terms on the Board of Education were elected. Tracy Van Ameron received 287 votes and Anne Winkley was backed by 281 voters.

In Kendall, the $19,822,921 budget was approved with a 123-26 vote.

The budget keeps the tax levy at $4,964,656, and decreases spending by $157,808 to $19,822,921.

Other propositions include:

  • Authorize $250,000 from a Transportation Bus Reserve Fund to replace transportation vehicles of the district – 130 yes votes, 19 no votes
  • Establish a capital reserve fund for up to $5 million for a future capital project – 129 yes votes, 19 no votes
  • Lisa Levett, current president of the Board of Education, received 137 votes for another five-year term. She was unopposed.

In Lyndonville, the $15,704,953 budget passed, 226-76. That’s 74.8 percent in favor.

The budget calls for a 2 percent tax increase, or by $90,564 to $4,618,740 for the tax levy. The budget maintains all current programs, including music, athletics and extracurriculars, and also keeps a school resource officer and on-campus space for a mental health counselor.

The district had a very close four-way battle for three seats on the Board of Education. The incumbents all won with Vern Fonda at 185 votes, Harold Suhr at 178, Kristin Nicholson at 171, and James Houseman at 168. The positions are for three-year terms that start July 1.

Other propositions include:

  • Collecting $119,183 for the Yates Community Free Library – 199 yes votes, 104 no votes
  • Authorization to spend up to $145,000 for a 64-seat passenger bus – 248 yes votes, 57 no votes.

Lyndonville appoints Sharon Smith as school superintendent

Posted 9 May 2022 at 9:25 pm

Press Release, Lyndonville Central School

Sharon Smith

LYNDONVILLE – The Lyndonville Board of Education appointed Sharon Smith as the district’s superintendent during this evening’s board meeting.

Mrs. Smith has been serving as Lyndonville’s interim superintendent since Jan. 1, when the previous superintendent, Jason Smith, took a job at Batavia district superintendent. Mrs. Smith has worked for Lyndonville for three years and served as Lyndonville’s Director of Instruction and Student Services.

Previously, she worked as Kendall’s elementary principal, a curriculum coordinator for Frontier Schools and assistant principal, CIO and grants coordinator for Newfane schools. Prior to her administrative career, she worked as an elementary teacher for 22 years.

“Sharon Smith has been successfully serving as Lyndonville’s interim superintendent for four months,” said BOE President Theodore Lewis. “Mrs. Smith met with the Board weekly to provide updates and discuss school decisions and operational matters. As a Board, we are pleased with her performance and dedication to our students, staff, faculty and district. We believe she has the experience, knowledge and commitment needed for this position and are pleased she has agreed to serve as our permanent Superintendent of Schools.”

Mrs. Smith stated that she is sincerely honored to lead the district.

“As an Orleans County resident, and farm owner, my husband and I chose to raise our family in a rural community,” she said. “I understand and appreciate the value of a close-knit school community. I look forward to continuing my work with Lyndonville and ensuring the district continues to lead in academics, positive school culture and climate, community pride, athletics and sportsmanship, fine arts and stewardship.”

Lyndonville-Medina musical honored for overall excellence by Stars of Tomorrow

Photos by Tom Rivers: Danielle Schmidt (left) is the Fairy Godmother and Elizabeth Whipple is Cinderella in the production of Cinderella by Lyndonville and Medina schools. It received one of 10 awards for excellence in overall musical production at the Rochester Broadway Theatre League's 24th annual recognition ceremony, the Stars of Tomorrow, on Thursday.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 May 2022 at 10:29 am

ROCHESTER – The musical production of Cinderella by Lyndonville and Medina students brought home many awards on Thursday night at the Stars of Tomorrow competition in Rochester, which recognizes the top school musicals in the Rochester area.

Students from 25 local schools come together at Stars of Tomorrow for an awards show that includes performances from the schools on the Rochester stage.

Lyndonville and Medina’s musical won several awards. The schools in the competition used to be separated by size in different divisions. But now they all are in the same division. The Lyndonville and Medina as well as Albion were up against Greece Athena, Greece Odyssey, Pittsford Mendon, Victor, Brighton and other much larger districts.

• Lyndonville and Medina won one of the 10 awards for excellence in overall musical production.

• Lyndonville and Medina also was recognized for excellence in student orchestra and excellence in vocal ensemble.

• Lyndonville and Medina performers also were honored for overall excellence in performance in a leading role: Elizabeth Whipple as Cinderella and Danielle Schmidt as the Fairy Godmother.

Beginning at noon today, there will be online voting for the top high school performers in Rochester to have a chance to go to New York City in a national competition – the National High School Musical Theatre Awards or Jimmy Awards.

Schmidt and Whipple both were nominated to be considered for the NYC event. Click here for more information, beginning at noon today.

Greyson Romano is Lionel in the musical Cinderella. He was recognized as a “Future Star.” Here he is shown announcing there will be a ball for the prince.

Lyndonville and Medina performers also received these awards:

• Future Stars – Emani Fuentes and Greyson Romano

• Special Recognition – Rory Smith and Seagan Majchrzak

• A Round of Applause – Andrew Austin, Auston Bentley and Tessa Zeitz

• A Tip of the Hat – Annabelle Follman and Emani Fuentes

Elaina Huntington, center, plays the Stepmother who is shown with her two daughters. Emani Fuentes is Joy, left, who snorts when she laughs and Annabelle Follman is Grace, who is often itching her arms. All three are mean to Cinderella and don’t want her going to the ball. Funetes and Follman received “A Tip of the Hat” for their acting in the show.

Seagan Majchrzak is Queen Constantina and Henry Rigerman is King Maximillan. They are the prince’s parents and they conspire to throw him a ball where he must dance with every woman. Majchrzak received a special recognition award from the Stars of Tomorrow.

Lyndonville to welcome back full Fourth of July celebration with parade

Photo by Tom Rivers: People lined up along Main Street for the annual Fourth of July parade in Lyndonville in this photo from 2019. The parade lasted more than an hour and included many fire trucks, floats for businesses and organizations, and marching bands. The parade was cancelled in 2020 and 2021.

Posted 4 May 2022 at 1:39 pm

Press Release, Lyndonville Lions Club

LYNDONVILLE – The Lyndonville Lions Club’s current major focus is finalizing plans for the return of the Lyndonville Lions club July 4th extravaganza with a full parade and fireworks display.

The club president and parade committee encourages everyone to support the fireworks fund drive. Fireworks collection cans have been placed at area retailers for individuals to donate to support the fireworks show.

The July 4th Lyndonville Lions parade, absent the past two years, will return this year and begin at noon, followed by an arts and craft show on the front lawn of the Lyndonville School. Food venders will be available and the annual chicken barbeque starts serving at 1 p.m. Chicken barbeque tickets will be available for early purchase from any Lyndonville Lions Club member.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department will also be on site for child car seat checks, children identification cards and the Yellow Dot program.

The Lyndonville Lions Club holds its bimonthly meetings at the White Birch Golf Club in Lyndonville. New members Chris Cappetta and Dr. Nancy Ciavarri were inducted in April. The Lyndonville Lions also accepted two additional members applications for induction in May.

Following the club’s March Pop-Up Eye Clinic, the club recently completed its first phase of delivering 60 pairs of eye glasses to people across Orleans County. The second phase will culminate in the next few weeks with the delivery of the remaining 90 pairs of eyeglasses.

A presentation was given by Vern Fonda on behalf of “The Murph Challenge” – an endurance competition that helps raise money in support the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation.

This foundation awards scholastic scholarships to children of wounded or fallen military personnel. For more information on this scholarship program and for information on participation in the “Murph Challenge” – log on to the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation web site. The Lyndonville Lions has supported this program for several years.

John Belson, Lions Club member and Lyndonville mayor, presented the results of this year’s Lyndonville Easter Egg Hunt which continues to be a well-attended event. The club is preparing for its upcoming Mothers’ Day rose sale. Long stemmed red roses are available for $20 per dozen and can be picked up on Friday, May 6, at the White Birch after 10 a.m.

Orders can be placed by contacting any Lyndonville Lions Club member, by leaving a phone or text message at 585-745-0895 or by contacting the White Birch.

Lyndonville students and artist create mural of kindness

Posted 29 April 2022 at 11:26 am

Press release and photos from Lyndonville Central School

LYNDONVILLE – The school district recently unveiled a collaborative mural of children’s artwork that was captured and reimagined by Boston-based artist, Bren Bataclan.

Bataclan’s murals are special because he incorporates students’ ideas and characters in the compositions. With the help of 20 adults and a dozen high school students, Lyndonville’s vivid mural was brought to life in the hallway near the elementary library. This was the ideal placement as the theme incorporates literacy and reading with kindness, respect, social-emotional learning and a growth mindset.

Mrs. Strusienski’s fifth and sixth grade students learned about Bataclan after reading a book about the artist and how he spreads kindness by giving away his artwork. The students visited his website ( to learn more about the artist and his projects.

They watched his TEDTalk and then followed a “how-to” video for drawing one of his characters. Inspired by what they learned, they emailed the author, and he replied. After many emails, phone calls and Google Meets, the project was initiated.

Bataclan (back right in photo) visited Lyndonville in early March to collaborate with kindergarten through sixth-grade students during assemblies and workshops and, with help from many in the district, paint the colorful mural that incorporates the students’ artwork.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to share a real-world connection with our students,” said Elementary Principal Dr. Elissa Smith. “Our students love seeing their characters incorporated into the mural and are proud to be a part of this incredible project.”

Inspired by the mural, second grade students painted canvases to give to local nursing homes and a floor at Medina Memorial Hospital. These young students wanted to pass on Bataclan’s message of kindness and to bring a smile to others.

“If you have not taken a trip down to the Elementary Library hallway to view this delightful mural, please do so,” said school nurse Mary Bateson-Kurz. “It will lighten your soul with its joyful characters and message of love!”

To learn more about this project and see the mural reveal, click here to see a video.

Columbine shooting survivor urges Lyndonville students to spread kindness

Photo courtesy of Lyndonville Central School: Craig Scott brought a message about kindness to Lyndonville Central School. His sister Rachel was one of 13 people – 12 students and one teacher – murdered in the Columbine school shooting on April 20, 1999.

Posted 12 April 2022 at 2:54 pm

Press Release, Lyndonville Central School

LYNDONVILLE – Craig Scott, inspirational speaker and Columbine survivor, recently visited Lyndonville Central School to spread the importance of valuing yourself and others and spreading kindness whenever possible.

The speaker held three age and content appropriate assemblies and two training sessions for select students and staff.

Inspired by his sister, Rachel Scott, Craig discussed the importance of kindness. His message in each assembly was that people will never know how far a little kindness can go. By being kind to others, you may start a chain reaction and others will be kind too.

The message to our 10th through 12th grade students incorporated kindness with setting goals, valuing self/others and making the world a better place as they graduate and begin their journey into adulthood. Our 6th through 9th grade students discussed respect and kindness to self and others and being aware of actions and words, especially online. They were encouraged to find ways to have a positive impact.

The message to our elementary students focused on instilling kindness and compassion, and they discussed bullying and being brave enough to do the right thing, even when it is difficult.

Craig encouraged all students to do five things regularly:

  1. Use kind words and do kind things
  2. Accept and include others
  3. Choose positive influences
  4. Set goals
  5. Keep a journal

Students who volunteered to be part of a leadership group called Friends of Rachel, developed seven projects to continue and sustain kindness throughout the district. In the next few weeks, these projects will unite students and show how each of us matters and contributes to making the world a better place.

“Craig Scott did an outstanding job connecting with each age group of students and provided insightful training for our staff,” said Interim Superintendent Sharon Smith. “It is the hope that Lyndonville’s chain of kindness will grow and continue to promote a positive school culture and climate for years to come.”

After Medina ends partnership, Lyndonville thanks district for collaboration

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 April 2022 at 6:47 pm

Lyndonville seeks out potential shared programs with other districts

Contributed Photo – The combined Medina/Lyndonville players and coaches celebrate earning a share of the Section VI Class B1 soccer title after tying host Tonawanda 2-2 in double overtime in the title contest on Nov. 17, 2020. The sectional title was the third in the last nine years for the program that beat Tonawanda 1-0 in the 2011 final and Newfane 2-1 in overtime for the 2013 crown. Head Coach Steve Luksch’s squad includes Alex Barry, Zaric Boyce, Brandon Boyce, Aiden Burczyk, Jacob Corser, Nate Dillenbeck, Zach Fike, Brian Fry, Evan Harris, Miles Hartway, Roman Heinsler, Sam Kingsbury, Dan Mandujano, Jackson Moreland, Mason Moreland, Mason Nicholson, Aidan Owczarczak, Jack Rutkowski, AJ Seefeldt, Cole Seefeldt, Russ Stephens, Jack Whipple, Ricky Wood and Sebastian Zilempe along with Anthony Moule and Casey Winiecki who were not in the picture.

LYNDONVILLE – The school has issued a statement following a decision by the Medina Board of Education last week to end a partnership with the school musical, hosted by Lyndonville, and some shared sports teams, including boys and girls soccer.

Medina school officials said its auditorium has recently been upgraded and district staff want to lead a musical program in Medina. The two districts recently put on the musical Cinderella. The Lyndonville-Medina musicals have consistently been recognized by the Stars of Tomorrow for excellence.

The partnership started about a decade ago when Medina was grappling with deep budget cuts due to a reduction in state funding.

“Our collaboration with Medina for athletics and music has been beneficial, and our combined production of Cinderella was outstanding. I would like to thank Medina for their support throughout the years,” said Lyndonville’s Interim Superintendent Sharon Smith. “Lyndonville has sought out potential collaborations with other districts to maximize student opportunities and will explore our options to ensure student activities and extracurricular events are not impacted.”

Lyndonville will continue to have a musical with its own students. The district also expects to field its own boys soccer team and is discussing with Barker about a shared team, said James Zeliff, Lyndonville’s athletic director.

“We will announce plans as they are finalized and keep all stakeholders in the loop,” he said. “We are grateful for the opportunities we had with Medina, not only to be able to field teams, but also for our combined success, including the 2016 Football Division championship, the 2019 Boys Soccer League championship and the 2020 Boys Soccer Sectional Co-Championship.”

Lyndonville coach honored for 50 years of dedication to baseball program

Posted 8 April 2022 at 2:14 pm

Photo and information from Lyndonville school district

LYNDONVILLE – Mark Hughes gets many high fives this morning when he was recognized for 50 years of service as a Lyndonville baseball coach.

Hughes was hire din 1972 as a teacher and coach. During that time, Hughes has been an integral part of seven sectional titles, 17 league titles and two trips to the state tournament as part of the baseball program.

“His accomplishments on the field are unmatched, but his love for his players and students goes far beyond,” the district said in a statement. “He would tell you his greatest accomplishment is seeing what his students and athletes have done after leaving LCS.”

Lyndonville recognized with school safety award

Posted 7 April 2022 at 8:39 pm

Press Release, Lyndonville Central School

LYNDONVILLE – Lyndonville is one of at least 145 school districts and Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in New York State to receive the Utica National Insurance Group’s “School Safety Excellence Award” for 2022 at the Titanium with Honors level.

The honor is presented annually and recognizes school districts’ safety efforts as they work to help keep students, staff and visitors safe.

Lyndonville received its award at Utica National’s 40th school safety seminar, one of seven such seminars the company hosts in the state. For over 45 years Utica National has kept kids and school staff safe and currently insures more than 300 school districts in upstate New York alone.

Lyndonville officials accepted a certificate to commemorate the district’s safety efforts and a $500 award for use in furthering those efforts from Utica National representatives.

Utica National’s School Safety Excellence Award Program has three levels – titanium, platinum, and gold – in which schools can each earn a meritorious distinction by meeting specific criteria to enhance overall safety. Through the program, schools with their own transportation, schools with contract transportation, and BOCES are evaluated. Categories covered include bullying prevention programs, playground safety and other areas, and are measured using specific, quantifiable surveys.

75 Lyndonville students see Broadway play at Shea’s

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 April 2022 at 7:59 am

Teachers also send inspirational notes to every student in district

Photos courtesy of Lyndonville Central School

LYNDONVILLE – A group of 75 Lyndonville students and eight teachers as chaperones went to Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo on Saturday to see the Broadway production of To Kill a Mockingbird.

The trip was possible through funding by the Lyndonville Foundation, Lyndonville Lions Club and Lyndonville Music Boosters. Lyndonville teachers Meghan Coyle, Chris Vaughn and Katy Franks organized the trip for the students.

Lyndonville teachers also write personalized notes to every student in the district, grades K to 12. Teachers taped notes to students’ lockers and desks. The effort to encourage kindness in the district was coordinated by School Psychologist Penny Barry and Elementary Principal Dr. Elissa Smith.

Historian highlights newspaper that served Lyndonville community from 1907 to 1962

Posted 3 April 2022 at 9:00 am

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans – Vol. 2, No. 13

LYNDONVILLE – We continue our exploration of the history of the Town of Yates in anticipation of the upcoming Bicentennial celebrations.

Charles R. Burnette, a Civil War veteran, and experienced printer from Ulster County, considered that the Town of Yates would provide a suitable market for his newspaper and printing business.

The first issue of the Lyndonville Enterprise, a weekly newspaper, consisted of four pages, was published on September 5, 1907, in the upper floor of a rented building on the corner of Riverside Street and Main Street. Just eight months later, a disastrous fire on May 18, 1908, caused by a gasoline explosion in the basement, destroyed the building and printing equipment. Mr. Burnette and his wife, who were at work in the building at the time, narrowly escaped with their lives.

Undaunted, the Burnettes continued, and printed from temporary locations until they established a permanent location on Riverside Street. Charles Burnette passed away in 1922, his wife Susan continued the Enterprise with the assistance of Mr. Leonard Reingruber. Joseph Giampapa, who came to Lyndonville from Passaic, N.J. operated the paper for fifteen years and it ceased publication in 1962.

The Lyndonville Enterprise, which was the official town and village paper, provides a historical record of a rural community in an era of change, with a wealth of information for local and social historians as well as for genealogists. The newspaper was the “social medium” of its time, its focus on local news assured its popularity. The tone was straightforward and civil: political and religious controversies were avoided, improvements were encouraged.

The Orleans County Historian’s Dept. has access to several issues of the paper, including the April 5, 1923, issue, almost one hundred years ago. Local news was strategically featured on the front and back pages of this eight-page issue. Subscription rates were: $2 for 12 months, $1 for 6 months and 50 cents per issue. The masthead also noted that the population of Orleans County was 33,341, and the population of Lyndonville and Yates was 1,040.

The Village – Vicinity – Variety section was the focus of the front page. Items of interest from the April 5, 1923, edition include:

• The bill for closing the season on black, grey and fox squirrels was passed and signed by Gov. Smith on March 12.

• Orleans County supervisors have purchased two stone quarries, one in Murray and the other near Knowlesville, from which to take stone for constructing county highways.

• Lyndonville Fire Company elected the following officers: Edward Barry, President; John Peters, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer; Frank Conley, Chief Engineer; Edward Barry, foreman of the Hose Company; E.M. Hill, foreman of the Hook and Ladder Company; Neil Toms, foreman of the chemicals.

This advertisement was included in April 5, 1923 edition of the Lyndonville Enterprise.

• The wedding of Miss Hester Ives to Frank Hill of Albion took place at the home of the bride’s parents at high noon, March 31, Rev. H.G. Stacey officiating. Prenuptial events included a variety shower, a crystal shower, a kitchen shower, and a grocery shower.

• The dates for the Lyndonville Redpath Chautauqua are June 18-23

• The Lyndonville Grange plans to discuss “Apples” at their April 7 meeting.

• A long Personal Pointers column detailed the main social news of the day: who visited whom, who came home for Easter, who was sick, who was recovering.

• Church Notes listed dates and times of services for the forthcoming Sunday, as well as sermon and discussion topics:

“The Christian Motive in Recreation” – Topic of discussion for the Epworth League of the Methodist Episcopal Church meeting.

“Our Unfinished Knowledge” – Topic of the morning worship service at the Presbyterian Church

“Post-Easter Beatitudes of Faith” – Yates Baptist Church Sunday sermon topic.

  • A report of a meeting of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Church, noted that Miss Grace Leslie of Albion, who was scheduled to sail to China in August, gave an interesting talk and was given a reception and shower.
  • A side column dealt with Special Notices which were also local.

Items Wanted: Home sewing, 25 Plymouth Rock hens.

For Sale: Goose eggs and Toulouse ganders, a few cords hard slab wood, a one-horse spring wagon and heavy single harness, a good 8-year-old cow due in April, my house and lot at Yates Center.

Wanted: Men, both American and foreign, for steady work, nine to ten hours during the day, twelve hours at night at The Carborundum Company, Niagara Falls.

Milk: Customers, please take notice: Starting Sunday April 1, your milk will be delivered earlier. Put the bottles out the night before. Cows tested and free from tuberculosis. Price: quarts 10 cents, pint: 6 cents.

• The last page of the Enterprise included reports of social happenings from the rural areas had submitted by correspondents. Items of note included:

West Lyndonville: Floyd Amos has moved on to Frank Wards’ s farm at Oak-Orchard-on-the Ridge.

George Dunham and family have moved onto the Mrs. Flower farm on the Lyndonville Road.

Mr. and Mrs. Fred Manley and family have moved onto the Frank Waring farm and Herbert Rouse has moved onto Frank Lott’s farm.

• The inside pages, 2-7 contained a variety of articles pertaining to national and state issues, including:

A summary of the week’s operations on the New York Stock Market, an article on Army Air Services Forest Patrol and its role in fire prevention, an article on the negative reaction to steam power and railways in the early 1600’s in England: A meeting of ministers in Manchester denounced the railway as being contrary to the law of God and predicted that it would prevent cows from grazing, hens from laying and cause pregnant women to have premature births, horses would be useless, hay and oats unsaleable, country inns would be ruined, boilers would burst and blow passengers sky high.

• There were many local advertisements as well as several from Rochester businesses. A serialized fiction offering, in this instance: Val of Paradise, provided some light entertainment to round out the fare.

Medina, Lyndonville won’t continue shared programs, including musical and soccer

Photo by Tom Rivers: Elizabeth Whipple of Lyndonville, right, is Cinderella and Danielle Schmidt of Medina is the Fairy Godmother during Lyndonville and Medina’s production of Cinderella last week in Lyndonville. The school districts have had a shared high school musical program for about a decade but that arrangement will end after this school year.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 1 April 2022 at 5:49 pm

MEDINA – In an announcement this week, the Medina School District Board of Education has decided to discontinue shared programs with the Lyndonville School District.

Medina superintendent Mark Kruzynski said the two schools first combined for musicals and football during a recession in 2011-12.

“Lyndonville was looking to participate in football, and Medina had already cut musicals out of the budget,” said Kruzynski, who was high school principal at the time. “We discussed combining with Lyndonville for musicals and football.”

That arrangement would eventually extend to boys and girls soccer and swimming, and track for a time.

Lyndonville joined with Barker and Roy-Hart for football the past two seasons.

The main reason for going on their own now is because Medina has renovated the high school auditorium, with staging, sound system and lighting.

“We want to bring the musicals back into our district,” Kruzynski said.  “It’s been a great relationship all along.”

He said going forward each school will do their own production.

“The cooperation has been great, but it’s time to move forward,” Kruzynski said. “We have a new teacher anxious to do musicals.”

Sharon Smith, interim superintendent of Lyndonville Central School, agreed the relationship has been very good and mutually beneficial.

“We are grateful for the partnership,” Smith said. “It’s been wonderful working with our neighbors, but Lyndonville will now move forward with our boys and girls soccer programs and musicals.”

She said she was advised of Medina’s decision ahead of time and is working with another neighbor for girls soccer.

“We are also looking forward to continuing a spectacular musical program in Lyndonville under the leadership of Jennifer Trupo, Kelly Follman, Eric Villalta and Dan Dragula,” Smith said.

She said students will continue to do community events together.

“This will all be good,” Smith said.

Business owners adapted to survive during past 2 years of pandemic

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 29 March 2022 at 8:29 am

‘The last 2 years have been an overall story about how the community came together to get through a challenging time.’

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Brody Hoffmeister, owner of Rudy’s Restaurant in Medina, shows a picture on his phone of the tables set up in the parking lot for dining during the pandemic.

Two years ago near the middle of March, life became a standstill. The pandemic not only inconvenienced the entire population and afflicted many, it wreaked havoc on businesses, forcing some to shut down and others to adapt to remain in service.

In Medina, when the pandemic hit Brody Hoffmeister, 25, had just taken over the family restaurant, Rudy’s, after his mother Kelly Russo passed away.

“I was just starting to move forward,” Hoffmeister said. “I didn’t have a plan, but I knew what worked.”

At the time, Rudy’s employed 25 people. Now they are down to 10.

“The pandemic changed the game,” he said. “It’s pretty hard to move forward in a world where everything is against you.”

Rudy’s closed on March 21, 2020.

With the help of his brother, sister, wife, dad and his girlfriend and five or six employees, Rudy’s re-opened April 1 with shorter hours and a downscaled staff.

Hoffmeister came in at 5 a.m. to unload trucks, stock the steam table and set up for the day before manning the grill. The restaurant was open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for takeout only.

“I used all the analytics Mom left me,” Hoffmeister said. “I figured where I could cut corners, but if it wasn’t for my family, I’d never have survived.”

Next, Hoffmeister, who had been planning to redo the restaurant in retro similar to when his grandparents were there, set up the tables in the parking lot and rented parking space at the former Moose building.

“This was personal to me,” he said. “I was not only fighting for my business, but for all the childhood memories of growing up here. There were days I wanted to give up. This has been a humbling thing.”

Hoffmeister said they lost a lot of customers, but persevered. He got an economic disaster loan to buy food.

“That’s what saved me,” he said.

Then they started to offer Door Dash, a third-party company which delivers the food.

“I cook and package it and they deliver if for a percent of the cost,” he said.

On Friday nights Hoffmeister said they used to go through 150 pounds of fish, but during the pandemic, the number dropped to 70 pounds.

“We were at 50 percent of capacity, but we kept going,” he said.

On June 11, 2020, they re-opened for indoor dining at 50 percent capacity.

It wasn’t until May 2021 Rudy’s was able to open at full capacity, and then with shorter hours and less employees. Visit our website.

The Shirt Factory Café across the street from Rudy’s was on a high, having just won the Best Bloody Mary at the Riverfront in Buffalo, when everything went down, said Alix Gilman, who owns the Shirt Factory with husband Scott Robinson.

“It was such a turbulent time for the whole community. Advisories and mandates changed by the moment,” Gilman said. “No one knew if and when we would reopen.”

Robinson said Double Dips Ice Cream had just received their opening supply of ice cream and were going to be stuck with it, so the Shirt Factory stepped in and bought that ice cream.

“We went online to offer takeouts and immediately added their ice cream to our menu,” Gilman said. “We soon got rid of their pints, saving them from a loss. There was not a business in this town that wasn’t supportive.”

The biggest issue for the Shirt Factory was when they could reopen on a limited basis, they were so small they couldn’t provide spaced-out seating.

Jaye Sullivan from Blissett’s in Medina shows some of the gowns in her shop. While weddings were called off during the pandemic, prom dresses still sold, she said.

“There was no way we could open and had to stay completely closed,” Gilman said. “Scott and I both had other jobs and we couldn’t leave the responsibility to employees. It was such a divisive time.”

Their bar was able to be open in summer, but it would more than a year before they could reopen like normal.

Blissett’s Specialty Shop on Main Street in Medina closed completely for two months, then reopened on June 1, 2020. It was uncertain how much business a shop would do which sold wedding and prom dresses, when proms and bigger weddings were canceled.

No one knew everything would be closed, said Blissett’s owner Jaye Sullivan.

When she closed the day after St. Patrick’s Day, she thought it would be for a couple of weeks or maybe a month.

“So I didn’t panic,” she said.

People still got married in small ceremonies and although there were no proms, they still ordered prom dresses.

At first there were no shipping problems. Sullivan said the prom companies ordered fabric in March to cut for the following year. Anyone trying to buy a prom dress that following March found slim buying, she said, but bridal companies just kept making gowns.

“Last year was one of the busiest for wedding gowns in five years,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan opened for appointments only and posted merchandise online. She said people would order online, pay for it by credit card and then she would bag the order and set it in the doorway for them to pick up. Now she does all her formal wear by appointment only.

Furniture and appliance dealers soon felt the impact of the pandemic.

Frenchy Downey, who runs Frenchy’s TV and Appliances on Ridge Road in Albion, said this was the most difficult and challenging time since he went into business in 1964.

“I got down to only five appliances in my store,” Downey said. “People were calling me from out of state looking for appliances. It was two and a half months before I could get a thing, and now I can’t get parts.”

He said the situation is really serious, and he has never seen prices go up as fast as they are now.

“It used to be the companies who made appliances also made the parts, and then they started outsourcing them,” Downey said. “They found parts could be made cheaper in other countries, but when the pandemic hit, they couldn’t ship them. Now they are shipping them and there’s no labor to unload them, so they sit on a boat in the harbor.”

Downey recently took apart a range and found parts made in five different countries.

“The whole business is coming to a ‘whoa,’ and I don’t see it improving,” he said.

Amy Sidari, owner of Gotta Dance Studio and the Cabaret at Studio B in Albion, stands in her newly remodeled studio nearing the end of the pandemic’s restrictions.

When the order to close was issued, Amy Sidari of Gotta Dance and the Cabaret at Studio B in Albion thought it would be for one to two weeks.

“I never imagined it would be October 2020 before I could open back up,” she said.

In the meantime, she began posting games, puzzles and dances online for her students to keep active and connected.

Then she opened a chat room for parents and children. In June 2020, when she still couldn’t hold classes or recitals in her studio, Sidari planned a recital on the front lawn of her home. Parents parked in around the lawn and watched from their cars. She spray painted lines on the grass to keep students separated as they danced.

“I just wanted to do something for fun and get the kids moving,” Sidari said.

When she was allowed to open on a limited basis, Sidari devised a program at her studio where she divided a room into compartments each family could share and do exercises. She invited in speakers from various areas, such as exercise, makeup techniques, art lessons and journalism to educate her students in small groups.

As she was able to slowly ease into the theater scene, she planned small cabaret sessions for 15 guests.

Now finally able to return to normal, Sidari is operating out of three studios, but she keeps classes small and still insists on using sanitizer.

Marc Shurz

The pandemic hit the medical field particularly hard.

“The last two years have been an overall story about how the community came together to get through a challenging time,” said Marc Shurtz, CEO/CIO of Orleans Community Health. “Area businesses donated food, personal protective equipment, N95 masks and more to our team at the hospital, while front line workers fought through fear to provide care back to the community.

“There were many difficult decisions that needed to be made over that period, but limiting visitation was and is one of the hardest. While we’ll continue to focus on the health and well-being of our team, patients and the community, we’re also looking forward to the day we can put all of these limitations aside.”

“Providing ease and comfort to the community was our priority, and we did so by conducting more than 30,000 Covid-19 tests over the last two years,” said Nikki Helsdon, practice manager of the Albion Healthcare Center.”

Albion altered operations by adapting to Covid-19, Helsdon said.

“We met demands while also making sure we provided comfort to our patients and the community,” she said. “We installed a drive-thru shed to avoid possible exposure to the public. Our employees bravely conducted the testing through all kinds of weather and shortage of staffing, due to the pandemic. The public was able to schedule over the phone, drive up, get swabbed and results were called to them within the hour.”

Helsdon said their workload changed significantly, due to high demand of calls, tests and state reporting, not including scanning and charting.

“We are happy to say we made it through over 30,000 tests and will be there for the public at any time they may need us,” she said. “As overall numbers have continued their steady decline, we’ve been able to place more focus on everyone’s overall health and wellness.”

Yates Academy was thriving center of learning in Lyndonville

Posted 27 March 2022 at 4:17 pm

In 47 years school served more than 2,000 students

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans – Vol. 2, No. 12

Photo of bell from Yates Academy courtesy of the Lyndonville Central School District.

YATES – The sonorous sounds of this brass bell sounded out across the quiet countryside of the Town of Yates, summoning boisterous students to the renowned Yates Academy, or sounding the end of class.

Now housed in the entrance hall of the Lyndonville Elementary School, it is a tangible reminder of that once thriving seat of learning which was located north of the village of Lyndonville, on the west side of Route 63.

In the early 1800s, district schools offered grade school education. Secondary level education was provided by privately owned, fee-paying schools, known as academies.

The first Academy in the county was established in Gaines in 1827. Subsequently, academies were established in Albion, Millville, Medina and Holley.

Peter Saxe, a merchant originally from Vermont, is credited with the establishment of the Yates Academy in the Town of Yates. He assembled a Board of Trustees, solicited subscriptions, and laid the plans for the building which was constructed in 1841 of locally hewn wood.

The Yates Academy was incorporated by the New York State Board of Regents in August of 1842. Members of the first Board of Trustees included: Peter Saxe, Thomas Jewett, Richard Barry, James Parmelee, John L. Lewis, B.H. Gilbert, Gen. Grosvenor Daniels, James Lum, Chester Brost, Joel Parsons, Warren Chase and Joseph Cady.

The school proved popular from the beginning. Enrollment the first year was 161 – 81 female students and 80 male. By the fourth year, enrollment had reached 338.

Most students were from Orleans or neighboring counties, but there were also some from Vermont, New York City, Michigan and Canada. They were housed in a nearby boarding-house which was run by the teachers. Some students boarded with local families with boarding cost $1.25 to $1.50 per week.

Postcard images of the Yates Academy

The academic year consisted of three terms of 14 weeks each. Tuition costs varied from $3 to $6, depending on the courses taken. Courses such as music, oil painting, etc. cost extra.

The Academy’s library housed some 500 books and the science laboratory was well equipped.

It was an ambitious undertaking. The logistics of providing food, fuel and furnishings for staff and students must have been a challenge. In addition, the staff were responsible for the physical and moral welfare of the students.

Tuition rates from the 1853 Academy catalog

The teachers were suitably accomplished. Prof. Charles Fairman taught ancient languages, mathematics and German. His wife taught modern languages, English, drawing and painting. Algernon Shattuck of Medina, who wrote textbooks on the Spencerian form of handwriting, instructed students in that then highly regarded skill.

Students were prepared for college or for becoming teachers. The Academy’s philosophy was that the purpose of education was not the storage of facts, but the development of one’s power of reasoning. “Composition” and “Declamation” – essay writing and public speaking were emphasized. Students were encouraged to be aware of their future roles as responsible citizens. Many pursued successful careers as lawyers and politicians.

One can imagine that the addition of over one hundred lively teenage secondary school students must have greatly enlivened the surrounding rural area. Students would have been visible each day as they walked to and from school and on Sundays as they attended obligatory religious services. There would have been a flurry of horses and buggies at the beginning and ending of each term when students were dropped off or picked up.

The Union School Act of 1853 signaled the beginning of the end for the private academies. The legislation allowed the formation of locally funded school districts comprised of several elementary schools and one high school, thus students could attend a public local high school.

Enrollment at the Yates Academy declined and it closed in 1889, having provided an excellent standard of education for 47 years to over two thousand students.

The building stood abandoned for several years. It was dismantled in 1916 and all but the pillars and roof were transported by rail to Johnson City in Broome County and used in the construction of a dormitory at the Practical Bible Training School.

Textbooks used at the Yates Academy

According to an article in the Johnston City Record of Feb. 26, Rev. S.S. Lewis, then pastor of the Yates Baptist Church, was a past pupil of the Bible School. He informed John A. Davis, President of the Bible School of the Academy building and its illustrious past.

Under the terms of the deed, the school building reverted to the original owners when it was no longer used. The heirs, Mrs. Mary P. Davison and Miss Elmira Davison, readily consented to allowing the school to be dismantled and reused for this purpose.

“The timbers were in a fine state of preservation, all the framing being massive and put together with pins. Few nails were used in the structure and for that reason little harm was done to the timbers in dismantling it.”

The Bible Training School has since expanded, it is now known as Davis College. Its website indicates that new and modern facilities have replaced the original buildings.

Legislators authorize emergency replacement to Townline Road culvert, but could take months

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 March 2022 at 7:33 am

YATES – The Orleans County Legislature has authorized an emergency replacement of the culvert on Yates-Carlton Townline Road over Johnson Creek.

The culvert suffered a structural failure on Feb. 20 due to high water flow in the creek. The culvert – a corrugated pipe – already was rotted on the bottom, said John Papponetti, the county’s DPW commissioner and engineer.

The fast-moving water pushed the pipe, and caused a shoulder to collapse. That instability has now spread to near the center line of the road, Papponetti said.

He wants the culvert to be replaced with precast concrete. There is currently a shortage of materials which could keep that section of the road closed for a few months. Or there is a chance the county could locate an available precast concrete culvert the right size.

“There is no set schedule,” Papponetti told county legislators on Wednesday. “We’re getting the survey work done to properly size the culvert.”

The emergency designation from the Legislature allows Papponetti and county officials “to procure all materials, labor and equipment necessary to complete the work in an expedited manner.”