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Lyndonville has App with school events, news

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 April 2019 at 8:19 am

LYNDONVILLE – The school district is urging the community to download a free App that has information on school programs.

The district’s App has a live feed of news, events, athletics and a staff directory.

The district also runs active Facebook and Twitter pages to try to keep the community informed about activities at the district.

The district debuted the new App in August. It can be downloaded at the App Store or Google Play.

Click here for more information. (Check lower right corner)

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Lyndonville, Medina will have June 17 shared sports open house

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 April 2019 at 10:40 am

Medina welcomes more Lyndonville students in Mustang band

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Medina Mustang Band performs Sept. 22 during its home show at the Fall Festival of Bands.

LYNDONVILLE – Medina and Lyndonville have set June 17 for an open house on the shared sports programs, given students and parents from both school districts a chance to meet coaches, athletic directors and other school leaders from both districts.

Lyndonville will host the open house in the evening on June 17. The time hasn’t been set yet.

The two districts starting sharing some programs six years ago, first with boys varsity soccer.

That has expanded to eight shared programs. Lyndonville hosts the boys volleyball, girls varsity soccer and the musical program.

Medina hosts a merged boys varsity soccer, varsity football, cross country, the marching band and swimming.

Both school districts in February approved new four-year agreements for the shared programs.

District leaders met last week to discuss an increased outreach for the shared programs. They decided to have an open house on June 17. Besides coaches and athletic directors, the open house will include the district superintendents, leaders of the Board of Education, and the Sports Boosters from both districts, said Jason Smith, Lyndonville district superintendent.

He would like there to be an annual open house, with the districts rotating as the host site.

Smith discussed the shared sports open house during Monday’s Board of Education meeting in Lyndonville.

He also said Jim Steele, leader of the Medina marching band, would be meeting with Lyndonville students this week to welcome them to be part of the band this fall. Lyndonville usually has had two to five students in the Medina band. Steele would be happy to welcome more Lyndonville students in the program, Smith said.

Medina band leaders also will have a parent meeting in May in Lyndonville.

Lyndonville has a marching band that performs in the Memorial Day and Fourth of July parades. Medina’s band performs in many competitions during the fall and spring.

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Lyndonville school tax increase drops to 1%

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 April 2019 at 8:18 am

More state aid, joint bus contract help contain tax impact

Photo by Tom Rivers: Joe DiPassio Jr., Lyndonville school district business administrator, goes over the proposed $14.1 million budget on Monday.

LYNDONVILLE – The school district last month was projecting a 2 percent tax increase for the next school budget.

However, the district business administrator shared good news with the Board of Education on Monday. State aid came in higher than projected, and a joint busing contract also will save Lyndonville money.

Those factors are resulting in a budget with a 1 percent tax increase. Lyndonville also won’t have to use as much money from reserve funds, giving the district a bigger cushion in the future with those accounts.

The budget includes 5 new full-time positions, with 2 full-time special education teachers, a full-time elementary intervention teacher at $52,000; and two full-time aides at $50,000.

The Board of Education on Monday adopted a proposed $14,171,700 budget that will go before voters on May 21 from noon to 8 p.m. The budget increases spending by $165,000 or 1.2 percent.

The 2019-20 budget will rely on $4,352,341 in the tax levy, which is up 1 percent or $43,092 from this year’s budget.

The district is projected to get $9,290,748 in state aid, which is up $160,402 from the governor’s number in January.

District officials were concerned Lyndonville could be facing a $$250,000 to 300,000 increase in busing costs. But Lyndonville decided to do a joint bid with Roy-Hart and Barker for out-of-district transportation. Busing costs will be up, but the increase is $122,064 or 17.4 percent, from $701,300 to $823,364. The 5-year contract will then increase 2.6 percent annually from years 2 through 5.

Other highlights of the budget include:

• Instruction costs are up by $419,363 or 6 percent from $7,035,469 to $7,454,832. That includes contractual salary increases of $235,000; 2 more special education teachers, $90,000; $50,000 for two teacher aides; $45,000 for elementary intervention teacher; $35,000 for two classroom aides; $50,000 for BOCES support for in-service training, occupational education, technology and other services; $20,000 for equipment and $15,000 for grant writer to be shared with Medina.

• Lyndonville also is saving $193,000 in instruction with four teachers retiring to be replaced by new teachers at lower salary and benefits.

• Bond payments down from $1,407,000 to $840,700, a $566,300 reduction after the district paid off a serial bond last year.

• Health care rates are up $152,000

• Social Security and other benefits are up $59,000

• The teachers’ retirement system payments are down $62,000

The May 21 vote will include the following propositions:

• School budget

• 3 board seats

• Transportation purchases, not to exceed $260,000. That includes one new 64-seat passenger bus, not to exceed $125,000 (which will replace a 2007 bus with 137,000 miles); two new passenger vans, not to exceed $46,000 each (replacing one from 2010 with 167,000 miles and one from 2014 with 150,000 miles); a new vehicle with room for four or five people to transport staff and students, at a cost not to exceed $43,000.

• Allowing one student to serve as ex-officio, not-voting member of the Board of Education.

• $103,750 for Yates Community Library, up from $2,832 or 2.8 percent which is within the library’s allowable tax cap.

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Lyndonville students hear how drugs, alcohol derailed a former promising high school athlete

Photos by Tom Rivers: Stephen Hill says he plunged into drug addiction beginning when he was 14 and lasting until he was 24. Hill has now been sober for more than six years.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 April 2019 at 2:42 pm

Ex-addict shares story of recovery after decade of drug abuse

LYNDONVILLE – Stephen Hill thought he could handle it. He was 14 and started smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol.

He was a freshman on the school’s hockey and lacrosse teams, playing with juniors and seniors. The older students introduced him to the party scene.

They all seemed to be having a good time. Hill wanted to fit in with that crowd.

“That first drink and first drug changed my life forever,” he told about 300 students this morning during an assembly at Lyndonville Central School. “Once you get into it, it’s so hard to get out of it.”

Hill as a freshman tried marijuana and one of his team’s captains encouraged him to sell marijuana to other students. Hill used that money to buy marijuana for himself. Then he tried cocaine. Then it was prescription painkillers that he took from a friend’s sister who had her wisdom teeth out.

By his sophomore year of high school, Hill said the drugs were taking over his life. He was failing classes. By his junior year he was kicked off the sports teams and was in drug treatment.

The programs didn’t help him break free from drugs. It wasn’t until he was 24, when he turned away from drugs and alcohol. That was about 6 ½ years ago.

“I was the one who was insane,” he said. “I was completely out of mind. I couldn’t see life without it.”

Dr. Aaron Slack, middle-high school principal at Lyndonville, introduces Stephen Hill to about 300 students in grades 6 to 12 during this morning’s assembly. Slack said the opioid epidemic is harming the local community and country.

Hill, while facing felony drug charges in two states, completed a year-long drug treatment program. When he finished the program, he was welcomed at the treatment program as an employee, helping others gain sobriety.

He also returned to college after flunking out when he was 18. He was successful in community college and then graduated from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and is currently a student at Brooklyn Law School.

Hill shared his experiences with Lyndonville students today, telling them he wasn’t trying to scare them straight or use fear to motivate them to stay away from drugs. He doesn’t think those approaches are very effective.

Many people turn to drugs and alcohol to fit in, or to cope with sadness and anxiety, he told students. These days when he feels anxious or sad, he goes for a walk or to the gym. He often will call a friend. The emotions are temporary. Before he would use drugs to cope, and then he would feel more anxious when withdrawals kicked in.

Stephen Hill is now a law school student who also speaks at schools about the dangers of drinking and using drugs.

He would then be desperate to get a drug, doing things he couldn’t imagine to feed his addiction.

He said addiction is often progressive and fatal. He sees marijuana and alcohol as precursors to harder drugs. He tried cocaine and heroin when his judgement was clouded by marijuana and alcohol. He was nearly killed in a 4-wheeler accident when he was under the influence.

Hill said there are lots of ways to have fun without using drugs or alcohol.

“Go out there and take those healthy risks,” he said. “Just don’t risk your life.”

He also urged students to get help for themselves or their friends if they are using drugs and other substances, including nicotine. Vaping has become popular among teens and young adults, and Hill said that vaping is highly addictive. He struggled with that while trying to break free from drugs.

Hill grew up in Rockland County, north of New York City. He didn’t use drugs to escape neglect or abuse. He was in a loving home with three brothers and doting parents. He excelled at sports. His three brothers didn’t get into drugs, but they suffered from his addiction as he destabilized the family, getting arrested and being so unpredictable.

Hill said he was derailed by his drug abuse, and he regrets the hell it put his family through. He missed his grandfather’s funeral because he couldn’t cope while fighting withdrawals. Hill developed a bad reputation at his high school, and that hurt the chances for his younger brother to make sports teams and have friends over to the family’s house.

He regrets the “collateral damage” to his family and friends, saying addiction is a family disease because it impacts more than just the addict.

He has made amends with family members, but he said many of his friends continue to keep their distance.

Hill urged students to accept themselves and others, and not include drugs and alcohol in their idea of fun.

Student leaders, especially, need to show a better way of socializing that doesn’t include drugs and alcohol.

“I was insecure and I wanted to fit in,” Hill said. “I should have been OK with who I was.”

Hill also is addressing Batavia students this afternoon. The Genesee-Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse invited him to speak at the local schools today.

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Lyndonville debuts new baby grand piano

Provided photos: Mr. John Bailey, Mrs. Jennifer Trupo, and Mrs. Kristina Best perform a six-handed arrangement of Aram Khachaturian's "Saber Dance" during the "Music in our Schools" Prism concert at Lyndonville Central School last Tuesday.  The special performance inaugurated a new Yamaha baby grand piano purchased by the district and two community organizations: the Lyndonville Music Boosters and the Lyndonville Area Foundation.

Posted 1 April 2019 at 10:26 am

Courtesy of Lyndonville Music Boosters

LYNDONVILLE – March is recognized nationally as “Music In Our Schools” month.  In recognition of this, the Lyndonville Music Department hosts an annual “Prism” concert showcasing its top musical talent through a variety of small ensemble performances. Only select musicians are invited to participate from grades 5-12.  The concert is fast paced, with one performance beginning as soon as another ends, featuring both instrumental and vocal groups.  It is normally a solid 1 ½ to 2 hours of fantastic music with no interruption, however last Tuesday night was an exception.

Tamara Huzair, a senior at LCS who intends to pursue a career in music, took to the microphone half way through the concert.

“As a special part of tonight’s concert, we are unveiling the new baby grand piano you see before you,” Tamara told the audience.

With joint financial support from the Lyndonville Music Boosters, Lyndonville Central School and the Lyndonville Area Foundation, the funds were secured for this instrument. This piano truly represents all the hard work, dedication and collaboration from every facet of the community that helps create the wonderful music program we have here, Tamara said.

She then introduced music teachers John Bailey, Jennifer Trupo and Kristina Best who performed a six-handed arrangement of Aram Khachaturian’s “Sabre Dance.” Tamara joked that the teachers wanted to “show you as many keys as possible at the same time.” Lyndonville Music Boosters president Michelle Dillenbeck said, “the performance was the perfect way to christen the new piano… the audience loved it.”

Click here to see a video of the teachers playing “Sabre Dance.”

Pictured with the new piano include from left: Jennifer Neroni-Trupo, vocal music instructor; John Bailey, elementary instrumental instructor; Darren Wilson and Rita Wolfe, President and Vice President of the Lyndonville Area Foundation; Jason Smith, Superintendent of Lyndonville Central School; Tamara Huzair, senior music student; Patrick Whipple, Vice President of the Lyndonville Music Boosters; and Kristina Best, high school instrumental instructor.

Dillenbeck, while helping to set up for a Christmas concert last December, joked with elementary instrumental instructor John Bailey that the piano currently used in performances was showing significant signs of wear and age.

Darren Wilson, president of the Lyndonville Area Foundation who attended the concert that night, also mentioned that the piano had perhaps reached the end of its useful life. Ironically, late that evening, after the concert had concluded, vocal music instructor Jennifer Trupo noticed an important post on Facebook.

“Tom Miller of Miller Piano Service posted some photos on Facebook of this beautiful Yamaha piano for a great price,” Trupo said. “There was immediately interest from other potential buyers, so I knew we had to jump at it right away before it was purchased by somebody else!” The next day, Music Boosters officers set out to acquire the instrument. They immediately approved a non-refundable down payment, and sought to partner with other organizations to secure full funding before the deadline to purchase passed. They applied for a grant from the Lyndonville Area Foundation, and asked for a matching donation from the district. Thankfully, both the district and Foundation jumped at the opportunity to be involved, and the piano was purchased with equal contributions from all.

The Lyndonville high school jazz band, directed by Kristina Best, was the final performance of this year’s “Music In Our Schools” PRISM concert which involved vocal and instrumental music students in grades 5-12.

“The District was honored to partner with the Lyndonville Music Boosters and Lyndonville Area Foundation to provide this beautiful piano to enhance our already outstanding music program,” said Superintendent Jason Smith. “Every year our concerts are a major event in the community, and this piano will be enjoyed and appreciated for generations!”

Wilson expressed similar sentiments. “The Foundation recognizes the central role that Lyndonville Central School occupies within the community. The Foundation also recognizes that, like many other communities, overall funding for arts and music programs has been diminishing, requiring greater outside support for their continuation. As the school and the Music Boosters stepped up to provide a major portion of the purchase price of the new piano – a much-needed, long overdue but expensive asset to the school’s music department – the Foundation’s Board of Directors were unanimous in their decision to contribute the remaining amount needed for the piano’s purchase. The piano will be a centerpiece for the music department for many years to come. The instrument’s longevity was a contributing factor in the Foundation’s decision to assist in its funding.”

All three organizations hope that the procurement of this beautiful piano will increase the quality of events they host in the future. The Boosters and district are excited to show off the piano for the whole county next year as they host one of the two high school All-County music festivals scheduled.

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Lyndonville UM Church celebrates opening of new thrift store

Provided photos: Volunteers from the Lyndonville United Methodist Church cut the ribbon opening their new thrift shop Saturday in the basement of the church. From left are Alexis Gonzalez, Rebecca Strickland, Pastor Olga Gonzalez, Ruth Hedges, Anne Perry, Laura Campbell, DeAnn Diermeyer, Laura Bradley and Wayne Barry.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 31 March 2019 at 5:01 pm

LYNDONVILLE – The grand opening of Hope Resales, a community thrift shop in the Lyndonville United Methodist Church was a huge success, according to Ruth Hedges, who came up with the idea and led efforts to get the shop organized.

“People have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic and generous with donations,” Hedges said Saturday night.

More than 110 people came to the grand opening to browse through a large selection of clothing, household items, toys, jewelry and linens.

Donations are still needed and may be dropped off at the entryway on the south side of the church. The door to Hope Resales is on the north side of the church at 102 North Main St.

Pastor Olga Gonzalez makes a final check of merchandise in the new thrift shop which opened Saturday at the Lyndonville United Methodist Church.

The thrift store particularly needs infant and children’s clothing and practical household items, Hedges said. They cannot accept books, televisions, computers, monitors, cribs, car seats, VHS and cassette tapes, typewriters or furniture.

Hope Resales will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

“We will follow that schedule for the first month and see if that fits the needs of the community,” Hedges said.

They will be closed Good Friday and the Saturday before Easter.

Anyone with questions or wishing more information may call the church at (585) 765-0045 or cell phone (585) 866-9133.

A large display of jewelry is among the many items for sale at Hope Resales, the new thrift shop which opened Saturday in the United Methodist Church of Lyndonville.

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Lyndonville Foundation gives $4K to literacy program

Staff Reports Posted 29 March 2019 at 4:50 pm

Provided photo: Don Colquhoun, left, the vice president of the Orleans County Adult Learning Services, accepts a $4,000 check from the Dave Cook, a board member for the Lyndonville Area Foundation.

OCALS provides free and confidential literacy services to residents of Orleans County and contiguous areas. The agency uses trained volunteers who have attended literacy training workshops, and matches tutors and students based on each individual student’s literacy needs. OCALS is based out of Hoag Library in Albion, but has tutors in other locations around the county.

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Zoning change in Yates will allow window business to expand

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 March 2019 at 10:52 am

Planners also back allowing private airstrips in Carlton

ALBION – The Orleans County Planning Board is recommending the Town of Yates change the zoning to allow Medina Window to expand at 10708 Millers Rd.

Merle Yoder’s business has been growing. He wants to expand and add a storage building. The site is currently zoned residential-agricultural. The town is considering changing it to industrial.

The land was previous zoned industrial, and was the western edge of a industrial district. Other sites near by fit that use, including a mercantile across the street and a controlled-atmosphere storage building by H.H. Dobbins, said Gary Daum, an Orleans County Planning Board member from Yates.

The Planning Board on Thursday voted in favor of the rezoning, saying it corrects a previous oversight and brings the land back into compliance with the town’s zoning code.

In other action on Thursday, the Planning Board:

• Approved a request from Carlton about amending the town ordinance to allow private airports through a special use permit in rural residental, waterfront residential, waterfront development, and business zoning districts.

The change will allow property owner to establish a private airstrip, for the purpose of landing, takeoff and storage of one, single-engine aircraft. Use of the airstrip will be limited to daylight hours and fair weather conditions.

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Lyndonville FD buys new extrication tools

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 March 2019 at 8:24 am

Photos courtesy of Lyndonville Fire Department

LYNDONVILLE – Lyndonville firefighters last week tried out new extrication tools the department purchased.

A fund drive that included $16,000 from community donations helped pay for the new tools.

“We would like to thank all who donated to our fund drive, which covered more than half the cost of the tools,” said Fire Chief Ben Bane. “Without the support of our community we wouldn’t have been able to purchase these.”

The new Genesis extrication tools include a new cutter, spreader and ram. They are replacing tools that are more than 20 years old, Bane said. The department purchased the extrication tools from Jeff Lyons in Medina, who is a Genesis dealer.

Lyndonville firefighters are pictured last Wednesday with the new equipment.

Firefighters became familiar with the new tools by opening jammed doors and cutting metal on a car.

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Lyndonville, Medina students to perform Sister Act

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 March 2019 at 9:32 am

Musical being staged for first time by a local high school

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – Layna Viloria, center, portrays Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act, which will be performed Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Lyndonville Central School’s Auditorium, 25 Housel Ave.

Deloris is a nightclub singer who is sent to a convent in hiding after she witnesses someone being killed. She takes over the choir and the nuns respond to her high-energy style. She is shown singing, “Raise Your Voice” with Sawyer Wilson, a dancing custodian, and Alissa Klinetob (left), who plays Sister Mary Patrick.

The musical is being performed for the first time by a school in Orleans County. The show times are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are available at the door.

There are 65 students in the cast, stage crew and pit. The musical showcases several strong female leads.

“It has some really great roles,” said Jennifer Trupo, the musical director. “It’s really upbeat.”

Cora Payne is Mother Superior. She is initially concerned that Deloris is a bad influence on the nuns. But Mother later becomes a protector of Deloris when gangsters come looking for her.

Payne, a senior from Medina, said the show is a big change from last year’s musical, The Addams Family.

“The biggest theme is the sisterhood,” Payne said before rehearsal on Tuesday.

The musical begins with Layna Viloria (Deloris Van Cartier) singing in a Philadelphia nightclub. ­­Evie Schultz, back left, is Michelle and Danielle Schmidt is Tina. They are singing, “Take Me to Heaven.”

Ethan Bowie plays Curtis, who leads a gang and wants to eliminate Deloris after she witnesses a murder and talks to police. His gangster friends include Lincoln Pace (back left) as Joey and Brian Cunningham as TJ. They are singing, “When I Find My Baby.”

Sophia Cardone plays Sister Mary Lazarus, a spunky nun.

Layna Viloria embraces the role as Deloris Van Cartier. Vitoria and Cora Payne were both honored by the Stars of Tomorrow last year as outstanding actresses for The Addams Family. They return with lead roles this year.

Jacob Corser (Eddie) wants to be cool and impress Deloris. He sings, “I Could Be That Guy.” Eddie is mostly shown in the musical as a shy police officer, who Deloris remembers from high school when he was known as “Sweaty Eddie.” Eddie decides Deloris needs to be hidden in a safe place and takes her to the convent.

Last year the Stars of Tomorrow recognized Corser, Brian Cunningham and Qasim Huzair as outstanding supporting actors. They return this year for Sister Act.

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