Route 31 bridge in Knowlesville will close May 11 for about 6 weeks

Posted 6 May 2021 at 11:35 am

Press Release, NYS Department of Transportation

KNOWLESVILLE – The New York State Department of Transportation is advising motorists that the bridge carrying Route 31 over the Falls Road Railroad in the town of Ridgeway is expected to close Tuesday, May 11, to accommodate construction that includes bridge deck repairs, joint replacement and slab reconstruction to enhance safety.

The bridge is expected to be closed to traffic through the end of June. A signed detour will be in place for motorists to use Route 98, Route 31A, Route 63 and Route 31. Local roads near the bridge will be accessible during construction. This is the bridge just west of the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license.

Medina will do parking study of downtown as demand expected to increase

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 May 2021 at 10:44 am

Village will take overall look at parking after request for ADA parking spot by Bent’s Opera House

Photos by Tom Rivers: As Bent’s Opera House prepares to open its doors to the public, following a major restoration of the building, the owner of the site has requested a designated ADA parking space in front of the building, near the traffic light on Main Street.

MEDINA – The Village Board is going to review the overall parking availability and layout in the downtown after a request for an ADA-designated parking spot on Main Street in front of Bent’s Opera House.

This would be the fifth ADA spot on Main Street, north of the Center Street intersection. However, the other four spots are a block or more away down the street.

Bent’s is expecting to draw big crowds for a new restaurant, events center and boutique hotel. Bent’s has a designated spot behind the building on Proctor Place.

Bent’s Opera House would like the parking spot on the left to be designated as an ADA spot for people with mobility issues. The lines for the spot would need to be painted blue with a sign near the curb noting the parking space.

But that is far for people to walk with mobility issues or who are in wheelchairs, said Charlie Spencer, project manager with LeChase Construction, which has worked more than two years on the restoration of the Bent’s Opera House.

Spencer requested the ADA spot last week during the Village Board meeting. Board members said there would likely be backlash from other Main Street businesses who don’t want to see another spot be designated for handicapped accessible only.

Owen Toale, a trustee on the board, said the spot would be good for Bent’s and for Medina. However, he said some people will see another ADA spot as a net loss of one parking spot in a downtown that has been on a resurgence in recent years.

Spencer said the parking spot will be a net gain for Medina, putting one near the four corners where the two biggest roads intersect.

Not having a spot there will be a turnoff for many people who come to Bent’s and other attractions in Medina, but can’t park  close to their destination, Spencer said.

“There are handicapped people coming to this community,” Spencer told the Village Board. “There is a need for it.”

Trustee Jess Marciano said she took an informal count of vehicles with handicapped accessible tags and said there were far more than she expected.

Lionel Heydel, the chef for the new restaurant to open at Bent’s, also attended the meeting. He Bent’s will have heated sidewalks during the winter, providing a “clean sidewalk” that will be less likely to be slippery than other sidewalks.

The ambitious restoration of Bent’s is nearly complete. Roger Hungerford has led the development of the project.

“I’m thinking the opera house will bring in a ton of people into the village,” Spencer said. “We want to be welcoming to everyone.”

Mayor Mike Sidari said the demand for parking is a good issue for Medina to wrestle with.

“A parking problem is when you have nobody parking on Main Street,” Toale said.

The Village Board opted not to decide on the ADA parking spot yet for Bent’s, until looking at the overall parking availability in the downtown, including the municipal lots and on-street spaces.

The mayor said the public may also need to adjust its expectations and be willing to walk a little farther. He said when people go to the mall or the big box stores, they walk far from the lot to the store, and they have to move through cavernous interiors of those buildings.

Bent’s also is paying to put pull-off spots on West Center Street by Bent’s where people can safely exit and enter vehicles by the building. Those spots aren’t for parking, just for quickly dropping off or picking up passengers for a vehicle.

Medina’s community yard sale returns June 5

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 5 May 2021 at 8:13 pm

MEDINA – Medina Lions have made the decision to go ahead this year with their community yard sale, flea market and chicken barbecue.

The event, which had to be canceled last year due to Covid, will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 5.

The day features numerous yard sales throughout the Medina community, and a flea market and chicken barbecue at the Olde Pickle Factory at 711 Park Avenue.

The format has been changed to observe Orleans County Health Department guidelines for Covid. Vendor spaces will be appropriately spaced further apart. Any potential vendor may still reserve a 20’ x 30’ space for $10 by contacting organizer Sherry Wheatley at (585) 735-5135.

Residents wishing to advertise their yard sale in a special brochure must call the Lake Country Pennysaver to purchase an ad. The sales will be printed on a map, which Lions’ members will start handing out on the four corners downtown at 8 a.m.

Chicken barbecue tickets may be purchased for $12 from any Lions member or by following the instructions on their website and clicking on the chicken barbecue link. They may also be ordered by called Jim Hancock at (585) 590-1248 or Tim Moriarty at (716) 417-0079. Dinners will be available from 11 a.m. until sold out. Those not picked up by 1 p.m. will be resold.

Proceeds from Lions’ events help them support many community endeavors, such as Powder Puff baseball, food kitchens, YMCA, eyeglasses for the needy and many other charities in Orleans County.

Medina school budget doesn’t increase taxes for 10th straight year

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 May 2021 at 8:32 am

MEDINA – The Board of Education has adopted a $39,323,374 school budget for 2021-22 that doesn’t increase taxes for the 10th straight year.

The budget, however, maintains all existing programs and will help students catch up in learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Next year’s proposed budget accounts for the challenges schools have faced during the Covid-19 pandemic, and will allow the district to do everything possible to address the learning loss that has happened during the recent school shutdowns,” Mark Kruzynski, district superintendent, wrote in a letter to the community.

The tax levy, what the district collects in taxes, remains at $8,641,861. Medina now has not increases taxes in 13 of the last 14 years.

The budget vote will be May 18 from noon to 8 p.m. in the District Office Board Room.

The budget was adopted by board on April 21. It maintains all academic and extra-curricular programs, including modified sports, gifted and talented opportunities, and clubs.

Medina’s overall state aid is up $1,265,391 or by 4.6 percent from $27,494,499 to $28,759,890. The district’s Foundation Aid is up $539,981 or by 3.0 percent from $17,999,389 to $18,539,370.

The budget is down more than $1 million from the $40,491,733 in 2020-21. The proposed spending plan eliminates one clerical and three teaching positions through attrition.

The budget includes the purchase of two large buses. It eliminates one contract bus run and returns it to the district, resulting in $74,800 savings, Kruzynski said.

The budget also includes a new Bobcat vehicle for the Buildings and Grounds department. The district superintendent also said a 2010 capital bond has been paid off.

There are also three seats up for election in Medina this year. There are two 3-year terms and 1-year term that will assume duties on May 19. None of the incumbents – Ann Webster Bunch, Lori Draper, or Brian Koch –submitted petitions to be on the ballot.

Two people – Corrine Ryan and Alissa Bruce – submitted petitions and will be on the ballot. This means at least one of the three vacant seats will be filled by write-in candidates.

People who need an absentee ballot for the budget vote and election should contact District Clerk Julie Kuhn at 585-798-2700 or via email at

Medina Lions, Scouts clean up park near lift bridge

Photos courtesy of Alicia Vanderwalker: Boy Scouts in Troops 28, 35 and Cub Scouts in Pack 35 pose around the apple in Lions Park along the Erie Canal, where they were clearing debris, raking and cleaning up on Saturday morning.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 1 May 2021 at 8:58 pm

MEDINA – Cleaning up their community is part of the program for Medina Lions and local Cub and Boy Scout groups.

For more than 20 years, the groups have participated in a cleanup day in Lions Park, near the lift bridge in Medina.

Don Colquhoun has organized the Lions’ efforts for 25 years, he said this morning, while Frank Berger with the Boy Scouts Iroquois Trail Council has organized participation of Cub and Boy Scouts.

Scouts spread mulch under the shrubs in Lions Park Saturday morning, as part of United Way’s Day of Caring on Friday, when they couldn’t participate. In the background, Tim Winters uses the lawn tractor to bring in the mulch.

The day was an extension of United Way’s Day of Caring on Friday, when a dozen or so of the youth and volunteers couldn’t attend, and a celebration of Earth Day, which was April 22. Scouts pledge to “Keep America Beautiful,” and efforts like this help them achieve that goal.

Colquhoun issued a special thanks to Sons of the American Revolution Squadron 204 who did their part by previously cleaning up the south side of the canal from the American Legion on North Main Street to Bates Road. They landscaped, mulched and picked up trash along the way, he said.

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Charlene Walsh, a member of Medina Lions, rakes along the bank in Lions Park this morning.

Don Colquhoun, organizer of the Medina Lions’ cleanup efforts on the canal bank and Lions Park, carries a box of supplies to volunteers cleaning up the grounds this morning.

Medina celebrates Arbor Day with tree-planting at Gwinn Street Park

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 1 May 2021 at 7:54 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Kathy Blackburn, left, president of the Medina Tree Board, shows third-grader Elizabeth Dresser, with the little shovel at right, how to throw the first shovel of dirt around the tree being planted in front of Gwinn Street Park.

MEDINA – Students in the third grade at Oak Orchard Elementary School got to learn first-hand how to plant a tree and the benefits of trees, during a special presentation Friday morning in Gwinn Street Park.

Planting trees in the park and along Gwinn Street has been a long-time project of the village and its Tree Board. This year they hope to achieve that goal.

On Friday morning, Mayor Mike Sidari and Tree Board members Kathy Blackburn, Bob Sanderson and Jake Hebdon created a special presentation for third-graders at Oak Orchard Elementary School.

Sidari read a proclamation from the village declaring Medina an official Tree City, USA.

The event celebrated Arbor Day, which was first established in 1872 by the Nebraska Board of Agriculture as a day to plant trees.

Arbor Day is now observed throughout the nation and the world.

The mayor read how trees are beneficial by combating climate change by reducing erosion of topsoil by wind and water; cutting heating and cooling costs; moderating the temperature; cleaning the air; producing life-giving oxygen and providing a habitat for wildlife. He added trees are a renewable resource, giving us paper, wood for our homes, fuel for our fires and countless other wood products.

Medina Mayor Mike Sidari reads a proclamation on Arbor Day to third graders at Oak Orchard Elementary School on Friday morning, during a ceremony at Gwinn Street Park organized by Medina’s Tree Board.

Sidari added that trees in a community increase property values, enhance the economic vitality of business areas and beautify the area.

Trees, wherever they are planted, are a source of joy and spiritual renewal, he added.

He hereby proclaimed April 30 as Arbor Day in the city of Medina and urged all citizens to support efforts to protect the trees and woodlands, and to plant trees to gladden the heart and promote the well-being of this and future generations.

After his proclamation, Tree Board members conducted a little exercise with students, asking them questions about trees.

In a special presentation, Tree Board members were given a plaque of a tree made by the third graders, in which they created a tree by using their thumbs to make the leaves.

The ceremony concluded by Elizabeth Dresser throwing in the first shovel of dirt around a tree which the village was planting in front of the park.

Third-grade students at Oak Orchard Elementary School created a special painting for Medina’s Tree Board, by making a tree, using their thumbs to make leaves. Presenting it to Tree Board members Kathy Blackburn, Bob Sanderson and Jake Hebdon are, at left, Julie Webber, principal; Katie Toub, third-grade teacher; and students Kaia Hamilton, Hendrix Jones and Philip Shannon.

NAPA change ends relationship lasting nearly a century with Lacy family in Medina

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 1 May 2021 at 7:19 pm

Photo by Ginny Kropf: NAPA operated out of this historic building on North Main Street for nearly a century.

MEDINA – Friday was the last day for the NAPA store on North Main Street in Medina, after corporate Genuine Parts Company based in Atlanta took it over. They also acquired CarQuest and moved operations there in Tops Plaza.

Retiring wasn’t in Craig Lacy’s immediate plans, he said Friday in a phone call from his Florida home.

Lacy confirmed his Medina Parts store on North Main Street has been taken over by corporate Genuine Parts Company from Atlanta.

Lacy said he knew he would some day sell them the business, which has been owned by his family for 95 years. His sons are the fourth generation to run the business, started by his grandfather M. Cady Lacy in 1921.

Early last week, Craig said he got a call from NAPA headquarters saying they were moving up their purchase and Saturday would be his last day. He flew home from Florida on Thursday to break the news to his employees, all of whom are being allowed to stay with the business, except Craig.

Genuine Parts Company has also taken over CarQuest in Tops Plaza and are in the process of moving everything to that location, according to Craig.

The Medina Parts building at 345 North Main St. is a historical building, listed on the National Register. Built in 1833, it burned in 1861 and was replaced by owner Botsford Fairman. There were numerous changes of ownership, including Jonathan A. Johnson of Lyndonville in 1869, who converted it into a hotel in 1873. Another fire in 1923 destroyed the top floors of the building, which had been the White Hotel.

M. Cady Lacy and Charles Haak had lost their jobs when the Central Foundry closed in 1921, and they needed a job. They bought the burned building in 1925, reduced the walls to two stories and rebuilt the building. They added a section on the canal side for their machine shop, Medina Cylinder Grinding, and started selling auto parts.

Craig said originally the auto parts business was just a little corner of the building, but they gradually expanded and were the first NAPA jobber in all of Western New York, and probably New York State. NAPA itself started in 1925, and Medina’s store was the first in the Buffalo area.

“We were in on the ground floor,” Craig said. “It’s sad it’s going to end like this. But we had a nice run.”

Initially it was reported that NAPA had taken over stores in Albion, Batavia, Brockport and Warsaw. However, Dan DeCarlo, the owner of Arnold’s Auto Parts NAPA store in Albion, said Saturday morning they have not taken his store. He will be conducting business as usual.

Gravestones damaged at Sacred Heart Cemetery when driver slides off road April 21

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 1 May 2021 at 7:29 am

Photo by Ginny Kropf: A vehicle which skidded off the road at 7:45 a.m. April 21 left a path of broken and dislodged headstones in Sacred Heart Cemetery on North Gravel Road.

MEDINA – A driver lost control of a BMW on April 21, and damaged about six gravestones at Sacred Heart Cemetery on North Gravel Road.

The driver lost control of the vehicle at about 7:45 a.m. The driver was northbound on the road, which was covered in snow.

The driver lost control on the slippery road and left the pavement on the east side of the road, driving through a fence and striking half a dozen tombstones.

There were no drugs or alcohol involved and neither the driver or passenger were injured. No charges were filed, said State Police public information officer James O’Callaghan.

Father Bernard Nowak, pastor of Trinity Parish which oversees the cemetery, said he had little knowledge of the incident, other than the driver’s insurance was expected to pay for the damages.

“Our main concern is taking care of the families involved,” he said. “We want respect for the deceased and their loved ones.”

Provided photos: A worker cleans up broken headstones in Sacred Heart Cemetery which were destroyed when a car went off the road April 21 during a snowstorm.

Today is the last day for NAPA store in downtown Medina

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 30 April 2021 at 12:54 pm

MEDINA – Craig Lacy, the third generation owner of Medina Parts’ NAPA store, has confirmed his 100-year-old business has been acquired by Genuine Parts Company (NAPA) based in Atlanta, Ga.

Today is their last day of business on North Main Street. Inventory and employees are being moved to the former CarQuest Auto Parts Store in Tops Plaza on Maple Ridge Road.

“This all happened very quickly,” Lacy said in a phone call from his Florida home.

Attempts to talk to a representative from Genuine Parts Company, who was in Medina Friday, were unsuccessful.

More information will be posted later today or early Saturday morning.

Medina celebrates Arbor Day with tree-planting Friday at Gwinn Street Park

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 29 April 2021 at 6:17 pm

MEDINA – The public is invited to visit Gwinn Street Park on Friday to help the Medina Tree Board and Village of Medina celebrate Arbor Day by planting trees.

Kathy Blackburn, chairwoman of the Tree Board, has arranged for the third grade at Oak Orchard School to participate. They will lead off the morning’s activities with the Pledge of Allegiance at 10 a.m.

Medina expects to plant 20 trees in the village in the next few weeks, said Mayor Mike Sidari. The village has also received about $4,500 in donations from the community for a “Releaf Medina” effort to plant more trees in the future, he said.

Medina sets new fee, eliminates another

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 April 2021 at 1:08 pm

Transient businesses will have to pay to set up in village; Board eliminates fee for replacing sidewalks

MEDINA – The Village Board set a new fee schedule for transient businesses on Monday, with the businesses having to pay a $100 application fee and then $25 for each day they are in the village, including on Sundays when they may not be open.

The board members say the fees will bring revenue to the village and provide some equity for the brick-and-mortar businesses that pay property taxes.

The board discussed the issue after hearing that Phantom Fireworks wanted to set up outside the Medina Lanes, a bowling alley on Maple Ridge Road, from June 20 to July 5 and sell sparkling devices and other legal fireworks.

“I worry about our hometown businesses,” said Marguerite Sherman, a village trustee.

The transient businesses do not include food trucks, or not-for-profits that set up for fundraisers. There are separate regulations for food trucks.

Mayor Mike Sidari said the fireworks sales is only the second time he can think of a transient business coming to Medina.

The other time was in 2013 when Transitowne set up for auto sales outside the bowling alley in a 10-day sales event.

Village Trustee Owen Toale said the $25 should include off days when the transit businesses may not be selling, but still have a tent and signs up promoting the business.

The board on Monday also decided to eliminate a $30 fee in the village books for people who apply to replace a sidewalk and need a right-of-way permit. A resident on Davis Avenue is planning to replace the sidewalks.

The village wants to encourage people to upgrade the sidewalks, Sidari said. The village DPW will continue to take away the old sidewalks.

Medina village looks to trim tentative tax increase at 2.9%

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 April 2021 at 10:11 am

MEDINA – The Village Board will meet this afternoon to adopt a village budget for 2021-22. The Village Board will look to reduce a tax increase that was at 2.6 percent during a public hearing on Monday evening.

“We think there is a little bit more we can for reductions,” Mayor Mike Sidari said during the hearing.

The tentative budget increases taxes by 2.9 percent, with the tax levy going up $92,060, from $3,197,059 to $3,289,119.

The tax rate would increase by 2.7 percent from $18.46 to $18.95 per $1,000 of assessed property.

The budget increases overall spending 2.9 percent or by $173,784, from $5,925,742 to $6,099,526.

The board will meet today at 4 p.m. at the Village Clerk’s Office to go over the spending plan and then vote on it. The budget needs to be passed by April 30.

Scouts in Medina collect lots of trash near Culvert

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 April 2021 at 1:49 pm

Provided photos

MEDINA – Boy Scouts from Troop 35 and Cub & Webelos Scouts from Pack 35 participated in Canal Clean Sweep on April 17 and filled several bags of trash.

The Scouts picked up garbage starting at the Culvert Road tunnel and worked on the area on the canal towpath to the Beals Road Bridge, and also about a mile east of Culvert Road.

Troop 35 and Pack 35 have registered with the Canal Clean Sweep program for the past several years.

“This is a great way for the scouts to earn their community service hours and help keep the community and its resources looking great,” said John Dieter, Scoutmaster of Troop 35.

Lee-Whedon Library tax impact unchanged in new budget

Posted 26 April 2021 at 11:45 am

Press Release, Lee-Whedon Memorial Library

MEDINA – The annual meeting of the Lee-Whedon Memorial Library will be held at the library on Monday, May 10, at 7 p.m.

Agenda items include voting on a trustee position, the presentation of the annual report and the presentation of the proposed budget. Trustee Steve O’Dea is seeking re-election to the Board for a five-year term.

The Board has prepared another conservative budget for 2021-2022. There will be no increase in the library tax with the amount unchanged at $546,285.

“The Board is sensitive to the pressures felt by taxpayers, particularly in the Village of Medina,” said David Schwert, Board President. “As fiscal stewards, we constantly strive to balance increased operation costs with a conservative revenue request. We are proud of our staff and our high standards of service.”

Residents of the Medina Central School District are invited to attend this public meeting. The library is located at 620 West Ave.

Medina Rotary tackles trash along towpath near Marshall Road

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 April 2021 at 9:37 am

Provided photos

MEDINA – The Medina Rotary Club was part of Saturday’s Canal Clean Sweep, with community organizations and residents along the canal system out picking up garbage along the historic waterway.

The Medina Rotary Club worked on the area near the Marshall Road bridge, taking the path west to Fruit Avenue. They filled several bags with trash.

The Rotary Club rejoined the cleanup effort this year. Some of the participants included Carl Tuohey, Jeanne Tuohey, Jackson Tuohey, Cindy Hewitt, Joe Pane, Ben and Lydia McPherson, David Nixon, and organizer Gary Lawton.

Lydia McPherson finds a can and other debris near the canal during Saturday’s cleanup.

Local resident Colleen Brakenbury also led a cleanup on Saturday in Medina for the Canal Clean Sweep. That group met at the Prospect Avenue bridge and went to the State Street canal bridge. They filled about 20 bags with trash.

The Medina Sandstone Society also is planning to pick up garbage near the Canal Culvert this Friday and may work on other areas as part of the United Way’s “Day of Caring.”

The Medina Lions Club is planning its annual environmental cleanup day on May 1. Volunteers will pick up trash from Medina village parks and streets, and spread mulch along the north bank of the canal in the village.