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Medina Scouts and veterans retire American flags in annual ceremony

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 15 June 2019 at 9:15 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf

MEDINA – Parents, Scouts and veterans stand at attention as they prepare for their annual flag-retirement ceremony on Flag Day at the Scout camp on School No. 10 Road.

Demonstrating the proper way to dispose of the American flag has been a tradition on Flag Day for Cub and Boy Scouts in Medina for nearly a decade.

Steve Johnson from the American Legion, left, watches a Scout place flags in the fire during a flag retiring ceremony Friday night at the Scout camp on School No 10 Road.

Dozens of Scouts, their parents and members of the American Legion and VFW in Medina gathered at the Scout camp on School No. 10 Road Friday night to burn piles of worn and torn flags.

As Scouts unfolded one flag and demonstrated how the stripes were separated from the blue field of stars, they were reminded this was not a “flag burning,” but a “flag retirement.”

Piles of flags lay on the ground waiting to be properly disposed of Friday night by Scouts in Troop 28 and 35, and Pack 28 and 35 at their Scout camp on School No. 10 Road in Medina. Also participating were members of the American Legion and VFW. Talking in back are Gary Blackburn of Ridgeway and Dave Kusmierczak of Medina, a member of the American Legion and VFW.

This giant flag supplied by Veterans Services Agency Director Earl Schmidt was among the dozens of flags burned in a flag-retirement ceremony Friday night by Scouts and veterans in Medina.

Scouts separate the stripes on an American flag to demonstrate the proper way to dispose of it at a flag retiring ceremony Friday night.

Three of the Scouts who read the meaning of each part of the flag were Tyler Miller, Cade Miller and Jon Thomas. They explained the red stripe signifies the blood shed for our freedom; the white stands for the burning tears shed by Americans who lost their sons; and the blue field is for truth and justice, like the stars that fell from heaven. The stars also represent the 50 sovereign states of our union.

Dave Kusmierczak, a member of the American Legion and VFW, said he has been coming to this ceremony on Flag Day for at least eight years. He said they also retire flags at the Conservation Club on Memorial Day weekend.

Flags which have become too worn to use can be dropped off all year at the VFW on East Center Street, the American Legion on North Main Street, Ace Hardware on East Center Street or the Veterans’ Service Agency office on Route 31 in Albion.

Alicia Vanderwalker, chaplain for Troop 28 and Cubmaster of Pack 28, helps a Scout deposit a flag in the fire.

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It’s almost game time for the Medina Mustangs

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 June 2019 at 1:04 pm

Photo by Cheryl Wertman

BINGHAMTON – The Medina Mustangs baseball team takes infield practice just before 1 p.m. today.

Medina is in Binghamton for the Class B state semifinals against Schuylerville. The game starts at 2 p.m. at Broome Community College with the victor advancing to Saturday’s state title contest at Binghamton University.

Medina brings a school record 21-2 mark into its second ever appearance in the state semis. The Mustangs advanced by defeating LeRoy 10-2 in the Far West Regional.

Schuylerville, which is 17-7, is making its first ever appearance in the semis.

Orleans Hub will post updates to game. Sports editor Mike Wertman and photographer Cheryl Wertman are at the game.

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Ronan Tynan will return to Medina for concert on Oct. 5

Staff Reports Posted 14 June 2019 at 7:31 am

Provided photo: Ronan Tynan, an acclaimed tenor, first performed in Medina on Sept. 17, 2016.

MEDINA – The Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc. is pleased to announce the return of one of the world’s great voices to Medina. Irish tenor Ronan Tynan will be back in Medina on Oct. 5 for a concert at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

He performed to a sold-out crowd of 650 at St. Mary’s on Sept. 17, 2016.

“Dr. Tynan absolutely electrified a sold-out, capacity audience in 2016,” said Chris Busch, chairman of the ORG. “People came from as far away as California to see him perform here. Experiencing one of the world’s great tenors in the incredible setting of St. Mary’s sanctuary was absolutely breathtaking. This is a must-see concert event and will sell out very quickly.”

The ORG has worked to promote cultural events and preservation projects in the community for more than decade, putting on first-rate concerts highlighted by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the world-renown a cappella quartet, Anonymous 4.

Tynan’s performance in 2016 was ORG’s biggest event to date. The concert sold out with 650 in the historic church. Extra chars had to be retrieved from the balcony and other rooms to accommodate everyone. Tynan’s powerful voice filled the church, and he had the audience laughing with some of his stories. He was joined by his accompanist, Bill Lewis.

Tynan has performed at historic events around the world. His memorable renditions of “God Bless America” have been heard at the World Series, The Belmont Stakes, and other momentous events.

He is a Sony recording artist who has released more than 10 titles, four of which have achieved platinum status. Additionally, between 1981 and 1984, Tynan amassed 18 gold medals and 14 world records while participating in the Paralympics. Nine of his records haven’t been surpassed.

Tynan has also performed for four U.S. Presidents. He performed as a single soloist at the funeral of President Ronald Reagan and most recently at the funeral of President George H. W. Bush. As well, Tynan has sung for two Popes– Pope John Paul II at St. Peter’s Basilica and Pope Benedict at the Concert of Hope.

Tickets are on sale now and available online at All are general seating.

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Maple Ridge Corridor focus of June 20 meeting in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 June 2019 at 6:16 pm

MEDINA – There will be an open house, public presentation and opportunity for residents to comment on the future of the Maple Ridge Corridor. Medina High School is hosting the June 20 meeting from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The meeting will be in the school cafeteria. The session begins with an open house at 4:30, followed by a presentation at 5 p.m. The presentation will cover the project goals, history, and illustrate the alternatives under consideration.

An interactive session then will follow at 5:30 p.m. where residents are encouraged to share their opinions about the alternative futures for Maple Ridge Road.

The village was approved for a $50,000 grant to study pedestrian and bicycle accommodations on Maple Ridge Road, from Bates Road to the former Ames Plaza.

The study may help Medina make its case for a state grant to help pay for sidewalks on that stretch of Maple Ridge. The $50,000 grant from the Genesee Transportation Council includes a $5,000 local match from the village.

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Medina approves second group of banners for soldiers

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 June 2019 at 5:23 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: This banner on Main Street features the late Vernon Toussaint, one of 38 put up last month in time for Memorial Day.

MEDINA – The Medina Village Board approved a second round of Hometown Hero banners, although the number and locations are still to be determined.

The board, however, authorized Mary Woodruff to start work on the next group of banners. Woodruff, a Ridgeway town councilwoman, took the lead on the banners late last year.

The first group of 38 banners was installed by the Village Department of Public Works just before Memorial Day last month. Those banners will stay up until right after Veterans’ Day in November.

Most of the banners are on Main Street with a few on East Center Street.

Woodruff has already heard from about 15 people who want to purchase a banner for $200 with the image and name of a loved one who served in the military. The banners highlight veterans from World War II to current soldiers.

The first group of banners went on village-owned poles. As the banners expand to other locations, permission will be needed from National Grid to put the pole’s hardware on the Grid poles.

The Village Board approved the additional banners on Tuesday, with an understanding that National Grid permission will be needed. The board also wants Joe Perry, the DPW superintendent, to have input in where the banners will be going.

Woodruff would next like to focus on Park Avenue, which is on the Memorial Day parade route. She would like more banners on East and West Center streets, and some on Pearl Street, where the former Armory is located. That building is now the Orleans County YMCA.

The vinyl banners are double-sided and 5 feet tall by 2 ½ feet wide. Woodruff, a retired social studies and math teacher at Roy-Hart, pushed to start the Hometown Heroes effort in Medina after seeing a similar one in Alfred.

The Medina Village Clerk’s Office, and Shelby and Ridgeway town clerks helped take applications and funds for the banners for the first round. Woodruff wants to work with them again for the project but isn’t ready to take in applications until she gets the permission for the poles from National Grid, as well as feedback from Perry, the DPW superintendent.

Woodruff wants the new group of banners to go on Main Street and downtown for the first year, before then going to a secondary street the following year. This year’s banners that are currently on display will move to the secondary locations next year.

She expects the banners will last three years. After that, they will be given to the family of each highlighted veteran.

The Village Board suggested there be a cap of 100 banners, but that number wasn’t voted on. The board wants to first hear from National Grid and the DPW superintendent about the number of sites.

For more information about the banners, email Woodruff at

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Sandstone Society awards scholarship to Medina HS senior

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 11 June 2019 at 2:35 pm

Provided photo: Medina Sandstone Society members Rob Klino, Gabrielle Barone and Mary Zangerle join Medina High School John Ryan Scholarship winner Alissa Blount and Sandstone member Jim Hancock in front of the John Ryan Scholars Wall at Medina High School after Blount was presented with a John Ryan Scholarship for $1,000.

MEDINA – Alissa Blount, a Medina High School senior, is the recipient of the fourth annual John Ryan Scholarship, presented by the Medina Sandstone Society.

Sandstone Society members Jim Hancock, Gabrielle Barone, Mary Zangerle and Rob Klino presented the $1,000 award to Alissa last week at the high school. Alissa’s mom Shannon was also present, and like her daughter was very thrilled with the award.

Alissa plans to attend Daemon College to pursue a career in nursing.

“This $1,000 will definitely help,” said Alissa, who is also the daughter of Eric Blount.

To apply for the scholarship, students had to write an essay about the village of Medina, titled “Roots in the Past. Eyes on the Future.”  Alissa indicated she learned so much about the village while doing her research.

“One of the purposes of the scholarship is to get young people to appreciate the history of the village in which they live,” said Hancock, head of the Sandstone’s Scholarship Committee.

The first John Ryan scholarship was awarded in 2015. The award is named for the Medina resident whose sandstone quarry was the first in Orleans County.

Students who receive a John Ryan scholarship have their name placed on the John Ryan Scholars Wall on the second floor of the high school and also have a special medallion attached to their diploma.

Hancock said the award is a joint effort between the Sandstone Society and the Medina High School History Department. He also said the late Robert Waters was the driving force behind establishment of the scholarship, which the late school superintendent Jeff Evoy supported wholeheartedly. Evoy was a member of the Sandstone Society’s board of directors.

The public is welcome to make a donation to the Medina Sandstone Society/John Ryan Scholarship by sending a check to Medina Sandstone Society or Sandstone Trust, P.O. Box 25, Medina, NY 14103.

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Medina honors kindergarten teacher with bench, garden and little library at playground

Provided photos: The Oak Orchard Elementary School on Friday dedicated a new bench, little library and garden in honor of Andrea Lonnen, a kindergarten teacher who was 45 when she passed away on April 22, 2018.

Posted 10 June 2019 at 3:47 pm

Press Release, Medina Central School

MEDINA – Kindergarten teacher Andrea Lonnen was not only beloved by her family, husband Kip and their children – Hannah, Dylan and Maggie – but by the entire Oak Orchard student body and staff. Her loss on April 22, 2018 devastated all that knew her and loved her.

“She was such a positive influence in the school community as a teacher, colleague, union member, sports fan, chick-hatching expert and friends,” says Oak Orchard Elementary School Principal Julie Webber. “She worked at Oak Orchard for 18 years and we wanted her memory to live on at Medina Central School District.”

Mrs. Lonnen loved all of the students at Oak Orchard like they were her own. From the moment she welcomed them into kindergarten she made it her mission to nurture them as individuals. “One of the greatest gifts that Mrs. Lonnen gave to her students was the gift of reading,” says Mrs. Webber.  “We wanted that gift to live on so we decided to install a new bench, garden and little library so that the families that visit our school’s playground could spend time together and read just like Mrs. Lonnen did with her own children and students. I would like to extend a special thank you to the Oak Orchard Student Council and Medina Teacher Association for donating the books for the little library.”

On Friday the dedication was held at Oak Orchard. The Lonnen children unveiled the items to the community with the hopes that it will inspire reading, family bonding and the love of learning and pay tribute to their mother’s legacy. At the conclusion, the Oak Orchard students celebrated their love of Mrs. Lonnen and filled the air with bubbles as she filled their lives with the gift of learning.

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Nearly 100 cars kick off Medina’s cruise-in season

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 8 June 2019 at 3:46 pm

Photo by Ginny Kropf

MEDINA – This 1956 Chevy belonging to Buster Wetherbee of Holley was among the 91 classic vehicles which attended the first cruise-in of the season in Medina’s Canal Basin on Friday night.

Wetherbee rarely misses a Friday cruise-in and helps organizer David Green with the weekly 50/50 drawing. Green said the Friday cruise-ins average between 80 and 100 cars and Friday’s turnout was very good for the first one. The season continues through late August.

The cruise-in series has been an annual tradition in Medina for more than 20 years. The classic car shows go from 5:30 to 8 p.m. They will be in the basin every Friday until the end of August, except on June 28 when the show shifts to the Orleans County Marine Park in Carlton and on July 26 when the cars are on display at the Orleans County 4-H Fair in Knowlesville.

The season culminates with the Super Cruise on Aug. 28, when a section of Main Street is closed for the cars and there is lots of entertainment.

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Medina Marching Band caps season with awards banquet

The student staff for the 2019-2020 Medina Mustang Band are pictured on Friday during a banquet and awards ceremony at the Ridgeway Fire Hall.

Posted 8 June 2019 at 3:31 pm

Courtesy of Medina Marching Band

MEDINA – The 49th annual Medina Mustang Band Banquet and Awards ceremony was held Friday at the Ridgeway Fire Hall. It was an evening of awards and reflection on the many accomplishments in the 2018-2019 school year.

Special guests included Superintendent Mark Kruzynski and Assistant High School Principal Joel Reed. Also present were Srgt. Lavender and PFC Oliver from the US Marines to award the “Semper Fidelis” award for musical excellence to two graduating seniors. The award for excellence in Jazz was given to Ben Zakes and excellence in wind ensemble to Kody Leno.

The Booster organization was credited for their continued dedication and commitment to the band. Outgoing officers were recognized and thanked for their help as well as the incoming officers. Mindy Kenward is still the president and Julie Granchelli the vice president.

Instructional staff were recognized: Jeanette Sheliga – Elementary Band Director; Jeff Pask and T.J. Gray – Percussion Instructors; Terry Steele – Pit Instructor; Joe Organiscak – Music Arranger; Matt Jaeger – Music & Visual Instructor; Diana Baker – Assistant Band Director & Colorguard Instructor; Becky Botsford – Assistant Band Director; Joe Guadagnino and Brian King – Percussion Instructors; Mark Rider – Visual Designer; Leslie Rider – Visual Consultant; Tiffany Organisciak – Front Ensemble instructor; Mike Heaney – Visual Consultant to the Colorguard;  Kara Brown – Colorguard Instructor.

The Harry Dinkle award was established to recognize someone who is not a Booster officer but who volunteers a great deal of personal time & effort to the program. This year’s recipients are Joe Granchelli and Adam Uderitz.

Several scholarships were awarded. The NYSFBC scholarship went to Maisie Griffin; the Mustang Band Booster Service scholarship went to Ray Paull; the Band Booster Memorial scholarship to Travis Gotts; the Steele Family Award to Alissa Blount; the Joseph C. McKain award to Jada Draper and Ben Zakes; the Alfred Hartway award to Maisie Griffin, Ray Paull and Alissa Blount.

Recognition was given to the Winterguard program. This year Medina sponsored 3 WG units.  The Pony Guard consisted of 15 students in grades 5-8; The Junior Varsity guard consisted of 14 students in grades 4-9 and Varsity guard had 13 students in grades 7-12.

Outstanding Band Member awards were given to Outstanding Rookies – T.J. Burgess, Layne Hodgins, Lillian Wilson and Biance Islam. Most Improved went to Lana Ortiz, Henry Rigerman, Gabe Mark and Aries McMurray. Most Valuable went to Kody Leno, Emma Baldwin, Ben Zakes and Kaela Grosslinger.

Director Awards were given by Mrs. Baker to Ava Chambers, by Mrs. Botsford to Haydin Woodward and by Mr. Steele to James Waters.

Perfect attendance awards were given to students for Fall, Spring and the two seasons combined.

Each of the seniors was given their medallion. Each of the outgoing student staff was given a plaque with their name on it.

The prologue was given by Margaret Klotzbach and the senior epilogue was given by Alissa Blount.

A slide show highlighting the year’s accomplishment was prepared by Joe Granchelli.

The highlight of the evening was the announcement of the 2019-2020 student staff:  Drum Major – Jada Draper; Assistant Drum Majors – Lacey Kenward, Miranda Zelazny and Margaret Klotzbach. Head of Percussion – Margaret Klotzbach; Colorguard Captain – McKenna Callard;  Colorguard Managers – Melanie Poynter, Ava Chambers and Destiny Jones; Secretary/Librarian – Emma Roush & Kaylee Lacey; Uniform Managers – Hannah Kenward and Amanda Woodruff;  Band Managers – Carter Green, Chris Woodroe, TJ Burgess, Megan Zakes and Faith Vanderwalker; Head Band Manager – Jada Draper; Front Ensemble Section – Sophia Cardone; Tuba Section – Paige Adkins; Trombone/Baritone – Miranda Zelazny; Trumpets – Lacey Kenward; Mellophone – Lily Kiebala; Saxophone – Grace Cook and Bailey Jackson; Clarinets –Trenton Crews;  Flutes – Mary Flores.

The 2019 Fall show is entitled “Walk the Path” and practice begins June 13 with Band Camp Aug. 12-16.

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Medina opens new season for Visitor’s Center

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 4 June 2019 at 5:00 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Maureen Sanderson, a volunteer at the Medina Tourist’s Center, and Jim Hancock, chair of the Medina Tourism Committee, stand in front of the Visitor’s Center which opened Memorial Day weekend in Rotary Park.

MEDINA – Memorial Day weekend is not only a sign summer is near, but it means the Medina Visitor’s Center is open and ready to greet visitors to the town.

The Visitor’s Center is run by the Medina Tourism Committee and first opened in 2009 in the office on Main Street shared by Western United Way and the American Red Cross. United Way’s director, the late Betty Hassall, was also the tourism person in the morning, and volunteers ran it afternoons, said Jim Hancock, chair of the Medina Tourism Committee.

In the early years, the Visitor’s Center was only open during July and August and had six volunteers.

Then came their move to the City Hall, where hours were expanded from Memorial Day to Labor Day. While that provided ample space, it was not the most ideal location because of its steep steps and distance from the canal. Many of its visitors are people boating or biking along the canal.

When the idea rose in 2018 to move to the Santa Claus house in Rotary Park, which was only used at Christmas time, the Tourism Committee jumped at the idea. The move was a positive one, as the number of visitors jumped from 90 the previous year to just shy of 200 in 2018, Hancock said.

Last year, visitors came from 29 states and three foreign countries.

The Tourism Committee is looking for more volunteers to supplement about a dozen who already run the Center.

Maureen Sanderson has been volunteering at the Medina Visitor’s Center for nearly three years. Here, she shows off one of Medina T-shirts for sale, which reads, “Barge into Medina. Get that Erie feeling.”

One of those volunteers is Maureen Sanderson, who is in her third year volunteering there.

“I love Medina and I like to talk to people about our town,” Sanderson said. “I always wanted to be a greeter.”

“People come from everywhere, and it’s nice to have someone in the Visitor’s Center who’s been around Medina all their life,” Hancock said.

Jim Hancock greets Marguerite Sherman, a new volunteer at the Medina Visitor’s Center. She showed up for her first day with grandson, 3-month-old Henry Rosenbeck.

Hancock himself couldn’t be prouder of Medina, and boasted for a town of only 6,100, it’s pretty incredible there are at least 10 great places to eat in the business district.

The Visitor’s Center has plenty of free handouts for visitors, including pamphlets, maps and rack cards. In addition, there is a small selection of tourist items for sale, such as Medina T-shirts, mugs and postcards.

“We have stuff I believe even residents of Medina would be interested in,” Hancock said.

The Visitor’s Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Anyone interested in volunteering for a day or just a few hours can contact Hancock at 798-2118.

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