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Lee-Whedon in Medina hosts Santa for Pajama Storytime

Posted 10 December 2019 at 2:23 pm

Photos courtesy of Lee-Whedon Memorial Library

MEDINA – Lee-Whedon Memorial Library hosted some very special friends on Friday night.  The Santa Pajama Storytime program celebrated its 37th year as children, along with family and friends, eagerly awaited an evening with Santa.

The children were treated to a movie titled “What is Christmas?” Then, to everyone’s delight, sleigh bells began to ring as Santa arrived to entertain everyone with special songs and activities. Next, over 100 people settled in as Santa read, The Broken Ornament by Tony DiTerlizzi.

Santa reads, The Broken Ornament, to children and families.

The evening culminated with each child visiting with Santa and everyone was encouraged to make crafts, read books and visit with friends and family.

Families also contributed to the local food bank as part of this annual event.

Kendall Oliver Farewell shares her list with Santa.

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Book Shoppe in Medina has new owners

Photos by Tom Rivers: Susan Phillips, left, welcomes the new owner of The Book Shoppe, Gloria Fierch. Gloria and her husband Fred Fierch became the new owners of the store on Dec. 2. Phillips will remain at the store until the end of the year, helping with the transition.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 December 2019 at 11:20 am

Susan and Roland Phillips ran the store for 21 years

MEDINA – The Book Shoppe on Main Street in Medina has new owners after 21 years of Susan and Roland Phillips leading the popular spot at 519 Main St.

Gloria and Fred Fierch on Dec. 2 became the owners of the store. The couple owned Pizza Place II in Middleport for 28 years, until selling that business nine years ago.

“Susan has made this an institution in Medina for 20 years,” Mr. Fierch said. “We plan on changing nothing.”

The Fierchs have stayed active in their retirement, with Gloria leading a Silver Sneakers exercise class at the Orleans County YMCA the past several years.

Fred has written two local books about Medina and Middleport history. He also is retired as a social studies teacher from the Orleans/Niagara BOCES, where he taught at sites in Medina, Sanborn and Niagara Falls.

The two missed the hustle and bustle of owning the pizza business. They wanted that excitement, but not quite at that level.

They have been long-time customers at the Book Shoppe. When the business was listed for sale, Mr. and Mrs. Fierch moved to buy it.

They have been at the store since last week, with Phillips introducing them to customers and helping with the ownership transition. She will stay at the store until late December, helping through the holiday rush and them ordering more books and toys for a new year.

“This has been fun,” Mrs. Fierch said at the store on Monday. “I’m enjoying the people and the total atmosphere. I just love being in Medina on Main Street. I want to continue the traditions of the book store.”

Gloria and Fred Fierch are shown in the arch leading to the children’s section at The Book Shoppe. They owned the Pizza Place II in Middleport for 28 years. They sold that business nine years ago and wanted to become more active in the community by owning the book store in Medina.

Mrs. Fierch has heard from customers that the book store is highly valued by the community. Besides the latest best sellers, The Book Shoppe gives prominent display of books by local authors. The store has a separate section for children’s books and toys.

The Book Shoppe sells toys that aren’t electronic and don’t make noise.

“They’re toys that children can use their imagination on,” Phillips said.

She is grateful for the 21 years of support from many loyal customers. Phillips said it has been exciting to watch the rebirth of Medina’s downtown, with many new businesses opening in recent years, and many building owners completing major restorations to the historic structures.

The Medina downtown has become a big attraction, and Phillips said the book store increasingly sees more customers from Buffalo and Rochester who enjoy shopping in Medina.

Phillips worked at the store for two years, when it was owned by David and Caroline Stefaniak. Phillips and her husband Roland became the owners in 1998.

She is pleased to see the new owners have a passion for business and being part of the community.

Phillips has watched many of her customers’ children grow up to be adults, and then bring their own children to the store. (The Book Shoppe hosted many Harry Potter parties, when new books of the popular series were released.)

Phillips was praised for making the store a welcoming environment, with the strong scent of gourmet coffee greeting customers. She also gift wraps books and presents for her customers.

“I want to say thank you to all of my great customers for all of the great years we had together,” she said.

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Medina school district invites community to see campus improvements

Staff Reports Posted 9 December 2019 at 6:23 pm

MEDINA – The Medina school district invites the community to come in and see the improvements that have been made to the school district as a result of capital improvement project.

Many areas have had improvements, such as windows, auditorium seating, bathrooms, cafeterias, the pool and other parts of the campus.

The district will be hosting tours at each of the buildings on the following dates: (The public is welcome to stay for the event that follows.)

• December 11 – Wise Middle School – 5:30 p.m. (Before Grade 4/5 Holiday Concert)

• December 17 – Oak Orchard Elementary School – 5:30 p.m. (Before Family Fun Night)

• December 18 – High School – 6 p.m. (Before HS Holiday Concert)

A’Cappella Choir concert set for Dec. 15 at St. Mary’s

The Medina High School A’Cappella Choir, under the direction of Rachel Trillizio, also has been diligently practicing for one of the choir’s biggest concerts of the year.

The annual Christmas concert for the community will be held on Sunday, Dec/ 15, at 7 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on the corner of West Avenue and Eagle Street.

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Medina hospital hosts breakfast with Santa

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 7 December 2019 at 11:48 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Liam McGill, 5, sits on Santa’s lap at Breakfast with Santa Saturday morning at Medina Memorial Hospital. He came with his aunt, Caroline Way of Medina. Liam is hoping for an Xbox and a gift card from Walmart.

MEDINA – Medina Memorial Hospital rolled out the red carpet for Santa Claus this morning during their fifth annual Breakfast with Santa.

The event annually attracts up to 170 children, said Cindy Perry, director of outreach, education and marketing for the hospital’s Community Partners.

“We do this so kids can become familiar with the hospital in a non-threatening way,” Perry said. “It’s like the Teddy Bear Clinic we do several times a year. All the Orleans County schools come, and this year Elba came for the first time. Like that event, this one has a lot of hospital staff and students who volunteer.”

Rebecca Mannella, left, and Christine Walczak pose with Mrs. Claus (Valerie Rush) at Medina Memorial Hospital’s Breakfast with Santa Saturday morning.

Early Saturday morning, Jessica Downey, health educator with Community Partners, laid out stickers on the hallways directing children to Santa Claus, a craft table manned by GCASA volunteers where children made reindeer antler glasses, a cookie decorating station and breakfast in the cafeteria.

After greeting Santa and getting a free gift and candy cane, children were greeting by Mrs. Claus, who handed out Christmas stickers.

The gift this year was a snowman, in honor of 3-year-old Leon Sidari, who loved snowmen and died two years ago on Christmas Day from the flu.

There was also a mail box and table where children could write a letter to Santa.

Tammy Pritchard, left, administrative assistant at Medina Memorial Hospital, and Jessica Downey, health educator, are ready to welcome children to the fifth annual Breakfast with Santa Saturday morning at the hospital.

Parents received a tote bag filled with information on the flu, lead poisoning and hospital services, along with crayons which children could use to color the picture on the front of the tote bag.

Dan Capurso of Albion said this was the third year he had brought his daughter, Esmae, 5.

“We love this event,” he said. “It has become a Christmas tradition.”

April Walls of Albion said this was the first time she had brought her children, Owen Pelzer, 3, and Payton Babcock, 8.

“They just love it,” Walls said. “They are having such a good time.”

Amanda Luckman loved that the event was for children of all ages. She and Tyler Fending of Lyndonville brought their children Madilinn, 6, and Daniel, 3.

“We come every year,” Luckman said. “Daniel hasn’t sat on Santa’s lap yet without crying. We’re hoping it will be different this year.”

Madilinn Fending, 6, of Lyndonville and her brother Daniel, 3, enjoy breakfast during Medina Memorial Hospital’s Breakfast with Santa Saturday morning.

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1-day toy drive in Medina filled many bags with presents

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 December 2019 at 5:41 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – A one-day toy drive on Saturday during Medina’s Olde Tyme Christmas celebration filled about a dozen bags with toys and also netted $930 to buy toys and food for families.

The toys were collected at Canalside Tattoo in on Main Street in Medina. The toys will go to the Medina Area Association of Churches for its Christmas Box Program and also to Community Action of Orleans & Genesee. People were welcome to drop off toys. For every toy donated or for every $5, people would get a chance to win one of 20 packages donated by local businesses.

Pictured, from left, include: Shawn Ramsey, owner of Canalside Tattoo; Andrew Szatkowski, toy drive chairman; Annette Finch, Community Services director for Community Action; Michelle Figueroa, case manager for Community Action; and Sherry Tuohey, coordinator of Christmas Box Program for MAAC.

The MAAC receives 20 percent of the donations which will go towards presents for 150 children in Medina.

Community Action receives 80 percent of the presents and money. That agency is putting together Christmas packages for about 500 families, including more than 1,000 children in Albion, Lyndonville, Holley and Kendall.

Szatkowski, chairman of the third annual toy drive, said this year’s collection will be made in memory of Kelly Duffield, the owner of Rudy’s Diner who died from cancer at age 49 on Oct. 21. Duffield helped collect gifts for the drive at Rudy’s and also was a generous giver to the effort, Szatkowski said.

Duffield’s son, Brodie Hoffmeister, has carried on his mother’s support of the toy drive, allowing customers to leave presents at Rudy’s ahead of Saturday, and also donating to the drive.

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Medina announces winning floats in Parade of Lights

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 1 December 2019 at 6:12 pm

Medina Railroad Museum named Grand Champion

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – The winning floats have been announced from Saturday’s Parade of Lights. The Medina Railroad Museum was named grand champion of the 11th annual parade, which had about 45 participants.

The Railroad Museum is a first-time grand champion.

The top photo shows the museum’s float in the staging area at the Olde Pickle Factory.

This photo shows the float on the parade route on Main Street.

Parade chairman Jim Hancock announced the other winners in the Parade of Lights.

Several Best-in-Class awards were given as follows:

Not-for-profit – Knights-Kaderli Memorial Fund

Service Club – Little Bits 4-H Club from Gasport

Religious – Grace Baptist Church in Medina

Other – Holley School’s First Responders Club

Bob Freida, a Clarendon firefighter, leads the Holley School’s First Respnders Club, which includes teens from the Holley school district.

The Holley School’s First Responders Club are dressed in turnout gear whole carrying a ladder down the parade route.

Business – For the first time there were two winners, Zambito Realtors and Velocitii. They tied in this category. This photo shows Zambito’s float.

Velocitii, which is based in Medina, made this float, which included letting out smoke from the chimney.

Fire Company – The Shelby Fire Company’s float included a tribute to the 343 firefighters who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Four special awards were given in the following categories:

Littlest Elf for the float which best incorporated youth and adults – A.J’s Play Date in Medina

Star Award for the float which the judges thought was most creative – Watson Enterprises

Community Spirit Award – Orleans County Christian School

Santa’s Pick – Given to the float which the judges thought Santa would like. Winner was Red Rose Landscaping from Tonawanda.

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Medina lights up community tree, celebrates long-time Mrs. Claus

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 1 December 2019 at 10:38 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Medina Mayor Mike Sidari, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Parade of Lights grand marshal Jackie DeHollander and parade chairman Jim Hancock pose for a quick picture before Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul gave the command to light the giant Christmas tree in Rotary Park on Saturday evening.

MEDINA – Being asked to be grand marshal in Saturday’s Parade of Lights was an honor, but very emotional, said Jackie DeHollander, as she waited in the Santa house in Rotary Park for the parade to begin.

Jackie spent many hours in the Santa house with her late husband Shelly as Santa and Mrs. Claus. Shelly, who died two years ago of lung cancer, had been Medina’s Santa for 50 years. Jackie was with him for 20 of those years.

“He loved the children,” Jackie said. “He once met a man with brain cancer and he went to his house and took him some books.”

Jackie DeHollander, grand marshal of Medina’s Parade of Lights on Saturday, stands by a figurine of the Kneeling Santa which she donated to Rotary Park in honor of her late husband, Shelly DeHollander, who was Medina’s Santa Claus for 50 years.

Jackie said she was apprehensive the first time Shelly wanted her to put on Mrs. Claus’ dress.

“I knew it wouldn’t fit, but it did fit perfectly,” she said. “Once I started, I loved it, and now I really miss it.”

Shelly was all about the true meaning of Christmas, and after his death Jackie donated a figurine in Rotary Park of Santa kneeling over the Baby Jesus in the Manger. The story is that Santa was sad because people had forgotten about Baby Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas.

“I know Shelly would have wanted me to do it,” Jackie said.

The giant Christmas tree in Rotary Park is aglow after Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul gave the command to light the tree at 5:30 p.m., kicking off the fireworks and Parade of Lights.

At 5:30 p.m., the giant Christmas tree in Rotary Park was lit in a ceremony led by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Click here to see a video of the tree lighting.

Parade chairman Jim Hancock said he received a call from Hochul’s office saying she wanted to come to Medina for the Parade of Lights.

After remarks from Medina Mayor Mike Sidari, Hochul introduced Jackie and then gave the command to light the tree.

Hochul was checking out Creekside Florist as she waited to light the tree. She said she has been to Medina several times before and loves Medina. She arrived early and spent time in Medina, checking out the shops and Christmas specials, Hancock said.

Click here to see a video of the fireworks after the tree lighting.

The band Prime Time Brass from Rochester rehearses Christmas songs behind Rotary Park before playing in the park prior to the Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

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Fireworks included a marriage proposal at Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 December 2019 at 8:52 am

Photos courtesy of Karen Fortunato

MEDINA – Kenneth Urbanik of Lyndonville and Alecia Fortunato of Medina became engaged last night in Medina while the fireworks were going off.

When the hatch opened in his vehicle, Fortunato was greeted with the message, “Marry Me?”

Urbanik used a Lite-Brite to create this depiction of an engaged couple.

Fortunato happily accepted the wedding proposal.

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Parade of Lights and fireworks dazzle in downtown Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 November 2019 at 11:15 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Fireworks burst in the sky in downtown Medina just before the 11thannual Parade of Lights.

Young Explosives set off the fireworks beginning at 5:45. It was part of  an action-packed day in Medina, which celebrated its Olde Tyme Christmas.

Samantha Pawlak, 5, of Albion hugs Olaf, a character from Frozen, during the Parade of Lights. There were 45 floats in the 11thannual parade.

Park Avenue Physical Therapy danced to “Let’s Get Physical” as part of its float during the parade. The cold temperatures – in the upper 20s with some wind – didn’t snuff out the excitement for the parade.

A Mercy EMS ambulance from Batavia was part of the emergency response vehicles that were decorated with lights for the parade. This photo was taken in the parking lot at the Olde Pickle Factory on Park Avenue, which served as a staging area for the floats.

The Medina Fire Department had a Santa sitting its the Fire Department’s rescue boat.

The Little Bits 4-H Club created this float.

The praise band from One Church Medina performed from this float.

The 4-H Heelers Dog Club has been a regular in the parade.

The Orleans County Christian School’s float was led by Pastor Russ Peters of the Alabama Full Gospel Church and his wife Jodi, who is a principal at the school.

The Cobblestone Unit of the Girl Scouts had many children in their float.

The Roy-Hart FFA had a pirate-themed float.

Velocitii was among several local businesses to join the holiday celebration in Medina.

The Medina Lions Club had giant lion cutouts for its float.

The Shelby Volunteer Fire Company did a tribute to the firefighters who responded to the Sept. 11 terroist attacks in 2001.

The Medina FFA works on its Charlie Brown float just before the parade.

To see two videos from the parade taken by Cheryl Wertman of the Orleans Hub, click here and click here.

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Santa, elves arrive in downtown Medina for Christmas celebration

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 November 2019 at 1:29 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Santa and Mrs. Claus make their way to the Medina Theatre after a parade through the downtown. They rode in an old Medina fire truck.

The parade included some of the winners of a “Littlest Elf” contest. Crystal Elliott leads two of the littlest elf participants, Lanie Feder, left, and Rayna Balaban, both of Medina. Elliott was in charge of the contest.

Laine Harvey, 1, won the ‘Littlest Elf” contest. She is held by her mother, Katie Harvey of Albion.

Chris Goyette, a Medina High School senior, wears the Olaf costume and waves to people along the parade route.

The Medina Marching Band played many holiday favorites.

The color guard added some pizzazz to the parade.

Pets in costume were welcome to join in the parade.

Roxie was dressed up for the parade. She was led by Madeline Bilicki of Medina.

AJ’s Play Date indoor play center was part of the spectacle.

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