Orleans Community Health collecting supplies for ‘Buffalo Strong’

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 19 May 2022 at 7:42 am

MEDINA – Staff at Orleans Community Health have come up with a way to help the families of the recent shooting victims in Buffalo.

OCH CEO Marc Shurtz and Scott Robinson, director of Marketing, Communication and Outreach at OCH’s Community Partners, met over the weekend to discuss what they could do.

“We agreed whatever we decided to do had to be actionable,” Robinson said. “We just couldn’t comment on social media.”

Heather Smith, director of Orleans Community Health Foundation, joined the discussion and helped facilitate a plan of action. Several other members of the OCH team reached out asking if the hospital could get involved with donations for “Buffalo Strong.”

“Our hearts ache for that community,” Robinson said. “We view the city of Buffalo as our neighbor. Whenever your neighbor is grieving, you do too.”

They plan they settled on was to place barrels at Medina Memorial Hospital, the Albion Healthcare Center, Middleport laboratory and Lake Plains Dialysis centers in Medina and Batavia.

“Our hope is that by placing these barrels at each of our locations we’re expanding the number of people that will be able to help contribute to the families and community in Buffalo,” Robinson said.

Recommended items to drop in the barrels include non-perishables, hygiene products, baby food and baby products, such as diapers.

In addition, the hospital is making contributions internally to the Thurman Thomas Family Foundation and others.

Medina will have 240 banners displayed this year of Hometown Heroes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 May 2022 at 9:10 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: This banner of Kevin Kaderli Jr. is on East Center Street near Bates Road in Medina. It is one of 240 that will be on utility poles in time for Memorial Day.

MEDINA – The banners of Hometown Heroes are already going up in Medina, and 240 will be hanging on utility poles in time for Memorial Day.

This is the fourth year Medina has the banners up. There were 38 the first year, with 69 more the second year, and 133 new ones last year. This year 40 new ones will be up. The 38 from the first year won’t be included this year.

Medina has the banners on a three-year cycle. After three years they are returned to the families or sponsors. The banners also are displayed in different areas for each of their three years on the public landscape.

Mary Woodruff is coordinator of the Hometown Heroes. She wants to keep adding banners for as long as community members and families want to recognize someone who serve din the military.

She thanked the village officials for backing the effort, and the Medina Department of Public Works for hanging the banners which are 5 feet tall and 2 ½ feet wide.

“It’s history,” Woodruff said about the banners with portraits of soldiers and veterans from Medina. “These people made a difference. Some gave their lives. They’re all heroes to me.”

Families and sponsors pay $200 for each banner, and they receive the banner after its three-year cycle.

Woodruff said she knows many residents look forward to the banners going up each year. They will be displayed until just after Veterans’ Day in November. One woman told her she sees the banner outside her window, and it’s a reminder to say a prayer for soldiers every day.

Woodruff would like to add a fund with donations from the community to help cover most of the costs for a banner for families under financial pressure.

She is pleased to see many other nearby communities have added banners. She encourages other communities to start with a small and manageable number the first year, and then grow.

“It’s not a race,” she said.

Applications for new banners in 2023 will be available in late August through That website includes options for people to donate to the Hometown Heroes, with funds going to some of the costs beyond the expense of the banners and to help pay some of the cost of a banner and hardware for families and friends who don’t have the full amount.

Woodruff, a Ridgeway town councilwoman, has coordinated the banners in Medina after seeing a similar display in Alfred. Her late father-in-law Willis Burr Woodruff was among those recognized with a banner in Alfred.

Mary Woodruff, coordinator of the Hometown Heroes effort, is pictured in June 2019 with banners of showing Mitchell Mason and the late Vincent Cardone. They were among 38 included in the first group of banners. Those initial banners in 2019 have completed their three-year cycle and won’t be back out this year.

Medina’s $39.9 million school budget passes with 84% in favor

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2022 at 8:34 pm

MEDINA – The school district’s proposed $39,884,316 budget passed easily today with 247 voted in favor and 45 against.

That’s an 84 percent approval rate despite a budget with a 2 percent tax increase, the first in a decade in Medina.

Mark Kruzynski, the district superintendent, said the “runaway escalation of utility costs” is the biggest factor in the tax increase. The district still remains below the state-imposed tax cap, he said.

He is grateful the budget passed by a more than 5-to-1 ratio.

“We are very appreciative of the community’s continual support of our district,” he said this evening after the votes were counted.

The budget maintains all programs and staffing, increases student support services, purchases three large school buses and one wheelchair bus, adds new cafeteria tables for Oak Orchard Primary School, and returns a high school musical to the Medina auditorium.

Two candidates – Scott Robinson and Debra Tompkins – ran for two three-year terms on the Board of Education. Robinson received 239 votes and Tompkins had 236. Tompkins is a current board member and Robinson is new. The terms start July 1.

Raffle will help Ministry of Concern assist working poor

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 May 2022 at 3:42 pm

Provided photo: Dozens of items are on display at Case-Nic Cookies in Medina which are part of a basket raffle to benefit Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern.

MEDINA – During the month of May, Case-Nic Cookies is displaying information on services provided by the Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern.

A basket raffle is also taking place through May 31, and tickets are on sale at Case-Nic for $10 for a sheet of 20.

Items included in the fundraiser are gift certificates to local stores, family fun for adults and children, household items and two July 4th celebration baskets.

Gretta Smith, director of GOMOC, urges the community to support this fundraiser.

GOMOC has been serving residents of Genesee and Orleans counties for more than 50 years, Smith reported. The non-profit organization is known as the “Agency of Last Resort,” as it often provides assistance to individuals who are struggling and don’t have other resources available to them. The agency offers emergency services to many of the working poor in the two counties.

In-house advocates work on behalf of clients with utility companies, landlords and other entities as necessary, Smith said. Eligible individuals and families can receive help with personal care items, short term emergency housing and financial assistance with prescriptions and utilities.

The Furniture Program accepts donations of gently used furniture and non-gas appliances which are subsequently delivered without cost to people in need.

GOMOC encourages clients to become independent, self-sufficient and contributing members of the community, Smith added.

Anyone wishing help or more information on services available can call (585) 589-9210.

Medina expands fire hall study to include addition at village office

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Village Board approved an agreement with a firm to present conceptual plans for additions to the village office and the fire hall, which are both of Park Avenue. The board wants to see designs and cost estimates for additions to the west of both buildings. For the village office that addition would be in part of the green space in this photo.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 May 2022 at 3:35 pm

MEDINA – The Village Board approved a $16,200 agreement with a Buffalo firm to present conceptual designs and options for expansion of the Medina fire hall and the village clerk’s office on Park Avenue.

The agreement was initially for an expansion to the fire station, but was amended last week to include an addition on the village office for a meeting room for up to 50 people.

The agreement with the Barton & Loguidice firm will be paid for from federal funds for Medina through the American Rescue Plan Act.

The board last month approved spending $17,000 to acquire vacant land next to the village clerk’s office at 119 Park Ave. The vacant land is at the corner of Park and West Avenue. Medina is paying Generations Bank for the land, and also approved spending up to $3,000 for any closing costs. The village is using American Rescue Plan Act for the purchase.

The land gives the village options for expansion in the future, including the meeting room, Mayor Mike Sidari said.

The board was meeting in the Shelby Town Hall, which is outside the village limits, and then recently shifted to having its meetings in the Senior Center, next door to the village offices.

Barton & Loguidice also will work on a conceptual design on for a 45-by-88-foot addition to the current fire hall.

That addition is needed for a larger ladder truck. The current truck is from 1996. It barely fits in the existing fire hall. The new trucks are bigger and won’t fit in the current fire hall bays, Fire Chief Matt Jackson has said. The ladder on the current truck is 75 feet long. Medina officials would like a truck with a 100-foot-long ladder.

The addition also will be designed to have space for modern ambulances and fire trucks, be ADA compliant, and meet the department’s needs for the next 50 to 100 years, Jackson said.

Barton & Loguidice, in the contract with the village, said it will meet with Medina officials, including the fire chief and village clerk, to discuss the needs for the additional space to help the firm develop a concept layout for the floor plan.

The study will include developing equipment inventories, assessing current and future fire department needs and storage requirements. That will include number of truck bays, building uses, office requirements and current and future maintenance operations.

The firm will develop preliminary budget level opinions of probably costs for the addition, including potential infrastructure concerns and necessary system upgrades.

The contract doesn’t include site surveys, geotechnical investigations, design development of construction contract documents for site and building design, environmental reviews/investigations, bidding assistance, and construction administration/inspection.

The proposal also doesn’t include hazardous materials testing, assessment, abatement, remedial design, environmental remediation design or environmental permitting services.

AJ’s Play Date in Medina adds café, director of operations

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 15 May 2022 at 8:45 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Bailey Papaj, who recently joined AJs Play Date as director of operations, sits in the main play room, where new things are being added all the time.

MEDINA – When Adam and Kerry Papaj needed to add more help at AJs Play Date, they knew the perfect candidate – daughter Bailey.

Bailey, who has a degree in public health and education and previously worked as a social learning specialist in Greece, has joined the family business as director of operations.

“I just had a baby and didn’t want to do the long drive every day,” Bailey said. “I wanted to be closer to home. And I had previously helped here as event coordinator, so it was obvious to me a director of operations was needed.”

As owner, Adam said he and Kerry had gone as far as they could, both having other jobs, as well. Adam drives school bus and Kerry is a speech pathologist at Lyndonville Central School.

The business, which opened in August 2019, has been a big hit. They recently utilized the north end of the building on West Avenue for AJs Café, which serves quick foods, such as pizza, chicken nuggets, snacks, cookies, beverages and ice cream. The area can accommodate families in a safe environment who come in for a party or special occasion or want to include a bite to eat in their play experience.

Bailey has plans to expand events, to be a destination for birthday parties and field trips.

Another added feature is massage chairs, where parents can pay for a massage in 15-minute increments while their children play. A six-minute massage is free on Massage Mondays when paying for a child’s entry.

Bailey also has a full lineup of special events planned during the summer. She has invited a firefighter,  magician, Challenge Island Steam Camp, someone knowledgeable in science and technology, arts and math. A children’s yoga instructor be available, as well. Special days will feature a “farmer-in-training” day, “super hero-in-training” day, “chef-in-training” day, “artist-in-training” day and a music and movement day.

Adam Papaj and his daughter Bailey sit in the newly opened AJs Café adjoining AJs Play Date on 627 West Avenue, Medina. Bailey just joined the business as director of operations.

Children can sign up for one special day for $25 or a package of three days for $70.

“We want to bridge the gap between June and September when children have nothing to do,” Bailey said. “We want to widen our ability to reach out to different people.”

“Besides being fun, these things will be educational,” Adam said.

The Papajs said AJs Play Date is a hidden gem. Kids with learning problems recognize the activities geared to them, and for children who aren’t challenged, the place is just plain fun.

A Pajama Club is being started for July and August and registration is required. Information is available on their website at

AJs Play Date also offers Drop and Go for a child 5 or older, whose parents want to drop the child off while they run errands. All the staff are CPR and first-aid certified.

“Coming here is an investment in your child,” Adam said.

He said it is fun to watch even a six-month old crawl among the play stations. Children under 1 are allowed free of charge.

Children up to 5 years old can enjoy Little Tykes Time on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Open play is from 9 to 11 a.m.

“Our goal is to make sure families feel safe and welcome,” Adam said.

AJs Café and Ice Cream Shop will be open all year, Adam said. He is waiting approval for a drive-thru window.

Tim Hortons reopens on May 18 after a remodel in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 May 2022 at 8:34 pm

MEDINA – A remodeled Tim Hortons will reopen May 18 in Medina.

The Maple Ridge Road site will open the drive-through at 4:15 a.m. and the storefront at 5 in the morning. The Tim Hortons closes at 10 p.m.

“We completely remodeled the inside of the restaurant,” said Jennifer Karbowski, C.O.O. and managing owner of the site. “A fresh new look outside and in. We did extensive work to our parking lot for better customer experience. Brand new furniture and layout to improve our guest experience both through our drive-through and inside our restaurant.”

The Tim Hortons also will be offering a new line of Nitro beverages. Those beverages will be ready to serve by the end of this month, Karbowski said.

The site also has new brewers, a cream machine and sugar machines for better coffee quality, she said.

“We thank the community for their patience, and we look forward to having them back as our guests,” Karbowski said. “We are excited to share our new look with them as well as some new products.”

Iroquois Job Corps looks to get back to pre-Covid levels

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 13 May 2022 at 9:23 am

Center has capacity for 136 students in building trades, CNAs and certified medical assistants

MEDINA – Dennis Essom, center director of the Iroquois Job Corps on Tibbits Road, has announced the Job Corps has reopened and ready to admit students in brick masonry, carpentry, paint, electrical, certified nursing assistant and certified medical assistant fields.

Iroquois Job Corps is a no-cost education and vocational training provider helping young people ages 16 to 24 improve the quality of their lives by empowering them to get great jobs and become independent, Essom said.

The local Iroquois Job Corps Center has the capacity to serve 136 students. The campus works directly with employers, national and local, to help them fill available positions with high pay. A few of the companies who have recently hired Iroquois Job Corps’ skilled graduates include Aerotek in Cheektowaga, Niagara Protective Coatings in Niagara Falls, St. Ann’s Community in Rochester, Career Start in Buffalo and Rochester, DENT Neurologic Institute in Amherst, Quality Structures in Rochester, and FSR Contracting in Buffalo.

Other recent graduates have enlisted in the United States Army and Navy and are now currently serving in active duty using skills learned while at Job Corps, Essom said.

The Covid-19 pandemic significantly reduced the number of students the Iroquois Job Corps Center has served during the past year and a half, Essom added. Now, with effective vaccines and safety procedures in place, the Iroquois Job Corps Center is ready with its youth training opportunities to welcome new students to their campus.

“We want the community to know that the Iroquois Job Corps Center is an outstanding option for our youth,” Essom said. “Students can also earn a high school diploma or the equivalent and college credits. Job Corps offers tuition-free housing, meals, basic health care, a living allowance and funds to assist with career transition.”

Job Corps also provides transitional support services, such as help finding employment, housing, child care and transportation. Job Corps graduates either enter the workforce or an apprenticeship, go on to higher education or enter the military.

Iroquois Job Corps Center has already demonstrated it is able to provide safe and healthy residential living and serve students effectively despite Covid, Essom continued. The program has procedures and policies in place to track Covid symptoms, test and prevent an outbreak.

“The past two years have been trying for all of us,” said Byron V. Garrett, CEO and president of National Corps Association. “This time has shown us that Job Corps’ dedication to teaching trades to young people has made a big difference, not only in the lives of our students and their families, but in the lives of Americans reliant upon the work Job Corps alumni have been trained to do. Given our availability to immediately serve students, we know the potential for our campuses to transform lives and want everyone to know that Job Corps is reopened and ready to help.”

Anyone wishing more information about student outreach and recruitment can contact Luke Kantor, outreach and admissions manager at the office phone (585) 344-3401, on his cell at (585) 205-3653 or by e-mail at

Medina Visitors’ Center opens for season on May 23

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 12 May 2022 at 9:12 pm

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Bob Gilsinan, left, and Jim Hancock are looking forward to another successful tourist season in Medina. They made a preliminary visit today to the Visitors’ Center in Rotary Park.

MEDINA – When the Medina Visitors’ Center opens May 23, it will be the 13th year of welcoming tourists to the village.

Jim Hancock, chair of Medina’s Tourism Committee and coordinator of the Visitors’ Center, and volunteer Bob Gilsinan today stopped by the Visitors’ Center in Rotary Park. They are preparing for the opening of the center for the 2022 season on May 23.

The house used as Santa’s headquarters at Christmas time doubles as the Visitors’ Center during the tourist season. It was an ideal spot to locate a Visitors’ Center, being in the center of downtown and in close proximity to the canal.

Last year, 330 visitors signed the register from 24 states and three foreign countries.

Gilsinan has been volunteering at the Visitors’ Center for four years and looks forward to his time there. He loves to talk to people and recalls the couple he met from Belgium who were biking the Erie Canal. He said they asked why there were so many churches in town.

One year while Hancock was on duty in the center, he met a couple from Montana who had their boat anchored in the Canal Basin. He said they had towed their boat then put it in the water where they could continue their journey to Key West.

“It’s heartwarming to see how amazed visitors are at the vibrancy of our Main Street and all the restaurants we have,” Hancock said.

There are two new volunteers so far this year – Betty Rogowski and the Rev. Vince Iorio, bringing the total of volunteers to 14.

“We can always use more volunteers,” Hancock said. “We do have enough now that we can have the Visitors’ Center open on Saturday.”

He said he didn’t know of any other small town with a Visitors’ Center like Medina.

The center will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday throughout the summer.

Medina elementary students raise $2K for Heart Challenge

Provided photo: Gym teachers Greg Husung and Travis Phillips are pictured with Aoife Kelleher, Meadow Dunn, Oliver White, Natalie Smith-Flatley, Bryce Allen, Sophia Blount, Jonathan Bessel, Kennedy Hosmer, Cayden Dubois, Phoenix Konieczny, Nathan White, Rayna Balaban, Ryker Kenward, Marcus Falls, Henry Dresser, Lucas Miller, Abigail Sutch, Sterling Biesinger, Jordan Hammonds and Margaret Dunham.

Posted 11 May 2022 at 1:07 pm

Press Release, Medina Central School

MEDINA – Oak Orchard Elementary School gym teachers Greg Husung and Travis Phillips celebrated their students who recently took part in the American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge.

The Medina students raised $2,000 in their fifth year of participation!

“The year before we raised almost $3,000,” said Mr. Phillips. “We were thrilled to find out we received two grants which we used to purchase a climbing wall for the gym.”

Second grade student Rayna Balaban said she loves the new addition to the gym.

“It’s a lot of fun and I really like to climb it.”

The Kids Heart Challenge helps kids with special hearts to raise money for the health of all hearts. Oak Orchard students participated in fun physical activities and learned about how to keep their hearts and brains healthy. Thanks to the generosity of family and friends the funds they raised will go to help others.

“The kids were so instrumental in helping us achieve this and we had three major contributors who really helped us,” said Mr. Phillips. “We are really proud of everyone who participated.”

Oak Orchard Primary School hosting signups for Pre-K, kindergarten through May 20

Posted 11 May 2022 at 12:31 pm

Provided photo: Incoming kindergarten student, Carter Colonna, participates in the signing event at Oak Orchard Primary School.

Press Release, Medina Central School

MEDINA – Medina school district’s Oak Orchard Primary School has had a busy week hosting a UPK (Universal Pre-Kindergarten)/Kindergarten event.

Students who will be entering into universal pre-kindergarten and kindergarten are participating in a signing, screening and registration celebration at the school.

The event is being held from May 9 to May 20.  The school’s Principal Jennifer Stearns said students need to be residents of the school district and need to be 4 years of age by Dec. 1, 2021 for UPK and 5 years of age by Dec. 1, 2022 for kindergarten.

“It has been very exciting to welcome all our future Mustangs to this fun event,” she said.  “Students and families have been enjoying taking part and having their photograph taken to honor the occasion.”

The UPK and K programs will begin in the 2022-23 school year, Monday through Friday, from 7:35 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. As part of the sign up, students are meeting with the UPK and K teachers who complete a screening, which allows them to see the skills students have while entering school.

Parents/guardians are also meeting with teachers and the school counselor to share information about their child. There is an opportunity to complete registration while at screening as well.

The programs are free of cost to Medina school district families and transportation to and from school is provided by the district, following their regular transportation policies.

Breakfast and lunch will also be provided to students as well, at no cost.  Spaces will be limited and a random lottery will be held if needed. The application can be found at the Medina district website at and then visiting the Oak Orchard Primary School page.

Mrs. Stearns would like to remind residents that it is not too late to sign up for either program and to participate in the screening. Medina residents are encouraged to complete the sign up found on the website or they can call 585-798-2700, options 3 and then 0, for more information.

Medina seeks artist proposals for mural under canal bridge

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Village of Medina will use a grant to pay for a mural under the north side of the Glenwood Avenue canal bridge.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 May 2022 at 3:17 pm

MEDINA – The village is seeking proposals from artists for a canal-themed mural on the north side abutment of the Glenwood Avenue canal bridge.

Medina has already been approved for a $3,460 grant from GO Art! to pay for the project under the bridge.

Medina wants the mural with a historic flavor to be done by Sept. 30.

The proposal from artists should include three examples of previous murals.

The project area is approximately 528 square feet on previously painted concrete.

Mayor Mike Sidari said the mural is another effort from the village to enhance the canal waterfront.

For more information, click here to be directed to the village website.

Medina students and staff paint over graffiti on the north side of Glenwood Avenue bridge in this photo from May 8, 2017 when about 200 Medina students and teachers were out doing service projects in the community and at the school campus.

Orleans Learning Center students donate to Medina Dog Park

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 May 2022 at 5:01 pm

Provided photos

MEDINA – Cindy Davis, vice president of the Medina Dog Park, accepts a ceremonial check for $172.50  from teacher Stephanie Brandt. Students in her class at the Orleans Learning Center in Medina collected bottles and cans.

The students also visited every classroom at the Learning Center and also the Orleans Career & Tech Center and collected donations.

“Medina has been hard at work over the past couple of years to create a fun space for our furry friends to socialize and play,” Brandt said. “We decided to support our community to help make the project happen.”

The dog park is located on North Gravel Road just south of Boxwood Cemetery.

Some of the Orleans Learning Center students are pictured at the school.

Parade chairman welcomes participants for Medina’s Memorial Day observance

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 May 2022 at 1:01 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: Frank Berger is shown during Medina’s Memorial Day observance on May 29, 2017. He has been chairman of the parade since 1971.

MEDINA – Frank Berger, chairman of Medina’s Memorial Parade, is welcoming community organizations to be part of Medina’s parade on May 30.

The parade will be back without restrictions this year, except for one. Berger said there won’t be any business or commercial promotions allowed, as has been the custom for this parade.

He has been chairman of the Memorial Day Parade since 1971. This is his last time as the organizer.

“I’m 87 and it’s about time for someone else to do it,” he said. “It takes a lot of cooperation.”

Berger became parade chairman 51 years ago, back when his son was in Cub Scouts.

For the May 30 parade, participants should start to line up at 10:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the Olde Pickle Factory on Park Avenue. The parade starts at 11 and goes down Park Avenue, to South Main Street, to State Street Park. There will be an observance at State Street Park at about noon.

Berger said people interested in being in the parade should call (585) 798-3632. They should include the name of the group and how many expected participants.

Lyndonville Lions Club gives roses to nursing home residents in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 May 2022 at 10:59 am

Photos courtesy of Lyndonville Lions

MEDINA – The Lyndonville Lions Club this weekend delivered dozens of long-stemmed roses to the residents and staff of Orchard Manor nursing home and the North Wing extended care in Medina. The roses were given to residents and staff on the Mother’s Day weekend.

The top photo shows Lyndonville Lions Club members Harold Suhr, left, and Russ Martino gathering and preparing roses for delivery.

Some of the nursing staff at Orchard Manor include Jenna Doberstein, Tabitha Andrews and Amy Cheatham, who are shown here with Lyndonville Lion Russ Martino.

A representative of the Orleans Community Health system accepted roses on behalf of its North Wing residents.