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Hands 4 Hope will add Wednesday stops in April, May

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 April 2020 at 6:16 pm

Ministry offers food, takes prayer requests

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – The Hands 4 Hope ministry was in Medina today, set up in the parking lot at the MAAC Thrift Depot at the corner of Star and Orient streets. (The MAAC Thrift Depot is closed right now due to concerns with the coronavirus.)

The top photo shows Hands 4 Hope leader Jack Burris chatting with Ivy Schell of Medina.

Hands 4 Hope started on Jan. 20, 2016 taking the red truck to locations in Albion, Holley and Medina on Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Hands 4 Hope offers a “share” of food, toilet paper, socks and some other supplies. The ministry has suspended accepting and offering donated clothing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Hands 4 Hope for the first time next week will be expanding to Wednesday evenings, going to different sites than the current schedule on Saturdays.

Kevin Lemcke, one of the Hands 4 Hope volunteers, fills a bag with food. A typical share includes rice, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, crackers, corn, beans, dish soap, a bar of soap, 2 rolls of toilet paper and some other toiletries.

The new Wednesday schedule will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Hands 4 Hope will be in Kendall on April 8 and expects to be parked at the Town Hall parking lot. Burris said to look for the red truck.

On April 15, Hands 4 Hope will be outside the Yates Community Library in Lyndonville. April 22 will be in Waterport on Baker Road at the Heritage Meadow Apartments and April 29 will be in Murray at the Countyline Trailer Park, with a similar schedule in May.

Burris owns a carpet cleaning business. He has had to cut back due to the pandemic. It also has given him more time for Hands 4 Hope. He is committed to the Wednesdays the next two months and will then reassess if it continues.

The Hands 4 Hope truck is parked outside at the MAAC Clothing Depot today. The line was spaced more than 6 feet.

Hands 4 Hope has scaled back its crew of volunteers during the pandemic. Burris said many of the volunteers are 60 and older and he doesn’t want them out on the truck until the pandemic is over.

He also has marked spots spaced at least six feet apart for people to stand in line. The volunteers also aren’t hugging people, which Burris said is hard for everyone.

Ivy Schell of Medina has been coming to Hands 4 Hope for its monthly stop in Medina for about three years.

“It makes life a lot easier,” she said about the share of food and other supplies.

She gives Burris and the volunteers updates on her life and they will pray for her on the spot. Today the volunteers were joined by the Rev. Randy LeBaron for the prayer requests.

Ron Stewart also has been coming to Hands 4 Hope for more than a year. He remembers the group going in his neighborhood, knocking on doors to get the word out about the program.

“I appreciate the people that put this on, the heart and spirit of them,” Stewart said. “They’re here to help spiritually, emotionally and with the food, but the food is just the icing on the cake.”

Stewart commended the volunteers for continuing the ministry during the pandemic, and even expanding to the sites in Lyndonville, Kendall, Waterport and Murray.

Burris said Hands 4 Hope welcomes any donations financially or with food. Any checks can be sent to Hands 4 Hope, 243 South Main St., Suite 174, Albion, NY 14411. Donations can also be made through the Hands 4 Hope Facebook page or the Hands 4 Hope website.

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No motorcade, but Medina teachers send love to students in 12-minute video

These kindergarten teachers let students know they are missed in the classroom.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 April 2020 at 12:51 pm

MEDINA – The Medina school district was planning a Mustang Motorcade today, to let students know they are missed. But the district decided against it, not wanting to encourage a crowd of kids and their families to gather.

So the district instead did a virtual parade, with more than 100 teachers and staff sending in photos for a 12-minute video. Many of the teachers and staff are wearing Medina Mustang shirts or crazy outfits.

The district encouraged students to “Stay happy, Stay healthy, Stay strong!”

Click here to see the video.

Jeanette Sheliga, a Medina middle school band teacher, urges students to keep practicing with their instrument.

Trisha Stacey, a music teacher at Oak Orchard Elementary School, dresses up in a zany outfit for the video montage.

Todd Eick, an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, promotes school spirit.

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WNY Energy supplying ethanol for sanitizer to fight Covid-19

Provided photo from Mindful Media Group: Western New York Energy, an ethanol plant on Bates Road in Medina, produces about 60 million gallons of ethanol annually.

Posted 2 April 2020 at 7:36 pm

Press Release, Western New York Energy, Orleans Economic Development Agency

MEDINA – Western New York Energy in Medina has adapted its operations to provide distilleries, technology companies, and global personal care corporations in the United States and Canada with ethanol to produce hand sanitizer in response to the coronavirus global pandemic.

“In conjunction with New York’s corn growers, Western New York Energy is committed to assisting distillers and companies of any size to manufacture hand sanitizer in the fight against this devastating pandemic,” said Tim Winters, WNYE President and CEO. “We could not do this without the support of the farmers, our partners for the past 13 years, who are the bedrock of this region.”

Photo courtesy of Black Button Distilling: Some of the WNY Energy ethanol is being used for sanitizer.

The WNY Energy facility is locally owned and can produce up to 150,000 gallons per day of tech-grade ethanol for industrial purposes such as sanitizer production. Winters and 50 employees are supplying some of the country’s largest technology companies and global personal care corporations that have repurposed operations to address the nationwide need for sanitizer, along with distillers across New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Maine that have halted alcohol production to produce sanitizer for the urgent needs of doctors, hospitals, and at-risk communities.

Distilleries that WNY Energy first supplied at the forefront of the COVID response include: Black Button Distilling and Iron Smoke Distillery in Rochester, Uncle Jumbo’s Vodka in Buffalo, Prohibition Distillery in Roscoe, NY, Clayton Distillery in Clayton, NY and Maine Craft Distillery in Portland, ME. Many of those companies first bottled the sanitizer in 24-ounce glass liquor bottles they had in stock, but are now working to make sanitizer available in larger gallon containers, pails or drums.

“Western New York Energy is a respected industry partner and a critically important, reliable market for our corn growers,” said Colleen Klein, executive director of NY Corn and Soybean Growers Association. “In usual circumstances, our crop is used in the Medina facility to make clean, renewable fuel but these are not usual circumstances. We are facing unprecedented times as a state and nation.  We applaud WNYE’s ability and willingness to pivot their business to provide much needed sanitation resources while maintaining the market for our growers during these uncertain times.”

More distilleries across the Northeast, Midwest, and the larger corporations WNYE has begun to supply are ramping up the production of 75-80% alcohol-based hand sanitizers for retail and wholesale.

“As we move forward, you can rest assured that New York farmers are going to show up to do their job – whatever it takes,” Klein said. “We’re happy to have a friend in Western New York Energy who shares this mentality. Whether you’re farm tough, New York City tough, or anywhere in between – we’re all stronger together.”

Western New York Energy opened in 2007 after construction of a $90 million facility in Medina. WNYE is proud to be partnering with New York’s farmers to produce domestic, clean, renewable energy.

On an annual basis WNYE processes approximately 20 million bushels of corn into more than 60 million gallons of fuel-grade biofuel blended with gasoline; 140,000 tons of high-quality dairy distillers grain for the dairy and livestock industries; 1.8 million gallons of feed-grade corn oil sold as a feed product or for further processing into biodiesel; and 100,000 tons of food-grade carbon dioxide.

“Western New York Energy has become one of the most important industries in Orleans County and New York State,” said Jim Whipple, CEO of the Orleans Economic Development Agency. “The economics tied to WNYE not only supports local farmers, but the operation is the largest taxpayer in Orleans County. It is important that products made in New York’s farm communities be given purchasing priority in times like this, as we are often more equipped and adaptive to support the needs of heavily populated urban areas that could be struggling.”

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Medina district has been serving 1,000-1,200 meals daily to families

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 April 2020 at 9:40 am

Photos from Rob Dennis, director of transportation for Medina school district

MEDINA – The school district is finishing its third week of “Operation Food Drop” and  has been distributing 1,000 to 1,200 meals daily to Medina families.

District administrators have teamed with cafeteria workers and the transportation department to organize the program and get the breakfasts and lunches to children in the community.

“We will continue throughout Easter break and into the foreseeable future,” said Rob Dennis, the transportation director for the school district. “I am very proud of how well our school leadership has come together in these difficult times for us all. Medina Strong, Mustang Strong.”

Dennis praised the cafeteria staff led by Maria Haegerty.

“Our transportation department has worked seamlessly with Maria, and her department to get food to the students and families of the district,” Dennis said.

The district has been delivering the meals between 11 a.m. and noon each day at the following locations:

• Pine Street Park: corner of Pine Street and Park Avenue

• MAAC Thrift Depot: corner of Starr Street and Orient Street

• Orleans County YMCA Parking Lot: 306 Pearl Street

• Former Towne School Parking Lot: 181 Bates Road

• Shelby Fire Department Parking Lot: 4695 S. Gravel Road

• Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company parking lot on Knowlesville Road

• Oak Orchard Elementary Bus Loop

Dan Doctor, director of community outreach for Medina Central School, also has been taking food to homeless families in the district.

For more information about the food program, click here.

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Medina closes playgrounds, buildings to public

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 April 2020 at 4:47 pm

MEDINA — Mayor Michael Sidari has issued an emergency order, closing the village playgrounds, including the skate park, to the public to assist in lowering the spreading of the coronavirus, which threatens the public health, the mayor said.

The emergency order also closes the village buildings to the public, except for employees and by appointment.

Sidari said the village parks and buildings will be monitored by the Medina Police Department, Fire Department, Code Enforcement and the DPW superintendent.

The emergency declaration is in effect for 30 days, but Sidari said he would review it in five days.

The Village of Albion has also closed its public parks.

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Medina cancels Mustang Motorcade planned for Friday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 April 2020 at 10:03 am

MEDINA – The school district has cancelled a Mustang Motorcade that was planned for Friday, with teachers and staff driving throughout the community to see students.

“We are doing this for precautionary reasons,” said Mark Kruzynski, the district superintendent. “We do not want our children and families, who may be outside lining the parade route, to wind up becoming too close to their neighbors and friends.”

Kruzynski said the district will try another way to connect with children and boost their spirits during an extended school shutdown.

“The goal of this parade was to spread cheer and community, and we are going to put together a ‘virtual parade’ in the very near future,” he said.

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Firefighters pay tribute to staff at Medina Memorial Hospital

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 March 2020 at 7:35 pm

Caravan of fire trucks flash lights, beep horns in show of support

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Firefighters from the Western Battalion in Orleans County – East Shelby, Shelby, Medina, Ridgeway and Lyndonville – brought fire trucks and parked outside Medina memorial Hospital this evening beginning at 6 p.m.

Firefighters flashed lights of on the trucks and drove through the parking lot, beeping the horns to show their appreciation for the doctors, nurses and staff at the hospital.

Click here to see a video of the fire trucks driving through the parking lot and past the hospital.

Click here to see the fire trucks lined up on Ohio Street outside Medina Memorial.

Steve Bane, the second assistant chief at Lyndonville, suggested the tribute and the other leaders of the five fire departments were quick to say yes.

“This is our closest medical facility,” Bane said outside the hospital this evening. “They are getting fatigued. We just want to help get the morale up for everybody.”

Bane has seen similar tributes for larger city hospitals. He said Medina deserves recognition from the community for the life-saving work of the staff.

These firefighters chat outside the hospital. They include from left: Justin McAdoo of Ridgeway, Brad Mahke of Medina, Sergio DiCenso of Medina, Medina Mayor Mike Sidari, Kristin McAdoo of Ridgeway, Adam Fisher of Medina and Jacob Crooks of Medina.

Crooks, a lieutenant with the Medina Fire Department, said the Medina hospital provides critical healthcare services for the community.

“Without them the next closest hospital would be Batavia and Lockport,” Crooks said. “We just wanted to show them that we support them and to keep up the good work.”

Dawn Petry, a certified nurse’s aide at the hospital, said the staff is thankful for the community’s outreach recently, with donated surgical masks, food and blankets.

“We appreciate everything the community has done for us,” said Petry, whose husband Tim is president of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company. “It’s been helping us with the long hours.”

Megan Perkins, another CNA, said her co-workers took photos from some of the hospital rooms of the display by the firefighters.

“It’s appreciated that they would think of us,” Perkins said.

She said the staff is committed to their patients and the residents.

“I come to do my job to make people feel they are cared about,” she said.

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Medina school district plans Mustang Motorcade on Friday afternoon

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 March 2020 at 3:33 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: A Mustang banner is displayed outside Medina High School.

MEDINA – The teachers and staff of Medina school district are planning a Medina Mustang Motorcade on Friday from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

The district is hoping the motorcade will spread some cheer to students who are now home from school for the third week due to health concerns with the coronavirus.

“We ask that you find a safe location to enjoy the motorcade – maybe from your front porch, in a vehicle or in lawn chairs at an appropriate social distance!” according to a notice from the district. “Please note that nothing with be thrown during this parade. But there will be noise! Music, horns, etc!”

The district encourages students to make a banner or a sign and show their “Medina Strong” pride.

“It is also National Find a Rainbow Day,” the district stated. “We hope that we can spread some hope and cheer during this unprecedented time.”

Motorcade Route:

Shelby Fire Hall—South on 63, West Shelby Rd, R-Hellert Rd, L- Ryan Rd, R-Salt Works Rd, Over route 31, R-Park Ave, R-West Ave, R-Maple St, R- Gwinn St, L-Park Ave, R– Prospect, R-Ryan St, L– Glenwood, L-Oak, L-Gulf, R-Stork, L- N Gravel Rd, L-Commercial St, L-E Oak Orchard St, L-Bates Rd, L-North St, L-State St, L-Chadwick St, R-Starling Dr, R-Elizabeth St, L-Mead Ave, R-Elwood St,

L-State St, R- Horan Rd, L-Maple Ave, L-Erin Rd, R-State St, L-Roseland Ave, R-Mead Ave, R-E Center St, L-Orient St, R-S Main, R-E Oak Orchard St, L-Church St, L-E Center St, R- Ohio St, R-Eagle St, R-West Ave, R-Park Ave, R-Davis Ave, L-West Center St, R- Marshall Rd, R-Route 104, R-N. Gravel Rd, L-Slade Rd, L-Horan Rd, R-E Sco  Rd, continue Porter Rd, R-Knowlesville Rd, R-Route 31, L-Snell Dresser Rd, continue E Shelby Rd, R-Fletcher Chapel Rd, R-Bigford Rd, L-Harrison Rd, R-route 63, return to Shelby Fire Hall.

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Medina approves 4-year contract with firefighters getting 2% raises

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 March 2020 at 3:12 pm

Board also approves $2,500 contribution to skate park upgrade

MEDINA – The Medina Village Board on Monday approved a four-year contract with career firefighters that gives them 2 percent annual raises.

The contract includes 20 firefighters. They also need to contribute 25 percent towards their health insurance premiums.

The contract runs from June 1, 2019 to May 31, 2023. The boar don Monday agreed to pay the firefighters their retroactive pay increase. Trustee Owen Toale said that increase is in the current village budget.

Monday’s meeting deviated from a normal meeting. It was closed to the public with two of the five Village Board members and the village clerk participating online through Zoom. (Orleans Hub editor Tom Rivers also participated through Zoom.)

The board intends to utilize Zoom until a state of emergency is lifted. Right now the state has ordered no public gatherings of more than 10 people.

In other action at Monday’s meeting:

• The board agreed to contribute $2,500 to upgrades of the skate park at Butts Park. The Medina Skate Society is leading an effort to raise $250,000 in matching funds for the park’s upgrades.

Medina has been awarded up to $250,000 from the Tony Hawk & Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundations. Medina has about $200,000 raised locally so far. The grant deadline for the local share is March 30. At that point every dollar that has been raised locally will be doubled. Medina could have $500,000 to build a skate park if the $250,000 local match is met.

The park is used by skateboarders, bikers, scooters and in-line skaters.

• The board set 7 p.m. on April 13 for a public hearing on electric charging stations. Burger King wants to put an electric charging station at its parking lot on Maple Ridge Road.

• The board voted to add a $50 charge plus the cost of a tree when people seek to donate a tree to be planted by the village. Mayor Mike Sidari said trees range from $175 to $219, depending on the variety.

Whatever the cost of buying a tree the village will add $50 to cover the village’s cost for digging a hole to plant the tree, the cost for mulch and a water bag.

That means, with the current prices, if someone wants to donate a tree it will cost $225 to $269.

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Medina police give churches advice on how to prepare for active shooter threat

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Lt. Todd Draper of the Medina Police Department begins his presentation at the First Presbyterian Church in Medina on steps to take in the event of an active shooter situation. Standing at left is Police Chief Chad Kenward, who supports Draper’s program.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 23 March 2020 at 2:16 pm

(Editor’s Note: Orleans Hub is trying to get caught up on some of the events we covered before the coronavirus became such a dominant story. This article is from a presentation on March 10.)

MEDINA – If there is one thing Lt. Todd Draper never wants to hear from a local resident it is, “It couldn’t happen here.”

Draper, a former combat medic, a 15-year member of the Medina Police Department and its K9 officer, is on a mission to educate everyone in the area what to do in the event of an active threat situation. This could come in the form of a shooter, a person with a knife, a vehicle attack or explosives.

It could happen anywhere, and it could happen here, Draper said.

“My wife is a teacher and my son goes to Medina schools,” Draper said. “The mentality that it won’t happen here doesn’t fly anymore.”

His family and his community are near and dear to his heart, which is why Draper has made of point of educating himself and his fellow officers how to prepare and what to do in an active threat situation.

On March 10 at the First Presbyterian Church in Medina, Draper gave a one-hour presentation on how to prepare and what to do in an active shooter situation. He has previously done the presentation for the staff at the Medina School District and recently approached the Medina Area Association of Churches, offering to do one for them.

Pat Crowley, former prevention educator at GCASA and member of the First Presbyterian Church, is secretary of MAAC and offered to take the lead in planning the presentation. The Rev. William Wilkinson was all in favor of it and the church agreed to host the event, even serving supper.

More than 80 people turned out to hear Draper, who stressed what people do in and active shooter situation matters – a lot.

“The actions you take in the first few minutes of such a situation may make the difference between life and death,” he said.

He said the facts are disturbing, but they are serious.

The incidences of a shooting have increased from five a week in 2009 to 15 a week in 2020.

“This is the new norm,” Draper said, quoting former President Obama. “We don’t want it to happen here, but we want to prepare if it does.”

He urged making a plan now.

“You can’t wait until it happens,” he said.

He shared results of a study of 160 active shooter situations. Ninety-nine percent were single individuals, 94 percent were male, 90 ended by suicide or leaving the scene and 21 were ended by civilians. An active shooter situation usually lasts six to eight minutes. There were 250 active shooter situations in the United States between 2000 and 2017. Active shootings have happened in educational buildings, commerce, government buildings, open spaces, a temple, an Episcopal church and a synagogue.

Lt. Todd Draper explains actions to take in the case of an active shooter situation. About 80 people attended his presentation on March 10.

In the case of the shooting in a Texas church, the suspect was killed by an armed volunteer security guard.

“It shows how important your actions are before the police arrive,” Draper said.

He also said this occurred in a village of about 14,000 which would almost be the number of people in Medina and the surrounding towns.

Again stressing the importance of making a plan, Draper said the body’s ability to react in a time of stress is reduced from 86 percent to 15 percent.

“You need a pre-established plan,” Draper said. “Know the right action, and don’t follow the flock.”

He said it has been 60 years since a child died in a school fire, and that is because of frequent fire drills – planning ahead.

Steps to remember are:

• Know what to do.

• Practice it.

• Focus.

• Breathe.

• Shift emotion.

Your response plan needs to be clear and everyone in your organization should know what to, but some information might be for staff only. Plans need to be consistent and simple.

Plans should include how to create a physical barrier; people in the building should know which doors are locked and when they are locked.

Information on preparing for an active shooter situation can be found at

Draper said he would love for churches to assign an usher to man the door and suggests keeping the door locked. He said a congregation is typically sitting with their back to the door, making it easy for someone to come in during the service unnoticed. He said if someone came late and the usher knew them, he could welcome them it, but if the person presented a threat, the locked door would prevent them from entering.

“The days of honor-based security are gone,” Draper said.

Signs to look for that someone might be considering a threatening action include social withdrawal, isolation, feelings of rejection, uncontrolled anger, drug/alcohol use and making serious, violent threats.

The most important thing is “If you see something, say something,” Draper said.

In the event one is caught in an active shooter situation, Draper said the first thing to do is call 911 and try to evade the assailant.

“Distance is your biggest friend,” he said. “Try to put space between you and the assailant.”

Then find cover that will stop a bullet. A wall will conceal you, but will not stop a bullet, Draper said. If you run, only take your cell phone to call 911 and make sure to silence it so it won’t give your location away.

He said to look for improvised weapons, such as an aerosol can, a stapler, scissors or a fire extinguisher.

If someone is shot, Draper said it’s possible to survive a gunshot wound if someone knows how to stop the bleeding. “Stop the Bleed” is another program the Medina Police Department teaches. He recommends churches have “Stop the Bleed” kits in their sanctuary.

In conclusion, Draper said, “Don’t ever say it won’t happen here.”

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