Medina votes to pursue a new ladder truck for fire department

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Medina ladder truck, built in 1996, only has 2 inches of clearance from the top of the fire truck when pulling in and out of the fire hall. This photo is from March 12 when the fire department had an open to show some of the concerns with its aging fire trucks and cramped fire hall.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 March 2023 at 3:36 pm

MEDINA – The Village Board on Monday night voted unanimously to start the process to acquire a new ladder truck for the fire department.

The current apparatus is 27 years old, and is often plagued with mechanical issues. Mayor Mike Sidari said he is concerned the current truck may not last long enough until the new ladder truck is ready, which could be about three years away.

There isn’t a price yet for the new ladder truck. It is expected to top $1.5 million.

Sidari said the village will pursue a cooperative purchasing agreement and reach out to fire truck manufacturers. With that agreement, Medina can piggyback onto other fire departments seeking similar ladder trucks and use similar specs for the truck.

Medina is seeking a bigger ladder truck, a 100-foot ladder compared to the current one with a 75-foot ladder. The new truck will be longer and taller.

It is one factor in why the village is also seeking an addition to the fire hall.  The addition to the fire hall that would be approximately 62 feet, 8 inches by 88 feet, 8 inches. That expansion, plus repairs to the existing fire hall, would be about $4.5 million, according to a report from the Barton & Loguidice firm.

Because of the long lead time for the ladder truck, the board is getting that process started now. Fire Chief Matt Jackson said manufacturers of the trucks put the current time to build a truck at 35 to 42 months.

Mayor Sidari said the village will also begin to work on the financing for the truck and addition to the fire hall.

“We know the need,” Sidari said about the ladder truck and fire hall addition. “We just have to move forward with it.”

Trustee Tim Elliott made the motion to pursue the ladder truck replacement, and that was seconded by Trustee Jess Marciano. All five board members voted in favor of the resolution.

“This will start the ball rolling,” Elliott said.

Medina Village Board joins effort seeking more of local sales tax from county

Photo by Tom Rivers: Downtown Medina, including Bent’s Opera House at right, is shown on Monday night.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 March 2023 at 12:31 pm

MEDINA – The Village Board unanimously approved a resolution on Monday evening, calling on the Orleans County Legislature to share more of the local sales tax with towns and villages.

The 10 towns and four villages have been frozen at $1,366,671 since 2001. Medina’s portion of that amount was $149,638 in 2022. That is less than 1 percent (0.67 percent) of the $22.5 million total in local sales tax collected in the county last year.

Clarendon Town Supervisor Richard Moy circulated a letter to the 10 towns and four villages last month, asking for their support in making a unified plea to the County Legislature to share more of the local sales tax.

Moy would like to see the amount shared be at least 14 percent. That’s what the Legislature was sharing in 1996. Back then, the total local sales tax for the year was $9,499,138.

With the local sales tax growing to $22.5 million last year, the share to towns and villages now only represents 6.1 percent of the total.

To get to 14 percent of $22.5 million, the county would have to increase the amount to towns and villages to $3,150,000.

Medina village officials said a sizable increase is long overdue as village struggle to maintain services with their cost increasing for salaries, benefits, fire trucks, plows, dump trucks – just about everything.

Deputy Mayor Owen Toale said the villages provide many quality-of-life issues and other support for businesses, which allow residents and visitors to spend money in Orleans, generating the sales tax.

Ne noted that sales tax revenue was up $4.8 million or by 27 percent from 2019 to 2022 – from $17.7 million to $22.5 million. Yet none of that increase trickled down to the villages or towns.

“We have to tell them it’s time to share correctly,” Toale said during Monday’s Village Board meeting.

Trustee Marguerite Sherman said village officials have pressed the Legislature before on the issue. “They laughed in our faces,” she said.

The Legislature isn’t obligated to share any of the local sales tax. County legislators have said the county faces rising costs, and could get hit with a $1 million shift in Medicaid costs from the state to the county.

Toale bristled at that response, saying the village is inundated with needs and costly expenses. (The board on Monday voted to pursue a new ladder truck that could top $1.5 million, replacing one that is 27 years old.)

“We need to tell the county legislators how we feel,” Toale said. “We need to be forceful.”

The Village Board next month will be focused on the village budget, and Toale said those meetings last hours as the board and department heads try desperately to find ways to cut costs.

“We’re spending four to five hours to find $5,” he said.

Trustee Tim Elliott said the County Legislature should look at a fair distribution of the local sales tax, including factoring in which communities generate the most. But for now, he favors the resolution initiated by the Clarendon Town Board to have an increase at the 14 percent level.

“It’s a starting point, so let’s start tjere,” he said.

The resolution adopted by the Medina Village Board states:

“WHEREAS, pursuant to the Orleans County Treasurer records, in 1996 the Orleans County Legislature distributed 14% ($1,366,671) of the total sales tax revenue collected ($9,499,138.31) to the towns and villages in Orleans County; and

“WHEREAS, said dollar amounts have remained the same for town and village revenues from sales tax revenue collected; and

“WHEREAS, there has been no revenue increase to the towns and villages since then even though the sales tax revenue collected by the county has increased more than 40%;

“THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Village Board of the Village of Medina does hereby request consideration from the Orleans County Legislature to share 14% of the total sales tax revenue collected with the towns and villages each year here and after, to be utilized in the best way to benefit said communities according to its governing bodies.”

Medina police chief to retire in June

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 March 2023 at 8:51 am

Chad Kenward has led department past 7 ½ years

Medina Police Chief Chad Kenward

MEDINA – Chad Kenward will retire as Medina’s police chief on June 9, ending a 20-year career with his hometown police department. Kenward started as police chief in December 2015 and has led the department for about 7 ½ years.

He started his law enforcement career in 1996 as a corrections officer in the Orleans County jail, and then was a deputy with the Sheriff’s Department before joining the Medina PD. While at Medina he was also a member of the Orleans County Multi-Agency SWAT Team.

“I’ve made a lot of great friendships and working relationships,” Kenward said about his career.

He worked eight of his years with the Medina PD as a school resource officer. He will return to that role for about a month before he retires. Medina is losing two full-time officers, Richard Messmer and Jacob Zangerle, who are transferring to other departments.

Medina currently has three new hires in the police academy but they aren’t ready to join the department yet for patrols.

The department will have the current SRO Dustin Meredith shift to the night shift from April 11 to May 5 while Kenward works as the school resource officer and also handles the duties as police chief. The last month he is police chief, he will use up his vacation time.

Kenward said keeping the department fully staffed has been a challenge, with many officer often moving to larger law enforcement agencies that offer higher pay and benefits.

He was praised by Mayor Mike Sidari for his professionalism and commitment to Medina.

“He is definitely a community-oriented police chief,” Sidari said after Monday’s Village Board meeting. “He has brought the department up to state standards. He has the respect of the officer, Village Board members and the residents.”

Village Trustee Jess Marciano has served on a 12-member Police Advisory Committee with Kenward for about two years. The group reviews police policies and solicits input from residents. Some of the members have gone on ride-a-longs with officers.

Marciano said she is impressed with Kenward and his concern for the community.

“He is a residents’ police chief,” she said. “It’s not the police versus the residents.”

Kenward led the department in having body cameras to be worn by all officers, and also increased training for responding to people in a mental health crisis.

Mayor Sidari said the Village Board is discussing the process for choosing Kenward’s successor, whether Medina will hire from within or do a bigger search. Todd Draper, the department’s lieutenant, has already passed the police chief’s exam, Sidari said.

Fire photo: Medina Police Chief Chad Kenward helps students navigate through a course while wearing goggles to simulate being impaired in this photo from May 2019. Lt. Todd Draper is second from left. The effort was an outreach to show high school students the impact on poor decision making with alcohol and drugs.

Velocitii in Medina named a ‘top workplace’ in the Rochester region

Posted 27 March 2023 at 12:13 pm

Press Release, Velocitii

Provided photo: Heath Smith is CEO of Velocitii, which is based in the Olde Pickle Factory on Park Avenue in Medina. The company was founded in 2014 by Roger Hungerford.

MEDINA – Velocitii LLC, a business process outsourcing company, has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2023 award by The Rochester Top Workplaces. Velocitii is one of 79 companies in the Rochester region to receive the honor.

This award recognizes the company’s commitment to fostering a culture of excellence, employee development, and engagement.

Velocitii’s win is a testament to the company’s strong focus on its employees. The company has implemented several initiatives to improve its workplace culture, including its Future Leaders Development Program, monthly town hall meetings, pay-for-performance structure, employee appreciation days and a generous holiday bonus system.

Additionally, Velocitii implemented Yammer, an internal social network, to keep employees connected and engaged, even while working remotely.

“We are thrilled to be recognized as a top workplace in our region!” said Heather Smith, CEO of Velocitii. “At Velocitii, we believe that culture is the secret ingredient to success as a company. Employees who feel valued and rewarded provide exceptional service to our customers and that is a win-win. I want to personally thank all of our employees for continuing to provide input and suggestions that help Velocitii be an employer of choice. This award would not have been possible without open communication and mutual trust”

This prestigious award serves as a testament to the company’s commitment to its employees, and underscores the fact that a strong focus on employee satisfaction and fulfillment is key to achieving long-term success in the highly competitive BPO industry.

Velocitii’s ability to foster a workplace environment that promotes growth, innovation, and collaboration has positioned it as an employer of choice, that is well-poised to continue its growth and success in the years to come.

Editor’s Note: Velocitii, as a business process outsourcing company, provides support for other businesses, handling calls for customers about plans, billing and troubleshooting. Velocitii works with companies in healthcare, waste management, hospitality, e-commerce, auto insurance and technology.

Lyndonville, Medina elect village trustees

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 March 2023 at 9:32 pm

Diana Baker will be new member of Medina Village Board

LYNDONVILLE/MEDINA – Village residents in Lyndonville and Medina elected trustees to their Village Boards, including a new member in Medina.

Diana Baker was elected toa  two-year term as trustee in Medina with 49 votes. Jess Marciano also was re-elected and received 53 votes. Baker will take the post currently held by Owen Toale, who didn’t seek re-election after 12 years on the board. (There was also 1 write-in vote each for Peter Huth and Shawn Ramsey.)

In Lyndonville Kimberly Kenyon received 19 votes and Terry Stinson was backed on 23 ballots. Both are currently on the board. Justin Edwards also received one write-in. In Lyndonville, the terms are for four years.

Lyndonville, Medina have village elections today

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 March 2023 at 1:35 pm

Candidates for trustee positions unopposed in both villages

LYNDONVILLE/MEDINA – The villages of Lyndonville and Medina are both holding elections today for seats on the Village Board.

Both villages have two candidates for two positions.

In Lyndonville Kimberly Kenyon is running under the Pool Party while Terry Stinson is running under the Garden Party. They are both currently on the board.

Voting is from noon to 9 p.m. at the Village Hall, 2 South Main St.

In Medina, Diana Baker and Jess Marciano are running for village trustee positions.

Marciano is a current trustee and Baker is seeking to fill the spot currently held by Owen Toale, who isn’t seeking re-election. Marciano and Baker are running under the Unity Party.

Voting is from noon to 9 p.m. at the Senior Center, 615 West Ave.

Medina Memorial could see more patients with Lockport hospital closing in June

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 21 March 2023 at 12:22 pm

MEDINA – Marc Shurtz, CEO of Orleans Community Health, has responded to news of Eastern Niagara Hospital in Lockport closing its doors June 17.

“I think we were all equally surprised when we saw the troubling report that the Lockport community would be faced with a gap from the period when Eastern Niagara Hospital closes and the future center opens,” Shurtz said. “As a Lockport resident myself, I understand the emotions the community is currently going through. I know the team I work with at Orleans Community Health is always ready to help those in need. This time is no different.”

Shurtz said his team has been preparing for an increase of potential patients coming from Niagara County, something that has already been occurring for many of their services.

“When Eastern Niagara Hospital closes, Medina Memorial Hospital will be the closest hospital for many in the Lockport community,” Shurtz said. “We’ll do everything we can to make sure we’re continuing to provide the best possible care.”

He said they will continue to explore ways they can help the greater Lockport community.

A new Catholic Health care campus being built on South Transit Road is scheduled to open in the fall and will be called Lockport Memorial Hospital.

Bent’s adding wedding cakes for couples planning nuptials

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 19 March 2023 at 9:09 pm

Mary’s Confections will be new bakery business at historic opera house in Medina

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Mary Sandy, left, executive pastry chef at Harvest Restaurant, confers with events coordinator Faye Conley and owners Heather and Roger Hungerford about developing a bakery business, specializing in wedding cakes.

MEDINA – Bent’s Opera House has developed a top restaurant, one-of-a-kind boutique hotel rooms and historic opera house for events. Now its staff is ready to promote it as a prime wedding/event venue and bakery.

On Friday, Bent’s owner Roger Hungerford, his wife Heather and events coordinator Faye Conley sat down with pastry chef Mary Sandy to finalize plans for starting a service to offer wedding cakes and dessert platters.

Sandy made eight flavors of cupcakes and seven flavors of frosting for the Hungerfords to sample and make recommendations.

Cupcake flavors were white, almond, chocolate, marble (white and chocolate), strawberry, strawberry marble, white almond raspberry and funfetti.

Frosting flavors were marble, strawberry, lemon, mocha, cookies and cream, vanilla and chocolate.

Bent’s Opera House has already attracted entertainment acts, private parties and regular swing dancing, but owners now want to emphasize the space as a wedding/reception venue. Having a bakery under the same roof will be a convenience for brides.

Sandy envisions brides coming in to sample an array of cupcake and frosting flavors, which they have chosen for her to prepare. She would have a display of wedding cakes on hand to view, as well.

A second meeting room at Harvest will become a tasting room.

The new business will be called Mary’s Confections. Sandy will offer custom wedding cakes, cupcakes and dessert platters containing such confections as brownie bites, mini cupcakes, fresh fruit tarts, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate mousse cups, mini cheesecakes and cream puffs.

In addition, Bent’s will offer a complete package to couples, which will include a reception in Bent’s Opera House, bar service and an overnight stay in the Color of Love Suite.

The Hungerfords have also announced another new service to be offered by Harvest – full-service catering, which will begin in June 2024.

This year on Mother’s Day, Bent’s will be serving a brunch buffet called “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

For information on ordering a wedding cake brides can contact Sandy at She will also take dessert orders for customers outside of Bent’s.

For information on any other events or services, contact Conley at

Medina focus of new art and playground project at former concrete plant

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 March 2023 at 11:12 am

Power Authority teaming with Canal Corp., UB architecture students to enliven north side of canal

Photos by Tom Rivers: Graduate students in the architecture program at the University of Buffalo met with Medina art students recently in Jennifer Scott’s class to discuss possibilities for a playground area with artistic elements at a former concrete plant site on the north side of the canal near Glenwood Avenue. One idea calls for a “forest of flutes” where people could make sounds and music from flutes. There would also be rocks or stone walls that could be used to make music, too.

MEDINA – State Canal Corp. officials want to build on the success in Medina and eyeing a former concrete plant on the north side of the canal as a new attraction.

The Canal Corp., New York Power Authority and graduate students in an architecture program at the University of Buffalo are brainstorming a new playground for about 4.5 acres of the site. It wouldn’t be a typical play area.

“It will be something to engage the youth and it will be experiential,” said Chris Romano, a professor in UB’s department of architecture.

Romano and professor Joyce Hwang are leading a team of nine graduate students in developing the playground at the vacant former industrial site. They have been tasked by the Power Authority and Canal Corp. to develop concepts for the project.

Medina is a test site for the project, trying to better utilize public spaces to connect people to the water, said Joanna Pacheco, capital planning manager for the New York Power Authority and lead architect for Reimagine The Canals of the New York Power Authority.

“We need to have two sides of the canal,” she said about the efforts to bring an attraction and fun area on the north side of the historic waterway.

She thinks the former concrete plant is an underutilized asset. The spot is close to the Glenwood canal bridge and the “Big Apple” sculpture, with views of the church steeples close by.

The UB students will continue to work on the design process this spring with construction possible this summer and fall.

Pacheco said the project will enliven that part of the village, which currently doesn’t see too much activity.

“There is no wrong answer which is what I like about architecture,” she said.

With the “Not Wall,” people could interact and do fun things with walls that vary in size, color and materials.

Recently the UB team met with art students at Medina High School in Jennifer Scott’s class to present three different ideas and get their feedback.

One concept was a “Not Wall.” Walls typically aren’t interactive but the UB grad students proposed walls of varying shapes, colors and dimensions. There could be a large wall and smaller ones. They could be played in – or on. People could tap the walls with rocks and other materials to make sounds, for example.

Students also proposed a “forest of flutes” that would be large flute-like structures projecting from the ground. They would make for a striking visual site and also could make music. Next to the flutes would be large rocks or stone walls that could be struck with objects to make music, too.

Medina students Franky DiCureia and Jordan Olsen look at concepts of using colorful bars and steps to interact with, and also jazz up an area.

Another idea was mixing art in structures that people could step on and cling to. It would be like an outdoor gym class, or a space to interact with objects.

The grad students and professors asked the Medina high schoolers how they view public art. The students listed murals, statues, the “Big Apple” sculpture in Medina and the Eiffel Tower in Paris as examples.

The group from UB encouraged them to expand that view, and see public art as “community spaces that bring people together.”

The UB team polled students on the concepts, and one student praised the “super cool ideas.” Students asked if the three concepts could be merged together in the final project.

“They took a boring wall and made it crazy,” one student said. “They saw the potential and made it into something better.”

Jennifer Scott, the Medina art teacher, thanked the UB professors and grad students for sharing the ideas with her students.

“I love it,” she said about the ideas. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the kids to interact with the grad students.”

Benefit planned April 29 to assist family of boy, 4, with rare skull condition

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 17 March 2023 at 8:59 am

Brayden Hoffmeister of Medina needs cranial expansion surgery

Photos contributed: (left) Brayden Hoffmeister wears one of favorite super hero shirts, while swinging in his yard, in spite of constant headaches due to swelling in his brain. (Right) Brayden, 4, is shown after his last surgery to correct a condition he was born with, called sagittal craniosynostosis. He is facing another surgery in June. 

MEDINA – The Medina community is coming together to show its support for a young Medina couple whose son is facing the third surgery to correct a rare birth defect.

Four-year-old Brayden Hoffmeister, son of Brody Hoffmeister and his fiancée Jenna Pangrazio, was born with sagittal craniosynostosis, a condition in which the skull joins together too soon, before the baby’s brain is fully formed.

He has had two surgeries and requires another, with many upcoming medical appointments. The cranial expansion is scheduled in June at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong.

Brayden falls in the 1% category of children with this condition who need a third surgery, his mother said.

“This is so rare the doctor in Rochester has never done one before,” Pangrazio said. “It’s high risk because it’s the frontal lobe of his head, which involves motor functions and his eyes. It’s overwhelming to say the least.”

On Valentine’s Day, the couple traveled to Cincinnati when Brayden needed an MRI and Strong couldn’t schedule one until the middle of March.

“We were scared and didn’t know what to do,” Pangrazio said. “We knew the Cincinnati hospital saved the life of Damar Hamlin, so we knew they were good.”

When they arrived, the hospital wasn’t having open clinic visits that day, but they did perform the X-ray and sent the family home.

Because of the constant swelling in his brain, Brayden suffers from constant mild headaches and has vision issues. He misses gym classes and can’t play like a normal 4-year-old.

“He wants to be a football player,” his father said. “He loves dinosaurs and super heroes.”

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Brody Hoffmeister and his fiancée Jenna Pangrazio look at pictures of their son Brayden, who was born with a rare condition in which his skull joined together too early before his brain was fully formed.

His parents have been together for eight years and were scheduled to get married the day Brayden had his last surgery. They have a daughter Alaina, 6.

Brody has also faced struggles of his own. He was born with cerebral palsy and his parents were told he’d never walk.

“That motivates me every day I get up,” he said. “God has given me a second chance.”

He went through physical therapy until he was 16 and wore braces for years. He said he was fortunate he has a mild case, and although his left side is weaker than his right, he stepped up to run his family’s restaurant when his mother died in 2019. Rudy’s Soda Bar & Cafe was started by his grandmother in 1988, and his mother took it over in 2006. He grew up in the business.

“It’s the people we meet every day and the relationships we make that keep me going,” Brody said. “The support we’ve received is overwhelming. It makes me proud to have grown up here.”

On April 29, friends are organizing a spaghetti dinner and basket raffle for the family at East Shelby Fire Hall to help offset their mounting medical bills and travel costs. They are seeking monetary donations, help with the cost of the dinner and items for the basket raffle. Any donations can be dropped off at Rudy’s or at Gloria Brent’s office at 106 Pearl St. by April 16.

The benefit will feature spaghetti and meatballs, salad and roll. There will also be an open cash bar with beer and wine, music by disc jockey JT Thomas and many great prizes. There are 750 pre-sale tickets available for $20 each. Dinner will be served beginning at 2 p.m. and the raffle will start at 7 p.m. Winners do not need to be present to collect their prize. Anyone wishing more information may contact benefit chairperson Angela Taylor Coon at (585) 283-9114.

Quilt made by Medina woman will be raffled as fundraiser for American Legion

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 March 2023 at 9:08 pm

Photo by Ginny Kropf: From left, Butts-Clark American Legion acting commander Jim Wells, Carol Callina and Cathy Fox, president of the American Legion Auxiliary, hold a quilt Callina made and donated for a raffle to benefit the American Legion.

MEDINA – Quilting has been a passion of Carol Callina’s since she was a teenager.

“In fact, I taught my mother how to quilt,” Callina said today at the Butts-Clark American Legion Post, where she has donated a quilt to be raffled off to benefit the Post.

A daughter of the late Carlton and Janice Prawel, Callina left Medina after graduating from high school to join the Navy. She spent four years in active duty and three years in the Reserve, then went to work for the Department of Justice, later Homeland Security, where she was an immigration officer for four years.

After retiring in September 2021, she returned to Medina to live in the family home, which her father always said he didn’t want to see go out of the family.

Callina has lost count of the number of quilts she has made, but she said it is hundreds in more than 40 years.

“My house is full of them,” she said.

When decorating her bedrooms, she chose wall paper to complement the quilts she had made on the beds.

She has a son and granddaughter, age 7, for whom she is making quilts in all different patterns and colors.

“I want her to have a selection of quilts as she grows up,”Callina said. “In case I’m not around, she’ll have a part of me.”

Last year Callina made a quilt in patriotic colors, which she donated to the American Legion to raffle off. Tickets are on sale now for $5 and are available at the American Legion on North Main Street.

“It took Carol two weeks to make that quilt for us and we are very grateful,” said the Legion’s acting commander Jim Wells. “It was a nice surprise and the money we make will go to help the community.”

Wells said the Legion tries to do a raffle every year, and has done a meat raffle. They were excited when Callina offered to donate a quilt to raffle.

Callina, who joined the American Legion shortly after returning to Medina, is vice chair of the post. She also volunteers to clean for them and is the only female member of the Honor Guard.

The quilt raffle will take place on May 29.

Medina brings theater program back to school district

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 March 2023 at 10:33 am

Little Mermaid is first musical in Medina after more than a decade of shared program based in Lyndonville

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Seagan Majchrzak stars as Ariel in Medina’s production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. In this photo from dress rehearsal on Wednesday evening, Ariel dances with seagulls. She is learning to use her new legs after going from a mermaid to a human.

The Medina Junior-Senior High School will perform Little Mermaid with shows at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children under 10 years of age.  All tickets can be purchased at the door.

The theater program returns to Medina after the district shared a program based in Lyndonville since 2011-12.

Medina’s theater program is directed by Rachel Trillizio, a high school music teacher at Medina.

“It’s been awesome,” Trillizio said about the students, staff and volunteers involved in the production. “They are very motivated to make it a great show.”

Photo courtesy of Photos by Bruce: There are about 80 students in the cast and crew for the musical. That includes 30 fourth-graders who appear in two scenes – “Under the Sun” and “Kiss the Girl.”

Medina used to bus students to the rehearsals in Lyndonville. Having the show in Medina has made it much easier for the students and their families, and resulted in a bigger turnout for the cast and crew, Trillizio said.

“I’m incredibly proud of the kids and what we’ve been able to put together,” she said.

Elaina Huntington plays the role of Ursula, a sea witch/sorceress. Ursula seeks revenge against her brother, King Triton. She has been banished from the palace for using black magic. Ursula makes a deal with Ariel, allowing the mermaid to become a human for three days. During that time she has to get a kiss of true love from Eric or have Ursula claim her soul.

Emani Fuentes plays the role of Sebastian, a red Jamaican crab and a servant of King Triton. Sebastian’s main song is “Under the Sea.”

Jackson McGrath is Chef Louis, who has French accent and happily cooks seafood in the castle kitchen. He would very much like to make a meal out of Sebastian and chases after that crab during the show.

Madelyn Elliott plays the role of Scuttle, a seagull and friend of Ariel. She sings “Positoovity” and encourages Ariel to use her new legs as a human.

Ariel and Eric enjoy a boat ride and a near kiss. Ariel rescued Eric earlier in the show when he nearly drowns in a storm at sea. Caiden Class plays Eric and Seagan Majchrzak is Ariel.

Majchrzak said she is grateful Medina is hosting the musical program again.

“Everybody is right here,” she said. “I see them in the high school throughout the day. It’s nice.”

Medina senior citizens hear about history of amusement parks in WNY

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 15 March 2023 at 8:41 am

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Erica Wanecski tells Medina seniors about the history of amusement parks in Western New York at their monthly dinner meeting Monday.

MEDINA – If it’s about history, particularly Western New York history, Erica “Joan” Wanecski is interested in it.

Wanecski has researched everything under the sun, from foundries to amusement parks.

On Monday, she was the guest speaker at the monthly luncheon of Medina Senior Citizens, and she chose to speak on amusement parks which once flourished in the Western New York area.

Amusement parks, she said, were a spin-off of the circus, following the popularity of expositions, such as the Pan Am Exposition of 1901.

The local connection, Wanecski said, was Andrew Downie, who lived on the corner of Gwinn and West Oak Orchard streets and started the first circus. His name was actually Andrew Downie McPhee and he moved to Medina from Canada with his parents at an early age. He is credited with launching the traveling circus, which other circus owners, including Ringling Brothers, copied.

A rail line was built to Olcott when an amusement park was started there, giving rise to the name Railto, or “rail to…”

Locally, Indian Falls Amusement Park was a popular place in the 1950s, located on the bank of the Tonawanda Creek. Its rides included an iconic merry-go-round.

In the 1960s, Fantasy Island was developed and thrived for many years. After a decline, it was purchased in recent years and is being revived with emphasis on a water park and new rides. A popular attraction there was always the Wild West show.

Darien Lake began in 1976, developed by the owner of Freezer Queen. Wanecski recalled when Lockport veterinarian Doc Lewis had bison there and they got out. Lynn Creasey, president of the Senior Citizen’s board, recalls at the time he was worked for Chapman’s at Johnson’s Creek and they butchered two of the bison.

Then there was Crystal Beach across Lake Erie from Buffalo at Fort Erie. It was famous for its roller coaster located on the bank of the lake. The boat ride on the Canadiana to Crystal Beach was a highlight. The Glen Park Casino in Buffalo also offered great entertainment, Wanecski said.

Other favorite entertainment spots in the area included Herschell’s Carousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda, which is still a popular tourist attraction, and the Whistle Pig in Niagara Falls, famous for its hot dogs. The original owner also had small rides for children. When the place closed just a few years ago, the rides went to Olcott and to Herschell’s, Wanecski added.

One couldn’t talk about amusement parks in the area without mentioning Charles Howard’s Santa Claus School and Christmas Park in Albion. Started by the Albion resident to train Santas, Howard added small rides and animals to his park on Phipps Road. The school has since moved to Midland, Mich. and still bears Howard’s name.

Wanecski said the baby boom fueled these parks and kids today should be encouraged to seek these kinds of entertainment and not be so involved with technology.

The April dinner meeting will be an Easter dinner catered by Chap’s Diner in Elba. Reservations should be made as soon as possible, because space is limited.

Medina may seek community input to name snow plows, dump trucks

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 March 2023 at 3:28 pm

MEDINA – Medina village officials want to give their seven snow plows and dump trucks a more personal touch, and also engage the community in the fleet of big vehicles operated by the Department of Public Works.

The village wants to invite the community to give names to the snow plows and dump trucks. Other communities around the state and country have done similar efforts, and the results have often been funny – “Sled Zeppelin” in honor of the rock band and “Snowbi Wan Kenobi” for the Jedi from Star Wars.

Village Trustee Tim Elliott suggested the village name the plows and dump trucks. It won’t cost much, Elliott said. It might just be a vinyl sticker on the vehicle.

He would like to reach out to the Medina school district to see if the naming contest could be promoted at the district. The village could also post photos of the vehicles and seek the community’s input.

Elliott offered to take the lead in seeking public feedback. The other Village Board members gave him their blessing to pursue the idea.

“It’s something engaging, that’s all it is,” Elliott said. “It’s just something fun.”

YMCA hopes for spring start for disc golf in Medina

Photo by Tom Rivers: One of the baskets for a disc golf course is shown in late October at lakeside Beach State Park in Carlton, which currently has the only disc golf course in the county. Nine-hole courses are expected to be added in Medina and Albion this year, in projects led by the Orleans County YMCA.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 March 2023 at 2:42 pm

MEDINA – The leader of the YMCA in Orleans County is hopeful a new nine-hole disc golf course will ready in the spring at Gulf Street Park in Medina.

Jesse Cudzilo, executive director of the Y, met with the Village Board on Monday to give an update on the project. The Y has a grant for $20,000 to $24,000 from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to put in 18 holes of disc golf in the county. The Y is also doing a 9-hole course at Bullard Park in Albion.

The grant covers tee boxes, signs and baskets that are mounted in small concrete foundations – 8 inches wide by 20 inches deep.

The Medina Village Board wants to see a final map of the course design at Gulf Street Park, showing the distance for each hole. Most of the course will be in a wooded area.

The village Department of Public Works will need to clear some of the wooded area for the course. The village may ask local towns and the county to help with that clearing.

The village and Y also may reach out to the Iroquois Job Corps to see if their masonry students want to help put in the concrete tee boxes. The village may also decide to use a turf tee box in the beginning “and see how it goes,” said Mayor Mike Sidari.