Driver of pickup truck that went into canal located, issued citations

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 April 2024 at 8:46 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Medina police officer Felicia Holtz takes photos of a red pickup truck after it was pulled from the Erie Canal on Saturday morning by Automotive Solutions of Medina.

The driver of the truck was not in the vehicle and there were no footprints from the shallow water of the muddy canal on Saturday morning. Officials at the scene weren’t sure where the driver was or if the person was injured.

Medina Police Chief Todd Draper said the driver has been identified and issued traffic citations. Draper declined to release the driver’s name. Medina Fire Department officials said the driver is safe.

The truck was headed south on Route 63 (North Gravel Road) but failed to negotiate a right turn onto the lift bridge. The truck went straight and plunged into the Erie Canal, which currently is drained.

Pickup truck pulled from canal in Medina; No sign of driver

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 April 2024 at 10:39 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Automotive Solutions in Medina uses a heavy wrecker tow truck to pull a pickup from the Erie Canal in Medina this morning at about 10 a.m.

Officials at the scene believe the truck went in the canal during the night. There is no sign of the driver at the scene, or any footprints leading from the scene.

The Medina Police Department welcomes any information from the public about the driver.

Firefighters and local police were dispatched to the scene at 8:45 a.m. Fire Chief Matt Jackson said it is unusual to have a vehicle in the canal, but it does happen once every few years.

The truck was headed south on North Gravel Road and failed to make the right turn onto the lift bridge.

These tire tracks show where the pickup, a red Chevy S-10, left the road and went towards the canal.

Automotive Solutions has the truck strapped and starts to left it out of the muddy canal.

The spot before the lift bridge on North Gravel Road has a bend just before the bridge.

15 Medina students, chaperones visit Greece over spring break

Posted 12 April 2024 at 8:53 pm

Photos and information courtesy of Fred Fierch

Continuing a high school experience begun in the 1990s by Anne-Marie Finger and Alexandra Peracciny, 15 Medina High School students traveled to Greece during the spring break vacation. Adding to the European event was the fact that a companion group of adults from Middleport joined them. Because of that, there were numerous multi-generational combinations.

The group photo on top includes:

Front row:  Elaina Bitsas, Valeria Canales, Abigail Pratt, Malloree Rinker, Elaina Huntington, Makenzie McGrath, Adreanna McMurray and Gloria Fierch.

Middle row:  Jill Westcott, Keri Pratt, Madison Pratt, Robin Watts, Ava Blount, Paisley Pasnik, Emiliana Batista, Aurora Owczarczak, Madisynn Stanton, Vonda Westcott and Alexandra Peracciny.

Back row: Renee Webber, Emilia Peracciny, Fred Fierch, Keira Walker, Michael Cavanagh, Linda Kozubal, Tyler McInally, Conor Crandall, Celeste Stahl-Balaban, Hunter Pratt, Dominic Peracciny, Matt Peracciny, Alex Balaban, Gary Watts and Richard Westcott.

Alex Balaban and his mother Celeste Stahl-Balaban.

The group enjoyed a sun-filled week visiting the Acropolis and its museum in Athens, having a Greek cooking class, a cruise in the Saronic portion of the Aegean Sea, visiting the islands of Hydra, Poros and Aegina, a visit to the incredible Corinth Canal, the ruins of Mycenae, a pottery class and a wonderful visit to the gorgeous city of Nafplio. The latter included a picturesque boat ride in the blue waters and a visit to the local beach.

Dominic, Emilia, Matthew, and Alexandra Peracciny, and Fred and Gloria Fierch.

The visit was coordinated through EF Tours and its Athens and Argolida Tour.  Many people on this tour went together 24 years previously, and there were four families who were traveling with children or grandchildren.

Some of the past travelers inspired Mrs. Peracciny to restart the student program. This tour was chaperoned by Mrs. Peracciny and Mr. Michael Cavanagh, Medina High School Principal. The Middleport portion was organized by Matt Peracciny.

The people who went on this adventure all share a love of travel, adventure and learning.

Dick, Vonda and Jill Westcott, Keri, Hunter, Madison and Abbie Pratt.

Gary and Robyn Watts and Makenzie McGrath.

Firefighter who collapsed at scene and needed CPR makes full recovery

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 April 2024 at 3:26 pm

MEDINA – A Ridgeway volunteer firefighter who collapsed and needed CPR at the scene of a fire on Thursday has made a full recovery, Medina and Ridgeway fire officials announced in a press release this afternoon.

As crews were finishing active firefighting operations at 515 North Academy St. on April 4, the Ridgeway firefighter suddenly collapsed in the street without warning.

The firefighter, whose name is not being released, did not have a pulse and wasn’t breathing. High-quality CPR was initiated, and the firefighter was defibrillated five times over the course of the next 14 minutes while simultaneously receiving advanced airway control and multiple Advanced Cardiac Life Support medications, according to the news release from Medina FD and the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company.

The firefighter was initially going to be transported directly to Buffalo General but was too unstable at that point and was taken to Medina Memorial Hospital Emergency Department. Once stabilized by team members at Medina Hospital but still critical, the firefighter was transferred by a team of Medina firefighters to Buffalo General.

“We are happy to announce that the firefighter walked out of the hospital today after being discharged home, 100% neurologically intact!” said Steve Cooley, Medina Fire Department lieutenant and public information officer.

The two fire departments thanked the following for their assistance at the scene, after the fire and cardiac arrest: Albion Fire Department, Medina Police Department, Orleans County Dispatchers, Medina Memorial Emergency Department Staff, Orleans County Director and Deputy Director of Emergency Services and the Staff at Buffalo General.

Those agencies assisting Ridgeway with immediate district coverage after the event were Middleport, Hartland, Shelby, East Shelby, and Murray Fire Departments.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest can happen anywhere at any time, Cooley said. He urged people to learn CPR.

The American Heart Association has released Heart and Stroke Statistics for 2022. According to the report, cardiac arrest remains a public health crisis. There are more than 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests annually in the U.S., nearly 90% of them fatal. The incidence of EMS-assessed non-traumatic OHCA in people of any age is estimated to be 356,461, or nearly 1,000 people each day. Survival to hospital discharge after EMS-treated cardiac arrest languishes at about 10%, Cooley said.

Velocitii again named a top workplace in the Rochester region

Provided photo: Velocitii leaders celebrate the company being recognize for a top workplace award during a ceremony in Rochester. Pictured from left include Bryan Orr, director of finance; Brian O'Neill, VP of Sales; Kristine Hughes, director of operations; Heather Smith, CEO; and Jeff Brandt, VP of information technology. The top workplace awards are presented by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 April 2024 at 1:46 pm

MEDINA – Velocitii for the second straight year has been named a top workplace in the Rochester region.

Velocitii just celebrated its 10th anniversary. It operates out of the Olde Pickle Factory on Park Avenue in Medina.

Velocitii is a business process outsourcing company. It 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.

It is one of 68 companies recognized with a “Top Workplaces 2024 award.” Velocitii placed 2nd in the mid-size company category (125 to 300 employees).

Velocitii also won the “Managers” Specialty Award. Company leaders say the recognition show Velocitii’s commitment to cultivating a culture of excellence, fostering employee development, and “fostering unparalleled engagement within our organization.”

“At Velocitii, the employee-centric culture we have cultivated is central to our growth strategy and our continued success,” said Heather Smith, CEO of Velocitii. “I could not be more excited that we, once again, have been recognized by external sources for our efforts in creating an environment where our employees feel valued and their professional development is a priority. Being recognized as a Top Workplace is an honor and will keep us focused on our continuous improvement process to remain an employer of choice.”

Throughout the past year, the company has spearheaded various initiatives aimed at enhancing its workplace environment. These initiatives include the establishment of a Diversity Council, the introduction of the innovative “What’s on Your Mind” suggestion box, the implementation of a robust Work Anniversary Program, and the introduction of merit-based increases.

Medina leaning towards ‘generic’ names for streets at Business Park

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 April 2024 at 1:17 pm

MEDINA – The Village Board has been discussing in recent months how to best name three streets that lead into the Medina Business Park off Maple Ridge Road.

One of them will be named for Pride Pak, a company that opened a 68,000-square-foot vegetable processing plant at the Business Park in 2016. The Pride Pak street could eventually extend farther back into the business park.

There are two other short roads that aren’t named. Making them official village streets will qualify Medina for more CHIPS funds from the state for road maintenance.

 The board has received many suggestions to name them in honor of key village entrepreneurs or community leaders from the past and present.

But some of the board members are leaning towards more generic names such as Commerce Way, Enterprise Way or Industry Way. (The board prefers “Way” in the street name to be consistent with Marcia Tuohey Way, a street leading into the business park off Bates Road.)

Village Trustee Jess Marciano said many of the names mentioned honoring people are already noted on many of the buildings in the community. She said she would prefer not picking certain family names for the street signs. Village Board member Debbie Padoleski agreed. She mentioned that too during the April 1 Village Board meeting.

Mayor Marguerite Sherman said the board will take two more weeks before likely reaching a decision on April 22. She said she would be open to naming a street in honor of Owen Toale, the former publisher of The Journal-Register and an active community volunteer in his retirement. He was also on the Village Board for about a decade.

He passed away from cancer at age 76 on March 25.

“He had cancer for over 22 years and that didn’t stop him from giving of himself,” Sherman said. “I think that says a lot.”

In other action, the board accepted the resignation of Medina police officer Corey Collins, who is joining a different law enforcement agency. Collins’ resignation is effective on April 14. He joined the Medina PD in 2016.

He is the second Medina officer to resign within the past month. Michael Borrell resigned on March 30 after 16 years with the Medina PD and has joined the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

Medina village officials determined to bring down tax increase

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 April 2024 at 8:38 am

‘Wish list’ budget would raise taxes 35 percent

MEDINA – The Village Board held a public hearing on Monday for the 2024-25 village budget that would raise taxes 34.9 percent, an amount that will surely be significantly reduced by the end of the month, Mayor Marguerite Sherman said.

The numbers presented on Monday are what department heads submitted for their budgets in a “wish list” before there has been any paring down. Sherman, the new Medina mayor, said the board will be scrutinizing the numbers with department leaders in several upcoming meetings.

“It’s going to be a lot lower than this,” Sherman responded during a public hearing about the budget on Monday. “When I saw that my jaw dropped.”

The board has several budget meetings with department heads this month. The budget needs to be adopted by April 30.

The numbers so far show the tax levy increasing by 34.9 percent or $1,320,759 – from $3,786,974 in 2023-24 to $5,107,733.

The current budget for 2023-24 represented a 14.9 percent tax levy increase, and the tax rate went from $18.85 to $21.15 per $1,000 of assessed property.

Medina will see a major boost in its tax base in the new budget for 2024-25 following town-wide reassessments in Shelby and Ridgeway. The village’s tax base grew by 56.1 percent or $100.5 million – from $179.0 million to $279.5 million.

Because of the big jump assessments, the tax rate will be going down from the $21.15. The budget, as it stands now, would have a rate of $18.27. But Sherman said that will come down more after the board and department heads work to reduce expenses.

“This is only preliminary,” Sherman said about the budget numbers. “We will go line item by line item to get the budget down.”

The preliminary budget calls for $8,298,364 in expenses in the general funds, up $705,068 from $7,593,296 in 2023-24.

The sewer fund is tentatively slated to increase from $1,296,011 to $1,384,428, and the water fund would go from $2,019,651 to $2,056,647.

The 2024-25 budget does not include the debt service payments for a new ladder truck or an addition to the fire hall, which will be in the general fund in the future.

The ladder truck payment is expected to start in the 2025-26 budget and will be the first of $159,000 annually over 20 years for the ladder truck. The fire hall addition will likely cost even more for the village.

The big jump in taxes in 2023-24 followed several years of small increases. Here are the recent tax levy amounts and tax rates for the village budget:

  • 2023-23 tax levy, $3,786,964; tax rate, $21.15
  • 2022-23 tax levy, $3,296,140; tax rate, $18.95
  • 2021-22 tax levy, $3,259,119; tax rate, $18.77
  • 2020-21 tax levy, $3,197,059; tax rate, $18.46
  • 2019-20 tax levy, $3,138,059; tax rate, $18.32

Man allegedly threatened Medina firefighters with gun on EMS call

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 April 2024 at 8:37 pm

MEDINA – A man was taken into custody by Medina Police Department after allegedly threatening an ambulance crew from Medina Fire Department this afternoon.

The ambulance was dispatched to what was expected to be a low-priority basic life support call for service.

“After arriving on scene, the crew was quickly met by a person with a gun, making threats to the crew and a neighbor,” said Medina Lt. Steve Cooley, the Medina FD public information officer. “The crew retreated and requested police assistance.”

The man with gun went back inside and came out without the weapon. The crew was able to restrain the male, prior to the police arriving on the scene. Medina police officers arrived on scene shortly thereafter and placed the male into custody, Cooley said.

“We would like to thank the Medina Police Department, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department deputies, the Orleans County dispatchers and the neighbor for the quick assistance they provided to our crew,” Cooley said in news release. “Our crew is safe and both members remain on duty. We will have no further comment on this issue at the present time.”

At OCH gala, Dr. Misiti honored as ‘heartbeat of the hospital’

Photos by Ginny Kropf: (Left) The family of Dr. Joseph Misiti accepted the inaugural Bowen Award on his behalf at the Orleans Community Hospital Foundation Gala Saturday night at Bent’s Opera House. From left are daughter Teresa Misiti, his wife Pam Misiti and Kim Gray, director of Nursing and Surgical Services, who presented the award. (Right) Orleans Community Health CEO/CIO Mark Shurtz and Foundation director Megan Johnson greet the audience at the 2nd annual gala Saturday at Bent’s Opera House.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 7 April 2024 at 8:22 pm

MEDINA – Orleans Community Health Foundation held its second annual gala Saturday night at Bent’s Opera House.

Dr. Joseph Misiti

The evening featured special drinks to commemorate the eclipse, elaborate hors d’oeuvres, and the inaugural presentation of the Bowen Award to longtime surgeon Dr. Joseph Misiti.

Hospital CEO/CIO Mark Shurtz and Foundation director Megan Johnson welcomed guests, who had an opportunity to bid on a silent auction for a handful of high-end gifts and enjoy the music of the Something Else Rock City Band from Rochester.

Shurtz told the guests how lucky they were – to be in the path of totality during Monday’s eclipse and not have to travel to experience that stellar event; but also lucky that they need not have to travel for stellar healthcare services.

“We are here tonight to celebrate our achievements, acknowledge our challenges and to forge a path toward a brighter, healthier future,” Shurtz said.

“The story of Orleans Community Health is steeped in rich history that dates back to 1908, when a visionary group of citizens established Medina Memorial Hospital,” Shurtz said.

That visionary group was led by George Bowen, for whom the night’s award is named.

“Fast forward 15 years and Medina Memorial Hospital found its enduring home at its current location, where it has seen its fair share of ups and down,” Shurtz said. “Yet Medina Memorial Hospital has stayed steadfast and strong for more than 100 years, as hospital after hospital closed around us.”

Guests mingle and enjoy hors d’oeuvres at Saturday’s Orleans Community Health Foundation gala.

Shurtz said it was also essential to acknowledge their struggles and difficult choices they’ve had to make along the way.

“Reducing services and positions is never an easy decision, but these challenges have not deterred us,” he said. “They have instead fueled our determination to adapt, innovate and find new ways to serve our community. Our ability to adapt to meet evolving needs of our community has resulted in some exciting news I’d like to share.”

He reported over the last two years net revenue to the hospital has soared to the highest level in a decade. The same is true of patient visits for the fourth quarter of 2023 and patient satisfaction surveys, which showed approval at 4.9 out of 5. This achievement by hospital staff represents an unprecedented milestone in patient satisfaction, Shurtz said.

He added that while services and patient visits are on the rise, so too are their expenses.

“We must spread the word that Orleans Community Health offers unparalleled care,” Shurtz said. “It’s a simple truth, if we don’t use this valuable service, we stand to lose it.”

Support for the hospital will not only help sustain its growth, but also enable them to expand services, reach more people and make a lasting impact on the health and well-being of the community, he said.

Bartender Elizabeth Lipiec shows Orleans Community Health CEO/CIO Mark Shurtz a special Eclipse Punch which was served at Saturday’s gala at Bent’s Opera House to benefit Orleans Community Health. It was made with Captain Morgan’s rum and garnished with dried fruit resembling a sun and moon.

The evening also celebrated a new tradition – paying homage to deserving individuals who are dedicated and compassionate professionals, by awarding of the Bowen Award.

Shurtz introduced Kim Gray, director of Nursing and Surgical Services, who described the awards first recipient – longtime surgeon Dr. Joseph Misiti.

“In my role I’ve worked with Dr. Misiti for more than 20 years and witnessed his dedication and compassion,” Gray said. “No one is more dedicated in caring for our community Dr. Joseph Misiti. He is the heartbeat of our hospital. He has a profound understanding of the compassionate side of medicine, and I thank his family for sharing him with us.”

Gray then introduced Misiti’s wife Pam and daughter Teresa who accepted the award on his behalf.

Through the years Dr. Misiti has expressed his shyness in the limelight, preferring to remain in the background. For that reason, he did not attend, but extended his pleasure and heartfelt appreciation for those who thought enough to give him this prestigious award.

Medina winterguard concludes season at championships

Posted 7 April 2024 at 7:24 pm

Provided photos: The Medina varsity guard consists of 11 students in grades 8-12.

Courtesy of Medina Band Boosters

MEDINA – The winterguard season for Medina came to a close on Saturday when the championships  were held at the Gates-Chili High School. The Northeast Color Guard Circuit is a governing body for visual performing arts competition in Western NY and was f founded in 1988. The organization is a current partner with the Winter Guard International.

A total of 28 guards came to compete in seven classifications. Medina’s varsity guard competed in the SA class and came in 4th place with 76.95 while Victor earned 1st place with 85.54.

There were seven guards in the Cadet class and Greece Middle School came in 1st place with 78.85 while Medina came in 6th at 71.05.

In Regional A Corning Painted Post earned 1st place with 85.94. The A1 class had five participants and Gates-Chili earned 1st with 81.94.

There were only two guards in the IA class and Gates-Chili earned 1st with 89.81 and  Batavia came in 2nd with 86.80. Luminosa was the only guard in the Senior class and they scored 89.48.

The Heritage Hurricanes are an all-abilities group sponsored by the Heritage Christian Services and they performed in exhibition.

The members of the Medina Marching Band and Colorguard are already preparing for their street season which includes parades on Memorial Day, the Sherburne Pageant May 31 and June 1 and their trip to Virginia Beach .

The Medina JV guard includes 13 students in grades 5-7.

Railroad Museum wants freight house listed on National Register of Historic Places

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 6 April 2024 at 7:35 am

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Jeff Lewis, director of the Medina Railroad Museum, holds a picture of an E8 locomotive, which was used by the New York Central when it was in operation. The museum owns the only two of the engines in existence painted in the iconic lightning strike pattern.

MEDINA – Medina Railroad Museum’s director Jeff Lewis has had a busy few months since taking on the new job in January.

His current project is applying for the plaque which designates the building’s historic status.

According to Lewis, the Railroad Museum founder Marty Phelps started researching a historic marker in 1995, when he applied for historic status for the building. In 1997, New York Parks, Recreation and Historic Places granted the museum a designation as a member of the downtown historic district.

The Main Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. It included the parcel on which the Medina Railroad Museum stands as a portion of historic district. If the Freight House was listed separately on the registry as a historic building it would assist the museum in attracting restoration funding.

“We would like to get designation for the building to enhance our efforts to attract restoration resources,” Lewis said. “We have to apply again and ask to have the building added to the historic register.”

The building which houses the Medina Railroad Museum was built in 1905 and is 301 feet long and 34 feet wide. It is purported to be the largest, existing wooden freight station in the United States. It was built by the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company and replaced an earlier freight station which outgrew the shipping needs of the burgeoning community of Medina.

It was reported the single industry which most contributed to the development of the village was the establishment of H.J. Heinz Co. plant in 1899. This plant, located west of the Railroad Museum on Park Avenue, is today known as the Olde Pickle Factory.

The museum building operated as a freight station until 1965 when it was converted into a furniture warehouse. A lifelong railroad fan, Phelps purchased the building in 1991 and began transforming it into the railroad museum.

Contributing elements to be added to the Historic District include the freight station and that portion of railroad tracks which extends from the present district boundary to the western edge of the nominated parcel.

Lewis explained this effort is in preparation for a capital campaign next year and celebration of the building’s 120th anniversary.

He is also going to apply for a Tag Grant from New York State Preservation to put together a renovation plan which will address new gutters to take water away from the foundation.

“We need to address it now so it doesn’t get out of control,” Lewis said.

He said the museum will do a bunch of things next year in honor of the special anniversary. This includes selling bricks for a walkway to the trains as part of a legacy program.

In other museum business, the board has recently had the two E8 locomotives they own appraised. If enough money is raised to put in a siding, the E8s could be displayed there for the public to view.

Firefighters put out basement fire in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 April 2024 at 8:32 pm

1 firefighter transported to hospital after medical emergency

MEDINA – Firefighters put out a basement fire in Medina this afternoon. One firefighter had a medical emergency while working at the scene.

Immediate care was rendered and the firefighter was transported to a hospital. No additional information is being released at this time about the firefighter, said Steve Cooley, lieutenant of Medina Fire Department, fire investigator and the public information officer.

Firefighters were dispatched to 515 North Academy St. at 2:09 p.m. for a reported basement fire. All residents were out of the structure by 2:14 p.m. There were no civilian injuries.

Medina firefighters extinguished a small fire in the basement as other personnel performed searches and ventilation. Damage estimates are $1,000 to the structure and $5,000 in contents, Cooley said.

Both families at the site are being assisted by the Red Cross at this time until repairs can be made.

The fire cause has been ruled accidental. The fire Investigation was handled by the Village of Medina Fire Department’s Fire Investigation Unit with assistance provided by the Orleans County Fire Investigation Unit.

Medina school district gets national music honor

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 April 2024 at 5:53 pm

Albion makes it 17 straight years recognized by NAMM Foundation

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Medina Marching Band enters Vets Park on Sept. 23 for a performance at home during the Fall Festival of Bands. Medina is one of the smaller schools that competes in the field band competition and has won the New York State Field Band Conference Championship several times.

Two school districts in Orleans County has been recognized as a “Best Communities for Music Education,” two of the 975 in the country to receive the designation from the North American Music Merchants.

Medina made the list for the first time. The school district last year started doing its own musical in the junior-senior high school after about a decade of a shared program with Lyndonville. Medina has long had a stellar marching band program.

Albion was recognized for the 17th straight year. Like Medina, Albion offers vocal and instrumental music programs from elementary, middle and high schools, with many performances in the schools and out in the community.

NAMM has been recognized school districts for 25 years. The award recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of a well-rounded education, NAMM said.

Mike Thaine, the Albion High School band director, leads the band during a holiday concert on Dec. 20, 2023.

The NAMM Foundation’s list shows only these school districts in New York have matched or surpassed Albion for longevity on the list: Bayshore, 21 years; Clarence, 19; Fayetteville-Manlius, 19; Great Neck, 18; Jericho Union, 20; Johnson City, 19; Le Roy, 17; Monroe-Woodbury, 18; Monticello, 17; Nanuet Union, 17; North Babylon, 18; Northport Union, 17; Ossining Union, 17; Pittsford, 19; Port Jefferson, 19; Rush-Henrietta, 19; Syosset, 22; Webster, 18; West Genesee, 18; and West Irondequoit, 22.

Other nearby districts also were recognized including Batavia for the first time, Roy-Hart for the second year, Brockport for the seventh year, Pembroke for the fifth year and Lockport for the ninth year.

“Our unwavering commitment is steadfast in embracing and rewarding educators, administrators, parents and community leaders who applaud and support comprehensive music instruction as a fundamental part of core learning opportunities,” said John Mlynczak, NAMM president and CEO. “These leaders offer an extraordinary model of teaching that ignites a foundation of success we can all honor and celebrate.”

For more on the NAMM Foundation, click here.

New Medina mayor, trustees sworn into office

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 April 2024 at 12:27 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Marguerite Sherman takes the oath of office on Monday as Medina’s new mayor. Her husband Jon Sherman holds the Bible while village clerk-treasurer Jada Burgess administers the oath.

Sherman took over as mayor on Monday following eight years of Mike Sidari in the village’s top elected position.

Sherman was on the board for 10 years as a trustee, as was the village’s deputy mayor. She is a retired special education teacher.

“I’m excited for this new board,” Sherman said after the swearing-in. “I think we will continue to do great things.”

Newly elected trustees Deborah Padoleski and Mark Prawel also took the oath on Monday for the start of their two-year terms. They join Diana Baker and Jess Marciano on the Village Board.

The group will be meeting several times this month to work on the village budget for 2024-25. That budget needs to be adopted by April 30.

The board will be busy this month working on the budget, which must be adopted by April 30. Budget workshops are scheduled for 5 p.m. today with DPW, 5:30 p.m. on April 11 with the fire department, 5 p.m. on April 16 with codes and the police department, 5 p.m. on April 17, 5:30 p.m. on April 18 and 5 p.m. on April 19.

Those meetings are at the Village Clerk’s Office on Park Avenue.

Debbie Padoleski is sworn into office while her husband Tom holds the Bible and Mayor Marguerite Sherman administers the oath. Padoleski is a former Medina village clerk-treasurer. She worked 41 years in the village office. She retired in June 2021.

The board made several appointments during the organizational meeting. The appointments are for one year unless otherwise noted.

  • Deputy mayor: Deborah Padoleski
  • Fair housing officer: Diana Baker
  • Village Historian: Todd Bensley
  • Clerk-Treasurer (2-year term): Jada Burgess
  • Deputy Clerk-Treasurer (2-year term): Miranda Herbert
  • Registrar: Jada Burgess; Deputy registrar: Miranda Herbert
  • 2 members to Zoning Board of Appeals for five-year terms: Luann Howe and Jamie Wagner
  • 2 members to Boxwood Cemetery Commission for 3-year terms: Nicki Fredericks and Mary Lewis
  • Member of Parks Committee for 2-year term: Chris Goyette
  • 3 members to Tourism Committee for 2-year terms: Jim Hancock, Kelly Kiebala and Janet Smith
  • Village attorney: Matthew Brooks
  • Official depositories for the village: Bank of Castile and J.P. Morgan Chase
  • Official newspaper: The Daily News in Batavia

The board set workshop meetings for the Village Board will be the second Monday of the month at 7 p.m. with village business meetings the fourth Monday at 7 p.m. The meetings will be at the Senior Center on West Avenue.

Mark Prawel takes the oath as new village trustee while his wife Tina holds the Bible. Prawel is a retired Medina police officer who also owns and operate an auto repair shop.

Trustees were named liaisons to the following committees and departments:

  • Fire/Ambulance Advisory: Baker
  • Code Enforcement: Prawel
  • Employee Relations: Marciano and Padoleski
  • Town of Ridgeway: Marciano
  • Orleans County: Marciano
  • Boxwood Cemetery: Baker
  • Tourism Committee: Padoleski
  • Strategic Visionary Planning Committee: Prawel
  • Police Advisory Committee: Marciano
  • Police: Padoleski
  • DPW: Marciano
  • Clerk-Treasurer: Sherman
  • Town of Shelby: Baker
  • Parks Committee: Marciano
  • Joint Recreation: Padoleski, Marciano
  • Waterfront Development Committee: Prawel

Fundraiser on April 20 will help with medical expenses for 9-year-old

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 2 April 2024 at 8:28 am

Ahmed has several health challenges, including a club foot

Provided photos: Ahmed, a 9-year-old from Tunisia, faces several health challenges. Volunteers from World Life Institute and the Voice Gavel Club are planning a benefit April 20 at the YMCA in Medina to help with his medical care.

MEDINA – A young boy from Tunisia with multiple health problems is getting a new lease on life, thanks to young volunteers from World Life Institute-Project Life, and the Voice Gavel Club. The Voice Gavel Club is a youth public speaking component affiliated with Toastmasters International.

Ahmed Cherif was brought to the United States by his mother last year to stay with relatives here. He was born with a club foot, is non-verbal, developmentally delayed and has left facial paralysis.

Since arriving in Western New York, Ahmed has been identified as having Oro-Facial Syndrome Type II, Rumination Syndrome, autism and bone growth delay. He also suffers from allergies and asthma.

Ahmed is under the care of the pediatric team at Golisano Children’s Hospital, part of the University of Rochester health system. His most prominent medical problem was persistent vomiting and inability to retain what he ate. He was facing the probability of a feeding tube. Last July he weighed only 35 pounds.

He still has a lot of tests and treatments ahead, including further neurological evaluation, starting with an MRI of his brain. He will also be assessed for spinal scoliosis.

Linda Shakoor, director of Project Life, said, “Project Life is committed to supporting vulnerable youth and fostering a culture of support, especially from Orleans County. Medina Area Association of Churches and many other churches in Medina and Albion have supported more than 130 world orphans hosted here since 1999. The relationships these children form when they receive local kindnesses lasts throughout their lives.”

Since Ahmed arrived in the United States in January 2023, Project Life has had the privilege to support improving his life. According to Noori Bibi, vice president of the YMCA board, when he came here he had never seen a dentist. He has now received extensive dental treatment, including surgery.

He had worn leg braces since the age of 3, but no longer needs the braces, thanks to supportive physical therapy in the last six months. His eyes were tested and he now wears corrective glasses.

Ahmed is staying in Medina while receiving medical care.

Some of his digestive issues have subsided due to tests done at Yale University, where he was diagnosed with Rumination Syndrome. Now, with medication, he has gained weight and the vomiting has subsided. He is up to 45 pounds and is outgrowing his clothes for the first time in three years. He’s an inch taller and is benefiting from ongoing physical, occupational, vision and speech therapy.

Over the summer, Ahmed had the opportunity to play with other children during activities arranged through Project Life. He was able to visit the zoo, go to the beach and visit Niagara Falls. He is still shy due to little interaction with other children, but he is slowly beginning to integrate.

Ahmed had never attended school, but with support of Project Life he was enrolled in Aspire in Buffalo, a school for special needs children. He loved his first day so much he did not want to get out of the van when they returned home. At the school open house, teachers and staff praised Ahmed and commented on how bright and easy going he was. For the first time, he was able to hold crayons and color. He has also begun to recognize letters and numbers in English.

On April 20, the YMCA will host a special event to benefit Ahmed and his medical costs.

“Ahmed has inspired his friends to come together to raise crucial funds to enhance his quality of life,” Bibi said. “Driven by a desire to showcase the power of creativity of youth, these ambitious young people are working hard to organize an engaging family day for the whole community.”

The event will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. and feature a fashion show and captivating performances and presentations. Attendees will be immersed in a world of entertainment and camaraderie, Bibi added. A silent auction, creativity in art workshops, delicious treats at the Bake and Samosa Sale and charity basketball game are some of the events planned.

In addition, there will be an opportunity to engage in thought-provoking discussions at the speakers’ corner, enjoy intricate designs with face painting and henna and explore a variety of arts and crafts at the sale. For the younger children, there will be a bounce house, games and more.

Safia Delobbe-Scott, 15, is one of the young leaders driving the event’s efforts.

“We are driven by a deep passion to make a meaningful difference in Ahmed’s life, while highlighting the extraordinary potential of youth,” Delobbe-Scott said. “This event will be a celebration of unity and compassion, showcasing the positive impact we can have when we come together.”

The community is invited to meet Ahmed, loving and vivacious despite his many challenges, and support the extensive medical interventions he requires, Shakoor said.

Anyone wishing further information or wanting to inquire about sponsorship opportunities should contact

For information on the event and Ahmed or to make a donation, click here.