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Medina band caps season with big haul of awards

Posted 3 June 2019 at 10:00 pm

Provided photos from Medina Marching Band

The Sherburne community in Chenango County hosted its 70th Annual Sherburne Pageant of Bands from Thursday through Saturday.

This pageant is the oldest and longest running event of its kind in the state. The Sherburne community , the Volunteer Fire Department and the Sherburne-Earlville Central School District come together to sponsor this event.

There were 44 schools from around the state that participated and this was Medina’s first year at the competition. Medina was in Class AA for every event they performed in.

In concert band Medina competed against four other schools and won first place with a score of 96. In Jazz, the Mustangs competed against two other schools and won first place with a score of 97.5. In Small Ensemble, Medina performed a saxophone quartet and earned first place with a score of 96.5.

The parade is a big event with 44 schools performing and the people in town begin setting up their chairs on Friday night up and down the 3-mile route. In Class AA, Medina won first place with a score of 93.5,  first place in Color Guard  with 99 and 1st place in Drumline with 81.  Medina also earned awards for Best Overall Color Guard, Best in Class AA, Overall HS Award and the Band Director Award to Jim Steele.

This was the last competitive performance for the band in the 2018-2019 school year and the season will close with the Band Banquet on June 7.

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Cruise-in car shows return to Medina Canal Basin on Friday

Photo by Tom Rivers: Terry Buchwald, an Elvis Presley impersonator, arrives in downtown Medina on a motorcycle during last year’s Super Cruise on Sept. 5, when a section of Main Street was blocked off for the car show.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 June 2019 at 4:51 pm

MEDINA – A new season of classic car shows will begin this Friday in Medina’s Canal Basin. The cruise-in series has been an annual tradition in Medina for more than 20 years.

The classic car shows go from 5:30 to 8 p.m. They will be in the basin every Friday until the end of August, except on June 28 when the show shifts to the Orleans County Marine Park in Carlton and on July 26 when the cars are on display at the Orleans County 4-H Fair in Knowlesville.

The season culminates with the Super Cruise on Aug. 28, when a section of Main Street is closed for the cars and there is lots of entertainment. Terry Buchwald, an Elvis Presley impersonator, usually performs on a stage in the downtown for that event.

On the regular cruise-ins on Friday evenings, DJ Hank Nevins will be playing music.

The car shows typically attract a few hundred people to the downtown.

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Before the parade, Medina vets honor the fallen at local cemeteries, memorials

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 28 May 2019 at 7:33 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf

MEDINA – Members of the VFW and American Legion in Medina prepare for a three-gun salute at veterans’ graves in Boxwood Cemetery on Monday morning.

The Honor Guard includes members of the American Legion and VFW in Medina. They annually do a ceremony at each of the veterans’ memorials and cemeteries in Medina.

Tony Vicknair, left, and Jim Freas put the firearms away after a ceremony on Memorial Day at Boxwood Cemetery, which included a three-gun salute.

Tinker Young, left, and Jon Little, who served with the U.S. Army, fold the American flag after Memorial Day ceremonies at Boxwood Cemetery.  Firing at veterans’ memorials in Medina has been a tradition for decades. The veterans repeated the ceremony at Sacred Heart Cemetery, the Company F Memorial at Medina Armory, the Korean Memorial on Park Avenue, the tank at Oak Orchard Elementary School and the John E. Butts Memorial in Butts Park.

Tom Walders, left, plays Taps in front of the Company F Memorial at Medina Armory. In the background is Mustang Band trumpeter Travis Gotts, who played Echo Taps. Saluting are Dave Kusmierczak, left, and Jim Freas.

Members of the Honor Guard from the American Legion and VFW in Medina annually do a ceremony at each of the veterans’ memorials in Medina. Here the firing squad, including Adam Johnson at right, gets ready for a three-gun salute.

At left, Jim Freas from the Medina VFW and Dave Kusmierczak from the American Legion, salute in front of the Vietnam Memorial at the American Legion, while Taps is played by Tom Walders. Trumpeter Travis Gotts from the Medina Mustang Marching Band, played Echo Taps.

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Medina turns out in big way for Memorial Day parade

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 May 2019 at 9:15 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – There was a big crowd at today’s Memorial Day parade in Medina, which included many participants from the community, including Logan Quackenbush, 8, blowing bubbles on a float by the P.Raising Kids childcare site at the Medina United Methodist Church.

For the second year, the Honor Guard escorted a casket draped with an American flag to send a powerful message about the meaning of Memorial Day.

Wayne Hale, a member of the Sons of the American Legion, handed out American flags, including one to Gail Miller. The American Legion distributed 1,500 flags before the parade.

Medina Mayor Mike Sidari tossed candy to kids along Main Street and East Center Street.

Jeremy Brandenburg and other members of the Medina Skate Society promoted a June 21 Skate Jam at Butts Park.

Brooklyn Garrow is a member of the Color Guard in the Medina Marching Band.

Maisie Griffin, the drum major, leads the band down Main Street.

Trenton Crews and the band were a patriotic presence in the parade.

These Boy Scouts from Medina carry their banner in the parade.

These youth baseball players shared candy with the crowd.

Aurora Owczarczak (left) plays for the Sharks in Medina’s youth softball league.

These Girl Scouts greet many of the community members lined up on Main Street.

There was a long line of fire trucks in the parade.

These kids were on top of one of the fire trucks. They acknowledge the crowd.

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Medina rededicates cannon from World War I

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 May 2019 at 3:19 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – A wreath was placed on a World War I cannon at State Street Park today when the cannon was rededicated following more than a year of restoration work by Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration, in Altoona, Pa.

Since 1935, the B.L. 60 Pounder British field gun has been the centerpiece of not only the World War I memorial in Medina and also village’s annual Memorial Day observances.

The cannon was removed in March 2018 to Seed Artillery Reproduction & Restoration, where it was completely stripped, disassembled, and rebuilt using newly repaired and remanufactured parts.

The display for the cannon now includes three new flagpoles – one for an American Flag, signifying the soldiers of Medina who served and gave their lives in France during the Great War; one for a British flag, signifying the gun’s heritage; and one for a French flag, signifying the theater of service for the big gun and our local soldiers.

A new granite slant was installed, featuring a refurbished bronze plaque that was originally with the monument in 1935. New lighting to up-light both the cannon and flags also has been installed.

Dan Anderson, left, is commander of the VFW and Glenn Whitmore is commander of the American Legion. They place the wreath on the cannon.

The rare and historic artillery piece was manufactured by the Elswick Ordnance Company, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, in 1916 and saw extensive service on the Western Front during World War I, firing a total of 4,342 rounds in combat action. It weighs six tons and is a 5 inch/127mm caliber gun. There are few left in the world today.

George Bildleman, owner of Orleans Ford, contributed $40,000 to have the cannon restored.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley gives a glance to the refurbished cannon during his remarks today.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley was among the speakers during today’s Memorial Day service and rededication. He also noted this year is the 100th anniversary of the American Legion.

Medina Mayor Mike Sidari also addressed the crowd. He said the community has several memorials for veterans — the historic cannons at Boxwood Cemetery, the tank at Vets Park, the bronze statue and monument outside the former Medina Armory, and Butts Park named for John Butts who was killed in World War I and awarded the Medal of Honor.

The mayor urged the community members, when they are passing by those memorials, to “remember those who fought and died for our freedom to gather and to live in this great nation.”

Sidari thanked Bidleman for the $40,000 donation, and others who contributed to the effort: the Orleans Renaissance Group, the VFW, the American Legion, Village of Medina DPW, Lyons Collision, Automotive Solutions, Orleans Ready Mix Concrete, BarnesMetal Finishing, Brigden Memorials and Anzalone Electric.

Orleans County Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson thanked veterans and their families for their sacrifice and service. That includes 1.1 million soldiers who have died during wartime in the country’s history, and about 2.8 million who have been wounded.

“These numbers should truly humble us, as they represent people – individuals – who were brothers, husbands, mothers, sisters, friends. These were people woven into the fabric of communities across the nation. They were loved. They were mourned. And they were missed.”

She urged the community to befriend veterans who are their neighbors, to visit veterans in nursing homes, and to volunteer as drivers in the van service that takes vets to medical appointments.

“Working together with friends, neighbors, veteran groups and entire communities, we can ensure that the sacrifices made by our nation’s finest and bravest never go unappreciated and that their memories are never forgotten,” Johnson said.

Jim Steele, director of the Medina Marching Band, directs the group in playing, “The Star Spangled Banner.”

The Rev. Lambert Duncan, pastor of the Glad Tidings Baptist Church in Medina, gives the invocation.

Tom Walders plays Taps while local veterans stand at attention.

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Medina elementary students create bus safety posters

Posted 26 May 2019 at 2:25 pm

Photo courtesy of Medina Central School

MEDINA – Students at Oak Orchard Elementary recently participated in a poster design contest.

The theme was bus safety and students were asked to create something that represents what being safe and making smart choices on the bus means to them.

Medina Central School’s Transportation Department judged to entries and a winner was chosen at each grade level.

Front row, from left: Elizabeth Dresser, Sophie Kroening, Annaliese Lindsey and McKenna Gamet. Back wow: Oak Orchard Principal Julie Webber, Transportation Department representatives Debbie Faltyn and Kim Heschke, and Director of Transportation Rob Dennis.

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7,000 rode the train with Thomas in Medina last weekend

Photos by Tom Rivers: Thomas the Train heads out of Medina for a train ride last Saturday, during the three-day event hosted by the Medina Railroad Museum.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 25 May 2019 at 8:13 am

MEDINA – Weekend with Thomas is all over but the shouting.

And it was something to shout about for the Medina Railroad Museum.

After a drop in attendance last year, the Medina Railroad Museum decided to scale down to one three-day visit this year, which proved to be very successful, said Museum director Janien Klotzbach.

This was the 15th year the storybook train, owned by Mattel/Fisher Price, has made tracks to Medina. Over the three-day visit May 17, 18 and 19, 7,000 people rode the train.

“It takes a lot of work and expense to put on an event like Thomas, and we had to condense our efforts,” Klotzbach said. “But it was extremely successful.”

Klotzbach also said the success assures them that Thomas will be returning next year, which is a special anniversary for Fisher Price.

With this year’s Day Out with Thomas came other changes, including not letting anyone on the grounds unless they had a ticket to ride the train. In other years, numerous events on the grounds were open to the public at no charge, but that was not cost effective to the Museum or Fisher Price, said a representative from Fisher Price.

The museum grounds had many inflatables, bounce houses and fun activities for children and families.

In addition to the usual storytelling, Imagination Station activities (face painting, temporary Thomas tattoos, Legos, coloring station, train play tables and bean bag toss), there was a caricature artist and very popular balloon artist and miniature train ride next to the Sodor maze. Also, there was entertainment, such as a musician and magician in the tent next to the Senior Center, and an additional bounce house.

It takes many volunteers to pull off an event like Thomas, and Klotzbach said they recruited volunteers from local non-profit groups, such as churches and Scout groups. The organizations will then be paid for the hours their volunteer worked at Thomas.

“Thomas has always been a very exciting experience, not only for the children, but for the museum and its staff,” Klotzbach said. “It’s so rewarding to see the children and their parents and grandparents when they get so excited about Thomas. There are still many adults who come without children, because they love the event.”

Klotzbach said the same is true of Polar Express, which annually sells out at Christmas time. While they are still wrapping up from Thomas’ visit, they are already planning future train events, including the annual fall foliage and wine trains and Santa train. A new event this year will be a Blues Festival Oct. 19, with a blues band, winery and brewery on the grounds and wine tasting on the train.

The Museum has also scheduled another Memorial Train to pay tribute to Klotzbach’s father and Museum founder Martin Phelps, who died two years ago. Funds from the ride on Oct. 12 will be donated to a veterans’ organization in his memory.

Tickets are already on sale for these events and information is available on the Museum’s website or by calling 798-6106.

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A bigger ALDI reopens in Medina after 7-week construction project

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 May 2019 at 12:20 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Shoppers check out the newly renovated and expanded ALDI in Medina. The store was closed for seven weeks for the construction and remodeling project. ALDI reopened today at about 8:30 in the morning, with customers getting free tote bags and a chance to win $500 in produce throughout the year.

The ALDI store on Maple Ridge Road in Medina reopened after a 2,062-square-foot expansion on the front side of the building. The building was 16,567 square feet before the expansion.

The addition gives ALDI more space for about 150 to 200 products, including cooler and freezer items, and more produce.

Dan Leverenz (third from left), the ALDI store manager in Medina, cuts the ribbon this morning. ALDI didn’t lay off any employees during the store shutdown. The staff of about a dozen employees took vacation time or had a chance to work at ALDI stores nearby in Lockport, Brockport or Batavia, with the company paying their mileage.

The store upgrade also includes new shelves, freezers, coolers, and a resurfaced parking lot.

Ian Harrington, the ALDI district manager, thanked customers for their patience. He said the crowd of about 50 people, waiting to get inside the store, was the biggest he’d seen at a store reopening.

These Medina residents were at the store about a half hour before it opened today. They include, from left: Sheila Doty, Janice Dunn and Peg Sullinger.

They said they missed ALDI while the store was closed.

“I came here all the time,” Doty said. “They have quality products and the price are good.”

The Medina store is part of the $1.9 billion ALDI investment to remodel and expand more than 1,300 stores nationwide by the end of 2020.

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First responders show Medina students dangers of driving while distracted or impaired

Posted 21 May 2019 at 3:34 pm

Photos courtesy of Medina Central School: Medina Police Chief Chad Kenward helps students navigate through a course while wearing goggles to simulate being impaired.

Press Release, Medina Central School

MEDINA – As prom and graduation season approaches, the students at Medina High School took part in a program about the impact on poor decision making with alcohol and drugs.

More than 100 students were at the Ridgeway Fire Hall on May 15 for a discussion on drugs and alcohol prevention was held by GCASA (Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse).  The prevention educator, Elizabeth Aldaco, talked to the students about the dangers of addictive substances and making healthier choices. She also informed the students that she is at the high school one day a week and her door is open to anyone who wants to talk to her.

State Troopers urge students to not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they get behind the wheel.

The students were then brought outside where representatives from the New York State Police, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, the Medina Police Department and the Ridgeway, Shelby and Medina firefighters had demonstrations set up that the students rotated through on the dangers of distracted and inexperienced driving.

Maddie Williams tries the driving simulator with Chief Deputy Michael Mele providing some guidance.

The students went into a driving simulator booth, operated by the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, and attempted to drive while texting. They saw how easy it was to have an accident or a near accident by taking their eyes off the road for just seconds.

State Troopers showed what happens in a rollover crash when someone is not wearing their seatbelts. Their simulator ejected a crash dummy out the window as it spun without it being buckled in.

Medina Police Department Lt. Todd Draper and Chief Chad Kenward led students on the simulator with the goggles.

The Medina Police Department had the students attempt to ride pedal cars wearing goggles that mimic being impaired by drugs or alcohol.

The final demonstration was given by local firefighters who showed one of their fire trucks and then showed the aftermath of a car accident using vehicles donated by Lyons Collision.

The demonstrations had a very real and meaningful impact on the high schoolers as they saw the dangers of being a distractive driver. The school district is very grateful to the first responders that spent time with the students to show them how one bad choice and can have affect their lives and the lives of others.

A Ridgeway firefighter shows students some of the extrication equipment used when someone is trapped in a vehicle.

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Medina will rededicate WWI cannon on Memorial Day

Photos courtesy of Chris Busch: The newly renovated WWI Memorial in Medina, featuring the fully restored BL 60 Pounder British field gun, will be rededicated at noon on Monday, Memorial Day.

Posted 21 May 2019 at 7:35 am

Press Release, Orleans Renaissance Group

There is new granite and a refurbished bronze plaque for the cannon.

MEDINA – Since 1935, a B.L. 60 Pounder British field gun has been the centerpiece of not only the World War I memorial in Medina, but also of the village’s annual Memorial Day observances.

This year’s observance will be a historic occasion as the British field gun has undergone 14 months of extensive restoration and arrived back home in Medina just a few weeks ago. The local landmark was removed in March 2018 to Seed Artillery Reproduction & Restoration in Altoona, PA, where it was completely stripped, disassembled, and rebuilt using newly repaired and remanufactured parts.

Local benefactor and businessman, George Bidleman, covered the entire cost of the work to the cannon, donating $40,000 for the job. Additional site improvements were made possible through donations to the Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc. Concrete for the project was donated by Orleans Ready Mix LLC. Beauman’s Garage, Inc. of Lockport donated services to hoist the huge cannon onto its new concrete pad.

The rare and historic artillery piece was manufactured by the Elswick Ordnance Company, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, in 1916 and saw extensive service on the Western Front during World War I, firing a total of 4,342 rounds in combat action. It weighs six tons and is a 5 inch/127mm caliber gun. There are few left in the world today.

Three new flagpoles have recently been installed on site – one for an American Flag, signifying the soldiers of Medina who served and gave their lives in France during the Great War; one for a British flag, signifying the gun’s heritage; and one for a French flag, signifying the theater of service for the big gun and our local soldiers.

A new granite slant was installed, featuring a refurbished bronze plaque that was originally with the monument in 1935. New lighting to up-light both the cannon and flags will also be installed before Memorial Day.

The memorial will be re-dedicated as part of special expanded Memorial Day observance at noon in State Street Park, Medina, following the conclusion of the annual parade.

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