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Medina FD welcomed community for annual open house

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Medina firefighters Steve Miller, left, and Sergio DiCenso started to roll up the hose when it began to rain Sunday afternoon during the Medina Fire Department’s annual open house.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 7 October 2019 at 8:33 am

Event is kickoff of Fire Prevention Week

MEDINA – The Medina Fire Department held its annual open house Sunday, featuring a display of firefighting equipment, activities for children, training for adults and a visit by Mercy Flight. The open house is in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week.

Firefighter and paramedic Steve Miller said they had a good turnout of visitors before rain in the early afternoon brought activities to a close.

The fire department had all of its equipment on display, including ambulances, fire trucks and the new small rescue truck and boat.

Steve Miller, left, Medina firefighter and paramedic, and Jason Bessel, deputy chief of Ridgeway Fire Department, watch Bessel’s children Olivia, 8, and Jonathan, 4, climb out of the fire safety trailer at Medina Fire Department’s annual open house on Sunday.

Jason Bessel, deputy chief with Ridgeway Fire Department, drove Ridgeway’s antique fire engine, a 1977 Pierce, and stayed throughout the day with his two children. Another antique truck on display was Medina’s old No. 10, a 1946 Mack owned by Timothy Cooper.

Boys Scout Troop 28 had a booth set up to serve refreshments. Activities included checking out a fire safety trailer and hose competition, where youth could try their hand at aiming a water hose at a target.

Inside the fire hall, there were games and treats for children, and Stop the Bleed training and CPR for adults.

Families head inside the fire house during Sunday’s open house at Medina Fire Department. In addition to activities and displays outside, there were games and treats inside for children and Stop the Bleed training and CPR for adults.

Devin Kinne, 13, of Medina stands by the fire safety trailer on display at Medina Fire Department’s open house Sunday. Devin visited the fire department, where he tried his hand at hitting a target with a fire hose. He also went through the fire safety trailer, where he learned how to put out a fire.

Justin McAdoo, 15, took this picture of Medina Fire Department’s ladder truck during the fire department’s open house on Sunday. Justin can’t wait until he turns 16 in April, so he can join Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Department, where his mother is a paramedic and assistant chief.

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Medina FFA expects to make toy show a new annual event

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Les Segrist of Waterloo unpacks part of his collection of farm toys at the toy show Saturday morning sponsored by Medina FFA in honor of Medina farmer, the late Lee Roberts.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 6 October 2019 at 4:53 pm

MEDINA – The first toy show sponsored by Medina FFA on Saturday morning will most likely become an annual event, according to FFA adviser Todd Eick.

The show at Medina High School was held in honor of lifelong Medina farmer, the late Lee Roberts, who was an avid collector of farm toys.

The day began with a pancake breakfast, during which Eick presented Ginny Roberts with number one in a set of 50 collectible Steiger Panther 111 PTA-310 tractors. The remaining 49 will be sold, Eick said. He plans to obtain a set every five years and then auction them off.

“All the money will go to benefit FFA,” Eick said.

Todd Eick, adviser of Medina’s FFA, presents Ginny Roberts of Medina with number one in a series of 50 toy Steiger Panther 111 PTA-310 tractors during a pancake breakfast Saturday at Medina High School. The remaining 49 will be sold to benefit FFA projects. Roberts’ late husband Lee was a collector of farm toys.

He said the kids will decide what is needed most for the miniature farm the FFA maintains on the southwest side of the high school property.

In the high school gymnasium, nearly a dozen vendors were set up with their massive collections of farm toys.

Les Segrist of Waterloo has been collecting toys since 1985.

“I got started after seeing a friend customize a piece of equipment, and the bug bit me,” he said.

John Seifert of Lyndonville started collecting farm toys about 10 years ago, after retiring as a farmer. His favorites are four-wheel drives, and he said his collection fills his basement and den. He attends four toy shows a year, including those in Brockport, Pavilion and Geneseo.

Nick Adams of Medina goes all over to toy shows. He has been collecting for the last 15 years and his collection includes race cars and semi-trucks. Two of his favorites are a 1965 and 1969 Mustang convertible.

William Nice of Medina got started collecting toys in 1979 because of a joke.

“I had a 50-acre farm across from the fairgrounds, but I didn’t have any equipment,” Nice said. “I had to borrow from other farmers, and I started telling everybody it would nice if I had some equipment of my own. So for Christmas that year, everyone gave me toy tractors.”

His collection includes John Deere, International, Allis-Chalmers and Massey Ferguson. A favorite of his is a Farmall Super M.TA tractor.

Nice owns a construction business, and spends six months in Florida and six months in Medina. He transports his collection back and forth and attends a four-day event in Florida which features 240 acres of vendors.

Donna Wolfe is one of the few women vendors. Her collection includes railroad cars, miniature buildings, army tanks and airplanes. She has been collecting for 10 years.

Saturday’s event also spilled over into the high school parking lot, where several vendors from the weekly farm market were set up. A display of antique vehicles included Farmall and John Deere tractors, a Jeep and fire truck.

The toy show was the result of a lot of work and planning by Eick, the FFA students and FFA alumni, including Cliff Barber, who one vendor said was instrumental in lining up vendors for the show.

William Nice of Medina was one of the vendor’s at Medina FFA’s first toy show Saturday. Nice holds a Farmall Super M.TA, his favorite toy in the collection.

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Medina FFA to hold first ever Toy Show on Saturday

Posted 4 October 2019 at 12:19 pm

Provided photo: Pictured form left include Camryn Eick, Alexandria Strong and Kennedy Eick, preparing mini tractors for the FFA Toy Show.

Press Release, Medina Central School

MEDINA – The Medina FFA will have its first ever FFA Toy Show and Sale on Saturday. Doors at the High School open at 7 a.m. for a pancake breakfast until 11 a.m. The cost of the breakfast is $5 and that includes entrance into the toy show.

The actual toy show is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the cost of admission is $3 if breakfast is not purchased.

“We have quite a few collectors and sellers that will be there,” says FFA advisor/agriculture teacher Todd Eick. “Some will have antiques, some will have toys that are brand-new and never been out of the box. Some might be older and used toys, but they will still have the box.  One guy is coming just to set up his display and show off his collection.”

Mr. Eick says he has been wanting to have a toy sale for over the past 10 years and with the help of Medina and FFA alumni, Bill Nice and Cliff Barber, they decided this would be the year that they start it.

“Bill and Cliff know the value of this sort of thing for our FFA kids,” Eick said. “We also decided that our inaugural show would be in memory of Mr. Lee Roberts, he was an avid toy collector, Medina farmer and a huge supporter of agriculture in the community.”

The Toy Show is also being tied into National Alpaca Farm Days. “We have extended it by a week so that our attendees can come and check out our model farm and meet our alpacas,” Eick said.  “We also have a free antique truck and tractor show in our high school parking lot and the Medina Canal Village Market tent will be set up for samples as well. We are hoping that people think it is a pretty cool venue for this.”

Since there are some other great events going on Saturday in Medina such as the Knights-Kaderli Memorial 5K Run/Walk and the Scarecrow Festival hosted by the Medina Lions Club at Forrestel Farm, Eick hopes that people will spend the day in the community enjoying all of it.  “We are hoping people start the day with us for breakfast and go to the other events, then come back, have a snack and check out the farm, the displays and the show.”

Mr. Eick says the FFA students have been really stepping up to the plate to help make this event a success.

“We also want the public to know that there will be basket raffles and that we are also selling tickets for $5 apiece for the chance to win a John Deere Fire Truck pedal car with a display case,” he said. “We were fortunate enough that someone donated the money for half of it and the FFA put in the other half. We are getting a great response to that. We are hoping to see a lot of people there. It is going to be a very family fun event.”

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4,000 attended art show at former Medina High School

Photo by Tom Rivers: Claire Ashley of Chicago created the large inflatables in the gym at the former Medina High School during the PLAY/GROUND art show from Friday to Sunday. There were also art stations and family activities available to try in the gym. Ashley calls her installation piece, “Celestial Boulders (Unseen Organs).” She likes to transform mundane materials into inflatable painted sculptures and performative props.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 September 2019 at 12:29 pm

MEDINA – The PLAY/GROUND art show at the former Medina High School attracted 4,100 people from Friday through Sunday, more than double the attendance during the event’s debut last year.

The immersive art experience included works by 34 artists, who encouraged people to interact with the pieces.

Talis Equity and the Hungerford family worked to put on the show with Resource: Art in Buffalo. The school is currently mostly vacant and will be turned into apartments. Right now Talis and the Hungerford family are working to redevelop Bent’s Opera House.

The preview party on Friday was sold out with 750 people, many coming by shuttle from the Hotel Henry in Buffalo.

“There is excitement in the air,” said Medina artist Tom Zangerle, who attended the show on Saturday afternoon. “This is just fantastic.”

In “Newton’s Clock,” artist Michael Bosworth used the elements of a pinball machine to create a series of interactive works.

Amanda Besl set up “Persphone,” an ethereal forgotten greenhouse at the bottom of the stairs. “Are the contents languishing within or bursting to escape their confines?” participants were asked.

In “Rolling Thunder,” by Tom Holt and Quincy Koczka, skateboarding ramps were painted and turned into artwork.

Sara Di Donato painted life-size images of girls from different eras for “If These Walls Could Talk.” The installation was in a bathroom. Di Donato, a painting and drawing professor at Brockport State College, wanted to show “the performance of girlhood in the present is a reverberating echo of the past, yet constantly fluid and changing.”

Kari Achatz made “Betwixt,” patterned passageways and shadows. She wanted participants “to be seen and unseen at the same moment.”

“Into the Void”  was a popular installation, with many people posting images of the space on social media. William Quintana and Christa Trautman made a set of six telescoping, brightly colored boxes to replace the traditional four walls. “The bright hues are meant to entice users to explore the space further and immerse themselves in the unknown well of color.”

People check out “Medina Green,” by artist Nate Hodge of Brockport, in a former locker room in the school.

The art show included a Medina artist, Kathryn Granchelli. She created a Zen garden-like  installation. She filled the room with sand and paper-clay sculptures. She said the exhibit was inspired by her travels in the deserts. She runs a nanny referral agency for families in New York City, Los Angeles and abroad. She is also is an accomplished artist.

Granchelli welcomed the chance to be part of PLAY/GROUND in her hometown.

“I really think it’s great for Medina to experience something outside the norm,” she said.

Ani Hoover created the “Shade Garden” in a stairwell. She made the display out of plastic bags, thrifted lampshades and lighting hardware. She sought to take neglected materials and transform them into “an unconventional oasis of light and shadow.”

Julian Montague expanded on the murals in the hallways he started last year.

People check out “Safe Space,” created with cardboard and white plaster by Rich Tomasello with help from 150 students at Kenmore, Town of Tonawanda and Starpoint schools. The installation addresses the anxieties of growing up in American schools where lockdrown drills are commonplace.

Marquis Burton and Tara Sasiadek’s “Wave and Shore” installation was popular. The artists encouraged participants to pause and take in fresh sensations.

Carina and the Six String Preacher perform in the auditorium at the school on Saturday afternoon. Musicians performed in the space over the weekend.

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Former Medina teacher leaves legacy with $35K scholarship fund

Posted 30 September 2019 at 11:07 am

Provided photo: Medina school officials celebrate receiving funds for a new scholarship. Pictured from left include: Ed Grabowski, attorney for the estate of Mariann R. Holcomb; Arlene Pawlaczyk, Board of Education president; and Mark Kruzynski, superintendent of Medina Central School.

Press Release, Medina Central School

MEDINA – Medina High School will begin to give out a new scholarship this year in honor of a former teacher.

Ed Grabowski, attorney for the estate of Mariann R. Holcomb, presented a check at the Medina Central School District’s Board of Education meeting on Sept. 26 in the amount of $35,274.86. The new scholarship will be given in Mrs. Holcomb’s name.

Mariann R. Davies-Holcomb, a former business teacher at Medina High School, passed away on January 17, 2018. Mrs. Holcomb taught Keyboarding, Business Communications, Personal Typing, Business Math, Office Practice, Recordkeeping, Introduction to Occupations, Business Law and Business Dynamics from 1974 until her retirement in 1997.

As part of her estate, she left money to fund a scholarship to be awarded annually to a deserving Medina business student who is graduating and going to college.

The Medina Central School District is honored and appreciative of this generous gift.

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Medina FFA has new event showcasing farm toys

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 30 September 2019 at 7:45 am

Antique trucks and cars will also be featured on Saturday

Photo by Ginny Kropf: The late Lee Roberts looks at one wall of the antique tractors in his collection, taken at his house in 2006. A toy show Saturday at Medina High School is being held in Roberts’ honor. Roberts, a Medina graduate, had an extensive collection of farm toys.

MEDINA – The late Lee Roberts was a busy local farmer, but he also made time to play.

Roberts, whose memory will be honored by the Medina FFA with a toy show on Saturday at Medina High School, was also an avid collector of farm toys and tractors. A room in his house was devoted entirely to his collection.

Saturday’s event, planned by Medina FFA adviser Todd Eick, will include vendors, displays and more.

The day will begin with a pancake breakfast in the high school cafeteria from 7 to 11 a.m. The cost of $5 will include admission to the toy show, which will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Without breakfast, admission to the toy show is $3.

Other events of the day include a free antique truck and tractor show in the high school parking lot, along with a Medina Canal Village Farm Market sample tent from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tickets will be available for a basket raffle and drawing for a John Deere Fire Truck pedal car provided by the Medina FFA and FFA Alumni. Tickets on the pedal car are $5 and anyone who buys a ticket and brings the stub to the toy show will received $1 off admission. The pedal car is brand new and comes with the original box and a custom made display case. Drawings will take place at 2 p.m.

Also free will be a National Alpaca Days tour at FFA’s model farm on the southwest corner of the school grounds.

Eick plans to make this an annual event.

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ORG will welcome Ronan Tynan for Medina concert on Oct. 5

Photos by Michael Sargent: Irish tenor Ronan Tynan performs at St. Mary’s Church in Medina with accompanist Billy Lewis, during his appearance here in 2016. Tynan was impressed with Medina and has asked to return for another concert. He will be performing at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at the historic church on West Avenue.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 28 September 2019 at 1:15 pm

MEDINA – In 2016, the Orleans Renaissance Group reached out to famed Irish tenor Ronan Tynan to see if he would be interested in performing at St. Mary’s Church in Medina.

He was not only interested then, and performed to a sold-out audience at St. Mary’s Church, but reached out to ORG again about returning this year.

“He genuinely enjoyed his experience in Medina,” said Chris Busch, president of ORG. “Of course we said ‘yes’ to his return. Since we saw him last, he sang at the bedside and funeral of President George H.W. Bush.”

Tynan will again appear at St. Mary’s Church at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5.

Ronan Tynan performed to a sold-out crowd of 650 at St. Mary’s on Sept. 17, 2016.

In a telephone interview this week, Tynan said he was impressed with Medina and looking forward to his return.

“It is a quaint town,” he said.

Tynan is no stranger to Western New York, he said. He used to sing for the Buffalo Sabres when Tom Golisano was owner.

Although he has sung for presidents at their funeral and inauguration; decorated veterans; at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Carnegie Hall and the Washington National Cathedral; and across the National Mall and for popes at the Vatican, Tynan still prides himself on singing music which appeals to audiences of all ages.

His previous appearance at St. Mary’s Church was one of the most incredible events Busch said he has ever witnessed, certainly in Medina.

“He has an amazing presence,” Busch said. “Never have I seen an audience so thrilled and so moved.”

Tynan credits his amazing life to having wonderful parents.

“They always supported and encouraged me,” he said.

Born on a farm in County Kilkenny, Ireland, Tynan was born with lower leg deformities. Despite this, his parents never let his disability stand in his way. He attended an all-boys school and vigorously competed in athletic activities. A motorcycle accident at the age of 21 resulted in both his legs being amputated below the knee. Out of this tragedy came triumph, as Tynan went on to compete as a double amputee and win 18 gold medals and set 14 world records in the Paralympics Games from 1981 to 1984.

Then, Tynan decided to study medicine and became a medical doctor, specializing in orthopedic sports medicine. By the time he pondered singing, his life was already one of incredible accomplishment. He was 30 years old in 1993 and in his fifth year of medical school when he began to study voice.

By 1998 he had established himself as an award-winning tenor and joined Irish tenors Anthony Kearns and Finbar Wright. They went on to legendary fame across the globe. He left the group after six years and began his now legendary solo career.

In addition to thrilling sold-out audiences with his incredible voice, Tynan is one of the most sought after motivational speakers in the United States.

“We have amassed a very credible track record with serious artists over the years, including some world-class artists, such as Anonymous 4 and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra,” Busch said. “We’ve also hosted the Genesee Symphony Orchestra, Genesee Chorale (whose director is Ric Jones of Medina), Fredonia Trombone Choir, BPO Brass, Greycliffe String Quartet and Buffalo Tango Orkestra. We’re quite proud of the talent we’ve brought to Medina, and apparently, Dr. Tynan felt we were credible, as well.”

The 2016 concert by Tynan was an idea of Timothy Cooper, local funeral director, whose Irish family heritage and love of Ireland are well known in Medina.

“Tim travels there often, and once wondered aloud to me if ORG thought Tynan might entertain at an event here,” Busch said. “So we reached out and he accepted. Tim was thrilled when he learned the great tenor had said yes, and generously helped sponsor the event.”

“I always remember my parents talking about Bill McGrath, a Medina native who became a great tenor,” Cooper said. “It left an impression. It’s not often you have talent like that in Medina. Ronan’s is an amazing story, how he became disabled yet went on to become a doctor.”

Busch said Tynan would be a hit anywhere he performs.

“But think about it – to have one of the world’s great tenors perform in the soaring beauty of St. Mary’s Church, an old Irish parish,” Busch said. “How could an event such as that be anything else but an epic, world-class event. To have our small town and parish host a voice, not once, but twice, which has performed for popes and presidents is quite remarkable and an endorsement to our little village. Not since the heyday of Bent’s Opera House has talent of such international renown come to Medina.

Tickets are available online at, or at the door if not sold out.

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Medina hosting many events this weekend

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 September 2019 at 8:38 am

Busy schedule includes Homecoming, Mud Run, Walk to End Alzheimer’s, PLAY/GROUND, and event at Colonnade

Provided photo: A Chinese Dragon Dance will be part of a concert from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Colonnade, 229 West Center St. The World Life Institute and the Voice Gavel Club of Toronto are hosting the event.

MEDINA – It will be a busy weekend in Medina. Although the popular Ale and Autumn has been cancelled for Saturday, there are still many community events are on the schedule.

• Today, Medina concludes a busy homecoming week with an afternoon pep rally at Vet’s Park. Click here to see the schedule.

• The former Medina High School is hosting a three-day art show and cultural event, beginning this evening. PLAY/GROUND returns for a second year with 34 art installations at the school, 324 Catherine Street.

The activities today at the school with a preview party from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. The party includes theatrical performances, and a variety of food and drinks. PLAY/GROUND continues Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day with family friendly activities in the former gymnasium and live music curated and presented by Revolution Gallery. For more information, click here.

• Saturday morning Medina hosts the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, with a ceremony starting at 10 a.m. at State Street Park, 343 East Center St.

The walk gets underway by 10:10 a.m. About 250 people are expected to attend, most wearing purple or special T-shirts that designate a family or corporate team. Each participant gets a nylon pinwheel flower and generally chooses a color that represents why they are walking.

• The Orleans County YMCA will have a 5K Mud Run on Saturday with 15 obstacles that begins at 10 a.m. at the Sacred Heart Club. The race continues to Gallagher’s Farm, the towpath and concludes at the Sacred Heart Club.

Registration is at the Orleans County YMCA on Pearl Street. Click here for more information.

• The annual Cobblestone Tour of Homes also is Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A bus for the tour is full but self-drive tours are available.

The 10-site tour includes two stops in the Medina. Click here for more information.

• The World Life Institute is teaming with the Voice Gavel Club in Toronto for the fourth annual “Leaves of September” concert, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Colonnade, 229 West Center St.

The Voice Gavel Club is a youth leadership program, and an affiliation of Toastmasters International. Those students will perform with local musicians.

The concert is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the sophisticated sounds of the Er-hu, Pipa, Piano, Cello, Flute, and traditional guitar, as the concert ends with a thematic composition of poetry and song. The Toastmaster’s Gavel Club will be accompanied by international musicians from Toronto to Medina, and for the first time ever, bringing you the artistic performance of the traditional Chinese Dragon Dance.

For information about tickets, click here.

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Medina native thrilled to win $1 million prize in NY’s renewable energy contest

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 26 September 2019 at 6:19 pm

Provided photos: Medina native Colin Huwyler, center, accepts a $1 million check from Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul Wednesday at Binghamton University. Huwyler, who founded Optimus Technologies in Pittsburgh, was announced as the winner of NYSERDA’s 76West Clean Energy competition. From left are Southern Tier Regional Economic Council co-chair and president of Binghamton University, Harvey Stenger; Hochul; Huwyler; New York State Energy Research and Development Authority president and CEO, Alicia Barton; and Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director of Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development.

BINGHAMTON – When Colin Huwyler got the call to be in Binghamton this week, he was hoping, but definitely not expecting to be named the winner of NYSERDA’s 76West Clean Energy competition.

When the awards were announced Wednesday at Binghamton University, Huwyler, however, was the winner of the $1 million first prize.

“I can’t even comprehend a million dollars,” said Huwyler’s mother Bobbi Huwyler of Medina, after learning of her son’s honor. “He knew he had won something, but he is very humble and was happy just to be one of the six finalists.”

Huwyler became interested in clean energy while still in Medina High School. His first endeavor while still a teenager was to purchase a diesel car and convert it to burn used salad oil.

He went on to found Optimus Technologies, which today is recognized as a leader in the field of designing and manufacturing biodiesel fuel systems for medium- and heavy-duty diesel trucks, enabling them to operate on up to 100 percent biodiesel, thereby reducing fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80 percent.

Medina native Colin Huwyler is interviewed Wednesday by television crews in Binghamton after he was announced as the top winner of $1 million in NYSERDA’s 76West Clean Energy Competition. More than 160 companies worldwide entered the competition, which was narrowed to six finalists.

With his million dollar prize money, Huwyer plans to establish a company in the Binghamton/Ithaca area. He will be focusing his attention in the coming months on leasing a facility and setting up a growth plan for the Southern Tier region. He said his first hires will be in manufacturing, followed by engineers and technicians.

He expects to be operational in the Southern Tier by early 2020.

“This award will definitely have an impact on my business,” Huwyler said. “I am really excited to be working with NYSERDA. They are putting New York state at the forefront of renewable energy and clean technology. Hopefully, other states will take notice.”

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Medina considers social media policy for village government

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 September 2019 at 12:52 pm

MEDINA – The Medina Village Board wants to have a Facebook page for the village government but first will develop a policy for what type of news and events will be shared, and if comments will be allowed.

If comments are allowed and some seem like personal attacks or uncalled for criticism, the Village Board will consider whether there will be a threshold for removing those comments.

“I question the removal of negative comments,” said Trustee Owen Toale.

He said he is often shocked at how nasty and mean-spirited people can be on Facebook. He worries about that on an official village social media page.

The Medina Fire Department and Police Department each have their own Facebook pages.

“They get tons of positive comments,” said Mayor Mike Sidari.

He wanted the village to check if negative comments can be allowed or if that is considered a form of censorship.

Todd Bensley, a village trustee, said the village should either have a Facebook page that doesn’t allow comments, or allow them all – including all of the negative comments. He thinks deleting comments would be considered censorship by the community.

The board said it will continue to look at options. It wants to use social media to help get information out about the village government.

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