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Medina’s Farm to Table dinner showcases local restaurants, vibrant downtown

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 August 2019 at 8:21 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Downtown Medina hosted the fourth annual Farm to Table Dinner on Thursday evening with about 225 enjoying a six-course, gourmet meal prepared by local restaurants.

Organizers fretted earlier in the day when thunderstorms passed through, but made the decision to keep the dinner on a closed-off section of Main Street.

The event is hosted by the Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc., as part of the annual activities of the Canal Village Farmers’ Market, a Medina enterprise also sponsored by ORG.

Michael Zambito, owner of Zambistro, helps serve beef and lamb kefta prepared by Sourced Market & Eatery. Chefs from several restaurants work together on the meal, Besides Zambistro and Sourced, chefs and staff from Bent’s Opera House, Mile 303, Mariachi De Oro and the Shirt Factory worked on the dinner.

The dinner draws people from Western New York, and includes many business and community leaders from Medina who welcome the chance to connect at event.

Tickets for the dinner went on sale July 8 for $125 each and sold out within 15 minutes.

Sourced Market & Eatery prepared “Mesopotamia on Main Street” which featured beef and lamb kefta, garden smoked tabouli, red currant and sumac vinaigrette.

Medina held its first Farm to Table dinner event on Aug. 4, 2016. There were 137 people at that dinner, a fine dining experience featuring locally grown food and wine.

The event delivers an exquisite, six-course, gourmet meal in Medina’s historic downtown.

The dinner also provides an opportunity to experience how local chefs capitalize on Orleans County’s number one industry: agriculture.

Jonathan Oakes of Leonard Oakes Estate Winery in Medina serves a drink with smoked peaches created by 810 Meadworks and the Shirt Factory.

Ashley Adams, a waitress with Zambistro, is a blur trying to keep pace with serving the dishes and returning plates when people were finished.

The dinner includes a souvenir glass.

ORG’s next big event is an Oct. 5 concert at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Medina featuring tenor Ronan Tynan.

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Medina’s school tax rate drops by 89 cents

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 August 2019 at 4:31 pm

MEDINA – The Medina Board of Education last week set the tax rates for the 2019-20 year. Th $20.23 rat is down 89 cents from the 2018-19 school year.

The district has a $40,284,425 budget for the 2019-20 school year, including a tax levy of $8,641,861, the same as 2018-19. This is the eighth consecutive year Medina has either reduced taxes or held them in check, and the 11th out of the past 12 years.

Although the tax levy is the same, the rate will go down due to a rising assessed value in the district.

Lee-Whedon Memorial Library which sets its budget separately from the school district, has a rate of $1.28, down a penny.

Ridgeway, which is at 0.94 equalization, will have a rate of $21.52 and $1.36 for the Lee-Whedon Memorial Library. Shelby, which is at 0.98 equalization rate, has a school tax rate of $20.64 and $1.30 for the library, said Mark Kruzynski, the district superintendent.

Barre and Albion are at 1.00 equalization rates.

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Zambito Realty expands, opens new office in Medina

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 5 August 2019 at 8:29 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Rita Zambito and her son Mark Zambito recently opened a new real estate office on Maple Ridge Road, Medina, where they have planned a grand opening from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 15. They also opened an office July 1 in Wrights Corners.

MEDINA – Being a business owner is a drive Rita Zambito has passed down to her children – Mike, with whom she is a 50-50 partner in Zambisto’s Restaurant on Main Street, and Mark, her partner in Zambito Realty.

Rita admits her launch into real estate wasn’t an easy one.

Zambito was born and raised in Elba, the daughter of a muck farmer. She studied accounting at Genesee Community College and management at Roberts Wesleyan College.

Then came marriage and three children, but after a divorce, she found herself a single mom who had to make a living.

“I went to work at Stovroff-Potter, and I worked my butt off,” Zambito said.

After that she worked for Woodroe Realty for three years while Mark, her youngest son, was in college.

In December 2006, the same year she and Mike opened Zambisto’s Restaurant in Medina, Rita decided to open her own real estate office. With Mark as her partner and four agents, Zambito Realty opened on North Main Street.

“Then the market hit the fan,” Rita said. “And we were competing with five real estate agencies in town.”

“The banks started getting very strict with lending money and the real estate market hit bottom,” Mark said.

Two things helped them survive, Rita said.

One was the fact Mark was a marketing major, and real estate was all he knew. He grew up following his mother on calls and paid his way through college doing market evaluations on properties for banks.

The second reason is their willingness to help people build their credit so they could get financing to buy a house.

“Those first-time buyers that you work with and help are the ones who stick with you and are your best advertisers,” Mark said.

This is the new home of Zambito Realtors at 11228 Maple Ridge Rd. The company was recently rated eighth in Western New York out of more than 200 realtors.

Zambito Realty began to grow after several new agents joined the company, including Linda Froman.

When another agency closed in town, several of their agents came to work for Zambito.

Slowly they expanded into Niagara County, Buffalo and Rochester.

“Being from the country we knew how to deal with country people,” Rita said. “We built ourselves on the rural area. We don’t like the hard sell, and we don’t like to be pushed.”

She said there were times buyers were so hard to come by they just befriended people, hoping they would eventually become a customer.

“That philosophy definitely paid off,” Rita said. “It’s not the quick way to make a sale, but it’s the right way.”

She said selling real estate is basically just helping people.

“Everyone has their own doctor and dentist,” she said. “We want to be their realtor. We are there to help with any real estate issue.”

On Jan. 1, Zambito Realty began the move to a new modern office at 11228 Maple Ridge Rd., formerly Verelli’s Used Car Lot.

They will celebrate their move with a grand opening from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 15. Son Mike will provide food and refreshments from Zambistro’s.

With a growing number of agents from Niagara County and the Buffalo area, Zambito Realty opened a second real estate office on July 1 in Wrights Corners.

Zambito Realty is proud to announce they have been ranked 8th in Western New York among more than 200 agencies. They did more than 400 transactions last year, Rita said.

While being a business owner takes a lot of work and commitment, the Zambitos wouldn’t have it any other way.

“You can only make a limited amount of money when you work for someone else,” Rita said.

“At the end of the day you go home thinking of what else you can do,” Mark said.

“Your work is never done,” his mother said. “You go to bed thinking about what you have to do.”

Rita also has a daughter Mandy Gotham, who has two children. She lives in Orchard Park and owns a consulting business.

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Notable Neighbors: Volunteers make a big difference at Medina Memorial Hospital

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 4 August 2019 at 4:17 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Mary Williams (left),  vice president of human resources at Orleans Community Health, chats with Ann Ortwein, one of dozens of volunteers who help at Medina Memorial Hospital.

MEDINA – Without volunteers, Mary Williams’ job might not run so smoothly.

Williams is vice president of human resources at Orleans Community Health, and a big part of her job is overseeing dozens of hospital volunteers and general volunteers who perform various duties throughout Medina Memorial Hospital.

Volunteers do many activities with residents in the North Wing, such as polish their nails, do Bingo or just interact with the residents.

One volunteer helps in the pharmacy and several others are patient advocates.

“As an advocate, they go around in a ‘folksy’ way and ask if there are any issues the patient wants to talk about,” Williams said. “Or they might just ask how the food is.”

Volunteers from the Association of Twigs have dwindled, but they still perform an invaluable service, registering out-patients and monitoring the waiting room. A Twig volunteer also sits at the reception desk to register visitors and direct them where they need to go.

Volunteers transport people from surgery or from the floor to physical therapy, or to the door if they’ve been discharged. In order for a volunteer to move a patient, however, that patient must be able to move themselves, or a nurse performs the action.

One student volunteer is going to nursing school and is volunteering for the summer.

Volunteer opportunities at the hospital are many and varied, Williams said. There are opportunities for older individuals who may be looking for something to fill their time or a way to get out and meet people. Younger volunteers, such as anyone considering a career in nursing, can shadow our employees to see if that is what they really want to do.

The hospital has a new van to transport North Wing residents on outings, and volunteers are sometimes needed for that.

Williams’ job also includes interviewing potential volunteers.

“After I talk to a new volunteer, I first talk with managers to make sure they are willing to supervise a volunteer,” Williams said.

Mary Williams stands by a painting she did, which hangs in her office. A big part of her job is overseeing dozens of volunteers who help at the hospital.

Then, if a volunteer is qualified, Williams explains about infection control and patient confidentiality.

“I don’t want to turn any volunteer away,” Williams said. “I try and find a suitable place for everyone who wants to volunteer.”

Williams said volunteers’ worth is immeasurable, not only in terms of services provided, but in dollars saved by the hospital.

“Anyone with a mission to serve can be a volunteer,” she said. “It’s so much better for everybody when we have volunteers.”

Anyone interested in volunteering can call Williams at 798-8148.

Williams said she has been at Medina Memorial Hospital “a long, long time.”

“I was a kid off the farm when I entered nursing school,” she said. “I wanted to be a volunteer then. I got to be a professional student. I became a certified nurses’ assistant, a licensed practical nurse and then a registered nurse.”

She became a supervisor, worked in intensive care and the emergency room, then decided she wanted to be in administration. She earned her master’s degree in health care administration and was manager of nursing for a while.

“I’m grateful to the hospital for giving me all those opportunities,” Williams said. “Some day, I’ll retire, and then I’ll become a volunteer.”

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Medina welcomes nearly 200 cyclists on ride from NYC to Niagara Falls

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 3 August 2019 at 8:22 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf

MEDINA – A group of bikers on the Empire State Ride posed by the Erie Canal at State Street Park this morning during the last leg of their more than 500-mile ride from New York City to Niagara Falls.

Jim Hancock, left, chair of the Medina Tourism Committee, talks with biker Claudia Gray of Buffalo, one of 178 riders on the Empire State Ride who enjoyed lunch and refreshments in State Street Park this morning. The bikers planned to complete their more than 500-mile journey early this evening in Niagara Falls, where there will be a parade and festivities to celebrate their achievement.

Steve Mars of Long Island and Maria Thor of Springbrook took time for a picture in State Street Park before embarking on the last leg of their ride from New York City to Niagara Falls. Thor is the top money raiser of the nearly 200 riders, with pledges of more than $22,000. The ride raised more than $1 million for Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.

Bill Sheff of Lancaster, right, waits for a new tire to be put on his bike, after getting a flat as he rode into State Street Park. Jan Bent, left, and Ken Nawrocki of Rochester were the mechanics who accompanied the nearly 200 riders from New York City to Niagara Falls on the ride to benefit Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

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200 cyclists stopping in Medina on Saturday

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 2 August 2019 at 7:59 am

MEDINA – More than 200 bicyclists will stop in Medina on Saturday during their last leg of the 2019 Empire State Cyclists.

This is the fifth year for the ride from New York City to Niagara Falls to benefit Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Medina Tourism Committee chairman Jim Hancock is urging Medina residents to come to State Street Park between 10 a.m. and noon and extend a warm Medina welcome to the cyclists, who will be having lunch in the park. Tourism volunteers will help set up areas for the cyclists to eat.

Every year, participation in the ride grows, said Sue Moessinger of Cumberland, Md., a staff member and rider. She said riders average 70 miles per day. The ride started July 28 in New York City and will conclude on Saturday in Niagara Falls, where they have a police escort into the city, followed by a big celebration there.

Another staff member, Jessica Stankiewicz of Niagara Falls, said riders participating not only come from other states, but Hawaii and Canada.

Each rider must secure donations of at least $3,500 for Roswell in order to participate.

Stankiewicz said they always look forward to their stop in Medina because of the great park and quaint Medina area.

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Medina committee identifies 18 projects to better utilize waterfront

Photos by Tom Rivers: Samantha Herberger, a planner with Bergmann Associates in Rochester, goes over projects identified by the Medina Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, including more docks for motor boats and launches for kayaks. She is speaking at a meeting Wednesday evening at the Medina United Methodist Church.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 August 2019 at 5:37 pm

The committee would like to see a pedestrian bridge across Glenwood Lake, from Boxwood Cemetery to near Gulf Street Park.

MEDINA – A committee working on a plan to better utilize Medina’s waterfront has identified 18 projects that would better capitalize land near the canal, Oak Orchard Creek and Glenwood Lake for economic development, tourism, recreational and residential development.

The Medina Local Waterfront Revitalization Program has been meeting for the past year to discuss ways to bolster the waterfront areas in the village. The group has worked with consultant Bergmann Associates in Rochester for a community survey and other public outreach.

The group has identified 18 projects in three categories – trail networks, community use of public land, and private investment:

• Streetscape improvements – Adding more crosswalks, benches and ways to make the downtown area more walkable.

• Wayfinding signs would direct people to sites and services in the community. The signs should be cohesive in their design and should note public parking.

• Gateway signage at the four main entrances leading into Medina.

• Façade improvements on the back sides of the buildings facing the Erie Canal. That could include awnings, benches, tables and chairs, which would make the sites more appealing.

• Trail enhancements – improve the surfaces that are in disrepair and fill other gaps so trails are continuous. Add signs to point people to services and tourism sites. Add benches and seating opportunities.

• Trailhead improvements especially at Bates Road trail which is on state-owned land.

The back side of buildings facing the canal in the Canal Basin could be more appealing with awnings, façade improvements, more landscaping and benches, as shown in this rendering by Bergmann.

• Gulf Street Park is currently underutilized. The site could use parking, sidewalks and a clear entrance. The park needs recreational opportunities, which could include a pickle ball court and soccer field.

• Pedestrian bridge over Glenwood Lake that would connect Boxwood Cemetery trail to Gulf Street Park. The bridge could also have a kayak launch nearby.

• Canal Basin Park – remove current retaining wall to create slope to water which would then have natural amphitheater seating, add more greenspace, improve parking, create an alleyway at back of buildings that connects to trailways.

Putting lights on the Glenwood Avenue canal bridge would draw more attention to these structures that are more than a century old.

• Butts Park is highly visible and accessible on Route 31. The committee recommends a new skate park, improved ball fields, a concession stand, better parking areas, and a trail and pedestrian bridge over Oak Orchard Creek from the park to the neighborhood on other side of creek.

• State Street Park has the benefit of being close to the downtown and is next to the canal. A new bandstand recently was completed at the park. The committee would like to see State Street Park become a year-round destination with an ice skating rink and a cohesive trail that connects to Laurel Street on the other side of the canal.

• Medina Falls Access Improvements – currently there is limited access and many people take a chance using an unsafe ladder to get near the falls. The committee would like to see an overlook that extends from the towpath to the falls. The project would need Canal Corp. approval and more analysis.

• Lions Park enhancements – This park on the northern side of the canal would benefit from trail enhancements, an improved towpath with lighting and benches. The committee also suggests a fitness trail at the park. The committee also would like to see lighting on the canal bridges at night.

A large municipal lot off East Center Street should be redone with more trees and an improved layout.

• Downtown public parking with more planters and greenspace to make the area more inviting.

• Pedestrian connections on Orient Street, East Center Street and from Medina Railroad Museum to downtown. That could include better sidewalks and patio seating in some locations.

• Boater amenities at State Street Park and Lions Park including tie-ups for motor boats and kayak launches.

• Private investments with tourism and hospitality development, including glamping (glamorous camping) and more camp sites so visitors would stay longer in the community.

• Mixed use development along canal with the current building used by Snappy Co. on Commercial Street. Snappy is looking to relocate. Its building could be converted into a site with retail shopping and residential apartments upstairs, with a boat launch on the canal.

• Residential development with the vacant space north of the canal along Ryan Street. This site is the area of the first Medina Sandstone quarry and also the former Sweet Ironworks. One of the Sweet buildings remains on site and could be used for a farmers’ market or gathering space. There is lots of room of site for new housing opportunities.

The committee picked projects to capitalize on Glenwood Lake.

The committee for the Medina Local Waterfront Revitalization Program will be submitting a draft of the plan for the state to review. It also needs a final local approval.

The document can be used to help Medina secure grant funding from the state for some of the projects.

Medina Mayor Mike Sidari thanked the committee members, Bergmann and residents who participated in the project. He said it gives Medina a good blueprint for the future.

“Just remember it’s a marathon and not a sprint,” he said.

Kathy Blackburn served as the committee chairwoman.

“We’re very excited about all of the projects,” she said.

Many of the projects are in the downtown area, Canal Basin, State Street Park and near the waterfalls.

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Axe throwing comes to Medina at 810 Meadworks

Photos by Tom Rivers: Josh Cogovan of Middleport, left, and Tim Elliott of Medina throw axes during an open house on Sunday at 810 Axes, a new indoor axe throwing facility at 810 Meadworks. 810 Axes will start leagues in September.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 July 2019 at 8:38 am

MEDINA – A local business is tapping into a hot trend by opening an indoor axe throwing facility. 810 Meadworks had an open house on Sunday where people were welcome to try out 810 Axes.

Indoor axe throwing has become very popular at bars throughout the country. 810 Axes will be forming leagues in September and also welcomes people to give it a try.

“We thought it would be a fun thing to do in Medina,” said Tim Elliott, the axe range manager for 810 Meadworks.

Tim Elliott, left, and Josh Cogovan are focused on the target as they compete in axe throwing.

Elliott helped Bryan and Larissa DeGraw, owners of 810 Meadworks, turn a back room at 810 Meadworks into the axe throwing range. The site at 113 West Center St. is next to the Beegarten, 810’s performing arts venue that hosts concerts most Saturday evenings.

810 put in two lanes for axe throwing. Each lane has two boards with a bullseye worth 5 points. Other close throws are worth 1 to 4 points, depending on how close they are to the bullseye.

They also put a metal roof on the area and added fencing in each lane. Elliott said safety is a top priority for participants.

Orleans Hub editor Tom Rivers gave axe throwing a try on Sunday and took a few throws before getting close to the bullseye.

810 made the lanes to meet the rules for the World Axe Throwing League.

Participants need to stand 12 feet away. The center of the bullseye is 5 feet up from the ground.

Josh Cogovan, 37, of Middleport tried axe throwing on Sunday and was sticking bullseye after a few throws. He can see why people like the activity.

“It’s something different,” he said. It’s user-friendly. Just about anyone can do it.”

Mary Dooley of Waterport, a former nationally ranked lumberjack and axe thrower, met with the public on Sunday at 810 Axes to talk about the sport. 810 Axes is different from her competitions, where there is a longer distance to throw and it is based outdoors. Dooley competed in ESPN’s “Outdoor Games.” She holds six world records and is a two-time women’s overall champion.

She liked the energy at 810 Axes on Sunday.

“It’s an amazing thing,” Dooley said watching the young adults give axe throwing a try. “This new generation is more extreme and adventurous.”

She praised the DeGraws and Elliott for developing the facility in Medina and for wanting to bring a popular pastime to Medina.

“Why not be on that edge where it is new and exciting?” Dooley said. “You don’t have to be athletic to do it.”

When someone hits the bullseye, 810 Axes rings a bell.

810 Axes will soon have league signups available on the 810 Meadworks website. The axe throwing is a new addition to the meadery which is celebrating its five-year anniversary next month.

Teams for the leagues will require four people and must be co-ed with at least one woman. The cost is $20 per person for about an hour of axe-throwing to be in the league. The matches in the league consists of three sets of five throws for each team member. The most points a participant can get in one set is 25 (5 points each for five bullseyes).

The winner of each set during league play will get a free drink from 810 Meadworks. Elliott said there will be other pop-up tournaments and chances for the public to play.

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Notable Neighbor: Medina native found careers in Air Force, aviation

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Donna Graves of Knowlesville holds a photo of herself in her Air Force uniform. After retiring from the Air Force, she has accepted a job as systems accountant with the U.S. Army Central Command, which is responsible for all of the Middle East activities.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 24 July 2019 at 12:46 pm

MEDINA – After graduating from Medina High School in 1974, Donna Graves sat around a year, wondering what to do.

Out of the blue, she decided to join the Navy, but the day she went to the recruiting office, they hadn’t come back from lunch, but the Air Force recruiter was there and said, “You don’t want to join the Navy.”

This picture from the 1950s is the gas station formerly owned by Donna Graves’ parents, George and Gertrude Williams. It hangs on the wall of Rudy’s Restaurant on West Center Street in Medina, where the Sinclair Station was located.

So even though she had never seen an airplane up close, she joined the Air Force.

She grew up in Medina, a daughter of George and Gertrude Williams. The Williams were well known in Medina as owners of the Sinclair Station on West Center Street, now Rudy’s Restaurant.

Graves left Medina in January 1976 for Lackland Air Force Base, where she did her basic training. She completed four years in the Air Force.

After retiring from the military, Graves took a job as a budget analyst for the government, working in England. There, she met her first husband, an American military man. After they divorced, she married a man who worked for General Colin Powell in Georgia.

When both bases in Georgia were closed, Graves went to work for Delta as an international customer service agent out of Atlanta. She was working with Delta when 9-11 occurred, she said.

Graves was 52 when Delta was trying to downsize and offered her a package “I couldn’t resist,” she said. “I still had a few years until I could get my pension from the government, so I put my name out to the whole world and got a Civil Service job with the Air Force.”

She was sent to Elmandorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, where she worked as a budget analyst for three years, until she was transferred to Leavenworth.

Donna Graves, a Medina native, has always had an interest in aviation. Here, she holds a picture of a World War II-era plane whose owner uses it as a crop duster.

“I retired for the second time from there,” she said.

Her career path has always thrust her toward aviation. While she was working for Delta, she met a Georgia cropduster, who let her ride with him for two years in his Stearman.

“That was my first time in a small plane, and I learned a lot about radial engines,” Graves said.

She said Delta Airlines actually started as a crop services company called Delta Air Service.

When she came home after her second retirement to attend a funeral of a co-worker, she met the owner of Rochester Air Center. He runs a flight school and told her, “You’re always talking about airplanes, why don’t you come and volunteer at the Rochester Air Center.”

She did, and that probably influenced her to pursue and received her student pilot’s certificate.

Graves’ retirement was short-lived.

After returning to Medina, she was contacted in the spring by the government and offered a job with the U.S. Army Central Command as a systems accountant. USARCCENT, which is responsible for all of the Middle East activities, is known as “Patton’s Third Army.” She is working with the Third Army and many World War II veterans marched through Europe with General George Patton. Graves ex-father-in law was one of them.

Medina native Donna Graves has this envelope in which the widow of General George Patton sent a letter to Graves’ ex-father-in-law after the general’s death in December 1945. Charles Graves served with Patton and marched through Europe with the Third Army during World War II.

“After General Patton died in December 1945, my father-in-law wrote a letter to his widow Beatrice Patton about his passing,” Graves said. “She wrote a wonderful letter back to him and I have a photo of the envelope. I am not sharing the letter, which is beautiful, because I want to respect my ex-husband’s family. The stamp on the letter is sideways, which meant ‘friendship, thinking of you.’ It means so much to me that I even have the envelope, and now I work here where his portraits and memorabilia are housed.”

“I share my birthday with General Patton on Nov. 11,” Graves said.

When Graves, now 62, was hired it was for a six-month deal, she said. She left Medina in June to begin her new job in Georgia in a federal budget contracting position supporting operations in Kuwait. When she arrived, she learned her company had won a contract for an additional five years. She is now being transferred to South Carolina, but will come home at the end of the month to attend her 45th high school reunion and close her apartment.

“I need to work a few more years while I’m able to do so, and this will put me in a good position to buy a house when I’m ready to retire – for the third time,” she said.

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Herbalty Cottage in Medina adds Himalayan salt room

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Bonnie Heck, owner of Herbalty Cottage in Medina, holds a Himalayan salt lamp, which she sells in her store. She recently added a Himalayan salt room to her line of services.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 24 July 2019 at 11:28 am

MEDINA – A unique business in Medina with a goal to provide peace and hope to those who walk through the door has opened a Himalayan salt room.

Bonnie Heck started Herbalty Cottage at 415 Main St. in 2015, after finding inspiration for the business following an automobile accident.

Her path of purified eating actually began back when her mother started an herb garden.

“I know traditional medications don’t always work and often leave side effects,” Heck said.

She was a piano teacher for 19 years, but after sustaining serious injuries in an automobile accident, she required treatment by a chiropractor. She eventually went to work for the chiropractor.

“I used to see patients come in for treatment and saw how small changes they made were improving their health,” Heck said. “But people had to travel to the city for many services and not all could do that.”

Heck decided to become a certified herbalist, a decision she doesn’t regret.

When she talks about the benefits of herbal remedies, she is talking from experience.

Several years ago, she was slicing vegetables on her mandolin when she slipped and cut off the end of her finger. Her husband immediately wanted to take her to the emergency room, but instead she made a list and sent him to her store. She made up a mixture of herbs and began drinking them daily, after securely bandaging her finger back on with gauze and tape.

“In a few days, I could see the finger was beginning to re-attach itself,” Heck said.

Now she extends her finger for anyone to see, pointing out there is barely a scar.

Herbalty Cottage at 415 Main St., Medina, recently opened this Himalayan salt room, in which 45 minutes results in the same health benefits as three days by the sea.

The Himalayan salt room is her latest addition of services.

Herbalty Cottage already offered Far Infrared saunas with light therapy, nutrition and wellness consultations and interactive wellness classes. Her daughter Lindsay is a certified reflexologist and performs reflexology, an ancient practice which helps professionals determine health and wellness of clients by working the hands and feet.

“By massaging the hands or feet and working the vita-flex points, a reflexologist can determine what is going on with every system and organ in your body,” Heck said.

Herbalty Cottage carries a full line of purely organic herbs, teas, gourmet olive oils, balsamic vinegars, essential oils and body butters, soaps and scrubs, in addition to the Himalayan salt products, which Heck imports from Pakistan.

The salt comes from rock mined near the foothills of the Himalayas, and some people say it is one of the purest salts available. Himalayan salt has 84 percent of trace minerals, which everyone is lacking in, Heck said. It is not only used like regular salt for cooking, but is used in bath salts, which claim to improve skin conditions and soothe sore muscles.

Heck carries salt lamps, which she claims remove air pollutants and relieve asthma, allergies, sinus and COPD.

“No matter how you use our products – whether eating, drinking or breathing them, it is going to help in some way,” Heck said.

She is excited about the Himalayan salt room. A 45-minute session in the salt room brings the same benefits as being on the beach for three days, Heck said.

“It brings peace and relieves depression,” she said.

Heck said Medina is a wonderful community in which to do business.

“The businesses are amazing and everyone works well together,” she said.

Herbalty Cottage is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Extended hours are available on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for the salt room.

For more information or to book sauna or salt room appointments, call 798-5800.

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