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Composer from Shelby takes 1st in national competition

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 22 January 2019 at 7:40 am

Provided photo: Composer Steve Shewan of West Shelby recently won two national choral composition contests. Most recently, he flew to Minneapolis for the “Vocal Essence” premiere of his The Little Cradle Rocks Tonight.

WEST SHELBY – With a father who directed the Roberts Wesleyan Chorale for more than 30 years and his mother who conducted children’s choirs, Stephen Shewan comes by his musical talent naturally.

His father Robert once conducted the Orleans All-County Choir in Lyndonville, Shewan said.

His brother Paul is currently conductor of the Roberts Wesleyan Band and Choir and plays trumpet in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

“Music is a family trade,” Shewan said. “My whole life I knew I was going to do something with music.”

Shewan, who grew up in the Rochester area and now lives in West Shelby, got his bachelor of science in music education at Roberts Wesleyan, his master’s at Ithaca College with an emphasis in French horn and piano and a doctorate in composition at the Eastman School of Music. He is honored to recently win several prestigious awards for his chorale compositions.

One award was the 2018 first-place winner of the Edwin Fissinger Choral Composition at North Dakota State University’s Challey School of Music. The competition honors the legacy and traditions of noted choral composer and longtime NDSU choral conductor Edwin Fissinger.

Shewan won the award for his composition of “Mother Goose Gems” set to music.

He was inspired for the piece from a book of nursery rhymes he picked up at the Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in Medina.

“I wrote the six short movements for my mom, who was an elementary choral director,” Shewan said about his mother, who passed away in 2007.

On Dec. 1, Shewan flew to Minneapolis for the “Vocal Essence” premiere of The Little Cradle Rocks Tonight. In March he will travel to North Dakota to hear the North Dakota State University perform Mother Goose Gems, which will be published by Pavane Music Company as part of the Jo Ann Miller Choral Series.

Another of Shewan’s choral pieces, Silent Night, won the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay’s 2016 Christmas Carol Contest.

“I write a lot of Christmas music,” Shewan said.

The Genesee Chorale, under the direction of Ric Jones of Medina, has performed one of his pieces. Shewan just finished a piece for wind ensemble which premiered a week ago by the Williamsville East Wind Ensemble.

Shewan has also composed music for orchestra, string quartet, chamber ensembles, symphonic band, solo voice, choir and piano. His music has been performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Eastman Wind Ensemble, U.S. Army Strings, Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, Vrije Univeriteit Amsterdam Choir and numerous other musical groups across the United States, Europe and Australia.

His music has been broadcast on more than 200 radio stations in America.

Shewan continues to teach in Williamsville and said today’s kids are as nice as any.

“How fortunate I am to get paid to teach these kids a subject I love,” Shewan said.

He added he loves living in the country, having moved with his wife Ruth to the former Jay Brackett home when he got the job at Williamsville.

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Shelby goes tobacco-free at town hall property

Posted 16 January 2019 at 3:07 pm

Provided photo: Shelby Town Supervisor Ed Houseknecht and bookkeeper Miranda Bennett say the decision to declare tobacco-free grounds was to protect the health of all citizens, especially cancer survivors.

Press Release, Tobacco-Free GLOW

SHELBY – Each January, roughly one in three Americans resolve to improve their health in some way. This January, the Town of Shelby made good on a healthy, tobacco-free grounds resolution that will benefit the entire community for 2019 and beyond.

The new law, which was drafted by town bookkeeper, Miranda Bennett, and submitted to the Town Board by recently elected Town Supervisor Ed Houseknecht, prohibits the use of tobacco products on town grounds. Town Board members Kenneth Schaal, Stephen Seitz, William Bacon and Jeff Smith passed the resolution unanimously.

As of Jan. 1, there will be no smoking on the Shelby Town Hall grounds, which also serves at the town court for Shelby and Ridgeway.

The decision to make the grounds smoke-free was simple, according to Houseknecht.

“There are cancer survivors in our community, some awaiting to appear in court and some who are Shelby Town staff, who are required to walk into the doors past smokers,” he said. “Second hand smoke is a risk for these folks. They shouldn’t have to walk through a cloud of smoke to come to work or come in and wait for court.”

For more information on how to make your municipality or business smoke-free, contact Tobacco-Free GLOW at 585-219-4064.

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Shelby Volunteer Fire Company celebrates 70th anniversary

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Dale Watts of Medina swears in members of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company during their 50th installation banquet Saturday night at Shelby Firemen’s Recreation Hall. The Fire Company is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 January 2019 at 9:20 am

Organization honors firefighters, supporters at annual banquet

Fire Chief Andy Benz gets emotional as he presents Hunter Sturtevant with his Chief’s Award at Shelby’s Firemen’s Banquet Saturday night. Sturtevant is the first four-generation member of the 70-year-old fire department.

MEDINA – Shelby Volunteer Fire Company celebrated two milestones at its annual installation banquet Saturday night.

The banquet was the fire company’s 50 annual event and also marked the 70th anniversary of the forming of the fire department.

A special feature was the attendance of Congressman Chris Collins, who presented chief Andy Benz with a certificate commemorating the 70th anniversary. Collins said his support of fire companies goes back a long way, having supported building fire towers for training in Erie County. He also co-sponsored the first firefighters’ cancer registry act, which directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to collect data on cancer incidence among firefighters and launch research into the connection between their work and the disease. It provides for tracing the residue of chemicals a firefighter might encounter while fighting a fire.

Assemblyman Mike Norris said this is the third year he has represented the town of Shelby. He praised volunteer firefighters, saying they save taxpayers $3 to $4 million a year by their service.

Guests were welcomed by fire company president Tim Petry and auxiliary president Patricia Fuller, followed by introduction of special guests by Dale Banker, director of Orleans County Emergency Management.

Fire company officers installed by Dale Watts are chief, Andy Benz; deputy chief, David Moden; assistant chief, Scott Petry; firematic captain, Crystal Luckman; firematic lieutenant, Zach Petry; and EMS captain Jeff Lyons.

Trustees for one year include Marcus Watts; two years, Lee Hellert; and three years, Jason Watts. Executive board members are president, Tim Petry; vice president, Gary Lamar; treasurer, Kirk Myhill; secretary, Serena Blair; sergeant-at-arms, Hunter Sturtevant; chaplain, Phil Keppler; assistant chaplain, Karl Haist Jr.; and steward, Gary Watts.

Congressman Chris Collins presents a certificate to Fire Chief Andy Benz in honor of the fire company’s 70th year. At right is master of ceremonies and longtime member Howard Watts of Medina.

Town Justice Dawn Keppler installed officers of the ladies auxiliary. They are president, Patricia Fuller; vice president, Cindy Robinson; secretary, Robin Watts; sergeant-at-arms, Brianna Wheeler; chaplain, Elaine Watts; three-year trustee, Delores Wolters; two-year trustee, Sharon Wright; and one-year trustee, Rosemary Pray.

Junior firefighters installed by Andy Benz are president, Alex Benz; vice president, Mark Riegle; treasurer, Andrea Benz; secretary, Sydney Watts; and sergeant-at-arms, Jacob Miller.

Dawn Keppler swears in members of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company’s Auxiliary during their annual banquet Saturday.

Fire company president Tim Petry said the fire company is an active and large group, and any one of several members could be eligible for an award.

Tim Petry, president of Shelby Fire Company, chose Marcus Scribner as the Junior Firefighter of the Year.

“Everyone does more than one thing, so I knew after last year’s banquet who I was going to recognize,” Petry said, calling Steve Seitz, Jason Watts, Tim Fearby and Howard Watts, with their wives to the podium. There the men all received plaques and their wives bouquets of roses.

For his Chief’s Award, Andy Benz selected a younger member, who he said is always begging to sign up for training and bugging the chief to allow him to drive the truck.

“He is always challenging older members and is the first four-generation member of Shelby Fire Company,” Benz said, presenting the award to Hunter Sturtevant.

Three members re-certified as EMTs, Joe Kyle, Lori Kyle and Miranda Miller.

EMTs Jeff Lyons, Gary LaMar and Tiffany Petry received medic bags.

Benz reported that Jeff Lyons, Scott Petry and Jason Watts were sent to Ohio for auto extrication training.

Petry chose Marcus Scribner as Junior Firefighter of the Year.

“Since the day he walked into this fire company, he has been an outstanding member,” Petry said.

It is customary for the Junior Firefighters to present a gift to the fire company each year, and this year they chose to donate a search kit for large area searches.

Auxiliary awards were presented by Pat Fuller to Rosemary Pray for 66 years of membership and Shirley Fuller for 62 years.

“We owe them a lot of gratitude,” Pat Fuller said. “They have worked and worked to make us what we are today.”

Fire chief Andy Benz swears in officers of the Shelby Junior Firefighters during their banquet Saturday night.

Fuller also thanked other auxiliary members who work all year long at fundraisers and keeping the kitchen clean. It is customary for the auxiliary to adopt a fireman who lives at the Firemen’s Home on the Hudson, and she encouraged other members to consider adopting a fireman who might not have family and send him cards or little gifts.

The auxiliary each year earns money with various fundraisers, which enables them to give a monetary gift to the fire company in appreciation of all they do for the auxiliary and the community. This year, Fuller presented Petry and Benz with a check for $10,000.

The final award of the evening was Petry’s President’s Award, which he gave to a group he called “Friends of the Fire Company.”

Jeff Lyons, his sister Kim and niece Alexa received the award for Lyons’ help with new fire police equipment.

Shelby Fire Department president Tim Petry chose several active members to receive his President’s Award at the annual installation dinner Saturday night. Honored with plaques were Steve Seitz, Jason Watts, Tim Fearby and Howard Watts, shown here with their wives, who all received bouquets of roses.

Fire Chief Andy Benz, left, presents medic’s bags to EMTs Gary Lamar, Jeff Lyons and Tiffany Petry.

Shelby Ladies Auxiliary president Patricia Fuller presented Shelby Fire Company President Tim Petry, left, and Fire Chief Andy Benz with a check for $10,000 during the annual installation dinner.

Shirley Fuller, left, and Rosemary Pray were recognized at the annual installation dinner for 62 and 66 years of membership, respectively, in Shelby Fire Company Women’s Auxiliary. At left rear is auxiliary president Patricia Fuller.

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Lyons Collision donates traffic signs, traffic cones to Shelby Fire Company

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 January 2019 at 4:18 pm

Provided photo

SHELBY – Representatives from the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company today accepted a donation from Lyons Collision in Medina. Lyons donated new traffic cones and LED stop and slow signs that will be used by the fire police.

“It’s very helpful,” said Tim Petry, president of the Fire Company. “They will help at accident scenes.”

Pictured from left include: Scott Petry and Tim Petry of the Shelby Fire Company, and Kim Patterson and Jeff Lyons of Lyons Collision.

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County planners back addition for Aldi in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 December 2018 at 8:47 am

ALBION – The Aldi grocery store on Maple Ridge Road in Medina is planning a 2,062-square-foot expansion on the front side of the building.

The Orleans County Planning Board on Thursday voted in favor of the site plan for the project at 11248 Maple Ridge Rd. The application goes to the Town of Shelby Planning Board for a final OK.

The store expansion will occur within the existing parking area and sidewalks, and will add more space for groceries and also backroom storage, the company said in its application. The current building is 16,567 square feet.

The company anticipates construction in April-May 2019.

The number of parking spaces will be reduced from 89 to 87, which is more than the town’s requirement of at least one for every 300 square feet of gross floor area, or a minimum of 62 for the expanded store.

In other action at Thursday’s County Planning Board meeting:

• The board recommended the Town of Barre approve an area variance, site plan and special use permit for a pole barn at 4627 Oak Orchard Rd., which is in the General Business District.

Susan Sherman of Pavilion will run a business, Rice’s Country Haven Modification, from the site.

Sherman also plans to replace an existing mobile home with a new one.

She needs a 40-foot front setback variance for the pole barn, so it would be 35 feet away from the road instead of 75 feet. The Planning Board said the variance is needed for the pole barn to be in an accessible area.

• Recommended the Town of Shelby approve the site plan and special use permit for a riding arena at 11205 West Shelby Rd. in the Agricultural/Residential District.

Haleigh Clarke has proposed a 9,800-square-foot building that would 140 by 70 feet.

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Community welcome for East Shelby church’s old-fashioned Christmas on Sunday

Provided photos: The Morse family donated a 35-foot high Christmas tree, which has been decorated inside the East Shelby Community Bible Church.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 6 December 2018 at 8:07 am

A seamstress works on her handicraft last year at the Old Fashioned Christmas sponsored by East Shelby Community Bible Church. This year’s event on Sunday will follow an old-fashioned church service at 10:30 a.m.

EAST SHELBY – The East Shelby Community Bible Church will sponsor its annual Old Fashioned Christmas from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The festive day will have a very special feature this year. The celebration is designed to give visitors the true meaning of Christmas and will follow an old-fashioned Christmas service at 10:30 a.m. in the historic church, with a giant Christmas tree donated by Stephen and Patricia Morse of Medina.

In 1992, the Morse’s daughter got a sapling with a McDonald’s Happy Meal. Her folks planted it in the garden at the front corner of their house, where it has been growing all these years.

The Morse’s have become dedicated followers of the East Shelby Church, where they sit in the front pew every Sunday. They decided to donate the 35-foot tree for the church’s Christmas celebration, where it sits proudly, all covered with festive lights and ornaments.

The day will feature a Christmas concert by the church’s band, known as the Band of Renown, followed by swag and garland making, demonstrations of old-time handicrafts, Dickens-style Christmas caroling in the miniature village of West Jackson Corners, horse and buggy rides, sampling of foods cooked over an open fire, kids’ crafts and hot chocolate and other Christmas treats.

A visit from Santa at 4 p.m. will conclude the day.

Pastor Erik Olsen leads the signing of Christmas carols during last year’s Old Fashioned Christmas celebration in West Jackson Corners, the miniature village built by the East Shelby Community Bible Church. This year’s celebration will take place from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday at the church at 5278 East Shelby Rd.

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Metro 10 presents $4K to Warrior House

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 December 2018 at 6:13 pm

Provided photo

SHELBY – Some members of the Metro 10 race committee presented a check for $4,018 to the Warrior House, the largest donation from the Metro 10 since it started in 2015.

Pictured from left include Peter Zeliff, founder of the Warrior House; race director Thom Jennings and Warrior House volunteer; and race committee members Erin Smith and Wayne Litchfield.

Metro 10 hosted about 300 participants in Albion for the fourth annual race on Aug. 18, pitting runners from Rochester and Buffalo. This year’s event also included a biking component for the first time.

The race has now donated over $7,000 to the Warrior House in the past three years.

The Warrior House is a hunting retreat in West Shelby for wounded veterans. Zeliff donates use of a farmhouse and property on Salt Works Road for veterans. The site hosted six veterans this past weekend for a deer hunt.

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Scout completes ambitious Eagle service project

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 November 2018 at 9:36 pm

Photos courtesy of Eli Pask

EAST SHELBY – Eli Pask spent 15 months doing improvement projects at the East Shelby Cemetery on Trench Road.

Pask, 15, is a member of the Boy Scout Troop 175 in West Barre. He completed his Eagle service project last month. He needs to go before the Board of Review before he gets the Eagle.

Eli, a sophomore at Albion, has been in Scouts since early in elementary school. He works in the summer at Camp Sam Wood in Pike and Camp Dittmer in Phelps, teaching outdoor skills.

He attends the East Shelby Community Bible Church, where many members help with the cemetery near the church. Eli’s grandfather, Erik Olsen, is the church pastor. He suggested the cemetery could use some improvements.

Eli Pask, Jeff Andrews and other Scouts help reset gravestones that had toppled over. They needed to dig by the stones to level out the ground so they could be reset.

These gravestones from the 1830s didn’t have a concrete base. One of them was laying face up in the grass. Eli made the concrete bases and set in the gravestones.

“They deserved to be put back,” he said.

Kevin Feder, a middle school teacher, helped Eli with the roof and trim on a utility shed late in the summer 2017. Eli tore off the old shingles and put on new ones. He also added new trim boards. Eli has worked with Feder on the stage crew at the school musicals, helping with set construction.

“I told him what I was doing at the cemetery and he offered to help,” Eli said.

Eli put down a brick patio area and made two benches back to back out of concrete. It was a big project. He made the forms and poured in the concrete and then added the wooden slats. There are two large stone boulders nearby that Eli and his father Kevin Pask moved to the cemetery from a nearby field.

Eli sits on a bench at the cemetery. They were the last of his tasks over 15 months at the cemetery.

Eli said he will remain active in his troop in the coming years, helping younger scouts earn their merit badges.

“I enjoy it,” he said about scouting. “There is lots of support from everyone around me. It still has great values and I’ve enjoyed my journey thus far.”

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Long-range plan calls for expanding Medina Business Park by 1,000 acres

Photo by Tom Rivers: Jim Bensley, director of the Orleans County Department of Planning and Development, speaks at a public hearing last week about the Western Orleans Comprehensive Plan. Ed Houseknecht, left, is the Shelby town supervisor.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 November 2018 at 5:35 pm

MEDINA – The Western Orleans Comprehensive Plan has eyes on the future for the villages of Medina and Lyndonville, and the towns of Shelby, Ridgeway and Yates.

Municipal leaders from the those five municipalities have been working on updating the comprehensive plan for about 18 months. The final document was approved by the committee and now the five municipalities are having public hearings on the plan, with each municipality needing to vote to accept the changes for the plan to be official as a guide for future zoning and community priorities.

Courtesy of the Orleans EDA: This map shows the 300 acres for the Medina Business Park and the Keppler Site near Maple Ridge Road. A comprehensive plan calls for expanding the business park south and adding 1,067 acres that could be used for businesses.

The Shelby Town Board had a hearing last Wednesday and discussed how the plan would impact the town.

The biggest change would be expanding the Medina Business Park by 1,067 acres south on Route 63 past Sanderson Road. That expansion would be south of the Keppler site, where the current Medina Business Park ends. The Business Park already has about 300 vacant acres.

“These are visions of the future, not guarantees,” Ed Houseknecht, the Shelby town supervisor, said during a public hearing.

The municipalities sent out surveys to 5,500 people and more business and job opportunities was a frequent high priority for respondents.

If the land was to become available for development, it would likely be a gradual process. The municipalities and Orleans Economic Development Agency would need to work to have infrastructure, zoning and other issues resolved to entice a company to that area.

“It doesn’t have to happen all right away,” said Jim Bensley, the county’s director of planning and development.

That county department worked with the three towns and two villages on updating the plan, which would replace one that was last updated in 2002.

“This is a blueprint for where you want to go in the future,” Bensley said.

The plan calls for greater walkability and improved sidewalks in the village, and better walkways along Maple Ridge Road, which has added several new businesses and the Genesee Community College campus center since the plan was last updated 16 years ago.

That road with its increasing traffic may need more turning lanes. Bensley said the local leaders are pushing for turning lane studies from the state Department of Transportation.

The plan also calls for an improved walkway and bikeway at Butts Park, especially near the Oak Orchard Creek.

Andina Barone of the Mindful Media Group said the plan should also address climate change and that anticipated impact on the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge could face increased droughts. A proposal by Frontier Stone for a new quarry near the refuge calls for pumping water to the refuge and helping to manage the water flows.

Barone, whose company works for Frontier, said the quarry would help prevent the marshes from drying up.

She also said the comprehensive plan should give farmers more freedom with their land, especially with using solar energy and pursuing other business opportunities.

The survey showed that high property taxes were a top concern for residents, Barone said at the hearing.

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Knights-Kaderli event remains successful fund-raiser for Orleans County residents fighting cancer

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Two families of friends turned out in full force to support the Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run on Saturday at East Shelby Fire Hall. Gary and Karen Barber of Brockport, at left, and Jay and Julie Mersdorf of Webster pose with children Haley Mersdorf, 8; Kennedy Barber, 6; Paxton Barber, 2; Brooks Barber, 4; and Brett Mersdorf.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 7 October 2018 at 8:21 pm

EAST SHELBY – The 30th annual Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run will probably be their most successful yet, Sue Knights said Saturday, as she checked the number of participants.

There were 201 runners and walkers who signed up for the event, said Dawn Meland, who volunteered at the registration desk.

“I think people held off when it was raining so hard this morning, but when it stopped, they came out,” she said.

Walkers are off Saturday morning as the gun sounded to start the 30th annual Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run to benefit cancer patients and their families in Orleans County .

The race is named for two Medina residents, Richard Knights and Sue Kaderli, both of whom died of cancer. Each of their families started fundraisers in their names, and then decided to join forces.

Since its inception, the Knights-Kaderli fund has assisted 575 cancer patients and/or their families, Knights said.

“This year alone, we have given $62,000 to help Orleans County residents who are battling cancer,” she said.

These six friends participated in the Knights-Kaderli Run/Walk Saturday as a show of support for several in their church who are fighting cancer. From left are Mary Zangerle, Carol Bellack, Robin Wehling, Jan Toale, Bev Woodward and Judy Hipes.

The annual event brings people from throughout the area, such as the Gary and Karen Barber family of Brockport and the Jay and Julie Mersdorf family of Webster.

Son Brett Mersdorf and Karen ran the race, while Julie, Jay and Gary walked and ran with the younger kids, including Paxton Barber, 2, who pedaled his little kiddie car.

“We would have come rain or shine,” Julie said.

Chris and Stephanie McAdoo pushed their 1-year-old daughter Alana in her stroller in the Knights-Kaderli Walk Saturday morning. They usually run, but Chris has his arm in a sling, so they’ll be a little slower this year, he said.

They also take part in the David Millis Golf Tournament each year at Batavia Country Club, whose proceeds are  donated to the Knights-Kaderli Fund, Julie said.

“We started the golf tournament as a little fun thing in honor of our dad, who died of pancreatic cancer,” she said. “In 11 years, it has grown to where we have donated more than $130,000 to the Knights-Kaderli Fund.”

Both Karen and Julie attended Lyndonville school together and when they grew up and heard about the Knights-Kaderli Fund, they liked what they saw, Karen said.

“With the Knights-Kaderli Fund, all the money stays in Orleans County and goes right back to someone who needs it,” she said.

Sue Zinkievich sells raffle tickets to benefit the Knights-Kaderli Fund during the annual walk/run Saturday at East Shelby Fire Hall. At right are Phil Dauria and Shirley Printup.

Debbie Taylor, a member of East Shelby Fire Company, hopes one of her tickets will be a winner in the basket raffle to benefit the Knights-Kaderli Fund. The raffle was part of the annual Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run Saturday at East Shelby Fire Hall.

Three runners pick up their speed as they enter the home stretch in the Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run Saturday.

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