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$17 million rehab of old Holley school gets lots of praise from officials

Photos by Tom Rivers: Many Holley residents, local officials, developers and state agency leaders gathered on the front steps of the former Holley High School for a photo this afternoon during a “Preservation Celebration” for the school, which will be turned into 41 apartments for senior citizens and the Village of Holley offices.

Posted 11 December 2018 at 6:14 pm

Press Release, New York State Homes and Community Renewal

HOLLEY – New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas today announced the start of construction on a $17 million rehabilitation of the historic former Holley High School in the Village of Holley. When complete, Holley Gardens will include 41 affordable homes for seniors and public meeting space and offices for use by the Village of Holley.

The historic Holley High School, located at the intersection of Wright and Main Streets, is a three-story brick building originally constructed in 1931 in the Neo-Classical architectural style. The building served as the community’s high school into the mid-1970s but has been abandoned for many years. Due to its design, prominent location in the Village’s historic district and its severely deteriorating condition the building was named one of the Landmark Society of Western New York’s inaugural 2012 “Five to Revive” priorities.

The newly rehabilitated building will include 41 residential apartments for low- and moderate-income seniors 55 and up. Seven of the apartments will be available for households where at least one member is a person with a physical disability who will have access to supportive services through the Orleans County Office of Aging.

The school is in the heart of the community, at the intersection of routes 31 and 237.

The existing auditorium will be renovated for commercial use by the Village of Holley, preserving the existing stage and seating to provide a staging area for board meetings and public forum and the area beneath the balcony will be fitted to house the administrative offices.

Building amenities include a community room, on site management, Energy Star appliances, air conditioning, laundry facilities and computer lab, along with outdoor space. Located in the heart of the Village’s downtown, Holley Gardens is within walking distance to the library, restaurants, churches, bank, hair salon and pharmacy. The developer is Home Leasing in partnership with Edgemere Development.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s financing for Holley Gardens includes federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits that will generate a total of $6.8 million in equity for the project, a $1 million Rural and Urban Community Investment Fund award, and an additional $3.1 million in subsidy. Additional financing includes nearly $6.4 million in Federal and State Historic Tax Credits and a Restore NY grant from Empire State Development.

Hom Leasing has started construction on the former school. Construction is expected to be complete in about a year.

The State’s commitment to providing all New Yorkers with access to safe, affordable housing is reflected in the state’s unprecedented $20 billion, five-year Housing Plan. The plan makes housing accessible and combats homelessness by building and preserving more than 100,000 units of affordable housing and 6,000 of supportive housing. The plan is a comprehensive approach to statewide housing issues and includes multifamily and single-family housing, community development, and rent stabilization. Since 2011, HCR has invested $442 million in the Finger Lakes region that has created affordable housing for about 14,650 residents.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, “The redevelopment and restoration of the beloved high school building has long been a priority for the Holley community, and we have worked together tirelessly to give new life to this building.  At last, this vacant yet historic structure will receive the restoration it has long deserved – as the home to new senior housing and village office space.  It will breathe new life into the Holley community.”

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey said, “The Holley Gardens project is another great example of how Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits are bringing new life to underutilized buildings in Upstate New York. Investing in historic structures helps lift local economies, encourage sustainable neighborhoods and preserves the heritage of our communities.”

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Transformative projects like Holley Gardens are at the heart of the Restore NY Communities Initiative, supporting redevelopment efforts that revitalize communities and generate new economic growth.”

Senator Robert Ortt said, “Renovating historic buildings into new and functional facilities can inject new life into a community. By revitalizing what was once a deteriorating building, we are preserving a piece of Holley history while also ensuring the character of this local landmark is not forgotten. I am also thrilled that this facility will help provide those with physical disabilities a place to live safely and have access to necessary supportive services.”

Assemblyman Stephen Hawley said, “I am excited to see the construction of Holley Gardens underway and am confident that its affordable housing, office space, revitalized auditorium and other great amenities will be of great benefit to government employees and local residents. Investment in and transformation of previously unused infrastructure proves that Western New York is on the rise and I look forward to continuing to work with officials in the legislature and executive to bring attention and resources to similar local projects with great potential.

Lynne M. Johnson, Chairman of the Orleans County Legislature, said, “It’s a pleasure after all these years to see this very important building in the Village of Holley undergoing a badly needed transformation.  By leveraging public and private partnership across all levels of government, this building will finally see the investment needed to put it back into productive use.”

Nelson Leenhouts, Chairman & CEO of Home Leasing, said strong community support from Holley, and work from local, county, state and federal officials were critical in the project.

John DeFilipps, Orleans County Legislator – At Large East, said, “It’s projects like this that revitalize our communities, create more access and grow our local economy. Holley Gardens shows what we can achieve when we work together. I want to express my gratitude to the many partners who have worked together to make this project a reality.”

Village of Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty said, “On behalf of the Village of Holley we are so thankful for all of the hard work, dedication, and cooperation that has gone into making this project a reality. For over 3 years the Village has worked with Home Leasing and Edgemere Development as well as all levels of our government and a variety of funding agencies to bring this endeavor to this point. Most importantly, the adaptive re-use of this historic structure will preserve its rich history while providing affordable, accessible housing for seniors as well as an updated and handicap accessible office space and meeting room for the Village of Holley. Thank you to everyone for their support and efforts!”

Nelson Leenhouts, Chairman & CEO of Home Leasing, said, “We are excited to get started on the rehabilitation of Holley Gardens which will provide 41 affordable homes to seniors in the Village of Holley. We are grateful to New York State Homes and Community Renewal, the Village of Holley, and all the partners we have in this project for their commitment and dedication to making this project a reality.”

Charlie Oster, VP of Real Estate Development, Edgemere Development, said, “Edgemere Development has worked for many years to bring about this critical project. We wish to thank our partner Home Leasing, the Village of Holley and countless supporters at the local, state and federal levels for their unwavering commitment. Holley Gardens represents the very best of what is possible through public and private partnership.”

About Home Leasing

Rochester-based Home Leasing specializes in the development, construction and management of high-quality apartment communities. Founded in 2006 by veteran real estate developer and former co-CEO and co-Chairman of Home Properties Nelson Leenhouts, the company is owned and operated by three generations of the Leenhouts Family.  Home Leasing today employs over 120 people who provide support to or are directly involved in the day-to-day operations of affordable, mixed-income and market rate residential communities across New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

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GCC recognizes outstanding fall students, instructors in Albion, Medina
Posted 11 December 2018 at 4:25 pm

Press Release, GCC

Genesee Community College’s Albion and Medina Campus Centers have announced the Fall 2018 Instructors and Students of the Semester.

Each semester, one instructor and one student from each campus center are recognized for their outstanding instructional and/or academic performances. For several weeks, the campus centers collect nominations from fellow teachers, colleagues and students and a small committee led by James Simon, associate dean at Medina and Albion Campus Centers, determines the winners.

Albion Campus Center

Mike Raisch

Mike Raisch has been selected as the GCC Albion Campus Center Fall 2018 Instructor of the Semester. New to GCC faculty this semester, Raisch was nominated by several students who credit him with bringing out their “creative side” by introducing an inspiring learning environment and a willingness to “help students be successful.”

One student noted, “I think Professor Raisch deserves to be Instructor of the Semester because he pushes his students to do their best, and he’s just a cool guy all around.”

Raisch graduated from North Tonawanda High School, continued his education at SUNY Fredonia, where he earned a BA in Halloween Entertainment Business, and then a Master of Science degree in Creative Studies from Buffalo State College. He currently teaches Creative Problem Solving at GCC.

In his insights on the Albion Campus Center he shared: “As an expert in creativity, I’d say GCC Albion Campus nails the creative physical and psychosocial environments with clean and tidy spaces, top-notch technology, and compassionate/intelligent faculty and staff.”

Michelle Stupnick

It’s easy to see the creativity connection in Mike’s hobbies, which include art, music, board games, theme parks, photography and business creation. His most rewarding endeavor is teaching, however. “Being nominated for this award is a humbling milestone. I just love teaching and I’m passionate about creativity. I’m honored to be recognized for my first semester doing what I love!” said Raisch, who resides in North Tonawanda.

Michelle Stupnick of Middleport has been selected as the GCC Albion Campus Center Fall 2018 Student of the Semester. Michelle is pursuing a degree in Business Administration with expected graduation in Fall 2020. She has a long-term goal of starting her own business. Michele says that the thing she most enjoys about college is learning something new each and every day. She also enjoys meeting new people and feels “the possibilities are endless.” She credits paying attention in class and making time to study as key to her success, and she advises others to “show up, study and pay attention – it will make a difference.”

Major influences in her life are: “Mom, always guiding me to do the right thing” and the support of great teachers at GCC. Her nominating instructor says she can always count on Michelle to participate in class discussions, hand in assignments on time and act as an example to others in the class. “Michelle has returned [to GCC] and has found her place as a leader in class.” Outside of school, Michelle enjoys acquiring and selling antiques in her spare time.

Medina Campus Center

Tracy Ford

Tracy Ford was selected as the Fall 2018 Instructor of the Semester at the Medina Campus Center. He has taught Composition Natural & Social Sciences for the last 10 years in Medina and at the Batavia Campus and the Albion Campus Center. The student who nominated Ford stated, “There has not been one day where I regret taking his English class.” Another student said “His enthusiasm and passion while teaching really adds to the overall class. He makes you think and question everything!”

When asked about one piece of advice he would give to new instructors, Ford said “Smile when you want to scream and never take yourself too seriously.” When asked about his feelings regarding GCC Medina Campus Center, he said, “I feel amazingly lucky to be allowed to teach at the Medina Campus. Best place! Best people!”

Ford earned his BA in English, MA in Literature, and Master’s degree in the Teaching of Writing from Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA. He enjoys photography, genealogy, reading, kayaking, fishing and bird watching. Recently, Ford tapped into his “inner actor” and he began working in tandem with GCC History Professor Derek Maxfield to showcase an historic Civil War era meeting in a unique program entitled, “Now we stand by each other always; A conversation between Gens. Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman.” Ford plays the convincing role of General Sherman. In the past, he monitored and banded spotted owls in old-growth forests of Oregon. He is married and has two children, as well as a spoiled kitty named Poly, all residing in Albion.

Erin McDonnell

Erin McDonnell has been selected as the Student of the Semester at the Medina Campus Center for the fall 2018 semester. Erin is a full-time student majoring in Liberal Arts and Science: General Studies and pursuing an Associate in Science degree. She anticipates graduating in May 2020. After she completes her degree, she plans to transfer to SUNY Brockport to major in Special Education and minor in Business.

Instructors who nominated Erin expressed that she is prepared, dedicated and enthusiastic. She also consistently volunteers for classroom activities and positively contributes to class discussions.

When asked why she decided to attend college, she stated that she wanted to better herself and provide a life for her daughter. Erin also shared that her father, her daughter and her GCC advisor, Mrs. Karen Krieger, have been major influences in her life. As a full-time mom and student, she finds she doesn’t have a lot of spare time! When asked what advice she had for new students, she said “Be yourself, never be afraid to ask questions or lend a hand.”

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State boosts funding for Sheriff’s marine patrol in canal
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 December 2018 at 11:51 am

Photo by Ginny Kropf: The schooner Lois McClure is accompanied by the Orleans County Sheriff’s marine patrol in August 2017. They are rounding the bend under the State Street bridge in Medina.

ALBION – The State Canal Corporation is increasing the funding it gives the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office for marine patrol services in the Erie Canal.

The county will be paid $12,500 for marine patrols on the canal in 2018-2019. That is up from $10,000 the previous year. The county first received $8,000 for patrols by boat in 2016.

The agreement also includes patrol services on canal trailways.

The County Legislature approved the agreement between the Canal Corp. and Sheriff Randy Bower. The agreement is retroactive and covers the time period from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019.

In addition to patrolling the canal, Bower said the funds allow the Sheriff’s Office to bring in deputies for special events along the canal, including the recent Parade of Lights in Medina, which was preceded by fireworks from the canal.

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Medina may add banners to recognize Hometown Heroes in military
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 December 2018 at 9:46 am

Photos courtesy of Mary Woodruff: The late Willis Burr Woodruff, a former Medina resident, is honored on one of the banners in Alfred and Almond in Allegany County.

MEDINA – The Medina community next year may have portraits of veterans lining streets as a celebration of Hometown Heroes who served in the military.

Mary Woodruff, a Ridgeway Town Board member, is pushing for the displays. Her father-in-law is honored on a banner in Almond and Alfred, an Allegany County community that unveiled banners of soldiers this spring.

The late Willis Burr Woodruff served in World War II. He later ran the local Agway plants in Knowlesville and Batavia. He grew up at Alfred Station.

His family paid $200 to have him be recognized on one of the banners in Alfred and Almond, one of about 100 veterans who are highlighted.

Mary Woodruff said the banners are a powerful display. She wants to have a similar program in Medina.

“There are so many unsung heroes,” she said. “It’s something I want to see to honor veterans.”

She discussed the project with the Medina Village Board on Monday. Woodruff said she is willing to coordinate the effort. She would like assistance from the Village Clerk’s Office and the town clerks in Shelby and Ridgeway for people to fill out forms and pay to have a banner, which would include the hardware to have the banners be attached to a utility pole. The Village Board could create a Hometown Heroes account for the funds, she said.

The Medina Department of Public Works and the highway workers from Shelby and Ridgeway also would likely be needed to help hang the banners just before Memorial Day and then have them removed after Veterans Day in November, Woodruff said.

The Medina banners wouldn’t be on Main Street in the downtown business district. Woodruff said she would like to start with Park Avenue, a popular parade route, and also Pearl Street by the former Armory, North and South Main Street (away from the downtown), Orient Street by the VFW, and West and East Center streets.

Medina Mayor Michael Sidari said the Medina DPW could use help from the Ridgeway and Shelby highway workers if the project moves forward. He wants to check with National Grid to see if the company would allow banners on its poles.

Woodruff said she will finalize more details for the program, including a cost for the banners and how the money will be handled. She said she would present the project next month to Medina, Shelby and Ridgeway officials and look for their official support.

She would like it to honor veterans, current and past. She said the first year could start small with perhaps 25 banners and then grow.

“I think it will be pretty popular,” she told the Medina Village Board.

Three sons of Willis Burr Woodruff are shown with his banner. The sons include, from left: Roger, David and Paul Woodruff.

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MAAC starts sorting gifts for annual Christmas giveaway

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Volunteers at the First Methodist Church of Medina sort hats, gloves, scarves and socks which will go to every family who receives Christmas boxes from MAAC.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 11 December 2018 at 7:43 am

Medina firefighters Aaron MacKenzie and Tim Miller deliver filled red barrels to the First Methodist Church on Monday.

MEDINA – It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the First Methodist Church of Medina, where on Monday volunteers began sorting toys and gifts for MAAC’s annual Christmas giveaway.

This year, 75 families will receive toys, gifts and free Christmas dinner, thanks to the generosity of the Medina community.

Each year in early November, Medina firefighters distribute nearly two dozen red barrels to local businesses, churches and organizations, where they are filled with donations.

On Monday, those firefighters returned to collect the barrels and deliver them to the First Methodist Church, where up to 25 volunteers will work for the next three days to sort and pack holiday boxes.

Each family who applied and was approved will receive gifts, hats, mittens, scarves, socks and Christmas dinner, said Sherry Tuohey, who took over coordinating the project from Sue Metzo, after four years as a volunteer.

In addition to a ham, potatoes, vegetable, stuffing and dessert, other food items will also be included.

Eligible families who live in the Medina School District applied before Thanksgiving at Calvary Tabernacle and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.

MAAC also accepts monetary donations, which are used to buy meat.

Holiday boxes will be delivered to applicants’ homes by Medina firefighters between 9 a.m. and noon on Saturday.

Sherry Tuohey, left, and Sue Metzo, organizers of MAAC’s Red Barrel program wait for Medina firefighters to bring back the red barrels to the First Methodist Church in Medina, where donations will be sorted.

Chris Horgan, left, and Hal Goodwin assemble boxes at the First Methodist Church of Medina, which will be filled with food and gifts for needy families.

Pastor Chad Wirth of Faith Covenant Fellowship in Medina delivers a red barrel full of donations to the First Methodist Church in Medina on Monday, where volunteers began packing holiday boxes.

Sherry Tuohey, coordinator of MAAC’s Red Barrel Campaign, accepts a check from Don Marchner on behalf of Jr. Wilson’s Sportsmen’s Club. The money will be used to buy hams and other food for Christmas dinner for needy families.

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Man recovering from stabbing Sunday in Medina
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 December 2018 at 9:31 pm

MEDINA — A man is expected to recover after being stabbed in the abdomen at about 8:30 p.m. in Medina, Captain Matt Jackson of the Medina Fire Department told Village Board members this evening.

Medina firefighters were able to treat the man on scene. He was then taken to the Erie County Medical Center.

“The individual will be fine,” Police Chief Chad Kenward told the board.

Medina police are investigating the incident. No arrests have been made. Kenward said police are seeking more cooperation from the victim.

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Jackson Hewitt opens office in downtown Albion
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 December 2018 at 3:39 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce and the owners of a Jackson Hewitt franchise in Albion celebrated the grand opening of the tax preparer’s office on Main Street.

Jackson Hewitt is at 33 North Main St., the site most recently used by the former U-Need-O Burrito in Albion.

Pictured from left include Kelly Tardera, tax preparer; David Gagne, board member for Chamber of Commerce; Adam Johnson, Chamber vice president; Cyrus Chubineh, co-owner of Jackson Hewitt in Albion; Diane Goodier, tax preparer and office manager; Kathy Blackburn, Chamber president; Albion Mayor Eileen Banker; and Becky Charland, executive director of Chamber.

The Jackson Hewitt in Albion is owned by Cyrus Chubineh and his mother Farideh Chubineh. They also run Jackson Hewitt sites in Batavia, Lockport and Newark.

They owned the site in Albion when it was in Wal-Mart. There they only had room for one tax preparer. The site in downtown Albion has room for three tax preparers.

The Main Street site will be open full-time from Dec. 17 to Dec. 24, and from Jan. 4 to April 15. After that it will be only one day a week and by appointment. Call the Albion office at (585) 283-5082.

The inside of 33 North Main St. has been changed from a kitchen and dining room into an office for the tax preparation business. Pictured from left include: Diane Goodier, tax preparer and office manager; Cyrus Chubineh, co-owner of Jackson Hewitt in Albion; and Kelly Tardera, tax preparer.

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130 wreaths will be placed on veterans’ graves in Medina on Saturday
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 December 2018 at 2:54 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: Wreaths are shown on veterans’ graves at Boxwood Cemetery in Medina last January.

MEDINA – Boxwood Cemetery will be part of Wreaths Across America on Saturday for the sixth time, and this year will include 130 wreaths, double the previous high.

There will be a ceremony at noon on Saturday at the cemetery on Route 63, north of the village. Assemblyman Steve Hawley will join local veterans in the presentation.

Community members and volunteers are welcome to the ceremony and then to help place wreaths on veterans’ graves, said Kathy Blackburn, the organizer and president of the Boxwood Cemetery Commission.

She thanked the community members and several local organizations for buying the wreaths at $15 each. The American Legion, VFW, Junior Wilson Sportsmen’s Club and Sacred Heart Club all bought wreaths which will be displayed throughout the winter.

Blackburn has organized the event since 2013, and it debuted with seven with colorful red ribbons.

“We started with seven and it has just kept growing,” Blackburn said.

For more on National Wreaths Across America Day, click here.

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Clarendon buys old stone store for historian’s office, records storage
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 December 2018 at 1:28 pm

File photo: The Town of Clarendon is buying the former stone store building, at the corner of routes 237 and 31A.

CLARENDON – The Town of Clarendon is buying a historic building at the corner of routes 31A and 237 to use for the historian’s office and also for records storage, Town Supervisor Richard Moy said this morning.

The town has submitted an offer for $47,000 and that has been accepted by Joe and Sue Fertitta of Hilton.

The town is cramped at the current town hall and was considering an addition at $80,000 to $100,000, Moy said.

That addition would have been smaller than the 3,200-square-foot stone store building, Moy said.

He praised the Fertittas for their work the past five years in renovating the site, putting in new electric, plumbing, a furnace and many other upgrades.

“They did a fantastic job rehabbing it,” Moy said. “It made sense for us to keep it. We were short on space. We know it will be kept up.”

The building only a few years ago seemed headed for the wrecking ball when it was in disrepair and neighbors complained to the town about rodents at the site.

Other residents insisted the building was important and needed to be saved. The building goes back to the 1840s. The 3,200-square-foot building was used as a store up to 1975. It is a rare surviving example of a 19th century general store. The Landmark Society of Western New York and the town were successful about five years ago in getting the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Fertittas acquired the property and rented out the top floor as an apartment and the first floor for commercial space.

Moy said the first floor will be used by Town Historian Melissa Ierlan and the top floor will be used for records that need to be kept by the town.

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Groundbreaking celebration on Tuesday for old Holley High School
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 December 2018 at 12:34 pm

HOLLEY – State and local officials will celebrate the groundbreaking for the renovation of the old Holley High School on Tuesday.

The “Preservation Celebration” begins at 2 p.m. The $17 million project will turn the former school, which has been vacant for about two decades, into 41 apartments. The existing school auditorium will be renovated to be used by the Village of Holley as meeting space and administrative offices.

Officials will gather at the American Legion at 5 Wright St. That building is across the street from the former high school. Students of the school, which closed in the mid-1970s, are welcome to attend the event.

Home Leasing LLC, a Rochester company, is leading the renovation of the former Holley High School.

Some of the attendees at the 2 p.m. ground-breaking include: Nelson Leenhouts, Chairman & CEO, Home Leasing; Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty; Assemblyman Steve Hawley; Orleans County Legislator John DeFilipps; Lenny Skrill, Upstate Development Director for New York State Homes and Community Renewal; Daniel Mackay, Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; Wayne Goodman, Executive Director, The Landmark Society; Charlie Oster, Development Manager, Edgemere Development; and Jaime Tuozzolo, Vice President & Senior Relationship Manager, Key Community Development Lending.

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Medina man pleads guilty to drug charge just before trial
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 December 2018 at 10:14 am

ALBION – A Medina man pleaded guilty to a felony drug charge just before he was to go on trial.

Collen Poole could face up to 3 years in state prison when he is sentenced on March 7 for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree.

He pleaded guilty on Nov. 29. He was to go on trial on Dec. 3.

He was charged on March 1 after police and state parole officers found cocaine, marijuana and pills identified as Hydrocodone and Ecstasy, following a search of his residence.

Law enforcement officers also located are a large sum of money in high denominational bills, as well as three counterfeit $100 bills.

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Addition to County Administration Building expected to be complete in May
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 December 2018 at 8:24 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The 23,000-square-foot addition to the County Administration Building is shown in late November. The county broke ground on the $10 million project in April.

The construction work is expected to be complete in May with employees likely to be moved in the following month.

Holdsworth Klimowski Construction of Victor is the general contractor for the project.

The addition will be used by 50 county employees from the Health Department, Board of Elections, information technology department and the Legislative office and staff. The building will be connected to the current Administration Building with the addition on the south side.

The new space will include a meeting room for the Legislature with about 60 seats. The current Legislative chambers has about 30 seats and is one of the smallest municipal meeting rooms in the county.

There are currently about 125 people working out of the building for the Department of Social Services, Job Development, Tourism, Planning and Development, Office for the Aging, Department of Motor Vehicles, and Personnel.

The County Legislature approved a maximum bond of $10,063,881 for the addition to the building on Route 31, behind the nursing home. The bond is expected to be about $6.5 million due to grants for the project. The county has already been approved for a $3,682,748 state grant towards the project and State Sen. Robert Ortt also secured a $200,000 state grant.

The larger state grant includes funds to create space at the neighboring Mental Health Building for a primary doctor from Oak Orchard Health.

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Group raises $1,100 for at-risk children with exercise challenge at YMCA

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Will King, a personal trainer and owner of Studio Fit on Main Street in Medina, joins the action at a fundraiser called Burpees 4 Gifts he organized Saturday at the YMCA in Medina to benefit underprivileged children.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 9 December 2018 at 9:01 pm

Rita Zambito of Medina, front, joined a handful of exercise buffs Saturday at the YMCA to do burpees for money to provide Christmas for underprivileged children. At rear are Mike Zambito, Teresa Wilkins, and Lindsay Eaton.

MEDINA – A personal trainer in Medina found a unique way to turn muscles into money to help at-risk and underprivileged children have a happy Christmas.

On Saturday morning at the YMCA, Will King, who recently opened Studio Fit on Main Street, sponsored a fundraiser called Burpees 4 Gifts, in which he challenged anyone to come and do burpees for 30 minutes.

For those who aren’t familiar with a burpee, it is an exercise used in strength training which combines a squat, push-up and thrust (or jump-up).

King wanted to do something to help those less fortunate and chose to donate to New Directions Family Services in Lockport, an agency which helps at-risk and foster children in Orleans, Niagara, Monroe and Genesee counties. He formerly worked there and knows the need which exists, he said.

When King approached the YMCA, director Gred Reed offered to let King have use of a fitness room for the event, in which those participating got sponsors and then did burpees for 30 minutes.

One of those was Sandra Baxter of Albion, who thought the event was pretty exciting.

“I like to exercise and have done it for years, so I joined Studio Fit as soon as he opened,” Baxter said. “And I enjoy doing things to help others.”

Participants jumped and moved to a variety of holiday tunes, including “Jingle Bell Rock” and “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” taking an occasional break to catch their breath before starting a new round.

Several, including Kelly Moriarty and Vanessa King did 60 burpees before taking a short rest.

Among a dozen supporters who participated in Burpees 4 Gifts Saturday morning at the YMCA are, from left, Mike Zambito, Megan King, Rita Zambito, Teresa Wilkins (partly hidden), Kelly Moriarty, Lindsay Eaton, Vanessa King, David King, Fredericka King and Sandra Baxter.

At the end of the 30 minutes, the group had completed a combined 2,753 burpees and raised $1,100 in donations.

The object of the event wasn’t to be a fitness challenge, but a way to do something enjoyable for a good cause.

Rita Zambito, owner of Zambito Realty, trains with King and wanted to show her support, she said.

Anyone may still make a donation to the cause by sending or bringing a check for New Directions Family Services to Will King at his studio, 525 Main St., upstairs, from 5 a.m. to noon and 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Since I had such a great turnout and support from local businesses and the community, I have plans to do this fundraiser again as an annual event,” King said.

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Mr. Scribbles, Santa add star power to Albion’s Hometown Holiday
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 December 2018 at 8:14 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – “Mr. Scribbles” – Michael Sparling of Perry – was a popular person Saturday during the Hometown Holiday celebration in downtown Albion. Sparling lets kids scribble on a paper and then he adds cartoons of animals with a friendly message.

He is making a picture for Carsyn Mogle, 7, of Holley at the Village Office.

Oliver Carter, 5, Albion gets his picture taken with four members of the Albion Police Department, including from left: officer Daryl Robb, Lt. David Mogle, officer Nathaniel Staines and Police Chief Roland Nenni.

The Police Department served coffee and doughnuts in the morning and pizza for lunch. They were one of the stations at the Village Hall.

The Albion merchants Association organized the seventh annual Hometown Holiday, which included many activities at downtown businesses and a raffle.

Al Capurso helps children with a craft. He also led the group in singing Christmas carols.

Albion police officer Karol Hughes chats with Santa at the Village Office.

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N-O swim, basketball gets underway this week
By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 9 December 2018 at 5:02 pm

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Lyndonville’s Casey Winiecki and his Tiger teammates will host Notre Dame in a key Genesee Region League game Tuesday.

The Niagara-Orleans League swim season gets underway on Tuesday with Albion at rival Medina, Roy-Hart at Barker and Newfane at Akron.

Albion and Barker shared the boys swim championship last year while Roy-Hart and Akron shared the girls title, all at 9-1.

Roy-Hart and Albion will begin N-O boys basketball competition at Albion on Thursday while defending champion Medina opens at Barker on Friday.

The N-O girls basketball season gets underway on Tuesday with Medina hosting Wilson. Medina will also entertain Barker on Friday while Wilson visits Akron and Roy-Hart hosts Albion.

The undefeated (3-0) Lyndonville boys basketball team faces a key home Genesee Region League game on Tuesday against Notre Dame.

Medina will also host rival Albion in an N-O wrestling match on Wednesday.

Weekly Schedule
Boys Basketball: Medina at Tapestry, 6:30 p.m.
Girls Basketball: Lyndonville at Akron, 6:30 p.m.; Albion at Oakfield-Alabama, 7 p.m.

Boys Basketball: Kendall at Barker, 6:30 p.m.; Notre Dame at Lyndonville, Oakfield-Alabama at Holley, East Aurora at Roy-Hart, Spencerport at Albion, 7 p.m.
Girls Basketball: Wilson at Medina, 6:30 p.m.
Swimming: Albion at Medina ,4 p.m.; Newfane at Akron, Roy-Hart at Barker, 4:30 p.m.
Wrestling: Byron-Bergen at Lyndonville, Holley-Kendall at Alexander, 6 p.m.

Girls Basketball: Kendall at Barker, 6:30 p.m.; Lyndonville at Albion, Holley at Oakfield-Alabama, 7 p.m.
Wrestling: Albion at Medina, Wilson at Newfane, Akron at Roy-Hart/Barker, 6 p.m.

Boys Basketball: Akron at Wilson, 6:30 p.m.; Kendall at Elba, Holley at Attica, Roy-Hart at Albion, 7 p.m.
Swimming: Roy-Hart at Albion, 4:15 p.m.; Barker at Newfane, 4:30 p.m.
Wrestling: Akron at Holley-Kendall, 6 p.m.

Boys Basketball: Medina at Barker, 7 p.m.
Girls Basketball: Barker at Medina, Wilson at Akron, 6:30 p.m.; Elba at Kendall, Attica at Holley, 7 p.m.
Swimming: Medina at Akron, 4:30 p.m.

Wrestling: Holley-Kendall at South Seneca Duals