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Kendall’s FIRST LEGO team earns big award at UR competition
Staff Reports Posted 9 December 2019 at 9:39 am

Students created website for town libary

Provided photos

Kendall’s FIRST LEGO team, only in its second year, won the “Innovative Solution Award” on Sunday during a regional competition at the University of Rochester with 44 teams.

Team members include Madison Hults, Alek Odalovic, Dominic Dellaquila, Caleb Schumacher, Caleb Schneider, Robert Henry, Cody Johnstone, Alex King, Seth Pray and Carter Alt. The student coach is David Elliott, and adult coaches are Jackie Nielsen and Wendy O’Hearn.

The team also won the “Champions” award in November during a qualifier tournament in Churchville-Chili. That award recognizes the team that most embodies the FIRST LEGO League experience by fully embracing their Core Values of discovery, innovation, impact, inclusion, teamwork and fun, while also achieving excellence in both the robot game and innovation project.

Kendall started the program last year. For this year’s competition, students were tasked with finding a problem with a local building or public space. The Kendall students first believed that there wasn’t a town library, but after completing some research, they discovered there is a small one located in the Kendall Town Hall.

They visited the library and met Eileen Grah, the librarian, along with town officials Barb Flow and Tony Cammarata. They discussed with them the importance of a library and book access for kids in Kendall, especially over school breaks. Through these discussions, they discovered that one problem the library faces is lack of exposure. Many students and their parents are unaware of the library’s existence as a resource in our community. There is no way to know what books are in the library since they do not have a public database.

Students decided that the best way to raise awareness of the library and increase patronage was to create a website for the library with a searchable database of books. The students learned how to code a website in HTML, CSS and Javascript, and they created the following website The team hopes this website will be a helpful tool in promoting literacy in Kendall.

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Knowlesville church building for sale with deconsecration service on Dec. 14

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Knowlesville United Methodist Church has been put up for sale by the congregation. The church needs a new furnace and the building isn’t handicapped accessible, prompting the decision to sell the building.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 8 December 2019 at 8:14 pm

KNOWLESVILLE – The decision to sell the former Knowlesville United Methodist Church, now called the United Methodist Church of Abundant Harvest, was not an easy one, but one members understand was necessary.

According to the Rev. Garry McCaffery, who just became pastor July 1, said after the furnace went out, the decision was made at a church conference the end of June to sell the building.

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Ruth Higgins, left, a lifelong member of the Knowlesville United Methodist Church, Lorraine Luckman, also a longtime member, and Kathy Leuscher prepare vegetables in the kitchen of the recreation hall which the church owns.

The church had already come to the conclusion four years ago more could be done with two congregations meeting as one, and they began holding services with the Millville location for the United Methodist Church of Abundant Harvest, the Rev. McCaffery said.

The Knowlesville church had purchased the recreation hall from Ridgeway Fire Company across the road about 25 years ago, so they are able to hold church events there.

Because the church is not handicapped accessible, and so many of their members are aging, attendance has been dwindling. The cost of making the church accessible, coupled with the need for a new furnace, made the decision to sell the most logical one, although not easy to accept for some of the longtime members.

Nancy Smith and her brother Ron Schompart are lifelong members of the church. Smith recalled growing up in the church and how active their youth group was. Its leaders included Smith’s aunt and uncle, Verona and Don Pritchard, then Butch and Charlene Seitzer and lastly, Nelson and Rose Schlegel.

She especially remembers the hay rides, the active women’s group, the Mother and Daughter, and Father and Son banquets.

“The year I was a senior, we did a skit, pretending we were the Beatles,” Smith said.

There were also dances, pot luck dinners and scavenger hunts. Later, the church started an Apple Festival, making apple butter and other homemade apple treats, an event which they still carry on.

Smith said she was upset they were selling the church, but understands it’s for the best.

Ruth Higgins, who started attending the church when she and her husband moved to Knowlesville in 1977, has been one of the most active members. She feels selling the church is the only chance the congregation has with the building.

“The church used to be the center of people’s lives, but not any more,” Higgins said. “I actually liked worshiping in the Fellowship Hall. It was kind of cozy.”

The Knowlesville congregation now has adult Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. in the Recreation Hall, then travels to Millville for worship at 11 a.m.

“Selling the church gives people the opportunity to say goodbye to one chapter of God’s work in our lives and to receive and open the next chapter,” the Rev. McCaffery said.

The church is planning a ceremony of deconsecration for the Knowlesville church building at 2 p.m. Dec. 14 in the Fellowship Hall.

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N-O basketball, swim seasons set to open
By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 8 December 2019 at 3:31 pm

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Joe Cecchini and his Mustang teammates will begin defense of their Niagara-Orleans League title at Barker on Friday.

Niagara-Orleans League boys and girls basketball and swimming competition will get underway this week.

Medina will open defense of its boys basketball title at Barker on Friday. The Mustangs, who are seeking a school record fifth straight title, return five regulars from last year’s 12-0 N-O title squad including Nate Sherman, Brian Fry, Joe Cecchini, Jarin Rhim and Tyler Chinn.

Albion will begin N-O action at Akron on Tuesday and then visit Roy-Hart on Thursday. The Purple Eagles are led by senior Deyonci Farley who was named N-O Player of the Year last year.

The Lyndonville boys will face a key Genesee Region League opener at Notre Dame on Tuesday.

N-O girls basketball competition begins on Tuesday with Medina at Barker, Roy-Hart at Albion and Akron at defending champion Wilson.

Tuesday’s N-O swim openers will have Medina at Albion, Barker at Roy-Hart and Akron at Newfane.

The week’s wrestling competition will feature the second annual Fred Large Memorial Tournament on Saturday at Lyndonville.

Weekly Schedule
Boys Basketball: South Park at Medina, 6:30 p.m.
Girls Basketball: Rochester Prep at Kendall, 6 p.m.

Boys Basketball: Albion at Akron, Barker at Tonawanda, 6:30 p.m.; Lyndonville at Notre Dame, Holley at Oakfield-Alabama, 7 p.m.; Roy-Hart at East Aurora, 7:30 p.m.
Girls Basketball: Medina at Barker, Akron at Wilson, 6 p.m.; Roy-Hart at Albion, 7 p.m.; Notre Dame at Lyndonville (game changed to January 6)
Swimming: Medina at Albion, Barker at Roy-Hart, Akron at Newfane, 4:30 p.m.

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

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

Boys Basketball: Medina at Barker, 6 p.m.; Newfane at Lyndonville, Barker at Akron, 6:30 p.m.; Attica at Holley, Elba at Kendall, 7 p.m.; Roy-Hart at Salamanca, 7:30 p.m.
Girls Basketball:  Barker at Akron, 6:30 p.m.; Medina at Albion, Newfane at Roy-Hart, 7 p.m.
Swimming: Akron at Medina, 4:45 p.m.

Girls Basketball: Elba at Kendall, 12:30 p.m.

Wrestling: Lyndonville Tournament, 9 a.m.

Lyndonville community decorates 76 Christmas trees at Veterans Park
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 December 2019 at 10:02 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – The Lyndonville community turned on the lights on Saturday evening for the 76 Christmas trees that are decorated at Veterans Park on Main Street, next to Johnson Creek near the dam.

The village started the tradition in 2013 with 26 trees, and it has grown each year since. Community members and organization pay $30 to decorate a tree. The fee covers the cost of the tree, materials for the sign, lead cords, replacement cords and adapters as needed. Participants provide lights and decorations.

(Click here to see a video of Santa flipping a switch to light up the trees.)

Chris Borner walks with her granddaughter to look at the trees at the park. Many of the trees are decorated as memorials or tributes to family members.

The lights were turned on at about 5 p.m. after Santa arrived and flipped a switch to light up all the trees.

Lorna Klotzbach, Don Gramlich and the Atwater family teamed up to provide horse-drawn carriage rides.

Claire, 4, of Lyndonville pets a sheep as part of a petting zoo that also included goats and a donkey.

There were many activities throughout the day, including a basket raffle, craft sale, beef on weck, caroling, a community breakfast and Christmas Choir LaLaPalooza.

Lyndonville Lions Club members served up hot dogs. Roy Holland is at left and John Belson, the Lyndonville mayor, is working the grill.

Here are a few more photos of the trees, which will be lighted up until after Jan. 1.

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Holley celebrates holiday season with lighted parade
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 December 2019 at 9:14 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – The village celebrated the holiday and Christmas season with a lighted parade and other community events on Saturday.

The Village of Holley DPW carries an inflatable Frosty the Snowman in this float, heading through the Public Square.

This fire truck was decorated in lights, with a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on top.

Girl Scouts from Troop 82204 put  a lot of effort in this float.

The Shelby Volunteer Fire Company paid tribute to the first responders who died in the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attacks.

Santa enthusiastically greeted the crowd. He rode in Holley’s bucket truck.

People lined up along North Main Street, Route 31 and the Public Square to watch the floats, including one that brought in Santa.

There were many other activities in the downtown, including children’s programs in the Community Free Library, wine-tasting, food and games at the eastern Orleans Community Center, and holiday music.

There also was a tree-lighting to cap the events.

Paul Strom serves chili at the Eastern Orleans Community Center.

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Holley honors Dan Mawn as Citizen of the Year
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 December 2019 at 8:55 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Dan Mawn, left, was recognized by Holley’s Deputy Mayor Kevin Lynch as the 2019 Citizen of the Year during Saturday’s “Night of Lights.”

Mawn, a life-long Holley resident, worked 36 years for the Holley water and electric departments, retiring in 2005.

“Even after retirement to say he is an active member of our community is an understatement,” Lynch said.

Mawn is active with the Holley Fire Department, the American Legion, the VFW, and the Murray-Holley Historical Society. In 2003, he received a lifetime membership for the Historical Society for his many years of dedication, including serving as president.

“This year’s recipient exemplifies the award for all of his time he selflessly donates to organizations,” Lynch said. “He is a fixture at just about every community event — spaghetti dinners, Flag Day celebrations, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and the list goes on.”

Holley also turned on the lights for its community Christmas tree in the Public Square. The tree has blue lights again this year in honor of the emergency services and law enforcement personnel.

Many community members purchased memory bulbs in honor of local loved ones. Deputy Mayor Lynch read those names for the crowd gathered at the tree lighting.

The tree was donated by Mike Bower of Erie Way Tree Farm in memory of his late brother, Edwin Bower.

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ZuZu’s Bell is reminder to show compassion to others
Posted 8 December 2019 at 7:40 am

ZuZus bell

I was unpacking my Christmas decorations and came across this bell I was gifted a few years back by my Mom. It is a signed bell by Karolyn Grimes who played ZuZu Bailey in the 1946 classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.

The bell is pretty plain, but the sound that comes from it is Angelic. Rightly so, because as ZuZu so sweetly told her Daddy, “Teacher says, every time a bell rings an Angel gets It’s wings.”

If you have seen this classic you know that the Angel she refers to is Clarence, an (AS2) Angel Second Class. Most people see George as the heart of the story, but I am leaning towards Clarence, because Clarence touched George’s heart in a way that allowed him to believe in himself again.

Even though Clarence had been trying to get his wings for over 200 years and was sent as a last resort Angel, he did not allow that truth to lessen his resolve or desire to inspire. He resolved to show George that George’s life had a positive impact on many people and hopefully inspire George to want to live.

After jumping off a bridge into cold water and granting George his wish to see his world as if he had never been born, Clarence completed his mission. George saw that even though life gives us challenges we need to appreciate all of life’s blessings and successes.

Clarence’s ability to show one person why they have value is as powerful as a person realizing that they themselves have value. If you stumble upon someone who is struggling to know their worth, take a lesson from Clarence and show them chapters of their story where they had true value, were appreciated and needed.

No matter the struggle, many times the struggle is worth it, not only for yourself, but for those who’s lives you have blessed. We don’t need to be an AS2 or jump off a bridge to reach out and show compassion. This Holiday Movie encourages us to show appreciation in hopes everyone has a Wonderful Life. As we go on our daily steps know that what we do touches others in ways we may never now. Resolve to inspire and give hope.

Happy Perks to Everyone! To view My Blog live online and hear ZuZu’s Bell the moment Clarence earned his wings just go to were you can also join in, like and share your comments.


Debbie Burgoon London
Your Sassy Small Town Missus from Albion

Arc event puts talent on display
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 December 2019 at 11:16 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Erik Goodrich, right, sings while Josh Jones dances to “Step By Step” by the New Kids on the Block during the fourth annual talent show on Saturday for the Arc of Genesee Orleans.

There were about 25 acts from Genesee and Orleans counties in the talent show, which was held at the Medina Theatre.

Nick Fuller sings and dances to “Twist and Shout.” Nick won a third place award and $25.

Randy Seager tells some jokes during a stand-up comedy routine.

Erik Goodrich sings the theme song from the Dukes of hazard. He also won a third place award and $25.

Robert Greer did a talk show routine and won a third place award.

Jared Gilbert sings “ Welcome to my Life” by Simple Plan.

Provided photo: Jonathan Doherty won first place and $75 for his performance of “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. Carl Jerrings won second place and $50.

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Today was a great day to go sledding
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 December 2019 at 9:31 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Drew Boyce, 12, of Albion goes flying after hitting a snow ramp on the sledding hill at Bullard Park today.

It was a perfect day to go sledding with temperatures at about 30 degree, little wind and lots of fresh snow.

Aden Frasier, 12, of Albion has a rough landing in the snow after hitting the ramp.

He was quickly back on his feet and headed up the hill for another try.

Rich Furness of Kendall brought his nephew, Greyson Alpert, to Albion to go sledding.

The snow might not last long. On Sunday, the high is forecast for 44, followed by a high of 50 on Monday.

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Medina hospital hosts breakfast with Santa
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 7 December 2019 at 11:48 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Liam McGill, 5, sits on Santa’s lap at Breakfast with Santa Saturday morning at Medina Memorial Hospital. He came with his aunt, Caroline Way of Medina. Liam is hoping for an Xbox and a gift card from Walmart.

MEDINA – Medina Memorial Hospital rolled out the red carpet for Santa Claus this morning during their fifth annual Breakfast with Santa.

The event annually attracts up to 170 children, said Cindy Perry, director of outreach, education and marketing for the hospital’s Community Partners.

“We do this so kids can become familiar with the hospital in a non-threatening way,” Perry said. “It’s like the Teddy Bear Clinic we do several times a year. All the Orleans County schools come, and this year Elba came for the first time. Like that event, this one has a lot of hospital staff and students who volunteer.”

Rebecca Mannella, left, and Christine Walczak pose with Mrs. Claus (Valerie Rush) at Medina Memorial Hospital’s Breakfast with Santa Saturday morning.

Early Saturday morning, Jessica Downey, health educator with Community Partners, laid out stickers on the hallways directing children to Santa Claus, a craft table manned by GCASA volunteers where children made reindeer antler glasses, a cookie decorating station and breakfast in the cafeteria.

After greeting Santa and getting a free gift and candy cane, children were greeting by Mrs. Claus, who handed out Christmas stickers.

The gift this year was a snowman, in honor of 3-year-old Leon Sidari, who loved snowmen and died two years ago on Christmas Day from the flu.

There was also a mail box and table where children could write a letter to Santa.

Tammy Pritchard, left, administrative assistant at Medina Memorial Hospital, and Jessica Downey, health educator, are ready to welcome children to the fifth annual Breakfast with Santa Saturday morning at the hospital.

Parents received a tote bag filled with information on the flu, lead poisoning and hospital services, along with crayons which children could use to color the picture on the front of the tote bag.

Dan Capurso of Albion said this was the third year he had brought his daughter, Esmae, 5.

“We love this event,” he said. “It has become a Christmas tradition.”

April Walls of Albion said this was the first time she had brought her children, Owen Pelzer, 3, and Payton Babcock, 8.

“They just love it,” Walls said. “They are having such a good time.”

Amanda Luckman loved that the event was for children of all ages. She and Tyler Fending of Lyndonville brought their children Madilinn, 6, and Daniel, 3.

“We come every year,” Luckman said. “Daniel hasn’t sat on Santa’s lap yet without crying. We’re hoping it will be different this year.”

Madilinn Fending, 6, of Lyndonville and her brother Daniel, 3, enjoy breakfast during Medina Memorial Hospital’s Breakfast with Santa Saturday morning.

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GO Art! has first juried art show in Albion
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 December 2019 at 9:08 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Dave Burke of Bergen and his daughter Fiona Burke look over the artwork on display at the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council’s gallery in Albion. The Salih Studio at 24 E. Bank serves as a gallery space for GO Art!

Burke painted an acrylic on canvas of “Sax Man.”

The arts organization is having its first juried art show at Albion. Artists were invited to submit pieces with a holiday theme.

Chris Manaseri of Kent won first place and $75 with this oil painting of “Christmas at Kuerner’s.”

Lori Laine, right, and Courtney DePalma check out the artwork. Laine is a member of the GO Art! board of directors.

Gregory Hallock, GO Art! director, hosted an opening reception for the exhibit. The gallery is open from 4 to 7 p.m. on Fridays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

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During Great Depression, kids didn’t have lengthy wish list for Santa
By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 7 December 2019 at 8:14 am

“Overlooked Orleans” – Vol. 5, No. 45

Another year has passed, and another volume of Overlooked Orleans has concluded. To write another article about Charlie Howard and his Santa Claus School is perhaps cliché for the Christmas season.

Those years of perfecting the spirit of Santa, dating back to his childhood days when as “a short fat boy” his mother sewed a suit for him to play the role, brought about a more meaningful understanding to the holiday season. A man whose passions rested with the children, who anticipated the abundance of gifts and dolefully observed the quick passing of this festive time of year.

While perusing old issues of the Orleans Republican, I was drawn to a column which appeared during the month of December in which the newspaper accepted letters to Santa Claus for publication. The short notes written to Kris Kringle during the Great Depression reflect a gentle consciousness of the hardships associated with the time. Amidst the friendly but firm requests for the latest toy or the nicest doll came appeals for family support and gifts for siblings. I thought it might be worth sharing some of those stories this year.

“Dear Santa Claus, I am a little girl 2 ½ years old. I have long curls and blue eyes. Dear Santa, please bring me a big doll, a doll buggy and a choo choo train and some aggets. Thank you very much. Don’t forget my brother Junior, my cousins Bobby and Richard DeCarlo. Your pal, DeLois Marie DeCarlo, 63 West Ave.” (1936).

“Dear Santa Claus, I am writing my letter to you for Christmas. I bet you are very busy and some of your little elves…I am going to ask for a nice little type writter and a real one too. And I want a sled. That is all I want because you have other children that want and need them…My name is Eleanor Louise Brooks and my age is 11 years old.” (1936)

“Dear Santa Claus, My name is Leona Marcks I am 11 years old. I have been a good girl and help my mother. I want shoes rubber gloves, my sister Frances is 8 years old. She want shoes rubber gloves, my brother Edward is 10 years old he want a hat, gloves. Peter is 5 years old he want a suit and stocking. Stanley is 4 years old and want suit and stocking. My baby brother Valentine is 1 ½ years old and want shoes and a suit and he want an orange. Thank you very much. Yours truly, Leona Marcks.” (1931)

“Dear Santa, We always rite you at Xmas but we wonder why you don’t bring us what we ask for, so this year I’m going to ask you again if you can find a doll buggy will you bring one for my little sister Marjorie she wants a buggy real bad also some shoes and rubbers size 12 shoes…please Santa try and think of us if you possibly can because Daddy has been sick so he can’t work and he don’t have enough money to buy us things at all now. We like oranges and candy too if you have some to spare…With love from Evelyn Durrant” (1933)

One can only imagine little Evelyn’s frustrations that her requests for gifts appeared to go unnoticed; thankfully she did not realize the impact of her father’s illness and work situation on the family’s Christmas plans. This is a season for being thankful for everything we have!

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Historical marker in Barre gets new coats of paint
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 December 2019 at 10:01 pm

Photos courtesy of Melissa Ierlan

BARRE – The historical marker on Route 98 in Barre, next to the Barre Center Presbyterian Church, was reset on Thursday after getting new coats of paint by Melissa Ierlan of Clarendon.

This is the 20th local historical marker she has repainted since 2015.

Many of the markers had flaked off paint and could barely be read by passing motorists.

Ierlan starts by removing the top of the sign and then taking it home to give it a fresh look. She scrapes off the paint. This sign had bubbled paint and was peeling, and had a chunk missing from the bottom, which Ierlan repaired with some J-B Weld material.

After stripping off the paint to the bare metal, she gives it a coat of gray primer.

Then she paints the sign with two coats of blue.

Ierlan gives the sign two coats of yellow and a final clear coat.

The Orleans County Historical Association has given Ierlan a grant of $400 to cover the cost of materials for four signs.

She has started work on her 21st sign, the one in front of the St. John’s Episcopal Church in Medina.

Ierlan is looking for more signs to paint.  Anyone with suggestions for signs in need of paint, can contact Ierlan at the Clarendon Town Hall, 638-6371 ext. 104.

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Dispatcher retires after 33 years of service

Photos by Tom Rivers: Bill Oliver works his last day in the office as a public safety dispatcher today.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 December 2019 at 4:01 pm

Bill Oliver praised for being ‘level-headed’ in demanding job

ALBION – Bill Oliver was commended by his co-workers today on his last day of work as an Orleans County public safety dispatcher.

Oliver has worked as a dispatcher for 28 years, following five years as an Albion police officer. Oliver made the switch to dispatch after having a brain tumor removed in his late 20s. Three weeks after brain surgery, he took the exam to be a dispatcher and passed.

He has earned the respect of his co-workers and the first responders in the community. Many stopped by the Sheriff’s Office today to thank him for his professionalism in dispatch.

“He is very level-headed, very calm and patient with people,” said Allen Turner, 9-1-1 communication director for Orleans County.

Oliver, 63, of Medina said he has enjoyed working with the dispatchers, firefighters, police officers and other community members.

He fielded numerous calls for people reporting fires, crimes and lost pets. Others would call wondering about the start times for community events, or seeking random information.

Increasingly, in recent years, Oliver said he would get more calls for people in a mental health crisis. He was able to talk one person down from wanting to commit suicide, and connected that person to help.

One particularly memorable call for Oliver was on Sept. 4, 2001, when Medina Lt. Michael Russell was shot on duty at Rosenkrans Pharmacy. Oliver was the dispatcher on duty, who directed first responders to the scene.

When he started as a dispatcher, there weren’t computers in the office or cell phone calls coming in to dispatch.

The 9-1-1 center was also at the jail. It moved about 20 years ago to the Public Safety Building on Route 31. The technology today is far more advanced, and dispatchers can quickly send detailed information to law enforcement officers in the field, Oliver said.

“The job has become more specialized,” said Undersheriff Chris Bourke, who worked in dispatch near the start of his career.

The incoming calls run the gamut, Bourke said.

“You never know what that call will be,” he said.

The dispatchers deserve appreciation from the community for their important work.

“They’re the bridge between victims and the first responders,” Bourke said. “They feel the same stresses as law enforcement officers because they have people’s lives in their hands. We wouldn’t be able to do our jobs without the public safety dispatchers.”

Bill Oliver is pictured with some of his colleagues in the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, including, from left: Sgt. Don Draper, Undersheriff Chris Bourke, 9-1-1 Communications Director Allen Turner, Oliver, and Chief Deputy Michael Mele.

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GCC names outstanding instructors, students of semester at Orleans campus centers
Posted 6 December 2019 at 3:12 pm

Press Release, Genesee Community College

ALBION/MEDINA – Each semester, GCC Campus Centers in Albion and Medina recognize one instructor and one student from each campus center for their outstanding instructional and/or academic performances.

The nominations have been made, the committee has decided and James Simon, associate dean at Medina and Albion Campus Centers, proudly announces the Fall 2019 Instructors and Students of the Semester.

From the Albion Campus Center, located at 456 West Ave.

Kevin Gardner

Mr. Kevin Gardner has been named Instructor of the Semester. Students who nominated Kevin appreciated his ability to make learning fun stating, “Mr. Gardner makes his students feel comfortable asking questions… I have learned so much in his class and realize now how much I enjoy writing,” and “He does his best to help us understand why things are the way they are.”

Gardner is a graduate of Albion High School and received his BA and MA in English/Creative Writing through GCC and SUNY Brockport. He is married and enjoys family time at his home in Brockport with four children, two grandchildren and two cats. One of his cats, Chester, is often used as the subject of his lessons and his students find it “comical but informational.” When he’s not teaching, Kevin enjoys writing, woodworking and watching Empire Boulevard. In this holiday season you may also find him reading his current favorite, “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.

In his teaching tenure, Gardner has taught at SUNY Brockport and GCC, tutored for Pearson Smarthinking Services, edited the Oak Orchard Review and he currently serves as test proctor at GCC’s Orleans County Campus Centers. When asked if he would change his career choice, he simply stated that he might have started teaching sooner. He is a big fan of GCC and all it has to offer, calling it “a great place to start the rest of your life.” His advice to new instructors? “Be kind. Be fair.” Words he, himself, tries to live by.

Laurie Marchner

The Albion Campus Center Student of the Semester has been awarded to Laurie Marchner of Medina. Laurie is an adult student pursuing an AAS degree in Business Administration and is expected to graduate in the Fall of 2020. She chose to further her education at GCC so that she could have more opportunities. Her hobbies include spending time with her pets, reading, crafting and helping others. She currently serves as a volunteer emergency medical technician.

On the nomination form, one of Laurie’s instructors wrote, “Laurie brings wisdom and positive energy into the classroom every day. Not only does she have valuable things to say, but her approach often contains humor and makes us laugh… Her light presents the foundation for building a creative environment so that everyone has the opportunity to learn and grow.” Her instructor concluded, “I look forward to hearing about the positive impact she has yet to make on the world.”

From the Medina Campus Center, located at 11470 Maple Ridge Rd.

Dr. Melinda Grube

• Dr. Melinda Grube has been named Instructor of the Semester for the Fall 2019 semester. This is her first semester at GCC as a Western Civilization instructor. She also teaches history at Cayuga Community College and performs historical impressions of famous people including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Abigail Adams. Dr. Grube earned her Ph.D. from Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dr. Grube’s students reported that she “has opened a new way of learning in such an exciting manner” and “she challenges our minds and challenges us to listen to other ideas and beliefs, to see things in a new perspective, and to allow us to step out of our comfort zone to see that maybe there are other ways and more solutions.” One of the nominations forms read, “I was not looking forward to a three-hour history class. I was completely shocked and very engaged in the materiel due to the way she uses her teaching strategies.”

“The world is astonishingly beautiful, exquisitely painful and fabulously complex. The best moments in teaching are when students are not afraid to explore it with me,” Dr. Grube said. “I tell any new instructor, never take yourself too seriously. It isn’t actually about you.”

Outside of the classroom, Dr. Grube enjoys reading everything from Quest and Friends Journal to the Nature Conservancy, and her favorite TV program is Star Trek. She is married with three children and resides in Medina with an unidentified number of pets. When asked about her first semester as part of GCC’s Medina Campus Center, she responded, “The Medina Campus Center is the most supportive and friendly environment I have ever encountered.”

Uriah Allis

The Student of the Semester in Medina for the Fall 2019 is Uriah Allis from Gasport. Uriah is pursuing an AAS in Nursing and after he completes his degree, he plans to work as a pediatric nurse and write novels and screenplays for the television industry. He would also like to travel around the world and bike the Great Wall of China. In his spare time, Uriah volunteers at a homeless shelter in Lockport.

Instructors who nominated Uriah observed he is an exceptionally hard worker but also he goes out of his way to organize a variety of study groups that are open to everyone, noting, “Uriah has taken a sincere interest in ensuring the success of his fellow classmates. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it.” Another nominee noted: “He is a mature student who will make an amazing nurse someday.”

Uriah has made a difference at the Medina Campus Center not only as a student in class, but as a concerned citizen at the Medina Campus Center, overall. His presence inspires kindness and compassion from everyone.

When asked why he decided to attend college, Uriah shared, “I’ve heard great things about GCC’s Nursing Program, which is what I ultimately wanted to get into. I also took a lovely summer class at the GCC Albion Campus Center in 2017 with Derek Maxfield.”

Uriah enjoys writing novels and short stories, reading of any kind, running and cycling, listening to a variety of music and podcasts, as well as roasting and making “pour-over coffee.” Major influences in his life include and start with Jesus Christ, and of course parents and friends, but also admittedly film directors such as Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson.

Uriah’s advice to new students is to greet everyone you meet, whether faculty, staff or your fellow students with a smile and “how-do-you-do.”

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