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2 from Orleans headed to Girls State program this summer

Posted 23 April 2019 at 3:07 pm

Press Release, American Legion Auxiliaries from Orleans County

Provided photo: Mariah Plain, left, of Albion and Katie Pearson of Kendall will represent Orleans County at Empire Girls State.

Mariah Plain of Albion and Katie Pearson of Kendall, both juniors, were recently selected to represent the Orleans County American Legion Auxiliaries this summer at Empire Girls State to be held at The College at Brockport, June 30-July 6.

Candidates were interviewed by members of the American Legion Auxiliaries from Orleans County which resulted in Mariah and Katie being selected as Citizens.

Empire Girls State is an American Legion Auxiliary-sponsored program.  Empire Girls State is a week-long, educational experience with hands-on workshops on the political process designed to create a government from the county to the state level. This mythical 51st state allows the participants to learn the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic society.

Each year high school principals, with the help of teachers and guidance counselors, identify girls who are juniors in high school who are in the upper third of their class academically and who possess outstanding qualities of leadership, character, honesty, scholarship, cooperation and maturity. Those girls identified and who are interested will submit their name and resume to the Auxiliary Unit for consideration.

Final selection is made by the local American Legion Auxiliary Units. Cathy Fox serves as the Orleans County chairperson for the American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girls State.

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Albion High School inducts 23 students into NHS

Posted 12 April 2019 at 5:45 pm

Photos courtesy of Albion Central School

ALBION – Last week 23 new members were inducted into the National Honor Society at Albion High School. These members met the criteria set forth by NHS of scholarship, service, leadership and character.

The new members include, sitting (l-r): Damian Wilson, Casey Starkweather, Avalina Hand, Angelica Genno, Angel Rosario Soto, Sierra Newton, Alexis Creasey, Ella Knaak and Lacey Standish. Standing: Bryce Pritchard, Daniel Grabowski, Thomas Furmanski, Chase Froman, Susan He, Ashlyn LeBaron, Laiken Ricker, Brooklynn Reed, Mariah Plain, Molly Wadhams, Abigail Tucker, Loren Beam, Katelyn Spierdowis and Jocelyn Bedard.

NHS member Trinity Allen is pictured with English teacher Kristin Roche.

NHS member Trinity Allen introduced English teacher Kristin Roche as the 2019 Excellence in Teaching Award winner. Mrs. Roche shared with the audience that she is a “story seeker” and believes there is power is sharing our stories. She sees student writing filled with triumph, perseverance and strength.

She acknowledged that students are not often given a platform to have their voices heard but she believes their voices are shaping the future. She encouraged NHS students to “step outside of your comfort zone and embrace your own journey, whatever and wherever it may lead,” and to share stories of hardship and triumph because it “just might be exactly what some other sweet soul needs to hear.”

Teaching award recipients (l-r): Elisha Hill, Roxanne Bieler, Tim Archer and Lee Sheehan.

The NHS members also took time to recognize staff members who exemplified the organization’s ideals of Scholarship, Service, Leadership and Character.

• Sixth grade English teacher Lee Sheehan received the Character Award from NHS member Kirsten Struble. Kirsten said, “Students gravitate towards Mrs. Sheehan because she is a very understanding and easy person to talk to. Mrs. Sheehan wants her students to be successful and life-long learners. Her favorite part of teaching is when she will see a student have that light bulb moment where maybe they had been struggling with reading and then suddenly start using strategies without being prompted.”

• High School English teacher Mrs. Roxanne Bieler received the Scholarship Award from NHS member Harrison Brown. Harrison said, “Mrs. Bieler has impacted the lives of many with her outstanding ability to teach. She goes above and beyond in making sure that her students know their material and truly understand the connections that they need to make. She is willing to go the extra mile to help any student that may be struggling.”

• Guidance office secretary Elisha Hill received the Leadership Award from NHS member Mathew Kovaleski. Matthew said, “As seniors we find ourselves visiting the guidance office quite often.  We stop in to get assistance as we apply to our colleges, seek out scholarship opportunities and make sure we are on track with everything we need for graduation. Every time we open that door to the guidance office, Mrs. Hill is there greeting us with a smile and offering a helping hand with what we need as we prepare for this next journey of our lives. It is evident that Mrs. Hill takes pride in helping students progress and grow. ”

• Mr. Tim Archer received the Service Award from NHS member Tess Pettit.  Mr. Archer leads sixth grade citizenship and seventh grade service-learning classes. He is also the high school Rotary Interact Advisor. Tess said, “Mr. Archer helps students seek out service opportunities and to value their role as citizens. He decided to become a teacher because he saw teaching as a great opportunity to influence our community for the better for the generations to come.”

Current NHS members include, sitting (l-r): Emma Mathes, Madison Narburgh, Tess Pettit, Trinity Allen, Kirsten Struble, Chantel VanDeGenachte, Brylie Hapeman, Natalie Lathrop and McKenna Boyer. Standing: Alexa Adams, Marie Reynolds, Hannah VanEpps, Malory Adams, Kaylyn Holman, Kirk Ellison, Evan Allen, Harrison Brown, Enoch Martin, Matthew Kovaleski, Jessy Cruz, Devin Olles, Jace Conn and Jacob Ettinger. Absent from photo: Jessica Schleede.

Newly inducted NHS member Loren Beam signs the registration book.

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Nomination deadline extended until Friday for youth awards

Staff Reports Posted 25 March 2019 at 10:01 am

The Orleans County Youth Board has extended the deadline for nominating people for the annual youth recognition awards until this Friday.

For the 37th year, the Orleans County Youth Board will let the community know just how outstanding our local citizens are. The 37th Annual Youth Recognition Banquet will be held on Thursday, May 16.  This event is an opportunity to thank selected individuals for their service to the community.

Awards are given in three separate categories.  The Youth Recognition Awards are presented to those youth who have performed an outstanding service for their community and/or have assumed an extraordinary role within their families.

The Helen Brinsmaid Award is given to an Orleans County youth-serving professional, in a paid position, whose work surpasses normal expectations.

The Eileen Heye Adult Volunteer Recognition Award is presented to an adult who serves the youth of Orleans County in a volunteer setting.

Nomination forms are available by clicking here. All nominations will be due by March 29, 2019.

For information about this event, contact the Youth Bureau at 585-344-3960 or

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Hub editor picks his favorite photos from 2018

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 December 2018 at 1:41 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Each year I pick some of my favorite “people pictures” during the past year. This one of a girl plugging her ears on June 9 is at the top of the list for 2018. She is pictured during the 32nd annual Strawberry Festival Parade in Albion while fire trucks head down Main Street with their sirens going. The parade included many marching bands, drum corps, community floats, classic cars and other entertainers.

Here are some other Orleans County moments during 2018:

Darryl Szklany of the Albion Fire Department was among the firefighters who responded to a fire on Jan. 4 on Ridge Road in Gaines. Several fire departments responded to the scene and had to contend with snow and temperatures in the teens.

Nate Grammatico and his grandfather Mike Grammatico, a retired Albion music teacher, play their saxophones during a benefit for Matt Grammatico, who is Nate’s dad and Mike’s son. Matt, 45, is awaiting a heart and liver transplant. The community had a benefit for the Grammatico family on Jan. 27 at the Carlton Recreation Hall. There was enough food for 1,000 dinners and more than 100 gift baskets were raffled off.

A young spectator watches a bonfire start at a pile of Christmas trees at Bullard Park in Albion on Feb. 10. The snow-covered trees were slow to become engulfed in flames. The bonfire capped a series of snow competitions and games at Bullard Park. There was sledding, snowboarding and a snowman competition, as well as food and other games.

Father Dan Fawls, pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Medina and Middleport, led an Ash Wednesday service on Feb. 14 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Medina. For the first time since 1945, Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine’s Day. Fawls, with ashes on his forehead, also served communion during the service at St. Mary’s. He said the ashes are a reminder that “you are dust and from dust you will return.” However, faith in Jesus Christ offers the hope of eternal life, Fawls said.

Albion girl varsity basketball players celebrate on Feb. 20 after a 50-38 victory over Olean in the Section VI Class B1 playoff opener. Elisabeth Baker jumped into the arms of Cassidy Wolcott when the final buzzer rang.

Feb. 28 was the last day of business for Alicia Hogan as owner of O’Brien’s Tavern on Main Street in Medina. Hogan, left, is pictured with her daughter Allie Hogan at O’Brien’s just before an open mic night. The Irish pub has a long tradition in Medina, with Hogan saying the site has been a bar for more than a century.

Students at Holley Junior-Senior High School held a 17-minute memorial observance on March 14 in the auditorium. The Humanities class in the high school created 17 posters of the victims from the shooting a month earlier at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Members of the class made the posters, and included the victims’ photographs, age, and information about their hobbies and activities at school. “They’re not just names,” said Matt DeSimone, a member of the Humanities class and also the senior class president.

Qasim Huzair starred as Uncle Fester in the Medina-Lyndonville’s production of The Addams Family. Huzair, shown on March 25, is performing with the Ancestors. He sings about his love for the Moon. Huzair won a “best supporting actor” award from the Stars of Tomorrow and the show won an “outstanding musical” award at the Stars of Tomorrow competition in Rochester.

There was a morning blast of snow on April 10, which annoyed many people after a long, hard winter. This photo shows a kid getting on an Albion school bus on East Park Street.

Makayla Heideman, a freshman, brought her hedgehog, Sonic, to the Medina FFA’s Animal Appreciation Day on April 26. The hedgehog is about 2 months old. This was the first time a hedgehog was part of the Medina FFA animal showcase. About 1,000 students stopped by the FFA to see the animals, which in size from a small mouse to as big as a Morgan horse.

Stacey Kirby Steward works on a large mural of Santa Claus in a sleigh flying over the Courthouse Square and downtown Albion. She is pictured on April 26 inside the Albion fire hall. The 24-foot-long mural was installed in downtown Albion in June.

Gangrel, a former WWF wrestler, raises his arms after defeating Gregory Iron in the main event on April 28 at the “Fairgrounds Fallout” at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds. There were about 10 matches in the three-hour show, which featured independent professional wrestlers. About 350 people attended the wrestling matches, which was a fundraiser for the East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company.

Jeremiah Knight joins his daughter McKinley, 9, for a dance on May 5 at the Gotta Dance by Miss Amy recital at the Albion Middle School Auditorium.

A member of the NYS Corrections Emerald Society Pipe Band plays on May 31 during a dedication for a new memorial at the Orleans Correctional Facility in Albion. The memorial is in honor of 13 employees who died while they were active employees at the medium-security men’s prison.

Al Capurso portrays a pioneer on this float by the Orleans County Historical Association on June 9 during the Strawberry Festival Parade in Albion. Capurso and the Historical Society won a special recognition award for community service by judges of the parade.

Dan Doctor, director of community outreach for Medina Central School, was keynote speaker at a “moving forward” service on June 10 evening for Medina’s Class of 2018. The service was like a baccalaureate with a religious message and blessing. Doctor wore his collar as an ordained elder for Ephesus Ministries in Buffalo. He praised his mother, now 92, for being so devoted in her prayer life, lifting up her nine children. Doctor urged students to have a prayer life, even if it is a whisper.

Steve Goodrich, commander of the Houseman-Tanner American Legion Post 1603 in Lyndonville, led a flag retirement ceremony on June 14 at Lynhaven Cemetery. Three veterans from the American Legion – Joe Hausler, Carl Boyle and Goodrich – burned 2,300 of the American flags. Goodrich is shown holding a flag he has kept for 23 years. It was flown in South Carolina at the Naval Hospital Beaufort. He was given the flag on his last day of active duty. He served in the Navy for 10 years. Goodrich said the flag became faded in the center and the seams ripped. He said the flag should have been retired a few years ago but he couldn’t bear to part with it. “There is a time to let go,” he said. “Now is the time.”

Hayley Farewell gets a hug from teacher David Stacey during a graduation and achievement night on June 14 for the Orleans County Christian School. Farewell delivered the graduate address on Thursday. She has been a student at the school for eight years, and praised the staff for their support, especially since her mother, Christina Ashton, died on June 27, 2016.

The school celebrated the graduation of three students, bringing the number to 32 who have graduated from the school since it started in 1996. OCCS used the former Medina High School, which was purchased by the Calvary Tabernacle Assembly of God, for the past 17 years. The former high school building was purchased to become apartments. The Christian school in September went to a new home, the Alabama Full Gospel Fellowship on South Gravel Road in Shelby.

Cheryl Mowatt smiles on her last day as a reference librarian at Hoag Library in Albion on June 18. She was a steady presence at Albion’s public library for 33 years. She is wearing a card that says, “Keep calm and ask someone else I’m retiring.” Mowatt typically worked at the front desk, ready to answer a question or help people track down answers. “I’ve met many interesting people in the 33 years. I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s kind of like being a detective. I like the challenge.”

Salvador Solis is hugged by Holley Board of Education member Melissa Ierlan during commencement on June 23, when 89 students graduated from Holley. The school usually holds commencement outside at the Holley Hawks Stadium but the event was moved inside to the auditorium due to rain.

Janeen Denero and her children – Colton Ferris and Aubree Flanagan – of Kendall were among about 100 people who made birdhouses on July 2 at Hoag Library in Albion. Jim Babcock Construction helped make birdhouses for 63 children and 43 adults. Most of the crowd had cleared out when Denero and her kids painted their birdhouses. The activity was part of the summer reading program at the library.

Leah Pawlak, a member of the Rotary Lions team in the Albion Midget League, takes a practice swing before it was her turn to bat on July 20. The Rotary Lions defeated Sandstone Park to advance to the championship game.

Jack Cecchini of Medina is in the show ring with his pig on July 28 during the 4-H Animal Meat Auction at the Orleans County 4-H Fair. Zack Welker lets the auctioneer know a bidder has the price going up. The auction included winning bids totaling $17,096.

Damian Alexin, center, and Jesse Seeler are ready to serve customers at the new Holley Falls Bar & Grill. They are shown on Aug. 4. The business started serving some customers on Aug. 2 with a “soft opening.” Dan and Monica Seeler, owners of the restaurant, opened the business to the community on Aug. 6 after a major transformation of a historic downtown building. The Seelers worked on the project for five years. “No one can believe it’s the same place,” Mr. Seeler said.

Robert Wagner, an Albion police officer, did a demonstration with Rex, the department’s K9 on Aug 7 during the fourth annual National Night Out in Orleans County. Wagner had Rex sit and show obedience. Rex also found a ball that one of the children hid in the field as part of the demonstration. About 1,000 people attended National Night Out, which provided a chance to meet local law enforcement agencies, fire departments and numerous agencies that provide services to people in need.

Anthony Chavers of Newfane plays Buddy, the lead role in Elf Jr. The Musical. He is shown on Aug. 10, opening night of the musical at Roy-Hart High Scholl Auditorium. There were 45 children in the cast for the Lake Plains Players, which put on the show for its five-week summer theater camp for children in Orleans and Niagara counties. This photo shows Buddy singing “Happy All The Time,” the opening number of the musical.

Nicole Boldt of the South Byron Fire Company uses a Hurst cutter to break apart the back end of a vehicle on Aug. 21. The South Byron firefighters practiced with the extrication tools alongside firefighters from Clarendon. About 200 firefighters from three counties practiced extrication drills at Lyons Collision. This was the sixth annual event at Lyons which included demonstrations and drills.

Terry Buchwald, an Elvis Presley impersonator for the past 28 years, sings “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” while dancing with Fonda Carr of Barre. Buchwald performed on Sept. 5 at Medina’s annual Super Cruise when a section of Main Street is closed to traffic and instead filled with classic cars.

Scott Caraboolad, leader of the Ride 4 Life stunt bike ministry, burns a tire that left red smoke in the air near the end of a stunt bike show on a closed off section of East State Street in front of the Orleans County Courthouse. Caraboolad and three other daring riders performed many tricks on their motorcycles in front of a crowd of about 400 people on Sept. 14 in Albion. Caraboolad said the show was “a celebration of life and a celebration of the future.” He urged people struggling with addiction or misery to find help.

Anna Halpa, the drum major for the Webster High School Marching Band, practices with the band at halftime during the fall Festival of Bands at Medina on Sept. 22. Webster was one of 10 bands that performed at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Medina. The bands performed for about three hours. Medina had the highest score on the night.

Judy Larkin of Ridgeway and Bill Ott of Lockport both portrayed Joe Vagg, a blacksmith, during the second annual Ghost Walk on Oct. 7 at the Cobblestone Museum. Larkin and Ott are both members of the New York State Designer Blacksmiths. A cast of about 40 people portrayed characters from the community’s past during the Ghost Walk.

Dave Skrip works with Albion lineman during a practice on Oct. 9. Skrip, a 2008 Albion graduate, returned to his alma mater to teach high school social studies. He was part of a coaching staff that led the team to an 8-1 record in 2018.

T. Jones, an inmate at the Orleans Correctional Facility, works with Richie in a new canine training program at the prison. They are shown on Oct. 9 during a graduation program. The Orleans Correctional Facility celebrated the first class of a canine training program where inmates served as handlers for rescue dogs. The debut class lasted 13 weeks. The three dogs that were taught obedience and socialization are now available to be adopted to a “forever family.”
T. Jones said he lost 10 pounds through the program, by walking the dog and leading it through the obedience training. Jones said his blood pressure also went down. More importantly, he said, he welcomed the chance to be responsible and care for an animal. “I’ve learned to be patient and caring,” Jones said during the graduation ceremony. “I hope all of the dogs find their forever home.”

A fisherman tries to catch a salmon or trout on Oct. 11 at Johnson Creek near the Lyndonville Dam. The fall salmon and trout run attracts many out-of-state fishermen to the county. This angler is shown near the dam while the sun is setting just before 7 p.m.

Kyla Kegler of Buffalo created “Thin Space” for an art exhibit at the former Medina High School on Oct. 13. She welcomed people to get in the space with the balloons. The former school was transformed by 29 artists for a special three-day show. The “PLAY/GROUND” initiative gave artists free rein to create in old classrooms, stairwells, hallways and other space in the school.

Bruce Deyarmin of Medina and his son Austin, 2, get in line on Oct. 26 for the annual Beggar’s Night in Medina, when local business owners hand out candy on the Friday before Halloween. Austin wanted to be a firefighter for the event. Organizers said at least 800 kids were dressed up in costumes.

A throng of Kendall community members welcomed home the 2018 Class D state girls soccer champions on Nov. 11 at the Kendall Junior-Senior High School. The Kendall girls won the first team state title in the school’s history after defeating Fort Ann 1-0 in a game at Tompkins Cortland Community College. Their bus was escorted into Kendall by fire trucks.

Nelson Leehouts, chairman and CEO of Home Leasing, stands in front of the former Holley High School on Dec. 11 when the community, and local, state and federal officials gathered for a “preservation celebration” for the building. Home Leasing has started construction on a $17 million transformation of the former school, turning the building into 41 apartments for senior citizens and also the new village offices for Holley.

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Local nurse has been a dedicated diabetes educator for many years

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 24 December 2018 at 8:13 am

Photos contributed: Marion Miano, 86, a diabetes educator at Orleans Community Health, receives a Distinguished Alumni Award from Tonawanda High School.

MEDINA – At 86, retirement isn’t in Marion Miano’s schedule.

A certified diabetes educator, Miano graduated in 1950 from Tonawanda High School, where she was recently honored with the school’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

The former Marion Charsley, Miano of Indian Falls furthered her education at E. J. Meyer Memorial Hospital’s School of Nursing, where she graduated in 1953, first in her class.

Sixty-five years later, Miano remains active and dedicated to helping her patients. She continues to teach diabetes education every Wednesday at Medina Memorial Hospital, where Cindy Perry, director of education, wellness and marketing at Community Partners, calls Miano a remarkable woman.

Miano began her career in advanced coronary care after attending an intensive six-week course. She assisted in setting up the first coronary care unit at the former St. Jerome Hospital in Batavia, where she was appointed head nurse of that unit. Her nursing career expanded beyond coronary care when she became the first certified diabetes educator at the Batavia VA Medical Center and Rochester Clinic, where she cared for veterans for 28 years who served from World War I to Operation Desert Storm.

Her awards include the Administrator’s Award for Excellence in Nursing in 1984; Special Advancement and Performance Honors as the first Certified Diabetes Educator at the VA Medical Center in Batavia in 1991; Nurse of Distinction in 1993 at the VA Medical Center; Western New York Diabetes Educator of the Year in 2003; and Batavia/Genesee Zonta Club’s Woman of the Year in 2003.

Marion Miano

Miano often traveled to the homes of patients who needed diabetes education, but were homebound. She would take medical supplies and monitoring equipment with her. The result was a better understanding of diabetes, which had a positive impact on patients’ lives. These visits were often pro bono, because Miano was and is passionate about helping patients and her community.

She not only provided outstanding care at the hospitals where she worked, but Miano has performed numerous other activities related to nursing. She was treasurer of the Western New York AADE for 10 years; co-chairman of the Diabetes Walk for more than 10 years; a Tour De Cure rest stop captain for 10 years; and group facilitator for the last 20 years at the Batavia VA Medical Center, Medina Memorial Hospital and Clarence community.

She has done countless presentations for the Lions and Rotary clubs, senior citizen groups, teachers, nursing staff, health fairs and educational seminars. She serves Wyoming, Genesee, Orleans, Erie and Niagara counties.

In addition to providing comprehensive diabetes education to inpatients, outpatients and groups, Miano also has a private practice. She is in her 65th year contributing to her profession, her patients and her community. She still facilitates support groups in Clarence and Medina.

This extraordinary woman with boundless energy accomplished her career while she was a devoted wife to husband Peter and mother of five children, Mark, Margaret, Anthony, Alan and Joseph.

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Medina Police Department needed more than ever

Posted 14 June 2018 at 5:22 pm


We live in dangerous times. Almost daily, there is another random act of violence somewhere in America. I remember when we felt safe here, living our lives far away from the heavily populated cities where those unimaginable events took place.

Our sense of security is now and forever gone, replaced by the realization that there is no place on earth excepted from acts of violence. While my generation still has difficulty coming to terms with this harsh reality, the younger generation has learned how to endure it.

I was shocked one day when my niece, Jessica, rather nonchalantly informed me that there has been violence and terrorism for as long as she can remember. I quickly did the math and realized that she belongs to the first generation of Americans forced to carry the mental burden of these brutal acts as a condition of their daily lives.

All of our children shoulder this weight with astonishing dignity and grace. Jessica will never know anything about the carefree world in which I grew up, and I mourn the loss of that for her, for her sisters, and for all young people universally.

We must remember that whenever and wherever catastrophes strike, law enforcement officers are the first to run straight into the chaos. I have no idea where this kind of valor comes from, but I do thank God they all share the same spirit of heroism. There is no greater act of courage than to put their lives into dangerous situations in order to protect others. Officers know that at any time, they may be called upon to lay down their lives, and they willingly accept this responsibility as a condition of their profession.

There is currently a movement to dissolve the Medina Police Department. I have carefully studied the Center for Governmental Research Baseline Report of May, 2017, the Options Report of October 2017, and the Final Report of December 2017. There is nothing in this study to persuade me that any of this is in the best interest of any man, woman or child in our community; however, if we are not attentive, it could happen.

Once these bastions begin to break down, it leaves every remaining department vulnerable. What might be dissolved next? I have waited for our village officials to take a very strong, tough and public position against the proposal to dissolve our Police Department long before it goes to the referendum stage.

So far, at least to my knowledge, their push-back against the proposition has been weak. As a private citizen, I feel uncomfortable standing by and doing nothing; however, I feel equally uncomfortable stepping forward and taking up a cause that I feel should be addressed by the officials for whom we have voted, and in whom we have placed our trust.

The crisis that is paramount today regards the safety of our children, our schools, and all public and private places within our community. We have always looked to our Village Police Department for this protection. I firmly believe that we have outstanding leadership in Medina Police Chief Chad Kenward, a 15-year veteran; Lieutenant Todd Draper; and Sergeant Michael Borrell.

We also have some of the most remarkably talented police recruits Medina has ever seen. Under their leadership, they will create a team to build the foundation upon which a great police department will continue to serve our community with strength and determination.

Thanking you all in advance for your time and attention in this matter.


Mary Eileen Hare


2 Lyndonville students picked for Girls State

Staff Reports Posted 14 March 2018 at 8:31 pm

Pictured, from left: Ritajane Isaacson (Alternate), Carly-Grace Woodworth (Citizen), Lillian Strickland (Citizen), and Cathy Fox, Orleans County Chairperson for the American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girls State. Missing from photo: Joyce Stamp (Alternate).

LYNDONVILLE – Carly-Grace Woodworth and Lillian Strickland, juniors at Lyndonville High School, were recently selected to represent the Orleans County American Legion Auxiliaries this summer at Empire Girls State to be held at The College at Brockport, July 1–7.

Interviews were held at the Jewell Buckman American Legion Post #529 in Holley. Candidates were interviewed by members of the American Legion Auxiliaries from Orleans County which resulted in Carly-Grace and Lillian being selected as Citizens; Ritajane Isaacson and Joyce Stamp as Alternates in the event a Citizen is unable to attend. All candidates interviewed were from the Lyndonville school district.

Empire Girls State is an American Legion Auxiliary-sponsored program.  Empire Girls State is a week-long, educational experience with hands-on workshops on the political process designed to create a government from the county to the state level. This mythical 51st state allows the participants to learn the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic society.

Annually, high school principals with the help of teachers and guidance counselors, identify girls who are juniors in high school who are in the upper third of their class academically and who possess outstanding qualities of leadership, character, honesty, scholarship, cooperation and maturity. Those girls identified and who are interested will then submit their name and resume to the Auxiliary Unit for consideration.

Final selection is made by the local American Legion Auxiliary Units.  Cathy Fox serves as the Orleans County chairperson for the American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girls State.

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Community’s efforts to combat opioid epidemic is top local story from 2017

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 January 2018 at 9:03 am

It was a year of tragedy, change and some triumph in Orleans County

Photos by Tom Rivers: Kim Lockwood, left, of Medina and Kathy Hodgins, director of treatment services for GCASA in Orleans County, address 100 people during a community forum on Nov. 30 about the opioid crisis. Several people in the county have lost their lives to fatal drug overdoses recently, including Courtney Kenward, 27, of Medina, who died on Nov. 12. She is pictured in the on the screen. The event was held at the Calvary Tabernacle Church, the former Medina High School.

• Orleans Hub ranks the top stories affecting the community from 2017, with efforts the fight the opioid epidemic the top story.

Orleans County lost several residents to drug overdoses in 2017. It was another year of tragic deaths endured by many families in the community. Agencies, residents and government organizations have stepped up efforts to fight what District Attorney Joe Cardone called an “epidemic” in Orleans County.

“We’re done burying our kids,” said Tami Ashton, whose daughter died of a drug overdose in 2016. “We need to come together as a community and do something and the time is now.”

Ashton spoke during a forum in Medina attended by about 100 people on Nov. 30. She is part of a new group, Orleans Hope, that includes many community organizations and agencies that provide services to people battling addictions and their families. Ashton has trained to be an addiction recovery coach for the Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

She encourages people to be honest about the drug crisis in their own lives, their families and communities – and to then seek help in fighting the addictions.

“It’s killing our children and destroying our families,” Ashton said during the forum on Nov. 30.

The new Orleans Hope is part of a multi-pronged effort by the community to fight the opioid crisis. Churches have stepped up their efforts, welcoming addicts instead of shunning them. Several churches have Celebrate Recovery programs.

Don Snyder, a retired chaplain in the state prison system, is now a volunteer chaplain with the Sheriff’s Office. He said the opioid addiction is claiming many lives in the county.

“This is not a problem we can continue to ignore,” Snyder told county legislators in September. “This is taking our people from us. It’s taking parents from children.”

Scott Caraboolad does a stunt on Oct. 5 in front of the student body at Lyndonville Central School.

A group of churches are part of the group PACT which brought Ride4Life motorcyclists to the community in early October for a series of stunt shows at three school districts as well as community events. The lead rider, Scott Caraboolad is a recovering addict. He shared how he overcame drug addictions.

“If something is boiling over in your life, don’t try to take it on by yourself,” Caraboolad told the students in Lyndonville. “Reach out to people in the community.”

The Ride4Life events where supported by a group of churches and pastors in Orleans County, as well as the Sheriff’s Office, Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition, Suicide Prevention Coalition of Orleans County, the Genesee-Orleans Opioid Task Force and other agencies.

Sheriff Randy Bower embraced Caraboolad’s presentations, wanting to connect with people battling addictions and urge them to seek help. Bower also wanted students to hear a Caraboolad’s message, to not seek comfort from drugs and alcohol, and how drug use can escalate and take over – and end – lives.

Bower has welcomed addiction services for inmates in the county jail, connecting them to treatment programs, health insurance and Vivitrol, a shot that helps stave off drug urges. The county pushes to have a transition from the jail to GCASA or another treatment program.

Narcan has also proven a lifesaver in the county. The nasal spray can reverse an overdose. Sheriff Randy Bower said on Nov. 30 that 26 people were saved from a fatal overdose this year in Orleans County because of Narcan. Those are just the calls to the 9-1-1 center. Bower said more Narcan doses may have been administered without a 9-1-1 call.

GCASA has offered Narcan training throughout the county. Even county legislators took a training in April.

District Attorney Joe Cardone traces the opioid epidemic to widespread overprescribing of painkillers. When people’s painkiller prescriptions expired, many then turned to drugs.

“I’m angry about what’s happening in our society,” Cardone said during the Nov. 30 forum.

(Orleans County in September joined a growing number of municipalities in a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies for allegedly fueling an opioid crisis.)

Cardone has been the county’s top prosecutor for 26 years. The drug crimes when he started tended to be misdemeanors with marijuana and recreational drugs. Now, the county is facing an “epidemic” with heroin laced with fentanyl which is proving deadly, Cardone said.

“We are bleeding and we are dying,” the DA told the crowd. “We have to stop these drugs from coming into our community.”

He said the best way to fight the drug problem in the county is keep people from using it. He urged residents to let law enforcement know if people are selling drugs in the community. Cardone said he is frustrated with residents who blame others for “snitching” to law enforcement. Cardone said those tips to law enforcement can save lives and prevent misery in the community.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said law enforcement needs tips to help stop the flow of drugs into the community.

He praised the effort by GCASA and the Sheriff’s Office to have more treatment and services for residents battling drug addiction.

“Thank God for GCASA. Thank God for the sheriff and what he is doing,” Cardone said. “But it’s only a Band Aid.”

Judge James Punch retired from the bench after 27 years in 2017. During an interview with the Orleans Hub on July 27, Punch said the drug epidemic was the biggest change in his career.

“The opioid crisis is different because it seems to cross over all social, economic and other lines,” the judge said. “We’re seeing people from nice families … who are in serious trouble because of these drugs.”

Punch led judicial diversion programs as judge, where felony charges for some addicts would be reduced to misdemeanors if people completed treatment programs and stayed off drugs. Punch said the pull of drugs was often too strong for some people to resist.

“Quite honestly I don’t think we have as a court system a good way of dealing with it. I’m not sure there is one,” Punch said. “We have to keep things together at the seams with a certain amount of punishment for the sellers and at times possessors. I still believe in drug court but I think it’s much harder to get someone through drug court with a heroin or opioid habit than it was before when it was typically a cocaine or alcohol problem.

“They just seem to go back to it. It’s a much more powerful addiction. It has to be a combination of the courts and public health in order for it to work and I’m not sure how that can actually in practice be implemented. But I think they have to start looking at it differently and I think they are.”

Many tragic deaths left community reeling

This photo shows members of the Lyndonville at a vigil on Sept. 2 in honor of Megan Dix and William Carpenter. Dix was shot and killed in a random act of violence in Brockport on Aug. 25. Mr. Carpenter died in a motorcycle accident after hitting a deer on Aug. 27.

It was a very difficult year in 2017 with the tragic loss of many people, including several young adults in car accidents, a kayaker to a drowning and a young mother who was shot and killed. Two of the fatal accidents in the county took the lives of two married couples in separate car accidents.

• Rebekah Hoak, 20, died in a car accident in Kendall on Jan. 22  Hoak was making a food delivery to a friend on Sunday afternoon. She was a beloved member of the Hamlin New Testament Church.

“Her passion, her witness, Rebekah was the whole package,” said her pastor, John Ebel.

• A Medina man died from his injuries in a car accident March 23 in the Town of Alabama. Purcel E. Buzard, 81, was a passenger in a three-vehicle collision at the intersection of the Route 77 and 63.

•  A Waterport man died in a one-car rollover accident on April 11 on Eagle Harbor Road in Gaines. Brian Arnett, 39, was travelling southbound and struck a deer. His vehicle went off the west side of the road and into a ditch, and then struck a guy wire and overturned several times.

• Joseph Manley, 19, of Albion was killed in a one-vehicle accident on April 25 in the Town of Alabama.

• A Holley couple, Barbara and Elbin Lewis, were killed in an accident on Aug. 23 at the intersection of Route 31A and Eagle Harbor Road in Barre. Barbara Lewis, 72, and her husband Elbin Lewis, 79, were married for 51 years with four sons, 11 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

• Megan Dix, 33, of Lyndonville was taking her lunch break on Aug. 25 at a small South Avenue parking lot in Brockport, not far from where she worked at Lowe’s. She was fatally shot in a random act of violence.

“Mrs. Dix did absolutely nothing to put herself in a compromising situation. In fact, she did everything a good citizen, a good wife and a good mother should do,” said Brockport Police Chief Daniel Varrenti. “Unfortunately because of being at the wrong place, and wrong time, and unfortunately because of the sole act of one person became the victim of the murder.”

Dix was married with an 8-year-old son.

• William M. Carpenter III of Lyndonville, 60, died on Aug. 27 after striking a deer while driving a motorcycle in Carlton on Gaines-Waterport Road (Route 279). He was on his way to work as a corrections officer in Albion.

• Jacob McCormick, 21, Duncansville, Pa., drowned in Lake Ontario on Sept. 5. McCormick was one of three kayakers who went missing the previous day. He was found by the Coast Guard about 2 miles east of Point Breeze. He had separated from his twin brother and a friend to get help.

• A Medina man died on Sept. 6 from injuries sustained in a car accident on Maple Ridge Road, between Sanderson and Culvert roads. Raymond Farewell, 58, was a passenger in a vehicle that was rear-ended.

• A husband and wife from Carlton died from a car accident on Sept. 17 on Route 31 by the fairgrounds. Rebecca A. Harrier, 38, was pronounced deceased at the scene. Her husband, Randy L. Harrier Jr., 39, was flown by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital and died the following day. Mr. Harrier was an active Carlton firefighter and his wife supported the Fire Company as well. The couple married in 2003 and has three children.

“Becky was as much a part of our fire company as Randy,” Ed Cooper, a Carlton firefighter and department chaplain, told about 300 people during a funeral service. “Together they contributed so much to this community.”

• A Medina man was killed in a motorcycle accident on Oct. 14 in Shelby. Brian J. McKee II, 28, lost control of the motorcycle, striking a concrete block off the roadway on Main Street, which caused him to be ejected.

• Benjamin Kirby, 21, of Albion died in a car accident on Nov. 6 on Route 531 in the Town of Gates. Kirby was a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He was active in sports and the music program while a student at Albion. He also was an Eagle Scout.

Lake Ontario floods and damages shoreline – for months

Warren Kruger, second from right, meets with lakeshore residents on May 7, including Mike Anschutz, in camouflage. Kruger led a sandbag operation to try to save some of the lakeshore property.

Lake Ontario pounded the shoreline for months in 2017. Many residents saw big chucks of their backyards get chewed away by the lake.

Orleans County and the three lakeshore towns – Yates, Carlton and Kendall – were in a state of emergency for more than 200 days, until FEMA approved disaster aid on Nov. 14.

Carlton, Kendall and Yates, as well as Orleans County could receive about $2.75 million in FEMA aid. The three towns and the county collectively spent about $250,000 for overtime, diesel fuel, and other expenses with filling and moving sandbags, said Dale Banker, the county’s emergency management director.

The flooding and erosion from the high lake waters also caused $2.5 million to 14 sites that are publicly owned in the county, Banker said. That includes infrastructure and municipal property.

There are about 2,000 parcels of land in Orleans County along the shoreline. About 500 were approved for state funding for new breakwalls and repairs.

The high waters also meant high tributaries. The Oak Orchard River was much higher than normal and flooded Captain’s Cove. The owner relocated the store up on a hill to be away from the flood waters. Many marinas struggled to raise docks and keep their businesses going.

Property owners from several southshore counties formed United Shoreline and held rallies and information meetings. The organization and many elected officials, including Congressman Chris Collins, faulted the International Joint Commission for the flooding. The IJC helps regulate the water level at Lake Ontario. The IJC implemented a new plan last year. The organization said record rainfall was the prime cause of the high waters that persisted throughout the year.

The National Guard and many community volunteers were a presence at the lake in May, filling and stacking sandbags to provide some temporary protection from the smashing waves. More than 220,000 sandbags were placed in the three towns.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the turnout from the community as a whole,” Warren Kruger, Kendall highway superintendent, said on May 7 when volunteers showed up to fill and stack sandbags.

Judge Punch retires, other changes among local elected officials

Judge James Punch retired on July 29 after nearly 27 years as Orleans County judge.

Orleans County has stability in local government. Many of the elected officials, especially at the county level, are in the positions for a decade or more.

But 2017 brought changes, especially at the county level. James Punch retired after nearly 27 years as county court judge. Sandy Church was elected to a 10-year term in November.

Susan Heard, the county treasurer the past 24 years, also announced her retirement. She has been succeeded by Kim DeFrank, the deputy treasurer.

David Callard, a county legislator for nearly 24 years, resigned on August 2. He had been the County Legislature chairman for nearly eight years.

There are 10 towns in Orleans County and five have new town supervisors to start 2018.

Carol Culhane was defeated in Gaines by Joe Grube.

Matt Passarell didn’t seek re-election in Albion as town supervisor. He instead was elected to a less demanding position as town councilman. Richard Remley is the new town supervisor.

Mark Chamberlain retired as town supervisor in Barre. Sean Pogue won a three-way race to succeed Chamberlain.

In Murray, John Morriss didn’t seek re-election and Bob Miller won a close race over Joe Sidonio to lead the Murray town government.

Skip Draper also didn’t seek re-election as Shelby town supervisor, instead running for the county legislator position vacated by Callard. Ed Houseknecht was elected Shelby’s new town supervisor.

Medina’s downtown revitalization takes more big steps

Amy Cifelli, co-owner of Fitzgibbons Public House, pours a drink on opening day for the business last Jan. 6.

Medina has been the envy of many small towns with a vibrant downtown business district. Medina’s downtown got even better in 2017 with the several façade restorations and the opening of the Fitzgibbons Public House in January, following eight years of renovations at the former Silver Dollar.

Zambistro, a popular Main Street restaurant, completed a renovation and façade improvement. Down the street, renovations also started on the former Bent’s Opera House.

Roger Hungerford, CEO and founder of Talis Equity, has launched “Impact Restoration,” an initiative to build on the downtown and community revitalization. One of Hungerford’s projects includes the restoration of the Bent’s Opera House. Work started in 2017 at Bent’s.

The third floor of Bent’s will be restored into one of the most unique wedding and event venues in New York State, with the first and second floors experiencing a dramatic redesign into a restaurant and modern boutique hotel space. The building next door, also included in the redesign, will be home to a market serving healthy options.

Hungerford also wants to turn the old high school in Medina into apartments and a loft community known as Mustang Pride.

Medina also for a $10 million grant from the state in its Downtown Revitalization Initiative in 2017. The state picked Batavia for that grant, but another $10 million is expected to be available in 2018. Mayor Mike Sidari said Medina expects to try again for the funding which would advance several community projects.

A new hotel also is expected to open in 2018 on Maple Ridge Road. Although it’s not in the downtown, the hotel is expected to keep visitors in the community longer, which should provide more activity for Main Street businesses.

Powerful windstorm left much of Orleans County without power for days

Photo by Tom Rivers: Albion police officers were on the scene on March 8 after tree fell on West Bank Street, damaging a vehicle.

A powerful wind storm punished Orleans County on March 8, taking down big trees and power lines. The storm knocked out power for 11,250 National Grid customers in Orleans County, about 60 percent of the company’s customer base in Orleans. Half the county went without power for at least two days and electricity wasn’t fully restored for five days.

As the community tried to recover from the windstorm, about two feet of snow fell on March 14-15.

In April, the rain soaked Orleans County, on many occasions. There was record-setting rain in the spring, making it difficult for high schoolers and Little Leaguers to play their games. It also kept golfers off the local courses and delayed the spring plantings for farmers.

Contractors were busy at Albion, Holley and Medina school districts, tackling capital projects

Photo by Cheryl Wertman: Jalin Cooper leads the Mustangs onto the field on Sept. 15 in the first game played at the newly renovated Vets Park, which featured new turf and a large scoreboard.

Three local schools – Albion, Holley and Medina – all were busy with construction projects last year.

Holley wrapped up a $30 million capital project. Among the finishing projects last year was a new bus loop by the elementary school. The elementary school playground was redone and a new Pre-K playground added to the elementary school campus.

New tennis courts were installed at the Middle School/High School while the existing courts were repurposed as tennis, pickleball and basketball courts.

Structural changes were made to both schools, too. Heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) units were replaced in both buildings. The elementary school had windows and doors replaced. The new windows allow more light into classrooms. These upgrades allow the district to use their energy more efficiently and save money on utility costs.

Medina in December 2016 approved a $34 million capital project. The first part started last summer with new turf and upgrades to Vets Park. A slew of improvements at all three school buildings, the bus garage, and more work at Vets Park await. There will also be a new access road between Oak Orchard Elementary School and Clifford Wise Middle School.

In Albion, the district accepted $10 million in construction bids as part of a $14 million capital project. The $10 million included projects touching all three school buildings, the bus garage and athletic facilities.

Canal tree-clearing alarms many in community

Photo by Tom Rivers: Mohawk Valley Materials cuts down trees and removes them in Holley in this photo on Nov. 18, between the lift bridge and Bennetts Corners Road.

In September, the Canal Corp. announced a “vegetation management plan” from Medina to Fairport that would involve taking down many trees on canal-owned land.

In October, contractors started the work in Medina and canal neighbors and residents were alarmed to see the takedown of a buffer of trees along the towpath.

Canal Corp. leaders say the tree removal is long overdue. Cutting down the trees will make the banks easier to maintain and check for leaks. The Canal Corp. also said tree roots have burrowed into the canal walls, making the waterway vulnerable to leaks. The Canal Corp. said it wants to establish a grassy slope by the towpath.

As the contractor headed east, opposition grew for the project, especially in Brighton, Perinton and Fairport, where work was temporarily suspended.

Dollar General opens a store in Kendall while Albion loses long-time grocer

A new Dollar General opened in Kendall on Dec. 18. The store is shown under construction on Oct. 31.

The Kendall community watched a new store take shape in the fall, with the Dollar General opening on Dec. 18. The 9,100-square-foot structure is on Route 18, just west of the Kendall Road (Route 237) intersection. It’s big news in a town where residents have been doing most of the shopping outside the community.

This is the fifth Dollar General in Orleans County. Other stores are located on West Avenue in Albion, Route 31 in Holley, Maple Ridge Road in Medina and Ridge Road in Medina (just south of Lyndonville).

In Kendall, residents have to drive out of the community for many of their grocery and merchandise purchases. The Dollar General will allow them to shop closer to home.

Kendall also saw improvement at its marina along Lake Ontario. The Bald Eagle Marina is planning some dramatic improvements with a restaurant planned for the second story of the clubhouse. The marina’s new owner, John Tsyupa of Webster, is committed to making the site a destination, including dredging the harbor to bring in larger boats.

Albion lost two long-time businesses last year. The Pawlak family closed its store after 49 years in Albion. Ken Printup, owner of Uncle Sal’s Pizzeria in downtown Albion, also retired after about 20 years of owning the business.

“Competitive realities, a slow economy, and cost deflation in the food industry has forced us to make the decision to close Pawlak’s Food Center after 49 years of serving the Albion community,” The Pawlaks said in a statement on Oct. 12. “We have been unable to compete with these trends and continue to rent our current space. We recognize closing is the necessary course of action to take. The closing also includes The Video Station and Save-On Beverage Center.”

Some Orleans County residents and organizations were in the state and national spotlight in 2017.

Rod Farrow is on the cover of the August 2017 issue of American Fruit Grower.

Rod Farrow of Waterport was named the “Apple Grower of the Year” by American Fruit Grower, a national agricultural magazine run by Growing Produce. Farrow is the co-owner of Lamont Fruit Farm, which has changed its name to Fish Creek Orchards.

He has been an industry leader in growing high-value fruit through high-density orchards. Farrow, a native of England, was praised in the apple industry for management of the farm and its long-term future, and for his leadership in the industry with different co-ops including The Next Big Thing, which grows the SweeTango apple variety.

Matt Kludt of Kludt Brothers Farm won the corn yield contest for New York for the third straight year with a yield of 322.4 bushels per acre in the no-till/strip-till non-irrigated class. The contest is run by the National Corn Growers Association.

The Village of Lyndonville also won the state’s best-tasting tap water contest. Lyndonville was crowned the champion at the State Fair on Aug. 31.

Lyndonville won the Orleans County contest during the Strawberry Festival in June and on Aug. 12 won the western regional competition at the Rochester Public Market. Lyndonville then advanced to the state competition.

Albion Central School for the 10th consecutive year was recognized nationally for an outstanding music program. The North American Music Merchants named Albion and 526 other school districts in the country as a “Best Communities for Music Education.”

On Jan. 30, Medina sophomore Maddie Williams went in the state record book by hitting 16 three-pointers in a girls basketball game against Holley. Williams scored 54 points in the game for a new Medina record. Her 16 threes bettered the old state record of 15 set by Courtney Galuski of Cohoes in 2008.

A Clarendon native, Steven Klatt, also was on the winning team in the Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Klatt, 31, and his teammates on Braised in the South took home the top prize, $50,000. Klatt grew up in Clarendon and graduated from Holley. He is the son of Ryan Klatt and Susan Colby, the Clarendon town clerk. Braised in the South is based in Charlotte, South Carolina. The competition features Southern-style food. The Great Food Truck Race started with seven teams, but each week one is eliminated, the team with lowest sales. The episode crowning the champion aired on Sept. 24.

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Musings on courageous Republicans, a president who believes he’s above the law, and other topics

Posted 4 November 2017 at 8:12 pm


What follows are some random observations. The reader is certainly free to take exception to any—or all—of them.

A bowling acquaintance observed a few weeks ago that, “They (politicians) are all the same”.  His experience is not mine, and he is entitled to his opinion.  To me, the view he expressed provides cover for abdicating one’s citizenship responsibility.  If one reasons that, “They are all the same”, a “citizen” is absolved from determining who is best for the job.  We have a rationale for tuning out.  Nonetheless, people with a great deal of credibility have said “tuning out” is not an option in a republic.

Consider how similar such excuses are to dismissing any reporting that challenges your thinking as “fake” news.  If difficult to comprehend devastation in Puerto Rico was actually the product of cherry-picked aerial photos and “fake” news, we can dismiss it as just that—“fake news”.

Please understand this. Some people actually do think of themselves as above the law. Revealing tax returns is for lesser beings. Paying contractors who did millions of dollars worth of work for you in Atlantic City is for “losers”. Groping women–according to one prominent “business” man–is apparently not a problem when you have attained sufficient stature.

Take this to the bank: history will portray John McCain, Jeff Flake, and Bob Corker as leaders who displayed exceptional courage.

As I recall, it was Kansas Republican Senator Bob Dole who nagged Bill Clinton to address Bosnian genocide. That WWII veteran’s commitment to the inconvenient truth led to the Dayton Accords and the war crimes tribunal at The Hague that brought Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic to justice. Perhaps Dole was delusional, but he didn’t think the fact that the perps were ostensibly “Christians” and the victims were Muslims mattered.

The October 29th “60 Minutes” segment on master forger Adolfo Kaminsky’s Herculean efforts to save thousands of Jews from Nazi death camps was—to me—inspirational.

A recent letter to the editor bestowed a new title on me. I guess what it said was flattering, though probably undeserved. My problem isn’t with my former student and retired State Trooper.  Joe Sidonio–to me–is a stronger candidate.

County Legislature candidates Ken DeRoller, Fred Miller, and John DeFillips have no opponents, but are worthy of public support in my view. Once again, I firmly believe Al Capurso deserves our votes as well.

For those who missed their “opportunity” to cut cabbage Sunday morning in the rain and balmy 40-degree weather, don’t worry.  Some shorter people who didn’t have to bend over too far got it done in spite of the mud and somewhat less than ideal conditions. (I have seen worse.) If you haven’t enjoyed the cabbage harvest experience, you do not know what you are missing. Those who think sauerkraut comes from a store might benefit from checking with those who have depended on border area farm labor for at least five decades that I can personally attest to.

My close childhood buddy, George Fischer, tripped a booby trap in Vietnam and arrived home in Holley “closed casket”.  Not only did George not care whether our Kendall Cubs center fielder was Black, he didn’t care whether those who had his back in Vietnam were Puerto Rican.

When most people of my ancient vintage heard “Fats” Domino perform, we really didn’t give a rat’s ass what color he was.

After listening to third generation bee keeper and outstanding former student Jim Doan’s presentation to the Orleans Bluebird Society, our non-profit has decided not to spray any of the white dogwoods we planted in the Village of Albion with a product containing imadicloprid.

Finally, those in a persistent state of denial might want to read Connie Schultz’ column in the 10/30 Batavia Daily News.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent


Several attorneys in Orleans County state their support for Sanford Church as next county judge

Posted 10 October 2017 at 12:32 pm


We, being the attorneys residing and practicing law in Orleans County, wholeheartedly support and endorse Sandy Church for Orleans County Judge.

Sandy has the knowledge, experience and qualifications necessary to fill this crucially important judicial post in our great County.

As a lifelong resident, he has deep roots in Orleans County and has been outstanding in his professional and community service.  He has earned, and enjoys, the highest respect from both his fellow attorneys and from the community at large. Sandy has dedicated the entirety of his 32 years at the practice of law on behalf of the children, families, and good people of Orleans County.   He is highly qualified to serve as judge in County Court, Family Court, Surrogates Court and Supreme Court.

In Sandy’s early career, he served in the District Attorney’s Offices under then District Attorney James Punch, and with the current District Attorney, Joseph Cardone. Sandy has served the past 20 years as the Orleans County Public Defender and continues to have a great working relationship with the District Attorney’s office as well as all Judges and Magistrates in our County.

We are confident that the residents of Orleans County can trust and rely on Sandy Church to fairly and honorably protect them as our County Judge.  We strongly urge all of our Orleans County neighbors and citizens to give this exceptional and worthy candidate their full support and their vote in the upcoming election.

Hon. James P. Punch, retired

Thomas C. Mack, Esq.

Nathan D. Pace, Esq.

Douglas Heath, Esq.

Lance Mark, Esq.

Jeffrey Martin, Esq.

Dana A. Graber, Esq.

Conrad Cropsey, Esq.

Michael O’Keefe, Esq.

John Gavenda, Esq.

Edward Grabowski, Esq.

Andrew Meier, Esq.

David Schubel, Esq.

Kim Hinkley, Esq.

James Bell, Esq.

Joanne Best, Esq.

Kevin Allen, Esq.

Larry R. Koss, Esq.

Medina has planted more than 1,000 trees past 14 years

Provided photo: Oak Orchard Elementary School students happily participate in an Arbor Day celebration in 2013. Medina includes elementary school students in the program every year, with students sharing essays and poems about Arbor Day. They also help plant some of the trees.

Posted 18 August 2017 at 10:25 am

Tree Board sees significant progress in Medina with more trees to be planted in coming years

Press Release, Medina Tree Board

MEDINA – 2017 marks an important milestone for the Village of Medina because the village has earned the designation of Tree City USA for ten years.

“We’ve come a long way and have accomplished many great things with urban forestry here in Medina.” said Christopher Busch, Chairman of the village’s Municipal Tree Board. “It’s so much more than planting a few trees. We have a comprehensive urban forestry program in Medina and are very proud of what goes into achieving our Tree City status.”

Busch has been the chairman since the board’s inception in 2005, authoring the village’s Municipal Tree Ordinance with the help of Dr. Nina Bassuk, Department of Urban Horticulture, Cornell University.

The Municipal Tree Board was formed as a response to a NYS Pass-Through Project: the reconstruction of Routes 31, 31A, 31E, and 63, including Main Street and other major thoroughfares within the village.

“Many trees were being removed in preparation for this massive road project prompting citizen concern,” said Busch.

“We had lost hundreds of mature trees over the last 30 years through old age, storm damage, and disease and were losing more with the pass-through project. Without an ordinance and a tree board, the village had little if any control over what was being done.”

With those concerns in mind, former Mayor Howard Lake gave the go-ahead to investigate a tree ordinance and formation of a tree board and with the help of Dr. Bassuk, an ordinance was researched, drafted, reviewed, and adopted in time to effect the final stages of the pass-through.

“We have made and continue to make incredible progress,” said Busch. “Throughout our community evidence of that progress can be seen along many of our major thoroughfares. The Mayor and Board of Trustees are very supportive of the Tree Board’s efforts, and are committed to the process of reforesting our community and maintaining Tree City status.”

Photo by Tom Rivers:  Chris Busch, the Medina Tree Board chairman, joins elementary school kids on April 27 during an Arbor Day celebration at Rotary Park. This was the 13th year Medina held an Arbor Day event. Busch and the Tree Board presented a “Friend of the Urban Forest” award to Oak Orchard Elementary School for their participation in the Arbor Day program. Busch said the Tree Board will keep planting about 50-60 trees a year in the foreseeable future.

According to Busch, citizens too have been supportive as well through Memorial Tree donations and by purchasing trees through the Village and donating them for right-of-way planting in front of their homes.

“Every year we have an increasing number of citizens who donate trees for planting via memorials or simply because they’d like trees replaced in front of their homes. Despite an aggressive planting program, some areas on side streets won’t be planted in the immediate future, so residents help us reach those areas of need via donations.”

Medina has had some large donors as well.

“In recent years, some community members have made extremely generous donations towards reforesting the village,” said Busch. “One of those people is long-time Medina resident, Robert Sanderson.”

Sanderson is vice president of marketing and a managing partner at Candlelight Cabinetry, and has been recognized two years in a row as a “Friend of the Urban Forest” in Medina.

At the 2016 Arbor Day Celebration, Bob Sanderson spoke to hundreds of school children as he accepted his award. “Both companies (Kitchen World/Candlelight Cabinetry) make their living in the woodworking industry; therefore it is fitting to be making this Tree Donation to State Street Park and the Village of Medina.”

As the students applauded, he said, “We are very proud to have a part in keeping Medina’s reputation as ‘the Village with all the trees.’”

Photo by Tom Rivers: Bob Sanderson receives the Friends of the Urban Forest award during the Arbor Day celebration in 2016.

A big part of attaining Tree City status is establishing an annual Arbor Day observance. In Medina, Nicole Goyette is the Arbor Day Coordinator. Goyette is the Gifted and Talented Coordinator in the Medina schools and a member of Medina’s Tree Board.

“Local schools are a largely untapped community resource,” Goyette said. “From our students will come the next generation of Tree Board members, DPW tree planters, community tree organizers, homeowners, mayors and trustees. They are the future of the community’s’ urban forest.”

Medina bills its Arbor Day celebration as “the biggest and best in Western New York” and Goyette defends that claim.

“As a Tree City USA, we feel that our Arbor Day observance needs to be something very special,” she said. “Our celebration is attended each year not only by dozens of citizens, but by 500-600 hundred school children as well. There may be another community doing that in WNY, but if there is, I’m not aware of it. Our celebration is a big community event!”

For some time, the villages’ Municipal Tree Ordinance and Arbor Day Celebration have been a model for several other communities looking to establish a board and planting program.

“We receive contacts every year from municipalities across the state, seeking advice,” Busch said. “It’s gratifying to know that we’re doing something so well, that others have noticed.”

Busch notes that the Tree Board has been described as a “working board” and a “hands-on board.”

“We have a wide array of responsibility,” he said. “We work hand-in-hand with the DPW, Code Enforcement Officer, the Mayor and Village Board and together, I think we do a great job. There’s a lot involved in getting it done right. We earn our Tree City USA status every year.”

Busch said some of the responsibilities associated with an on-going urban reforestation program include annual planting/pruning/shaping, site assessment and plan development, planting coordination, mulching/weeding, identification and removal of dead/dangerous trees, training tree handlers, updating & maintaining Risk Survey and inspection of trees for disease, damage, etc.

The list of accomplishments amassed over the past fourteen years by “Tree City Medina” is impressive by any standard. As of summer 2017, the Medina’s Municipal Tree Board has:

  • Written and adopted a comprehensive municipal tree ordinance that has been a model for other communities.
  • Established a working Municipal Tree Board.
  • Established policies and procedures for the care, maintenance, and reforesting of the village.
  • Established a web site that has been held up by forestry professionals as an example to the forestry industry.
  • Reforested the major portions of the main thoroughfares and Central Business District in the village.
  • Participated as presenters in a Genesee-Finger Lakes Regional Planning Conference session on municipal trees.
  • Established a comprehensive risk survey of the village forest and subsequent maintenance priority schedule, resulting in a safer environment and minimal storm damage due to maintenance and removal of dangerous trees.
  • Established a comprehensive risk survey of the forest in Boxwood Cemetery,and subsequent maintenance priority schedule.
  • Established a viable memorial tree program with a memorial tree garden at City Hall.
  • Developed forms and process whereby residents can request a ROW tree planting at a reasonable cost.
  • Developed forms and process whereby a memorial tree can be purchased at a reasonable cost.
  • Annually undertaken site plan assessment, developed site plans, and selected plant material for planting of 60-80 trees.
  • Annually pruned several hundred young trees (Tree Board members do much of this)
  • Developed and disseminated press releases on the forestry related achievements of the Village of Medina.
  • Developed an informational brochure.
  • Established a widely recognized Arbor Day celebration with hundreds of school children in cooperation with the Medina Central School District.
  • Established Medina as a nationally recognized Tree City USA with annual recertification. • established Medina as a nationally recognized Tree City Growth Community.
  • Established Medina as an active annual participant in National Grid’s 10,000 Trees and Growing Program, often more than $1,000 in annual reimbursements for appropriate and approved underwire tree plantings.

Jack Feltz is the Senior Forestry Supervisor for the National Grid West Genesee Region and has worked with Medina’s Municipal Tree Board for many years. Feltz always points to Medina as a model Urban Forestry program wherever he goes.

“Over the last fourteen years, the Village of Medina has implemented an aggressive plan to remove and replace high-risk street trees. Silver maple was the predominant species in the village,” said Feltz.

Provided photo: This shows the West Center Street treescape.

Like many villages in WNY, streets were planted with hundreds of stately Silver Maple decades ago. While beautiful at maturity, they quickly degrade and become dangerous. Hundreds of 80-foot tall trees with weak wood and insect infestation is a tough problem. In Tree City Medina, National Grid has played an important role in mitigating that problem.

“In cooperation with National Grid Forestry, the village has removed hundreds of over-mature, at-risk trees, and done an outstanding job of backfilling those planting locations with site-compatible species,” Feltz said. “Chris Busch and the Village Tree Board have set the bar at the highest standard and have put a huge amount of thought and foresight into selecting a variety of species and cultivars, avoiding the historical practice of planting a monoculture.”

Over those 14 years, Feltz has also worked hand-in-hand with the village DPW and gives them high praise for their urban forestry efforts and Tree City USA status.

“A special thanks should be given to former DPW Superintendents Paul Nowak and Pete Houseknecht for their cooperative spirit in this lengthy process,” said Feltz. “I cover a large service territory and deal daily with our DPW Superintendents and our local government leaders. If they ever have a question(s) about how to re-forest there community, I vehemently suggest that take a ride to Medina, NY and put eyes on a forward and progressive Urban Forest Plan.”

The Tree City USA Program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters, and the USDA Forest Service. Tree City USA is awarded annually to those communities who qualify and is a national designation.

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Albion Alumni Foundation awards $74K in scholarships

Photos courtesy of Albion Alumni Foundation: These four Albion graduates were awarded scholarships through the Albion Alumni Foundation They include, from left: Shannon Broda, Megan Leight, Sierra Chudy and Skyler Smith.

Posted 18 July 2017 at 10:26 am

Press Release, Albion Alumni Foundation

ALBION – The Albion High School Alumni Foundation takes great pride in making a difference for a lifetime for the Albion Central School District community – alumni, students, teachers, and friends. The main focus of the Foundation is a Scholarship Program that continues to grow and benefit more students every year.

Each year at the Class Night celebration, the Foundation presents scholarships to graduating seniors who meet the criteria of each specific scholarship. These awards provide financial assistance so that our bright young scholars may continue their educational goals and be successful in their future endeavors.

The funding for the scholarships are made possible through memberships and gifts from AHS Alumni, as well as individuals or organizations that contact the Foundation to establish a scholarship. The Foundation manages the funds and awards the scholarships annually during the Class Night event, along with other scholarships that are awarded that evening.

In 2017, the Foundation added seven new scholarships to the portfolio, bringing the total scholarships managed by the Foundation to 31. This year, the Foundation awarded 30 of 31 scholarships to 42 students totaling $74,400.

Here are the results of the 2017 scholarships managed and awarded by the Albion HS Alumni Foundation.

Albion High School Alumni Foundation Scholarships

These $1,500 (4) scholarships are awarded in recognition of academic achievement, school and community activities, and potential for future accomplishment. Originally established in memory of those alumni who have given their lives in the service of our country, these scholarships are awarded on behalf of more than 10,000 people around the world that have graduated from Albion High School. Four awards of $1,500 each will be presented upon successful completion of one year of college.

This year’s recipients are: Shannon Broda, Skyler Smith, Sierra Chudy and Megan Leight.

Paul R. Haines Memorial Scholarship

This $1,500 scholarship, awarded annually by the Foundation, is made possible through gifts from the Haines family and friends. It is awarded based on academic achievement, community involvement, and potential for future accomplishment. When possible, preference will be given to a student pursuing a career in international relations or a similar field. An award of $1500 will be presented upon successful completion of one year of college.

This year’s recipient is Karina Rosario.

Smith Foundation Challenge

Two $1,000 scholarships are awarded annually by the Foundation to students entering the second year of college. The awards were made possible through gifts from the Edwin J. and Blanche K. Smith Foundation, Inc. All recipients of first-year scholarships from the Alumni Foundation are eligible. Preference is given to students pursuing a course of study in engineering or science.

This year’s recipients are Bethany Bowman and Randal Blacker.

Saint-Gobain Technical Fabrics Scholarship

This $1,000 scholarship is made possible through the generosity of Saint-Gobain Technical Fabrics, Inc. It is awarded to a student who has shown academic achievement, participation in community and school activities, and potential for future accomplishment. Preference is given to a student pursuing a major in engineering or finance. An award of $1000 will be presented by the Alumni Foundation upon successful completion of one year of college.

This year’s recipient is Samuel Slick.

Elizabeth Balcom Smith Scholarship

This $4,000 award is presented by the Foundation in memory of Elizabeth Balcom Smith. Mrs. Smith graduated with the AHS Class of 1939 and was a highly respected family therapist. This scholarship, made possible through a generous contribution from Barbara Balcom, is awarded in recognition of academic achievement, school and community activities, and potential for future accomplishment. An award of $4,000 will be presented upon successful completion of one year of college.

This year’s recipient is Angela Tarricone.

Golden Performance Award

This $500 award was originally established in 2003 through funds raised by the Albion High School Alumni Foundation as part of Amanda Haines’ and Samantha McGrath’s Girl Scout Gold Award Project and has been continued by the Foundation. It is awarded to a person who has been involved in the performing arts throughout high school. Preference is given to a student who is pursuing further education in the performing arts.

This year’s recipient is Evan Steier.

Jim and Susie Fraser Health Careers Scholarship

This $500 scholarship has been established by Jim Fraser (Class of 1970) and Susie Glassner Fraser (Class of 1972) to provide financial assistance to students who aspire to enter the healthcare field and demonstrate financial need. This $500 scholarship is administered by the Albion HS Alumni Foundation.

This year’s recipient is Calandra Prentice.

Dr. Lee Minier Science Scholarship

This $500 scholarship, established in 2008, is in memory of Lee N. Minier, Ph.D. in Cell Biology and Anatomy. Because of Lee’s lifelong thirst for knowledge and for a deeper understanding of the complexities of the universe, this scholarship shall be presented to a senior who demonstrates a true love and respect for the sciences, in particular Biology, Paleontology, Astronomy, and Chemistry. This scholarship is now administered by the Foundation. An award of $500 will be presented upon successful completion of one year of college.

This year’s recipient is Jared Hollinger.

Sue Salchak Fetzner is pictured with Jared Hollinger, winner of the Harry W. Salchak Science Scholarship.

Albion Alumni Foundation Performing Arts Scholarship

This $1,000 scholarship was established in 2010 by the Albion High School Alumni Foundation and is given annually to the senior who has shown the greatest achievement in multiple facets of the performing arts at Albion High School. Preference will be given to a student who is continuing a post high school education in the performing arts or a related field (i.e. Music Education, Music Performance, Drama, Theater Arts, Music Business, etc.) The winner will be determine by the AHS music and theater faculty. An award of $1,000 will be presented upon successful completion of one year of college.

This year’s recipient is Shannon Broda.

Coach Richard Diminuco Scholarship for Athletic Excellence

This $1,500 scholarship will be awarded annually by the Foundation in recognition of Coach Richard Diminuco, who served as AHS head varsity football coach for 30 years and athletic director for 26 years. It is awarded to an outstanding athlete who displays good character and academic achievement. Preference will be given to a student who will be participating in college level athletics and/or pursuing a career in physical education. An award of $1,500 will be presented upon successful completion of one year of college.

This year’s recipient is Chanyce Powell.

Harry W. Salchak Science Scholarship

A $2,500 scholarship, established in 2012, is in memory of Harry W. Salchak, who taught earth science, chemistry, and physics at AHS for 35 years. It is awarded annually by the Foundation. This scholarship was established by Earl and Reva Smith, who lived in the Albion district for 29 years and appreciated his contribution to education, and by the Salchak family in honor of excellence in his life and teaching. It will be awarded to an outstanding graduating senior who demonstrates a passion for the sciences and who will be enrolled in college majoring in and pursuing a career in a science or engineering field. This $2500 award will be presented upon successful completion of the first semester of college.

This year’s recipient is Jared Hollinger.

A.B. “Dick” Eddy “Service Above Self” Scholarship

This $1,250 scholarship is awarded in memory of Dick Eddy, a community leader, businessman, and Rotarian, who committed his life to the principle of Service Above Self. Established in 2012 by the Rotary Club of Albion, this scholarship is awarded to a senior who has demonstrated a personal commitment to community service and leadership, and displays high potential for future accomplishment. An award of $1250 will be presented upon successful completion of college by the Foundation.

This year’s recipient is Vivian Rivers.

The Nancy Elaine LaGamba Scholarship

This $1,000 scholarship has been created in honor of Nancy Elaine LaGamba’s life by her husband, Ron. Nancy was a school teacher in the public school system and lived in the Albion area for over 30 years. Nancy devoted her life to helping all children meet and exceed their educational goals. Nancy was a proud American and she relished any opportunity to express her love for her country. This scholarship is awarded to a deserving Albion High School student who has demonstrated commitment to Albion High, church and community, and self-improvement over the student’s high school career. An award of $1000 will be presented upon successful completion of one year of college or trade school by the Foundation.

This year’s recipient is Angela Tarricone.

The Dr. Paul Mahany Family Scholarships

These $2500 (up to 5) scholarships have been created in memory of Kathryn Mahany Kerrigan, who grew up in Albion. Her father, Dr. Paul Mahany, died when Kathryn was only 13 years old and it was the Albion community which stepped in to help her mother raise Kathryn and her brother Paul. With scholarship assistance from the community, Kathryn went on to become a nurse practitioner and nurse mid-wife, with an additional degree in public health. She spent her life helping under-served women and children in areas of greatest need from New York to California. It was her wish to return in some measure the kindness and support that she received when she was growing up in Albion. These scholarships are awarded to seniors based on academic achievement and financial need. Preference will be given to a student who is pursuing further education in nursing and other service-oriented professions. An award of $2500 will be presented to each recipient upon successful completion of one year of college or nursing school by the Foundation.

This year’s recipients are Savanah Wirth, Donato Rosario, Bailey Maier and Mackenzie Luft.

Hoag Scholarship

The $10,000 four-year scholarship was first awarded in 2013. The scholarship has been established by Courtenay and Maurice (Class of 1961) Hoag to provide financial assistance to a student so as to earn a Bachelor’s Degrees in Chemical Engineering and Engineering. The Foundation awards two scholarships annually at $10,000 over four years and is paid at $2,000 per year upon successful completion of each year of college – one for Chemical Engineering and one for Engineering. The recipients must continue in an engineering major over the four-year scholarship period.

This year’s recipients are Joseph Madejski and Celeste Hoffman.

Panek Family Farm Agriculture Scholarship

This $1,000 scholarship was started in 2014 by the Panek Family Farm through the Albion High School Alumni Foundation. It assists students pursuing an agriculture degree or entering the agriculture industry. The Panek family started farming in 1982 and have been active members of the agriculture community ever since. The Panek family strongly believes in the Albion Agriculture Program and in supporting young people in their pursuit of agriculture careers. An award of $1,000 will be given annually and presented upon successful completion of one semester of college or, for those entering agriculture directly, following a review of career progress after 6 months.

This year’s recipient is Carly Fox.

The Rex & Marilyn Horton Scholarship

This $500 scholarship has been established in memory of Marilyn Horton by Rex Horton and Renovation Lodge # 97 of Freemasons. $500 will be presented to a graduating senior who has demonstrated a personal commitment to community service. Preference will be given to a student pursuing a career in culinary arts or a vocational trade. This $500 scholarship is administered by the Albion High School Alumni Foundation.

This year’s recipient is Lauren Freeman.

The Wayne A. Burlison Memorial Scholarship

This $500 scholarship, established in 2014 by Wayne’s wife and son, is supported by Albion School employees, various musical groups that Wayne was involved in, the Albion Running Club, and family and friends. this is in honor of the memory and legacy of Wayne A. Burlison, a beloved music educator in the Albion School Community. The recipient of this award should be one that reflects the values and behaviors as modeled by Mr. Burlison. With a strong passion for music and the fine arts, he was also a person of integrity and perseverance, believing that all can achieve in ways they hope to grow. He sought to find ways to help others learn, especially when facing adversity. Mr. Burlison loved both the school and his community, showed compassion towards others, and was dedicated and committed to his family. Mr. Burlison was often quoted as having said “Everything we do is a choice, including how we react to the situations around us. What choice will you make?”; as well as “Can’t isn’t a word, try again”. Primary consideration will be given to students that are active in the fine arts or music in high school, and show good academic standing and/or growth. Applicants do not necessarily need to pursue a college degree in music or fine arts, but must state how they will continue to be active in music or fine arts as they attend college. This $500 scholarship is administered by the Albion High School Alumni Foundation.

This year’s recipients are Evan Steier, Samuel Slick and Freeman Lattin.

Samuel Slick accepts the St. Gobain Technical Fabrics Scholarship from Albion Alumni Foundation Board President Chris Haines.

Glassner Family Scholarship

This scholarship was established in 2015 by the family of the late Jake and Dorothy (Dottie) Glassner to honor their parents who gave and in return received so much from the Albion community. Besides raising eight children in Albion, their tireless efforts in local government, community and social services, and service clubs were instrumental in making Albion a great place to live, work, and play. The scholarship is made possible through gifts from the Glassner family and is awarded based on financial needs of the student. The annual award is administered by the Albion High School Alumni Foundation and will be a minimum of $500 – this year the award is for $1,400.

This year’s recipient is Kastriot Bela.

John Panek Memorial Scholarship

This $2,000 scholarship was established in 2015 in memory of John Panek by the Panek family. This award will be given to a student that has been very active in Agriculture classes and the FFA and is pursuing a degree in agriculture. John Panek believed that if you work hard and dream big you can achieve whatever you desire. This $2000 scholarship will be administered by the Albion High School Alumni Foundation.

This year’s recipient is Emilie Barleben.

Ronald L. Sodoma Memorial Scholarship

This $1,500 scholarship is awarded annually in memory of Ron Sodoma, Superintendent of Schools and educator in the Albion Central School District for 35 years. The scholarship, made possible through gifts from the Sodoma Family and friends, is awarded to a senior who best demonstrates RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, and OPTIMISM. These Character Education Traits were highlighted under Mr. Sodoma’s leadership in the Albion Central School District as it moved into the millennium. To be eligible, a senior must maintain a minimum cumulative average of 80%, and he/she must be pursuing some form of higher education (e.g. trade school, community college, college, or university) after graduation. This $1,500 scholarship was first awarded in 2016 and will be administered by the Albion High School Alumni Foundation.

This year’s recipient is Samuel Slick.

Masonic Renovation Lodge # 97 Scholarship

This $750 scholarship has been established by Renovation Lodge #97 through the Albion High School Alumni Foundation, and has been enhanced by a gift in honor of Dick and Mildred Cook. It is presented to a graduating senior who is pursuing any type of training in a medical field. This $750 scholarship was first awarded in 2016 and will be administered by the Albion High School Alumni Foundation.

This year’s recipient is Elizabeth Furmanski.

Edward B. Archbald Memorial Scholarship

This $1,250 scholarship has been established by the Rotary Club of Albion in memory of Ed Archbald, a farmer, philanthropist, outdoorsman, and 70-year member of Rotary. It is presented to a graduating senior pursuing a college education who shares Ed’s love for sports, recreational activities, community service, and work experience. This $1,250 scholarship was first awarded in 2016 and will be administered by the Albion High School Alumni Foundation.

This year’s recipient is Clara Stilwell.

David R. Long Agricultural Scholarship

This $2,500 scholarship was established by the Long and Pritchard families to honor the late David Long. Mr. Long, who graduated with the class of 1961, had a distinguished career in promoting the field of agriculture. The scholarship is awarded to an active member of the FFA who is pursuing higher education in agriculture or a related field. This $2,500 scholarship was first awarded in 2016 and will be administered by the Albion High School Alumni Foundation.

This year’s recipient is Emilie Barleben.

D’Andrea Family Scholarship

This $2,500 scholarship was created in remembrance of Elio, Albert, Peter, Anita and Ida D’Andrea. It is awarded to a graduating senior who has demonstrated high academic achievement, a love for the Albion community, and a strong sense of personal integrity. This $2,500 scholarship was first awwarded in 2017 and will be administered by the Albion High School Alumni Foundation.

This year’s recipient is Jared Hollinger.

Brandon Bruski Memorial Scholarship

This $400 award has been established by family and friends of Brandon Bruski, who was an outstanding art student in high school. An award is given to a senior who has chosen to pursue a degree in Fine Arts. This $400 scholarship was established in 2017 and will be administered by the Albion High School Alumni Foundation.

This scholarship was not awarded in 2017.

The Ralph and Pearl Poelma Good Neighbor / Community Service Scholarship

“Anything worth doing at all is worth doing well.” That was Ralph Poelma’s quote in the 1934 Albion High School Yearbook. And that’s the spirit with which Ralph and Pearl Poelma lived their lives. Whether it was working hard on their diversified farm into their late eighties, or being actively involved in their church, the Albion Lions Club, Red Cross blood drives, or many other community service opportunities, Ralph and Pearl Poelma were exemplary role models for a positive work ethic, integrity of character, active community involvement, and a genuine concern for others. This scholarship was established in their memory by their family and is administered through the Foundation. It is presented to a senior who has demonstrated in his or her high school years the same important values the Poelmas exhibited in their lives. This scholarship was first awarded in 2017 and will be administered by the Albion High School Alumni Foundation. In 2017, there were two $1000 scholarships awarded.

This year’s recipients are Emily Blanchard and Clara Stilwell.

The Jake and Anna Vreeburg Scholarships

These scholarships have been established in memory of Jake and Anna Vreeburg by their family; instilled in us the value of education, which gives you a jump start in life and provides a safety net toward your future. They exemplified the American dream; our parents emigrated from Holland in 1950, became citizens in 1955, had a sustainable slaughterhouse business by 1960, and also moved into their own home in 1960. After Jake’s death, Anna stayed in Albion to raise her seven children. This is a time for us to give back to the community that provided guidance, friendship, support, and a sense of community. These scholarships are awarded to graduating seniors who have a strong passion for their chosen field of study and who have demonstrated a commitment to community service. These scholarships were first awarded in 2017 and are administered by the Albion High School Alumni Foundation. In 2017, one $1,250 college scholarship and one $750 trade school scholarship were awarded.

This year’s recipients are Kari Ashworth – College, and Donato Rosario – Trade School.

The Inge Hume Elementary Education Scholarship

This $250 scholarship is awarded annually in memory of Inge Hume, a primary school teacher in the Albion Central School District. This scholarship, made possible through gifts from family and friends, is awarded to a graduating senior pursuing a career in elementary education or a similar field. This $250 scholarship was first awarded in 2017 and will be administered by the Albion High School Alumni Foundation.

This year’s recipient is Carly Fox.

The Robert P. Van Deusen Memorial Scholarship

The Albion Primary School staff, friends, and associates first established this scholarship in June 1983 to to honor Primary School Principal Bob Van Deusen, who served in that role for 23 years, mentoring both the students and teachers in his care. Its value was enhanced in his memory with additional funding from family and friends in 2016. The award of $1,500 goes to a senior who will pursue post-high school education, and who has shown an interest in working with young children; one who has been active in the Scouting program; and whose career goals will deal in a human services field, including teaching or nursing. This $1,500 scholarship was added to the Albion High School Alumni Foundation portfolio in 2017 and will be administered by the Foundation.

This year’s recipient is Evan Steier.

The Moore Family Scholarship Fund

This $500 scholarship is awarded in recognition of academic achievement, school and community activities, and potential for future accomplishment. The scholarship has been established by Ann R. Moore and Robert H. Moore to encourage students to seek higher education. This $500 scholarship was first awarded in 2017 and is administered by the Albion High School Alumni Foundation.

This year’s recipient is Katherine Mann.

Again, the Albion HS Alumni Foundation congratulates all scholarship recipients and wishes the best of luck, happiness, and success in all future endeavors!

To help support our scholarship programs:

  • You may contribute to our general scholarship fund or give to any specific scholarship by sending in a donation to The Albion High School Alumni Foundation, Inc. at PO Box 345, Albion, NY 14411. Specify “General Scholarship Fund” or the specific scholarship you wish to support.
  • Click on the “MyLocker” link on the right hand side of the main page of our web site ( to purchase personalized apparel and gear – a portion of the proceeds goes directly to our General Scholarship Fund
  • Click on the “Donate” button on the right hand side of the main page of our web site ( to make a donation via Paypal
  • If you would like to establish a NEW scholarship, you may contact us in writing at The Albion High School Alumni Foundation, Inc. at PO Box 345, Albion, NY 14411 or scroll down to the bottom of the web page and use the contact feature to drop us a note.

Thank you to all who support our mission!

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Annette Finch of Albion named ‘Woman of Distinction’ by NY State Senate

Posted 9 May 2017 at 9:58 pm

Long-time Community Action employee serves the agency, community in many ways

Provided photos: Annette Finch is pictured with State Sen. Robert Ortt in the State Capitol today.

Press Release, State Sen. Robert Ortt

ALBANY – State Senator Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) today recognized Annette Finch of Albion as one of the New York State Senate’s “Women of Distinction” during a ceremony at the Legislative Office Building in Albany.

Finch was personally selected by Ortt and was among 61 other distinguished women who were honored by the State Senate this evening.

The Senate’s Women of Distinction program celebrates outstanding women from all walks of life throughout New York State whose contributions have enriched the quality of life in our communities.

“The Women of Distinction program allows us to pause and recognize the extraordinary women in our communities whose lives, work or accomplishments contribute to enriching our society and neighborhoods,” Ortt said. “Annette is one of those women. I am proud to honor her for her achievements, and I thank her for making our communities better and brighter.”

Finch is a dedicated and passionate advocate for low-income and disadvantaged families throughout Orleans and Genesee counties. She has worked for Community Action of Orleans & Genesee Counties since 1977, and because of her exceptional leadership skills, was appointed as the nonprofit’s Director of Community Services in 1990.

“I’m honored that Senator Ortt selected me as the ‘Woman of Distinction’ for his district,” said Finch. “What I do is not for recognition or awards. I do it from my heart to better families, children, senior citizens and individuals with disabilities. It’s a privilege to work for Community Action and volunteer in my community.”

Among Finch’s responsibilities, she assists individuals with emergency services, job training, clothing, and transportation, while ensuring clients are treated with dignity and respect. She works diligently to provide programs, services, and opportunities that can enable all people to reach their fullest potential in becoming self-sufficient.

For 40 years, Finch has compassionately worked to initiate and develop life-changing programs through Community Action, including its garden projects, thrift store, care packages for veterans, school supplies for children, the annual holiday basket, coat drives. In addition, she has worked in conjunction with the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign and camp for families and children in need, as well as the work release program through the Albion Correctional Facility to help teach life skills.

Orleans County Legislator Lynne Johnson, left, joined Finch and Ortt in Albany today for the program when Finch was honored.

Finch plays a vital role in her community, dedicating her time, talent and energy to numerous local organizations. For the past 39 years, Finch has volunteered as the Treasurer for the Salvation Army Service Unit for Orleans County. She also serves as both an advisory committee and board member of the following: Orleans & Albion Correctional facilities; the Village Recreation Committee for more than 35 years; the Bereavement Committee for Holy Family Church; Genesee Community College; Job Corps; the statewide Angels in Action program; Food Link; and as Chairperson for Orleans County, FEMA to name a few.

Finch has been honored for her community service with several awards, such as Salvation Army Volunteer of the Year; Rosemary Fleming Memorial Award presented by the New York State Community Action Association; Orleans Chamber of Commerce Award for Community Service; Local American Legion Award for Continued Service; and a New York State Certificate of Recognition.

“Annette’s commitment to her community is commendable,” said Senator Ortt. “Her reputation as an outstanding administrator is a direct reflection of her love for and dedication to the individuals and families in her community. She truly is an inspiration and embodies the word ‘distinction.’”

The “Women of Distinction” celebration started in 1998. Previous winners in the annual event have included leading women from the world of business, academics and civic life, as well as those who have performed heroic or selfless acts, made significant discoveries, or provided examples of personal excellence against difficult odds.

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2 from Medina will represent Orleans at Girls State

Photo courtesy of Marguerite Dixon: These students were interviewed recently by the Orleans County American Legion Auxiliaries for the chance to attend Empire Girls State. The group includes, from left: Alyssa Beyer, Grace Flores (Alternate), Paige Gardner, Hannah Sones (Citizen) and Brigid Keller.

Staff Reports Posted 29 March 2017 at 4:58 pm

Medina High School juniors, Hannah Sones and Grace Flores, were recently selected to represent the Orleans County American Legion Auxiliaries this summer at Empire Girls State to be held at The College at Brockport, July 2–8.

Interviews were held at the Jewell Buckman American Legion Post #529 in Holley. Candidates were interviewed by members of the American Legion Auxiliaries from Orleans County which resulted in Hannah being selected as Citizen and Grace as an Alternate in the event a Citizen is unable to attend. Other candidates who participated were Alyssa Beyer and Brigid Keller from Medina and Paige Gardner from Lyndonville.

Empire Girls State is an American Legion Auxiliary sponsored program. Empire Girls State is a week-long, educational experience with hands-on workshops on the political process designed to create a government from the county to the state level.  This mythical 51st state allows the participants to learn the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic society.

Annually, High School principals, with the help of teachers and guidance counselors, identify Junior girls who are in the upper third of their class academically and who possess outstanding qualities of leadership, character, honesty, scholarship, cooperation and maturity.  Those girls identified and who are interested will then submit their name and resume to the Auxiliary Unit for consideration.  Final selection is made by the local American Legion Auxiliary Unit. Cathy Fox serves as the Orleans County chairperson for the American Legion Auxiliary Girls State.

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Many from Orleans County served and died in Civil War

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 28 May 2016 at 12:00 am

Soldiers & Sailors Monument

Photo by Matthew Ballard – The Soldiers & Sailors Monument, dedicated 140 years ago in the spring of 1876, contains the names of 466 soldiers and sailors etched on marble tablets; those men who gave their lives for the preservation of the Union buried both at home and on the battlefield. The monument stands as a testament to the beauty of our native Medina Sandstone and the pride and community commitment to honoring our veterans.


Volume 2, Issue 22

ALBION – The 7th grade class of students from Albion Middle School dedicated a beautiful granite urn, sugar maple tree, and bronze plaque affixed to a slab of pink Medina Sandstone on May 26.

The task undertaken by Tim Archer should be applauded and imitated by teachers throughout the region as a heartfelt effort to educate students about the importance of becoming noble citizens.

Over 140 students stood on the very ground once selected by David Hardie and other area municipal supervisors for use as a lot for veteran burials. Just two years later, the men of Curtis Post Grand Army of the Republic dedicated a flag pole and M1841 6-pounder bronze howitzer cannon to the memory of their fallen comrades. Those same men committed themselves to ensuring that all indigent soldiers who found themselves interred within potter’s field be removed to this newly consecrated lot.

In conjunction with the ceremonies held on May 26th and Memorial Day, it may be fitting to share a few brief notes of interest pertaining to Civil War veterans from Orleans County.

Thousands of men would enter into service with the Union Army, some would never return, yet many would return with permanent physical and mental scars from the horrors of battle.

Pvt. Ross Brown, 18th U.S. Colored Troops – born a slave in North Carolina, Brown escaped as a stowaway aboard a ship traveling for New Orleans. Making his way inland, he enlisted with the Union Army in 1864 and moved to Albion in 1890. He was affectionately known locally as “Uncle Ross.”

Maj. Thomas Bell, 8th N.Y. Cavalry – developing a fondness early on in life for theater, Bell allegedly spent two years with Edwin Booth’s company in Alabama before engaging in the foundry business at Albion. After the war, he introduced an article into U.S. law giving veterans preference in civil service appointments.

Dr. Arthur K. St. Clair, 5th Michigan Cavalry – graduating at the head of his class from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York City, Dr. St. Clair was regarded as an outstanding field surgeon having participated in at least 14 battles. When Gen. Wadsworth was killed at The Wilderness, St. Clair volunteered with a party of men to retrieve the body from the Confederate line.

Pvt. Herbert Taylor, 140th N.Y. Infantry – Clarendon native Herbert Taylor was with his regiment at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863 and repulsed the attack on Little Round Top. Making the ultimate sacrifice, he is believed to be the only Orleans County native to have died at Gettysburg.

Pvt. Isaac Hawkins, 54th Massachusetts Infantry – Medina resident Isaac Hawkins enlisted with the all African-American regiment once headed by Col. Robert Gould Shaw and made famous by the 1989 film “Glory.” Hawkins was captured at the Battle of Olustee in Florida, spending over a year at Andersonville Prison Camp and on one such occasion allegedly received 250 lashes as punishment for an unknown reason.

Col. Fazilo A. Harrington, 27th Illinois Infantry – a native of Medina, Harrington entered West Point Military Academy in 1850 before resigning his position in favor of a career in civil engineering. Answering the call of Gov. Yates of Illinois, he was placed in command of the 27th Illinois Infantry. Harrington was struck in the face by an artillery shell at the Battle of Stones River, killing him instantly. A Confederate private attempting to steal the colonel’s boots was given quite the scare when he looked up to see Harrington’s eyes wide open, as if to stare at him.

Maj. Angelo Paldi, 1st Michigan Cavalry – a native of Italy, Paldi was a respected painter and solider who allegedly served with the French Army in Algeria and Spain before immigrating to America. Serving under Gen. George Custer for a short period of time, it was Paldi’s suggestion to form a regiment of Hussars, or heavy cavalry, modeled after the regiments of Europe. After the war he moved to Albion, his body is interred at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Albion.