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Parade of Lights will lead off with bronze statue of soldier

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 18 November 2018 at 2:33 pm

The statue will be installed in spring by Armory in Medina

This rendering shows the bronze statue mounted by the former Armory, which is now a YMCA on Pearl Street in Medina.

MEDINA – The Parade of Lights this Saturday will lead off with a very special float.

Those who attend the spectacular parade will get the first glimpse of a statue which will be erected atop the monument in front of Medina Armory (YMCA).

The existing monument was an idea of Medina native Bill Menz and pays tribute to the 550 men from Orleans County and the surrounding area who were members of Company F and trained there.

The final piece of the monument, the life-size bronze statue of an infantryman, is to be delivered to Medina Monday afternoon by a family friend, John Brown of Batavia, accompanied by Menz’ daughter Lynne Menz, Cathy Fox (whose father was a member of Company F) and Ginny Kropf, who has covered the story for the media from day one.

Sadly, Menz, at the age of 86, died in July, four months short of seeing completion of his dream.

A veteran himself, Menz first pitched his idea in 2006 to a local World War II veterans’ reunion.

He thought there should be a monument in front of the Medina Armory which would pay tribute, not only to the men who trained there for four world conflicts from 1898 to 1945, but to veterans from all wars. This also included Company C, which trained there from 1947 through 1977, when the National Guard stopped using the building.

With the support of the Sandstone Society, of which Bill was a member, and two years of fundraising, in 2008 the five-sided monument was dedicated, with several World War II veterans and their families in attendance.

Bill’s vision didn’t end there, however, and he began planning for the next phase of his monument – the bronze statue.

More fundraising ensued to raise an additional $65,000 and on Jan. 16, 2017, sculptor Brian Porter of Pendleton was commissioned to do the statue.

In the following months, Bill, Lynne, Fox and Kropf made visits to Porter’s home to view his progress.

Menz, in a wheelchair, also got to visit the foundry at UB were the firing was done, just 11 days before he died.

The Company F soldier will be the first where Porter incorporated 3-D imaging to create molds for the cast bronze statue. In the new process, a miniature clay model was scanned with the 3-D technology and data sent to a CNC machine, which cut out thin plywood slices which were then glued together. This wood structure became a subframe on which clay was applied.

Porter is also an assistant professor of art at Erie Community College, and has created such masterpieces as the United States Seabees Memorial in North Tonawanda. He has also worked with the University of Buffalo to create two statues of graduates to be installed at their North Campus.

The statue’s unveiling at the Parade of Lights will be in front of a crowd anticipated to be 10,000 people.

It is interesting to note the parade route is the exact opposite of that taken by those troops when they marched from the armory to the train station all those years ago.

The statue will be placed in storage after the parade, to await installation in the spring. The Medina Department of Public Works will help erect the 1,500-pound statue on the float and return it to storage.

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Teen, formerly from Albion, faces capital murder charges in deaths of sister, mother

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 September 2018 at 8:18 am

A 15-year-old girl formerly from Albion has been charged with two counts of capital murder following the deaths of her sister and mother.

The Limestone County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama announced the charges on Friday. Because the teen is being charged as a juvenile her name is not being released.

She is accused of fatally stabbing her mother, 44-year-old Rosa Aminta Maldonado, and older sister, 19-year-old Rosa Lee Maldonado, who graduated from Albion in 2017. The Maldonados moved to Alabama about a year ago.

Many of the family’s friends in the Albion community had a vigil of remembrance on Friday evening at Bullard Park in Albion.

Rosa Lee Maldonado and her mother were found deceased by deputies at about 1 a.m. Wednesday, after someone in the house made a 911 call.

The 15-year-old had stabbed herself in the head and neck, the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office said. She was treated at a hospital in Huntsville and released on Friday.

The family has established a fundraiser on Facebook. (Click here for more information)

“We’d appreciate any help that we can receive,” according to the post. “We are trying to bury two loved ones who recently passed away. We’d appreciate anything, even the small is big.”

Rosa Aminta Maldonado was the mother of Katie Sanchez, who was 15 in January 2011 when she strangled to death by her brother-in-law, Carlos Cardenas. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Rosa Lee Maldonado was Katie’s younger sister at the time.

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