Staff Reports Posted 6 March 2015
MURRAY – A Hamlin man was arrested on Thursday following a three-month investigation into the sale and distribution of cocaine in Orleans County and the Town of Hamlin, the Orleans County Major Felony Task Force reported today.
Joel E. Johnson, 31, of 15 Fox Hollow St was charged with four counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree (a Class B felony).
Law enforcement agencies executed a search warrant at Johnson’s residence and seized over 20 grams of cocaine, a quantity of prescription hydrocodone pills, over $1,100 in cash, and scales, packaging and other drug paraphernalia.
Johnson was arraigned in the Murray Town Court by Town Justice Theodore Spada. Johnson was committed to the Orleans County Jail on $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond. He is to return to Town Court on March 9 at 5 p.m.
Johnson faces further charges in Monroe County regarding criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminally using drug paraphernalia, the Task Force reported.
The Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force executed the search warrant along with the Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.
Marlee Diehl will lead 70 clubs in WNY, Southern Ontario
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 March 2015
ALBION – A member of the Albion Rotary Club is on track to become district governor of the 70 Rotary Clubs in Western New York and Southern Ontario.
Marlee Diehl will be the third woman to serve in the role as district governor for District 7090. Her term starts in 2017-18.
She has been active in many district events and committees, and will continue in the district leadership until her term starts as district governor. Diehl already serves as an assistant district governor for the clubs in Orleans and Genesee counties, and helps plan the annual district conference.
Retaining and growing membership, committing to community service and celebrating the volunteers in Rotary will be a part of her message as district governor, Diehl said.
“Fun and fellowship are the biggest things in Rotary while doing good in the community,” she said.
The 70 clubs had about 3,200 members collectively about 10 years ago and are down to about 2,400 now.
Diehl wants to reach out to younger adults, perhaps through Rotaract Clubs which have less of a time commitment for members. There are three Rotaracts right now in the district that are affiliated with colleges. There are also 18 Interact Clubs at high schools, including one in Albion.
Diehl wants to engage more students in Rotary, and also reach out to retired people and other community members who also have a lot of energy to give to Rotary and the community.
She will encourage existing members to invite prospective members. She also wants existing Rotarians to celebrate each other, because many Rotarians are committed to service in their community and beyond.
“Every Rotary Club and every Rotarian is different and they all come with their own life story,” she said.
Diehl’s husband Bill is current president of the Albion Rotary Club. They met at a Rotary conference in Toronto in 2009, when they were both at a training session for incoming Rotary presidents.
Bill was to be president of the Albion club for the first time in 2009-10, while Marlee was to be president of the Hamilton, Ontario club.
They became friends at that conference and would marry in December 2011. Mrs. Diehl emigrated and now lives with her husband in Carlton.
For about 35 years she worked as a recruiter, helping companies find executives and leaders in management. While connecting with business leaders, she noticed many wore Rotary pins or had Rotary posters on their walls.
When she was looking for an outlet for community service, she turned to Rotary and joined the Hamilton club in 1994.
“I believe that those who find success in life should also give back to their community and the world at large in as many ways as they can find,” Diehl said.
She is also active at the First Presbyterian Church in Albion and the Oak Orchard Neighborhood Association.
A local Rotary Club recently had one of its members serve as district governor. John Heise of Holley led the district during 2010-11.
Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 6 March 2015
The south side of the former Swan Library is pictured as the sun was setting Thursday evening in Albion.
The area has a few more days to endure below-freezing temperatures with highs of 20 today, 30 on Saturday and 29 on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.
On Monday, it is forecast to hit a high of 35, followed by highs of 42 on Tuesday, 43 on Wednesday and 38 on Thursday.
Photos by Cheryl Wertman Posted 5 March 2015
A big crowd of fans from Albion, including members of the boys basketball team in the front rows, cheered on the girls team near the end of the game.
Albion lost a hard-fought 53-49 game to Tonawanda this evening in a Section VI Class B1 semifinal game at Sweet Home. The Albion girls finish the season at 12-10.
University at Buffalo’s women’s basketball coach, Felisha Legette-Jack, takes in the game, possibly checking out future members for her team.
Albion coach Lucian Price draws up a play during a 4th quarter time out.
By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 5 March 2015
In front after each of the first three quarters, No. 6 seed Albion struggled through a turnover plagued fourth quarter and dropped a narrow 53-49 decision to No. 7 Tonawanda this evening in a Section VI Class B1 semifinal game at Sweet Home.
Trailing by five, 37-32, Tonawanda opened the decisive final period with a turnover aided 11-4 run to rally into the lead at 43-41. Back-to-back threes by Haley Slater and Dahnea Harrison capped off that uprising which was ignited by a pair of tallies off turnovers.
Albion did stay within two at 45-43 after a pair of free throws by Chanyce Powell and again at both 47-45 and 49-47, both times off layups by Justice Nauden.
The Purple Eagles finally pulled even at 49-49 on a pair of free throws by Nauden with 34 seconds to go but could not regain the lead.
Tonawanda went back on top to stay at 52-49 as Harrison hit what proved to be the game winning three with 20 seconds to go.
Albion could not find the range the next time up the court and the Lady Warriors put a lock on the win on a free throw by Slater with 13 seconds to go.
"The turnovers and cold shooting hurt and the Tonawanda kids hit a couple of big shots," said Albion Coach Lucian Price of the Lady Warriors late threes. "I'm proud of how hard our girls have battled this year."
Slater finished with 18, including five threes, as Harrison and Haley Schoelemna both had 11.
Nauden took game high scoring honors with 23 and Powell netted 18 for Albion as Savannah Allen added 4 and Sarah Metzler and Olivia Prest 2 each.
Albion grabbed a 12-9 lead at the end of the first quarter as Nauden had a three, a three point play and a layup off a steal and Powell a pair of rebound buckets.
The Purple Eagles doubled their advantage a bit to six, 25-19, at the half as Nauden had a three-point play off a steal and two layups, Powell a layup and a jumper and Prest two free throws in the second period.
Albion opened up its biggest lead of 10, 29-19, at the outset of the third period after a layup by Powell and two free throws by Metzler.
The Purple Eagles maintained a five point, 37-32, advantage at the three-quarter mark as Powell and Allen took turns scoring on back-to-back layups later in the period.
However, the Purple Eagles were unable to keep the momentum as Tonawanda came battling back down the stretch with a 21-12 scoring edge, including two threes by Harrison and one by Slater, to clam the narrow victory and advance to Sunday's B1 title contest.
Albion finishes the season at 12-10.
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 5 March 2015
ALBION – Members of the First United Methodist Church in Albion have served about 150 lasagnas dinners this evening from the historic church at the corner of Platt and East State streets.
Pastor Jack Laskowski hands a plate of lasagna to Diane Scharping, right, while Rachel Morasco cooks some pasta in back.
Kae Wilbert, right, served bowls of salad to Ed Neal, left, and his grandson Justin Robinson.
The church serves community dinners four times a year. This is expected to be the final dinner served from the church before the congregation leaves the site. It will have church services from Christ Episcopal Church beginning on April 5, Easter Sunday. The United Methodists will have their services at 9:30 a.m. on Sundays with Sunday school to follow.
Ellie Lockwood is at the table full of brownies. The support pillars, used to help prop up the roof in the sanctuary, can be partially seen. The congregation is leaving the site due to the roof problems. The church doesn't have the $1 million need for the roof replacement.
The church wants to continue its quarterly community dinners and is planning to use the kitchen and dining hall at the First Presbyterian Church. A community supper will also be served from the site the last Wednesdays of each month, a tradition at the United Methodist Church.
Church member Kae Wilbert said the congregation is sad to leave the building and faces lots of work before vacates the site. However, she is pleased to see the emerging colloborations with other churches.
"We're all glad a decision has been made," Wilbert said. "We're tired of being sad and being focused primarily on the church building."
Assemblyman also wants cuts in taxes and regulations for small businesses
Staff Reports Posted 5 March 2015
State Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) is supporting a comprehensive Assembly Rules Reform package aimed at greatly improving openness, transparency and accountability.
Hawley said this legislation cannot be delayed any longer in the wake of major scandals involving top house leadership.
“The people of New York deserve a higher standard of government,” Hawley said. “These reforms will stand in stark contrast to the sea of corruption we have seen over the past few years. The public is sick and tired of lies, backroom deals and the secrecy that has shrouded the Legislature for years. It is long past the time to shed some light on our internal workings.
“I have included my own proposal in this package that would mandate a two-thirds vote in the house to pass a message of necessity. This would prevent future abuses such as the SAFE Act from coming to the floor for a vote before proper debate and discussion has been initiated. I am calling on my Assembly colleagues across the aisle, who called for these very same proposals weeks ago, to stand with us today and bring this legislation to the floor for a vote.”
Hawley’s comments come after a press conference was held in Albany on Wednesday by Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R-Canandaigua) to introduce legislation to overhaul the Assembly’s rules. Highlights of the package include term limits for legislative leaders and committee chairs, and allowing each member of the Assembly to bring one piece of substantial legislation to the floor for a vote.
Hawley also wants to see tax cuts and fewer regulations for small businesses.
“As the owner and operator of a small business for many years, I know the amount of hard work and determination it takes to succeed in New York’s economic climate,” Hawley said. “Small businesses are the backbone of this nation and the driving force behind employment and economic growth, and are oftentimes family owned for generations.
“It is unfortunate that Gov. Cuomo and the Assembly leadership have, year after year, neglected to enact sweeping deregulation and tax cuts for small businesses to help them hire more employees and compete with larger corporations. My district is home to many small businesses and I will be sure to make their voices heard during this year’s budget negotiations.”
Hawley has received 100 percent ratings from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and Unshackle Upstate for his legislative votes during the 2013-14 year. Hawley also urged other legislators to sponsor and support the Small Business Full Employment Act.
“This legislation provides a comprehensive overhaul of how we regulate and tax small businesses,” Hawley said. “The bill focuses on cornerstones of economic growth such as tax cuts for businesses with fewer than 100 employees, repeal of the 18-A utility tax and tax credits for creating new jobs. I urge my Assembly colleagues to support this bill and help our businesses thrive in a less than ideal economic climate.”
By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 5 March 2015
It was a big basketball doubleheader celebration Wednesday evening at Kendall High.
It was a special evening when his alma mater and hometown community of Kendall took the opportunity to add their congratulations to Eagles basketball legend Roosevelt Bouie who recently had his uniform No 50 retired by Syracuse University.
The ceremony honoring Bouie preceded the annual Holley vs. Kendall faculty basketball game, proceeds from which go to benefit the Kendall and Holley community food pantries.
Bouie led Kendall to Section V championships in each of his varsity seasons and then went on to star for four years at Syracuse.
Teaming up with Louie Orr to form what became known as the "Louie and Bouie Show" he helped Syracuse to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances and the inaugural Big East Championship in 1980.
The ceremonies included a video tribute to Bouie's career at Syracuse as well as the presentation of cakes to Bouie honoring the retirement of his number.
Those in attendance included Bouie's coach at Kendall, Dick Reynolds.
The faculty game which followed saw Holley claim an overtime win. Both communities benefitted from the contest which raised over $1,000 for the Kendall and Holley community food pantries.
"It was a real nice evening and really shows how giving the community is," said Kendall Athletic Director Kevin Watson.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 March 2015
ALBION – The Village Board sees a talented group of village employees who could use their skills to help nearby municipalities and also bring in needed revenue for the village.
Albion’s sewer employees already are contracted to run Holley’s sewer plant. That agreement started last September. Albion has since been approached by other communities for sewer, water and infrastructure work.
A deal with the Village of Elba for Albion to manage that sewer plant, for $24,000 a year, seems the most promising. Village Board members, following a recommendation from Sewer Plant Chief Operator Rick Albright, voted to move on working out a deal with Elba, which has 260 sewer customers.
“We’re a marketing a service,” said Mayor Dean London.
Albright and Dale Brooks, the DPW superintendent, told the board they were willing to manage their staffs to serve other communities, and bring in money for the village.
The village departments need to be careful not to overextend themselves, and need to ensure there are backup employees to step in leadership roles, Village Attorney John Gavenda advised.
“I don’t think we should spread ourselves too thin,” said Village Trustee Pete Sidari.
Trustee Gary Katsanis echoed similar concerns during a Village Board meeting last week.
Albright and Brooks assured the board the village has the staff and expertise and take care of village needs, and do some work for other municipalities.
Brooks has created a price list for services by village employees for other municipalities.
Elba is interested in Albion providing secondary service on waterlines. Albion also wants to talk with towns about village employees maintaining water lines outside the village.
The Village Board wants to first iron out an agreement with Elba, which would like village staff to start work in May at the sewer plant, Albright said.
The Village Board has been discussing the issue for several months. Albright urged the board to reach a decision.
London agreed the village needed resolution. The board will pursue the deal with Elba first and then consider other work with municipalities, weighing the revenue versus demands on village staff.
“We’ve been going back and forth,” London said. “Either we make a plan to go forward or we’re done with it.”
Part of the plan for extending services outside the village should include more cross-training of employees so they can work with sewer, water and DPW, he said.
More roof repairs, building maintenance needed
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 March 2015
ALBION – The school district will present a $14.37 million capital project to voters on May 19, a project that will address many maintenance issues throughout the district campus.
Putting the work in a capital project will make Albion eligible for state aid, perhaps as much as 90 percent of the cost. Albion already has $1.3 million in a capital reserve account to cover nearly the entire local match. Albion also has some leftover state EXCEL funds that could be applied as the local share, said Michael Bonnewell, district superintendent.
The district’s overall campus is in good shape, but several smaller projects should upgrade the buildings and grounds, reducing maintenance and some energy costs for years to come, the Board of Education was told on Monday.
“Your buildings are in great shape,” said Luc Lefebvre, a senior project architect with King & King Architects in Syracuse. “We’re always surprised at how well they are maintained.”
Lefebvre worked with other building and infrastructure specialists on a building conditions survey of the district. The conditions survey is required by the State Education Department every five years.
Lefebvre has worked on two other building condition surveys before with Albion. While the campus doesn’t have major glaring needs, many projects could be tackled in a capital project.
Lefebvre and the other inspectors made a list of priority projects that were approved by the Board of Education.
The project would replace roofs, upgrade parking lots, improve drainage on athletic fields, resurface the track, and add some exterior lighting and utilize more LED lights.
The District Office, currently housed in what was intended to be a temporary metal building in the 1964, would be demolished and those offices would shift to existing space at the middle school. Moving the offices to the middle school will save the district from completing needed repairs to the current “temporary” space, Bonnewell said. Most of the district office space was replaced in a 2000 capital project.
The capital project, outlined during Monday’s Board of Education meeting, would also include stronger doors at school entrances and card access controls.
The fire alarm would be replaced with a new system at the elementary school, which would also see a relocated flag pole to the front of the building, HVAC upgrades, additional exterior lighting, and a new playground on west side.
The school would also receive a shading system on the south side to reduce solar heat gain in the warmer months. That side of the building gets hotter than other parts of the school in September and October, and in May and June when the weather warms up.
Albion also wants to replace some single-pane windows in the middle school with more energy-efficient windows, upgrade the sound booth, improve the boiler and heating system, add exterior lights to northeast side of the school, widen the sidewalk by bus loading zone and replace decaying steel hand railing with aluminum ones.
At the high school, the 1,200 high school lockers that are 9 inches wide would be replaced with 800 lockers that would be a foot wide. The bigger lockers would allow students to better store their thick backpacks and winter coats.
The high school library would also be repurposed with new technology to meet the needs of the 21st Century, Lefebvre said.
The district also was encouraged to put in a new condensing boiler system, to replace a tri-fuel system. The condenser system would use less energy.
The capital would also include work on the bus garage, adding an emergency generator, and new doors and lighting.
If the voters give the project their blessing on May 19, the construction documents would need to be prepared and sent to the State Education Department for its review, which is currently a 7-month process.
Lefebvre said it will be a tight schedule to get everything on track so bids could be approved in spring 2016 with work to start that summer. The project would be finished in the summer 2017.
By Bill Lattin, Orleans County retired historian Posted 5 March 2015
GAINES – In the year 1959, the Town of Gaines celebrated its sesquicentennial with various events and a huge parade on Route 104.
As part of that 150th anniversary celebration more than a half century ago, we see here sisters, Maude Perry (left) and Doris Kelley, dressed for the occasion.
Press Release, Holley Central School Posted 5 March 2015
HOLLEY – Students staying after school for help with a class, participation in a club or activity, or athletic practice now have a chance to pick up a free healthy snack in the cafeteria before heading off to their event.
The free snack differs by the day and gives students an opportunity to try a new snack without spending any money. Snack offerings have included assorted fruit juices, carrots with ranch dressing, celery with peanut butter, cheese sticks or pepperoni with crackers, yogurt, Goldfish crackers, strawberries, oranges and frozen bananas with Nutella.
The snack program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture because at least 50 percent of Holley students qualify for free or reduced meals. All students are eligible to receive the free after-school snacks, regardless if they qualify for free or reduced meals.
The program began in both the Elementary School and Middle School/High School on Jan. 5 and has been well received by students in both schools.
In the MS/HS, about 70 students a day grab the free snack before heading off to their activity. The elementary students are fans of the pepperoni, cheese and crackers or Goldfish crackers with peanut butter.
They appreciate having some healthy fuel in their bodies before they head down to the Fitness Center to participate in a FIT4U! session. FIT4U! is a physical fitness and nutrition program funded by the Carol M. White Physical Education Program grant that Holley received last year.
Press Release, Lyndonville Central School Posted 5 March 2015
LYNDONVILLE – A L.A. Webber Middle-High School senior has been named to Business First's 2015 All-Western New York Academic Team.
Leann Balcerzak (Special Mention) has qualified for this year's list of the 100 most outstanding high school seniors in the eight-county region.
Winners were chosen for their records of academic excellence, school leadership and community involvement. The top 25 were named to the First Team, 25 runners-up to the Second Team, and another 50 to the Special Mention list.
“The competition for the Academic Team is intense,” said Jack Connors, president and publisher of Business First. “There are almost 20,000 high school seniors in Western New York, yet only 100 are selected for this honor. Every student named to the Academic Team is truly an outstanding student.”
Schools throughout the eight-county area were asked to nominate their smartest and most accomplished students for consideration by a seven-member committee, which included five admissions directors at area colleges and two Business First editors. A total of 124 schools responded with 426 nominees. (Each school was limited to four candidates.)
The complete list of 100 honorees – along with their photos and profiles – will be published in Business First's 2015-2016 Guide to Western New York Schools, which will hit newsstands on June 12.
Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 4 March 2015
ALBION – Student instrumental musicians from grades 4 through 12 performed in the high school gym this evening in an All-District Concert.
In the top photo, junior high band teacher Greg Martillotta leads seventh- and eighth-grade band members. About 400 students from elementary, middle and high school play in the band program.
The Albion music program has been honored the past seven years with national awards through the North American Music Merchants. NAMM has named Albion a “Best Communities for Music Education.” The NAMM organization gives out the award to recognize districts that make music a priority, especially in an era of tight school budgets and packed student schedules.
Zach Moore, an eighth-grader, plays the clarinet with the band.
Elementary band teacher Lindsey Fix directs a group of fourth grade musicians.
Fourth-graders are pictured in the front while a big crowd turned out to see student musicians perform inside the gym.
High school band members, including Matilda Erakare with black bow in hair, perform for the crowd.
High School band teacher Mike Thaine directs the group. Thaine is one of several music teachers who also graduated from Albion.
Ben Vanacore plays the bass clarinet in the high school band. Albion High School senior Char Olick, left, directs sixth-graders for the last song, the Albion Alma Mater.
Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 4 March 2015
ALBION – The temperature creeped above freezing today, leaving puddles in the local streets. This photo shows a reflection of the former St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Albion. The church is now the Light of Victory Church on Brown Street.
The temperature will plummet again on Thursday with a high of 13 and a low of minus 1. Friday is forecast for a high of 20 and a low of 17, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.
The weekend will be warmer with a high of 31 on Saturday and 33 on Sunday.
Press Release, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Posted 4 March 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following statement today on McDonald’s decision to stop selling chicken raised with medically important antibiotics and milk from cows that are treated with the artificial growth hormone rbST.
“Chicken nuggets shouldn’t pose a public health risk,” said Sen. Gillibrand, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Fast food restaurants sell a huge amount of food to New Yorkers and people across the country every day. This voluntary decision to stop using chicken raised with antibiotics that are used in human medicine is a step in the right direction. While Congress must pass legislation that would stop the overuse of antibiotics in the food we eat, I hope more companies will follow their lead.”
Today, McDonald’s announced they will no longer use chicken raised with antibiotics meant for humans or milk from cows are treated with artificial growth hormones. Antibiotics have been used to make livestock grow faster and gain weight, and to prevent diseases caused by overcrowding and poor hygiene in livestock facilities. The use of certain antibiotics in livestock has been shown to generate antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can make people sick with infections that are harder to treat.
Just this week, Senator Gillibrand along with Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) introduced the Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act, legislation that would curb the overuse of antibiotics in livestock.
The legislation requires the Food and Drug Administration to withdraw its approval of medically important antibiotics used for disease prevention or control that are high risk of abuse, unless the producer of the drug can demonstrate that its use in food animals does not pose a risk to human health.
Gaines wants tower to move for public safety issues
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 March 2015
GAINES – The State Department of Agriculture and Markets says the Town of Gaines was wrong to insist that a 154-foot-high wind turbine be moved away from a farm market and u-pick orchard at Watt Farms.
The Town of Gaines Zoning Board of Appeals made that decision on Dec. 4, 2013, and that decision was upheld this past December by James Punch, acting State Supreme Court judge in Orleans County.
However, Ag and Markets says forcing Chris and Karen Watt to move the turbine, at a cost of $20,000, is unreasonable and unnecessary, according to a letter on Jan. 14 from Richard A. Ball, commissioner of Ag and Markets.
He sent the letter to town officials, telling them they needed to comply with the Agriculture and Markets Law.
Town Supervisor Carol Culhane and Michael Grabowski, the Zoning Board of Appeals chairman, say the town is not obligated to reverse its decision based on the Ag and Markets determination.
“Agency staff members do not trump a Supreme Court judge,” Grabowski said.
The state agency also said the town didn’t use the proper setback distance. Gaines determined the setback distance by multiplying the 154-foot turbine by 1.1 for a 169.4-foot setback minimum.
Gaines officials said the turbine needed to be moved at least 169.4 feet away from the farm market, train ride course and designated u-pick areas.
Ag and Markets suggested the setback from “human-occupied buildings” be five times the rotor distance or five times 23.6 feet, which would be 118 feet for the Watt turbine. Ag and Markets based that suggestion from the recommendation by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority or NYSERDA.
NYSERDA uses that setback for buildings that are occupied a majority of the time and not occasionally, such as in Watt’s situation. The train route at Watt’s and the u-pick area are temporarily visited by the public and insisting on a setback there “unreasonably restricts the farm operation,” Ball said in his letter.
Instead of pushing to relocate the turbine, the town could insist that public access be restricted within 118 feet of the turbine’s tower or the turbine could be taken off-line during u-pick harvest within 118 feet of the tower, Commissioner Ball said.
Grabowski, the Gaines ZBA chairman, insists 169.4 feet should be the setback distance to ensure the public’s safety. He said Watt Farms is appealing Punch’s decision.
Culhane, the town supervisor, said she is confident the town has followed the law. The town has received legal advice on the issue from attorney Dan Spitzer, a land use specialist with the Hodgson Russ firm in Buffalo.
She said the town won’t change course based on the order from Ball.
“Ag and Markets doesn’t trump a State Supreme Court judge,” Culhane said.
Staff Reports Posted 4 March 2015
LYNDONVILLE – The school district has been recognized by District Administration magazine as a "District of Distinction" for implementation and success with a college readiness program known as AVID.
Advancement Via Individual Determination is designed to increase the number of students who enroll in four-year colleges. Although AVID serves all students, it focuses on the least served students in the academic middle. The formula is simple: raise expectations of students and, with the AVID support system in place, they will rise to the challenge, Lyndonville school officials said.
“Over the past several years, AVID has played an integral role in our students’ success, both before and after graduation from Lyndonville,” said Superintendent Jason Smith. “In addition, AVID-trained teachers implement highly effective and engaging teaching strategies in their classrooms, which is also closely aligned to the demands of the Common Core.”
Districts of Distinction is a national recognition program created by District Administration magazine to honor school districts that are leading the way with new ideas that work. Districts of Distinction recognizes initiatives that are yielding quantifiable benefits, and that could be replicated by other districts.
The magazine highlighted 62 districts this month. Lyndonville started AVID at the beginning of the 2010-11 school year with a goal of boosting the academic performance of first-generation college hopefuls in grades 7 through 12.
In addition to implementing the AVID elective, Lyndonville CSD is in the process of creating school-wide and district-wide programs for college success. Since implementing the AVID in 2010 for grades 8 and 9, the program has expanded to all K12 grade levels.
With AVID in place the district has increased AP course enrollment, the passing rate for AP Social Studies assessments, and more students are applying to four-year colleges and receiving acceptance letters, according to District Administration magazine.
“We are pleased to honor Lyndonville as a District of Distinction,” says JD Solomon, editorial director at District Administration magazine. “Like all our honorees, Lyndonville Central School District serves as a model for school leaders across the country.”
Press Release, Medina Sandstone Society Posted 4 March 2015
MEDINA – Medina area residents can be proud of their five years of support for the Sandstone Trust. The community endowment just completed its fifth year of making small grants to local programs, projects and organizations and the total in grants over the five-year period comes to nearly $20,000.
This was reported by Michael Zelazny, chairman of the grants committee, who distributed the most recent checks in January.
“Scores of worthy projects have been supported since 2010 and the grants have covered a wide range,” said Zelazny.
He said grants run from $200 to $600 or even $1,000 in unusual cases.
A grants committee approved funding in the latest round of grants for improvements to the veterans plot at Boxwood Cemetery, to the Medina Business Association for Old-Tyme Christmas, emergency dollars to fix porch damage at the Medina Historical Museum, dollars to The Arc of Orleans toward kitchen equipment for Camp Rainbow, support for Medina’s Civil War Re-Enactment in April, stone repair from frost damage at the Armory (“Y”), and continuation of student scholarships.
Over the past five years about 40 grants have been approved by a citizen selection committee which operates under Zelazny.
“Late each autumn we invite grant applications and even though the amounts given are small they are genuinely helpful to projects having a limited scope,” he said.
Zelazny gave a smattering of typical grants. Money for the local library to continue digitizing historic hometown newspapers, help to the local Historical Society for winterizing, help for the Parade of Lights in the village, dollars to the YMCA for stonework repairs and interior up-grading, help to the Orleans Renaissance Group in placing 11 historical plaques downtown for delight of tourists.
The Trust has also provided funding to help in restoring a historic building at Millville Cemetery, support of yearly concerts through the Arts Council, help to Arc of Orleans for client trips and for Nutri-Fare, help to the Medina Business Association for installation of a downtown sound system, assistance to Orleans County Christian School, a Head-Start school on Ensign Avenue and family programs at Medina Junior High School, aid to Community Action for a literacy program, support to GCASA for a program called “Healthy Me” and to Hospice for its new Albion building.
When the Sandstone Trust was officially created in 2009, the society used an obsolete economic development fund which was inactive and in danger of being seized. A contract was written with the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo for financial management, a practice given by CFGB to over 800 such endowments. That management has been trustworthy, according to Zelazny, and the original $18,000 in seed money has multiplied five-fold.
In addition to Zelazny’s grant committee, a group of officers from the board of the Sandstone Society oversees the general plan and it includes Craig C. Lacy, Margaret J. Schreck, David C. Schubel, Robert E. Waters and Timothy J. Moriarty.
The founders of the Trust have had some “high spots” of success over the five years. In the summer of 2010, with the aid of a downtown thermometer, the Trust took in $35,000 in six weeks.
Annual donations to the Medina Sandstone Trust can be made at any time to the society c/o Post Office Box 25, Medina. Gifts offer a total tax deduction.
Copyright 2013-2014 Albion-Holley Pennysaver, Inc.