GCC in Albion, Medina will show acclaimed film about Pakistani schoolgirl

“I am Malala” will be shown for free to community

Press Release, GCC Posted 13 February 2016
In continuing the year-long effort to provide dynamic programs focused on the theme “Education Around the World,” the Global Education Committee of Genesee Community College will present a free viewing of the internationally acclaimed film, “He Named Me Malala” at the Albion Campus on Tuesday, March 8 at 6 p.m. and at the Medina Campus on Wednesday, March 30 at 6 p.m.

After the moving and heart-rending ‘read-out’ forum this past fall where GCC students and faculty shared excerpts from Malala Yousafzai’s book, “I am Malala,” members of the Global Education Committee decided to expand the offering on this contemporary topic to include the full, 88-minute movie about Malala.

The film looks at the events leading up to the Taliban’s attack on the young Pakistani schoolgirl for her speaking out in support of girls’ education. After surviving the assassination attempt in 2012, her activism then took the global stage. She founded the Malala Fund to empower girls through education, was invited to speak before the United Nations, and she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. The film about her life is rated PG13.

“Riveting, and at times overwhelming, ‘He Named Me Malala’ is a highly inspirational and a delight to watch,” according to recent reviews. It is part-documentary, part animation and part live action and is wholly narrated by Malala and her father. It is directed by Academy Award winner Davis Guggenheim.

Both Albion and Medina events will feature light refreshments and include a facilitated informal discussion following the showing of the film. The events will run from 6 p.m. until approximately 8:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Seating is first come – first served.


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Cooperative Extension staff takes nutrition pledge, challenges others to do the same

Less donuts, more carrots will served at the office

Photos by Kristina Gabalski

Kim Hazel (left), Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension agriculture and horticulture senior adminsitrative assistant, and Nutrition Educator Natalie Heller sign the Nutritious Gatherings Pledge at the OCCCE offices in Knowlesville.


By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 13 February 2016
KNOWLSEVILLE – Hitting the drive-through to pick up donuts for sharing at the office can be a very easy thing to do, said Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Educator Robert Batt. But it only takes a few more minutes to stop at the grocery store and select healthier choices like fruit, fresh veggies and cheese.


Extension staff in Orleans County are signing a Nutritious Gatherings Pledge – which will hang in their office at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds in Knowlesville. The Extension staff members commit themselves to have “healthy foods for staff gatherings including breaks and meetings.”


Those healthy food options include cheeses, apples, nuts, hummus, yogurts, carrots, other fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy baked goods.

Batt said staff members realized they were frequently snacking on donuts and pastries at the office with some unpleasant results. The habit was making them feel sluggish in the middle of the workday and even packed on pounds.


Horticulture Educator Katie Oakes, for example, noticed she gained weight after starting at Extension last spring, Batt said. The staff recently decided things needed to change and the idea for a nutritious eating pledge surfaced.

Nutrition information and help in making healthy choices is available from Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program.


Natalie Heller, Nutrition Educator for the Extension’s Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), says she is excited about the change. “We all want to eat healthy and feel good,” she explained.


Physical activity and movement also play a part in living a healthy lifestyle at work, Heller said.


“We take a 15-minute break every day and walk on the Fitness Trail (located on the fairgrounds),” she said. “It helps with mental clarity and gives you more energy.”


Sweet treats are not completely banned under the pledge, but limited to special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, awards, holidays, new hires and retires.


“That’s what we’re trying to teach our 4-H’ers,” Robert Batt said. “Treats are for special occasions.”

He said the Nutritious Gatherings Pledge helps staff members to be role models for 4-H’ers and also for other agency workers.


“We are challenging other agencies in Orleans County (to take the Nutritious Gatherings Pledge), to see if they are up to the challenge,” Heller said.


She noted that there are lots of possibilities for healthy snacks including salsa, pitas, whole grain chips, “options that are satisfying but healthier than having brownies,” Heller said.

A Healthy & Homemade 2016 Nutrition and Fitness Calendar is one of the many helpful sources of nutrition/healthy eating information available from the Extension.


Healthy baked goods fit under the pledge as well. The staff recently tried pumpkin muffins and also enjoyed healthy dips like fruit and peanut butter dip to go with fresh fruits and vegetables.


“You can use applesauce instead of oil in recipes and whole grain flour - or a mix of while and whole grain flour,” Heller said.


She is available to visit agencies and offices to make presentations on nutrition and healthy eating and can be contacted at 585-798-4265 ext. 24/ email: nah93@cornell.edu.

The Extension, through the Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program, is offering a free nutrition programs at various locations around the county.


Each location will run for eight sessions:


Salvation Army - Wednesdays 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. - this session began Feb. 10;

Clarendon Town Hall - Fridays 11 a.m. to noon - starting Feb. 19;

Eastern Orleans Community Center (diabetes classes) - Mondays 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. - starting Feb. 22;

Hoag Library: Thursdays 11 a.m. to noon, starting Feb. 25;

Yates Community Library: Tuesdays 11 a.m. to noon, starting March 1;

Lee-Whedon Memorial Library: Tuesdays 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., starting March 1.

March is National Nutrition Month and Heller encourages everyone to chose nutritious food, fun and fitness. The Free Nutrition Program can provide help in making nutritious choices. The sessions will include food tastings, recipes and give-aways.


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An eccentric sheriff was a skilled astronomer

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 13 February 2016
Volume 2, Issue 7

This picture, taken sometime around 1920, shows Weston Wetherbee standing with his homemade telescope behind his home on Ingersoll Street in Albion. Also pictured is Wilbur Phillips (left) and John Gilmore (center).


Weston Wetherbee was born January 24, 1857 at Barre, to Weston and Mary Ann Wetherbee. In his earliest years, Weston was employed as a carpenter and became proficient in the construction of windmills. During the later portion of the 19th century, Wetherbee continued his work as a windmill salesman and mechanic.


It was during this period of time that he served as a Justice of the Peace and Barre Town Supervisor. During his time in Barre politics he served as Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors. He was elected to the position of Orleans County Sheriff in 1904, a position which he held for three terms. It was around this time that Weston and his wife, Julia Goff, moved to the Village of Albion to their home on Ingersoll Street.


Wetherbee was particularly fond of astronomy, a hobby that he was heavily engaged in. Starting in 1897 he became a frequent contributor to the magazine Popular Astronomy where he took an initial interest in fireballs. The following year, Weston began charting Leonid meteors eventually leading to his efforts in 1905 to chart the path of August’s Perseid meteors with assistance from his wife.


To accomplish these feats of amateur astronomy, Wetherbee relied on his 8.5 inch reflecting telescope manufactured by Brashear. It was later in his career that he constructed a custom telescope using a 5 inch refracting lens, which he placed in a homemade observatory in his back yard. The small shed was constructed so that a rope could retract the ceiling, giving the telescope full range of view across the horizon.


When the Society for Practical Astronomy was formed, Wetherbee volunteered to lead the section dedicated to comets. It was this interest that led him to independently discover two comets previously unnamed. Unfortunately, before he could receive proper credit, other astronomers had submitted notice of the discoveries and received the recognition.


Weston Wetherbee was a rather eccentric individual at times. After the passing of his faithful horse, he dug a grave and held a funeral in honor of the animal. Delivering a beautiful oration on behalf of his dearly departed friend, he concluded the service by covering the grave with flowers. Whether he carried through with purchasing a monument for the horse, no one knows. He was also known locally for fitting light trucks with tables, folding chairs, cots, and other devices for camping trips.


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Power back on in Medina, out near Waterport

Staff Reports Posted 13 February 9:10 a.m.
The power was out on the east side of Medina this morning but has been restored. Electricity remains out for about 250 National Grid customers in the Waterport area.

National Grid reports it should have the power back on for those customers at 10 a.m.


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Chamber decides to go without an office

Photo by Tom Rivers
Samantha Roskowski, executive director for the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce, is pictured inside the Chamber office at 102 North Main St., Suite 1. Today was the last day the office will be open full-time. It will be open 9 to 11 on weekday mornings until closing March 31.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 February 2016
ALBION – The organization that promotes businesses and events in Orleans County will do so without an office. The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce is closing its office on Main Street in Albion.


Today was the last full-time day for the office. It will be open 9 to 11 on weekday mornings until closing on March 31.


The Chamber will maintain an on-line presence, and its director and volunteer board members will continue to work hard promoting businesses in the county, said Samantha Roskowski, the executive director.

She will work remotely, either from home or at other locations in the county. She is the Chamber’s lone employee. Not being committed to office hours at a building will allow her to be out more in the community, working with businesses.


She said few people stopped by the Chamber office anyway. The office is next to Five Star Bank at 102 North Main St. The Chamber has many brochures spread out on tables, highlighting museums, attractions and events in Orleans County.


But Roskowski said only 30 to 40 people a year would come into the office looking for information. She instead wants to build a more robust on-line presence for the Chamber, with an easy-to-navigate directory of members in the county.


“We’re trying to adapt and stay relevant,” Roskowski said this afternoon. “We’re trying to provide the best service for our members.”

The Chamber will save on rent by going without an office. She said other Chambers have made the same decision to function without an office and redirect energy into the on-line presence and other services for members and the community.


The Chamber had considered a shared office with the County Tourism Department, but county officials opted instead to have Tourism in the Orleans County Administration Building on Route 31, the building that includes the DMV and Department of Social Services.


Roskowski said the Chamber may revisit an office again someday. If it goes that route she would prefer to share space with another organization.


The Chamber will work to clear out its materials and files by March 31, the end of its lease with Five Star. The Chamber also is planning one of its biggest events, the Home and Garden Show on April 16-17.


Roskowski said the community can expect the Chamber to be active and visible in the community, even without an office.


“We’ll be just as available as before,” she said today from the office. “I just won’t be here physically.”

For more on the Chamber, click here.


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Several accidents due to slick roads, wintry weather

Photos courtesy of Kurt Wannenwetsch Posted 12 February 2016
MURRAY – There have been numerous accidents today in Orleans County due to slick roads and treacherous winter weather at times.

The top photo shows a vehicle on fire off Hindsburg Road in Murray at about 11:30 a.m. There was another vehicle on fire later in the afternoon in Clarendon on Route 31A between Manning and Hibbard roads.

Dispatchers said there weren’t any injuries in those incidents. There were accidents without serious injuries reported today on Kendrick Road in Carlton, 31A in Albion between Lewis and Culver roads, Roosevelt Road (Route 18) in Kendall, and on 31A in Barre near Eagle Harbor Road (involving two tractor trailers).

Firefighters respond to the scene of a car on fire late this morning off Hindsburg Road.


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Village elections take shape in Albion, Lyndonville and Medina

James Tuk, John Belson vie for Lyndonville mayor
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 February 2016
The slate of candidates is set for village elections next month in Orleans County.

Lyndonville has the only contest featuring a race for mayor with James Tuk and John Belson running for the village’s top elected official. Tuk is the current deputy mayor and has been leading the village since Steve McAvoy resigned as mayor on Oct. 31 due to the demands of his full-time job.

Belson lost a close re-election for Yates town supervisor in November to Jim Simon. Belson wants to continue in public service. He is running under the Lyndonville Party while Tuk picked “The Lake Party.” The mayor’s post is a four-year term.

Three people are running for two seats on the Village Board, including incumbents Ellen Tuohey (Independent Party) and Danny Woodward (Peoples Party). Andrew Cousins (Sustainable Futures) also is running for village trustee.

The election will be on March 15 with voting from noon to 9 p.m. at the Village Hall.

In Medina, Michael Sidari, a current village trustee, is the only candidate for a two-year term as mayor. Sidari is running under The Village Party, along with incumbent Marguerite Sherman and Tim Elliott, who are seeking two-year terms on the Village Board. Current Mayor Andrew Meier isn’t seeking re-election.

Voting in Medina is from noon to 9 p.m. at the Senior Center.

In Lyndonville and Medina, candidates run under independent parties without the official backing of either Republicans or Democrats.

In Albion, the Republican and Democratic parties still hold caucuses to pick candidates. Albion has two four-year seats open on the Village Board. The Republican Party is backing incumbent Gary Katsanis, and Democrats are backing Mattea Navarra-Molisani and incumbent Peter Sidari.

Voting is from noon to 9 p.m. on March 15 at the Village Hall.


Holley holds its village elections in June.


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Medina cancels afterschool activities

Staff Reports Posted 12 February 2016
MEDINA – Medina Central School has cancelled afterschool activities today due to the wintry weather.


The Albion basketball games at Akron have also been cancelled for this evening when 7 to 13 inches of snow is forecast for Orleans County.


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Kendall Board of Education approves $3.03 million in construction bids

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 12 February 2016
KENDALL – Members of the Kendall Board of Education have approved $3.03 million in construction bids in the second phase of an upgrade at the school campus, a $25 million overall capital project ongoing since 2014.

The following bids were approved on Wednesday evening:


• General trades - Holdsworth Klimowski Construction, Victor, NY for $1,903,000.
• Plumbing - Thurston Dudek, LLC, Ontario, NY, for $284,400.
• HVAC - Nairy Mechanical, LLC, Webster, NY, for $425,700.
• Electrical - Suburban Electric of Albion, Inc., for $417,200.

Phase II of the project is much smaller than Phase I which included a new cafeteria at the Jr./Sr. High School and extensive improvements to school libraries, hallways, classrooms and the fitness room at the Jr./Sr. High School.


Phase II includes work on both the Kendall Jr./Sr. High School and Kendall Elementary School and will involve upgrades to elementary classroom bathrooms, the Jr./Sr High School Science wing and site work.

Remaining work from Phase I including the Jr./Sr. High School main office, main entrance and counseling area is expected to begin in June with completion of all Phase I and Phase II work expected by September 2016.


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Historic Stone Store in Clarendon welcomes new tenant

Photos by Kristina Gabalski

Ken Draper, owner of KD Flooring & Supply stands next to one of the displays of flooring options available at his store, which he recently opened in the
historic Old Stone Store in Clarendon.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 11 February 2016
CLARENDON – The latest chapter in the history of the Clarendon Stone Store has begun with the arrival of KD Flooring & Supply as the new tenant in the ground floor commercial space.


Owner Ken Draper, a Kendall native who now makes his home in Clarendon and who has been in the flooring business since he was 15, says he is thrilled with the location and especially appreciates the history of the building – built in 1836 from Medina sandstone.


“I love this location, I love this old building. I'm here to stay,” he said. “I have no intentions of leaving.”


Draper previously owned Orleans Carpet, which was located on Rt. 104 east of Rt. 98. Recently, his business was located in the village of Holley, but he said parking was an issue. He says he initially was interested in the old grain mill, which sits in the Clarendon hamlet just south of the NYS Routes 237 and 31A intersection where the Stone Store is located, but after looking into that property found, “it would have been too expensive to rehab.”

That’s where Clarendon Historian/Code Enforcement Officer Melissa Ierlan comes in. Draper said she suggested the Stone Store, as the former tenant was leaving.

“It’s a perfect situation for us,” Ierlan says of the flooring business, noting it is a great fit for Clarendon and the Stone Store location. After Draper opened, Ierlan took a stack of 8 X 10 copies of historic photos of the store to the shop and Draper said customers have enjoyed looking through them.

The Old Stone Store was built in 1836 from Medina sandstone.


The building, which is listed on the State and National Historic Registers, functioned as a general store until 1975. It was broken into apartments in later years but by 2007 was sitting empty. The Town of Clarendon was ready to demolish the landmark in 2011 when a group of concerned residents formed the Old Stone Store Preservation Committee and rallied to save the structure from the wrecking ball.


The town agreed to put the building on the market and sell it for one dollar, as long as the new owner could provide a suitable plan for restoration and future use. Late in 2012, Sue and Joe Fertitta of Parma purchased the building and began the work of restoration/ rejuvenation.


Clarendon Supervisor Richard Moy said he is overjoyed with the way the Old Stone Store turned out. “Joe and Sue Fertitta did an outstanding job refurbishing the old store so it could become a viable business and at the same time preserve its historic past. Too many times old historic structures get demolished and once they are gone, some of our history goes with it.”


Supervisor Moy said many people in the Clarendon community are appreciative of the work done by the Fertittas.


“It is also important to note that the building is still on our tax rolls and the building generates sales tax for the entire county,” Moy added.

The interior of the store includes a display for KD Flooring & Supply.

Draper now has the ground floor shop filled with displays and flooring samples from which customers can choose – carpet, tile, linoleum, laminate, hardwood, and ceramic choices abound for both commercial and residential customers.


“I do whatever I can to save customers money,” Draper said. “I keep overhead low and sell below the suggested retail price. I can beat anybody’s price.”


Draper provides installation, but also can guide customers through do-it-yourself projects. He offers “a premium product ... first quality name brands with the best prices guaranteed,” he said, and added that 90 percent of the products he sells are American made.


The quality and durability of flooring choices has improved dramatically in recent years – “Some flooring will now last a lifetime,” Draper said.


He works to make sure the shop offers the latest designs, styles and colors and follows that up with customer service. “I educate the customers,” he said. “There’s a lot they don’t know. I educate them here and in their home.”

Draper also offers additional discounts to seniors and veterans, and will continue to honor warranties for customers of Orleans Carpet.


“I stand behind any flooring products you purchase,” he noted, guaranteeing labor for life.

KD Flooring & Supply is open 10 am - 7 pm Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri., and Sat. The store is closed on Wed., and Sun., but Draper says he is available to come to the store anytime. Customers can call 585-638-2492.


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Kwandrans Tae Kwon-do raises $11K for Make-A-Wish

Provided photos Posted 11 February 2016
MEDINA – Bob Kwandrans, Jr., owner and instructor of Kwandrans Tae Kwon-do in Medina, presents a check for $10, 981.17 to Laura Nutty, Western New York representative for Make-A-Wish. Debby Farfaglia, manager and instructor at Kwandrans, also presents the check to Make-A-Wish. They are pictured last Saturday during a belt testing for students.


The Kwandrans students and staff worked for several months to raise money for Make-A-Wish. Local residents and businesses were generous with several fund-raisers to help Kwandrans raise the money, Farfaglia said.

Kwandrans decided to raise funds for Make-A-Wish after one of the Tae Kwon-do students, Garett Smith, 12, attended Disney World in Florida for a week with his family last May. The trip was paid through Make-A-Wish Western New York.

Garett has cystic fibrosis. Tae Kwon-do helps move the mucus in his lungs, keeping them clear. He takes Tae Kwon-do classes twice a week. Garett, a Middleport resident, is a seventh-grader at Roy-Hart.

Kwandrans surpassed its $8,500 goal. It was raising the funds so another WNY kid could go on a trip.

Kwandrans put on several fund-raisers, including a kick-a-thon, car wash, bake sale and candy bar sales. They also did a 5-kilometer race, chicken barbecue, spaghetti dinner, and basket raffle.


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Ortt backs law establishing homicide charges when death from overdose

Press Release, State Sen. Robert Ortt Posted 11 February 2016

In the wake of alarming news reports, where a deadly batch of heroin has led to 23 deaths in Erie County and numerous other overdoses in less than two weeks, state senators Rob Ortt, George Amedore, and Terrence Murphy are calling for the enactment of “Laree’s Law.”


This legislation (S.4163) would allow law enforcement officials to charge a dealer with homicide if heroin or an opiate-controlled substance they sell causes an overdose death.


In the 11-day period beginning on January 29, 23 people aging in range from 20-61 in Erie County died as a result of overdose from heroin use. The majority of the overdoses are believed to be linked to an extremely deadly batch of heroin laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opiate that can be 50 times stronger than heroin.


“The heroin in our backyard is stronger and deadlier than anything out there. This must serve as a wake-up call to our community and to our state,” said Senator Rob Ortt. “We lost at least 23 lives over the last two weeks as a result of this heroin. That’s 23 of our sons and daughters. And that should be 23 homicide charges against the dealers bringing these drugs onto our streets and into our schools. Enforcement alone will not cure the heroin epidemic, but it will provide a serious tool to law enforcement officials and a serious blow to the criminals killing our citizens.”


“The State of New York is facing a heroin crisis, and we need to do everything we can to stop the flow of these deadly drugs into our streets,” said Senator George Amedore. “Our efforts to increase prevention, treatment and recovery to help those suffering with addiction need to go hand-in-hand with stronger penalties for those who are bringing these drugs into our communities.”


“The face of heroin has changed. It is no longer solely associated with disreputable people in crumbling communities,” said Senator Terrence Murphy. “It has come to roost amongst the rich and the poor, in our schools and our homes. We need to protect our families through more stringent legislation that seeks to punish drug dealers peddling their poison. Of the 17 pieces of legislation the senate passed last year, only one became a law. If we are serious about winning the war on drugs the Assembly needs to act.”


Laree’s Law is named after Laree Farrell Lincoln, a Colonie teenager who died of a heroin overdose three years ago. This bill would establish the crime of homicide for drug dealers who sell opiate-controlled substances that result in overdose, an A-1 felony punishable by 15-25 years in jail.


The legislation targets mid-to-high level drug dealers who profit from heroin sales, and includes a co-user carve out. In 2011, New York adopted a “Good Samaritan” law to protect individuals from charges related to an overdose if they attempt to help the individual and report the incident in a timely manner.


The Senate overwhelmingly passed Laree’s Law last year, with a vote of 53-9, but the Assembly failed to bring it to the floor for a vote.


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Holley police strengthen connections at school

Chief commends school district for security efforts

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent  Posted 11 February 2016

HOLLEY – If you’ve noticed more Holley Police vehicles on the campus of Holley Central School lately, there’s a good reason.


Police Chief Roland Nenni spoke to members of the School Board during their regular meeting Monday regarding his efforts to increase police presence at the school and around the village in general.


Nenni said he has had officers working days stop at both the elementary and middle school/high school buildings on a regular basis over the past few weeks to assist with “bonding with staff and students.”


He explained that the recent efforts are only the beginning of work to strengthen ties between the village police and the school district.


“We want to build bridges,” Chief Nenni told board members. “We want to build a relationship ... interact with students ... bridge those gaps and make a bond. I can’t thank the staff of the school enough.”


The police chief also thanked board members and commended the district for their campus security efforts. Nenni explained that he acts as commander for the county-wide SWAT team and that, “Holley is above the grade of everybody else,” he observed. “It’s phenomenal, Holley really stepped up over the need for security. I can’t commend you enough.”


Nenni serves as chief of both the Albion and Holley Police Departments and he said he sees the stepped up efforts at the school as part of building a relationship with the entire Holley community.


“It’s nice to see us doing this together,” Board President Brenda Swanger told Nenni. “It’s what we need ... I’ve seen your cars around more.”


Board member John Heise agreed with Swanger. “I see the (police) cars much more, they are active around the community. It’s amazing, the change.”


Nenni took over leadership of the Holley Police force in October 2015. He said he is well acquainted with the needs of small communities and wants to respond well to residents’ concerns.


“I want to do our business better,” he said, “have our customers tell us what they are looking for. We want to serve you the best we can.”

In other business, Elementary School Principal Karri Schiavone said parents will see different looking report cards next year as the school is working to move to a standards-based report for parents.

Schiavone said the district has formed a committee that is looking at samples from other districts and working on templates. She noted Holley is behind in aligning grades to standards.


“We need to start reporting to parents on standards,” she explained. “We work with standards in the classroom and on curriculum writing ... this is going to be a huge shift and an uncomfortable shift, but we need to do it.”


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Lyndonville school pleased to be featured on Need to Know TV show

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 February 2016
LYNDONVILLE – “Need to Know,” a public affairs program produced by WXXI in Rochester, aired a segment on Lyndonville's character education program on Feb. 4.


Jason Smith, the district superintendent, is pleased with the attention for the program, We R 3C. The segment on Need to Know includes interviews with teachers and students at Lyndonville.


The core of the We R 3C curriculum promotes values, respect, kindness and compassion and recognizes the definitive responsibility of the individual to the well-being of the community and reciprocally, the community’s responsibility to the well-being of the individual.


To see the feature on Lyndonville, click here for a link to the show. Lyndonville starts at the 23:50 mark.


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Albion village wants to pursue Main Street grant

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 February 2016
ALBION – The Village Board wants to pursue a state grant that would provide money to renovate and spruce up downtown buildings.

The board hasn’t decided how the grant would be managed or administered. It is considering options, including having Code Enforcement Officer Ron Vendetti work as the grant administrator.

“We definitely don’t want to miss out on the opportunity,” Mayor Dean London said at Wednesday’s board meeting.

Adam Johnson, president of the Albion Merchants Association and owner of a downtown building, urged the village to pursue the Main Street grant in the next round of state funding this year.

Medina was approved for a Main Street grant in December and will work over two years to implement the grant. The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce is administering the grant for Medina.

The grants provide matching funds for building owners for smaller projects such as painting to more costly interior renovations. Johnson is working to renovate his building so it can be used for a restaurant.

“It would be a great help for the businesses,” Johnson said about the grant.

Village Board members are expected to discuss the grant more during a 7 p.m. Feb. 24 meeting.

In another downtown issue, Lisa Stratton updated the board on efforts for flowers in planters and hanging baskets. Stratton, owner of the Hazy Jade Gift Shop, said the flowers will cost $1,469.81. The Town of Albion has offered to pay $1,000 towards the effort.

Stratton asked the village to help cover the difference. Village Trustee Eileen Banker said she would work with Stratton in seeking donations or sponsors.

Stratton also said Albion Merchants Association could use volunteers to help water the flowers on weekends once the flowers are put on Main Street. Volunteers also water flowers by the welcome signs and at Bullard Park.


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2 Albion grads are key leaders at RIT

Dr. Howard Ward and Jeremy Babcock work to ensure top-notch facilities, services for students

Photos by Tom Rivers

Howard Ward and Jeremy Babcock, both Albion graduates, are pictured at Rochester Institute of Technology, where Ward is an associate vice president and Babcock the executive director of housing facilities.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 February 2016
ROCHESTER – His spacious office in the Global Village at the Rochester Institute of Technology is a long way from his living conditions as a kid, when Howard Ward grew up without running water at a migrant labor camp on Baker Road.

Ward, who earned a doctorate in higher education, is an associate vice president at RIT. He has worked 39 years for colleges and universities.

At RIT, he oversees an $82 million annual budget, 208 employees and leads a team committed to impeccable facilities and service for students and staff. The Global Village is a $55 million student housing and retail complex.

Jeremy Babcock has known Ward for two decades. He spoke at Babcock’s Albion High School graduation in 1995. The two stayed in touch when Babcock worked in student services at Brockport State College. Babcock had the tough job of handling student discipline. He also helped manage construction projects.

He would often call Ward or have lunch with him, seeing him as a friend and sounding board.


Babcock, after 10 years at Brockport, joined Ward’s team at RIT on Feb. 20, 2012 – Babcock can recite the day. Babcock took a job as an assistant director of housing. On Nov. 1, Babcock was promoted to executive director of housing facilities following a grueling search and interview process.

“He’s skilled and talented,” Ward said about Babcock. “He’s well respected on campus. I look forward to his vision.”

Babcock, 39, oversees a staff of 24, the residential halls and 1,000 apartments. He deals with everything from keys, pest control, furniture, laundry facilities and many other issues.


Two overcomers


Ward and Babcock have more in common than their high school alma mater. They have both overcome challenges, and they both left Albion after high school, attending small colleges about six hours away from home. Both wanted to push themselves, and see if they could make it on their own.


Ward, a 1972 Albion grad, grew up in the former Coloney Camp in Carlton. He lived there from when he was 2 until he graduated. It was one of the state’s largest farmworker labor camps, home to 60 African-American families.

Ward grew up in a loving home with loving neighbors. But his house resembled a shack. It was small, poorly insulated and field rats made a racket at night, scratching against the pasteboard outer walls, trying to get inside.

Ward was a star football player for Albion. He earned a scholarship at Mount Union College in Ohio. (In 1973, Coloney Camp was torn down and Ward's family moved into a newly-built housing development, Carlton Manor, on Baker Road.)

He excelled as a lineman for the Mount Union football team, and was leading tackler in a senior all-star game among Ohio football players. Some NFL scouts were interested. But Ward, who was popular on campus with students, college professors and even the president, was urged to consider a career in college student services.

He took that advice and would work at Mount Union, Bowling Green, Ohio Northern University and RIT. He said he has been blessed. He hasn’t forgotten his Albion roots, and he has led diversity training for school staff, and worked with students on the college admissions process.

Howard Ward and Jeremy Babcock work out of the Global Village at RIT, a $55 million student housing and retail complex.


Babcock, the son of Jim and Linda Babcock, is an active member of the Albion Fire Department and a skilled golfer. He and Ward often play golf together, including at charity events. Babcock has a knack for hitting the ball straight, about 200 yards down the middle for his tee offs.

He does it all despite being born with birth defects in both arms. Babcock said his parents and friends always encouraged him as a kid. He played Little League baseball, basketball and used adaptive equipment made by his father to ride snowmobiles and be active in many other ways. Babcock these days drives the biggest fire trucks for the fire department.

“I’m really fortunate with what I can do,” Babcock said. “My family and friends always pushed me.”

He brings a knowledge of construction, and that helps at RIT when he reviews plans for buildings, housing units and other projects. Ward said Babcock also brings a sensitivity to using doors and buildings that many staff don’t consider in the design and construction of the space.

Babcock sees the big picture, working to do what’s best for the university and the students, Ward said.

“I like his tenacity,” he said.


Babcock was 18 when he ventured from Albion to attend college near Pittsburgh at the California University of Pennsylvania. He earned a degree in business in 1999, and then a master’s degree in business administration in 2001.

“I wanted to prove to myself that I could be on my own,” he said.


A similar path


Ward also needed that distance to become his own man. He said he was a "momma's boy" in high school and had to fight homesickness in college. He was also one of the few black students at Mount Union.


He gained confidence and friends through football, good grades and a welcoming personality. He started his career as a residence hall director. He is now one of the key leaders at RIT. He said he enjoys empowering staff and students.


Babcock started his career as a resident director at Brockport, overseeing a residence hall with 200 students and a staff of six. He had to discipline students and have some expelled from school. Some of those students used the punishment as a wake-up call. They turned themselves around, graduated and thanked Babcock for pointing them on the right track.

Ward stayed in touch with Babcock, and was impressed how he handled some of the situations at Brockport, working with students and also with construction of new townhouses.

“He’s worked with tough characters and high-level people,” Ward said. “He’s been involved with major projects.”

RIT has been in growth mode in recent years, and continues to expand. Babcock will helped manage another $1.9 million in renovations and projects this year.

Babcock said RIT is a home away from home for students. He appreciates Ward’s push for excellence, to make the facilities safe, comfortable and appealing for students and staff.

“We need to give them the best possible experience whether dining, the residence halls, or the apartments,” Babcock said.


The two joked over lunch Tuesday about the upcoming golf season. Babcock, a lefty, is consistent with the 200-yard drives down the middle of the fairway. Ward and some of the long hitters may hit the ball farther than Babcock, but it is often sliced or hooked.


At the end of the day, Babcock wins almost every time.


"He is amazing," Ward said.

Jeremy Babcock and Howard Ward are pictured at Ward's office at RIT on Monday.


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