3 schools team up for summer music fest

Provided photos Posted 4 August 2015
LYNDONVILLE – Lyndonville hosted the Summer Honor Music Festival concert last Thursday featuring 140 students in Albion, Lyndonville and Medina.


The Summer Honor Music Festival was started last year as Summer Honor Band. This summer a chorus was included in the festival.

Students entering grades 5 through 7 were chosen to participate by their music teachers. The students rehearsed from9 a.m. to noon or 1 to 4 p.m. for each group. There were about 140 students total, and many participated in both groups.


The two bands were directed by the elementary band teachers from the three districts: Jeanette Sheliga, Medina; Lindsey Fix, Albion; and John Bailey, Lyndonville. Chorus directors were Kathy Bleiler-Dick, Medina; and Jennifer Neroni-Trupo, Lyndonville.


Each band performed three different songs and the chorus performed five. The festival culminated with a combined performance with both bands and the chorus performing "America the Beautiful" together.

Lyndonville students wore orange, Medina students wore blue and Albion musicians had on purple shirts.


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Holley resident becomes distinguished WWI pilot

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 3 August 2015

HOLLEY – On the morning of Sept. 7, 1918, Mrs. Effie Stevens received an envelope from Lt. James A. Meissner of the 147th Aero Squadron. Her eyes gazed upon the words, “My deepest sympathy goes out to you who have sacrificed your all to the country…” and with that single note her son, a respected pilot and Distinguished Service Cross recipient, was yet another casualty from Orleans County.


On July 2, 1918 near Chateau-Thierry, Lt. Stevens would earn himself a reputation as one of the most daring members of the 147th Aero Squadron when he and four other U.S. pilots engaged twelve Pfalz type enemy aircraft flying in two groups well beyond enemy lines.


After sighting the planes, Stevens quickly maneuvered into position between the aircraft and the sun, gaining the advantage with some difficulty. While three of the pilots engaged the lower formation, Stevens and 2nd Lt. Kenneth Porter engaged the upper formation in a “bold and brilliant combat,” destroying two planes.


Although marked as missing on Aug. 1, 1918, he was killed the previous day when his aircraft was shot down. His body was laid to rest by German soldiers under a rough cross adjacent to his wrecked machine. Lt. Henry Richardson of Albion wrote to his mother stating that a major visited their camp with a ball-bearing taken from a downed aircraft near Lt. Stevens’ grave.


In his most recent engagement, he was credited with defending an American supply base with five other flyers who repelled an attack of 30 German aircraft, accounting for eleven destroyed machines. His remains were reinterred at the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery at Picardie, France.


This image shows 2nd Lt. John Hulett Stevens seated atop his single-seat WWI biplane adorned in the prototypical aviator’s attire. The Cobblestone Museum is displaying the same style of French aviator goggles as part of an new exhibit, courtesy of the Orleans County Department of History..


“The Lost Generation” Exhibition, highlighting the service of Orleans County soldiers, opened on Sunday at the Cobblestone Museum in Childs. Additional virtual exhibits, oral histories, and other stories will be made available through an online collaborative project between the Cobblestone Museum and the Orleans County Department of History at http://thelostgeneration.orleanscountyhistorian.org.


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Dean Norton of Elba, president of NY Farm Bureau, seeks national post

Dean Norton

Staff Reports Posted 3 August 2015
ELBA – Dean Norton of Elba, the current president of New York Farm Bureau, announced today he is seeking to become vice president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“This is an important time for agriculture in New York and throughout our great nation,” Norton said in a statement released by NYFB. “As farmers, we have many opportunities and challenges ahead of us, and my years of leadership in Farm Bureau at the state and national levels have prepared me well to take them on as AFBF’s vice president. The office would allow me to expand my advocacy for hard working farm families across America and give my home state a more visible role in this vital organization.

“For me, family is essential to having a strong agricultural sector, and that is what makes this decision personal for me. I will work hard to ensure that the future is strong for our sons and daughters who are the next generation of farmers, and I wouldn’t have made this decision without the loving support of my wife Melanie, our two children, and our families.

“Serving in this role will allow me to still be president of New York Farm Bureau, and if I am successful in this endeavor, I will do all that I can to make both organizations even more effective. I appreciate the support that I have received so far, and I look forward in the coming months to working with and listening to Farm Bureau members from across the country ahead of AFBF’s Annual Convention in Orlando this January.

“I am excited about the prospect of helping to lead AFBF as we work to continue the successful momentum developed under outgoing President Bob Stallman.”

Norton’s wife Melanie grew up in Albion. Norton works as a senior agriculture consultant at a CPA firm in Batavia. His family owns a dairy farm in Elba. In addition, he and his wife operate DMCK Cattle Co., LLC renting dairy cows and tillable land along with selling beef cattle.

Dean has served on the American Farm Bureau Board of Directors representing the Northeast since 2010 as well as the AFBF Executive Committee. He was elected NYFB president in December of 2008, and he has served on a variety of NYFB commodity committees. He also was Genesee County Farm Bureau president for four years, and served four years on the NYFB State Board of Directors prior to being elected president of NYFB.


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Hail hits Orleans in thunderstorm

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 3 August 2015
ALBION – The severe thunderstorm that hit late this afternoon brought along hail. That is an unwelcome sight in an agricultural community where the apples and other crops are maturing and await harvest season.

This photo shows some of the hail in my back yard in Albion.


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Former Albion man faces child rape charges

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 August 2015
ALBION – A former Albion resident was arraigned in Orleans County Court this afternoon on multiple rape charges.

Charles Ledger, 27, was living at Lydun Drive Extension in Albion when he allegedly committed the crimes between August 2011 and March 2015, the District Attorney's Office reported. Ledger was most recently working and living in Nebraska and has been extradited to Orleans County.

He has been charged with one count of course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree, two counts of criminal sexual act in the second degree, and 14 counts of rape in the third degree.

He pleaded not guilty in court today, and Judge James Punch set bail at $25,000.

In other cases in County Court:

• Kaylee M. Loiacono, 27, of Brockport was arraigned on drug charges following her arrest last week. She has been charged with three counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the 3rd degree and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the 3rd degree, which are both Class B felonies.

She was arraigned with counsel today and bail was set at $5,000. She pleaded not guilty to the charges.

• The judge set bail for an Albion man at $100,000. Brandon A. Honore, 30, of East Park Street was has been charged with 2 counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the 3rd degree, and 2 counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the 3rd degree (Class B felonies) as a result of an Orleans County sealed indictment.

Honore and Loiacono were among 19 people arrested following a seven-month investigation into the sale and distribution of drugs in Orleans County.

Honore has two prior felonies and has already been to state prison. His attorney, Kevin McKain, requested a lower bail, saying Honore was working two full-time jobs and went six years without any crimes.

Judge Punch said Honore may be considered a persistent felon with his past criminal history. The $100,000 bail is consistent with the bail Punch has set for other defendants with similar charges, the judge said.


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Bob Waters exuded enthusiasm for Medina, Orleans County

Photos by Tom Rivers

Bob Waters, president of the Medina Sandstone Society, gives a rallying cry on Dec. 11, 2013, during the inaugural induction of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame. Waters believed the community should take pride in its history, including the many landmark buildings around the state made from the local stone.


By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 August 2015
MEDINA – Orleans County lost one of biggest boosters last week with the death of Robert E. Waters. The former newspaper lived a full life, leading the local newspaper, raising two daughters with his wife Barbara, and playing an influential role in civic affairs.

Waters was a community dynamo for nearly a century. In addition to leading the local newspaper, Waters was a key leader in finding a new use for the Medina Armory when it closed in 1977. It would become a YMCA. (The Y recently completed more than $500,000 in upgrades to the former Armory, setting the building up for years of more use.)

Waters relished life in a small town. He was pleased with the recent resurgence of the downtown Medina business district, with the influx of investment and young entrepreneurs.

“It used to be young people couldn’t wait to get out of here,” he told Orleans Hub in April 2014 when he was being honored as a Heritage Hero by Genesee Community College and Orleans Hub. “I’ve always been a small-towner. Maybe the small town is coming back.”


The Heritage Heroes were honored for the first time in April 2014 as part of the Civil War Encampment. Waters stood out for a lifetime of commitment to the community


He used the written word to preserve local history. He has written publications – he wouldn’t call them books – about Medina’s sandstone past, the community’s boom years from 1900 to 1930, and a publication of penny post cards about Medina in 2012: “Greetings from Medina, New York.”

Bob Waters in April 2013 signs a copy of the Medina Sandstone Society's latest publication, “Medina, My Home Town – Fond Memories.” Waters tended the Sandstone Society's booth at the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce’s Home and Garden Show.

While Waters loved the written word, he has also provided leadership and some of the heavy lifting for community projects, perhaps most notably the reuse of the former Armory on Pearl Street.

That 90,000-square-foot building was built in 1901. After the state closed the building in 1977, Waters and the Armory Action Committee met weekly and negotiated with the state to keep the utilities on, make needed repairs and eventually transfer the site to the community so it could be used as a YMCA.

“When the National Guard left, the property could have gone down hill in a hurry,” Waters told Orleans Hub last year. “Now the Y is just running with it.”

Even at 90, he was leading the Medina Sandstone Society as the group’s president. Waters turned the Sandstone Society into a dedicated group that relishes the rich local history of the area. He backed efforts to create a Sandstone Hall of Fame that inducts buildings and landmarks made of the local sandstone.

Waters also pushed to create the Sandstone Trust that doles out small grants to community projects, from restoring stained glass windows, boosting the archives at the Lee-Whedon Memorial Library, and repairing stonework at the former Armory, as well as numerous other initiatives.

Waters was meticulous in his dress, wearing suits and bowties. But he was far from pretentious. Many residents received notes from Waters over the years, praising them for their good works, whether opening a new business, planting flowers or painting their house.

Waters exuded enthusiasm for the community.

“He loved the character of small-town life,” said his daughter Julie, who works in central communications for Cornell University. “He believed that small towns have a lot of vitality.”

When the bishop of the Western New York Diocese for the Episcopal Church visited Medina on June 17, Bob Waters gave him a tour. The Right Rev. R. William Franklin is pictured at Medina City Hall with Waters after the two looked at the Sandstone Hall of Fame, which includes St. Paul's Cathedral in Buffalo, a giant Episcopal church made of sandstone from quarries in Hulberton.

Waters graduated from Medina High School in 1942 and served in World War II with the Army. After he earned a degree from Miami University of Ohio, he joined the family business, The Journal-Register in Medina, in 1949.

The paper would expand its coverage under Waters, with a big push to cover all of Orleans County. Mike Wertman was hired as a reporter in 1978. He covered local sports and other community news, including local government.

At that time, Waters wanted more in the newspaper from outside Medina. He pushed Wertman and the staff to be a county-wide paper, and Waters embraced coverage of girls sports. He would make sports a full-time job for Wertman. Waters gave this advice to Wertman: “The more names you could get in the paper, the better.”

Wertman said Waters was influential in the careers of many journalists. Many got their start at The Journal with Waters as their mentor. Behind closed doors with staff, Waters was optimistic, looking for the good in the community and its residents.

“He was always positive and pro-Medina,” said Wertman, who now covers sports for the Orleans Hub.

After selling The Journal and the former Albion Advertiser to a large newspaper chain, Park Newspapers, in 1985, Waters would work 10 years as communications director for State Sen. John Daly and his successor, George Maziarz. Waters also served on the Ridgeway Town Board for a decade, and was deputy town supervisor.


He stayed active and engaged in community issues, and found time for golf at Shelridge. He enjoyed playing the game with friends, and his grandson, Cody. Bob was one of five founders of Shelridge Country Club and was its first president.


Julie Waters said the family nearly lost him when he was 40 and in the backyard with his kids. A stray bullet from a target shooter struck Waters in the cheek and left his neck. The injury gave him problems the rest of his life, but Waters and family were grateful for 50 more years.


"He almost died, but he survived," his daughter said. "We always felt it was a gift that he lived and we had a father."


Julie said she is grateful to the community for the outpuriing of tributes for her father.


"People have expressed a lot for his love of community and family," she said.

Bob Waters, right, shows Medina resident Roland Howell the Sandstone Hall of Fame during a reception in February 2014. Waters relished his friendships and local history.


On a personal note, I've been friends with Bob for 20 years since I moved to Orleans County and had my first newspaper job with the Albion Advertiser. I often went to the Medina office of the Journal-Register to drop off film and lay out the Albion paper.


Bob would often stop by. He sprinkled kind words around the news room, especially for the reporters. He offered some background on the issues of the day.


We remained in touch when I joined The Daily News in Batavia. We became closer friends the past two years. I really enjoy learning about the area's Medina Sandstone history, and the seeing how far the stone travelled in building mansions, churches and other important community buildings all over the state and beyond.


I thought a Sandstone Hall of Fame would be a nice way to celebrate that heritage. I pitched the idea to Waters and some of the Sandstone Society members. They endorsed the effort – and did all the work.


Bob, like a lot of newspapermen, has watched the grim state of the industry with concern. The Journal-Register closed last year. Other small-town papers have also shut down and many larger papers are a shell of themselves.


Bob was a big encourager when the Orleans Hub started. He wanted the local news covered. He even declared himself a "Hubster" in a recent email.


He has been a role model for many in the community, showing the importance of valuing people and history. He was unapologetic in his love for Medina.


He also showed it doesn't always take a big capital campaign to make a difference. Sometimes it just takes a hand-written note.


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Fair made for busy week in Knowlesville

Photos by Kristina Gabalski Posted 3 August 2015
KNOWLESVILLE – The Orleans County 4-H Fair ended its annual six-day run on Saturday, with the fair drawing thousands of people each day to the hamlet of Knowlesville.

Krsitina Gabalski was at the fair each day. Her two children, John and Peggy-Jo, are active in the 4-H program.


The top photo shows Naomi Haberger, Emma Mathes and Saleya Williams - all members of the Adventurers 4-H club - wearing their matching outfits as "mannequin models" in the Trolley Building on Saturday afternoon.

Fair Royalty were selected Saturday afternoon. Left to right: Princess alternate Olivia Kroening, Princess Lilly Mathes; Prince alternate Jack Cecchini, Prince Owen Shaw; Dutchess Alternate Emma Mathes, Dutchess Megan Blackburn; Duke Brian Shaw; Queen Alternate Peggy-Jo Gabalski, Queen Natalie Mrzywka, and Duke Alternate Justin Robinson.

Roman Brege, 8, takes a breather during the Pie Eating Contest on Friday evening. Brege came in second place in the Piglet Division (10 and under). First place in the division went to 9-year old Jillian Ray. In the Hog Division (11-17-year olds), first place went to 14-year old Dalton Moyer and second place went to 13-year old Haley Mayer. In the Old Boar Division (ages 18 and up) first place was taken by John Burgio and second place went to Sue Moyer.

Megan Bruning of Bruning Ware in Medina throws a pot during her pottery demonstration Friday afternoon in the Trolley Building.

4-H'ers work to pass hula hoops down a line all while continuing to hold hands during the Ag Olympics held Friday morning at the Orleans County 4-H Fair. Three teams competed during the event.

Things got a little messy and very fun during the "Musical Chairs" game at the 4-H Ag Olympics on Friday morning at the Orleans County 4-H Fair. Participants not only had to sit when the music stopped, they had to burst a balloon on the chair seat filled with shaving cream.

Elsa Bieliski, left, and Brigid Keller, both 15 and from Medina, prepare to share their yummy brownie sundae at the Leader's Pie Stand.

The crew exits a Mercy Flight helicopter Saturday at the Orleans County 4-H Fair. The helicopter landed on the south lawn of the fairgrounds as part of the "Kids Love Trucks Day." Youngsters were able to get an up-close view of the helicopter and emergency trucks/vehicles from fire departments, law enforcement agencies and ambulance services around Orleans County.

Fire trucks and emergency response vehicles from across Orleans County were on display for fairgoers Saturday afternoon during the final day of the fair.

Theresa Jewell works on her loom in the Lartz Building. She is weaving a scarf. Jewell owns Stoney Meadows Alpacas and Fiber Boutique on Glidden Road in Clarendon and this was her first year as a vendor at the fair.


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New leader in fishing derby

Staff Reports Posted 3 August 2015
Day 2 of the Orleans County Fishing Derby brought changes to the leaderboard.

A 17-pound, 12-ounce lake trout caught by Mike Engle of Hamlin is the new leader in the derby, which started on Saturday and runs until Aug. 16. The angler who catches the biggest fish in the derby wins $4,000.

The leaderboard also includes a 14-pound brown trout caught by April Johnson of Rochester to lead that division.

The top lake trout include a 15-pounder caught by Jared Wise of Rochester, and a 14-pound, 1-ounce lake trout reeled in by Garrett Rusin of Brockport.

The derby is still waiting for its first fish in the Chinook salmon and rainbow trout divisions.


The derby gives out $8,800 in total prize money. Besides $4,000 for the biggest fish, the four division leaders each get $500, followed by $300 for second, $200 for third, $100 for fourth and $50 for fifth.


There is also a $200 prize to the Orleans County resident who catches the biggest fish.


The derby is sponsored by the Albion Rotary Club. Last year, a 27-pound, 7-ounce Chinook salmon won the derby.

For more on the derby, click here.


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Albion hosts ‘National Night Out’ for Orleans County on Tuesday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 August 2015
ALBION – Orleans County residents can meet local police officers, firefighters and other professionals in emergency services on Tuesday when Albion hosts a National Night Out event at Bullard Park.

The event runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the park on Route 31 at the east end of the village. There will be demonstrations from K-9 teams in Albion, Medina and the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, as well as demos from tactical robots.

Many of the fire departments in the county will be at the event, with Mercy Flight scheduled to land at 6 p.m.

Roland Nenni, Albion police chief, has helped organize the National Night Out, wanting to help residents connect with emergency services providers, and also give families a low-cost option with no drugs or alcohol on a weekday evening.

The event is free except for the food sold by the Albion Lions Club, and some of the food proceeds will go towards the “Rebuild Bullard” campaign.

The schedule also includes a bike rodeo and the Medina Area Association of Churches will have some bike helmets available. There will also be a child safety seat check and Nenni said the Albion Police Department used a grant to make seats available for some families.

The Orleans County YMCA is bringing its bounce house, and other local organizations, including Hoag Library and the Albion Running Club, will be promoting their programs.

The Genesee-Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse is helping to organize and sponsor the event.


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