Tilley steps down as Eden football’s head coach, Alessi to take over

By Aaron Garland, CPOWNY Sports Reporter

The Eden/North Collins football program has been through a lot recently.

The Raiders were forced to cancel their 2015 varsity season due to low numbers before merging with Lake Shore last fall. Since, Eden/NC has been working at all levels to secure healthy numbers and restore one of the more successful small-school programs in Western New York.

The healing process is going well, with the JV team winning its division in 2015 and promising Little Loop numbers. Most importantly, there will be a 2016 varsity season as the roster is expected to have 20-25 players.

It’s been an eventful year-plus for the proud program, and major changes continued to affect it earlier this week, when Raiders head coach Chuck Tilley suddenly notified Eden athletic director Marisa Fallacaro of his intent to resign from his position, citing family as the reason.

Tilley’s 20-year-old twin boys, Kyle and Justin, have Down syndrome and autism, respectively, and recently it was found that there are certain health concerns with Justin that made coaching football too much of an obligation for Tilley.   Continue reading

Hornets believe to be on right track

Photo by Karen Gioia: Larry Wright is one of several impact players on an excellent Hamburg Hornets defense.

Photo by Karen Gioia: Larry Wright is one of several impact players on an excellent Hamburg Hornets defense.

By Aaron Garland, CPOWNY Sports Reporter

The Hamburg Hornets have let a few opportunities slip away this season — most notably blowing an 11-point fourth quarter lead in a loss to the Buffalo Spartans in June.

Additionally, the defense has played at a high enough level that it’s reasonable to think the team could have a win or two more than it does.

But the could have, would have, should doesn’t matter much to the Hornets because up ahead they see a prime chance to do something they haven’t in the organization’s brief, three-year history as a semi-pro football team.

Despite some close calls and an offense that hasn’t matched the performance of the defense, Hamburg is in position to accomplish the main goal it had coming into the season.

As of press time, the Hornets are 3-3 in league play, good for fourth in the Northeastern Football Alliance West Conference. It puts them in the division’s final postseason position with three league games to go. Continue reading

Four locals share longtime connection on ice

Photo by Karen Gioia: Recent Hamburg grad Scott Ramaekers during a Fattey Hockey League game earlier this month.

Photo by Karen Gioia: Recent Hamburg grad Scott Ramaekers during a Fattey Hockey League game earlier this month.

By Aaron Garland, CPOWNY Sports Editor

This time next year, the likelihood is that they won’t be preparing to all play on the same hockey team.

And that’s saying something considering Joe Marszalek (Frontier), Scott Ramaekers (Hamburg), Jake Ballagh (Frontier) and Matt Stanek (Orchard Park) have played on the same squad each year since they were 5-year-olds in Hamburg Hawks Mite Minor.

This past winter, they were part of the Buffalo Jr. Sabres Midget 18U team that won a state title and went to nationals.

The four — who all just graduated from their respective high schools — are set to play one final year of Jr. Sabres 18U this upcoming season before exploring options in junior hockey and/or with a college team.

Continue reading

Website maps out every brewery in the state

By SUN Reporter Amy Robb

There’s good news for those of us looking to drink our way around the state: Brewyorknewyork.com has done the legwork, mapping out every New York State brewery for you.

Brew York, established in 2009, provides information to people in the industry as well as beer lovers, everyone from brewers and bar owners to craft beer drinkers and home brewers.

In addition to Brew York’s many beer-related articles, their map published July 8 outlines the ever-growing number of craft breweries in the state. Little pinpoints on the map cover Western New York, the Finger Lakes, the Southern Tier, Central New York, North Country, the Capital District, Hudson Valley, Long Island, and of course New York City.

New York ranks second in growing breweries as of 2014. The following year showed growth too, only a tad slower. It took three years for the state to get from 100 to 200 breweries, but Brew York estimates it will take less than two years to get from 200 to 300.

Brew York’s article listed a staggering amount of operating breweries, citing more on the way: “By our count today, there are 275 brewing licensed facilities in New York State, including brewpubs. Another 29 have pending licenses, meaning they should be open soon.”

If you decide to check out the map, remember that red pins indicate an up and operating brewery with some sort of taproom or restaurant attached for beer lovers to try a pint or fill up a growler. Yellow pins are for licensed breweries not open to the public, either because they are small, farm-owned breweries that sell to farmers markets, or they’re still too new to admit anyone yet. Orange pins are breweries with pending licenses.

Once you’re zoomed in far enough, the map provides a link to the brewery’s website, along with hours and an address. A detailed calendar of events for breweries all over the state is available as well.

The ‘Beer Guide’ icon at the top of the page expands the map to include different kinds of pins: dark blue is for beer shops with drinking on premises, light blue is for beer shops with takeaway only, and green indicates homebrew suppliers.

The good people at Brew York will be updating this map, so check back regularly.

Visit brewyorknewyork.com to learn more or check in on the growing map.

Link to map

Summer projects will keep Frontier busy

Frontier Superintendent, Dr. Bret Apthorpe, presented summer instructional projects for 2016 at the district’s July 5 board meeting, focusing on meshing standards with a vision for kind, community-driven youth.

Five major initiatives include common Kindergarten through sixth grade literacy assessments, developing graduation standards, evaluating the K-6 reading program, developing student monitoring systems, and putting forth an effort to organize and align grades six through 12 programs to the district’s vision.

“I’m very happy to report to the board about the exciting work taking place this summer. My first year here at Frontier I spent a lot of time interviewing and meeting new teachers, meeting with parents, meeting with kids and collecting data on the schools and collecting a better understanding of what direction the school district would like to move into,” said Apthorpe of the district’s newly adopted strategic vision.

Summer programs will focus on teacher-administrator collaborations, starting with K-6 literacy. Staff and teacher teams will work on finding the right research-based assessment to pilot the following school year.

“Right now, the kids come into the middle school with all these different assessment backgrounds and it’s very difficult for the middle school teams to properly place these kids,” said Apthorpe. “We have four elementary schools that go into one middle school. It’s very critical that all four elementary schools are using the same literacy assessment tools.”

Having a common placement assessment across all elementary schools will make it easier for teachers and administration alike.

Once the pilot assessment is chosen per grade level, grades Kindergarten through third grade will be introduced to it and then fourth through sixth grade in 2018.

Graduation standards are changing based on Frontier’s vision, combined with NYS Learning Standards, taking state suggestions of 30 to 40 and paring them down to five to eight with a Frontier twist.

“They’re well prepared for college, career, but they also have our values, the values of our community,” added Apthorpe.

The district will also be reevaluating its reading program for kids in Kindergarten through sixth grade, as the current program, Lead21, is no longer in print. Recommendations will be given to the board in the spring and a new program is to be adopted in the fall.

“We can spend the summer providing professional development for both teachers and parents, because really this impacts our parents a lot too, for adoption in the fall,” said Apthorpe.

Student monitoring system development will be the focus of the board’s retreat this summer, with MTSS, or Multi-Tiered Systems of Support in mind. The district will explore the best ways to get students where they need to be academically and emotionally to be successful and live a happy life.

Depending on the student getting to that place sometimes involves intervention by teachers, administration and staff. Once an intervention is put in place for child, it’s handled be a specific office within the district, sometimes it’s special education, sometimes it’s the school psychologist, sometimes it’s another option.

Apthorpe looks to break down these walls between offices in order to better explore other options for students if one intervention plan isn’t working.

The Frontier Superintendent hopes the Frontier Vision Committee’s hard work will pay off with research this summer, in anticipation of implementation in the fall and built upon in future school years.

“We’re really talking about where the rubber hits the road…projects and changes that are going to change the dynamic of the teacher and the kid in the classroom, which is really going to help our kids immensely,” said Apthorpe.