Holley-day Music at the Mall

A warm thanks to the musical groups from both the Holley Elementary School and the Holley Middle School/High School who recently sang and played holiday music at The Mall at Greece Ridge Center to the enjoyment of last-minute shoppers.  The choruses and chamber music ensembles performed a wide-selection of traditional as well as contemporary music, with more and people gathering as time went on to listen to the holiday selections.  Even band instructors Amy Harris (Elementary) and Dan Wakefield (High School) joined in, stepping out of their roles temporarily to perform with their students in smaller ensembles.

If you know of a local treasure that needs to be unburied, or have a vision of your own for Holley, contact me at Theresa@tothewhitelight.com and be sure to visit my website at www.tothewhitelight.com to find out how I can help.

Local Schools Help Needy

Thumbs up to the staff of the Holley Central School District who have been giving back to the community  through the Giving Tree – a school-wide effort providing meals and gifts to the less fortunate of our community.  For the past seven years, the Holley Teachers Association’s (HTA) Public Relations Committee has worked with the Eastern Orleans Community Center to identify families in need.  At Thanksgiving time, the HTA donates enough food to make 16 complete Thanksgiving dinners, which are then delivered to local families. In addition, during the spring, the staff gathers to walk for a cause, which directly benefits students.  Last spring, the group raised $300 to support an afternoon program! On behalf of the community, a sincere thank you to all those who support this program each year!!!

If you know of a local treasure that needs to be unburied, or have a vision of your own for Holley, contact me at Theresa@tothewhitelight.com and be sure to visit my website at www.tothewhitelight.com to find out how I can help.

Holley’s Hidden Beauty

Holley Falls

Holley Falls

As close family and friends know, I moved to Holley in July 2008 seeking a simpler way of life; a place that felt like home and where I could make a real difference. During my search, I followed the path of the Erie Canal, stopping at every town along the way from Newark to Medina. What brought me to Holley was a dream of a waterfall. What prompted me to settle in Holley was that Holley and I were very much alike; full of  untapped potential and a beauty that remained hidden from most. In taking a closer look, Holley and I eventually discovered both.

So what’s so beautiful about this bedroom community? After all,  most drive through Holley on their way to someplace else west of here. If you take the time to venture out beyond first impressions though, you soon discover that Holley has the most brilliant  hidden jewel in Holley Glen Falls. The thing is… you will not find this picturesque setting by staying on Route 31. Rather, you  must dare to go beyond your comfort zone and take the road less taken… Frisbee Terrance to be exact. By venturing down this road  beyond the abandoned grocery store and beyond the water treatment facility, you stumble upon a narrow roadway that opens to a clearing. Once there, you discover Glens Park with the most breathtaking scenery.  Out of a densely wooded hillside is a large cascade of water that tumbles down red Medina stone into a shallow pool that then makes it way around a small park and joins a passing creek.

Then when  you do a bit of research, you discover that this magnificent setting is the result of some fine engineering. You see… Holley’s Glen Falls is actually a man-made waterfall, created during the enlargement and relocation of the Erie Canal route. Considered, the highest abutment on the canal line (76′ ), the waterfall allows excess water to cascade into Sandy Creek below and flows beneath the canal to the east.

Nowadays, Glens Park is a gathering place for picnics, weddings, photographs, and more among friends and family.  It includes benches, picnic tables, and a covered pavilion for enjoying the sights and sounds of the falls as well as well-maintained hiking and bike trails. It hasn’t always been that way though. For many years, the falls was overgrown with brush and literally hidden from view. It wasn’t until 1985 that Wayne Fauci, Scott Parker, along with Village crew began clearing the area. Soon the falls’ natural beauty was evident with many residents amazed that an incredibly beautiful waterfall was at the center of community.

A few years later, New York State started to encourage development and tourism along the Erie Canal, offering grants statewide. Holley received grant money and began work to beautify the canal area. In 1997, a 300′ boat dock was created with the first nature trail opened from the glen to the lift bridge. The trail was named the “Andrew Cuomo Trail” honoring our governor-elect’s foresight and assistance in obtaining funds. Then in 1999, the gazebo and the playground were built. In 2001, a bridge was erected over Sandy Creek at the falls with two pavilions added in 2002. John Ciccoline of Albion created and donated a beautiful cathedral birdhouse and a wishing well. In 2002, a visitor’s sign was created at the dock as well as a fishing pond, SaltPort Pond, along the trail. If you follow that trail a bit further, there’s a beautiful eight-sided mural painted by local artist/muralist Stacey Kirby by the canal called the “Treasures of Holley” which highlights Holley’s heritage as an integral part of the Erie Canal’s rich history. Pick up a map available at the mural site for a self-guided “treasure hunt” of the area.

By taking the road less traveled,  you too can enjoy the serene, beautiful setting of Holley’s Glen Falls along with its abundance of nature trails, picnic areas, and play areas. More importantly, by discovering Holley Glen Falls you get to experience first hand the community’s inner beauty and at the same time get a glimmer of its potential realized.

For more information about Holley Falls, check out Matt Conheady’s NY Waterfalls site (http://nyfalls.com/holley.html). It includes a bit of history about the area as well as a slideshow of beautiful photographs of the falls, with prints available for purchase.

If you know of a local treasure that needs to be unburied, or have a vision of your own for Holley, contact me at Theresa@tothewhitelight.com and be sure to visit my website at www.tothewhitelight.com to find out how I can help.

Attention: Water Main Break

Late Thursday (12/16/10),    the Village of Holley reports the following on their site:

The Village of Holley would like to inform residents inside and outside the Village of a water main break at 56 State St.  Work will be started  Friday, December 17th at 7:30am.  Your water will be turned off some time after the work starts and we locate the break.  There is no exact time when the water will be turned back on.  We advise residents to be prepared ahead of time for this water outage and store water for your needs.

As a result of the work being done, State St will be closed from Bennett’s Corners to Batavia St.  Only local traffic and business customers will be allowed on the street.  Flaggers will be at each inner section to prevent any unnecessary traffic going through.  The road will remain closed until Saturday afternoon until all repairs are made.

The detour for trucks will be as follows:  West bound traffic will be detoured up to County Line Rd to 104 west bound then south bound on 237.  Reverse for east bound Traffic.  Signs will be posted.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Village Office at 638-6367
Holley Water Department at 638-6587  or  holley.electric.water@gmail.com

A Rare Piece of Erie Canal History Found…

In yesterday’s Rochester Democrat & Chronicle there was an interesting article about two local shipwreck hunters who may have discovered a rare piece of New York’s history – a wreckage at the bottom of the Oswego River. For three days back in October, Jim Kennard and Roger Pawlowski trolled up and down the Oswego River in a 22-foot deep-sea fishing boat looking at targets on the muddy river bottom using sonar technology. As they moved along the river, bones of the canal boat appeared on the screen about 6 inches above the river bottom. It was then they knew they found something significant – the original Erie Canal boat in the mud and sediment just south of Fulton, Oswego County. They believe the vintage of this canal boat is somewhere in between the 1830s to 1850s due to its length and width. Line boats were designed back then to carry freight, livestock, and sometimes passengers. The wreck is about 76 feet long and 13.5 feet wide, which matches the length of canal boats existing prior to 1850. Before that time, canal locks were only 90 feet long as the canal was shallower. The sonar photograph shows the outline and wooden ribs of the boat. Toward the stern there is around object that Kennard believes is a stove. It also looks like the rudder is intact behind the boat.

The explorers are working with the New York State Department of Historic Preservation and the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse to help identify the wreck. Saying the find is significant, Museum Curator, Dan Ward said, “All we’ve seen of this boat is sonar imagery so we have some sense of the shape of the boat, what its deck structure is, its dimensions, and we know where it’s located.”

Over the years, Kennard and his partners have discovered more than 200 submerged vessels in the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain, the Finger Lakes, and the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. In 2008, Kennard and former Greece resident Dan Scoville discovered a 200-year-old dagger-board schooner about 10 miles offshore of Oak Orchard, Orleans County, on Lake Ontario.

What’s next? Kennard and Pawlowski hope to return to the site next summer to shoot photographs and video of the wreck. At that time, they also hope to confirm the type and age of the boat as well as to research whether there is any record of the boat’s history, particularly why it sunk in the river. While there is probably little chance of raising the boat because of cost, the “treasure” is in a good environment for preservation … and a whole host of questions.

If you know of a local treasure that needs to be unburied, or have a vision of your own for Holley, contact me at Theresa@tothewhitelight.com and be sure to visit my website at www.tothewhitelight.com to find out how I can help.

Dreams Do Transform Farms and Rural Areas

I swear Nelsonville, Ohio looks like Holley!

As 2010 comes to a close and we think about what is possible in 2011, I wish to share with you one of my favorite articles, which was originally published on April 1, 2010 in this newsletter. I share it with you now as dreams do transform. By thinking “small” and only about the present moment, great things are indeed possible!

I read this remarkable article this evening online and just had to share it. “Dreams, Small Can Transform Farms, Rural Areas” by Jane Fyksen shares how small steps along with a little entrepreneurship can revitalize rural communities and local farm economies. She cites  Jack Ricchiuto and June Holley (does that last name sound familiar?) who helped transform Nelsonville, Ohio.  Like Holley NY, Nelsonville has old Victorian-style buildings around a town square and beautiful architecture.

Unfortunately,  only a couple of the storefronts were occupied. That was before a local artist realized Nelsonville’s brick sidewalks had decorative stars on them and started to make everything in Nelsonville with a star-brick theme.

Holley (June that is) shares how 10 “small acts” transformed Nelsonville and perhaps Holley too:

Their fountain

Nelsonville Fountain

  • Small Act 1 – Set the Table. The local coffee shop not only had tables inside, but out on the sidewalk too. There, people gathered and shared community-building “dream space conversations”.  Before you knew it, things started to happen. Residents started to visualize all the possibilities for their town.
  • Small Act 2Entertain.  The community brought back “entertainment” to Nelsonville. In particular, one of the towns people who hung out at the coffee shop was well-connected in the music world. Soon after, a second-story opera house opened, where local musicians showcased their talents. A  children’s theater and adult community theater followed shortly thereafter. Talk about a ripple effect!
  • Small Act 3 – Open a new high end restaurant so people frequenting the local opera house had someplace to eat and  make an evening of it. Turns out a local culinary school decided to open the restaurant so students could get real-life experience. What’s more, they decided to use local produce from area farmers.  Now that’s letting the local economy work for you – literally!
  • Small Act 4 – Open for business. Shops started to open in the downtown area as a local wealthy patron started subsidizing rents to encourage revitalization of the public square. Before you knew it 30 shops opened – everything from quilts to handmade paper, and a pottery shop where people could make their own mugs.
  • Small Act 5Socialize. “Final Fridays” were held the last Friday of every month, with vendors of all types allowed to gather on the public square to sell whatever they made or produced in their gardens. Some did so well that they too opened stores!
  • Small Act 6 – Promote. With an eclectic/artsy town square, it was time to bring in experts, such as June Holley, to assist with marketing and economic development. Shortly thereafter, a “learning cluster” of successful business-owners was established (i.e. a peer group), with the city council invited to get city leaders fired up. Eventually an “arts district” was established.
  • Small Act 7Distribute the wealth. An “innovation fund” was established that gave away little grants for all sorts of ideas people had for new ventures.
  • Small Act 8 – Walk the Talk.  A “walking tour” brochure was created for tourism purposes.
  • Small Act 9 – Pay it Forward. Workshops were held on how to start a Bed & Breakfast or cottage hotel as tourists had no place to stay. Local people began opening up B&Bs.
  • Small Act 10? Two large business/employers decided to stay in Nelsonville because their employees loved living there so much!!!

All of this occurred in five years! Like Holley (NY that is), Nelsonville is a small town with less than 5,000 people;  no major thoroughfare; and a short drive (less than 90 minutes) to a big population center. In Nelsonville’s case, they are  less than 90 minutes from Columbus, Ohio. Meanwhile,  we actually have a great advantage over Nelsonville with three big population centers: Rochester, Buffalo, and Niagara Falls.

Ms. Holley summarizes her experience by saying,  each “small act” engages assets that a farm, organization, or community currently possess, even during an economic downturn. That’s why those “treasure  conversations” are so important. The opposite of “treasures” or assets are “needs” or deficiencies.  With that said, “there are two ways to look at everything;  you can choose to view things positively or negatively. It’s your choice to make.” She prefers to view things positively saying, “don’t talk about what you lack or what your weaknesses are; rather capitalize on existing strengths and network with like-minded positive people.”  I couldn’t agree with her more! For the complete article, click here.

If you know of a treasure that needs to be unburied, contact me at Theresa@tothewhitelight.com. Or, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my customers knew…”, visit www.tothewhitelight.com to find out how I can help.


Free Christmas Dinner

For many, Christmas can be a lonely time. Don’t spend another holiday alone. The Community Loaf & Ladle Soup Kitchen is hosting a community-wide Christmas Dinner on Saturday December 25th at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 2 Jackson Street (the corner of South Main). Dinner will be served at 2:00 pm. Share plenty of fellowship and a festive meal with other members of the community. While reservations are not required, they are helpful for planning purposes. So call and leave a message at either 638-5142 or 230-1562.

If you know of a local treasure that needs to be unburied, or have a vision of your own for Holley, contact me at Theresa@tothewhitelight.com and be sure to visit my website at www.tothewhitelight.com to find out how I can help.

Public Hearing on Sidewalk Maintenance…

Note:  The Public Hearing scheduled for this evening to discuss Sidewalk Maintenance has been canceled due to poor weather conditions.  Be sure to visit this blog often to learn of the new date as well as to keep up on all the news relative to Holley. Thank you!

The Board of Trustees of the Village of Holley will be holding a Public Hearing on Tuesday December 13, 2010 at 7:00pm in the Village Clerk’s Office, 72 Public Square, Holley, NY for the purpose of discussing and adopting a revision to the existing Sidewalk Maintenance code. As a property owner, what’s in it for you and why should you care? Right now the Village currently assumes ownership of of the sidewalks as it a public thoroughfare within the Village limits. This is clearly demonstrated each winter as they plow them to keep them clean and free of snow. The Village of Holley, however, does not want the responsibility or the expense for maintaining or repairing them and would like to pass that responsibility and expense onto the property owner. Adoption of this revised code not only requires property owners to repair and maintain sidewalks adjoining their property, but they must do so according to Village specifications. If you don’t the Village will bill you for the repairs and/or assess fines!!! If you are as angry as I am, then you are strongly encouraged to attend next Tuesday’s meeting! Let them know that enough is enough and that you are fed up. We already pay the highest taxes not only in the county, but also in the entire country, yet our sidewalks do not show it!!!! Demand that the Village continue to assume responsibility for all sidewalk maintenance and repairs. Most of all… let your collective voices be heard!

If you know of a local treasure that needs to be unburied, or have a vision of your own for Holley, contact me at Theresa@tothewhitelight.com and be sure to visit my website at www.tothewhitelight.com to find out how I can help.

Know Your Weather Terms

NOAA’s National Weather Service urges all Orleans County residents to keep abreast of local forecasts and warnings as well as to become familiar with key weather terminology.

Winter Storm Warning:Issued when hazardous winter weather in the form of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet is imminent or occurring.

Winter Storm Warnings are usually issued 12 to 24 hours before the event is expected to begin.

Winter Storm Watch:Alerts the public to the possibility of a blizzard, heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet. Winter Storm Watches are usually issued 12 to 48 hours before the beginning of a Winter Storm.

Winter Storm Outlook: Issued prior to a Winter Storm Watch. The Outlook is given when forecasters believe winter storm conditions are possible and are usually issued 3 to 5 days in advance of a winter storm.

Blizzard Warning:Issued for sustained or gusty winds of 35 mph or more, and falling or blowing snow creating visibilities at or below ¼ mile; these conditions should persist for at least three hours.

Lake Effect Snow Warning: Issued when heavy lake effect snow is imminent or occurring.

Lake Effect Snow Advisory:Issued when accumulation of lake effect snow will cause significant inconvenience.

Wind Chill Warning: Issued when wind chill temperatures are expected to be hazardous to life within several minutes of exposure.

Wind Chill Advisory: Issued when wind chill temperatures are expected to be a significant inconvenience to life with prolonged exposure, and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to hazardous exposure.

Winter Weather Advisories: Issued for accumulations of snow, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and sleet which will cause significant inconveniences and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to life-threatening situations.

Dense Fog Advisory: Issued when fog will reduce visibility to ¼ mile or less over a widespread area.

Snow Flurries: Light snow falling for short durations. No accumulation or light dusting is all that is expected.

Snow Showers:Snow falling at varying intensities for brief periods of time. Some accumulation is possible.

Snow Squalls:Brief, intense snow showers accompanied by strong, gusty winds. Accumulation may be significant. Snow squalls are best known in the Great Lakes region.

Blowing Snow: Wind-driven snow that reduces visibility and causes significant drifting. Blowing snow may be snow that is falling and/or loose snow on the ground picked up by the wind.

Sleet: Rain drops that freeze into ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet usually bounces when hitting a surface and does not stick to objects. However, it can accumulate like snow and cause a hazard to motorists.

Freezing Rain: Rain that falls onto a surface with a temperature below freezing. This causes it to freeze to surfaces, such as trees, cars, and roads, forming a coating or glaze of ice. Even small accumulations of ice can cause a significant hazard.

If you know of a local treasure that needs to be unburied, or have a vision of your own for Holley, contact me at Theresa@tothewhitelight.com and be sure to visit my website at www.tothewhitelight.com to find out how I can help.

Be An Angel This Christmas

Community Action invites you to join “The Circle of Giving” and become an Angel Volunteer who blesses the area in which you live and work with hope for the future. Angel Volunteers helps  Community Action of Orleans and Genesee Counties help those whose income do not fall within the normal guidelines for services. With many people out of work, almost everyone knows someone who is struggling to bring the necessities to their families at no fault of  their own. It is this spirit of generosity that is not only the spirit inherent to the holiday season, but the foundation for Community Action and their Angels all year round. Anyone who truly needs help will be helped to the best of their ability to ensure that families’ struggles decrease as much as possible. For more information on how to become an Angel, call Community Action’s Angel Volunteer Program at (585) 589-5605 (Orleans County) or (585) 343-7798 (Genesee County).

If you know of a local treasure that needs to be unburied, or have a vision of your own for Holley, contact me at Theresa@tothewhitelight.com and be sure to visit my website at www.tothewhitelight.com to find out how I can help.