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October 8, 2009 - 9:30am
posted by Kevin Palmiter in Announcements, LeRoy, religious, spiritual, bible study.

The First Seventh Day Baptist Church of Genesee is holding a bible study , the Helping Hand, at Calvary Baptist Church Lake Road in LeRoy. Anyone interested please come on over. It is the first and third Saturday of each month at 4:00 p.m.. As we grow so will the dates we meet. We are a Baptist group with a difference; we recognize the biblical Sabbath ( 4th commandment - Saturday) as a day of worship in obedience of our God and King. For more info call me at 259-2989. Hope to see you there...

October 6, 2009 - 2:44pm

From noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10., the Batavia Petco (located in the Target Plaza on Veteran's Memorial Highway in the Town of Batavia) will be hosting its third major adoption event during its One Year Anniversary Celebration.

Cats and kittens of all ages, colors and stunning personalities will available for adoption. Most of the animals are spayed or neutered. All are tested for FIV/FeLV, current with shots and happen to be the best cats available in the county, arguably, the nation.

The adoption fee is $30 (if the animals is not spayed or neutered, there is a refundable $35 deposit). Petco will be handing out free giveaways and Volunteers For Animals will be strutting the cats. Everyone is encouraged to come out and visit the cats.

Petco, Volunteers for Animals and Genesee County Animal Shelter joined forces in October 2008 to help homeless cats find a home. Since the opening of the Batavia Petco a year ago, over 235 cats and kittens from the GCAS have been adopted out of the store! It has been an amazing year.

Come on down! You never know, maybe you'll meet your next best friend! <>


October 6, 2009 - 2:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, education, YMCA.

The Genesee/Wyoming YMCA and Five Star Bank are launching a collaborative initiative called “Five Star KIDS!” designed to help youths served by both organizations.

It kicked off in the Batavia City Elementary Schools and is, or will soon be, at Warsaw Elementary School. The City of Batavia and Warsaw School districts are, of course, also participating.

Five Star KIDS! targets fifth-graders with a goal of engaging them and empowering them through fun events, positive role models and challenging activities. Its central theme throughout the school year is character building.

"Five Star Bank and the YMCA have a long-standing partnership and this program is an extension of that collaboration,” said Five Star Bank Regional President John Witkowski. "Having the opportunity to advance the YMCA’s ongoing efforts to improve health and wellness as well as promote teamwork and leadership in our kids is part of what being a community bank is all about.”

The program will culminate in June with an all-day program at the YMCA’s Camp Hough on Silver Lake. For Batavia City School fifth-graders, that will be the first time they are all together before they going on to Middle School next fall.

Five Star KIDS! works to develop their spirit, mind and body and be supportive of their family and community. Participants will be encouraged to: become active in community organizations or causes; work hard at school and improve their grade; respect their bodies by eating right, exercising and making healthy decisions, strengthen family ties and; get involved and make a difference in their community.

The fifth-graders get Five Star KIDS! "passports" which they display during program days but get to keep throughout the year. YMCA staff and teachers will focus on promoting the YMCA’s four core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility and will recognize demonstrations of character-driven behavior from individual students as well as entire classes.

Students will be able to accumulate recognition stickers throughout the year and turn them in for program rewards in the spring.

The Five Star KIDS! passports represent a ticket to the future,” said Genesee County YMCA branch director Erik Fix. “We hope to show that good behavior, good decisions and hard work can add up and help get kids where they want to go.”

Five Star Bank has made a $7,500 contribution to the Genesee/Wyoming YMCA to develop and deliver the Five Star KIDS! initiative during the 2009/2010 school year.

October 5, 2009 - 4:25pm
posted by JIM NIGRO in Announcements, sports, BHS Hall of Fame.


The eighth annual Batavia Blue Devil Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner will be held Saturday, October 17th at Terry Hills Restaurant and Banquet Facility. A social hour will take place at 5pm with the dinner being held at 6pm.

This year’s inductees are:                                                                                                                

Thomas Briggs            1965

Edward Dawson          1965

Joseph Fiannaca         1987

Nancy Platt                  1963

Anthony Miceli             1963

Paul Sherwood            1946

Pat Woodring               1965

Tickets are $30 and available at the Athletic Director’s office at Batavia High School. For more information please call 585-343-2480, ext. 2003

October 3, 2009 - 9:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements.

Genesee Community College is swinging into the fall semester with free belly dancing lessons. Offered on Sundays, starting Oct. 4 and running through Dec.19, the classes are free and open to the public.

Belly dancing classes are sponsored by the Global Education Committee and the Student Government Association of Genesee Community College.

The classes are offered in the Stuart Steiner Theatre, Dance Studio Room E214 at the Batavia Campus. Beginner's lessons run 2 to 3 p.m. Sundays, advanced lessons follow from 3 to 4 p.m..

Previous belly dancing experience is suggested for those attending the Advanced Lessons. Beginner's lessons teach the basic steps and how to combine them, while advanced classes focus more on choreography.

Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing. Classes are open enrollment; participants can start at any time and do not need to sign up.

Belly Dancing classes are taught by Genesee instructor and Director of Human Services, Connie Boyd. She has been dancing for about 34 years and has taught lessons on and off throughout that time. She reviews steps each week, therefore if a participant misses a class, they can pick up where they left off.

"There are many health benefits that can result from belly dancing," Boyd said. "It is great exercise; it's very aerobic and works your abdominal muscles. Besides having healthy outcomes, Belly Dancing is beautiful to watch, very self-expressive and there is great costuming! I encourage anyone to gather together a group of friends and attend a lesson to see what belly dancing is all about."

There's no class on Sunday Nov. 29. For further information please contact Nina Mortellaro at 585-343-0055 ext. 6228.


October 3, 2009 - 9:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, fire prevention.

Once a child touches a hot stove, as the cliché goes, he learns his lesson -- stay away from a hot stove. But this doesn't take into account the pain and suffering. Burns should not be part of the learning process.

That’s why the City of Batavia Fire Department is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for Fire Prevention Week 2009 – Oct. 4 to 10 – to urge residents to “Stay Fire Smart! Don’t Get Burned.”

This year’s campaign focuses on ways to keep homes fire safe and prevent painful burns.

The statistics are staggering. Each year roughly 3,000 people die as a result of home fires and burns, and more than 200,000 individuals are seen in the nation’s emergency rooms for burn injuries.

“The most common types of burn injuries result from fire or flame burns, scalds and contact burns,” said Lt. Jay Steinbrenner. “Burns are painful and can result in serious scarring and even death.

"When we take extra caution in our homes to ensure that the curling iron is out of children’s reach or pot handles are turned away from the edge of the stove, such injuries are entirely preventable. Keeping our homes safe from fire and preventing devastating burn injuries is a healthy change we can make happen.”

By following simple safety rules, you can “Stay Fire Smart! Don’t Get Burned.”

  • Keep hot foods and liquids away from tables and counter edges so they cannot be pulled or knocked over.
  • Have a 3-foot “kid-free” zone around the stove.
  • Never hold a child in your arms while preparing hot food or drinking a hot beverage.
  • Be careful when using things that get hot such as curling irons, oven, irons, lamps, heaters.
  • Install tamper-resistant receptacles to prevent a child from sticking an object in the outlet.
  • Never leave a child alone in a room with a lit candle, portable heater, lit fireplace or stove, or where a hot appliance might be in use.
  • Wear short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking.
  • Set your hot water temperature no higher than 120 degrees.
  • Install anti-scald valves on shower heads and faucets.
October 1, 2009 - 11:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Announcements, politics, Democrats, LeRoy, Darien.

Earlier this week, the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee announced 150 winners of its 2009 Campaign Grants and Endorsements. Three are from Genesee County.

This information is from a press release:

The Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee was designed to build a new generation of pro-choice Democratic women candidates, informed voters and activists in New York State. It was founded in 2001 by former New York State Democratic Committee Chair Judith Hope.

This year, the ERLC awarded Sara Burk-Balbi of Batavia an endorsement in her race for Batavia City Council-at-Large, Alice Burkhardt-Calmes of Darien an endorsement in her race for Town Clerk of Darien and Jennifer Keys of LeRoy an endorsement in her race for LeRoy Town Council.

Genesee County Democratic Chair Lorie Longhany said: "The Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee’s endorsement is very important support for their campaigns and demonstrates confidence in their ability to win these offices. All three wonderful women are proud to be a part of Eleanor’s Legacy."

“To receive such an important endorsement is really an honor,” says Sara Burk-Balbi.  “Eleanor Roosevelt was not only an active First Lady of the United States, she was a front runner on the importance of women in our political system. Her support of women’s issues as well as the issues of children and families was astounding and life-long. I am proud to be one of three women in Genesee County to receive this honor.”

Keys stated: “This shows the commitment that the ERLC has in helping to elect women candidates across New York State. I accept their support with gratitude."

Alice Burkhardt-Calmes said: “I am pleased that this organization realizes the importance of women in local races. It shows their support of grassroots campaigns at the local level."

Since its founding, the ERLC has elected over 400 women to state and local office across New York State and equipped over 600 women with the skills they need to run and win. The ERLC endorses progressive women candidates with a demonstrated commitment to upholding a woman’s right to choose and to promoting the values of the Democratic Party. To be eligible, a candidate must be pro-choice, female, and an enrolled Democrat running for state or local office in the state of New York.

The ERLC will celebrate this year’s grantees at their Annual Fall Luncheon with special guests Abby Disney, Senator Charles Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. This year’s luncheon honors Geraldine Ferraro with the Pioneer in Politics – Lifetime Achievement Award.

October 1, 2009 - 11:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, Byron-Bergen Public Library.

A press release:

On Sept.14, the Byron-Bergen Public Library's Board of Trustees voted to put the annual Craft Fair on hold until 2010 due to the loss of our venue. The Board of Trustees understands the importance of this annual event and is fully committed to securing a new location. That process will begin early next year in anticipation of a Fall event. Please watch for additional details as they become available.

October 1, 2009 - 10:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements.

General Municipal Law requires every Fire Police officer to complete the OFPC approved Fire Police course before performing general duties of maintaining safe conditions at an emergency and traffic direction and control.

Sheriff Deputy Ed Vlack instructed Fire Police students on pre-planning and various laws related to their responsibilities tied to the fire service. He also defined terms and helped students interpret them, which included a review of the oath of office. They learned to understand their role working with the conventional police officer. These skills enable participants to perform their duties more effectively.

Completing the nine-hour course on Sept. 19 were:

Alabama -- Betsy L. Riexinger

Town of Batavia -- Joseph A. Avino, Jr.

Bethany -- George W. Larish, Gregory J. O'Brien

Caledonia -- Larry J. Silvernail

Carlton -- Robert Chevier

Corfu -- Joshua B. McMartin, Robert G. McNally, Louis M. Reeb

East Pembroke -- Christina L. Homer-Roviso, William J. Lampke, Jr.

Elba -- Caitlin E. Zipfel

Marilla -- Sean A. Biggs

Newstead -- Michael A. Mutter

Oakfield -- Ryan T. Cook

Pavilion -- Adam J. Pfendler, Tyler F. Schiski, Doug Wright, David Beehler, Jr.

Stafford -- Brian M. Breemes

October 1, 2009 - 9:57pm


Free parenting classes are being offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, focusing on positive child rearing and healthy lifestyles.
Parents who participate in these classes learn about key parenting communication skills including setting limits, responsibility, communication and positive discipline strategies. In addition, they gain knowledge about nutrition for healthy growth and development.
This six-part series is taught by Nutrition and Parenting Educator Mariellen Woodward-DeFelice. There is no cost for Genesee County residents but there is a nominal fee for residents of surrounding counties.
For more information or to register, contact Mariellen by calling 585-343-3040 ext. 105 or stop by the Extension Center at 420 E. Main St. in Batavia.
Classes are from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays at the Cornell Cooperative Extension building on E. Main. Street of Genesee County, 420 East Main Street in Batavia.
Here's the line-up:

Oct. 13 - Anger in the Family: Learn to diffuse anger, encourage positive behavior at the table and about the basics of family nutrition.
Oct. 20 - Responsibility and Your Children: Learn to encourage responsibility, teach kids about kitchen safety and how to cook as a family.
Oct. 27 - Disciplining Your Children: Learn parenting styles and techniques and how to encourage good food choices.
Nov. 3 - Setting Limits and Expectations: Learn to set effective limits and age-appropriate expectations and to reduce cravings with healthy snacks.
Nov. 10 - Winning Ways to Talk with Kids: Learn to improve communication with active listening, to educate children about meal planning and how commercialization affects your budget.
Nov. 17 - Family Enrichment: Learn to problem solve, teach cooperation, evaluate routines and develop self-esteem.


October 1, 2009 - 9:42pm

Here's a letter we received from the Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District, which is seeking participation in creating the Tonawanda Creek Watershed Committee.

It's written by district technician and coordinator Elizabeth Bentley-Huber.

Tonawanda Creek is our county’s priority watershed. Presently there is not a Tonawanda Creek Watershed Committee in Genesee County. My goal is to form a whole watershed effort coordinating a variety of people and organizations to work together to address common interests and concerns.

I would like to reach out beyond the political boundaries. Stakeholder identification is a key component to the formation of a watershed committee, to ensure that all interests in the watershed are represented. These stakeholders can help indentify other stakeholders who may have not been identified yet.

I am contacting you and other departments/agencies/organizations in anticipation that you may be interested or know someone in your field of expertise that would represent your department/agency/organization on a watershed committee for the entire Tonawanda Creek watershed including Erie, Niagara, Wyoming and Genesee counties.

Watershed partnerships are important to effective watershed management. Established watershed partnerships are an invaluable resource for a newly forming group and these existing partnerships can provide answers to many questions a new group may have when forming.

It is important right now to begin with the existing groups within the watershed. Several people have been in contact with me expressing interest in participating in a Tonawanda Creek Watershed Committee, including an environmental program manager and a Tribal representative, both from the Environmental Protection Agency and an engineer with the Department of Environmental Conservation.

I also have been in contact with Erie, Niagara and Wyoming County Soil & Water Conservation districts. Aside from promoting better communication between counties, there is a need for technical advisement to provide general environmental information, make resources available and involve people with more expertise in specific fields in their area.

I would like to have a preliminary meeting with department/agency/organization representatives before conducting a formal meeting opened to the public due to the amount of information existing on the Tonawanda Creek Watershed.

Please contact me with any questions or concerns at (585) 343-2362. I will be happy to speak with you. If possible I would like to have the preliminary meeting in the first week of November. Please let me know as soon as possible. Thank You.

Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District

Attention: Elizabeth Bentley-Huber
USDA Center, 29 Liberty St., Suite 3, Batavia, NY 14020-3247
Office (585) 343-2362, Fax (585) 345-1815


October 1, 2009 - 8:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, parenting, down syndrome, DSPSG.

The Down Syndrome Parent Support Group of Genesee County, Inc., is now 20 years old.

It will celebrate the feat at its annual Autumn Leaves Auction at 6 p.m. on Oct. 10 at the Batavia First United Methodist Church on Lewiston Road. The cost is $8 pre-sale and $10 at the door and includes a bidder number, lite meal and a fabulous dessert bar.

Call group President Dawn Fisher 948-9222 for tickets.

All items are new and donated by members, friends, and area businesses. There is a Live Auction with about 100 items that Auctioneer Dennis Bezon auctions off for the group. And there will also be a Silent Auction.

The local DSPSG was started by Kay and Rod Cook, but others were instrumental in helping get things off the ground, including Dana and Bryan Phelps, Ron and Sharon Cummings and Stephen and Mary Northrup. All have a child with Down syndrome.

Kay Cook served as the president for 18 years and the others have served on the board of directors or in an officer position.

The group has given back so much to the community and the families who have children with Down syndrome. Every year the group gives two scholarships to high school seniors who will go to college and major in a field related to developmental disabilities.

In addition, it has given big screen TVs to different ARC homes when they opened. Its family reimbursement program has helped many families with the cost of dance lessons, horse riding lessons, challenger sports programs and attorney fees for families who are setting up a special needs trust for their child with Down syndrome.

The group has had several speakers who helped educate parents about issues pertaining to Down syndrome. It also gives out camping scholarships to members who have Down syndrome.

Members of the group have benefitted from funding to attend the National Down Syndrome conferences throughout the United States and Canada. These gatherings are full of information for parents and the young adults with Down syndrome who simultaneously attend their own conference.

Many children with Down syndrome are great self-advocates and take great pride in their accomplishments. They want people to know that they are a person first and foremost who happens to have Down syndrome. They want to become an intregal part of the community.

Come and be a part of that community Oct. 10. It promises to be a great night of tasty food, great company and great bargins. This year's proceeds will go to Genesee ARC for their capital campaign to remodel the old St. Mary's School now called "The Community Center."

October 1, 2009 - 5:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Announcements, volunteer firefighters.


Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Town of Batavia Volunteer Fire Department will hold an open house at its station at 8382 Lewiston Road.  Lowe's is sponsoring the event through its "Heroes Project." The retailer has paid for 150 smoke detectors, 50 CO detectors and 200 kits for kids to build wooden fire trucks as well as hot dogs, chips and soda for the event. Any county resident who shows up can get a free smoke or CO detector.

It's also a chance for area residents to see the department's equipment and learn more about what the all-volunteer department does, said organizer Joshua Finn.

"There are a lot of guys who put in a lot of our hours and have worked hard for a lot of years and we just want people to come out and see what we do," Finn said.

Safety training is also a big part of the day, which kicks off Fire Prevention Week.

"It's important to get people to start thinking about what they would do if they were in an emergency," Finn said.

Lt. Nate Fix said the department will also be doing training sessions for BOCES and the child care facilities in the department's coverage area. 

Pictured above are Jason Pfleger, John Mullen, both firefighters, Lt. Nate Fix, Chuck Hammer, admin manager for Lowe's in Batavia, Fire Department VP Joshua Finn, and Scott Maloy and Bill Leonard, firefighters.

October 1, 2009 - 3:57pm
posted by Rose Mary Christian in Announcements, politics.

 “Elect  Rose Mary Christian – Genesee county Legislature” sending you a report on issues for Face book…

Sent;: Wednesday September 29, 2009 7: 50 am
Subject:  Political season in full swing
Hello everyone, I hope things are well with you. This is my first time to send you a message about my campaign. My yard signs are up and I’m almost done going door to door and the reception has been great.
I would like to   extend  a special thank you to those of you who have donated to my campaign, and helped me in any way may it be by word of mouth, displaying my signs, disturbing the first drop off of literature. A special thank you to the Democrat County Committee, City Committee and Working Families Party, and to the Independents   (Better Batavia).
Well I have been attending the 2010 budget conference meetings and am surprised that there will be an increase in the Tax rate of 22% to offset increased levy.  
The dollar amount on the Property Tax is increased by $ 2.14
2009 Estimated Property Tax Rate based on the requested budget is now $ 11.96
The increase  in Property TAX  is unacceptable for working families.   We need to downsize government.
This budget does not include the 2010 CSEA General Unit increase . The CSEA workers are working without a contract which also is unacceptable
Genesee County will continue to receive an extra 1% sales tax and .25 mortgage tax.   That will go for another two years. If elected I would approve the local law enacting the tax extensions from the State.
Well I think I have said enough today and hope to have other news soon so in the mean time I wish you peace and God Bless America. 
                                                                                             Rose Mary
October 1, 2009 - 3:45pm
posted by Bea McManis in Announcements, volunteers, 400 Towers, Snack Shop.

The 400 Towers Residents'  Council is sponsoring a Snack Shop staffed by resident volunteers.

Featuring a variety of snacks and beverages, available at reasonable prices.  The net proceeds will benefit the Residents' Council General Fund.

Today is our kickoff day and shake down cruise day.  One thing we discovered, we could use a display rack that holds small bags of chips and other snacks.  If you know of any used display racks for sale (or even better, donated), please let me know.

A big thanks our volunteers: Bill Benedict; Bob Clark (purchasing), Alan Galton, Joe Greene, Marie Greenlees, Judy Hale, Bill Heany, Henry Larson, Pat Larson(staffing and purchasing), Dennis Meyers, Barb Odachowski and Barb Villa(staffing and purchasing). 

Also, a big thank you to Sharon in the BHA office and George in maintenance who worked extremely hard to help us get the project off the ground.

Bea McManis, Chairperson - 400 Towers Snack Shop

September 30, 2009 - 10:18pm
posted by Jeff Allen in Announcements, fire department, church, religion.

The Oakfield Community Bible Church would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the Oakfield Fire Department for their generous support in allowing our new and growing congregation to utilize their facilities for our weekly worship services. As with all of our great volunteer fire companies, when we need them, they are there. When God opened a door for us to begin a new work, The Oakfield Fire Department was there.

Our last service at the fire hall will be Sunday, October 4th at 10:00 a.m. We encourage everyone to come and worship with us.  As always, when God closes one door he opens another and on Sunday, October 11th we will begin worshipping in our new home at the Oakfield Rod and Gun Club located at 3199 Maltby Rd. in Oakfield.  In the meantime support your local volunteer fire company because when crisis arises, no one exemplifies a neighbor like volunteer firefighters.

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September 30, 2009 - 2:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Announcements, education.

Three students at Batavia High School have been named Commended Students for 2010 by the National Merit Scholarship Corp..

They are Kristen A. Klein, Devon R. Kleinbach and Allison M. Schelemanow.

They are among 34,000 Commended Students nationwide, out of 1.5 million students who competed in the 2008 Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Only students scoring in the top 5 percent received the distinction by demonstrating exceptional academic promise.

The students will receive a Letter of Commendation from Principal Christopher J. Dailey and the National Merit Scholarship Corp..

"Recognition of high-achieving students is essential to advancing educational excellence in our nation," said a spokesperson for National Merit Scholarship in its announcement. "As demonstrated by their outstanding performance in our highly competitive program, the young men and women named Commended Students represent some of the most academically talented students in our country. We sincerely hope this recognition will enhance their educational opportunities and encourage them in their pursuit of academic success."

September 30, 2009 - 2:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, events, agriculture, Genesee County 4-H.
Event Date and Time: 
October 3, 2009 -
11:00am to 12:00pm

If you're looking for a fun, family oriented event to attend this fall, come out to the first pumpkin competition by Genesee County 4-H Club.

The Great Pumpkin Contest Weigh-in will take place at 11 a.m. this Saturday, Oct. 3, at J&L Feed and Farm Supply in Corfu. It is located at 28 Maple St..

The event will showcase 20 4-Hers who have been growing Dill’s Atlantic Giant, Baby Boo or Jack-Be-Little mini pumpkins to get weighed in. It will demonstrate just some of what 4-H has to offer our youth, the growers of tommorow.

September 30, 2009 - 1:14am
posted by James Renfrew in Announcements, music, entertainment, byron.

Mitzie Collins and "Striking Strings", the Hammered Dulcimer Ensemble of the Eastman Community School, will be performing at the Byron Presbyterian Church on Sunday, October 4, at  2:00 PM.  The concert is free to the public, but there will be a free-will offering to support the Ensemble.  Refreshments will be served after the concert. 

Mitzie Collins is a world-renowned recording artist, performer and teacher.  She is currently on the faculty of the Eastman Community Music School in Rochester.  The Hammered Dulcimer Ensemble is composed of Mitzie's students.  Mary Ann Blair, one of the Ensemble members, is a member of the church, and made the arrangements for the concert. 

The church is just west of the intersection of Route 237 and Rt. 262 in the center of Byron.  For more information, please call 548-2800 or visit

Here is more detailed information about "Striking Strings", from one of their press releases: 

Striking Strings, the Eastman Community Music School Hammered Dulcimer Ensemble, was created in January of 2008 under the direction of Mitzie Collins.  Composed of students from the group classes that Collins has taught through the Eastman Community Music School and professional and amateur players from the community, the ensemble is has quickly won fans through its many performances in the Rochester area.   Hammered dulcimer ensembles, encompassing rhythmic and tuneful combinations not possible on a single instrument, are rare in the United States, but common in other parts of the world.   This group is modeled after hackbrett ensembles in Germany and yangqin ensembles in China.  Under Collins’ direction, the group is exploring a wide repertory that includes traditional dance tunes and classical compositions.  The Ensemble has performed at the Gardenscape at the Dome Arena, the Caledonia Presbyterian Church, Trinity Episcopal Church, Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School, two private weddings, the Heart of the Alleghenies Festival in Bradford Pennsylvania,  The Harley School, The Genesee Country Village Fiddlers Festival and The Golden LInk Folksinging Society .  The Ensemble plans a number of appearances in the community during the 2009 holiday season. 

The director of the ensemble,  Mitzie Collins,  is widely acknowledged to be a leader in the revival of the hammered dulcimer.  A historian of the instrument, as well as a teacher and performe r,  she has made more than 30 recordings.   Some of her most popular discs are "Sacketts Harbor:  Historical Dance Music of Western New York State",   "St Patrick's Day in the Morning:  Music of Irish Inspiration";  and "Nowell  Music for the Christmas Season".    Collins teaches world music and hammered dulcimer through the Eastman Community Music School.  She received her bachelor of music with a piano performance major and her masters in music education from the Eastman School of Music. 

The group currently has ten members, but it is growing as more players audition to join the infectious enthusiasm of the group.  


September 29, 2009 - 12:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, agriculture, Gardening.

The Northeast Organic Farming Association is urging farmers to act now to reduce the risk of late blight next season.

NOFA-NY ( <> ) is a non-profit educational organization committed to promoting a sustainable regional food system.

It maintains that a major outbreak of late blight -- the disease that devastated tomato plantings and reduced potato yields throughout New York State this growing season -- may occur any year when growing conditions (wet, cool weather) favor its development. 

While farmers and gardeners can't control the weather, they can reduce the risk of another widespread outbreak of late blight by following a few key practices starting this fall.

In our region, the organism that causes late blight survives from one season to the next in living host tissue-infected potato tubers. Tomatoes do not carry the disease over winter because their seed is not infected by the disease.

To reduce the chance of the disease organism's survival, this fall growers should thoroughly harvest all potatoes and then till up all land that grew potatoes. The harvested tubers should be carefully inspected and all infected tubers destroyed: by chopping into small pieces and burying deeply (below 2 feet); burning; feeding to livestock; or spreading on the soil surface so that they will freeze over the winter.  Infected tubers thrown into a pile may survive the winter and thus perpetuate the disease.

Growers can continue to reduce the risk of late blight next year by buying and planting certified potato seed tubers. They should also scout last year's potato land for volunteer plants, which should be dug up (including tubers) and immediately destroyed.

Infected tomato seedlings sold through "big box" stores were a major factor in the explosive spread of the disease throughout the state. Gardeners should consider starting their own seedlings or buying them from a local commercial grower.

By following these practices, farmers and gardeners can work together to reduce the chance of a major outbreak of late blight next year and in years to come. More information on the disease and management practices that reduce the risk of its occurrence can be found at the NOFA-NY website ( <> ), which also has links to other useful sites.


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