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April 30, 2018 - 2:52pm

Press release:

St. Joseph Catholic School held its annual Lil Irish Basketball Banquet on Thursday, April 26, to honor those students that participated this year.

These third- through sixth-grade players and their families gathered together to celebrate the hard work and perseverance that they showed throughout the basketball season.

Their dedicated coaches taught them how to always play hard but more importantly to always show respect and sportsmanship toward their teammates and other players.

Congratulations to the following 2018 Lil Irish Basketball players and their coaches for another great year:

Third- and fourth-grade boys coached by Mark Fitzpatrick

Colton Callard, Clayton Conrad, Finn Davies, Benjamin Ferrando, Evan Fitzpatrick, Steven Karas, Noah Kowalski, Noah Figlow, Owen Therrien, Nicholas Compton, and Andrew Compton.

Third- and foruth-grade girls coached by Michelle Falleti, Vincent Falleti & Dan Milliman

Maddison Klotzbach, Sofia Falleti, Emma Fitch, Peyton Goebert, Elizabeth Lankford, Riley Yunker, Amelia Sorochty, Karleigh Driffill, Gianna Falleti, Lyllian Miller, Clairissa Milliman, and Lucia Zambito.

Fifth- and sixth-grade boys coached by Ed King

Andrew Kaus, Chance King, Nilsson Laska, Matthew Compton, Gabe Castro, Jaden Firmstone, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Nate Goras, and Kalen Muehlig.

Fifth- and sixth-grade girls coached by Kati Sisson and Ed King

Sara Murray, Gracie Phillips, Katelyn Kowalski, Kaitlyn Landers, Kate Ricupito, Emma Sisson, Hannah Tenney, Katelyn Witherow, Sophia Papponetti, Loretta Sorochty, and Teresa Compton.

April 27, 2018 - 3:57pm

Press release:

The recipients of the 2018 Law Day Observance & Criminal Justice Awards were announced at an annual dinner held at Batavia Country Club on Thursday, April 26.

Kiwanis Club President Matt Landers and Genesee County Bar Association President Peter Casey announced the honorees. The speaker at the dinner was the Honorable John Curran, Supreme Court Justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department.

Kiwanis Criminal Justice Award

The Kiwanis Club of Batavia Criminal Justice Award is presented to a member or members of the community, law enforcement, or a criminal justice agency serving the citizens of Genesee County whose exceptional career achievements and conscientiousness to citizenship have demonstrated a spirit of selfless public service or demonstrated an act of exceptional valor or heroism.

The 2018 Award Recipients are:

Sergeant Bradley D. Mazur, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office

Sergeant Mazur started his career with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 31, 1999, as a Deputy Sheriff assigned to the Road Patrol. As a Sergeant, Mazur's primary assignment is to supervise the counties local drug task force.

In his first year supervising the Task Force, they investigated a record number of cases since the Task Force was formed in 1989, for the sale and distribution of illegal drugs within Genesee County. These tireless investigations resulted in several arrests against those who use and sell drugs on the streets and neighborhoods of Genesee County.

Mazur, with his work in the Task Force, has proven to be a valuable source of information that assists in the apprehension and conviction of individuals involved in other felony crimes within Genesee County to include attempted murder, robbery, burglary and assaults.

He was also a Field Training Officer (FTO) in the Sheriff's Office, which is a valuable position that helps train our newest Deputies as they are coming out of the academy and learning how to handle calls for service. Many officers look to Mazur for guidance when dealing with difficult cases, especially when the cases involve drugs. With Sergeant Mazur's guidance, the Drug Task Force is already looking to have another banner year.

In 2002, Sergeant Mazur received the "Officer of the Year" Award and has received two Commendation Awards. Sergeant Mazur is most deserving of this award and recognition for his dedication and hard work toward protecting the citizens in Genesee County as a Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy. Sergeant Mazur was nominated for this award by Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr.

Sergeant Daniel J. Coffey, Batavia Police Department

Sergeant Coffey has been instrumental in creating quality law enforcement training for the City of Batavia Police Department and other agencies in the County. He is a general topics instructor, firearms instructor, taser instructor and chemical breath test instructor. He has developed or helped develop training protocols throughout the county that have ensured law enforcement officers are trained to the highest standard possible.

Coffey continues to improve himself as a trainer and police officer regulary attending training symposiums and leadership schools. Not only has Sgt. Coffey been an asset to the City of Batavia as a police officer but he also spends a lot of his "free time" volunteering for the Town of Batavia Fire Department and is an instructor for Genesee County Emergency Management.

He exemplifies what a public servant is and for that he should be recognized. Sergeant Coffey was nominated for this award by Chief Shawn Heubusch.

Charles L. Mancuso Mock Trial Award -- Oakfield-Alabama High School Mock Trial Team

The “Charles L. Mancuso Award” was presented to the members of the Oakfield-Alabama High School Mock Trial Team as winners of the 2018 GLOW (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties) District Competition in the New York State Bar Association High School Mock Trial Tournament.

The award reads “Dedicated to the Memory of an Outstanding Attorney-Citizen." Mancuso, a Batavia lawyer, served as coordinator of the local competition until his untimely death 11 years ago.

The Oakfield-Alabama High School team members honored at the dinner include: Logan Cadieux, Noah Gray, Ryan Manges, Justina Pruski, Aiden Cornelius, John Igoe Jr., Nick Munger, Alison Woodward, Colin Graham, Dylan Maier, Derek Pruski, Josiah Yantz, Coach Peter Beuler, and Attorney Advisor Melissa Cianfrini.

Coordinator of the local Mock Trial Program Kristie DeFreze and Genesee County Bar Association President Peter Casey presented the award.

April 27, 2018 - 3:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in construction, Stroh Road, bridge replacement, alexander, news.

From County Highway Superintendent Timothy J. Hens:

The County has hired LC Whitford from Wellsville to replace the Stroh Road bridge over the Tonawanda Creek in the Town of Alexander.

The contractor plans on closing the bridge to traffic starting at approximately 7 a.m. on Monday, May 7th. The bridge will be closed for approximately six months while it is replaced.

There will be no detour posted during construction. Maplewood Road will remain open during construction.

April 27, 2018 - 3:23pm

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) will be hosting a special roundtable discussion in Batavia on May 3 with Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, called "ThinkDIFFERENTLY."

The discussion offers different perspectives on how our businesses, organizations and individuals can better treat our residents with special needs.

Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro said, “I thank Assemblyman Hawley for embracing the ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ initiative we’ve found so successful in Dutchess County, and I hope communities throughout his district will continue to answer our call to action.

"Each New Yorker deserves to treated based upon their own unique abilities and potential, and we in Dutchess County seek to embrace all residents of all abilities. I thank the communities that have chosen to ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY,’ and I look forward to seeing the trend continue throughout our state.”

The event will take place at the ARC of Genesee Orleans Community Center located at 38 Woodrow Road in Batavia beginning at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 3. Residents who wish to attend are asked to please call Hawley’s district office ahead of time to register at (585) 589-5780.

“I am pleased to host this important roundtable discussion with County Executive Marc Molinaro, and I look forward to bringing in community stakeholders to talk about ways to foster a more inclusive and welcoming environment for our residents with special needs,” Hawley said.

“I am hopeful we can implement many of the ideas and solutions that are part of this program, and I am eager to have a productive discussion.”

Editor's Note, April 28: This story has been updated to correct the venue's address; it will take place at 38 Woodrow Road, Batavia, not on Walnut Street.

April 27, 2018 - 3:09pm
Press release:
 
U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer announced today that he is working directly with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Senator Tammy Baldwin(D-WI) to urge U.S. trade officials to secure a level playing field with Canadian producers during the renegotiation of the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
 
According to Schumer, in recent years, Canada has established dairy pricing policies and has maintained high tariffs that have effectively created a “Dairy Wall” stopping most U.S. dairy products from accessing Canadian markets and distorting global trade. Dairy farmers and producers, like O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative Inc. in Batavia, Cayuga Milk Ingredients in Cayuga County and dairy producers in Wisconsin, have been severely hurt by Canada’s manipulative trade practices and it will only get worse without action.
 
Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) from Wisconsin has also been a leader on lowering Canada’s dairy trade barriers, working closely with Senator Schumer.
 
“With Speaker Ryan’s and Senator Baldwin’s help, we now have a real opportunity to churn the tide and hopefully fix the unfair Canadian dairy trade barriers that have plagued dairy farmers and producers from the Finger-Lakes to Central New York to Wisconsin,” said Senate Democratic Leader Schumer.
 
“Our hardworking New York dairy farmers and producers across Upstate New York are the most competitive in the world, but they depend on stable and fair rules to compete in a global economy, to sell their dairy products, expand their business and create new local jobs – and right now, for dairy, Canada is erecting unfair barriers and not playing by the rules and the current NAFTA renegotiation must be used to rectify that.”
 
Schumer explained Canada has an unfair advantage over New York dairy farmers and producers. In addition to Canada’s 270 percent tariff on milk, a program called the “Class 7” pricing program, a market-distorting supply management system, has caused severe pain to New York dairy producers since it came into force last year.
 
In fact, Canada has used the Class 7 program to triple its milk powder exports in the past year by creating excess milk production capacity within Canada, then dumping the resulting milk powder onto world markets. To further prove this dumping exists, Schumer added that Canada’s dairy farmers are some of the highest paid in the world, yet Canadian dairy companies are still able to be among the lowest cost sellers of Class 7 products globally.
 
As U.S., Canadian and Mexican trade officials are closing in on a deal to revamp North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Schumer said working with Senator Baldwin and Speaker Ryan – who represents many dairy farmers and producers in their own state, represents a real opportunity to finally dismantle Canada’s market-distorting policies and ensure a level playing field for American dairy farmers and producers.
 
Schumer continued: “As trade officials near a deal to renegotiate NAFTA – a bipartisan issue President Trump, Senator Baldwin, Speaker Ryan and I agree on – we must make it a top priority to begin reversing restrictive dairy pricing policies in Canada that are hurting our dairy producers at their core, and now is a real opportunity to do just that.”
 
Schumer said that he has directly stressed the importance of securing meaningful changes in our dairy trade relationship with Canada to past and current administration officials, including President Trump, current United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton, and the U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft -- who have all committed to address this issue.
April 27, 2018 - 2:57pm

Press release:

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, Genesee County law enforcement agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. 

Bring your pills for disposal to:

Pembroke Town Hall, Route 5 at Route 77 Pembroke

    -- received by Genesee County Sheriff’s Deputies

Batavia Police Department Headquarters, 10 W. Main St., Batavia

    – received by Batavia Police Officers

Le Roy Police Department Headquarters, 3 W. Main St., Le Roy

   – received by Le Roy Police Officers

Only pills and other solids, like patches, can be brought to the collection sites—liquids and needles or other sharps will not be accepted. The service is free and anonymous; no questions asked.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.

Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows year after year that the majority of misused and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else’s medication being stolen from the home medicine cabinet.

In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety, health and environmental hazards.

April 26, 2018 - 4:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in hlom, Holland Land Office Museum, batavia, news.
From the Holland Land Office Museum:
 
It's finally starting to look like April weather, so hopefully May will keep it up! In May, the Holland Land Office Museum is going to be having some great events going on!
 
Thursday, May 10th
Every second Thursday of each month, starting with May 10th, the museum will be hosting a History Trivia & Team Challenge! Starting at 7 p.m., this event is only $3 per person and $2 for museum members. Please call for team pricing. Come on over and test your seemingly trivial knowledge against your friends. Drink and snack concessions will be available (not included in price of admission).
 
Saturday, May 12th
Each month we will be hosting a children's program from 10 a.m - 12 p.m. This event is for children ages 7-12. In May, the theme will be beautification. We will start off the day reading about different plants and soil. Then we will go outside and get our hands dirty planting flowers and other plants around the museum. This is a great way for children to get outside, enjoy the sun, and get their hands dirty! Each program is $5 per child and $4 museum members. Please R.S.V.P. to the museum by May 10th.
 
Thursday, May 17th
As part of our guest speaker series, we are welcome to present Earl McElfresh of McElfresh Map Company in Olean. He is going to speak on his map making process and the use of historical maps. Program will begin at 7 p.m., $3 per person and $2 for museum members. Please R.S.V.P. to the museum by Tuesday, May 15th.
 
Thursday, May 24th
We will be having our morning "Java with Joe E." from 9-10:30 a.m. for coffee, pastries and lively conversation about historical and cultural characters and events. In April, we discussed World War I and Genesee County's part in it. Join us in May for another lively historical discussion. 
 
Feel free to email or call the museum with any questions you may have and make sure to keep an eye on our website for any updates or news.
April 26, 2018 - 3:50pm

Submitted photos and press release:

The Batavia/Genesee Police and Fire Hockey Team participated in the third annual 2018 Police and Fire Ice Hockey Tournament in Buffalo this past weekend.

Twenty teams participated in the tourney, coming to Buffalo from as far south as South Carolina, and as far north as London, Ontario, Canada.

It was another enjoyable, face-paced weekend for our local boys, who played against teams from Canada, Erie County, and Homeland Security.

All our thanks to those who came out and cheered us on! The team was once again sponsored this year by Ken’s Charcoal Pits & BBQ, with many thanks going to Ken Mistler.

April 26, 2018 - 3:33pm
Girl Scout Troop 31750 members are, pictured above from left: Maggie Johnson, Susie Aquard, Myah Fisher, Megan Aquard and Kaitlin Pusateri; not pictured is Kieara Waterbury.
 
Submitted photo and press release:
 
Girl Scout Troop 31750 is proud to announce the completion of requirements for their Silver Award.
 
Girl Scout Troop 31750 members are Maggie Johnson, Susie Aquard, Myah Fisher, Megan Aquard, Kaitlin Pusateri and Kieara Waterbury.
 
Their project was to raise money for the Genesee County Animal Shelter in Batavia, as well as making two dog beds and several cat toys.
 
They also each acquired certification as shelter volunteers, enabling them to walk the dogs, and play with the cats outside of their cages.
April 26, 2018 - 3:01pm

Press release:

A dinner dance with music of the '40s, '50s, '60s, and a little bit of country, organized with Genesee County residents age 55 years and older in mind is scheduled for the evening of Thursday, May 31, at the Ascension Parish Center, 17 Sumner St., Batavia.

Presale tickets for the "Always on My Mind Dinner Dance" are $15 and available for purchase at the Senior Center, 2 Bank St., Batavia, through May 18 or until sold outTickets will not be available at the door.

Doors open at 4:30 p.m.; dinner service will begin at 5:30 p.m.; dancing and music start about 6:30.

The dinner menu is: black angus top round beef with mushroom sauce; roasted chicken breast with cornbread stuffing; rosemary roasted red potatoes, vegetable, green garden salad, fresh rolls and butter, beverages, crumb-topped (French) apple pie.

Ruth Spink, director at the Genesee County Office for the Aging, noted that, “As I was growing up, my folks would go out to dinner and dancing on a regular basis. Whether it was through church or my dad’s horse clubs, they’d be out on the dance floor every chance they got.

"When I was old enough and even beyond college, I’d join them. Restaurants all over the area had dance floors and bands playing. Sadly, those days are pretty well gone. Often, the only chance you get to have a meal and enjoy some good music and dancing is if you go to a wedding.

"We want to give people a chance to hear music of their era and feel those memories come rushing back.”

She also went on to say that, “This will be a fun evening whether you dance or not, have a date, come alone, or come with friends.”

Catering will be provided by Fred Hamilton; Chris Kalen will "spin the tunes"; and the Senior Center Quilters will be selling tickets for a chance to win a handmade patriotic quilt; and there will also be a basket raffle.

Further information is available by calling the Senior Center at 343-1611.

Below is a request for the DJ in advance -- The Chords' "Sh-Boom" from 1954. 

April 26, 2018 - 2:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in assemblyman steve hawley, news.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today that New York has once again topped the list for the number of bills introduced into state legislatures nationwide in 2017, despite only 3.1 percent of all legislation being signed into law.

“The amount of useless legislation introduced into our Legislature each year is mind-boggling. These items surely clog the legislative process, preventing us from tackling real issues important to our citizens,” Hawley said.

“Some of these bills, such as budget bills, are still printed despite the Assembly going ‘paperless’ a few years ago, which raises a serious environmental concern.

A total of 16,691 bills were introduced into the New York State Legislature in 2017, which dwarfs other states in comparison. Ranked second and third were New Jersey (7,165) and Indiana (1,831), respectively.

“While many legislators simply take credit for introducing bills which they know will eventually die, my focus will remain the real issues: reining in government spending and waste, tax relief and crucial infrastructure repair of roads, bridges and highways,” Hawley said.

April 25, 2018 - 4:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in O-AT-KA, batavia, news, business, NHRA.

Press release:

O-AT-KA Milk Products is proud to announce that Donna Maxwell, vice president of Human Resources, was presented with the prestigious HR Executive of the Year Award by the Rochester Affiliate of the National Human Resources Association (NHRA).

Maxwell was honored at the NHRA’s fifth annual awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 18th, at Locust Hill Country Club in Pittsford.

The award recognizes exceptional leadership in innovation and operational excellence. Nominated along with four of her peers in the region, Maxwell was selected for her exemplary leadership in organizational development.

She was also presented with the Transformational Business Partnership Award in recognition of outcomes achieved in labor relations management.

“To be effective as a leader it takes courage; strength of character; intellectual honesty; the ability to build trust; integrity; experience and wisdom,” said Bill Schreiber, CEO of O-AT-KA. “These are all personal characteristics that Donna Maxwell brings to the job each and every day. She never mails it in.”

Maxwell has had responsibility for Human Resources and Technology strategy for O-AT- KA Milk Products for the past three years. During that time she has driven the company to a new and sustainable technology vision that includes mobile technology and remote functionality in a manufacturing environment.

She has solidified O-AT-KA’s position as an employer of choice with the renegotiation of cost effective, best-in-class employee benefit options.

For information about working at O-AT-KA and to view open positions, visit www.oatkamilk.com/careers.

April 25, 2018 - 3:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in Grand Jury, indictments, crime, news, notify, Le Roy, Darien, batavia, alexander.

Michelle A. Condidorio is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Feb. 2 in the Town of Alexander that Condidorio drove a 2013 Chevrolet on Telephone Road while intoxicated. In count two, she is accused of the crime of driving while intoxicated per se, as a Class E felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .18 or more at the time. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, the defendant is accused of being convicted of a misdemeanor DWI on Jan. 20, 2011, in the City of Batavia, and that conviction was within 10 years of the crimes currently alleged.

Jeremy J. Schraufstetter is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Oct. 28 in the Town of Darien that Schraufstetter drove a 1984 Chevrolet on Broadway Road while intoxicated. In count two, he is accused of the crime of driving while intoxicated per se, as a Class E felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .08 or more at the time. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, the defendant is accused of being convicted of a misdemeanor DWI on March 19, 2008, in Village of Depew Court, and that conviction was within 10 years of the crimes currently alleged.

Michael J. Smith is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Nov. 2 in the Town of Le Roy that Smith drove a 2003 Chrysler on East Main Street while intoxicated. In count two, he is accused of the crime of driving while intoxicated per se, as a Class E felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .08 or more at the time. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, the defendant is accused of being convicted of a misdemeanor DWI on Dec. 1, 2008, in the Town of Le Roy, and that conviction was within 10 years of the crimes currently alleged.

April 25, 2018 - 3:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in assemblyman steve hawley, news, NRA.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today criticized Gov. Cuomo’s attempt to use his official position to turn private insurance companies, banks and other financial institutions against the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Last week, the governor directed the Department of Financial Services to urge certain financial institutions to examine and possibly cease their relationship with the NRA. This follows the governor’s attacks on congressional Republicans and national support for the Second Amendment advocacy group.

“The governor’s alienation of law-abiding citizens continues as now he is using his office to leverage private businesses against the NRA and its members,” Hawley said. “It’s an absolute overreach and clear abuse of power when the governor sidesteps the public by unilaterally using his office to attack groups and their members who have done wrong except believe in liberty and constitutional rights.

"One million New Yorkers and prominent businesses have fled the state since Gov. Cuomo took office and sadly he seems content with that reality.”

April 23, 2018 - 4:58pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news.

A caller on Thorpe Street in the city says a man threw a rock through her window and also threw a bicycle at her. He is reportedly pacing outside. Police are responding.

April 23, 2018 - 4:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in wildlife, Alabama, news, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Alabama is hosting its 34th annual Spring into Nature celebration from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 28. This year a free shuttle service will be running between three parking lots and the Visitor Center to alleviate construction and parking complications.

The shuttle will begin at 8:30 a.m. leaving from the Visitor Center every 30 minutes. Iroquois NWR -- Visitors Center is located at 1101 Casey Road in Basom.

Stops include Kanyoo Trail, Cayuga Overlook, and Tonawanda WMA before returning to the Visitor Center. Full shuttle schedules can be found on the Refuge website.

Join us for a variety of nature-related exhibits, crafts, fishing demos, and games for the kids. Bird feeder/nesting platform construction, viewing of live birds of prey, archery games, and face painting are among the returning favorites. Don’t forget to meet "Puddles," the blue goose mascot of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Food will be available for purchase and all activities are free.

Please contact Refuge staff at 585.948.5445, ext. 7037, or visit our website at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/iroquois for further information.

Iroquois NWR is located midway between Buffalo and Rochester, and is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Individuals with disabilities and any other person who may need special assistance to participate in this program should contact the Refuge at (585) 948-5445 or at the Federal Relay No. 1-800-877- 8339.

April 23, 2018 - 4:26pm

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today called on U.S. trade officials to secure a level playing field with Canadian producers during the renegotiation of the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Schumer said that in recent years, Canada has established dairy pricing policies and has maintained high tariffs that have effectively created a “Dairy Wall” stopping most U.S. dairy products from accessing Canadian markets and distorting global trade.

Dairy farmers and producers, like the 340 dairy farmers who make up Upstate Niagara Co-Op, which supplies O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative Inc. in Batavia, have been severely hurt by Canada’s manipulative trade practices and it will only get worse without action.

O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative Inc., with more than 400 employees and majority owned by Upstate Niagara, has already lost millions of dollars in contracts due to Canada’s actions “Dairy Wall.”

Schumer said that the time to secure a level playing field with Canada by expanding market opportunities and eliminating Canada’s unfair pricing policies – is now and we cannot let this opportunity go to waste.

“Our hardworking New York dairy farmers and producers like Upstate Niagara Co-Op’s 340 farm family members across the Finger Lakes and O-AT-KA Milk Products in Batavia are the most competitive in the world, but they depend on stable and fair rules to compete in a global economy, to sell their dairy products, expand their business and create new local jobs,” Schumer said.

“As trade officials near a deal to renegotiate NAFTA – an issue President Trump and I both agree on – we must make it a top priority to begin reversing restrictive dairy pricing policies in Canada that are hurting our dairy producers at their core, and now is a real opportunity to do just that.”

Schumer explained Canada has an unfair advantage over New York dairy farmers and producers. In addition to Canada’s 270 percent tariff on milk, a program called the “Class 7” pricing program, a market-distorting supply management system, has caused severe pain to New York dairy producers like Avon’s Anderson Farm and their fellow Upstate Niagara Co-Op dairies since it came into force last year.

In fact, Canada has used the Class 7 program to triple its milk powder exports in the past year by creating excess milk production capacity within Canada, then dumping the resulting milk powder onto world markets. To further prove this dumping exists, Schumer added that Canada’s dairy farmers are some of the highest paid in the world, yet Canadian dairy companies are still able to be among the lowest cost sellers of Class 7 products globally.

Anderson Farm is one of the 340 dairy farm members of the Upstate Niagara Co-Op, which is the majority owner of the O-AT-KA Milk Products facility in Batavia. More than 400 employees work at O-AT-KA. Upstate Niagara dairies throughout the Rochester Finger Lakes Region like Anderson Farm depend on O-AT-KA to purchase their milk to then manufacture and sell milk products for the domestic and international markets.

Since Canada’s implementation of Class 7, O-AT-KA lost $19 million in annual sales of Ultra Filtered milk (UF Milk), a product used to make cheese and other dairy products that it had been exporting into Canada. Moreover, the production of this UF milk for the Canadian market had accounted for 20 percent (about 180 million pounds) of all of O-AT-KA’s milk volume.

This severely undercut a $16 million investment made by O-AT-KA in 2012 to build a two-story addition at its Batavia plant to manufacture UF Milk to support its export business to Canada. When Canada unfairly cut off UF Milk imports and implemented Class 7, it dealt a significant blow to the local agriculture economy and was a factor in the current U.S. milk inventory imbalance that is contributing to now drive the price of milk down.

Schumer was joined by Jim Anderson, fourth generation owner of Anderson Farm, O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative Inc. President & Chairman John Gould, local dairy farmers, and elected officials.

Gould, who also owns an Upstate Niagara Co-Op dairy farm in Genesee County, said “Canada has a long history of erecting barriers to trade when it comes to dairy and the creation of Class 7 is an example of that. Canada's Class 7 market manipulation has caused harm to O-AT-KA Milk Products and their farm family owners, whose investments in serving legitimate customers in Canada have been blocked.

"As NAFTA is renegotiated, it is time that Canadian gamesmanship ends and a constructive agreement is reached that allows market participation and access under rules that all trading partners can follow. We thank Senator Schumer for his leadership and work in keeping this important issue top of mind as negotiations proceed."

As U.S., Canadian and Mexican trade officials are closing in on a deal to revamp North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Schumer said now represents a real opportunity to dismantle Canada’s market-distorting policies and ensure a level playing field for American dairy farmers and producers.

Schumer noted that he has directly stressed the importance of securing meaningful changes in our dairy trade relationship with Canada to past and current administration officials, including current United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, President Trump, Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton, and the U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft who have all committed to address this issue.

Right now, products manufactured by O-AT-KA Milk Products include non-fat dry milk powder, buttermilk powder, whey powder, canned evaporated milk, butter, fluid condensed milk, iced coffee, nutritional beverages and other various drinks.

O-AT-KA has gross annual sales of more than $300 million and is a significant employer and economic development engine in Upstate NY’s dairy and manufacturing industries. Schumer said that in order for Upstate Niagara member dairies and O-AT-KA to continue to be global leaders, Canada’s rapacious dairy-related trade policies need to be addressed and that NAFTA represents a major opportunity to do so.

Here's Schumer's letter to Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative:

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:

As the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations come towards a conclusion, I would like to again emphasize the importance of securing meaningful concessions from Canada to provide stable market access for our dairy producers. Securing meaningful and enforceable commitments that will allow U.S. dairy producers to compete with Canada’s on a level playing field should be a top priority in NAFTA renegotiations. As I have expressed to you many times, I strongly believe that we should not miss this opportunity to protect our dairy producers from Canada’s recent predatory trade practices.

As you know, Canada’s Class 7 pricing program, a market-distorting supply management system, has caused severe pain to New York dairy producers since it came into force last year. Canada has also maintained large tariffs on dairy products, including a 270 percent tariff on milk. New York’s dairy farmers and companies like Cayuga Milk Ingredients, O-AT-KA Milk, and Ideal Dairy Farm, rely on market-based trade with Canada for a significant percentage – millions of dollars – of their revenue. Not only are New York’s producers locked out of Canada’s ultrafiltered milk market, but in just a year’s time, Canada has used its Class 7 program to triple its milk powder exports, dumping powdered milk products into global markets and undercutting New York dairy producer’s exports. This Class 7 system is likely a violation of Canada’s World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments, but addressing it quickly through NAFTA renegotiation is needed, rather than waiting for years for a WTO determination. This Class 7 system should be dismantled through new NAFTA commitments.

In our discussions, you have committed to me that you would prioritize addressing this issue through NAFTA renegotiations. The President has also privately expressed to me his explicit desire to address this issue and has publically emphasized, many times, the unfair way that Canada has treated our dairy producers, noting just last month: “Canada must treat our farmers much better. Highly restrictive.”

Our hard working dairy producers are the most competitive in the world, but they depend on stable and fair rules to compete in a global economy. Again, I urge you to make meaningful and enforceable commitments that level the playing field for our dairy producers a top priority as NAFTA renegotiations conclude.

Thank you for your attention to this issue.

April 23, 2018 - 3:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee Chorale, music, spring concert, news, Announcements.

Submitted photo and press release:

The world premier of "The Waking," a composition by Composer-in-Residence of the Genesee Chorale Daniel Baldwin, pictured left, is happening next month.

Baldwin will be available for a meet-and-greet with the public beforehand at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 30, at St. James Church on Main Street in Batavia. An open final rehearsal by the Genesee Chorale of “The Waking” will follow at 7 o'clock.

The work, commissioned by Genesee Chorale, will be featured in the Chorale spring concerts entitled "The Call of Humanity" at 7 p.m. May 4 at St. James Church, Batavia, and 4 p.m. May 6 at Pavilion Junior-Senior High School. Presale tickets are $8, available from any Chorale member or online at GeneseeChorale.com. Tickets at the door are $10.

World Turmoil vs. Unity and Peace

As Genesee Chorale Director Ric Jones began the process of putting together this concert program, all he could sense was turmoil in the world.

He said he felt that there was a large divide in the world, a divide that seemed to grow larger every day. He wanted to counteract that divide, and encourage people to embrace unity and peace.

Thus was born “The Call of Humanity,” a mix of contemporary, Gospel, choral and classical music, including the debut of one piece written specifically for the Genesee Chorale -- "The Waking."

“I tried to do a variety of mini-themes within the program,” says Jones. “In the words of Mother Teresa, 'Prayer is about helping the needy.' Other selections, such as 'We Shall Overcome,' 'Harriet Tubman' and 'MLK,' address civil rights and some of the mega figures who have had an impact on that movement."

Anchored in Poetry

The lyrics of "Across the Bridge of Hope" come from a poem written by a group of young friends in Ireland; one of the boys was killed in the fighting shortly after their poem was written.

Two pieces form the foundation of the concert program, "Song of the Universal” by Ola Gjeilo from a Walt Whitman poem, and Baldwin's “The Waking,” from a Theodore Roethke poem. 

“Song of the Universal” was the first piece to “grab” Jones as he went through the selection process.

“The text is beautiful,” he said, “and I love the composer. I kept going back to it. I decided I’d make it the centerpiece.”

“The Waking” stems from Jones’ desire to find “something different that inspires the Chorale and brings the community into Chorale.” Luckily, GO ART! grant money was available, so, with the blessing of the Chorale’s Board, Jones began the fun and frustrating process of choosing text and composer for an original piece.

He and his wife, Karen, pored over “a ton of different poems,” but kept coming back to Roethke’s famous poem. (To read Roethke's poem "The Waking," click here.)

“I liked the rhythm in the text,” says Jones, “and I like the overall message.”

The text was also an inspiration for Baldwin.

“The majority of text chosen for me to set is older and in the public domain,” Baldwin said in an e-mail interview. “The poem (Jones) sent was contemporary and very well done, but also spoke to me in a way I was not expecting.

"When writing vocal or choral music, text is the most important element and must flow naturally (speech, even conversational speech, has its own rhythms, etc.).”

It Begins with Text

For Baldwin, the text is the beginning.

“I always write out the poem by hand and apply rhythms to the text based on what feels natural when reading the poem aloud,” he said. “Then, based on the message and perceived mood of the poem, I assign themes to these rhythms, harmonize, etc. It’s a process!”

Baldwin said he hopes that people “read through the wonderful text in advance of hearing the piece. A vocal or choir performance is the musical equivalent to a dramatic reading.  I set the poem how I heard it and how the text affected me. I hope the audience enjoys my interpretation.”

Director Jones has published some of Baldwin’s other works as part of his Imagine Music business.

“I love his music,” Jones said, “and I’ve watched him evolve. His music feels cinematic to me usually – that epic sound with grandiose chords. I wanted to see what he’d do with this text.”

What Baldwin did was surprise Jones.

“This was more on the contemporary side,” Jones said. “It is different than I expected, and the first time I heard it, I went ‘hmmm,’ but as I listened, there was something haunting about that motif.”

It is, he notes, a challenging piece and Chorale members have had to work hard to prepare it for concert.

April 23, 2018 - 2:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, nursing program, GCC, Gatsby Gala, news, scholarships.

Press release:

The Genesee Community College Nursing Program produces qualified and skilled candidates for positions in the healthcare each year. Under the direction of the Alumni Affairs Office, the Nursing Program Alumni are working hard to help qualified Nursing Program students overcome financial obstacles.

The GCC Nursing Alumni Committee established a new scholarship opportunity for future Nursing Program students to help mitigate financial obstacles to GCC student success. The entire community is invited to kick off National Nurses Week at the Batavia Downs at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 4, for the debut of the Gatsby Gala to support the GCC Nursing Alumni Scholarship.

Guest registration at the event begins at 5:30 p.m.. followed by a delicious sit-down dinner with a cash bar at 6 p.m. Emcee Scott Gardner, president of the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, will introduce: GCC's Director of the Nursing Program Laurel Sanger; Chase Hughes, of Buffalo, who will testify to the difference qualified and passionate nurses made for him and his family; and Jennifer Sonricker, of Warsaw, who will share her journey battling her daughter's cancer.

At 7:15 p.m. all guests have chances to win big with door prizes and a cash raffle! The evening will conclude with a beautiful dessert and dancing the night away to the DJ talents of students from GCC's radio station 90.7 WGCC.

Tickets to the Gatsby Gala cost $100 per person and all proceeds go directly to the GCC Nursing Alumni Scholarship.

Tickets are on sale now! RSVP online here. You can also contact the Alumni Affairs Office at [email protected]

The Nursing Scholarship is generously sponsored by the following:

Bronze Sponsors:

Summit Family Dental Care

Laurel Sanger

Jerilyn Constantino

Brenda Schiavone

Michelle Grohs

Jeffrey Erickson Law Office

In-Kind Supporters:

Bobette and Dan McCormick

Tops Friendly Markets in Warsaw

Healing Hands Massage & Spa LLC

Steuben Trust Company

Envision Salon & Spa

Michelle Grohs

Jeffrey Erickson Law Office

Additional Donations:

Robert O. Holley

There are still opportunities available to sponsor Nursing Program scholarships at many levels.

For online details go to: https://www.genesee.edu/home/offices/alumni/alumni-events/gatsbygala/ which offers commitments of $100 - $3,000 and also includes In-kind Support for those wishing to customize their sponsorship. All sponsorship levels include a variety of benefits from free advertising to photos, and GCC Foundation recognition.

For more information, contact Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs Jennifer Wakefield at (585) 343-0055, ext. 6265, or via email at [email protected]

April 23, 2018 - 2:44pm

Press release:

Nominees are sought for the Batavia Blue Devils Athletic Hall of Fame. Nomination deadline is May 16.

The purpose is to recognize players, coaches and administrators who have attained a high degree of success in Batavia High School Athletics.

To nominate an individual you should either fill out the nomination form located under Athletics/Hall of Fame at www.bataviacsd.org or contact the Batavia High School Athletic Office at (585) 343 - 2480, ext. 2003.

CRITERIA:

1.  The Hall of Fame will recognize outstanding athletes, coaches, administrators and significant contributors. These might include worthy booster club presidents, parent volunteers, team doctors and other individuals who have contributed significantly to our athletic program.

2.  Athletes will become eligible five years after graduation and coaches five years after retirement from coaching. The same time frame will be used for significant others.

3.  The nominee must have made an outstanding contribution to his or her sport. Typically this would be attaining All County or All State honors, all-time leading scorer, winning a state championship, etc.. The nominee must have exemplified character while representing Batavia Athletics and also in his/her lives following graduation. He/she must be a positive role model, worthy of being emulated by current and future students.

4.  A member must continue to be a positive role model or they may be removed.

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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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