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April 9, 2016 - 5:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in congressional art competition, NY-27, chris collins, art, batavia, news.

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Angelina Miconi, a Batavia High School student, was announced this morning as winner of the annual Congressional Art Contest for New York's 27th District, represented by Chris Collins.

Miconi was tops among 85 entrants (more than 30 attended today) from high schools throughout the district.

While each district in the United States has 750,000 residents, Collins said the NY-27th has one of the highest participation rates in the contest. Some districts get as few as 10 entries, he said.

The winning pictures will be displayed in the halls of Congress for the next 12 months and Miconi and a parent will be flown to Washington, D.C., for an art show opening.

The reception today was held at Genesee Community College.

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April 9, 2016 - 4:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, 4-H, Tractor Supply Store, batavia.

Press release:

National 4-H Council has announced the launch of the spring 2016 4-H Paper Clover Campaign in partnership with Tractor Supply Company (TSC).

Stop by Batavia Tractor Supply Company Store (4974 E. Main Street Road, Batavia) April 13 – 24 and support Genesee Co. 4-H Youth Development Programming by purchasing a paper clover for a $1 at checkout.

Funds donated during the national campaign will be tracked online and recorded by state and by store. Visit www.tractorsupply.com/4-H for more information on the spring 2016 4-H Paper Clover Campaign and to view the donation tracker.

This event marks the sixth year of collaboration between the organizations on the national in-store fundraiser, benefiting state and local 4‑H programming in each of the communities where a TSC store is located.

Last year, across 49 states, the TSC 4-H Paper Clover Campaign provided more than $1.8 million to 4-H across the country. All proceeds raised directly benefit 4-H, with 70 percent of funds being returned to state and local 4-H programs.

The effort has provided direct support for local camps, after-school programs and other activities, and has granted scholarships to these events where youth can explore their interests in everything from animal science to robotics.

April 9, 2016 - 3:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in GO ART!, Members Challenge Show, news.
Press release:

For a Members Challenge Show at GO ART! we are looking to exhibit artwork that evokes the idea, feeling, meaning, or experience of the word GREEN.

Artists are encouraged to submit works that interpret this theme in any way they choose. This will be the unveiling of our newest gallery here at GO ART!, located in the bar at Seymour Place, 201 E. Main St., Batavia.

One piece per artist requested. No media restrictions. Entries must be no larger than 3' x 3'.

This will be a juried show with an opening reception on Thursday, June 2nd. The show will run from May 11th through Aug. 31st.

Entries must be physically received between May 5th and May 7th. The deadline for entries is 1:50 p.m. on Saturday, May 7.

UPDATE: According to GO ART!'s Web site "Through this exhibit, we hope to offer a unique opportunity for GO ART! members to showcase a small selection of their works in a professional setting, allowing for increased visibility and networking with fellow artists. In turn, we hope to provide you, the viewer, with a unique opportunity to celebrate the remarkable talent and creativity of our local artists, and perhaps to even purchase one of these exceptional pieces to enjoy in your home!

To contact the organization about membership:

Phone: (585) 343-9313

FAX: (585) 345-1608

E-mail: [email protected]

April 9, 2016 - 3:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, winter, photography, poetry, news, arts.

Press release:

Finding beauty in a Western New York winter is not always an easy thing to do. For Genesee Community College's JoNelle Toriseva, director of English, Communications and Media Arts and assistant professor of English, channeling the sometimes treacherous outside conditions into works of poetry and photography recently earned her recognition from the public charity Writers Rising Up.

It named her the Winter in Variations: Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest Winner, Writers Rising Up to Defend Place, Natural Habitat, Wetlands for 2015.

The contest required a submission of six original, unpublished poems about witnessing some everyday occurrence in winter and additional photography, which is not Toriseva's strong suit.

"When I received the email that I had won, I was surprised," Toriseva said. "I was also very happy; however, they told me that I needed to take pictures of what I considered winter and I am more apt to be the person who gets a photograph of someone's feet or the back of their head, so I sought help."

Toriseva called on Joseph "Joe Z" Ziolkowski, GCC instructor of Photography, who guided her through taking shots outdoors with surroundings that included freshly fallen snow. The photographs, candid's of crab apple trees on the GCC Batavia Campus and a few of brush in the Bergen Swamp at dusk, were accepted by the organization as part of her winning submission.

Writers Rising Up is a public charity that focuses on nature education and writing through the literary arts at community events, contests, workshops, literary performances interpretive installations and publications. The organization hosts numerous poetry and literary contests, competitions and events for writers to submit and perform literary interpretations related to place, natural habitat and wetlands.

Toriseva's award-winning work included original poems titled "Perceive," "Dart," "Talking in Snow: A Short History of Sound," "The Benchmark of Winter," "Crossing" and "Winter, December #73," and can be viewed online at http://www.writersrisingup.org/all-contests/essay-winners/j-r-toriseva-bill-holm-winner.

A native of rural Minnesota, the home state of the award-honoree Bill Holm, Toriseva grew up an admirer of the author of nine books of both poetry and essays.

"I have known about Bill Holm for a long time. He is a staunch supporter of nature, which greatly interests me," Toriseva explained. "The fact that the Writer's Rising Up organization and the award raise awareness about wetlands and natural habitat makes this very special to me."

For further information about Writer's Rising Up and to view Toriseva's award-winning work, including her photography, visit the organization's Web site: http://www.writersrisingup.org/.

April 9, 2016 - 3:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Le Roy.

Press release:

Rebecca Schwan of the RIT women's track and field team was named Liberty League Field Rookie of the Week for the week ending April 3. It is her third honor of the year.

Schwan placed second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:24.53 and was part of the 4 x 400-meter relay team that was also second in a time of 4:16.38, as RIT opened its outdoor season at the Geneseo Early Season Invitational on Wednesday.

Rochester Institute of Technology offers 24 intercollegiate varsity sports, including 22 at the Division III level and Division I men's and women's ice hockey. For three decades, U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIT among the nation's leading comprehensive universities. RIT's student-athletes are no exception, combining to post a 3.26 grade-point average during the 2014-15 academic year. For complete RIT Athletics news, features, stats, photos, and coverage, visit www.ritathletics.com.

April 9, 2016 - 3:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in Milestones, oak field.

(Submitted photo: Erin Hale, of Oakfield, enjoys the North Carolina scenery during a hike.)

Press release:

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Four homes, four families, countless smiles: that’s the sum of the hard work provided by 25 Lycoming College students, including Erin Hale, of Oakfield, and college staff during the Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge held over spring break last month.

After traveling to Winston-Salem, N.C., the Lycoming group teamed up with the Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County affiliate to lay subflooring and roofing, install vinyl siding, put up patio railing, and clean at four houses.

“Signing up on a whim for my first Habitat for Humanity trip turned out to be one of my best experiences at Lycoming,” said Hale, a senior Biology major who participated in the challenge all four years at Lycoming, and who organized the last two as a leadership development opportunity.

“The trips remind me that a lot of people are struggling with more extreme conditions than a typical college student. The new homeowners are very thankful and the other volunteers, including the construction site leaders and retired people who contribute regularly, have made a big impact on me. These role models have inspired me to continue to give back in the best way that I can."

April 9, 2016 - 3:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, muckdogs, sports, scholarship.

Press release:

The Class-A Short-Season New York-Penn League and its member clubs are proud to announce that the league's philanthropic arm, the NYPL Charitable Foundation, will once again award more than $10,000 in scholarships this summer to deserving high school graduates from the league's 14 markets.

Now in its eighth year, the 2016 NYPL Scholarship Contest is open to any graduating senior from a public or private high school within the league's footprint. Any student who has been accepted at a two- or four-year college or university, vocational school, or technical education institution is eligible. Applicants will be judged based on academic performance, volunteer and extracurricular activities, and the impact their local NYPL club and Minor League Baseball have had on their lives.

The scholarship contest will consist of two stages - a local round and a league round. In the local stage, students will apply directly to their local NYPL team, with one applicant chosen by each of the 14 teams to advance to the league/final round. The 14 finalists will then be judged by league representatives. Three applicants will be selected to receive the top prize of a $2,500 scholarship. All other finalists will receive a $250 book award.

“The New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation and our 14 member clubs are pleased to have the opportunity to assist outstanding high school seniors within our league’s footprint for the eighth consecutive season,” said Ben J. Hayes, president of the New York-Penn League.

“This program will again recognize those seniors who not only meet and exceed traditional scholarship criteria, but demonstrate the positive community impact and lifelong memories fostered by their local NYPL clubs throughout the year.”

High school seniors interested in entering the 2016 Scholarship Contest can obtain the official application at Dwyer Stadium or by visiting Muckdogs.com. The deadline to submit applications is May 20.

Each club's winner, including the three $2,500 scholarship recipients, will be selected in mid-June.

The New York-Penn League and its 14 member clubs created the New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation, a 501(c) (3) charitable organization, in 2003. The mission of the Foundation is to provide focus and support for the collective and individual charitable and community efforts of the New York-Penn League, its clubs, and their staff.

April 9, 2016 - 2:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in richmond library, Lucine Kauffman, batavia, news, dolly parton.

The Richmond Memorial Library is proud to announce Dolly Parton's Imagination Library!

The Imagination Library brings the excitement of books to every child, from birth to age 5, by mailing an age-appropriate book to directly to them, in their home, in their very own name, to keep, forever! Playing with books in the home at a very young age is the best preparation to have for a lifetime of reading and learning.

So join us for a special story time at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26. Celebrity impersonator Lucine Kauffman will read, entertain and delight children of all ages, while library staff register kids up to age 5 for the book delivery service. Refreshments will be served.

April 9, 2016 - 2:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, drug task force, batavia, news.

    Jerry Riley III

Press release:

The Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force, comprised of police officers from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, Batavia Police NET officers, and the Le Roy Village Police Department, concluded an investigation into the illegal possession and sales of narcotics from a Bank Street residence in the City of Batavia with the arrest of a man and woman from Rochester on Thursday afternoon.

Jerry Riley III, 38, of Jay Street, is charged with: two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, a Class B felony; criminally using drug paraphernalia, 2nd, a Class A misdemeanor; and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Brianna L. Meacham, 26, of Dewey Avenue, is charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of marijuana.

The defendants were arrested Thursday afternoon following the execution of a search warrant at a Bank Street residence. Members of the Batavia PD Emergency Response Team and the Genesee County Drug Task Force executed the warrant and allegedly uncovered a quantity of "crack" cocaine, cocaine hydrochloride, heroin, marijuana and U.S. currency.

Riley was jailed without bail. Meacham was issued appearance tickets and turned over to the Cheektowaga Police Department on an outstanding warrant.

The investigation is continuing and further charges are pending.

Task Force members were also assisted in the investigation by the Genesee County DA's Office and uniform members of Batavia PD.

April 9, 2016 - 5:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news.

City fire has responded to an automatic fire alarm in the basement of Building E at Park Site Manor Apartments, 541 E. Main St., Batavia.

On scene, a chief reports heavy smoke in a utility room.

Engine 11 and Ladder 15 have responded. No other units have been dispatched.

UPDATE 5:23 a.m.: The issue has been dealt with and the assignment is back in service.

April 8, 2016 - 6:00pm

Secluded country property that has a large barn for extra storage, stocked spring-fed pond, beautiful grounds, an extra large home with the possibility of guest suite. Something for everyone, you must look to see all the possibilities offered here. Interior is super roomy, featuring a living room that has cool wood look and exposed cathedral ceiling. Currently home has a separate apartment, perfect for inlaw situation but could be master bedroom suite! For more information, click here to view the listing. Call Lynn Bezon at Reliant Real Estate today, 585-344-HOME!

April 8, 2016 - 3:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, water line repair, news.

Press release:

Due to a private problem with the water service at the Monsignor Kirby apartments off of Oak Street, the City Water Department had to shut down water service on Oak Street north of Union Street at approximately 3 p.m. today. Water service will be restored as quickly as possible once the repair is complete.

UPDATE 4:38 p.m.: Water service has been restored.

April 8, 2016 - 3:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee Chorale, news, Emily Helenbrook, alexander.

(Submitted photo: Alexander native Emily Helenbrook, soprano.)

Press release:

The Genesee Chorale is excited to offer two performances of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” on Friday April 22nd and Friday April 29th. The April 22nd performance will take place at 7 p.m. in Kilbourne Hall at the renowned Eastman School of Music in Rochester. The April 29th performance will be at 7 p.m. in the beautiful sanctuary of St. James Episcopal Church, located at 405 E. Main St. in Batavia.

“Performing this amazing work will truly be a memorable experience for us and for the audience,” said Ric Jones, director of the large, Batavia-based community chorus. “This performance will run the gamut of human emotion; excitement, intrigue, humor, and love all rolled into one amazing work."

“Carmina Burana” is a scenic cantata based on a collection of 24 of the 254 poems found in the medieval collection "Carmina Burana" -- a manuscript composed of 11th – 13th century poems and dramatic texts, believed to be written by clergy in Italy and Western Europe for traveling scholars, universities and theologians. The collection of texts was discovered in 1803 in the Benedictine monastery of Benediktbeuern in Bavaria (Germany).

You might recognize the exciting “O Fortuna” which was first introduced to mainstream media in the 1981 John Boorman film "Excalibur." Other appearances in movies include "Glory" (1989), "The Hunt for Red October" (1990), "The Doors" (1991), "Natural Born Killers" (1994), and "The General’s Daughter" (1999).

The Chorale will be accompanied by three outstanding soloists: Emily Helenbrook, soprano; John Clayton, tenor; Joe Finetti, baritone.

Alexander native Hellenbrook is a senior at the Eastman School of Music, studying with Carol Webber. Helenbrook has performed several times as a featured soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic and in several appearances with Ars Nova Musicians in the Viva Vivaldi Festival. She also appeared twice on the nationally acclaimed show "From the Top," recorded at the Chautauqua Amphitheatre and Kodak Hall at Eastman.

Clayton is a tenor based in Buffalo. He has been described as “One of Buffalo’s top vocalists” who performs “gallantly.” He studied music and voice at SUNY College at Buffalo and has worked with vocal coaches from across America and Europe. Clayton is a frequent soloist with choral ensembles in Western New York. He has also been featured in concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Nickel City Opera. He has sung the National Anthem for Buffalo Bills home games and is a current member of the Harmonia Chamber Singers.

Finetti, bass – baritone, enjoys various performing opportunities in the Rochester area. He recently appeared as the beleaguered Herr Schlendrian in Bach’s "Coffee Cantata" at Nazareth College, interpreted the Bass role of Haydn’s "Creation" several performances with the Finger Lakes Chorale, and sang Broadway favorites as a guest of the Irondequcit Chorale. A longtime member of the baroque ensemble The Publick Musick, he has sung solo roles in numerous Bach cantatas and masses as well as period performances of Handel’s "Messiah." Finetti performs regularly with the Renaissance group Musica Spei, the annual sponsor of the Rochester Early Music Festival as well as the well-known local chamber choir Madrigalia. He has a practice of family medicine in Greece, NY, and lives with his wife Maria Mastrosimone, also a family physician, in the Highland Park neighborhood of Rochester.

The performances will also feature two talented pianists, Doug Hanson and Howard Spindler. Five percussionists from the Batavia and Rochester area will accompany the work.

Tickets for the performance in Kilbourn Hall at eastmantheatre.org/events/genessee-chorale.

Tickets for the performance at St. James are available on the Genesee Chorale Web site, www.GeneseeChorale.com, from any Chorale member, or at the door. For more information please contact the Chorale president, Heather Lovelace at (716) 531-8986.

Genesee Chorale Director Ric Jones is the owner of Imagine Music Publishing. In addition to being the musical director of the Genesee Chorale, he serves as musical director of the Brighton Symphony Orchestra and The Middleport Community Choir. He is also the organist at St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church in Medina and Trinity Lutheran Church in Wolcottsville.

The Genesee Chorale is a community choir comprised of singers from all walks of life. It draws membership from Genesee County and seven surrounding counties. The repertory of the Genesee Chorale encompasses a wide variety of music in various styles from motets and madrigals of the Renaissance, to folk, musicals, and jazz. Over the years, the Chorale has championed contemporary works for choir as well as larger liturgical settings.

The upcoming performances are made possible in part with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by the Genesee Regional Arts Council.

April 8, 2016 - 2:58pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, Alabama, Bethany, news.

Damien Allen Boyd, 32, of Meadville Road, Alabama, is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, five counts of criminal possession of stolen property, 5th, and five counts of petit larceny. Boyd allegedly stole a debit card on Feb. 6, which he used to withdraw money from an ATM. In another case, he is charged with petit larceny for allegedly stealing electronic devices while at a residence on Council House Road, Alabama, on March 22. He was put in GC Jail on Thursday in lieu of $15,000 bail. Both cases were handled by Sheriff's Deputy Bradley Mazur..

Jessica Lynn Garofalo, 28, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with speed exceeding 55 mph, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and uninspected motor vehicle on March 25. She was arrested at 5:15 p.m. on April 6 on a bench warrant out of the Town of Bethany Court and released under supervision. She is due in Bethany Town Court on May 17. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Rachel Diehl.

A 39-year-old female who lives on Leicester Street in Perry is charged with falsifying business records, 1st. She was arrested after it was alleged that she made false entries on a financial aid application on Jan. 21, 2015, which allowed her to receive $7,96.50 in student aid while attending Genesee Community College. She was issued an appearance ticket and is scheduled to be in Batavia Town Court on April 25. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Chad Minuto.

April 8, 2016 - 2:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia bulldawgs, sports, news.

Press release:

The Board of Directors and coaching staff of the Batavia Bulldawgs Youth Football & Cheer program are excited to announce open registration will take place on Saturday, April 23, for the upcoming season. We look forward to welcoming new and returning athletes to the Bulldawg family.

Registration is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Batavia City Centre (east entrance, near Sunny’s Restaurant).

Boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 14, or will be 6 by Dec 1 attending Batavia area schools (that are not affiliated with another NOFA team) are eligible to participate, with no weight restrictions. All athletes will be placed in developmentally age appropriate divisions based on the following league age rules:

Football divisions (NO WEIGHT REQUIREMENTS):
Beginner (ages 6­7; must be 6 by 12/1, can’t turn 8 prior to 12/1) Mini (ages 8­9; must be 8 by 12/1, can’t turn 10 prior to 12/1)
JV (ages 10­11; must be 10 by 12/1, can’t turn 12 prior to 12/1) Varsity (ages 12­13; must be 12 by 12/1, can’t turn 14 prior to 12/1)

Cheer divisions:
Beginner (ages 6­7; must be 6 by 12/1)
Mini (ages 8­9; must be 8 by 12/1)
JV (ages 10­11; must be 10 by 12/1)
Varsity (ages 12­14; must be 12 by 12/1, can’t turn 15 prior to 12/1)

Football & Cheer Registration fees can be accepted via credit/debit card, check or cash and includes:

­ High­ quality, annually certified safety equipment ­and full game day uniforms
­ Practice uniforms
­ Accident & liability insurance

­ Cheerzone competition
­ End of season banquet
­ Participation trophy
­ Possible playoffs for mini squad thru varsity based on record of wins/losses

**A multi­-athlete family discount is available as well as payment plan options. Scholarships are also available for those who apply based on eligibility. A minimum of $50 is required at time of registration.

The Bulldawgs eagerly anticipate the summertime announcement of our 2016 game schedule with locally affiliated NOFA teams in the surrounding areas of Attica, Alexander, Pembroke, Oakfield/Elba, Akron, Albion, Medina, Roy­Hart & Newfane.

All contests will take place on Saturdays from late August through October. Every player will get the opportunity to participate in every game, where we never keep track of individual player statistics, only player participation and team records. USA Football certified coaches, using the Heads­Up Football philosophy to reduce the risk of injury, will coach our athletes. In addition, certified coaches will help to train our current cheer squads towards continued great success in the 2015 Cheerzone competition.

About Batavia Bulldawgs

Batavia Bulldawgs Football and Cheer is a family­oriented volunteer, non­profit organization affiliated with the Niagara Orleans Football Association, established in 1999. Since our inception in 2011, we have been committed to providing a high­quality youth football program where we are dedicated to the instruction of football, the philosophy of teamwork, the development of sportsmanship and competition in a safe and respectful environment, while promoting personal responsibility and offering participants an opportunity to enjoy all that is best about youth sports.

Contact:

Barry Warner, League Commissioner, (585­) 217­-1213 or e-mail [email protected]

April 8, 2016 - 2:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, batavia ophthalmology.

Press release:

HEALTHeLINK today announced Batavia Ophthalmology, PLLC, is the newest participant in Western New York’s clinical information exchange. 

Currently more than 4,000 physicians, all of the area hospitals and many independent laboratory and radiology practices are connected to HEALTHeLINK with a goal of improving the quality of care, enhancing patient safety and reducing health care costs.

With patient consent, participating physicians can securely and electronically access clinical information on the patients they are treating at the point of care. Approximately 810,000 Western New Yorkers have signed a consent form to provide treating medical professionals with this access through HEALTHeLINK. Ask your physician for a copy or download one at HEALTHeLINK’s Web site

About HEALTHeLINK:  HEALTHeLINK, the Western New York Clinical Information Exchange, is a collaboration among the region’s hospitals, physicians, health plans and other health care providers to serve the eight counties of western New York State. HEALTHeLINK was created to enable the exchange of clinical information in secure and meaningful ways to improve both efficiency and quality, while also helping to control health care costs. Patients who provide consent allow physicians and providers directly involved in their treatment to securely access relevant medical information via HEALTHeLINK, resulting in more timely and effective treatment at the point of care. 

HEALTHeLINK is part of the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY), a technology framework spanning the entire state that allows health care providers efficient access to their patients’ data. HEALTHeLINK has been recognized for its work in building a regional health information technology infrastructure and for testing innovative approaches by both state and federal agencies, including being named a Beacon Community, an effort funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. For more information about HEALTHeLINK, please visit wnyhealthelink.com.

April 8, 2016 - 12:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in marine corps, batavia, military, news.

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It was family night Thursday at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia for a meal, a training demo and a Q&A for the loved ones of incoming recruits.

The NCOs were dressed to the nines in their Class As loaded with ribbons and gold stripes, and the new recruits were polite and professional in their slacks and blue Marine-issued T-shirts, already well schooled in "yes, sir" and "no, sir."

It's all part of a process local Marine recruiters take their future Marines through so they will be better prepared for the rigors of basic training and life in the corps.

For most of the event, the room was quiet and calm, with Marines and family members enjoying a meal together and discussing life in military service.

Then Marine Staff Sgt. Jose F. Garcia, a drill instructor from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, entered the room with a group of five young men who have recently completed basic training. In a flurry of jumps and spins and arm waving, Garcia led the men through a fast-paced demonstration of a training drill.

Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Terry B. Hall, a recruiter instructor for Marine Corps Recruiting Station Buffalo, explained during the Q&A that the purpose of basic training is not only to teach recruits military skills and improve their physical fitness, it's also to rebuild their character and turn them into Marines.

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Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Terry B. Hall. 

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Marine Staff Sgt. Daniel Hendrickson, pool program specialist for Marine Corps Recruiting Station Buffalo.

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Marine Capt. Michael A. Kelly, executive officer for Marine Corps Recruiting Station Buffalo. 

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SSgt. Stephen Porter, a decorated Iraq combat veteran, runs the Batavia recruit station.

Below, photo and caption provided by the Marine Corps.

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Parents of Marine Pfc. Maria A. Inzinca, pin on chevrons during her promotion ceremony at the conclusion of Marine Corps Recruiting Sub Station Batavia’s annual Family Night at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia. Inzinca is a native of Bergen and will serve the Marine Corps as an embarkation specialist. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher O’Quin.) 

April 7, 2016 - 3:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in genesee county, highway department audit, news.

A state audit report was completed last month by the Comptroller's Office of Genesee County's procurement practices for the Highway Department and the use of purchasing cards by county employees. The audit was discussed at the Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday.

Local officials say the Comptroller's Office lacks real-world pragmatism when it comes to its bidding and procurement recommendations for construction and road projects; and they claim its findings of inadequate oversight of "P-cards" or purchasing cards are simply wrong.

The random audit looked at the period Jan. 1, 2014 through June 12, 2015.

Key Findings:

  • The Highway Department did not have documentation that it always made purchases from the vendor with the lowest bid price;
  • County officials and employees who were provided with purchase cards did not always comply with the purchase card policy;
  • The Treasurer’s Office did not adequately audit purchasing card transactions.

Key Recommendations:

  • Maintain adequate documentation to help ensure that purchase contracts are awarded to the lowest responsible bidder in accordance with the GML;
  • Ensure that employees who are provided with purchase cards understand their responsibilities, sign the cardholder agreement and adhere to the policy;
  • Perform a thorough audit of purchasing card activity to determine if County policies are being followed and cost savings opportunities are being realized.

According to Katherine "Eve" Hens, director of Purchasing, it is patently false that P-cards did not have properly signed user agreements on file.

"All of the documentation for P-card holders and their transactions is on file, including past P-card holders," she told the committee. She said she gathered up the files and met with the auditors to set the record straight and the auditor looked at the files and said "OK, fine, I guess everything's here." And that was that.

Hens also said P-card holders are given a policy book on card use guidelines and they must watch a tutorial video; they must sign agreements acknowleging they understand the rules.

There are 125 P-card holders in Genesee County government.

"We have a more efficient system than in the past," said Treasurer Scott German.

The state had criticized the few instances of above-limit purchases, but German said those cases had special circumstances. The example he gave was a deputy going to Florida to retrieve a prisoner and using his P-card to cover several transactions at one point of sale. Hens noted that in such cases, one of three people has to approve the transaction or the card will automatically be declined: Scott Germen, herself, or "Heather."

German said there were some "semantics" involving people from the Comproller's Office, which led to some miscommunication.

"What a fun audit that was," said Tim Hens, County Highway superintendent.

It was later noted that the audit occured during a "time of transition."

Tim Hens said the way in which projects are put out to bid with vendors is in keeping with how his department has operated for 60 years, ditto for other counties in Western and Central New York.

With a three-month seasonal window of opportunity to do outdoor work once bids are processed and awarded, there needs to be flexibilty, Tim Hens said, or the work wouldn't get done.

The state wants "to help ensure that purchase contracts are awarded to the lowest responsible bidder."

To an auditor in Albany, that means award a single contract to the lowest bidder.

But what Genesee and Monroe and Livingston and Orleans and other counties do is put out a "catalog" of bids to a variety of vendors for materials such as asphalt, pipes, quarry rock, etc., and select the mix that offers the best overall value.

For example, Tim said, if the low bid comes from a quarry in Pembroke, but the job's in Pavilion, the additional mileage to haul in materials will add 50 cents per ton to the job, so a vendor closer to the job site would likely be chosen even if their bid was a little higher.

As a compromise, the state suggests creating zones.

"The state says we should have zones set up in the County with lowest-priced vendors designated in each one," Tim said. "It works from a computer screen in Albany, but not in the real world, and not with a three-month construction window."

The county agreed to the state's recommendation to keep a journal. It will cite specific reasons in each instance that a purely low-price bid was not accepted.

"We will have that documentation to show in the event of another audit," Tim said.

The audit unearthed about $7,000 in overpayment for 24 miles of road striping for town roads, but there was no breakdown provided for it. Going back through all the road logs and trying to determine where .5-percent in a year's worth of road-work expenses were incorrectly calculated would be impractical, Tim said.

"If there's a good faith audit, then there should be give and take for errors," Committee Member Marianne Clattenburg said. "That would be a waste of money."

The county's written corrective action plan will be completed and forwarded, as required, to the state within 90 days.

To view the full audit click here.

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