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February 27, 2009 - 7:55am
posted by Philip Anselmo in business, LeRoy, economy, Democrat & Chronicle, Wal-Mart.

People often debate the benefit of big box stores moving into "hometown" neighborhoods. Books have been published on the subject of Wal-Mart, in particular, running locally-owned shops out of business and replacing what may have been well-paying jobs with minimum wage, "exploitation" labor.

Whether or not you believe Wal-Mart is a malignant or beneficial force in a community, it is too much of a presence not to alter the overall figure. With a 111,000-square-foot Wal-Mart store expected to be up and running by June, LeRoy will soon learn what it's like to have the retail megalith in town.

From an article in the Democrat & Chronicle this morning:

A spokesman for Wal-Mart said the Genesee County store, which could open in spring 2010, would create 200 new jobs, plus another 100 jobs during construction.

The store will be a smaller version of a Wal-Mart Supercenter, with the same variety of products but smaller quantities.

The standalone building will feature a full retail section, groceries, an optical center, a pharmacy and a garden center, said the spokesman, Philip Serghini.

McCulley said he believes most residents support the project. "There was some dissent against it, but it was a small minority," he said.

"People are looking for options of shopping locally. People don't want to travel too far to do their shopping."

February 27, 2009 - 7:32am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff.

Derek G. Thomas, 32, of 400 E. Main St., Batavia, was charged with a felony count of first-degree criminal contempt and a felony count of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Thomas is accused of striking a female acquaintance with his hands and hitting her in the head with a beer bottle. The victim had previously been granted an order of protection against Thomas. He was sent to Genesee County Jail without bail pending a court appearance later this morning.

Ronda M. Kern, 27, of Basom, was charged with felony driving while intoxicated Thursday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Kern was located at the scene of a motor vehicle accident on Sandhill Road in Alabama. She was also ticketed with consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle and moving from the lane unsafely.

February 26, 2009 - 4:47pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police.

Batavia city police issued the following press release and photographs:

The Batavia Police are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the person pictured. This person used stolen checks to make purchases exceeding four thousand dollars at businesses in the surrounding area. Please contact Detective Richard Schauf at 585-345-6312 or call the confidential tip line at 345-6370.

The photos look to be from a security camera.

February 26, 2009 - 2:31pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, city council, fire department, ambulance.

Could the city's claims that the ambulance service was losing money and had to be nixed have been a "deceitful attempt" to get rid of some of the city's firefighters? That's the conclusion following an independent audit of the city's finances that allegedly shows that the ambulance has been in the black every year except one for the past five years. The decision to end the city ambulance service as of September 1 was made at a City Council meeting last month. The vote was unanimous.

Greg Ireland, president of the Firefighters Local 896, met with us today outside the city fire hall to talk about that audit.

"It's plain and simple: the numbers don't lie," he said. "Revenues exceeded expenditures, period."

If you visit the new Batavia ambulance Web site you can get a closer look at those numbers. Ireland had the audit put together by Kevin Decker, president of the Albany-based independent firm, Decker Economics. In his report, summarized in a memo that Ireland gave to us today, Decker shows that in the fiscal year 2003-04, the city ambulance fund "recorded an operating surplus (revenues minus expenses) of $529,766." In 2004-05, the fund posted a surplus of $414,006. In 2005-06, the fund posted a surplus of $570,807.

That's the year that things start to change, according to the report.

"To compensate the General fund for resources expended by fire department personnel directly related to ambulance services, the City provided for a transfer from the Ambulance fund to the General fund (of) $921,609."

This shift of expenses from one fund to another—a typical city budget includes several funds, including: general, fire, sewer and water—is known as an interfund transfer, by which expenses or revenues generated within one fund are used to offset those of another.

So, in the following year, 2006-07, Decker's report explains that the ambulance fund posted a deficit of $454,799. That deficit is explained in these terms on the Web site:

"Since people were beginning to question the inter-fund transfers, the city created a better way to hide their ambulance money.  Instead of just picking a number out of the sky, City Hall decided to remove 35% (approximately $1 million) of Firefighter's wages and benefits from the General Fund and put those expenses against the Ambulance Fund.  So without the "transfer", but adding $1 million of "false" expenses, the Ambulance Fund showed a deficit of $454,799."

The interfund transfers continued in 2007-08, but the ambulance fund still posted a surplus of $286,038, according to the report.

The bottom line is that the ambulance service helps subsidize the cost of the City's fire department. In fact, in FY 2007-08, the City's Ambulance fund generated an operating surplus even with a significant portion of fire department wages and salaries included.

If we assume that the level of staffing for fire suppression personnel cannot be reduced any further, eliminating the ambulance service will require the City to come up with other sources of revenue to finance the payroll costs for City firefighters that are currently being subsidized by the Ambulance Fund. This fact has been recognized, and reported to the City, by both the City's auditors and the State Comptroller's Office.

In conclusion:

Absent a complete lack of understanding on the part of City leaders, it would appear that this move to eliminate the ambulance service is a back door and deceitful attempt to reduce the size of the City's firefighting force.

"We want a new vote taken," said Ireland. "We want to educate the public. Then we want a new vote taken."

In a video interview with Ireland taken at the union's informational picket outside City Hall last week, he said that the city rushed the decision to end ambulance service before anyone had a chance to speak out on it.

Ireland said he is open to negotiations with the city. Of course, that would all take place "behind closed doors."

"I'm more than willing to sit down and talk openly with anyone," he said.

On a side note, our appointment this afternoon was to meet with Ireland at the city fire hall on Evans Street. We had to conduct that meeting outside on the sidewalk. Not a bad situation on a nice day like today. But you may ask why. Well, Ireland apologized and explained that the city manager, Jason Molino, called this morning and told him not to meet with the press inside the fire hall. In fact, Ireland's meeting earlier with Dan Fischer of WBTA and Joanne Beck of the Daily News had to be moved to the WBTA studios, he said.

February 26, 2009 - 1:53pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, police, emergency.

BATAVIA, N.Y. — We're following reports coming through on the scanner right now of a young child, approximately 4-years-old, who was found walking around in the middle of the street in downtown Batavia. Officers on scene report that the child is asking for his mother and father, neither of whom are reported to be in the area.

Update (Friday at 9:04 a.m.): The parents of the lost child have been identified and further investigation into the incident will be shared between Child Protective Services and Batavia city police, Lt. Eugene Jankowski said in an e-mail this morning. It is not known if charges will be placed at this time. No names have yet been released. The investigation is ongoing.

February 26, 2009 - 8:10am
posted by Philip Anselmo in budget, schools, school aid, stimulus, Charles Schumer.

Nearly $1.7 billion in education aid will make its way to New York schools from the stimulus package, Sen. Charles Schumer announced today. That $1.7 billion will be direct aid, he stressed, in addition to another $4.7 billion "in additional education and other aid to New York State schools."

Of that, the Western New York districts will see $102 million. We have not received the details on a county-by-county breakdown, but we hope to have the specific figures for you later this morning.

Details from the press release:

The U.S. Department of Education estimates that the economic stimulus package will include nearly $22 billion in direct education aid through the Title I and Special Education/ Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) federal formulas nationwide. Upstate New York is estimated to receive a total of approximately $320 million in new funding for Special Education and approximately $176 million in Title I grants, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the Department of Education respectively, for a total of $496 million in new direct funding to Upstate New York schools. This funding will give New York’s school districts the flexibility and tools they need to keep serving and educating our children.
Here is how the funding will break down across the state:

    * Capital Region schools will receive an additional $36 million in Special Education/IDEA funding and $14 million in Title I grants for a total of $50 million in direct school aid.
    * Central New York schools will receive an additional $37 million in Special Education/IDEA funding and $25 million in Title I grants for a total of $62 million in direct school aid.
    * Hudson Valleyschools will receive an additional $94 million in Special Education/IDEA funding and $37 million in Title I grants for a total of $131 million in direct school aid.
    * North Country schools will receive an additional $21 million in Special Education/IDEA funding and $11 million in Title I grants for a total of $31 million in direct school aid.
    * Rochester-Finger Lakes schools will receive an additional $48 million in Special Education/IDEA funding and $32 million in Title I grants for a total of $79 million in direct school aid.
    * Southern Tier schools will receive an additional $24 million in Special Education/IDEA funding and $13 million in Title I grants for a total of $38 million in direct school aid.
    * Western New York schools will receive an additional $58 million in Special Education/IDEA funding and $44 million in Title I grants for a total of $102 million in direct school aid.

Updated (11:55 a.m.): We received the full report from Sen. Schumer's office. Genesee county will receive a total of $3 million in direct aid stimulus funding. That will be divided as follows:

• Alexander Central School District: $265,618
• Batavia City School District: $983,317
• Byron-Bergen Central School District: $340,026
• Elba Central School District: $172,529
• Oakfield-Alabama Central School District: $309,421
• Pembroke Central School District: $332,549
• Pavilion Central School District: $258,944
• Le Roy Central School District: $371,503

You can download the complete report here.

February 26, 2009 - 7:32am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff.

Michael J. Lenhard, 23, of Corfu, was charged with driving while intoxicated Wednesday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Lenhard was stopped for an alleged traffic violation on West Main Street Road in the town of Batavia. He was also ticketed with driving left of the pavement markings.

Timothy Grice, 47, of Oakfield, was charged with a felony count of driving while intoxicated and first-degree aggravated unlicensed operator, state police said. Grice was stopped for an alleged traffic violation on Route 33 in Bergen. He was sent to Genesee County Jail in lieu of $5,000.

February 25, 2009 - 4:45pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Daily News, city council.

Another Daily News article by Joanne Beck that takes up the issue of the assistant city manager's salary has got tempers flaring on the newspaper's Web site. Beck authored an article a couple weeks back in which she was accused of sexism for questioning why Sally Kuzon is being paid $24,000 more per year than past assistants.

In today's article, Beck writes:

City Councilmen Bob Bialkowski, Bill Cox and Rose Mary Christian say they want answers about how the assistant manager's salary was established. The total of about $84,000 includes a $2,820 car allowance, according to information provided to The Daily News.

There has never been a car allowance for an assistant manager before, Christian said. She questions why there's one for Assistant Manager Sally Kuzon, a Williamsville resident who was granted a residency waiver.

The article, which is interesting and well-written, has already garnered more than a dozen comments (and climbing) on the site.

We have still not received the information we requested from the city two weeks ago, when we filed a Freedom of Information Law request to view the salaries for all city employees for the current year, the project year and the past year. We were informed that it would take until March 30 to compile the information.

February 25, 2009 - 12:53pm

Sen. Charles Schumer, in tandem with newly appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, issued nearly twenty press releases this morning on funding earmarked for upstate New York communities in the upcoming federal omnibus bill. None of that money has yet been tagged for projects in Genesee County, at least not according to the announcements out of Schumer's office. Buffalo and Niagara Falls were both listed as recipients of significant funding.

Buffalo was awarded $950,000 for its Main Street revitilization project. Niagara Falls will receivie $950,000 to ramp up its "international railway station." Tack on funding for university and medical projects, railway infrastructure and tourism, and the funding level for the greater Buffalo region tops $3 million.

From an article in the Buffalo News this morning:

The money for Buffalo and Niagara Falls will be included in an omnibus federal spending bill funding government operations through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill today, with Senate consideration set for next week.

Rochester also looks to benefit. The George Eastman House is on the bill for $381,000 "to preserve and allow access to museum library collections through new Web applications."

From the press release:

"This is terrific news for the entire Rochester community," said Schumer.  "The George Eastman House is one of the oldest and most revered photography and film museums worldwide. In these technology-driven times, it’s important for the federal government to do everything in its power to ensure that such historic, cultural gems as this one are able to adapt in ways that allow them to both preserve their heritage and expand their resources.”

“These federal dollars will go a long way to preserve the collections at the George Eastman House while making them accessible through the internet,” said Senator Gillibrand. “These snapshots are an important part of our history. I will continue to work with Senator Schumer to ensure that New York receives its fair share of federal funding.”

A significant portion has been eyed for higher education in the state. St. John Fisher College is on tap for $475,000. Albany's College of Nanoscience and Engineering is marked for $1 million. Binghamton University is in line to receive $2 million.

Batavia City Council members Charlie Mallow and Marianne Clattenburg were in Albany recently meeting with "key officials," according to Mallow, in the hopes of securing fundig for the city. We hope to soon hear what progress they made.

February 25, 2009 - 7:38am
posted by Philip Anselmo in LeRoy, Chris Lee, LeRoy airport, grant.

The FAA's Aviaition Improvement Program has awarded $2.1 million in federal funding for the LeRoy Airport so that it may complete its runway extension project, Rep. Chris Lee announced today.

From the press release:

The airport intends to use the grant to complete its runway extension project, which will take roughly three months and will occur in two phases. The eastern end of the runway and parallel taxiway will be extended from 2,640 to 3,855 ft., the runway will be sealcoated, and the runway and taxiway will be restriped.

“Improving transportation links in Western New York creates jobs and promote economic growth. I am pleased to see that LeRoy Airport has been recognized for its potential to grow and become a more integral part of the community and the region,” Congressman Lee said.

Raymond S. Detor Jr., president of LeRoy Aviation Services, commented on the grant announcement: “We appreciate Congressman Lee’s support for our efforts to ensure LeRoy has a state-of-the-airport that creates local jobs and meets the needs of the region. Through this grant, our airport will be better able to accommodate the aircraft it was designed for and provide support for Rochester International Airport.”

AIP grants are awarded competitively based on strict eligibility requirements, including an obligation to maintain the airport in a safe and serviceable condition, mitigate hazards to airspace, and use revenue properly. Funds for the program are drawn largely from a trust fund supported by user fees and fuel taxes.

You can visit the airport's Web site for more information on the facility which "is a designated general aviation reliever airport for the The Greater Rochester International Airport."

February 24, 2009 - 1:36pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in sheriff, crash, emergency.

Minor injuries were reported at the scene of a two-car collision on Route 5 near Prole Road in Batavia. Both cars looked pretty well banged up, and extra crews had to come out from LeRoy to help at the scene, according to dispatch reports. We will pass on the details when they become available.

Update (3:15 p.m.): Two people were taken to the hospital following this crash earlier today. The details are as follows:

Julie L. Conover, 40, of Corfu, was driving along Route 5 heading out of Batavia in the passing lane. Robert L. Tullar, 61, of Batavia, was stopped waiting to make a turn onto a driveway. Conover told deputies that she never saw Tullar's vehicle and ended up colliding into it.

Conover and Tullar were both taken to United Memorial Medical Center. Conover was evaluated for a complaint of shoulder pain. Tullar was taken in with complaints of neck pain.

No tickets were issued.

February 24, 2009 - 12:10pm

From the Cornell Cooperative Extension:

March 6 from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm - Winter Dairy Management - Dairy Modernization
Held at the Batavia Party House, Stafford, NY
Topics covered:
>Business Planning for a Successful Project
>Is your Farmstead Master Plan Still Workable?
>Renovating the Old Free-stall for Milking Cows, Heifers or Special Needs
>Replacement Parlor Options (including Robots & Manure handling)
>Evaluating environmental issues on your farm
For more information contact Cathy at 585-343-3040 x138.  Cost is $20 which includes lunch.

March 10 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm - NYS Dry Bean Meeting
Held at BW's Restaurant, Davis' Countryside Meadows Golf Course, 11070 Perry Rd., Pavilion
For more information contact Carol MacNeil at 585-394-3977 x406 or [email protected]. For those enrolled in the Cornell Cooperative Extension Vegetable Program cost is $20 pre-registration ($25 walk-in). For those NOT enrolled - $30 pre-registration ($35 walk-in). 2 DEC and CCA credits have been requested. Listen to 1180 WHAM AM Radio in case of bad weather for cancellation notice.

March 11 from 9am to 11am - Weed Management Workshop for Commercial Pea Growers.
Held at Batavia First United Methodist Church, 8221 Lewiston Road in Batavia.
Dr. Robin Bellinder, Cornell will be the presenter. DEC/CCA credits available. Cost: $5.00 per person. To register or for more information, contact Julie Kikkert, 585-394-3977 ext. 404 or [email protected].

March 16 to 20 - Ag Literacy Week.
Ag Literacy Week unites communities and schools. Volunteers bring New York agriculture into local schools by sharing a special story and leading educational activities. Volunteer in your community and get this year's book donated to your school or library. This year the program will highlight the NYS Apple Industry and with the help from the NYS Apple Association and their generous donation will also mark the first year in which the book that is used will be written by New York Ag in the Classroom (NYAITC) staff. This book will be the first in a series that will highlight New York Agriculture and is titled: The Empire State Investigator: The Applesauce Bandit. For more information on volunteering or to sponsor a book for Ag Literacy Day, please contact Barb Sturm at (585) 343-3040, ext. 122 or via e-mail at [email protected] or you can visit the Ag in the Classroom website at: www.nyaged.org/aitc.

March 20 - Registration deadline for Incubation and Embryology Project for the Classroom
Welcome to the Genesee County 4-H Incubation and Embryology Project. This interdisciplinary project is designed to provide youth with a “hands on” experience while classroom teachers have the opportunity to satisfy science, math and ELA core requirements.  If you have questions or are interested about the Incubation and Embryology project, please contact Barb Sturm at (585)343-3040 x122 or via email [email protected].

March 21 - 7th Annual Celebrate Agriculture Dinner
Held at the Alexander Fire Hall, Route 98 in Alexander, NY. Sponsors of the event include Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Genesee County Farm Bureau and Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District. This extremely popular community tradition has become firmly established as a festive, fun filled get-together, and an opportunity to come together and socialize before the beginning of another growing season. This event is sold out!

March 26 1pm to 4pm -Regional Berry Workshop - Pruning and its Impact on Pest Management
Livingston County CCE, Mt. Morris.
Agenda: Pruning Blueberries and Brambles
Pruning and Pests - A Closer Look
Sprayer Calibration's easier to do and more important than you think
NYS DEC pesticide applicator credits will be available for categories 1A, 10, and 22. Registration fee is $10. To register contact Jennifer at 585-658-3250. For more information call David Thorp, 585-658-3250 x109 or email [email protected].

March 27 - Entries due locally to Barb Sturm for the "Be Aware of NY Agriculture" Contest
The Be Aware of New York Agriculture Contest is a great way to expose students (Pre-K - 6th grade) to agriculture and the food system, and to meet the New York State Learning Standards in your classroom. Students can learn more about where food comes from and why it is important that they understand agriculture in New York State, while creating art and writing projects.

The contest is divided by grade level categories and statewide winners (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 2 Honorable Mentions) are selected for each grade level.
* 1st place individual for each grade level is awarded a $50 U.S. Savings Bond.
* 1st place classroom and school receive agriculture-related books and /or videos.
* 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners receive T-shirts.

All awardees receive Certificates of Recognition. Winning entries will be exhibited at the Great New York State Fair. If you are interested in more information about this contest or need an entry from, please contact Barb Sturm at (585) 343-3040, ext. 122 or check out the New York Ag in the Classroom website at : www.nyaged.org/aitc.

March 28 - Finger Lakes Region - 4-H Dairy Bowl Contest
The 2009 Finger Lakes Region - 4-H Dairy Bowl Contest will be held at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Ontario County, 480 North Main Street, Canandaigua.  Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m., Contest will start at 10:00 a.m.  The primary objective of this event is to provide an educational experience for youth enrolled in a 4-H dairy project to demonstrate their knowledge of dairy related subject matter in a competitive setting where attitudes of friendliness and fairness prevail.  County Entries are due March 6, 2009. If you are interested in more information about this contest, please contact Barb Sturm at (585) 343-3040, ext. 122 or via e-mail at:  [email protected].

March 28 - Finger Lakes Region - 4-H Horse Extravaganza
The 2009 Finger Lakes Region 4-H Horse Extravaganza will take place at Canandaigua Middle School, Canandaigua, NY.  Local youth wil demonstrate their horse knowledge in Hippology and Horse Bowl Contests. The primary objective of this contest is to provide an opportunity for Region II youth to demonstrate the breadth of their equine knowledge in a competitive setting where attitudes of friendliness and fairness prevail. We hope that this contest will generate a rewarding experience for the 4-H members. If you are interested in more information about this contest, please contact Barb Sturm at (585) 343-3040, ext. 122 or via e-mail at:  [email protected].

April 9 from 6 to 8 pm - Coffee & Dessert Series - "Organic Vegetable Gardening"
Held at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County.  Cost is $10.00 and includes presentation, handouts, and homemade desserts.  Pre-registration is required. Organic Vegetable Gardening will be taught by Dale Jacobs, Master Gardener and owner of an organic fruit and vegetable business "Crooked Creek" Farms.  Vegetables should be part of everyone's diet. If you don't want to spend a little more for those organically grown and sold in the supermarket, perhaps you should consider planting your own garden.  It is very easy and even a project your children can join in on and have fun doing. If you are interested in the Coffee & Dessert Series brochure or need more information, please contact Amy Berry at (585) 343-3040, ext. 106 or via e-mail at [email protected].

April 16 from 6 to 8 pm - Coffee and Dessert Series - "Annuals and Bedding Plants"
Held at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County.  Cost is $10.00 and includes presentation, handouts, and homemade desserts.  Pre-registration is required. Christine Quataert, Master Gardener will be talking about annuals and bedding plants, with their seemingly infinite variety of flower colors and plant forms fit into almost any landscape situation  They provide the necessary touch of color to an often drab landscape.  These plants can be grown in containers to add a splash of color to a porch, deck or patio area.  They can also be enjoyed as fresh or dry cut flowers, as well as be a very rewarding hobby. If you are interested in the Coffee & Dessert Series brochure or need more information, please contact Amy Berry at (585) 343-3040, ext. 106 or via e-mail at [email protected].

April 23 from 6 to 8 pm - Coffee & Dessert Series - "Spring Birds" (Back by popular demand) Held at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County.  Cost is $10.00 and includes presentation, handouts, and homemade desserts.  Pre-registration is required. Back by popular demand, Jan Beglinger, Master Gardener and member of the Buffalo Audubon Society, will be talking about Spring Birds.  Spring brings changes at the bird-feeder, but even more exciting birds that visit other parts of the backyard.  Spring often starts with the departure of old friends that have spent the winter with us.  Do you recognize the spring birds that show up at your feeder?  Are they different from the birds you see in the summer, fall and winter?  Our “birding” expert master gardener will help you identify different birds and show you how to attract them to your yard.If you are interested in the Coffee & Dessert Series brochure or need more information, please contact Amy Berry at (585) 343-3040, ext. 106 or via e-mail at [email protected].

April 25 - 4-H Cloverbud Round Up
If you are interested in more information or to register, please contact Amy Berry at (585) 343-3040, ext. 106 or via e-mail at [email protected].

May 1 - Deadline for 4-H Giant Pumpkin Contest
The contest is open to any 4-H'er/4-H Family in Genesee County.  If you want to have fun, learn about horticulture, and challenge yourself, join 4-H'ers who will grow a giant or tiny pumpkin in spring/summer (125 days to grow) in home gardens or in container gardens all over the county.  We will be using giant and small seeds. The Giant variety is "Dill's Atlantic Giant" or tiny pumpkin varieties includes "Baby Boo" or " Jack-Be-Little".  You can buy your own seeds or we can provide you with them. Educational materials will also be provided to each participant. Weigh-in will be in September (location to be determined).  Register by May 1st.  If you are interested in more information or to register, please contact Amy Berry at (585) 343-3040, ext. 106 or via  e-mail at: [email protected].

2009 Agriculture Enrollment - This service provides subscribers with up-to-date information on trends in the agricultural sector by utilizing research-based knowledge from Cornell University. Included in this service, at no charge, are direct mailings of "emergency information" for commodities of interest to you and voting privileges at the Extension Association's annual meeting to determine organization leadership. Call Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County at (585) 343-3040 ext. 126 or visit the Extension Center located at 420 East Main St. in Batavia for more information and enrollment packets.

4-H Participants - Please check the Extension website and refer to the monthly calendar for new and on-going events and deadlines. If you are interested in joining the 4-H program contact Amy at 343-3040, ext. 106 or stop by Cornell Cooperative Extension, located at 420 East Main St. in Batavia.

4-H Local Government Intern Program - Designed for high school Juniors & Seniors. Orientation meeting 7 pm on February 2nd at the Old County Courthouse in Batavia. For more information on this program contact Chip Malone at (585) 343-3040, ext. 130.

Coffee and Dessert Series - If you want to socialize and learn about gardening, why not consider participating in the Coffee and Dessert Programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County. This is the fourth year of this popular program of classes presented by Community Educator Gail Culver and Genesee County Master Gardeners. During the program participants will enjoy a cup of coffee or tea along with desserts homemade by the Master Gardeners. For more information and to register call Amy at 343-3040, ext. 106 or stop by the Extension Center located at 420 East Main St. in Batavia.

Eat SMART New York - This free, confidential program for food stamp participants and limited income individuals and families explores parenting strategies, healthy meal options, and ways to stretch food dollars. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call the nutrition and parenting education program at 343-3040, ext. 134 or stop by Cornell Cooperative Extension, located at 420 East Main St. in Batavia.

Master Gardeners - Get answers on everything from landscaping to pest management. Free service. Call 343-3040, ext. 127, 10 a.m. to Noon, Monday through Friday or e-mail [email protected], or visit the Master Gardener Office at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, 420 East Main St., Batavia.

Master Gardener Home Diagnostic Service - Genesee County Master Gardeners conduct on-site visits to diagnose plant and pest problems, test soil pH, advise homeowners on gardening practices and more. Cost is $25 for the first hour and $15 for each additional hour. Fee includes informational packets, soil testing and diagnostic results. To schedule an appointment, contact Gail Culver, Consumer Horticulture Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, at 343-3040, ext. 132, e-mail [email protected], or visit the Master Gardener Office at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, 420 East Main St., Batavia.

Master Gardener Speakers' Bureau - Providing talks on a variety of topics, such as wildlife, local bird life, organic gardening, landscaping and more. Programs can be tailored to meet audience needs. Fee is $50, or $25 for non-profits in Genesee and surrounding counties. For more information call Gail Culver, Consumer Horticulture Educator, at 343-3040, ext. 132, e-mail [email protected] or stop by Cornell Cooperative Extension, located at 420 East Main St. in Batavia.

February 24, 2009 - 12:01pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in technology, GCC, schools, education.

From Genesee Community College:

Students will have a chance to take what they learn in the technology classroom and compete in an exciting hands-on event at the second annual Tech Wars competition, scheduled for March 19, 2009 at Genesee Community College in Batavia, NY. Registration for the College Tech Prep event begins at 9:00 AM and the competition starts at 9:30 AM. From catapults to robots, manual drafting to web page design, the imagination and creativity of some of the brightest students in the GLOW (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties) region will be showcased during this day-long event.

The competition is open to middle and high school students, who will participate in multiple project-based events of skill, chance, and ability. Students will compete in bridge building, drafting, sumo robots, T-shirt design, and carbon dioxide dragster racing, among other events. The highlight of this year's event will be the Sumo Robot Sled Pull.

"Hopefully, the interest in this competition will help to boost enrollments of technology classes because what is learned there can be transferred to initiatives at home, work and a wide range of careers on almost a daily basis," said Debbie Dunlevy, College Tech Prep Program Director and Coordinator Co-Chair of the Tech Wars competition. "We are very excited to host such a fun and educational event."

The Tech Wars competition, which may become open to school districts outside the GLOW region in the future, was inspired from a similar competition currently held through Niagara County Community College. That event is now in its twelfth year and attracts as many as 600 students from Western New York to compete.

"Ultimately, the interest of some students may go beyond the classroom where they develop such a deep interest in technology that they make a career of it. Someday those students may come back as a teacher or mentor of the technology students of the future," Dunlevy said.

College Tech Prep helps students explore various career options and make a smooth transition from high school to college and ultimately to professional careers. The Tech Wars is among several dynamic programs giving students the opportunity to work in hands-on learning encounters, often within business settings and with various professionals. College Tech Prep offers several distinctive career academies to high school students including: Heath, Legal, Information Technology, and the newest Theatre Arts Academy starting in September 2009. In addition, there is also a Virtual Enterprise Business program available to high school students.

For more information, please contact Debbie Dunlevy, College Tech Prep Program Director at Genesee Community College, at 585-343-0055 x6316 or [email protected]. More information can also be found at the Tech Wars website, http://www.techwars.org.

February 24, 2009 - 11:57am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Announcements, GCC, schools, Nation, Sudan.

From Genesee Community College:

Genesee Community College is pleased to announce that second year student Moses Nhial has become a United States citizen. A celebration for this significant occasion took place on February 19 with students, faculty, friends and local legislators in attendance to congratulate Moses on his remarkable achievement.

The celebration took place in the library at the Batavia campus and many library staff members, as well as friends and College Village roommates of Moses, were present. Local legislators on hand were Genesee County legislature chair, Mary Pat Hancock, Genesee Community College's Board of Trustees chair, Laurie Miller, and Genesee County legislator, Jerome (Jay) Grasso on behalf of New York State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer.

Moses was presented with a Certificate of Recognition from Senator Ranzenhofer, as well as gifts from Genesee's library staff. Moses took a few moments to express his gratitude and speak on his past and future plans. "When I came to the United States, they called us the Lost Boys," Moses said. "But now I feel as if I have been found."

Moses Nhial, a refugee from Sudan and a full-time student at Genesee Community College, has experienced trials and suffering that most Americans can hardly imagine, much less endure. Moses overcame incredible adversity to become an ambitious young man, flourishing in an environment very unlike what he experienced growing up. Born in 1987 in Sudan, Moses' childhood was filled with attacks on his village and constant fleeing to new refugee camps and other countries to avoid violence and brutality. With help from the United Nations and Catholic Charities, Moses came to the United States in 2001 and ever since has been thriving as an extraordinary young adult. For more information on Moses' past and future plans, please visit http://web.genesee.edu/news/dspArticle/2554/.

Photo caption: Standing left to right are at Moses Nhial's U.S. Citizenship celebration: Mary Pat Hancock, chair of Genesee County Legislature; Jerome J. Grasso, Genesee County Legislator standing in for Michael Ranzenhofer of the New York State Senate; Moses Nhial, Genesee Community College student and recent US citizen; Laurie J. Miller, chair of Genesee's Board of Trustees; and Genesee's President, Stuart Steiner.

February 24, 2009 - 10:58am
posted by Philip Anselmo in history, Holland Land Office Museum, William Morgan.

We're nearing the end of the countdown, folks. Only two left to tick off on the list of the Holland Land Office Museum's 25 Things That Made Genesee County Famous. Taking the No. 3 spot was the disappearance of William Morgan, which remains a mystery to this day.

From Pat Weissend, museum director:

Before there was OJ, before the Lindburgh Baby Kidnapping, before Lizzie Borden there was William Morgan. William Morgan was a Batavian who was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by Free Masons in September 1826.

Morgan was a bricklayer who wanted to become a member of the Masonic Fraternity. When a Masonic lodge opened in Batavia, Morgan applied for membership, saying he was a member in the LeRoy lodge. It was discovered that Morgan lied about his membership and his application was denied.

In order to get revenge for his denial, Morgan began to write a book disclosing the secrets of the society. Members of the fraternity threatened Morgan and even set fire to David Miller’s print shop where the book was being published.

You will have to visit the museum's Web site to get the rest of the story—if you haven't already heard it. Weissend also posted the three-part video series that The Batavian put together last month on the disappearance of Morgan.

February 24, 2009 - 8:34am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff.

An investigation into a home robbery on February 6 has resulted in the arrest of two Batavia residents. Nathan J. Knab, 20, of 16 Overlook Dr., and Travis J. Dunn, 19, of 1 Pine Hollow Dr., were charged with second-degree burglary, a felony, Monday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Knab and Dunn are accused of entering a residence at 8 Pine Hollow Dr. in Batavia and taking a PlayStation 2 system, along with the controllers and game accessories.

They were arraigned in town court Monday and released pending a court appearance scheduled for March 23.

Pictured is Dunn. A mug shot for Knab has not yet been released.

Update (11:13 a.m.): We learned from Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster this morning that Knab did not show up to jail to have his mug shot taken, which is why it was not available when this post was published earlier today.

Mug shot for Knab (right) posted Thursday at 8:08 a.m.

February 24, 2009 - 7:46am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff, GCC, schools.

An announcement from Genesee Community College that the criminal justice program at the Batavia campus will be launching a new "Student Safety Patrol" seems timely.  Just last week, a student was arrested on allegations of leaving a rifle and a shotgun laid across the front seat of his unlocked car in the campus parking lot.

Derek J. Wilson, 34, of Byron, was charged Friday with two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Deputies have already said that they did not believe Wilson to have any malicious intent. Neither weapon was loaded.

Nevertheless, the school feels it can benefit from some extra eyes on patrol on campus. In fact, it was a vigilant passer-by who spotted the guns in Wilson's car and reported the incident to campus security.

"With the increase in incidents on college campuses, we thought a Student Safety Patrol would be most beneficial," Barry Garigen, professor of Criminal Justice said. "The students gain valuable experience in working these details and enjoy providing volunteer service to the College."

Students in the criminal justice program will make up the staff of the patrol.

From the press release:

For a number of years, the Criminal Justice Club at Genesee has been providing security services at various events on campus, such as the annual Fashion Show, Rockfest, and Experience Genesee. As a result of student interest and funding from a Perkins Grant, the Criminal Justice Club was able to start the SSP. Currently, there are ten students trained and participating in the program. Students become eligible for the program when they complete the NYS Security Guard training course. The security guard training is offered several times a year through the College's BEST Center. Students who enroll in CRJ120: Intro to Security also receive the training. The next BEST Center course is being offered on March 28 from 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM at the Batavia Campus. To register for the NYS Security Guard training course, visit (the Web site).

The objectives of the new safety patrol are to enhance the level of security patrol presence, particularly in campus buildings, and ensure a high level of personal safety for those working, studying, or visiting the campus. In addition, the SSP provides an opportunity for volunteer duties for Criminal Justice students who have a career interest in law enforcement, public safety, or security. The Student Safety Patrol also assists the College's public safety staff to achieve their operational objectives and target special security and safety needs.

It is stressed that the students will be performing "non-police" functions.

Student Safety Patrollers augment Public Safety services by performing the following light security details in and around Genesee Community College:

• Patrol all campus buildings as a visible deterrent and community resource
• Assist as directed during critical incidents, at Public Safety's discretion
• Observe and report any suspicious/criminal activity observed on patrol
• Perform customer service duties when required
• Audits of campus lighting, emergency phones, access card systems
• Fire safety equipment checks
• Assist with control of vehicle/pedestrian traffic during events
• Safe-walk (escort) service provided as requested
• Perform the receptionist function in Public Safety as assigned
• Other duties as assigned

Student volunteers are still needed for the remainder of the spring 2009 semester and for the fall 2009 semester. For further information or to join the SSP program, contact Barry Garigen, Criminal Justice professor at Genesee, at 585-343-0055 x6307 or [email protected].

February 23, 2009 - 4:02pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, consolidation, seneca falls.

BATAVIA, N.Y. — Batavia could learn a thing or two from Seneca Falls. The town and village of Seneca Falls have become the centerpiece of a statewide campaign of the Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who claims that merging municipalities saves taxpayers money.

As the city and town of Batavia pull up their sleeves and really get serious about consolidation—we've all seen the flow chart!—it might benefit to step back and take a look at how things are going over in Seneca County. Officials over there seem to be following the exact same process as our own. They even hired the Center for Governmental Research as a consultant to study the potential merger.

And ever since the initial research came out in November, Cuomo has been promoting the potential $978 savings in property taxes per year for Seneca Falls homeowners. But... it turns out, it's not so black and white.

From an article in today's Democrat & Chronicle:

A closer look at the potential savings in abolishing this Seneca County village of about 7,000 people and having the town take over its functions shows far more modest overall savings than suggested by Cuomo — with other taxpayers paying more as village taxes go down. Seneca Falls also has some unique circumstances that mean its potential savings would be hard to duplicate elsewhere.

"In almost every case, these changes involve a tax shift from village to town taxpayers," said Charles Zettek, vice president of the Center for Governmental Research, who studied the Seneca Falls project and came up with the figure Cuomo quotes.

According to Zettek's figures, abolishing the village, while saving village taxpayers an average of $978 a year, would increase the levy on town residents who live outside the village, who now pay almost no town taxes, by $375. The figures are based on property worth $100,000.

In addition, another big chunk of the savings would come from a $495,000 state grant designed to encourage government consolidations — in effect, a shift in costs from village to state taxpayers.

Maybe that's a question we need to put to our own leaders. In the CGR report put together for the Batavia consolidation, we can read that taxpayers stand to reap a savings of 15 percent on their property taxes. Well, to be more specific, the document reads that consolidation would "reduce the combined property tax levy of the City and Town by 15% per year." So what does that mean for town residents? Will city residents get a reduction while town residents see an increase?

What about this quote from Zettek—not too heartening:

"This whole thing is an art form, figuring out who benefits and who doesn't," said Zettek, who said that generally government-merger plans can trim expenses "in the 2.5 percent to 5 percent range."

Well, if it's an art form, why did we hire bureaucrats to do it?

Or what about this statement from the village administrators:

"In terms of savings from shared services, you're really talking about nickels and dimes," said village administrator Connie Sowards, whose job would be abolished if the plan goes through. "The big thing is the cost shift."

I would suggest reading the whole article by Jay Gallagher. It's quite informative. Don't about most folks, but I'm all for the idea of consolidation, but it seems more and more that the devil is in the details, none of which have yet been definitively worked out.

Let's hope the upcoming "plan" can really spell things out for us.




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