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May 14, 2018 - 7:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, schools, education, news.

The Batavian emailed candidate questions to all 17 candidates in Genesee County's eight school districts that are holding elections on Tuesday. Only four returned completed questionnaires. 

This is the response from Lorna Klotzbach, a candidate for the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District Board. There are two other candidates in the race: Tim Edgerton, who also answered our questions, and Douglas Esten, who did not.

1. What is your position on your school district’s proposed budget for 2018-19? What parts do you support? What parts would you change if you could?

I will vote “yes” on the budget for 2018-2019. There are allocations of funds in it that I would change. I would reduce administrative and other costs in favor of maintaining good academic programs that are now in place, but which are being cut in the new budget. I would change the way our computer technology monies are being spent because I have not seen benefits from several of the BOE’s 2017-2018 technology spending decisions, and doubt the wisdom of some of their new budget decisions as well. 

2. Are teachers in your district compensated adequately?

Teachers at OACS are compensated adequately for most things that we do. Of course, we all tend to want more than we have! We have difficulty finding competent substitute teachers so when we do find competent ones, those individuals should be paid more for their competence. My major disagreement with OA teacher compensation is that some non-athletic extra-curricular positions are not compensated at a rate equal to the athletic coaches. Many of these positions require as much time, creativity and student-teacher interaction as the athletic coaching positions do. Since many of these positions are, perhaps, more likely to prepare students for future successes in college, career, and character, they deserve as much compensation as the athletic positions.

3. Parents are more nervous than ever about school safety. Is your district’s communication to parents about school safety policies and procedures adequate? Should parents and the community be informed when a student makes a threat of violence against the school?

OACS administration keeps their public informed of threats to student safety. OA administration makes use of the “robo-calling” system and letters/emails to inform parents of problems as they become aware of such problems. If upon investigation, threats made by students seem to be credible, then the public should be informed. In our small community, many people are interested in, and affected by, the school’s schedule so our district’s notification system would be more effective if it was extended to residents who are not also parents or teachers.

4. Are you satisfied that your district responds to parents’ complaints and concerns in a way that ensures the parents know they have been heard?

There are many stakeholders in our district, including parents. There are also teachers and students who are most affected by BOE and administrators’ policy and daily decisions. Our district could improve its response to all stakeholders’ complaints, compliments, and concerns.

5. What two books published since The Enlightenment have influenced you the most?

The two books published since the Enlightenment that have influenced me the most have been modern translations of the Bible, and “Hawaii,” by James Michener. I followed my siblings’ example and read that big novel while still very young. It taught me to read more than just the dialogue pages. It opened up to me the influences of history, geography, cultural norms, and politics on regular people’s daily lives. I read books much differently after I grappled with all of the novel’s “other pages” of description and discovered the wealth they could deliver. The modern translations of the Bible challenged and deepened my Christian faith beyond a childlike conformity to my family’s norms. The modern language Bible showed me a living God.

May 14, 2018 - 7:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, schools, education, news.

The Batavian emailed candidate questions to all 17 candidates in Genesee County's eight school districts that are holding elections on Tuesday. Only four returned completed questionnaires. 

This is the response from Tim Edgerton, a candidate for the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District board. There are two other candidates in the race: Lorna Klotzbach, who also answered our questions, and Douglas Esten, who did not.

1. What is your position on your school district’s proposed budget for 2018-19? What parts do you support? What parts would you change if you could?

Upon my review of the Oakfield-Alabama 2018-19 proposed budget I believe that it represents a collaborative effort by school officials to present a fiscally responsible budget to the community. The budget allows the district to maintain academic programming as well as continue to offer a variety of extracurricular activities to engage our students. Resources appear to have been appropriately allocated where the needs of the district are indicated. As costs continue to rise, the district must adjust resources to cover operating costs. Preparing and enacting a budget is a constant juggling act that requires oversight by school officials and community members. From last year’s budget to this year’s budget there has only been a slight increase in overall spending and the tax levy. I concur with the budget that is proposed, and at this time I would not make any changes to it.

2. Are teachers in your district compensated adequately?

This is a complicated issue because it involves a budget process and reliance in large part on the school aid that we receive from Albany. It is without hesitation that I agree that entry-level salaries for teachers could be improved upon, (as well as pay increments throughout their tenure), not only here at OA but across the nation. Unfortunately, the demands of a responsible school budget along with a decreasing tax base hinders administrators and school boards and diminishes the flexibility in this area.

3. Parents are more nervous than ever about school safety. Is your district’s communication to parents about school safety policies and procedures adequate? Should parents and the community be informed when a student makes a threat of violence against the school?

Overall the school district does a good job keeping the community/parents informed about situations involving student safety. Practice drills involving school lockdown are conducted throughout the school year. Security enhancements continue to be implemented/upgraded accordingly; parents are notified and brought into the loop regarding student safety issues promptly and as necessary. As is always the case, there is always room to enhance current procedures and communication. This is an area that requires school officials and Board of Education members to be extremely proactive. They must continue to seek out best practices across the world, and where possible, implement them accordingly.

4. Are you satisfied that your district responds to parents’ complaints and concerns in a way that ensures the parents know they have been heard?

I feel that the school administration and teaching staff do a sufficient job in addressing parents concerns regarding their children and situations that develop within the school. However, there are always opportunities to improve the methods and processes that are utilized. School officials should be encouraged to continuously seek out best practices that are utilized by other school districts throughout the nation and explore implementing them.

5. What two books published since The Enlightenment have influenced you the most?

The two books that have influenced me the most are The Carrot Principle by Adrian Robert Gostick, and Chester Elton, and Pyramid for Success by John Wooden. From The Carrot Principle, I absorbed the importance of positive reinforcement and recognition. Everyone, be they teachers or students, need and should be given recognition for achievements and going above and beyond the call of duty. Pyramid of Success I believe is an excellent guide through, and preparation for life. It emphasizes the importance of an individual’s character, which I believe is all-important, especially an individual’s character when no one is looking. If the principles in this book were appropriately applied in a school setting, I believe that administration, faculty, and students, could all achieve maximum potential.

May 13, 2018 - 1:34pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts, Oakfield, oakfield-alabama, news.

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When John Igoe Jr. needed a project for his Eagle Scout Badge, he knew exactly what he wanted to do.

John Jr. had struggled in the classroom during his early years, his mom Debbie Igoe said. And he wanted to do something for his school.

John Jr. and his family had visited relatives in Poughkeepsie, where they saw an outdoor classroom. John Jr. thought it would be great to build one at Oakfield-Alabama Central School, which might benefit other kids who had trouble focusing in a regular classroom environment.

John Jr. discussed it with school Superintendent Mark Alexander, who also thought it was a great idea, and then the Scout presented it to the school board, which gave its approval.

John Jr. comes from a long line of Scouts. His dad is an Eagle Scout, as are two of his uncles, Andrew Igoe, of Poughkeepsie and Matt Igoe, of Lake Katrine. His grandfather James Igoe Jr., of Poughkeepsie, was a Scoutmaster for 35 years.

John Jr. is a member of Troop 6066 at Indian Falls United Methodist Church. His Scoutmaster is Laverne Lamkin and Assistant Scoutmaster is Scott Allen. John Jr. started his Eagle Scout project almost two years ago. He got support from the entire community, as well as help from family and a lot of friends, he said.

Ray Smith, of Oakfield, provided equipment to clear land near the school’s nature trail; Aron Kehlenbeck, who owns a portable sawmill, sawed the trees; Seaman’s Hardware donated hardware; Shuknecht’s donated metal brackets, and posts were donated by Home Depot and Genesee Lumber.

John Jr. said he wanted to join Scouts because it was his family’s heritage, but he also wanted to do it for himself.

“A lot of people helped me and kept me in,” he said. “I was in a very active troop, which had an outing almost every month. They became like family to me.”

John Jr.’s mother presented her son’s Eagle Award, after which Andrew gave the Eagle Charge and Matt gave the Eagle Pledge.

The Scout then gave his parents a gift to honor them for helping him get where he is today. He also recognized Scott Allen for being his mentor.

Special speakers included Assemblyman Steve Hawley, John Hilchey and Jason Armbrewster.

John Jr. plans to attend New York's Clarkson University after graduation to study Mechanical Engineering.

Top photo: John Igoe Jr., of Oakfield, poses with his family prior to receiving his Eagle Scout Badge Saturday at Oakfield-Alabama Central School for constructing an outdoor classroom. From left are his uncle James Igoe, of Beacon, dad John Igoe, of Oakfield, John Jr., uncles Andrew Igoe, of Poughkeepsie, and Matt Igoe, of Lake Katrine, (both Eagle Scouts); and grandfather James Igoe Jr., of Poughkeepsie.

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Above, John Igoe Jr., left, his father John Igoe, and Assistant Scoutmaster Scott Allen prepare for John Jr.’s Eagle Scout ceremony Saturday in the outdoor classroom he built on Oakfield-Alabama Central School’s nature trail.

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Above,John Igoe Jr., center, poses with his parents John and Debbie Igoe, of Oakfield, prior to a ceremony Saturday in which he received his Eagle Scout Badge. John’s father and two uncles are also Eagle Scouts.

May 2, 2018 - 10:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, oakfield-alabama, sports, softball.

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Madison LaGrou, Oakfield-Alabama Hornets, tossed a no-hitter yesterday in softball on her way to striking out her 400th hitter during her high school career.

The Hornets beat the Pembroke Dragons, 5-0.

Submitted photo.

March 1, 2018 - 11:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, sports, basketball.

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Oakfield-Alabama's fine season, which included 19 wins, came to a disappointing end Wednesday night in the Class D1 Section V semifinal playoff game against South Seneca.

The #4 seeded South Seneca knocked off the #1 seeded Lady Hornets 68-44.

Brianna Smith scored 16 points for O-A and Kylie Schlagenhauf scored 15.

In the girls' Class C1 semifinal, also played Wednesday night, Notre Dame beat Red Creek 52-48. 

Margaret Sutherland and Callie McCulley each scored 12 points, Natalie Thornton scored 11, Morgan Rhodes scored nine and Stevie Wilcox scored eight. Wilcox had 13 rebounds and Thornton had 10.

In girls' basketball tomorrow, Elba plays for the Class D2 championship in Gainsville against Andover at 6 p.m. 

Pavilion plays Saturday against Wheatland-Chili for the Class D1 championship in Letchworth at 8 p.m.

Notre Dame vies for the Class C1 championship in Rush-Henrietta at 3 p.m., Saturday, against Letchworth.

In boys' basketball, the lone Genesee County team still in the hunt for a sectional championship is Pembroke, who take on Northstar Christian for the Class C1 championship at 5 p.m. tomorrow at Blue Cross Arena.

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December 22, 2017 - 11:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD, news, oakfield-alabama.

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Students in Stephanie Clark's first-grade class at Oakfield-Alabama Elementary School visited Batavia PD last night to drop off Christmas presents to thank the police officers for their service to the community.

The presents were sponsored by the Buffalo Bills as part of the team's Classroom Champions program.

The program pairs up Buffalo Bills players with classes of schoolchildren throughout WNY. The mentors for Clark's class this year have been Colton Schmidt and Preston Brown. Throughout the year, Schmidt and Brown had sent monthly lessons for the students to complete. On Tuesday, the students got to travel to Buffalo to meet the players.

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November 7, 2017 - 3:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, sports.

Press release:

Four Oakfield-Alabama graduates were recently inducted into the O-A Alumni Hall of Fame.

Selection for the OA Alumni Hall of Fame is based on achievement after leaving OACS which includes a worthy record in more than one, and exemplary achievement in at least one of the following: job-related achievements; professional honors and awards; professional affiliations; publications; civic or community involvement; personal achievements/accomplishments; and positive impact on the communities in the Oakfield-Alabama School District.

The 2017 inductees are:

Joe Cassidy -- ‘62

After graduating from OACS, Joe served his country in the Vietnam War as a member of the Army Signal Corps. His military service earned him numerous ribbons, awards and medals.

Joe is a member of Hiram G. Luhman Post 626 the American Legion, where he has held several offices, a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 273 and is currently the Post Commander, a life member of Chapter 166 Disabled American Veterans, and a member of the Genesee County Joint Veterans Honor Guard.

Joe is a 50-year member of the Alabama Volunteer Fire Department where he been president and fire chief. He is a life member of Western New York Volunteer Fireman’s Association. Joe also served his community as a three-term councilman on the Alabama Town Board, Alabama Town Historian, and president of the Alabama Historical Society, as well as a member of Association of Public Historians of New York State and Government-Appointed Historians of Western NY. 

Joe's passion preserving the history of his beloved hometown of Alabama, New York, included authoring books preserving records of Civil War soldiers, and many aspects of local history such as schools, churches, government, one on early accounts of crime in Alabama and one on recorded tales of “offbeat history.” He has researched and documented the lives of individuals from the town of Alabama who have distinguished themselves in their chosen field.

Joe headed up the acquiring and erection of a Veterans Memorial in the Town of Alabama which was dedicated on Aug. 5th.

Michael Cianfrini -- '92

Michael graduated University of Albany in 1996 with a BA degree, earning his Juris Doctor from University of Pittsburgh Law School in 1999.

He was a practicing attorney in Pittsburgh for five years before moving back to Oakfield in 2004 to enter the general practice of law with his father with the Cianfrini Law Firm LLP.

Michael was elected as Genesee County Clerk in 2013, after serving for 10 years as a councilman on Oakfield's Town Board, including three years as town supervisor. Michael was selected for Cornell Cooperative Extension's Leadership Genesee program in 2017.

In his free time, he coaches T-ball, softball, basketball and football in the Oakfield Youth Programs.

Travis Betters -- ‘94

Travis graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Agriculture Resource Managerial Economics. In 2001, he started his company, Brothers International Food Corporation with just one employee. The company has grown to more than 40 employees and has offices in Rochester, North Carolina, Ecuador and China. 

Brothers International includes an Ingredients Division, one of the largest importers of fruit concentrates and purées in the United States; Brothers All Natural, which makes 100-percent freeze-dried healthy snacks; and Lost Vineyards, which imports ultra-value wines from across the globe.

Brothers International believes in giving back to the community and has donated to several youth, education, religious, and health charities in Genesee County and Western NY, including Wilmot Cancer Center and Golisano Children’s Hospital, home of the Travis and Katharine Betters Sibling Clubhouse, a supervised room for healthy children to enjoy, while their sibling receives care in the Hospital. 

Justin Tretter -- ‘02

Justin majored in molecular biology.at Grove City College, developing a passion for “serving the underserved” after participating in a medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic. He continued his education at St. George’s University School of Medicine, an international medical school, with students representing nearly 100 nations. Located in Grenada, West Indies, St. George’s gained him exposure to local hospitals of underdeveloped countries.

Justin returned to Western New York to complete his pediatric residency at Strong Hospital in Rochester, then moving to New York City, where he completed a three-year fellowship in pediatric cardiology at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Under the mentorship of internationally renowned cardiologists met there, he developed into a “publishing machine” with 19 publications in peer-reviewed medical journals and two textbook chapters. To put his accomplishments into perspective -- most fellows only have one or two publications at this time in their careers.  

Justin chose to move to Cincinnati for the research opportunities their program offered. He is currently working in advanced cardiac imaging and continues collaboration with his UK-based mentors. His career continues to grow with his continued devotion to global health and contributing to the advancement of the cardiovascular and medical imaging fields.

November 7, 2017 - 3:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, FFA, agriculture, Oakfield, news.

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A bit of Oakfield-Alabama Future Farmers of Amercia history was returned to the current FAA chapter at the school -- now in its second year -- at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis last month.

James Connors, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Idaho, had purchased a box of parliamentary items off of eBay and found within it a gavel inscribed with Oakfield-Alabama FFA.

When he found out O-A FFA would be at the convention, he reached out and at first members thought it was maybe a sales pitch, but after a little investigation, agreed to meet. Connors presented them with the gavel that must have belonged to the prior FFA chapter at the school.

Connors presented the gavel to OAE FFA President John Igoe, Secretary Lauren Reding, Reporter Karly Smith and Julia Uhrinek.

“We are thrilled to have a piece of Oakfield-Alabama FFA history back in our possession at school,” said FFA advisor Todd Hofheins.

Chapter members would like to learn more about the history of the gavel. If you know anything about it email [email protected] or call the school at 585.948.5211, ext. 4010.

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September 1, 2017 - 11:11am
posted by alex brasky in football, sports, oakfield-alabama, elba.

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Oakfield-Alabama/Elba is in its second season as a merged program and has a load of senior leadership, which they hope will carry them to a resurgent season in 2017.

Season Outlook

Although I have placed O-A/E at the bottom of my Preseason Power Rankings, the potential of this team to rise in the ranks, and finish the season in contention – is strong. They finished 1-7 a year ago and anticipate a better finish this year.

OA/E not only returns their starting quarterback, but also have numerous names coming back along the line of scrimmage, and a strong stable of backs – who served as backups last season. This year, it will be the O-A/E skill players’ time to shine and lead their team out of the depths of despair.

It can take a few years for a newly merged program to come together and reach their full potential. This year, in my mind, will serve as a stepping stone toward that end.

Key Matchups

Week 2 – Notre Dame

The Irish are an old-time rival of both Oakfield and Elba. Both sides will get up for this game. 

Week 5 – Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen

Byron-Bergen was previously merged with Elba before the Lancers began their relationship with Oakfield. Does any bad blood remain between the two sides?

Week 6 – Holley

Another winnable game for O-A/E.

Key Players

Colton Dillon (QB)

Colton is going into his second year under center for O-A/E, but has been learning a new system as he prepares for Week 1. He will be important for this team if they hope to achieve success.

Gage Dieterle (RB/LB)

Gage has been given a more important role this season as the team’s starting RB.

John Igoe (OL/DL)

John will help anchor a senior-laden line.

Cam Smith (OL/DL)

Cam will also help anchor the defensive and offensive trenches for O-A/E. 

Coach’s Quote

“The O-A/E Football Team looks to make vast improvements in their second year of the new merger,” said Head Coach Mike Cintorino. “With new systems being installed on both sides of the ball and significant buy in from the athletes, the program looks to once again compete for a league title and find their way back to sectionals.

"Although this is a very young team, many of the players have varsity experience and will look to utilize that throughout the season. Now being part of the Livingston-Genesee Region Conference will provide a good test for the O-A/E Football team while holding on to the many rivarlies of the old Genesee Region.”

June 8, 2017 - 8:47am
posted by Maria Pericozzi in news, Oakfield, Alabama, oakfield-alabama.

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Under the direction of technology teacher and welding instructor Brian Cray, students from Oakfield-Alabama Middlle-High School designed, cut, laid out and welded gate racks for the Genesee County Agricultural Society and Genesee County 4-H Sheep Club. 

Tim Adams, owner and operator of Adams Welding and Fabrication in Stafford, donated the materials for the projects. Students practiced welding for 18 weeks to sharpen their skills before creating six racks, each being 4 feet long, 4 feet wide and 3 feet high. 

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June 6, 2017 - 5:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in softball, sports, oakfield-alabama, Oakfield.

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Oakfield-Alabama Girls 12-U All-Star Softball Team Captures 1st-Place in Avon Tournament

What: Alan Bailey Softball Tournament

Where: Avon Driving Park

When: Saturday 06.03.2017

Game #1: 

Oakfield-Alabama Hornets – 8

Avon – 1

Game #2:

Oakfield-Alabama Hornets – 5

Victor Vipers (Black) – 4

Championship Game:

Oakfield-Alabama Hornets – 9

Victor Vipers (Pink) – 7

Oakfield-Alabama Hornets - Tournament Division MVP (2nd MVP Award in the past 3-years) – Jenna Gilbert (Pitched 3 amazing games!!!)

Oakfield-Alabama Tournament All-Stars - Makena Reding & Caitlin Ryan

Coaches:

Teresa Tobolski

Mike Cianfrini

Dusty Reding

 

Players:

Caitlyn Kotarski

Josie Reding

Jenna Gilbert

Makena Reding

Andrea Bradt

Kara Tobolski

Josephine Carabello

Caitlin Ryan

Katie Raziano

Brooke Reding

McKenna Johnson

Sophia Cianfrini

Kayleigh Williams

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May 21, 2017 - 3:51pm

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The Genesee County Magistrates Association elected its first female president this year, Patricia Buczek, a justice in the Town of Alabama.

As president, Buczek will disseminate information that comes down from the New York State Magistrates Association or the Office of Court Administration.

“My goal would be to try to encourage more participation and awareness of changes,” Buczek said. “Whenever there’s a change in legislation, all the judges have to be on board.”

 Buczek grew up in Akron and currently works for Oakfield-Alabama High School in the computer lab. She is the webmaster and the yearbook advisor.

In 2004, she became a clerk for the Town of Alabama and later became a judge in 2010 when the judge at the time retired.

She then served as the secretary of the Genesee County Magistrates Association for six years, up until she was nominated as the president-elect. According to the Genesee County Magistrates Association website, there are 33 members currently.

The Genesee County Magistrates Association meets the second Saturday of every month.

Buczek said her job as president is primarily serving as a liaison.

“As the association president, you make sure information is out to everybody,” Buczek said. “You run the meeting and make sure everyone’s training components are taken care of.”

Buczek said a lot of people don’t understand that the job is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. She said she is hoping they will be able to do centralized arraignments, which would help streamline the process.

“I think a lot of people aren’t aware of the components for a town justice,” Buczek said. “We don’t prosecute felonies. We are the initial court. We can do an arraignment for a felony but we can’t prosecute a felony.”

According to the New York State Magistrates Association, they exist to “develop better methods and desirable improvements in the administration of the magistrate’s courts; to promote education and interchange of ideas and experiences of magistrates to that end; and to promote appropriate legislation for these purposes.”

Buczek said the town court is the court closest to the people.

“Your town elects you and that person takes care of your town,” Buczek said. “They are responsible for the justice in that town. I don’t think people remember that or are clear on that as much as they used to be.”

May 16, 2017 - 10:42pm

Batavia City School District:

Budget - $49,870,585 (increase of $5,504,146 or 12.41%: $0.00 increase in tax levy)
Yes - 374 (81.84%)
No  - 83 (18.16%)

Establish $7.5 Million 10 Year Capital Reserve 2017 -
Yes -  370 (80.96%)
No -    87 (19.04%)

Board of Education positions (2):
Two terms from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020 
Barbara Bowman, 293
Tanni Bromley, 279

 

Oakfield-Alabama Central School District
Proposition #1-Budget
Yes:  297
No: 53

Proposition #2-Buses
Yes: 290
No: 60

Proposition #3-Athletic Equipment
Yes:  258
No: 92

Proposition #4-Capital Reserve Fund
Yes:  288
No: 59

Board Members (Three Vacancies)
Chris Haacke, 208
Bonnie Woodward, 171
Jennifer Kirkum, 170
Tim Edgerton, 162
Andrew Merkel, 142
Bruce Pritchett      141

 

Elba Central School District

Proposition #1 Budget - $9,273,839
Yes: 136
No: 26

Proposition #2 – Authorization to establish the 2017 General Capital Reserve Fund 
Yes: 132
No: 29

Proposition #3 – Authorization to appropriate and expend from Transportation Vehicle and Equipment Capital Reserve to purchase one (1) 65 passenger school bus
Yes: 134
No: 28

Two Board of Education seats with two candidates running:
Travis Torrey, 149
Michael Augello, 134

 

Byron-Bergen Central School District

Proposition 1, Budget
Yes: 327
No: 153

Proposition 2:  Bus purchase
Yes: 340
No: 150

May 16, 2017 - 8:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, schools, education, Oakfield, news.

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The day at Oakfield-Alabama Elementary School was dedicated to leadership, with several classroom events built around themes from Stephen Covey's book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," such as "Think Win Win," "Be Proactive," Put 1st Things 1st," and "Begin with the End in Mind."

There were also musical performances from both middle school and high school students, and a talent show, along with a student-parent picnic in the gym.

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May 13, 2017 - 11:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, Oakfield, sports, baseball, news.

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There was no rain today, but there were a few tears. There were also memories and smiles as Coach Dan Gilbert was honored by his former colleagues and players in a ceremony on the field where he won games and molded men for more than a decade.

The ballpark will now be known as the Daniel Gilbert Memorial Field.

Gilbert passed away March 1 at the age of 47.

"It’s with mixed emotion that I say I’m the varsity baseball coach here at Oakfield-Alabama this year," said Nathan Klos, who took over the varsity team this season after Gilbert's passing. "On one hand, it’s a dream come true for me to come home to the program that built me and that has a great tradition in this community. On the other hand, Dan and I were supposed to coach these boys together this year."

The stories Klos told during his remarks were the stories that perhaps encapsulate the impact Gilbert had on the community. Gilbert became his P.E. coach when Klos was in the first grade and taught him sports and fitness until fifth grade. Klos spent his middle school years looking for ways to impress Gilbert, hoping it might serve him well when his turn came to play varsity baseball.

Gilbert put him on the varsity squad just before the end of the regular season in Nate's sophomore year and it was Klos who came to bat in a Section V playoff game with the game on the line, down by one run, runners on first and second, and on a 3-2 pitch, Klos delivered the decisive base hit and won another Section V championship for the Hornets.

Klos said it was the biggest highlight of his baseball life, and one made possible, because he knew, he said, that Gilbert believed in him.

Klos, Brandon Hall, and James Patrick all said Gilbert was the kind of coach who made great players better and elevated the lesser athletes into top contributors. He had a way of making every player believe that he believed in him.

"He got the very best out of every single us one of us," Hall said. "He focused hard and had more determination than any player actually on the field."

Patrick said Gilbert taught him how to be a family man and how to be a coach.

"One thing that is always in our lives that shows today is the support we have for each other because of an amazing man," Patrick said. "He was a loyal, hard-working guy who believes what is right is right and what wrong is wrong and he always treated kids fairly."

Gilbert was a 1987 graduate of O-A and returned to the school after college to be a teacher's aide and Special Ed instructor. After a stint in another job, he returned and became a teacher and coach.  

He loved baseball and his former players described a man who knew the game better than anybody they've met. That passion, they said, came through.

Sue Gilbert said the family will always be grateful for the day in his honor and the field that will carry on his memory.

"Our hope is that all who knew Dan will remember the passion he had for life," Sue Gilbert said. "Whether he was teaching his students, coaching his players or loving and caring for our children, he stayed true to what he believed -- the belief that every child had the potential to be great. Dan had a passion for helping each child become just that, through hard work, determination and drive. His students and athletes overcame obstacles and learned to believe in themselves."

Such a humble man, Superintendent Mark Alexander suggested, might not expect a day like today.

"I’m not sure how Dan would feel about the celebration here today, but he’s earned it and it’s well deserved," Alexander said.

Hall, who played for Gilbert from 1989 through 2003, thought maybe Gilbert was looking down on the day and making sure just this one time, rain didn't ruin something good.

"There’s only two times in all the years I played for him where I seen him upset," Hall said. "That was my freshman year after we lost in a torrential downpour. We had a stellar team and we would have went to states that year. The second time was my senior year, the day we got rained out at states. We were fired up and he was more fired up than anybody. I was watching the weather forecast this week and saw it was going to rain and I thought, ‘you know what, there ain’t no way he’s going to let that happen.' The two times I seen him the saddest was then. He ain't going to let that happen to us today and sure enough," he said as he held his palm skyward, "look."

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Mark Alexander, superintendent

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Jeff Schlagenhauf, athletic director

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Brandon Hall presented Sue Gilbert with a plaque he made to commemorate the day.

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James Patrick

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Sue Gilbert

May 12, 2017 - 9:10am

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Members of the Genesee Symphony Orchestra visited Oakfield-Alabama Elementary School yesterday to meet with students from each grade to talk with them about classical music and the instruments they use. Above, Bob Knipe talks about his French horn. 

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Conductor Shade Zajac.

May 11, 2017 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, Oakfield, schools, education, news.

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Haily Davis, a senior at Oakfield-Alabama High School, reacts to her attempt to keep control of a car in a simulator while also texting. The simulator was part of the Save A Life Tour, which stopped by O-A yesterday, giving students a chance to experience just how distracting distracted driving can me. Another simulator mimicked the difficulty and dangers of driving drunk.

Davis said the simulator really opened her eyes to how hard it is to text and drive at the same time.

"I learned that it’s not as easy to text and drive as I thought it would be and that’s it’s not just you," Davis said. "You have to be careful because of other people running red lights or other people turning when they’re not supposed to be. If you look down and swerve into the other lane you could hit somebody."

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April 29, 2017 - 7:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, Oakfield, sports, baseball, little league.

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The Oakfield-Alabama Little League kicked off its 2017 season today with a parade down Main Street in the Village of Oakfield.

Opening ceremonies also commemorated the lives of Dan Gilbert, James "Beef" Soggs, and Brayden Salvaterra.

Gilbert, baseball coach at Oakfield-Alabama High School and longtime active supporter of Little League, passed away March 1.

Soggs, dedicated to youth sports in Genesee County and a coach in Batavia, was also remembered as part of the moment of silence before the first game.

Brayden was just two weeks shy of his 6th birthday when he died unexpectedly and of a cause that has never been determined. He loved baseball and he and his dad were the third in line for Little League sign-ups for this season. 

His coach -- he played on the Washington Nationals each of the past two seasons -- Normand Fluet, purchased a bench and the Town of Oakfield installed it overlooking one of the T-ball fields with a commemorative plaque.

"The final product is full of memories and certainly ensure that Brayden’s memory is going to live on forever," said League President Andy Merkel.

"One of the things that is great about the Oakfield and Alabama communities is that Little League is a big part of it," Merkel added. "I grew up playing in the Little League program, most of the coaches grew up in the Little League program, most of the parents grew up in the Little League program, and it’s great to see the people from throughout the community who maybe don’t have a connection any longer, don’t have a child or relative playing, but they still come out to support our program, have a hot dog and watch a baseball game. It means a lot to have that community support."

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April 21, 2017 - 4:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in FAA, agriculture, oakfield-alabama, news.

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The Future Farmers of America chapter of Oakfield-Alabama-Elba received a $5,255 grant from the Tractor Supply Company and the National FFA. 

There were requests for funds totaling $86,170 from chapters in New York and only $27,911 was awarded to winning requests, including the $5,255 provided to OAE FFA to fund its projects, including a barn at Oakfield-Alabama High School that FFA members can use to raise livestock.

This will especially help FFA members who don't have property where they can raise livestock. FFA members will be able to sell their livestock at the annual 4-H Livestock Auction at the Genesee County Fair.

April 3, 2017 - 10:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, news, Oakfield, Alabama.

Press release:

Nominations are currently being accepted for this year’s induction class of the Oakfield-Alabama Alumni Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding OACS alumni who have achieved distinction in their lives and chosen field after high school through significant contributions to their career, community or through personal achievements. 

If you know a person who meets the following criteria, please consider nominating him/her for this prestigious honor:

  1.  Nominees must be graduates of OACS or one of its predecessors, or have been active in school classes and activities during their senior year. (Nominees who left school while in good standing to perform military service are also eligible.  Deceased alumni are not eligible for induction until the fifth anniversary of the year of their death.)
  2. Nominees must have graduated prior to 2002.
  3. Selection is based on achievement after leaving OACS which includes a worthy record in more than one, and exemplary achievement in at least one of the following:
  • Job-related achievements
  • Professional honors and awards, professional affiliations, publications
  • Civic or community involvement
  • Personal achievements/accomplishments
  • Positive impact on the communities in the Oakfield-Alabama School District

Anyone may submit a nomination for any person meeting the criteria stated above. Nominations must be made during the nomination period only (March 1 – April 30) by using the Online Nomination Form or the PDF Nomination Form (see links below). Electronically submitted nominations are strongly preferred over mailed-in, hardcopy nominations.

  1. Online Nomination Form  http://www.oacsalumni.org/content/HallOfFame/NominationProcess/OnlineForm
  2. PDF Nomination Form http://www.oacsalumni.org/content_files/HallOfFame/NominationProcess/for...

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