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June 19, 2018 - 12:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, news, veterans, small business.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today criticized New York City politicians on the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for blocking a number of bills that would ease the tax burden on veterans and small businesses and increase the amount of funding that smaller municipalities receive.

“It is truly disappointing that some of our downstate colleagues do not share our priorities of making life easier for our nation’s heroes, our veterans, and starting to change the narrative of New York state as the tax capital of the country,” Hawley said.

“These are common-sense bills, many of which have bipartisan support, which New York City politicians will not even allow to reach the floor for a debate and discussion. In the waning days of session, I will continue to fight for our veterans, homeowners, small-businesses and seniors against misguided priorities coming from Assembly leadership.”

A complete list of bills that were blocked is as follows:

A.6558: Extends the period during which the county of Genesee is authorized to impose a county recording tax on certain mortgage obligations until November 1, 2019.

A.8040: Relates to enhanced aid and incentives for municipalities.

A.1740: Relates to exempting cranes from the petroleum business tax.

A.1783: Provides a tax credit in the amount of certain fees charged in connection with loans under the federal home loan guarantee program to National Guard and reserve veterans.

A.1559: Creates a tax exemption for leasing of certain aircraft used for flight schools.

A.1682: Relates to creating a local food and products sourcing tax credit.

A.1693-a: Creates a wage tax credit for employers who employ New York National Guard men and women, reservists, volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel.

A.1561: Prohibits the transfer of unexpended moneys from funds receiving moneys from a dedicated fee into any other fund.

A.1565: Exempts veterans 85 years of age and older from the obligation to pay New York state income tax.

A.1616: Exempts compensation for active military service from inclusion in a resident's adjusted gross income under certain circumstances.

A.1617: Prohibits the New York state Department of Taxation and Finance from charging a fee for applications for a certificate of registration pursuant to a reregistration program.

A.1645: Relates to compensation of certain district attorneys; requires the state to reimburse the counties for the entire cost of any increase in the annual salary of a district attorney due to an increase in the annual salary of a justice of the Supreme Court or a county judge; appropriates $1,600,000 therefor.

June 10, 2018 - 7:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Flag Day, va center, batavia, news, veterans.

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Veterans residing at the Batavia VA Medical Center were honored today as part of a Flag Day ceremony that included the reading of three essays about the flag by students of Batavia Middle School.

The winning essay was written by Harrison Southall (second photo):

What the American Flag means to me? Well, it stands for hope in my eyes. In America's history, when battles were fought there would be a flag bearer who would hold our flag with his life. If he got shot, he still held it. If he got killed, someone else would just drop their gun and pick up the flag because they knew they were fighting for our country. The flag shows that America never gives up and shows brave soldiers that hope is never lost even in the worst times, and that is what makes the flag special.

Organizing the event was spearheaded by Frank Panepento and ended with a medley of patriotic songs from a brass band.

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Assistant Principal Maureen Notario with a binder full of all the essays submitted by students of Batavia Middle School. The book was presented to World War II veteran Leo Pelton, who is 99 years old (below).

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June 9, 2018 - 9:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in bergen, veterans, news.

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A new granite monument honoring the men and women from Bergen who served their country in the U.S. military was dedicated in a ceremony today following the Bergen Park Fest parade.

Bob Bausch, chairman of the County Legislature and its Bergen representative, was among the speakers and he recalled walking through the park recently and looking at the names on the memorial.

"I looked at the list of the wars," Bausch said, "and I knew somebody from every one of those conflicts, even from World War I — I knew some of the old guys when I was a kid, so it means a lot to me, these efforts being made."

American Legion Commander Thomas Williamson reminded the crowd gathered for the ceremony to remember the veterans who served as they enjoyed the fireworks planned for later in the night; and American Legion Adjutant Gary Hilbert said the memorial honors those who served in times of war and times of peace and those who never returned.

"Today we make our Founding Fathers and those who came before us proud," Hilbert said. "Our liberties and values stand safe because of brave men and women who have been ready to face the fire. We thank God for each and every one of them."

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June 5, 2018 - 12:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, Announcements, veterans, Flag Day.

Press release:

This Sunday, June 10, the public is invited to the Batavia VA Medical Center for a special ceremony to honor the American flag.

The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. honoring those service men and women who have fought to protect that flag and our country.

There will be a motorcycle procession, Special Presentation of Colors, and a special thank you from the Batavia Middle School to honor Mr. Leo Pelton (98 years young) for his service in World War II.

"Let's Ride" -- motorcyclists carrying the names of our fallen warriors listed on Batavia's memorial wall -- will gather at Stan's Harley-Davidson, 4425 Saile Drive, Batavia, at 11:30 a.m. for the noon memorial ride to the Batavia VA Medical Center. They will present those names to the veterans in the hospital to let them know they are not forgotten and present a new American flag on their behalf to the hospital.

Essays will be read by the student winners from BMS who won the essay contest on “What the American Flag Means to Me.“ 

St. Joseph’s of Batavia Brass Ensemble will perform its patriotic/military set for the VA patients and the general public.

It promises to be a great afternoon! Come on out and be part of this special celebration. Help us make this a very special Thank You to our veterans and service people!

The Batavia VA Medical Center is located at 222 Richmond Ave. in the City of Batavia.

Next week is National Flag Week. Flag Day is Thursday, June 14. The National Flag Day Foundation holds an annual observance for Flag Day on the second Sunday in June, which includes a ceremonial raising of the national flag, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, singing of the National Anthem, a parade and other patriotic events.

June 2, 2018 - 8:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in The Ridge NY, Frost Ridge, news, music, entertainment, veterans.

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The American Warrior Concert at The Ridge NY in Le Roy is a two-day festival celebrating and honoring veterans that includes music, activities, and access to services for veterans.

The first few photos are of the band Ball Cheeze Psychotics, as a picture of Tetelestai and of Zach Burgess. In all, more than two dozen musical acts played on the two stages set up for the event.

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May 31, 2018 - 6:29pm

Press release:

The Zonta Club of Batavia-Genesee County is seeking donations for their current community project of Personal Care Packages being assembled for both victims of domestic violence and for female veterans.

Items needed to complete care packages are: Full-size shampoo, full-size conditioner, lotions, toothpaste, dental floss, deodorant, female sanitary items, tissues, journals, socks, nail polish, hairbrushes/combs, and shower loofahs. Zonta Club of Batavia-Genesee’s goal is to assemble a total of 100-200 care packages.

Items may be dropped off to Beth Kemp at T-Shirts Etc., 37 Center St., Batavia, by June 15th. For further details and/or questions regarding the personal care packages contact Beth Kemp at 585-993-7747 or [email protected]

About Zonta: Founded in 1919, Zonta International seeks to empower women worldwide by improving the legal, political, economic, educational, health and professional status of women at the global and local levels through service and advocacy.

With the generosity and collective action of Zontians and friends around the world, Zonta International has supported projects in 57 countries, provided scholarships and awards to women around the world, and been a powerful advocate for change in our local and international communities.

May 26, 2018 - 3:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, news, Memorial Day, veterans.

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Today, Alexander students assisted local veterans in placing U.S. flags on the gravesites of deceased military personnel at the cemetary in Alexander.

Photos submitted by Eric Radder.

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May 25, 2018 - 4:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, Memorial Day, veterans, armed forces, news.

Press release:

“This Monday is dedicated to the countless men and women who have given their lives to protect our freedom and way of life," said Assemblyman Steve Hawley in a special Memorial Day message today. "The American dream is uniquely cherished and we owe our gratitude to the veterans who courageously defended it throughout our nation’s history.

“As a veteran, son of a World War Two veteran and member of the Assembly’s Veterans Affairs Committee for many years, our servicemen and servicewomen have always held a special place in my heart and are an inspiration for me to keep fighting in Albany.

“As you are enjoying this special day with family and friends, I ask that you take a moment to reflect on those who have given their lives so future generations can live free and thank a veteran in your life for their service. Lastly, always remember to be safe and responsible when driving but, most importantly, have a happy Memorial Day!”

May 22, 2018 - 1:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in Memorial Day, news, veterans.

Here's the roundup of parades and ceremonies in Genesee County for Memorial Day on Monday, May 28, from William R. Joyce, director of the Genesee County Veterans Service Agency.

2018 MEMORIAL DAY PARADES and/or CEREMONIES

  • City of BATAVIA: Parade starting at 9:45 a.m. beginning at the Eastown Plaza, traveling west along Main Street to Alva Place.
  • BERGEN: Parade at 9 a.m. beginning at the Fire Hall (Routes 19 & Hunter Street), traveling south on Route 19 to Hickory Park, with ceremony to take place at the park immediately following the parade.

  • ELBA: Ceremony at Maple Lawn Cemetery at 10 a.m. No parade. The Elba Historical Society Museum will be open for tours after the ceremony.

  • ALEXANDER: Parade begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Alexander High School and travels to the cemetery on Railroad Avenue with a ceremony to take place at the cemetery following the parade.

  • LE ROY: Parade at 10:30 a.m. from the American Legion to Trigon Park with a ceremony at Trigon Park at 11 a.m. following the parade.

  • BYRON: Parade at 11 a.m. from Terry Street to Swamp Road, with a ceremony immediately following at Byron Cemetery.

  • OAKFIELD: Parade at 11 a.m. from the Oakfield Fire Department to Triangle Park, with ceremony to be held at Triangle Park.

  • CORFU: Parade at 12 p.m. from Corfu Fire Hall on Route 33 to the Intermediate School on Route 77. Ceremony immediately following the parade.

***No parades/ceremonies for the following:

Alabama / Bethany / Darien / Pavilion / Pembroke / Stafford

  • 7 a.m. --- Genesee County Park – Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVA#193)
  • 8 a.m. --- Williams Park World War I Memorial (wreath laying, rifle salute & Taps)
  • 8:30 a.m. --- Batavia VA Medical Center
  • 8:45 a.m. --- NYS Veterans Home
  • 9:30 a.m. --- Harvester Avenue Plot (wreath laying, rifle salute & Taps)
  • 10 a.m. --- Upton Monument (wreath laying, rifle salute & Taps)
  • 10:30 a.m. --- UMMC – Jerome Center – (Invocation; National Anthem w/ Batavia Concert Band; G.A.R. Order of the Day; Veterans Service Organizations Commemorations; Wreath Laying w/ Gold Star Mothers; Honor Roll w/ drum roll; Rifle Salute; Taps; Benediction; “God Bless America”)
  • 11:30 a.m. --- Glenn S. Loomis Grave – Elmwood Cemetery (Legion #193)
  • 12 p.m. --- Hansen Bros. Grave – Grandview Cemetery (MCL #951)

PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS

Hansen Brothers Marine Corps League Detachment #951

Glenn S. Loomis American Legion Post #332

Veness-Strollo Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #1602

Disabled American Veterans Chapter #166

Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #193

Sons of the Union Veterans – Abraham Lincoln Camp 6

May 21, 2018 - 2:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, news, patriot trip, veterans.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia)[center] poses with veterans of the Air Force at a memorial honoring Air Force veterans during last year’s Patriot Trip to Washington, D.C.  

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced that his 11thannual Patriot Trip to Washington, D.C., will take place Sept. 20 – 23.

More than 100 veterans and their family members participated in the 2017 trip, which included stories of valiant service members and valuable time spent together reflecting on the courage and dedication exhibited by our nation’s veterans.

Hawley is a longtime supporter of veterans and has served on the Assembly Veterans’ Affairs Committee since 2006.

Only veterans who have never been on the trip before may sign up now. After Aug. 1, veterans who have been on the trip before and those living outside of the 139thAssembly District may apply. The approximate cost of the trip is $400, which includes meals, transportation and admission to the memorials.

“The Patriot Trip is one of my favorite events throughout the year,” Hawley said. “This trip was inspired by Mike Paduzak, a World War Two veteran, who asked me to come together with local veterans and host a trip to Washington D.C.

“Through the experiences of my father, veterans I have met during previous year’s trips, and my own service in the military, I have gained a tremendous understanding and admiration for the sacrifices endured by our veterans. It is for these reasons that I continue the Patriot Trip each year and have solidified it as one of the staples of my service to our community.”

Attractions Hawley plans to visit this year on the trip include:

  • White House
  • U.S. Capitol
  • World War II Memorial
  • Gettysburg
  • Korean War Memorial
  • Vietnam War Memorial
  • Iwo Jima – The Marine Corps Memorial
  • American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial
  • Air Force Memorial
  • 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon
  • Arlington National Cemetery, including the Changing of the Guard
  • Wreath Laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

If you or a veteran you know want more information about this year’s Patriot Trip XI, please call 585-589-5780 or email[email protected].

To view photos from previous years, use the following link: http://vetsdctrip2008.shutterfly.com/

May 11, 2018 - 10:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, veterans.

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Hal Mitchell, a Vietnam Veteran who served in the Air Force, receives a certificate and service pin from Rep. Chris Collins in a ceremony at Batavia City Hall today.

Here's a press release about the event:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today hosted a Vietnam War Commemoration Event in Batavia honoring more than 50 Vietnam Era veterans and distributed commemorative lapel pins from The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. This event was part of a national effort to recognize and thank Vietnam Veterans during the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

“As we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, the memory is vivid in the minds of these outstanding individuals,” Collins said. “What our nation experienced during that time is unlike any other war, and we hold these Veterans in a very special regard.

"This was an extraordinarily humbling evening and these Veterans have my deepest gratitude for their selfless service.”

In addition to the Vietnam War Commemoration, President Donald Trump officially designated each March 29th as National Vietnam War Veterans Day to honor and thank U.S. Vietnam Veterans and their families for their service and sacrifices.

Approximately 9 million Americans, 7 million living today, served in the military from Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975. More than 58,000 Americans died while serving during the Vietnam War era.

Collins added: “I was honored to meet so many remarkable men and women this evening and plan to host similar events around my district in the future.”

The Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin is available to any veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during the period of Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location.

Veterans interested in attending future ceremonies should contact Congressman Collins district office at 716-634-2324 or visit chriscollins.house.gov.

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Michael Jones

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Alfred Rosemark

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Robert Gerke

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Gordon Crosby

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Wayne Eisenhauer

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Allen McFollins

May 5, 2018 - 10:53am

The commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Alexander is on a mission to get the Alexander School District to reconsider implementing a tax exemption for Cold War veterans.

Eric Radder spoke at Wednesday's school board meeting.

"I notice we’ve got all four service flags up here, so obviously Alexander supports its veterans," Radder said. "I’m here to discuss and implement it and bring it back as a point of discussion."

Several tax jurisdictions in the county have adopted the exemption, including the Town of Alexander and the Village of Alexander. 

Qualified veterans who apply can get an exemption on a small portion of the assessed value of their property. The typical exemption is 10 percent off the accessed value with a maximum of $6,000 exempt from the jurisdiction's property tax. In Alexander, both the town and village adopted the higher tier exemption, which is 15 percent off the accessed value with a maximum exemption of $12,000.

More than two years ago, the school district held two public forums on the proposed exemption. The first forum, said Board President Reed Pettys, was lightly attended because of a snowstorm. The next forum had 30 to 40 people attend, Pettys said, and the public was evenly divided between support and opposition.

While the perception is that the Alexander School Board voted against the exemption, Pettys said since the community was divided on the topic, the board just never took the issue up again.

Pettys agreed Wednesday night to go with another board member to the VFW's board meeting Thursday to publicly discuss the proposal again.

He said a lot has changed since the board last considered the idea -- there are two or three new board members, including one -- John Slenker  -- who is a veteran and more jurisdictions, including other school districts, have passed it.

"I think we’ll discuss it at the next meeting and see if we can get a public forum," Pettys said.

The exemption, Radder said, would help keep veterans in the community.

"You could retain the veterans who bring a set of values that they learned in their military training experience and then in return benefit the community at large," Radder said.

April 21, 2018 - 4:50pm
Information from Tracy Lyons -- team leader, American Warrior Concert, Strength In Numbers Entertainment:
 
LE ROY -- The Ridge NY in Le Roy is hosting the second annual American Warrior Concert Friday and Saturday, June 1-2, and veterans and military (active and reserve) members get FREE general admission, along with children age 12 and under.
 
Veterans and military members (active and reserve) can also opt to upgrade and get half off of VIP tickets, if they wish.
 
General admission ticket prices for the public are: One Day -- $30; One Day VIP -- $60; Both Days -- $50; Both Days VIP -- $100. There is also a ticket service fee for all ticket purchases; all sales final.
 
American Warrior Concert (AWC) is known for its "Celebration of our Troops, Veterans and American Way of Life."

This event also donates to a nonprofit veterans' organization and this year's event beneficiary is WNY Heroes Inc. It provides veterans, members of the armed services, and the widows and children of deceased veterans with access to essential services, financial assistance and resources that support their lives and sustain their dignity.
 
All ages are welcome at AWC. There will be a main stage, acoustic side stage, optional camping, VIP tent, craft beer, BBQ, vendor booths, and at least 28 bands/performers.
 
The concert is made possible by partnering with The Ridge NY and sponsorships from local businesses, including: Red Osier Landmark Restaurant; TJV Mechanical; CAM Construction; Oliver’s Candies; Livingston Associates; Batavia Legal Printing; Ken Barrett Cadillac Chevrolet; Stan's Harley Davidson; Genesee County SCOPE; Watson Guitars; Le Roy Hardware; Genesee Valley PennySaver; Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew; Orcon Industries; Crosby's Stores; Eye of Newt Tattoo; Steven Drexler Agency; Wilkins RV; Hawley Insurance; U.S. Gypsum Co.; Northwoods Sportsman Club; The Divine Tree; Andy's Pizzeria; and D&R Depot to name a few.

There will be bands from many genres of music, lots of local vendors and other organizations that serve our veterans.

An Honor Wall will be set up, with local submissions made by people wishing to honor their military friend/family heroes. With a $5 contribution, you can honor a vet. You provide pics and a bio of your vet honoree and they will post them online, and a physical wall with these displays will honor them at the concert site. To honor a vet this way, click here.

We hope to make this year's event bigger and better and would love to see more veterans come and enjoy our concert for free.
 
Veterans and military (active or reserve) click here to sign up for your free general admission show tickets.
 
To buy tickets, click here.
 
For camping info, click here. Campers receive two free general admission tickets; or they can upgrade and get 50 percent off VIP tickets.
 
For complete information online, visit Strength in Numbers Entertainment: www.strengthinnumbersent.com
 
Here's the lineup:
 
FRIDAY JUNE 1
 
MAIN STAGE

SIDE STAGE (acoustic)

SATURDAY JUNE 2

MAIN STAGE

SIDE STAGE (acoustic)

For questions or additional information, contact Tracy Lyons with AWC via email [email protected] or by phone: 585-409-3926; or contact Dan Clor, AWC founder, Strength in Numbers Entertainment via email [email protected] or by phone 714-742-0204.

March 30, 2018 - 8:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, Botts-Fiorito Post #576, American Legion, Le Roy, news.

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Members of Le Roy the American Legion Botts-Fiorito Post honored Vietnam War veterans at their Legion Hall on National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

More than 60 people attended the service, according to Adjunct Jerry Diskin.

Diskin noted the day honors veterans who generations ago were not necessarily given the respect they deserved upon their return from the war in which more than 500,000 U.S. military personnel served and where 58,200 U.S. servicemen and women lost their lives. U.S. involvement in Vietnam spanned five presidential administrations, from Eisenhower to Ford.

The last combat troops left Vietnam on March 29, 1973.

President Barack Obama proclaimed March 29 Vietnam Veterans Day in 2012. President Donald Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 last year marking March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. 

Photos by Joan Fernaays.

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March 3, 2018 - 8:03am
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, news, veterans.

Press release:

This week in Albany, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) voted against legislation that would reduce the number of days veterans would be able to take for medical leave related to their combat duties.

Gov. Cuomo signed the bill last year allowing eight days of leave in exchange for Assembly Democrats amending the law to reduce the number of days to five this year.

“These are the kinds of political games Albany politicians and the governor play with people’s livelihood,” Hawley said. “While Assembly leadership had a chance to stand strong for our veterans against the governor’s desires to cut paid leave, they capitulated per their pre-arranged backroom deal.”

The bill was introduced by Westchester County Democrat Amy Paulin, and would reduce the amount of medical leave days provided from eight down to five.

“This was a shameful day in Albany as Downstate politicians introduced a bill that reduced the number of medical leave days our veterans can take to receive treatment related to their combat duties,” Hawley said.

“We should be doing everything in our power to protect and care for our servicemen and servicewomen at home and abroad, and this is a terrible display of gratitude. I voted no on this bill and will continue to stand up for our armed forces to see they receive the time for treatment they greatly deserve.”

Hawley, a veteran of the Army Reserves and the Ohio Army National Guard, is a staunch proponent of protecting our state’s veterans and serves on the Assembly’s Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Hawley hosts the Patriot Trip each year, traveling to Washington, D.C., with local veterans and their families to visit our nation’s sites and memorials.                        

Assemblyman Hawley represents the 139th District, which consists of Genesee, Orleans and parts of Monroe County. For more information, please visit Assemblyman Hawley’s Official Website.

March 1, 2018 - 3:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, Congressman Collins, veterans.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) will host a workshop for veterans to receive information about the many services our local, state and federal agencies have to offer tonight.

Congressman Collins is planning to be at the event around 5:45 p.m. to make welcoming remarks and greet those in attendance. It will take place from 6-7:30 p.m. at Genesee County Office Building Number 2, Large Conference Room, 3837 W. Main St. Road, Batavia.

State, county and local officials will also be there and everyone is welcome to attend, especially veterans and their families.

February 19, 2018 - 3:17pm
Press release:
 
Today, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced that the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has completed the final acquisitions of an additional 60-acre parcel and a 77-acre parcel in Pembroke that is required in order for the VA to construct the new Western New York National Veterans Cemetery.
 
With the acquisitions complete, Schumer is now urging the VA to swiftly begin construction of the cemetery this year. Schumer said with the two newly acquired parcels the cemetery will effectively double in size.
 
Schumer said once constructed, the new veterans’ cemetery in Genesee County, will be the first and only of its kind in the Buffalo-Rochester area and will save thousands of military families from having to travel upward of 100 miles to visit their loved ones at what is now the closest vet cemetery in Bath.
 
Schumer said now it is vital the VA begin the cemetery’s construction.
 
“I applaud the Department of Veteran Affairs for overcoming this last impediment and acquiring these two land parcels," Schumer said "With this final hurdle cleared, I urge the VA to stick to a swift construction timetable and take the steps to begin the Western New York Veterans Cemetery construction this year."
 
"Making this cemetery a reality has been one of my top priorities, and now the VA has a clear path to begin construction. I am elated the VA heeded my calls and I look forward to seeing this project come to fruition. This cemetery's construction guarantees Western New York’s veterans will have the proper burial, at a site close to the homes, families, and the very communities they dedicated their lives to defend and serve.”
 
Previously the VA purchased a 132-acre site bordering on Indian Falls Road and State Route 77 in the Town of Pembroke as the site of the new veterans' cemetery but required these two additional parcels before construction could begin.
 
Schumer explained the new cemetery design calls for the main entrance to be built through this 60-acre parcel of land so that veterans, their families, and cemetery visitors can access the cemetery from Indian Falls Road, rather than via the busy State Route 77 corridor. Schumer said both parcels are located adjacent to the existing 132-acre cemetery site that was purchased by the VA in 2014.
 
The VA had advised last year that before the VA could acquire these two parcels needed to begin the cemetery’s construction, a buried gas line that traversed the 60-acre and 77-acre parcels needed to be plugged and then relocated. Per the timeline provided by the VA to Schumer’s office last June, the VA aimed to begin construction approximately six months after purchase of the 60- and 77-acre parcels, followed by the opening of the early turnover area for burials a year later in 2019.
February 3, 2018 - 3:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, 4-H, batavia, news.

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Genesee County 4-H hosted a Valentine-making workshop today at JOANN Fabric and Craft Store in Batavia. Children who participated made Valentine cards to distribute to local veterans.

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February 1, 2018 - 3:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in Valentine's Day, veterans, NY State Veterans Home, 4-H, news.

Submitted photos and press release:

The Genesee County 4-H Program hosted a community service card making event on Jan. 30.

4-H Staff Jessica Reisdorf and Brandie Waite along with 4-H Volunteer Julie Keller, helped coordinate and lead the event. They spoke to 4-H’ers on the importance of community service and volunteering and how they relate to citizenship.

More than 20 4-H’ers ages 7 to 15 volunteered their time to create over 50 beautiful and thoughtful handmade cards that will be distributed to the New York State Veterans’ Home in Batavia.

The youth worked together on this project with the common goal of brightening the residents' Valentine’s Day and to let them know that the community cares about them.

Genesee County 4-H members will be continuing this service project at the Batavia JOANN Fabrics store in the Valu Home Plaza on West Main Street from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 3.

To learn more about the Genesee County 4-H Youth Development Program visit our website at: http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/4-h-youth-development

January 26, 2018 - 11:15pm

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Thursday called on the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to complete final acquisitions for two 60-acre and 77-acre parcels in Pembroke and then swiftly act to begin construction of the New Western New York National Veterans Cemetery.

Currently, the VA parcel is 132 acres devoted to a veterans' cemetery. The acquisitions of the two new parcels would effectively double the size of the cemetery and would clear the way for construction of a new veterans’ cemetery in Genesee County, which will be the first and only of its kind in the Buffalo-Rochester area and will save thousands of military families from having to travel upward of 100 miles to visit their loved ones at what is now the closest vet cemetery in Bath, NY.

Schumer said it is vital the VA complete these acquisitions and commit to begin the cemetery’s construction this year.

“The acquisition of these two land parcels clears the way for the construction of the newest veterans’ cemetery in Pembroke. Making this cemetery a reality has been and remains one of my top priorities, and I will keep fighting to ensure that this project comes to fruition,” Senator Schumer said.

“It is now time for the VA to do its part to clear these final roadblocks so we can move to the construction phase ASAP; this cemetery's construction guarantees Western New York’s military veterans will have the proper burial, at a site close to the homes, families, and the very communities they dedicated their lives to defend and serve.”

Schumer explained the new cemetery design calls for the main entrance to be built through this 60-acre parcel of land so that veterans, their families, and cemetery visitors can access the cemetery from Indian Falls Road, rather than via the busy State Route 77 corridor. Schumer said both parcels are located adjacent to the existing 132-acre cemetery site were purchased by the VA in 2014.

The VA had advised last year that before the VA’s could acquire these two parcels needed to begin the cemetery’s construction, a buried gas line that traversed the 60- and 77-acre parcels needed to be plugged and then relocated. With this gas line work completed in December 2017, Schumer said it is time for the VA to finalize these acquisitions so that cemetery construction can begin this year.

Schumer added the 60- and 77-acre parcel will greatly expand the cemetery’s operational life and enable the VA to construct a cemetery more aligned with the Department’s initial vision for a 200-acre site. Per the timeline provided by the VA to Schumer’s office in June 2017, the VA aimed to begin construction approximately six months after purchase of the parcels, followed by the opening of the early turnover area for burials a year later in 2019.

Schumer has long fought to make this project a reality. In 2016, Schumer announced that following his push that $36 million in federal funding for the construction phase of the cemetery in Western New York had been included in the final continuing resolution (CR) package.

In December 2015, Schumer launched his push to get the VA to include this critical funding in the VA’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget request, to safeguard against needless delays between phases. In February 2016, Schumer announced the inclusion of this funding in the previous President’s Budget Request was a good sign for Rochester, Buffalo and all of Western New York. Schumer vowed to continue pushing for this critical federal funding to be included in the final appropriations bill. In April 2016, Schumer announced that, following his push, the $36 million in federal funding had been included in the final Senate Military Construction Appropriations Bill for the construction phase of the cemetery.

Schumer said the establishment of the nation’s newest Veterans’ Cemetery in Western New York is a long-sought and well-deserved opportunity to honor the more than 96,000 veterans and family members in this region who will have a proper military burial at a site close to their homes, families, and communities they served and defended.

This veterans’ cemetery will be the first and only of its kind in the Buffalo-Rochester area and will save thousands of military families from having to travel more than 100 miles in some cases to visit their loved ones at what is now the closest veterans' cemetery in Bath, NY. Schumer said the initial difficulties in acquiring this Western New York property took an unusually long four years and, that the final acquisitions will be needed for construction to begin.

According to guidance provided by the VA on cemetery development timelines, it can typically take up to 24 months to complete the cemetery master planning and design process. Following the completion of that phase, the construction phase typically requires 24-30 months to compete, with early-use burial areas made available approximately 12 months after the start of construction.

A list of Schumer’s actions appears below:

·         In February 2016, Schumer announced that the just-released President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2017 included $36 million in funding for the construction phase of the newest National Veterans’ Cemetery in Pembroke.

·         In December 2015, Schumer launched his push to secure federal funding for the construction phase of the cemetery.

·         In May 2014, Schumer announced that the VA had selected a site for the long-awaited Western New York Veterans’ Cemetery on a 132-acre parcel at 1232 Indian Falls Road in the Town of Pembroke, Genesee County.

·         This was the culmination of years of work beginning in 2009 when Schumer, together with various veterans' groups, led the charge to bring a much-needed veterans’ cemetery to Western New York arguing that a lack of a national veterans’ cemetery within a 75-mile radius of Buffalo and Rochester meant that it was long-past time for the 96,000 underserved veterans and family members living in Western New York to have a fitting burial option closer to home.

·         In 2010, the VA responded and announced it would establish a new veteran’s cemetery in Western New York. An updated VA policy dictated the construction of a national cemetery in areas where there are at least 80,000 veterans that reside at least 75-miles from an existing cemetery. In Western New York, there are 96,000 who live up to 100 miles away from the closest National Veterans Cemetery in Bath, NY.

·         In March 2012, after the VA failed to find suitable land to purchase following two separate solicitation attempts, Schumer wrote to then-VA Secretary Shinseki to urge that the VA put forth a clear timeline and path forward to avoid another protracted process that could come up empty. In response, the VA dispatched personnel to Western New York to conduct site visits at several sites in WNY, issued a final solicitation for sites, and developed several candidate sites for evaluation, of which one was the 132-acre site in Pembroke that the VA subsequently acquired.

·         In April 2013, Schumer organized a meeting at Daemen College with local veterans and VA officials to update Veterans on the VA’s timeline and in order for veterans to provide input to the VA.

·         In Sept 2013, Schumer wrote to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (SHPO) to urge the agency to complete an archeological cultural-resource study required in order for the VA to complete the required approvals needed to close on the purchase of the preferred Indian Falls Road site in Pembroke.

·         In May 2014, Schumer announced that the results of the archeological cultural-resource study determined a finding of “no significant impacts,” thus allowing the VA to move forward on the purchase of the preferred site on Indiana Falls Road later that month.

·         In July 2014, Schumer called on the VA to move forward on plans to acquire the adjoining 60-acre parcel that abuts the current 132-acre site. This would immediately make the cemetery nearly 50-percent larger, increase capacity, and provide better access to the cemetery for veterans’ funeral processions and visitors.

The 132-acre site on Indian Falls Road in Pembroke is located approximately 30 miles from Buffalo and 48 miles from Rochester. The cemetery will provide a fitting burial option to approximately 96,000 currently underserved veterans and family members living in Western New York. Veterans with a qualifying discharge, their spouses, and eligible dependent children may be buried in a VA national cemetery.

Also eligible are military personnel who die on active duty, their spouses and eligible dependents. Burial benefits available for all eligible Veterans, regardless of whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery, include a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate, and a government headstone or marker.

Schumer said more than 96,000 veterans and their families across Western New York from Rochester and the Finger Lakes Region to Buffalo deserve to have this cemetery constructed as soon as possible and without further impediments or unnecessary delays. Schumer said the VA must do its part to overcome the final impediments to this process for the benefit of veterans and their families who call Western New York home.

A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary appears below:

Dear VA Secretary Shulkin,

I write to request that the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) work to overcome a last remaining impediment to construction of the new Western New York National Veterans Cemetery. Namely, I urge you to complete the acquisition of the 60 acre and the 77 acre parcels in Pembroke, NY that are located adjacent to the existing 132 acre cemetery site purchased by the Department in 2014 and then swiftly act to begin construction this year. As you know, buried gas line work was requisite to VA’s acquisition of these parcels. I understand that this work was completed in December 2017, and I urge you to finalize these acquisitions and commit to begin the cemetery’s construction this year.

The cemetery design calls for the main entrance of the new cemetery to be built through this 60 acre parcel of land so that veterans, their families, and cemetery visitors can access the cemetery from Indian Falls Road, rather than via the busy State Route 77 corridor. Additionally, the 60 acre parcel and 77 acre parcel will greatly expand the cemetery’s operational life and enable the VA to construct a cemetery which more aligned with the Department’s initial vision for a 200-acre site. According to a timeline the Department provided to my office in June 2017, the VA aimed to begin construction approximately six months after purchase of the 60 and 77 acre parcels, followed by the opening of the early turnover area for burials a year later in 2019.

More than 96,000 veterans and their families across Western New York from Rochester and the Finger Lakes Region to Buffalo deserve to have this cemetery constructed as soon as possible without unnecessary delay. I urge you to immediately overcome the final impediments to this process for the benefit of veterans across the region. I thank you in advance for your attention to this matter and appreciate your consideration of my request.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

U.S. Senator

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