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October 16, 2008 - 12:07pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, agriculture.

Today's Daily News features reporter Tom Rivers' third installment in the apple orchard series that started Tuesday. That's about all for this issue.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

October 16, 2008 - 10:58am

 

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County presents:
Spanish for Agriculture Working People
 
Learn enough Spanish in 10 hours to improve communication with your Spanish-speaking agricultural employees.
 
Class Dates:
Monday, November 10, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Time:  7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
 
Fee: $125 per person
 
Where: Genesee County Cornell Cooperative Extension office
420 East Main Street, Batavia, NY 14020
 
Register: contact Jan Beglinger at 585-343-3040 ext 126 by Nov. 3.
October 10, 2008 - 3:23pm

Byron diary farmer Robin Keller, 39, has been elected the new president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau, according to the Daily News. Tom Rivers reports that Keller replaces Dale Stein, a Le Roy dairy farmer, who did not seek re-election after his four years in the position. Keller and her husband moved to the area a little less than a decade ago, looking to expand their dairy business.

"Genesee County was the ideal location for growing a farm business," she told Rivers.


Genesee County Legislature Chair Mary Pat Hancock told the Daily News that

the New York State Association of Counties is not going to sit back and allow the state to impose budget cuts without NYSAC having some say in how those adjustments are made and implemented.

County Manager Jay Gsell said that the current fiscal crisis on Wall Street could be an "opportunity for reform in Albany" by getting the state to cut back its "expenditures, jobs, services" and "unfunded state mandates"—what Paul Mrozek describes as "the albatross on the back of county governments."


Mothertime Marketplace will roll into St. Joseph's School this Saturday and Sunday. The consignment sale event that often includes everything from bedroom sets to books, will run from 10:00am to 5:00pm Saturday and from 10:00am to 3:00pm Sunday. Admission is $2 per day or $3 for both days. Some coupons are available at selected locations around the city. Visit Mothertime Marketplace online for more information. St. Joseph's School is located at the corner of Summit and East Main streets downtown.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

October 7, 2008 - 4:04pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in history, video, agriculture, elba, Elba Mucklands.

Ann Gavenda didn't only talk about the Elba History Barn when we met a few weeks back. She had some great stories to tell me about working in the muck on the Elba onion fields back in the 1940s, when her and the other girls ran into snakes, cigars, highly articulate Jamaicans and more dimes than you can shake a stick at—and she had the blisters to prove it. Without further ado:

October 7, 2008 - 3:42pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in history, video, agriculture, elba, Elba Mucklands, Elba History Barn.

A few weeks ago, I paid a visit to the new History Barn in Elba, built to store all the ancient farm equipment and other relics that were locked up in who knew how many barns all over the town and its environs. Ann Gavenda was kind enough to come down and tell me a bit about the town's new treasure and the treasures inside it. Here's what she told me:

Were you able to make out the price of a gallon of gas on the old Esso pump?

Ann didn't only tell me about the history barn. She told me a lot more about growing up in Elba and working in the muck fields. Please be sure to check out that video which should go up later this afternoon.

October 2, 2008 - 12:45pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in agriculture, Cornell Cooperative Extension, nutrition.

Many of us drive by the Cornell Cooperative Extension every day without knowing much about what goes on inside. They've got something to do with gardening. Most of us know that much. So, in the hopes of reintroducing to Genesee County what Beverly Mancuso calls our "best known secret," I sat down with Bev this morning to find out just what goes on at the extension. Here's what I learned...

"We want to focus on what no one else is doing and what we could do the best," says Bev.

That means agriculture education, which is probably priority number one for the extension. Back in the day, the Farm Bureau and the extension were one and the same, but they split off. Farm Bureau now handles all the lobbying for the agriculture community, while the extension takes care of education. They do it all, from vegetable growing to dairy production and everything in between, whether they're working hands-on with farmers or with students.

For students, the incubation program and Dairy Day are the two biggest draws. The incubation program is exactly how it sounds: incubators are brought into schools so the students can watch eggs hatch and learn about it. Dairy Day is targeted at the younger grade schoolers. For one day, they're bused out to a farm to learn everything that goes on, first-hand and up close.

Aside from working with school students, the extension also offers several courses for adults and families, most of which are free to the public. Unfortunately, not too many people are taking advantage, Bev tells me.

One of the extension's most valuable programs is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is an eight week course on how to eat better by buying smarter and more healthy foods. Anyone who wants to take this course can register at TOPS Market in Batavia. All you have to do is fill out a registration card and drop it in the box near the produce section.

What makes SNAP worthwhile? Well, for folks who complain about the high cost of doctor bills or obesity or how they can't afford to eat healthy, these courses will teach you the fundamentals on such things as food safety and portion size. You can learn how to eat better on your budget.

Speaking of your budget. The extension offers a trio of what they call "empowering" programs: one on how to save on energy costs, another on credit and debt management and a third on how to put together a spending plan to better make your ends meet.

All of these programs are free, folks. Now I can't understand why people wouldn't be taking advantage of this. I understand that we're pressed for time and money. But these programs could help you better manage both of those.

"At the end of the day, it's all about trying to make the community better," says Bev.

Classes on how to eat better and how to better manage a tight budget are sure to help out, as long as folks take advantage. It's easy to do people: visit the extension's Web site, or give them a call (343-3040), send them an e-mail or stop by at 420 E. Main St. They're happy to help out.

Oh, we almost forgot: as we said at the beginning, the extension is also about gardening. Perhaps their most popular course is the twelve-week master gardener program. This one isn't free. It costs about $250. But for folks with a desire to green their thumb, it's a great way to get some in-depth knowledge of gardening.

You may have seen the work of the extension's master gardener graduates around the county. Once they've gone through the program, many of them volunteer some time back to the extension by sprucing up gardens at sites such as the VA Medical Center or the School for the Blind.

Hopefully, that will help people get to know a little more about Genesee County's best known secret. Check back with The Batavian in the coming weeks and months as we plan to work more closely with the extension and 4-H to get up the news and happenings of our next generation.

September 22, 2008 - 3:23pm

From the Cornell Cooperative Extension:
 
October 4 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. - Unwanted Pharmaceuticals Collection. Pavilion Fire Department, 11310 S. Lake Rd. (Rt. 19), Pavilion (1 mile south of Route 63). Residents will be able to dispose of unwanted, outdated and unused medicines, both prescription and over the counter drugs, FREE OF CHARGE and anonymously. Appointments are NOT required for this event. Residents from Genesee, Livingston and Wyoming Counties are eligible to participate. Sponsored by GLOW Solid Waste 1-800-836-1154.
 
October 6th through October 11th - National 4-H Week. 4-H is the only youth development program directly connected to the technological advances and latest research of Cornell University. 4 H members learn leadership, citizenship and life skills through hands-on projects in science, engineering and technology, healthy living, or citizenship. 4-H is one of the largest youth development organizations in America with more than 6.5 million young people ages 5-19, 538,000 volunteers, 3,500 staff and 60 million alumni. Learn more about the 4-H adventure at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/.
 
October 7th at 5:30 p.m. - Achievement Night and Volunteer Recognition Event. Held at the Kennedy Building located on the Genesee County Fairgrounds on Route 5 in Batavia. This is the perfect time to see what the best kept secret in Genesee County is all about. Join the 4-H youth, dedicated volunteers, and staff as they recognize the accomplishments of the past year.

October 9th at 6p.m. - Coffee and Dessert Series: “Putting Your Garden to Bed”. Held at the Extension Building. Your gardening tasks do not end with that killing frost.  There are many things you can do in your garden to assure gardening success next spring.  Let the Master Gardeners share their knowledge and tips with you. Other titles in the series include Spring Flowering Bulbs and Winter Birds. Cost is $10 per class and limited to fifteen participants per class. Pre-register at the Extension Center, 420 East Main Street in Batavia, visit our website at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu, or contact Gail Culver at 343-3040, ext. 132 for more information.
 
October 16th from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.
- Anti-Rabies Immunization Clinic. LeRoy Village Highway Garage.  Offered by the Genesee County Department of Health. A $5 voluntary donation per dog, cat or ferret is requested to offset clinic expenses.
 
October 15th. Leadership Genesee Applications Deadline for 2009 – Applications are currently being accepted for the Class of 2009.  Application deadline is October 15th. For more information or to obtain an application, contact Program Coordinator Peggy Marone at 343-3040, ext. 118, stop by Cornell Cooperative Extension, 420 East Main St., Batavia or visit the website http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu.
 
October 18 - Agriculture Career Camp - Careers Related to the Viticulture Industry & Field Crop Farms. This is the second in a series of opportunities for 7th - 12th graders to explore the many careers that agriculture provides. The cost is $5 per session or $30 for all seven sessions. To register or for more details contact the CCE Ontario County office at 585-394-3977 x 427. Or visit http://fusiongrant.org and click on "Ag Career Camp".
 
October 20th at 5:00 p.m. – Board of Directors Finance Committee Meeting. Held at Cornell Cooperative Extension, 420 East Main St., Batavia.  For more information call 343-3040, ext. 112.
 
Tuesdays through October 21st - Positive Parenting Series – 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, 420 East Main St., Batavia.  Nutrition and Parenting Educator Mariellen Woodward-DeFelice will teach the following classes: Anger in the Family, Responsibility and Your Children, Disciplining Your Children, Setting Limits and Expectations, Winning Ways to Talk with Kids, and Family Enrichment. The series is offered at no cost to Genesee county residents and at a nominal fee for residents of surrounding counties. The next series will begin November 4th. For more information or to register contact Mariellen by phone at 343-3040, ext. 105, e-mail [email protected], or stop by the Extension Center located at 420 E. Main Street in Batavia.
 
October 23rd at 6p.m. - Coffee and Dessert Series: “Spring Flowering Bulbs”. Held at the Extension Building.  Do you know when and how deep to plant your tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, etc.  What is the latest you can plant your spring flowering bulbs?  This program will give you the “ins and outs” of spring flowering bulbs. Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and some dessert while learning about your spring garden! “Winter Birds” will be offered November 6th. Cost is $10 per class and limited to fifteen participants per class. Pre-register at the Extension Center, 420 East Main Street in Batavia, visit our website at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu, or contact Gail Culver at 343-3040, ext. 132 for more information.
 
Thursdays, October 2nd through November 13th - Positive Parenting Series – times vary. Held at the First Baptist Church - 5 East Main St. in LeRoy .  Nutrition and Parenting Educator Mariellen Woodward-DeFelice will teach the following classes: Anger in the Family, Responsibility and Your Children, Disciplining Your Children, Setting Limits and Expectations, Winning Ways to Talk with Kids, and Family Enrichment. The series is offered at no cost to Genesee county residents and at a nominal fee for residents of surrounding counties. For more information or to register contact Mariellen by phone at 343-3040, ext. 105, e-mail [email protected], or stop by the Extension Center located at 420 E. Main Street in Batavia.
 
October 28th from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm. Achieving Greener Communities through Civic, Private and Government Sector Innovation. Held at the Genesee River Restaurant, Mt. Morris, NY. This one-day conference of the Rural Learning Network of Central and Western New York will explore: The roles of local/regional/state governments, The contributions of citizens, civic organizations and public and private entities, The roles of research and innovation, The interrelationships among energy, land use, and climate change issues. For more information contact Jan at 585-343-3040 ext. 126 or stop by the Extension Center located at 420 E. Main Street in Batavia.
 
Fridays through October 31st from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Extension Educators at the Farmers’ Market.  Extension educators will be at the market Fridays throughout the summer and fall to offer hands on activities, food samples, soil testing and to answer any of your gardening, agriculture, 4-H and Youth Development or Nutrition questions. For a complete schedule of educators at the market call 585-343-3040, ext. 101 or stop by Cornell Cooperative Extension, located at 420 East Main St. in Batavia.
 
November 6th at 6 p.m. - Coffee and Dessert Series: “Winter Birds”.  Held at the Extension Building. This presentation is back by popular demand. Did you know that there will be different birds at your feeders during the winter months?  Do you know that to feed them or how to identify them?  Let our “birding” expert, Jan Beglinger give you in-depth information on this subject, while you enjoy coffee and dessert. Cost is $10 per class and limited to fifteen participants per class. Pre-register at the Extension Center, 420 East Main Street in Batavia, visit our website at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu, or contact Gail Culver at 343-3040, ext. 132 for more information.
 
November 10th at 5:30 p.m. – Board of Directors Meeting. Held at Cornell Cooperative Extension, 420 East Main St., Batavia.  For more information call 343-3040, ext. 112.
 
November 10th, November 12th, November 17th, November 19th, November 24th from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Spanish For (Ag) Working People. Instructed by Camy Sorbello. Learn enough Spanish in ten hours to improve communication with your Spanish-speaking agricultural employees. English-speaking managers & co-workers learn enough job-oriented basic Spanish that allows them to greatly improve job performance, workplace quality & business functioning. Camy's teaching method is suited to people who have little time to learn Spanish, as she uses simple phrases & a non-grammatical approach, with an emphasis on the words & language customarily used in each specific business or job function. Camy is a professional Spanish translator. To ensure the best learning experience, we will have a maximum of 20 participants. Cost is $125 per person (includes handouts). Register by November 3rd by calling 585-343-3040 ext 126 or stopping by the Extension office at 420 E. Main Street in Batavia.
 
December 4th at 6 p.m. Holiday Greens Workshop.  Join Consumer Horticulture Educator Gail Culver and the Master Gardeners for a fun-filled hands-on holiday greens workshop. Participants will  be able to make a Holiday Wreath or Holiday Centerpiece. This workshop will be held at the Kennedy Building on the Genesee County Fairgrounds on Route 5 in  Batavia. Cost is $20 per person and pre-registration is required. Contact Consumer Horticulture Educator Gail Culver at (585) 343-3040, ext. 132, stop by the Extension office located at 420 East Main St. in Batavia or log on to http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/.
 
December 9 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. - Agribusiness Economic Outlook Conference. Held at Cornell University, Kennedy Hall - David L. Call Alumni Auditorium. This year's conference will explore the theme of improved market access for New York farmers. The opening session, which will begin at 10 am, will examine emerging trends toward demand for local and regional food systems and emerging marketing and business opportunities in more distant markets. The theme of this portion of the program is Market Access for NYS Producers: Local and Long Distance Dimensions. For more information contact Jan Beglinger at 585-343-3040 ext. 126 or stop by the Extension office located at 420 East Main St. in Batavia.
 
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. The deadline for enrollment in the 2009 agriculture information service is February 1, 2009.  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.
 
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.

September 17, 2008 - 1:14pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, business, agriculture, chamber of commerce.

Bed, Bath & Beyond opened for business Tuesday at the Towne Center off Veterans Memorial Drive in the town of Batavia, according to the Daily News. Target already opened in July and a Lowe's home improvement store is currently getting ready to "co-anchor" the shopping complex along with the large-scale retailer. Michael's Crafts expects to open Sunday, and Petco hopes to hold its grand opening on September 26. An AT&T store is likely to occupy another of the buildings on site. Roger Muehlig reports that the developer was hoping to get a restaurant to settle into one of the 8,500-square-foot buildings at the site, "but no occupant has been announced."


A couple of stories in today's paper were already posted to this site. News of Dave Wellenzohn's departure from the helm of Muckdogs management was featured on The Batavian yesterday afternoon. Sophie's Run: a run from Ontario, Canada to New York City by Nicole Chuchmach and her team of runners in an effort to raise awareness for colorectal cancer was featured on The Batavian Monday.


Genesee County's Chamber of Commerece is gearing up for the 19th annual Decision Makers Forum and Tour, which will be held at Batavia Downs Tuesday. Tom Rivers reports:

The Chamber each year uses the forum to focus on a topic critical to agriculture. The forum in recent years has explored renewable energy, groundwater and other environmental issues, new technologies on the farm, wind energy and immigration policies.

This Tuesday, the Chamber will discuss careers in agriculture.

Anyone can attend the forum but they must register. Call (585) 343-7440 ext.27 or send an e-mail to the Chamber to register.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

September 16, 2008 - 1:00pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, agriculture.

Ag industry revenue in Genesee County and statewide surged, according to the Daily News. Tom Rivers reports that farms in the state brought in $4.45 billion in 2007 as compared with $3.49 billion in 2006. Genesee County alone climbed up 27 percent, from $140.2 million to $178.5 million.

Typically, the total agricultural receipts vary 1 or 2 percent each year, said Steve Ropel, director of the National Agricultural Statistics Service in New York.

"This is one of the sharpest increases I've ever seen," he said Monday by phone from Albany. He (has) worked 36 years studying farm statistics.

Increased demand for dairy (overseas) and corn (for ethanol) fueled the 28 percent increase for the state. That means you can thank the increase in the price for a gallon of milk and, in a way, the increase in the price of a gallon of gas—indirectly for encouraging the use of biofuels—for driving the surge in ag revenue.

See the article in the Daily News for the full details and figures, including a chart listing the comparable revenue between 2006 and 2007 for nine upstate counties.


Surplus school revenues for the 2007-08 school year mean a reduction in the district's tax levy of $45,000, and that means a decrease of $1.12 per $1,000 in assessed value for taxpayers.


A public hearing is scheduled for 7:00pm tonight at the Batavia Town Hall, 3833 W. Main Street Road, for anyone interested in learning more about the environmental impacts of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park being planned for E. Main Street Road.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

September 12, 2008 - 1:18pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, public market, agriculture, Le Roy, Wal-Mart.

A Wal-Mart store in the works for the village of Le Roy may be the company's first ever to be shrunken down from its original size, according to the Daily News. Of course, that doesn't mean it still won't be a "Supercenter"—retail's answer to the question: What if people could buy socks, tomato sauce, a new bike and a gardenia all at the same store? So yes, the store planned for West Main Street in Le Roy will still be a Supercenter, only getting reduced from 163,700 square feet to 138,000.

Claims made in the article that this will be a "more environmentally-friendly" Wal-Mart seem somewhat dubious. Check out this quote from Le Roy's Code Enforcement Officer Gene Sinclair:

"It's still going to be a Supercenter, just smaller," he said. "The parking lot is more environmentally friendly, with four islands and a natural filtration system of trees and shrubs."

"We're told it's a new design for their stores and the first in the United States like this."

It's wonderful that everybody has caught the going green bug—especially the marketing departments of massive corporations—but I think we have to draw the line at "environmentally-friendly parking lot." Hasn't anyone ever listened to Joni Mitchell? What did they pave to put up a parking lot? Yep, that's right: paradise.

Anyway, good for Le Roy. Now they've got a Wal-Mart to go with the new Walgreens. Speaking of the Walgreens... construction of that is on hold now owing to a "blizzard of asbestos" encountered during the demolition of the old Masonic temple and its neighbors. (Hmm. Is there any connection between this blizzard of asbestos and the blizzard of words Charlie Gibson attributed to Sarah Palin last night?)


In other news, Tom Rivers paid a visit to the Rochester Public Market where a lot of Genesee County farms head every weekend to ply their wares before the big city crowds. It's another great article from a talented writer about a fun topic. So read it.


Attica resident Roddy Harris wrote a postapocalyptic novel about a brother and sister who try to rebuild their lives after 99 percent of the world is killed by terrorists who release "vast amoiunts of chemical and biological agents into the atmosphere." The article's headline is misleading: Attican pens 9/11 book. That's just not true. While the article begins by saying that Harris "turned his thoughts and feelings about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, into a novel," the novel is not about 9/11 at all. The book is titled: After Terrorism: A Survival Story. It's available from Publish America.


Former Chairman of the United States Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors Paul S. Speranza told an audience at Genesee Community College yesterday that if the state wants to fix its economy, communities need to join together.

Speranza said New Yorkers need to move beyond parochialism and regional feuding. Speaking with one voice and forming coalitions among groups with divergent views is the way to get the state's economy back on track and to improve its quality of life, he said.

Paul Mrozek does an excellent job covering the speech, so be sure to check out the article if you're interested.

We encourage you to get out and pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

September 9, 2008 - 5:45pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in video, agriculture, genesee's treasures, herbly wonderful.

September 5, 2008 - 11:04am
posted by Philip Anselmo in gardens, agriculture, Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Head down to the Cornell Cooperative Extension Saturday, September 13, between 9:00am and 1:00pm for the Fall Harvest Gala.

There will be a traditional mum sale, as well as unusual Colorblends of spring flowering bulbs, perennials right from the master gardeners own gardens, house plants, a Chance auction, free soil testing, and refreshments.

Participants may also try “taste testing” heirloom vs. traditional varieties of vegetables.  Lunch will also be available for a nominal fee at the event.

Don’t miss your chance to pickup some great plants for your own garden.

Call Gail Culver at (585) 343-3040 ext. 132 or stop by the extension at 420 E. Main St. in Batavia for more information.

August 22, 2008 - 3:11pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, wind power, agriculture, wind farm, alexander, track.

After 87 years, the Genesee-Orleans Vegetable Growers Cooperative Association voted to dissolve the organization Monday, according to the Daily News. No summary will do justice to the fine piece by Tom Rivers, so today might be a good one to go out and pick up a copy of the paper, if you don't already have one. Rivers really has his finger on the pulse of this agricltural community, and it shows in the depth of his reporting.


Reporter Matt Surtel informs us that the Citizens for Wind Energy in Perry and the Wind Information + Responsible Energy group from Alabama have joined forces and become part of the statewide organization: Renewable Energy Advocates Coalition, which is some 80,000 members strong.


For those who haven't yet heard, Sen. Barack Obama says that he has made his choice for vice-presidential candidate. But he's not telling anybody. Why say so, then? Oh, politics.


Congratulations to the Alexander girls track team, which won the Genesee Region League Championships, the Section 5 Class CC title, and now send 10 girls to the 2008 Genesee Region League girls track all-star team. Not to mention that their very own Dave Radley was named coach of the year. The lucky all-stars from Alexander are: Stacey Flint, Courtney Aldrich, Taylor Antinore, Kayleigh DeAngelo, Amanda Zielonka, Maranda Ohlson, Alyssa Hinkson, Jodie Skidmore, Eleonara Costa and Sidney Flint.


If you don't believe me that the talents of Tom Rivers are enough of a reason to buy today's paper, let me entice you further with another fun feature story by Virginia Kropf. In this tale, she sits down with Catherine Roth, who turns 88 on Saturday, along with her two sisters. They're triplets, and may be the oldest surviving triplets in the whole country. Kropf writes a fabulous tale about the sisters, full of such great lines as: "She liked it when they started wearing different things, because if one wanted to borrow the others clothes, they had a variety." Or this one from Catherine: "We were spoiled collectively." So much fun. Thanks again, Virginia.

As I've already said twice, you should head out and pick up your own copy of the Daily News. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

August 20, 2008 - 4:33pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in video, Le Roy, farms, agriculture.

Who among you can look upon these faces and not feel that all too human sense of pity and awe that only an animal can excite in us?

They're as silly as they are cute, and they've got cute too spare. They're alpacas, close cousin of the llama, though much smaller and a lot easier to keep in a pen on a farm and manage without too many outrageous episodes.

Although, from what I understand, there are plenty of shennanigans going on at an alpaca farm, especially when one of them gets loose and tears hide all over the place, looking for all the world like some crossbreed of the roadrunner and a camel, hurling front legs over back legs over front legs. Then there's the neck wrestling among siblings or peers. Don't forget the spitting of regurgitated alfalfa or the trancelike naps in the sun when even a blowhorn wouldn't rouse the beasts. Oh, oh, and the bugle calls and the humming and the funny faces and the exaggerated underbite.

Here to tell us all about alpacas, why they're great and what they're doing in Le Roy, New York, instead of Peru or Bolivia, is Martha McCutchen, owner of Enchanted Forest Alpacas.

August 17, 2008 - 11:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Daily News, farms, agriculture, Tom Rivers.

This weekend, Tom Rivers delivered another in his series of farm work articles for the Daily News.

Again, it's a stunning piece of writing and reporting. We could never summarize if for you in a way that would do it justice. You will need to find a copy of the paper for yourself and read it.

Besides producing a fine article, I admire Tom for sticking with such a physically demanding job under adverse conditions for a full 10 hours.

The article makes the point well that if you like -- as Jack Davis apparently does -- that there are locals ready, willing and able to do this farm work, but they're just being pushed out of the way by immigrants, you're deluded.

Darren, 42, seems a little bewildered by my interest in the job. He can't remember anyone from around here ever wanting to cut cabbage. The farm puts many ads in local newspapers seeking field help, and no locals have even called about a job in at least two decades, Darren said.

Cutting cabbage may not be "skilled" labor as we traditionally define it, but you better have the right muscles and motor skills developed, and have built some level of mental immunity to the demands of the job. This is a job that not just anybody can do. Clearly, farmers can't just hire a crew of anybody off the street and expect to fulfill the tons of orders for their crops.

Rivers is doing a good bit of public service journalism with this series.  We wish him well in the appropriate journalism awards competitions.

Of course, what these stories lack are video. We've offered the Daily News help in this regard. So far, they've declined.

August 11, 2008 - 12:44pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in politics, Daily News, agriculture, Wyoming County Fair.

Tom Rivers was in Pike Saturday for the start of the Wyoming County Fair in today's Daily News. For complete fair info, including show times, schedule changes and admission prices, visit the Fair Web site.

Rivers also features an interview with state Senate hopeful Joe Mesi, who said: "Job creation and job stability are the main reasons I'm in this campaign. This is more than statistics to me. It's happening to me."

Pick up a copy of the paper to check out these and other stories. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

August 6, 2008 - 12:39pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, Daily News, agriculture, Le Roy, Warsaw.

Noblehurst Farms of Pavilion just bought Le Roy Lake for $500,000, according to the Daily News. Water from the lake will be used to irrigate crops on the 2,200-acre farm. Reporter Scott DeSmit tells us:

Lake Le Roy had been the source for village water until 2004, when Le Roy hooked up with Monroe County Water Authority to provide water to residents. The property, a 70-acre lake, 40 acres of land and a caretaker's house, had been listed for $3.8 million in 2004.

Village trustees even tried to sell the property on eBay! But no one was interested. From $3.8 million, the price dropped several times, until it was set at just under $1 million. But still, no takers. Not until Noblehurst picked it up for a fraction of the initial cost. Village trustees said they plan to use the money to "reduce debt."

In today's sports section, there's an interesting story by Christ Metcalf about a wrestler from Warsaw who is in high demand from college coaches. The profile of the wrestler, Ian Paddock, spans the whole front page and another half page inside.

In other news:

  • Robert Morales, 52, of 113 Bank St., was sentenced to 1 1/2 to 4 years in state prison after pleading guilty to a second-degree assault charge and admitting that he stabbed a man in the arm during an argument earlier this year.
  • Batavia's 25th anniversary of National Night Out drew about 100 people to St. Anthony's Parish Center last night. Genesee Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) sponsored the event. GCASA Prevention Educator Kevin Keenan told reporter Scott DeSmit: "Parents need to find out who their child's friends are, where they're going, what they're doing."
  • Tom Rivers packs produce in the latest installment of his farm labor series.

You can pick up your own copy of the Daily News wherever the paper is sold. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

August 5, 2008 - 12:53pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, agriculture, Cornell Cooperative Extension.

If you're looking to learn more about washing zucchini or cutting lettuce, today's Daily News will not disappoint. In the latest installment of his farm labor series, Tom Rivers takes us through the vegetable fields of an organic farm in Elba — the "area's biggest," we're told.

We learn that zucchini should be picked when it's between six to eight inches and lettuce should be cut from the ground very deep on the stalk to keep the leaves from unfurling. Fans of the series — such as myself — will be pleased to find the usual dose of Rivers' wit and self-deprecating sincerity. Like when he writes:

I admit an odd thrill using the knife, as if I had graduated from the minor leagues of picking berries a few weeks ago to working with the knife-wielding pros.

Or, when he watches Katie "the Cornell grad" haul a heavy tote of veggies and gets a little showed up in his moment of machismo:

I figure I'll grab the next one and I grab a tote. It must weigh 75 pounds, and I adjust my grip about five times, take a few deep breaths and stumble over a sink... I tell Katie to enter an arm wrestling tournament.

Tom Rivers' tales of the farm aren't the only agriculturally-minded articles in today's paper.

Cornell Cooperative Extension wants 70 low-income residents of Genesee County to enroll in its eight-week nutrition education course. Extension Direction Bev Mancuso told Paul Mrozek that

it's important that people with limited incomes or those on food stamps shop wisely and not just buy "the cheapest food possible without even considering whether it's good for you."

Call (585) 343-3040, ext. 134 for more information or to register for the course.

Meanwhile, LeRoy will be holding a public information meeting at 7:30pm tonight at Town Hall, 48 Main St., to discuss protecting and preserving farmland in the town.

In other news:

  • Union Street will be closed Wednesday from Richmond Avenue to Union Square from 7:30am to 3:00pm for sewer repairs.

You can pick up your own copy of the Daily News wherever the paper is sold. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

July 23, 2008 - 3:51pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in video, agriculture, oil, energy crisis.

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