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January 4, 2020 - 9:30am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, car racing, Genesee Speedway.

From Jan. 3, 2020 edition of Speedway Digest:

Genesee Speedway in Batavia and DIRTcar Racing have entered into a new partnership for the 2020 season.

The Sportsman Modified division at Genesee Speedway will now be DIRTcar sanctioned, which includes upgraded support from Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, and an increased public relations presence across the board.

The DIRTcar Sportsman Modified division is one of the most successful formulas in racing today. The Sportsman's reputation is built on the parity of race equipment, safety, and general affordability.

"Genesee Speedway is home to many talented Sportsman teams from the region that will benefit from the DIRTcar sanction, noted promoter Jim Johnson. "We can't thank DIRTcar enough for giving us the opportunity to come on board this season and look forward to working with all the officials."

Top stars such as Oswego Chevy Performance 75 sportsman champion Kyle Inman, Jim Harbison, Cameron Tuttle, Dave Conant, Zach George, and others call the Genesee County Fairgrounds' oval home. It is located at 5056 E. Main Street Road (Route 5) in the Town of Batavia.

All DIRTcar Sportsman Modified drivers are automatically featured in the Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship. Racer's top 16 finishes in weekly and Series racing produce points for the year-long championship.

Drivers, teams and sponsors will also enjoy increased exposure through DIRTcar's social media channels and weekly newsletter, which reaches nearly 40,000 people.

A DIRTcar Sportsman Western Region Series is also close to being finalized -- joining Ransomville, Merrittville, Humberstone, Freedom and Brighton speedways -- in hosting events for the region that boast of $1,500 point fund to the top five. Home track and Region Bonus points are totaled. Then drivers can strive to be the overall DIRTcar Sportsman Champion by attending the year-end Fall Championship Challenge events.

The sanction further strengthens the relationship between Genesee and DIRTcar Racing as this year Genesee Speedway welcomes the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series to Batavia. The Outlaws will race for $10,000 on Friday, June 19. It's going to be a huge year for Genesee.

Genesee Speedway is a .375-mile oval built in 1983. Bookmark their website for race reports and points standings.

January 3, 2020 - 5:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
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   Quinten Edmonds

A trial date has been set for accused murderer Quinten Edmonds, who is accused of stabbing a Batavia man to death on Ross Street after the man tried to help protect a woman whom he apparently believed was being attacked by Edmonds.

The trial could begin May 20 if there is no plea agreement prior to the plea cutoff date of Feb. 19.

No plea offer was discussed in court and District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said outside of court that there is no plea offer on the table. He indicated, however, that he would listen to anything the defense might propose.

Edmonds is charged with second-degree murder, a Class A-1 felony. He is accused of killing Good Samaritan Michael R. Paladino outside Paladino's Ross Street home at 12:44 a.m., June 1.

Fred Rarick, appointed attorney, represented Edmonds, who once before refused to show up for court. During today's proceedings in front of Judge Charles Zambito in County Court, Rarick said that his client had requested a change of attorney, that Edmonds wanted to hire his own attorney, and wanted to address the court.

Then after Zambito said OK, Edmonds apparently told Rarick he didn't wish to speak. Rarick and Edmonds and a short, quiet exchange and then Rarick told Zambito that Edmonds didn't want to speak and there was no further discussion of a change of attorneys.

On Dec. 13, Edmonds appeared in court for a hearing on the admissibility of evidence at his trial, specifically the identification in a walk-by of Edmonds as the suspect by witnesses shortly after the stabbing. Zambito ruled against the motion in a written statement delivered to the attorneys prior to today's hearing.

January 3, 2020 - 5:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, news.

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It takes a lot of work to cover the news of Genesee County but we would like to do more of it and do it better. That's where you come in: We need your financial support of The Batavian so we can keep doing what we've been doing for more than a decade.

We've signed on the Press Patron, an organization that handles the transactions of patronage for local news organizations. We're asking that you please support our effort to do the work of covering the news by clicking the "Support" button at the bottom of this post.

Thousands of people will see this post. It would take only 400 supporters at $5 a month to enable us to hire an additional staff member.  

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January 3, 2020 - 3:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, video, batavia, Le Roy.
Video Sponsor

Le Roy and Batavia battled it out Thursday night at Genesee Community College in a Rotary Tournament first-round game but the Lady Blue Devils managed to pull away in the fourth quarter for a 46-39 win.

Kenzie Reigle scored 19 points for Batavia. Emma Krolczyk scored 13 and Bryn Wormly, who hit two three-pointers early in the first quarter to give Batavia a lead it soon lost, scored eight.

For Le Roy, Kailyn Tresco scored 11 points, Jullian Curtis, nine, and Bryn Luckey, six. Tresco hit three-point shots in the first and fourth quarters.

The Rotary championship game is at 7:45 at GCC tonight, pitting Notre Dame vs. Batavia.

Bonus Video: Batavia's fifth- and sixth-grade girls basketball players playing a half-time scrimmage.

January 3, 2020 - 3:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, sports, basketball, Notre Dame.

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The Notre Dame Girls Basketball Team, ranked number 19 in the state in Class D, upset the Pembroke Lady Dragons, ranked #4 in Class C, in a first-round Rotary Championship game at Genesee Community College on Thursday night.

The Lady Irish won 33-28.

Amelia McCulley (top photo) scored 20 points for ND. Morgan Rhodes scored six.

For Pembroke, Serene Calderon, MacKenna Johnson, and Emily Peters, all scored six points each.

Photos by Philip Casper.

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Mackenna Johnson

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Serene Calderon

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Dekari Moss

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Montana Weedman

January 3, 2020 - 3:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

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  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
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  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.

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January 3, 2020 - 2:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, Chris Jacobs, Rob Ortt, news, Charles Schumer.

Statement from State Sen. Rob Ortt, candidate for NY-27:

“Soleimani and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force has long been a terrorist organization. They are directly responsible for hundreds of U.S. servicemember deaths in Iraq. Iran’s goal has always been to destabilize Iraq and exert its influence in the Middle East. This strike eliminates one of the masterminds of those efforts.”

Statement from State Sen. Chris Jacobs, candidate for NY-27:

“I applaud President Trump for taking decisive action yesterday to neutralize a long-standing terrorist threat - Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force. Soleimani was responsible for killing hundreds of American Soldiers and injuring countless more. The organization which he headed up (Quds Force) has been designated as a terror group since 2007 and this past spring Sec. Pompeo designated him a terrorist. The airstrike which killed him is another example of President Trump’s strong leadership in confronting Iran’s continued perpetration of state-sponsored terrorism and President Trump continues to stand for freedom and justice on the global stage.”

Statement from Sen. Chuck Schumer:

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the airstrike in Iraq against Major General Qasem Soleimani. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

Last night, the United States conducted a military operation designed to kill Major General Qasem Soleimani, a notorious terrorist. No one should shed a tear over his death.

The operation against Soleimani in Iraq was conducted, however, without specific authorization and any advance notification or consultation with Congress. I am a member of the Gang of Eight, which is typically briefed in advance of operations of this level of significance. We were not.

The lack of advanced consultation and transparency with Congress was put in the Constitution, or rather the need for advanced consultation and transparency with Congress, was put in the Constitution for a reason: because the lack of advanced consultation and transparency with Congress can lead to hasty and ill-considered decisions. When the security of the nation is at stake, decisions must not be made in a vacuum. The framers of the Constitution gave war powers to the legislature and made the executive the commander-in-chief for the precise reason of forcing the two branches of government to consult with one another when it came to matters of war and of peace.

It is paramount for administrations to get an outside view to prevent groupthink and rash action—to be asked probing questions, not from your inner and often insulated circle but from others, particularly Congress, which forces an administration, before it acts, to answer very serious questions.

The administration did not consult in this case, and I fear that those very serious questions have not been answered and may not be fully considered.

Among those questions:

  • What was the legal basis for conducting this operation? And how far does that legal basis extend?
  • Iran has many dangerous surrogates in the region and a whole range of possible responses. Which response do we expect? Which are most likely?
  • Do we have plans to counter all of the possible responses? How effective will our counters be?
  • What does this action mean for the long-term stability of Iraq and the trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives sacrificed there?
  • How does the administration plan to manage an escalation of hostilities? And how does the administration plan to avoid a larger and potentially endless conflagration in the Middle East?

These are questions that must be answered.

It is my view that the president does not have the authority for a war with Iran. If he plans a large increase in troops and potential hostility over a longer time, the administration will require Congressional approval and the approval of the American people.

The president’s decision may add to an already dangerous and difficult situation in the Middle East.

The risk of a much longer military engagement in the Middle East is acute and immediate. This action may well have brought our nation closer to another endless war, exactly the kind of endless war the president promised he would not drag us into.

As our citizens and those of our allies evacuate Iraq and troops prepare for retaliatory action, Congress needs answers, to these questions and others, from the administration immediately. 

And the American people need answers as well.

January 3, 2020 - 1:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in byron, Milestones.

Major General Ray Shields, the Adjutant General, announces the recent reenlistment of members of the State National Guard in recognition of their continuing commitment to serve community, state and nation as part of the Army National Guard.

Specialist Zachary Cratsley, from Byron, reenlisted to continue service with the Company A, 2-108th Infantry.

"It's great to see Soldiers staying in the Army and continuing to serve their State and Nation in the New York Army National Guard," Shields said. "The most important Army asset we have is the individual Soldier. The dedication, skills, and leadership traits they bring to our community and their employers are invaluable."

"By choosing to stay in the Army National Guard they directly contribute to our nation's security and to the governor's ability to respond to disasters, all while building a bright future for their family through the Guard's retirement, education, and health insurance programs," Shields said.

For more information about the New York Army National Guard, visit www.dmna.ny.gov or www.1800goguard.com.

The New York National Guard (New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs) is the state's executive agency responsible to the Governor for managing New York's Military Forces, which consists of nearly 20,000 members of the New York Army National Guard, the New York Air National Guard, the New York Naval Militia and the New York Guard.

January 3, 2020 - 1:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, GCC, BEA, rural healthcare.

Press release:

More than 275 students in grades eight through 12 from Genesee and Wyoming counties will be participating in the Healthcare Career Day at the Genesee Community College campus in Batavia on Tuesday, Jan. 7th from 9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

The event will provide local students the opportunity to learn about high-growth and high-demand health careers and meet with medical professionals from more than 20 different fields, including laboratory technologists, physicians, first responders, nurses, speech and occupational therapists, radiologists, and more.

Students will also participate in the Healthcare College and Career Fair in the William W. Stuart Forum from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., where they will meet with representatives from more than 25 colleges and healthcare organizations.

The Healthcare Career Day is a special collaboration between Genesee Community College, Genesee County Business Education Alliance (BEA), Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, Fidelis Care, Tobacco-Free GOW, Rochester Regional Health United Memorial Medical Center, Wyoming County Community Health System, and the Wyoming County Business Education Council (BEC).

Healthcare Career Day hopes to address the future workforce shortage in healthcare, particularly in rural communities like Genesee and Wyoming counties where residents already have considerable difficulty accessing healthcare locally. Remote geographic locations, small size, limited workforce, and physician shortages pose a unique set of challenge for rural hospitals and health centers.

The mission of this special collaboration is to promote employment opportunities with tomorrow’s workforce, as jobs in healthcare occupations are projected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The Healthcare Career Day will help secure the health and wellness of Genesee and Wyoming counties for generations to come.

For more information, contact Karyn Winters at [email protected] or 585-343-7440.

January 3, 2020 - 12:43pm

Submitted photo and press release:

The Ferdinand DiBartolo NYS Distinguished Foreign Language Leadership Award was presented this year to Elizabeth Slocum (inset photo, right).

The award is presented annually to the president of New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers in recognition of his/her dedication and service to that organization and the profession.

Slocum is a teacher of French and Spanish at the middle, high school and undergraduate levels.

Slocum holds permanent New York State Certification in French and Spanish, as well as certification as a School District Administrator and Supervisor.

She currently is employed by the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership as a seventh- and eighth-grade Spanish teacher and serves both the Wyoming and Pavilion Central School districts.

Slocum also works with the Genesee Region Teachers’ Center as a member of the Policy Board and coordinator of the regional World Language Teachers’ Network.

“Serving on the executive board of New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers has been an incredible experience," Slocum said. "It has been an honor to represent New York State teachers and students of World Languages at the local, state and national levels.

"I teach because I believe that languages are at the heart of the human experience. Languages will open doors and make connections for our students at home and abroad.”  

As a 25-plus year member of NYSAFLT, Slocum has been an active member of the association through her participation on various committees as well as serving on the Board of Directors. She holds the distinction of chairing not one but two Annual Conferences, including the 100th Annual Conference and Gala.

She was selected to represent NYSAFLT at American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages’s (ACTFL) inaugural Leadership Initiative for Language Learning (LILL) and remains an active member of LILL Cohort 1. She will participate in a LILL panel at ACTFL 2019 in Washington, D.C., on the topic of Growing Our Leadership.

In 2017, Slocum was honored by Genesee Community College with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence as an adjunct instructor of World Languages.

About the Ferdinand DiBartolo NYS Distinguished Foreign Language Leadership Award

Ferdinand DiBartolo was a pioneer in the establishment of what was then called “The New York State Federation of Foreign Language Teachers.” He was a foreign language leader and an officer of the federation. In l967, he received the "50th Anniversary Award" of the organization.

He was at the forefront of the effort to ensure the continuance of the Modern Language Journal when ACTFL was formed.

The study of world languages fosters an appreciation and understanding of other cultures, promotes a better understanding of one’s own language and culture, supports learning and improves performance in other content areas, and cultivates the qualities of global citizens who are well-educated and prepared to compete professionally in an increasingly interconnected world.

Research has shown that early language instruction not only facilitates the language learning process, but results in more native-like pronunciation and fluency in the second language. In addition, early language instruction has been shown to strengthen students’ performance in their first language as well as in other content areas.

About the New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers

NYSAFLT is a professional organization dedicated to providing the foreign language teachers of New York State with professional development opportunities and promoting the study of foreign languages and cultures.

For more information about NYSAFLT, please visit the website.

January 3, 2020 - 12:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

Press release:

The Genesee County Sheriff's Office would like to advise residents that they have received several complaints over the past week involving the theft of motor vehicles and the theft of articles from vehicles parked in private driveways and lots.

These larcenies have occured mainly during overnight hours.

Residents are reminded to keep their vehicles locked and to report any suspicious activity that they observe the Emergency Dispatch Center by calling 9-1-1.

January 3, 2020 - 12:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, Stafford, news.

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Aleasa Dominiak submitted this photo of the sunrise she captured yesterday morning in Stafford.

January 3, 2020 - 9:06am
posted by Billie Owens in Milestones, Le Roy, Pavilion.

POTSDAM -- The State University of New York at Potsdam recently named 946 students to the President's List, in recognition of their academic excellence in the Fall 2019 semester. The SUNY Potsdam students were honored for earning top marks by President Kristin G. Esterberg.

The students included:

  • Harmony Parker, of Pavilion, whose major is Archaeological Studies;
  • Megan Privatera, of Le Roy, whose major is Theater;
  • Hannah Rosicka, of Le Roy, whose major is Politics.

To achieve the honor of being on the President's List, each student must have satisfactorily completed 12 numerically graded semester hours, with a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher.

About SUNY Potsdam:

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America's first 50 colleges -- and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence.

The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit http://www.potsdam.edu.

January 3, 2020 - 9:02am
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, Steve Hawley, NY Farm Bureau.

Press release: 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley announced today that he has once again been named to the Farm Bureau "Circle of Friends" for his legislative support of agricultural and farming initiatives in 2019.

“I am honored to once again be named to the Circle of Friends and I thank the Farm Bureau for the great relationship and dialogue we have exercised over the years to do what’s best for our area’s producers,” Hawley said.

Hawley is the former owner and operator of Hawley Farms in Batavia, a longtime member of the Assembly Agriculture Committee and a leading opponent of the Farm Labor Bill, which allows unionization, mandatory time off and other labor restrictions for farm workers.

“The new farm labor regulations, which took effect yesterday, are an absolute deathblow to family farms across our state," Hawley said. "By choking our farmer’s labor supply and mandating drastic wage increases, we are threatening our farms’ livelihood and their ability to operate and succeed when they need laborers the most.

"I was proud to stand with farmers across the state in debating and voting against this bill when it came to the Assembly floor. New York City politicians who have probably never set foot on a farm should never be allowed to dictate how we operate.”

January 3, 2020 - 8:53am

Press release:

The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership’s Practical Nursing Program recently had a reaccreditation of programs by the New York State Office of Professions Division of Professional Education Program Review.

These audits occur approximately every five years and include a thorough review of curriculum, clinical sites, staff qualifications, as well as student and instructor files.

The New York State Office of Professions oversees the licensing and regulation of more than 50 professions and is guided by the New York State Board of Regents.

According to its website, “The registration of a program means that it has met the Department's standards for accreditation as provided in the Rules of the Board of Regents and the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.”

Heidi Mix is the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership’s coordinator of Regional Medical Programs. She oversees both Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Programs.

Audit Crucial to Continuing Success

Mix explained the extent of the audit: “This reaccreditation is crucial to the success of this program. If you do not have this approval, then you are not permitted to offer this program. We just received official notification that we received our reaccreditation. In our debriefing, the auditors praised the work that is being done in our nursing programs.

"We are moving in the right direction with our curriculum, and the use of Google classroom, an educational blackboard system, which allows students access to content at any time and it also is a great communications tool for students and instructors.”

This three-day review was completed by state auditors who visited classroom sites, met with students, staff, and administrators. Auditors reviewed instructors’ credentials and evaluations, as well as student files including admissions and graduation processes, board passing and job placement rates.

“The auditors were also impressed with the number of clinical sites that we provide," Mix said. "Clinical experiences provide opportunities for students and potential employers to work together. We have 23 sites and this includes large and small acute-care facilities, and nursing homes throughout the Rochester region as well as Genesee and Livingston counties."

The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership School of Practical Nursing has been in existence since 1994. It is a 1,200-clock-hour program, certified by the New York State Education Department, and is designed to prepare graduates for the NCLEX-PN Examination for licensure as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

Chromebook and Online Learning Augment Classroom Instruction

Every student who enrolls in the Licensed Practical Nursing Program receives a Chromebook computer as part of their tuition fees. This computer becomes the property of the student and it is used for many purposes.

“Students have access to many electronic books and databases such as online lessons/modules and interactive activities that augment classroom curriculum and enhance the educational experience,” Mix said. “Each student can create their own dashboard and monitor their progress.”

Course curriculum includes a broad scope of topics including foundations of nursing, human growth and development, obstetrical and pediatric nursing, human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and more.

The CNA Program is also offered at the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. This course is no less than a 150-clock-hour program, approved by the New York State Education Department, and designed to prepare graduates for immediate employment following successful mastery of the post-program certification testing.

The LPN Program is offered at three different sites: Batavia, Rochester Tech Park in Gates, and Mount Morris. The CNA Program is offered at two different locations, Mount Morris and Batavia.

For more information or any questions, please contact 585-344-7788.

About the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership

It offers a broad scope of adult education programs including a School of Practical Nursing and a Certified Nursing Assistant program, vocational training, as well as classes for those seeking to broaden their skill sets. The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services offering shared programs and services to 22 component New York school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties.

January 2, 2020 - 3:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in first baby, UMMC, news.

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Press release:

United Memorial Medical Center welcomed the hospital’s first baby delivered in the New Year. Thomas Alexander Colmenero was born to Chelsea and Jesse Colmenero at 7:25 p.m. on Jan. 1. Thomas weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces, and measured 20 ¼ inches long.

Thomas will be heading home soon to be with siblings and joining TEAM (Thomas, Elizabeth, Alakai, Matthew) Colmenero.

United Memorial Medical Center’s Maternity Floor offers private postpartum rooms designed for privacy and maximum comfort. To learn more about childbirth and maternity services at United Memorial Medical Center, visit RochesterRegional.org.

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January 2, 2020 - 3:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia.

A 27-year-old Batavia man was sentenced to a minimum of two years prison on charges stemming from an incident in September where he menaced a police officer with a knife.

Morgan Cox Jr. had previously entered a guilty plea to counts of menacing a police officer and criminal possession of a weapon.

Judge Charles Zambito sentenced him today to two years in prison on the menacing charge and one and a third to three years on the weapons charge. He will serve at least one and a half years on parole upon his release.

Cox made no statement in court. Zambito said the defendant's actions were "totally pointless" and said Cox's actions were fueled by an addiction to drugs.

Zambito referred to another dangerous incident that Cox was involved in, saying “People came with baseball bats because they know how you are,” stressing that Cox needed to address his addiction.

(Via our news partner, WBTA.)

January 2, 2020 - 9:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Stafford, news.

A possible chimney fire is reported at 8783 Prole Road, Stafford.

Stafford fire dispatch.

UPDATE 9:13 a.m.: A second alarm: Bethany, Alexander, Le Roy, Town of Batavia, and Mercy EMS requested to the scene. The fire is still reported as a chimney fire.

UPDATE 9:18 a.m.: This is now a working structure fire.

UPDATE 9:48 a.m.: Fire is knocked down; doing overhaul.

UPDATE 9:55 a.m.: The fire itself was mainly contained to the fireplace and a couch next to it. But there was heavy smoke damage throughout the house and "multiple pets were lost," said Stafford Fire Chief Matt Hendershott.

January 2, 2020 - 9:04am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, GCASA.

Today’s society invites people to gamble.

Casinos are at every turn.

Lotteries are run by state governments.

Sports betting is a click of the mouse away.

Getting in on the horse-racing action is as easy as turning on the TV.

Bombarded by messages such as “a dollar and a dream,” it’s no wonder that, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling, an estimated 2 million Americans are pathological gamblers and another 4 to 6 million people would be considered problem gamblers – those whose gambling affects their everyday lives.

In New York State, an Office of Addiction Services and Supports’ survey revealed that more than 700,000 adults struggle with a gambling problem. That’s 5 percent of the adult population.

“Just like an addiction to drugs or alcohol, they (problem gamblers) can’t stop,” said Tony Alisankus, BS, CASAC II SAP, who oversees a problem gambling treatment at Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. "It’s a disease that changes the neurochemistry of the brain; similar to cocaine, amphetamines or opioids.”

Also known as compulsive gambling or gambling disorder, gambling addiction is an impulse-control illness. A compulsive gambler can’t control the impulse to gamble, despite the negative consequences for that person or his or her family.

Alisankus called it “the hidden disease” because people don’t want to address it.

“And it’s not just slot machines, horses or card games,” he said. “The compulsion can show up in stock trading, lottery tickets and online gambling.

Gambling disorder (the current terminology per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is defined as persistent and recurrent problematic gambling behavior leading to clinically significant impairment or distress.

Some of the signs of gambling disorder are as follows:

-- Need to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement;

-- Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop gambling;

-- Often gambles when feeling distressed or anxious;

-- Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling;

-- Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling.

Gambling disorder can seriously affect a person’s personal well-being, employment situation and family life, Alisankus said. Fortunately, however, there is hope and help for the problem gambler.

“Like all addictions, gambling is a treatable disease,” said Alisankus, who has provided substance abuse counseling for more than 30 years and has recently attained certification in gambling disorders. “With treatment and follow-through, people can remain in remission.”

The program at GCASA offers various methods of evidence-based treatment, including Dialectal Behavior Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (skills-based therapies for patients to find a better way to think and cope) and Motivational Interviewing.

It also offers treatment for family members affected by the loved one’s disorder, referrals to Gambler’s Anonymous, GAMANON and not-for-profit credit/financial counseling.

Alisankus said the initial step for the problem gambler in either Genesee or Orleans County – or for someone who may be at risk of escalating his or her gambling activities – is to call GCASA at 585-343-1124 to set up an assessment appointment (those take place on Mondays at 4 p.m. in Batavia).

Should a potential patient have transportation issues or can’t meet at that time, procedures are in place for a special appointment to be made – either in Batavia or at the Albion clinic.

From there, Alisankus will use standardized criteria to assess the patient’s level of gambling disorder, which could vary from mild to moderate to severe to persistent to episodic.

The program at GCASA is free to all those seeking help.

Additional support is available through the Western Problem Gambling Resource Center in Buffalo, which has a working relationship with GCASA.

Disclosure: Story by Mike Pettinella, GCASA publicist.

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