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GCASA

July 16, 2019 - 9:15pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, GCASA, Batavia Town Planning Board, Borrego Solar Systems.

The Batavia Town Planning Board tonight set a public hearing for 7 p.m. Aug. 20 on an application by Borrego Solar Systems LLC, of Lowell, Mass., to install an 8.99 megawatt ground-mounted solar farm on Batavia Elba Townline Road, just west of Batavia Stafford Townline Road.

Emilie Flanagan, project developer for Borrego, and Marc Kenward, engineer for Erdman Anthony of Rochester, presented the plan for the 20.45-acre solar system to be built on land owned by Dan Underhill, a Batavia Town Board deputy supervisor.

Kenward said the project would consist of 43,355 solar panels placed in a fenced-in area of 19.94 acres with an additional half an acre to be used for an access driveway.

He said four utility poles will be needed – one more than usual since power will be supplied from across the road, which actually is in the Town of Stafford.

Flanagan emphasized that the panels will go on farm land that is in a valley and will be hidden by nearly 200 trees and landscaping to “have the least amount of impact as possible on neighboring homes.”

Kenward said engineers have made sure that the project meets or exceeds all Town of Batavia zoning codes and have received approval from the Genesee County Planning Board, which recommended that the 20-foot access driveway be eliminated or significantly reduced due to its impact upon the soil.

“We’re doing whatever the Town says we need to do,” Kenward noted. “It’s environmentally friendly; there needs to be little tree and stump removal and it will be enclosed by a 7-foot-high chain-link fence.”

He said glare studies showed that there will be no effect upon the (Genesee County) airport or on the ground.

The board also voted to seek lead agency status for a state environmental quality review.

Kenward said he hopes the permit process will be completed by September, setting the stage for construction over the winter.

In recent weeks, Borrego received approvals for two other solar farms, both on West Main Street Road.

Flanagan, responding to a question about whether the community benefits from projects such as these, said Borrego’s systems are part of the Community Solar program.

“Two weeks ago, the governor (Andrew Cuomo) came out and said that the state has to achieve 70 percent renewable energy by 2030,” she said. “What we build are mid-scale power plants that push electricity back to the local grid. Residents can subscribe to the grid (through their power company) to get discounts.”

She also said benefits come to the Town through building permits and to the county through property taxes.

Owners of the property receive payments from solar companies such as Borrego over a 25-year period, while solar leasing companies profit from selling electricity usually at a lower rate than charged by a utility company and from municipal tax credits.

In other action, the planning board:

-- Approved a site plan review for six to 10 temporary vendor areas on the property of Batavia Starter at 3282 W. Main Street Road, just west of Wortendyke Road.

Owner Phil Hinrich told planners that he hopes to attract vendors – sellers of fruit and vegetables, crafts, antiques, etc. – to set up shop in front of his business on the weekends in hope of increasing his bottom line.

“I have space to put four vendors on one side and six on the other, with lots of room behind the building for parking,” he said. “My goal is to generate some extra money to cover taxes.”

His plan has been approved by the Genesee County Planning Board, pending Hinrich’s acquisition of a driveway permit through the state Department of Transportation. Hinrich said he already has the permit and plans to put up temporary “enter” and “exit” signs to ensure proper traffic flow.

Hinrich said he would like to open the vendor area to the public in the summer months until around Labor Day, but may not be able to get the venture off the ground until next year. Planners asked him to report back to them in the spring for an update on the project.

-- Set a public hearing for 7 p.m. Aug. 6 in connection with a special use permit by Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse to develop an indoor recreation facility for recovering addicts at the former Bohn’s Restaurant site at 5258 Clinton Street Road.

Town Building Inspector Daniel Lang reported that the agency’s planned use for the building does fit into the town code since it is in a commercial zone.

He brought up the possibility of a reverse PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) to the Town as a result of the property coming off the tax rolls.

GCASA was unsuccessful in finding a place in the City of Batavia as it was hit with opposition from residents and council members.

“Maybe we, too, will have some opposition,” said Planning Board Chairperson Kathy Jasinski. “We’ll find out.”

Both the solar farm and GCASA public hearings will take place at the Batavia Town Hall on West Main Street Road.

-- Approved the placement of three signs at Fresenius Kidney Care at 4189 Veterans Memorial Drive (near Home Depot).

Edward “Jay” Hurzy of Sign and Lighting Services Co. of Ontario (N.Y.) said three signs will be erected – one on the pole, one on the building and one (with a brick base) by the road.

July 12, 2019 - 1:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bohn's Restaurant, batavia, GCASA, news, notify.

johnbennettgcasaplanningboard.jpg

After encountering community resistance for a planned recreation center for people in drug and alcohol recovery on South Swan Street in Batavia, GCASA has turned its attention to a former restaurant location on Clinton Street Road in the Town of Batavia.

And the Town officials have been more than encouraging and supportive, said John Bennett, executive director of GCASA, following a County Planning Board meeting Thursday evening where the board recommended approval of a special use permit for 5258 Clinton Street Road -- site of the former Bohn's Restaurant.

GCASA is in the process of acquiring the property.

Bennett said the community center will have a community garden, a basketball court, TVs for viewing sports, a pool table, space for other recreational activities. And, of course, since there's no place for a tavern in a building dedicated to recovery, the former bar area is likely to become a coffee and sandwich shop.

"We went into Rochester and went to this place called out Coffee Connections and it's a roasting business, a coffee-roasting business, run by recovering women," Bennett said. They run two coffeehouses and they serve lunches and breakfasts and we were kind of scoping that out, seeing how they did that. We're seeing if we can partner with somebody who might want to run a small little coffee shop."

People in recovery want to lead normal lives -- watch big sporting events together, play pool, eat some wings and pizza, socialize, but in an environment without drugs or alcohol, Bennett said.

"This is the new norm in urban areas," Bennett said. "It's what they call sober bars. And that's exactly what they are. They actually have mixology stuff but it's all alcohol-free and it's very much like going to any other bar that you would go to where they're having either karaoke or live music or dancing or whatever it is. I think just people in recovery are looking to be normal without having to worry about drugs and alcohol."

The most notable downside of opening up a social center for people in recovery on the outskirts of the City is that it won't be in walking distance for most people, like the originally proposed South Swan location. The upside is the square footage of the Clinton Street Road property is twice as much as the South Swan location. 

The asking price for the property, being sold by Mike Bohn after buying back the property in a foreclosure auction, is $250,000. Bennett said he can't disclose the actual sale price since the deal hasn't closed yet and the price is still being negotiated.

A presale building inspection was completed two days ago.

Much of the floor plan of the former restaurant will remain the same, Bennett said, but the interior, which probably hasn't been updated since the 1970s or early '80s, will be modernized.

There is also some equipment, furnishing, games and TVs to buy.

Bennett said GCASA has a modest $75,000 budget for the upgrades.

The property will be open to the community -- if there is a coffee shop, that will be open to everybody. If a community member isn't in recovery but wants to host an event -- say a birthday party -- for a friend or relative who is in recovery -- or isn't but perhaps should be -- the facility will be available for those reservations as well.

And there will be events for people in recovery, whether it be an open mic night or for big sporting events.

"Let's just say we're going to do a March Madness night or a week of March Madness basketball and we're gonna show games -- it's just a sober place to come down and watch basketball," Bennett said. "We'll have a little sports area and you can watch the Super Bowl or watch the World Series, things like that."

Bennett is a little exasperated by the community outcry over the proposed South Swan location but he said he understands it.

"It's really too bad that the South Side saw this as something that would threaten the community instead of benefit it because if you check out ROCovery in Rochester," Bennett said, " ... there's a whole thing around fitness and recovery. I went up and I met with them and they were amazing people and the community now has just enveloped them.

"Their community gardens are open to everybody in the community. Everybody gets to come down and pick some tomatoes or some peppers or lettuce or whatever they need. And everybody is also allowed to use the recovery center.

"So so I think that's where we want to head to. We want to say, 'hey this is open to you, too. You just have to be willing to be drug-free while you're here.'

"I think they were shortsighted but I understand that people have fears and the work we do is stigmatized."

May 13, 2019 - 10:00pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Council, GCASA.

While it doesn’t have any legal right to stop the sale of property, City Council is keeping its collective finger on the pulse of the Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse’s proposed offer to purchase the former North Pole Restaurant at 241-243 South Swan St. and use it as a social outlet for recovering addicts.

And at least four Council members publicly stated their opposition to the potential sale tonight following comments from two neighborhood residents during its monthly meeting at City Centre Council Chambers.

“I would not support it,” said Council Member Paul Viele, as colleague Kathy Briggs nodded in agreement, to applause.

Moments later, Council Member Rose Mary Christian and President Eugene Jankowski also stated that they were against it. Christian brought the issue to a public forum last month at a town hall meeting at 400 Towers.

“We’re going to do everything we can to stop this,” Christian said, despite word from City Attorney George Van Nest that, at this point, “there is not a role for Council to play” in this matter.

Van Nest said that Council is “not in the business to stop a project because it may be unpopular.” He advised that it needs to play out to see if any rezoning or variance issues would materialize, and those would be handled by the proper committees (Batavia Planning & Development or Zoning Board of Appeals).

City Manager Martin Moore said that GCASA Executive Director John Bennett told him that the building, which for many years served as the St. Nicholas Social Club, would be repurposed as a “retreat or private getaway” for those recovering from substance abuse.

“Still, we have to as a City take a look at it,” Moore said, noting that the area currently is zone as R-2 Residential. “The city attorney and Department of Public Works Superintendent (Matt Worth) are requesting information regarding the use.”

Moore said the specifics of the project weren’t spelled out, and that he is pursuing a written determination to be given to City Council and to be shared with the public.

Comments from council members and management came after David Fasano and Jack Chmielowiec, longtime Southside residents, voiced their strong opposition to the plan.

“These are court-ordered drug addicts and alcoholics (and they) force them onto our neighborhood,” Fasano said. “It’s not a good fit.”

Fasano said he was against it for two primary reasons – it puts addicts in a residential neighborhood and takes property off the tax rolls.

“GCASA is not a church; GCASA is a business,” he said. “With St. Anthony’s (Church on Liberty Street), it was already off the tax rolls when City Church bought it. They’ll be using our emergency services, DPW, city attorney … and we’re paying for that.”

Chmielowiec said he was “upset that it got this far without our neighborhood knowing about it” and was surprised that anyone would even consider the location with a school (Jackson School) two blocks away and a park (Farrall Park) “less than 200 paces away.”

He called negotiations a “sneaky kind of deal right from the get-go” and said he was “offended” that neighbors weren’t notified in advance.

Earlier reports indicate that GCASA received a state grant to fund the gathering place and had about a three-month window to complete the deal, and that the current owners of the property have accepted the agency’s offer.

April 18, 2019 - 3:04pm

Press release:

As the opioid epidemic continues to distress our community, local agencies are coming together to offer more services to those in need.

“Last fall, 24 counties in New York State, including Genesee, that are deemed ‘opioid burdened’ received funds from the CDC and New York State Department of Health to take local action to address the epidemic,” said Paul Pettit, Public Health director for Genesee and Orleans counties.

“After looking at our current services and speaking with local partners we wanted to launch an innovative program we learned about a few months earlier during a GOW Opioid Task Force meeting where Police Chief Volkman from Chatham spoke about the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative, more easily known as PAARI (pronounced PARR-REE).

"Using the funding to bring the successful approach of this program from Chatham into Genesee, will allow those who want to get into substance use treatment a 24/7 opportunity by going to one of the partnering first-responder agencies for help.”

The PAARI program will launch locally on Tuesday, April 23rd.

It will allow anyone who wants help with their addiction to walk into any police station or the city fire station and get the help they need. The program is supported by City of Batavia Police, City of Batavia Fire Department, Le Roy Police, and Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.

“The funds will help pay for overtime that will likely be incurred by staff of Public Safety agencies, as well as help pay for peer recovery coaches from Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) that will be contacted once a person seeking treatment walks through the door," Pettitt said.

"GCASA is an equally important partner in this, as they have hired the peer recovery coaches, who have been trained in providing services in the community early after receiving these funds.

"The peers will work with each individual and identify where they can go for the proper services,regardless of if it’s local or not, and make sure they get there. Ultimately, being a support in that moment and in the future, too. This program highlights the commitment and collaboration of our community partners to help address this crisis.”

GC Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr. agrees with Pettit regarding the collaboration of our first responders and the commitment to help address the opioid epidemic.

“This is a good collaboration between police, fire and the public," Sheron said. "I fully support the program and hope it will help people get the treatment services they need.”

For more information or for immediate help, please call GCASA’s peer services hotline at 585-815-1800.

February 28, 2019 - 4:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCASA, news, business, Best Companies Group.

Press release:

Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) is very pleased to announce that it has been named one of the "Best Companies to Work for in New York State" for 2019 for the second year in a row.

Best Companies Group analyzes employee survey data to determine what companies are selected and how they are ranked.  

“We decided to participate again this year because the feedback we received last year was really helpful," said John Bennett, executive director. "We continue to look for opportunities to enhance employees’ day to day job satisfaction in meaningful ways."

“This honor is because of our amazing employees and board of directors,” said Shannon Ford, director of Communications and Development.

GCASA will be honored at a public awards dinner to be held at the Albany Marriott on Wednesday, April 24. During the event, GCASA will learn its rank among the 26 companies in the category for small employers with 15-99 U.S. employees.

GCASA has been serving Genesee and Orleans Counties for more than 40 years. Services include prevention education and outpatient and residential treatment for individuals with substance use disorders; and an employee assistance program.

GCASA is located at 430 E. Main St. in the City of Batavia.

November 19, 2018 - 2:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, GCASA, Hillside Family of Agencies, narcan, parenting.

Hillside Family of Agencies welcomes you to join them for "Hidden Mischief & Narcan Training" from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday Dec. 6.

The location is 50 Batavia City Centre

Stop in for PIZZA and search our mock teen bedroom, link with resources in the community and gain valuable information.

Please register with Carrie St. Clair by calling 716-220-6850 or emailing her at:   [email protected]

"Hidden Mischief" is a program to create awareness of ways teens conceal drugs or use everyday items for drug use.

The interactive teen bedroom will give each participant an opportunity to search and find drug paraphernalia, drugs and drug references. There will be everyday items displayed that have been converted to hide or use drugs. Join us to see if you can find the hidden mischief. 

This parenting workshop, which also features Narcan training, is presented by GCASA.

Representatives from these organizations will be there: Horizon Health Services; Tobacco Free Coalition; Genesee County Sheriff's Office; and Hillside Family of Agencies.

November 19, 2018 - 12:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in byron, GCASA, charity, addiction, recovery, skivvies and spirits, news.

Submitted photos and press release:

Earlier this month, the fourth Annual Skivvies and Spirits event was held at the Byron Fire Hall. This unique event was started three years ago by Wendy and Tony Frongetta, in memory of their good friend, Mikel Anderson, who passed away in 2015 of an accidental drug overdose.

Although Anderson struggled with addiction, he was in recovery and dedicated his life to helping others and those who helped him. Wendy, who knew and loved Anderson, wanted to do something in his name to continue his helping spirit by helping those battling addiction, many who are homeless.

She learned that the first thing that happens when someone enters a shelter is that they are asked to shower and are given new clothes. In every instance their undergarments are tossed out. She learned that most shelters had donated clothes, but were always in need of new undergarments.

This year’s event collected baskets full of skivvies in all sizes, styles and colors. There was live entertainment by several musical groups, delicious food donated by the Red Osier Landmark Restaurant in Stafford and a live auction that included many items and gift certificates donated by local individuals, businesses and organizations.

New this year, the public was invited to learn more about Genesee County’s outreach programs that assist those struggling with addiction. GCASA’s mobile recovery van was parked outside the Byron Fire Hall and two of GCASA’s peer advocates, Gina and Sheila, were on hand to give additional information about services in our area.

The recovery van is available 24/7. It will actually come to those battling addiction who are ready to seek help. The van has the equipment necessary to immediately help an individual begin their path to recovery. The mobile recovery van will actually bring an individual to a treatment facility that is in line with their needs.

In speaking with Gina, a peer advocate and Frongetta’s daughter, she explained her duties are as a peer advocate. Gina describes her job as a community resource expert, a motivator, an ally, a supporter and a role model. Her enthusiasm about her job certainly would give anyone she interacts with a big spark of hope to start their journey to sobriety.

Also, for the first time during this year’s event, GCASA employees were on-hand to give 10 individuals training in dispensing Narcan; now in nasal form. After a 10-minute class learning about how and when to use the medication those individuals can save someone from being another overdose victim. They potentially can become first responders as many, many overdoses are in home settings.

The clothing items collected this year will again be distributed to Genesee County’s many outreach programs and Agencies including WNY Veterans Outreach, Genesee & Orleans Community Action, Hope Haven and others.

For more information or if you would like to donate to this cause, contact Wendy at 585-455-4940.

Below, peer advocate Gina Frongetta in GCASA's new mobile recovery van.

October 7, 2018 - 4:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in opioids, GCASA, batavia, news, notify.

hochulmethadone2018.jpg

To deal with the opioid crisis in New York, the state needs to an embrace an "all of the above" approach to find a way to keep people alive, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said during a visit to Batavia on Thursday.

Hochul was in town for a ribbon cutting at the new methodone clinic at GCASA. During her remarks Hochul talked about how the opioid crisis has led to tragedy in her own family, with a dose of heroin laced with fentanyl claiming the life of her nephew.

In an short interview after her remarks, Hochul said an "all of the above" approach could include consideration of safe injection sites. She was a little more vague about whether the state would consider following Portugal's lead, which decriminalized drug possession 18 years ago and established a program to help addicts find meaningful work, and as a result cut addiction rates in half and reduced overdose deaths to 30 to 50 a year, about 1/50th the rate of the United States. Prior to 2001, Portugal was known as the heroin capital of Europe.

"I don’t know we’re prepared to say anything about following a particular model," Hochul said. "We are considering all options is all I can say. If people have ideas, please bring them forward."

During her remarks, Hochul talked about her role, along with other state officials, of crisscrossing the state, meeting with residents and people on the frontlines of the opioid crisis. The result was legislation that not only led to the $850,000 grant to build the methodone clinic at GCASA but was recently amended to allow for medical marijuana to treat chronic pain. The legislation also attempts to eliminate the waiting time for an addict to get into treatment.

"We’re trying to figure out how do we stop people from dying literally in the streets and in their homes," Hochul told The Batavian.

Besides the methadone clinic, guests at the ribbon cutting were able to tour a new mobile treatement clinic that will allow GCASA staff to travel throughout the region and meet with addicts where they live, eliminating the need for them to travel to Batavia. It is important to note, the mobile clinic will not include a methadone dispensary, which by law must be at the approved facility in Batavia.

"That is why this is such a hopeful day for me," Hochul said while discussing the changes at GCASA. "To see what we can bring here, a new facility, an expansion, a mobile unit, which may look like an RV, recreational vehicle, but to me that’s a recovery vehicle."

Thursday, the governor's office also announced $900,000 in funding for 17 detox beds at GCASA. Director John Bennett showed off floor plans for a new detox facility on the East Main Street property.

"We often talk about going to treatment but we forget that before you can go into treatment, you have to go through detox," said Arlene González-Sánchez, commissioner of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. "Detox is really critical. Detrox is not treatment. It is the beginning of treatment and we’re so happy that we’re able to say that we will be able to have some detox beds in this whole region."

Brian Paris, president of the GCASA board, praised Bennett and the rest of the GCASA staff for their hard work in helping to establish the methadone clinic, the mobile unit, and soon the detox facility.

"We live in a changing world and GCASA is changing to support that changing world," Paris said.

Hochul's nephew, she said, started on his path to addiction after being prescribed painkillers when he cut his hand on a meat slicing machine in a delicatessen where he was working.

"That led to addiction, led to the streets, led to a decade of putting his mother and our family through hell as he tried to find a path forward," Hochul said.

The family thought he was past his addiction and on the right path. He was a graduate student at University of Buffalo  and a mentor to others trying to kick the habit. After he broke up with a girlfriend he slipped and tried one dose and died as a result.

"Be proud that your state has not run from this problem," Hochul said. "We have leaned into this problem."

NOTE: I took pictures of the ribbon cutting. I thought I imported those pictures in PhotoShop (Lightroom). I reformatted the card for another assignment and discovered later I hadn't imported the pictures. They are lost. My apologies to those involved.

September 12, 2018 - 12:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in bergen, news, GCASA, Bergen Evangelical Church.

Press release:

Guest speakers from Buffalo and the first Genesee County appearance of the new mobile unit of Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) will highlight Freedom from Addiction starting at 10:30 a.m. this Sunday (Sept. 16) at Bergen's Sage Pavilion.

The free event is offered for people who are struggling with addiction or those who have loved ones who are struggling. 

Guest speakers include representatives of Adult and Teen Challenge of Buffalo, a nationwide organization that has a high success rate in helping people break free from destructive habits. 

GCASA will also unveil its new mobile unit that will be offering counseling and peer advocate services throughout Genesee and Orleans counties. People who attend the program will be able to visit the mobile unit, talk with a GCASA counselor and peer advocate supervisor to learn more about services that are available. 

GCASA will be rolling out these services through the mobile unit during the next month in Genesee County, then will expand the service into Orleans County as well.

Adult & Teen Challenge provides residential treatment. Two participants in the program will offer their stories of how they have been helped by this program. 

Sage Pavilion is at 62 S. Lake Ave. (Route 19) in the Village of Bergen. 

The event is sponsored by Bergen Evangelical Presbyterian Church. For more information, call 494-1251.

September 7, 2018 - 1:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in opioids, steve hawley, GCASA.

Press release:

The Finger Lakes region will be among 35 statewide recipients of federal funding through the Opioid State Target Response Grant, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced Thursday.

The initiative, which will appropriate $25.2 million in grants across the state to aid in the fight against substance abuse, provides assistance to programs that offer prevention, treatment and recovery services, increasing access to treatment for individuals in high-need areas in an effort to combat this statewide crisis.

The Opioid State Target Response Grant program, currently in its second year, announced Genesee County will be among 19 new counties that will receive funding to assist in the fight against opioid abuse this year. The Genesee Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) will directly benefit from this support, receiving a $650,000 grant through the program.

Additional programs throughout the Finger Lakes region will receive grants through this federally-funded program, including the Delphi Drug and Alcohol Council Inc.

“The far-reaching effects of the heroin and opioid epidemic are well documented, not only here in our community, but across our state and nation,” Hawley said. “As lawmakers, we have a responsibility to pursue any and all opportunities to secure support, at both the state and federal level, to assist the dedicated programs providing recovery and addiction treatment to the individuals affected by this statewide crisis.

"I am thrilled to see our community among the recipients of these grants and will remain committed to protecting our local families from the dangers of opioid abuse.”

To discuss the ongoing work being done to fight heroin and opioid abuse in our community, or any additional state matters, please contact Hawley’s district office at 585-589-5780. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, assistance can be found by calling state's toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).

August 1, 2018 - 4:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in opioids, addiction, methadone, GCASA, batavia, news.

Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) is very pleased to announce that the Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) will open on Aug. 13. This will allow patients to receive methadone to treat their addiction.

GCASA has been providing Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) since 2004. Like many other diseases such as heart disease or diabetes, patients require medication to treat their medical conditions.

Dr. Matthew Fernaays, GCASA’s medical director, has prescribed naltrexone and buprenorphine for patients for several years, with great success for some patients. But they don’t work for all patients. With the opening of the OTP, he will be able to prescribe methadone to treat a patient’s addiction, increasing access to appropriate treatment services for residents in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

Kathy Hodgins, senior services director at GCASA, said “The ability to provide methadone treatment in our rural area will help so many people in our community. Those who are unable to drive to Buffalo or Rochester daily will be able to access the care they need to treat their addiction right here in Batavia. This is huge for our community.”

Methadone is highly regulated and monitored. Licenses were obtained by NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Research shows that most communities with similar programs have decreased rates of crime because people are able to get the help they need, instead of having to steal to maintain their drug use.

GCASA is very excited to be able to offer this treatment to help fight the opioid crisis.

“We want to see people in recovery," says Executive Director John Bennett. "We are working hard to fill in the gaps that currently exist in treatment services. We know that there are many pathways to recovery and we are grateful to be able to provide another path with methadone.” 

GCASA has been serving Genesee and Orleans counties for more than 40 years. Services include prevention education and outpatient and residential treatment for individuals with substance use disorders; and an employee assistance program. For more information, please call 585-343-1124 or visit our website at gcasa.net.

GCASA is located at 430 E. Main St. in the City of Batavia.

March 14, 2018 - 3:42pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in GCASA, opioid addiction.

Press release:

Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse is hosting Recovery 101: For Families and Loved Ones” on Wednesday, March 21.  The event will be held at City Church Generation Center at 15 Center St., Batavia. 

Doors will open at 5 p.m. with various agency display tables and refreshments.

The event will include a panel presentation from 6-7:30 p.m. featuring Dr. Matthew Fernaays, GCASA’s medical director; Riley, a person in recovery; and Sandy, the parent of a young person in recovery. There will be time for questions from the audience.

In addition, training for use of opioid overdose reversal medication (NARCAN®) will be offered from 7:30-8 p.m. to those interested.

Please plan on attending if you are concerned about a loved one’s opioid use or want to know more about the disease of addiction and how it affects families. Registration is not necessary, but greatly appreciated. Please RSVP by calling 585-815-1883 by Friday, March 16.

February 9, 2018 - 4:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, GCASA.

Press release:

Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) is very pleased to announce that it has been named one of the "Best Companies to Work for in New York State" for 2018.

“As a nonprofit organization it is often difficult to be competitive with compensation and benefits offered by the for profit sector," said John Bennett, GCASA executive director. "Here at GCASA, we are always looking to enhance employees’ day to day job satisfaction in meaningful ways.

"Being honored as a best company is the result of servant leaders, a dedicated professional staff and a wonderful board of directors.” 

GCASA will be honored at a public awards dinner to be held at the Albany Marriott on Wednesday, April 18. During the event, GCASA will learn its rank among the 27 companies in the category for small employers with 15-99 U.S. employees.

GCASA has been serving Genesee and Orleans Counties for more than 40 years. Services include prevention education and outpatient and residential treatment for individuals with substance use disorders; and an employee assistance program.

For more information, please contact Human Resource Director, Kim Corcoran at 585-815-1801.

February 9, 2018 - 4:08pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, GCASA.

Press release:

Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) is very pleased to announce that it has been named one of the Best Companies to Work for in New York State for 2018.

“As a non-profit organization it is often difficult to be competitive with compensation and benefits offered by the for profit sector," GCASA Executive Director John Bennett said. "Here at GCASA, we are always looking to enhance employees’ day to day job satisfaction in meaningful ways.

"Being honored as a best company is the result of servant leaders, a dedicated professional staff and a wonderful board of directors." 

GCASA will be honored at a public awards dinner on April 18 at the Albany Marriott, where it will will learn its rank among the 27 companies in the category for small employers (with 15-99 U.S. employees).

The award is being given by the Best Companies Group, based in Harrisburg, Pa., which uses surveys and other information-gathering tools to (according to its website) “identify and recognize” places of employment that are leading the way in defining the employee experience of the 21st century.

GCASA has been serving Genesee and Orleans Counties for over 40 years.  Services include prevention education and outpatient and residential treatment for individuals with substance use disorders; and an employee assistance program.

For more information, please contact Human Resource Director, Kim Corcoran at 585-815-1801.

September 28, 2017 - 1:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, GCASA.

dr_crediretire.jpg

Press release:

Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse is sad to say goodbye to Dr. Magdi Credi. Dr. Credi began working as the Medical Director at GCASA almost seven years ago. At that time, he was trained in addiction medicine by GCASA’s former Medical Director, Dr. Charles King.

Dr. Credi has been an integral part of GCASA’s medical team, providing healthcare services and medication-assisted treatment for many patients over the years. His kindness and compassion toward people suffering from substance use disorders have been greatly appreciated by patients and staff. 

Executive Director John Bennett recalls why he wanted to recruit Dr. Credi to be GCASA’s Medical Director.

“Our conversation centered on Dr. Credi being a healer and that people with an addiction need compassionate medical care," Bennett said. "We have been blessed to have him as our Medical Director for many years and more recently as part of the medical team.”

Dr. Credi stated, “Working with our patients has been very eye-opening. I am very thankful to John Bennett for having the vision to provide methadone treatment.”

Dr. Credi worked his last day at GCASA today, Sept. 28th. He plans to enjoy his retirement by spending time traveling and enjoying his grandchildren.

September 20, 2017 - 8:40am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Tri-County Welding, GCASA, O-AT-KA Milk.

Owners of an East Main Street welding business made a compelling argument before the City Planning & Development Committee Tuesday night and, as a result, are one step away from achieving their goal to convert a former auto repair shop into a storage facility.

“Absolutely,” said PDC Chairperson Duane Preston, when asked if Daniel and Joyce Mattice, owners of Tri-County Welding at 649 E. Main St., had a strong case for a proposal to transform five of the six bays of the former Mazur’s Auto Repair into retail storage units.

“Since he has the right to put a junkyard in there, this is definitely the softer of all choices,” Preston said. “Now it will be an enclosed building, cleaned up, with no dust, no junk and little traffic.”

The Mattices purchased the Mazur building at 643-645 E. Main St. through foreclosure last year and have put around $40,000 into upgrading it, while renting out the front of the building – office space -- to Anything Your Heart Desires floral shop.

They said they unsuccessfully tried to get someone to rent the auto repair shop before coming up with the idea of storage units. City zoning laws, however, do not permit storage units in an Industrial-1 zone, meaning that the Mattices had to seek an area variance.

Their request was recommended for disapproval by the Genesee County Planning Board last week, but their presentation last night – buoyed by statements from attorney Michael Del Plato – convinced the PDC that their plan could work.

“This is an opportunity to protect your property, and they should be able to take advantage of it,” Del Plato said, noting that there are many businesses in that area. “We can’t legislate through City Council every potential use; the local boards have to help us out here.”

Del Plato called the variance request “minimal” in scope with “much less density” than the building’s previous use, and noted that the business is in an “Industrial zone surrounded by commercial uses.”

Joyce Mattice said she had signed statements from the surrounding business owners in support of their venture, ensuring the PDC that there would be no hazardous materials or tires on site.

The PDC voted unanimously to approve the variance. The request now goes in front of the City Zoning Board of Appeals on Sept. 28, needing four out of five “yes” votes for final approval.

Preston said the Mattices’ request comes at a “transitional period” (in relation to zoning) in that the updated Comprehensive Plan is nearly finalized and will be addressed by City Council.

“In this case, we took into account the particular area and the makeup of the neighborhood,” he said.

In other action, the committee:

-- Approved a site plan for a proposed 2,700-square-foot addition at Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse campus on East Main Street, which would be used as a methadone clinic to treat people with opioid addictions.

This action comes on the heels of a similar recommendation by the Genesee County Planning Board.

GCASA Executive Director John Bennett and project architect Raymond Murphy presented the plan last night, reiterating the immediate need for such a facility in light of what Bennett terms a “national epidemic.”

The new clinic, with an April 2018 opening target date, will be funded by an $820,000 grant from the state Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, Bennett said.

Plans are for it to be open in the morning from Monday through Saturday for people to take their prescription and head off to their daily tasks.

The addition will result in an increase of 38 parking spaces on the campus, raising the total parking capacity to 72 spaces.

-- Recommended approval of a 20,075-square-foot, one-story addition to an industrial use building at O-At-Ka Milk Products on Cedar Street.

The $2.5 million addition would be placed adjacent to the existing warehouse space to the west and south on the property. Work is expected to start in less than a month.

March 1, 2017 - 5:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, GCASA.

Press release:

The Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Foundation will award two $1,000 scholarships, one to a Genesee County resident and one to an Orleans County resident. 

GCASA Foundation supports the work of GCASA and other nonprofit organizations in Genesee and Orleans counties. Several organizations have received mini-grants to help sustain the crucial work they do in our community. Now, individuals pursuing a degree in Health Sciences or Human Services can apply for scholarship money that will help them pay for college.

The board of directors of both GCASA and GCASA Foundation are committed to providing quality services. Educated, skilled employees and board members are the necessary ingredients for effective service delivery.

GCASA Foundation Board Vice President Jim Morey stated, “Because GCASA exists to help people avoid or recover from addictions, GCASA Foundation believes in honoring area students who seek careers in which they too will help other people.”

GCASA Foundation has been pleased to honor some exceptional students in the past.

“The only joy greater than reading the personal essays written by all the bright, gifted young people who submit applications is seeing the looks on the winners' faces as they receive the scholarships for which they competed,” Morey said. 

Individuals whose primary residence is in Orleans or Genesee County and who have been accepted at an accredited college in an eligible program such as Social Work, Nursing, Health Science or Human Services are encouraged to apply. Scholarship criteria and applications are available in high school counseling offices throughout both counties and on-line by visiting www.gcasa.net

January 27, 2017 - 3:31pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, GCASA.

Press release:

BATAVIA – The Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Foundation will award two $1,000 scholarships, one to a Genesee County resident and one to an Orleans County resident. 

GCASA Foundation supports the work of GCASA and other nonprofit organizations in Genesee and Orleans counties. Several organizations have received mini-grants to help sustain the crucial work they do in our community. Now, individuals pursuing a degree in Health Sciences or Human Services can apply for scholarship money that will help them pay for college.

The Board of Directors of both GCASA and GCASA Foundation are committed to providing quality services. Educated, skilled employees and board members are the necessary ingredients for effective service delivery.

GCASA Foundation Board Vice President Jim Morey stated, “Because GCASA exists to help people avoid or recover from addictions, GCASA Foundation believes in honoring area students who seek careers in which they too will help other people.”

GCASA Foundation has been pleased to honor some exceptional students in the past.

“The only joy greater than reading the personal essays written by all the bright, gifted young people who submit applications is seeing the looks on the winners' faces as they receive the scholarships for which they competed,” Morey said. 

Individuals whose primary residence is in Orleans or Genesee County and who have been accepted at an accredited college in an eligible program such as Social Work, Nursing, Health Science or Human Services are encouraged to apply. Scholarship criteria and applications are available in high school counseling offices throughout both counties and online by visiting www.gcasa.net.

January 12, 2017 - 5:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCASA, batavia, news.

Genesee Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse will receive $820,000 in state money for an opioid treatment program. The money will fund 150 treatment slots.

Press release:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $8.1 million awarded to eight addiction treatment providers in seven counties across New York State. Funding will support construction needs and operational assistance for treatment programming, and the development of up to 80 new residential treatment beds and 600 new Opioid Treatment Program slots. These awards build on the Governor’s aggressive efforts to combat opioid misuse and heroin use, and the disease of addiction. 

“This administration continues the fight against opioid and heroin addiction and this funding will help ensure more New Yorkers will get the help they need to get on the road to recovery," Governor Cuomo said. “These new beds will help change lives and save lives, and bring us one step closer to a stronger and healthier New York for all." 

"Governor Cuomo is leading the charge to combat the devastating heroin and opioid crisis affecting families all across New York State. That includes ensuring immediate access to the supports and services needed for a successful recovery,” said Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, co-chair of the Governor's task force to combat heroin and opioid addiction. “This is about saving people’s lives and these new treatment opportunities will provide even more people with the critical services they need to overcome addiction.”

November 21, 2016 - 3:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCASA, batavia, news.

20161118_134615.jpg

Press release:

The Western New York Chemical Dependency Consortium held its annual Gold Key Awards and Holiday Luncheon in Buffalo on Friday, Nov. 18. Dr. Bruce Baker, currently a medical consultant for GCASA, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Dr. Baker graduated from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1959. He worked as the Genesee County Jail physician for 25 years, which is where he began addressing substance abuse issues with his patients. He also worked as the medical director of Hope Haven Alcohol and Chemical Dependency Inpatient Service at United Memorial Medical Center from 1963-2013. While Dr. Baker has been a physician for almost 60 years, he has worked in the addiction field for more than 35 years. 

Dr. Baker has been on the cutting edge of addiction medicine throughout his career. He was an early adopter of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). As the medical director at Hope Haven, he was responsible for the initiation of Suboxone treatment. He recognized early on, especially working at the Genesee County Jail, that individuals who suffered from addiction needed treatment, both medically and therapeutically. 

Dr. Baker is extremely knowledgeable about addiction. He shares his knowledge with others in a straightforward, uncomplicated way. He created an easy to understand document, Opioid Addiction and Medically Assisted Treatment, to share with his patients. In this document he describes what opiate addiction is, how the brain is affected, and how MAT can help. He truly wants to help people; and he does. Dr. Baker has helped thousands of patients in the WNY region recover from addiction. 

When asked about his greatest accomplishment in his career, Dr. Baker acknowledged his service of providing medical care to patients for more than 50 years. He adds that at 83 years old, he plans to continue practicing and loves the work he does at GCASA. Dr. Baker shared that of all the work he has done throughout his career, including delivering babies and working in his family practice, he feels most fulfilled in his work at GCASA. His compassion for his patients is exceptional. 

In addition to his career accomplishments, he’s very proud of his family. He and his wife raised six children and have a total of 21 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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