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Genesee County Flag contest

June 2, 2021 - 3:54pm


riley_wall_1.jpgAn Alexander Central School eighth-grader’s design promoting agriculture and the people who work to get crops from the field to the table received the most votes in the Genesee County Flag Contest conducted by the county planning department.

Riley Wall, (photo at left), a student in Karen LaDuke’s art class, created a flag that shows a healthy ear of corn supported by two different color hands in a tapestry of blue sky and green fields.

Her entry edged out four other finalists in the children’s contest that had citizens vote on the Genesee 2050 website in March and April.

Riley, 13, said she participated in the project as a class after it was suggested by her teacher.

"I think I came up with the design just because I knew that as a county we are very toward agriculture and being part of a community. So, that's why I included a piece of corn and the diversity of it," she said.

She said it took her one or two days to complete the work, with the design in her initial thought process continuing through the finished product.

County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari said Riley’s flag is worthy in that it recognizes the value of farming, Genesee County’s No. 1 industry.

“It represents our agricultural base and symbolizes the importance of farmers, local food and also the diversity of our farming community,” he said.

The winning flag will be flown on June 14 – Flag Day – at the Genesee County Courts Facility as the county flag for a day, Oltramari said.

“We’re still finalizing plans but it looks like there will be a commendation -- with the flag flying at the Courts Facility Building -- and a ceremony outside, either before or after the legislature’s Public Service Committee meeting,” he said, adding that Riley and her family will be invited to attend.

Riley said she is looking forward to the event.

"I think this will be a really good experience for me," she said, adding that the outcome of the contest has inspired to take art more seriously. "When I was younger, I used to draw a lot. Now, I don't draw as much but I think that since I did this thing, I think I'm going to start getting more into it."

Oltramari said he is working with a flag company to make sure it is ready by June 14.

As far as the adult contest to determine the new county flag is concerned, Oltramari said he is waiting on the legislature, which is taking a close look at the five designs deemed as finalists.

Oltramari said his research indicates that all New York State counties, except for Livingston, have the county seal on their flags. He said the reason for that is because if it didn’t have the county seal, people wouldn’t be able to identify it.

May 23, 2021 - 2:47pm

county_flag.gifAs a vexillologist since childhood, Genesee County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari knows more than a thing or two about how flags should look.

He shared some of his knowledge on the study of flags earlier this week during a discussion with the county’s Ways & Means Committee about the progress of a public contest to find a replacement for the current Genesee County flag – a blue banner that features the county seal in the middle with the words Genesee County above and Founded 1802 below in block letters.

“One of the no-no’s for flags is never to put words on them,” Oltramari said, admitting the county flag has ruffled his feathers to a certain degree. “Flags are symbols, and they’re not supposed to say things. Especially when they’re flying … you really can’t read them so it makes no sense.”

Oltramari said he became hooked on flags since his elementary school days after seeing pictures of them on the inside cover of a dictionary.

“I’ve been a flag bearer all my life,” he said. “I memorized them and to this day, I’m very good. I like going to GCC, where all the flags are hanging … and I can name them all. It’s fun.”

He explained to the committee that the international and national vexillology associations took their name from the word vexillum, which is Latin for the flag-like object used as a military standard by units in the ancient Roman Army.

When the county embarked on a comprehensive plan update and the Genesee 2050 project associated with it, Oltramari took that as an opportunity to get citizens involved by holding a design contest to update the flag – with categories for adults and children.

Online voting on the five finalists in each division ended on April 30 – resulting in first-place designs pending approval by the legislature before results are released to the public. Oltramari said using the county seal on the new flag is allowed.

Should the designs receiving the most votes move forward (and that is uncertain at this point), Oltramari suggested drafting a commendation and making a presentation to the children’s category winner.

He also thought it would be proper to make the children’s flag the official county flag for a day and fly it outside.

“After that, it would be put in the Genesee County History Department as a display,” he said. “It would be an extra cost to have that flag printed but I thought it would be a nice gesture.”

According to a press release from the county about the flag contest, those who voted online have a chance to win free shelter reservations at DeWitt Recreation Area and the Genesee County Park & Forest for the upcoming season.

Voters were automatically entered into the drawing by voting for one of the flag designs and by filling out any of the Genesee 2050 surveys. The more surveys someone completed, the more chances that person had to win.

To see pictures of the five finalists in both categories, click on the Previously link.

Previously: Vote for a new Genesee County Flag -- one created by an adult AND one by a child

March 15, 2021 - 1:36pm
posted by Press Release in Genesee County Flag contest, news.

Submitted images and press release:

Finalists have been selected for a new Genesee County flag and now the public will determine one winner from five flags designed by children and five flags designed by adults.

Please click here to vote for your favorite -- choose one adult flag AND one child's flag.

Voting will end on Friday, April 30 and the winning selections will be announced the following week.

“We are excited about the entries for the contest and when residents go online to vote, we also are strongly encouraging them to fill out the various surveys for our 2050 Comprehensive Plan,” said Felipe Oltramari, director of the Genesee County Department of Planning. “It is very important that we hear from our residents, business owners, and other stakeholders as we go about drafting a plan that reflects community priorities decades from now.”

Those who vote online will have a chance to win free shelter reservations at DeWitt Recreation Area and the Genesee County Park & Forest for the upcoming season. Voters are automatically entered into the drawing by voting for one of the flag designs and by filling out any of the Genesee 2050 surveys. The more surveys someone completes, the more chances that person has to win.

“Kudos to everyone, both adult and child, that participated in the flag design contest,” said Genesee County Legislature Chair Shelley Stein. “I know the committee had a difficult time in selecting the finalists in each category and that can only attributed to the vision, passion, and pride we all have for Genesee County.”

The five entries from the adult category are described below each image:

Flag 1 -- Symbolizes Genesee County’s farming heritage as its foundation, in the blue horizon line over a green field of crops backed up by the sunshine, coming together to form a G for Genesee.

Flag 2 -- Features a green shape in the center as the geographic boundary of the county; the G is for Genesee and it is surrounded by 13 stars representing the County's 13 towns.

Flag 3 -- Includes the Holland Land Office Museum as its main graphic, symbolizing the birthplace of Genesee County (and all of Western New York). The enclosing shape has 12 stars, plus one more within it, representing the 13 towns in the County.

Flag 4 -- Sunshine and the plant growing from a cultivated field represent the agricultural character of Genesee County. The graphic within the sun is an indigenous star symbol, which means courage and purity of spirit. The valley symbol comes from the Iroquois word Gen-nis'-Thee-yo, meaning "The Beautiful Valley.” The combination of these images symbolize the County's Seneca heritage.

Flag 5 -- It is a bicolor design with two horizontal color fields in royal blue and gold. A blue and gold representation of the county seal is in the center consuming the middle two quarters of the width. It has a gold half circle outlining the top half of the seal to provide contrast against the royal blue field.

The five entries from children are:

Child's Flag 1

Child's Flag 2

Child's Flag 3

Child's Flag 4

Child's Flag 5

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