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May 16, 2022 - 8:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy Central Schools, Le Roy, schools, education, news, notify.

Four people are each vying for one of three trustee seats on Le Roy Central School's Board of Education during Tuesday's school budget vote.

The two candidates with the most votes will be elected to the two three-year terms that are open, and the candidate to come in third will fill the remaining two years on the other available seat.

The four candidates are Peter W. Loftus, Randa Williams, Jason Karcher, and Rachael Greene.

Also on the ballot is the district's $27,708,988 spending plan.  Voters are being asked to approve a $10,663,025 tax levy.  In-district property owners in Pavilion, Bergen, and Caledonia are looking at a projected tax rate of $19. Property owners in the Town of Le Roy pay the same rate they did this year, $24.14. For further explanation of the tax rates and budget, see The Batavian's previous coverage: Le Roy trustees support $66,000 tax levy increase, still lowering tax rate for property owners with assessment adjustments

During the May 10 school board meeting, the four candidates were given time to introduce themselves:

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Peter W. Loftus
Loftus has served on the school district board for six years and is seeking a third term.  He is married to Tammy and they have two children.   

He is an engineering manager at RL Kistler Inc.

"Kistler places a real high value on their employees giving back to the community and providing service wherever they can," Loftus said. "This has allowed me a lot of flexibility to get out of work when I need to, to get back here for any committee meeting, interview negotiations, anything like that that takes place in the normal working hours. My work is really understanding about that and provides me with that opportunity."

He said he learned two things when he first started on the school board. 

"The first thing that I learned is that it's just a massive operation," he said. "The running of this district is all the fast-moving parts. Everything's changing all the time. People are leaving. It's a natural path for people to come and go. So you're always filling slots. It's just the way it is.

"And the other thing that I learned -- and this is the biggie -- that they care; the education, and the life preparation of every student in this district, is what drives everybody here."

Six years ago, when he showed up at the Jr./Sr high school to participate in his own children's educations, he picked up a positive vibe just walking around the hallways. Loftus said, and he decided he wanted to be a part of it, so he decided to run for a seat on the board.

"Now, I do understand a lot of the challenges, and there are many things we need to do to be better," Loftus said. "It's not just a happy place where that vibe is going all the time. There are underlying issues. There are things that we need to improve."

And Loftus wants to help guide that improvement, he said, and his experience will prove to be an asset.

"My six years on the board equips me with some experience and some tools to be a more effective, more impactful board member," Loftus said. "I really look forward to putting that experience to use in a third term."

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Randa Williams
Williams, a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother of Le Roy students, started her involvement with the Le Roy Central School District when her daughter entered kindergarten in 1976. She served on the PTSO and helped get the first playground built, and then a second.

She's been involved with Girl Scouts for 66 years.

"I think that the most important thing is to be involved in your community," Williams said. "I think that's what brought me here."

She thinks more people should get involved with their local schools.

"In a case like this, if you're involved, you know what's going on in your school. And it's very important what's going on here," she said.

Williams said she is excited to get more involved with the district through a seat on the school board.

"I'm very interested in what's going on and I would like to be involved in it," she said.

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Jason Karcher
Part of what brought Karcher to Le Roy is that he married a young lady from the community and they both wanted a place with a strong sense of community and family.

The Buffalo native arrived four years ago and immediately got involved.  He joined the Le Roy Rotary Club and is now set to become president-elect in July. He's also been involved with the PTSO.

"One of the big things for me was about (finding) some place that I could actually dig in, get my hands dirty, and be a part of something that was larger than myself," Karcher said. "When we made the decision, it wasn't a foregone conclusion about where we would go, but it presented itself really quickly that, with family here, and with all the opportunities that are available here, to be able to come back here and (get involved)."

He and his wife Shannon have a daughter and it was his daughter's love of softball that got him even more involved in the community. 

"About two years ago, we had a huge opportunity where there was going to be no softball, there's gonna be no community of girls softball," he said. "That was a big thing for our daughter to make sure that ( girls softball) could continue on. So Shanna and I jumped in and we formed a 501(C)(3) and got it off the ground, and in two years. Now we have over 100 girls playing softball again here in the community, which we think is fantastic, and we're really excited about it."

The level of involvement led to Karcher being appointed to a vacant seat on the school board.

He works for Apple as an employee relations specialist.

"For me, it's about involvement," he said. "One of the things I would call out is, this is our budget meeting, this is where people could come in and actually get to know our candidates. And this is what we have to write (motion it the largely empty auditorium). And I'll call out, why aren't there more people here? That bothers me. So that's one of the big things, if ever voted on to the school board, is wanting to make a commitment that we need more people here."

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Rachael Greene

Greene enters the race with more than two decades of experience in education. She started her career as a teacher in her hometown of Warsaw before becoming a principal in Mount Morris.  She was an instructional coordinator for BOCES (a position her husband, Peter, now holds) before becoming superintendent of the Stanley G. Falk School, which is a NYS-approved special day school that provides educational programming for students aged five to 21 who have special learning, social, and emotional needs.

"We have 600 students," Greene said. "We're the largest special education school in New York State -- seven locations and (there are) 44 different districts that we collaborate with. So when I think about what I could bring to the board, I think there's some insight and perspective in the fact that I've been able to sit in many of your positions within the district, not this district, specifically, but in a school system, and understand the roles that each of you plays to make decisions on what's best for kids. But also the perspective of being able to say, wow, you know, 44 districts, what are they doing with this?"

She said she wouldn't see her role as another superintendent in the district, a role Merrit Holly currently fills. 

"I think there's some value in being a thought partner at the table with the board," said Greene, a life-long resident of Le Roy. "In my experience, the other piece I think I would bring to the board is I'm a huge advocate for underrepresented students. When I look at our community of Le Roy and youth, and look at where we were 20 years ago, our poverty levels amongst our families and our students coming through our doors hovered around 10 percent. That trend line has done nothing but grow, where we are at almost 40 percent of our students that come into our school buildings living in poverty every day."

The Greenes have three children going to Le Roy schools, including Andrew, a ninth-grader who attended the meeting with his mother.

"I have a lot of confidence that he also will be in some form of leadership because he's class president, and now president of the Junior Honor Society," she said. "So I'm super proud of that. I think it's important for me as a parent to also model that when you're passionate about something, you want to have a seat at the table. So I'm super proud. He's here to support me."

 Greene said she would serve to support educators and see that both instructors and students -- especially those coming from poor families -- get what they need to succeed.

"I can tell you that our teachers in this district and our staff work so hard to do what's best for kids every day," Greene said. "So, as a board member, I'd want to think about what can we do, not just instructionally, but structurally to provide for what every kid needs in this district. Because the sad part is that two-thirds of those 40 percent don't pass the state exams. That tells me that there's a big gap there and it's our obligation, my duty, I would feel as the board member, and all of ours, to really look at what can we do to break down those barriers for kids every day."

Photos by Howard Owens.

May 16, 2022 - 5:40pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, City Schools, notify.

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Something you may not know about Jason Smith is that he didn’t aspire to be a school district superintendent.

In fact, his current role as head of Batavia City Schools just sort of happened with a suggestion that he should consider the next position, he says.

“The thing is there's nothing I've ever aspired to, it's kind of come to me, it's been a calling," Smith said during an interview with The Batavian. "When I was a teacher I never had any aspiration to be a superintendent. I was happy as a teacher. I was happy as an assistant principal. I was happy as a principal. I was happy as a superintendent in Lyndonville. I'm happy to be here."

His response was to one of several questions asked by The Batavian for an update on how his current role as Batavia City Schools superintendent has been going since he began Jan. 1 of this year. Smith has been a multi-district educator, going from Albion to Elba to Lyndonville, and now to Batavia.

Jack of all trades ...
He feels that he can connect with most anyone given his myriad of interests. The 50-year-old city resident plays the trombone, studies and snaps photos of birds, likes to run and participate in 5Ks, enjoys watching sports — he's a big Buffalo Bills fan — majored in history at college, and is a huge Bruce Springsteen and movie fan, especially Oscar winners.

It’s that kind of versatility that helps him to go from talking baseball and a budget to plumbing and roofing problems, he said. He has tried to finesse the art of knowing at least a little about a lot of various subjects, he said.

Jason Smith goes back to school ...
A 1990 Batavia High School graduate, Smith shared how he reminisced while walking down those Blue Devil hallways once again. He received a quick tour on his first official Monday, Jan. 3, and then did some reminiscing on a snow day later that week. He remembered classes, teachers — Mr. Trosey from English class and Mr. Hay from band -- and old friendships -- checked out the Athletic Hall of Fame and came upon fond memories.

"I walked through the hallways by myself and I tried to realign myself to the classes that I had. And as I was doing it, I was texting a couple of my friends I'm still friends with from high school, about the different spots I found. I found my old locker. I wanted to get reacclimatized to the school as a new student would,” he said. “That really wasn't my first memory because it was the first three days or so I was touring all the schools and meeting all the students and staff. And then I thought I had some time Thursday to kind of walk through very peacefully. And I just found it special for me to be back here in this capacity. I had time to kind of pause, you know, that the process of getting the job itself was very exciting. But then I had time to pause."

Smith picked up a glass crystal apple from the corner of his desk. Mr. Trosey had sent it to him following one of Smith’s opening day speeches that included credits to teachers, including Trosey, who had impacted his school career. It’s by far not alone in his collection of memorabilia. One tall bookshelf is full of notes from students and other school tidbits, plus, of course, his trombone, and there's a row of school programs that he has saved. "I'm very proud of those," he said.

Several minutes into the interview and the gloves came off: did you ever get into trouble at school Mr. Smith?

His initial answer was no, however, upon further reflection, Smith recalled when band teacher Mr. Hay “had to have a talk with me.”

“When I was a sophomore, I got my driver's license. And I was like the band treasurer or something. I was only 16 as a sophomore. So I had a car, and I was having fun driving students back and forth to home," he said. "And Mr. Hay had to pull me aside and have a talk with me: ‘Jason, I made you the treasurer for a reason. You've been unfocused.’ I'm sure that no, I didn't get in trouble. But I did have a couple of talks ensue from Mr. Hay.”

Smith often eats lunch with students and said that his old favorite was taco pizza and chocolate milk. “It still is,” he said, adding that chicken poppers and a frosted cookie for his sweet tooth also make the list. One thing you wouldn’t have found on his tray back then was broccoli, he admitted.

A little personal with professional ...
Smith has previously mentioned that he takes care of himself by getting “all of the proper components,” such as running four to five times a week, trying to watch what he eats, playing his trombone, enjoying movies, his family, the two dogs, and birds that frequent his back yard bird feeders. Family includes his wife Lori, daughter Megan, a 2020 BHS graduate, son Matthew, a BHS senior, and eighth-grade daughter Madeline. Megan may be following in dad’s footsteps by pursuing teaching at Niagara University, while Matthew wasn’t quite as excited to have his father at school as dad was, Smith said.

“I think it's fun. You know, he's enjoying his senior year. So I try to be respectful of that, but … the first day or so he wasn't so crazy about it," Smith said. "So as I said, ‘just embrace it. You know I'm here. Just in person.’”

Cooper, the family’s boxer lab mix, got a companion when the Smiths adopted Carol, a foxhound, in January. She was born in a litter named after The Brady Bunch sitcom characters, however, she was renamed from Marsha to Carol, because “we liked Carol better.”

“I enjoy walking and playing with them and try to have balance,” Smith said.

Part of his “entry process” as superintendent meant visiting with many people throughout the school district for a few months. He asked them to describe the school district in one word and found some of the answers a pleasant surprise. Words such as diversity, resilient, pride and supportive popped up.

Actually, there wasn’t really anything that surprised him as much as they “kind of also reaffirmed what I've already thought walking into the district.”

“They said things like pride, inclusive. I was proud to hear those words,” he said.

What's been the most challenging task since he started here? Being accessible to the 450 staff members and more than 2,000 students districtwide, he said.

“So a challenge I've had, and I’ve tried to overcome this by making myself accessible at games and concerts, was getting to know as many people as possible," he said. "And at smaller districts that were just as important to do. So I build time into going to as many things as I can.”

Does that ever get tiresome, having to attend so many public outings?

“It’s all I've known. It's just how I do business, you know? It's one of the pieces that people have in common as the board watches … they want to see visible superintendents in town. So it's not hard for me I don't find it challenging. I accepted it, and it's just part of my lifestyle now,” he said. “And I enjoy it. I'm going to the baseball game this afternoon. I tried to have a policy like this, as to what's going on, from pre-K all the way up to a senior baseball game.”

The public may not have connected a series of bird photos published on The Batavian as being from Jason Smith, superintendent of BCSD. His love of birds began with two parakeets he had as a kid. When he left as principal of Elba in 2011, Smith was given a bird feeder as a present because he had talked about birds. Smith now has some five bird feeders stationed at his southside home, he said. His grandfather loved birds and Smith has followed suit, to the point where he takes and submits photos consistently, compares notes about the feathered creatures with a neighbor, and generally enjoys watching them.

“It’s that moment of peace, I think,” he said.

Time to discuss the 2022-23 budget for a minute. The $54.8 million proposed budget includes an increase of $2.7 million in spending and a related 1 percent increase in the tax levy. Some social media posts have depicted voters as angry about the tax levy increase and have advocated a no vote on May 17. How do you reply to that?

“I want to say that this is not new territory for me. I recognize the challenges of building a school budget. I stand by my teeter-totter analogy and we want to have that piece there. So I would respond to that, we are conscientious of that, our board is very conscientious of that. But our board is also very conscientious of having to address the needs of our students, and ensuring we have staff and programs in place to support their needs. As I said at the board meeting last week, try to imagine a school without the (nonmandated programs). We don't have to have marching band, we don't have to have football. We want those things; those things are important.”

“So we have to balance those pieces out; it certainly ties into the social-emotional learning needs. So I would say it's a balancing act. And it's a partnership, and we recognize that. There's a task that was put in place for a reason. We recognize that, we respect that. We recognize the challenges that go into that. But we also have an obligation.”

I have neighbors that recognize the balance. And as a matter of fact, I had a conversation with one of my neighbors ... and she wanted to make sure we're still going to have good things for kids. So there's that side of it too. That's the teeter-totter," he said. "That's what I wrote in my newsletter. It's a balancing act and a partnership."

Looking ahead ...
What are your goals moving into 2023?

"We're going to announce a strategic plan in July. So Dr. Cory has been facilitating that process, we recommit the team, we're going to announce goals in June," he said. Each school is going to have its own goals that are aligned to pieces ... with respect to academic learning loss, social-emotional learning, and stronger professional collaboration with our teachers. We're forming shared decision-making teams at the building level ... So that's ongoing, I'm really excited about that, and really excited to have the opportunity to finish up this year. And then we're going to have some intense goal planning sessions this summer."

While Smith has always been proud of the district’s graduation rates — currently at 92 percent — he said there’s something equally important to leaving school with a diploma. He wants to know that students are going to look outside of themselves, be analytical thinkers and discerning readers that go beyond Facebook posts and article headlines before deciding on an issue.

"Two things that I want them to be able to do," he said. "Think critically and be good citizens."

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Top photo: Batavia City Schools Superintendent Jason Smith shows some of the items he has collected and keeps in his office. Photo by Joanne Beck. Photo above was taken by Smith in his backyard.

May 16, 2022 - 12:32pm

Press release:

The Darien Alexander Townline Road Bridge, south of Attica Rd in the Towns of Darien and Alexander, will be closed beginning Monday, May 23, for a bridge replacement project. This locally administered federal aid project replaces the original short-span steel structure and abutments that dates to 1939 with new prestressed concrete hollow slab units and new abutments. The current bridge is posted for 12 tons and once replaced, the bridge will be open to full legal loads. This project is expected to take 3.5 months. During this time, the road will not be passable to regular traffic or emergency vehicles.

May 16, 2022 - 11:16am

Agenda items including a renewal of five additional seasonal sheriff’s deputies, a budget amendment for additional law enforcement patrols in the village of Bergen and revising language for a prisoner housing contract with Wyoming County are on tap for this afternoon’s Genesee County Public Services Committee meeting.

The meeting is set for 4:30 p.m. in the Legislative Conference Room of the Old Court House at 7 Main St., Batavia.

Other agenda items include reviews of a bid award for highway/tractor equipment, grant acceptance of a countywide water/intermunicipal grant, a 2022 budget amendment for highway construction and the reappointment of Highway Superintendent Timothy Hens.

May 16, 2022 - 10:59am

 

PRESS RELEASE

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that the application window is now open for the 2022 Grow-NY food and agriculture competition. Grow-NY, a unique initiative which connects innovators and investors in the food, beverage and agriculture sectors locally and around the globe, has already resulted in economic growth and entrepreneurial opportunity in Upstate New York.  The Grow-NY region, a 22-county area spanning Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier, has already seen hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars of follow-on investment as a result of the competition. Grow-NY attracts high-growth food and agriculture startups to compete for $3 million in total prize money each year and supports 20 finalists through a business development phase that connects them with the region’s resources. Governor Kathy Hochul included funding for three additional rounds of this impactful competition in her FY 2023 budget.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight said, “This fourth round of Grow-NY will further build on the success of earlier competition winners, whose entrepreneurial ideas are fueling economic growth Upstate. These innovative companies have attracted significant investment and are seeding the ground for even more innovation, both throughout the Grow-NY region and around the world.” 

The Grow-NY region, which hosts over 40 percent of New York’s 33,438 farms, includes an abundance of vibrant, fertile lands along with such major urban centers as Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca and Binghamton. It is a 22-county region comprised of the following three areas:

·       Finger Lakes – Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Orleans, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates 

·       Central New York – Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego

·       Southern Tier – Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins

Winners are required to commit to operating in at least one of the 22 Grow-NY counties for at least 12 months and must agree to “pay-it-forward” provision in the form of an equity agreement. One finalist will receive a top prize of $1 million; two others will be awarded $500,000 prizes, and four more will be given $250,000 prizes. Winners will also receive tax incentives and publicity support to announce their achievements across the Grow-NY region and in their home regions. Funding for the program comes through Empire State Development from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative’s three regional entities, CNY Rising, Finger Lakes Forward, and Southern Tier Soaring, and is administered by Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement.

Ronald P. Lynch, Dean of the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Benjamin Z. Houlton, said, “Cornell is proud to support the Grow-NY competition, which plays a vital role in catalyzing food and agriculture start-ups and entrepreneurship across our region. By partnering across the public and private sectors, Grow-NY is critical to scaling new technologies and innovations needed to meet our state’s goals for more sustainable food systems that provide healthy, nutritious food to all.”

The startup competition begins its fourth year with impressive momentum, having garnered applications and interest from over a thousand businesses in 32 unique states and 37 other countries over the last three years. In all, 59 finalists have been selected to date, with 21 winners sharing $9 million in startup funding as well as the invaluable mentorship and networking benefits which the program delivers to finalists.

In addition to emphasizing innovation and scalability, the Grow-NY program is focused on drawing more diverse leaders to the region by reaching communities that have historically been left out of the innovation economy.  In 2021, 51% of the 330 applicants included a founder from an underrepresented minority group, and 44% included a female founder.

“We are looking for food and ag innovators that operate at any point in the agrifood system that demonstrate a value to customers, an ability to grow quickly and sustainably, and diversity within their founding team,“ said Grow-NY program director Jenn Smith.

Applications must be submitted by Friday, July 1. In August, up to 20 finalists will be assigned mentors and enter the business development phase. All finalists will receive bespoke entrepreneurial support and valuable regional introductions, additional training to hone their live pitches, and an expenses-paid, three-day business development trip to the region for up to two team members.

The selected  finalists will present their business plans during the Grow-NY Summit, Tuesday and Wednesday November 15-16, alongside a symposium of panel conversations and keynotes, a showcase of agencies, companies, research groups, and other organizations that serve startups working in food and ag, and a student stage where middle- and high school aged New Yorkers will pitch their ag- and food tech ideas.

Judges will base award decisions on the following five criteria:

·       Viability of Commercialization and Business Model – the potential for the entrant to generate revenue and maintain a cost structure that allows for a competitive and sustainable business, demonstrate technological readiness or innovate to fulfill its value proposition;

·       Team – Demonstration of a level of cohesion, completeness, diversity, and readiness within the team of founders, employees, and advisors; inclusion or plans for inclusion of employees and advisors from communities that have historically been excluded from the innovation economy, such as women and minorities;

·       Customer Value – the degree to which the entrant is providing something for which customers are willing to pay, and addressing a substantial market;

·       Food and Agriculture Innovation – the extent to which the entrant is pushing what’s considered state-of-the-art in the food and agriculture industries, and contributing to Upstate NY’s status as a global leader in innovation in these markets;

·       Regional Job Creation – the potential for creating high-quality jobs in the Grow-NY footprint and relevance to the existing food and ag ecosystem; and

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Through three rounds, the Grow-NY competition has highlighted New York’s agricultural and food industry partners and helped to foster tremendous innovation. I’m excited that this fourth round will continue to build on that success, further showcasing the strength and diversity of our agriculture and food businesses and attracting exciting, cutting-edge companies that are creating the ag technologies and jobs of the future while supporting our local farms.”

Central New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Randy Wolken, President & CEO of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York, and Dr. Linda LeMura, President of Le Moyne College, said, "New York State continues to experience unprecedented growth in the agriculture and food industries. The globally renowned Grow-NY competition represents yet another exciting investment in our community that will further bolster regional job growth and further support our agricultural base throughout Central New York ensuring the region continues to rise."

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Co-Chair Bob Duffy, President and CEO, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, and Denise Battles, President SUNY Geneseo, said, “The regional council is again proud to support round three of the innovative Grow-NY competition. Our agricultural and food industries are truly world- class and both their products and innovations are huge economic drivers for our state and region. Connecting the cutting-edge ideas of these entrepreneur teams with local industry partners supports the multi-pronged approach laid out in the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative, which is working to create a thriving regional economy.”

Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Judy McKinney Cherry, Executive Director, Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), and Broome Community College President Kevin Drumm, said, "New York's agriculture industry is one of the most prestigious and productive in the nation.  This initiative, with its focused investment in the region, adds great value to the Southern Tier's continued economic success in the ag sector. The Grow-NY competition enables innovative and competitive businesses to showcase their strengths and will further our efforts to bolster the regional economy ultimately helping the Southern Tier to soar."

To learn more about the Grow-NY competition, visit: www.grow-ny.com.

To learn more about the Cornell Center for Regional Economic Advancement, visit: http://crea.cornell.edu/

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward

Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available at https://esd.ny.gov/finger-lakes-forward-uri.​

Accelerating CNY Rising 

Today's announcement complements “CNY Rising,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Now, the region is accelerating CNY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. 

Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring 

Today's announcement complements “Southern Tier Soaring,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. 

 

May 16, 2022 - 9:13am
posted by Press Release in GCC, education, news.

Press release:

Since 2008, Genesee Community College has offered the Genesee Promise Plus (GPP) scholarships to help remove financial barriers to higher education for citizens in the Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming (GLOW) counties. Qualified individuals are encouraged to apply for up to two summer semester courses tuition-free at GCC!

"Summer is a perfect time for new GCC students or students in our Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) program to stay on track or get ahead," Lindsay Gerhardt, assistant dean for Recruitment and Admissions, said. "The GPP program provides a wonderful opportunity for students to earn up to eight credits cost-effectively. Courses can be used to explore an academic program, see if college is the path for you, get a head start on a GCC degree program or be transferred to a 4-year institution."

GPP is available to GLOW region citizens who are high school juniors (rising seniors), graduating high school seniors or new adult college students (adults who have never attended college before). With more than 100 courses being offered this summer, in two summer sessions both online and at GCC's Batavia campus, there are ample opportunities for all eligible applicants in these categories:

  • High School Juniors (rising seniors) and qualifying Homeschool Students are eligible for scholarship tuition funding to take one or two courses.
  • Graduating High School Seniors are eligible for scholarship funding to take one or two courses.
  • Adults who have never attended college are eligible for scholarship funding to take one course. This includes adults who have received a GED before May 1, 2022, or graduated from a GLOW area high school in December 2021 or earlier. GCC will require a copy of high school transcripts.

GPP scholarship applications are being accepted until May 31, 2022, for the full or first session and July 5, 2022, for the second summer session. The complete list of courses available this summer is available at https://www.genesee.edu/courses/schedule/. The wide array of subjects includes Basic Math Skills to Statistics, History to Healthy Living, Psychology to Sociology, Business to Biology, and unique courses including Fundamentals of Acting and Theatre History, plus many others.

Applications, qualification criteria, and additional information are available at http://www.genesee.edu/gcc/promise/.

All interested individuals are encouraged to contact the admissions office at [email protected] or by calling (585) 345-6805 today!

Additional information about Genesee Community College is available at www.genesee.edu and through Facebook and Twitter.

May 16, 2022 - 9:10am
posted by Press Release in Mr. Batavia, news, Batavia HS, batavia.

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Press release:

Six students from Batavia High School are set to compete for the title of “Mr. Batavia” at the 9th annual competition being held on Friday, May 20, at 7 pm in the Batavia High School Auditorium. 

The students compete in multiple rounds of the event, and all money raised from ticket sales and donations is given to the top three winners’ charities. Since 2013, the annual event has raised $28,822 for local organizations.  

This year’s contestants are: 

  • Jack Bruggman representing Crossroads House
  • Noah Burke representing the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation
  • Nicholas Grover representing Habitat for Humanity
  • Andrew Kasmarek representing Genesee Cancer Assistance
  • Lucas Radley representing the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of WNY
  • Matt Smith representing the Michael Napoleon Foundation

Tickets are $10 each and will be sold to students during school lunch the week of May 16 and at the door for the community. 

BCSD would like to thank the Batavia City School Foundation for their help and support in collecting and distributing funds to the local organizations. Additional thanks to: Charles Men’s Shop, Extreme Streetwear, Beverly's Florist and Gift Shop, Main Street Pizza, Blink of an Eye Photography, Steve Ognibene Photography, and participating charities for their continued support of the community.

May 16, 2022 - 8:59am
posted by Press Release in Notre Dame, news.

Press release:

Notre Dame High School Foundation will be hosting its 25th Annual Golf, Tennis and Bocce Tournament on Sunday, June 12th at Terry Hills Golf Course.

The Annual tournament is on Sunday again this year in hopes that more friends and alumni of Notre Dame can participate and continue our great tradition. Registration includes 18 holes with a golf cart, tennis or bocce, all beer and nonalcoholic beverages during play, lunch and dinner with a cash bar, and much more!

Most importantly, all proceeds from the tournament support Notre Dame Jr/Sr High School student scholarship programs, making excellence in education possible for deserving students in our communities. The tournament is one of our major fundraisers and an opportunity to spend the day having fun with friends and alumni.

Businesses and individuals looking to take advantage of this event's advertising opportunities and lock in sponsorship levels are encouraged to act early and contact Jim Sutherland at [email protected]. Please visit Notre Dame’s website (ndhsbatavia.com) for more information and to register for our fun-filled tournament. 

May 16, 2022 - 8:56am
posted by Press Release in gas prices, news.

Press release from the Automobile Association of America:

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $4.48, up 15 cents from last week. One year ago, the price was $3.04. The New York State average is $4.76, up 24 cents from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $3.06. AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

  • Batavia - $4.65 (up 31 cents from last week)
  • Buffalo - $4.63 (up 28 cents from last week)
  • Elmira - $4.68 (up 21 cents from last week)
  • Ithaca - $4.67 (up 21 cents from last week)
  • Rochester - $4.70 (up 27 cents from last week)
  • Rome - $4.72 (up 24 cents from last week)
  • Syracuse - $4.66 (up 23 cents from last week)
  • Watertown - $4.71 (up 25 cents from last week)

Today marks record-high gas prices at the national, state, and local level. According to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration, total domestic gasoline stocks decreased while gasoline demand dropped slightly. Normally a decrease in demand would bring prices down, but oil prices remain volatile.

This morning, oil prices are about $109 per barrel. Crude prices rose overgrowing market worries that Ukrainian and European Union actions against Russian oil-and-natural gas companies could spark retaliation by Russia leading to more market disruption and uncertainty.

Meanwhile, the national average for diesel fuel hit a new record yesterday reaching $5.57. One year ago the price was $3.17. In New York, the average price for diesel is $6.50, which is also a record high set yesterday. One year ago the price was $3.23.

From Gas Buddy:

“Those filling their tanks last week saw another jolt at the pump, as both gasoline and diesel prices continued their multi-week rally," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. "New records continued to be set on a near-daily basis as the national average edges even closer to $4.50 per gallon. Prices later this week could be closer to $5 per gallon than $4, as demand continues to edge higher and inventories of both gasoline and diesel continue to decline, temperatures warm and motorists get back outside and we near the Memorial Day weekend, the start of the summer driving season. While the increases may start to slow in the days ahead as pump prices catch up to oil, there isn't much reason to be optimistic that we'll see a plunge any time soon."

May 15, 2022 - 11:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sunset, news.

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Chris Crocker submitted this photo of this evening's sunset.

May 15, 2022 - 11:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Resurrection Parish, batavia, news, religion.

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Eight children had their first communion today at Resurrection Parish.

Photo submitted by Jason Smith.

May 15, 2022 - 10:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in birds, batavia, news.

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Jason Smith submitted this photo of male and female grosbeaks at his backyard feeder in Batavia.

May 14, 2022 - 7:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, pembroke.

A one-car motor vehicle accident is reported in the area of 9435 South Lake Road, Pembroke.

One subject reportedly has an arm injury.

Pembroke Fire and Indian Falls Fire along with Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 7:21 p.m.: More manpower needed for extrication.

UPDATE 7:23 p.m.: Corfu Fire requested to the scene to assist with extrication.

May 14, 2022 - 1:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, byron.

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A motor vehicle accident is reported at Byron Holley Road and Cockram Road, Byron, with a subject in a vehicle unresponsive.

A power line is on the vehicle.

A transformer is down in the road and smoking.

Byron, South Byron, and Elba fire departments dispatched along with Mercy EMS.

UPDATE 1:18 p.m.: National Grid expected on scene in 30 minutes. 

UPDATE 2:19 p.m.:  A silver four-door sedan was westbound on Cockram Road, and it appears to have failed to stop for a stop sign.

A maroon SUV was southbound and attempted to swerve to avoid a collision. The sedan T-boned the SUV, which then left the roadway and struck a utility pole, said Sergeant Michael J. Lute of Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

The sedan had one occupant, the driver, who was uninjured. The SUV had two occupants; both sustained minor injuries. Because of the angle of the SUV wedged under the utility pole, the initial caller could not have a clear view of the passenger compartment of the vehicle and thought at least one of the occupants was unresponsive, but neither occupant ever lost consciousness, Lute said.

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May 14, 2022 - 1:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news, notify.

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All of the occupants of a residence at 29 Montclair Ave., Batavia, safely escaped a house fire that was reported at 8:53 p.m., Friday.

City Fire responded to the structure fire and upon arrival found a large volume of fire from the front to the two-and-a-half story, single-family home.

Fire crews knocked down the bulk of the fire and entered the home to find fire on the first and second floors and extending into the attic, according to Interim Fire Chief Daniel Herberger. 

Crews were initially hampered by downed power lines and difficult access to the rear of the house.

Several occupants were home at the time the fire was reported, Herberger said.  None were injured.

The American Red Cross is assisting one resident.

 

A firefighter was transported to UMMC by fire department personnel with heat exhaustion.

City Fire and Batavia PD are conducting a joint investigation to determine the cause of the fire.

City Water, Town of Batavia Fire, Alexander Fire, Elba Fire, Emergency Dispatch, National Grid, and National Fuel all assisted in the operation.

Photos by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

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May 13, 2022 - 1:55pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, accident, Oakfield.

Genesee County dispatch has reported an accident on Lewiston Road in Oakfield.

May 13, 2022 - 1:37pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement in recognition of National Police Week.

“Each day, law enforcement officers serve our communities, not knowing if they will return home that night. Each day, these brave men and women selflessly serve and put themselves in harm's way to keep others safe.

"Our nation cannot survive without the dedication and courage of our law enforcement officers. We have a duty in Congress to ensure they have every resource available to not only keep us safe but to do their jobs safely and return home to their families as well.

“I am proud to stand with our law enforcement officers. This National Police Week please join me in thanking those who keep us safe and honoring those officers who have fallen in the line of duty.

“May God bless our law enforcement officers.

May 13, 2022 - 1:32pm
posted by Press Release in BCSD Foundation, Batavia HS, batavia, news, education, schools.

Press release:

Nominations are being accepted for the 2022 BCSD Foundation, Inc. Scholarship.   This scholarship will be awarded to a graduating Senior from Batavia High School.  The nominee has been successful in their educational program and has sought out skills to further their career.  In addition, they exemplify our Batavia school culture and climate of “Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Safe, Be Connected and Be Ambitious.”

Any local community member may nominate a Batavia HS Senior who meets the above criteria.  Nomination forms are available on the Batavia City School District website, https://www.bataviacsd.org/page/bcsd-foundation. You may complete the Google Form or the pdf document to nominate a deserving Senior.  All nominations need to be received by May 27, 2022.

A copy of the nomination form is attached to this press release.                 

May 13, 2022 - 9:35am
posted by Press Release in chamber of commerce, tourism, news.

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, acting as the official Tourism Promotion Agency for Genesee County, is pleased to announce the completion of a new Genesee County tourism website.  VisitGeneseeNY.com is the “go-to” online resource for all things tourism, hospitality, recreation and special events in Genesee County.

 The well-established site provides a digital presence for nearly 400 tourism-related businesses in Genesee County.  Each business has a landing page including business contact information, hours of operation, a description of goods or services and image gallery.  The site curates the content, so if a business is included in a blog, has events on the calendar or offers packages, the information is also displayed on the landing page – tying together all of the information that is displayed in various sections of the website. A requested custom feature on all business pages is the “What’s Nearby” filtering capability.   Users can see by distance, tourism-related businesses and filter to display the results based on type of attractions, restaurants and/or lodging.

The Chamber maintains an extensive county-wide (tourism-related) events calendar, which features over 400 events year-round, ranging from theater and arts workshops, outdoor nature programs, history-related or agritourism events, live racing and more.  A submission button is provided for area event coordinators to add their events as they become finalized.   In the coming days, the Chamber will also be announcing information on the live music section of the website (which can be easily found at JamInGenesee.com)

The site also includes information for event planners, tour operators, an in-depth collection of county-wide sports venues and more.  It was designed by Chamber member Corporate Communications located in Rochester, and replaces the 2017 site which they also created.

We encourage you to use bookmark VisitGeneseeNY.com as a resource for area businesses, as well as for year-round things to do with family and friends.

May 13, 2022 - 9:31am
posted by Press Release in batavia, fairgrounds, anti-rabies clinic, news.

Press release:

The Genesee County Health Department will be hosting a FREE drive-thru anti-rabies immunization clinic on Thursday, May 19th, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Genesee County Fairgrounds (5056 East Main Street, Batavia).

“We encourage all residents to take advantage of this opportunity to make sure that their animals are immunized against rabies and that the vaccinations are kept up to date,” stated Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “Rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Please leave wildlife alone and do not feed, touch, or adopt wild animals (including baby wild animals), stray dogs or cats.”

Vaccinations are free for dogs, cats and ferrets, but voluntary donations are accepted. Animals must be at least 3 months old. Each animal must be leashed or crated and accompanied by an adult who can control the animal—limit 4 pets per car maximum.

To save you time, please click here to fill out your registration form in advance. Be sure to print out two copies for each pet to be vaccinated and bring them with you to the clinic.

The next anti-rabies immunization clinics are as follows:

  • Genesee County Clinics at the Genesee County Fairgrounds (5056 East Main Street, Batavia, NY)
    • Thursday, August 11th, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    • Thursday, September 15th, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    • Thursday, October 13th, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Orleans County Clinics at the Orleans County Fairgrounds (12690 Rt. 31, Albion, NY)
    • Saturday, June 4th, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
    • Saturday, August 13th, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
    • Saturday, October 15th, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

For more information on Health Department services, visit GOHealthNY.org or call 589-3278 for Orleans County or 585-344-2580 ext. 5555 for Genesee County.

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