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May 4, 2017 - 10:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GSO, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, elba, music, entertainment, arts, news.

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The Genesee Symphony Orchestra performs in Elba Central School at 4 p.m., Sunday, in its final concert of the season.

The program is called "Escaping Gravity: A Journey Through the Stars," and features "And God Created Great Whales," by Hovhaness, "Music from Apollo 13," arranged by John Moss and featuring the String Workshop, "Suite from Close Encounters of the Third Kind," by John Williams, and "The Planets," by Holst.

Musical Director S. Shade Zajac conducts.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for students, $10 for seniors and families are $35. Tickets can be purchased online at GeneseeSymphony.com.

Photos are from Monday's rehearsal.

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May 3, 2017 - 11:13pm

Are you ready for a resurgence in Batavia? It's coming.

Well, at least Resurgence Brewing Company of Buffalo is coming.

The popular Buffalo-based brewery is going to be part of the revitalized and rebuilt Ellicott Station (the former Della Penna property) on Ellicott Street on the edge of Downtown Batavia.

"We're obviously ecstatic about the project and seeing it come to fruition," said City Manager Jason Molino. "We're incredibly excited about Resurgence, a reputable brewery coming to the community and bringing a new, kind of niche beer, sour beer. I think it's going to help complement what we're trying to do downtown, bringing in more dining and entertainment options for people."

We've known for a long time that Ellicott Station would include a brewery and brew pub. What we didn't learn until today is that the company moving into the space would be a brand that has rapidly grown in popularity in Buffalo.

Resurgence will open a restaurant, a brew pub and beer garden that will serve their full line of beers, and a brewery that will produce sour beer, a kind of beer that has only recently started to reach the East Coast market.

Because its brew process is different and the yeasts involved can't mix with the other brews, Resurgence was looking for a location separate from their current Buffalo location.

In fact, Batavia had been on the map for Resurgence owners Chris and Jeff Ware for a long time, according to developer Sam Savarino. Savarino said he had heard the Wares had been looking at Batavia as a possible location for a brewery if not a restaurant and pub. After his company won the RFP for the Ellicott Station project, he contacted them and a deal came together very quickly, he said.

"They’re good people," Savarino said. "They’re dedicated to their craft and they care about the product they produce. That’s evident to anybody who has bought their products or visited their premises in Buffalo. As far as a brewer or retail tenant, they are a very good bet."

The Resurgence name comes from the founders' own belief in the resurgence and renaissance of Buffalo, which they've been a part of over the past several years.

Jeff Ware, company president, sent over a statement about how pleased the company is to find a location in Batavia.

"Resurgence Brewing Company is excited to announce their new brewing and biergarten location in Batavia," Ware said. "The brewery will anchor Savarino's Ellicott Station Development and help with the revitalization of downtown Batavia. With the help from New York State from Homes and Community Renewal (state pass-through of the Community Block Development Grant money mentioned below), we will be able to move project one step closer to reality."

Savarino got involved in the project after a third party told him about Batavia looking for proposals to redevelop the Della Penna property and that Savarino Companies might be a good fit.

The company has been involved in a number of revitalization projects in Buffalo. They redeveloped several buildings in the Cobblestone District of Buffalo, renovating buildings and developing mixed-use projects. They redeveloped 500 Seneca Street, a large factory converted to mixed use. They also redeveloped River Landing in Buffalo, which was a brownfield project.

Savarino said when he looked at the Della Penna property, he checked off the qualifications: A distressed property with possible environmental contamination; a distressed census tract with 35 percent unemployment; a median income that is 50 percent of the area's median income; on the edge of a downtrodden downtown. 

"I joked with my friends that it had several strikes against it, so it's just the kind of project we like to take on," Savarino said.

The project will be more than just a restaurant and brewery. There will also be office space -- Savarino said he's in negotiations with possible tenants that he can't disclose yet -- and a 47-unit, four-story apartment complex.

The apartments will be especially great for Downtown, Molino said. Not only will tenants be just steps from Resurgence, within a block's walk are dining and drinking options such as City Slickers, Bourbon & Burger Co., O'Lacy's Irish Pub and Center Street Smoke House, Main Street Pizza Co., and T.F. Brown's.

"Those 47 market-rate apartments fit the demand we're seeing for living downtown," Molino said. "People want to live in downtown areas, whether it's Millennials, seniors or empty-nesters. They have overlapping interests."

Much of what we see on the Della Penna property will be demolished, Savarino said. The front of the Della Penna main building is too far gone to save and the garage to the east of the main building isn't structurally sound and is beyond repair. The main production area of the Della Penna will be restored, and that area is a perfect fit for what Resurgence plans to do, both for its size and design characteristics.

"It's important to have some link to the past," Savarino said. "It wouldn't be the same without that link. It makes the site unique to have a little bit of Batavia's past as a part of it."

Resurgence, combined with the new food establishments, brewery, and apartments going into the former Newberry building, he said, hit key redevelopment goals for Batavia.

"It really completes the project of living in a revived downtown," Molino said.

To help move the project along, Genesee County Economic Development Center is using money from the federal CDBG program. The $15 million project will receive $210,000 that will be half loan and half grant if project requirements are met. The restaurant and brewery are expected to create 15 full-time equivalent jobs, three-quarters of which will go to low- and moderate-income residents.

Getting the project to this point has been a long haul, said Julie Pacatte, coordinator of the Batavia Development Corporation.

"We've been talking about this project for a long time and people have been waiting for some movement," Pacatte said. "I think it just shows how long it takes to get things lined up before we can go public with an announcement."

Financing for the project is coming from several sources, Savarino said, and he expects financing to close in July. Construction should begin by August and Resurgence should open its doors during the first quarter of 2018.

The way the project came together, Molino said, with the involvement of the City School District, GCEDC, the county, BDC, and the City, it's really a model for how revitalization projects can be handled when everybody works together for a common goal.

"It was great work from everybody involved with great support from Resurgence," Molino said. "When you talk about how projects come together, it's really a model for best practices of the collaboration of the different entities involved.

The "heartfelt dedication" local officials had for the project was notable, Savarino said.

"I can’t say enough about working with the City of Batavia and the Batavia Development Corporation," Savarino said. "It’s quite unusual to have that level cooperation and to be working on the same side of the table with people like that."

Molino was pleased to hear the praise.

"That's what we're trying to say with the '$100 Million I'm All In' initiative," Molino said. "We want to give people the experience of great service. We want people to say, 'I can't imagine doing business anyplace other than the City of Batavia. His comment just reinforces what we're trying to say and do to make the experience great for people."

May 3, 2017 - 7:11pm

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Four-year-old Layla Holbrook, with her mother Amanda, talks with a nurse about the care of her stuffed companion during the Teddy Bear Clinic at UMMC's Cary Hall facility today.

Preschool, kindergarteners and first-graders were able to attend the event with their favorite stuffed toy and learn about medical care through several interactive stations. After registration, the children went through the clinic set up to resemble hospital departments such as the emergency room, radiology and dietary. If necessary the “patient” received a bandage, cast or stitches. 

Many of the doctors and nurses were high school seniors from throughout the county enrolled in the Health Career Academy, a college-credit program that gives the seniors a chance to learn about every aspect of the healthcare career field.

Also participating were staff from UMMC, members of the United Memorial League, United Memorial Guild and Mercy EMS.

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Logan McAndrews was watching a doctor give stitches to a friend's stuffed dinosaur.

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Amy Miller talks about a hospital bed and a stay at a hospital.

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May 3, 2017 - 6:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BOCES, careers, jobs, batavia, schools, education, news, business.

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Automotive techs are in demand and the demand is growing, according to Peter DeLacy, owner of DeLacy Ford in East Aurora, which is why the WNY Ford Dealers started a program three years ago to donate cars with "real world" experience to local high schools.

The goal is to help and encourage high school students with an interest in auto repair to stick with it as a career choice and gain valuable experience working on cars with some of the last technological advancements.

"They're often working on 15-year-old cars and there isn't much interest in working on cars that don't have the latest technology," DeLacy said.

Yesterday, the dealers donated at 2014 Ford Fusion to the automotive shop at BOCES.

"We rely on donations like this in order for our kids to get the best training possible so that when they leave school, they can go right out to the workforce and do the best they can," said BOCES in Batavia Principal Jon Sanfratello (speaking at the podium in the photo above).

The dealers pool their resources to acquire cars from Ford Credit that have come out of the lease program. Delacy said auto teachers want cars with some mileage on them and in need of some maintenance, not brand-new cars, for their students to work on. Once the dealers have ensured all auto shop programs in the region have cars, they will start a three- or four-year rotation process of providing newer slightly used vehicles to the schools so students always have close to the latest technology at their fingertips.

There isn't much about a Ford or a GM or a Toyota that is so proprietary that a student can't learn a broad range of applicable skills, regardless of which car it is, Delacy said. Many car components, and the technology today that enables and manages them, are built to government-mandated specifications, so when a tech hooks up a diagnostic computer to a car, the readout is the same regardless of the make or model.

"The diagnostic codes, how you access the primary powertrain control module, how you do all of these things is pretty much the same for all manufacturers," Delacy said.

The goal for the Ford dealers, of course, is to ensure as many young techs come out of high school and two years of college with an interest in working at Ford dealerships, but as long as there are more techs in the market, it's better for everybody.

"The technicians we have now, they’ve put their time in and they want to retire," Delacy said. "There’s not a big pool of talent to choose from, so knowing that the Ford dealers of Western New York, including myself, decided to ask, ‘where do we get technicians? How do we get them interested?’ Because a lot of people don’t want to get into that. They want to be other things and this is a very good pay program when you get into the dealership level."

It's a good career choice, Delacy said, because it's stable, it pays well and dealership jobs are good jobs, and since the only college required is couple of years at a community college, so the career makes sense financially.

"The great part is it's not a huge investment," Delacy said. "They don't have student loans to pay for five or 10 years. They’re out in the real world, earning real money, keeping their money and investing it, so we’re on the ground floor of great opportunity, allowing students to get a good education and they’re ready to go when they get out of college and they don’t have a huge debt load, so it’s a win-win-win for everybody."

May 3, 2017 - 4:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in byron, bergen, education, news.

Press release:

The Byron-Bergen Central School District is one of 136 school districts and Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in New York State to receive the Utica National lnsurance Group's School Safety Excellence Award for 2017.

District Superintendent Mickey Edwards and Jr./Sr. High School Principal Patrick McGee accepted the top Titanium-level award and a $500 prize, to be used to further safety efforts, on April 21.

“This is an affirmation of all the safety and security initiatives our district has been taking,” Edwards said. “Our school resource officer recently completed a district-wide safety audit, and he has made remarkable personal connections with our students and staff.

"Our culture includes the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program and regular character building events and activities at all grade levels. We have implemented a number of measures, including the New York State Sheriff’s Association (NYSSA) Rapid Responder® Program, an all-hazards site-based crisis management system, and a large security camera system that oversees buildings and grounds.

"Current security also includes a comprehensive visitor management system in all schools that is used for visitor background checks and ID badges. Providing a safe and secure learning environment for our students, teachers, staff, and visitors is our first priority. We are honored to receive this recognition.”

The School Safety Excellence Award Program has three levels — Titanium, Platinum and Gold — and annual awards are given based on quantifiable measurements of excellence in categories that include bullying prevention programs, playground safety, and other areas. Utica National has kept children and school staff safe for more than 40 years, and currently insures more than 300 school districts in Upstate New York alone.

"Safety and health concerns continue to be a priority in our school districts," said Brian Saville, resident senior vice president in Utica National's Educational Institutions Unit. "Districts that go above and beyond to provide a safe, healthy and focused culture for learning are to be applauded, and we're pleased to count Byron-Bergen Central School District among them."

May 3, 2017 - 4:27pm

Byron-Bergen’s 2017 National Honor Society.

Submitted photos and press release:

The Byron-Bergen chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) welcomed 16 new student members to their distinguished company on April 26. The ceremony also honored the two latest inductees to the Byron-Bergen Alumni Hall of Fame.

The event began with music from the school’s vocal group, the Singing Silhouettes; welcome and congratulations from Superintendent Mickey Edwards; then short addresses from alumnus Dr. Paul Brill (Class of 1982) and Pam McCarthy, the sister of the late Barry Miller (Class of 1983).

Dr. Brill spoke of his difficult years at school, and credited his teachers, especially Arthur Rohe, along with his older sisters and brother with challenging him to do better.

“There were mentors in my life that helped me change the path I was on,” he said. Today, he is a distinguished neurologist, involved community member, and dedicated husband and father in South Carolina.

Miller was a foundational member of the Bergen community: business owner, volunteer firefighter, and Genesee County coroner, among many other roles. McCarthy spoke of her brother, who was killed in 2015 while performing his duties as the chief of the Bergen Emergency Medical Services.

“He was always looking out for the little guy,” she said. “He touched many lives and made the world a better place.”

Both Barry Miller and Dr. Brill serve as inspirational role models to the youth of Byron-Bergen, and epitomize the purpose of the Alumni Hall of Fame.

National Honor Society President Brittany Rada introduced the second half of the evening, and welcomed guest speaker Coach Rich Krzewinski.

“Always put forth your maximum effort,” he said, “and never give up.”

New NHS members received traditional honor cords and certificates.

National Honor Society membership not only recognizes students for their accomplishments, but also challenges them to develop further through active involvement in school activities and community service. The organization has chapters in all 50 states, Canada, and beyond.

The traditional candle-lighting ceremony, which acknowledges the high standards students in NHS must exhibit in knowledge, character, leadership, service, and scholarship, was performed by students Olivia Audsley and Chase Felton. New members took the NHS pledge and were presented with their honor cords and certificates.

Current Members of the Byron-Bergen National Honor Society: Olivia Audsley, Rose Bower, Cameron Brumsted, Catherine Brumsted, Lauren Burke, Benjamin Chaback, Quinn Chapell, Brionna DeMichel, Chase Felton, Margaret Graney, Justin Hannan, Hayley Hoehn, Brian Ireland, Daniel Jensen, Peyton Mackey, Kelsey Maurer, Celia Mercovich, Makenzie Muoio, , Grace Pulcini, Brittany Rada, Leah Thompson, Dana VanValkenburg, Adam Walter and Michael Zwerka.

2017 Inductees to the Byron-Bergen National Honor Society: Larissa Ashton, Sarah Bleiler, Lydia Campbell, Jean Denson, Adam Drake, Jared Fregoe, Morgan Fuller, Emma Goodman, Annaliese Hersom, William Johnson, Brendon Kendall, Hunter Leach, Erin Parnapy, Sabastian Pawlukewicz, Joshua Phelps and Brianna Shade.

Below: The school’s Singing Silhouettes sang “Build Me Up, Buttercup” to start the evening with music.

May 3, 2017 - 3:59pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Master Gardeners will be hosting their annual Spring Garden Gala on Saturday, May 20, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, 420 E. Main St. in Batavia.

The plant sale features many kinds of perennials, most of which are from Master Gardeners gardens. There will also be a selection of houseplants and locally grown geraniums. Arrive at 10 a.m. for the best selection.

Check out the Basket Auction for garden art, gift certificates and a variety of themed baskets. Bring in a soil sample from your garden for free soil pH testing.  Master Gardeners will be available to answer your gardening questions.

There will be a Container Gardening demonstration at 11:30 a.m. Find out how to create and take care of container garden. At noon there will be a demonstration on how to make your own copper wire hummingbird feeder.

Don’t miss your chance to pick up some great plants, garden art and other interesting items for your garden. Plant sale starts promptly at 10 a.m. No early birds please. Basket Auction drawing starts at 12:30 p.m.

For more information contact Brandie Schultz at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, (585) 343-3040, ext. 101, stop by the Extension office at 420 E. Main St. in Batavia. Visit our website at: http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/events for more information.

May 3, 2017 - 3:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Marlet Holmes Jury selection will take place Friday for the trial of a convicted child predator who is facing possible life in prison if convicted of new sexual assault charges.

Marlek E. Holmes will be tried on several charges, including two Class A felonies, predatory sexual assault and predatory sexual assault against a child.

The 42-year-old Holmes was arrested in the fall and has been held without bail because of the potential life term and his five prior felony convictions, including two violent felonies, and five prior violations of terms of probation.

While in custody, he also allegedly damaged jail property and was charged with criminal mischief. 

The Level 3 sex offender, who has also been accused of failure to register a change of address, was in court today for a pre-trial hearing where Judge Charles Zambito discussed with the attorneys a motion by defense attorney Fred Rarick to gain access to documents from another court proceeding. The documents are sealed by court order.

Zambito said he isn't convinced that Rarick has a legal right to the documents, especially to use them in the manner he intends to use them.

Rarick said he doesn't intend to introduce any of the actual documents as evidence, but would use the information gleaned from them during cross-examination of a witness.

Rarick also moved to have two charges dismissed since they are included and concurrent with other charges. Zambito said he motion was premature and he would reserve judgment until the appropriate time during the proceedings.

The trial is expected to begin Monday with witnesses being called through Wednesday.

May 3, 2017 - 3:50pm

The Mental Health Association of Genesee and Orleans Counties will hold its annual meeting luncheon from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, at Terry Hills Restaurant. It is located at 5122 Clinton Street Road in Batavia.

This year's recipient of the Constance E. Miller Award of Excellence will be Mark O'Brien (LCSW-R), director of Orleans County Mental Health and Community Services.

MHA of Genesee and Orleans Counties Executive Director Thomas Christensen, Ph.D. (LMHC), will be the guest speaker.

The MHA Educational Scholarship awards will also be presented.

Cost for the luncheon is $20. To attend, please RSVP by May 16 to the MHA of Genesee and Orleans Counties, 25 Liberty St., Batavia. Phone is 344-2611 or visit online at www.mhago.org

May 3, 2017 - 3:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in genesee county park & forest, news.

Pictured, from left: Daisy Klein, Lee Johnson, Barbara Easton, George Squires, George Wood, Jennifer Wood and Sharon McWethy.

Submitted photos and press release:

Rainy weather didn’t stop friends and fellow volunteers from honoring Dennis Wood -- artist, professor, and longtime dedicated ACORNS Volunteer. Dennis was a very generous and good friend of the Genesee County Parks in many ways.

He gave his time by participating in ACORNS meetings and field trips, and attending many educational programs. Dennis donated some of his own collections to the Interpretive Nature Center and funded the purchase of children’s field binoculars for use during kids' programs at the park.

Dennis was a very talented artist, and he provided beautiful note-cards for the ACORNS to sell as a fundraiser. The cards feature some of his landscapes and wildlife paintings, and are available for purchase at the Interpretive Center. Dennis loved to share the joys of art as a professor at GCC, and taught a beginner drawing class to the ACORNS as a volunteer training day. Dennis was a delightful person to be around and is remembered for his quiet way of making people smile and laugh.

Following a motion for funding by the ACORNS and a donation from Dennis’s wife Jenny Wood, a fully functional artist’s easel has been created as a memorial to Dennis. The memorial will be placed in the ACORNS Outdoor Learning Center at Genesee County Park & Forest.

The memorial design was created by Paul Osborn, Parks Supervisor, and Kurt Schwab, Genesee County Highway sign maintenance mechanic, which was then laser cut by Oxbo International. Genesee County Highway welder Rob Barone adapted the donated easel to install the newly created art platform, which was then painted by DJ Desjardins in the paint shop. A collaborative effort indeed!

Pictured, from left: Shannon Morley, George Wood, Jennifer Wood, Sharon McWethy, Daisy Klein, Barbara Easton, George Squires and Lee Johnson. 

The Rembas family made a generous donation to the park to honor their father, John Rembas, and their mother, Clara Rembas. John Rembas is remembered by his family for loving the Genesee County Park & Forest very much, thus where the family chose as a donation site in his memory.

Discussions between the Rembas family and the ACORNS proceeded as planning for the ACORNS Outdoor Learning Center was underway. OLC plans included two bird feeding stations, so the ACORNS proposed funding them with the donations received in memory of John Rembas. The family was thrilled with the idea.

ACORNS member Jim Schmitt built two beautiful large platform feeders, and member George Squires designed and built the feeder stations. The bird feeding stations were completed, and the family responded with these kind words: "We cannot thank you - and all the volunteers enough for the time and effort put into this birdfeeder project. We hope it will serve to provide for the many birds, as well as provide enjoyment and learning for all. It is a wonderful tribute to our Mom and Dad."

Thanks to the generous donations in memory of John Rembas, the ACORNS Outdoor Learning Center was provided with two bird feeding stations, a collection of specialized bird feeders, and funding for bird food for the 2017 feeding season.

May 3, 2017 - 3:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in east pembroke, accident, news, batavia.

The NY Thruway reported to dispatch that someone spotted a car off the roadway into a pond in the area of 3323 Harloff Road, Batavia. Town of Batavia East Pembroke fire is dispatched.

"It is in a very wet area of the swamp," by the Thruway, which is the easiest route to access the vehicle.

"It's not totally submerged..." says a first responder.

May 3, 2017 - 2:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in east bethany, news, nature, genesee county park & forest.

Submitted photo and press release:

Cutleaf toothwort, trout lily, mayapple...Hike with a naturalist guide on our Wildflower Walk May 6th and learn the names, growing habits, and adaptations of the forest’s first flowers.

Seize the day and enjoy the magic of spring while it lasts! Cameras are recommended!

Wildflower Walk takes place on Saturday, May 6th from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Genesee County Park & Forest. The walk begins at the Interpretive Nature Center, located at 11095 Bethany Center Road, East Bethany.

Cost is $5/person, $10/family. Preregistration is required. Call 585-344-1122 to reserve your spot.

For more information visit our website at http://www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/parks/, or contact Shannon Morley at [email protected] or (585) 344-1122.

May 3, 2017 - 2:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in alexander, news, lost pets, animal rescue.

"These two Great Danes are lost and hanging out in Alexander on Gillate (Road) next to the steam show grounds," according to reader Michele Czekala, who contacted us late this morning.

UPDATE 7:48 p.m.: About 15 minutes ago, an animal control officer was dispatched to 10273 Gillate Road in Alexander to pick up two loose, but friendly Great Danes from the yard. They will be taken to the Genesee County Animal Shelter so their owner(s), hopefully, can retrieve them.

May 3, 2017 - 1:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in elba, elba hall of fame foundation, news, Announcements.

Press release:

The Elba Hall of Fame Foundation will be hosting a Beef on Weck Dinner Tuesday May 16th from 4-6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of the Elba Central School.  

Eat in or take out is available!

Dinner includes sandwich,  macaroni salad, salt potatoes, baked beans, dessert and beverage. Dinner costs $8. Pre-sale tickets are available at the Elba Central School District office and will be available at the door as well. Pre-sale ticket purchases are encouraged to guarantee a meal.

The Elba Hall of Fame Foundation is currently taking applications for this year inductees. Applications are available on the Elba Central school website, and in the Elba Central School District office, and during the dinner May 16th.

Elba Central School is located at 57 S. Main St., Elba.

May 3, 2017 - 11:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer, ride sharing, news.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has introduced legislation (S5814) today in the State Senate to quicken access to ride-sharing services for residents and tourists in Western New York for the Fourth of July holiday weekend. 

Senator Ranzenhofer has been a strong supporter of bringing this new transportation option to Upstate New York.

"While ride-sharing services have been given a green light, arriving days after the Fourth of July is too little, too late. Every year, we read about accidents and deaths caused by motorists who should not be driving. This safe, reliable transportation option can help to make our roadways safer," Ranzenhofer said.

The new bill amends the effective date for the ride-sharing legislation -- Part AAA of Chapter 59 of the laws of 2017 approved as part of the recent state budget -- from 90 to 80 days. If enacted, transportation network companies would be available as soon as June 29th. Under existing law, it would not be available until July 9th. 

Senator Ranzenhofer noted the positive benefits for the community from an earlier start to ride-sharing.

"As thousands visit Niagara Falls and area attractions from Buffalo to Rochester, it would be a missed opportunity for our region if ride-sharing services were still not available. Allowing these companies to operate sooner is an opportunity for our region to shine. It will help to drive additional spending by tourists at small businesses and restaurants," Ranzenhofer said.

May 3, 2017 - 11:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins has received the “Award for Conservative Achievement” from the American Conservative Union Foundation. Congressman Collins was given the highest rating of any member in the New York Delegation for the 114th Congress.

“I am honored to receive this recognition from the American Conservative Union Foundation,” Congressman Collins said. “When I first ran for Congress I promised to bring a commonsense, conservative voice to Washington, and this award is recognition of my commitment to those principles. I share the ACUF’s philosophy of smaller government and personal responsibility and will continue to support policies that achieve that vision.”

“The 2016 ACUF Award for Conservative Achievement is given to those Members of Congress who receive an 80 percent or above score in our annual ACU Ratings,” said ACUF Chairman Matt Schlapp. “We applaud Congressman Collins for his continued support of conservative values, and working to achieve commonsense conservative solutions for the people of New York.”

The “Award for Conservative Achievement” is based on 25 key votes that demonstrate an adherence to conservative principles. More information on the award is available here.

May 3, 2017 - 11:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer, news, agriculture.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced today that the 2017-18 State Budget restores $10 million in funding reductions, proposed by Governor Cuomo, for agriculture programs and makes a total state investment of $51 million.

“I opposed cuts for agriculture programs from day one. That is why I successfully advocated and delivered major investment for these important programs,” Ranzenhofer said. “Agriculture is New York State’s number one industry and it is also the backbone of our rural communities. Investing in agriculture will help to strengthen the industry and our local economy.”

The new budget also includes $100,000 for the Genesee County Agriculture Academy. Over the last five years, Senator Ranzenhofer has secured a total of $500,000 in state funding to support the Agri-Business Academy at the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership.  

“The Agri-Business Academy is a valuable learning experience for high school seniors from school districts across Genesee County. The one-year program helps to develop and grow the next generation of family farmers by offering students exciting educational opportunities to explore careers in the agribusiness industry,” Ranzenhofer said.

Major programs in cutting-edge research for family farms, environmental stewardship, and protections for plant, animal and public health will receive significant increases:

• $1.5 million (for a total of $1.9 million) for the Farm Viability Institute;
• $1 million (for a total of $9.3 million) for Agribusiness Child Development;
• $1 million (for a total of $5.4 million) for the Cornell Diagnostic Lab;
• $544,000 (for a total of $750,000) for the Apple Growers Association;
• $560,000 (for a total of $610,000) for Cornell Rabies;
• $416,000 (for a total of $800,000) for FarmNet, Farm Family Assistance;
• $378,000 (for a total of $1.2 million) for Pro-Dairy;
• $307,000 (for a total of $1.5 million) for the Wine and Grape Foundation;
• $300,000 (for a total of $842,000) for Future Farmers of America;
• $160,000 (for a total of $200,000) for Cornell Hops and Barley;
Other programs funded in the 2017-18 State Budget include:
• $160,000 for Local Fair Assistance
• $500,000 for the Apple Research and Development Board
• $500,000 for the State’s Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program
• $260,000 for Cornell Berry Research
• $250,000 for Tractor Rollover Prevention Program
• $220,000 for Farm Viability Dairy Profit Teams
• $215,000 for Maple Producers Association
• $200,000 for a “Seeds of Success” award to promote school gardens
• $150,000 for Turfgrass Association
• $125,000 for Christmas Tree Growers
• $125,000 for Cornell Maple Research
• $115,000 for Cornell Veterans to Farms
• $100,000 for Future Agriculture Readiness Marketing (FARM) Camps
• $100,000 for Cornell Vegetable Research
• $75,000 for Corn and Soybean Growers Association
• $60,000 for Berry Growers Association
• $50,000 for Honeybee research at Cornell
• $50,000 for Cornell Onion Research
• $25,000 for Low-Cost Vaccine Program
• $10,000 for NYS Brewers Association
• $10,000 for NYS Cider Association
• $10,000 for NYS Distillers Guild
• $10,000 for Cornell Sheep Farming

May 3, 2017 - 11:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in mucklands, byron, agriculture, news.

050217_muckjoeb.jpg

Story and photos courtesy Tom Rivers, Orleans Hub.

Joe Bezon, a third-generation muck farmer, had just headed home after a hard day’s work on Monday afternoon when it started raining. A sprinkle soon turned into a deluge.

Bezon’s home in Byron was pounded by the rain. He drove to the muck and saw water, everywhere. Bezon was about 75 percent done planting onions for the season. Now there was standing water in the fields.

Bezon said about an inch of rain fell at his house, and 2 inches in the muck.

Bezon and the muck farmers were able to pump lots of the water off the muck on Tuesday, leaving them optimistic the plants and seeds would survive. But he is nervous about the forecast for Thursday, which says another inch to 2 inches is headed our way.

“The water has gone down a lot,” he said Tuesday evening on the muck. “It all depends on Thursday and the through the weekend. It’s wait and see what happens next. It looks like another 10 days of poor weather.”

Another big rain and farmers will struggle to get rid of the water. Bezon said the ground is saturated and the drainage ditches at near capacity.

For the full story, visit Orleans Hub.

050217_muckdrain.jpg

May 3, 2017 - 11:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

One of the four men accused of a home invasion burglary on Central Avenue in October was sentenced to five years in prison this morning by County Court Judge Charles Zambito.

Marquis Saddler entered a guilty plea March 31 to attempted burglary, 2nd, a class D violent felony, and admitted to being a second felony offender.

As a second felony offender, he faced a maximum prison term of from three to seven years.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman sought the maximum and defense attorney Fred Rarick requested a three-year term.

After Saddler's five-year stint he will be placed on parole for five years.

Cases are still pending for Daniel Gilbert, Adante Davis and Oliver Thomas.

May 2, 2017 - 5:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Central Avenue, news.

One of four men allegedly involved in a home-invasion burglary in October on Central Avenue, Batavia, was supposed to be sentenced on a guilty plea in that case, but it turns out there is a disagreement between the attorneys in the case on what exactly was in the plea deal given to Daniel J. Gilbert.

At the start of the hearing, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman told Judge Charles Zambito that the agreed upon sentence was a straight-up five years in prison (a determinate sentence).

Zambito turned to defense attorney Thomas Burns and asked, "is that your understanding?"

"That's not accurate," Burns said. "That's not our position at all."

Zambito asked if Burns wished to discuss the plea on the record and Burns said he did not, so Zambito called for a recess and met with the attorneys in chambers.

When he returned he said that Burns would be able to file a position paper with supporting citations, and Friedman would be given a chance to answer.  Because of trial schedules and vacation schedules, Gilbert won't be back in county court for a hearing on the plea, and possible sentencing, until 11 a.m. on June 20.

Asked for more information outside of court on the particulars of the dispute, Friedman said he couldn't discuss it.

The cases for the other defendants, Oliver Thomas, Marquis Saddler and Adante Davis, are still pending.

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