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June 21, 2022 - 12:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Opinion.

Summary:

  • Readers may submit either Letters to the Editor or Op-Eds;
  • Submission to the Opinion Page is open primarily to Genesee County residents;
  • All opinions are welcome but any statement of fact must be backed by evidence;
  • No personal insults, no name-calling, keep it civil;
  • Only digital submissions are accepted.
  • Submissions are not edited.

-- MORE --

August 12, 2022 - 10:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Opinion.

Calm down, people. I see your comments on social media. 

Paul Doyle and Cornerstone Church in Batavia are not jeopardizing the church's tax-exempt status by hosting the ReAwaken America Tour, no matter how political you may believe the event to be.

And no matter how odious you may find it.

The activity is protected by the First Amendment, and that is good for all of us.

Here's what the IRS says about political activity and nonprofit status:

  • the organization must be organized and operated exclusively for religious, educational, scientific or other charitable purposes;
  • net earnings may not inure to the benefit of any private individual or shareholder;
  • no substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation;
  • the organization may not intervene in political campaigns; and
  • the organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy. 

The First Amendment protects free speech and was written with the specific intention of protecting political speech.

From the earliest days of the republic, churches received tax-exempt status because of the belief that religious institutions should be free from government entanglement.

The Establishment Clause cuts two ways -- no government-mandated religious belief for individuals and no government interference in religion.  

Taxation leads to government entanglement.  Think for a moment about the damage an unsavory government agency could do if it had an audit or enforcement power over churches.  

Tax-exempt status isn't some government charitable contribution to religious organizations, or even an attempt to help them make more money to serve some mission that benefits society (though that is part of it).  It's primarily designed to keep the government from interfering with religious freedom.

We lose sight of that original intention because religious organizations operate under the same tax-exempt status as every other nonprofit organization.  That is by design because, again, the government must remain neutral on the question of religious freedom, and by applying the same rules to religious organizations and secular organizations, they ensure neutral, objective standards are being applied equally.

The IRS is very clear -- endorse candidates, lobby for legislation, and you're engaged in impermissible political activity.  

But no nonprofit is prohibited from hosting a political event or speaking out on political matters (though most are loathe to do so out of fear of the IRS).  Such a prohibition would violate the First Amendment rights of the organization and its members.

But the government, through IRS, has created a firewall between nonprofits and political campaigns to prevent potential corruption, the potential abuse for political purposes of nonprofit status.

There are some in the religious community, such as Pastor Jim Garlow, at Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, Calif. (a church I used to attend many, many years ago, when John Maxwell was pastor), who believe that the IRS rule violates religious freedom.

The problem with Garlow's position on changing the IRS rule just for churches is that it would diminish the concept of equal treatment of all nonprofits.  That could lead to the end of all prohibitions on campaigning and lobbying for nonprofits if the IRS is to remain neutral in how it enforces such rules.

Without government neutrality, religious freedom is jeopardized.

Which is why Cornerstone Church's political activity this week is an activity we should all defend if we really cherish our liberties.  We may find some of the content of the speeches offensive and odious. We may see the ideas advanced by some of the speakers as a threat to our democratic republic.  But it's all free speech.  And the best defense against speech we find distasteful is more speech. It is not calling on the government to censor the speakers or using the government to deprive them of their platform.

As much as Donald Trump's name gets bandied about, he is not currently an official candidate for any office, so speaking favorably about Trump is not a violation of the IRS rule. Of course, even if he was a candidate, speakers in a religious venue can still speak favorably of him without telling people to vote for him (an endorsement).  There is no evidence that speakers at the Tour are using the Tour to call for legislative changes (the other IRS portion of the rule).  While there is a lot of pray and praise in the remarks at the rally, it is clearly a political rally, but a Constitutionally protected political rally.

By the terms of IRS rules and the Bill of Rights, that's OK.

On social media, links to the IRS's complaint site have been repeatedly posted by some people.  It's ironic that people who think the speakers at ReAwaken America want to impose some sort of dictatorship are calling on the rest of us to use the power of the state to try and shut up their political opponents.  That's calling for government censorship and that is just as objectionable as any belief anybody may have about what these speakers stand for.

If you don't like the Tour, use your free speech right to speak out. Hold your own rallies and press conferences, as some have done. Feel free to say you don't want RAT in our community because you think it makes our community look racist, uneducated, and backward (if that's what you believe).  Tell Paul Doyle he shouldn't have brought RAT into Batavia (if that's what you believe). But don't expect the government to shut down an event or organization you don't like. That's just authoritarianism under another banner.

August 11, 2022 - 8:15pm
posted by Jennifer Keys in Opinion.

Nationalism
If only we had some history to draw on to predict what happens in nationalist movements.

Oh, wait, but we do. My grandfather gave part of his leg fighting against a nationalist movement in Asia while his peers fought against one in Europe. Nationalism, here in the US at the time, led to Japanese internment camps once the war was brought to our doorstep.

Time and time again nationalism has led to hate-filled campaigns that have targeted already marginalized communities. It was a nondescript individual who told people things they wanted to hear at a time they were suffering that paved the way for them to lose their humanity and to murder over 6,000,000 of their fellow humans. Approximately 30 years later another nondescript individual was able to convince the people of his nation that it was ok to murder 1,000,000 of their fellow humans in the name of nationalism in Cambodia.

People who are working hard to eke out a living forget that everyone else is doing the same. Instead, they are convinced that others are the problem and then they start to lose their humanity. They begin to believe that the others that are “causing” their problems are somehow less than and deserve to be harmed because they don’t look, sound, live, love, or believe as the nationalist does.

Christian Nationalism is particularly concerning because it makes one wonder how bad could something that says it’s Christian be? After all, it is founded in the name of a man who gave his life to save our souls & we do have a Christian foundation in this nation, though it isn’t codified. What is forgotten by Christian Nationalists is Christ was a brown man who loved everyone. They also forget, or conveniently distort, that our nation was founded on freedom of religion because no one wanted the religious oppression that had been imposed by the Church of England.

Christian Nationalists live and speak as if they believe that everyone should live and believe as they do. In a secular society founded on religious freedom that is simply not viable, permitted, or even desirable for the rest of us. The rest of us simply roll our eyes and believe they have a right to live as they choose within the parameters of the law.

Yes, those who disagree with the ideologies of the RAT (ReAwakening Tour) can simply ignore and not attend, or protest, but it is the hatred and the lies that are proliferated at such events that are at issue here. Sure, they have a right to their false narratives and the spreading of their hatred, but we also have a great deal of historical evidence about what happens when such speech goes unchecked. For those who claim that we don’t know what will happen, we do. This tour has already unfolded and these speakers have already called for some among us to be murdered. Fortunately, we do have a court system that has already sent a message to Alex Jones and others like him. To sit silently watching or ignoring the presence of so much vitriol in our area will leave us answering the questions of our children and grandchildren as so poignantly stated by another writer recently, “when fascism came what did you do”.

As a candidate, as a community member, and as a mother- I can not nor will I stand by and watch as we are divided and conquered by hatred.

Jennifer Keys is a candidate for NYS Assembly 139th District

August 11, 2022 - 1:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Opinion.

The Democratic Socialists of America are coming to Batavia on Friday to teach us about fascism

Oh, the irony.

From the Constitution of DSA:

We are socialists because we reject an economic order based on private profit ... We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, ...

In other words, authoritarianism -- just like the fascists -- dressed up in the pretty language of egalitarianism.  

The attack on private profit should scare all of us. It means the wages you earn -- what Edmund Burke called the "fruits of labor" -- shouldn't belong to you. Your profits, the money you earn from your labor, should belong to the state. The state should decide how best to spend what you earn in order to better distribute the resources.

In socialism, there would be no private property, no locally owned small businesses, and nobody working on trying to create wealth for themselves and their families. It would all be share-and-share alike.

We saw already how well that worked in the Soviet Union. 

DSA members I've debated with over the years like to say that they just want to bring a European kind of socialism to the United States. This is supposedly a kinder, gentler kind of socialism. The major problem with their position is that the countries they point to -- Denmark, Norway, Sweden, etc. -- are not socialist. They are solidly capitalist, free market economies. Their spending priorities are perhaps different, but there is no prohibition against private enterprise, against individuals and shareholders owning companies, and even growing fabulously wealthy, even becoming billionaires. There are in fact, 12 billionaires in Norway and 30 in Denmark.

You know who is socialist: Cuba and North Korea -- failed, dictatorial regimes, and China, wealthy, but one of the most repressive governments on the planet.

It's hard not to despair for the future of America sometimes. We are beset by right-wing blowhards on one side who think they should control the levers of power and tell the rest of us what to think and how to live, and a growing socialist movement on the left who want to destroy the very thing that made America prosperous -- the free market. 

Now, these two conflicting ideologies are converging on Batavia while those of us in the middle, who simply want to go to work and take care of our families and be left alone to live in peace, can only standby and gape in disbelief. 

Suggested reading:

August 8, 2022 - 10:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Opinion.
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These are times that reward cynics.  Every news cycle brings some new outrage, disappointment, or worry.

But America isn't a complete mess.  As long as people like Jesse and Jolene Coots are in the world, we'll be alright.

Jesse and Jolene own a few acres on Linwood Road in Pavilion where they raise their kids and operate their businesses.

More than a dozen years ago, they decided to invite a few friends over who share their passion for hot rods (Jesse operates the Old Soul Hot Rod Shop in a garage behind their house) to burn rubber on the asphalt of Linwood Road.

At most car shows, it's "look, don't touch," and keep the noise and dust to a minimum, please.

Jesse figures hot rods are built to run. They may be art but they're not museum pieces.  So he decided a few years ago to let his friends run their rods on his street.

The concept proved popular and the event has grown every year since (he's now built a driveway for burnouts so the public street is no longer used).

When I first heard about the event in 2019, Jesse said there were 2,000 people in attendance.  This year, he said 3,000.


See also: Photos & Video: The 2022 Hardcore Happening in Pavilion


Perhaps the most remarkable part of the Happening is how smoothly the operation goes.  Jesse's staff -- and it's a big staff -- is all volunteer.  They chaperon the attendees, feed the throngs, and keep everything running smoothly.

The beauty of it all is how fun and friendly the whole event is.  Jesse brags every year about how little trouble there is.  After everybody leaves, there won't be a beer can left on the ground, he says.  People help each other out.  One year, somebody who had never attended before showed up sans a cooler of beverages. They didn't go thirsty.  Their new friends kept them hydrated.

One reason it all holds together is Jesse has a few rules -- he says there's only one, just be kind to each other.  But on his social media posts, he lets guests know in clear, straightforward language what's expected.  The gates open at 1 p.m., not 10, for example.  And no pets.

And, "-Everyone’s car is special. If yours is so special that you need to park and rope it off, leave it home and just come enjoy the show… "

Also, "This is my home and place of business. This is my children’s home and my wife’s castle. We welcome you, we love you. Love us back and watch over our place, pick up after yourself, and don’t be a scumbag. You will get called out by everyone. This crowd follows suit and doesn’t tolerate people being scumbags. Be good, we will treat you good."

Oh, did we mention, "NOT PETS!!"

One thing I like -- it's not a rule -- it's not even anything I've known Jesse ever to request, but I've noticed: There's no politics. I've never even seen a political t-shirt worn by an attendee let alone heard a political discussion.

That helps keep that no discord, no rancor feeling in the air.

As Jesse says, if you love cars, regardless of who you are, your background, or your beliefs, you're welcome.  He wants you just to come, have fun and make new friends.

After I left the Coots homestead on Saturday, a lot of the burdens I might have carried there seemed to have magically disappeared by the time I left.  That doesn't often happen in my job.

There's something special about the Hardcore Happening.  Sure, I like hot rods and classic cars, but not like Jesse, not like his closest friends, not like most of the people at the Happening.  I'm not an aficionado. The event is fun to video record and photograph -- it's a visual treat -- but that is not what is special to me about the Hardcore Happening.  What's special is that vibe -- it's hippie-like simplicity and happiness. I halfway expect peace signs posted around the property.  There's more kindness in the air than there is burning rubber and gas fumes.

Now that I've known Jesse for a couple of years, I think I know why that is -- he is contagiously friendly, open, and welcoming.  He wants the best for everybody around him. 

And this is what's special about small town life.  There are people like Jesse and Jolene Coots around.  There are a lot of good people in Genesee County, and in my job, I'm fortunate to know many of them, but it is events like this that should remind us that no matter how bad it gets out there, it's good right here.

August 1, 2022 - 12:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Opinion.

An "L.A. Times" column published recently opens this way:

Would minor league players be paid more if they could negotiate freely with every team?

Not necessarily, Major League Baseball warned Congress on Friday. Instead, players could lose job opportunities and communities could lose minor league teams, the league said in a 17-page letter to the committee exploring whether to strip baseball of its antitrust exemption.

Wow. What hypocrisy.  What chutzpah.

Prior to the 2021 season, Rob Manfred, the non-baseball-loving commissioner of major league baseball, decided to rob 30 cities of their minor league baseball teams, including Batavia.

Arguably, baseball fans in Batavia are better off, thanks to Robbie Nichols and the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. They brought to our small city a more engaging and community-connected brand of baseball, but there is one way that Batavia is indisputably worse off: lost revenue.

The former minor-league-affiliated Muckdogs was owned, in part, by the community and operated by a volunteer board of directors, the Genesee Community Baseball Club.

If that team was still part of the minor league system, it would have undoubtedly eventually been sold, and GCBC would have surely received a couple of million dollars as part of the deal; money that could have been reinvested in sports and recreation in the city of Batavia, benefiting our youth.

That money is lost, and there is nothing anybody can do about it.  Why? MLB's anti-trust exemption, which was granted by the Supreme Court in 1922. Because the ruling was not based on Constitutional principles, it can be rescinded by an act of Congress.

That's just the sort of action Congress is considering -- finally -- and Manfred is fighting through deception and misinformation.

MLB's anti-trust exemption is good for nobody in America except the MLB -- certainly not the fans of baseball nor the players.  It's time to subject the MLB to the same kind of competitive pressures that make things better in America.

July 22, 2022 - 12:42pm
posted by Session Placeholder in Opinion.

Opinion Piece Submission by Logan W. Cole

A stop in Rochester by the controversial far-right conference featuring well-known figures from the anti-vaccine and anti-democracy movements known as the “ReAwaken America Tour” has been canceled after an outcry from the city’s community. It is now planned to be hosted by the Cornerstone Church in Batavia on August 12th and 13th.

Anti-vaccine ideas cause harm – it is well-established that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. A study published by top medical journal The Lancet suggests that the vaccine has saved tens of millions of lives despite the efforts of anti-vaccine activists. Vaccine denialism has resulted in the preventable deaths of many and continued anti-vaccine rhetoric will result in the deaths of many more.

I didn’t want Joe Biden to be president but he indisputably won the 2020 general election by both the electoral and popular vote. The conspiracy theory that he did not win the election led to the anti-democracy protests in Washington on January 6th, 2021 that resulted in the deaths of five people.

Many confirmed speakers have made bigoted statements that encourage violence. Featured speaker Mark Burns called supporters of the LGBT community “groomers” and suggested that they should be held for treason and executed. The event’s headliner, Michael Flynn, called for the United States to become a single-religion Christian country and suggested that his supporters prepare to attack (“charge the machine gun nest”) school boards that support critical race theory.

The Cornerstone Church is a religious organization and a non-profit corporation. If they are claiming tax-exempt status or any other tax benefit as a result of their status as a church or non-profit, taxpayers are subsidizing them and the hate they platform. The support or opposition of any particular candidate (desire to overturn an election result is the ultimate expression of this) is prohibited for tax-exempt religious organizations.

Saying these speakers should have no place in Batavia is not a denial of their free speech rights; freedom of speech is not entitlement to any particular venue or platform nor does it guarantee a space safe from criticism. Indeed, in my opinion, one of the most noble uses of free speech is to identify ideas that cause harm and speak out against them. To this end, I say to the organizers, hosts, and speakers of the ReAwaken America Tour: take your harmful, fascistic ideas elsewhere, or, better yet, nowhere.

Logan W. Cole lectures on biology at SUNY Brockport and organizes with the Genesee County Democratic Socialists of America. He has lived in the town of Batavia for over twenty years.

July 9, 2022 - 4:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, news, Opinion.

The Batavian now has an opinion section.

This will become our central hub for community discussions about a variety of issues.  We welcome submissions of op-ed pieces and letters to the editor (we've never accepted letters before).  Submissions must be made either through the website (register for an account and login in the box on the left side of the page) or through email to [email protected].

All points of view are welcome.

We do have rules and guidelines.  You can read them here.

We will no longer have comments on stories but we do have comments on opinion pieces posted to the opinion section.  Posts to the opinion section will not be shared on The Batavian's Facebook page but will remain exclusive to the website.

The "recent comments" box remains on the left side of the home page and this will contain links to comments made on posts in the opinion section.

July 1, 2022 - 12:27pm
posted by Press Release in Opinion.

By Paul Wolf

On July 4, 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed the federal Freedom of Information Act into law. According to Bill Moyers, Johnson’s press secretary,

“LBJ had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to the signing ceremony. He hated the very idea of open government, hated the thought of journalists rummaging in government closets, hated them challenging the official view of reality.”

Unfortunately, in 2022, many elected officials feel the same way about open government as Lyndon Johnson did. Understanding the history behind the Freedom of Information Act is important as is continuing the fight for open government today.

In 1952, John Moss was elected to represent the Sacramento area of California in Congress. While serving in Congress Moss asked for agency records and was denied. News reporters complained to Moss that they likewise had difficulty obtaining information from government officials. In 1954, Moss introduced legislation to make government records available to the public. For ten years as chair of the subcommittee on Government Information, Moss held hearings, and issued reports about government secrecy and advocated for such information to be available to the public.

The Government Information Subcommittee noted many instances of federal agencies refusing to release information, such as:

  • the National Science Foundation stating it would not be in the “public interest” to disclose competing cost estimates submitted by bidders for the award of a multi-million dollar project;
  • the Navy ruled that telephone directories fell within the category of information relating to “internal management” and could not be released;
  • Many federal agencies refused to release minutes showing the votes taken on contract awards.

Due to the efforts of Congressmen Moss, all of the above items and more are now made available to the public. Every single federal agency that testified at hearings for the Freedom of Information Act opposed it. Attempts were made to deny funding and to abolish Moss's Committee. It took twelve long years pushing Congress to pass it and three presidents to sign it, but on July 4, 1966, the Freedom of Information Act became law. On the 56th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act, we owe a debt of gratitude to John Moss for his many years of fighting for the public’s right to know what their government officials are doing.

New York State has its own Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), which all too often government officials are slow to respond to or refuse to comply with. There are no consequences for government officials that do not comply with the law and there is no entity that the public can turn to that has the power to enforce compliance with the law. New York’s open government laws are in need of reform and we need an elected official like John Moss with the tenacity to make it happen.

Paul Wolf, Esq. serves as President of the New York Coalition For Open Government

June 21, 2022 - 12:53pm
posted by Press Release in Opinion.

By Ken Paulson

As we gather to celebrate Independence Day, it’s a good time to reflect on how our most fundamental freedoms have served this nation well.

It’s an even better time to think about what would happen if those liberties were taken away.

Sadly, the latter doesn’t take much imagination in 2022. Your closest video screen will show you scenes of Russian troops pummeling Ukraine with the support of a majority of the Russian people.

The Russian public has been told that their country is doing noble work ferreting out “Nazis” and that the West is engaged in its usual persecution of Russia and its people. Surveys say most Russians believe it.

In times of war, people always want to see their government as the good guys, but it’s still a little hard to grasp how that many people can be so thoroughly misled.

That’s the power of the Vladimir Putin playbook. The Russian president quickly and with little opposition eliminated the freedoms of speech and press.

First, Putin bandied around allegations of “fake news,” undermining domestic news media that had far more latitude than their Soviet Union counterparts.

Then he coordinated a plan with the national legislature to pass a law imprisoning those who “lied” about the war, including even calling it a war.  Russian media of integrity had to close up shop, and international journalists in Russia had to temper their reporting.

That left the internet as the one avenue for Russians to learn the truth about their country’s misdeeds. Putin then banned social media outlets and sharply limited access to international news sites.

In short order, the Russian people were isolated, left to believe the lies of their government.

It took just weeks for Putin to wipe out freedoms of press, speech and dissent.

Could anything like that ever happen in the United States? As unlikely as it may seem, there are some areas of concern.

After all, over the past 60 years, certain presidents from both parties have been known to mislead the public about the purpose and progress of wars. And the use of “fake news” claims to evade responsibility began with politicians in this country, only to be adopted by totalitarian leaders around the globe.

Today there are active efforts to overturn New York Times v. Sullivan, the 1964 Supreme Court decision that made investigative reporting viable in the United States. And there are many politicians, again of both parties, who want to control how private social media companies are run.

Do I believe that America could fall victim to something resembling the Putin playbook? No. But it’s also no longer unthinkable.

It’s not a coincidence that the first step would-be dictators take is to shut down the press. That eliminates questions and accountability, both of which are anathema to those who abuse power.

There are some today who choose not to be informed, saying the media are biased. Well, there are tens of thousands of media outlets in this country, including manipulative cable channels, partisan sites that masquerade as news providers and those sites that would entice us with clickbait. But there are also many core news organizations of integrity, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, PBS and the very newspaper you’re reading right now. They’re the ones we need to support with readership and subscriptions.

From the very beginning of this nation, Americans understood the importance of a free press aggressively reporting on people in power. In an era when newspapers were fiercely partisan and unfair, that first generation of citizens still insisted on journalists being protected by the First Amendment.

That shouldn’t surprise us. After all, the model was right there in 1776 in the document we celebrate this week.

The Declaration of Independence called out King George III, reporting a list of injustices perpetrated by the mother country against its colonies. We had “unalienable rights,” it said, and they were being violated. Americans were no longer going to put up with this “long train of abuses and usurpations.”

That is the same spirit with which America’s free press has exercised its duties since 1791. Abolitionist newspapers took on slavery, suffragist papers focused on injustices against women and news organizations spanning centuries have reported on scandals, corruption and racial injustice.

We live in a highly polarized time, when it’s easy to dismiss the views of those with whom we disagree and deride those who publish the facts we don’t want to acknowledge.

We have to take care, though, that our internal political wars don’t turn us away from the core principles contained in the Declaration of Independence.

We remain a free people and need to be vigilant in protecting our rights and documenting the abuses in people in power, not just when the other guy’s party is in office. That’s the real spirit of ’76.

Ken Paulson is the director of the Free Speech Center, a non-partisan and non-profit center based at Middle Tennessee State University. www.freespeech.center

November 13, 2021 - 12:02pm
posted by Chris Suozzi in GCEDC, Coach’s Corner, Opinion.
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We’ve hit the time of year when we rally around our high school teams, and I could not be prouder of what I’m seeing.

Our student-athletes are doing tremendous work.

It doesn’t go unnoticed in our schools, our families, and our communities. And our employers are cheering along too!

I was watching Le Roy finish their football season in the playoffs last weekend on a beautiful fall day. The season didn’t end the way the Oatkan Knights wanted, but each and every student in our fall sports season has showed the skills they will bring in the future.

Our student-athletes are clearly hard workers. Our companies love that these kids see the challenges in front of them, know what it takes to achieve their goals, and that opportunities are not just given. Our companies see student-athletes are coachable and are excelling in team environments.

I saw those skills across our entire region at GLOW With Your Hands. We had another great day of career experiences and conversations at the end of September.

More than 1,200 students have now participated in the event, meeting with dozens of manufacturers, skilled trades professionals, and our food production industry. After a year of video conferencing, having so much direct interactions with equipment and employers was energizing!

GLOW With Your Hands shows that we have the talent that companies need. The next generation of manufacturing leaders will come from our high school students who are already on a college or career pathway.  Students on a career pathway can get into an in-demand job and receive on-the-job training with little or no student debt.

I wish we could do GLOW With Your Hands every weekend, but this year’s event couldn’t have come at a better time.

In the past month, Genesee County has welcomed two more major projects in our green field developments. Like our playing fields, these projects require and reward the skills shown at GLOW With Your Hands and in across our schools this fall.

On Oct. 20, Plug Power broke ground at STAMP on the single-largest project investment ever in Genesee County. A week later, Liberty Pumps celebrated an expansion that will bring their membership above 300 people in Bergen. At the same time, multiple projects are building in both downtown Batavia and the Gateway II Business Park/Saile Drive corridor.

These are outstanding projects. They represent how our economy will continue to grow.

Most importantly, Plug Power and Liberty Pumps alone will be adding 100 new permanent jobs. And there’s plenty of construction jobs on display at both sites.

Even with companies growing and labor availability challenges across our country, filling these new jobs is a challenge that Genesee County is ready to answer.

And its our student-athletes that lead the solution.

I watched Le Roy senior leader Zach Vanderhoof on the field last weekend – and I’ve seen Zach guide younger students through the mechatronics training area at GLOW With Your Hands. I’ve seen him stand up as one of the first youth apprentices drafted by a local company last spring, and excel at Genesee Valley BOCES.

And he’s not alone. Since launching GLOW With Your Hands, the enrollment at Genesee Valley BOCES’ career and technical education centers has increased 30%.  Parents are realizing that not every student is meant for college or book learning.  The applied learning format, coupled with real life work experiences in high school, is a great route that leads to a fantastic career with a local company.  

Chris Suozzi is the Vice President of Business & Workforce Development at the Genesee County Economic Development Center

May 23, 2014 - 7:32pm
posted by Bob Harker in politics, Obama, polls, Opinion.

Has anyone that has EVER given a hand UP - be it employment or otherwise, seen a positive influence by the obama Administation other than a hand OUT? Please document it.

 

Howard, I hope you post this as a poll.

November 22, 2011 - 11:04am
posted by John Woodworth JR in Opinion.
March 16, 2009 - 6:09am
posted by Vicki Newton in dwi, choices, Opinion.

Recently in the Daily News was a column by the excellent Scott DeSmit.  He talked about the aftermath of a particular accident caused by DWI, and the very high price paid by the passenger on the motorcycle.  It was quite illuminating.  It allowed you a glimpse beyond the initial report of the accident to the consequences of it.  It gives a clear picture of how callously and selfishly the driver acted after the accident.  It begs the question that if he hadn't been so concerned about himself and gotten help for his passenger right away, maybe she wouldn't be as bad off as she is.

As I read, I felt very deeply for this woman and her family.  What they now have to face is a lifetime sentence, which is a whole lot more than the man who was drunk and chose to drive got at sentencing.  As I thought more and more about it though, I was struck by something which was never brought up in the column, and that was the choices of the woman hurt.  This was a 47 year old woman- a mother of a then 20 year old daughter.  Had she never had the discussion with her child about not getting into (or on) a vehicle with someone who had been drinking?  I am certain she must have.  Did this lesson not apply to her own behavior, then?  Wasn't she thinking about her own safety and life that night?  Why did she get on that motorcycle with her boyfriend knowing he had at least 4 DWI's in his lifetime?  Was she not aware that he was drunk?  Had she driven with him drunk before and thought nothing of it?  These are the questions which had my mind churning.

Please do not misunderstand me, I have a deep sympathy for the woman and her family- no one deserves to have their life destroyed in this way.  It was a horrible accident- but isn't it an accident that was completely preventable?  Isn't it an accident that we warn our children about regularly?  The type of accident caused by poor choices, not just dumb luck?

I write this entry not to blame the victim, but to illustrate to all of us how every choice, every decision can have lasting and horrific consequences.  The bottom line is this- DO NOT drink and drive (even a little bit!) and don't EVER get in (or on) a vehicle with someone who has been drinking (even a little bit!) no matter how sober they may seem.  The choice is yours, and the consequences can be fatal. 

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