Local Matters

Community Sponsors


August 2, 2019 - 3:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in mindfulness, CEUs, mental health, recovery, batavia, ILGR, news.

Press release:

While "mindfulness" as an avenue to better health, is a concept that's been spreading, so have the misunderstandings about how you can benefit from it.

Batavia’s premier consumer-run human service and advocacy agency for people with disabilities, Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR), will provide much needed perspective with a seminar that's FREE to the public, "Healing through Mindfulness: Incorporating Mindful Strategies into Practice."

With the support of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services Inc. (NYAPRS) and Recovery WOW -- a program of GCASA, the event will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 13, at the ILGR office, 319 W. Main St., Batavia.

The presenter is Robert Statham, CESP, training and technical asistance facilitator for the Western & Central New York Region of NYAPRS.

While mindfulness has gained widespread attention and popularity for its extensive health benefits, there continues to be much confusion around what it really means and how to “do it!”

This workshop will address what mindfulness really is, what the current research has to say about its ability to help people recover from a diverse range of physical, emotional, and psychological challenges, and its potential for achieving overall wellness.

It's of particular interest to social workers and licensed mental health counselors (LMHCs), as they can earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for this training.

For more information or to register, please contact: Donna Becker at (585) 815-8501, ext. 411, or [email protected]

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services Inc. (NYAPRS) is a statewide coalition of people who use and/or provide recovery-oriented, community-based mental health services, dedicated to improving services and social conditions for people with psychiatric disabilities or diagnoses, and those with trauma-related conditions by promoting their recovery, rehabilitation and rights so that all people can participate freely in the opportunities of society.

Recovery WOW (WithOut Walls) is a program of GCASA that offers a variety of safe, sober opportunities and activities for individuals in recovery and their families to enjoy.

August 1, 2019 - 4:15pm

The GOW Opioid Task Force announces the availability of a Post Narcan Administration Video.

It was created by the Naloxone Work Group of the Task Force and launched at the quarterly meeting last week.

This video emphasizes an important message: individuals should go to the Emergency Department AFTER Narcan has been administered for an opioid overdose.

The Task Force members are very proud of the video and greatly appreciate all of their local partners who participated in this project and Tall Girls Design, the marketing partners who created an end product that surpasses expectations.

The video can be viewed right on their Facebook page here.

It is hoped that you find this video genuine and helpful as the Task Force continue sto work to end the opioid crisis in the GOW region.

Please feel free to share this video and spread this message.

If there are any questions or specific needs for the video please do not hesitate to reach out.

Allison Parry-Gurak 

Project Coordinator

Phone: 815-1889

July 11, 2019 - 3:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in GOW opioid task force, addiction, recovery, aid, news.

A Message to Families from the GOW Opioid Task Force:

By Sue Gagne

Whenever a family member struggles with any serious ongoing condition, everyone in the family is significantly affected. To find out a loved one has a substance use problem can be heart-wrenching.

If you know someone with a substance use disorder, you may find yourself struggling with a number of painful and conflicting emotions, including guilt, shame, self-blame, frustration, anger, sadness, depression, anxiety and fear. Those emotions can often overtake our lives and cause stress, burnout, fatigue, inability to sleep and more issues that can affect our own health.

When you fly on an airplane, the flight attendant instructs you to put your oxygen mask on first, before helping others. Why is this an important rule for ensuring survival? Because if you run out of oxygen, you can’t help anyone else with their oxygen mask. This is an important metaphor for those of us who have loved ones with substance use disorder. A reminder that we need to take care of ourselves.

You may feel overwhelmed, but there are things you can do to help yourself. We all know we need to get enough rest, exercise, and eat right. Here are a few other things that will be helpful:

Learn all you can about substance use and addiction. Addiction is a disease, not a character defect! According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “As a result of scientific research, we know that addiction is a disease that affects both the brain and behavior. We have identified many of the biological and environmental factors and are beginning to search for the genetic variations that contribute to the development and progression of the disease. Scientists use this knowledge to develop effective prevention and treatment approaches that reduce the toll drug abuse takes on individuals, families, and communities.”

Don’t go it alone! Shame is one of the biggest reasons people don’t seek help. It may help you to know that no one, and no family, is immune from addiction. Like any other chronic disorder, addiction to alcohol and other drugs afflicts people regardless of age, income level, educational background, race, ethnicity, religion/spirituality, and community. Many families deal with addiction. You are not alone ~ there is support!

Know that Recovery is Possible! Although it takes time, people do find recovery from addiction. Many individuals find recovery and continue on to live fulfilled lives. There are many pathways to recovery including 12-step meetings, peer-support, Medication Assisted Treatment, and more.

To learn about more about addiction, to connect with support, and to find resources related to addiction and recovery, visit the GOW Opioid Task Force website at www.gowopioidtaskforce.org

February 12, 2019 - 3:11pm
From the GOW Opioid Task Force:
The GOW (Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming) Opioid Task Force is excited to announce the opportunity to become a Peer Recovery Coach.
This training has been grant funded by the Health Resources and Service Administration and therefore is FREE.
Trainees should have a high school diploma or equivalent and lived experience is preferred -- in recovery, affected family member, experience working in the SUD/Recovery field.
Training is six-weeks in length (46 hours total) and you must commit to completing the program. Space is limited!
Training will take place at the Lake Plains Community Care Network at 575 E. Main St. in Batavia. Please check out the website and flier for more information here.
As part of the Community Based Recovery Support Training Project, training is offered to a select group of committed community members seeking to achieve NYS Peer Recovery Professional Certification.
This enables them to serve families and individuals affected by Substance Abuse Disorder with evidence-based recovery supports, skills and strategies.
The workshop facilitators are Lori Drescher (CARC, RCP) and Keith Greer (LCSW, PCC, PRC), who are professional coaches, recovery advocates and facilitators with a combined 55 years of experience.
If you have specific questions please contact Charlotte Crawford at [email protected] or by phone 585-345-6110.
November 19, 2018 - 12:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in byron, GCASA, charity, addiction, recovery, skivvies and spirits, news.

Submitted photos and press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 19, 2018 - 5:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in spirit and skivvies, byron, addiction, recovery, news.

Photo: Dawn Anderson, left, with Wendy and Tony Frongetta.

Submitted photo and press release:

On Sunday, Nov. 4th, starting at noon at the Byron Fire Hall the fourth annual Spirit and Skivvies event will be held.

Byron Fire Hall is located at Byron Fire Hall, 6357 E. Main St., Byron.

This unique event was started three years ago by Wendy and Tony Frongetta, in memory of their good friend, Mikel Anderson. Mikel passed away in 2015 of an accidental drug overdose. Although Mikel struggled with addiction, he was in recovery and dedicated his life to helping others and those who helped him.

Wendy, who knew and loved Mikel wanted to do something in his name to continue his helping spirit by helping those battling addiction, many who are homeless. Wendy approached the shelter that Mikel loved in Lockport and asked them how she might help others struggling with the same issues that plagued her friend.

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

The Frongettas contacted their many friends, who contacted their friends who gathered at their Byron home for a party of giving. The result was overflowing baskets of socks, undershirts, bras and skivvies in every color and size that Wendy happily donated to area shelters.

The Frongettas’ good deed has gathered momentum over the past three years and other folks, organizations and businesses have jumped in to help. Mikel Anderson’s mother, Dawn, joined the Frongettas helping establish the annual “Skivvies” event.

The Byron Fire Hall donated the space, the Original Red Osier Landmark Restaurant in Stafford has made the event even more of a party by generously donating many of the needed party items including the great food, and wine.

Local individuals, businesses and organizations have jumped onboard with donations of money, music, artistic abilities all for this wonderful cause.

Genesee County’s many outreach programs and shelters are now the main recipients of the “Skivvies” donations. Agencies including WNY Veterans Outreach, Genesee & Orleans Community Action, Hope Haven, Eagle Star Veteran’s Home, and GCASA will directly benefit by this year’s donations.

In appreciation GCASA’s mobile recovery van will be stopping by the event so folks can see firsthand one of the many ways the agency assists those seeking recovery from addiction.

October 13, 2018 - 1:17pm

If you have a friend or family member struggling with addiction, consider connecting with others in the same situation at a get-together at City Church -- Outback on two upcoming Saturdays.

"Coffee Talk" will be held on Nov. 3 and Dec. 8 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at 210 E. Main St., Downtown Batavia. Both sessions will feature a keynote speaker -- TBA.

Join others for a relaxed time of support, encouragement and coffee, of course!

Friends of Recovery NY know that: "Addiction can have a devastating impact on the families of those struggling with a substance abuse disorder. In fact, it's been said that addiction is a disease of 1+4 because it affects not only the individual, but at least four other loved ones as well.

"Sadly, family members are often at a loss for how to help the individual in active addiction, other members of the family or even themselves. To make matters worse, the shame and stigma society associates with addiction keeps those who need help from reaching out -- even to close friends and family.

"Instead, most families struggling with addiction suffer in silence and don't know where to turn."

The good news is that there are some wonderful family resources available to help them and other loved ones cope, heal and carry on.

For more information, please call The City Church at 343-6895.

October 12, 2018 - 4:42pm

Charles Raymond Sutherland looks seaward in September 2017 from a jetty on Pierpont Beach, Ca. A friend took the picture five months before his death due to an accidental drug overdose. He was the youngest son of Billie Owens.


Bright Futures Genesee is holding its inaugural Remembrance & Hope event from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14, at Genesee County Park & Forest.

You are invited to this special time to remember loved ones we have lost as well as to share hope for those in recovery.

"There's so much meaness out there, and shame," said Bright Futures Director Sue Gagne. "We wanted to do something where people can share their pain and feel supported. We want to give people hope."

Individuals, friends, family members and allies of recovery are welcome.

Walk through the park, reflect, and enjoy live music.

Feel free to bring a picture of your friend or loved one to share with others and remember.

For your comfort, you are welcome to bring a lawn chair.

The 2018 Remembrance & Hope event will be based at Pavilion B on Raymond Road. The county park is located at 11095 Bethany Center Road in East Bethany.

For more information, please contact via email:   [email protected]

About Bright Futures Genesee

Bright Futures Genesee is a 501(c)3 nonprofit established in July 2015. It is a grassroots organization whose mission is to serve individuals and families in our community through programs and support to ensure an immediate and lasting change. Its tagline, so to speak, is "Rebuilding, Restoring & Renewing." Sue Gagne was instrumental in starting it; she currently serves as its unpaid director. She was formerly director of the Mental Health Association of Genesee and Orleans Counties.

Editor's Note: Of the photo above, posted Sept. 26, 2017 on his Facebook page, "Chuck" said: "I was just looking at a pod of dolphins and it looks like I was thinking about some great question." He died Feb. 22, two weeks after turning 35, leaving his 9-year-son, Charlie Jay Sutherland, fatherless.

The song below, John Prine's "Summer's End," was first announced on its creator's Facebook page on Feb. 8, 2018 -- the day Chuck turned 35. It was performed at Chuck's funeral service overlooking the coastal City of San Buenaventura one month later, on March 8.

July 12, 2016 - 2:09pm

Press release:

Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse (GCASA) has teamed with Meaningful Trainings to offer the first, single-source professional education and skills development course of study for Recovery Coaches and Certified Recovery Peer Advocates (CRPA) in New York State.

Registrations for fall are now being accepted.

GCASA is a leader in community resource building for addiction education, prevention, treatment and recovery services throughout Western New York. The GCASA Recovery Learning Campus offers more than 95 NY Certification Board (NYCB), NY Certification Association (NYCA) and OASAS-approved education hours for the following credentialing requirements:

Certified Addiction Recovery Coach (CARC) – initial & renewal

Certified Recovery Peer Advocate (CRPA) – initial & renewal

CASAC -- renewal

CPP/CPS -- initial & renewal

“As the landscape shifts nationally, GCASA is committed to being a leader and Advocate throughout Western New York and the Eastern United States, for the elevation and utilization of recovery, recovery coaching and Recovery Oriented System of Care (ROSC), says John Bennett, executive director.

“This initiative addresses the need for an easily-accessible, consistent, self-paced, durable resource for organizations and individuals dedicated to the preservation of proven peer principles and practices, who seek to support pathways of recovery and wellness for those they serve.

“We have also finalized dates for the launch of our Recovery Leadership Collaborative, a unique opportunity for organizational leaders to develop much-needed infrastructure (supervisory, HR, etc.) and capacity (skills/tactics) to support peer Recovery Coaches/CRPAs, employees and volunteers. We’ve invited a variety of recovery thought leaders from around the country to come to Batavia share their experiences and practical advice in terms of ROSC development.

"At the same time, we’ll host Meaningful Trainings’ Effective Supervision for Recovery Coaches/CRPAs workshop, a three-day experiential learning opportunity. Our state leaders, rightly so, dedicate much time and energy to facilitating economic growth, yet as the number one health challenge facing each and every community across New York State, substance use and addiction work in direct opposition to these economic development efforts.

"Communities will only realize the opportunities of economic development if they are healthy. Therefore, it is GCASA’s goal to offer resources to any community seeking to nurture a recovery mindset and/or to create a fully functional Recovery Oriented System of Care.”

Beginning Aug. 4-5, and continuing throughout the year, the GCASA Recovery Learning Campus will offer the nationally recognized Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) suite of workshops – Recovery Coach Academy, Spirituality, Ethical Considerations –  along with Meaningful Trainings Recovery Professional Series – MAT/MSR, Self-Care, Recovery Capital, Effective Communications & A(a)dvocacy – for Recovery Coaches & CRPAs.

Information on course listings, dates, times and fees can be found here.

Information on The Recovery Leadership Collaborative: Practical Perspectives - A National Discussion Supporting Recovery Coach/Peer Supervision can be found here.

October 20, 2013 - 6:05pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in GCASA, recovery, art.

Lynette Gawron, clinical supervisor and licensed creative arts therapist at Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse (GCASA), proudly presented clients' artwork at the "Fall Recovery Art Show" on Saturday.

Organized in groups of eight people or less, art therapy sessions focus less on the finished product and more on the creative process. For this reason, Gawron likes to meet with people individually before they start. She says people sometimes come into it with the misconception that it is "arts and crafts" or training in how to be a better artist.

In reality, the process is quite different.

"It's about getting in touch with your true self," Gawron said, adding that the "true self" tends to be suppressed by addiction.

Gawron said art therapy helps to bring the unaddressed problems and issues that fuel or are suppressed by addiction to light.

"The emotional bubbling-up can be overwhelming," Gawron said. "(Art therapy) can be a way to channel that."


The artist made this to show how her faith in God is helping her to "pick up the pieces" of her life and move forward.

Another made and showcased three masks:

One representing lovableness and happiness, but with memories of his/her deceased father, uncles and grandmother on the inside...

...another with various colors symbolizing the artist's hopes, fears and mistakes throughout the years...

...and a third depicting a calm exterior with "chaotic" emotions inside that come out "a little at a time."

This poster reflects the unidentified artist's anger at what addiction has done to his/her life.

Here is the bottom half:

Here is the artist's own description of this work: "This is about Light on the face and a path like the 'yellow brick road.' I look through the windows on my path at new things as I make choices in my life."

The artist who made this was present at the event. She said this represents, at the same time, the oppression of her addiction and the freedom (symbolized by the butterfly) of her recovery.

Other projects in which the clients are involved include:

1. Altered books...

...such as this one containing tiny drawers, pockets, pictures and other items. Gawron described it as a kind of journaling. Each page might have a separate theme relevant to the artist.

2. Writing about all the negativity in one's life, painting over the writing and overlaying it with positive words and/or imagery.

For more information, call Gawron at 815-1850 or e-mail [email protected].

March 22, 2010 - 3:58pm
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, recovery, smoking.



JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good Morning Joe. Sounds like you have been busy.
JOE: I have been. Over the weekend I wrote a book review and today I wrote my column which I will share with you on Saturday. I didn’t get to the spirituality and victim article yet. Would you like to read the book review?
CALLIOPE: I would.
JOE: Okay, Here it is:

Review of Positively Quit, by Cassius Cheong, published by Positively Quit $14.95.

If you want to quite smoking, do you begin cold turkey, gradually, or with nicotine replacement? Cassius Cheong’s Positively Quit Manual suggests starting in your head. What do you think about smoking and more importantly about yourself and your relationship with cigarettes? The approach is logical and detailed but easy to follow. It starts with how you view yourself and the process of quitting. Next you will consider assumptions about smoking, reasons people start smoking and justifications for smoking. Then it debunks common false beliefs about the benefits of smoking.

The manual provides a step by step approach to preparing to quit, managing smoking triggers, handling the first day and then maintaining progress. The guide is comprehensive yet succinct. The steps are clearly laid out in order and accompanied by checklists to keep you organized.

The author supports his opinions with research conclusions. You don’t have to wade through endless pages to find the conclusions. Research findings are laid out clearly and cited with references for those interested in a more detailed account. Cheong also includes a list of twenty-three books to help round out your self improvement quest.

This approach is designed for “smokers who are rational, independent-minded and determined to quite for good.” It is a complete but concise guide to success with smoking cessation even if your previous efforts have left a bad taste in your mouth.

JOE: That’s it. Talk with you on Friday.

Subscribe to



Copyright © 2008-2020 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button