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Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Free income tax prep services available

post by Billie Owens in announcements, VITA

Volunteers at Genesee Community College will once again provide free income-tax preparation services for the 2011 tax season.

This is made possible through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The Genesee County Department of Social Services is coordinating with volunteers at the college to provide appointment-based services (at DSS) as well as several walk-in service days at the Batavia campus.

The walk-in service days are from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 24 and Thursday, April 7 in T205. Preparation is also being done on Tuesdays and Thursdays (other than the campus session days) from 5 to 8 p.m. beginning Feb. 10 at the Department of Social Services office at 5130 E. Main St., Batavia.

An appointment is needed if clients are planning on going to the DSS office. Community members can call Betty at 344-2580, ext. 6552 to schedule an appointment.

The VITA program offers free tax preparation to low- to moderate-income households (generally, $49,000 and below). Certified volunteers sponsored by various organizations receive training to help prepare basic tax returns in communities across the country.

VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations. Most locations also offer free electronic filing.

Genesee Community College is one of several local community groups to provide these tax services. Genesee's volunteers consist of faculty, staff and current students. They have been certified and trained by the IRS to prepare the tax returns. The tax returns are prepared by the certified volunteers with the IRS approved "Taxwise" program, an online program that the preparers use.

Both Federal and State returns are filed. The client leaves with a copy of the returns that have been prepared. Mark Castiglione from the Department of Social Services is the site coordinator.

Under the leadership of Cheryl Corke, assistant professor of Accounting at Genesee and a Certified Public Accountant, the student and faculty volunteers have undergone rigorous online training to be able to use the IRS computer software.

In addition to the certified faculty members, there are a number of accounting students and college staff who have been active and will assist in the program.

"I want to personally thank all of those who have been involved in this program," Corke said. "We have several certified preparers from GCC including faculty and students and three people certified from DSS. Several others have put time and effort into this endeavor.

"A special thank you to Amy Conley, instructor of Accounting, who has worked with our income tax course students to become certified intermediate preparers. Thanks to the other students and staff who have given their time learning tax law and assisting with the program."

The 2010 income tax season was the inaugural year GCC participated in VITA. In 2010, 102 Federal and NYS income tax returns were prepared. The clients received $102,588 in Federal income tax refunds (including $19,058 in Federal earned income tax credits, $8,826 in child tax credits and $10,454 in education tax credits).

The VITA program is a free service for clients with basic returns (no schedule Cs, Ds and no businesses) and with a combined income of $49,000 or less.

There will be a welcome table with a checklist of all the materials people need to have prior to preparation services (Social Security cards for all individuals, including dependents, all W-2s and 1099s, etc., and proof of identity such as driver's license).

For more information please contact Cheryl Corke at 343-0055, ext. 6323, or at  <http://cacorke@genesee.edu>.

Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Traditional printmaking exhibit to debut

post by Billie Owens in announcements

GO ART! is preparing for its first-ever traditional printmaking exhibit and you are invited to participate.

Printmakers of all ages are invited to submit up to five prints. The exhibit will run from the beginning of March to the end of April in the GO ART! Satellite Galleries at the Genesee County Senior Center in Batavia and at the Shirt Factory Café in Medina.

The entry deadline is Feb. 25. Work may be submitted at GO ART!, 201 E. Main Street, Batavia or the Shirt Factory Café, 115 West Center Street, Medina. No entry fee is required.

Guidelines and entry forms are available through GO ART! If you have any questions, please contact GO ART! at 585-343-9313 or email us at info@goart.org.

Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 4:22 pm

You can still buy tickets for Saturday's 'Caberet!'

post by Billie Owens in announcements

"Come to the Caberet, old chum..."

Tickets are still available for Caberet! -- an an evening of entertainment and cuisine at St. James Episcopal Church on Saturday, Feb. 12.

"Caberet!" will be from 7 to 10 p.m. and feature entertainment by: Encore! Theatre Arts; The Blue Belles; and The Bataviators. There will also be basket raffles, hors d'oeuvres, desserts and a cash wine bar.

Cost is $15 per ticket and they can be purchased by calling Lisa at 343-7789, ext. 116. They are also available at the church, located at 405 E. Main St. in Batavia, or at Community Action and The Insurance Center.

This event is sponsored by Community Action Angels of Genesee County and the St. James Restoration Committee.

Monday, February 7, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Elba's FIRST Lego League invites robot fans to a maze race at GCC

post by Daniel Crofts in announcements, GCC, lego league, tech wars

The following is a press release from Chantal Zambito, a resident of Elba and co-coach of Elba's FIRST Lego League (see Aug. 5 article):

Calling all NXT/RCX Robotic Clubs, Groups, Teams, and Enthusiasts!

If you are between the ages of 9 and 14, you are invited to come to Genesee Community College in Batavia to participate in a friendly maze race. Whether you are a novice or an experienced user of the NXT/RCX Robotic software, this is for you.

The event will take place on Thursday, March 17, 2011 in conjunction with Tech Wars. Registration will begin at 8:45 a.m. with the events from 9:30 – 12:30.

You may decide which level you would like to compete at, novice or advanced. The three teams with the fastest times making it in and out of a maze will receive a ribbon and certificate. The best time will be taken from the group’s three trips through the maze.

Novice groups will know the route of the maze prior to the competition. The advanced teams will navigate a route chosen at random. All routes will be on an 8’ X 4’ table.

A free style, noncompetitive exhibition will also be available for teams who would like to show off a creative robot.

Information on how to get a Robotics Club started at your school or in your community will be available at the event as well. Come and look at the 2010 FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Challenge Missions, projects and presentations from local teams.

For a map of the maze, registration form, or more information about the NXT Challenge at GCC contact Chantal Zambito at gcc.robotics2011@yahoo.com. For more information about Tech Wars go to www.techwarsgcc.org.

Monday, February 7, 2011 at 10:33 am

Catholic Charities holds volunteer workshop in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in announcements, batavia, Catholic Charities

Press Release:

Nearly 60 parish and leadership volunteers, clergy and staff of Catholic Charities gathered today for a volunteer training workshop and luncheon to start the 2011 Appeal for Catholic Charities in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties. The event was held at Bohn’s Restaurant in Batavia in preparation for the Appeal, which carries a goal of $10.5 million this year.

The theme of the 87th annual campaign is again, “Whoever. Wherever. Whenever.” because Catholic Charities is always there, providing help for people of all faiths and walks of life when they need it most. Appeal Week 2011, celebrating those who already have donated and encouraging others to do so, will take place April 10-17, though the Appeal will continue through the end of the fiscal year (June 30).

At the luncheon, Bishop Kmiec remarked on the number of people assisted by Catholic Charities in the area and the importance of the Appeal to that assistance, especially in light of the continued challenges of the local economy.

“Last year, Catholic Charities helped just over 5,000 people in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties through its programs and services,” said Bishop Kmiec. “This far-reaching and vitally important support relies on the funds raised during the Appeal. We have already seen a loss of government funding for our programs and services at the federal, state and county levels, and expect more of the same in 2011.”

He added, “Despite the challenges we face, I am inspired by the incredible commitment of the Appeal leadership team, our volunteers in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties and our many supporters. I have found in our diocese a marvelous and extraordinary spirit of giving and service to others.”

The Bishop also talked about this year’s goal and Appeal patron.

“Our goal this year is $10.5 million, the same as last year,” he said. “Even though we fell a little short in 2010, I have confidence that we will meet or exceed this year’s goal and bring our Appeal to a successful conclusion.”

“The 2011 Appeal is under the patronage of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, a woman of our own era who gave herself to the needs of the poor, sick and disadvantaged because she so clearly saw in them the image of God. Like Blessed Teresa, we ask God for the strength and courage to reach out to the people of Western New York again this year, praying that they will continue to act as a community of hope to all in need in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties and throughout the diocese.”

Bishop Kmiec was joined by Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF, Catholic Charities diocesan director; Greg Maher, chair of the 2011 Appeal; members of the Appeal leadership team; and community volunteers, clergy and lay leaders from 13 parishes in the three counties.

Sister Mary McCarrick thanked the volunteers for their dedicated efforts.

“I am so grateful for all of your hard work each year that enables Catholic Charities to carry out our mission of help and hope to people here in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties and across the Diocese. Your efforts make all the difference in keeping the Appeal and its importance at the forefront of the minds of your friends and fellow parishioners – thank you!”

Appeal Chair Greg Maher praised the immense generosity of Western New Yorkers through the last few years of tough economic conditions. He also stressed the importance of both individual and corporate donations to the Appeal, citing that one in 10 Western New Yorkers receives assistance from Catholic Charities.

“Last year charitable donations nationwide were down 10 percent. At Catholic Charities of Buffalo we missed the 2009 mark by only one-half of one percent,” said Maher. “As another show of support by the community of good neighbors, corporate donations last year actually increased by more than two percent.”

“This year we again appeal to both individuals and our strong corporate base to continue their support of Catholic Charities and help spread the word about what Catholic Charities offers nearly 160,000 Western New Yorkers each year,” he continued.

Other members of the leadership team include David Nasca, vice chair; Stephen Ulrich, parish and large gifts chair, and Anthony Delmonte, corporate gifts chair.

In Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, Catholic Charities provides these services through its Batavia, Albion, Warsaw and Arcade offices: Domestic Violence Offenders Program, Home Visitation Program, Interfaith Caregivers of Eastern Wyoming County, Our Kids: Parent Education Groups and Preventive Services.

The Batavia office is located at 25 Liberty St., Suite 7; the Albion office at 243 South Main St.; the Warsaw office at 4 West Buffalo St., and the Arcade office is at 417 West Main St.

The Home Visitation Program is a recent addition to the Department of Clinical and Aging Services, offering weekly visits to homebound Genesee County seniors 60 years of age and older to provide socialization, companionship and assistance. There is no fee for the service, which can include non-medical assistance, light housekeeping, errands and crafts. For more information about the Home Visitation Program, call the Batavia office at 585-343-0614.

Catholic Charities is the most comprehensive direct human service provider serving all eight counties of Western New York, with 70 programs and 61 locations. Founded in 1923, Catholic Charities also provides, without regard to religious affiliation, comprehensive counseling services for children and families, anti-domestic violence programming and emergency services, among other social and mental health services.

The 2011 Appeal is under the patronage of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. For more information on the 2011 Appeal or to make a donation, contact Catholic Charities at (716) 218-1400 or go to www.ccwny.org.

Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Peace, Love and Charity fundraiser at college

post by Billie Owens in announcements

The Global Education Committee and the Student Government Association at Genesee Community College will sponsor a Peace, Love and Charity fundraiser from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 10 at the Batavia Campus. It will take place in the Forum and is open to the public.

Proceeds will go to Both Your Hands, a nonprofit organization that focuses on global self-sufficiency.

The fundraiser will feature samplings of international foods for $1 that are made from low-cost regional ingredients, as well as Bingo games for $1 per card. There will be an assortment of gift baskets to be raffled off.

Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase handmade goods just in time for Valentine's Day to support developing global villages across the world. A henna tattoo artist will also be creating henna tattoos for $1.

Both Your Hands is designed to connect caring communities with poor villages to create self-sufficiency and pride in achievement. Developed by small business owner and Alden resident, Deborah Naybor, the organization uses grassroots programs -- including microloans, education and training, and tools and materials -- so poverty-stricken communities can learn to create income to support their families.

"The college aims to bring cultural awareness to the college community each semester with events like our Peace, Love and Charity fundraiser," said Karin Kovach-Allen, EdD, dean of Human Communication. "With the help of the Global Education Committee, we hope to raise awareness of the diverse cultures that surround each and every one of us."

For further information, please contact Nina Mortellaro at Genesee Community College at 343-0055, ext. 6228 or <http://nimortellaro@genesee.edu> or go to <http://www.bothyourhands.org>.

 

Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm

GCC named one of nation's top community colleges, only one in NY

post by Billie Owens in announcements

This is a news release from Genesee Community College.

The American Association of Community Colleges has named Genesee Community College as one of 40 outstanding community colleges nationwide.

Genesee was the only community college in New York State selected.

This select group will help develop and implement the American Association of Community College's groundbreaking "Voluntary Framework of Accountability" (VFA) program. Its goal is redesigning how community colleges measure and report accomplishments and outcomes.

The program is being introduced in collaboration with four prestigious organizations: the Association of Community College Trustees; the College Board; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and the Lumina Foundation.

Historically, educators measured student success by reviewing such data as graduation rates and student grades. Institutional effectiveness and accountability was often measured very simplistically by analyzing fiscal data and service provided.

However, these traditional measures do not assess the long-term impact of a college, such as concrete skills acquired by students, job success of graduates, economic impact of a college, and other goals important to legislators and the general public.

The VFA program will develop and test new metrics that measure a broad range of student and institutional outcomes, according to Larene Hoelcle, EdD, Genesee's vice president for Human Resources and Planning.

Genesee has made student and institutional assessment a high priority over the last decade.

"We are already innovators in outcome-based assessment, and our participation in the VFA may lead to even higher standards of excellence here at Genesee," Hoelcle said. "Beyond that, we will have the opportunity to help shape the assessment and accountability techniques community colleges across the United States will use in the decades ahead."

The pilot VFA project involves 37 individual colleges, two state systems, and one multi-college district in 29 states. (A complete list of participating colleges can be found at  <http://www.aacc.org>). Each college will begin testing custom metrics this year. The project will eventually result in metrics and standards that can be used by colleges, funders, and legislative policymaking bodies for evaluation and accountability.

VFA pilot colleges will work from a draft technical manual developed by four VFA working groups, a technical committee, and a national steering committee made up of veteran research experts and educators.

Project leaders are developing the VFA in stages. If pilot testing over the next year is successful, the AACC hopes to make the VFA tools available to the nearly 1,200 community, junior and technical colleges in 2012.

Genesee's participation in the Voluntary Framework of Accountability is both a reflection on Genesee's past accomplishments and a tool for innovation and greater success in the years ahead.

Genesee President Stuart Steiner said: "Many traditional measures of institutional and student success don't work well for community colleges. For example, traditional measures are geared toward full-time students, while community colleges serve a large population of part-time students, some enrolled in credit-bearing classes, some in non-credit classes, some seeking degrees, and some simply seeking new job or professional skills.

"We are very pleased to work with the American Association of Community Colleges in developing measures that clearly and accurately illustrate how community colleges perform well through all programs and services."

Steiner continued: "We at Genesee Community College have a long history of being at the cutting edge of academic innovation and accountability. We know how to reach standards of excellence, and provide a very cost-effective return to taxpayers.

"We are very proud to have been selected for the Voluntary Framework of Accountability program after a rigorous application process, and to help influence the effectiveness of all of our nation's community colleges."

Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 3:05 pm

County CASA for Children has new website and e-mail addresses

post by Billie Owens in announcements

Here's a news release from Genesee County CASA for Children.

After long hours and hard work, Genesee County CASA for Children has a new website. This was made possible with the help of AmeriCorps member Erika Sobczak, who designed the website.

To provide greater resources for the community, CASA has included a resources tab on the website. This will help families and children to access services and be a central location to get contact information on local agencies.

CASA is asking that any agency that would like their information included on the website to please send: contact name, number, e-mail, website, address, and one or two sentences about what the agency provides.

This new website will also allow find out about: what CASA does; how to become a volunteer; how to support our mission to advocate for abused and neglected children involved in Family Court; and what fund-raising and public awareness events are scheduled.

Along with the new website, Genesee County CASA for Children will also be transitioning to a new e-mail address list.

The new website can be found at: http://www.geneseecountycasa.org and e-mail addresses include: tara@geneseecountycasa.org and erika@geneseecountycasa.org and <mailto:erika@geneseecountycasa.org>.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm

College at Brockport names academic honorees for fall 2010

post by Billie Owens in announcements

The College at Brockport, SUNY, recently honored students who excelled academically for the fall 2010 semester.

To achieve the honor of being on the President's List, a student must earn a GPA of 4.0. Students who earn a GPA of 3.70–3.99 are named to the Dean's List with Honors, while students who achieve a 3.40–3.69 are named to the Dean's List.

The College at Brockport is a comprehensive four-year public college, offering 50 undergraduate majors, more than 40 graduate programs as well as 24 teacher certification programs.

These students made the PRESIDENT'S LIST.

Batavia: Christopher Berardini; Stephenie Davis-Reiss; Amy Dorman; Diana Kindig

Bergen: Brian Burgay

Byron: Jeff Appis; Tammy Fuller

Darien Center: Kaylei Miller

Elba: Carly Crnkovich

Le Roy: Nicole Bower; Gena Korn; Antonio Madau; Kara Miller; Erin Whiting

These students made the DEAN'S LIST WITH HONORS.

Basom: Hillary Bates

Batavia: Linsay Bartholf; Tina Ditzel; Christian Hilken; Courtney Perkowski; Jenna Raphael; Melanie Roth; Tracy Young

Bergen: Joanna Menzie

Byron: Darren Kwiatkowski

Corfu: Jennifer Lazarony

Darien Center: David Hecht; Andrea Mead; Eric Meyer

East Pembroke: Renae Jurek

Elba: Judith Littlejohn

Le Roy: Daniel Rider; Melinda Stedman; Maureen Weinman; Jeffery White; Danielle Wojtaszczyk

Oakfield: Brittany Bills

Stafford: James Mignano

These students made the DEAN'S LIST.

Alexander: Zachary Vaughan

Batavia: Charles Andre; Megan Boring; Melissa Maxwell; Stephanie Pastore; Elizabeth Richards; Krystal Smith; Corey Stearns; Ethan Wade; Jennifer Whitcroft; Brittany Wormley

Bergen: Kathleen Lovett; Kristy Lynn Madziarz; Harjit Singh

Byron: Brittany Kessler

Corfu: Christopher Jones; Katheryn Laporta; Alyssia Pfalzer; Ethan Reynolds

East Pembroke: Josh Macgregor

Elba: Brian Dilcher; Heather Gleason; Michael Lyons

Le Roy: Mary Barkley; Justin Becker; Chelsea Dillon; Danielle Ford; Garrett Jordan; Carolyn Kovach; Jillion Mooney; Abby Murray; Joseph Patton

Oakfield: Bridget Chartraw; Kelsey Wolcott 

Pavilion: Kathryn Davis; Kathryn Beaumont

Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Holland Purchase Historical Society elects board members, officers

post by Billie Owens in announcements

The Holland Purchase Historical Society met in January to elect new members and officers for 2011.

The following people were elected or reelected as board members.

Re-elected members: Don Burkel, Arnold Kelly, Brian Paris, Don Read, Anne Marie Starowitz and Barbara Toal.

New members: Elizabeth Hanobik, Kathleen Jasinski and Vicki Talbot.

The following were elected as officers for 2011.

President -- Robert Turk

Vice PresidentJames Dusen

TreasurerElizabeth Hanobik

Recording SecretaryGarth Swanson

Corresponding SecretaryKathleen Jasinski

Turk says he is looking forward to an exciting 2011 with new programs and events such as the extended summer program for children and a monthly Museum Lecture Series with local authors.

Many new exhibits are planned starting with “Local Manufacturers,” which will open later this month. The annual Antique Show will be held at Batavia Downs on March 11 and 12. For more information on events call the Holland Land Office Museum at 343-4727.

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