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Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 4:24 pm

GCC names Employee and Student of the Month for February

post by Billie Owens in announcements, GCC

Press release:

Genesee Community College is pleased to announce Tracy Merritt has been named February 2014 Employee of the Month. Tracy is a technical specialist in the Office of Assessment and Institutional Research.

In her role, Merritt is focused on Academic Assessment, working with faculty and administrators to collect assessment data, increase awareness of assessment activities and use of assessment results. She also works to maintain and continuously improve tools to aid in collecting assessment data.

"We have a tremendous group of dedicated instructors and staff here at GCC and my position allows me to meet and work with many of them," Merritt said. "I feel fortunate and proud to be part of GCC's Institutional Research and Assessment team."

In naming her Employee of the Month, the College noted that "Tracy is an exceptionally conscientious employee who routinely goes above and beyond to provide service to the faculty, administrators and coworkers at the College. She played a major role in improving several areas of our assessment process over the last year that resulted in improved communication and understanding of the assessment tools."

Merritt is a lifelong resident of LeRoy. She and her husband of 26 years, Gary, have two adult children, Gary and Sarah. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, genealogy, decorative painting and reading.

Genesee Community College is also pleased to announce Jordan Tillotson has been named the February 2014 Student of the Month. A 2012 graduate of Pavilion Central School, he is pursuing degrees in both Liberal Arts and Sports Management at GCC.

Jordan is an outstanding student and has been on the President's List all three of his semesters. He is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. One of his favorite things about GCC is that it's "such a close-knit community." The College notes that Jordan "is a leader among his peers and often has newer students turning to him for advice."

After graduating from GCC this spring, Jordan plans to transfer to Syracuse University where he'll work toward a bachelor's degree in Sport Management. His dream job would be as a Division One college basketball coach. He currently coaches youth sports in his hometown and serves as a referee as well. Jordan offers special thanks to members of the GCC athletic department "for helping me with whatever it may be." The College salutes Jordan for being "an excellent role model."

Jordan is the son of Chris and Chad Tillotson, and has one sister, Taylor, and a brother Devin.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 4:19 pm

GCC now offers students new way to share their college achievements

post by Billie Owens in announcements, GCC

Press release:

Genesee Community College is pleased to offer students a new way to share their college achievements online and through social media. The College has posted the first set of achievements, the President's List and Dean's List honors, to student Merit Pages.

Merit is a social media utility developed by readMedia of Albany, NY. GCC has long utilized readMedia to distribute news releases and student accomplishments to local newspapers. Merit allows the College to provide an individual Web page to each student where (s)he can better track and share all of their achievements, both inside the classroom as well as extracurricular accomplishments.

"This new tool will help our students record and share their many successes through their college years and beyond into their careers," said Donna Rae Sutherland, associate director of Marketing Communications.

How it works

The College has established its main Merit page at http://genesee.meritpages.com. This site posts all of GCC's student achievements collectively, for example, the comprehensive list of all students being recognized on the College's Dean's and President's Lists for a semester. Students won't have their individual Merit Page until their first achievement is announced, and then they "claim" their achievement. Once a student claims his or her first achievement, it is reflected on that student's individual Merit page with a badge and summary. From there, the student can share it on other social media venues, such as Facebook and Twitter. There are now hundreds of students who can claim their Dean's and President's achievements and begin personalizing their individual Merit pages with additional postings, photos and badges.

"Merit pages make it much easier for families to see their student's accomplishments and share them throughout their network of friends and family," said Jackie Vetrano, Web and social media coordinator at GCC. "Students who are already savvy with social media will find this to be an even better way to tell their friends and prospective employers about their accomplishments."

Vetrano advises students who've earned Dean's List or President's List honors for Fall 2013 to check their e-mail and their spam folders to make sure they claim their achievements.

ReadMedia launched Merit in February 2013. GCC is one of many colleges utilizing it.

"We wanted to do our due diligence in making sure this would be beneficial for our students," Sutherland said, emphasizing that students who do not wish to publicize their achievements can easily "opt-out" of doing so.

"We're pleased to offer this opportunity to our students and their families. It's a simple and effective way for them to share all their achievements from academic successes, to participation in athletic teams, student clubs and college events. With the help of social media, Merit helps students build a portfolio that will impress potential employers."

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 4:11 pm

More than 100 Genesee County 4-H youths took part in public presentations

post by Billie Owens in announcements, 4-H

Press release:

On Saturday, Feb. 22, the Genesee County 4-H Youth Development Program held its annual public presentations event at Byron-Bergen Middle/High School. More than 100 4-H youths countywide participated.

Ranging from ages 5 to 18, they gave public presentations in front of their peers and a panel of volunteer judges. Presentations included everything from illustrated talks to live demonstrations and even impromptu topics. Each presentation was at least five minutes, but no longer than 15 minutes.

By participating in this event, 4-H youth improve their public speaking skills while developing self-confidence, poise, self-esteem, stage presence and knowledge, giving them an advantage over their peers in this lifetime skills area. These skills will be useful in their future social, educational and career pursuits.

Congratulations to all of the Genesee County 4-H youth who participated! Great job!
For more information regarding local opportunities in 4-H Youth Development call Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County at 343-3040, ext. 101, or e-mail [email protected]

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 4:06 pm

GCC online learning options increase

post by Billie Owens in announcements, GCC

Press release:

Genesee Community College is pleased to announce that more than three dozen of its programs have been given the Distance Education designation from the New York State Education Department. This designation is awarded when 50 percent or more of a program's coursework is available online. GCC now has 40 programs with at least 50 percent of their courses available through online learning.

"We're excited to grow our online offerings for students," said Craig Lamb, dean of Distributed Learning at GCC. "Many learners are leaning toward educational options that remove many of the time and place constraints found in higher education. This is especially true for individuals juggling important responsibilities in their lives."

The convenience of learning online, along with GCC's affordability, makes the College an attractive option for a variety of populations:

•    Working adults who have schedules that make returning to college a challenge;

•    Individuals with family and community commitments who need flexible study options;

•    Individuals looking to advance in their career or to transfer who are unable to engage in an on-site educational experience.

"GCC's online courses are of the same high quality as our on-site courses," Lamb said. "The majority of our online offerings are taught by our full-time GCC faculty. Additionally, our online courses cost a fraction of what for-profit online education providers charge."

GCC offers 15 degrees and certificates that can be earned fully online including Business Administration, Criminal Justice and Supply Chain Management.

"These are rigorous programs that lead to career advancement and transfer into bachelor's degree programs," Lamb said.

Additionally, there are 10 degree and certificate options with 75 percent of the coursework available online and 15 degrees and certificates with half the coursework available online.

Students interested in exploring online learning options can visit the Online Learning page of GCC's Web site at http://www.genesee.edu/online. There they can easily see all of the programs the College offers and how much of each one can be completed online.

For more information, contact GCC's Office of Online Learning at (585) 345-6969 or [email protected].

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Free talk by UMMC doctor on thyroid and parathyroid disease, call to reserve a seat

post by Billie Owens in announcements

At 6:30 p.m. on March 13, United Memorial Medical Center will host a free community health talk with Andrea Zucchiatti, M.D., in the Cary Hall Medical Library, 211 E. Main St., Batavia. The subject is thyroid and parathyroid disease.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck, just above the collarbone. It is one of the endocrine glands, which produces hormones. Thyroid hormones control the rate of many activities in the body, including metabolism and heart rate. Though their names are similar, the thyroid and parathyroid glands are completely different. The parathyroid glands make parathyroid hormone (PTH), which helps the body keep the right balance of calcium and phosphorous. If the parathyroid glands make too much or too little hormone, it disrupts this balance.

This event is open to the community and there is no charge for attendance. Light refreshments will be served. Please call (585) 344-5331 to reserve a seat.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 3:39 pm

UMMC announces free outreach program called 'Ask a Nurse'

post by Billie Owens in announcements, UMMC

United Memorial is pleased to announce a new community outreach program called “Ask a Nurse.”

Ask a Nurse will be held on the first Tuesday of each month from 9 -11 a.m. in the Jerome Center Lobby at 16 Bank St., Batavia, and on the third Tuesday of each month from 9-11 a.m. in the main lobby of the hospital at 127 North St., Batavia.

A registered nurse will be present during these times to answer health-related questions, check blood pressures, review medications, and provide diabetes risk assessments. The program is free and open to the public on a walk-in basis. No appointments are necessary.

Both the Jerome Center and United Memorial Medical Center are handicap accessible and offer convenient parking near the main entrances.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Ninth Annual Antique Show & Sale to benefit HLOM is March14-15 at Clarion Hotel

post by Billie Owens in announcements, hlom

The Ninth Annual Batavia Antique Show & Sale to benefit the Holland Land Office Museum will be held Friday and Saturday, March 14-15, at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia.

Times are 5 to 8 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Cost for adults is $5 and children under 12 get in free. Plus, with proof of paid Friday admission, you can attend Saturday at no cost. Parking is free. Also, you can visit www.hollandlandoffice.com/events to print out a coupon for $1 off one admission. (Not valid with any other offer. Expires March 16.)

The hotel is located at 8250 Park Road.

Vendors or those wanting more information can contact HLOM at 131 W. Main St. in the City of Batavia, or by calling 585.343.4727, or visiting the Web site noted above.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Elba student inducted into Golden Key Honor Society

post by Billie Owens in elba, Milestones

SUNY Geneseo student Michael Ramsey from Elba was recently inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society during an induction ceremony on campus. Juniors or seniors with a grade-point average that places them in the top 15 percent of their class are eligible for membership.

Golden Key International Honour Society provides academic recognition to top-performing college and university students as well as scholarships and awards, career and internship opportunities, networking, service and leadership development opportunities. The society has more than 400 chapters at colleges and universities around the world.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Ranzenhofer to hold State Budget Forum at City Hall on Saturday morning

post by Billie Owens in Ranzenhofer

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer will hold a State Budget Forum at Batavia City Hall from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 8. This forum is an opportunity for residents to let their voice be heard on the 2014-2015 State Budget in the State Capitol.

“Since the Governor released his Executive Budget proposal, I have been working with my colleagues in the State Senate and State Assembly to scrutinize and review all aspects of the plan. I want to hear residents’ thoughts on the budget plan, too, so that I can share their views with my colleagues,” Ranzenhofer said. ”That is why I hope that residents will join me this Saturday to hear an update on the State Budget, and participate in a discussion and question-and-answer session on important issues impacting our community.”

The forum marks the second opportunity for residents to express their views with their representative in State government, after hosting a Town Hall telephone conference live from the State Capitol with thousands of constituents on Feb. 26.

Senator Ranzenhofer encourages residents to get the facts on the 2014-2015 Executive Budget proposal by visiting ranzenhofer.nysenate.gov.

“In an effort to keep residents informed, I have added a new Budget Information Page at my Web site," Ranzenhofer said. "It allows residents to review specific details of the Executive Budget, stay up-to-date on new developments, and share your input on the budget plan. By working together, I am hopeful that a balanced budget plan can be developed in a timely manner to help New York State move in the right direction.”

Residents not able to attend the State Budget Forum can still share their input with Senator Ranzenhofer by sending an e-mail to [email protected] or contacting the district office at (585) 454-0322.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Byron student earns bachelor's degree from Clarkson University

post by Billie Owens in byron, Milestones

Casey Engle, of Byron, received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering, mathematics minor, from Clarkson University on Dec. 31.

Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 2:34 pm

YWCA seeks nominations for Fabulous Females Awards; submission deadline is March 21

post by Billie Owens in fabulous females, YWCA

Press release:

YWCA of Genesee County, Inc., is accepting nominations for this year's Fabulous Females Awards. Deadline for submissions is March 21. The awards will be presented during this year's "A Garden Party: Celebrating YWCA's Fabulous Females and Friends of Batavia Peace Garden" on May 10 at Terry Hills.

There are four award categories:

  • Seedling is for a young lady between 12 and 17 who has demonstrated "perseverance and gumption" through adversity and a willingness to help out the community;
  • Petal is for a woman from 18 to 30 who has shown her spirit through volunteer, professional and personal efforts to improve the community in some way;
  • Blossom is for a special woman who has become an integral member of society in the way she "works, serves, speaks and behaves";
  • Bouquet is a legacy award chosen from past recipients due to that woman's continuing efforts and contributions to the community.

Nomination forms for Fabulous Females are available online at www.ywcagenesee.org <http://www.ywcagenesee.org>  or at YWCA, 301 North St. in the City of Batavia. Event tickets are $35 each or $250 for a table of eight. For more information, call (585) 343-5808.

"We know there are many special women in Genesee County, and we look forward to highlighting four of them while honoring all of them during our dinner this year," YW Executive Director Jeanne Walton said. "It will be a beautifully decorated event to set the mood and complement those being recognized."

This year, YWCA has merged its efforts with Friends of Batavia Peace Garden to throw "A Garden Party" and honor supporters of the Peace Garden and Fabulous Females recipients. It's set for 5 p.m. May 10 at Terry Hills, Route 33.

The evening will include social hour, dinner, a special toast to award recipients and a garden hat contest. Organizers of both nonprofits promise that it will be a fun evening as it signals the start of an ongoing relationship.

"We are partners in peace to begin collaborations of nonprofits in Batavia," Peace Garden spokeswoman Marilyn Werner said. "This is the first step. Considering everything the YWCA stands for and everything the Peace Garden stands for, it makes sense for us to work together."

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 11:12 am

Driver involved in accident said he was rubbing something from his eye, didn't see other car

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, elba

A driver involved in a two-car accident on Norton Road yesterday said he was had something in his left eye and was rubbing it while making a left-hand turn. As a result, he said, he never saw the car that hit his.

The other driver was taken to ECMC by Mercy Flight, were she was treated in the emergency room and released.

James J. Heschke, 60, of East Pembroke, was driving a 1998 Ford SUV south on Norton Road at 1:29 p.m. when he made a left-hand turn onto property owned by Torrey Farms at 7170 Norton Road.

At that point, he said, he had something in his left eye.

Amanda C. Demare, 19, of Barrville Road, Elba, was driving a 2000 Subaru SUV north on Norton Road.

Heschke said he never saw Demare's vehicle until they hit.

Demare's SUV was pushed into a utility pole off the east shoulder of the road. A telephone wire came down, but the pole appeared undamaged, according to the accident report.

Heschke received a citation for alleged failure to yield right of way.

Elba fire and Mercy EMS responded to the scene.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Brian Thompson.

(Initial Report)

Illustration: Diagram from accident report.

Monday, March 3, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Pembroke grandmother admits to role in drug dealing operation that stretched from Florida to WNY

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, pembroke
Geraldine Horsefall
(photo from NYSP)

A Pembroke grandmother portrayed by state officials as a leader of a significant drug ring that sold cocaine and pills in a three-county area, including Genesee County, entered guilty pleas to two felony counts in a Buffalo court today.

Geraldine Horsefall faces a possible seven year jail sentence after admitting to criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd.

Another person arrested as part of the months-long, multi-agency law enforcement investigation, Michelle King, entered a guilty plea to criminal sale of a controlled substance, 4th. She is facing a possible judicial diversion sentence.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the break up of the drug ring Jan. 28 in Buffalo.

Schneiderman said Horsefall's operation moved a significant amount of cocaine, which was transported by couriers from Florida to WNY in the soles of tennis shoes.

King was accused of providing pills from a doctor's office where she worked to the drug ring.

Monday, March 3, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Darien Lake looking to fill 2,500 positions for the coming season

post by Howard B. Owens in business, Darien, darien lake theme park

Press release:

The region’s largest seasonal employer is looking to fill approximately 2,500 open positions across its operations, including the amusement park, water park, lodging, entertainment, food, and retail departments.

More than 50 percent of eligible employees from 2013 plan to return to Darien Lake this season, including local area teachers, seniors, high school and college students. Returning employees, along with new team members, will support weekend and holiday operations starting May 10, with daily park operations beginning June 13. Staffing levels adjust during these time periods and increase once the season is in full swing. 

"There’s something special about working a summer job at Darien Lake,” said Jan Peters, Darien Lake director of human resources. “We’re looking for energetic, friendly applicants of all ages and backgrounds who are interested in learning new skills and helping to create memorable experiences for our guests. It’s hard not to have a fantastic summer when you’re around great people in an environment that’s as fun as Darien Lake.”

Immediate opportunities are available in food services, park services, ride operations, retail, accommodations, campground housekeeping, games, gift shop sales, aquatic operations, skilled trades and park maintenance, entertainment, guest services, safety and security.

Interested applicants can apply online at www.DarienLake.com/jobs or call the Darien Lake Job Line at 585-599-5108.

Monday, March 3, 2014 at 6:23 pm

As Senecas appear to move forward with casino plans, Batavia Downs officials say its a breach of the compact

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business

Press release:

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation today reacted to media reports of the Seneca Nation of Indians’ purchase of 32 acres in the Town of Henrietta as a potential site for a gaming casino.

“Today’s announcement by the Seneca Nation of a significant land purchase in Henrietta for a casino gaming facility should not come as a shock to anyone,” said Michael P. Nolan, executive vice president/COO of WROTB. “Despite the fact that the casino compact of 2002 specifically allows them to operate only three casinos in the region, the Senecas never had any intention of abiding by the terms of that agreement. This land purchase only reinforces that point. The compact also provides that they will not use any of the Seneca Settlement Act funds for another casino. The use of these funds for another casino shows another potential breach of the compact by the Senecas.”

In 2002, the Seneca Nation signed a gaming compact with the State of New York, under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which allowed the Seneca Nation to operate three “class III gaming” casino facilities. The Seneca Nation currently operates casinos in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Salamanca. 

With the land purchase by the Seneca Nation, Nolan believes that community opposition will grow exponentially.

“There is already significant opposition to the casino from residents of Henrietta, the business community, church and civic organizations, and a multitude of town boards and county legislative bodies throughout the region,” Nolan said. “Now that the Senecas’ intentions have taken a much more serious turn with the land purchase, I fully expect opposition to grow in terms of both numbers and intensity.”

Nolan vowed to work with local communities and opposition groups to stop casino gaming in Henrietta.

“This region is oversaturated with casino gaming, and another facility will cause irreparable harm to thousands of businesses, families, and municipalities throughout the region,” Nolan said.

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Regional OTB is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia, NY. WROTB owns and operates 31 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility.

Monday, March 3, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Vibrant Batavia announces 'Bring Neighborhoods Together' events

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Vibrant Batavia

Press release:

Vibrant Batavia and City leaders have scheduled meetings to include four designated neighborhoods in the series “Bringing Neighborhoods Together.” The purpose of the series is to follow up from the Coffee Talk hosted last fall and allow more opportunity for questions and sharing concerns. Other topics will include crime prevention and brainstorming on street-wide events and beautification projects for the Spring 2014. Postcard invitations will be mailed to residents within the designated neighborhoods.

Bringing Neighborhoods Together will encourage discussions about neighborhood concerns and start to list projects that will build confidence and pride in their community. Candidates will be recruited in each neighborhood to lead future neighborhood functions, such as block parties, neighborhood clean-up, neighborhood garage sales, etc.

Refreshments and snacks will be served at each of these events hosted 6-8 p.m. at City Hall. Residents living in the designated neighborhood are invited to attend on the following dates:

Southside (South of Ellicott Street, east of Tonawanda Creek)
Date: March 19

West Wedge (Southwest of the Tonawanda Creek)
Date: March 26

West End (North of Tonawanda Creek, west of Oak Street)
Date: April 2

Central Park District (North of Main Street, east of Oak Street and west of Bank Street)
Date: April 9

Vibrant Batavia is a community network organized to celebrate the past, build on the present and to create a more vibrant future. The volunteers work side-by-side with the City of Batavia, NeighborWorks® Rochester and the business community to strategically improve the City's neighborhoods and to promote a livable community of choice.

Monday, March 3, 2014 at 5:49 pm

Photo: No hoops in Kibbe Park today

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Kibbe Park, weather

It's been another chilly day in Genesee County, but at least the sun's been out.

There is a wind-chill advisory in place for tonight starting at 6 p.m. Single-digit temperatures combined with winds of 10 to 15 mph should produce a wind chill of minus 15.

Photo: Kibbe Park, Batavia.

Monday, March 3, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Photo: Three trees removed from Farrell Park

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Farrell Park, trees

Three trees were removed by National Grid contractors today from Farrell Park as part of a project by the city this winter to take out 31 problem trees.

Two of the trees were diseased and the falling branches presented a hazard for children playing in the park. Another tree was a black walnut and the walnuts on the ground were a hazard for children, but also some youths were throwing them against the bathroom building and pavilion causing damage and trying to flush them down the toilets, causing damage.

The city intends to plant new trees, perhaps cherry or some other springtime flowering tree.

Monday, March 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Monsanto donates $2,500 to Pavilion Fire Department

post by Howard B. Owens in Monsanto, Pavilion

The Pavilion Fire Department received a $2,500 donation today from the Monsanto Fund, thanks to Roberta Klapper, of Noblehurst Farms.

Nate Holt, district sales manager for Monsanto, explained that the company started a program four years ago of making a donation to the charity of a farmer's choice in select counties across the nation. Each year, there are donations in more than 1,200 counties in 39 states.

It's not unusual for the selected farmer to pick a local fire department for the donation, Holt said.

"As I've done this over the years, it's been a chance to educate myself about volunteer fire departments," Holt said. "We tend to think that being a fire department they get funding through taxpayers, but no, that's not entirely the case. A good amount of their funding comes from chicken BBQs, pancake dinners, fundraising events that get them the money they need to support us when we need them the most."

Klapper said she appreciates what the volunteers in Pavilion do to keep the community safe.

"It's one of those organizations we all hope we never have to call upon, but when we do, we're glad to know they're there," Klapper said. "As a volunteer organization, we know they struggle with funds and we wanted to do what we could to help them."

Pictured are Roberta Klapper, representing Noblehurst Farms, Nate Holt, regional sales manager for Monsanto, Chad Freeman, Pavilion fire chief, and Doug Wright, Pavilion Fire District president.

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