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Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Genesee County dairy farmers being squeezed by low prices, high production costs

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, business, dairy

Local dairy farmers are hurting, according to Dean Norton, president of the New York Farm Bureau.

Prices have plummeted -- because of decreased demand for dairy products at home and abroad -- while costs have increased substantially. 

Currently, milk is selling for $10.50 to $11.50 per 100 weight (about 8.5 gallons), while the cost of production is $15 and $16 per 100 weight.

Last year, milk sold for about $20 per 100 weight.

"The area economy stinks and it's a tough year," Norton said. "Receipts are down and individuals might be exiting the dairy industry."

Exports have dropped and domestic demand has been driven down as people eat out less during the recession, so there is shrunken demand for dairy products.

To help address the plunging prices, Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has initiated a herd retirement program, which will help reduce the number of milk-producing cows and lower supply.  Bids must be postmarked by May 1.

Dairy farmers throughout the nation are hurting according to The Rural Blog:

“The number of dairy cows being sent to slaughter has risen by about 20 percent from last year, as desperate farmers cull their herds and sell at fire-sale prices,” Sue Kirchoff writes for USA Today. “Adding to the problem, banks are less willing or able to extend farmers’ loan payments amid the financial turmoil.” John Murawski reports for the News & Observer in Raleigh, "Several dozen dairy farms in North Carolina are expected to go under this year." (Read more)

The National Dairy Federation has called on President Obama to aggressively address the problem, or thousands of jobs could be lost.

There are several reasons for the implosion: oversupply, falling export demand and continued high prices for supplies such as feed,” Kirchoff explained. “The dairy sector in the past has been less prone to huge price swings than other areas of agriculture, but that’s changing as the industry relies more on the markets and less on government programs.”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a program to buy 200 million lbs. of nonfat dry milk surpluses for domestic low-income programs.

Neighboring Wyoming County is being especially hard hit by the downturn in the dairy market, according to a story by Tom Rivers.

The $60 million in reduced revenue is compared to 2008 prices, when dairies averaged about $17.50 per hundredweight. This year the prices are forecast to average $12.80 for the year. The prices are expected to climb above the current $11 level and top $14 in September, which is still below most farms' production costs.

The county's 47,970 cows, which outnumber the county's residents, produced $178.9 million worth of milk products in 2007, by far the most in the state.

"The market is saturated and these prices are likely to be with us until mid-summer," Norton said.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 8:53 am

Most viewed posts for March 2009 on The Batavian

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

According to our internal statistics, these were the most viewed posts in March.

And since I forgot to post this list for February, here it is:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 7:22 am

Meeting to discuss problem of teen drinking called in LeRoy tonight

post by Howard B. Owens in LeRoy

Residents of LeRoy are asked to attend a community forum tonight to discuss the issue of teenage alcohol abuse.

The meeting will be held at LeRoy Village Fitness, according to WBTA.

Over the past six years, there has been a 250 percent increase in incidents involving under-age drinking. Most recently, a 21-year-old man was found in the Village so intoxicated, allegedly, that he had to taken to the hospital. He allegedly bought and served alcohol to an 18-year-old in the Village.

WBTA posted an audio quote from Cindy Herzog, superintendent of LeRoy Central Schools.

The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m..

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 7:02 am

Cardinals affilation with NY-Penn league teams shows mixed results

post by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Muckdogs, sports

The Cardinals Nation blog runs down the history, going back to 1981 when the Cardinals added the New York-Penn League to its farm system, of Cardinals-affiliated teams.

Only seven times in nearly 30 years in the league have Cardinals farm teams reached the playoffs.  The capper, of course, is the 2008 championship season of The Batavia Muckdogs.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 6:55 am

Graham Corp. announces millions in new orders

post by Howard B. Owens in business, graham corp

Batavia-based Graham Corp. announced new orders worth about $3.5 million for surface condensers to be installed in two oil refineries in India and South Korea and a fertilizer production facility in the United States.

The orders follow quickly another $5 million in sales for the company's ejector systems, according to the Democrat and Chronicle.

CEO James Lines said:

"While we expect the global recession and tight credit markets to continue to affect the pace and timing of new order placement ... we view the potential bookings pipeline favorably," Lines said. "We believe the long-term fundamentals supporting increased global demand for energy are solid."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 6:38 am

Three people busted in Batavia after investigation into crack cocaine sales

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, LeRoy

Two Rochester residents and a Batavia man are in custody after an investigation last night by Drug Enforcement Task Force members into the sale of crack cocaine in Batavia.

Arrested where Mark H. Gissendanner, 24, or Rochester, Aileen Nieves, 21, of Rochester and Shawn M.Walburn, 35, of Batavia.

Gissendanner was arrested in the parking lot of 21 Liberty Street, while Nieves and Walburn were picked up in the parking lot of Van Detta Stadium on Union Street.

All three suspects were arraigned in Batavia City Court and are being held without bail.

Gissendanner reportedly sold a quantity of crack cocaine to task force members on two occasions and then was allegedly in possession of more of the drug when he was arrested. He is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance  in the third degree.

Nieves reportedly sold crack cocaine to an undercover office while in Batavia and was allegedly in possession of more crack when she was picked up. She is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance  in the third degree.

Walburn was allegedly in possession of crack when his vehicle was stopped by task force members in Batavia. He is charged with criminal possession of a controled substance in the forth degree.

Participating in the investigation were members of the Genesee County Sheriff's Department, the Batavia Police Department and the LeRoy Police Department.

Pictured above in order are Gissendanner, Nieves and Walburn.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 6:30 am

The Batavian's calendar of events

post by Howard B. Owens in announcements, calendar, thebatavian

Don't forget to submit your date-specific events to The Batavian's Calendar.

If your business, civic group, sports organization or church group has an upcoming event, you should be sure it's in our calendar.

Click on the "add event" link under the calendar on the right side of The Batavian's Web pages.

If you tag the post "announcements" it will also show up in our announcements section.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Hawley expresses his unhappiness with proposed budget

post by Howard B. Owens in budget, new york, steve hawley

We just received the following statement from Assemblyman Steve Hawley. 

I did not know until I read it here that the proposed budget shifts money from local governments to the state, which as Hawley points out, is going to only mean increased local taxes (or severe cuts in services).

I've tried to keep my comments on the budget as non-partisan as possible.  The shipwreck of a budget could have just as easily been produced by a GOP-controlled Albany -- maybe not the same, but I have no confidence the Republicans could do any better. That said, I think it needs to be said: Local Democrats tend to be pretty active commenters on The Batavian. It's noteworthy, then, that in two days of raising the budget issue on The Batavian, none of the usual Democratic stalwarts have stepped forward to defend Paterson, Smith and Silver.  Maybe my noting this will bring forth some sort of intelligent defense. I would love to hear it. But I suspect strongly that any common-sense Democrat also recognizes this budget proposal is exceptionally indefensible.

Hawley's statement follows the jump:

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 9:53 am

Police Beat: Driver involved in rollover accident charged with DWI

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, crime

Kevin L. Madden, 24, of Albion, was charged with DWI and issued traffic tickets for unsafe speed and moving from lane unsafely, following a rollover accident on Transit Road, off Route 63 in Bethany  (reported on The Batavian yesterday), Madden was transported to UMMC, treated for minor injuries, and released to State Police. He is scheduled to answer the charges in Bethany Town Court on April 7 at 7 p.m.

Rory Howe, 21, of Attica, is charged with petty larceny. Howe is accused of shoplifting at the Wal-Mart in Batavia. According to a Sheriff's Office report, loss prevention officers at Wal-Mart apprehended Howe Monday with $55.25 worth of merchandise on her person as he exited the store.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 6:18 am

Susie Boyce becomes account executive in office of Lawley Genesee Insurance

post by Howard B. Owens in business

Press Release:

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Lawley Genesee Insurance announced hiring  Susie Boyce as an account executive in its Batavia office.

Most recently with Five Star Bank as a small business lender, Ms. Boyce will concentrate on new commercial clients. A graduate of Genese Community College and a business administration major at Monroe Community College, she is a notary public and licensed to sell property & casualty and accident & health insurance policies.

A Rochester resident, she grew up in Bergen and in 2008 co-chaired the Genesee County United Way’s campaign and co-chaired its annual Day of Caring in 2008-09.

She is a member of the board of directors of the United Memorial Medical Center Foundation; the Rotary Club of Batavia; and the board of directors of Batavia Development Corp., which she also serves as vice president. She completed Leadership Genesee and Leadership Wyoming. She also volunteers with the Cornell Cooperative Extension and the YMCA.

Lawley Insurance, incorporated in 1955, is a full-service insurance broker providing insurance, risk management and employee benefits. The company is  headquartered at 361 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, NY. Lawley also has New York  branches in Amherst, Batavia, Fredonia, Rochester, Westchester County and New Jersey branches in Fairfield and Annandale. Lawley Insurance is ranked 72nd among the 100 Largest Insurance Brokers in the U.S., as listed by Business Insurance magazine.

Monday, March 30, 2009 at 4:35 pm

No injuries in single-vehicle rollover following report of erratic driving

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Bethany

A black Mazda SUV pick up was involved in a single vehicle accident on Transit Road off Route 63 at about 3:40 p.m.  The driver told emergency personal he was unhurt, but was placed in an ambulance and checked over as a precaution. State Troopers on scene estimated the driver tried to make turn off southbound Route 63 onto Transit at 55 p.m. Skid marks arched across both lanes of Transit from Route 63 to the crashed truck. There were no passengers. Dispatchers had received a report of an erratic driver heading south on Ellicott Street in a black truck with a ladder rack, possibly a Nissan, at about 3:30 p.m. The driver was allegedly driving in the oncoming traffic lane, nearly causing at least one head-on collision.

Monday, March 30, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Round up of blogger reaction to state budget

post by Howard B. Owens in budget, new york, Paterson

Albany Watch reports on Gov. Paterson defending the "three men in a room" budget:

“None of this makes sense,” he said when asked if the new taxes and fees make sense in the face of the state’s economic woes. “We don’t want to tax the wealthy, we don’t put these taxes in to raise fees, we don’t want to hold our school budgets at zero increase at a time when our children need education. We don’t want to in any way jeopardize anyone’s ability to get health care.

“We don’t want to lay workers off. It’s a response to a crisis.”

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, said “this is not a happy budget” and defended the need to negotiate the budget behind closed doors, saying “Difficult times call for different approaches” but that transparency is still important.

Elizabeth Benjamin, blogging for The Daily News, also carries a portion of Paterson's defense of the budget.

Monday, March 30, 2009 at 11:32 am

Batavia Downs employee wins Dodge Challenger in casino giveaway

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs

Officials at Batavia Downs are trying to figure out what to do after Rocky Ferrando won a 2009 Dodge Challenger over the weekend.

Great for Rocky, but the problem for the Downs is that Ferrando is a full-time OTB employee.

According to Dan Fischer at WBTA, officials are researching Batavia Down rules about employees entering and winning contests.

Listen to WBTA this morning and afternoon for more on the developing story.

UPDATE: WBTA has an audio interview up with Marketing Manager Marty Biniaz. The prize has been rewarded to Melanie Rahlston  of Mount. Morris.

Monday, March 30, 2009 at 8:31 am

Proposed state budget will suck $10 billion out of the economy

post by Howard B. Owens in Albany, Paterson, taxes

We keep hearing about how New York is in crisis.

So I find this morning's Buffalo News headline a little shocking: Both spending and taxes soar in state budget.

When you or I find our income greatly reduced, our primary option is to massively cut our own spending. We can only raise more revenue if we can sell our services on the open market for a higher fee. We don't have the option of extorting more money from people, unless we want to risk jail time.

The government, especially New York's government, doesn't work that way.  When it find itself facing revenue shortfalls, not only can it force its citizens to pony up more taxes and fees, it can go right ahead and increase spending as well.

Where on the measure of common sense does this fall?

The lead of the News story, with its list of new taxes and fees, along with the total amount raised, is stagger:

The state’s new, inflation-busting budget will require New Yorkers to pay more to go fishing and hunting, drive a car or motorcycle, have life insurance, operate the lights and heat in their homes, buy cigarettes, own a cell phone and drink beer, wine and bottled water.

Single taxpayers making more than $200,000 a year will see a jump in taxes, as will bus companies, nuclear plants, food processing companies, racehorse owners, farmers, pesticide applicators, grocery stores and anyone wanting to open a hospice.

In all, the total number of new taxes, fees and various assessments and surcharges will top $7 billion in the new budget that state lawmakers will vote on beginning Tuesday. The governor’s office put the number at $5.3 billion, but that misses a number of levies.

That's $7 billion that will be sucked out of state's economy. That's $7 billions in lost jobs, lost opportunity and lost economic growth.

The News also reports that items such as the end of the STAR rebate program, will cost taxpayers a total of $10 billion when all is said and done.

That's $10,000,000,000.

Meanwhile, spending is skyrocketing to an astonishing $131.8 billion.

With a $17.7 billion deficit to wrestle—up from $16.2 billion just a week ago — Paterson and lawmakers turned to every possible revenue source to go along with $6.5 billion of assorted cuts to hospitals, nursing homes and other programs. Rounding out the money to fill the gap is $6.2 billion in federal stimulus aid.

It's not enough to just close the budget gap, Gov. Paterson and the legislative leadership just can't wait to spend more money.  As the D&C reports, the new budget increases spending by 9 percent, or about $10 billion. Again, in tough times, you and I must cut spending, but not the government -- it just raises taxes and fees and takes more money out of your pocket.

And what's with using $6 billion in federal stimulus money to balance this bloated budget? That money should go to things that, you know, supposedly, allegedly will stimulate the economy, such as new infrastructure projects. Or helping small businesses. Not to increasing the size and scope of government.

Fiscal mismanagement like this should be an impeachable offense. Albany is out of control.

Monday, March 30, 2009 at 8:12 am

Oakfield man arrested in Orleans County after slow-speed ATV chase

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield

Steve Moore, 47, of Oakfield, reportedly led law enforcement officers on a low-speed ATV chase Saturday.

The chase started in Murray and Moore was eventually apprehended in Barre, News 10 reports.

At one point Moore got off his ATV and approached a police sergeant. The sergeant tasered him, but it had no effect and Moore got back on his ATV and drove off.

He also allegedly struck a police vehicle.

Moore was charged with DWI.

Monday, March 30, 2009 at 7:44 am

Police Beat: Teen from North Chili charged with sexual misconduct with LeRoy girl

post by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, alexander, crime, LeRoy

Michael J. McCauley, 19, of North Chili, is charged with one count of unlawfully dealing with a child and one count of sexual misconduct. The investigation began in November 2008 when the mother of a Village youth came home to find McCauley allegedly in the house with her underage daughter. The daughter was allegedly served alcohol.  It was later alleged that McCauley and the daughter had been involved in a sexual relationship over the previous year. McCauley was arraigned and released on an order of protection.

Kyle W. Nash, 21, of LeRoy, was arrested early Monday morning for allegedly supplying a minor with alcohol. Nash was reportedly observed with an 18-year-old on Lincoln Avenue. Nash was found to be so intoxicated that police had him transported via ambulance to a hospital. Police believe Nash purchased and supplied his 18-year-old companion with alcohol. He is charged with unlawfully dealing with a child.

Sheldon Wetmore, 19, of Wyoming, was arrested in Alexander on Sunday afternoon for alleged unlawful possession of marijuana. The reported marijuana was found after Wetmore was stopped for an alleged unsafe lane change.

Jerrod J. Cramer, 31, of Alabama, was charged with a DWI Saturday afternoon after being stopped for an alleged traffic violation. Sheriff's Deputies report an open contain was found in Cramer's vehicle. He is charged with a DWI with a BAC of more than .08 percent. He was also cited for hauling an unlicensed, uninspected trailer.

Rodney McKenzie, 44, of Alden, was charged with criminal contempt for allegedly violating an order of protection out of the Town of Alabama court. McKenzie allegedly placed several harassing phone calls to an individual he was ordered not to contact.

Amanda L. King, 27, of LeRoy, was arrested Friday by LeRoy police officers on a charge of harassment in the second degree, and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. King allegedly bit a 12-year-old child during a domestic incident, leaving a bruise. King was arraigned and released on an order of protection.

Jeffery L. Bowker, 44, of Bergen, is charged with DWI out of the Village of LeRoy, after Det. John Condidorio reportedly observed Bowker make a wide right turn at routes 5 and 19, almost striking another vehicle. The subsequent investigation found that Bowker reportedly had a BAC of .18 or higher.

Dale R. Williams, 25, of LeRoy, was arrested in Bergen Saturday morning for an alleged DWI. Wiliams is reported to have had a BAC of .08 or greater. He is also charged with unlicensed operation of a vehicle.

Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Video: Anti-Albany 'Tea Party' in Buffalo

post by Howard B. Owens in Albany, reform, secession

(via Buffalo Pundit, who also covered the event with this post).

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