en Photo: A school bus bus shelter on Transit Road, Bethany <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-2/busstopmarch192015.jpg" /></p> <p>Bus shelters to protect children from the elements are common sites on rural roads in this part of the country, but how many have you seen that are converted school buses?</p> <p>The Stringham family on Transit road in East Bethany has such a shelter.</p> <p>Previously:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Photos: Dragon appears on Transit Road</a></p> Bethany Thu, 19 Mar 2015 19:52:41 +0000 Howard B. Owens 47104 at Mother pouring herself into caring for her son who suffered serious injuries in Bethany accident <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/brandondansermarch12015.jpg" style="margin: 7px; float: left;" />There&#39;s no certainty for Brandon Danser and his family, except that doctors say he&#39;s past the point where he&#39;s likely to die from injuries he sustained Feb. 21 when the car he was riding in was hit by a semi-truck on Route 20 in Bethany.</p> <p>Danser suffered traumatic injuries in the accident and remains in the intensive care unit at Strong Memorial Hospital.</p> <p>He will need months, perhaps years, of neurological care. Perhaps, he will never fully recover.</p> <p>Brandon&#39;s mother, Karin Meyer, has been living in Seattle with her husband, Dan Meyer, and their foster children.</p> <p>Dan Meyer said this afternoon that his wife is holding up as well as can be expected, that she&#39;s pouring everything she has into caring for her son, and holds out hope for his recovery.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s an emotional roller coaster,&quot; Meyer said. &quot;We have to deal with what might happen, and then this that happened and each new piece of news and each improvement is a step in the right direction. We&#39;re getting past the point where his life is in danger and that was the first relief after that initial shock. After that, each improvement is really a positive thing.&quot;</p> <p>Brandon is showing improvement. He can answer short questions, though there are times he can&#39;t remember people. He spends more time out of bed and sitting in a recliner.</p> <p>&quot;He has shown good success picking up and tossing a Nerf ball, which is another major improvement,&quot; Meyer said. &quot;He is not able to stand on his own but when supported on each side he has been able to take tentative steps and move across the room. He has good hand and arm motion and has been generous squeezing hands and giving out hugs.&quot;</p> <p>The emotional roller coaster hasn&#39;t stopped since Karin received that early morning phone call Feb. 21 with the horrible news of the accident.</p> <p>She got on the first flight East she could book and when she arrived at Strong and walked into Brandon&#39;s room, he was still completely unresponsive, Dan said.</p> <p>&quot;When she&#39;s away from Brandon, she gets a chance to release those emotions,&quot; Meyer said. &quot;She gets time to recharge and even think about eating and sleeping for herself.&quot;</p> <p>Meyer joined his wife in Rochester yesterday after making arrangements&nbsp;for their foster children in Seattle. He&#39;s here to provide the care for her she needs as she cares for her son, Meyer said.</p> <p>It&#39;s a completely open question as to how long Karin will need to be in Rochester.</p> <p>Doctors don&#39;t yet know when Brandon might be released from ICU. The most likely next step for Brandon is in-patient care at Unity Hospital&#39;s Restorative Neurology and Rehabilitation Center in Rochester. When he&#39;s able to be flown to another location, he could be taken to the Mayo Clinic, or he could return with Karin and Dan to Seattle.</p> <p>Any scenario will be difficult for the family.</p> <p>Out of concern for her sister&#39;s well-being and the financial stress of her family,&nbsp;Marianne Bowen has set up a page, <a href="" target="_blank">Help Brandon Heal</a>, with an initial goal of raising $10,000, though Bowen thinks the family&#39;s financial needs will far exceed $10,000.</p> <p>&quot;My sister believes, she hopes he will be back but there is a lot of work ahead of him,&quot; Bowen said.</p> <p>The accident is such a tragedy, Bowen said. It&#39;s still unclear what happened. The driver, Hannah Dibble, was the designated driver and wasn&#39;t drinking, according to information given to Bowen. Brandon was wearing a seat belt, but still ejected from the vehicle when it was struck.</p> <p>The Sheriff&#39;s Office investigation is being supervised by Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster (Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble is the great uncle of Hannah Dibble, so he recused himself from the investigation), and Brewster said late this week there are still no conclusions to share. There have been no charges filed or citations issued.</p> <p>In all, six people were in the little brown&nbsp;1997 Geo Prism driven by Dibble when it crossed Route 20 on a dark, bitterly cold morning from northbound Molasses Hill Road.</p> <p>Of the six, Brandon was seriously injured and 18-year-old&nbsp;Alyson D. Krzanak died of injuries sustained in the accident.&nbsp;Jamie Scherer, 21, of Pembroke, was seriously injured, but is now listed in satisfactory condition at Strong.&nbsp;Felicia Fazzio, 20, of Darien, was also hospitalized, but her condition is not available. Dibble was treated and released at ECMC and&nbsp;Gabrielle Uzarowski, 21, of Pembroke, was treated at the scene and released.</p> <p>Last night, members of the Pembroke community held a vigil for Krzanak. Visit&nbsp;<em>The Batavian</em>&#39;s news partner, <a href="" target="_blank">13WHAM</a>, for a report.</p> batavia Bethany pembroke Sun, 01 Mar 2015 20:40:42 +0000 Howard B. Owens 46842 at Two people seriously injured in Bethany accident remain in ICU <p>Two of the people seriously injured in a weekend accident that took the life of a young Pembroke woman remain in guarded condition at Strong Memorial Hospital.</p> <p>Details of the injuries to Brandon Danser, 21, of Batavia, and Jamie Scherer, 21, of Pembroke, are not available.</p> <p>Strong lists all patients in the Intensive Care Unit as &quot;guarded.&quot;</p> <p>Both were passengers in a vehicle early Saturday morning that was northbound off of Molasses Hill Road, Bethany, when it was struck by an eastbound semi-truck on Route 20.</p> <p>Alyson D. Krzanak, 18, of Pembroke, later succumbed to injuries sustained in the accident.</p> <p>The vehicle was reportedly driven by Hannah Dibble, 21, of Pembroke, who was transported by Mercy EMS to ECMC and treated and released.</p> <p>Felicia Fazzio, 20, of Darien, was transported by Mercy EMS to ECMC. She was listed in stable condition, but today a patient information operator at ECMC refused to release information on her condition, other than to confirm she hasn&#39;t been released.</p> <p>Gabrielle Uzarowski, 21, of Pembroke, was treated at the scene and released.</p> <p>The driver of the truck, Leonard Odums, of Cutburt, Ga., was not injured.</p> <p>The accident remains under investigation.</p> batavia accident Bethany corfu pembroke Mon, 23 Feb 2015 18:12:27 +0000 Howard B. Owens 46762 at Photo: Flag on Transit Road, Bethany <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethanyflagfeb222015.jpg" /></p> <p>Returning from a trip to Wyoming County today, I liked the scene of this flag blowing in the wind with snow blowing from a drift behind it.</p> <p>For a bit of what I did in Wyoming County today:</p> <ul> <li> <a href="" target="_blank">Photos: Barns in Attica and Pike</a></li> <li> <a href="" target="_blank">Photos: Frozen water at Letchworth State Park</a></li> </ul> Bethany Mon, 23 Feb 2015 01:29:23 +0000 Howard B. Owens 46758 at Victim of accident in Bethany succumbs to injuries <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/10734041_967337309962572_1128153530113247470_n_0.jpg" style="margin: 7px; float: right;" />An 18-year-old Pembroke resident and student at GCC, has died as a result of injuries she sustained in an <a href="" target="_blank">overnight accident in Bethany</a>, the Sheriff&#39;s Office announced.</p> <p>Alyson D. Krzanak, who listed her employment on her Facebook page as GCCA Child Care Center and JCPenney, was flown by Mercy Flight to ECMC following the early morning accident at Route 20 and Molasses Hill Road, and was initially listed in critical condition.</p> <p>The Sheriff&#39;s Office release does not list a time of death.</p> <p>Krzanak was one of six people in a 1997 Geo Prism that was northbound on Molasses Hill Road when it crossed Route 20 and was struck by an eastbound tractor-trailer.</p> <p>The vehicle was reportedly driven by Hannah Dibble, 21, of Pembroke, who was transported by Mercy EMS to ECMC and treated and released.</p> <p>Also injured were Brandon Danser, 21, of Batavia, who was taken by Mercy Flight to U of R Medical Center and is listed in guarded condition.</p> <p>Jamie Scherer, 21, of Pembroke, was transported by Attica Ambulance to WCCH and then transferred to U of R by Mercy Flight, and he is in guarded condition.</p> <p>Gabrielle Uzarowski, 21, of Pembroke, was treated at the scene and released. Felicia Fazzio, 20, of Darien, was transported by Mercy EMS to ECMC and is in stable condition.</p> <p>The driver of the truck, Leonard Odums, of Cutburt, Ga., was not injured.</p> <p>The accident remains under investigation. The Crash Management Team responded to the scene.</p> <p>Assisting the Sheriff&#39;s Officer were State Police, Bethany, Alexander, Attica, and Pavilion volunteer fire departments along with the Genesee County Emergency Management Office.</p> Bethany corfu pembroke Sat, 21 Feb 2015 22:32:49 +0000 Howard B. Owens 46755 at Car and truck accident reported on Route 20 in Bethany <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethanyactfeb212015-3.jpg" /></p> <p>A car and semi-truck have reportedly hit at West Bethany Road and Route 20 in Bethany.&nbsp;</p> <p>No word yet on injuries.&nbsp;</p> <p>Bethany fire and Alexander ambulance dispatched.</p> <p>UPDATE(S) by Billie -- 2:10 a.m.: Two Mercy Flights helicopters are requested to the scene, along with Mercy medics. Fire Police are to shut down Route 20 eastbound and westbound.</p> <p>UPDATE 2:13 a.m.: &quot;I&#39;m going to need triage as soon as you can get here,&quot; says a responder at the scene. The road needs to be shut down ASAP, he says.</p> <p>UPDATE 2:24 a.m.: The second helicopter, coming from Buffalo, has an ETA of 12 minutes. The landing zone(s) will be east of the intersection.</p> <p>UPDATE 2:28 p.m.: An ambulance has arrived. The big rig has Indiana plates.</p> <p>UPDATE 2:34 a.m.: One landing zone is set up north of the scene.</p> <p>UPDATE 2:35 a.m.: One patient is a semi-responsive female.</p> <p>UPDATE 2:42 a.m.: Mercy Flight #4 is on the ground.</p> <p>UPDATE 2:51 a.m.: Mercy Flight #5 is airborne and headed to Strong Memorial Hospital.</p> <p>UPDATE 2:55 a.m.: Mercy medics are transporting a patient to ECMC.</p> <p>UPDATE 3:01 a.m.: Mercy Flight #4 is airborne and headed to ECMC.</p> <p>UPDATE 3:07 a.m.: Personnel with Alexander ambulance, including a medic from Attica, stablized a patient to load the person into one of the helicopters but did not transport anyone from the scene.</p> <p>UPDATE 3:27 a.m.: Westbound Route 20 traffic at Route 63 will be shut down due to the accident.</p> <p>UPDATE 4:28 a.m. (by Howard): Route 20 is still closed. The passenger vehicle had six people in it. Two patients were transported by Mercy Flight, one to Strong, the other to ECMC. Three patients were taken to area hospitals by ground ambulance. One person was apparently not injured. The driver of the truck was not injured. The truck was eastbound. The sedan was northbound and attempted to cross Route 20 from Molasses Hill Road. The accident is still under investigation. Members of the Crash Management Team are on scene.</p> <p>UPDATE: The driver of the sedan was Hannah Dibble, 21, of Pembroke. Dibble, Felicia Fazzio, 21, of Darien, and Alyson Krzanak, 18, of Pembroke, were transported to ECMC for treatment. Krazanak was transported by Mercy Flight. Fazzio is in stable condition and Krzanak is in critical condition. Brandon Danser, 21, of Batavia, was taken by Mercy Flight to Strong and is listed in guarded condition. Jamie Scherer, 21, of Pembroke, was transported to Wyoming County Community Hospital and then transported by Mercy Flight to U of R Medical Center. He is listed in guarded condition. Gabrielle Uzarowski, 21, was treated at the scene. The truck driver, Leonard Odums, of Cutburt, Ga., was not injured.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethanyactfeb212015.jpg" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethanyactfeb212015-2.jpg" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethanyactfeb212015-4.jpg" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethanyactfeb212015-5.jpg" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethanyactfeb212015-6.jpg" /></p> accident Bethany Sat, 21 Feb 2015 07:04:00 +0000 Howard B. Owens 46739 at Sea Cadets learning winter survival skills at Genesee County Park <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/igloofeb162014.jpg" /></p> <p>A group of Sea Cadets are spending five days in Genesee County Park learning winter survival skills.</p> <p>It&#39;s an annual event for the cadets, who hail from throughout Western New York.</p> <p>The Sea Cadet program is sponsored by the U.S. Navy League and runs year-round.</p> <p>Youths from 11 to 13 are called leaguers and actual cadets are age 13 through high school graduation. The program includes two weeks of basic training, monthly meetings at either Buffalo Navy Reserve Center or the Buffalo Navy Park, and annual training in a specialty. Cadets can choose any specialty the Navy offers, from firefighting to military law.</p> <p>Choose to train as a Navy Seal and you will get to spend two weeks training with actual Navy Seals.</p> <p>The winter survival course is designed to teach basic first aid, plus how to survive for at least a short time in winter conditions.</p> <p>One of the tasks today was for cadets to build a quinzee, which is an igloo-like structure made from a mound of compacted snow that can be used as a temporary shelter if you became stranded outside during a winter storm.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/igloofeb162014-2.jpg" /></p> Bethany Genesee County Park Sea Cadets Mon, 16 Feb 2015 21:31:31 +0000 Howard B. Owens 46662 at Photos: Bethany fire holds annual installation dinner <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethanyfiredinnerfeb142015.jpg" /></p> <p>Bill Shea was honored Saturday night at Bethany Town Hall for his 50 years of service to the Bethany Volunteer Fire Department.</p> <p>The thank you and gift of a jacket was part of an evening that included other awards, recognitions and the swearing in of firematic officers and board members.</p> <p>The 2015 officers are Jeff Fluker, chief, Jeff Pietrzykowski, 1st assistant chief, Bradley Fluker, 2nd assistant chief, Jamie Fluker, captain, Jeremy Hausfelder, lieutenant, Mel Davis, EMS captain, Jim Duval, EMS lieutenant, George Larish, fire police captain.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethanyfiredinnerfeb142015-2.jpg" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethanyfiredinnerfeb142015-3.jpg" /></p> <p>During a memorial service at the end of the evening, members who have passed were remembered, including Louis Gayton, a former chief as well as former highway superintendent and former supervisor. Above, Jeff Fluker lights the candles on the memorial. The flowers he&#39;s holding were presented to Gayton&#39;s widow.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethanyfiredinnerfeb142015-4.jpg" /></p> <p>Jamie Fluker was named Firefighter of the Year.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethanyfiredinnerfeb142015-5.jpg" /></p> <p>LaurelLi Jackett received the Chief&#39;s Award.</p> <p>More pictures after the jump:</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Bethany Bethany Fire Sun, 15 Feb 2015 03:51:47 +0000 Howard B. Owens 46647 at Crash with minor injuries on Ellicott Street Road, East Bethany <p>A motor-vehicle accident with minor injuries is reported at the intersection of Ellicott Street Road and East Bethany--Le Roy Road. Bethany and Stafford fire departments are responding.</p> accidents Bethany Stafford Sat, 31 Jan 2015 17:46:42 +0000 Billie Owens 46422 at Genesee County firefighters working a house fire in Middlebury <p>Several Genesee County fire departments are helping fight a fully involved house fire on Kingsley Road in the Town of Middlebury, which is in Wyoming County. The house is at 566 Kingsley Road.</p> <p>Bethany, Pavilion and Le Roy are called to the scene, along with a tanker from Alexander. An engine from Alexander is requested to fill in at Bethany&#39;s hall. York is asked to fill in at Pavilion. Bergen is asked to stand by in its quarters. Bethany is requested to send an ambulance to the scene.</p> <p>UPDATE: For coverage from the <em>Wyoming County Free Press</em>, <a href="" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p> alexander bergen Bethany fire Le Roy Pavilion Tue, 20 Jan 2015 17:59:14 +0000 Billie Owens 46286 at Accident with minor injuries at Route 63 and Little Canada Road <p>A minor-injury accident is reported at Route 63 and Little Canada Road. It is blocking traffic. Bethany fire and Mercy medics are responding and Stafford is called for traffic control.</p> <p>UPDATE 11:50 a.m.: The assignment is back in service.</p> accidents Bethany Fri, 16 Jan 2015 14:41:02 +0000 Billie Owens 46223 at Working barn fire on East Road in Bethany <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethbarnfirejan142014-2.jpg" /></p> <p>A working barn fire is confirmed at 10628 East Road, south of Route 20 in Bethany. Pigs are reportedly inside of it. Bethany fire is responding, along with Alexander, the city&#39;s Fast Team, Pavilion, Stafford and Wyoming. Town of Batavia Fire is to fill in at Bethany Fire Hall.</p> <p>UPDATE 6:47 a.m.: Darien fire is asked to fill in at Alexander Fire Hall.</p> <p>UPDATE 7:18 a.m.: East Pembroke is asked to fill in at Bethany Fire Hall.</p> <p>UPDATE 7:30 a.m.: The command chief says &quot;most of the pigs got out.&quot; The barn itself was &quot;on the ground&quot; by the time fire crews arrived.</p> <p>UPDATE 7:52 a.m.: South Byron is requested to fill in at Stafford Fire Hall.</p> <p>UPDATE 1:50 p.m.: The farm is owned by David and Rebecca Orr. There were three adults and from nine to 11 piglets lost in the fire. &nbsp;At least nine pigs were saved. The fire is still under investigation, but Emergency Management Coordinator said investigators are looking at the heat lamps used to keep the piglets warm.</p> <p>UPDATE 11:13 a.m.: Video from the scene.</p> <p><iframe src=";autoplay=0&amp;wmode=opaque" width="400" height="250" class="video-filter video-youtube vf-9ay2oyxewk" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethbarnfirejan142014.jpg" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethbarnfirejan142014-3.jpg" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethbarnfirejan142014-4.jpg" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethbarnfirejan142014ps_01.jpg" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethbarnfirejan142014ps_02.jpg" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethbarnfirejan142014ps_03.jpg" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethbarnfirejan142014ps_04.jpg" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethbarnfirejan142014ps_05.jpg" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2015-1/bethbarnfirejan142014ps_11.jpg" /></p> Bethany fire Wed, 14 Jan 2015 11:42:56 +0000 Billie Owens 46193 at Five Genesee County fire departments called to house fire in Town of Covington <p>Five Genesee County fire departments are responding, mutual aid, to the Town of Covington in Wyoming County for a working structure fire with a person still inside the residence. The location is 864 Perry Road. In addition to Covington fire, responders requested include Le Roy, Pavilion, Bethany, Stafford and the City of Batavia Fast Team.</p> <p>UPDATE 5:28 a.m.: The person inside got out safely. The fire is out. The assignment is back in service. The resident told firefighters he normally throws debris from his heat stove outside his back door, and did so this time but forgot about a wooden pallet he put there. It caught fire and smoke came up through the back porch into the house, waking the resident. The fire burnt a portion of the back porch.</p> batavia Bethany fire Le Roy Pavilion Stafford Tue, 13 Jan 2015 10:03:12 +0000 Billie Owens 46180 at Officials considering bow hunting in Genesee County Park to deal with overpopulation of deer <p>Deer in the southeast part of Genesee County have figured out that if they hide out in the county park they are not going to get shot at, which has led to an overpopulation of deer in the park, causing problems for the county&#39;s forestry management efforts.</p> <p>County officials are considering -- and the discussion is still in early stages -- allowing a limited number of hunters to hunt deer in a portion of the park during bow hunting season.</p> <p>&quot;We&#39;re still working on the actual nuts-and-bolts details of the plan,&quot; said Tim Hens, county superintendent of highways. &quot;It hasn&#39;t even been presented to the parks advisory committee yet, but I can tell you it would be very limited in nature in terms of not being through the entire park.&nbsp;It would be limited to specific areas of the park to avoid obvious conflicts with bicyclists and hikers and horseback riders and everything else that goes on down there. It is a multi-use park and the safety of everybody is obviously paramount.&quot;</p> <p>The County Park covers about one square mile in Bethany. It was established in 1915 as the first county park in New York. The land was purchased in 1882 in order to procure cooking and heating wood for what was then the county poorhouse. Various efforts to plant trees in the park took place over the next two decades, and by 1935 nearly 170,000 tress had been planted.</p> <p>The deer hunting plan is being drafted by an ad-hoc committee comprised of the parks supervisor, affiliated agencies like the Department of Environmental Conservation, wildlife and forestry experts, and members of the Genesee County Parks &amp; Recreation Advisory Committee.</p> <p>The plan would be presented to the advisory committee when completed and if the committee approves it, it would still need approval by the County Legislature.</p> <p>&quot;Speaking in very general terms, the initial concept calls for a fee-based lottery draw for hunters who will have access to limited regions within the park for limited period of time during regular bow season,&quot; Hens said. &quot;Hunting will be bow-only. Focus will be on deer management and there will be an initial emphasis with disabled vets and youth hunts.&quot;</p> <p>The hunt would likely take place for more than one season, Hens said, but whether it became a perpetual event would depend on how successful it was at knocking down the deer population in the park. Letchworth, which is significantly larger, has an annual deer hunt for the same reason, but since the county park is smaller, an annual hunt may not be necessary.</p> <p>Hens said the ad-hoc committee is interested in community feedback on the proposal and there will be a public information meeting on the plan before it is presented to the Legislature.</p> animals Bethany Genesee County Park wildlife Thu, 08 Jan 2015 04:05:31 +0000 Howard B. Owens 46120 at Pavilion graduate and partner heading to Uganda to build classroom, teach and pursue conservation goals <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2014-5/ugandatripdec62015.jpg" /></p> <p>The 237 students of Bigodi Secondary School in Uganda will soon be able to study in a new classroom thanks to the efforts of two Michigan State University graduates who on their own have raised nearly $10,000 and leave today to complete their project.</p> <p>The students, Kirk David Mason, of Lansing, Mich., and Sarah Scott, of Bethany, were inspired to build the project through the life of Benson Bamatura, a Ugandan conservationist who died early last year.</p> <p>Scott, who has a degree in zoology, met Bamatura while in a student exchange program in 2013 in Uganda.</p> <p>When Bamatura died, he left behind five children. When researching options for ways to honor Bamatura, the Bigodi officials offered to ensure an education for Bamatura&#39;s children in exchange for the construction of a classroom.</p> <p>Strictly tapping into their own personal network of friends and family, plus some fundraisers in Lansing, Mason and Scott were able get just about $100 shy of their $10,000 goal.</p> <p>&quot;We tried company sponsors, but since were weren&#39;t a nonprofit, there wasn&#39;t much interest,&quot; Scott said. &quot;A lot of companies were like, &#39;it&#39;s a great project, but since you&#39;re not a nonprofit, we&#39;re not going to donate.&#39; It&#39;s all been about friends and family.&quot;</p> <p>Their trip will encompass more than building the classroom. Both are certified to teach English in a foreign language, so will instruct teachers on English. Mason, a documentary filmmaker with a degree in media, will make a series of short videos for students around the world to learn more about conservation and that part of Africa&#39;s natural habitat.</p> <p>Both Mason and Scott have arranged with their former schools -- Pavilion locally and Mason&#39;s school near Lansing &nbsp;-- to establish pen pal programs with Bigodi students.</p> <p>There is also an arts program project they&#39;re pursuing with the Wyoming County Arts Council.</p> <p>&quot;We hope to build a bridge between two different cultures,&quot; said Mason, who is making his fifth trip to the region.</p> <p>The school is in the midst of wildlife sanctuaries and near Africa&#39;s own &quot;Great Lakes&quot; area (such as Lake Victoria, which feeds the Nile) and among the conservation topics Mason plans to explore with his films are the issues effecting those lakes as well as our own Great Lakes.</p> <p>Other topics to explore include regional sustainable food programs, sustainable agriculture and work on a documentary about food systems and food provisions.</p> <p>&quot;We e-mailed as many people as we could think of to make as many connections as we can,&quot; Scott said.</p> <p>They hope to raise even more money to either generate funds for school supplies and books or perhaps also build a second classroom.</p> <p>Mason sees the trip as a responsibility to fulfill because he&#39;s benefitted so much from his education. Scott&#39;s motivation is similar.</p> <p>&quot;I feel very fortunate to get the education I&#39;ve received,&quot; Scott said. I want to be able to give back.&quot;</p> <p>And she didn&#39;t want to just be all talk, either.</p> <p>&quot;I&#39;ve always wanted to be able to do something like this and then actually stick to what I say I&#39;m going to do, because a lot of people say, &#39;oh, let&#39;s do this&#39; and then don&#39;t actually do it,&quot; Scott said. &quot;I wanted to actually make something happen.&quot;</p> <p>The trip, Scott believes, might also be a good career move.</p> <p>&quot;Pretty much all of Uganda is a biodiversity hot spot, so I&rsquo;m really excited to just work in that environment,&quot; Scott said. &quot;I&rsquo;m hopefully going to be networking. There&rsquo;s a lot of research that goes on in that area looking at primates and there are thousands of species of birds there, too, so it&rsquo;s a pretty exciting place to be as a zoologist. I&rsquo;m going to make as many connections as I can and hopefully find more work in that area, too.&quot;</p> <p>Links:</p> <ul> <li> <a href="" target="_blank">Kirk Mason on Vimeo</a></li> <li> <a href="" target="_blank">Classroom for Benson</a></li> <li> <a href="" target="_blank">Contribute</a></li> </ul> <p><img alt="" src="/files/users/60/2014-5/ugandajan62014.png" /></p> Bethany Pavilion Tue, 06 Jan 2015 18:13:41 +0000 Howard B. Owens 46093 at