Monday, March 27, 2017 at 6:03 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, government, mental health.

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Press release (photo submitted)

Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) and Assemblyman Michael Kearns (D, West Seneca) are urging fellow lawmakers to prevent the Office of Mental Health from closing the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center in West Seneca and moving young patients to the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. Gallivan and Kearns say the move would jeopardize child and adolescent care and safety. They want to resolve the four-year old debate as part of the current state budget negotiations.    

“The Children’s Psychiatric Center in West Seneca (WNYCPC) is rated among the best in the nation in the treatment of children and teens in need of behavioral health services,” Gallivan said.  “I don’t understand why the Office of Mental Health (OMH) insists on fixing something that is not broken. While the merger may save money, there appears to be no clinical reason to move these children to an adult facility and it isn’t fair to patients or their families.” 

Two recent attacks involving patients at the Buffalo facility have also raised concerns about safety.

“Hearing reports of a nurse at Buffalo Psychiatric Center being attacked is disturbing, especially as the governor and Office of Mental Health Commissioner Ann Sullivan continue to push to move the children at WNY Children’s Psychiatric Center in with the adults at Buffalo Psychiatric Center,” Kearns said.  “Why should we trust that the children from the Western New York Children Psychiatric Center will be safe at this facility, when employees at Buffalo Psychiatric Center aren’t even being kept safe? The evidence against this proposal to move these young, vulnerable patients to the Buffalo Psychiatric Center continues to mount and I urge Governor Cuomo, for the safety and well-being of these children, to put an end to this merger.”

Both Gallivan and Kearns have introduced legislation, which would require the OMH to maintain the WNY Children’s Psychiatric Center as a separate and distinct entity both organizationally and physically. Meanwhile, the Senate one house budget resolution and the Assembly one house budget resolution also include language that would keep the West Seneca facility open.

Over the past several years, former patients, family members of patients, workers, community activists and academics have pushed to keep the WNYCPC open. They argue the tranquil surrounding provided at the West Seneca campus is important for the children who are undergoing significant mental trauma and the families desperately trying to protect these children from danger.

Monday, March 27, 2017 at 5:35 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Attica, Wethersfield, Gainesville.

The following were in Wyoming County Court before Judge Michael Mohun March 23.

Kimberly Gillard, who committed a crime in Attica, pled guilty to promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class D felony. Sentencing is scheduled June 22.

Robert Geandreau, who committed a crime in Attica, was sentenced on the conviction of driving while intoxicated, a Class D felony, to one to three years in prison, three years conditional discharge with Ignition Interlock, and license suspended. He is also responsible for all fines and fees incurred. Additionally, he was sentenced to an unconditional discharge on the conviction of operating a motor vehicle without a court ordered Ignition Interlock device. The sentences are to run concurrently.

James Ebner, who committed a crime in Gainesville, pled guilty to aggravated driving while intoxicated. He was sentenced to one year interim probation. Final sentencing is scheduled March 15, 2018.

The following were in court before Mohun March 24.

Tyler Malik, who committed a crime in Wethersfield, was arraigned on a violation of interim probation. He is held without bail in the Wyoming County Jail. He is due in court Wednesday.

The following are from State Correctional Facilities in Attica. 

Bail is set for state inmate cases for two reasons:

    • In the event that the inmates current sentence is overturned on appeal or the inmates sentence is about to expire the bail will kick in on the new case and the inmate would be turned over to the Wyoming County jail while the new case is pending; and

    • When bail is placed on an inmate it follows the inmate so when they are moved to different facilities it is one way for them to be found and also the state system knows there is another case still pending.

David Alexander, pled guilty to promoting prison contraband in the second degree. He was sentenced to a conditional discharge, and fees and surcharges.

Keith Tyson, pled not guilty to promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class D felony. Motions are scheduled May 26. Bail was set at $5,000 cash, bond or property.

William Townsend, was sentenced to eight years in prison and five years post release supervision, and fees and surcharges. The sentence is to run consecutively to his current term. He was convicted of attempted assault in the first degree, a Class C violent felony. 

Lindell Cox, had his Huntley Hearing rescheduled for April 12. A Huntley Hearing is a pretrial hearing in New York State and is requested for the purpose of reviewing the manner in which the police obtained statements from the defendant.

Rance Dreher, pled not guilty to attempted assault in the first degree, a Class C felony; assault in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, and promoting prison contraband in the first degree, all are Class D felonies. Motions are scheduled May 26. Bail was set at $15,000 cash, bond or property. 

Anthony Placido, pled not guilty to prison contraband in the first degree, a Class D felony. Motions are scheduled May 26. Bail was set at $5,000 cash, bond or property. 

Sean Barnhill, pled not guilty to gang assault in the first degree and assault in the first degree, both are Class B felonies; and promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class D felony. The case is adjourned to May 26. Bail was set at $15,000 cash, bond or property.

Devante Spencer, pled not guilty to gang assault in the first degree and assault in the first degree, both are Class B felonies; and promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class D felony. The case is adjourned to May 26. Bail was set at $20,000 cash, bond or property.

Monday, March 27, 2017 at 5:16 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, hunting, fishing, Sports, DEC.

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Press release (file photo)

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is proposing four free sport fishing days be added to complement the state's existing free sport fishing days. DEC is seeking public comments on the proposed changes. The days are based on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's signed legislation in 2014 authorizing additional statewide free fishing days.

First established in 1991, free sport fishing days allow New York residents and non-residents to fish for free without a fishing license at any of the state's 7,500 lakes and ponds or 70,000 miles of rivers and streams.

The free events give people who might not fish a chance to try the rewarding sport at no cost, introduce people to a new hobby, and encourage people to support the sport by purchasing a New York State fishing license.

The proposed additions are:

    • Presidents Day Weekend (the weekend immediately preceding Presidents Day in the month of February) – These two days generally coincide with winter recess for schools, making it ideal for families to try ice fishing.

    • National Hunting and Fishing Day (one day) – Takes place annually on the 4th Saturday in September and links to events taking place nationwide. Fishing at this time of year is generally good for many species, including fall salmon fishing in the Great Lakes tributaries.

    • Veteran's Day (one day) – Fishing is considered one of the most therapeutic outdoor activities, making it an excellent tribute to veterans and those currently serving. Cuomo specified Veteran's Day as a free fishing day in 2015, and this proposal would make it a permanent free fishing day.

In addition, to avoid confusion concerning the existing free fishing days in June, DEC is proposing the regulation be changed from "the weekend which includes the last Saturday in June," to the "last full weekend in June."

Defining specific free fishing days allows DEC to more effectively promote these days well in advance of their occurrence, ultimately increasing public participation. Furthermore, having a designated set of free fishing days allows those planning vacations around these dates to do so without issue.

Public comments will be accepted through May 6, 2017. 

Comments can be sent to the address Joelle Ernst, NYSDEC Division of Fish and Wildlife, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, N.Y. 12233-4753 or emailed to fwfish@dec.ny.gov - enter "Free Sport Fishing Days" in the subject line.

Monday, March 27, 2017 at 5:07 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, government, announcements, Sen. Gallivan.

Press release

Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) says the Senate has once again approved a bill that would require New York State to notify a local municipality when a sex offender is transferred from a state facility to a community program or residence. The Senate also passed the legislation (S.2132) in 2015 and 2016, but it failed in the Assembly.

The bill sponsored by Gallivan would amend the mental hygiene law to require the Commissioner of the Office of People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to notify the chief executive officer of any municipality where a sex offender is transferred. The superintendent of schools in which the facility is located would also have to be notified.

"The state has an obligation to notify local leaders whenever the transfer of a potentially dangerous sex offender into a residential or community program occurs,” Gallivan said.  “Too often, community leaders learn of the transfer after the fact and don’t have adequate time to properly address public concerns and potential security issues.”

The legislation would require the commissioner of OPWDD to notify local officials no later than 10 calendar days prior to the transfer taking place.    

In the past, the state has placed developmentally disabled sex offenders at state-owned group homes in Western New York and across the state, catching many communities off guard and raising concerns about public safety.

The bill has been sent to the Assembly. 

Monday, March 27, 2017 at 5:02 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, government, news, announcements.

Press release

On a vote of 50-9, the Senate recently passed legislation which would heighten the punishment for anyone convicted of making a terroristic threat against a police officer. 

The bill (S-1984) would make it a class C felony to make such threats against a law enforcement officer. Under current law, it is a class D felony to make terroristic threats against any individual.    

“By the very nature of their work, police officers are frequently targets of these types of threats,” said Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma).  “A police officer is a representative of the community which he or she serves and in order to deter these threats, a higher penalty for those who target law enforcement representatives is necessary.”

The legislation would amend the state’s penal law to create a new section establishing the crime of making a terroristic threat against a police officer.  The Senate passed similar legislation in 2015 and 2016, but it failed in the State Assembly.

Monday, March 27, 2017 at 4:46 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, government, news, health.

This information was provided by Congressman Chris Collins and Assemblyman David DiPietro’s offices

Wyoming County has the lowest Medicaid liability in Western New York for fiscal year 2016 – 25.7 percent ($5,321,747) of the property tax levy. Erie County – 82.8 percent ($203,699,556) of the property tax levy – has the highest liability. 

The Collins-Faso amendment would save county governments billions of dollars, Congressman Chris Collins says.

Currently, New York State raises $7 billion from counties to fund its $27 billion Medicaid liability. Of that, $2.3 billion comes from outside of New York City, and would be subject to the amendment. In total, New York spends $60 billion per year on Medicaid. This amount of spending is second in the nation only to California, which is home to almost twice as many people as New York.

The following outlines the FY16 Medicaid liability for NY-27 counties:

    • Niagara: $44,152,519 (59.0% of the property tax levy)

    • Orleans: $8,074,102 (49.8% of the property tax levy)

    •  Livingston: $9,064,064 (34.1% of the property tax levy)

    • Ontario: $16,033,295 (30.2% of the property tax levy)

    • Monroe: $175,851,749 (48.6% of the property tax levy)

    • Genesee: $9,403,509 (35% of the property tax levy)

    • NYS Total: $2.3 billion (44.3% of the county property tax levy)

"Governor (Andrew) Cuomo and his sidekick are using doomsday predictions to scare everyday New Yorkers into allowing Albany to continue taxing them to death,” Collins said. “It's absolutely disgusting the governor would threaten the middle class with a tax increase, while holding a $14 billion taxpayer funded slush fund in his back pocket. As I have said before, if this governor can't find 1.5 percent to save in his budget, I am more than willing to find it for him."

New York spends 44 percent more per Medicaid beneficiary than the national average ($10,426 vs. $7,236), second only to Massachusetts in highest spending per full beneficiary in the nation. Additionally, while the state is home to only 6.5 percent of the national population, it accounts for 11 percent of total Medicaid spending. By passing Medicaid costs onto counties, New York State is not realizing the financial impact of its out-of-control Medicaid policy, causing more spending on the program. 

Collins says, the difference between the governor's proposal and the one introduced by him is that instead of saving hardworking taxpayer money, Cuomo's sole intention in forcing New York City to foot the bill to fund the Medicaid program was to “increase the size of his taxpayer funded slush fund.”

“For this governor to threaten to raise taxes, in the highest-taxed state in the nation, with the biggest burden on small businesses, with families fleeing for greener pastures, is absurd,” said Assemblyman David DiPietro. “We’re about to pass a budget somewhere north of $150 billion. He can’t find money for Medicaid in $150 billion because he simply doesn’t want too. Threatening the taxpayers over an issue he controls to get the attention of Washington is sad, and we deserve better.”  

DiPietro represents the 147th Assembly District which covers all of Wyoming County and the southern portion of Erie County.

For more information visit: Medicaid Fact Sheet or NYS Medicaid Costs by County

Monday, March 27, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Press release

The Senate passed a comprehensive package of bills that would strengthen and preserve agriculture as New York’s leading industry March 22. The bipartisan measures help support farm workforce retention and expansion; create new tax credits for preserving farmland, transitioning to organic certification, and offering healthy options in communities; promote the use of local produce in schools; and help prepare new farmers for successful careers, among other initiatives.

"Agriculture is one the most important industries in New York and we need to do all we can to ensure its growth and success, especially for young farmers and those just starting out,” said Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma). “These initiatives will support hardworking farmers, their families and others who rely on a strong and vibrant agriculture industry.” 

The measures build upon the Senate’s ongoing commitment to agriculture, including its role as the undisputed leader in restoring more than $55 million in proposed state funding cuts since 2011. This funding has helped support investments in cutting-edge agricultural research, education for the next generation of family farmers, environmental stewardship, and protections for plant, animal, and public health. 

The bill package would help further support the growth of agriculture in New York and create jobs by:
    • S2905, doubling the existing Farm Workforce Retention Credit: co-sponsored by Gallivan, would help farmers meet consumer demands with a strong and steady workforce. The bill increases the credit to $500 per eligible employee this year, and $1,200 per employee when fully effective, saving farmers an estimated $60 million when fully implemented.
    • S1430, helping schools purchase local produce: would allow school districts offering bids for food services to include language that favors local or regional farm producers. This expands the market for local produce, encourages larger distributors to invest in smaller farms, and could help co-ops or farms without the resources to independently participate in a bidding process access local school procurement programs.
    • S4021, establishing a Young Farmer Advisory Board: co-sponsored by Gallivan, establishes a young farmer agriculture advisory board designed to advise and make recommendations on policies and programs affecting agriculture. Young and beginning farmers play a fundamental role in preventing the threat posed by the gradual aging of famers and in the future success and growth of New York farms.
     • S4660, creating a Future Agriculture Readiness Marketing camp (F.A.R.M.): helps those new to the agriculture industry gain the valuable knowledge and tools needed to promote their businesses. Offered once yearly to a select group of successful farmer applicants, this camp will expose selectees to several of the best agriculture programs in the state. Each participant will have access to all that SUNY has to offer, allowing them to develop their business and themselves. An exclusive group of graduates from the program will also be granted additional aid in the form of grant funds to help them make their marketing plan a reality.
    • S4900, increasing new farmers’ access to land: directs the State Department of Agriculture and Markets to enhance access to viable agricultural land for new and beginning farmers. The agency would work with the Office of General Services to develop an inventory of state-owned real property that may be viable for farming. This would help younger farmers overcome frequent barriers that prevent them from gaining access to land and contribute to the aging of the farming population, such as the complex process of transferring ownership of farms and prohibitive capital costs.
    • S2479, conserving productive land: would create a statewide blueprint for conserving productive land and maintaining the vitality of agricultural production in New York State. The measure would require the state to propose programs that encourage the growth of emerging trends and practices that might benefit small- to mid-sized farms.
    • S3835, creating a farm savings account: establishes a tax-deferred savings account that will allow farmers to self-insure part of their risk to counteract strong cyclical downturns in the farm economy. Some of the methods used by farmers to help offset losses due to weather or other market forces include delaying the purchase of equipment and the repayment of loans. A farm savings account will offer farmers another management tool to help offset their costs.
    • S4721, providing tax credits for organic farm transitions: creates a tax credit to increase the profit margin for certain agricultural products that meet any one of several industry standards for crop quality during the three-year transitional period to USDA Organic Certification. This will reduce the uncertainty farmers face when attempting to achieve USDA Organic Certification by providing them with an expanded market for their products and greater financial security during the transition period.
    • S562, offering tax exemptions for organic farm transitions: creates a real property tax exemption for the lands of a farm operation that are transitioning to organic. In 2011, New York ranked third in the nation in the total amount of organic farms with 597, with the state’s certified organic farms selling a total of $107 million produced commodities. This credit would foster the growth of these farms and is similar to an existing tax exemption for the replanting of vineyards and orchards.
    • S4265, lifting size restrictions on wine ice cream: would lift the current minimum packaging requirements (at least one pint) for the sale of wine ice cream to meet consumer demand for smaller containers of wine ice cream for weddings, fundraisers, recreational tours and other events.
    • S943, creating the Healthy Options and Community Outreach program: would create the program to increase public awareness and address the issue of “food deserts.” It would create a new tax credit for small grocery and convenience stores that commit to selling healthy food and drinks at their shops. Up to 100 percent of an improvement project’s cost could become eligible for a credit if the owner expands, purchases coolers or shelving for the purposes of selling healthier food options.
    • S4535, preserving farmland: encourages farmers – particularly those located in areas of the state with greater development pressure – to participate in farmland preservation efforts and remain stewards of their land for future generations. It would change the maximum acreage for agricultural assessment of farm woodlands from 50 to 100 acres.
    • S368, helping timber harvesters: authorizes the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to execute contracts for timber or other forest products valued at under $50,000 without approval from the state comptroller. Currently, any contract to harvest more than $10,000 of timber on non protected state lands must be approved by DEC and the State Comptroller's Office, which can be time consuming and jeopardize timber-harvesting timeframes.
    • S1078, promoting farm cideries: would expand products sold by farm cideries and authorizing such farms to sell cider to other licensees for resale.
    • S1240, reducing transportation costs: allows the New York State Thruway Authority to provide a discounted toll rate of half the normal toll to farmers transporting agricultural products. This measure would give farmers some relief from high transportation costs for shipping goods to markets throughout the state.
    • S1333, awarding Excellence in Agriculture: provides a mechanism for the state to develop an agriculture and food awards program. It would be provided to farmers, manufacturers and processors that produce exceptional products using locally sourced ingredients, and the businesses that make a special effort to market and promote them. These awards could also be presented to restaurants, food retailers, and schools and colleges that feature and promote New York farm foods.
The bills acted upon on National Agriculture Day were among the latest efforts by the Senate to focus on growing New York agriculture from the ground up. Recently, the Senate passed a budget resolution that included extensive measures that invest in the state’s farm workforce, support the next generation of farmers, and help farmers connect to new markets, among other initiatives to support farming’s growth. 

Initiatives included:

    • $12 million in restored funding for important agricultural programs cut by the 2017-2018 Executive Budget;
    • $60 million in tax relief for farmers by doubling the existing Farm Workforce Retention Credit, as outlined above in S2905;
    • $10 million to help make additional investments in county fair facilities so that New Yorkers can continue to learn about agriculture and farms in their area.
    • Support for $3 million for drought relief in parts of Central and Western New York when lack of rain in 2016 caused severe crop losses;
    • $1.8 million to expand access for 120,000 seniors to get free, fresh produce at area farmer’s markets;
    • An additional $200,000 for Farm-to-Schools, for a total of nearly $1 million;
    • Expand Future Farmers of America (FFA) by supporting and building upon the $542,000 in the Executive Budget;
    • $500,000 to help farmers with questions about employment laws and regulations by providing access to Cornell-based specialists;
    • $450,000 to help farmers expand to new markets, especially those needing assistance to achieve organic certification;
    • $250,000 for the Future Agriculture Readiness Marketing (FARM) Camps, also outlined above in S4660;
    • $200,000 for a "Seeds of Success" award to promote and recognize school gardens and gardening programs across the state;
    • $100,000 for "Farm to Table Trail" development that directs consumers to local food and beverage options; and
    • An expansion of Pathways in Technology (P-TECH) agriculture programs to create opportunities for high school students to achieve credits towards college study in agriculture.

Monday, March 27, 2017 at 3:39 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Warsaw, Perry, news.

Courtney Nearhood, 25, of Perry, was arrested March 22 on a warrant issued by the Village of Warsaw Court for violation of probation. Nearhood was arrested at her residence in the Village. She was bailed out on $1,000 cash bail or $2,000 bond. The defendant is due in court April 10.

Geoffrey Beagle, 32, of Perry, was charged March 24 with disorderly conduct. Wyoming County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Beagle while investigating a domestic disturbance on Tuna Street, Perry. Beagle is accused of shouting obscenities to deputies. He is due in Perry Village Court at a later date.

Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 6:37 am
posted by Howard Owens in Dining Deals, advertisements.

Reminders of how the new Dining Deals program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for Wyoming County Free Press.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a two-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
Friday, March 24, 2017 at 8:07 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Attica, music, education.

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An ensemble of young musicians and choral singers from Wyoming and Genesee counties will be performing at the All-County Music Festival sponsored by the Genesee-Wyoming Music Educators’ Association Inc.

The first performance begins at 2 p.m. Saturday in the auditorium at Attica High School, Main Street, Attica. The second performance will be at 2 p.m. April 1 at Pavilion Central School, Big Tree Road, Pavilion.

Students from St. Joseph and Notre Dame, and Alexander, Attica, Batavia, Byron-Bergen, Elba, Le Roy, Oakfield-Alabama, Pavilion, Pembroke and Wyoming school districts compete for a chance to perform in the festival.

Performances include the Senior High Jazz Band Ensemble, the Elementary All-County Chorus, the Junior High All-County Band, and the Senior High All-County Chorus.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 8:35 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, weather.

Friday travelers may see icy conditions on roadways on their morning commute to work when overnight temperature dip below freezing.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a winter weather advisory for freezing rain in effect from 5 to 11 a.m. Friday. 

A brief period of freezing rain may result in slippery conditions on untreated surfaces. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 8:21 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, health, events, Perry, organ donation.

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Ed Draves had called his wife one day and asked her if he could donate one of his kidneys – thinking he was joking, she promptly replied “yes.”

The following day, Draves asked the same thing of his boss, he did, after all have to find out if his boss would agree to the time off. Again, the question was thought of as a joke and his boss replied “yes.”

“On a trip to Mexico, one of the guys there, Brother Joe, had said, ‘If you really want to pray a great prayer…' ” said Draves during a presentation on live organ donation at the Perry Rotary March meeting.

“Gary had kidney failure and was looking for an organ donor. I felt I had to do something about it. So I thought of Brother Joe’s words…’If you really want to pray a great prayer…’ So I prayed a great prayer and went and got a blood test to see if I could be a match with Gary.”

Just two years ago, Draves donated one of his kidneys to a "brother" in need.

He first found out about Gary through an “open letter” in The Masonic News, a newsletter for the Masonic Lodge Draves belongs to. 

Gary Garippo was suffering from a form of noncancerous kidney disease and was in need of a transplant. After Draves read the letter, he went to get the initial blood test to see if he was a match. 

Draves is a member of Western Star Lodge No 1185 and is on the Grand Lodge of Free And Accepted Masons of New York Blood and Organ Donor committee, partnering with Unyts. 

According to its website, Unyts is a “donor center organ, tissue, eye and blood donation service in the Western New York community." Its vision is to “advance the dynamic Donate Life” message.

Draves ended up being the second-best match for Gary. Another Western New Yorker was the best match. However, as he put it, he did “pray a great prayer.” 

“The woman who was the first match for Gary ended up having to back out. During the testing, it was found that she was prone to kidney stones. I got a call and was asked if I was still willing to donate.”

Draves said yes and soon began a battery of health exams – he had to lose a few pounds – and testing – blood tests, health tests, stress tests, and psychological testing.

“They had to ensure that I would have no regrets if the recipient ended up being a ‘jerk.’ They also had to talk with my wife and daughter to make sure they were supportive of the decision.”

According to United Network for Organ Sharing, in 2015, close to 31,000 organ transplants took place nationally. Approximately 81 percent (24,982) of the transplants involved organs from deceased donors, who can donate multiple organs. The remaining 19 percent (5,986) were made possible by living donors.

However, at one point in the testing, doctors were unsure if Draves was really healthy enough to withstand the surgery.

“Come to find out, I have a heart issue – prolapse mitral valve. Basically, I have a leaky heart.”

While his condition isn’t serious now, annual exams allow the doctors to monitor it. If at any time they notice a change, surgery can be performed before a life-threatening condition arises. However, Draves decided to get a second opinion. And while his condition was confirmed by a cardiologist, he also cleared him for live organ donation.

“I passed all the tests and surgery was scheduled. I went in on a Friday. By Saturday the nurses had me up walking around. By Saturday afternoon I wanted to go home. On Sunday, I went home.

“On Monday, I went with my wife to go get her glasses and I wanted to mall walk, so we did, and then we went to Denny’s for a ‘Grand Slam.' I didn’t take any of the prescribed pain medication, I took Tylenol instead.”

In the United States, Draves says 118,000 people are in need of an organ transplant, of those people, 22 die everyday because there is no organ for them.

“During the time we have been here, one hour and 15 minutes, someone has died.”

And the irony is, prior to Gary’s open letter and Draves's subsequent donation, Draves was not even registered as an organ donor.

As he puts it, organ donating “saves lives and leave a legacy.”

Draves and his wife live in Orchard Park with their two children. A wine manager with Premier Wine & Spirit in Orchard Park, he is also a volunteer with Unyts, Shriners, Masons, Grand Lodge Youth Committee, Zuleika Grotto (which raises money for dentistry for disabled kids), Windom Elementary Shared Decision Committee, and he's a martial arts instructor.

For more information on becoming an organ donor visit http://www.unyts.org/

Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 4:03 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Attica, Attica Correctional Facility.

Press release:

Two corrections officers (COs) at Attica Correctional Facility were attacked this week, and they were among four separate attacks against COs in two other State facilities this week. One officer was severely injured in the attack and is in the hospital, officials with the New York State Corrections Officer Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA) reported.

The first Attica incident occurred when an inmate destroyed a hospital room and became wildly violent while being extracted from the room. The inmate threw a liquid, later identified as urine, on the CO.

The second attack occurred as an inmate overdosed on suspected K-2, also known as “spice,” which is synthetic marijuana. The inmate was escorted to the facility hospital for treatment where he became aggressive and vicious toward staff. The COs had to restrain the inmate before removing him for admission to an outside hospital.

These four new incidents highlight the incredible dangers COs face at the hands of the most violent inmates in the history of the department, officials say.

At Five Points Correctional Facility, Romulus, an inmate began to viciously assault a CO after refusing to follow orders and cooperate. The inmate delivered multiple blows to the officer’s head and face. The assault continued until fellow COs were able to call for an emergency response. The officer was left with fractures to the face, a dislocated shoulder, and multiple contusions.

“These incidents are a stark reminder of the dangers our officers face every day. They risk their lives to protect the safety of fellow staff and inmates, and it's past time that the state stepped up to give our officers the additional tools and resources we need to make our prisons safer for those who work and live there. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured officers and their families, and we wish them all a speedy and full recovery,” say NYSCOPBA Western Region VP Joe Miano and Northern Region VP Chris Hansen in a written statement.

In the fourth incident, an officer who was making security rounds discovered an inmate using drugs in the bathroom stall at Clinton Correctional Facility, Dannemora. After refusing to cooperate, the inmate charged the officer, struggling, shoving and striking him repeatedly. Three other officers responded to the attack as the inmate fiercely refused to comply. Two small bursts of pepper spray were deployed to finally subdue the inmate; mechanical restraints were used to gain control of the inmate’s arms.

Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 3:41 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Attica, Batavia.

Two men, allegedly identifying themselves as police officers, are accused of breaking into a home on Swan Street in Batavia at 2:22 a.m. today. 

Police say the pair then attacked the occupants, causing physically injury.

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      Kolton Cotter

Kolton Cotter, 22, of Albion, was charged with: robbery; burglary; coercion; conspiracy; criminal possession of a weapon; criminal impersonation; petit larceny; criminal mischief; assault; possession of burglary tools; unlawful imprisonment; criminal obstruction of breathing; obstruction of governmental administration; resisting arres; and unlawful possession of marijuana.

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      Andrew Morris

Andrew Morris, 19, of Attica, was charged with: robbery; burglary; coercion; conspiracy; criminal possession of a weapon; criminal impersonation; petit larceny; assault; possession of burglar tools; and unlawful possession of marijuana.

As reported on the Wyoming County Free Press sister site The Batavian, officers Darryl Streeter and Frank Klimjack responded to the report of a break-in in progress and found Morris inside the residence and took him into custody. Cotter fled and was chased by Klimjack.  

Klimjack caught up with him on Graham Street and deployed a Taser to help subdue him. Cotter was transported by Mercy EMS to UMMC for evaluation.

Batavia PD said Morris and Cotter identified themselves as undercover police officers in an attempt to steal property.

At one point, a suspect reportedly told the victims that at least one of them was armed. Police did not report recovering a firearm. The type of weapon recovered was not identified by police.

The suspects were arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail.

Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 2:55 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Eagle, Warsaw, drugs.

Two Town of Eagle residents are facing numerous drug-related charges following a join investigation between the Wyoming County Jail and Sheriff’s Office Road divisions.

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     Melissa M. Preen

Melissa M. Preen, 25, was stopped on Route 19, Warsaw, for an inspection violation. Deputies say she was driving while her license was suspended from the Town of Castile Court. Additionally, she allegedly showed signs of drug use. Following a roadside investigation and field sobriety testing, she was arrested on suspicion of driving while impaired by drugs. 

She was taken to the county jail for a breath test, while being searched by corrections officers, Preen was allegedly found to be concealing numerous hypodermic needles, drug paraphernalia, cocaine and heroin on her person “in a concealed area.”

Preen then submitted to a drug influence evaluation by a certified drug recognition expert, who alleges she was impaired by the use of multiple substances. 

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     Richard Gargula

Additionally, officials say she was in possession of the drugs with the intent to sell them to Richard Gargula. Gargula was incarcerated in the Wyoming County Jail at the time of the incident.

Preen was charged with numerous vehicle and traffic violations: aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree; driving while ability impaired by a drug; driving while ability impaired by the combination of drugs; criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument; and introduction of dangerous contraband into a jail in the first degree, a Class D felony; and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree with intent to sell, a Class B felony. 

She was put in Wyoming County Jail on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond. 

Gargula, 33, was charged March 19 with criminal solicitation in the fourth degree. He is accused of soliciting Preen to commit the felony of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree.

Due to Gargula being an inmate at the time of his arrest, his personal belongings were searched by jail staff. Officials say a narcotic preparation was found within his clothing. Subsequently, he was also charged with introduction of dangerous contraband in the first degree, a Class D felony, and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree – more than 500 mgs. of cocaine, a Class D felony. 

He was jailed on $1,000 cash bail or $2,000 bond for the solicitation charge, and $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond for the felony charges. 

Both are due in court at a later date.

Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 2:29 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Perry, Warsaw.
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       Roy A. Newton

A Perry man is facing felony drug charges following a traffic stop on Simmons Road, Perry. Wyoming County Sheriff’s deputies stopped Roy A. Newton, 44, for allegedly speeding. During the stop, deputies say he exhibited multiple signs of drug use. After allegedly performing poorly on field sobriety testing, he was arrested. 

Newton is accused of possessing eight morphine pills, 7.3 grams of concentrated cannabis, which is a controlled substance known as “dabbing oil,” and other drug paraphernalia. It is reported that the aggregate weight of the “dabbing oil” elevated the drug possession charge to a felony. Additionally, he is accused of possessing the concentrated cannabis with intent to sell it.

Deputies took him to the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office, where a drug recognition expert determined him to be impaired by narcotics and cannabis.

Subsequently, Newton was charged with: two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, both as Class D felonies; criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree; driving while ability impaired by drugs; and driving while ability impaired by the combined influence of drugs. He was also cited for two traffic infractions, speed over 55 mph; and illegal window tint. He was put in Wyoming County Jail on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond.

He is due in the Town of Perry Court April 5.

Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 1:48 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, fire, Sheldon, Strykersville, Arcade, Java.

A smoke detector alerted homeowners of a problem with the woodstove chimney around 8:21 p.m. Wednesday. 

Firefighters from Strykersville and Arcade fire departments responded to 5866 Michigan Road, Java, and found the chimney fire had extended into the wall surrounding the woodstove vent pipe. Standing by at empty fire stations were Sheldon and Yorkshire fire departments. Assisting at the scene was Wyoming County Emergency Management. 

Crews were on the scene for two hours and able to contain the fire to the wall around the chimney on the first and second floors of the home. 

Fire Chief in Charge was Strykersville Fire Chief Brian Ash.

The chimney fire caused approximately $15,000 in damages.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 4:31 pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, Strykersville, Sheldon.

At 10:48 p.m. on March 19, the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office received a call of a male victim who had just been stabbed with a knife.

Deputies arrived on location on Perry Road in the Town of Sheldon and spoke with the adult male victim who had cuts to his arm. Strykersville ambulance arrived and took the victim to a local hospital where he was treated for his injuries and later released.

Further investigation allegedly showed that Janet D. Adamczack, who is known to the victim, cut the victim during an argument. After the incident Adamczack allegedly attempted to hide the involved weapon so that law enforcement could not find it. The knife was located and secured as evidence.

The 42-year-old Strykersville resident was arrested and charged with: second-degree assault, a felony; tampering with physical evidence, also a felony; and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.

She was arraigned in the Village of Warsaw Court and held in lieu of $5,000 cash bail/$10,000 bond. The defendant is to appear in the Town of Sheldon Court on a later date.

NYS Police -- Warsaw brarracks also assisted at the scene. The case was handled by Wyoming County Sheriff's Deputy A.J. Previty, Sgt. Bryant, and Deputy M. Jorgensen.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 4:14 pm
posted by Billie Owens in Attica, crime.

On Feb. 27, an officer from the Attica Police Department responded to the Attican Motel, located at 11180 Route 98, Attica, for a report of a suspicious male outside room #101 yelling “Someone’s going to get murdered tonight” and “Everyone is going to die.”

Upon arrival at about 9:30 p.m., the officer met with the individual, Channing Ballinger. During the initial interview, Ballinger police say was irate and refused to comply with police directions. The officer attempted to conduct a mental health arrest of the subject when he began to physically attack the officer, pinning the officer to the ground, according to the police report.

During the struggle the officer was able get free from Ballinger and deploy a Taser. Ballinger was taken into custody with the assistance of deputies from the Wyoming County Sheriff Office, the Genesee County Sheriff Office and the New York State Police. Ballinger and the officers did not sustain any injuries. Ballinger was transported to the Wyoming County Community Hospital Emergency Department for mental health evaluation.

The 32-year-old is charged with: second-degree attempted assault on a police officer; resisting arrest; second-degree obstruction of governmental administration; fourth-degree criminal mischief; and disorderly conduct.

Ballinger has an extensive history of mental health disease and has open criminal charges in the Town of Batavia and Village of Warsaw. Upon Ballinger's release from the mental health unit on March 13, he was placed under arrest and arraigned in Attica Village Court on the charges cited above. Ballinger was then put in Genesee County Jail on $25,000, or $50,000 bond.

Ballinger was to reappear in the Town of Alexander Court on March 14. Channing Ballinger has a history of violence against law enforcement and hospital staff.

Monday, March 20, 2017 at 9:04 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Eagle, maple weekend, agribusiness, Business.

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More than 20 years ago, 14 members of the Wyoming County Maple Association wanted a better way to market their maple products in a fun-filled way, hence the creation of Maple Sunday. When county maple producers realized there was a real disconnect between the producers and the consumers, the one-day event became a way to showcase one of Wyoming County’s largest agricultural commodities.

“We didn’t really have any idea what was going to happen,” said Gary Bray, owner of Bray Farms, Bray Road, Eagle, “but we wanted to give it a try.”

Now called Maple Weekend, the festivities comprise back-to-back weekends at the end of March. 

“We started out as one day, then two, and now…,” Bray said. “When we had people calling us asking if they can come to the farm another time, not only couldn’t we turn them down, we realized there was a real interest and had to add days.” 

According to Bray, New York State is number two in maple production – behind Canada, but ahead of Vermont. Additionally, maple syrup is only produced from Southeastern Canada, to the mountains of Virginia, west to Kansas, and north to Michigan and Wisconsin. Producers also tap in Ohio and Indiana.

“We are in the middle of maple country in the whole world. While you can tap red maples, the sugar density is different, thus not as flavorful.”

The flavor of maple syrup is derived from the soil where the tree grows, therefore, syrup from New York will have a different flavor than syrups from other areas. Yet syrup isn’t the only product sap is used for, it can also be processed into sugar, cream, candy, barbecue sauces, and other value-added products.

“Back in my grandparents' day, they would make blocks of maple sugar and take it to the market to trade. They would barter the maple sugar for groceries. The grocers would then turn around and sell the sugar to other consumers. During the war (World War II) sugar was in short supply, maple sugar was a way to sweeten things up. It can also be used in place of dry sugar in recipes, as can maple syrup; there is a conversion chart for that purpose.”

Not only has Bray opened his doors to residents of Western New York, other visitors to his farm hailed from Italy, France, Spain, Japan and England. 

“In other countries, maple syrup is a total luxury.”

The only thing in pure maple syrup is, well, syrup. For a Wyoming County producer to have their product labeled as pure New York State maple syrup, it must be accurately graded according to its color.

Part of the weekend also serves to educate the public on the nutritional value of syrup. Bray says, pure maple syrup has nutrients the body needs. 

Producers make the golden sweet liquid by concentrating the sap from the maple tree, which then produces a usable product. All the minerals and sugars in the sap are concentrated to 67-68 percent on the Brix scale (named after Adolf F. Brix (1798-1870)). The hydrometer scale is used for measuring the amount of sugar in a solution at a given temperature.

“Making syrup is entirely dependent on nature…the type of soil, the weather, the atmosphere. Even the barometric pressure affects the producer and when and if they can boil. The process of making syrup is to boil off the water, the more moisture in the air, the harder it will be to boil. Syrup boils at 7 degrees over the boiling point of water; depending on the day and barometric pressure, the boiling point can differ, even within the same county.

“The more educated we become, it actually becomes more complicated. However, new technology allows us to better come to our final product.”

In the 21 years Bray has been a part of Maple Weekend he has not only seen changes in how maple is produced – from buckets to vacuum lines, and from woodstove processing to using reverse osmosis – he has also seen the market for maple products grow.

“We want people to come and ask us questions and learn what syrup is, how it’s made and how it can be used. It’s more than just pancake syrup. Maple is versatile…and it’s good for you.”

Maple Weekend continues March 25 and 26. For more information click here.

See related: Maple Weekend kicks off Saturday

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