Friday, December 19, 2014 at 2:21 pm

ridin_shotgun_-_somewhere_in_gainesville_.jpg

ridin_shotgun_-_somewhere_in_gainesville_1.jpg

On my way to a fire in Gainesville, Grain Dryer fire at Marquat Farms, Gainesville, I noticed the ice crystals on the trees -- and hoped the roads would remain relatively ice free -- and wondered if it would still look as magical on my way home. I was not disappointed. While the landscape seemingly looks like it blends into itself, I think it's pretty neat how everything looks almost fuzzy and blurry. I was ridin' shotgun somewhere in Gainesville.

ridin_shotgun_-_somewhere_in_gainesville_2.jpg

ridin_shotgun_-_somewhere_in_gainesville_3.jpg

ridin_shotgun_-_somewhere_in_gainesville_4.jpg

ridin_shotgun_-_somewhere_in_gainesville_5.jpg

ridin_shotgun_-_somewhere_in_gainesville_6.jpg

ridin_shotgun_-_somewhere_in_gainesville_7.jpg

Friday, December 19, 2014 at 11:19 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Castile, Arcade, Perry.

Edward P. Koziel, 23, of Leicester, was charged with assault in the second-degree, a Class D felony, for causing physical injury to an officer; resisting arrest, a Class A misdemeanor; and criminal mischief in the fourth-degree, also a Class A misdemeanor. The Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department, assisted by the Perry Police Department, responded to a residence on Lower Reservation Road in the Town of Castile for a 23-year-old male alleging trashing a residence. During the investigations, officers attempted to take Koziel into custody when he actively resisted and caused injury to a deputy’s right shoulder. Koziel is currently being held in the Wyoming County Jail with bail set at $25,000 cash or $75,000 bond. Koziel is due in Castile Town Court at a later date.

Katherine A. Ray, 33, of Allegany, was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation in the third-degree and failure to signal turn. Ray was stopped on Main Street, Arcade, for alleged failure to signal turn. She is due in the Village of Arcade Court at a later date. At the same time, James, M. Higby, 28, of Bolivar, was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation in the second-degree. Higby was allegedly traveling in a separate vehicle with Ray and allegedly stopped when Ray was stopped. Higby is due in the Village of Arcade Court at a later date.

William D. Steadman, 26, of Fillmore, was charged with felony driving while intoxicated (DWI), felony aggravated DWI, felony aggravated unlicensed operation in the first-degree, failure to dim high beams, unlicensed operation, operating without an interlock device, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle, and a couple of minor equipment violations. Steadman was stopped on West Main Street, Arcade, for failure to dim high beams. During the traffic stop, he was given a breathalyzer test which allegedly resulted in a BAC of .19 percent. Steadman was remanded to the Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail. He is due in the Village of Arcade Court at a later date. Additionally, two other people in the vehicle were issued tickets for consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle.

Friday, December 19, 2014 at 10:51 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Arcade, Attica, Warsaw.

Charles Hecht, of Arcade, pled guilty to the charge of grand larceny in the fourth-degree, a Class E felony. Hecht was sentenced as a second felony offender to one-and-one-half to three years prison. He was also ordered to pay $100 in restitution, as well as other fees and surcharges.

Alfred Diaz, of Attica, pled not guilty to the charge of two counts of aggravated harassment of an employee by an inmate, a Class E felony. His case has been adjourned to Feb. 11, 2015 for motions. Bail was set at $5,000.

Jayquan Scott, of Attica, pled not guilty to the charge of promoting prison contraband in the first-degree, a Class D felony. Scott’s case has been adjourned to Feb. 11, 2015 for motions.

Allen Shirland, of Attica, pled guilty to the charge of attempted promoting prison contraband in the first-degree, a Class E felony. Shrilled is due in court Feb. 11, 2015 for sentencing.

Robert Jackson, of Attica, pled not guilty to the charges of promoting prison contraband in the first-degree and two counts of assault in the second-degree, both are Class D felonies. Bail was set at $5,000. Jackson is due in court Feb. 11, 2015 for motions.

Kijana Funderburk, of Attica, was sentenced to a three-year conditional discharge for the conviction of attempted promoting prison contraband in the first-degree, a Class E felony. All fees and surcharges are to be paid within one year of his release.

Danielle Balbick, of Warsaw, was convicted of promoting prison contraband in the first-degree, a Class D felony. Balbick was sentenced to two-and-one-half to five years in prison and ordered to pay $375 in fees and surcharges. She was also sentenced to a one year conditional discharge for the conviction of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh-degree, a misdemeanor.

Richard Burr, of Wyoming County, admitted to a violation of probation. He is due in court Feb. 5, 2015.

David Kendall, of Wyoming County, has a violation of probation hearing Jan. 8, 2015.

Friday, December 19, 2014 at 10:24 am

gainesville_fire_routes_19_and_78_.jpg

gainesville_fire_routes_19_and_78_1.jpg

Nine fire companies were called out after midnight in response to a Grain Dryer fire on Route 19 in Gainesville -- Marguart Farms. The Fire Chief on scene Gainesville Chief Greg Lockwood recieved the initial call of a structure fire at Marquart Farms around 1 a.m.. 

"The fire was confined to the grain dryer," Lockwood said. "It was kind of like a huge wood stove."

At this time it is unknown how or where in the grain dryer the fire originated, but it was brought under control around 6 a.m.

Gainesville, Perry, Silver Springs, Bliss, Castile, North Java, Pike, and Warsaw fire departments were on the scene for approximately eight hours this morning. Assisting at the scene was the Department of Corrections -- six inmates provide additional manpower on the scene for pick up and clean up purposes -- Wyoming County Fire Coordinator William Streicher, Wyoming County Emergency Management, National Fuel, New York State Department of Transportation, Gainesville Highway Department, and Ed Hulme Construction, of Warsaw. Standing by at empty fire stations were Fillmore and Perry Center. 

The Gainesville Ladies Auxiliary was called around 3 a.m.. The Silver Springs Ladies Auxiliary assisted.

The estimated cost of damages is $300,000 in structure and contents.

Further information will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

UPDATE 11:21 a.m.: A malfunctioning burner on the grain dryer was determined to be the cause of the fire. Firefighters prevented further damage to other storage bins located in very close proximity to the grain dryer on fire. Additionally, no injuries were reported. The estimated loss of $300,000 included 25,000 bushels of corn lost in the fire.

gainesville_fire_routes_19_and_78_2.jpg

gainesville_fire_routes_19_and_78_3.jpg

gainesville_fire_routes_19_and_78_4.jpg

gainesville_fire_routes_19_and_78_5.jpg

gainesville_fire_routes_19_and_78_6.jpg

gainesville_fire_routes_19_and_78_7.jpg

gainesville_fire_routes_19_and_78_8.jpg

gainesville_fire_routes_19_and_78_9.jpg

Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 5:21 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Castile.

New allegations were made today against Jeremy Ikeler who is already charged with criminally negligent homicide in the death of his 15-year-old daughter Marissa Ikeler and a course of sexual conduct against a child in the first-degree. The new allegations came to light in Wyoming County Court after the Castile resident rejected a global resolution plea offer from the District Attorney’s Office. The DA’s Office gave notice of possible presentation, sometime in January, of the new allegations of child pornography to the Grand Jury. 

“At the time of the initial charges of criminally negligent homicide and sex abuse, a search warrant was executed to obtain possible evidence to those two charges,” said Assistant District Attorney Eric Schiener. “The warrant included computers, smart phones and the like, to be seized.” 

Computers were listed on the search warrant as probable cause that evidence could be found, however in processing the home, a computer was missed. According to the DA’s Office, a relative allegedly took a computer from the Ikeler home that was included in the search warrant. The computer was then turned over to police.

“The defendant has no challenge to that computer because it was in the possession of someone else,” Schiener said. “He can not assert 4th Amendment rights because it was part of the search warrant and given up freely by the relative.”

According to the DA’s Office, the plea bargain offered that no new charges would be filed or pursued on what was found on the execution of the search warrant if Ikeler agreed to representative pleas (a lesser included offense). Ikeler would have had to plea guilty to criminally negligent homicide and plea to the Class E felony on the sex abuse charge. The new allegations were known at the time the plea bargain was made, officials said.

“We were under no obligation to give notice of possible Grand Jury proceedings,” Schiener  said. “We tried to wrap things up as quickly as possible to try and not burden the family and the little girls any longer.”

In a related matter, Astrid Ikeler, also charged with criminally negligent homicide, rejected the same plea offer extended to her husband, Jeremy. 

Although Astrid is a German citizen, the proceedings will go forward, according to the DA’s Office. Any impact of her citizenship would be after a plea of guilty or the findings of a jury trial. At this time the DA’s Office does not know her immigration status, however, according to O’Geen, she faces a new detainer filed against her by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

The Ikeler’s were indicted by the Wyoming County Grand Jury for criminally negligent homicide. According to the Wyoming County Sheriff's office, on Jan. 26, Wyoming County Sheriff’s responded to an ambulance call in the town of Castile for a 15-year-old female that had a seizure and was not breathing. The child was transported to Wyoming County Community Hospital by Castile Ambulance and Medic 80 (a paramedic unit from Monroe Ambulance Service) where she was revived and then transferred to Womens and Children’s Hospital, Buffalo.

On Jan. 27, the child succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased at 12:05 p.m. by hospital staff. An autopsy was conducted by the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office and on May 2 the results came back as homicide due to medical neglect. According to the Medical Examiner, the child was not receiving proper care and medication for an existing condition. 

Both are being held in the Wyoming County Jail in lieu of bail: $5,000 for Astrid and $100,000 for Jeremy.

See: Medical neglect is found to be the cause of a 15-year-old’s death.

Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Business, weather.

Press release

New York businesses and residents affected by severe winter storms on Nov. 19 through 26, can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet announced today.

Administrator Contreras-Sweet made the loans available in response to a letter from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Dec. 11, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers Erie, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Niagara, and Wyoming counties.

"The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of New York with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans," Contreras-Sweet said. "Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA."

"Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property," said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA's Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

"Businesses of any size and non-profit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets," said SBA's Buffalo, New York District Director Franklin Sciortino.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA, to make improvements that help prevent the risk of future property damage caused by a similar disaster.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses and most private non-profit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Interest rates are as low as 4 percent for businesses, 2.625 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.938 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amount and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant's financial condition.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA's secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Individuals and businesses may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or 1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, Texas 76155.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Feb. 13, 2015.  The deadline to return economic injury applications is Sept.15, 2015.

For more information about the SBA's Disaster Loan Program, visit  www.sba.gov/disaster.

Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 1:48 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, weather.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a winter weather advisory for freezing drizzle effective until 7 p.m. tonight. Freezing drizzle mixed with light snow may create slick spots on untreated roads. Ice accumulation is not expected to be severe as the temperature is hovering in the lower 30s this afternoon, dropping to around 30 degrees this evening.

Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 1:28 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Silver Springs, Warsaw, Batavia.
james_r._allen_mug_shot.jpg  
James R. Allen  

James R. Allen, 30, Silver Springs, was charged with attempted assault in the second-degree, a Class E felony, and obstruction of a governmental administration in the second-degree, a Class A misdemeanor. Allen was arrested following an alleged complaint at 49 Railroad Ave, Silver Springs, after a welfare check was conducted at his home. As police walked Allen to a patrol vehicle he allegedly became combative and allegedly began screaming and trying to get away. When Allen was in the patrol vehicle he allegedly forcefully kicked at police, making contact four times. Allen was committed to the Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $2,500 cash bail or $10,000 bond. Allen is due, Jan. 12, 2015, in the Village of Silver Springs Court.

Jeremiah J. Cieszynski, 27, and Sally M. Sims, 24, both of Warsaw, were charged with petit larceny. The pair was detained by Kmart security in the Town of Batavia for allegedly stealing clothing and sneakers with an approximate value of $125. Sims and Cieszynski are due at a later date in the Town of Batavia Court.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Nathan P. Hulme, 23, was convicted of two counts of perjury in the first-degree, Class D felonies. The conviction holds a sentence of three-and-one-half to seven years on each charge. Hulme was found guilty Oct. 9 of 15 counts within two consolidated indictments. He was sentenced Nov. 2 to a total of six to 12 years on those two indictments. (see Gainesville man sentenced to prison time for multiple high speed chases.) The perjury charges were the third out of a total of four indictments pending against Hulme. He is scheduled for trial Jan. 9, 2015 for the fourth indictment.

The charges stem from a pre-trial hearing that was held on the first two indictments where Hulme took the stand in an attempt to get his statement thrown out so it couldn’t be used at trial against him. However, his statement was videotaped by an officer’s body camera, therefore when Hulme took the stand and denied making the comments, thus the perjury charges. Furthermore, Hulme and his attorney, Merlyn Bissell, both had knowledge and actual possession of the video since 2012 when the statements were made.

“As I stated to jury during my remarks,” said District Attorney Donald O’Geen. “”Telling the truth on the stand is one of the cornerstones of our system. If people are allowed to lie when they are under oath the system will fall apart.” Perjury or lying is how an innocent person could be convicted, how guilty people beat their charges, how bad policy decisions or laws are made and how reputations are ruined. I believe the jury’s verdict confirms the importance of people telling the truth on the stand and that those who are caught must face the consequences.”

Also see From the DA's office: Three Wyoming County residents sentenced to prison.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 5:43 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Arcade, accident.

accident_at_route_98_and_genesee_road_.jpg

accident_at_route_98_and_genesee_road_1.jpg

An accident was reported at Route 98 and Genesee Road in the Town of Arcade. At this time it is unclear as to the cause of the accident that left one person injured. The injured party was transported to Wyoming County Community Hospital via Arcade Ambulance with unknown injuries. Both Arcade Police Department and the Arcade Fire Department were on the scene. The Wyoming County Sheriff's Department is in charge of the investigation. Details are sketchy at this point. An update will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

UPDATE Dec. 19, 1:56 p.m.: No further updates have become available.

accident_at_route_98_and_genesee_road_2.jpg

accident_at_route_98_and_genesee_road_3.jpg

accident_at_route_98_and_genesee_road_4.jpg

accident_at_route_98_and_genesee_road_5.jpg

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Arcade, Attica, Castile, Pike, Sheldon, Warsaw.

William Kimpel, of Arcade, was convicted of sex abuse in the first-degree and endangering the welfare of a child. He is sentenced to one year interim probation. Kimpel’s case has been adjourned to Dec. 3, 2015.

Justin Savage, of Arcade, pled guilty to criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third-degree, a Class B felony. Savage’s case has been adjourned to Feb. 26, 2015 for sentencing.

Sonya Jablonski, of Arcade, waived indictment and pled guilty to grand larceny in the fourth-degree. She will be sentenced Feb. 5, 2015.

Anthony Diaz, of Attica, was sentenced to five years probation with surcharges and DNA fees to be paid within one year. Diaz was convicted to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth-degree, a Class D felony.

Nicole Wilcox, of Castile, pled guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth-degree, a Class D felony, and endangering the welfare of a child. Wilcox is due for sentencing April 2, 2015.

James Johnson, of Pike, plead not guilty to criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third-degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree, both are Class B felonies. Motions will be heard Feb. 5, 2015. Bail continues.

Timothy Pfarner, of Sheldon, pled guilty to driving while ability impaired by drugs, a Class E felony. He is due for sentencing Thursday.

Vasu Patel, of Warsaw, waived indictment. His case is adjourned to March 10, 2015. Bail continues at $2,500 cash.

Clinton Browne, of Wyoming County, was sentenced on a violation of probation to two-and-one-half years in prison and one year post release supervision with Willard. Willard is a drug treatment campus operated by the New York State Department of Correctional Services and Community Supervision (DOCCS) in collaboration with OASAS. Any money owed is to be paid within six months of his actual release date.

Keri Werbowski, of Wyoming County, admitted to a violation of probation. Her case is adjourned to Jan. 8, 2015 for sentencing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 12:32 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Business, Warsaw.

country_critters_pet_shop_.jpg

country_critters_pet_shop_1.jpg

In 2002 Justen Goodenow had a promising high school career in both football and wrestling. As a matter of fact, in his freshman year of high school, he was undefeated in varsity wrestling. That all changed in 2003 when Goodenow was hit by a drunk driver while snowmobiling.

“I was 16 and big into football and wrestling,” Goodenow said. “My arm was so damaged it was pretty much dead.”

While the doctors told Goodenow that there may be a possibility that he would regain use of his right arm, he was doubtful but he elected to keep his arm “just in case”. Goodenow’s resolve changed when, while in shop class, he almost cut his damaged arm when using a table saw. His decision: amputation. 

When he graduated in 2006 he was left wondering what to do. Although Goodenow has a two year degree in auto body, his prospects for employment were nill.
“I was roofing with my dad for awhile,” Goodenow said. “The doc told me that I had to stop because it was negatively affecting my left arm. I had told the previous owners years ago that when she was going to sell this place, I was going to buy it.”

He did just that. “This place” is Country Critters located at 60 N. Main St., Warsaw.

“One day the shop came up for sale and I just bought it,” Goodenow said. “It just comes natural dealing with animals. Fish and reptiles are my speciality and I am learning as I'm going along. I educate myself online and with books.”

Although Goodenow specializes in the aquatic and reptilian, he also carries a variety of other animals: rabbits, birds, mice, guinea pigs, and occasionally, puppies and kittens. In addition to selling the animals, he also has a groomer set up in his shop. The grooming services are by appointment only with the exception of nail clipping, walk-ins are welcome. Both the shop and groomers are full-service ventures and family owned.  

“We have everything here needed for the pets we sell,” Goodenow said. “I want to make sure that you have what you need when you leave the store to enjoy your new pet. I also test fish tank water.”

Country Critters sells both tropical and salt water fish. Goodenow said every fish is different and there is much to learn about their habits and capability with other fish. He is also looking into getting his exotic license.

“I could get my alligator license,” Goodenow said. “Dwarf alligators only grow to about 3 feet.”

The shop’s hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and closed Sundays.

For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/CountryCrittersPetStore or call (585)786-8280.

For more Country Critter photos see our Facebook page Country Critters Pet Shop

country_critters_pet_shop_2.jpg

country_critters_pet_shop_3.jpg

country_critters_pet_shop_4.jpg

country_critters_pet_shop_5.jpg

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 10:35 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Attica, Business.

sarah_harding_local_author_-_book_signing_in_attica_.jpg

sarah_harding_local_author_-_book_signing_in_attica_1.jpg

There’s no stopping 82-year-old Sarah Harding, not only is she the owner of Parsons Place and Blooms Florist, both in Attica, she recently authored Rise Catholic Women: You hold the Key. Harding wonders why she felt the tug of God so late in life. The pull was to do something about the problems in our country’s Catholic Church.

“I felt God would show me every step of the way,” Harding said. “He did. I have no writing experience, well, except for a Letter to the Editor here and there throughout the years.”

Up until three years ago Harding didn’t even have a computer. Her children surprised her with one for Christmas. She decided it was time to navigate the internet and find out why there aren’t as many priests as there were in years past. Harding’s research astounded her.

“In the beginning, the church priests were allowed to marry,” Harding said. “That ruling didn’t change until the 13th century, that’s when the rule of celibacy came about.”

What astounded Harding the most was the fact that popes were also allowed to marry and have children prior to the 13th century. She also discovered that women had less importance in the church many years ago than she first had expected. After reading Five Women by Paul F.M. Zahl she was inspired to write.

“The point of the book was that women never got true recognition in the Bible because it was a male dominated society back then,” Harding said.

Harding was born and raised in the Roman Catholic church and it is her love of the church that spurred her into action. While the Vatican continues to be reluctant to accept women in authoritative roles in the church, Pope Francis had pointed out that "Mary is more important than the apostles." Additionally, Pope John Paul argued against outdated cultural views that God meant women to be subject to men. Both were created in God's image and likeness with equal dignity, he said. 

Women have been subjugated because human beings are sinful, he said, and "the situations in which the woman remains disadvantaged or discriminated against by the fact of being a woman" are the continuing consequences of sin. The fact that God chose a woman, the Virgin Mary, to play such an important role in the world's salvation leaves little doubt about the God-given dignity of women, the pope wrote

“There is a lack of priests in the church,” Harding said. “Congregations are shrinking thus causing churches to close and consolidate. Pope John Paul II had said there is no reason priests can not marry. Celibacy is not essential to priesthood.”

Since 1980, the Roman Catholic church has shown a preference for celibate clergymen by preventing married priests from being pastors of parishes, unless circumstances dictated it. However, under the Pastoral Provision, as the church’s 1980 rule is known, the Rev. James Parker, the very first married priest admitted under the provision, led a parish in Charleston, S.C., and according to Harding, he did a good job.

After raising seven children and losing her husband after 52 years of marriage, Harding still manages both the flower shop and Christian bookstore. 

“There are 21,000 priests in the United States alone who have left the Catholic Church to marry,” Harding said. “these priests could be called back to shepherd our churches. You (women) hold the key to unlock the door for them to help save our Roman Catholic Church in America.”

Harding extends gratitude for the professional help given to her by her daughter and granddaughter, Mary Alice Loucks and Nicole McMahon, respectively.

sarah_harding_local_author_-_book_signing_in_attica_2.jpg

sarah_harding_local_author_-_book_signing_in_attica_3.jpg

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 9:29 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, weather.

Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) issued the following statement regarding New York’s request for a major disaster declaration due to November’s severe lake effect snow storm:

“I am pleased that Governor Cuomo has requested a major disaster declaration for New York State and I urge the president to approve it.  The lake effect storm that hit the region last month was unprecedented, even by Western New York standards.  As we have seen in other natural disasters, federal assistance is warranted to help state, county and local governments recover from the costs associated with snow removal and storm related damages. I also urge the federal government to provide critical assistance to homeowners, farmers and businesses who suffered damage to homes, barns and other structures because of the weight of the snow.  Much of the snow that fell during the record storm may have melted, but the recovery process continues.”

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 5:54 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Warsaw, Perry, Business.

east_hill_farms.jpg

At one point, Wyoming County had a thriving cheesemaking industry. That all but dissipated in the 1930s. Gary and Betty Burley, owners of East Hill Farms, are looking to revive the industry and Perry will be at its epicenter. The couple plans on building East Hill Creamery, a cheesemaking plant with a retail store attached.

The long-time dairy farmers are getting ready to pass their farm on to the next generation, yet they are not quite ready to retire. 

The Burleys were first considering Warsaw for their cheesemaking plant, however zoning issues were a concern. The pair then looked at Perry and it offered another location that suited the couple’s needs -- Route 39 near Camp Road. 

“We want to do something,” Gary said. “For the last three years we’ve been planning this. We are going to be bringing in a French couple to teach the (cheesemaking) craft and the aging process.”

The Burley’s started their dairy farm with just 18 cows and 100 acres of land in 1981. The first generation farmers now have 1,200 milking cows, 2,500 total head of cattle and more than a 2,000 acres of land.

About three years ago, the couple took a cheese making course in the Central New York area. After that, Betty started making cheese in the kitchen -- which became an all-day process. The cheese they are planning to make will be considered an Artisan Cheese, a specialty cheese in the Alpine and French styles which are a semi-hard cheese.

“Some days I say, ‘What the heck am I doing?’,” Gary said. “But I don’t want to die with the regret of not trying.”

East Hill Farms uses a rotational grazing method for their cow herd. In other words, their dairy cows will produce a flavor that is distinct for this area. By rotating the herd, they eat a variety of grasses, flowers and herbs. While not an organic farm, they simply use a method specific to their needs.

“We think our milk is special because we allow our cows to graze,” Gary said.

The Burley’s own the Tarentaise Cow. According to the American Tarentaise Association: Tarentaise cattle in North America were originally imported from the French Alps and improved over the past 30 years to provide the beef cattle industry with the traits required to complement the British breeds and bring higher profitability and efficiency to commercial cattlemen. Tarentaise cattle provide natural muscling, increased milk, excellent fertility, legendary longevity, feet and legs built to travel, length and thickness in a moderate frame, and an adaptability to widely varying range conditions.

For the Burleys, they are the perfect cow for their cheese type.

The taste of the cheese can be changed by the process, the heat (temperature used to cook), culture (changes the ph of the milk), and by the size of the curds.

“What you do in the process is how you cane the flavor, but that is just one part of the overall process,” Betty said. “Aging, how long it’s aged, is another process in which the taste of the cheese is changed.”

A mold is used to form the cheese -- in their case, a round wheel will be used -- the ‘paste’ is put into the wheel for 24 hours. The use of the wheel is tradition for the French. Cheese itself was used when no refrigeration was available because it held in all sorts of environments. Furthermore, the wheels were portable and the cheese tasted better the longer it aged. For their purposes, raw milk cheese has to be aged at least 60 days before it can be consumed.

“It’s not cheese until it ages,” Gary said. “It’s said that cheese developed because when milk was carried in calf stomachs, at the end of the day, it had turned into cheese. I’m not sure how true much of that is, but it does make sense.” 

Renit is a complex of enzymes produced in stomachs of ruminant mammals -- cattle, sheep, deer -- which is used in the production of most cheeses. Chymosin, its key component, is a protease enzyme that curdles the casein in milk, helping young mammals digest their mothers' milk.

“Basically, it’s the stomach of calves,” Betty said. “Eventually we will be making our own culture and renit. But that (the length of time for the aging process) is the scary part. We are going to make this chess and then wait six months to see if people are going to buy it.”

Environment is another factor in the cheese aging process: the more humid the cave is, the creamier the cheese. The plant will have four caves for the aging process. One cave will hold 700, 60-pound, 18-by 6-inch wheels. The wheels will have to be turned three times-a-week, rubbed with salt and turned again to help develop and promote good bacteria. Their first cheese, to be named Silver Lake, will be a younger cheese, one that hasn’t aged for very long.

“It’s a three-legged stool,” Gary said of the cheese making process. “You have the cheese maker, the milk from our own cows and the aging process. This will be a cheese that is distinctly from Wyoming County.”

The couple will also be using bass wood for their shelving, because the flavor of the wood will not be absorbed into the cheese. Europe predominately uses Norway Spruce, however, Gary said they would be using their own resource for the shelving as well as using the same timber for an upstairs education center in their Swiss Chalet-type of building.

“Right now were are going to start with making one cheese,” Gary said. “When we perfect that, we will add another cheese. We have to keep in mind that the goal is to produce three types of cheese. This is especially important when we order the equipment. Each cheese takes a different method.”

Furthermore, the cheese vats will be made of copper. According to Gary, this does a lot for the flavor of the cheese. 

The Burley’s plan on selling their product direct from farm, to plant, to storefront.

“We went to Alabama and we met a person who is similar to us, with a similar interest and she has been doing this for a very long time,” Gary said.

They both say that to prosper, one needs to make an idea fit to what is around that area. They also draw strength from friends in Virginia who have a successful cheese plant/retail shop.

The East Hill Farm, belongs to the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a leading milk marketing cooperative and dairy food processor. They serve nearly 13,000 members through their core business of marketing members’ milk, paying them a competitive price and being a leader in the dairy industry. Furthermore, they offer programs and services that make it easier and more profitable for their members to farm.

East Hill Creamery will be seasonal, due to the grazing habits of the cows and would produce approximately 120,000 pounds of cheese annually, accounting for 10 percent of East Hill Farms’ milk production. East Hill Farms milks 200 cows daily -- 1.2 million pounds of milk annually -- with grazing locations in Warsaw and Dansville. The Burley’s children are coming up into the dairy business and will be doing the milking and running the business, so Gary said it was time to step back and start a new venture. 

“It’s a slow process, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Gary said. “We would like to begin construction by May 1 (2015).”

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 1:23 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, education, Genesee Community College.

Press release:

The Board of Trustees announced that Genesee Community College will be accepting nominations for Honorary Associate degrees that would be conferred at the College's Commencement Ceremony on May 17, 2015. Any person is welcome to make nominations.

Nominees should be associated with the College and have achieved business, professional, civic and scholarly accomplishments; made extraordinary contributions to the life and the growth of the College; or notable leaders in the academic disciplines taught at the College. Recipients of honorary degrees are individuals whose accomplishments, contributions or leadership are well beyond ordinary standards, and serve as an inspiration to members of the College community and as role models for students and citizens of the region.

All nominations are due by Feb. 1, 2015.

Nomination forms can be retrieved online at the following Internet address: http://marketing.genesee.edu/images/HonoraryDegreeForm.pdf

For Honorary Degree guidelines and a listing of prior recipients, please go to: http://marketing.genesee.edu/images/HonoraryDegreeGuidelines.pdf

The completed forms should be submitted by Feb. 1, to: Cathy Costello, executive assistant to the president and secretary to the Board of Trustees, Genesee Community College, One College Road, Batavia, NY 14020. For further information, please call Cathy at 585-345-6812 or email: cecostello@genesee.edu.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 1:15 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcement, Varysburg.

Ian George, of Varysburg, serving with the 105th Military Police Company of the New York Army National Guard, was recently promoted to the rank of Private First Class. 

Maj. Gen. Patrick A. Murphy, the Adjutant General for New York State, announced the promotion in recognition of George’s capability for additional responsibility and leadership. Promotions are based on overall performance, attitude, leadership ability, and development potential.

Pages

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
 
 

Copyright © 2008-2016 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

blue button