Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 5:04 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Arcade, Business.

The Little Red Caboose, Main Street, Arcade, is asking the community to keep its “eyes and ears open” due to alleged vandalism that had occurred at the business Aug. 5 and 6.

Owners of the business said the following on their Facebook page:

We were vandalized Saturday night and then broken into and vandalized Sunday night. They broke the door open to our storage shed and stole some things, cut and broke some things in mini golf, ripped up signs and Arcade & Attica Railroad pictures, cut holes into the new deck canopy, stole the mask from the “train guy” and broke things on top of the caboose.

“We are just a simple family trying to make ends meet while trying to create a place where friends and families can enjoy time together.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Arcade Police Department at (585) 492-3111.

Arcade Police officials are investigating the matter.

Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 4:52 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Perry, Sen. Gallivan.

Press release:

Mike and Peter Dueppengiesser were recognized Wednesday at the New York Ag Leadership Luncheon at Empire Farm Days in Seneca Falls for the steps they’ve taken to protect the environment on their farm. New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball presented the award.

The 2017 Agricultural Environmental Management Award is sponsored by the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, American Agriculturalist Magazine and the Empire State Potato Growers.

The brothers operate Dueppengiesser Dairy Company in Perry. The third generation family farm made up of 2,100 acres and a herd of 1,100 milk cows. They have worked closely with the Wyoming County Soil and Water Conservation District to implement best management practices, including zone tillage, drainage systems, grass waterways and manure management.

“Mike and Peter have demonstrated that farms can grow and succeed while also working to protect our environment and preserve the land for future generations,” said Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma). “Dueppengiesser Dairy is a leader in New York’s agriculture industry and I congratulate them on earning this award.”

The Dueppengiessers will also be presented with a Legislative Proclamation signed by Gallivan and Sen. Pamela Helming, of Canandaigua.

Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 4:05 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, fire, Warsaw.

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Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) announced $111,958 in federal funding for the Village of Warsaw Fire Department and $83,334 in federal funding for the Cowlesville Fire Company.

Both of these grants were allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. The program is designed to help first responders improve their capability to respond to fires and emergencies of all types.

“Our courageous firefighters must be able to operate effectively when responding to any type of emergency in our communities,” Collins said. “The AFG program has helped NY-27 fire departments purchase new equipment, make improvements to their communication systems, and keep their members safe. I was proud to work with the Village of Warsaw Fire Department and the South Wales Fire District No. 1 to secure this $160,514 in federal funding so they can continue protecting their members and fellow neighbors.”

The Warsaw Fire Department will use funds to purchase new fire hoses and nozzles. The equipment will help the department meet safety standards and mitigate their ongoing maintenance and repair costs.

“This important federal grant will allow our department to update outdated equipment that will allow us to better serve our community,” said Warsaw Fire Chief Joe Cummins. “I appreciate Representative Collins’ efforts and we will continue to work with him on issues related to the fire service.”

The Cowlesville Fire Company will use this $83,334 federal grant to purchase new emergency radios. The radios will significantly improve the company’s operational efficiency when responding to emergencies of all types.

“This important federal funding will allow our department to purchase updated radio and communications equipment,” said Cowlesville Assistant Fire Chief John Taylor. “This is critical for keeping our members safe and effectively protecting the community.”

The AFG Grant Program provides direct funding assistance to fire departments, State Fire Training Academies, and non-affiliated EMS organizations. The purpose is to enhance their response capabilities and to more effectively protect the health and safety of both the public and emergency response personnel with respect to fire and all other hazards.

Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 1:51 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Perry, news.

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It's a slow ride going south out of Perry this afternoon as an oversized transformer is transported on Route 39.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 7:12 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Business, events, Perry, Warsaw.

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When Gary and Betty Burley began farming in 1981 they had a dream of one day producing an added-value product. On Sunday, the Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism Office, along with friends, family, and local officials celebrated their lifelong dream with a ribbon cutting, officially opening the East Hill Creamery in Perry.

Plans for the creamery began in 2011 when thoughts of passing their farm on to the next generation took hold. The Burleys weren’t quite ready to retire and felt the timing was right to pursue their dream. Four years later, construction of the plant began and by 2016 the first of many cheeses began aging in the caves – an enclosed environmentally controlled area used specifically to age cheese.

The Burleys started their farm with a small herd of 18 cows on 100 acres of farmland on the East Hill (Route 20A) in Warsaw. Today, East Hill Farms milks 700 cows in a rotational grazing system. When deciding on what types of cheeses to make, they chose to make a product that would emphasize the flavors in the milk derived from the grasses, herbs and flowers their cows eat in the pasture.

All of the cheeses at East Hill Creamery are produced with raw milk, meaning, the milk is not pasteurized before it is made into cheese. The cheese goes through a 60-day aging process that naturally pasteurizes it. The French Alpine style of cheeses allows the Burleys to exhibit the high quality, grass-fed cow's milk that they use to produce the cheese.

“What a great day it is for East Hill Creamery, Wyoming County, and our business community,” said Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce President Scott Gardner. “We are so fortunate to have a great business that is sourcing local dairy, producing world-class cheese, and providing jobs. Congratulations to Gary and Betty Burley and thank you for making the investment here in Wyoming County.”

The couple also introduced their family and employees during the ceremony and gave an emotional thank you to everyone gathered for the strong support their business has received since opening.

Several local restaurants hosted food stations throughout the open house including the Hole in the Wall Restaurant in Perry, Glen Iris Inn in Letchworth State Park, and Wendy’s Pantry & Country Mouse Tea House, and Suzea’s Gluten Free Bakery and Café, both in Mt. Morris. The eateries provided food made with East Hill Creamery cheeses. The Wyoming County Dairy Princess, Kim Evans, was also on hand with members of her royal court including Dairy Princess alternate Danielle Herrick, and Dairy ambassadors Abby Schreiber and Brenda Martin.  

East Hill Creamery offers a wide array of products: including their signature cheeses, cheese baskets and trays; East Hill Creamery merchandise; grass-fed butter and crème fraiche from Kriemhild Dairy Products; fresh bread and baked goods from the Hole in the Wall Restaurant on Saturdays; olive oils and balsamic vinegars from Cosimano and Ferrari; fresh pasta from Bozza Pasta; truffles and barks from Dolce Bella Artisan Chocolates; local honey from Log Cabin Acres and Castile Cider Mill; beef sticks from Wilson Beef Farm; local eggs, and local maple syrup.

Regular business hours are Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information on East Hill Creamery, located at 346 S. Main St. can be found by calling (585) 237-3622 or at www.easthillcreamery.com.

See related: The cheese industry is making a comeback in Perry

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 11:27 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Business, craft brewery, Strykersville.

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It was a huge leap of faith when they opened their business in March, says Windy Brew LLC owner Michelle Snyder. While the brewery has been open for several months the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, Snyder, her husband, friends, and family gathered at the local shop Saturday afternoon for an “official” ribbon cutting.

“My husband has been a home brewer for several years,” Snyder said. “When in Ohio we saw a place that made craft beer and the person we spoke with suggested that he try it on the weekends… And now we are a custom brew center.”

In addition to offering almost 20 varieties of craft beer, Windy Brew, 733 Route 20A, Strykersville, is also a custom brew center. According to Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism President Scott Gardner, they are Western New York’s only custom “make your own beer” center.

With their brewery, customers get the total experience of learning about the brewing process without having to buy the equipment, ingredients, bottles, and kegs. Various brewing session options are available.

The Tap Room offers beers from a light ale, seasonal brews, to IPAs. Windy Brew offers flights, by the glass, and growlers to go. They also offer one-half and one-sixth kegs for sale via request and deposit.

“On behalf of the Chamber and Tourism office we offer our sincere congratulations to Bill and Michelle and Windy Brew,” Gardner said. “We are excited to add one more food and beverage attraction to our outstanding group of craft breweries in Wyoming County. Windy Brew is unique in that it has an educational component as well, it’s certainly an added bonus and offers something for those who are interested in learning the techniques of small-batch brewing.” 

Regular taproom hours are Thursday 4 to 9 p.m., Friday 2 to 9 p.m., Saturday noon to 9 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

For more information and how to make a reservation for a custom brew session visit the website or call (585) 805-4006. 

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at 7:17 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Bliss, Java, Sheldon, Perry, Gainesville, Warsaw.

Rhiannon A. Wilson, 22, and a 17-year-old female, both of Bliss, were arrested Aug. 4 following a complaint of a female allegedly injecting drugs while seated inside a vehicle in the Tops Friendly Markets parking lot in the Town of Warsaw. Following an investigation, Wilson was charged with: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony; tampering with physical evidence, a Class E felony; and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument, a Class A misdemeanor. The 17-year-old was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony, and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. Deputies say, Wilson, the driver of the vehicle, was in possession of two bags of heroin with intent to sell them, dumped heroin from two bags onto the ground when officers approached the vehicle and was in possession of two syringes used for injecting heroin. The teen, who was the front seat passenger, is accused of being in possession of 21 bags of heroin with intent to sell them, and selling two bags of heroin. Both women were arraigned in the Town of Warsaw Court and are due back in court Aug. 14. Wilson was put in Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond. The teen was also put in jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond. Members of the Wyoming County Drug Task Force responded to the scene of the original complaint and assisted deputies with the investigation.

Jon M. Pullman, 39, of Perry, was charged Aug. 3 with harassment in the second degree after allegedly threatening an employee at the Perry Public Library. He is also accused of making threatening comments of harming people. He was arraigned in Perry Village Court where an order of protection was issued barring Pullman from having any contact with the victim and the library. He is due in Perry Village Court at a later date.

Burke M. Hawkins, 53, of Perry, was charged Aug. 7 with petit larceny. Hawkins is accused of taking three 25-ounce cans of beer, totaling $4.65, from Crosby’s without paying for them. He is due in Perry Village Court Sept. 12.

Ashley N. Dumbleton, 22, of Gainesville, was charged Aug. 4 with arson in the fifth degree, criminal mischief in the third degree, grand larceny in the fourth degree, and making a false written statement. Dumbleton was arrested following a complaint of missing property in the Town of Gainesville. The victim reported more than $1,000 worth of property was missing on July 27 when she was escorted to Dumbleton’s home on that date to retrieve her goods. On July 31 the Sheriff’s Office investigated a complaint of burned remnants located at a home on Lamont Road in the Town of Gainesville. The victim’s name was allegedly found on some of the burned remnants. Dumbleton was arraigned in the Town of Warsaw Court where she was released to the pretrial supervision program. She is due in the Town of Gainesville Court Aug. 21.

Daniel LaClair, 29, of Clinton County, was charged Aug. 5 with driving while intoxicated as a misdemeanor, driving with a blood alcohol content at or above .08 percent as a misdemeanor, and following too closely. Deputies responded to Route 20A and French Road, Sheldon, for a two-car accident. According to the report, LaClair had been driving his pickup eastbound when the vehicle in front of him slowed to turn onto French Road and he is accused of rear-ending the vehicle. A subsequent breath test allegedly showed LaClair’s BAC at or above .08 percent. He is due in the Town of Sheldon Court Aug. 28. Varysburg Fire Department assisted at the scene.

Cindy Laurich, 55, of Java, was charged Aug. 3 with driving while impaired by drugs following an accident on Curries Road, Java. Deputies say Laurich had been driving a motorcycle northbound on Curriers Road and lost control of the bike while going around a curve. She was treated at the scene by Strykersville Ambulance for minor injuries. She allegedly failed roadside field sobriety tests and was arrested. A Wyoming County Drug Recognition Expert says Laurich was impaired by a drug following a drug influence evaluation. She is due in the Town of Java Court at a later date.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at 1:54 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, crime, Java, Orangeville, Warsaw.
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      Jared T. Price

Jared T. Price, 21, of Java, has been charged with another felony stemming from a July 28 incident.

Wyoming County Sheriff’s deputies say Price was being transported from the scene of a domestic incident in the Town of Java to the Warsaw Court. During transport, and while in the Town of Orangeville, he is accused of intentionally damaging electrical wiring located in the area of the rear seat of the deputy's patrol car which controlled the airbags. He is also accused of bending the rear seat in order to access the wiring.

The alleged tampering caused an excess of $3,000 in damages to the patrol vehicle.

He was arrested Aug. 4 and arraigned in the Town of Warsaw Court and jailed in lieu of an additional $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond.

He was put in Wyoming County Jail July 28 in lieu of $50,000 bail.

His earlier charges include:

    • July 18: Criminal contempt in the second degree for violating an order of protection. Bail was issued and posted;

    • July 20: Unlawfully growing cannabis and unlawful possession of marijuana;

    • July 24: DWAI – drugs and related vehicle and traffic charges. Bail was again issued and posted; and

    • July 28: Resisting arrest, criminal mischief in the fourth degree, and attempted escape in the second degree.

He is due in the Town of Orangeville Court Aug. 16.

See related: Java man arrested four times in two weeks

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at 12:14 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Perry, Castile.
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    Nicholas Maroney

A former YMCA camp counselor is accused of sexual misconduct involving a teen following an investigation of a separate incident at the camp.

Nicholas D. Maroney, who was a counselor at YMCA Genesee/Camp Hough on West Lake Road, Castile, was arrested Aug. 7 for allegedly having sexual relations with a 16-year-old female camper.

On Aug. 3, the 20-year-old Perry man was accused of returning to the camp intoxicated, entering the wrong cabin and seen exiting the occupied bunk bed of a 7-year-old female camper in the morning.

At the time of the initial charge, there was no report of sexual contact with the child.

During the July 29 investigation, New York State Troopers and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation interviewed multiple campers and staff and determined that Maroney allegedly had sexual relations with the 16-year-old.

In addition to the previous charge of endangering the welfare of a child, he is also charged with sexual misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor.

State Police say they do not believe there are any other victims at this time.

He was jailed in the Wyoming County Jail on the endangerment charge and arrested and arraigned in the Town of Perry Court Monday.

Friday, August 4, 2017 at 5:32 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, WCCH, Warsaw, hospital, health.

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Press release, file photo:

Wyoming County Community Health System's (WCCHS) Chief Executive Donald Eichenauer today confirmed that WCCHS received the $20 million grant funding this week that was awarded in March 2016. The funding was part of the New York State’s Capital Restructuring Financing and Essential Health Care Provider Support program and was used to retire virtually all of the debt incurred with respect to the hospital’s 2014 renovations.

In March, Chairman of the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors Doug Berwanger said that the money essentially clears the debt incurred during the hospital’s major upgrades and positions WCCH to provide health care to the residents of Wyoming County for a long time.

Having paid off virtually all of its debt, the hospital will be able to increase services in areas such as orthopedics, allergy and nephrology as well as take advantage of its new relationship with Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation.

"Having reliable health care services is important in a rural community,” Eichenauer said. “This funding will go a long way in ensuring WCCHS is prepared to provide high-level services for residents of Wyoming County and surrounding area today, tomorrow and far into the future.”

“This is a significantly positive outcome for WCCHS, thanks to the hard work of the hospital’s executive team and the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors led respectively by Don Eichenauer and Doug Berwanger,” said President and CEO of ECMC Thomas Quatroche Jr. “With the new partnership between WCCHS and ECMC, we can focus squarely on providing reliable quality health care services for Wyoming County’s residents.”  

Officials say Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Sen. Patrick Gallivan were instrumental in helping secure the funding.

Wyoming County Community Hospital is a 62-bed rural, acute-care hospital accredited by The Joint Commission. It is the sole inpatient provider for Wyoming County, which has a population of approximately 44,000. In addition to an acute care hospital, its services include an attached 138-bed nursing home, adult day health care, and inpatient Behavioral Health Unit. The hospital has approximately 2,500 inpatient admissions per year and 14,000 emergency department visits per year.

For more information about WCCH visit www.wcchs.net.

Friday, August 4, 2017 at 5:03 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Letchworth State Park, Castile.

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The above photo is of the Civilian Conservation Corps statue and plaque.

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Press release, photos submitted:

Eighty-four years ago the first of four Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps opened in Letchworth State Park. Over the next eight years, more than 3,000 out of work young men would take advantage of a remarkable Great Depression era program and lay the foundation, literally stone by stone, for the modern park. 

Their experience and achievements will be honored and celebrated at a special CCC Legacy Day at Letchworth State Park beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

Events begin with a visit to the 1936 CCC lean-to near the Hogsback Overlook. Other activities include: the dedication of the Gibsonville CCC Camp’s chimney recently restored by the Friends of Letchworth Park; the raising of the Parks special CCC commemorative flag at the CCC Memorial flag pole at the Lower Falls; and a remembrance ceremony at the Park’s CCC that includes the laying of a memorial wreath to honor all the Park’s CCC members. A tour of the site of the Big Bend Camp is also planned.

A series of special exhibits, activities and mini-talks are open to the public from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Highlights include a traveling Great Depression art exhibit by the nationally known WPA Art Gallery operated by the Livingston Arts Council, information tables by the  official national CCC Legacy organization, New York State’s Excelsior Program – New York State’s modern day work program for young people and the Friends of Letchworth booth. There will be a variety of CCC and 1930s related family activities including building your own CCC-style cabin or shelter using Lincoln Logs and storytelling about the famous CCC stone arch bridge.

The only known surviving Letchworth CCC “boy,” Lawrence Kelly, will be attending CCC Legacy day this year. He turns 100 Aug. 12.

Individuals who attended all the day’s events will be awarded the We Can Take It award, named after the Civilian Conservation Corps' motto. The award includes a special certificate from Letchworth Park and a pin.

All events are free and open to the public. Afternoon activities at the Lower Falls are handicapped accessible. For details, locations and times for all planned events, visit friendsofLetchworth.com or call Letchworth Park directly at (585) 493-3600.

This entire day is planned and supported by Friends of Letchworth, a volunteer organization whose mission it is to support the preservation, conservation and careful development of Letchworth State Park.

Friday, August 4, 2017 at 4:39 pm

The following were in Wyoming County Court before Judge Michael Mohun Aug. 2.

Steven Green, an inmate in a State Correctional Facility, pled not guilty to two counts of assault in the second degree, both are Class D felonies. Motions are scheduled Sept. 20. Bail was set at $5,000 cash and $10,000 bond. Bail is set for state inmate cases for two reasons:

    • In the event that the inmate’s current sentence is overturned on appeal or the inmate’s 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.

Christina Dadey, who is accused of a crime in Middlebury, waived indictment and pled not guilty to aggravated driving while intoxicated, per se, and driving while intoxicated, both as Class E felonies; operating a motor vehicle without a court ordered ignition interlock device, a misdemeanor, failure to keep right, and consumption of alcoholic beverages in certain motor vehicles. The Per Se law is based not on the observations of the arresting police officer, but the results obtained from an intoxilyzer machine. The case has been adjourned to Aug. 17 for conference and Sept. 20 for motions.

The following were in court Aug. 3.

Cory Dahl, who is accused of a crime in Castile, had his case adjourned to Sept. 14 for motions.

Ervin Delude Sr., who committed a crime in Gainesville, pled guilty to two counts of aggravated family offense, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. Sentencing is scheduled Aug. 31. He is being held without bail in the Wyoming County Jail.

Carl Vander, who committed a crime in Perry, was sentenced to two-and-one-half to five years in prison on the conviction of grand larceny in the third degree, a Class D felony. He was also sentenced to two to four years in prison for grand larceny in the fourth degree, a Class E felony. The sentences are to run concurrently with each other and with violations of probation. He is also jointly responsible with his co-defendant for $4,630 in restitution, and fees and surcharges.

Tylor Phinney, who committed a crime in Sheldon, was sentenced to five years probation, $1,456.41 in restitution, and fees and surcharges on the conviction of attempted assault in the second degree, a Class E felony.

Brandon McCoy, who committed a crime in Warsaw and previously admitted to violating interim probation, was sentenced to five years probation, $1,104.54 in restitution and 170 hours of community service. He was convicted of grand larceny in the fourth degree, a Class E felony, and conspiracy in the fifth degree.

John Sprague, who committed a crime in Warsaw, was sentenced on the conviction of failure to register as a sex offender, a Class E felony, and forcible touching, a misdemeanor, to one year in jail on both charges. The sentences are to run concurrently. Additionally, an order of protection was issued, an agreement of registering as a Level 2 sex offender was ordered, and he is responsible for $1,425 in restitution, and fees and surcharges.

Go Go, who committed a crime in Warsaw, was arraigned on an indictment for driving while ability impaired by drugs and DWAI – combined influence of drugs or of drugs and alcohol, both are Class D felonies; aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree, a Class E felony, and operating a motor vehicle without a court ordered ignition interlock device, a misdemeanor. Go Go pled guilty to DWAI – drugs, a Class D felony. Sentencing is scheduled Oct. 26. They are being held without bail in the Wyoming County Jail.

Cheyenne Kimbrell, who committed a crime in Wyoming County, was arraigned on a violation of probation. The case has been adjourned to Wednesday. Kimbrell is being held without bail in the Wyoming County Jail.

Elizabeth Mattingly, who committed a crime in Wyoming County, admitted to a violation of probation. Probation was revoked and she was sentenced to nine months in jail.

Carl Vander, who committed a crime in Wyoming County, admitted to two violations of probation and was sentenced to one-and-one-third to four years in prison on both charges. The sentences are to run concurrently.

Friday, August 4, 2017 at 3:35 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, drugs, Warsaw, news.
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      Wendell Fuqua       Raven Houston

Two Rochester residents were arrested Tuesday evening after allegedly selling suspected crack cocaine in the parking lot at McDonald’s in Warsaw.

Wyoming County Drug Task Force members say, Wendell Fuqua, 35, is accused of selling seven “rocks” of suspected crack cocaine to a person that had been under surveillance by the DTF.

Raven Houston, 23, was also charged, as she was the driver of the vehicle that Fuqua was a passenger in.

Both were charged with 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.

Fuqua was put in Wyoming County Jail without bail. Houston is being held in lieu of $10,000 cash bail.

Task Force members were assisted at the scene by the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police and the Warsaw Police Department.

The Wyoming County DTF includes members from the Sheriff’s Office, and the Arcade, Attica, Perry and Warsaw Police departments.

Suspected illegal drug activity can be reported to the confidential drug tip line at (585) 786-8965.

Friday, August 4, 2017 at 2:54 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Attica Rodeo, Attica.

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The 60th annual Attica Rodeo kicked off Thursday evening to a small but mighty crowd.

Performances at the rodeo grounds, Exchange Street, Attica, begin at 8 tonight and Saturday – gates open at 6 p.m., with matinee performances Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. – gates open at 11 a.m. and noon, respectively.

Contestants compete in more than eight rodeo events including bareback and saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, cowgirls breakaway, barrel racking, bull riding and more. Although all performances contain the same events, participants are different.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $8 for children 6 to 12 years old, and free for kids 5 years old and younger.

For more information visit http://www.atticarodeo.us/index.html

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Friday, August 4, 2017 at 11:35 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, weather.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued the following special weather statement.

A severe weather threat is possible this afternoon. Thunderstorms are expected to rapidly develop and intensify early this afternoon as they move from the Ohio Valley into Western and Central New York.

Some of these storms may become severe with strong winds in excess of 60 mph and hail more than 1 inch in diameter.

Be ready to take action if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued for your location. At a minimum, take shelter in a substantial building.

There will also be a threat for flash floods if multiple storms move over the same area.

UPDATE 1:32 p.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a thunderstorm watch until 9 p.m.

UPDATE 2 p.m.: A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Northwestern Wyoming, Northeastern Erie, and Southwestern Genesee counties by the National Weather Service until 2:30 p.m. 

A severe thunderstorm was located over Hamburg, moving northeast at 45 mph. The storm has the potential to bring 60-mph wind gusts and penny-size hail. 

Officials say to expect wind damage to trees and power lines.

Thursday, August 3, 2017 at 6:02 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Perry, Attica.

Nicholas D. Maroney, 20, of Perry, was charged Aug. 3 with endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor. Maroney, now a former camp counselor at YMCA Genesee/Camp Hough on West Lake Road, Castile, is accused of returning to the campground intoxicated and going into the wrong cabin to sleep. State Police say he was seen by other staff and campers exiting the occupied bunk bed of a 7-year-old female camper in the morning. At this time there is no report of sexual contact. He was arrested without incident and arraigned in the Town of Castile Court. He was jailed in lieu of bail or bond in the Wyoming County Jail. He is due in the Town of Castile Court Monday.

Michael A. Young, 36, of Attica, was charged Aug. 3 with driving while intoxicated – first offense, driving to the left of pavement markings and speed in excess of 55 mph. Young is accused of traveling in excess of 75 mph and crossing the center line on Main Street in Alexander. Further charges are pending on the results of a blood test. He is due in the Alexander Town Court Oct. 3.

Thursday, August 3, 2017 at 2:16 pm
posted by Howard Owens in health care, affordable care act, Chris Collins, ny-27.

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Photo by Maria Pericozzi.

The future of health care coverage for some Americans has become uncertain. If your employer provides health coverage through an HMO or PPO, you're probably OK. If you're on Medicare or Medicaid, you're probably OK. But if you're one of the 51 million of U.S. residents who must buy your own coverage, you might be watching the news coming out of Washington with concern.

After seven years of promising to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the Republicans in Congress have been unable to do either. Now, President Trump is threatening to defund the CSRs (cost sharing reductions) that help insurance companies contain coverage costs. He may not be able to do that, at least in New York, but there are other actions Trump can take to hamper the health care exchanges. The funding reductions and uncertainty are creating turmoil for insurers and consumers alike.

There are a reported 3,700 Wyoming County residents who purchased their health insurance through the New York exchange for 2017.

A month ago, The Wyoming County Free Press spoke with Rep. Chris Collins at length about his views on health care, with a follow-up interview last week, and learned that Collins doesn't think anybody needs worry about their coverage. When the House repeal and replace bill, the American Health Care Act was still alive (at the time of our first talk), he was confident that bill would be better for New Yorkers. Last week, when the so-called "skinny repeal" was still on the table (it since failed in the Senate), he thought whether it passed or not, New Yorkers would still have no trouble getting the coverage and care they needed.

The Congressional Budget Office has issued reports saying from 15 million to 25 million Americans could lose health benefits if either of those bills passed, but when pressed, Collins maintained there remained viable ways for anybody who needed coverage to get coverage.

Collins believes we have the best health care in the world, that Medicaid should be the same in all 50 states, that Republicans will never support universal health care, and he plans to continue the push to shift the cost of Medicaid from county taxpayers to the state.

"My buddy just had two grandchildren that were born twins two and a half pounds each," Collins said. "They finally just came home at six pounds. In days gone by the outlook for those kids would not have been good. The advances are tremendous in this country. I think we stand alone in this country with many of those and there's a cost that goes with it. We can get better everywhere. We have to go step by step but we've got to get rid of Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act). That's imploded."

That implosion, Collins said, is not because of anything the Republicans did -- eliminating support for risk corridors, creating uncertainty about the future of funding for individual market insurance, blocking the expansion of Medicaid, and not working on amendments to the original language of the act; rather, Collins said, it is because the ACA was doomed to fail.

"It was a house of cards that was never realistic," Collins said. "I called it out for what it was on day one."

On risk corridors, that was a flawed plan from the beginning, he said.

"I'm saying they (insurance companies) gamed the system," Collins said. "They priced the product low when they knew they would be reimbursed by the government. That all turned to mask how bad Obamacare was. It was masked for three years through this risk corridor reimbursement. Well, now the emperor's got no clothes and we see him standing there naked. That's what ended up happening when we stopped (the risk corridors). Now they have three years of actuarial data to know where it's got to be priced and sure enough, Blue Cross Blue Shield just announced a 47 percent price increase."

There are reports that the insurance companies are owed more than $5.8 billion. Collins said they are owed nothing.

"They got their money," Collins said. "They got their money and now they have three years of actuarial data. They should be on their own."

Provisions in the Affordable Care Act such as risk corridors were meant, according to groups such as the Kaiser Foundation, to provide safe guards for insurance companies against taking on a wave of people with pre-existing conditions.

Remember, before the ACA, those 51 million Americans in the individual pool could be denied coverage if they didn't already have insurance or changed insurance -- such as going from an employer-based plan to an individual plan -- if they had a pre-existing condition, or that condition might not be covered.  The ACA, which became law in 2009 and took effect in 2014, made that practice illegal. Risk corridors were intended to recognize a period of instability while insurance companies took on millions of people who had been denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions all in a short period of time.

The risk corridors were not directly funded by the Federal government. It was expected that some insurers would under estimate and some would over estimate their costs. The risk corridors set a range of acceptable variance and then used profits from above that range to reimburse insurers who fell below that range.

Collins contends no insurance companies were profitable in the first three years of the ACA, or profitable enough to fund the risk corridors. 

"The young and healthy did not sign up," Collins said. "They are not signing up. Therefore the people in these plans are sicker. Those are the ones who flocked to them. There was never any money on the surplus side to give to the companies who all, in a race for the most patience, I would say negligently, priced their products knowing their losses would be covered by the federal government for a period of time. That was the house of cards. Set to fail. And it has failed. It was not anything the Republicans did."

According to a study by Common Wealth Fund, some insurers lost their shirts under the ACA while others raked in record premiums. Then, in the first quarter of this year, health insurance providers had their most profitable quarter ever.  The volatility over the past three years in the health care exchanges is exactly what you would expect to find in a newly created market, according to a paper co-authored by conservative economist Craig Garthwaite.

The loss of risk corridor protection isn't the only shoal in the storm weathered by the Affordable Care Act.

There were more than 100 lawsuits filed against the ACA, some of them backed by Republicans. The fact that some of those challenges prevailed is evidence, Collins suggested, that the health care insurance law was bound to fail.

"This was a fundamentally flawed plan trying to get universal health care," Collins said. "The biggest issue was the Supreme Court struck down the exchanges being mandated across the country. That was the beginning of the end. That was not the Republicans. That was the Supreme Court ruling on an unconstitutional aspect of Obamacare. This thing was bound to fail."

The Affordable Care Act was meant to help lower the cost of health insurance for the approximately 51 million Americans (in a nation of 302 million adults, or 17 percent of the population) who are not covered by employer-provided health insurance or already receiving Medicaid or Medicare. Most of these Americans, prior to the ACA, did not have health coverage.  Since passage of the ACA, an additional 20 million people in the United States now have health insurance.

The ACA expanded Medicaid (though some states rejected the expansion) to include low-income workers (that's about six million of the 20 million mentioned above). There are also more people covered under their parents' plans because the law extended required coverage for children up to age 26.

A key provision of the ACA -- and one most reviled by conservatives -- is the individual mandate. The mandate was intended to push healthy young people toward signing up for insurance so their premiums (because on average they wouldn't require care resulting in claims) would help keep costs down for people with more health concerns.  People in the individual market who don't buy insurance can be assessed a tax penalty. 

The bill also required companies with more than 50 employees to provide insurance. Like the individual mandate, this provision has been unpopular and one report said as many as 22 percent of small businesses are hiring few workers as a result.

One thing Collins believes about the ACA is that the bill was really a trick to institute universal health care in the United States.

"The Democrats want universal health care," Collins said. "No if ands, or buts. Hillary Clinton wanted that. Barack Obama wanted that. They never could get there and that's when we ended up with the abomination that I call Obamacare."

At the time the ACA passed, the Democrats controlled the House and the Senate, with enough votes in the Senate (58 Democrats and two Democrat-leaning independents) for Obama to get through just about any legislation he wanted, including single-payer, Medicare-for-all, or any other universal system.

The ACA seems to be largely based on proposals first put forward by the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation. That that is not an indisputable fact. Stuart Butler, a Heritage director, says it's not true but there are documents out there that show Heritage and Butler pushing coverage for all Americans with an individual mandate.

At the time Butler was offering any kind of proposal for health care, Bill Clinton was president and Hillary Clinton was heading a commission aimed and creating universal health care for the nation. To counter the Clinton plan, Republicans were proposing alternatives, including the Heritage plan.

Republicans remain steadfastly opposed to universal health care, Collins said, even though Trump has seemingly promised just that during his campaign for president.

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said on Jan. 11. “We’re going to have a healthcare that is far less expensive and far better.” 

In an interview with 60 Minutes in September 2015, he said, “I am going to take care of everybody. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”

Collins deflected questions about Trump's promises.

"I don't speak for the president," Collins said. "I would say on the campaign trail he talked about a lot of different topics."

And in response to a follow-up question, Collins said, "The life I live is here now, and Republicans will never support universal health."

Interestingly, not all conservatives agree. The American Conservative has recently published two columns suggesting that within five years Republicans will embrace universal health care and that universal catastrophic coverage is what is best for the nation.

Collins is opposed to universal health care, he said, because he believes it's inferior to what we have now.

"(I) would point to the situation in Europe certainly the situation in Canada where we have Canadians pouring over the border to get health care that's just not available within their universal health care system," Collins said. "You look to Europe; the elderly are denied health care. The ROI is not there, whether it's a new hip for it or something else -- how old are you? What's your life expectancy? Some of the life-saving cancer drugs are not available in Europe from a cost perspective because those nations budget health care." 

According to this op-ed in the Denver Post from 2009, the idea that Canadians come here for routine coverage is a myth, though when Canadians do come to the United States for care, for whatever reason, their universal healthcare plan covers their medical expenses. (Colby Cosh, a journalist in Canada, read the Denver Post piece after I sent him a link on Twitter and he said, "Some of its plain nonsense, like 'no waits for urgent care', obviously."

There does seem to be some issue with the elderly being denied care in Great Britain (care rationing), but apparently, that is not how their care should be handled since they can sue if denied care.  

While there is a report in England recently of patients being denied expensive treatment, those same treatments are available elsewhere in Europe, and American pharmaceuticals tend to be substantially less expensive in Europe than the United States.

The idea, however, that drugs make health care more expensive for Americans, is a myth, Collins said.

"There's so much misinformation out there," Collins said. "For instance, if you surveyed the average American they will tell you the biggest cost driver and the biggest problem we have are prescription drugs. That's what they say. But that's not the reality. As I understand that prescription drug coverage is nine percent of health care cost. Ninety-one percent is everything else. So if all these, and they are expensive drugs, and as I just illustrated through my ill-venture down in Australia, nine out of 10 drugs are going to try and fail, there's a huge cost. It's got to be recovered one way or the other but you're simply not going to have new R&D and new drugs to cure the next disease."

Pharmaceutical research, however, is not a totally free-market system. While drug companies fund about $60 billion of the $100 billion spent on R&D each here, about 1/3 of that tab is paid for by taxpayers (with the rest covered by charitable contributions). Many drugs are formulated based on publicly financed research and some drugs are developed through a public-private partnership.

Even so, Collins expressed no interest, when asked, about reforming the current patent law system that gives drug makers monopoly pricing on drugs, though he did say he supports making it easier for patent-expired drugs to enter the generic market.

"None of us would ever suggest that anything's perfect," Collins said.

He said he's especially interested in reducing the approval process around what is called "biosimilar" drugs. Biosimilars are the same in every respect to FDA approved drugs, except for some inactive ingredients. The process for biosimilars was supposed to be reformed under the ACA.

While not addressing the patent issue, he said he would like to see new drugs get to market faster.

"It begins with things that we've done, that I helped with, with the FDA and the 21st Century Cures Act, to get drugs to the market quicker," Collins said. "I sat down with the administrator of the FDA and asked her about her personnel needs and the skill set she needs to get drugs to market quicker, to save lives, to treat illnesses, to treat debilitating diseases because the quicker they get to market the cheaper they'll be. There's a cost. Whatever it does and it takes you eight years to get it to market, and we can get it down to five years, we can save the net cost, and I believe it will be substantially reduced."

Whether the Republicans let the ACA die, repeal it outright, repeal and replace it, Collins doesn't believe that people are going to die for lack of health insurance.

The poor, he said, will continue to be covered by Medicaid. As for people not eligible for Medicaid, nobody will face bankruptcy because they can't afford health care.

"We, Republicans, and everything we've said are they don't have to go bankrupt," Collins said. "That's was the old system. The old system said, because it was no safety net whatsoever, you have to go on Medicaid. The only way to get on the Medicaid was to go bankrupt. Well, that's not where we are today. Where we are today -- we don't know where it's going to end but certainly, American Health Care Act said very simply, you can get insurance."

It might be expensive insurance because if you were without insurance when you developed what carriers would consider a pre-existing condition, the insurers could charge you premiums that are 30 percent higher for 12 months.

"You are perhaps in that uncomfortable slice of working poor and your numbers didn't work and you did not have coverage through your employer and you made the decision to not carry that insurance," Collins said. "There were other things that took priority in your life. We're not going to now force you into bankruptcy, which was the old way. What we said is there would be a 30-percent added cost for 12 months then you would go back into the community rate. Personally, I think that is a pretty fair compromise."

The AHCA seems to be dead, at least for now, and Collins defended it at length during our conversation. You can read his comments in the transcript (links to the full interviews below).

Even with the AHCA seemingly consigned to legislative history, Collins said the proposal he backed to provide mandate relief for cash-strapped counties hit with the high costs of supporting Medicaid isn't dead. He will continue to pursue that legislation, he said.

"John Fasso and I are going to continue to pursue our Medicaid language and find something else to attach it to because we have some other must pass stuff," Collins said. "We've got S chip that's got to pass. We've got some extenders that need to pass, so let's just say John Fasso and I are not giving up on the Medicaid piece regardless."

Many economists have raised concerns about the lack of free market mechanisms in health care, a key factor in driving up costs.  Employer-provided health insurance distorts the market, creates what economists call the principle-agent problem (the ultimate consumer isn't making the key buying decisions) and information asymmetry (buyers have less information than sellers). Liberal economist Dean Baker has been especially vocal about the American Medical Association, which he labels a "cartel."   The "cartel" he contends, is able to artificially reduce the number of hospitals and doctors in the U.S. to constrict supply and drive up costs.

The United States has only 3.3 hospital beds per 1,000 people, compared to 3.7 in Canada and 4.2 in the United Kingdom. At 2.2 physicians per 1,000 people, the United States ranks 52nd in the world, though a tad higher than Canada or the United Kingdom. The United States spends more, much more, per capita on health care than any other nation on earth, yet ranks 43rd in life expectancy.

We asked Collins about the underlying causes of high health care costs in the United States and he didn't answer the question directly.

"Well there's one big issue and it's lifestyle," Collins said. "Two-thirds of our country is obese. Through that, all kinds of things happen whether it's diabetes, whether it's joints, whether it's heart, or whether it's cardiovascular. If you want to look up and down in health in the U.S., it's we got a weight problem. So what can we do? We got to talk about it. We've got to remind people of it. Health insurance companies now have fitness plans. Government plays a role and then people play a role. I'm just a firm believer in personal accountability. We make decisions good and bad. Certainly, our health decisions are more under our control, not to say that bad things genetically don't happen but there's an awful lot of the health care world that we do control individually. We're not doing a very good job."

PDFs transcripts for full interviews:

Thursday, August 3, 2017 at 11:54 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Shakespeare, play, Perry, Arcade.

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“Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.”

The very first line in Shakespeare’s play “Romeo & Juliet” not only shapes the direction of the play itself but was the inspiration to this year’s stage setup of Shake on the Lake’s performance of the tragedy held Tuesday night in the Arcade Village Park.

Shake on the Lake performers have used several stage variations over the years including in the round – the audience is placed on at least three sides of the stage, a semicircle, and thrust – a stage that extends into the auditorium so that the audience is seated around three sides.

This year was the first year they used an "alleyway" configuration – the audience is set on two sides of the stage facing each other. In the case of this production, it allows the audience on both sides to play off each other's reactions. It creates a circular energy, says Director Chad Bradford.

“The walls in the set represent the ‘wall’ between two families and the riffs they have. With the climate in the world as an ‘us’ versus ’them’ kind of world, the play mirrored what is relevant now,” Bradford said.

Shake on the Lake’s production of “Romeo & Juliet” continues tonight at 6:30 at the Public Beach on Silver Lake, Perry. The cost is $10 per person or $35 for five people.

For more information on Shake on the Lake, including updates on events and fundraising, volunteer, and sponsorship opportunities visit www.shakeonthelake.org or email shakeonthelake@gmail.com.

See related: Shake on the Lake presents Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’

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