Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 11:43 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, fire, Arcade, Bliss, Strykersville, North Java, Sheldon, Pike.

Sparks from a cutting torch ignited bedding materials in the cow barn of a Cattaraugus County farm, causing $150,000 in damages.

Several Wyoming County fire departments responded to the fire at 10826 Osmun Road, Freedom, shortly after noon Monday.

Arcade, Bliss, Strykersville, North Java, Chaffee/Sardinia, Yorkshire, Delevan, Farmersville, Centerville, and Rushford fire departments responded to the barn fire at Edelweiss Farm Inc. Assisting Fire Chief in Charge Arcade Fire Chief Tom Beiersdorf included Wyoming County Emergency Management, Arcade Electric, and Cattaraugus County Fire Investigators. Standing by at empty fire stations included Sheldon, Bliss, and Pike fire departments.

Firefighters were able to stop the fire from spreading to other nearby barns on the complex. Crews were on the scene for three-and-one-half hours with no reported injuries.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 11:29 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Perry, Warsaw, Strykersville.

Heather A. Woodworth, 35, of Perry, was charged April 10 with disorderly conduct. She is due in Geneseo Town Court at a later date.

John W. Dill Jr., 52, of Grand Prairie, Texas, was ticketed April 17 for failure to keep right. Wyoming County Sheriff’s deputies say Dill was driving a tractor-trailer eastbound on Route 20A, Warsaw, when he fell asleep at the wheel. Subsequently, the semi left the roadway, going off the south side of the road, sheering off a utility pole. Although the cab of the vehicle was able to be driven from the scene, the trailer was damaged and had to be towed. No injuries were reported. Dill is due in the Town of Warsaw Court at a later date. Assisting at the scene included the Warsaw Fire Department.

Amanda R. Redden, 33, of Strykersville, was charged April 15 with speeding and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree. Redden was stopped, after deputies say she was seen speeding, on Folsomdale Road, Sheldon. During the traffic stop, it was allegedly found that her license had been suspended – for failure to pay a fine – out of the Village of Warsaw. She was released on her own recognizance and is due in the Town of Sheldon Court at a later date.

Monday, April 17, 2017 at 12:37 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Attica, history, GCC.

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GCC Associate Professor of History and History Club Advisor Derek Maxfield presents a $250 check dotated by the History Club to Attica Historical Society President Dean June.

Press release, photo submitted:

In response to the recent flood at the Attica Historical Society Museum, the Genesee Community College (GCC) History Club is sponsoring a fundraiser from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 6 called Historians for Attica Historical Society. The event will feature five one-hour history programs and will take place on the lawn of the Attica Historical Society, Main Street, Attica. Guests may purchase tickets to individual programs for $5 each or purchase an all-day pass for $20. Young people under 14 years old get into all programs free. All proceeds benefit the Attica Historical Society and Museum.

Back in February, Dean June, the president of the society, looked down toward the basement door when he was entering the museum and noticed a lot of water coming from under the door. He pushed it open to find more than two feet of water standing in the basement. He does not know exactly how long it had been like that. The sump pump and other safety mechanisms had failed.

As a result, boxes of artifacts including many books were under water. Mold had already set in on the walls and boxes. The society had to discard many artifacts and books that were irreplaceable. Moreover, they had to spend almost $10,000 to clean up, cut out and replace walls, and to seal the basement.

The daylong event will feature:

    • 9 to 10 a.m. -- "History and Politics in 140 Characters or Less: Considering Andrew Jackson in the Age of Trump.” Speaker, Danny Hamner, Adjunct Instructor of History, GCC;

    • 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. -- "Upstate New York State Suffragists and Radical Reform.” Speaker, Melinda Grube, Ph.D, Adjunct Instructor of History, Cayuga Community College.

    • 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. -- Panel discussion: "Living Living History: Becoming Someone Else.” Moderated by Derek Maxfield, associate professor of History, GCC. Panel includes: Melinda Grube, who portrays Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Tom Schobert, who portrays Gen. Robert E. Lee, and Al Parker, great-grandnephew and portrayer of Eli Parker, aide-de-camp of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant;

    • 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. -- Lunch;

    • 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. -- 19th century stories and music by David Armitage and Dona LaValle;

    • 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. -- Civil War Demo/Lecture;

The sounds system for the event is being provided courtesy of Kirk McWhorter of Penny Whiskey.

Pre-sale tickets will be available from the historical society and available at the door on the day of the event. To purchase tickets or for more information call (585) 591-2161.For more information about the individual programs, contact Derek Maxfield at ddmaxfield@genesee.edu

Parking is available behind the Stevens Memorial Library, at the historical society, or in the Presbyterian Church parking lot across the street.

Monday, April 17, 2017 at 12:23 pm
posted by Howard Owens in Wyoming, crime, accident, news.

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      Nicole Sullivan

A 31-year-old resident of Wyoming has been arrested and accused making up information about a car-tree accident at 2:35 a.m. June 10 on Fargo Road, Stafford, where a disabled passenger was seriously injured.

Nicole Kimberly Sullivan, 31, of North Main Street, Wyoming, is charged with assault, 2nd, endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, falsely reporting an incident and operator leaving the scene of an accident with injuries. 

Sheriff's Office investigators say that following the accident, Sullivan was the actual driver of the vehicle, even though she initially told responders that driver had left the scene. Firefighters and deputies then conducted an extensive search of the area for the possible driver, both to locate the driver and out of concern the driver could be injured.

Later that morning, Sullivan admitted to deputies that she was the driver of the vehicle.

The passenger, Zachery W. Schwarts, 20, was transported by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital.

Investigator Joseph Graff and Deputy Eric Meyer, who assisted in the investigation, assert that Sullivan failed to report the accident as soon as she was physically able to do so and that she failed to make timely notification of the need for medical assistance for the injured passenger.

Sullivan was also issued citations for driving left of pavement markings, unlicensed operator, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, failure to notify DMV of address change, no seat belt, and unregistered motor vehicle.

Also assisting in the investigation, Sgt. John Baiocco.

Top photo: File photo.

Monday, April 17, 2017 at 12:16 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, Sports, hunting.

Press release:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is opening spring turkey season on May 1. However, DEC's annual youth turkey hunting weekend is scheduled for April 22 and 23.

The youth turkey hunt for junior hunters 12 to 15 years old is open in all of Upstate New York and Suffolk County. DEC encourages experienced hunters to take a novice hunter afield this spring, whether the novice is a young person or an adult getting into the sport for the first time.

"Hunting is an excellent way to connect people to the natural world," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Spending time afield with a new hunter is a chance to teach them about conservation, the environment, and wildlife. It's the perfect opportunity to put novice hunters on the path to becoming safe and responsible hunters."

DEC reports that the turkey population experienced reproductive success in the summer of 2015, and combined with relatively mild winters in 2015-16 and 2016-17, it is anticipated that the spring harvest will be up from last year and above the five-year average (about 20,000 birds). The estimated turkey harvest for spring 2016 was 18,400 birds, and nearly 6,000 junior hunters harvested an estimated 1,300 birds during the two-day youth hunt in 2016.

Details for the Youth Turkey Hunt on April 22 and 23

    • Hunters 12 to 15 years of age are eligible and must hold a hunting license and a turkey permit.

    • Youth 12-13 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or adult over 21 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian. Youth 14-15 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or adult over 18 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian.

    • The accompanying adult must have a current hunting license and turkey permit. The adult may assist the youth hunter, including calling, but may not carry a firearm, bow, or crossbow, or kill or attempt to kill a wild turkey during the youth hunt.

    • Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day.

    • The youth turkey hunt is open in all of Upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary and across Suffolk County.

    • The bag limit for the youth weekend is one bearded bird. This bird becomes part of the youth's regular spring season bag limit of two bearded birds. A second bird may be taken only in upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary, beginning May 1.

    • Crossbows may only be used by hunters age 14 or older.

    • All other wild turkey hunting regulations remain in effect.

Other details for the spring turkey season, May 1 through 31:

    • Hunting is permitted in most areas of the state, except for New York City and Long Island.

    • Hunters must have a turkey hunting permit in addition to their hunting license.

    • Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day.

    • Hunters may take two bearded turkeys during the spring season, but only one bird per day.

    • Hunters may not use rifles or handguns firing a bullet. Hunters may hunt with a shotgun or handgun loaded with shot sizes no larger than No. 2 or smaller than No. 8, or with a bow or crossbow.

    • Successful hunters must fill out the tag that comes with the turkey permit and immediately attach it to any turkey harvested.

    • Successful hunters must report their harvest within seven days of taking a bird. Call 1-866-426-3778 or report a harvest online at DEC's website.

For more information about turkey hunting in New York, see the 2016-17 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or visit the "Turkey Hunting" pages at DEC's website.

New York has an extremely safety-conscious generation of hunters, largely due to the annual efforts of more than 3,000 volunteer sportsman education instructors. 

DEC suggests hunters follow the cardinal rules of hunting safety: assume every gun is loaded; control the muzzle; keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot; be absolutely sure of your target and what may be beyond it; and don't stalk. Set up with your back against a large tree and call birds to you. 

To find a sportsman education class in your area, go to the Sportsman Education web page on DEC's website or call 1-888-HUNT-ED2 (888-486-8332). To view a video on hunter safety tips, watch DEC's Hunter Safety video on YouTube (Link leaves DEC's website).

Turkey hunters in pursuit of that wary gobbler in the spring are ideally suited for monitoring ruffed grouse during the breeding season. Turkey hunters can record the number of grouse they hear drumming while afield to help DEC track the distribution and abundance of this game bird. To get a survey form, go to the Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey web page on DEC's website or call (518) 402-8883.

To participate in DEC's Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey or other wildlife surveys, visit the "Citizen Science" page at DEC's website.

DEC has created a Hunting and Trapping Photo Gallery for junior hunters 12 to 15 years old, young trappers under 16, and hunters who have harvested their first big or small game animal. To share the first successful hunt, visit the photo gallery.

Monday, April 17, 2017 at 10:14 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Sheldon, Java.

Blake D. Cooper, 20, of Java, was charged April 11 with possession of a hypodermic instrument, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, and driving while ability impaired by drugs. Wyoming County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Red Apple, Route 78, Strykersville, for a report of a male subject that was passed out in the driver’s seat of a car in the parking lot. Deputies say, when they arrived Cooper was responsive. Additionally, police say there were three hypodermic instruments (syringes) along with suspected heroin baggies on and around Cooper in plain view. Medics from Strykersville Ambulance, checked him out for health concerns, after which Cooper signed off on any further medical treatment. He was put through field sobriety testing and allegedly failed. The accused was then taken to the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office, where he was evaluated by a Drug Recognition Expert, who allegedly found him to be under the influence of heroin. He is due in Sheldon Town Court May 22.

Monday, April 17, 2017 at 10:04 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Attica, Warsaw, Perry, Sheldon, Arcade.

The following inmates from State Correctional Facilities in Attica were in Wyoming County Court before Judge Michael Mohun April 12.

Jayshawn Williams was sentenced to one-and-one-half to three years in prison, and fees and surcharges. He was convicted of attempted assault in the second degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. The sentence is to run consecutively to his current term.

John Harris was sentenced to two to four years in prison on each count of two counts of attempted assault in the second degree, a Class E felony. He is also responsible for all fees and surcharges incurred. The sentences are to run concurrently with each other, but consecutively to his current term.

Ronald Montgomery was sentenced to seven years in prison, five years post release supervision, and fees and surcharges on the conviction of assault in the second degree, a Class D felony. The sentence is to run concurrently to his current term.

Rodney Webster was sentenced to one-and-one-half to three years in prison, and fees and surcharges on the conviction of conspiracy in the fourth degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. The sentence is to run consecutively to his current term.

Benedict Agostini had his case adjourned to April 24.

Jerry Gillard had his case adjourned to April 26.

Lindell Cox had his case adjourned to April 26 for a Huntley Hearing. A Huntley Hearing is a pretrial hearing in New York State and is requested for the purpose of reviewing the manner in which the police obtained statements from the defendant.

Wesley Kirkland was in court for motions. He pled guilty to attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. Sentencing is scheduled June 21.

Ricky Morris was sentenced to one-and-one-half to three years in prison, and fees and surcharges. He was convicted of attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. The sentence is to run consecutively to his current term.

Andrew Mott was in court for motions. The case has been adjourned to April 26.

Pablo Sanes was in court for motions. He pled guilty to attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. Sentencing is scheduled June 21.

Shaquor Smith Sr. was in court for motions. A Huntley Hearing is scheduled May 15. A Huntley Hearing is a pretrial hearing in New York State and is requested for the purpose of reviewing the manner in which the police obtained statements from the defendant.

Christian Manley had his case adjourned to May 17 for a Huntley Hearing.

The following were in Wyoming County Court before Mohun April 12 and 13:

Tylor Phinney, who committed a crime in Sheldon, pled guilty to attempted assault in the second degree, a Class E felony. Sentencing is scheduled Aug. 3.

Justin Stanbro, who committed a crime in Arcade, admitted to a violation of interim probation. He was sentenced on the conviction of burglary in the third degree, a Class D felony, and resisting arrest, to two-and-one-half to seven years in prison. The sentence is to run concurrently to his Erie County sentence.

Shawna Martino, who committed a crime in Attica, pled guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a Class D felony, and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree. Sentencing is scheduled July 6.

Chester Harrington, who committed a crime in Perry, successfully completed interim probation. He was sentenced to three years probation, a $2,000 fine, and driver’s license revoked. He was convicted of driving while intoxicated, and operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 percent or more.

Patrick Gugliuzza, who is accused of a crime in Warsaw, pled not guilty to welfare fraud in the fourth degree, and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, both are Class E felonies. Motions are scheduled June 22. Bail was set at $15,000.

Courtney Brown, who committed a crime in Wyoming County, was in court for a SORA hearing. The decision has been reserved. Sex Offender Registry Act: Sex offenders are required by the SORA to verify their information in the Registry at specified intervals. There are three levels of sex offenders:  Level 1 (low risk of re-offense), Level 2 (medium risk of re-offense) and Level 3 (high risk of re-offense); risk level is set by a judge after a court hearing. After the hearing of a trial or the argument of a motion a judge might not immediately deliver a decision, but instead take time to review evidence and the law and deliver a decision at a later time, usually in a written form, thus reserve decision.

Friday, April 14, 2017 at 11:56 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, news, Warsaw, crime.

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It’s been nearly five decades since the 1969 fiery crash on Route 20A – or as the road is known among the locals “the East Hill” –  that claimed one life and prompted the ban on tractor-trailers from traveling that route. Today, a large red sign over the westbound lane directs “trucks, buses and cars with trailers” to exit Route 20A a quarter-mile up the road, giving truck drivers an alternate route to Warsaw. 

Just last week, two truck drivers were charged, after driving down “the East Hill.”

Rowdy D. Schmidt, 47, of Portland, Tenn., was stopped on East Buffalo Street following an investigation on a hit and run that “took out” roadsigns on the East Hill. He was charged April 5 with logbook violation, operator leaving the scene of a property damage accident, failure to obey traffic device, and operator without a certificate of registration.

Harbans Singh Bedi, 36, of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, was stopped on West Buffalo Street April 8 and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree, logbook violation, failure to obey traffic device, and vehicle size violation. He was put in Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $1,000 cash bail or $2,000 bond.

Both men are due in court May 22.

Warsaw hasn’t seen a fire in the Village like the one on that September evening since 1969. Prior to that day, “the East Hill” was never limited to truck traffic – although it had been known as “dead man’s curve,” and “fruit salad.” Warsaw firefighters coined the road name “fruit salad” after one truck dumped its load of watermelon on “the West Hill” (Route 20A on the west side of Main Street), and another truck dumped its load of bananas on “the East Hill.” After which, Beanie says, the department ate bananas for weeks.

Today, there is a nine-ton weight limit on Route 20A west – based on the history of that section of road.

According to long-time Warsaw Fire Department member, past Warsaw Chief, and past President of the WNY Firemen’s Association, Francis “Beanie” Head, it was “one hell of a fire, I tell you that!”

“The only reason we only lost one life is because it was evening supper hour and all the families were home ready to eat – they were able to get out the back door of their houses… all four of those houses. Unfortunately for them they lost everything they had.”

Head, or Beanie as he is known, had just come home from work and was about ready to have supper with his family. His oldest daughter was celebrating her birthday and his family just sat down to eat.

“I hadn’t even taken a bite yet when I heard a big boom,” Beanie said. “I turned to my wife and said ‘I don’t like that. I’m headed for the car.’ My pager went off just as I was getting in the car, and what they had told me was there were four houses fully involved and a gas tanker was overturned and on fire on East Buffalo Street.”

Beanie says he wasted no time and sped off to the fire hall, driving through flames before he reached and parked the car at the station.

“After the fire, I caught hell for that from my wife, as it was a new car.”

According to reports at that time, the driver of the tractor-trailer had said he lost his brakes coming down the hill and lost control of the vehicle. He was able to escape the cab of the semi before it crashed – spilling 8,000 gallons of gas onto the road – and burst into flames. However, on its way down the hill and into the curve, the tractor-trailer hit a vehicle, subsequently killing the driver of the station wagon.

“We later found out he was a salesman working in this area.”

Beanie and fellow firefighter Bruce Brown were first to arrive at the department and on the scene with a pumper truck. However, the fire was so intense they were only able to get it as far as Short Street because of the flames.

Although firefighters started to arrive on the scene, Beanie was the only chief – second assistant chief – so the title of Chief in Charge fell on his shoulders.

“I had placed a call saying ‘This is Warsaw 5.0. I want a full turnout of all departments to Warsaw. I have four houses fully involved and a tanker still burning.’ I had no more hung up the mic when Wyoming 5.0 (Joe Lee at the time) called in and said they were ‘at the monument, where do you want us?’ They hadn’t waited for a tone-out. They just showed up.”

The Chief in Charge had directed Wyoming to the back of the houses for a water screen. (A water screen is an almost fan-like spray of water from a specialized nozzle. It's typically used to wet down an area that is not involved in the fire to keep it from burning.) When Gainesville Fire Department showed up, he sent them up Livingston Street to protect those houses.

“There was nothing we could do with the burning houses as they were fully consumed. We were just going to wet them down to protect the other houses.”

Every department in the county showed up, the Warsaw Village Police, Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department, New York State Troopers out of Warsaw, and from Genesee County, Geneseo Ambulance and Le Roy Fire Department. There were a total of 22 departments and approximately 300 men and women working the scene.

“We were working the best we could to keep everything else nearby from burning and the next thing I know, there’s a deputy at the stoplight …so nothing moved up our street. Come to find out afterwards, he was an Attica fireman and had his pager on his uniform, too. The Geneseo Ambulance came on the scene and told us they had just dropped a patient off at the hospital and asked if I’d like them to stand by on the scene to cover any squad calls. I have to say, in this county, it doesn’t matter whose fire it is, when help is needed, everybody comes.”

There was so much more power behind the fire because the gas from the tanker acted as an accelerant, fire officials say. The fire was so intensely hot, firemen tried to take cover behind roadsigns to keep some of the heat off them. 

Then, crews heard another explosion, but this time it was on Main Street – from a manhole.

“This told me what was happening. We had gas in the storm drains. It got into the drain inlets on Buffalo Street that run into Main Street, which eventually leads to the disposal plant (Department of Public Works on Linwood Avenue).”

When the truck overturned and slid down the roadway it not only caused sparks to fly, the tanker was split open, dumping the gas along the way. Subsequently, the fuel made its way into the storm drains – which were also tied into residential basement drains – and simply followed the path of least resistance, straight to the wastewater treatment plant on Linwood – two miles away.

“We knew it made its way to the disposal plant because we got a call saying there was gas burning down there. The fire also blew three manhole covers on Main Street so we had shut it down.”

Some of the old photos show the gas running down the street, Beanie says.

A call had been placed to one of the chemical plants in Buffalo for a gas neutralizing agent. The caller had been told they were loading 55-gallon drums onto a truck as they spoke.

“When the driver pulled into the fire hall, his hands were just shaking as he asked me where I wanted the chemical. I told him we were going to go up toward the fire and drop some in the inlets from there. The driver asked if he could take a break – and my wife was part of the Auxiliary and was getting food made for the guys, next thing she’s doing is coming out with a big cup of coffee for him. I think he spilled as much as he drank.

"So I said ‘man what did you do?’ He said ‘there were two state police cars in front of me and two behind me and I never stopped from the time I left that plant. This is a brand-new truck, I had that thing rolling about 80 (mph).’ "

Beanie “got guys together” and they began the arduous task of getting the 55-gallon drums to the storm drains and began dropping the chemical down the drain, so to speak. 

“It was damn scary. When we got all done, we stored the remaining drums in the fire hall.”

While several fire departments worked the scene between the train trestle and the Warsaw Fire Hall, Perry Center and Perry fire departments were just east of the trestle “hosing on that end” so the fire wouldn’t “walk up” the hill. There had also been a report of a fire on Oatka Creek on Main Street, to which Silver Springs Fire Department responded.

Firefighters were on the scene for more than 72 hours battling the blaze. The fire destroyed four homes but didn’t touch the others nearby due to the actions of firefighters watering down the other houses. Firemen also wetted the roofs of the burning homes to keep any sparks or flying tinder from reaching the other houses.

“The fire was burning all night. There was no sense in putting it completely out because it would have cost the homeowners a fortune to get everything cleaned up, so we were trying to help minimize the cost for the residents. At that point, there wasn’t anything salvageable…there was no way to rebuild anything that would may have still stood.”

Because the fire got into the brick and the cinder blocks of the homes, it had degraded them for continued use, thereby rendering them useless.

“My boss came by and even asked what they could do,” said Beanie, who worked for the State Highway Department. “I asked if he could have an operator with a grade-all in the morning to pull up to the basements and stir the stuff around so we could wet any hotspots.

“This whole town was very receptive to the work we had done. We had the respect of every citizen from this town. We had a stack of 'thank yous' from the members of the community. It was a mutual working of organizations that saved the village, really.” 

While crews were walking around checking all the houses and everybody on the street, Beanie says it was like attending a funeral, people were scared, yet they were glad it was over. There was a deep sense of sorrow for the four families who lost their homes…who lost everything, and for the salesman who died.

But as Beanie said, “It was a time when everyone came together as a community. It was a helluva three-day deal…I tell you that.”

At 86 years old, Beanie is still as active as he can be in the Warsaw Fire Department. As current Fire Chief Joe Cummins says, “He’s 4-foot-nothin’ in stature, but 10-foot-somethin’ in personality.”

“I enjoy this,” Beanie said. “If something serious happens, I mourn with them and I try to be there to back them up….and I always will be, as long as I can walk.”

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Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 12:24 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Business, Warsaw.

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Press release, photo submitted:

After several months of planning and design, the Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism launched its newly redesigned website today. The website is now fully responsive and mobile friendly, secure and easy to navigate, says Chamber President Scott Gardner.

Residents and consumers will be able to easily access the Chamber’s member directory, the latest news and events, access information and resources on economic development, and stay connected with the business community.

The site will also feature upcoming chamber-specific programs and events like Wyoming County Agri-palooza. Members will be able to easily navigate to benefits and access a special login section that allows them to change their own micro-listing Web pages. These and more a just a few of the many improvements to the website.

“This is the first time the site has been changed in almost 14 years. In this high-tech world, no one can afford to get behind the technology curve,” Gardner said. “The new website offers better access to information and improved connection and resources for both our membership and the community.”

The website upgrade project was part of a two-phase approach to recasting the two websites, in phase one, the tourism site – www.gowyomingcountyny.com – was completely redesigned from the ground up. The second phase of updating the Chamber site was built on the technical foundation of tourism but given its own look and feel. This allowed the two sites to have a similar and complementary looks while maintaining their necessary differences. The user-friendly responsive design breathes life into the mobile presence for the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism. Additionally, the administrative features and functionality of the new websites provide the organization with the ability to offer alternative online advertising opportunities to its members.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors I would like to thank the staff for their work and chamber member Corporate Communications for developing the new website,” said Board Chair Norb Fuest. “We look forward to continuing to serve the membership and community through this new website, both as a tool and great source of information and resources.”    

The website will also feature information on the county’s Rural Arts Initiative. This resource for travelers, residents, and artists, provides project updates and developments to the arts and cultural offerings in the county. Links will allow users to learn more and get direct access to organizations like the Arts Council for Wyoming County and new galleries.

The Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism is the leading membership organization for local and regional growth, advocacy, and connection for Wyoming County’s business community. The Chamber & Tourism’s mission is to serve the members and community, promote and grow the area’s economic and tourism assets, and work collaboratively to create an environment that leads to the success and economic prosperity of Wyoming County. For more information or to become a member call (585) 786-0307 or visit  www.wycochamber.org.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 9:00 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, event, government, 4-H, Warsaw, Eagle, Castile.

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Two Wyoming County 4-H’ers each received a Certificate of Recognition from the county Board of Supervisors during the monthly meeting Tuesday in Warsaw. Danielle Herrick and Madelynn Olin were recognized for their presentations at the 4-H Public Presentation Days held at Warsaw High School in February. 

The Public Presentation program is designed to enhance 4-H’ers public speaking skills by researching a subject and organizing their ideas in a logical order. Additionally, the program helps the youth gain confidence and self-esteem while developing the ability to think and speak in front of a group of people about something that interests them, 4-H officials say.

Danielle, 14, is the daughter of Will and Louise Herrick, of Eagle. She is a seven-year member of the Barnstormers 4-H Club. Her formal presentation titled “Dairy Advocacy” highlighted how animal rights groups shine a negative light on the dairy industry, and how positive activism can “provide people with the facts about milk and the dairy industry.”

Madelynn, 11, has been a member of the Castile Country Kids 4-H Club for the past six years. She is the daughter of Justine and Jessica Olin, of Castile. Her illustrated talk was titled “Mary Jemison, White Woman of the Genesee.” Along with the drawings and written information about Jemison’s life depicted on poster board next to her, Madelynn told of the woman’s life and how she came to rest in Letchworth State Park.

Attica Town Supervisor Bryan Kehl presented the girls with the certificates.

In other board matters:

    • Chairman Doug Berwanger is authorized to sign a contract with Adecco Staffing Agency and provides for a temporary clerical worker for the Office for the Aging until the results of the Civil Service list are available, effective March 18 through June 30;

    • Proclamation declaring April Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month, and Alcohol Awareness Month in Wyoming County;

    • Chairman authorized to sign a contract with Hillside Children’s Center for: two additional parenting classes to be taught in the Wyoming County Jail for an additional funding amount of $2,016.62; additional funding for Children’s Health Home Services – $939; and a reduction of $76 for Family Support Services.

    • The GLOW area (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties) has been designated as a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Area (WIOA) under the WIOA Act of 2014. Additionally, Wyoming County Community Action is the system partner providing WIOA adult, dislocated worker, and youth program services in Wyoming County, effective July 1;

    • Proclamation stating May 7 through 13 is Travel and Tourism Week in the county; 

    • The Wyoming County Ag and Business Center’s Use of Facilities Policy and Fee Schedule has been approved; 

    • Roberta Curry has been appointed to the GLOW Solid Waste Planning Committee and Glow Regional Solid Wast Management Committee, through Dec. 31; 

    • NOMAD Enterprises Inc., 6270 Abbott Road, Silver Springs, won the contract for law maintenance services at various county buildings – not to exceed $8,160; and ThyssenKrupp Elevator, Walden Avenue, Buffalo, was awarded a contract for elevator maintenance services at the Courthouse-Government Center and Public Safety Building, Main Street, Warsaw – not to exceed $24,840; and

    • The Highway Department abolished one position – bridge construction mechanic, and created two – heavy equipment operator, and sign maintenance working supervisor; the Sheriff’s Department created two positions – administrative assistant (Sheriff), and part-time corrections officer; and the Health Department abolished the position of public health nurse, and created the position of community health nurse II.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 4:08 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Warsaw, fire safety.

warsaw_open_recruitment.jpg

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Warsaw Central School District students can show off their artistic talent and vie for a chance for their artwork to be included in the Warsaw Fire Department’s 2018 calendar.

The fire department is hosting a drawing contest for students in kindergarten through 12th grade as part of its seventh annual Recruitment and Safety Expo from noon to 5 p.m. April 29.

The drawing contest is open to all students with entries submitted to the student’s art teacher by April 21 and will be on display April 29 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Warsaw fire hall, 40 E. Buffalo St. (Route 20A). 

A winner will be selected from each grade level by community participation at the Recruitment and Safety Expo event. All winners selected will also be included in the 2018 Fire Safety Calendar. Proceeds from the sale of the calendars support the fire department. Additionally, winners will win a ride to school in a fire truck.

Drawing topics may include, but are not limited to:

    • Electrical Safety

    • Fireworks Safety

    • Gasoline Safety

    • Smoke Alarms

    • Grilling Safety

    • Halloween Safety

    • Carbon Monoxide Safety

    • Stop, Drop, and Roll

    • Home Escape Plans

    • Burn Awareness

    • Matches and Lighters

    • Summer Safety

    • Winter Holiday Safety

    • Candle Fire Safety

    • Fireplace Safety

    • Cooking Fire Safety

And the rules are?

    • All entries must be made and submitted in landscape format for judging;

    • All submissions are to include an entry form taped to the back of the drawing which includes the student's name, grade, and contact information (entry forms can be found at the school);

    • No names are to be included on the front of any drawings; and 

    • All drawings must be made on 8.5- by 11-inch paper.

The Saturday afternoon Expo features hot dogs and refreshments, the NYS Safe ID Program for all ages, fire truck and aerial ladder truck rides, equipment demonstrations, and more. Patrons will not only meet local firefighters, but also Smokey the Bear from 1 to 3 p.m..

The schedule of events includes: 

    • All-event-long -- Blood Pressure and Glucose Readings

    • 1 to 3:30 p.m. -- Jaws of Life Extrication Demonstration

    • 12:30 and 4:15 p.m. -- Grease Fire Prevention Demonstration

    • 2:45 p.m. -- State Police K-9 Unit Demonstration

    • 12:45 and 3:15 p.m. -- State Police Rollover Car Simulator

    • 1:45 p.m. -- Firefighter Competition Drills

    • 12:15 and 4 p.m. -- Fire Extinguisher Demonstration

    • 2:15 p.m. -- History of your local Fire Department

In addition to the April 29 event, the fire department is also holding two open recruitment nights – from 7 to 9 tonight, and from 5 to 7 p.m. April 18. 

For more information about the Recruitment and Safety Expo, call the Warsaw Fire Department at (585) 786-2468.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 12:46 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, budget, Warsaw.

Press release:

The New York State budget includes $180,000 for the Wyoming County Indigent Parolee Program. The funding will ensure that the program will continue to provide required defense services for parolees throughout the county.

"Communities with a high prison population, such as Wyoming County, face a huge financial burden in providing legal services and counsel to thousands of individuals going through the parole process,” said Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma). “The Indigent Parolee Program helps to protect local governments and taxpayers while ensuring parolees receive required legal advice.” 

New York State law entitles poor people facing parole proceedings to court-appointed counsel. The Indigent Parolee Program reimburses the mandated expenses incurred by localities providing the service, especially those with prisons in their jurisdictions.

“We are grateful for the successful efforts of Senator Gallivan in securing the funding necessary to run what is a state-mandated service for individuals who primarily are not county residents, but inmates at the two correctional facilities in Wyoming County,” said Norman Effman, Wyoming County public defender and executive director of the Wyoming County-Attica Legal Aid Bureau.

“Without Senator Gallivan’s efforts, this would be another unfunded mandate on Wyoming County. Because of his efforts, the state is rightly paying for a constitutionally mandated service that should be a state obligation.” 

Funding for the program is administered through the NYS Department of Criminal Justice Services.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 12:39 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, agriculture, agribusiness, Business.

Press release:

The newly adopted state budget includes important financial support for New York’s agriculture industry. The Senate succeeded in restoring nearly $10 million in funding, for a total of $51 million toward agriculture.

"In the 59th Senate District and across the state, agriculture plays a vital role in New York’s economy,” said Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma). “Once again this year, we are investing in our future by promoting the growth and success of our farmers, especially those just starting out. These programs not only support hardworking farm families, they ensure that agriculture will remain New York’s leading industry.”    

The state budget provides for almost $10 million in restorations and adds to agriculture programs as follows:

    • $1.5 million, for a total of $1.9 million, for the Farm Viability Institute
    • $1 million, for a total of $9.3 million, for Agribusiness Child Development
    • $1 million, for a total of $5.4 million, for the Cornell Diagnostic Lab
    • $544,000, for a total of $750,000, for the Apple Growers Association
    • $560,000, for a total of $610,000, for Cornell Rabies
    • $516,000, for a total of $1.2 million for FarmNet, Farm Family Assistance
    • $378,000, for a total of $l.2 million, for Pro-Dairy
    • $307,000, for a total of $l.5 million, for the Wine and Grape Foundation
    • $300,000, for a total of $842,000, for Future Farmers of America
    • $160,000, for a total of $160,000, for Local Fair Assistance
    • $500,000 for the Apple Research and Development Board
    • $600,000 for the Northern NY Agriculture Development Program
    • $260,000 for Cornell Berry Research
    • $250,000 for Tractor Rollover Prevention Program
    • $215,000 for Maple Producers Association
    • $200,000 for a “Seeds of Success” award to promote school gardens
    • $150,000 for Turfgrass Association
    • $125,000 for Christmas Tree Growers
    • $125,000 for Cornell Maple Research
    • $115,000 for Cornell Veterans to Farms
    • $100,000 for Cornell Vegetable Research
    • $50,000 for “Farm to Table Trail” development
    • $75,000 for Corn and Soybean Growers Association
    • $50,000 for Honeybee Research at Cornell
    • $50,000 for Cornell Onion Research
    • $100,000 for Wood Products Council
    • $25,000 for Low-Cost Vaccine Program
    • $20,000 for Island Harvest
    • $10,000 for NYS Brewers Association
    • $10,000 for NYS Cider Association
    • $10,000 for NYS Distillers Guild
    • $10,000 for Chautauqua County Beekeepers Association
    • $10,000 for Cornell Sheep Farming

The Senate succeeded in including Farm-to-Food-Bank in the final budget after last year's legislation was vetoed. More fresh, New York-grown produce will be available to help feed the hungry by allowing farmers to claim a tax credit for produce and other farm product donations to food banks or other emergency food programs.

The budget also includes $5 million in capital funding for local fairs across the state.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 11:06 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, crime, Perry.
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      Pietro Russo

Two people who were babysitting a 3-year-old were arrested April 10 after a Dollar Tree customer flagged down a Livingston County Sheriff’s deputy.

Heather Woodworth, 36, of Perry, and 41-year-old Pietro Russo, of Honeoye Falls, were arrested Monday of suspected child abuse following an investigation.

It is alleged that Woodworth and Russo, who were babysitting a 3-year-old girl, were in the Dollar Tree in Genesee Valley Plaza, Geneseo, when the child was asking for different toys on the shelves. 

Russo is accused of becoming upset at her, picking her up and dropping her on the floor, then walking away, leaving the child unattended.

He is also accused of walking several aisles away then returning back to the child and striking her numerous times while yelling and screaming at her.

Deputies say several customers at the store attempted to intervene but were verbally threatened by both Russo and Woodworth.

Russo was charged with felony assault in the second degree and endangering the welfare of a child. He was jailed in the Livingston County Jail on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 secured bond.

Woodworth was charged with disorderly conduct for her inappropriate language and actions in a public place. She was issued an appearance ticket.

The child suffered bruising on her upper leg and was released to her mother’s care.

Geneseo Police assisted at the scene. A referral to Child Protective Services was also made by the Sheriff’s Department.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 12:44 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Warsaw, Attica, Perry.

The National Prescription Pill Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs. The Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office and the Attica and Perry police departments have partnered with the Drug Enforcement Agency in providing this service to county residents. 

Unused or expired medication, both prescription and over-the-counter drugs, can be disposed of with no questions asked at three Wyoming County Locations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 29:

    • Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office, 151 N. Main St., Warsaw; (585) 786-8989;

    • Perry Police Department, 46 N. Main St., Perry (585) 237-5233; and 

    • Attica Police Department, 43 Exchange St., Attica; (585) 591-0881.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, while medications can be thrown in the household trash, community-based drug “take back” programs offer the best option. There are a small number of medicines that may be especially harmful if taken by someone other than the person for whom the prescription was written. Additionally, many of these drugs have specific disposal instructions. Some of these medications can be flushed down the sink or toilet. For a list of medications recommended for disposal by flushing click here

The FDA recommends following these guidelines when throwing out old or unused medication:

    • Follow any specific disposal instructions on the label or packaging;

    • Take advantage of programs that allow the public to take unused drugs to a central location for disposal; or

    • Transfer unused medicines to collectors registered with the DEA. Visit the DEA’s website or call 1-800-882-9539 for more information and to find an authorized collector in your community.

If no disposal instructions are given, the FDA recommends:

    • Remove them from their original containers and mix them with used coffee grounds, dirt or kitty litter; and

    • Place the mixture in a sealable bag or empty can to prevent the drug from leaking out of a garbage bag.

Other tips include:

    • Removing all identifying information on prescription labels;

    • Do not give medications to friends; and 

    • When in doubt about proper disposal, ask your pharmacist.

Additionally, two collection drug boxes are located in the lobby of the Sheriff’s Department that are available to the public 24-hours-a-day, 365 days a year.

For more information on drug disposal visit the Food and Drug Administration Web site

For more information on safe drug disposal visit the Environmental Protection Agency Web site.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 12:20 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Perry, Castile.
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  Jason W. Anderson

A Castile man was arrested April 10 following an investigation into funds that he was receiving from Perry School in exchange for tutoring services. The New York State Police assisted Perry PD with the arrest of Jason W. Anderson on 25 felony counts including a crime of public corruption.

Anderson, 39, was charged with one count of grand larceny in the third degree, a Class D felony, and one count defrauding the government, and 23 counts offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, both crimes are Class E felonies.

Officials say he was supposed to be tutoring a student from the Perry School District, but instead was receiving paychecks for no service rendered. It is estimated that Anderson allegedly took more than $4,000 from the school between October and March. 

He was put in Wyoming County Jail on $3,000 cash bail and $15,000 bond. He is due in court at 1 p.m. June 20.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 11:55 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Perry, Arcade, Middlebury, Pike, Warsaw, Attica.

The following were in Wyoming County Court before Judge Michael Mohun April 6.

Roy Lawrence, who committed a crime in Perry, was sentenced to three years in prison with three years post-release supervision and $190 in restitution. He was convicted of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree.

Heidi Hopkins, who committed a crime in Perry, was sentenced to four years in prison with one year post-release supervision with Shock recommendation, and $280 in restitution. She was convicted of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony.

Jonathan Bucknam, who committed a crime in Perry, was sentenced to one year in prison with one year post-release supervision on the conviction of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a Class D felony. He was also sentenced to an unconditional discharge and $6,278 restitution on the conviction of offering a false instrument to file in the second degree.

Shannon Garland, who committed a crime in Arcade, was sentenced to one year conditional discharge and $2,378.75 in restitution, which was paid in full. She was convicted of petit larceny.

Matthew Hadfield, who committed a crime in Middlebury, was sentenced on the conviction of driving while intoxicated, a Class E felony, to one to three years in prison with Shock recommendation, three years conditional discharge, and driver’s license revocation. Shock Incarceration Program is a six-month program that prepares young, nonviolent inmates for early parole release consideration. The program provides a schedule of rigorous physical activity, intensive regimentation, discipline, and drug rehabilitation. Hadfield was also convicted of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree and sentenced to an unconditional discharge.

John Pascarella, who committed a crime in Pike, was sentenced to five years probation, $655 restitution, and 150 hours of community service. An order of protection was also issued. He was convicted of burglary in the third degree, a Class D felony.

Matthew Kurtz, who committed a crime in Warsaw, pled guilty to attempted criminal sale of marijuana in the second degree, a Class E felony. Sentencing is scheduled June 29. An order of protection was also issued.

Brandon McCoy, who committed a crime in Warsaw, was arraigned on two violations of probation. The case has been adjourned to April 13 for a hearing. He is held without bail in the Wyoming County Jail.

James Otis, who committed a crime in Warsaw, pled guilty to criminal contempt in the first degree, a Class E felony. An order of protection has been issued and bail was set at $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond. Sentencing is scheduled June 22.

The following are from State Correctional Facilities in Attica who were in court before Mohun April 6 and 7.

Alexander Drake had his case adjourned to April 27 for a hearing.

Angel Cruz failed to appear. The case has been adjourned to April 27.

Chester Jones pled guilty to attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. Sentencing is scheduled June 21.

Monday, April 10, 2017 at 2:57 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, government, news, state budget.

Press release:

Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) says the 2017-18 budget approved by the Legislature keeps within the state’s self-imposed spending cap while incorporating many of the Senate’s top priorities, including: record investments in clean water protection and local schools; the most significant workers’ compensation reform in a decade; enhanced college affordability; and continued tax relief for residents and businesses.

The final budget also includes important initiatives for Western New York and the Upstate region, including legislation which will allow for ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. The budget also protects public safety by ensuring violent criminals who prey upon our communities are held accountable. 

“At long last, ride-sharing companies will be allowed to operate in Buffalo, Rochester and other Upstate communities,” Gallivan said. “Services such as Uber and Lyft will create jobs, provide reliable transportation options for residents and visitors, and help reduce the number of DWIs.”

Supporting law enforcement and keeping our communities safe and free from harm have always been among the Senate’s most critical priorities. Gallivan was instrumental in ensuring that the final agreement on criminal justice protects public safety.

“While understanding that 16- and 17-year-olds are different from adults, this agreement ensures people who commit violent crimes and jeopardize public safety are held accountable for their actions, and, at the same time, addresses how to reduce recidivism and victimization.

“The new budget controls the size and cost of government while at the same time helping hardworking, middle-class families and businesses by providing much needed tax relief. The spending plan supports economic development, invests in education, supports our vital agriculture industry and provides much needed funding for infrastructure.” 

Budget highlights include:

Funding for local schools
The enacted budget includes approximately $26 billion of school aid funding –  an approximate $1.1 billion increase (4.4 percent) over last year. New York State’s total commitment to supporting public education, when combined with the STAR school tax relief program, will be approximately $29 billion this year. 

Funding highlights include:

    • The Senate rejecting the Executive Budget's proposal to eliminate the Foundation Aid phase-in and securing an additional $272 million in Foundation Aid, bringing the year-to-year increase to $700 million and total funding to $17.2 billion. This will ensure that every school district will see an increase in funding of at least 2.74 percent; and

    • Providing $25 million in Smart School Technology funding and $5 million to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in nonpublic schools.

Making college more affordable

The budget changes Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s original “free college tuition plan” in a number of smart and responsible ways consistent with what the Senate has advocated for in recent years to help make college more affordable and accessible for more middle class New Yorkers, including:

    • Provides more than $1.1 billion this year of Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funding and helps more than 25,000 additional students better afford the cost of a college education;

    • Adding $19 million for a new Enhanced Tuition Award initiative specifically designed to help students at private colleges and universities;

    • Helping public college students participating in the new program by providing up to $5,500 per student, with SUNY and CUNY committing to waive remaining tuition costs if students follow the program’s requirements;

    • Creating key measures to promote student responsibility, including minimum grade point average standards, steps to enhance on-time graduation, and a requirement that participants live and work in New York after graduation; and

    • Delivering $3.1 million in tuition assistance for part-time community college students.

To continue supporting New York’s public universities, the budget also:

    • Includes new language guaranteeing state support of SUNY and CUNY in future years;

    • Launches the largest infrastructure program for SUNY and CUNY campuses in years; and

    • Ensures strong support for community colleges, including a $50 increase per full time equivalent (FTE).

After the Senate advocated for funding that was absent from the Executive Budget proposal, the final budget provides a $146 million multi-year boost in wages to compensate direct care and other clinical professionals. The funding helps appropriately adjust salaries at not-for-profits that employ workers who provide services for individuals with disabilities, as well as staff at not-for-profits under the purview of the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services and the Office of Mental Health.

The new funding breaks down to $55.5 million in additional wage compensation for direct care staff in the 2017-18 fiscal year, followed by an additional $90 million starting next year that would include clinical staff as well.

Promoting economic development – reforming workers compensation

The Senate successfully led the fight for the most significant workers’ compensation reform in a decade. This top Senate budget priority includes sensible reforms that help businesses, local governments, and not-for-profits achieve meaningful savings, while also enhancing the protections in place for injured workers.

The measures will make it more affordable to do business in New York, with employers expected to see savings this year in the form of rebates and hundreds of millions of dollars more in ongoing annual savings on premium costs after reforms are implemented.

The final budget also rejects hundreds of millions of dollars in several onerous taxes and fee increases proposed by Cuomo, including new and increased DMV fees and new taxes on internet purchases. 

Strengthening the state’s infrastructure

The budget makes an investment of $2.5 billion to ensure all New Yorkers have access to clean, safe drinking water. The Senate is leading the charge to ensure the state provides the resources necessary to address extensive water quality issues and infrastructure needs across the state. 

The final budget includes:

    • $1 billion for a new Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2017 to fund municipal water infrastructure projects over the next five years;

    • Continued funding ($245 million) of the Water Quality Improvement Program grants;

    • $150 million for a new inter-municipal water infrastructure grant program to help fund projects that serve multiple municipalities and promote cost savings;

    • $100 million in new funding for municipal water quality projects that would not currently qualify for existing state grants;

    •  $75 million for a new state rebate program to incentivize the replacement of failing septic systems and cesspools;

    • $20 million for the replacement of lead pipes, with preferences given to communities with a high percentage of elevated childhood lead blood levels;

    • $100 million over five years for the state Superfund program to be used for clean water projects; and $30 million over five years for solid waste and drinking water mitigation and remediation projects;

    • $275 million in continued funding for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds; and

    • $10 million for a new emergency infrastructure loan program to repair breaches of infrastructure that causes an imminent threat to the public health or the environment.

The budget continues the state’s commitment to the protection of natural resources with $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). The EPF helps protect water resources through the preservation of open spaces and upgrading sewage treatment plants, among many other environmental initiatives. To further support clean water projects, $20 million from the EPF will help support existing funding in the Water Quality Improvement Program.

Clean water protections

As proposed by the Senate’s Health and Environmental Conservation committees earlier this year, the final budget creates the Emerging Contaminant Monitoring Act. The Act require all public water systems to test for unregulated contaminants identified by the Department of Health that are known, or anticipated to be present in drinking water including PFOA, PFOS and 1,4-Dioxane. A new Drinking Water Quality Council is also established in the budget to review existing evidence, study contaminants of concern, and make recommendations to the Department of Health regarding drinking water safety, including state specific thresholds and public notice procedures.

Increased support for transportation infrastructure

The budget includes increases for transportation infrastructure. The budget maintains fairness in funding and a more equitable and regionally balanced transportation plan. An increase of nearly $1.7 billion over last year brings the total transportation funding to $29 billion, including $2 billion for the Thruway Authority. 

The budget includes:

    • An approximately $1.5 billion increase this year to accelerate road and bridge projects throughout the state;

    • $65 million increase for a total of $503 million this year and $2.4 billion over five years for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Program (CHIPS), with the additional funding earmarked for Extreme Winter Recovery;

    • $50 million increase for the local BRIDGE NY program for a total of $150 million this year and $550 million over five years, including $70 million earmarked for culverts);

    • $20 million increase for a total of $104 million this year and $417 million over five years for non-MTA Downstate and Upstate transit systems capital; and

    • $10 million increase for a total of $27 million this year and $292 million over five years for aviation.

In addition, the budget includes: 

    • $4 million this year in operating aid for rural transit systems;

    • continued funding for the local PAVE NY program to help fix New York’s roads (total: $100 million this year; $500 million over five years); and

    • $352 million for rail freight over five years.

Continuing and expanding tax relief for New Yorkers

This year, more than $3.15 billion will be used to fund New York’s STAR and Enhanced STAR property tax programs, and changes were made to ensure the state’s STAR payments to taxpayers are made on time. To date, STAR and Enhanced STAR have delivered significant tax relief to millions of middle-class families and senior citizens statewide.

The Senate succeeded in blocking an Executive Budget proposal to cap the amount of savings property owners receive for STAR at this current year’s levels. As a result, the final budget saves local taxpayers an estimated $50 million this year and nearly $700 million over five years.

The 2017-18 State Budget fully funds another installment of property tax rebate checks, providing millions of homeowners with $453 million in direct tax relief through a check in the mail. When combined with the STAR and Enhanced STAR programs, these checks will bring total property tax relief in this year’s budget to $3.6 billion.

The budget includes $47 million in additional tax relief for working families’ child care expenses. The state’s Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit is expanded for taxpayers with incomes between $50,000 and $150,000 and the current cap on child care expenses would rise from $6,000 to a maximum of $9,000 (depending on the number of children) for families with up to five children.

Protecting the Middle Class Tax Cut

The Middle Class Income Tax Cut created by the Senate last year remained untouched in this budget. By 2025 when the tax cut is fully phased in, it will bring tax rates down to the lowest rate since 1948. It will provide an average savings – $700 per taxpayer per year – to individuals and tens of thousands of small businesses. The total annual savings will be $4.2 billion.

Planning for New York’s economic future                               

The enacted budget includes funding of more than $15 million for dozens of job training and workforce development initiatives. Gallivan also successfully advocated for apprenticeship programs to connect unemployed young adults with small and medium sized businesses struggling to fill middle-skill position.  

Highlights include:

    • Nearly $4 million for Workforce Development Institute (WDI) – a highly successful not-for-profit that works with businesses and the AFL-CIO to provide focused training of workers and for workforce transition support to help stop the outsourcing of jobs to other states.

    • $3 million for WDI’s Manufacturing Initiative;

    • $980,000 for the Chamber of Commerce On-the-Job Training Program; and

    • $600,000 for Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship programs.

Growing New York’s agriculture from the ground up

Nearly $10 million was restored (for a total of $51 million) to fund initiatives not included in the executive budget for the states farmers. 

Dozens of programs -- investments in cutting-edge agricultural research, support for the next generation of family farmers, environmental stewardship, and protections for plant, animal, and public health – will be funded, with significant increases including:

    • $1.5 million (for a total of $1.9 million) for the Farm Viability Institute to help farmers become more profitable and to improve the long-term economic viability and sustainability of farms, the food system, and the communities which they serve;

    • $1 million (for a total of $9.3 million) for Agribusiness Child Development, to provide quality early childhood education and social services to farm workers and other eligible families;

    • $1 million (for a total of $5.4 million) for the Cornell Diagnostic Lab;

    • $516,000 (for a total of $1.2 million) for FarmNet, Farm Family Assistance; and

    • $300,000 (for a total of $842,000) to expand FFA.

Additionally, the Senate succeeded in including “Farm-to-Food-Bank” in the final budget after last year's legislation was vetoed. More fresh, New York-grown produce will be available to help feed the hungry by allowing farmers to claim a tax credit for produce and other farm product donations to food banks or other emergency food programs.

Protecting New Yorker’s health and safety

This year, the Senate’s Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction is continuing its work addressing the drug epidemic by securing $214 million in this year’s budget – a record-high level of funding. This will be used to strengthen prevention, treatment, recovery and education services across the state.  

The State Budget for 2017-18 reflects the Senate Republican Conference’s unwavering support for the heroic service men and women who have sacrificed so much on behalf of our nation. 

Veterans-related budget increases include:

    • $1 million in new funding for veteran-to-veteran support services run by Veterans Service Organizations;

    • $310,000 (total: $3.1 million) for the Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer-to-Peer Program;

    • $250,000 increase (total: $500,000) for the Veterans Outreach Center in Monroe County;

    • $120,000 in new funding for Veterans of Foreign Wars NYS Chapter Field Service Operations; and

    • $10,000 (total: $50,000) for the Vietnam Veterans of America New York State Council. 

Other programs receiving funding include:

    • $500,000 for the NYS Defenders Association Veterans Defense Program;

    • $200,000 for Legal Services of the Hudson Valley Veterans and Military Families Advocacy Project;

    • $200,000 for Warrior Salute;

    • $100,000 for the Veterans Justice Project;

    • $100,000 for the SAGE Veterans Project;

    • $200,000 for Helmets-to-Hardhats; and

    • $25,000 for the Veterans Miracle Center.

The budget includes $500 million for the Health Care Facility Transformation Program to support capital improvements at hospitals, other health care facilities and community-based providers, and provides an opportunity for increased eligibility throughout the state. 

Additionally, the budget includes:

    • $24 million for cancer services;

    • $12 million for chronic disease prevention (including diabetes, asthma, and hypertension);

    • $26 million for Nutritional Information for Women, Infants and Children;

    • $27 million for maternal and child health programs, and also includes language to provide Medicaid coverage for donor breast milk to help prevent deadly complications faced by premature infants in neonatal ICUs;

    • $475,000 for women’s health initiatives;

    • $400,000 for funding to address Lyme and other tick-borne diseases through research, education, and prevention efforts;

    • $283,000 for the Adelphi Breast Cancer Support Program;

    • $8.5 million in additional funding of the Spinal Cord Injury Research Board;

    • $9 million for the Doctors Across New York Program; and

    • $1.3 million to support organ donation.

The budget boosts support for a wide array of programs and initiatives that serve seniors, including funding for the following:

    • $31 million for Community Services for the Elderly Program;

    • $27 million for the Wellness in Nutrition Program;

    • $27 million for Alzheimer’s and other dementia related programs;

    • $1.2 million for elder abuse prevention initiatives to protect vulnerable senior citizens from abuse;

    • $250,000 for Older Adults Technology Services;

    • $86,000 for the New York Foundation for Seniors Home Sharing and Respite; and

    • $32,000 for the Senior Action Council Hotline.

Despite the efforts of Gallivan and other members of the WNY Legislature Delegation, the budget does not include language to prevent the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center in West Seneca from merging with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center.

“I am profoundly disappointed that we could not convince the Office of Mental Health that merging the Children’s Psychiatric Center with the Buffalo facility is a terrible idea,” Gallivan said. “There is no clinical reason for this move and I will continue to fight to stop this shortsighted and ill-advised plan.”

Gallivan introduced legislation, which would have required WNYCPC be maintained in Erie County as a separate and distinct entity, both organizationally and physically. 

Monday, April 10, 2017 at 1:33 pm

wyco_sheriff_car_stock_photo.jpg

Tyler Mummery, 20, of Arcade, was charged April 8 with driving while ability impaired by drugs, unlawful possession of marijuana, uninspected motor vehicle, and broken windshield. Mummery was stopped on Route 39, Arcade, for an alleged broken windshield and expired inspection. During the stop, deputies administered a field sobriety test and say he failed and was subsequently arrested. Additionally, deputies say marijuana was recovered from his vehicle. Mummery submitted to a drug influence evaluation where a Wyoming County Drug Recognition Expert determined him to be impaired by marijuana. He is due in the Town of Arcade Court at a later date.

Jessica Rodriguez, 39, of Pike, was charged April 3 with unsafe backing and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree. Deputies say Rodriguez accidentally backed into a vehicle that was parked behind her on Center Street in the Village of Perry. During the investigation, it was allegedly found that her license was suspended for failure to answer a summons. No injuries were caused by the accident. She is due in the Village of Perry Court at a later date.

Timothy Woods, 52, of Warsaw, was charged April 5 with driving while intoxicated following a one-car accident on Chaffee Road, Java. Deputies say Wood was traveling east on Chaffee Road when he swerved to miss a deer, left the road and struck a tree. He was taken to ECMC, Buffalo, by Strykersville Ambulance and treated for minor injuries. He is due in the Town of Java Court at a later date.

Laycee K. Wilson, 29, of Gainesville, was charged April 9 with driving while ability impaired by drugs, driving while ability impaired by the combined influence of drugs, inadequate lights, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument. Wilson was stopped on North Main Street, Warsaw, for having a headlamp out on her vehicle. During the stop, deputies say she was found to be in possession of multiple glassine bags containing heroin, and three hypodermic syringes. Additionally, she is accused of failing standardized field sobriety testing. She was arrested and taken to the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office. A Drug Recognition Expert evaluated Wilson and determined her to be impaired by narcotic analgesics (pain medication) and marijuana. She is due in the Village of Warsaw Court May 8.

Kailee R. Phillips, 27, of Lancaster, was charged April 8 with improper signal and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree. Phillips was stopped on Exchange Road, Attica, after allegedly signaling the wrong direction for a turn. During the stop. deputies found her to have five active suspensions on her New York State driver’s license. She was put in Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $1,000 cash bail or $2,000 bond. She is due in court today.

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