announcements

Monday, March 20, 2017 at 5:56 pm

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Press release (photo submitted):

Wyoming County Sheriff Gregory Rudolph encourages residents to support the New York State Sheriffs’ Institute, which began its annual Honorary Membership drive in Wyoming County this week. The institute was established in 1979 to advance criminal justice education, prevent juvenile delinquency, and support victims of crime and their families. 

Programs include:

    • Sheriffs’ Summer Camp: Almost 900 “economically challenged” children from across New York State attend the camp on Keuka Lake in Steuben and Yates counties. The Sheriffs’ Institute pays all costs for the campers, including transportation, a week of camp, meals, and traditional camp activities like sailing, archery and crafts. The camp is in its 41st year of operation.

    • Criminal Justice Scholarship Program: This provides one scholarship to the Criminal Justice Program at each of New York State’s Community Colleges. The program aims to attract the best and the brightest to the criminal justice vocation.

    • Victim Notification Programs: The Sheriffs’ Victim Hotline provides automated notification to registered victims when an inmate is released. The Sheriffs’ Order of Protection Notification Program allows individuals who have been granted Family Court orders of protection to receive alerts when those orders are served.

“The Sheriff’s Institute is our partner in providing programs that help the people in our communities,” Rudolph said. “But we really rely on the support of our honorary members for the Sheriffs’ Summer Camp. Their support allows us to send economically disadvantaged children to camp. These kids wouldn’t have a chance to go away to camp otherwise.”

For more information about the Sheriffs’ Summer Camp and other Sheriffs’ Institute Programs, visit www.sheriffsinstitute.org. The Institute is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization.

For more information, call Pat Hughes at (518) 434-9091 or via email at phughes@nysheriffs.org.

Monday, March 20, 2017 at 11:56 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, announcements, Strykersville.

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George Reisdorf’s career as a fireman began reminiscent of the theme song from “Gilligan’s Island”…"Not a single luxury -- like Robinson Crusoe, it was primitive as can be." No radios, and the fire apparatus was minimal. Over the course of seven decades, he was a part of the many changes that make the Strykersville Fire Company what it is today.

Reisdorf was honored at the recently held Strykersville Fire Company’s Installation Dinner. 

Reisdorf joined the company in 1947, at a time when names were drawn to become a volunteer fireman and fires were put out via a bucket brigade. Currently, members spend approximately 40 to 50 hours of training – the basic firefighter course – needed to enter a burning structure. 

He served as chief from 1956 to 1959 and assistant chief in 1969. When the Rescue Squad was established in 1956, Reisdorf played a major role. He was also instrumental in getting Strykersville its first ambulance.

In 2016, the Rescue Squad answered 145 calls involving accidents, traumatic injuries, and people who were “experiencing chest pain.” The crew comprises of one certified fire responder, 10 emergency medical technicians (EMT), and one advanced EMT, says Liz Marks, Strykersville squad lieutenant. Additionally, new recruit John Green not only earned his EMT certification in May, by November he had responded on more than one third of the total calls. 

“Green was on a call in July 2015,” said Squad Captain Crystal Radecki. “What started out as a simple house call, quickly turned into so much more. While on a call, the wife of our patient backed over one of our EMTS with her vehicle. Green kept his cool and instructed the lady to pull the car off the EMT, as soon as she was clear, he went into action.”

The injured EMTS happened to be Radecki’s fiance and “only ended up with” minor injuries.

Not only has Reisdorf seen the company grow in membership and services, he saw firsthand the advancement of telecommunications as it pertained to the fire service. It went from a push-button in the home to the present-day 9-1-1 service.

While his “active” fire fighting days are over, Reisdorf continues to be active with the company by attending meetings and assisting with fundraisers.

The Strykersville Fire Company continues to serve the community and in 2016 responded to a total of 182 alarms, says fire chief Brian Ash. Of those calls, 15 were for residential structure fires, one reported explosion, two appliance fires, three barn fires, one chimney fire, six vehicle fires, six grass and brush fires, 23 car accidents, six hazardous conditions, one good intent call, and four false alarms. 

The fire company also provides, and receives, mutual aid from its neighboring departments. In 2016, it provided aid 37 times and received aid 15. 

In addition to answering calls, members participated in 128 drill nights which included fire and rescue training, first aid, and monthly truck checks, 98 nights of Office of Fire Prevention and Control classes, and 59 events that dealt with meetings, work details and fundraisers…and the company continues to grow.

In 2016, Strykersville added six new members – Robert Green, Andrew Gruber, Sara Neudeck, Zach Neudeck, Jennifer Reisdorf, and Alexandria Speyer. It also celebrated milestones and honored several members.

    • Service Awards: 15 years -- Charles Wertz and Timothy Shaw; 30 years -- Bob Lawson; 45 years -- Mike Reisdorf and Fred Lee; and 70 years -- George Reisdorf.

In addition to honoring Green as EMS Provider of the Year, others honored include: 

    • Carol Shaw received Firefighter of the Year;

    • Rookie of the Year went to Zach Neudeck;

    • President's Award went to Charlie Wertz;

    • Stan Szumigala, Eric Kirsch, and Randy Reisdorf received Training certificates;

    • Out-going Officers awards went to Past Rescue Squad Captain Liz Marks; and 

    • Chairman Certificates went to Lynn Streicher for her efforts with the installation dinner, Liz Marks with the fund drive, Doug Dombrowski with the gun raffle, and Carol and Tim Shaw with the picnic.

Newly installed officers include:

    • Doug Schwab, president;

    • Donald Simons, vice president; 

    • Mary Gibson, secretary;

    • Russell Reisdorf, treasurer;

    • Jeffrey Kinney, Robert Conroy and Duane Reisdorf, directors;

    • Brian Ash, chief;

    • Stanley Szumigala, first assistant chief;

    • Eric Kirsch, second assistant chief;

    • Randy Reisdorf, third assistant chief;

    • Crystal Radecki, squad captain;

    • Liz Marks, squad lieutenant; and

    • William Streicher, squad secretary.

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Friday, March 17, 2017 at 9:27 pm

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget includes $120 million to continue the NY Parks 2020 initiative. Since the launch of NY Parks 2020 in 2012, State Parks has advanced more than 383 separate projects within 130 parks and historic sites to enhance, restore and repair public facilities – helping reverse decades of decline and neglect in our parks. 

Last year, New York state parks hosted an estimated 69.3 million visitors – a 6-percent increase over 2015 and a hike of 21 percent since 2011. Park attendance was boosted by major improvements to park facilities, the Connect Kids to Parks program, extending the swimming season after Labor Day, favorable weather, and more.  

Connect Kids to Parks enhances educational and recreational opportunities for schoolchildren and help promote parks and historic places. New York partnered with the National Park Service in 2016, to begin an initiative to offer all fourth-grade students and their families free day-use entry passes to state parks. The program also created a grant program to help transport schoolchildren to outdoor recreation and environmental education programs, and historic sites.

The governor’s executive budget proposal will double the state’s investment in the Connect Kids program through the Environmental Protection Fund. The fund provides free or low-cost transportation to connect schools in underserved communities with state parks. 

Parks will also expand the free or low-cost Learn-to-Swim program to all state park swimming facilities, which serves up to 5,000 youth annually. Additionally, in a partnership with the Office of Children & Families, State Parks will also expand the free Foster Family New Camper program. Approximately, 300 foster families and at-risk youth benefit from this program. 

Funding is still available for Connect Kids field trip transportation grant for the 2016-17 school year. Visit www.nysparks.com for an application and more information.

In an effort to make visiting state parks, well, effortless, a new Empire Pass Card is now being offered. This wallet-sized plastic card can be shared among family member, caregivers and more. While the Empire Pass costs $80 and allows card holders to take any vehicle to the park, the original pass is still available for $65 and must be affixed to a single vehicle.

Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 7:03 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, announcements, government, Sen. Gallivan.

Press release:

Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C- I, Elma) says the New York State Senate has passed a 2017-18 budget plan that creates more economic opportunity through targeted investments in infrastructure, tax reductions, and continued fiscal discipline. The Senate proposal continues a record of restrained state spending without new taxes. Additionally, it makes sensible and important changes to a number of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposals that should serve as a blueprint to a final, on-time budget.

“The Senate’s budget controls the size and cost of government while at the same time helping hardworking, middle class families and businesses,” Gallivan said. “The spending plan supports economic development, provides much needed tax relief, invests in education, promotes agriculture and provides more funding for roads and bridges. It also keeps the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center in West Seneca.”

Reducing property taxes

The Senate’s budget proposal advances several measures to protect the significant savings provided by the School Tax Relief (STAR) program and would help small businesses save on their property taxes. 

The measures include:

    • Making small businesses with less than $350,000 in net business income and less than 20 employees eligible to receive the STAR benefit on their primary business property, saving $370 million when fully phased in;

    • Rejecting the executive budget proposal to cap the growth of the STAR benefit, saving taxpayers an estimated $272 million over the next three years alone;

    • Reversing changes made last year to the STAR Personal Income Tax Credit Program from reimbursements back to an up-front exemption effective for the 2018 – 2019 school year;

    • Addressing the significant delays of STAR payments by the state to taxpayers that occurred this year by requiring the state to postmark all advance payment STAR checks by Sept. 15, requiring the state to pay interest if they are mailed late, and reimbursing taxpayers for penalties or interest due to late school tax bill payments; and

    • Making permanent the state’s property tax cap.

Promoting economic development

The Senate budget rejects a number of onerous tax and fee increases proposed by Cuomo, including new DMV fees, new taxes on Internet purchases and a new surcharge on prepaid cell phones. In addition, to help avoid future tax increases, the Senate’s resolution imposes a statutory cap on state spending.

The Senate requires more transparency in the operations of Regional Economic Development Councils to further ensure accountability and prevent conflicts of interest in the awarding of billions of dollars in statewide economic development funds. The resolution rejects the rebranding of START-Up NY and closes the door to new applicants as of April 1, 2018, followed by an assessment to measure the program’s effectiveness.

Tax relief for businesses

In addition to creating the STAR benefit for small businesses, the Senate proposal would:

    • Expand the existing Personal Income Tax exemption for small businesses and small farms and reduce the Corporate Franchise Tax business income tax rate from 6.5 percent to 2.5 percent over a two-year period, saving a total of $466 million;

    • Increase the Manufacturer’s Real Property Tax Credit from 20 percent to 50 percent of any annual property taxes paid during the year for property owned or leased by the manufacturer and used during for manufacturing, saving businesses $150 million; and

    • Increase the MTA Payroll Tax exemption for sole proprietors from $50,000 to $250,000. 

Reforms to workers’ compensation 

The Senate has advanced a number of sensible workers’ compensation reforms, such as updates to duration caps and schedule loss of use awards. To improve the overall system, changes would be put into place to reduce frictional costs, streamline forms, improve independent medical examinations and require implementation of a prescription drug formulary by Dec. 31.

Expanding ride-sharing

The resolution provides ride-sharing companies with the ability to expand operations outside of New York City and enable new jobs to be created by offering more safe, reliable transportation options to communities and visitors Upstate and on Long Island.

Promoting workforce development

The Senate’s Task Force on Workforce Development is continuing to improve employee readiness; better meet the workforce needs of private sector employers; connect job seekers with potential employers; retrain those who have lost jobs; and help make New York State’s overall economy more robust, dynamic and resilient. 

This budget helps implement those goals by including:

    • $4 million for the Workforce Development Institute (WDI);

    • $3 million for the WDI Manufacturing Initiative;

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

    • $600,000 for Statewide Youth Build programs; and

    • Increasing the current salary cap for BOCES to attract and retain qualified and skilled teachers for career and tech programs.

Keeps Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center (WNYCPC) in West Seneca

The Senate plan includes language advanced by Gallivan requiring WNYCPC be maintained in Erie County as a separate and distinct entity, both organizationally and physically. It also requires that $14 million be used to rehabilitate the existing West Seneca facility.

Supporting local infrastructure

Historic state investment of nearly $8 billion in clean water

The Senate makes an investment of nearly $8 billion to ensure all New Yorkers have access to clean, safe drinking water by addressing extensive water quality issues and infrastructure needs. 

The measures include:

    • Creation of a new $5 billion Clean Water Bond Act;

    • Support for the proposed $2 billion for clean water infrastructure;

    • Establishment of a new Drinking Water Quality Institute;

    • Creation of the Emerging Contamination Monitoring Act;

    • $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund;

    • $175 million in continued funding for the Water Quality Infrastructure Investment Program; and

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

Increased support for local roads and bridges

The budget proposal continues the Senate’s commitment to parity with the Department of Transportation and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) capital plans, and ensures long-term regional balance in how transportation projects are funded. It helps local governments make necessary infrastructure improvements and create jobs by adding:

    • $91 million in non MTA capital, for a total $175.5 million;

    • $75 million for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Program (CHIPS), for a total $513 million;

    • $50 million for the Local BRIDGE NY program, for a total $150 million;

    • $11.5 million to increase the reimbursement rate to cities for maintaining State highways;

    • $11.3 million in non-MTA downstate and upstate transit systems, and $5 million – including a $4 million executive budget restoration – for rural transportation systems; and

    • $27.5 million for the Aviation Capital Grant Program, for a total $40 million, and $2 million to provide the full state match to federal funds for aviation, totaling $6 million.

Improving higher education access and affordability

Enhanced Tuition Assistance Program (E-TAP):

The Senate improves upon the higher education proposals in the executive budget by making more middle-class families eligible for more financial aid, and giving students greater flexibility in school choice to promotes success.

The Senate invests $109 million in a new E-TAP initiative that helps students in public and independent schools by increasing the minimum TAP award from $500 to $3,000 and the maximum to $5,500. Income thresholds would also be increased to $100,000 in 2017-18; $110,000 in 2018-19; and $125,000 in 2019- 20. To be eligible for E-TAP, students would need a 3.0 grade-point average by the start of their junior year and take 30 credits over each academic year – which is a more flexible option for students unable to take a 15-credit semester as required in the executive budget proposal. 

The Senate budget proposal also includes:

    • $10 million to expand TAP to include part-time community college students; and

    • $2 million in new funding for Graduate TAP, to help students who are in combined undergraduate/graduate degree programs.

College affordability:

The Senate budget establishes a new Task Force on College Affordability; requires private colleges to develop college affordability plans with the goal of lowering costs; and creates the New York State Tax Advantage Student Loan Repayment Program. This innovative measure acts like a 401K for student debt – enabling employees to put up to $2,500 pre-tax each year into an account specifically set up by an employer to help pay student loan debt. The employer would then match the employee’s contribution and receive a tax deduction. 

The Senate also:

    • expands the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) scholarship to include private institutions;

    • increases the tuition tax credit to a maximum of $2,500 and the deduction to a maximum of $50,000 of allowable college tuition expenses, over 10 years;

    • provides $2 million in funding to support child care on SUNY and CUNY campuses to give access to students in need of care while pursuing a degree; and

    • provides a maintenance of effort provision that requires the state to fund SUNY and CUNY (State University of and City University of) at no less than the prior year’s funding level.

Making New York more affordable

Supporting fair wages for direct care professionals

The Senate provides $45 million annually to compensate direct care professionals for the important work they do to support individuals with disabilities. It addresses a lack of funding in the executive budget to help appropriately adjust salaries at nonprofits that employ workers who provide state services for individuals with autism, serious brain injury, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other developmental disabilities.

Expanding the Child Care Tax Credit:

The Senate provides an additional $95 million on top of the executive budget’s child care proposals to help more low- and middle-income families qualify for the state’s child care tax credits. Families making less than $50,000 would have their credits increase by 50 percent over existing amounts. In addition, 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.

Increasing the safety and availability of child care

To help working parents find affordable child care, and give them peace of mind about their child’s safety, the Senate included several budget provisions to:

    •  Increase child care subsidy funding from traditional sources to maintain the current level of $806 million;

    • Add $5.3 million to restore child care facilitated enrollment programs that help increase access to child care financial assistance, especially for moderate income families, in Monroe, Erie, Onondaga and Oneida counties, the Capital District, and New York City;

    • Require the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to conduct a comprehensive study of the availability of child care for low-income working parents in the State; and

    •  Enhance the safety of child day care programs by giving OCFS greater ability to suspend or limit a license or registration to operate when public health or safety is at risk and to assess fines for violations.

This legislation also creates a comprehensive online registry of child care providers in the State that will include inspection and violation history for each.

Savings on Retirement Income:

To help more seniors save money and choose to stay in New York during retirement, the Senate increases the private pension and retirement income exclusion from $20,000 to $40,000 for single taxpayers and to $80,000 for married taxpayers, over three years. This would be the first increase to the exempt amount of private pensions and retirement since 1981 and save retirees approximately $315 million.

Supporting learning opportunities for all children

Significant education funding increases

The Senate’s education budget includes a five percent increase in school aid funding over last year, for a total of $1.2 billion, bringing the total investment in schools to a record level of $25.4 billion. 

Other highlights include:

    • Doubling the governor’s Foundation Aid proposal with $478 million in additional funding, for a total increase of more than $906 million since 2016-17;

    •  Rejecting the executive budget’s changes to the Foundation Aid formula and instead provides flexible operating aid to districts for operating expenses, which may include creation or expansion of dual language programs, after school programs, mental health services, and personnel within schools;

    • Removing a cap on charter schools and placing surrendered charters back into the pool of eligible charters;

    • Increasing facilities funding for New York City charter schools;

    • Providing statewide building aid for charters;

    • Including significant funding increases over the executive budget for non-public schools: an additional $34 million for reimbursable security costs; $15 million for non-public school safety grants;

    • increasing by $7 million above the executive budget proposal for mandated services aid; $25 million for non-public school STEM programs; $3 million to expand eligibility for STEM college scholarships to students at non-public schools; and $7.7 million for non-public school immunization compliance.

Protecting public health

Investments in battling substance abuse

The Senate’s budget proposal includes $206 million for the state’s heroin and opioid-related initiatives. This is an increase of $32 million over last year’s enacted budget, and above the approximately $200 million announced in the executive budget.

The Senate would also expand upon an initiative first proposed as a recommendation by the Senate’s Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction to help teens battling substance abuse. The measure increases the proposed number of Recovery High Schools from two to three – enabling more youth to find a secure learning environment to help them on their way to overcoming addiction.

Transforming health care delivery statewide

The Senate includes $300 million above the executive budget’s proposal for a total of $800 million for the Health Care Facility Transformation Program. The funding is included subject to additional details to be further outlined in the budget process to ensure appropriate regional disbursement, and appropriate disbursement among community based providers and all facilities. Further, before making the allocation, the remaining capital from last year’s budget of $195 million should be awarded.

Promoting agriculture

Restoring $12 million in agriculture support

The Senate commits significant resources to promoting and supporting agriculture in the state, including $12 million in restorations to more than 30 programs throughout the state that were cut in the executive budget. 

In addition, the budget resolution:

    • Makes the Investment Tax Credit refundable for farmers.

    • Enacts the Farm-to-Food Bank proposal that allows farmers to claim a tax credit to for produce and other farm product donations to food banks or other emergency food programs.

    • Modifies the executive proposal for state fair funding to include $10 million for local fair capital costs;

    • Adds $5 million for a competitive grant program for animal shelters; and

    • Doubles the Farm Workforce Retention Credit Upstate and further increase the credit for farms that are located in Nassau, Suffolk, or Westchester counties due to the accelerated minimum wage schedule in those counties.

Supporting veterans

The Senate budget includes a number of measures to provide valuable assistance and support to New York’s veterans, including:

    • $3.2 million for the Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer to Peer Program;

    • $1 million to implement a veterans treatment court peer-to-peer service grant program;

    • $700,000 for the New York State Defenders’ Association Veterans’ Defense Program;

    • $400,000 for the NLP Research and Recognition Project for PTSD research treatments;

    • $350,000 for Legal Services of the Hudson Valley’s Veterans and Military Families Advocacy project;

    • $100,000 to expand Legal Services of the Hudson Valley’s Veterans and Military Families Advocacy project into Westchester County;

    • $250,000 for Nassau Suffolk Law Services Committee’s Veterans’ Rights Project;

    • $250,000 in additional funding for the Veterans Outreach Center in Monroe County; and

    • $300,000 for Warrior Salute.

Protecting seniors

The Senate restores cuts and adds additional resources to help seniors continue to receive long-term services and supports, such as home care, transportation and meals, and initiatives to prevent elder abuse.

Measures include:

    • Adding $5 million for the Community Services for the Elderly Program (CSE) for transportation, case management and other supports;

    • Restoring $3.35 million in the executive budget for the New York Connects program that provides free comprehensive services and supports for seniors and caregivers;

    • Providing $10 million to establish a statewide central register of elder abuse and maltreatment;

    • Restoring $700,000 for the establishment of multidisciplinary investigative teams for reports of suspected elder abuse or maltreatment, as well as including legislation that creates those teams; and

    • Adding $49,000 for a total of $951,000 for the Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) and/or Neighborhood NORCs.

Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 6:19 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Gainesville, military.

Maj. Gen. Anthony P. German, the Adjutant General, recently announced the recent reenlistment of members of the State National Guard in recognition of their continuing commitment to serve community, state and nation as part of the Army National Guard.

Spc. Robert Thompson, of Gainesville, reenlisted to continue service with the Company A, 2-108th Infantry.

"New Yorkers count on our citizen soldiers to be ready and be there when disaster strikes," German said. "And our nation counts on our Soldiers when duty calls for overseas service. I congratulate our members for choosing to stay in service and striking that balance between military duties, education or employment commitments and family obligations.

"Every one of the men and women serving in our 16,000 strong Army and Air National Guard plays an important role and these soldiers who continue to reenlist provide experience and continuity for whatever challenges lay ahead for our New York National Guard family."

For more information about the New York Army National Guard, visit www.dmna.ny.gov orwww.1800goguard.com.

The New York National Guard (New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs) is the state's executive agency responsible to the governor for managing New York's Military Forces. It consists of nearly 20,000 members of the New York Army National Guard, the New York Air National Guard, the New York Naval Militia, and the New York Guard.

Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 6:00 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, announcements, government.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) released the following statement after President Donald Trump unveiled his fiscal year 2018 budget request.

“President Trump’s budget delivered a clear vision for the role the federal government should play,” Collins said. “It demonstrates that president Trump is committed to keeping the promises he made to the American people. He will rebuild our military. The budget’s $54 billion increase in defense spending is much needed, and I fully support the increase in military funding. Additionally, president Trump promised to secure our borders, and this budget lays the groundwork for building a wall and taking the necessary steps to ensure our nation’s border security.

“However, I have several concerns about significant cuts to local programs, which I believe go too far. I worked for more than two years to help write and pass the 21st Century Cures Initiative, and I fully believe that the funding guidelines established in that legislation must be followed. The $5.8 billion cut to NIH (National Institute of Health) is drastic. I will do whatever I can to ensure that the Appropriations Committee recognizes how crucial medical research is to Western New York and the millions of Americans whose lives could be saved with better medical research.

“The Great Lakes are a crucial part of Western New York’s economy. I have always fought to protect them and have voted to increase funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at every opportunity. I will do the same this time around. Western New Yorkers can rest assured I will be fighting tooth and nail to restore the program’s funding.

“Agriculture plays a significant role in Western New York’s economy. This budget eliminates the Water and Wastewater loan and grant program, which helps rural areas alleviate the financial burden of maintaining wastewater programs. I have always fought hard to support this program and this year will be no different.

“Over the next few months, I will continue to evaluate this budget. Ultimately, it is up to the Appropriations Committee to fund these programs and I will be strongly advocating for Western New York’s best interests.”

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 6:30 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, health, Business, WCCH, ECMC, Warsaw.

Wyoming County Community Health System (WCCH) and Erie County Medical Center Corporation (ECMC) have signed an administrative services agreement to strengthen and reposition WCCH for the future. On March 14, the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors accepted the recommendation of WCCH’s Board of Managers and authorized WCCH Chief Executive Officer Donald Eichenauer to sign the agreement.

As WCCH has expanded its services, it has developed relationships with providers from the Buffalo area. Many of those providers are affiliated with ECMC and/or Kaleida Health. These include Dr. Lindsey Clark, Dr. John Karpie and Dr. Paul Mason, all of who provide orthopedic services at WCCH; and Western New York Urology Associates, a Kaleida Heath entity. Clark is a provider through UBMD Physicians Group. Karpie and Mason are providers with Buffalo Orthopedics Group. Additionally, new agreements are currently being finalized through existing agreements with ECMC or Kaleida Health-related providers, which will enhance Ear, Nose and Throat, Allergy and Nephrology Services at WCCH.

“Like most community hospitals, the path to survival in an ever-evolving health care market will be enhanced by relationships with larger facilities that are able to support the community hospital with administrative and provider resources they are not able to obtain independently,” Eichenauer said. “It is WCCH’s objective to take advantage of the opportunities provided by ECMC and its affiliation with Kaleida Health and the University at Buffalo through their mutual partnership in Great Lakes Health System, which will provide better access to a wide range of health care services at WCCH; we will now look at the necessary steps towards a future management agreement with ECMC.”

The Board of WCCH says it was also impressed with ECMC’s experience and knowledge related to the governmental and human resources requirements of WCCH. Both ECMC and WCCH have employees who are represented by the Civil Service Employees Association Inc. (CSEA). Although an independent Public Benefit Corporation since 2004, ECMC is one of the few remaining county-owned hospitals in the state.

“ECMCC is excited with the board’s decision, which will permit ECMC to work closely with WCCH and share best practices and scale that will create cost reductions and efficiencies,” said ECMC President and CEO Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., Ph.D.

“Importantly, through this agreement, we will integrate our health care service teams to identify opportunities to share practices that will enhance and strengthen the delivery of quality health care services to patients across the entire organization.”

As part of the new relationship, ECMC will also be working with WCCH to provide upgraded administrative and financial management resources and support.

“Through a deliberate and careful process over several months, the necessary steps have been taken toward an administrative services agreement with ECMC that will maintain the financial viability of WCCH,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Douglas Berwanger. “It will preserve quality health care at the hospital well into the future.”

Since October 2012, WCCH has had a previous collaboration agreement with (University of Rochester) UR Medicine, Rochester. WCCH anticipates having a continued positive relationship with UR Medicine and the services and providers it supplies to the hospital.

WCCH 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 43,000. In addition to an Acute Care Hospital, its services include an attached 138-bed Nursing Home, Adult Day Health Care, and an Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit. The hospital has approximately 3,000 inpatient admissions, and 14,000 Emergency Department visits per year.

Its mission is to provide outstanding healthcare services and to have a positive impact on the health of its rural community. For more information visit  www.wcchs.net or its Facebook page.

The ECMC Corporation was established as a New York State Public Benefit Corporation. Since 2004 it has included an advanced academic medical center with 602 inpatient beds, on- and off-campus health centers, more than 30 outpatient specialty care services and Terrace View, a 390-bed, long-term care facility.  

ECMC is Western New York’s only Level 1 Adult Trauma Center, as well as a regional center for burn care, behavioral health services, transplantation, medical oncology and head and neck cancer care, rehabilitation, and a major teaching facility for the University at Buffalo. Most ECMC physicians, dentists and pharmacists are dedicated faculty members of the university and/or members of a private practice plan.

For more information visit ecmc.edu and follow ECMC on social media via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 3:01 pm

Closings and cancellations in Wyoming County for March 14, as of 2:53 p.m.:
Closed:

    • Adult Day Healthcare Center at Wyoming County Community Hospital;

    • Gainesville Public Library;

    • Warsaw Public Library. The board meeting is postponed until next week;

    • Genesee Community College -- all locations;

    • Literacy West NY, Warsaw;

    • Lumberyard Restaurant, Perry;

    • Oak Orchard Health, Warsaw;

    • Perry Library; and
    • Warsaw Head Start.

Canceled:
    • Warsaw Moose Lodge -- Bingo tonight is canceled;
    • Warsaw Planning Board has canceled its meeting;

    • Warsaw Write Connection group meeting at Warsaw Library is canceled;
    • Wyoming County Cooperative Extension -- VFD Regulations for Livestock.

  • Owners and Bee Keepers - meeting at the Wyoming County Ag Center is canceled; and

    • Wyoming County Office For the Aging: No home-delivered meals today
 and Medicare 101 class for this evening rescheduled for March 29. Call for reservations.

Closings and cancellations for Tuesday:
    • Silver Springs food pantry; and
    • St. Mary's Senior Lunch in Silver Springs is canceled.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 10:20 am

Press release:

Senate Republicans recently released a 2017-18 state budget proposal that provides $45 million annually to compensate direct care professionals for the important work they do to support individuals with disabilities. The proposal addresses a lack of funding in the executive budget to help appropriately adjust salaries at not-for-profits that employ workers who provide state services for individuals with autism, serious brain injury, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other developmental disabilities.

"Direct care professionals deserve to be fairly compensated for the crucial services they provide to individuals with developmental disabilities,” said Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma). “Families rely on these highly trained workers to assist their loved ones on a daily basis and we must do all we can to reduce the high turnover rate within the profession and ensure that adequate staff is in place to provide proper care."  

Currently, many direct service professionals (DSPs) earn an average of $10-$13 per hour – just above the state’s minimum wage. Last year, the state implemented minimum wage increases that did not provide funding to account for the “compression factor.” The compression factor is the need to increase the salaries for more experienced DSPs and supervisors in order to maintain the current salary gap with minimum wage workers. Without new funding provided to the DSP employers providing services on behalf of the state, the salary gap will compound the existing high turnover rate among those providing these critical services. This may lead to significantly increased vacancies as qualified individuals seek less strenuous minimum wage work.  

The Senate’s proposal provides $11.25 million in funding to help implement wage increases in the current year’s budget. Starting in 2017-18, $45 million would be provided annually to further ensure fair wages for this sector and prevent negative impacts on developmentally disabled services.

The Senate’s one-house budget will be advanced and approved this week, followed by the start of open, public conference committees to iron out differences that exist between the Senate and Assembly plans.

A new state budget is scheduled to take effect April 1.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 6:31 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, education, announcements, weather.

The following are schools and businesses are closed today due to weather:

    • Attica Central School

    • Castile Christian Academy

    • Literacy West NY Warsaw location

    • Letchworth Central School

    • Perry Central School

    • Pioneer Central School

    • Warsaw Central School

    • Warsaw Head Start

    • Western NY Rural AHEC (Rural Area Health Education Center)

    • Wyoming Central School

Monday, March 13, 2017 at 5:47 pm

wyco_farm_bureau_with_gallivan2.jpg

From left: Lindsay Chamberlain, of Wyoming, representing Collegiate Cornell Farm Bureau; Ben Restivo, Future Farmers of America member, and Brian Parker, representing Wyoming County Farm Bureau, with Sen. Patrick Gallivan.

Press release (photo submitted):

Members from the Wyoming County Farm Bureau spent two days in Albany last week, meeting with lawmakers to highlight the organization’s state public policy priorities for the year.

The county Farm Bureau hosted a table at the Taste of New York Reception for state lawmakers, commissioners, and staff, which featured local farm products. Members also participated in the annual Lobby Day on Tuesday where they met with both their local senator and assemblyman as well as New York City lawmakers that the county Farm Bureau adopted.

At State Capitol, county members advocated for a number of priorities this year, including securing a refundable investment tax credit for farmers. With 2015 farm income down nearly 20 percent to $5.3 billion across the state, according to the latest figures from the National Agriculture Statistics Service, tools need to be in place to help farmers weather the downturn. This initiative would incentivize farm investment to meet the needs of global competition.

Additionally, advocates pushed to double the minimum wage tax credit from $30 million to $60 million. The first step of the minimum wage hike climbed at the beginning of the year on its way to $15 an hour for farms on Long Island and $12.50 for Upstate farmers. New York Farm Bureau (NYFB) led the way in opposition to the hike last year, resulting in a $250 tax credit per employee for this first year of the increase. That will cover only a small fraction of what it will cost family farms to implement the wage hike.

State funding for critical farm programs is another top priority for Farm Bureau. Governor Andrew Cuomo included a number of things in his budget plan which would help agriculture in the state. This includes funding for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPA), which will assist farms with water quality, conservation and farmland protection programs, as well as necessary investments into animal health programs. 

Farm Bureau asked lawmakers to restore funding for promotion and research programs that also benefit agriculture. NYFB also supports the governor’s proposed $2 billion clean water infrastructure program that includes $70 million for nutrient management and conservation programs to reduce farm runoff.

The Farm to Food Bank bill is another top priority for NYFB members who have seen the governor veto the popular legislation the past two years. Members asked their lawmakers to include the tax credit that encourages greater fresh food donations to regional food banks and local food pantries to be included in their one-house budget bills.

These priorities are based on member-approved public policies that originate every year at the county Farm Bureau level and are passed by the full delegate body at NYFB’s State Annual Meeting in December.

In addition to advocating for priorities with lawmakers, county Farm Bureau members also participated in a special panel discussion with the commissioners from the departments of Agriculture and Markets, Environmental Conservation, and Labor.

The Wyoming County Farm Bureau is dedicated to advocate for public policies that will not only benefit agriculture but support rural communities as a whole.

NYFB is the State’s largest agricultural lobbying/trade organization and is “the voice of New York agriculture.” It is dedicated to solving the economic and public policy issues challenging the agricultural community.

Monday, March 13, 2017 at 9:41 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, announcements, Business, education, Perry.

A message from the Perry Central School District (PCSD): 

We would like to make our local business owners and community members aware that the Perry Central School District is not soliciting funds in support of PCSD through the All American T-shirt Company. 

Its representatives worked with the district Friday to end the solicitations.

We have asked that if businesses did purchase advertising, that any payments already made be refunded. All American T-shirt agreed to do so and we thank them for working with us to correct this situation.

We greatly appreciate the support of our local businesses and community members and apologize for the confusion. 

In instances that the District is engaged in fundraising efforts, we will inform you directly. Should you receive any calls soliciting your support in the future, you can contact the district Business Office at (585) 237-0270, ext. 1001, to verify the validity of the efforts before giving any information to the caller.

Monday, March 13, 2017 at 9:36 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, education, Attica, Warsaw, Portageville.

Medaille College has named the following students to the dean's list for the fall 2016 semester. Students that meet the requirements of a minimum of 12 credit hours and earn a grade point average of 3.5 or higher for all credit hours carried during that semester are placed on the Dean's List

    • Emily Fisher, of Warsaw;

    • Ashley Richley, of Attica; and

    • Lacey Wilmot, of Portageville.

Medaille is a private, four-year college four-year college with campuses in Buffalo, Rochester and online. The college offers associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in a variety of fields. To learn more visit www.medaille.edu.

Friday, March 10, 2017 at 7:12 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, weather, news, Bennington, announcements.

bennington_fire_company_open_march_10_till_10_.jpg

Photo from Bennington Fire Company.

A message from Bennington Fire Company, Clinton Street (Route 354), Bennington, as seen on their Facebook page:

"Our little helpers have been working hard and dinner is ready! Come on in, warm up and enjoy a hot meal. We will be here until 10 p.m.."

Friday, March 10, 2017 at 3:06 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, weather, announcements, Cowlesville, Varysburg.

The Cowlesville Fire Company, 361 Clinton St. (Route 354), Cowlesville, will have a warming center from 1 to 4 p.m. and again from 6 to 9 p.m..

Anyone in need of a warm place to go is welcome.

The Varysburg Fire Department is now open and is available for anyone who is in need of an overnight warming shelter.

UPDATE 4:31 p.m.: The Pavilion Fire Department,11302 Lake St., Pavilion, will be operating a warming center until 9 p.m..

For more information, call (585) 584-3937.

Friday, March 10, 2017 at 10:52 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, law, news, Sen. Patrick Gallivan.

Press release:

Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) recently announced the New York State Senate has passed legislation to end child marriage. The bill (S4407A), cosponsored by Gallivan, would prohibit the marriage of minors under 17 years of age and require 17-year-olds to get court approval for marriage.

“Surprisingly, children as young as 14 years old can get married in New York under current state law,” Gallivan said. “Too often, these children are coerced or forced into marriage with an adult, subjecting them to violence and abuse. It’s time to put an end to this practice once and for all.”

While current law states the minimum marriage age in New York is 18, children aged 14-17 may wed with parental consent, and 14- and 15-year-olds require judicial approval as well.

In addition to increasing the minimum age for marriage to 17, this bill puts checks in place to ensure that parental consent is not parental coercion. It also addresses concerns about the lack of meaningful procedures and guidelines in the current law's judicial approval process to ensure that the minor is making an informed decision based only on his or her own views and wishes.

At least 3,850 children between the 14 and 18 years old were legally married between 2000 and 2010 in New York State, and 84 percent of these marriages wed a girl to an adult man. Many of these marriages come with significant age differences, which can subsequently lead to negative effects on the child’s health and education, and an increased likelihood of domestic violence, predominantly affecting girls.

The bill passed by the Senate unanimously and was sent to the Assembly.

Friday, March 10, 2017 at 10:49 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Business, education.

Press release:

For the ninth consecutive year, the Buffalo Bills and M&T Bank are calling on fans to nominate Western New York’s Hall of Fame-caliber educators for the 2017 M&T Bank Touchdown for Teachers program. The program recognizes local teachers for extraordinary service to their schools and communities.

This year, the Bills and M&T are hoping to gather the most nominations in the program’s history. To make it happen, they’re challenging each of the schools throughout the 15-county region that is eligible for the competition to nominate at least one of their outstanding teachers.

“The Touchdown for Teachers program has allowed M&T Bank and the Buffalo Bills to provide some of our region’s best educators with the recognition they deserve,” said Pegula Sports and Entertainment Executive Vice President of Business Development Erica Muhleman. “Our children rely on the hard work and dedication of local teachers to achieve their fullest potential, and it is an honor to celebrate their exceptional efforts.”

Five finalists will be selected based upon their involvement in their school and community, the significance of their positive impact and their proven commitment to the education of their students. One of the five finalists will be named the Grand Prize winner.

Educators must be nominated by the public through the application form at buffalobills.com/teachers no later than March 31. Finalists will be notified no later than April 14.

“You may not see their names next to Jim Kelly or Thurman Thomas on the Bills’ Wall of Fame, but our community is home to so many Hall of Fame-caliber educators who truly are heroes for local students and their schools,” said M&T Bank Retail Market Manager in Western New York Jim Jarosz. “As we celebrate the ninth year of the Touchdown for Teachers contest, we encourage students, parents and school officials to take a moment to nominate an educator who’s making a difference today.”

Each of the five finalists and a guest will be invited to a Bills private event where they will be honored, and the winner of the 2017 Touchdown for Teachers program will be announced. The Grand Prize winner will receive:

    • $2,000 in grant funds, payable to their school or district, to advance their efforts to improve the school community;
    • An in-class visit from a Buffalo Bills player or alumnus.

The four remaining finalists will receive $500 in grant funds, payable to their school or district to strengthen their impact.

To be eligible, educators must live in one of the eight Western New York counties, which includes Wyoming County; the Rochester area; and McKean County, Pa., or Ontario County, Ontario, Canada.

Educators qualifying for nomination to this program are defined as individuals directly involved in the instruction and education of students, including but not limited to: teachers, guidance counselors and teacher’s aides. School and district administrators are not eligible for recognition as finalists but are welcome to nominate educators for recognition.

Information and nomination forms are available at buffalobills.com/teachers. They can be submitted online, or downloaded and mailed to: Pegula Sports and Entertainment, to the attention of Sara Petrone at 199 Scott St., Suite 200, Buffalo, NY 14204.

M&T Bank is the official bank of the Buffalo Bills and the exclusive provider of Bills checks and check cards. Further information about different fan contests and promotions through M&T Bank is available at www.facebook.com/mybillscard.  

About M&T Bank

Founded in 1856, M&T Bank (www.mtb.com) is one of the 20 largest U.S. commercial bank holding companies, with more than $96 billion in assets and more than 650 branch offices in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Friday, March 10, 2017 at 10:38 am

Morrisville State College, Morrisville, recently announced the students who were named to the dean's list for the fall 2016 semester. To be named to the dean's list, a student must achieve an average of 3.0 to 3.99 for the semester and complete 12 credit hours.

The list includes:

    • Sara Haggerty, Patricia Hulton, and Patricia Hulton, all of Arcade;

    • Grace Book of Bliss;

    • Emily Jurek and Patricia Hulton, both of Perry; and

    • Christopher Bush of Silver Springs.

The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges 2017 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2017 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.

Friday, March 10, 2017 at 10:34 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Cowlesville, education.

Nathan Wawrowski of Cowlesville, was named to the Merrimack College dean's list for fall 2016.

Each semester, Merrimack College undergraduate students earn the right to be named to the dean's list by earning a minimum 3.25 grade point average (GPA) based on a 4.0 GPA grading system.

Friday, March 10, 2017 at 10:31 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Sports, hunting, DEC.

Press release:

The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently announced that the 2016 hunting season in New York had only 13 hunting-related shooting incidents. This is the lowest number on record since DEC began compiling hunting-related shooting statistics in 1958.

"Hunting is a proud tradition in New York State that continues to be safely enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors each year," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "The trend of declining hunting accidents is proof that our Sportsman Education Program is working, thanks in large part, to the efforts of the 3,000 volunteer instructors that teach our hunter safety courses every year."

Of the 13 hunting-related shooting incidents in 2016, seven incidents were self-inflicted and six incidents involved more than one person. In 2015, there were 23 incidents. In 1966, there were 166 incidents, 13 of which were fatal.

Despite these low numbers, there were four fatalities in 2016 -- two two-party incidents and two self-inflicted incidents.

"While hunting is safer than ever, accidents can still happen," Seggos said. "It is important to remember that every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable. We urge every hunter going afield this year to wear hunter orange. It's the smart thing to do."

This year's report indicated that eight of the people involved in multi-party incidents were not wearing hunter orange.

With approximately 500,000 licensed hunters spending an estimated 10 to 15 million days afield each year, New York continues its trend of declining hunting-related shooting incidents. The incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) has declined almost 80 percent since the 1960s. The past five-year average is down to three-and-one-half incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 in the ‘60s.

DEC encourages hunters to follow the primary rules of hunter safety:

    • Assume every firearm is loaded;

    • Control the firearm muzzle in a safe direction;

    • Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire;

    • Identify your target and what is beyond; and

    • Wear hunter orange.

DEC's Sportsman Education Program is mandatory for all hunters. The program was introduced in 1949 and has significantly reduced the number of hunting incidents. Beginning in 2016, DEC instituted new course homework requirements for all hunter and trapper education courses. Students are now required to review course materials and complete homework prior to attending classroom and field sessions.

The new homework portion of the course provides an introduction to the subject and enhances students' understanding of the course material. DEC offers all courses free of charge. The Sportsman Education Program is always looking for interested individuals to volunteer their time to help students take the first step in developing the skills and knowledge to be better hunters and trappers.

Only incidents involving firearms, bows, and crossbows are included in the annual report. Incidents involving falls from tree stands or hunter health-related issues are not included. Investigations of all hunting-related shooting incidents are undertaken by DEC's environmental conservation officers.

For more information on taking a course, becoming an instructor, and on the 2016 Hunting Safety Statistics, visit the Sportsman Education Program Web page on DEC's website.

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