Press Release, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Posted 4 March 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following statement today on McDonald’s decision to stop selling chicken raised with medically important antibiotics and milk from cows that are treated with the artificial growth hormone rbST.
“Chicken nuggets shouldn’t pose a public health risk,” said Sen. Gillibrand, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Fast food restaurants sell a huge amount of food to New Yorkers and people across the country every day. This voluntary decision to stop using chicken raised with antibiotics that are used in human medicine is a step in the right direction. While Congress must pass legislation that would stop the overuse of antibiotics in the food we eat, I hope more companies will follow their lead.”
Today, McDonald’s announced they will no longer use chicken raised with antibiotics meant for humans or milk from cows are treated with artificial growth hormones. Antibiotics have been used to make livestock grow faster and gain weight, and to prevent diseases caused by overcrowding and poor hygiene in livestock facilities. The use of certain antibiotics in livestock has been shown to generate antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can make people sick with infections that are harder to treat.
Just this week, Senator Gillibrand along with Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) introduced the Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act, legislation that would curb the overuse of antibiotics in livestock.
The legislation requires the Food and Drug Administration to withdraw its approval of medically important antibiotics used for disease prevention or control that are high risk of abuse, unless the producer of the drug can demonstrate that its use in food animals does not pose a risk to human health.
Gaines wants tower to move for public safety issues
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 March 2015
GAINES – The State Department of Agriculture and Markets says the Town of Gaines was wrong to insist that a 154-foot-high wind turbine be moved away from a farm market and u-pick orchard at Watt Farms.
The Town of Gaines Zoning Board of Appeals made that decision on Dec. 4, 2013, and that decision was upheld this past December by James Punch, acting State Supreme Court judge in Orleans County.
However, Ag and Markets says forcing Chris and Karen Watt to move the turbine, at a cost of $20,000, is unreasonable and unnecessary, according to a letter on Jan. 14 from Richard A. Ball, commissioner of Ag and Markets.
He sent the letter to town officials, telling them they needed to comply with the Agriculture and Markets Law.
Town Supervisor Carol Culhane and Michael Grabowski, the Zoning Board of Appeals chairman, say the town is not obligated to reverse its decision based on the Ag and Markets determination.
“Agency staff members do not trump a Supreme Court judge,” Grabowski said.
The state agency also said the town didn’t use the proper setback distance. Gaines determined the setback distance by multiplying the 154-foot turbine by 1.1 for a 169.4-foot setback minimum.
Gaines officials said the turbine needed to be moved at least 169.4 feet away from the farm market, train ride course and designated u-pick areas.
Ag and Markets suggested the setback from “human-occupied buildings” be five times the rotor distance or five times 23.6 feet, which would be 118 feet for the Watt turbine. Ag and Markets based that suggestion from the recommendation by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority or NYSERDA.
NYSERDA uses that setback for buildings that are occupied a majority of the time and not occasionally, such as in Watt’s situation. The train route at Watt’s and the u-pick area are temporarily visited by the public and insisting on a setback there “unreasonably restricts the farm operation,” Ball said in his letter.
Instead of pushing to relocate the turbine, the town could insist that public access be restricted within 118 feet of the turbine’s tower or the turbine could be taken off-line during u-pick harvest within 118 feet of the tower, Commissioner Ball said.
Grabowski, the Gaines ZBA chairman, insists 169.4 feet should be the setback distance to ensure the public’s safety. He said Watt Farms is appealing Punch’s decision.
Culhane, the town supervisor, said she is confident the town has followed the law. The town has received legal advice on the issue from attorney Dan Spitzer, a land use specialist with the Hodgson Russ firm in Buffalo.
She said the town won’t change course based on the order from Ball.
“Ag and Markets doesn’t trump a State Supreme Court judge,” Culhane said.
Staff Reports Posted 4 March 2015
LYNDONVILLE – The school district has been recognized by District Administration magazine as a "District of Distinction" for implementation and success with a college readiness program known as AVID.
Advancement Via Individual Determination is designed to increase the number of students who enroll in four-year colleges. Although AVID serves all students, it focuses on the least served students in the academic middle. The formula is simple: raise expectations of students and, with the AVID support system in place, they will rise to the challenge, Lyndonville school officials said.
“Over the past several years, AVID has played an integral role in our students’ success, both before and after graduation from Lyndonville,” said Superintendent Jason Smith. “In addition, AVID-trained teachers implement highly effective and engaging teaching strategies in their classrooms, which is also closely aligned to the demands of the Common Core.”
Districts of Distinction is a national recognition program created by District Administration magazine to honor school districts that are leading the way with new ideas that work. Districts of Distinction recognizes initiatives that are yielding quantifiable benefits, and that could be replicated by other districts.
The magazine highlighted 62 districts this month. Lyndonville started AVID at the beginning of the 2010-11 school year with a goal of boosting the academic performance of first-generation college hopefuls in grades 7 through 12.
In addition to implementing the AVID elective, Lyndonville CSD is in the process of creating school-wide and district-wide programs for college success. Since implementing the AVID in 2010 for grades 8 and 9, the program has expanded to all K12 grade levels.
With AVID in place the district has increased AP course enrollment, the passing rate for AP Social Studies assessments, and more students are applying to four-year colleges and receiving acceptance letters, according to District Administration magazine.
“We are pleased to honor Lyndonville as a District of Distinction,” says JD Solomon, editorial director at District Administration magazine. “Like all our honorees, Lyndonville Central School District serves as a model for school leaders across the country.”
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 March 2015
RIDGEWAY – Republicans in Ridgeway interested in serving in elected positions at the town and county level are welcome to seek an endorsement from the Republican Committee.
Three positions on the Town Board are up for election and the incumbents are expected to run again. That includes Town Supervisor Brian Napoli and Town Council members Paul Blajszczak and Mary Woodruff.
The town justice position will also be on the ballot in November. Joe Kujawa was appointed to the post in January.
The Ridgeway Republican Committee also expects to meet with candidates for County Legislature, sheriff and coroner, and the town committee will make a recommendation to the Orleans County Republican Committee for those positions, said Karen Kaiser, the Ridgeway Republican Committee vice chairwoman.
She encouraged Ridgeway Republicans interested in seeking a town or county position to contact her at 585-590-6410 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or they can call GOP Chairman Richard Fisher 585-356-5719.
“We want to make sure anyone interested is heard from,” Kaiser said.
April 15 is the deadline to apply.
Press Release, Medina Sandstone Society Posted 4 March 2015
MEDINA – Medina area residents can be proud of their five years of support for the Sandstone Trust. The community endowment just completed its fifth year of making small grants to local programs, projects and organizations and the total in grants over the five-year period comes to nearly $20,000.
This was reported by Michael Zelazny, chairman of the grants committee, who distributed the most recent checks in January.
“Scores of worthy projects have been supported since 2010 and the grants have covered a wide range,” said Zelazny.
He said grants run from $200 to $600 or even $1,000 in unusual cases.
A grants committee approved funding in the latest round of grants for improvements to the veterans plot at Boxwood Cemetery, to the Medina Business Association for Old-Tyme Christmas, emergency dollars to fix porch damage at the Medina Historical Museum, dollars to The Arc of Orleans toward kitchen equipment for Camp Rainbow, support for Medina’s Civil War Re-Enactment in April, stone repair from frost damage at the Armory (“Y”), and continuation of student scholarships.
Over the past five years about 40 grants have been approved by a citizen selection committee which operates under Zelazny.
“Late each autumn we invite grant applications and even though the amounts given are small they are genuinely helpful to projects having a limited scope,” he said.
Zelazny gave a smattering of typical grants. Money for the local library to continue digitizing historic hometown newspapers, help to the local Historical Society for winterizing, help for the Parade of Lights in the village, dollars to the YMCA for stonework repairs and interior up-grading, help to the Orleans Renaissance Group in placing 11 historical plaques downtown for delight of tourists.
The Trust has also provided funding to help in restoring a historic building at Millville Cemetery, support of yearly concerts through the Arts Council, help to Arc of Orleans for client trips and for Nutri-Fare, help to the Medina Business Association for installation of a downtown sound system, assistance to Orleans County Christian School, a Head-Start school on Ensign Avenue and family programs at Medina Junior High School, aid to Community Action for a literacy program, support to GCASA for a program called “Healthy Me” and to Hospice for its new Albion building.
When the Sandstone Trust was officially created in 2009, the society used an obsolete economic development fund which was inactive and in danger of being seized. A contract was written with the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo for financial management, a practice given by CFGB to over 800 such endowments. That management has been trustworthy, according to Zelazny, and the original $18,000 in seed money has multiplied five-fold.
In addition to Zelazny’s grant committee, a group of officers from the board of the Sandstone Society oversees the general plan and it includes Craig C. Lacy, Margaret J. Schreck, David C. Schubel, Robert E. Waters and Timothy J. Moriarty.
The founders of the Trust have had some “high spots” of success over the five years. In the summer of 2010, with the aid of a downtown thermometer, the Trust took in $35,000 in six weeks.
Annual donations to the Medina Sandstone Trust can be made at any time to the society c/o Post Office Box 25, Medina. Gifts offer a total tax deduction.
Provided photo Posted 4 March 2015
A delegation of SCOPE (Shooters Committee On Political Education) attended SCOPE Lobby Day in Albany on Tuesday. SCOPE members from Orleans, Genesee and Niagara counties rode a bus together to Albany and met with members of the Assembly and Senate who represent the area, including Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, pictured in this photo in center (in suit).
The SCOPE members boarded a bus in Le Roy at 4 a.m. In Albany, they pushed for full repeal of the SAFE Act, defunding of the SAFE Act and uniform pistol licensing requirements across New York State with no additional restrictions added by the local licensing, said Mattie Zarpentine of Holley, the WNY coordinator for New York Revolution, a group opposed to the SAFE Act.
Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 4 March 2015
The Telegraph Road canal bridge in Murray is pictured in this photo from Saturday evening.
There is more winter weather in store. The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory until 11 a.m. today due to freezing drizzle that could result in some slick spots on roads, sidewalks and parking lots.
The Weather Service also issued an extreme cold alert for Thursday when the wind chill is expected to fall to minus 4 degrees. The high is forecast for 14 with a low of 1 degree.
February had highest average for unique visitors, daily pageviews
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 March 2015
Orleans Hub set a new record in February with highest daily average for unique visitors and daily pageviews.
The site was coming off a big month in January when we crushed our record for average daily unique visitors. The 6,650 average for unique daily visitors in January topped the December record of 5,650 by 17.7 percent or 1,000 “uniques.”
I was hoping we could stay above 6,000 for February, which is usually a slow news month. A lot of our January traffic was driven by interest in the Medina village dissolution issue. Village residents voted down that referendum on Jan. 20.
But we topped January’s numbers with a 6,780 daily average for unique visitors in February. We had 615,029 total pageviews over 28 days for a 21,965 daily average, which tops the 21,317 daily average in January, when we had 660,825 pageviews over 31 days.
In February, brutally cold weather was often in the news. The temperatures set a new record for coldest month ever for Buffalo and Rochester.
We frequently posted winter weather advisories, wind chill warnings and hazardous cold outlooks from the National Weather Service. Orleans Hub frequently wrote about the brutal weather and school closings, which are always a draw for readers.
But we didn’t just write about the weather. Nor did readers of the Orleans Hub. We’ve been receiving lots of letters to the editor, and one by Dr. David Stahl of Medina was the second most popular story of the month in terms of “clicks,” or how many times the story was clicked on.
Here are the top five stories for the month:
Mike and Cheryl Wertman have also been busy covering the local sports scene. Mike’s story on Feb. 9 was the first story about Roosevelt Bouie being inducted in the Syracuse University Hall of Fame.
Bouie, a former Kendall High School star, had his No. 50 retired by Syracuse. He is pictured here with several of Kendall's senior players. They include, from left, Mookie Nauden, Will Condo, Taylor Kingsbury and Tania Arellano. They are in front of the case that displays Bouie’s retired Kendall jersey.
By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 3 March 2015
No. 6 seed Albion will face No. 7 Tonawanda in the Section VI Class B1 semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Sweet Home.
The victor will take on the winner of the No. 5 Eden vs. No. 1 East Aurora semi the title contest on Sunday at Buffalo State.
Albion, which is 12-9, advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2012 by defeating Depew 52-38 in the opening round and No. 3 Burgard 59-51 in the quarterfinals.
Toawanda bested Alden 43-17 in the first round and No. 2 Newfane 51-36 in the semifinals.
Albion's offense has been sparked this season by sophomore Chanyce Powell, who is averaging 16.1 points per outing, and senior Justice Nauden, who is averaging 12.6 points.
In Class B2, Niagara-Orleans League champion No. 1 seed Wilson will face No. 4 Fredonia in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Buffalo State. The other semi matches No. 2 Cleveland Hill vs. No 6 Southwestern. The winners will meet in the title contest on Sunday at Buffalo State.
In Class C1, No. 5 Barker will face top seeded Chautauqua Lake in the semifinals at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday at Jamestown Community College. The other semi will have No. 3 Salamanca vs. No. 2 Allegany/Limestone.
Staff Reports Posted 3 March 2015
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at a joint meeting of Congress today, speaking against a deal the U.S. and its allies are pursuing with Iran over its nuclear program.
Congressman Chris Collins, R-Clarence, issued this statement following Netanyahu’s remarks.
“The importance of America’s relationship with Israel transcends politics,” said Congressman Collins. “Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated how essential a strong partnership is between our two nations. As growing threats emerge from the Middle East, now more than ever, Israel and the United States must remain united. I am honored to have had the opportunity to hear the prime minister speak and will continue to be a strong advocate on behalf of Israel.”
Congressman Collins was accompanied to today’s address by Chris Jacobs, Erie County Clerk.
“I am honored to have heard one of the world’s leaders, Prime Minister Netanyahu, speak today,” said Chris Jacobs, Erie County Clerk. “Israel and the United States have a relationship that goes beyond just allied countries and it was a tremendous opportunity to see that on display at today’s address.”
Ag is a big business in NY with nearly $40B impact
Staff Reports Posted 3 March 2015
Agricultural is a very big business in New York State – nearly a $40 billion impact in the state’s economy, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
The comptroller’s report counted agriculture’s impact at $37.6 billion to New York’s economy in 2012, an increase of more than 22 percent from 2007, according to DiNapoli.
The $37.6 billion is far more than the $5.5 billion in direct farm revenue counted in the 2012 Agriculture Census. (Orleans County ranks 13th out of 62 counties at $150.3 million in direct farm sales, according to the Ag Census in 2012. Click here to see “Ag revenues soar in latest census.”)
The state ranks in the top 10 nationwide for milk and other dairy production, as well as wine, apples, maple syrup and other products. New York is the second-leading apple producer behind only Washington State and Orleans County is NY’s second-leading apple producer behind Wayne County.
“New York’s economy is still fueled by agricultural activity and the production of food,” DiNapoli said in a news release. “Farms in New York are 98 percent family-owned, yet compete on a national level, diversifying our economy and keeping our local communities strong. It makes economic sense for the state to retain and promote our farms to feed our residents and preserve our land.”
Milk is the state’s largest commodity, with $2.4 billion in sales, followed by grains, peas and beans at $856 million, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2012 census.
New York also ranked first nationwide in the production of yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream, and was the second-largest wine producer in 2013, with 34 million gallons. The state also ranked second nationally in maple syrup production.
“Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s report calls attention to the significant economic impact agriculture has in New York state,” said Dean Norton, president of the New York Farm Bureau. “This in-depth look highlights the dedication of farmers, the diversity of products and the unmistakable conclusion that agriculture is a cornerstone of our rural economy both upstate and on Long Island. New York Farm Bureau thanks the Comptroller for the report and his continued interest in our state’s agricultural strength.”
As of 2012, roughly 56,000 New Yorkers operated farms, with an additional 61,000 people hired as farm laborers. Both the total value of agricultural commodity sales and farm acreage increased from 2007 to 2012, while the number of New York farms and farmers declined modestly.
With an average farmer’s age of 55 years old – reflecting the national average – fewer younger adults are entering the farming profession. In 2012, more than half of New York farms had sales below $10,000.
New York state has established a number of policy initiatives to promote its agricultural sector, including:
• The Farmland Protection Program, which can pay 75 percent of purchase costs for conservation easements to municipalities;
• The New Farmers Grant Fund to encourage young people to take up farming with grants for equipment purchases, supplies or construction;
• The Fresh Connect and Fresh Fruit and Vegetable programs, which bring farm food to communities and fund school purchases of fresh produce; and
• The Food Metrics Law, which encourages state agencies to purchase food produced by New York farmers.
As farmers continue to address the challenges driven by factors at the local, national and even international levels, close attention to the most effective mix of state policies to support agriculture will remain essential, DiNapoli said.
In addition to providing a big economic benefit, the comptroller said agriculture has other quality of life contributions, including preservation of open spaces.
To see DiNapoli's report, click here.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 March 2015
ALBION – Several people were arraigned in Orleans County Court on Monday for alleged drug crimes.
Andre D. Shine, 31, of Medina faces several counts and the highest bail of those arraigned. Shine and Amanda L. Major, 24, of Medina were both arrested on Jan. 22, 2015 following a 2-month-investigation into the sale and distribution of crack cocaine in the Village of Medina.
Shine was arraigned on three counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree.
Orleans County Court Judge James Punch set bail at $150,000 for Shine, who has been in jail since the day of his arrest. He was living at 125 Starr St., lower apartment.
Major, also of 125 Starr St., lower apartment, was arraigned on Monday on one count each of criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. Her bail was set at $10,000.
Two Rochester residents who were arrested on Jan. 27 for allegedly selling crack cocaine in the Village of Medina were arraigned in county court on Monday.
Keith A. Toney, 36, of 51 Mead St., Upper Apt., was arraigned on nine counts of CSCS in the third degree. The judge set bail at $20,000.
Lakusha McMorris, 35, of the same address, was arraigned on three counts of CSCS in the third degree. She remains free on $2,500 bail.
In other cases, Jacob Haundenshield, 23, of Holley was arraigned on third-degree burglary for allegedly breaking into a house on Gaines Basin Road in Albion in December 2012.
Gregory Farewell of Albion was arraigned for violating his conditional discharge by driving without an interlock ignition device, which measures Blood Alcohol Content.
Farewell has two prior convictions for driving while intoxicated, according to the District Attorney's Office. He is in jail on $2,500 bail.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 March 2015
WATERPORT – A popular agri-tourism retail site that drew outsiders to Orleans County and also employed about 50 people during the peak of the fall season will close.
Brown’s Berry Patch owners said the site, which started in 1984 as a small fruit stand, is closing. The Brown’s Berry Patch fruit and wholesale businesses will remain in operation.
Bob Brown and his wife Deborah say the business has been profitable, but they are ready to retire. They worked together to make it an agri-tourism destination.
Bob’s brother Eric is the farm’s orchard manager and Bob and Deborah’s son Bobby is in charge of the berry operation, as well as handling other responsibilities for the farm. Eric and Bobby want to continue focusing on growing fruit and working with the wholesale customers – not the retail operation.
“We’ve been blessed with a lot of great customers,” Bob Brown said. “I’m going to miss all of those customers.”
The Brown family will continue the 300-acre farm through Orchard Dale Fruit Company. The family has a long lineage in Carlton, dating back to 1804.
Bob Brown pushed to start the retail operation about three decades ago, selling fruit from a roadside stand. He said the farm needed to diversify and not just rely on wholesale buyers.
The farm added its first structure in 1984 for Brown’s Berry Patch. It kept growing in the years that followed, adding a playground that kept expanding. It had a petting zoo with farm animals. The retail side grew to ice cream, gifts, desserts and sandwiches.
Brown’s Berry Patch was popular for wagon rides and birthday parties. “Farmer Brown” – Bob Brown – was the leader of many of those tours, which included many school groups.
Gayle Ashbery, the Carlton town supervisor, said she was sad to hear the news this morning about the closing of the retail operation.
"They had a wonderful business that drew a lot of people from a lot of different areas," Ashbery said."It was definitely a draw."
Brown’s attracted many repeat customers from Monroe, Erie, Niagara and Genesee counties. The farm market became a destination. In 2004, it was recognized with an I Love New York Governor’s Agri-Tourism Award.
Brown’s Berry Patch also has been recognized for excellence by the North American Farmers Direct Marketing Association, Orleans County Chamber of Commerce, New York Agricultural Society and Genesee Valley Parent Magazine.
Bob Brown said the family strove to run a clean operation that was family friendly, and also gave customers a taste of farm life.
Pedal cars, a Bouncy Pillow, and the Goat Walk (where goats walk on a track on top of a grain bin and barn) have been popular.
The family would consider leasing the space to another retailer.
“We’re open to ideas,” Brown said.
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