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Press Release, Genesee Community College
BATAVIA – Genesee Community College is offering “Major Exploration Days” as a way for interested individuals to learn exactly what the college’s programs are all about.
Taking it a step further, the faculty members from the various programs participate in these sessions so potential students learn what courses they would take, hear about the associated field experiences that are available and develop a clear picture of what their semester could look like.
In addition, these sessions provide opportunities for the students (and any friends or family members who are listening in) to hear about the transfer opportunities GCC has to offer specific to these areas of study. Naturally, Major Exploration Days also include discussions about the vast array of careers and jobs these programs prepare students for.
“I don’t know what I want to do, what would I major in? My recruiting team hears it all the time when we ask someone why they didn’t enroll for classes,” said Lindsay Gerhardt, assistant dean of admissions and recruitment at GCC. “Sometimes, people just need more.”
Each session has been designed to cover a group of academic programs and majors that tend to have some common interest amongst students and some potential career overlap. All of these sessions are open to anyone who is interested in attending GCC. The sessions are free and offered completely online for maximum convenience.
Anyone can attend any or all of these sessions based on the programs of interest:
- Thursday, January 21, will cover Business & Commerce programs, Information Technology degrees and certificates, and a variety of Science & Technology programs! Specific programs include: Accounting, Biotechnology, Business Administration, CIS, CSN, Computerized Drafting and Design, Computer Repair, Fashion, Helpdesk Support, Medical Administrative Assistant, Tourism, Hospitality Event Management, and Web Design.
- Thursday, February 4, will explore programs in Education, Human Services, Law and Criminal Justice! Specific programs include: Alcohol & Substance Abuse Studies, Childcare, Corrections, Developmental Disabilities Studies, Economic Crime Investigation, Forensics, Gerontology, Homeland Security, Paralegal Studies, Policing, Teacher Assistant, and a Teacher Education Transfer Program.
- Thursday, February 25, focuses on Creative Arts, Health & Physical Education and will also include the vast opportunities available under the Liberal Arts umbrella! Specific programs include: Biology, Chemistry, Communication & Media Arts, Digital Art, English, Fine Arts, Fitness & Rec: Personal Trainer, History, Mathematics, Physical Education Studies, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Spanish, Sports Management Studies, Sociology, and Theatre Arts. If you have not yet selected a specific major, this is the session for you!
New rules will be based on hours worked each week, not days
Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a proposal to boost partial Unemployment Insurance benefits to New Yorkers who return to work part-time as part of the 2021 State of the State.
The plan will ensure unemployed New Yorkers who accept part-time work are not penalized by basing their partial unemployment benefits on the hours they actually work, rather than the number of days they work in a given week. This change will inject more money into New York’s economy while helping businesses fill part-time positions.
Legislation to be submitted with the Executive Budget will permanently enact a Partial UI program to incentivize unemployed New Yorkers to assume a part-time job as they search for full-time work, with a revised calculation made possible by technological improvements currently underway.
Since the start of the Covid pandemic in March 2020, New York State has distributed over $62 billion in unemployment benefits to 4 million New Yorkers – representing over 29 typical years’ worth of benefits paid in just ten months. This includes over $1 billion paid during the week of January 4, 2021 to New Yorkers through newly-extended federal unemployment programs, which New York implemented weeks ahead of most other states.
“The Covid pandemic has created dual crises, putting Americans’ physical health and financial wellbeing at risk — and in New York we are addressing both sides of this public health emergency,” Cuomo said. “I am immediately directing the Department of Labor to change outdated rules so as we build back from the pandemic, unemployed New Yorkers aren’t penalized for taking part time jobs.”
Under current law, unemployed New Yorkers’ weekly benefits are reduced by 25 percent for each day an individual works, regardless of the hours worked — unfairly penalizing those who accept part-time jobs. This meant that anyone who worked four or more days – even if they only worked one hour per day – would have to forfeit their entire weekly benefit.
In order to fix this illogical system of partial unemployment, Governor Cuomo will direct the Department of Labor to immediately implement emergency measures that base partial unemployment benefits on the number of hours actually worked over the course of a week. Under this new system, unemployed New Yorkers can work up to seven days per week and still receive some unemployment benefits as long as they work fewer than 30 hours and earn no more than $504 in gross pay.
The new method of calculating partial benefits is outlined below:
- New Yorkers who work between zero and four hours in a week and earn no more than $504 will receive their full unemployment benefit;
- New Yorkers who work between four and ten hours in a week and earn no more than $504 will receive 75 percent of their unemployment benefit;
- New Yorkers who work between ten and 20 hours in a week and earn no more than $504 will receive half of their unemployment benefit;
- New Yorkers who work between 20 and 30 hours in a week and earn no more than $504 will receive 25 percent of their unemployment benefit;
- New Yorkers who work over 30 hours in a week, regardless of earnings, will not receive any of their unemployment benefit.
New Yorkers will still be required to submit weekly certifications online or over the phone to receive their benefits each week. However, to allow the DOL to immediately implement this change, claimants will use a formula to convert the number of hours they work into a number of “days” to report when certifying.
When DOL’s certification system asks for the number of days worked, New Yorkers will add together the total number of hours they worked during a given week and use the following chart to determine how their weekly hours worked translates to the number of days they should report when certifying.
The changes will go into effect for work done on or after Monday, January 18, 2021, which unemployed New Yorkers certify for starting on Sunday, January 24, 2021.
When totaling hours for the week, claimants should use a maximum of 10 hours per day, even if they worked more hours during a day.
In order to implement this reform and support unemployed New Yorkers, Governor Cuomo will launch a Workforce Forward Strike Team, which will bring together experts from the DOL, the Governor’s Workforce Development Office and the Empire State Development Corporation to connect unemployed New Yorkers seeking part-time employment with small businesses that are looking for part-time workers. The strike team will also help businesses develop strategies to utilize the flexibility part-time workers provide as they build back from the pandemic.
In addition, Governor Cuomo will direct the DOL to strengthen its Shared Work Program, which enables employers to avoid layoffs by allowing workers to receive partial Unemployment Insurance benefits while working reduced hours.
This program, which has been in place since 1986, became a vital lifeline for businesses across the state as they made temporary staff reductions in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Orleans and Genesee counties both will be hosting free rapid test Covid-19 clinics this week and there are still many slots open. Both clinics have the capacity to test about 500 people
Genesee County will have a testing clinic on Tuesday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Genesee County Emergency Management Office/Fire Training Center, 7690 State Street Rd. in Batavia. Click here to register.
Orleans County will have its testing clinic on Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds, 12690 Route 31 in Knowlesville. Click here to register.
Participants should print out and complete this form (click here) from the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.
These are drive-thru clinics only are for people without Covid-19 symptoms.
Region’s Covid positivity rate remains above state average
The Finger Lakes Region, which includes Orleans and eight other counties, continues to see the Covid-19 positivity rate and number of hospitalizatons from Covid decline.
Local and state health officials want to see those numbers continue to fall. Although the numbers are still high, the downward trend is encouraging for the health officials.
The Finger Lakes had a positivity rate over 10 percent in early January. It fell below 7 percent on Saturday.
That is still more than a percent above the state average. The 6.96 percent positive in the Finger Lakes on Saturday compares to the statewide average of 5.61 percent.
The positivity rate state-wide fell below 6 percent on Friday and Saturday for the first time since it was 5.9 percent on Dec. 26. On Friday, the statewide positivity rate was 5.77 percent (and 7.32 percent in the Finger Lakes).
The number of people hospitalized due to Covid in the nine counties was at 752 on Saturday. It was 830 on Wednesday, 919 on Jan. 1 and a high of 964 on Dec. 28.
Statewide the hospitalizations are also going down slightly. They were at 8,771 on Saturday, which was less than the 8,888 on Jan. 15, and 8,926 on Jan. 12. The 8,926 is the most since the cases and hospitalizations started to surge in November. The state reached a pandemic high with 18,825 on April 12.
Oh, no, what cataclysmic event is pre-empting the tail end of Wheel of Fortune I wondered last week? Why, there’s a very, very familiar political face (three decades).
He’s without an official office (I checked the U.S. Constitution) and already he believes he is more important than Jeopardy!? This has got to be super important.
I unmuted and in less than a sentence, he made it clear to me that he had absolutely nothing important to say. The same as his entire political career. After blathering on for over half an hour (re-muted and left the room) it amounted to less than a paragraph long press release from the DNC that was in the news cycle for about 15 minutes.
What was CBS thinking? Are they trying to push to the head of the line for “exclusive” interviews with the incoming regime? (Old stuff, most of them; clearly Obama re-treads). Joe… you need a new Communications Director. Suggestion: get one in the Jeopardy demographic.
The only saving grace was that it wasn’t Chuck Schumer. Yet.
It’s going to be a long four years.
Ralph E. Smith
Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office
Governor Cuomo will continue supporting the Nourish NY Initiative to ensure that no New Yorker goes hungry, continues commitment to purchase goods from New York State farmers and producers, protect the stability of our agricultural economy and help ensure that New York residents continue to access local nutritious foods.
As of December 1, 2020, Nourish NY has resulted in $26.4 million in purchases for 17 million pounds of food More than one million households have received New York State products through food distributions and more than 4,000 farms have benefitted from the initiative.
“During this painful year, far too many New York families are experiencing food instability and hunger at a time when social services and community providers are stretched thin,” Cuomo said. “New York state has long prioritized ending food insecurity and delivering healthy, fresh food to all New York families, through programs such as the Farm to Food Bank tax credit and the No Student Goes Hungry campaign, and we will continue to support the Nourish NY program to ensure the resiliency of our food system and that all families in New York retain access to healthy, locally grown food.”
Cuomo has made the mitigation of food insecurity and the resiliency of agriculture a priority. As of 2018, he established the Farm to Food Bank tax credit that compensates producers for the donation of fresh food to the emergency food system.
In 2018, the Governor also launched the No Student Goes Hungry campaign that resulted in the establishment of food pantries on every SUNY campus and increased the grant funding available for the Farm-to-School Program which facilitates the direct purchase of New York State products for school meal programs.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers experienced a drastic supply chain shift, which resulted in the loss of markets and income and in the waste of fresh surplus foods, particularly fluid milk. Simultaneously, the demand for food through emergency food providers escalated across the state.
Seeing the opportunity to feed residents and aid farmers, the Governor launched the Nourish NY Initiative. This initiative provided $35 million in funds for the purchase of foods grown, raised, or processed in New York State and has served as an important alternative revenue stream for farmers and dairy processors during the pandemic.
Press Release, AAA Western and Central New York
Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.39, up seven cents from last week. One year ago, the price was $2.55. The New York State average is $2.47 – up eight cents from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.71.
AAA Western and Central New York reports the following averages:
- Batavia – $2.39 (up eight cents since last week)
- Buffalo – $2.43 (up ten cents since last week)
- Rochester – $2.45 (up nine cents since last week)
- Watertown – $2.51 (up ten cents since last week)
Crude prices have been fluctuating and remain over $50 per barrel. The current price this morning is $52 per barrel. Prices rose over market optimism that coronavirus vaccines will help crude demand recover this year.
If crude prices continue to sustain prices above $50 per barrel alongside higher refinery utilization rates and demand, drivers could see pump prices remain at elevated levels. Current prices are up across the region, but they remain lower than one year ago.
Leah Kania, Hannah Brewer qualify for international competition
Photos by Tom Rivers
ALBION – Leah Kania, a junior at Albion, is recorded on Saturday singing “Ständchen” in German by Schubert.
Leah and her classmate Hannah Brewer both qualified to perform at Carnegie Hall for the Crescendo International Competition. Leah also qualified a year ago and was able to sing at Carnegie in New York City.
An in-person event isn’t allowed right now, but the Crescendo International Competition will be doing a virtual concert featuring the singers with the hope they can come to Carnegie for an in-person concert later this year.
Hannah Brewer, a senior at Albion, sings “Nymphs and Shepherds” by Henry Purcell. Hannah and Leah did their recordings at the First Baptist Church in Albion on Saturday, a sanctuary with ideal acoustics.
They are both voice students of Wendy Williams, who runs the Sound Foundations Voice Studio in Batavia.
Hannah plans to be a music education major this fall when she starts college.
Leah Kania sings for her video of top performers in the Crescendo International Competition. Leah and Hannah submitted online auditions last month. There was more pressure for the audition, Leah said.
“This is just for fun,” she said about Saturday’s recording, which she did in one take.
The competition is for rising stars in classical music. Williams said about 5,000 singers auditioned with instrumentalists (piano, strings and winds), vocalists, duets and ensembles – with division from ages 5-22. Kania and Brewer are in the intermediate category, ages 15 to 18.
“It’s an enormous deal,” said Wendy Williams, their voice teacher. “I’m insanely proud of them.”
Kania and Brewer are both mezzo-sopranos.
Williams has three other students who also qualified for the competition: Erin Hess, a mezzo-soprano from Alexander; Murphy McDermott, a soprano from Appleton; and Liam Crawford, a baritone from Alexander.
Williams praised the students for their hard work and discipline in preparing for the competition.
“These kids have an internal drive,” she said. “I want them to discover how far they can take it.”
Hannah Brewer performs in the sanctuary at the First Baptist Church. Hannah sang a Baroque style song in English. She has sung songs in German and Italian in preparing for the competition.
“There are so many different languages,” she said.
She said she is grateful to have the event, which motivated her with her singing, especially after last year’s spring musical was cancelled.
Photo courtesy of Meghan Kania: Leah Kania is pictured outside Carnegie Hall in NYC last year for the Crescendo International Competition. She hopes the venue reopens for the event later this year.
‘We’ve all heard reports of smart speakers and other connected devices recording people without their knowledge, and that possibility raises important questions about privacy for the future.’ – Governor Cuomo
Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a proposal to require companies to prominently disclose information about devices that can record and retain and transmit recordings, such as smartphones, smart speakers and smart TVs.
The Governor will propose legislation requiring the disclosure so that New Yorkers can make informed decisions when they choose to buy an internet-connected device that is capable of recording, and so that written warnings about recording are not hidden or written in small print. The bill would require that smart devices disclose that they are recording their owners before a device is set up, so that owners can manage their settings accordingly.
“We’ve all heard reports of smart speakers and other connected devices recording people without their knowledge, and that possibility raises important questions about privacy for the future,” Governor Cuomo said. “This legislation requires the makers of these devices to disclose the facts so New Yorkers can make informed decisions about the capabilities of what they buy. Everyone has a right to know the facts about the devices they buy, and those facts should be prominently displayed, not hidden in the fine print.”
Over 80 percent of Americans own a smartphone or other digital assistant device, the vast majority of which are equipped with internal microphones or other audio recording capabilities. A 2019 Pew Research survey revealed that beyond smartphones, a quarter of U.S. adults also have voice-controlled smart speakers in their phones.
54 percent of smart speaker owners express worry about how much of their personal audio information is collected and 66 percent reject better personalization of smart speaker recommendations if it means more of their personal data is collected. These statistics demonstrate that consumers who are educated are empowered to make decisions that are appropriate for their personal privacy and will ensure this legislation benefits New Yorkers.
HOLLEY – The Holley Board of Education last week gave its approval for a new scholarship in memory of John Heise, who was a long-time school administrator who later served more than a decade on the Board of Education.
Heise, 73, passed away on December 23, 2020. He was fully involved in the community.
“John Heise’s contributions to the Holley Central School District are immeasurable,” said Brian Bartalo, the district superintendent. “From the time he spent here as an administrator starting as the Elementary Principal in 1981, right up until this school year as the vice president of the Board of Education, John’s given so much to the Holley School District and community.”
In addition to serving on the Holley Board of Education, Heise was president of the Holley Rotary Club and a former district governor for Rotary. He also was previously a member of the Holley Village Board and a trustee for the Community Free Library.
He attended numerous school and community events, and liked to brag about Holley students on social media.
The district didn’t set parameters for the scholarship. Heise’s family will work out the details for the selection criteria and the amount of the scholarship. The first scholarship in memory of Heise is expected to be awarded in June at graduation.
“John was a consistent champion for the students of Holley,” Bartalo said. “He was a fixture at all school events from concerts and plays to athletic events and award ceremonies. Through John’s work with the Holley Rotary, he helped many students over the years with scholarships and assistance with whatever was needed, many times, right out of his own pocket. Mr. Heise always wanted the best for the district. He loved and worked on many committees to improve the school system. He also was also Holley’s representative on the Monroe2-Orleans BOCES Board of Education, where he served for well over a decade. John’s generosity and dedication to the students of Holley left a legacy that will never be forgotten.”
The federal Department of Labor announced on Friday it will be modernizing the H-2A program, which allows farms and agriculture businesses to bring in temporary guest workers from other countries.
The DOL is bringing the program into the digital era, harnessing the power of the FLAG electronic filing system to share information with other federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security while also sharing information with the State Workforce systems and domestic farmworkers, the department said.
“This final rule streamlining and modernizing the H-2A visa process will go a long way in ensuring American farmers have access to a stable and skilled workforce, all while removing unnecessary bureaucratic processes,” Sonny Perdue, secretary of the Department of Agriculture, said in a statement on Friday. “USDA’s goal is to help farmers navigate the complex H-2A program that is administered by Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department so hiring a farm worker is an easier process. These modernizations make the Federal government more responsive to our customers, ensuring American agriculture continues to lead the world for years to come.”
Perdue said there are also additional flexibilities to cut down on unnecessary burdens on the agricultural employers that use the program. These flexibilities include the ability to stagger the entry of workers into the country over a 120-day period and allowing agricultural employers the flexibility to file a single application for different dates of need instead of multiple applications.
On Monday Roy-Hart’s boys and girls swim teams will begin practice to defend their Niagara-Orleans League championships.
The Channel Cats in fact have compiled a very rich history of title seasons over the N-O League’s first 45 years of swim competition.
Last year’s title was the 20th for the boys team and the fifth for the girls squad.
In addition, the Channel Cats claimed four titles during the N-O League’s early years of co-ed team swim competition (1976-86).
Roy-Hart’s first N-O title came during the 1978-79 season keyed by two victories over rival Akron, which had claimed the league’s first three championships going undefeated each year.
The Channel Cats capped off the historic season by winning five events at the All-League meet. John Ramming, who won the 100 Backstroke and Mark Willard, who took the 200 Individual Medley, were also both members of both the winning 200 Medley and 400 Freestyle Relays.
When the league split into separate boys and girls teams during the 1986-87 season the Roy-Hart boys went undefeated (10-0) to capture the championship as again two wins over runner-up Akron (8-2) proved to be the difference.
Again the Channel Cats capped off the season in a big way winning nine of 11 events at the All-League meet. Mike Treadway doubled in the IM and 100 Butterfly and Mark Whalen in Diving and the Backstroke while Ben McDonald took the 50 Free, Brian Austin the 500 Free and Matt Derry the 100 Breaststeoke. Brian and Matt Austin were also both members of the winning 200 Medley and 400 Free Relay teams.
The boys squad went on to win the N-O title six of the next seven years.
Roy-Hart later would claim a league record 11 straight N-O boys championships from the 2006-2007 season to the 2016-17 campaign. The Channel Cats went 109-0 during that memorable run.
Roy-Hart’s most unusual title though came during the league’s final season of co-ed team competition (1985-86).
The Channel Cats shared the crown that season with Starpoint at 9-1. The co-championship resulted from Starpoint’s premature victory celebration in a key late season meet at Roy-Hart.
Trailing 40-33, Starpoint had sprinted to a 1-2 finish in the final relay for an apparent 42-41 victory to remain undefeated. However, before the final relay quartets could reach the finish line several over enthusiastic Starpoint team members jumped into the pool to celebrate the apparent title clinching victory. It was a disastrous victory plunge though as all of Starpoint’s entrants in the event were disqualified allowing Roy-Hart to earn a bizarre 42-41 victory which resulted in the teams sharing the N-O crown.
Now the defending champion Roy-Hart boys and girls teams are scheduled to begin defense of their title on January 28 in what is planned to be a season of virtual meets.
Life’s Reward and Reflections on Heaven
I am a closet person of faith. What in the world!? It means that even though I don’t regularly walk through the doors of a congregation, I still have faith. Faith that we will all be rewarded at the end of life for a life well lived – lived in service of being true to ourselves while respecting and loving others.
Two melodies with different expectations always leave me wondering what lies beyond the blue skies and what the reward will be. They are “When I Get Where I’m Going” and “Outskirts of Heaven.” The first showcases Heaven as a magical place to be dreamed about. The second hints that with gratitude Heaven is home.
The first Heaven offers hope that with grace we can all live with love and no fear. That does sound Heavenly. Just sit with that thought. A place where we shed our sins and struggles and just accept no one body makes the rules for which goodness exists. We can only demonstrate goodness with our actions. Only then will the tears we shed be only happy tears, no more angst or sadness.
I love that in this version we can try things of joy and freedom, like ride a drop of rain and see what it feels like. I think it feels cool and warm at the same time, yet freeing. This reward allows us to hug our Granddaddy’s neck once again after so much time apart. This version makes me smile and gives comfort that all the struggles will be worth the reward when the circle of life is complete. Those left behind may cry for themselves, but not for the soul that is in Heaven because that soul is being rewarded in the most beautiful ways. Someday we will be able to see and experience this eternal joy together.
The other version, which is one of my all-time favorite songs, tells a story of someone who is so blessed in life that they can only hope that his reward mirrors home. He sings that his Granddad told him about the Pearly Gates and the Streets of Gold. He read about the Big Mansion in the sky. His life has taught the most important lesson, the lesson of being thankful for blessings on earth. He hopes his Heaven will not be grand, but rather on the outskirts of Heaven. He prays for a Heaven with dirt roads, green grass, honey bees and blue skies. He wants to hang his wings on a squeaky front porch swing and enjoy the shade of the trees. This Heaven sounds like Heaven on Earth – simple pleasures and quiet living.
We could all use some of that. Time for reflection, time for breath, time for counting blessings. No matter your expectations of what the reward is, the best reward is perspective and knowing that life and death are much bigger than us. Follow the Golden Rule “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You” and you will get where you are going with peace in your heart. Here are the song links (click here) and (click here).
To see My Angel Cloud, visit My Blog live online (click here) and catch up on Weekly Photo Perks and past Sunday Posts. Like and share your comments.
We, the members of the Town of Ridgeway Republican Committee, believe that social and political issues are as important at our local level as at the state or national levels. Day to day, the decisions of your Town Board, who are your friends and neighbors, impact all of us more than national politics.
Both young and old in our community have knowledge to share about what should happen in our own backyard. Your fresh ideas and insights can affect change for the better. The process to get involved is simple, and your local Board of Elections or Political Committee can help.
2021 positions up for election in Ridgeway include: two Town Board seats, Town Clerk, and Highway Superintendent. Because the current Town Clerk chooses not to seek re-election, nominations are particularly needed for that position. Although incumbents often run unopposed, your candidacy is welcome as part of our democratic system.
Local Democrat and Republican Party committees conduct interviews and endorse candidates based on how their views align with the party’s. While candidates secure a place on the ballot through party endorsement, anyone can run as an independent if you feel your views don’t align with a party.
The Town Board meets two evenings a month – first an organizational meeting, and then a board meeting. Both are public forums. Board members are charged with determining the town’s direction. Current issues include the introduction of solar panels in the town, managing the town budget amid the pandemic, and ensuring local Fire Departments have the resources to provide necessary services.
Our Town Board website affirms that we are a small town with heart, a township that has much to offer, and just a friendly, hometown community. As the Town of Ridgeway Republican Committee, we encourage you to step up and be a part of your town’s future.
The Town of Ridgeway Republican Committee
Laura Olinger (585) 733-9602