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Farm revenues stagnant in latest ag census
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 April 2019 at 1:59 pm

Orleans farm revenues rank 14th most among counties in NY

Photo by Tom Rivers: Hay bales are pictured in Yates near Lake Ontario in this photo from August 2014.

The latest agricultural census from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows farm revenues are stagnated from 2012 to 2017.

The U.S. government does the Census of Agriculture every five years. In New York, farm revenues totaled $5,369,212,000 in 2017. That was down slightly from the $5,415,125,000 in 2012. (From 2007 to 2012, the farm revenues increased 24.9 percent or by $1.1 billion from the $4.42 billion in 2007.)

In Orleans County, farm products sold for $155.3 million in 2017. That was up 3.3 percent over 5 years from the $150.3 million in 2012 for sales of fruit, vegetables, milk, livestock and other farm products. The 2012 figure was a 48.8 percent jump from the $101.0 million recorded in 2007, according to the Agricultural Census.

Agriculture is Orleans County’s leading industry. The 2017 Ag Census counts 498 farms in the county. The number of farms in the county is up from the 487 in 2012. (It was 554 in 2007.)

However, the number of land farmed dropped from 135,090 acres in 2012 to 129,573 acres of land in farm production in 2017.

In Orleans, there were 31,711 acres of corn for grain which produced 5,732,321 bushels in 2017. Orleans farmers also worked 21,614 acres for soybeans, producing 1,056,311 bushels. Farmers also used 13,011 acres for vegetables, and 6,006 acres for fruit orchards.

In Orleans, more than half of the farms had less than $10,000 in revenue. The Ag Census reports there are 181 farms in the county with less than $2,500 in revenue; 41 between $2,500 to $4,999; 44 between $5,000 to $9,999; 60 between $10,000 to $24,999; 40 between $25,000 to $49,999; 23 between $50,000 to $99,999; and 109 with $100,000 or more.

The top 15 counties in NYS for farm revenue

1) Wyoming, $307.5 million

2) Cayuga: $287.9 million

3) Genesee: $234.9 million

4) Suffolk, $225.6 million

5) Wayne, $221.3 million

6) Ontario, $205.2 million

7) Steuben, $196.0 million

8) St Lawrence, 191.1 million

9) Livingston: $183.7 million

10) Onondaga, $178.4 million

11) Clinton, $167.8 million

12) Jefferson, $165.1 million

13) Chautauqua: $161.0 million

14) Orleans $155.3 million

15) Lewis, $153.1 million

Source: U.S. Ag Census

NY saw 20 percent drop in dairy farms

David Fisher, president of New York Farm Bureau, issued this statement about the Ag Census:

“The most startling statistic is we now have 33,438 farms in the state, about 2,100 fewer farms than 2012. This is the largest drop in more than two decades and is triple the national average of a 3 percent loss. The losses run the gamut, including a 9 percent drop in both the smallest and largest farms in terms of value of sales.

“New York also saw a nearly 20-percent decline in the number of dairy farms in the state. These losses coincide with 9 percent increase in labor costs, while some other production costs like feed, gasoline and chemicals declined. The average net farm income of $42,875 per farm is slightly below the national average.

“On the positive side, there were elements of growth. New York saw a 35 percent increase in organic farms, from 864 in 2012 to 1,330 farms in 2017. According to the market value summary, the number of vegetable farms in the state is 3,544 farms, up 2 percent, and fruit farms rose 8 percent to 3,083 farms. New York had a 15 percent jump in maple operations to 1,662 in the state.

“While there is still much more to learn as we evaluate the mountain of data, it is clear that the depressed farm economy has taken a toll on the overall number of farms in New York, as labor costs continue to mount for our family farms. At the same time, there are still opportunities across the board. Agriculture remains a leading driver of our rural economy and the data shows we must continue to invest in the farming community while also finding ways to improve the business climate for our more than 33,000 farms in the state.”

Additional numbers:

• 98% of farms in New York are family owned

• 6,866,171 acres in production, down from 7,183,576 in 2012

• Average farm size is 205 acres, up from 202 acres in 2012

• 21,860 female producers and 35,985 male producers

• Average producer age is 55.8 years old.

• 6,718 producers under the age of 35

• Hired farm labor is 55,363 employees

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Western portion of Parkway reopens after being closed for winter
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 April 2019 at 12:04 pm

CARLTON – The New York State Department of Transportation today announced the stretch of Lake Ontario State Parkway west of Route 98 in the Town of Carlton is now open to all traffic following its seasonal closure during the winter months.

The 2-mile section of the Parkway closed in November for the winter. The DOT has closed that section of the roads in recent winters to save on de-icing materials, equipment and repairs to damaged pavement.

The 2-mile section is between Lakeside Beach State Park and Route 98 in the Town of Carlton. About 800 cars travel this section every day, the DOT has said.

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2-time state champ thankful for opportunity to compete at oratorical contest

Photo by Tom Rivers: Melissa Barnosky, a senior at Albion, made it to the state finals for the American Legion Oratorical Contest on three occasions, winning the title in 2018 and 2019. She competed at nationals twice.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 April 2019 at 10:30 am

ALBION – An Albion student has set a new standard among local participants in the annual American Legion Oratorical Contest.

Melissa Barnosky in 2018 was the first Albion student to win the state title in the contest, and she represented New York at the national competition in Indianapolis, which is the headquarters for the American Legion. Barnosky repeated that feat this year after again winning at the school, county, district and zone levels, before going to Albany and claiming the state title.

Barnosky acknowledged she might seem an unlikely winner in the oratorical contest. She is introverted and many consider her to be shy. She said she needs to overcome “terrible stage fright.”

But with the competitions, she is transformed and focused on delivering the speech. She has honed the skill to make the speech, which is full of dense material, to also be engaging. She uses facial expressions, gestures, “even the way I walk onto the stage,” she said.

She also has learned to project her voice, without yelling.

She needed to research, prepare and deliver an 8- to 10-minute speech about the Constitution and the role of citizens. She titled her prepared speech, “Civic knowledge, the key to our vigilance.”

She also needed to prepare four other speeches that were 3 to 5 minutes. The four other topics were assigned at random at the district, zone, state and national competitions.

Photo by Sue Starkweather Miller, Albion Central School: Melissa Barnosky is pictured on March 2 in Albany with Anthony Paternostro, chairman of the American Legion’s oratorical contest. Barnosky won the competition for the second straight year.

Twice in competitions this year she was asked to speak about the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. At the state and national competitions, she was assigned the 4th Amendment, which protects Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures.

“It’s not for everyone,” Barnosky, 17, said about the competition. “It’s a lot of work. You have to write the speech, and practice over and over.”

She was in Indianapolis on April 6 at nationals, competing with 52 other state champs. In addition to the winners from all 50 states, there is a champion from Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Department of France for American students from about a dozen countries in Europe.

Those 53 are separated into the quarterfinals with nine groups of five or six students. Barnosky came in second out of six in her group and didn’t advance to the finals. The Wisconsin state champ advanced out of her group. The 82nd annual competition was won by Patrick Junker of Iowa. His winning prepared oration was titled, “The Spread of Constitutional Apathy and how to Quarantine it.”

Barnosky ends the competition with $21,500 in scholarships, which she will use for her college expenses. She is heading to Brockport State College to major in political science.

She is thankful for the American Legion for sponsoring the contest at the local, regional, state and national levels.

“I feel like the American Legion hasn’t given up on the youth,” she said Monday during an interview at the school.

The competition has her more confident as a public speaker. She also has developed the ability to research a topic and present that information, which can feel complicated and arcane, in a way that people can more easily understand.

She also is more aware of the critical role of citizens, who need to know the Constitution and keep watch on their elected officials, to make sure their decisions aren’t unconstitutional.

She would like to help other students compete in the oratorical contest. Her first pupil will be her younger brother, William, who is an eighth-grader. He attended many of his sister’s competitions.

Barnosky urges more students to try the event, to prepare the speech and deliver it. They will be better citizens for the effort.

“I’m grateful to have earned money and made it to nationals,” she said. “I was honored to represent my state.”

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NY now seems agreeable to free college tuition for Gold Star families
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 April 2019 at 9:13 am

Last week Democrats in Albany voted against legislation to expand free college tuition for children or dependents of military personnel who died while performing official military duties. The issue gained a lot of media attention, even President Donald Trump tweeted about it on Friday:

“In New York State, Democrats blocked a Bill expanding College Tuition for Gold Star families after approving aid for illegal immigrants,” Trump tweeted. “No wonder so many people are leaving N.Y. Very Sad!”

On Monday, Democrats and Republicans in the State Senate announced a bipartisan bill to expand access to scholarships for community colleges and state universities. The program would be for dependents of military service members who died while in performance of their duties. Those duties are yet to be defined and the potential financial costs haven’t been determined.

“I am thrilled that Albany Democrats have now decided that the children of our brave military members who perish in service to our great nation are worthy of the same privileges they afforded to illegal aliens residing in our state,” State Sen. Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, said in a statement. “Although this is a victory, what has transpired over the last few days is a rude reminder of where New York Democrats’ priorities lie. The tremendous pressure from Senate Republicans, veterans’ advocacy organizations, the media, and everyday citizens is a great reminder that the people of New York have their priorities right even if Democrats in Albany do not.”

The new legislation would take effect beginning April 1, 2020. That gives the Legislature time to estimate the costs that would be added to the MERIT scholarship program.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, sponsored the bill in the Assembly that Democrats didn’t allow to come out of committee. Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn, is expected to introduce the bill in the Assembly that matches the Senate legislation.

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Fiddlers pack Cobblestone Church for old-time concert
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 April 2019 at 7:20 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Mike Deniz of Fairport plays the violin during Sunday’s performance by Elderberry Jam at the Cobblestone Church in the Gaines hamlet of Childs.

CHILDS – Doug Farley, director of the Cobblestone Museum, had one wish for Sunday’s fiddlers’ concert presented by the band Elderberry Jam.

That was to have standing room only, something which has never been done in the historic church, to his knowledge.

At the end of the day, Farley was smiling, the crowd was cheering and the band was promising to come back.

Elderberry Jam performed for a packed church on Sunday. The church was built in 1834 and is the oldest cobblestone church in North America.

There were 167 people who filled the sanctuary and overflowed into the balconies to hear the band which included guitars, a banjo, hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, fiddles, mandolin and bass. The eight musicians are part of the Fiddlers of the Genesee.

“I was so pleased to see the main floor completely filled and guests moving up to the balconies on each side of the church,” Farley said. “It was great to see so many folks from Lockport and Brockport, too.”

Farley also said the freewill offering exceeded his expectations, and he was very grateful to those who were so generous.

Elderberry Jam expects to be back at the museum for another concert this year.

Members of the band were in awe of the historic church and have agreed to return to entertain during one of the Cobblestone’s summer events.

Mary Hyder of Penfield learned to play the hammered dulcimer 15 years ago, she said. She already played piano, but wanted an instrument she could carry around.

Her instrument was a complete opposite of the mountain dulcimer which Mike Deniz of Fairport played.

The band has a repertoire of more than 200 tunes, as members of the Fiddlers of the Genesee.

They chose a selection of 25 old-time favorites and some unheard of ones, which had the audience tapping their toes and clapping their hands. The program included traditional Irish, Scottish and American songs, jigs, waltzes, polkas and ragtime, to name a few.

Elderberry Jam gets together to play every Friday, but they still met several times to rehearse for their Cobblestone concert, said banjo player/guitarist Tom Bailey.

The musicians played to one of the biggest crowds at the historic church in recent memory.

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Members of the band Elderberry Jam get ready for their concert Sunday at the Cobblestone Church in Childs. Mary Hyder of Penfield warms up on the hammered dulcimer, while Mike Deniz of Fairport tunes his mountain dulcimer.

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Niagara-Orleans dairy princess touts the many benefits of milk
Posted 15 April 2019 at 9:09 pm

By Hayley Roehling, Niagara-Orleans Dairy Princess

Provided photo: These five are in the Niagara-Orleans dairy court for 2019-2020. They include from left: Alexis Giordano, Dairy Princess alternate Sadie Klumpp, Dairy Princess Hayley Roehling of Akron, Madison Slattery, and Ella Seib. The dairy princess pageant was April 6 at the Hartland Fire Hall.

HARTLAND – On Saturday, April 6th, I was crowned the 2019-2020 Niagara-Orleans County Dairy Princess. I am beyond excited to promote the dairy industry and create long-lasting memories with the court throughout the year.

Currently, the dairy industry is not doing as well as one would hope due to the increase in the amount of liquids made from nuts to be imitated as milk. In reality though, the nut juice does not compare to the nutritional value that is in milk.

Most consumers are switching to buy non-dairy products because they believe the ideas that are spread around by uneducated people; but these thoughts are falsehoods. Becoming Dairy Princess has led me to be highly motivated in promoting the dairy industry and the elements of the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council (ADADC), so that people can have a better understanding of what actually happens.

The first element to promote is the nutritional value of milk. There are nine nutrients in milk: calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, protein, riboflavin and niacin. These elements within dairy products keep your bones and teeth strong, regulate muscles which allows movement, help an individual have energy, help recover from an injury, build muscle and bones, help with eyesight, keep your immune system strong to fight off sickness, and reduce cholesterol levels. Clearly, milk has a variety of health benefits available to the body if three servings of dairy products are consumed daily.

Some people question the quality of milk before it even comes out of the cow. The questioning begins with the care of the animals and the stewardship towards the land. Farmers themselves take really good care of their land. The land is the source of the food for the animals; without the land to farm, there would be no farm itself. For this reason, the land is very important and there is a lot of work involved to care for the property.

Some also believe that the cows are not treated in the best way which is just another falsehood. Dairy cows are taken care of in the greatest possible manner by farmers. The cows always have access to fresh food and water to have the essential qualities for milk production; there is also a nutritionist specialized in dairy cattle that frequently visits the farm to formulate a proper ratio for each component of the total mixed ration (TMR) that the cows consume.

The barn is cleaned out multiple times a day, and cows are milked on a set schedule to make them as comfortable as possible. There are so many other things that the farmer does daily to make the facilities a positive environment.

Dairy farmers are one of the hardest working class of people in this world who deserve more credit than they are typically given. They are on the clock 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. No matter what happens, the animals and the farm comes first; the necessary tasks need to be completed. The animals need to be fed and milked on their schedule. It is a lot of work, but the work is worth it!

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Health officials praise collaboration in Orleans County

Photos by Tom Rivers: Mark O’Brien, director of the Orleans County Mental Health Department, speaks with the Leadership Orleans class on Thursday on GCASA in Albion. The day’s focus was on health services and needs in Orleans County.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 April 2019 at 5:44 pm

ALBION – Orleans County health care providers are working together to expand services to residents, the Leadership Orleans class was told on Thursday.

Paul Pettit, Public Health director in Genesee and Orleans counties, said Orleans continues to struggle with high rates of smoking and obesity.

The class of 26 members each month focuses on an aspect of the county. This month the group is taking a close look at healthcare in the county.

Paul Pettit, director of public health in Orleans and Genesee, went over the county’s latest standings in the annual County Health Rankings, which puts Orleans at 52nd out of 62 counties in the state for health outcomes. Orleans was 54th in health factors.

The county has a high rate of adult smoking (22 percent), adult obesity (36 percent) and a low access to clinical care for primary care physicians, dentists and mental health providers, according to the report. (Click here for more on the report)

Healthcare agencies have been working together to improve access to care. For example, the county’s Mental Health Department has gone from providing mental health services at its office behind the County Administration Building to 15 sites in the county, including at the local school districts and the county jail. Mental Health also has a new partnership with Oak Orchard Health, where mental health staff work out of the Oak Orchard site in Albion.

“There’s synergy,” O’Brien told  Leadership Orleans. Human services “is 90 percent about relationships,” he said.

In rural counties, those relationships are even more critical, he said.

John Bennett, executive director of GCASA, speaks to Leadership Orleans. He said addiction is a very difficult illness to overcome.

O’Brien praised the County Legislature, county administrator and Community Services Board for embracing “very progressive” partnerships among the healthcare providers.

O’Brien is president of an eight-county consortium that received a $3.3 million grant to improve services.

O’Brien responded to questions from the Leadership Orleans class. He said there remains a stigma with mental health, where many people are reluctant to seek help. That remains a big barrier to care.

The county is fortunate to have an active Suicide Prevention Coalition, he said. Suicide hits white males, ages 45 and older, at the highest rate.

He also shared about the prevalence of sexual abuse, where 1 in 3 women have been sexually abused or exposed to it, while 1 in 7 men have been sexually abused. A mental health therapist can help people work through the trauma.

“Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed,” O’Brien said, citing a famous quote. “It means it no longer controls my life.

John Bennett of GCASA leads an agency that has expanded in Orleans County, adding residential services.

Bennett, responding to a question, said addiction is a powerful disease that is difficult to overcome, even when a person has been clean for a year.

Mark O’Brien of Mental Health said the county agency now has Mental Health staff working out of 15 sites in the county.

Anxiety, fear and depression often kick in, leading to a relapse.

“The nature of the illness is when you relapse you are full blown into it,” Bennett said. “It is an illness unlike any other.”

Bennett said is concerned about the possibility of legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. He cited problems in Colorado, where dispensaries are making marijuana products that look like candy.

There are reports of increased motor vehicles accidents and emergency room trips since recreational marijuana was legalized, he said.

Bennett understands the social justice push for legalizing recreational marijuana, where people don’t tend to fight, resist arrest or be abusive, especially compared to people who use alcohol.

Pettit, the public health director, said public health officials are concerned about misinformation, especially with an anti-vaccine movement that is allowing some illnesses and diseases to spread.

“People should go to agencies and organizations for information that is based in science,” he said.

The local Public Health Department attends many community events, and keeps an active Facebook and Twitter presence, trying to get accurate information out to the community, Pettit said.

More residents also are self-diagnosing on WebMD rather than going to the doctor, which is a concern, Pettit said.

The Leadership Orleans class also was trained on Narcan, which can help stop an overdose. The class also learned how to “Stop the Bleed” and apply a tourniquet if someone is bleeding.

The class heard from other healthcare leaders in Medina, with a focus on healthcare collaborations.

Those panelists included Dan Ireland, president of United Memorial Medical Center; Mark Cye, CEO of Orleans Community Health; and Mary Ann Pettibon, CEO of Oak Orchard Health.

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Inmate allegedly throws feces on CO delivering food tray to cell
Posted 15 April 2019 at 4:16 pm

Press Release, New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association

ALBION – A  correction officer had feces thrown on him by a female inmate at Albion Correctional Facility, the union for the corrections officers, said today.

The incident occurred on April 6 at approximately 5:12 p.m. The officer was in the middle of handing out food trays to inmates at the medium-security correctional facility when the inmate, who was in her cell at the time, threw feces through the cell hatch hitting the officer’s uniform pants.

The hatch was immediately closed and additional staff arrived on the scene. Evidence was collected and processed by staff.

The inmate, who is serving a three-year sentence after being convicted in Queens County for Attempted Burglary 2nd and Attempted Promoting Prison Contraband 1st, faces internal disciplinary charges and criminal charges.

New York State Penal Law Section 240.32, Aggravated Harassment of an Employee by an Inmate, was enacted in 1996 and is intended to protect employees at state and local correctional facilities from inmates or detainees throwing, tossing or expelling blood, seminal fluid, urine feces or the contents of a toilet bowl at employees with the intent that they come in contact with the substances.

“I will strongly encourage the Orleans County District Attorney’s Office to prosecute this inmate,” said Joe Miano, NYSCOPBA Western Region Vice President. “The aggravated harassment legislation that was passed several years ago by the legislature is there to protect county and state correction officers from incidents like this and to serve as a deterrent to inmates. Prosecution needs to be pursued.”

Albion and Medina diamond contests ppd.
By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 15 April 2019 at 2:23 pm

Mother Nature threw the Niagara-Orleans League baseball and softball schedule makers another nasty curveball today.

The Medina at Roy-Hart, Wilson at Albion and Akron at Newfane baseball games have all been postponed.

The Medina vs. Roy-Hart game is scheduled to be made up on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at Vets Park while the Wilson vs. Albion game is slated to be made up on Thursday at Albion at 4:45 p.m.

The Roy-Hart at Medina, Albion at Wilson and Newfane at Akron softball games have also all been postponed.

The Albion vs. Wilson game is scheduled to be made up on Tuesday at 4:45 p.m. and the Roy-Hart vs. Medina game is slated to be made up on May 4 at 2 p.m.

In addition, the Akron at Medina, Wilson at Roy-Hart and Barker at Newfane tennis matches have been postponed.

The Wilson vs. Roy-Hart match is scheduled to be made up on Tuesday while the Akron vs. Medina match is slated to be made up on May 9.

The Wilson at Medina track meet has also been postponed.

One non league baseball game, Barker at Lyndonville, has also been postponed.

Orleans DAR hosts women in veterans’ program
Staff Reports Posted 15 April 2019 at 2:07 pm

Photos courtesy of PFC. Joseph P. Dwyer Peer to Peer Program in Orleans County

ALBION – The Orleans DAR Chapter on Saturday hosted and served an afternoon tea with light foods and refreshments for the women of the PFC. Joseph P. Dwyer Peer to Peer Program.

In attendance were the women of the DAR, as well as women veterans, spouses of veterans and family members of veterans. Penny Nice, president of the local DAR chapter, provided information and education on the Patriot House. NY State Historian, Patrice Birner, presented a program on “Margaret Cochran Corbin: The First Woman to Receive a Military Pension.”

The local DAR chapter members and the PFC. Joseph P. Dwyer Peer to Peer Volunteer Program Coordinator, Catherine Schmidt, put together a day of comfort and well-being for the women who attended the program.

Schmidt and all the women in attendance would like to thank the Orleans Chapter DAR for the wonderful time, the fabulous food, and the informative and educational program. A wonderful time was had by all and many new friendships made, she said.

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This week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 April 2019 at 11:28 am

ALBION – This week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Public Safety Telecommunicators (911 dispatchers) are a vital part in an emergency, Sheriff Randy Bower said.

“Through assessment and coordination of each situation, the 911 dispatcher links callers in distress to the correct emergency services needed for rapid response times,” he said. “Many lives are saved within the community due to the expertise and coordination of the 911 dispatcher.”

He urged the public to recognize dispatchers for their diligence, dedication and service to the community.

The county has 9 full-time and 4 part-time dispatchers, with two on duty 24-7. Last year they handled 35,343 calls.

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150 attend Easter egg hunt in Kendall
Staff Reports Posted 15 April 2019 at 11:17 am

Photos courtesy of Kendall Ladies Auxiliary

KENDALL – The Kendall Fire Department, Kendall Ladies Auxiliary and Kendall Lions Club hosted their annual Easter egg hunt on Saturday with 150 kids, from toddlers to grade 6, participating.

This year’s prize egg winners were Camden Manners, Emmalyn Gravelle, Colton Schaeffer, Ryan Gardner, Joey Knapp, Addison Schultz, Andrew D’Agostino, Adriana D’Agostino, Kearstin Loescher, Baylee Harper, Isabella D’Agostino and Genevieve Pagano.

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Marshall Road in Ridgeway closed to traffic
Staff Reports Posted 15 April 2019 at 10:48 am

RIDGEWAY – Marshall Road is closed until further notice due to road conditions, the Town of Ridgeway announced.

The road remains open to residents who live on Marshall. Town officials will be on a conference call with the state Department of Transportation soon to get an update on when the road will be repaired and reopened.

The town put out the announcement today after the road was already closed and signs were in place about the closure. However, many motorists are continuing to use the road and turn around in residents’ driveways, town officials said.

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Health officials urge people to get tested for STDs
Posted 15 April 2019 at 9:51 am

Many people with an STD don’t realize it because they often don’t have signs or symptoms

Press Release, Public Health departments in Orleans and Genesee counties

April is STD Awareness Month, which is a great time to GYT- get yourself tested! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 20 million new STDs occur every year in this country. In fact, one in two sexually active young people in the U.S. will contract an STD by the time they’re 25 — and most won’t know it. This is why it is important to GYT at least once a year, and more often if you or your partner(s) participate in risky behaviors.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections transmitted from one person to another through sexual activity. These include chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis and HIV. Many people who have an STD don’t know it because they often don’t have signs or symptoms. Even without symptoms, STDs can still be harmful and passed on during sex.

If you are sexually active, getting tested for STDs is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. Make sure you have an open and honest conversation about your sexual history and STD testing with your doctor and ask whether you should be tested for STDs.

It is important for sexually active men and women to get tested at least once a year. You should get tested every 3 to 6 months if you do not use protection (latex or synthetic male/female condoms, dental dams, and finger cots) having multiple sexual partners and/or sharing needles/drug paraphernalia. Testing will not only protect your health now, but will protect the future of your health as well.

Brenden Bedard, Deputy Public Health Director/Director of Community Health Services of Genesee and Orleans counties, mentions the serious health outcomes that STDs may have if left untreated.

“Some of the consequences of not receiving timely testing and treatment can include infertility (cannot become pregnant), loss of pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease (inflammation of the female reproductive organs), epididymitis (inflammation of the epididymis tub in the testicle), weakened immune system, damage to organs, and various cancers,” he said.

Luckily Bedard also explained that many STDs can be treated or even cured.

“Some STDs, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis, can be cured by taking antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare provider,” Bedard said. “Although some STDs cannot be cured, such as genital herpes, genital warts, and HIV/AIDS, taking medication can treat and manage the symptoms of these diseases.”

According to the CDCs latest report, in 2017 there were 2 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis diagnosed in the United States. In 2018, STD rates in Genesee County confirmed 159 cases of chlamydia, 41 cases of Gonorrhea, 5 cases of Syphilis, 6 cases of Hepatitis B. In Orleans County there were 165 cases of chlamydia, 23 cases of Gonorrhea, 2 cases of Syphilis, and 4 cases of Hepatitis B.

There are several ways to prevent STDs. The most reliable way is to not have sex (vaginal, oral, or anal), but there are many other tried-and-true options:

• Get Vaccinated: Vaccines are safe, effective, and recommended ways to prevent Hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV vaccines for males and females can protect against certain types of HPV that can lead to cancer or genital warts. The HPV vaccine is given in a series of 3 shots for people ages 15-45. For people ages 9-14, only 2 doses (shots) are needed. You should also get vaccinated for Hepatitis B if you were not vaccinated when you were younger.

• Reduce Number of Sexual Partners: Reducing your number of sex partners can decrease your risk for STDs. It is still important that you and your partner get tested, and that you share your test results with one another.

• Mutual Monogamy: Mutual monogamy means that you agree to be sexually active with only one person, who has agreed to be sexually active only with you. Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is one of the most reliable ways to avoid STDs. But you must both be certain you are not infected with STDs. It is important to have an open and honest conversation with your partner.

• Use Condoms: Correct and consistent use of a condom is highly effective in reducing STD transmission. Use a condom every time you have anal, vaginal, or oral sex. If you have latex allergies, synthetic non-latex condoms can be used. It is important to note that these condoms have higher breakage rates than latex condoms. Natural membrane condoms are not recommended for STD prevention. Contact your local Health Department (Genesee: 344-2580 x 5555 / Orleans 589-3278) about access to free condoms.

• Sterile Needles and Syringes: Persons who inject drugs can substantially reduce their risk of getting and transmitting HIV, viral hepatitis and other blood borne infections by using a sterile needle and syringe for every injection.

For more information on where you can get tested, click here.

Public Health Law requires that testing and treatment for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis be made available for everyone regardless of if they do not have health insurance or if their health insurance does not cover such services. For those without health insurance or who are underinsured the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments contract with the following agencies for respective residents:

Orleans County – Planned Parenthood, 222 West Main Street, Batavia.

Genesee County  – Batavia Primary Care, 16 Bank Street, Batavia; WorkFit Medical, 178 Washington Ave, Batavia.

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GCC hears how campus centers in Albion, Medina connecting to community
Posted 15 April 2019 at 8:18 am

Press Release, Genesee Community College

MEDINA – Each semester, Genesee Community College’s Board of Trustees visit one of the institution’s six campus centers for its monthly meeting, rotating throughout the college’s four-county service area to fully appreciate the collegiate experience at the satellite centers.

The Board met on April 1 at the Medina Campus Center, which opened in 2007. In a presentation to the Board, Associate Dean of the Orleans County Campus Centers Jim Simon introduced four different members of the campus center community to illustrate how GCC serves and supports the economic growth as well as cultural and civic developments within Orleans County.

• Dr. Clark Godshall, superintendent of Orleans-Niagara BOCES District was the first guest, and he shared a number of positive observations from his perspective in working with approximately 1,700 students in three counties and with three different community colleges. With more than 75 articulation agreements and the Genesee Promise Plus summer scholarship, students maximize their BOCES education and experience and can readily apply it toward a college degree. In addition, Dr. Godshall pointed out the expansion of programs for adult students such as new programs in food processing, nanotechnology and drone certification-programs that align with similar offerings at GCC.

“I sing the praises of the ease in working with the GCC staff, and getting to the ‘yes’ in developing opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Godshall, who serves as the chairman of the Albion-Medina Campus Center Advisory Council.

While sharing a number of ongoing and future challenges, not the least of which is the decreasing population of upstate New York and a dearth of public transportation across our rural community, Dr. Godshall concluded his presentation with the strong endorsement, “We really are better together!”

• Adjunct faculty member Amy Crockford, who teaches American Sign Language, was the next special guest to speak to the Board of Trustees. As a deaf member of the community who communicates vocally and through sign language, Crockford embodies the best of teaching practices by passionately “teaching what I know.” She is dedicated to her students and ensures positive learning experiences that could likely change their lives.

“I know what it is like to be a deaf person in the hearing world,” she said.

Crockford encourages her students to learn a language and embrace another culture. She recently authored a children’s book. “My Happy Place” helps young audiences appreciate deafness and learn the true meaning of friendship.

• Current GCC student Ayat Aldroobe, a native of Syria, was the third guest speaker and her experiences exemplify the excellent quality of education provided at a GCC campus center. As a Natural Sciences Biology major in her second semester, Ayat has her sights on becoming a medical doctor.

“GCC is great place to start,” she said. “Classroom sizes are small” which has helped her improve her English language skills. “The advisors are super, super supportive,” she added. She currently attends classes at both the Medina and Albion campus centers and looks forward to classes at the main campus in Batavia next year.

• Michele Bokman, director of operations for the Orleans County Campus Centers, was the final speaker. Among her priorities is reaching out to area high school students, businesses and organizations to ensure all are aware of GCC’s many opportunities.

Twenty-two recent visits included nine high schools, multiple businesses both large and small, the Iroquois Job Corps, and planned visits to civic groups such as the Boy and Girl scouts, 4-H veterans groups. Bokman also highlighted the vast number of community connections by the Orleans County Campus Centers. Collaborative engagements include but have not been limited to Leadership Orleans, Orleans County Community Services Board, Human Services Council, and WNY Rural Area Health Education Center and the Med-Tech Summer Camp.

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