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(Image courtesy of Hoard’s Dairyman)
By Bryan Jackson
Day-to-day hard work just paid off for True Farms.
The Perry farmers’ “Farm 2” site was one of six recipients to earn a Platinum Award from the National Diary Quality Awards for excellent milk quality. In addition, Harkins Dairy Farm in Wyoming received a Silver Award, giving Wyoming County another winner.
The NDQA is sponsored by the National Mastitis Council and is in its 19th year. The awards honor dairy producers across the United States that prioritize the highest-quality milk production possible.
By Bryan Jackson
Kailee Griffith Bridges, a former Wyoming and Warsaw student currently undergoing treatment for bone cancer, certainly has a lot of supporters in her corner.
A group of family friends and community members are organizing a spaghetti dinner and basket raffle Feb. 9 at Wyoming Central School for Bridges, who is also a new mother.
The benefit will be held from 4 to 8 p.m., with basket drawings at 7 p.m. In case of snow, the event will be held Feb. 10.
Tickets, which can be purchased beforehand or at the door, are $8 for adults and $6 for children 10 and under.
Attendees can purchase a book of 25 raffle tickets for $5, which also enters them into a $50 door-prize basket. Tickets can be used to bid on baskets donated by businesses in Warsaw, Pavilion, Batavia and other local towns.
By Bryan Jackson
Negotiations between Wyoming Central School and Morrison Food Service that would have restarted a hot lunch program at the school have come to an abrupt halt, taking the hot lunch option off the table for the rest of the school year.
Following the Jan. 10 board of education meeting, it appeared school officials had reached an agreement with Morrison, which also provides dining services to Wyoming County Community Health System. However, according to Wyoming Superintendent Sandra Duckworth, negotiations fell through when WCCHS indicated the school would have to pay for the time Morrison spent using hospital facilities to prepare the lunches.
“I had a conversation with the folks at Morrison (Food Service), with a regional director,” Duckworth said at the Jan. 24 board of education meeting. “The Board of Supervisors insisted that Wyoming pick up our share of use of the facilities, prepping and whatnot, so the price per meal increased by another dollar, per meal.”
The extra cost would’ve pushed the price of lunch to $3.25, and as Duckworth said, that increased price didn’t even include the cost of milk or labor. With those additional costs factored in, the price could have soared close to $5.
By Gary Towner
Although the ice fishing season has been plagued by warm weather, ice conditions were safe to hold a fishing derby Jan. 26 and 27 on Silver Lake, said Jeff Snyder, owner and director of the North East Ice Fishing Circuit.
Snyder, who believes in the importance of teaching kids ice fishing, opened the derby Saturday with a contest just for youngsters. Sixteen children competed to bring in a mixed bag of five blue gill, crappie and/or perch.
First place went to Riley Kowasz with a weight of 2.24 lbs. Kowasz’s prize was a HT two-man hut.
Determining second and third place was controversial, because there was a tie between Chase Lewis and Alyssa Kersch, each with a total weight of 2.05 lbs. The tie is usually broken by weighing each contestant’s biggest fish, but again, there was a tie at .43 lbs. Judging the weight of each contestant’s two biggest fish placed Lewis second place with a weight of .90 lbs. and Kersch in third with .85 lbs.
By Gary Towner
When the New York Secure Ammunition and Enforcement Act of 2013 (NY SAFE ACT) was passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, questions immediately arose concerning the law’s effect on gun owners.
But gun dealers also are feeling the effects, such as Silver Trail Outfitters in Perry, co-owned by Kyle Slocum and Jeff Fiorito, and K & K Guns in Varysburg, owned by Keith Kraft.
The Courier also reached out to Walmart for comment, but a call was not returned before press time.
Both Slocum and Kraft have felt the effect of low inventory, caused by the run on guns and ammunition after the Newtown, Conn. massacre and Webster shootings. Both told the Courier that most distributors are sold out so dealers can’t restock. Also, manufacturers cannot keep up with demand on anything dealing with hunting and shooting.
Kraft said he invested in building a new store last year, and because he is a small independent dealer, there is the possibility that he might go out of business for lack of inventory. Some customers have even told him that they were considering moving out of state.
“I would do it myself,” he said, “but I built a store so I’m stuck here for a while.”
By Amy Mosiman
Patient and persistent petitioning paid off as Letchworth middle school students played a pivotal role in government change at the local level.
Their efforts led to a designated tobacco-free pavilion in Gainesville Park, clearly marked with a sign.
The process began last year, when fifth grade teacher Angela Buttles turned a friendly letter-writing lesson into an authentic and impactful experience that resulted in the change to the Village of Gainesville’s local park policy.
Throughout April and May, Letchworth students learned about the negative effects of tobacco during a Towards-No-Tobacco educational program put on by Partners for Prevention youth specialist Erin Pataye. Over the course of the program, students were surprised to learn that Wyoming County’s local parks did not offer tobacco-free areas.
Since the program coincided with her persuasive writing unit, Buttles decided to encourage her students to dig a little deeper to unearth additional information regarding the effects tobacco has on the environment, the economy and individuals. Armed with research, students began formulating letters to Village of Gainesville Mayor Kip Falkner and the Board of Trustees, requesting a tobacco-free park.
By Bryan Jackson
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sprawling road map for New York’s future laid out in his Jan. 9 State of the State Address boiled down to four core elements: jobs, education, fiscal responsibility and progressivism.
Sam Hoyt, regional president of Empire State Development Corporation, hammered home those foundational points during a Jan. 18 presentation hosted by the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce. Several Wyoming County business, government and cultural leaders attended Hoyt’s State of the State update at the Wyoming County Business Services Center in Perry.
After Hoyt highlighted Cuomo’s vision in a 30-minute slideshow presentation, he opened the floor for questions, which facilitated earnest discussion about the economy, education, workers’ compensation reform, the newly-passed state gun laws and mandate relief.
Speaking on behalf of the county, Eagle Town Supervisor Joseph Kushner said unfunded mandates continue to severely limit Wyoming County’s potential and represent one of the county’s main concerns.
“Our concern, and my concern, is the county tries to provide to our businesses roads, public safety, bridges, etc., and our major concern has been we haven’t heard anything about mandate relief,” said Kushner, who chairs the Board of Supervisors Finance Committee.
Wyoming County Community Health System acknowledged a recent prestigious award Jan. 16 with a celebration involving employees, board members and Wyoming County supervisors.
The health system has been named a 2012 Top Improver Award winner by Press Ganey Associates Inc., according to a press release from WCCHS.
The Press Ganey award recognizes health care facilities that have shown continuous quality improvement over the previous two years.
WCCH is one of 30 Press Ganey client facilities to receive this designation. It is one of only 12 hospitals to receive the award for improved clinical performance, as measured by comparing quarterly composite scores, according the press release.
Press Ganey partners with more than 10,000 health care facilities, including more than half of all U.S. hospitals, to measure and improve the patient experience.
The last suspect in the summer robberies of migrant workers in Wyoming County is now in custody.
Brandon Suckow, 20, of Arcade, was brought back to New York State on Jan. 14 on a governor’s warrant for his arrest, the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Suckow was allegedly involved in robbing two Mexican migrant workers back in July in the Town of Sheldon. He was charged with second-degree robbery and violating his probation.
Shortly after, Suckow fled to North Carolina, according to a press release from the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office. He had fought extradition back to New York after he was picked up by U.S marshalls Oct. 3.
Suckow was turned over Monday, Jan. 14 in Charlotte, N.C., to Undersheriff Gregory Rudolph and Lt. Edward Till, who transported the suspect back to Wyoming County.
Suckow is being held without bail.
Patriot Guard Riders and veterans lined the entrance to Robinson and Hackemer Funeral Home in Warsaw to welcome home the body of 25-year-old Army Spc. Austin Sampson of Bliss, who died Jan. 4, following a Jan. 2 shooting outside a Killeen, Texas convenience store.
Sampson, a decorated veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, had been stationed at Fort Hood, just outside Killeen.
Sampson’s funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 18 at Robinson and Hackemer Funeral Home, 246 North Main St., Warsaw.
By Gary Towner
Many of those who attend the summer or Christmas concerts at St. Michael’s Church in look forward to a solo performance by Joanne Privitera, who closes the program by playing a medley of songs on the piano. What makes her talent so unique is that Privitera composes the arrangements and plays the songs entirely by ear.
Privitera’s parents first recognized her talent when she was between 6 and 8 years old.
Her father was always humming popular songs of the time, and she was able to copy them on the piano. Her parents decided she should have a piano teacher, and after learning a few scales and basic mechanics of playing, her teacher had her listen as she played Home on the Range so Privitera could hear what it should sound like.
“In the playing and practicing, I did not realize what I was doing, but I was putting in stuff that I heard within (my mind) along with the written score,” Privitera said. “Mom recognized it was a lot different than what she heard the teacher do, and she encouraged me.”
However, when Privitera played her arrangement for the teacher, the teacher slapped her hands and told her that she would never be able to read music if she kept playing by ear. Her lessons soon ended, and to this day, she still cannot read music.
Privitera carried her talent into high school, where she played for school musicals. Privitera would listen to a recording of the music, and then copy it, adding her own embellishments.
“I look over the music with my eyes and I can hear it. I listen to tapes I am given or a CD and I learn it that way,” she said.
By Bryan Jackson
The Wyoming Central School Board of Education is moving forward with an agreement between the district and Morrison Senior Dining that would revive a hot lunch program at the school, Superintendent Sandra Duckworth said.
As it stands, the program would begin the first week of February and run through the remainder of the school year.
“We’re going to just run it as a pilot,” she said. “At the end of the line, in June, we’re going to have to do an analysis to see just how much money we lost. We anticipate there will be some loss, but (we got) overwhelming response from community members. They really wanted us to bring back a hot meal for lunch, so that is what the board is going to attempt to do.”
Final negotiations between the district and Morrison Senior Dining regarding costs and logistics are still taking place, and Duckworth stressed the program would not necessarily be permanent, again citing the need to analyze costs at year’s end.
By Julia Merulla
By Julia Merulla
Lauren Wilcox, formerly of Silver Springs, had been told a couple years ago she couldn’t have children.
So imagine her surprise in April 2012 when she learned she was pregnant – while employed overseas in Kuwait, no less. Unaware of the pregnancy, the 28-year-old had been working 14-hour days in a sweltering climate as a government contractor.
Despite having no medical care at the start of her first trimester, she delivered a healthy baby. Eleanor Anne Teague was born at 2:08 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, the first baby born at the Wyoming County Community Hospital in 2013.
The baby girl, who arrived three days early, weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces and was 20 inches long.
Lauren Wilcox, the daughter of Silver Springs residents Marv and Anne Wilcox, worked abroad in Kuwait as a government contractor from January 2011 to June 2012. Her pregnancy came at a good time, she said. Just a week after she learned she was pregnant, her contract ended and she got to return to the states.
“I really didn’t want to chance anything going wrong,” said Lauren Wilcox, the oldest of three sisters.
Though mother and baby have already been on the other side of the world, things circled back home for the Wilcox family, as Eleanor marked the third generation to be born at the Wyoming County Community Hospital.
By Bryan Jackson
Orangeville’s Stony Creek Wind Farm was set to careen over the fiscal cliff last Monday, but the last-minute deal to avoid automatic tax increases and harsh spending cuts for the country also included a much-needed tax credit extension for Chicago-based developer Invenergy Inc, LLC.
The production tax credit (PTC) grants project developers 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour for the first 10 years of new wind-power operations. The tax incentive, which has been crucial for wind developers across the country, was set to expire Dec. 31.
With the extension in place, Invenergy is sifting through the legislation and formulating future plans for wind farm, which would include 59 turbines.
“We currently are reviewing the recently-passed federal legislation and formulating our business strategy,” Eric Miller, director of business development for Invenergy, said in a statement. “Initial construction work on the Stony Creek project began in mid-2012 and will continue in 2013, with a more detailed timeline to be determined. We look forward to announcing further developments in the future.”
By Julia Merulla
The time has come when the Warsaw Fire Department just can’t squeeze any more life out of its ladder truck.
The 1973 truck has lasted twice as long as most do, but in light of at least $12,000 in repairs, the department is looking to purchase a newer model, Fire Chief Primo Biscaro said.
At its Monday, Jan. 7 meeting, the Warsaw Village Board agreed to provide gas money for Biscaro and a couple other members of the fire department to travel over 1,000 miles to check out a used ladder truck that is for sale online.
It’s a 1993 model, priced at $66,000. New ladder trucks can cost upward of $1 million, a price tag that’s not feasible for the Village of Warsaw, especially considering the county does not contribute funds toward the purchase. The ladder trucks in Warsaw and Perry are the only such vehicles in Wyoming County and are used countywide.
Biscaro said he didn’t know if the used truck has other potential buyers, but he wanted to express interest before someone else does.
“At that price, I’m not sure it’s gonna last long,” Biscaro told the board.
By Dan Hager
When former Bills head coach Chan Gailey was relieved of his duties just before the new year, few people were shocked around Buffalo and the football world. The same could not be said a week later when it was announced that Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone would take Gailey’s place.
There were rumors and reports that the Bills would interview Marrone, fresh off his second win at the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in a three-year span. But names like Chip Kelly, Lovie Smith and Jon Gruden were on fans’ minds; Marrone was a simple afterthought.
Then it happened! The Bills hired a guy who was .500 at Syracuse in a Big East conference that has all but fallen off the face of the earth. And the worst part is that people were not mad when they heard the news – They were simply surprised and unsure of how to react.
By Bryan Jackson
By Bryan Jackson
A Bliss native and army specialist is dead following a Jan. 2 shooting near Fort Hood, Texas.
Army Spc. Austin Sampson, 25, of Bliss, died Jan. 4, after he and two other men were shot in a convenience store parking lot in Killeen, Texas two days earlier, according to Killeen Police Department officials.
Following the shooting, Sampson was airlifted to Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas, where he was pronounced dead Jan. 4.
Sampson entered active duty in July 2006 as a cavalry scout and arrived at Fort Hood later that year. He deployed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom from November 2007 to January 2009 and again in support of Operation New Dawn from August 2010 to August 2011, according to a statement released by the Fort Hood Press Center.
Sampson’s accolades include the Army Commendation Medal, two Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and Overseas Service Ribbon.
The shooting is still under investigation by the Killeen Police Department.
UPDATE: On Jan. 8, police announced 17-year-old Terry Grant Scott, of Killeen, was arrested and charged with Sampson’s murder. He is now in custody at Killeen City Jail while police continue their investigation.
We don’t generally post obits on our site, but if you give me an email address and the date of the services, I can email you a copy.
By Gary Towner
In the aftermath of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Warsaw Central School is taken steps to prevent a tragedy of its own.
The Warsaw BOE heard a report from interim superintendent Tom Cox regarding security in the Warsaw school buildings at board’s Dec. 18 meeting.
Cox said he met with the school leadership team and concluded that Warsaw’s security plans and practices were solid, but the team still plans to make adjustments.
After a conversation with the Warsaw Police, Cox said, the police were invited to come into the buildings the weekend after the Dec. 14 shooting and during Christmas vacation to get a better idea of the plans and see where the buildings still might be vulnerable. First responders also need to get a handle on each facility for their own safety when entering a building. They are considering “table top drills,” where staff, police and first responders sit around a table, present different scenarios and discuss how to handle each situation.
Another plan is to work with an architect to address any physical deficiencies in the buildings and look for ways to improve security.
Cox stressed that a school building is not a fortress, and if someone wants access, he or she will get it. The key is to set up deterrents and hurdles to slow an intruder’s progress to give staff and first responders more time to deal with the situation.