News Tips

The Oatka Festival takes Center Stage in LeRoy this Weekend

It’s once again time for the Oatka Festival in LeRoy. The annual event is held on the banks of Oatka Creek, and has evolved into one of Genesee County’s best events each year, where the community comes together for food, entertainment and old-fashioned family fun.

The first Oatka Festival was held in 1989, when Mayor Kevin Earle wanted the town to have a festival similar to the one that he grew up with in Dansville. Along with head of the LeRoy House, Lynne Belluscio and local businessman Pete Weaver, Earle planned out the festival, taking tips from other town festivals and fairs. Each year the committee adds in various aspects that show off LeRoy’s many features.

Many local churches and groups provide the food and entertainment that keep it family oriented. As the festival has grown, many classes and families plan reunions around the weekend to add a homecoming feel to the event.

The Oatka Festival will run through Sunday and kicks off this morning with a parade beginning at 11 AM.

Lack Of Farmhands Was The Focus Of County Agricultural Round Table

Lack of labor was the focus of the agricultural round table that happened in Genesee County Friday.

Congresswoman Kathy Hochul stopped by WBTA Studios to debrief after her meeting with local farmers.

The agricultural meeting touched on the upcoming expiration of the Farm Bill, but was mainly focused on the need for farm workers.

Hochul said farmers were concerned about the lack of interest people have in the farming profession, which makes it harder to find farmhands.

“We have legal refugee communities that are in Buffalo and Rochester that are being settled there. For example I met some people from Burma and they had all worked on farms for all their lives and in order to be on the path to citizenship they have to have a job for five years so perhaps there is an opportunity to pair up some of these people if they have the transportation or want to live on one of the farms to work seasonally at least and use the skills they brought from their country and maybe that will match the needs of our farmers,” said Hochul.

Hochul also suggested young people be educated in school about farming as a career option.

The Farm Bill that provides assistance for farmers a number of ways its set to expire at the end of September.

Hochul said she will be urging for a decision to be reached on the bill before it lapses. 

The Emerald Ash Borer Threatens Ash Trees In Western New York

Are you wondering why your Ash tree is looking a little grim, well a bright metallic-green bug that looks like a bullet could be to blame.

The Emerald Ash Borer is its name and it’s killing many Ash trees across Western New York.

Agricultural Outreach Coordinator at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Jan Beglinger said 10% of the trees in the State are Ash trees and this bug that traveled from China is wiping most of them out.

“They basically lay their eggs in the ash tree under the bark and then it’s the larva that does the most damage, because the larva is actually in your tree eating the vascular system of your tree which stops water and nutrients from getting from the roots of your tree to the top of the tree. So usually within 1 to 3 years your Ash tree will die," said Beglinger.

Beglinger said the only way to get rid of the bug is to chemically treat your Ash tree.

“There is a product out there that is labeled for Ash Borer that home owners can use. There is also some pretty good treatments that a professional tree service can provide to your tree that goes if they inject it in this tree so the tree has it systemically so if any insect goes to feed on this tree the insect will die,” Beglinger said.

Due to the treat the Emerald Ash Borer has on Ash trees Western New York is in quarantine and all Ash wood cannot be moved outside of the area.

Former Batavia Man Pleads Guilty To A Felony Charge

A former Batavia man pled guilty to a felony count of offering a false document in Genesee County court Friday.

36-year old Michael Schramm submitted the forms to the County’s social services department and failed report he was working on a Niagara County farm.

Schramm was originally charged in May with two counts of offering a false instrument for filing and grand larceny.

As a second offender Schramm faces 1 ½ to 3 years in prison and as part of his plea deal he must repay $17,026.39 in restitution. He has also been disqualified from receiving food stamps benefits and temporary assistance benefits.

Schramm is in jail on $25,000 bail, he will be sentenced in September.

His wife Deborah Schramm has also been charged in connection with the case.

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