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December 27, 2010
Supervisor's Column Week of December 27
2010...what a great year in Penfield! Many things were accomplished during the year including a celebration of our Bicentennial; more than ten miles of ditches and streams were cleaned-including 7.75 miles of the Commission Ditch; many new successful businesses now call Penfield home; many of our major roads were rebuilt or repaved; we started work on several parks to expand our abilities to offer more active and passive recreation to our residents; a Comprehensive Plan is to be completed in early February; the Energy & Environmental Advisory Committee was formed and had many successes; a Monroe County Town/Village Health Care Consortium was formed which resulted in significant savings to health care costs; a Community Garden was established; our Recreation Department and Library hosted scores of wonderful programs for all ages; several scouts attained the rank of Eagle and their projects improved the quality of life in this great community; minutes of meetings are now being loaded on to the website to expand transparency; our trails system has grown; PCTV and social media has been expanded to meet the needs of our residents; and much, much more!

I would personally like to thank all of our Town Staff and a very supportive Town Board for making my job as your supervisor during 2010 so enjoyable. I look forward to 2011 and continuing to accomplish more good things in Penfield to support all of our residents. Please mark your calendars for the "State of the Town" address on February 16, 2011 at 6:30 PM in the auditorium at the Town Hall. More details to follow over the next several weeks.

I would like to recognize several of our residents who over the years have served on boards or committees and given so much of themselves to support Penfield. Some are retiring; others are leaving because business or family life has taken more time. Their commitment, energy, and vision have helped to keep Penfield a leader in the county and the State. From the Library Board - Hank Dixon; Parks & Recreation Advisory Board - Tom Falk and Dave Boyer; Planning Board - Sandy Kyle and Bill Bastian; Transportation Committee - Roland Osterwinter and Mary Sweeney. On behalf of all the residents of Penfield, we thank you for your service, support, and willingness to give the most valued commodity...your time!

Positions on boards and committees are filled by moving members from one board to another where there are interests and a good fit, and by interviewing interested residents willing to serve their community. The Town Clerk's Office accepts letters of interest and resumes 12 months a year. The Town board typically interviews in December to fill openings at the organizational meeting the first of January. The Town Board will also interview during the year if an opening becomes available.

Some fun events are coming up and you may wish to mark your calendars: Saturday, January 15, 11:00 - 11:45AM Winter Family Craft Time ages four to 10 at the Penfield Library; Friday, January 21, 6:30 - 8:00 PM $5.00 Family Fun - family talent show night at the Community Center; and Tuesday, February 15th 12:45PM for the Mardi Gras Shoe Box Float Contest at the Community Center. For more details on these programs and much more, please review the winter/spring 2011 edition of the Recreation Brochure that was delivered by mail to your home within the last few weeks or log on to www.penfield.org.

On behalf of the Town Board, I wish all of you and your families a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year, and I look forward to supporting you and this great community of Penfield in 2011!


December 20, 2010
Supervisor's Column Week of December 20

Each year the George Eastman House hosts a gingerbread exhibit that has become a popular tradition for young and old to enjoy. The display presents 70 skillfully designed gingerbread houses throughout the historic landmark. The Sweet Creations' Gingerbread House Display features clever confections from professional bakers, families, and community groups. The one that caught my eye was from Girl Scout Troop 771 of Penfield that featured the Penfield Town Hall. The exhibit read, "In celebration of the bicentennial in Penfield, New York, Girl Scout Troop 771 has made a lovely replica of the Town Hall. They used a variety of candy including gumdrops, pretzels, chocolate Kit Kat bars, and chewing gum." I must say, I thought it was best in show; great job Troop 771 for supporting Penfield's Bicentennial celebration!

Last week I met Madeline Loretta Burdick of Penfield who celebrated her 103rd birthday on December 17. Madeline was married for 63 years, has four children, 13 grandchildren, and many more great-grandchildren. Still very active, you can see her at the Penfield Community Center most every Tuesday playing cards and reminding this supervisor that some padding on the chairs would be great. Happy Birthday Madeline, I wish you many more to come-keep winning at cards!

The Town of Penfield employees, along with several members of the community, collected a large van-full of toys, games, stuffed animals, and food for the Penfield Cares & Shares Ecumenical Food Shelf. I was impressed with the spirit and generosity of everyone that participated. I should not be surprised with what I saw; each and every day I observe the caring nature of our employees and residents who help those that are not as fortunate. Many Penfield families will have a better holiday season with food on the table and toys under the tree as a result of this "act of kindness"! A special thank you to all who participated, this is what makes Penfield so great.

I sit on the Council of Governments representing Penfield. All of the Towns, Villages, County of Monroe, City of Rochester, and the Monroe County School Board Association make up this council. Current issues we are addressing include economic development, unfunded mandates from the State and Federal Government, and pension reform. Pension reform is the next big issue that the State Senate and Assembly must address. The public sector must move new employees to defined contribution plans immediately, similar to private sector 401K accounts. The Council of Governments is working on a resolution to our State representatives demanding they address this issue as their first order of business in this next session. Stay tuned; I am sure there will be more attention brought to this matter in 2011.

Recently, I met with Dr. Buddhi M. Shrestha and his wife Sheila who are new residents of Penfield. I had the honor of witnessing his oath of office as a member of the New York State Rural Health Council for a fourth term, which is an appointment from the Governor. Dr. Shrestha's resume and accomplishments could fill this week's paper! I will note a few key facts: Dr. Shrestha is the Director of New York State Oral Health Technical Assistance Center and Senior Vice-President for Oral Health at Rochester Primary Care Network; he is a member of the American Dental Association and a life-member of the International Association for Dental Research; a member of the State Medical Advisory Committee; he has been recently elected as the Chairman of the Anthony L. Jordan Health Center Board, and is the recipient of a number of community service awards. Dr. Shrestha is a recognized leader in oral health care through out the State of New York and worldwide. This is another example of the great people who call Penfield home.

This is my last plug before the holidays to remind you to consider supporting Penfield businesses for your last minute purchases for friends, family, and co-workers. All of our businesses are here to serve and support you in any way they can, please shop locally, it does make a difference.

On behalf of the Town Board and the entire staff of the Town of Penfield...Merry Christmas and a very Happy Holiday Season!

Tony
340-8631
supervisor@penfield.org



December 17, 2010
Attention Dog Owners: A Message from the Town Clerk Regarding Dog Licenses

You may already know the State of New York has mandated that local governments take on the responsibility of managing the licensing and identification of dogs effective 2011. In response, the town of Penfield adopted a new "Dog Licensing and Animal Control Law" on December 15, 2010. The change will result in some increase in fees in the coming year (New York State still requires towns to pay it a portion of fees).

To date, New York State has provided dog licensing records to each town, including Penfield. The Penfield Town Clerk's office is now cross-referencing State records with Town records and has recognized that some of the State records are not up to date. Because of this, dog owners may receive mailings or requests that may not make sense. For instance, a family that no longer owns a dog may incorrectly receive a notice for a license renewal.

The Town Clerk and staff requests your patience as they coordinate and update records. Thank you in advance for your patience.

If you have any question about this please contact Town Clerk Amy Steklof at 340-8629.

 


December 13, 2010
Supervisor's Column Week of Dec 13

I would like to start out this column by thanking our Highway and Parks/Facilities Departments for all their efforts over the last week of what seemed to be a never ending snow storm. The crews spent many hours to help ensure the roadways, sidewalks and community parking lots were plowed and salted for the safety of our residents. With this particular snow pattern, once we have completed a plow pass throughout the entire town, it needs to be done again! Please be patient and drive with care as the roads are slick with the combination of salt, snow, and blowing snow. There are more winter driving tips on our website at www.penfield.org .

Last week I became aware of a resident at Atria Penfield by the name of Hermeine Bouwmeester, who each year knits more than 300 hats which are donated to a local church. Additionally, she makes baby booties for many of our newest Penfield residents. Hermeine is committed to making this great community of Penfield a little better for everyone. Hermeine, you have a heart of gold, thank you for touching so many lives in such a wonderful and positive way.

The Penfield Chamber of Commerce selected Wallace F. Ashnault as Citizen of the Year and Senior Fitness Productions (Betty Perkins-Carpenter, PH.D) Business of the Year at their Annual Awards Dinner last week. I have had the good fortune to know Wally and Betty for more than thirty years; they are pillars of this community and a great example of local Penfield Businesses that have an impact worldwide...congratulations Betty and Wally.

The annual senior adult holiday luncheon was another success with almost one hundred people in attendance. Music was provided by Mike Kornrich, and the Recreation staff did their usual great job on the buffet luncheon. Each time I have the good fortune to attend one of these events, I learn a little bit more history about this wonderful community of Penfield.

The Town Board held a public hearing on the Sign Ordinance on December 7 in an effort to update a 30-year-old document. Many good comments have been received from residents, businesses, and organizations with ideas on how to streamline the sign approval process and how to reduce the number of unnecessary signs throughout the town. At the next several Town Board work sessions the Board will discuss all received comments and make appropriate modifications to the Ordinance. Our goal is to adopt the new Ordinance within the first quarter of 2011.

It has been a while since I have commented on the Comprehensive Plan Update. At the last Town Board work session, the Board approved the last of the process for completing this plan which includes the final environmental impact statement-the revised plan that incorporates all feedback and comments from residents and the findings statement. Resolutions will be adopted throughout January accepting these components of the process with final adoption on February 2, 2011. It has been a long process to get to this point and I want to complement our staff and residents who participated in making sure this plan is the best road map for development in Penfield over the next ten-plus years.

On behalf of the entire Town staff, I would like to recognize Donna, Grace, and Maureen from Creative Gardeners of Penfield who decorated the Town Hall rotunda for the holidays. These three ladies put a smile on everyone's face and bring holiday cheer to all who visit the Town Hall over this wonderful holiday season. Thank you ladies for the gift of your time and creativity to our community.

The Bicentennial Committee closed out its year-long celebration of our town's 200th birthday on December 15 with a thank you reception for committee members, the Town Board, and many residents of the community. It has been my honor serving the town as your supervisor during our bicentennial year. I want to thank Councilwoman Linda Kohl who chaired the committee and encouraged so many individuals and groups to participate in the celebration. Her energy and commitment did not go unnoticed...great job Linda and thank you!

Until next week, be well and be safe...watch out for the black ice while walking and driving.

Tony
www.supervisor@penfield.org  
340-8630


December 6, 2010
Supervisor's Column Week of Dec 6

The recent winter weather is a reminder to us all to allow for extra drive time, to make sure all snow is cleared from vehicles (including headlights and tail lights), to give plow operators plenty of room to perform their job, and to drive safely.

You may have noticed fiberglass stakes or markers being placed at key locations along town roadways in subdivisions. These markers are there to help your Highway Department identify the edge of road during the plowing season to minimize lawn damage. Please do not remove or reposition these stakes; they will be picked up in the spring after the last plowing.

The latest PenRec brochure will start hitting mailboxes next week. It is full of activities for every member of the family. Please take a few moments to read this wonderful brochure to see the fantastic program line-up for the winter season. If you do not receive the brochure, contact the Recreation Department at 340-8655 or log on to www.penfield.org  to view the entire brochure online.

I was very fortunate to attend a press conference sponsored by Frances and Larry Grossman of Grossmans Garden and Home for "Bringing Families Together a Tree at a Time." Trees for Troops is a program run by the nonprofit Christmas SPIRIT Foundation along with corporate partner FedEx Corp. Trees for Troops is a perfect way for families in our community to come together to help military families. The program has delivered more than 66,000 real Christmas trees to military families across the nation and around the world over the past six years. For more information on this program, log on to www.grossmans.com  or www.treesfortroops.org . A special thank you to Frances and Larry Grossman for their support of our troops!

On behalf of the entire Town Hall staff, I would like to recognize the Wilbert Family of Penfield, owners of Wilbert's Christmas Tree Farm, for their very generous donation of the annual Christmas tree located in the Town Hall rotunda. Wilbert's is a local family owned business. Please consider supporting all of our Penfield businesses during this holiday season.

Last week the Town Board held a public hearing on a proposed local law entitled "Dog Licensing and Animal Control Law." The purpose of this law is to pick up the responsibility for managing the licensing and identification of dogs that was pushed down to local towns by the State of New York as an unfunded mandate effective 2011. As local governments struggle to reduce the cost of government and control their spending, the State seems to look for ways to add costs. This will result in some increase in charges to our residents for licensing their dogs in 2011. It is interesting that while this program is no longer managed by the State, they still require towns to pay them a portion of the fees collected to help their revenue stream-no wonder residents and businesses continue to move out of New York!

Dayton's Corners School House, an active teaching museum located at the intersection of Creek and Plank Roads, will be hosting an "Old Fashion Christmas" on December 12 from 1-4 PM. Bring your friends and family and enjoy refreshments, decorations, entertainment, wagon rides, raffles, and more. The Schools Coordinator, Karyn Turner, promises everyone will enjoy this bicentennial holiday event. I hope to see you there!

The Energy & Environmental Advisory Committee suggests making the switch to LED holiday lights. They use 10 times less energy than incandescent mini-lights and 100 times less energy than standard bulbs. The initial investment is a bit higher; however, they will last up to 50,000 hours.

The Penfield Trails Committee is sponsoring a free public hike, touring the paths and boardwalks of the Nature Conservancy's Thousand Acre Swamp Sanctuary on Saturday, December 11. The hike will start at 10AM from the Don Mack Building, 1587 Jackson Road (next to the Penfield Volunteer Ambulance). To register, contact the Recreation Department at 340-8655.

Hope to see you out in our great community!

Tony
340-8631
supervisor@penfield.org

 

 

 


December 3, 2010
Community Invited to Bicentennial Finale Dec 15

The Town of Penfield's Bicentennial Committee is pleased to invite the community to attend the Penfield Bicentennial Finale on Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 6:30 to 7:20 PM at the Town Hall, 3100 Atlantic Avenue.

This is the last major event of the Town's bicentennial celebration that began with a kick-off in January and featured dozens of events and activities throughout the entire year including a Bicentennial Gala, community birthday cake, wreath laying at Daniel Penfield's gravesite, tree dedication, Penfield Symphony Orchestra Bicentennial Concert, charity golf tournament, art exhibit, historic lectures, Heritage Festival and more.

Actors Jeff Moon and Adair Priddle of the Penfield Players will again appear as Daniel and Mary Penfield to help wrap up the festivities and offer a look back at a year of community celebration. The evening will also include entertainment by a Penfield High School Brass Quintet and a Penfield Symphony Orchestra String Quartet. Light refreshments will be served in the Rotunda. Bicentennial souvenir gift packages and the "Memories of Penfield" book will be available for purchase.

"I encourage residents to attend the wrap up to the year-long Penfield Bicentennial celebration, looking back on the year in review," said Linda Kohl, Penfield Town Councilwoman and Chair of The Bicentennial Steering Committee.

Supervisor Tony LaFountain said, "On behalf of the Town Board and entire Penfield community, I thank Councilwoman Linda Kohl for her commitment to our bicentennial. Linda began working on this celebration two years ago-gathering volunteers, planning events, and working alongside many committee chairs to ensure we had a year full of activities. To her credit, and that of the Bicentennial Committee, we had a celebration to be proud of."

 

 


December 1, 2010
Penfield Supervisor's Column Week of November 29

On Sunday, November 21 an article was published on the front page of the Democrat and Chronicle entitled "Citizen Access to Public Salaries Difficult." In the article, Penfield was identified as a community looking to charge $9,000 to provide payroll information to the D&C. I thought it appropriate to share the rest of the story, as the story was awkwardly researched and incompletely reported. The Town did receive a freedom of information (FOI) request from the D&C asking for a significant amount of employee data dating back to 2005, some of which is personal information such as employee ID numbers and dates of birth. Also, some of the older payroll information is not available electronically, making the task a manual process. To respond to the D&C, the Personnel Office identified 4,694 documents that could be considered part of the FOI request. The documents would have to be separated, photocopied and information redacted. After that, the documents would have to be scanned for electronic delivery per the FOI request. We contacted the D&C to clarify the request and we also shared the scope of the task and associated costs to deliver information as requested, to which they replied they would get back to us with more details. Our Town Clerk's Office followed up a week before the story ran to ask what they had decided about the request and its costs, and again the D&C said they would get back to us-which they did not. The next time the subject came up was when the story ran on November 21. Since then, the basic high level information requested by the D&C has been emailed to them at no cost to taxpayers, and we have protected the personal information of employees. The story was unfair and disingenuous. Penfield has been recognized by the D&C in the past for its transparency and open government. Additionally, all governmental salaries are public record; anyone wishing to see that information can do so online at no cost by visiting www.SeeThroughNY.org .

Another snow tip...the Sheriff's Office receives many inquiries each winter regarding the acceptability of the practice of plowing snow across roadways onto neighboring lawns. While this may make the job easier for a plow operator, it often leaves snow and ice on the road, which is in direct violation of the law. Additionally, salt that may have been spread on the road surface can be removed in the process, causing the road surface to become slick and unsafe. The worst case scenario happens when a motorist suddenly comes upon an icy patch and loses control of the vehicle. Are you willing to accept responsibility for an accident that could have been prevented? Unless the plow operator can ensure that snow and ice are not deposited on the road, or the salt is not plowed up, the answer is no, plowing snow across a roadway onto a neighboring property is not an acceptable practice.

The Penfield Recreation Department will hold its annual Holiday Event on Saturday, December 4 at the Community Center from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. This year's event will include an All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Dinner. Penfield families are invited to enjoy crafts and games, music by Mike Kornrich, and for those interested-pictures with Santa. Tickets may be purchased at the Penfield Recreation Office or by calling 340-8655. Tickets will also be available at the door. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit Penfield's youth drama group, the Young Open and Honest Players. Tickets are only required for the Pancake Dinner, all other events are free to the public.

It is not too late to pick-up a few copies of the book "Memories of Penfield" for holiday gifts for family and friends. The book is an oral history of the first 200 years of this great community of Penfield, filled with personal anecdotes and photos. It is available for sale at the Recreation Office in the Community Center and the Town Clerk's Office at the Town Hall. The price is $15 per book or two for $24.

I recently met with members of the Nature Conservancy to discuss the Thousand Acre Swamp Sanctuary as they prepare their 2011 public hike schedule. During 2010, 22 various hikes were held in the Swamp Sanctuary. Several thousands of visitors use this sanctuary each year. This area is truly a gem within our Town. If you have never visited the Thousand Acre Swamp, please consider an outing with your friends and family.

Until next week, be well and be safe!

Tony
340-8631
supervisor@penfield.org

 

 


December 1, 2010
Seeking Volunteers for Town's Boards and Committees
The Penfield Town Board is seeking interested candidates for its annual Board and Committee appointments. The Town appoints a number of positions each year for its Boards and Committees, which provide advisory services on a range of topics and issues, from historic preservation to land use planning and sustainability. Interested candidates should submit a brief email or letter of interest and resume by December 17, 2010 at 5:00 PM to Town Clerk Amy Steklof, 3100 Atlantic Avenue, Penfield, NY 14526 or steklof@penfield.org . The Town Board will contact potential candidates to schedule interviews.

Depending on retirements and interest to continue serving, there may be openings available on the Assessment Review, Conservation, Ethics, Historic Preservation, and Planning Boards, as well as Energy & Environmental, History Room, Parks & Recreation, Transportation, Watershed Management Committees, and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Appointments will be announced at the annual Organizational meeting in January. Nearly 100 residents are serving on Penfield's Boards and Committees at any given time. Candidates must be residents of the town of Penfield, able to attend regular meetings and hearings, and have access to electronic communication and work files. Learn more about Boards and Committees at www.penfield.org .

 




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