March 31, 2014
Guest Columnist DPW Director Ronnie Williams: Week of 3/31
Guest columnist Ronnie Williams, Director Department of Public Works
On behalf of the Department of Public Works, it is a privilege to be Supervisor LaFountain’s guest columnist and share the many activities we have planned for spring and summer.
In the coming weeks DPW crews will be out repairing mail boxes, lawn damage, and potholes. We will revisit every sidewalk and snow plow route to verify winter damage and schedule restoration.
Spring will also bring a number of opportunities to clean up, clear out and properly dispose of unwanted materials. Saturday, April 26 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. the Monroe County Department of Environmental Services (DES) and the towns of Penfield, Webster and the Village of Webster will host an appointment-only Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection at the Penfield Highway Garage, 1607 Jackson Road. Schedule your appointment at 340-8710 or online at http://www.monroecounty.gov/des-hhw.php.
Penfield Recreation invites you to join in the annual Penfield Clean-Up Day on Saturday, May 3, 9:00 a.m. to noon. Families, groups, individuals, and teams are welcome to help pick up debris and beautify Penfield. This year we will also have a pancake breakfast to fuel you up before heading out to clean up, so don’t miss it. This is a great community service project or a fun way to help out with your family! To learn more or register yourself or your group, contact Sabrina at 585-340-8651 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
DPW will host its annual Spring Drop-off for Penfield residents only May 9-10, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Public Works Complex, 1607 Jackson Road. We will accept general household refuse; furniture; metals; appliances; lawn mowers with fluids drained; vehicle batteries; concrete, brush, and tree limbs; and tires (four per resident limit). We cannot accept propane tanks; household electronics including computers and accessories, printers, copiers; TVs; grass clippings and leaves; motorized vehicles; and hazardous materials (see HHW event above).
Spring and summer are known as “construction season.” In Penfield that means we will complete the final phase of road restoration of Baird Road from Whalen Rd. to Atlantic Ave. in May, and mill and resurface Jackson Road from Atlantic Ave. to Plank Rd. from May into June. Construction of Motts Lane will continue with a new entrance on Route 441 and road restoration from Five Mile Line Road to the new entrance on Route 441. This project is expected to run April through the summer.
The DPW will also conduct our annual oil and stone surface treatment late July into early August. Details, including roads we will treat, will be listed at www.penfield.org. We will notify residents by mail prior to the start of the oil and stone process.
As always, all project schedules are weather dependent.
As we strive to reduce the carbon footprint of town facilities we recently installed solar panels on the Harris Whalen Park lodge; this will supply 30 to 40 percent of the building’s annual electric needs. Students at Harris Hill School will be able to follow and study the use of renewable solar energy at the lodge. We also have plans to install an electric car charging station near the lodge to join two others at the Penfield Community Center and the town hall complex.
In closing, safety is our number one goal every day. As in winter months, we strive to ensure our community’s roads are well maintained and protected from any possible hazards. You can help by driving at reasonable speeds through work zones and following road work signage. If we all work together we can make the spring and summer seasons enjoyable and safe for all.
If you have any questions about any of the DPW events or projects I’ve mentioned contact us Monday through Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 340-8710 or email@example.com.
March 26, 2014
NYSEG and RG&E: If You Smell Natural Gas
Get Up, Get Out and Contact Your Utility or 911
Rochester, NY – NYSEG and RG&E, subsidiaries of Iberdrola USA, remind their customers to take immediate action if they smell natural gas or suspect a natural gas leak: get up, get out and contact their utility or 911 from a neighbor’s phone.
“While natural gas is extremely safe under normal system operating conditions, when a leak occurs it can be dangerous,” said Mark S. Lynch, president of NYSEG and RG&E. “That is why it is imperative for anyone who smells natural gas to report it. We respond to reports of natural gas odors free of charge, 24/7 to make sure everyone is safe.”
How to Detect a Natural Gas Leak
- Smell: Natural gas is naturally odorless. For safety’s sake, a distinctive odor, similar to rotten eggs, is added. Note: Not all natural gas in larger transmission lines is odorized.
- Sight: A white cloud, mist, fog, bubbles in standing water or blowing dust and vegetation that appears to be dead or dying for no apparent reason.
- Sound: Roaring, hissing or whistling.
Natural Gas Safety Tips
- The leading cause of accidents in both natural gas transmission and distribution systems is digging near those facilities. To help lessen the likelihood of damage to underground facilities, the law requires excavators to call 811 to have underground facilities marked before any work begins. Homeowners are also encouraged to call 811 before doing any excavation work.
- Customers should have a professional check heating systems, flues and vents once a year to ensure that everything is working properly. This annual inspection will also help reduce the likelihood of carbon monoxide issues. Natural gas appliances (ranges, clothes dryers, fireplaces) should also be checked periodically to ensure they are in good working order.
- Any work on natural gas piping, equipment and appliances should be left to professionals.
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March 24, 2014
Supervisor’s column: Week of 3/24
Recently the Town’s Assistant Fire Marshal Wayne Cichetti retired after 15 years of service to Penfield. Wayne started with the town in 1999 as a building inspector, and when an opening occurred, moved into the role of Fire Marshal. All who speak of Wayne have nothing but praise for his friendly, fair, yet firm approach to public safety. Wayne had a great relationship with the three fire districts that service Penfield and its businesses and residents. On behalf of the town board and the entire community, thank you Wayne for your dedicated service to Penfield and best wishes for a long, healthy and happy retirement!
Last week I mentioned the Penfield Volunteer Emergency Ambulance’s (PVEA) annual banquet and commented on several special service awards that were presented that evening. Recently I learned of another award that was presented that night—in fact, it is the first award of its kind for PVEA in its more than 40 year history. The recognition went to Hugh Franklin, a member of more than 35 years. The award was not given because of his many years of service, or the fact that he has served in every position with PVEA, and some positions multiple times, even though these distinctions are certainly noteworthy. Rather, the award was for volunteering more than 30,000 hours over the last 14.5 years to PVEA! This is an amazing example of a man giving back to his community. To help put this accomplishment in perspective, for the last 14.5 years Hugh has averaged more than 2,070 hours per year volunteering at PVEA. This is more time than the average person works at their regular job each year. This is an incredible accomplishment and sets a benchmark that will be difficult to match in the future. Hugh, on behalf of the entire Penfield Community, thank you for your dedication and commitment to PVEA and our town, you have touched so many lives in such a positive way!
I would like to give a special shout out to Michael Montag, CEO and president of MGM Associates Insurance located at 1745 Penfield Road, for celebrating his company’s 30 anniversary this year. Michael moved his business to Penfield in the former Lawless Homestead in 2001. This is another great example of businesses being committed to the Penfield. Michael, on behalf of the entire community, we congratulate you and your team on your 30 anniversary and offer best wishes for continued success and growth.
The Penfield Community Victory Garden bed rentals are filling up fast for the 2014 season. The garden’s three-acre plot of town-owned land is located at 1747 Five Mile Line Road just north of Atlantic Ave. The garden is run completely by volunteers and donations. If you are interested in more details or would like to register for a bed, please log on at www.penfieldrec.org and click on Penfield Community Garden.
Residents of Penfield with disabilities may be interested in learning about SportsNet, a group that provides recreation, fitness, and sports opportunities for people with disabilities through a network of organizations. For more information, please contact the SportsNet office at 271-1894, ext. 1742.
The Penfield Trails Committee invites you to its next hike at Channing H. Philbrick Park on Saturday, April 12 from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Come celebrate Daniel Penfield’s selection of “The Hollow” as the best mill site in all 97,000 square miles of the Genesee lands in 1795. All hikes are free; look for the hike signs. To learn more and view trail maps log on to www.penfieldrec.org.
Until next week, be well and be safe!
March 17, 2014
Supervisor’s column: Week of 3/17
Recently Chris Bilow, Penfield’s Recreation Director, was asked to present at the New York State Athletic Administrator Association’s (NYSAAA) annual state conference, which in itself is an honor. More impressive was his topic on “Community Recreation and School Programs, How to Work Together to Benefit Everyone.” Chris had the opportunity to speak with Athletic Directors from across the state on the relationship the Town of Penfield and the Penfield School District have established for program development and space usage. The relationship the town has with the school district is unique in that there is a true sense that both entities work together for the residents and students to ensure quality programs are offered. This is a great example of the collaboration that is being done routinely at the local level.
I recently I attended the Webster Volunteer Fire Department’s (WFD) 2014 annual banquet which recognized members for their service and dedication to fire service and public safety. The WFD covers the northeast portion of Penfield. I would like to recognize three individuals who consistently give of themselves in service of our community. Craig Akins, Sr. was named 2013 Firefighter of the Year, Jaclyn Ingrassio was the top point winner for the most service responses in 2013, and Richard Swingly is celebrating 55 years of service in the Fire Department. Congratulations to Craig, Jaclyn and Richard on their service, as well as the more than 170 members of the department for all they do to support the Penfield Community.
The Penfield Heritage Association’s next Sunday program will be March 23 in the Penfield Library Braman Room from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Town Historian Kathy Kanauer will discuss an area located in the northeast quadrant of Penfield known as Roseland. In the early years of our great community Roseland was a hamlet settled by German immigrants. Kathy will also highlight photographer Arthur Frost who was born and raised in Roseland. Some of Mr. Frost’s glass plates will be on display at the program. Refreshments will be served; the program is free and open to the community.
The Penfield Heritage Association (PHA) also asked me to remind residents to save Saturday, April 26 for the third annual Civil War Day at the Penfield Library. PHA is co-sponsoring local author, Dennis P. Bielewicz, who will discuss his book “Heroes in the Attic,” the previously untold story of two Civil War soldiers. Copies of the book will be available for purchase. More details will be placed on www.penfieldlibrary.org and www.penfield.org.
This past weekend I had the honor of attending the annual awards banquet for the Penfield Volunteer Emergency Ambulance (PVEA), celebrating 47 years of service to the Penfield community. Two members were recognized for their service. Charles L. Callear received the outstanding service award, which is PVEA’s highest award. This award recognizes a member who, over a period of time, has consistently worked to maintain the integrity and vision of PVEA. Richard D. Sperduto received the member of the year award. This award recognizes a member who went above and beyond to serve PVEA during 2013. On behalf of the entire community I would like to recognize and say thank you to Charlie and Richard for their dedication, support, and service to our residents─you do make a difference each and every day!
Until next week, I hope to see you out in the community as spring nears!
March 11, 2014
News from RG&E
NYSEG and RG&E Encourage Customers to Take Action to Manage Energy Bills
Conservation Measures, Budget Billing, Other Tools Available
Rochester, NY – NYSEG and RG&E, subsidiaries of Iberdrola USA, remind customers not to let their guard down when it comes to taking actions to manage energy use and bills through the remainder of the winter.
“Our electricity and natural gas delivery rates have not increased since September 2012 and will remain at their current level at least through 2014,” said Mark S. Lynch, president and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E. “Meanwhile, the extremely cold weather has driven up energy use and the increased demand for energy has pushed up market-based commodity prices. Both of those factors mean higher bills.”
Just how cold has it been?
To get a sense of just how cold it has been, from November 1 through February 24, the average temperature across the NYSEG natural gas service area was 25.8 while the 10-year winter average temperature was 29.4; the average temperature this winter in Rochester has been 27.7 while the 10-year winter average temperature was 31.6.
How are higher market-based commodity prices affecting bills?
- For a typical residential electricity customer who obtains supply from NYSEG or RG&E and uses 600 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month, February bills could be as much as 12% higher than December 2013 bills as a result of higher market-based commodity prices.
- For a typical residential natural gas customer who obtains supply from NYSEG or RG&E and uses 165 therms of natural gas per month, February bills could be as much as 11% higher than December 2013 bills as a result of higher market-based commodity prices.
Note: About one out of every three NYSEG and RG&E customers obtains their electricity and/or natural gas supply from an energy services company, or ESCO. For those customers, while ESCO supply charges may appear on their NYSEG or RG&E bill, NYSEG and RG&E have no knowledge of how ESCO supply charges are calculated and are not privy to the arrangements any customer may have with an ESCO. Customers of ESCOs should contact their ESCO with questions about supply charges.
“We encourage our customers to use energy wisely and consider services such as Budget Billing to help manage energy bills,” Lynch said.
When a customer signs up for Budget Billing, NYSEG and RG&E divide the annual energy bill yearly bill into 12 equal payments. Every three months each Budget Billing account is reviewed and, if necessary, adjusted to ensure there is no large credit or balance due at the end of the Budget Billing year.
NYSEG and RG&E also offer electronic billing (eBill) and Autopay services so customers can set up automatic payments; either service is an ideal complement to Budget Billing to take the worry out of remembering to pay utility bills. To sign up for Budget Billing, eBill or Autopay services or for more information, NYSEG customers should visit nyseg.com and click on “Your Account” or call 1.800.572.1111; RG&E customers should visit rge.com and click on “Your Account” or call 1.800.743.2110.
Using Energy Wisely
Taking a few simple steps to control energy use, particularly during extreme weather conditions when energy use tends to spike, can help control winter bills. Here are some tips from NYSEG and RG&E:
- Set thermostats no higher than 70° and at 58° when you’re away from the house for more than a few hours or in bed for the night. (This may not be advisable if frail, ill or elderly people or infants are in the home.)
- Install automatic set back or programmable thermostats.
- Change or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season.
- Since warm air rises, use registers to direct warm airflow across the floor.
- Close vents and doors in unused rooms and close fireplace dampers when not in use.
- Open draperies and blinds on sunny days to let the warmth in; close them at night to insulate against cold air outside.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs that use up to 75% less energy and last up to 10 times as long.
- Use programmable timers to turn lights on/off.
- Turn off lights and electronics when not in use.
- Set water heater temperatures at 120° to cut water heating bills without sacrificing comfort.
- Install water-flow restrictors in showerheads and faucets.
- Limit the length of showers.
- Run washing machines and clothes dryers with a full load.
For more low-cost and no-cost energy-saving tips:
For information on NYSEG and RG&E energy efficiency incentives and rebate programs: http://www.nyseg.com/Energyefficiencyprograms/default.html http://www.rge.com/Energyefficiencyprograms/default.html
Customers who are having difficulty paying their bills are urged to contact NYSEG or RG&E right away (NYSEG: 1.888.315.1755; RG&E: 1.877.266.3492).
March 10, 2014
Supervisor’s column: Week of 3/10
Last week I had the honor and great pleasure of participating in the National Education Association’s “Read Across America” at CP (cerebral palsy) Rochester, which is part of Al Sigl Community Group. CP Rochester supports people with physical and developmental disabilities in choosing and accomplishing individualized life goals. The Kids Miracle Making Club (KMMC) of Penfield sponsored the event. In recognition of Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2, guest readers were asked to bring and read their favorite Dr. Seuss book. That was an easy choice and brought me back to reading with my daughters and now grand-daughters…”I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!” This was a very rewarding event. I want to recognize and thank CP Rochester and the KMMC for all they do to support our youth.
Last weekend the KMMC hosted a series of events to raise money to help fund a new clubhouse. I joined in and had an opportunity to meet and spend time with NFL Players Don Carey, currently a safety with the Detroit Lions, and Keith Henderson, retired running back and super bowl champion of the SF49ers. The NFL players spent countless hours visiting CP Rochester, Golisano Children’s Hospital, and the Mary Cariola Children’s Center. They also spent time in Penfield sharing stories, signing autographs, taking photos, and serving a pancake breakfast. At a time when we hear and read so much negative about the NFL, we need to stop and recognize that there are still great people playing and retired from the organization who are looking to make a difference. I will tell you that Don and Keith are great men and wonderful examples for our youth to look up to. Congratulations to Steve Pellow, President of KMMC, and his entire team for a wonderful weekend of events. To learn more about the club, please log on at www.kmmclub.org; this is yet another reason Penfield is such a great community!
March 29 through April 4 is “Healthy Relationships Week” sponsored by the Penfield school-community partnership. I have two important events marked on my calendar. The first is “Healthy Teen Relationships 2014: Equipping Your Son or Daughter for a Safe Social Life,” on Thursday, April 3 from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m. at the Penfield High School auditorium, presented by Aaron Boe. Mr. Boe is a national speaker and prevention educator who combines his powerful personal story and humor with the latest research and critical insights from social psychology to prevent harm before it occurs. The second event is the “Community Pasta Dinner” at the Penfield High School cafeteria on Friday, April 4 with two seatings at 4:30 and 6:00 p.m. The cost is $5.00. Tickets are available at the Penfield Recreation Department or online at www.penfieldrec.org. Please note that there will be limited tickets at the door the day of the event.
Until next week, be well and be safe!
March 3, 2014
Supervisor’s column: Week of 3/3
The Penfield Strikers Girls Soccer (U12 Strikers Team) is hosting a pancake breakfast Saturday, March 8 at Don’s Original from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Tickets are only $5 and may be purchased at the door. Last year this team was the RDYSL girls travel soccer division champion. Grab the family or that favorite guy or gal and come meet the Strikers team. They are full of energy, will serve you breakfast with a smile, and give an update on their upcoming season. The food is great too! I hope to see you there.
I am reminded by our Recreation Staff that the St. Patrick’s Day Party for adults 55+ is scheduled for Tuesday, March 11 at the Community Center. Stop in for corned beef and cabbage and some St. Patrick’s Day fun! Lunch is at 12 noon. You may purchase tickets in advance for $4.00 at the Recreation Department offices. That’s right, just $4.00 for a fantastic corned beef and cabbage dinner and entertainment. I attended last year and found it to be the best deal in town!
It’s never too early to start spring cleaning, especially in the basement when the weather is cold and you don’t want to be outside. Mark your calendar for the annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection at the DPW Complex, 1607 Jackson Road on Saturday, April 26 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This is an opportunity to get rid of old paint cans, stains and preservatives; automotive fluids; pesticides and fertilizers; gasoline, thinners and solvents; all types of cleaners, waxes and soaps; pool, spa and photo chemicals; driveway sealer; and mercury (thermometers and thermostats). Appointments are required. Call Monroe County DES at (585) 753-7600 (option #3), use the online scheduler at http://www.monroecounty.gov/hhw , or call Penfield DPW at 340-8710. Details on how to prepare materials for disposal are also on the county website.
I am frequently asked how residents can receive the latest information on Penfield Recreation programs. In addition to the PenRec brochure that is published three times a year and the Penfield Recreation website, you can sign up for “Recreation E-news.” Once a week you can receive the latest news and updates directly from Penfield Recreation. Be the first to know! To subscribe go to www.penfieldrec.org and click on Parks & Recreation. Be active, be well, enjoy life!
My wife and I recently visited a local restaurant and were greeted by their welcome board and a countdown to spring. This was a welcome sight considering what seems to be our never-ending winter of cold and snow. As you are likely reading this the week of March 3, please remember the first day of spring is a mere two weeks away! Also, remember to turn your clocks ahead on Sunday, March 9.
Until next week…I hope to see you about and about this great community!