Schuyler County Transit celebrated its 5th anniversary on Tuesday, August 25 with a public event at its operation headquarters, The Arc of Schuyler. Members of the Schuyler County Coordinated Transportation Committee, the team responsible for the long range planning and implementation of the public transit system gathered for a celebration with legislative officials, bus drivers, and riders.
In five years, Schuyler County Transit ridership has tripled with about 18,500 passenger trips in the last year. Public transit opened in 2010 under a contract partnership between Schuyler County and The Arc of Schuyler, a not-for-profit organization serving people with developmental disabilities.
“With thirty years of experience training drivers, providing specialized transportation service, and maintaining a fleet of vehicles, The Arc was a clear choice for partnership,” Schuyler County Administrator, Tim O’Hearn said.
Public transit launched in August 2010 with a fixed route service to the villages of Burdett, Montour Falls, Odessa, and Watkins Glen as well as a Dial-A-Ride service.
“The transit service is an important asset to Schuyler County. Senior citizens and many others need transportation to supports at the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls, the hospital, health care facilities, shopping, and more. This is an economical mode of transportation that is essential for our residents,” Montour Falls Mayor, John King said.
The system made modifications over the years for rider convenience, installing bus shelters, adding stops, and adjusting the route to accommodate frequent riders, including people with disabilities and seniors. Schuyler County Office for the Aging Director and member of the Coordinated Transportation Committee, Tammy Waite commented, “The public transit system is a safe, reliable and affordable means of getting to and from destinations. It is a great alternative when one must make that difficult decision to give up the car keys and allow someone else to transport them.”
Beth DeCaro, Property Manager for Jefferson Village Apartments in Watkins Glen agreed and added, “Schuyler County Transit has allowed our tenants to maintain their independence for a longer period of time.”
In February 2014, the system opened additional routes to rural areas of the county, transporting riders from Bennetsburg, Hector, Reynoldsville, and Valois to stops in Watkins Glen. The Corning Connections route was introduced later that year and has been utilized by Corning Community College students and employees of Corning businesses. Schuyler County Transit has also been contracted to offer shuttle services for events such as the annual Seneca Lake Wine & Food event at Clute Park and the recent Phish festival at Watkins Glen International.
“This is a time when public transport has never been more important in supporting growth and job creation,” SCOPED Executive Director, Judy McKinney Cherry said. “For communities that can attract the right talent, the resulting wealth can be spread out across the economy. This is a win-win since there is a $4 economic return to a community for every $1 invested in public transportation.”
Speakers at the event included: Jeannette Frank, Executive Director of The Arc of Schuyler; Schuyler County Administrator, Tim O’Hearn; Representatives from the Offices of Congressman Tom Reed, Senator Tom O’Mara, and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano; and frequent rider, Debbie Ball of Watkins Glen.
“Schuyler County Transit has demonstrated ability to serve riders and maximize existing transportation systems to benefit the whole community,” Frank said. “Public transit is a symbol of a community that is working together and that’s what we’re celebrating.”
Photo Caption: Schuyler County Administrator, Tim O'Hearn enjoys a cupcake at Schuyler County Transit's 5th Anniversary event. Schuyler County Legislature Chairman, Dennis Fagan looks on.
The Arc of Schuyler’s 15th annual golf tournament, held on Friday, August 21st at Watkins Glen Golf Course, netted more than $22,000 to support programs and services provided to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
Completing the tournament in first place was the Watkins & Nichols Team – Bill Spencer, Rocco Scaptura, John Robinson, and Josh Robinson. The team is the second to be added to a new Arc Golf Tournament Champions plaque, created in honor of Dave and Marilyn Dalrymple. The Arc recognized the Dalrymples for the role they have played in the success of the tournament over the years and for their ongoing outstanding support. The plaque hangs at the Watkins Glen Golf Course club house.
The second place team included Chris Schoemaker, Jode Schoemaker, Jared Hammond, and Michael Stamp sponsored by Hill & Markes and the third place team was Lisa and Donald Crouch and Milt and Wendy Brooks.
Winners of the contests held on the course were: Josh Robinson for men’s longest drive, Colin Scott for men’s closest-to-the-pin, and Lisa Crouch for both women’s longest drive and women’s closest-to-the-pin. Dave Reynolds won the 50/50 raffle prize and generously donated $100 back to The Arc.
The Bonadio Group and Relph Benefit Advisors returned as Presenting Sponsors of the event. Birdie Sponsors were Empire Access, Garage Floor Coating of NY, Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, and Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards. These sponsors and more than 90 other businesses, wineries, restaurants, and retail stores generously contributed through sponsorship or product donations.
The golf tournament planning committee includes Tournament Chair, Dominick Franzese, 2015 Honorary Chair, Susan Buchtel, Nick Anagnost, David Dalrymple, Greg Gavich, Doug Hagin, James Wilson, and Jeannette Frank, executive director and Holly Baker, director of community relations of The Arc of Schuyler.
“The committee is sincerely grateful to the generous sponsors, tournament supporters, golfers, and many volunteers who demonstrate great support of The Arc and of people with developmental disabilities through this tournament,” Dominick Franzese, Tournament Chair said. “Thanks to their generosity, this is one of the best tournaments in Watkins Glen and it supports a great cause.”
The Arc of Schuyler conducts fundraising activities to support its mission in providing supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism.
Photo: Arc Executive Director with Jeannette Frank, Honorary Chair Susan Buchtel and Direct Support Staff, Pat Wilcox. SEE MORE PHOTOS HERE.
Click the image left to see our 2015 Tournament Souvenir Journal. Please support our sponsors!
Jeannette Frank, Executive Director of The Arc of Schuyler and Amber Simmons, Mobility Manager of Chemung and Schuyler Counties, an employee of The Arc of Schuyler, spoke at the NYS Senate Forum on the Future of Rural Public Transportation on July 22, 2015 in Cooperstown, NY. As operator of Schuyler County Transit and the Schuyler County Transportation Call Center through a contract with the county, The Arc plays an active role in transportation coordination in Schuyler and surrounding communities.
Jeannette and Amber's comments at the forum can be viewed here:
The Arc of Schuyler will hold its 15th Annual Golf Tournament at the Watkins Glen Golf Course on Friday, August 21, 2015. The tournament raises funds to help provide services and supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism and their families.
Dominick Franzese of Watkins Glen returns for his second year as Chair of the tournament. Franzese is an avid golfer and has served on The Arc’s golf tournament committee for many years.
“I’m thrilled to be involved with The Arc as they celebrate fifteen years hosting this excellent tournament,” Franzese said. “It’s one of the best golf events in Watkins Glen and it supports a great cause.”
Franzese will greet golfers and sponsors and volunteer at the event alongside this year’s Honorary Tournament Chair, Susan Buchtel of Horseheads. Buchtel receives supports through The Arc and is an energetic volunteer in the Schuyler County area. She delivers for the Office for the Aging Meals on Wheels program and assists with planting, weeding, and harvesting at Cornell Cooperative Extension Teaching Garden. Buchtel also visits with and performs music for residents at Seneca View Skilled Nursing.
“Susan is a hard worker and serves her community always with a smile on her face,” Franzese said. “An Honorary Chair helps our participants and sponsors focus on what this tournament is all about – supporting people to achieve their goals. The committee is proud to honor Susan for her contributions to her community.”
“I love volunteering. It makes me feel proud to help," Buchtel said. "I’m excited to ride the golf cart and thank everyone for helping." Buchtel also enjoys gardening and baking with her mother.
The Arc’s Golf Tournament is supported by dozens of local and regional sponsors including its Presenting Sponsors: The Bonadio Group and Relph Benefit Advisors and Birdie Sponsors: Empire Access, Garage Floor Coating of New York, and Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.
The Arc of Schuyler awarded its Joanne S. Hayes Memorial Scholarship to Odessa Montour High School graduate, Hailie Searles at the June 26 commencement ceremony.
This $1,000 scholarship honors Joanne Hayes, former board member and president of The Arc of Schuyler's board of directors who passed away in 1987. The award is given annually to a graduating senior pursuing an education in human services, special education, or a related field for a career providing supports to people with developmental disabilities.
Hailie Searles, daughter of Sadye Halpin of Odessa will attend Tompkins Cortland Community College to study biotechnology and Liberal Arts - Math and Sciences. Hailie intends to transfer to a 4-year school to major in Nutritional Sciences in pursuit of a career asa nutritionist.
"I believe through nutrition I can have a positive impact on people with disabilities by providing nutritional supports, information, and encouragement to help people make healthy choices," Searles wrote in her application essay.
Hailie is the salutatorian of her graduating class and three-sport athlete (soccer, basketball, and track). She has demonstrated excellent leadership skills through her role as President of her class, National Honor Society, and as Vice President of Rotary Interact. She was also a member of Student Council, the Principal Leadership Team, and a representative for the New York State Counsel on Leadership and Student Activities.
Hailie has been recognized with multiple awards including: Watkins-Montour Rotary Student of the Month, Top Drawer 24, New York State Triple C Award, University of Rochester George Eastman Leadership Award, and the Clarkson University High School Leadership Award. In addition to her academic and athletic achievements, Hailie is an active member of Schuyler County 4-H, and the Odessa-Catherine United Methodist Church Youth group. She has also held various part-time jobs.
The Joanne S. hayes Memorial Scholarship is made possible through donations to The Arc of Schuyler.
Our brothers and sisters are often our first friends.
For people with developmental disabilities, a brother or sister is often a lifetime friend who assumes caregiver responsibilities after their parents are gone. Christopher Locke, who has received services through The Arc for more than 30 years, lived with his parents until they could no longer care for him. Fortunately, Chris has three siblings involved in his life including younger brother Alan who shared his story:
The Arc has been so helpful to me.
I’ve always felt my brother Chris deserved the opportunity to be a responsible, independent adult, and in the years he’s been with The Arc I’ve seen him change for the better.
I’m completely at ease knowing Chris is in a safe, good home with his friends. His social calendar is full and I’m 100-percent confident that the staff who work with my brother are exceptionally well-trained and experienced enough to provide the best support to him.
My brother was diagnosed with a developmental disability at three years old. A lot of families placed their children in institutions at that time, but my mom and dad refused to do that - they kept Chris at home.
It was hard for our parents to raise five children while they were both working, and it was hard growing up with Chris. There was a stigma then about developmental disabilities, so we had a lot of challenges in school and with friends. Chris demanded a lot of our parents’ attention.
We all grew up, but Chris was the only one who didn’t leave the house. He was receiving services and making friends at The Arc, but mom and dad weren’t ready to let him go.
Then my father passed away in 2000 and my mother had to go to a nursing home. That’s when Chris found his home at The Arc just down the street from where he grew up. His transition was easy and he was able to spend time with mom for a few years until she passed too.
Now it's up to me and my brother and sister to make sure Chris has a home, a purpose, friends, and family.
Alan is one of numerous siblings ensuring a quality life for their adult brother or sister with The Arc's help.
Your gift helps make valuable supports and services for people with developmental disabilities and their families available locally through The Arc of Schuyler. Thank you!
The Arc of Schuyler's Annual Membership and Fund Drive ends July 2015. This is the perfect time to renew your membership with The Arc or join us as a new member and be an advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities on the local, state, and national levels. Whether you are a person with an intellectual or developmental disability, a parent or family member of someone with a disability, a staff person, a friend in our community, or someone interested in offering support, The Arc of Schuyler welcomes you.
You can make a tax-deductible gift online by clicking the Donate button below. Thank you for your continued support!
The Arc of Schuyler receives grant to work on system transformation projects with Ontario and Seneca Cayuga ARC’s.
The Arc of Schuyler was recently awarded a NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) Balancing Incentive Program Grant to increase access to non-institutional long-term services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Through the grant, The Arc of Schuyler, Ontario ARC, and Seneca Cayuga ARC will collaborate on three projects to prepare for changes in the system of developmental disabilities services. OPWDD has developed a Transformation Agreement that includes a multi-year plan for expansion of integrated employment and self-direction models, community-based housing options, and a responsive and accountable quality infrastructure.
The Arc of Schuyler Executive Director, Jeannette Frank, sees the benefit of working collaboratively with other NYSARC chapters in the region and on this project.
“We are learning from each other in this process while sharing resources and expertise,” Frank said.
The BIP Transformation Fund offers a unique opportunity to address barriers encountered when working to transform the system of care for people with developmental disabilities. The $154,000 grant will allow for consultants to evaluate quality benchmarking measures and develop an infrastructure to expand availability of self-directed services for people with developmental disabilities, including autism. In addition, mobile devices will be purchased to make it easier for direct support staff to keep required documentation while working with people in community settings.
Ann Scheetz, Executive Director of Ontario ARC expressed excitement about designing new programs. “Self-Directed services are something that people with developmental disabilities and their families have been asking about. This will help us expand these services,” Scheetz said.
“We have a strong culture and commitment to quality. Benchmarking that can be incorporated into our quality improvement systems will be an important part of how we move forward,” added Kevin Smith, Executive Director of Seneca Cayuga ARC.
The Arc of Schuyler, Ontario ARC and Seneca Cayuga ARC are private, not-for-profit 501(c)3 organizations serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and families in the Finger Lakes region.
Jack LaDouce, a member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 101 has made a generous contribution of his time and skills in the form of a bocce ball court at The Arc of Schuyler, a not for profit organization that provides supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
LaDouce, 17, whose aunt receives services through The Arc approached the agency in February about an Eagle Scout Service project that would allow him to have a positive impact on people with disabilities. With a major focus on health and wellness opportunities, The Arc suggested the installation of a bocce ball court, which would allow people with disabilities, including people who use wheelchairs to enjoy physical activity outdoors.
“I was looking to do something that involved construction and my mom was really excited that I was working with The Arc since they have done so much for my aunt,” LaDouce said.
As soon as the ground thawed, LaDouce set to work on his project – a 5’ x 20’ bocce ball court complete with an oyster shell surface and drainage system to help maintain the court. The project required LaDouce to propose a written plan for scout board approval, then to enlist the help of friends from his troop and obtain donated supplies and the services of an excavator.
In just ten days, LaDouce had the bocce ball court assembled and ready for play at The Arc’s 210 12th Street property under the shade of a tree, near a picnic table where people can enjoy their lunch and play a game of bocce.
“Construction is my hobby and I’ve done small projects, but this is one of the bigger things I’ve built. I was really happy to see it all done,” LaDouce said. “It came out just the way I wanted it to.”
Carole Sullivan, The Arc’s Assistant Director of Day Services has been LaDouce’s project liaison at The Arc. “We have been so impressed by Jack. He’s mature beyond his years, so organized, committed, and a hard worker,” Sullivan said. “We’ve been very lucky to get him and his friends and family involved with The Arc and we look forward to a continued relationship with the Boy Scouts and local youth.”
LaDouce’s Scout Leader, Dan Carpenter has been impressed by LaDouce too. “Jack has always been an exemplary scout,” Carpenter said. “He’s excelled in school, track, swimming, and now he’s following in his brother’s footsteps to Annapolis, Maryland.”
LaDouce graduates in the top 10 of his class from Elmira High School this month and will join the United States Naval Academy in July. He plans to serve as a Navy officer and pursue a Bachelor’s Degree.
Carpenter reports that LaDouce received his Eagle Scout rank, the highest advancement rank in scouting in May. With LaDouce’s encouragement, a fellow scout will continue working with The Arc to enhance the bocce court area by adding a cement pad this summer. The cement will make the court more accessible to people using wheelchairs.
“Before I met the staff and people at The Arc I didn’t know much about it other than it was a place where people like my aunt could go to work, volunteer, and take classes. My family is really thankful for all The Arc does.”
The Arc is seeking volunteer assistance to expand its outdoor recreation space. Please call 607.535.6934 if you are interested in voluneering for The Arc.