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Associated Press 

Syracuse's Tyus Battle, left, battles for a loose ball against North Carolina Wednesday in Syracuse. 

Cayuga County farms awarded over $1.1M for manure storage

Three Cayuga County farms are getting some state aid to upgrade their manure storage, assistance greatly needed at a time when farms are dealing with new regulations and falling milk prices. 

Sennett farm Peters Dairy, Scipio farm Van Ridge Dairy and Valley Mound Farm in Scipio Center are all concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) benefiting from the latest round of funding in the CAFO Waste Storage and Transfer System Program. CAFOs typically are dairy farms with 300 or more cows.

Five Onondaga County farms also received funding including William E. Richards & Sons LLC in Skaneateles, Gemini Farm in Elbridge, Scholten Dairy in Van Buren, Barbland Dairy in Fabius and Pastureland Dairy LLC in Pompey. 

Brian Hall, a certified Agricultural Environmental Management planner and nutrient management specialist with the Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District, said the program gives farms more management options. It also helps them comply with new CAFO permits the state Department of Environmental Conservation released last year. Those permits have stricter guidelines on spreading manure in the winter. Spreading on snow or frozen ground can cause manure to run off the land and into ditches, streams or water bodies, impacting water quality.

"We're dealing with much more different weather extremes," Hall said. "Having a longer-term storage is going to increase, again, their ability to manage around those weather extremes and be safer for everybody."

Third-generation Valley Mound Farm owner Mike Whitten said he's building an additional pit because of the new CAFO regulations. According to his program application, his farm produces about 336,000 gallons of waste each month. 

"I have about two months of storage in my current manure pit, so I don't have enough to get through the winter without spreading," he said. "We basically are having to build this manure pit in order to keep in compliance."

With between 350 and 360 cows, Whitten hopes the new addition will increase his manure storage capacity to between six and seven months. The project will cost over $460,000, about $347,000 of which the state will pay. Though Whitten's cost share is still a difficult lift, he said it's a lot easier than paying the total. 

"Especially with the way the price of milk is this year, I wouldn't be able to spend that kind of money," he said. "Without the funding, I wouldn't be able to do it period. ... It's really good to have these grants available. It helps to keep me going."

Don Peters of Peters Dairy is also feeling the pain of low milk prices. The 1,200-cow third-generation farm is down about $1.5 million in income per year, he said. The additional pit he's building will store about seven million gallons taking the farm from about 2 1/2 months worth of storage to about 7 1/2. 

According to application documents, the pit will cost near $740,000 with the state covering about $385,000.

"It's expensive in dairy right now," Peters said. "Every little bit helps. It's something that the state says we have to do. There's really not a payback on it. It's definitely better for the environment."

The third Cayuga County farm, Vans Ridge Dairy, produces nearly 3 million gallons of waste per month, according to its application. It will build another manure lagoon costing about $773,000 with the state contributing about $385,000.  

All three farms are expected to have their new storage complete by the fall of 2019, their applications show.

Auburn man arrested for attempted armed robbery after hours-long standoff

AUBURN — A nearly nine-hour standoff ended Sunday night after a suspect in an attempted armed robbery case was arrested by police.

Auburn police said Sunday that Bradley Strange, 33, of 112 Janet St., was taken into custody after he attempted to evade authorities. Strange's arrest capped off a series of events that began in the morning with the attempted armed robbery report.

At 10:50 a.m., officers responded to the area of Orchard and Washington streets and found a 75-year-old man suffering from lacerations to his hands, according to a news release. The officers obtained a description of the suspect in the attack and searched the neighborhood. Their investigation led them to 51 Orchard St.

When the officers arrived at the home and attempted to interview the residents, a white male exited an upstairs window and went onto the roof. He refused orders to come down from the roof, police said. The police established a perimeter and negotiators were called in to assist with the incident.

The white male informed officers that he was on the run from the state Division of Parole, police said. While speaking with the man, they learned he was wanted by parole. A parole officer at the scene identified the man as Strange.

While Strange was on the roof, the police learned more about the attempted armed robbery. According to police, the victim was approached by Strange at his residence outside the city. Strange asked him for a ride due to the cold, police said.

The victim agreed to drive Strange and when they entered the city, Strange told him to pull over the vehicle. Strange allegedly displayed a knife and demanded the victim's wallet and money. During the attempted robbery, the victim was cut with the knife.

The victim was treated at Auburn Community Hospital and released, according to police.

Meanwhile, the standoff with Strange continued into the evening hours. Police tape blocked off the section of Orchard Street near the home. Neighbors gathered to watch the man pace around the roof.

At approximately 7:53 p.m., Strange jumped from a neighbor's roof and attempted to escape. He was taken into custody moments later without incident, police said.

Strange was charged with first-degree attempted robbery, second-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He was also charged related to the parole warrant.

He is awaiting arraignment, according to police.

If anyone has more information about this case, they should contact Detective Bryant Bergenstock at (315) 258-9880 or the Auburn Police Department at (315) 253-3231. Callers may remain anonymous.

The Auburn Police Department was assisted at the scene of the standoff by the Cayuga County Sheriff's Office, New York State Police, state Division of Parole, Auburn Fire Department, Auburn City Ambulance and Cayuga County 911.

Gallery: Man on Roof of 51 Orchard St.

Cayuga County-area village elections: Who's running for office this year?

Several villages in Cayuga County and western Onondaga County will be holding elections March 20, and although many ballots are filled with unopposed incumbents, a few races are contested with a strong turnout of political newcomers.

Village clerks reported the following information for the village elections scheduled for Tuesday, March 20:


The mayoral seat and two trustee positions are up for grabs.

Incumbent Bonnie Apgar Bennett, with the Aurora Party, is seeking re-election as mayor and faces opposition from two newcomers. Marie Dentes, with the Dentes for Open Government Party, and Barbara Blom, with the Together Party, are also vying for the mayoral seat.

Three people are running for the two available trustee positions. Incumbents Grace Bates, with the People's Party, and Janet Murphy, with the Family Party, are both running for re-election. Newcomer Matthew Bianconi, with the Aurora Party, is also running for a trustee position. All positions, including the mayoral seat, are four-year terms.

Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at the Aurora Firehouse, 456 Main St.


Three have entered the race for the two trustee positions on the ballot.

Incumbent Trustee Andrew Wright, with the Concerned Citizens of Cayuga Party, is running for re-election while Trustee Daniel Quill has decided not to run for re-election. The two other nominees running are Shane Ellis, with the Citizens for a Better Cayuga Party, and Michael Ogburn, with the Better Cayuga Party. The trustee positions are two-year terms. 

Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at the village office, 6205 Railroad St.


Nearly all government positions are up for election in the village. Incumbents are running unopposed for each of the four available seats.

Mayor Chris DeCola, with the Citizens Party, is running for re-election for a three-year term as mayor. Incumbents John Murray, Stephanie Harris and Patrick Ely, all with the Citizens Party, are running for re-election as trustees. Ely's trustee term would be three years, while Murray's and Harris' would be four years. The two three-year terms are unique to this election season as they are adapting to accommodate resignations.

Voting takes place noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at the Elbridge municipal offices, 210 West Main St.

Fair Haven

Three people, including two newcomers, are on the ballot for two four-year trustee positions up for election in Fair Haven.

Trustee Holley Webster–Goolden, with the Republican Party, is running for re-election while incumbent Trustee Pete Hanford is not running. Newcomers Christopher Drogi, with the Republican Party, and Hope Wojtowicz, with the Our Village People Party, are also on the ballot.

Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at the village hall, 14523 Cayuga St., Sterling.


Meridian has two positions on the ballot — one trustee and one village justice — for this year's elections.

Trustee Alicia Wheeler, with the Wheel Party, is running for the trustee position unopposed. Wheeler was previously appointed as a trustee when Trustee Edward Epprecht resigned. The current village justice, Gary James, is not running for re-election, and David Berlinski, with the Justice Party, is running unopposed to take his place. The trustee and village justice positions each have four-year terms.

Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at Cato's municipal building, 11320 Short Cut Road.

Union Springs

Two trustee positions with two-year terms are on the Union Springs ballot.

Shane Truman, with the Republican Party, is running for trustee, as Trustee Dawn Locastro decided not to seek re-election. Incumbent Trustee Brian Cornell, also with the Republican Party, is running for re-election. There is no opposition for either of the trustee positions.

Polls will be open noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at the village offices, 26 Chapel St.


Two incumbents are seeking re-election for the two trustee positions on the ballot.

Trustees Christopher Lukins and Steven Sims, both with the Republican Party, are running again for the four-year term trustee openings. Lukins and Sims are running unopposed.

Polls will be open noon to 9 p.m., Tuesday, March 20, at the village offices, 8892 South St.

Auburn police charge Utica man with rape

A Utica man is facing a felony charge after the Auburn Police Department said he raped a woman while she was asleep.

Joseph McGrew Jr., 27, of 10601 Hulser Road Lot 216, allegedly gave alcohol to a 20-year-old female on March 11 in the city. The victim told police she was asleep when McGrew Jr. had sexual intercourse with her, and she was unable to give consent due to her intoxicated condition. According to a release the assault happened at the Holiday Inn, 75 North St.

The woman was treated at Auburn Community Hospital, police said.

Police charged McGrew Jr. with first-degree rape, a class B felony. He was also charged with first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child, a class A misdemeanor, which according to state penal law can stem from providing alcohol to someone underage. 

McGrew Jr. was arraigned and remanded to the Cayuga County Jail without bail. Auburn police said the Cayuga County Sheriff's Office assisted with the investigation.