FLCC expands network of community education sites

The Waterloo Community Center at 3 Oak St. will join the Macedon Public Library, Clifton Springs Library and other sites offering Finger Lakes Community College’s 14-week job training classes in manufacturing, residential electric and health care in January. 

FLCC began building a network of community education sites a year ago as part of a national pilot project to overcome barriers to education in rural areas, such as lack of transportation and broadband. 

Classes can be taken online at home or, for those who lack broadband or computer equipment, at seven community sites across Ontario, Seneca, Wayne and Yates counties. 

Grant funding is available for most participants because the courses prepare people for jobs currently in high demand. 

“Grant funding is key because people can use these programs to upgrade their skills without debt,” said Todd Sloane, FLCC director of workforce development. 

FLCC was one of five colleges across the country to receive funding from a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, Education Design Lab, to develop and test models for delivering education and training in small towns and villages. 

Details on the program can be found at flcc.edu/grit.  

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CMAC is one of top-selling concert amphitheaters in the world

CMAC was the top-selling concert amphitheater in the Northeast in 2022, according to Pollstar rankings
CMAC was the top-selling concert amphitheater in the Northeast in 2022, according to Pollstar rankings (provided photo).

A national trade publication for the concert and live music industry has ranked the Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center (CMAC) one of the top-selling amphitheaters in the world.

CMAC ranked No. 1 on the Pollstar list for top-selling amphitheaters in the Northeast, No. 8 for amphitheaters in the United States and No. 10 in the world.

The rankings were based on ticket sales from Jan. 1 through Sept. 19.

Ringo Starr, Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Journey, James Taylor, The Black Crowes and Jackson Browne were among the performers during CMAC’s 20-show season of 2022.

“I’ve performed at CMAC seven times, and each time I’m amazed by how they run their venue, the energy of the fans, and the hospitality from the team,” Bryan said in a CMAC news release. “I always look forward to playing there — they’re definitely doing something right.”

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FLCC opens Sands Family Center for Allied Health 

Finger Lakes Community College celebrated on Thursday the opening of the $7.2 million Sands Family Center for Allied Health, a renovation and expansion of its nursing wing on the main campus. 

Caption: FLCC nursing exterior Photo by Tim Wilkes The Sands Family Center for Allied Health is an expansion and renovation of the Finger Lakes Community College nursing education wing.
The Sands Family Center for Allied Health is an expansion and renovation of the Finger Lakes Community College nursing education wing. (Photo credit: Tim Wilkes)

With the expansion, the college will accept new students in both the fall and spring semesters.  The application for the spring 2023 semester is currently open through Oct. 15. FLCC will also launch a licensed practical nursing program, starting in fall 2023. 

“The Sands Family Center for Allied Health reflects a true team effort among the Sands Family Foundation, Thompson Health, Ontario County and the college,” said FLCC President Robert Nye. “We were united in our mission to fill a critical community need for nurses at our hospitals, medical offices and skilled nursing facilities.” 

Richard Sands, representing the Sands Family Foundation, joined college and community leaders for the ceremonial ribbon cutting. The Sands Family Foundation contributed $3 million to the project. 

“As important as today’s ribbon-cutting is, I am already thinking about the impact this center will have on our community,” Sands said. “Five years from now, hundreds of students will have passed through these halls and taken their places in our medical facilities where their compassion and skills are so needed.” 

In addition to the Sands Family Foundation donation, the FLCC Student Corp. contributed $250,000; the FLCC Association, $200,000 and the FLCC Foundation, $200,000. New York State provided $3.6 million in matching funds to all the private contributions. Thompson Health will contribute an instructor for the licensed practical nursing program.

The Sands Family Center for Allied Health features murals of nature images taken by Sophie Parshall, president of the FLCC Student Corporation.
The Sands Family Center for Allied Health features murals of nature images taken by Sophie Parshall, president of the FLCC Student Corp. (Photo credit: Tim Wilkes)

The project began with a renovation of existing space to add enhanced simulation labs. The expansion added an additional simulation lab and more patient bays to serve an increasing student population. 

The new facilities complement a revised curriculum that focuses on clinical judgment and critical thinking, college officials said.  

After the work began, the college received a $1.5 million state workforce development grant to add an additional science lab by mid-2023.

Ontario County, the local government sponsor of FLCC, hired PLAN Architectural Studio of Rochester to provide architectural and engineering services and LeChase Construction Services of Rochester to provide construction management. The county awarded the general contracting bid to G.M. Crisalli & Associates of Syracuse, the electrical bid to Connors-Haas of Ontario and the plumbing bid to Postler & Jaeckle Corp of Rochester. 

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Former Constellation executive to speak at FLCC graduation

Ginny Clark, executive director of the Sands Family Foundation, will be the commencement speaker for Finger Lakes Community College on May 18.

Ginny Clark
Ginny Clark

Clark recently retired as vice president for Constellation Brands, the global beverage company started by the Sands family. She had a 20-year career with Constellation, serving as vice president of corporate communications and of external affairs during her time there.

Working for Constellation, Clark spearheaded some of its philanthropic efforts, such as the loan of company corporate jets to bring workers from InterVol, a humanitarian organization, to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, and a $5 million capital campaign for Mercy Flight Central. She also oversaw construction of the NY Kitchen, and the Constellation Brands Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center on the FLCC campus.  She remains the president of the boards of directors for both those organizations.

Clark is a community college graduate, having earned an associate’s degree from Herkimer County Community College. She also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Information about the commencement ceremonies is on the FLCC website.

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Star Cider to build production facility in partnership with FLCC

Star Cider in Clifton Springs will expand at Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua.
Star Cider in Clifton Springs will expand at Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua.

Star Cider started out in the basement of a young couple’s home. But their dream to turn hard cider-making into a family business quickly outgrew that house in Clifton Springs, Ontario County.

So Cortni and Adam Stahl traded their house for an Airstream trailer parked next to a garage-size building in Clifton Springs, where they’ve been making up to 5,000 gallons a cider a year.

Three years later, the Stahls and their dog are living in a house again — this time in Canandaigua, and selling their cider in approximately 35 bars, restaurants and breweries, mostly in the Finger Lakes area. And the couple is ramping up once more. Star Cider was recently accepted into the state’s Start-Up NY program, which provides tax incentives for startup companies that locate on or adjacent to the 64 public college campuses in New York.

In this case, the Stahls will keep their headquarters in Clifton Springs, but build a production facility on property next to Finger Lakes Community College in the town of Canandaigua.

Partnering with the college and being helpful to the economy on a larger scale attracted the Stahls to the program, said Adam Stahl. They also liked the tax incentives that come with being part of the Start-Up NY program — no income taxes for employees nor sales tax charged to customers.

The company currently consists of three people — the couple and Adam’s brother, Nathan — and all three have day jobs. Though the Stahl brothers grew up on a farm where cider-making was a tradition that survived the Prohibition era, it is Cortni who has the professional connection to their venture. She works for the Cornell Cooperative Extension, performing analysis of wine, cider and beer and spends about half her time leading workshops for producers.

The Stahls are involved in every part of the cider process for their business, “from apple to glass” as Cortni said.

“We have to have that connection,” she said of picking the apples. “We can’t remove ourselves from that part of the equation.” Most of the apples are picked at Seneca Orchards, also in Clifton Springs.

Cortni Stahl adds yeast to a batch of cider at Star Cider.
Cortni Stahl adds yeast to a batch of cider at Star Cider.

Finger Lakes Community College is hoping for the same hands-on experience for its students, said Kal Wysokowski, director of grants for FLCC.

“We’re looking at some hands-on workshops in things like apple grafting or apple pruning, research projects, internships, studying the composition of the cider, trying out new recipes and having students do new activities.” Wysokowski said.

“This is primarily an education and research operation in the startup program. Although there will be a tasting area at the cidery, she said, “it’s really about the manufacture of cider.”  Star Cider will be the fourth Start-Up NY company attached to FLCC and the only one involved in food and beverage processing.

Currently 38 of the state’s 64 public colleges campuses participate in the program, said Jeff Boyce, director of economic development at SUNY Research Foundation.

“If you think about the program, it’s touted as a tax-incentive program. It’s meant to stimulate job creation and investment,” Boyce said. But the benefit to campuses is that faculty, staff and students work with companies in the areas of research and innovation.

Star Cider’s proximity, on the grounds of the former Lincoln Hill Inn, will provide easy access for students, Wysokowski noted.

“They have some big plans. We’re really pleased to be a part of it. I think the students at FLCC are really going to see a benefit here.”

The Stahls are looking forward to having more room to expand operations. They will be seeking financing to build on the leased property soon and are in the process of gaining the necessary town approvals to build a barn-like production facility. If the approvals go according to plan, they’ll start construction in the summer and hope to capture the harvest season so they can produce cider there in the fall, opening for tastings by year’s end.

“I think the Finger Lakes are perfect for cider making,” Cortni said. The wine industry has already led the way, Adam said. “We see this as planting the seed for what we could do for cider.”

Oh, and about that name, Star Cider? Cut open an apple horizontally and you’ll see its genesis.

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