Local News

Morning News Brief

409 people voted in Batavia’s City School budget vote on Tuesday.  The 54.8 million dollar budget passed, 301 to 108.  The 1 percent tax levy increase also passed.  Chezeray Rolle, John Marucci and Korinne Anderson won their school board races.  In Alexander the budget and related tax levy passed 83 to 44.  Residents also voted to buy 2 busses 92 to 35 and to spend 56 thousand dollars of the equipment capital reserve fund.  Props 4 and 5 passed as well.  In Elba the budget passed 100 to 17 and all props passed as well.  LeRoy’s General budget and library budget passed.  Peter Loftus , Jason Karcher and Rachael Greene won their school board bids.  

The National Transportation Safety Board released its initial report on the Genesee County helicopter crash that killed two people last month.  The helicopter careened to the ground, in Elba, Genesee County just after 1 p.m. on April 26th.  The tail rudder was found about 300 yards away from where the rest of the chopper crashed.  The report says that the helicopter’s rotors struck electrical wires on its second training flight of the day.  The NTSB said the entire investigation could take up to a year before a final report is released.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called on President Biden to utilize the wartime production act to get baby formula made and distributed faster in order to end the shortage.  Following a recall at Abbott Nutrition, the nation’s largest infant formula manufacturer, reports suggest that roughly 40% of formula nationwide is out of stock. Compounded by supply chain disruptions as a result of the pandemic, this recall has created a life or death situation for many of the millions of families that depend on formula to feed their infants, and without immediate action to speed up the production and distribution of formula, babies who rely on formula may go hungry or starve. Senator Gillibrand’s plan will help ensure that desperately needed formula gets to vulnerable children and families as quickly as possible.  Gillibrand is also proposing the Emergency Infant Formula Act to increase domestic production and expand sourcing of the formula.

Genesee County, the town of Alabama, and several people are all named in a lawsuit by an Oakfield woman who was in an accident at the intersection of Ledge road and Rt 77.  The reason for the lawsuit, the town and county didn’t install a roundabout which led to her accident and subsequent ongoing problems from the injuries she sustained.  The New York State DOT said in 2019 that a roundabout was a good idea at the intersection but the town sent a letter back saying farm equipment, trucks and plows would have difficulty with the roundabout in that location.  Also that it would increase low speed accidents which would require more attention from firefighters.  Traffic engineers generally support roundabouts because roundabouts lead to a 60 percent reduction in all types of accidents and a 99 percent reduction in fatal accidents because they eliminate head-on and right-angle, high-speed collisions.  During the state’s proposal process for the roundabout, the DOT stated that between April 1, 2013, and May 31, 2018, there were 56 crashes in the area and 31 of them at the intersection. Two of the accidents were fatal.

Afternoon News Brief

Jared Wrazen

A parolee has been arrested and is now jailed after he shot a woman in the stomach during a domestic dispute in Java. Wyoming County Sheriff’s investigators tell us that the shooting happened late last night just five minutes after a person called 9-1-1 to report a violent altercation at the residence. 29-year-old Jared Wrazen was charged with first-degree assault, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child. He is committed to Wyoming County Jail without bail. The victim is also 29; after being shot in the stomach, she was treated by EMS from Strykersville Ambulance and Monroe Ambulance and then taken by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center. Her name has not been released. Police discovered Wrazen was operating a meth lab. He is presently on parole until Sept. 29 and on post-release supervision until late December 2026.

 

All public schools in Genesee County are holding budget votes today…in Batavia, polling places are open until 9 this evening…For residents North of Route 5, go to Robert Morris School to vote, using the Union Street entrance across from Notre Dame; for residents who live south of Route 5, you’ll vote at the High School Library. The 2022-23 budget of $54.8 million, represents an increase of $2.7 million from the current year’s budget. A tax levy of just under $20 million will mean a 1 percent tax increase, which adds 19 cents to the current tax rate of $19.23 per $1,000 assessed property value. Additional information about the budget is available at the school district’s website, bataviacsd.org

 

District Attorney John Flynn

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn says defense attorneys for the man accused of killing the 10 people at TOPS have withdrawn a request to have doctors evaluate his mental competency. That means the next court appearance for 18-year-old Payton Gendron can happen still as scheduled Thursday. Gendron is accused of opening fire at the store on Jefferson Avenue Saturday in an attack that officials have called a racially motivated hate crime. Gendron is charged with murder and is behind bars without bail.

 

Hochul with The Bidens

Lawmakers in the New York State Legislature say they’re planning a response to this weekend’s deadly mass shooting in Buffalo. Yesterday, leaders criticized the amount of hate and racism that can be found online and said that it’s still too easy for people to get guns. Governor Hochul was reportedly already going to call for a package of gun-related laws to be passed in the Legislature before Saturday’s shooting happened. Meanwhile, Republicans have introduced a bill that would bring back capital punishment for crimes such as the one that was committed in Buffalo. The end of this year’s legislative session is scheduled for June 2nd.

 

During the Bidens’ visit to Buffalo, they will meet with Governor Hochul and then pay their respects to those who lost their lives before meeting with families of the victims, law enforcement, community leaders, and first responders. Today is the first time a sitting president has come to Buffalo since Obama’s visit in 2013.

 

Brittanee Drexel

It took 13 years, but an arrest has finally been made in connection with the murder of Brittanee Drexel. Police say 62-year-old Raymond Moody killed the teenager who disappeared during a 2009 vacation to South Carolina. Drexel had traveled to the resort area during Spring Break week, without parental permission. Her remains were recovered in Georgetown County, South Carolina last week. Moody was named a person of interest in the case years ago but wasn’t charged. Drexel’s parents thanked law enforcement for their work on this case and say they’re focused on getting justice for their daughter.

 

Kirsten Gillibrand

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is urging President Biden to take action to address the ongoing shortage of baby formula. The New York Democrat is calling on Mister Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase the production of formula and help parents keep their children fed. Gillibrand says due to this shortage, parents have had to sometimes drive for hours in an attempt to find formula only to discover empty shelves when they arrive at a store. The shortage is being caused by several factors, such as supply chain issues, safety concerns and inflation.

 

Garth Brooks

Country music star Garth Brooks says ticket sales for his upcoming show in Western New York have been put on hold. The singer says he made the decision out of respect for what the community of Buffalo is going through and said he stands by everyone who was affected by such an unthinkable act. Brooks is still going to perform on July 23rd at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park. Tickets were supposed to be available this coming Friday, but a new on-sale date has not yet been announced.

 

 

Joseph Chowaniec

In the aftermath of the shooting at TOPS copycats have emerged; while no violence has taken place, several people posted threats against area businesses online and one person called businesses and made threats. That was 52-year-old Joseph Chowaniec of Buffalo. He’s accused of making terrorist threats. According to investigators, he called a pizzeria and brewery on Sunday afternoon and made threats that referenced Saturday’s Tops supermarket shooting. Officials say a crime like this will not be tolerated and will be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Chowaniec is due back in court later this week and faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. Other incidents not associated with Chowaniec, include two Walmarts and a Save-A-Lot, which were targeted by online threats and temporarily closed on Monday. By 4:30 in the afternoon yesterday, police said the threats were not credible and that arrests have been made.

 

A Rochester man is in serious trouble with the law after being arrested by State Police on multiple charges. Troopers say they spotted 29-year-old Tireek Burden breaking vehicle and traffic laws Sunday night and pulled him over on North Clinton Avenue. A search of the vehicle led to the discovery of two illegal handguns and drugs. Burden was taken into custody and sent to the Monroe County Jail.

Morning News Brief

In the aftermath of the shooting at TOPS Friendly Markets copycats have emerged in Buffalo.  While no violence has taken place several people posted threats against area businesses online and one person called businesses and made threats.  52 year old Joseph Chowaniec called a pizzeria and a brewery and threatened to carry out a similar shooting at each location.  He was arrested and is being held without bail while authorities conduct a forensic exam.  Two Walmarts and a Save-A-Lot were targeted by online threats and temporarily closed on Monday.  By 4:30 in the afternoon police said the threats were not credible and that arrests have been made.  

The President and First Lady are visiting Buffalo today to pay their respects at the Jefferson Ave TOPS and give a remembrance for the 13 people shot on Saturday.  Governor Hochul will meet with them.  After visiting Tops, they will meet with families of the victims, law enforcement, community leaders, and first responders. The president is expected to make public remarks at a community center in the early afternoon.

Governor Hochul announced that in order to help Buffalo residents she has directed the NFTA to suspend fares on some of its bus routes.  The Utica, Kensington, Jefferson and Genesee bus routes in the city will now be free effective immediately and going till the end of May.  Hochul also announced that the state is partnering with Lyft and Uber to provide rides for people who may need it.

Six students from Batavia High School are set to compete for the title of “Mr. Batavia” at the 9th annual competition being held on Friday at 7 pm in the Batavia High School Auditorium.   The students compete in multiple rounds of the event, and all money raised from ticket sales and donations is given to the top three winners’ charities.  This year’s contestants are: Jack Bruggman, Noah Burke, Nicholas Grover, Andrew Kasmarek, Lucas Radley, and Matt Smith.  Tickets are $10 each and will be sold to students during school lunch this week and at the door on Friday for the community. 

Darien Lake Amusement Park’s only wooden coaster is getting a bit of new life this season.  450 of the Predator’s 3400 feet of track are in the process of being replaced with a new Titan track produced and installed by Great Coasters International.  The Predator has long been known to be a bumpy ride and this new track, while capable of allowing the coaster to make maneuvers outside the capabilities of normal wooden coasters, is being added to particularly rough spots to even them out and won’t be adding any new elements.  This hybrid coaster will be ready for the 2022 summer season.

Afternoon News Brief

Governor Hochul announced that flags at state buildings will be lowered to half-staff today in honor of the 10 people who lost their lives during the mass shooting in Buffalo. In a statement, the governor said that an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us and that we must confront white supremacy head on. She went on to say that her heart is with the victims and their families. The governor also says flags should remain lowered until everyone who was killed is laid to rest.

 

Peyton Gendron

While Western New Yorkers continue to mourn the 10 people killed in the TOPS Market, the shooter is in custody. While wearing a combat helmet, the 18-year-old gunman, Peyton Gendron, opened fire in the racially motivated attack. The shooter had driven from an area near Binghamton last Friday targeting that particular store because, according to a manifesto he posted online, black customers frequented it. Buffalo police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia says the attack was a hate crime and will be prosecuted as such. Gendron has a history of making threats; he made one to his school last year and was evaluated at that time.

 

President Biden and First Lady

President Biden and the First Lady will be visiting Buffalo tomorrow to speak on the shooting and what they describe as an epidemic of hate in the country and that any act of domestic terror is antithetical to everything we stand for in America. TOPS Friendly Markets is providing shuttle service to other stores for shoppers and charities have been set up to help the victims of the shooting.

 

Johnny B. Riley Sports Pavilion

Erie County officials are offering counseling services to people who are struggling to cope with Saturday’s shooting. Help is available today until 9pm at the Johnnie B. Wiley Sports Pavilion in Buffalo or by calling Crisis Services at 716-834-3131. Also, anyone who needs assistance getting food can go to the Resource Center on East Ferry Street in Buffalo today from 2pm until 9pm. After today, food will be distributed from 9am until 9pm through at least May 27th. Buffalo churches are holding special services for the victims.

 

Governor Hochul says resources are being made available to the Buffalo community in the aftermath of TOPS Market tragedy. The governor says $2,800,000 in federal and state funds will be used to provide support to individuals and families affected by the shooting. Staff from the Office of Victim Services are going to be in Buffalo this week to help people start the process of getting that assistance. The National Action Network will also help cover the costs of the funerals for all 10 victims.

 

State Attorney General Letitia James is issuing a warning to New Yorkers about sham charities created in the aftermath of the horrific violence. James says in the wake of tragedies, scammers will often try and take advantage of people for their own personal gain. Anyone who is considering a donation to help those affected by the shooting should only give to charities they’re familiar with. People should also ask what their donation is going to be used for. It’s also suggested they use caution when donating through social media and fundraising sites. Anyone who wants to report a suspicious organization can contact the New York State Charities Bureau.

 

TOPS Friendly Market provided the following in a Press Release: “The TOPS family is heartbroken over the senseless violence that impacted our associates and customers at our store on Jefferson Avenue. We are working quickly to make sure that all of our associates have access to counseling and support that they may need. TOPS has been committed to this community and to the city of Buffalo for decades and this tragedy will not change that commitment. We are working to find alternatives for our customers in this community while the store is closed and will provide updates in the near future.”

 

Congressman Lee Zeldin

Two Republican candidates for governor on Sunday called for a return to the death penalty in New York following the mass shootings. Congressman Lee Zeldin and former Trump administration aide Andrew Giuliani backed what would amount to a reinstatement of capital punishment in New York, which last executed a person in 1963. It’s a potential revival of what has in the past been a galvanizing campaign issue for Republicans in New York, including the last successful unseating of a Democrat nearly 30 years ago. Still, the push for the death penalty would come as states across the country have generally backed away from capital punishment given the unavailability of chemicals to perform lethal injections.

 

Western New York drivers are handing over still more of their hard-earned money to fill up their vehicles as gas prices once again soar to a new record high. According to Triple A this morning, the average cost for a gallon of regular fuel is now $4.70. That’s up 28 cents in the past week, is 43 cents more than last month and is $1.71 higher than one year ago. The state average is now $4.76 a gallon while nationally it’s $4.48. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.65, up one cent since yesterday, 31 cents from last week and 42 cents from a month ago today. By the way, diesel fuel here averages $6.18 per gallon, nearly twice what it cost a year ago today. Triple A provided this additional information in a Press Release this morning: “Today marks record high gas prices at the national, state, and local level. According to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration, total domestic gasoline stocks decreased while gasoline demand dropped slightly. Normally a decrease in demand would bring prices down, but oil prices remain volatile. This morning, oil prices are about $109 per barrel. Crude prices rose over growing market worries that Ukrainian and European Union actions against Russian oil-and-natural gas companies could spark retaliation by Russia leading to more market disruption and uncertainty. Meanwhile, the national average for diesel fuel hit a new record yesterday reaching $5.57. One year ago the price was $3.17. In New York, the average price for diesel is $6.50, which is also a record high set yesterday. One year ago the price was $3.23.”

 

The Batavia City School District (BCSD) is still accepting registration applications for universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) and kindergarten programs for the 2022-23 school year. They will be offering four full-day pre-K programs at Robert Morris and one half-day program at a community-based organization. The BCSD UPK program will be relocating to the Robert Morris building (80 Union St.) but will still be considered part of Jackson Primary. The BCSD kindergarten program will continue to be at the Jackson Primary building (411 S. Jackson St.). UPK students must be four years old on or before December 1, 2022. Kindergarten students must be five years old on or before December 1, 2022. Pick up and return your registration packet to the BCSD Registration Office at the Robert Morris Community Schools Building (80 Union St., Vernon Ave. entrance).
Any questions can be directed to Deb Conroy in the Registration Office at dpconroy@bataviacsd.org or by calling 585-343-2480 ext. 1010. Registration will remain open until all spots in each program have been filled.

 

The Department of Environmental Conservation reminds us that if you see newborn fawns, it is best not to approach them or try to pick them up. Late spring is the birthing season for deer. Often mother does will give birth in shaded areas and then the fawn will wander a little and then lie down. They spend most of the first couple of days lying in grass, leaves, or sometimes in the open. They don’t have the instinct or strength to run away yet and the mother will leave them alone some of the time. They are usually ok but if a human comes near and stays the mother may be frightened away and not return to nurse. However, if you see a fawn that is obviously injured please call the Department of Environmental Conservation for assistance at (585) 948-5182.

 

The Darien Alexander Townline Rd bridge, south of Attica Rd in the Towns of Darien and Alexander, will be closed beginning Monday 5/23/2022 for a bridge replacement project. The project consists of replacing the original short span steel structure and abutments, which date back to 1939 with new pre-stressed concrete hollow slab units and new abutments. The current bridge is posted for 12 Tons and once replaced will be open to full legal loads. The project is expected to take 3 and a half months. During this time the road will not be passable to regular traffic or emergency vehicles.

 

The investigation continues after a body was recovered from the Niagara River over the weekend. Buffalo police say the remains were spotted by a fisherman Saturday and were in the water near the foot of Hertel Avenue. The only information about the person is that he was a man in his 30s. Officials are now waiting on autopsy results to find out how the man died.

Morning News Brief

Western NY is in mourning for the 10 people killed in the TOPS Market in Buffalo on Saturday when an 18 year old gunman wearing body armor and a combat helmet opened fire in a racially targeted attack.  The shooter had driven from an area near Binghamton on Friday to target the TOPS store because it was frequented by black customers according to a manifesto he posted online.  He had made threats to his school in 2021.  President Biden and the First Lady are planning to visit Buffalo Tuesday to speak on the shooting and the “epidemic of hate in our country.”  TOPS Friendly Markets is providing shuttle service to other stores for shoppers and charities have been set up to help the victims of the shooting.  Erie County’s Crisis Services is giving free mental health support to those impacted by the shooting.  Buffalo churches are holding special services for the victims.  

TOPS Friendly Markets released a statement Sunday:  The Tops family is heartbroken over the senseless violence that impacted our associates and customers at our store on Jefferson Avenue.  We are working quickly to make sure that all of our associates have access to counseling and support that they may need.  Tops has been committed to this community and to the city of Buffalo for decades and this tragedy will not change that commitment. We are working to find alternatives for our customers in this community while the store is closed and will provide updates in the near future.

A Minor has been issued an appearance ticket after they stole a van from the Crestwood Child Center in Henrietta and drove down Jefferson Road Saturday.  Police say they responded to reports of a reckless driver around 8pm and arrived to see a minivan rear end a stopped car at a red light.  The driver then continued through the intersection, and as deputies attempted to pull them over, the driver did not comply. They continued through Henrietta into the city of Rochester, striking multiple vehicles on the way, including a patrol vehicle on Mt. Hope Avenue near Robinson Drive.  The driver finally stopped, and was identified as a juvenile. The child was the only person in the vehicle, and was taken to a local hospital for precautionary measures. Nobody else was injured.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is reminding New Yorkers that if they see newborn fawns not to approach them or try to pick them up.  May and June are the birthing season for deer.  Often mother does will give birth in shaded areas and then the fawn will wander a little and then lie down.  They spend most of the first couple of days lying in grass, leaves, or sometimes in the open.  They don’t have the instinct or strength to run away yet and the mother will leave them alone some of the time.  They are usually ok but if a human comes near and stays the mother may be frightened away and not return to nurse.  If you see a fawn that is obviously injured please call the DEC for a wildlife rehabilitator who can help.

Weekend News Brief

A fire on Montclair Ave in Batavia left a home heavily damaged.  Batavia City fire responded at around 9pm on Friday to a report of a structure fire at 29 Montclair Ave.  When they arrived they found a large fire enveloping  the front of the 2 and a half story family home.  Interim Fire Chief Herberger says that when they knocked down the fire and entered the home they found it was burning on the first second and attic floors.    Downed Power lines hampered the firefighting efforts.  Several occupants were home at the time the fire was reported, Herberger said.  None were injured.  The American Red Cross is assisting one resident.  A firefighter was transported to UMMC by fire department personnel with heat exhaustion.  City Fire and Batavia PD are conducting a joint investigation to determine the cause of the fire.

There is a major shortage of referees for school and community sports with nearly 47 percent of new officials quitting every year and 2 local lawmakers think they know why.  Senator Patrick Gallivan and Assemblyman William Conrad say its because of the abuse they suffer from the fans and they are introducing legislation to protect referees.  The new bill aims to modify New York’s penal law governing harassment and aggravated assault to include referees and officials in every sport at every level. The new legislation would raise the charge for harassment from a violation to a misdemeanor, and assault from a misdemeanor to a felony.  This would bring New York in line with thirty three other states who have created protections within the law for sports officials.

The Genesee County Health department is hosting a Free drive thru rabies immunization clinic this coming Thursday from 4 to 7 at the Genesee County
Fairgrounds.  Vaccinations are free for dogs, cats and ferrets, but voluntary donations are accepted. Animals must be at least 3 months old. Each animal must be leashed or crated and accompanied by an adult who can control the animal—limit 4 pets per car maximum.  There will be other clinics in August, September and October.  

Bottled Water should be essential according to a NY politician.  Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara has announced new legislation he hopes will remove the current tax on bottled water in the state of New York.  The elimination of the 4% tax would place bottled water under “essential grocery items” that are exempt under rules that they are sold for human consumption.  Other items that are tax free are potato chips. food coloring, and cookies.  Items like beer and soda and pet food remain taxed under current law.  The Assemblyman says that removing the tax would mean NY joins 33 other states that do not have a tax on bottled water.  The removal of the tax would not affect the bottle deposit return paid by consumers.

Afternoon News Brief

An organization that helps mothers and their babies is turning to the public for help amid a nationwide shortage of baby formula. All Babies Cherished in Batavia is making a plea for donations of baby formula. The organization provides families with free resources like baby clothes, diapers and usually formula, but Executive Director Sue Sherman said the shortage is making it tough to keep up with demand. Sherman said she started noticing the shortage after a baby formula recall in February, but in recent weeks it has gotten worse, especially for parents in need of specialty formulas. Experts are warning the formula shortage could last a few more months, as the FDA and NYS Department of Health work urgently to get the products to families. Anyone wishing to donate baby formula can contact the agency directly at (585) 344.5660 or email Sherman at sueabcherished@gmail.com. Sherman is asking parents, whose children have outgrown formula, to check their pantries for unopened, non-expired product.

 

Le Roy Central School is proposing a 0.06 percent tax levy increase for the 2022-2023 school year. The budget is $27,708,988 an amount increased by 3.1 percent, or $839,700. Superintendent Merritt Holly said in a newsletter a good portion of the increase is associated with the rising costs of programs and healthcare. The proposed tax levy is $10,663,025. It is below the tax levy limit. The budget vote is set for Tuesday, May 17th from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Library Media Center at Wolcott Street School. With the Capital Project construction going on the only doors for entry and exit will be the triple doors by Memorial Auditorium

 

Governor Hochul is addressing one of the nation’s grimmest milestones, one million American lives lost to COVID-19. In a statement, the governor called that total unthinkable and mourned the mothers, fathers, siblings, friends and neighbors who have all succumbed to the virus. She also noted there are tools available to combat COVID-19 and save lives such as vaccines and booster shots. Hochul is also calling on Congress to pass additional funding so America is prepared to respond to the virus moving forward. Flags at all state buildings will be flown at half-staff today in remembrance oft the one million American lives lost to Covid.

 

The Genesee County Health Department will be hosting a FREE drive-thru anti-rabies immunization clinic next Thursday, May 19th, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Genesee County Fairgrounds (5056 East Main Street, Batavia). Vaccinations are free for dogs, cats and ferrets, but voluntary donations are accepted. Animals must be at least 3 months old. Each animal must be leashed or crated and accompanied by an adult who can control the animal—limit 4 pets per car maximum.

 

State officials are letting parents know there are resources available to help them out during a nationwide baby formula shortage. They recommend contacting a local New York State Women, Infants and Children Office for assistance. Parents can also reach out to their child’s doctor to see if they have any samples of formula available. When trying to find formula, it’s recommended parents visit smaller stores and drug stores. Anyone who wants to buy formula online should only order from well-recognized distributors and pharmacies.

 

Mark Poloncarz

Members of the Erie County Legislature have voted to approve a $100,000,000 down payment towards a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. County Executive Mark Poloncarz requested $75,000,000, but the legislature decided to give more due to a surplus and rising interest rates. Overall, Erie County will end up paying $250,000,000 towards the facility, which is going to be located across from Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park. The rest of the costs will be covered by team ownership and the state. No timeline has been announced for when construction will get underway.

 

Chris Rock

One of the most popular comedians in the world will be bringing his latest tour to Buffalo next month. Chris Rock will be taking the stage at Shea’s Performing Arts Center on Saturday, June 4th. Of course, Rock has been in the headlines lately after being slapped by Will Smith while he was onstage at the Academy Awards. Tickets for the show are on sale now, through Ticketmaster.

 

Fans of the Buffalo Bills now have some dates to mark on their calendars after the NFL released the team’s schedule for the upcoming season. The Bills are going to kick off their 2022 campaign on September 8th when they play the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and that’ll be followed September 19th by their first home game against the Tennessee Titans. The Bills are also going to take the field on Thanksgiving Day against the Detroit Lions. In addition to their AFC East rivals, the Bills will play the Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings.

 

Grabiarz School of Excellence

Several students and a teacher are going to be OK after being exposed to pepper spray at a Buffalo school. Officials say a 13-year-old male student discharged the spray yesterday inside a classroom at the Grabiarz School of Excellence on Lawn Avenue. A shelter in place order was issued as a precaution but it was lifted a short time later. Police are still investigating and there’s no word yet if the student is going to face charges.

 

Morning News Brief

Former New York State Senator George Maziarz is filing a lawsuit against Western Region Off Track Betting, accusing the owner of Batavia Downs of misusing public money.  Maziarz spoke outside of Batavia Downs on Thursday.  Batavia Downs trucks drove by honking while he was trying to speak.  OTB President Henry Woytasek said Maziarz is still stinging over a job he sought at the Downs and did not get.  Maziarz is a former State Senator from Niagara County. He retired in 2014 following his guilty plea to election law violations. 

Governor Hochul gave some tips for families struggling to find baby formula amid the nationwide shortage to possibly find formula.  The shortages are partially caused by a recall of food produced by a Abbotts Nutrition’s Sturgis plant in February and also by several products being blocked from overseas because of FDA packaging regulations.  The resources Hochul announced were already available but she wanted to make sure families are aware of them.  She said families can call their OBGYN or infants primary care provider to see if they have formula or can suggest an alternative, families can contact their WIC office for benefits eligibility, check at smaller retailers and drugstores, and look online at authorized retailers. 

All Babies Cherished on Ellicott Street is asking for public help in getting Baby Formula for the mothers they support.  The organization provides families with free resources like baby clothes, diapers and usually formula, but Executive Director Sue Sherman said the shortage is making it tough to keep up with demand.  Sherman said she started noticing the shortage after a baby formula recall in February, but in recent weeks it has gotten worse, especially for parents in need of specialty formulas.  Anyone wishing to donate baby formula can contact the All Babies Cherished   directly at (585) 344.5660 or email Sherman at sueabcherished@gmail.com. Sherman is asking parents, whose children have outgrown formula, to check their pantries for unopened, unexpired product.

A little bit after midnight on Sunday night/Monday morning if you look at the moon you’ll find it has gone dark.  A total lunar eclipse is happening and will be fully visible in Western NY in the very early hours of Monday the 16th.  If there is visibility you can see the eclipse starting at 9:32 and reaching full eclipse at 12:14am Monday morning although the weather service is calling for clouds and rain.  

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce has launched a new website for tourism in the county.  visitGeneseeNY.com provides a digital presence for over 400 businesses in Genesee County.  Each business has its own landing page with contact information, hours, pictures and a description of what they do and what the have on offer.  A visitor can also click a “whats nearby” feature to see what is close to the business they are looking at.  The site also has an events calendar for the over 400 events including theater, outdoor, history and racing events going on in Genesee county.  

Bills fans are getting some nice matchups to watch in the late summer and early fall as the 2022 season schedule includes 5 prime time games.  It all begins week 1 on Thursday night in Los Angeles for the NFL’s season opener and is followed by their first home prime-time game in week 2 when they host the Tennessee Titans in a Monday night matchup.  The Bills are back in the national spotlight in week 8 when they host Green Bay on a Sunday night game. They’ll then play in New England on Thursday night in week 13 before rounding out their prime-time schedule in week 17 when they travel to Cincinnati for Monday night football.  The team’s schedule also has them playing on both Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

Lawsuit Filed Against Downs for Allegedly Misusing Public Money

George Maziarz (R-Niagara County)

Former New York State Senator George Maziarz filing a lawsuit today against Western Region Off Track Betting, accusing the owner of Batavia Downs of misusing public money.

Maziarz spoke outside of Batavia Downs earlier this afternoon:

OTB President Henry Woytasek said Maziarz is still stinging over a job he sought at the Downs and did not get:

Maziarz is a former State Senator from Niagara County. He retired in 2014 following his guilty plea to election law violations.

Afternoon News Brief

Aaron Hatt

A Batavia man repeatedly arrested in both Genesee and Wyoming counties for domestic violence last year is now again sentenced to state prison. Last week in Wyoming County Court, 25-year-old Aaron Hatt was sentenced to 16 months to four years in prison for aggravated family offense for repeated violations of an order of protection. Last month, Hatt was sentenced in Genesee County to 3 to 3-1/2 years for second-degree burglary and aggravated family offense. He is serving that sentence at Elmira Correctional Facility. Hatt’s repeated arrests culminated in a DWI arrest in Genesee County in November, stemming from an investigation into a traffic stop in September. In October, he was indicted by a Genesee County grand jury and weeks after the indictment was arrested on domestic violence charges again.

 

 

Orleans County continues to see an increase in Covid cases, with 220, up from the 197 the previous week. Genesee County also experienced an increase in cases each week for about two months – until this past week, when the cases dropped slightly from 286 to 283. Statewide, the 7-day positivity rate is 7.18 percent. It’s much higher in the Finger Lakes region. Those nine counties are at 13.34 percent over 7 days. The positivity rate is only higher in Western New York at 18.33 percent. The rate is lowest in New York City at 4.80 percent. Health officials remind us that getting fully vaccinated and staying up to date on booster doses is a key way to prevent serious illness and hospitalization from Covid-19. At this time, a little over 75% of the State’s population is vaccinated. By the way, as for flu, there were 14 cases reported in Genesee County in the last week of April; 19 flu cases reported the week before and five the week before that.

 

Former New York State Senator George Maziarz has announced that today he will be filing a lawsuit against Western Regional Off-Track Betting claiming misappropriation of funds. The suit is intended to force OTB to distribute unpaid and missing funds to 17 participating counties and two municipalities.

 

 

 

Attorney General Letitia James is warning retailers not to take part in any price gouging of baby formula. James says her office has already received reports of baby formula being sold online for prices far exceeding the usual retail value. Currently, there is a national shortage of baby formula due to factors such as inflation, product recalls and supply-chain issues. James says any business that is found guilty of price gouging will be punished. She’s encouraging people who have any non-expired and unopened formula to donate it to their local food pantry.

 

 

UR Medicine will open the doors Monday at its new Batavia campus. The new 21,455 square foot medical campus is located at 7995 Call Parkway and will centralize specialty clinics into one location, along with on-site lab services. It will also provide adult and pediatric allergy/immunology, neurosurgery, oncology and audiology, and among other services, Batavia-based primary care practice. Additional services will be added over the next 12 months.

 

 

The company that runs David McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena has decided to close at the end of May. Firland Management took over running of the arena in 2006 but report May 31st will be their last day. The city of Batavia is looking for a new management company and will take proposals till May 20th. The Batavia Ice Rink opened in 1978. It consists of a single sheet of ice with a capacity for 480 fans to attend games and events. The ice rink has a warming room, locker rooms, and a refreshment stand. The City of Batavia anticipates that the prospective operator will be able to be profitable while running the rink and will enter into an operation and lease agreement.

 

 

Governor Hochul has agreed to take part in two debates before voters head to the polls for the June primary. It was revealed yesterday the debates have been scheduled for June 7th and June 16th. The governor says she’s eager to participate in these debates so she can highlight her administration’s track record of getting things done for New Yorkers. Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams are challenging Hochul in the Democratic primary.

 

 

Garth Brooks

One of the biggest names in country music history is returning to Western New York for the first time in years. Garth Brooks is going to perform at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park on Saturday, July 23rd. Brooks has won Grammy Awards, sold millions of albums and is known for songs such as “The Dance,” “Friends In Low Places,” and “The Thunder Rolls.” Tickets for the show go on sale May 20th through Ticketmaster.

Morning News Brief

Governor Hochul announced a new bureau in the state to tackle high prescription drug costs and regulate pharmacy benefit managers.  Pharmacy benefit managers are companies like CVS and others which control over 80 percent of the market.  CVS controls over 30 percent alone.  This new bureau will be a watchdog whose job it is to regulate PBM’s to bring competition and hopefully lower prescription drug prices.  The Department of Financial Services requires all PBMs to register with the new bureau by June 1 and a month later, on July 1, they must submit a report, that will become an annual requirement.

Didn’t win the lottery on the 10th?  Well you may want to hang on to your ticket for the Mega Millions as the wrong number was apparently published for the 99 million dollar top prize.  According to the Lottery, “human error” was to blame for the incorrect winning numbers being published.  The New York Lottery is working to resolve the issue, and has temporarily suspended prize payments for all Mega Millions tickets until the problem is sorted out.  Mega Millions stated that the drawing’s host incorrectly called the Mega Ball number as 6, when the 9 ball was actually drawn from the chamber.  The correct numbers for the May 10 drawing are: 15-19-20-61-70, Mega Ball 9.

New York Attorney General Letitia James put out a press release Wednesday afternoon reminding retailers that price gouging of baby formula is illegal.  She says her office has been getting reports of price rises in excess of the legal value.  James also said that if you have baby formula you haven’t used and it is unopened and not expired you should donate it to a food pantry for someone who needs it.

The company that runs David McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena has decided to cease operations at the end of May.  Firland Management took over running of the arena in 2006 but says May 31st is it’s last day.  The city of Batavia is looking for a new management company and will take proposals till May 20th.  Opened in 1978, the Batavia Ice Rink consists of a single sheet of ice with a capacity for 480 fans to attend games.  The ice rink has a warming room, locker rooms, and a refreshment stand.  The City of Batavia anticipates that the prospective operator will be able to be profitable while running the rink and will enter into an operation and lease agreement.  

Cast members of the Le Roy production of the Musical Newsies competed recently in a “Stars of Tomorrow” competition hosted by the Rochester Broadway Theater League, and two of them are still in the running for a possible trip to New York City.  Evan Williams and Nate Yauchzee were selected to participate in the next round, which Broadway professionals judge at RBTL on May 26.  There is also a separate prize for a fan favorite thespian.  Voting for the fan favorite award involves people going to the Rochester First website and voting on their pick for the award.  Follow the link at wbtai.com to vote.

https://www.rochesterfirst.com/contests/stars-of-tomorrow/#/gallery

Afternoon News Brief

Le Roy PD is looking for information leading to the arrest of a suspect in multiple car break-ins. Most occurred in the early morning hours yesterday; surveillance video obtained by police from local residents shows a male subject in a white hoodie and wearing a black backpack attempting to open the doors of vehicles parked in residential driveways. Chief Greg Kellogg said investigators are asking area residents to check their own camera video to see if they captured any suspicious activity and if so, please share the footage with Le Roy PD.
Police believe there may be more than one person involved. The suspected criminal activity took place between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Anyone with information should contact Le Roy Police at 585-345-6350.

 

There is an elevated risk of wildfire spread today; despite all the rain we had over the last several weeks, conditions are dry. The combination of relative humidity values dropping to between 15 and 25% this afternoon, with northeast winds gusting to 15 mph, and full sunshine on such dry days leads to an elevated wildfire risk across Western and North Central New York. The annual statewide burn ban is in effect until May 14. No burn permits are issued.

 

44 Market Street, Attica

County and local agencies continue to look into the cause of the fire that destroyed a Market Street home in Attica on Monday afternoon; at this time, no preliminary determination has been made on the cause of the fire that started on the porch on Market St. in Attica on Monday evening. The two people who lived there, John Lavarnway Sr and his son John Lavarnway Jr. are receiving Red Cross assistance for the short term to help them meet immediate, essential needs, as they search for a new place to live.

 

 

The Batavia City School District announced this morning that Batavia High School has earned high national and metro-area rankings on the 2022 Best High Schools list from U.S. News and World Report. BHS earned a national ranking in the top 40% of United States-based public high schools out of nearly 18,000 schools. Batavia High also ranks in the top 50% of public high schools in New York State and has a 92% average graduation rate (2017-2021). According to U.S. News and World Report, “The 2022 edition of Best High Schools includes a numerical ranking of nearly all public high schools nationwide. There are rankings within each state and within each census-designated metropolitan area that has three or more high schools and the Best STEM Schools ranking and comprehensive Best Charter Schools and Best Magnet Schools rankings. Also published are rankings of high schools within each school district with three or more high schools.” Batavia High School previously received this honor in 2014.

 

Brittanee Drexel

A person of interest in the disappearance of Brittanee Drexel of Chili, is currently in custody in South Carolina. According to reports, Raymond Moody has been behind bars since last week after he was arrested on an obstruction of justice charge. Drexel was 17 at the time she went missing in 2009 while on vacation during Spring Break in Myrtle Beach. Police had no leads until 2016, when it was announced that a prison inmate had told them that Drexel had been abducted and killed. The man accused by the informant denied knowledge of any alleged crime. Based on that information, the FBI considers the case a homicide, although it has not identified any suspect. Police are not saying if Moody’s arrest is connected to the Drexel case. Additional information:
On the night of April 25, 2009, 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel of Chili, near Rochester, NY, left the Bar Harbor Hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she had been staying with friends on a spring break trip that she had taken without her mother’s knowledge or permission. Drexel walked to another hotel a short distance away, and from there, texted her boyfriend to say that she was going to see another friend at another hotel. She has not been seen since. Raymond Moody is a registered sex offender.

 

Attorneys will be seeking to have a mental health examination done on a former Attica Correctional Facility inmate who allegedly tried to murder an officer in October. 45-year-old Theodore Brown appeared this week in Wyoming County Court. A grand jury charged Brown with attempted aggravated murder of an officer, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of promoting prison contraband. District Attorney Donald O’Geen said a not guilty plea was entered for Brown and a mental health exam is likely to be conducted. Brown is now at Auburn Correctional FacilIty and serving a life sentence for a 1998 murder, assault and robbery conviction in Suffolk County. On Oct. 8th, Brown used a sharpened metal tube to attack corrections officer. Brown had just left his cell to receive medication when he grabbed the officer’s arm and repeatedly stabbed him in the chest. A spokesman for the officer’s union said that two pens in the officer’s breast pocket saved his life, a spokesman for the officer’s union said at the time. He said the pen’s blocked the officer’s heart. The officer was treated at Erie County Medical Center and released.

I’m glad you’re reading this right now. I’ve been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty…you’ve heard that before and you’ll likely hear it again. A recently published study indicates that the average New Yorker receives 17 spam calls and 11 spam texts each week. One of every five people knows someone who has had their identify stolen and the average amount lost to scammers and identity thieves is over $3800. Experts say the most likely to get scammed are people over 65 who tend to be more trusting and not want to be rude to a caller. They recommend if you know someone who might be at risk review with them how to recognize a scam and just hang up. One of the best tips from experts is to just tell the caller you don’t do business over the phone and never give out personal or financial information to someone calling you that you don’t know.

 

The New York Lottery goofed. They report that human error resulted in the incorrect input of winning numbers from the May 10th drawing, which resulted in incorrect publishing of the Mega Ball number. They are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, the Lottery has temporarily suspended prize payments for all Mega Millions tickets and anyone with a ticket from last night’s drawing should hold on to it until the issue is resolved. The correct winning numbers for the May 10, 2022 drawing are: 15-19-20-61-70 and Mega Ball 9

 

The cost of gas keeps rising and Western New York drivers are paying more than ever to fill up their vehicles. According to Triple A this morning, the average price for a gallon of regular fuel has reached a record high of $4.49. That’s up 17 cents in the past week, is 19 cents more than this time last month and is one-dollar 53 cents higher than one year ago. The state average is currently $4.57 a gallon while nationally it’s $4.37. In Batavia, the average price today is $4.53 per gallon, up 13 cents from yesterday and 27 cents from a week ago today.

 

Tom Reed

After serving for nearly 12 years, Western New York Congressman Tom Reed has resigned from office. The Republican, who represented the 23rd District, said yesterday he will now be working with Prime Policy Group, which is a public relations and government relations agency in Washington, DC. Reed had previously said he was going to retire at the end of his current term. A special election will need to be held to fill his seat but there’s no word yet on when that will happen.

 

New York State is making a 35-million-dollar investment to provide direct support to abortion providers in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Governor Hochul said yesterday that 25-million-dollars will go to providers to help them expand capacity and ensure access for all patients who seek abortion care in the Empire State. Also, ten-million dollars in grants will be available to implement security measures at abortion care facilities. Governor Hochul says New York has always been at the forefront of the fight for abortion rights and she won’t let the state go backwards.

 

Owen Power

The Buffalo Sabres are going to have the ninth overall selection in the upcoming NHL Draft. The Sabres have missed the playoffs for 11 consecutive years and finished this season in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with 75 points. Last year, Buffalo had the top overall pick and used it to select defenseman Owen Power. This year’s draft will take place July 7th and 8th at the Bell Centre, which is the home of the Montreal Canadiens.

 

 

Gabriel Iglesias

A comedian who has performed in front of sold-out crowds during his career is making a return to the Erie County Fair this year. Event organizers say Gabriel Iglesias will take the stage on Friday, August 19th at 8:00pm. This will be the second straight year Iglesias is appearing at the fair, which is going to run from August 10th through the 21st in Hamburg. Tickets for the Iglesias show go on sale June 10th and will cost between $40 and $70 each.

Morning News Brief

There is a nationwide shortage of baby formula which is not news to any parents trying to find the right formula for their kids.  Experts say don’t give in to the temptation to do it yourself if you can’t find the can on the shelf.  They say, if you aren’t an expert chemist, you won’t be able to replicate the nutrients needed in the formula for a healthy baby.  Also, most parents lack completely sterile environments so infections are a possibility.  An alternative formula may be available at your pediatrician or at Feedmore Western New York.  And stores may have alternatives that have the same nutrition, Tops Markets director, Susan Durfee said, “We’ve put up signage on alternative formulas they can use. For example, if a certain Enfamil product is not shipping still, what can they use in the Tippy Toes formula, to supplement that, until they can get back to the Enfamil formula so that they are not taking them off of what they’re used to using.”

Congressman Tom Reed  announced his resignation from Congress on the floor of the capitol in Washington DC.  Reed was the representative for the 23rd district which is now without a congressman.  Reed was accused in 2021 of sexual misconduct during a trip to Minnesota in 2017.  He announced then that he would not seek reelection.  Sources say he will be taking a job in the private sector at the Prime Policy Group, Washington, D.C.

Tired of hearing about your cars extended warranty?  You aren’t alone.  A newly published study shows that the average New Yorker gets 17 spam calls and 11 spam texts a week.  1 in 5 people knows someone who has had their identity stolen and the average amount lost to scammers and identity thieves is over 3800 dollars.  Experts say the most likely to get scammed are people over 65 who may be more trusting and not want to be rude to a caller.  They say if you know someone who might be at risk to talk to them and go over when to hang up and how to recognize a scam.  One big tip is just to tell the caller you don’t do business over the phone and never give out personal or financial information to someone calling you that you don’t know.

2 Officers were injured at the Orleans Correctional Facility when an officer ordered 2 inmates out of a bathroom stall and one turned and attacked.  The inmate punched the officer in the face and then continued to hit and scratch the officer while he grappled the inmate to the ground and put him in handcuffs with the help of 2 other guards.  The inmate, who was serving 15 years for burglary and assaulting a police officer in Queens County, was placed in special housing and is awaiting charges.  The officer suffered injuries to the head, neck, shoulder, knee and arms.  He was transported to an outside hospital after being treated in the facility. 

Afternoon News Brief

44 Market Street, Attica

A father and his paraplegic son in Attica are safe today after their home caught fire. According to the Village of Attica Fire Department, an officer spotted the fire yesterday afternoon, and fire crews were sent to the home at 44 Market Street. It was a two-alarm house fire believed to have started on the porch. Several other fire departments had to help assist because the AFD did not have enough manpower at the time of the blaze. Their Chief, Jay Myers noted that that is becoming a serious problem because these days, people don’t volunteer like they used to. Crews were able to get father and son out safely; the only injuries were minor and occurred during rescue. The home is considered a total loss and the investigation into the cause of the fire continues.

Towns in Genesee County have received money to help with water projects. Batavia received $2,200,000 (2.2 million) from the New York State Environmental Facilities Fund to upgrade the Water treatment plant. The county received 1.2 million for pump upgrades. Alexander received 132 thousand for water district construction. Genesee County continues to seek federal and state funding to assist in the implementation of Phase 3 of the Countywide Water Program. Under the Master Plan developed for water, the Phase 3 project further increases regional supply by another 3.1 million gallons per day; and most importantly, replaces a threatened water supply. Phase 3 is currently estimated to cost $132 million.

 

New data from Governor Hochul’s office shows the spread of COVID-19 is continuing to increase in the Finger Lakes. The area’s seven-day-average positivity rate is now sitting at just under 13.4% which is the second highest of any region in New York State. At this point one week ago, the seven-day average positivity rate was 12.9%. Doctors are urging people to get their COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots if they haven’t already. Anyone who has symptoms of the coronavirus is asked to stay home until they get tested.

 

Daniel Ireland

Saturday, May 21st is the big day…when Genesee Community College recognizes their graduates this spring. The 54th Commencement Ceremony will take place at the Richard C. Call Arena. The keynote speaker is Daniel Ireland, GCC Alumnus and President of United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia. The ceremony begins at 1:00.

 

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $35 million will be available to directly support abortion providers…this is in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Governor Hochul directed the Department of Health to create a $25 million Abortion Provider Support Fund for the providers to both expand capacity and ensure access for patients seeking abortion care in New York. The Governor also announced $10 million for reproductive health care centers to access security grants through the Division of Criminal Justice Services to help ensure the safety of the providers performing this care.

 

State Attorney General Letitia James

New York State officials are working to expand access to abortions as the Supreme Court decides the future of Roe v. Wade. Attorney General Letitia James is supporting legislation that would create the Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program to increase access to care for all patients, even those from out of state. James says the program would put funds toward abortion care providers and affiliated non-profits. According to the CDC, 7000 of the abortion procedures performed in New York in 2019 were for people from out of state. That number is expected to more than quadruple if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

 

For the second year in a row, the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans will be going head-to-head on Monday Night Football. The game is scheduled for September 19th and is going to be played at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park. Tennessee came out on top in last year’s contest by a final score of 34 to 31 after the Bills turned the ball over on downs late in the fourth quarter. The complete NFL schedule is expected to be released later this week.

Wegmans and the Buffalo Bills are teaming up to help out people who suffer from food allergies. From now until May 22nd, customers can donate gluten-free, lactose-free and allergen-friendly foods by placing them in collection bins located in the front of Wegmans stores. An official with the supermarket chain says more customers with allergies are looking for products that are safe for them to eat but that many people have a tough time paying for those items because they cost more than regular food. All of the food collected from this campaign will go to FoodLink.

According to the Red Cross, blood donations are down significantly and they are expecting them to drop off further over the summer months. They are asking for people to come out and donate and as an incentive, through May 19th, the Red Cross is offering people a $10 gift card to the merchant of the donor’s choice for each donation. There is also a drawing for a Travel Trailer Camper that sleeps 8. The next blood drive here will be at the First United Methodist Church in Batavia, on Tuesday, May 17th.

 

Morning News Brief

Monday morning the average price of a gallon of gas in Batavia was 4.33.  By mid afternoon it was 4.60.  The reason for the big upwing is that the US government ban on purchasing Russian Oil has just gone into effect at the same time as the EU signaled it’s desire to sanction Russian Oil.  June 1st is when the gas tax relief is supposed to hit at the state level with the Governor promising at least 16 cents off per gallon.  Monroe and Erie Counties have added their local gas tax cut to that so buying gas in either county will have lower prices by at least 12 cents.

Towns in Genesee county have received a bunch of money to help with water projects.  Batavia received 2.2 million dollars from the New York State Environmental Facilities Fund to upgrade the Water treatment plant.  The county received 1.2 million for pump upgrades.  Alexander received 132 thousand for water district construction.  Genesee County continues to seek federal and state funding to assist in the implementation of Phase 3 of the Countywide Water Program. Under the Master Plan developed for water, the Phase 3 project further increases regional supply by another 3.1 million gallons per day but, more importantly, replaces a threatened water supply. Phase 3 is currently estimated to cost $132 million.

Cornell Cooperative Extension has new tools for farmers for the marketing and production of livestock.  The new website, www.ccelivestock.com is built to be a centralized location for all things livestock.  It is organized into themes based on species with information about breeding, nutrition, and marketing.  Administrators want to hear from users to continue growing the site.  They ask for anyone who uses it to drop them a comment at the contact us tool on the site.

A native of Genesee county is now commemorated on a 1 dollar coin minted this year.  Ely Parker is on the 1 dollar Native American coin.  Parker was a US Army Officer, Engineer, and tribal diplomat who served as military secretary to Ulysses S Grant during the Civil War.  He hand delivered the surrender documents to Robert E Lee.  There is an exhibit about Parker at the Holland Land Office Museum.  

The Red Cross says that blood donations are down significantly and they are expecting them to drop off further over the summer months.  They are asking for people to come out and donate before summer gets going and to incentivize people they are offering a 10 dollar gift card to the merchant of the donors choice for each donation.  This goes through May 19th.  There is also a drawing for a Travel Trailer Camper that sleeps 8.  The next blood drive in Genesee county will be at the First United Methodist Church in Batavia on the 17th.

 

Afternoon News Brief

Christopher Say

A Genesee County Grand Jury has indicted Christopher Say, of Stafford, following a standoff there. Say is accused of assault in the 2nd degree, a class D felony, after causing injury to a person with a metal knuckle knife…this occurred back on December 26, 2021. Say is also charged with criminal possession of a weapon, and attempted arson, after starting a fire or causing an explosion, subsequently damaging property of another in an amount exceeding $1500. Additionally, he threatened several New York State Troopers, Deputies and Stafford Fire Department members with deadly violence by means of an explosive, resulting in an accusation of making terroristic threats. Previously, Say was convicted of the crime of menacing in November 2012 in Batavia City Court.

 

A barn on North Byron Road that had already been partly demolished caught fire yesterday afternoon following a controlled burn. This, according to Byron Fire Chief Bob Mruczek. The homeowner had started to burn a brush pile. However, because of strong winds, it quickly got out of hand and caught the barn on fire. Mruczek noted that the barn was in the process of being torn down and was already being demolished. There were no injuries, it’s unknown at this time if there was anything of value in the barn. The Department of Environmental Conservation and Byron Fire Department are investigating.

 

A single vehicle, a Dodge pickup truck, driven by a 64-year-old Town of Batavia man, was traveling on West Main Street Saturday afternoon, when it appears the male operator and sole occupant of the vehicle suffered a medical emergency causing him to lose control of the vehicle. The vehicle crossed over all lanes of traffic and left the roadway onto the property of 390 West Main Street, where it struck a fence, coming to rest in a ditch on the property. City Fire, along with Mercy EMS, attempted life-saving measures, however, the operator was pronounced deceased at the scene by the coroner. There were no other vehicles involved. The accident is still under investigation. An autopsy will be performed at the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the cause of death.

 

Two people from Georgia were found with loaded handguns during traffic stop in Warsaw. Wyoming County Sheriffs saw the suspect vehicle on Route 20A with no rear license plate and pulled them over. The operator of the vehicle was identified as 39-year-old Renaco Drake and his passenger was 30-year-old Tajia White, both of Stratham, Georgia. After interviewing Drake, police conducted a search of the vehicle and found two, loaded 9mm handguns, which were both found to be possessed illegally. Both Drake and White were charged with criminal possession of a loaded firearm, with Drake also receiving a traffic ticket for no rear license plate. Both subjects were arraigned in the Town of Perry Court. Drake was remanded to the Wyoming County Jail; both driver and passenger are scheduled to appear in the Town of Warsaw court next Monday.

 

Governor Hochul says she’ll be isolating and working remotely this week after testing positive for the coronavirus. The governor revealed her diagnosis yesterday, saying that she’s vaccinated and boosted and currently asymptomatic. Hochul was supposed to travel to Washington, DC yesterday but that trip was canceled. The governor is reminding every New Yorker about the importance of protecting themselves against the illness at a time when cases of the coronavirus have been increasing across the Empire State.

 

Western New York drivers are really feeling the pain at the pump these days following another big spike in gas prices. According to Triple A this morning, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas is now $4.42. That’s up 11 cents in just the past week and is a dime more than this time one month ago. The state average is $4.51 a gallon while nationally it’s $4.38. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.34; the same as it was yesterday but also up 11 cents since a week ago. One year ago, the average price per gallon here was $2.95. Also, once again according to AAA, the cost for a gallon of diesel gas has soared to an all-time high. On Friday, the average price nationally was $5.51 a gallon, up from $3.10 a year ago. In New York State, the average price was at $6.31 on Friday, up from $3.14 a year ago. By the way, New York has the second-highest diesel price in the country, behind only California at $6.50. As would be expected, the high diesel fuel prices impact businesses that need to transport goods and those that have commercial vehicles.

 

The number of lab-confirmed flu cases in the GLOW region for the current season has surpassed 600 as of the end of April; this is according to the state Department of Health. Flu season begins in October and continues through the first week of May. In a typical season, cases tend to spike during the winter – Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties typically see cases peak between late December and February – then trend down through the spring. Well, this season, it’s been the opposite; the number of flu cases has been rising, with the majority of cases coming since early March. There were 604 confirmed flu cases in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties as of the week ending April 30. Flu is a viral infection that attacks the respiratory system. It may seem like a common cold, with a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat, but while colds usually develop slowly, the flu tends to come on suddenly. People at higher risk of developing flu complications include young children, pregnant women and those two weeks postpartum, those over 65, those with weakened immune systems and some chronic illnesses, and those who are obese. Health officials remind us it is never too late to get a flu shot. Also according to the State Department of Health, on a positive note, case rates and hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to decline across the GLOW counties. Our region has seen a general decline in COVID cases during the past two weeks after seeing rates and hospitalizations climbing during April.

 

Mercy Flight has resumed operations in the region following a tragic accident last month that left two people dead. On April 26th, James Sauer and Stewart Dietrick lost their lives when their helicopter went down during a training mission in the Town of Elba, which is in Genesee County. Mercy Flight’s president says that while a piece of the company’s collective heart has changed forever, it’s still the agency’s duty to provide help to people who need it during emergencies. The cause of the crash that killed Sauer and Dietrick is being looked into by the NTSB and FAA.

 

State Police have released the name of the Buffalo man who died in a wrong-way collision on the Thruway. On Saturday, Troopers saw a vehicle driven by 44-year-old Benjamin Wence going westbound in the eastbound lane in Hamburg and tried to pull it over, but Wence refused to stop. The pursuit continued for a few miles before Wence’s hit a tractor-trailer head-on in Evans. Wence passed away due to his injuries and the tractor-trailer driver wasn’t seriously hurt.

 

Senator Gillibrand

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says women will be “half citizens” if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union yesterday, the New York Democrat called this moment in American politics the biggest fight of a generation. She went on to say she’s very concerned that these justices have crossed a line no one believed would be crossed. Gillibrand also called for the removal of the Senate filibuster ahead of a vote to codify Roe v. Wade.

Morning News Brief

Governor Hochul has tested positive for Covid 19.  At this time she says she has few to no symptoms and credits being vaccinated and boosted with her health.  Because of her diagnosis she had to cancel a trip to Washington DC that was scheduled for Sunday and Monday.  No word on where she may have been exposed.  She encourages New Yorkers to test regularly and make sure they are up to date with their COVID vaccinations.  

Attorney General Letitia James is calling for the State to enact a constitutional amendment enshrining abortions as a right in New York State.  The move comes on the heels of a leaked Supreme Court document showing the justices may be on the verge of overturning Roe v. Wade.  James said “As we’ve seen this week, the right to safe, accessible abortions can be taken away in the blink of an eye.”  Critics were quick to point out that, should Roe V Wade be stuck down, no state laws would be forced to change and abortion would still be legal in states that allowed it.  New York has put in place a law, the reproductive health act which was enacted in 2019, that codifies abortions can be performed in NY up to the time of birth. 

The 64 year old driver of a car was killed when the man apparently suffered a medical emergency and crashed into a property at 390 West Main Street in Batavia Saturday Afternoon.  Police said the vehicle was traveling west on West Main Street when it appears the man driving, who was the only person in the vehicle, suffered a medical emergency causing him to lose control of the vehicle. The vehicle left the roadway where it struck a fence and came to a rest in a ditch.  According to police, City Fire and Mercy EMS attempted life saving measures but the man was pronounced dead at the scene. No other vehicles were involved and the crash remains under investigation.  The Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Leroy Ambulance held a scrap metal drive on Saturday starting at 9AM.  By 10 they had already filled 5 dumpsters and had more on the way.  They partnered with Scofield Transfer and Recycling.  The Ambulance company is raising money to buy a new ambulance and raise operational funds.   A new ambulance can cost as much as 100 thousand dollars.  

Weekend News Brief

After a self imposed 2 week period of mourning the Western New York Air Ambulance service of Mercy Flight is resuming their operations.  Mercy Flight President, Margaret Ferrentino, states, “We continue to grieve and to mourn the terrible loss we experienced April 26th. A piece of Mercy Flight’s collective heart has been forever changed, but we know that our patients still need us.”  The Canandaigua based air team has been operating out of Buffalo for the past 2 weeks to cover for the western NY team.  Maintenance inspectors have gone over the two helicopters of Western NY Mercy Flight and indicated they are fully functional and ready to resume duties.

Governor Hochul announced the signing of legislation to provide addiction and mental health service training to First Responders.  She said Friday that “The pandemic has only made things harder for New Yorkers, and it is critical that our first responders and emergency services personnel have the proper training, tools and resources to help keep our streets and subways safe.”  According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, drug overdoses and suicides have overtaken traffic accidents as the two leading causes of death among Americans ages 25 to 44.  The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention also states that suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in New York. In 2020, for every 100,000 New Yorkers, approximately eight people lost their life to suicide; it is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 34 years old; and for individuals between the ages of 35 and 54, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death.  Also, in 2020, Congress enacted the National Suicide Prevention Hotline Improvement Act, which established 9-8-8 as the universal dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline which will go into effect in July this year. 

According to the Associated Press A New York Court has halted the use of DNA from close family members being used to investigate crimes.  This tool has lead to solving cold cases and putting murderers and other criminals behind bars and also exonerating some who were wrongly accused.  The technique involves testing the DNA against that which is already on file to see if it is a close match to any who might be family members.  The Court said that the state had never actually approved the use of DNA and would have to before they reinstate the ability.  A panel of judges on a mid-level appeals court made the ruling Thursday, citing concerns about government separation of powers. The state agency that authorized the technique is reviewing the decision to determine its next steps.

The Lilac festival started Friday and will go for this weekend and the next 2.  Mark Quinn, Monroe County’s head horticulturalist, says the lilacs are right on time, even if they are just beginning to bloom. And according to his 2022 Lilac Bloom report, we could see the lilacs reach their peak bloom ahead of a beautiful weekend.  The question was asked by 13WHAM, how do you pronounce the sweet smelling flowering bush’s name?  In an online poll 76 percent of respondents said li-loc, and 24 percent said li-lac.  However you pronounce them, these weekends are the time to head to Rochester’s highland park and smell them.

Afternoon News Brief

In Batavia and around New York state, gaming providers say they’re making an effort to address the issue of gambling addiction. A discussion group at Batavia Downs yesterday focused on just that – responsible gaming. The New York State Gaming Commission Executive Director Robert Williams, presented signs featuring the industry’s first-ever Quick Response (QR) Code to connect problem gamblers with trained counselors where they live. Once scanned, the QR Code automatically links users to the Council on Problem Gambling’s website (www.nyproblemgamblinghelp.org), which then provides access to a network of Regional Problem Gambling Resource centers supported by the state. Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS). Any promotional mailings for games of chance will encourage people to play responsibly. There is also a phone number to call for free, confidential assistance with both substance abuse and problem gambling: The HOPEline number is 1-877-8467369.

 

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors has accepted an initial resolution for La Fermière’s proposed $25 million project to construct a 50,000 square foot yogurt manufacturing facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. The proposed project adds to Batavia’s Dairy Hub of the Northeast, which supports over 900 direct jobs, over $500 million of capital investment, and over 1 million square feet of dairy processing facilities. La Fermière has pledged to create up to 68 jobs over the first 3 years of operations in Genesee County. Founded in France, the company has been active in US markets since 2018.

 

Nearly 80 percent of voters approved the requested tax levy for the 2022-23 Richmond Memorial Library budget. A tax levy increase of nearly $22,000 ($21,865) — the first such increase in three years — fell under the allowable tax cap at a 1.6 percent increase. Yesterday, voters approved the proposition for the Batavia Board of Education to increase the annual appropriation from $1,359,604 to $1,381,469 to benefit the library. Rebecca McGee, who ran unopposed, was elected to a second term on the board of trustees. The school budget vote will be from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17 at one of two sites, depending on what side of the city you reside. For more information, go to: bataviacsd.org

 

A traffic alert to remind you of…Traffic delays will be experienced next week from Monday through Thursday, from 7am until 6pm…Workers will be resurfacing Walnut Street (Rt 98), Law Street, and Chestnut Street (from the City Line to the Traffic Circle to Jackson Street). While work is being performed in this area, the roadway will be reduced to a single lane for all through traffic. Local traffic will be permitted to and from their property but residents should plan accordingly for delays. All residents/businesses within the work area are asked not to park on the roadway during the operation. This is weather dependent work; if work is postponed it shall progress the next workday. Please contact the Bureau of Maintenance at 585-345-6400 Option 1 if there are any questions.

 

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) introduced legislation aimed at blocking the development of industrial scale wind farms in the Great Lakes. Jacobs’ legislation would deny the ability for developers to receive federal tax credits to build offshore wind farms in the Great Lakes. Due to the massive capital needed for these projects, without federal tax credits, developing these projects would prove difficult. He noted that the Great Lakes are a regional economic resource and also provides fresh drinking water to millions of people. This legislation is in direct conflict with Governor Hochul’s budget allocation of $500 million for offshore turbine development.

 

Governor Hochul is anticipating women will come from out of state to get abortion care should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade. Hochul says the state will need federal help financially if the state is a safe harbor place for abortions. Hochul added that abortion is on the ballot and believes this issue will energize the Democratic base for the upcoming midterm elections in November. New York requires insurance companies to cover abortions.

 

Efforts to prevent the USS The Sullivans from sinking appear to be working and hopes are increasing that the historic vessel can be saved. Officials say crews have spent time plugging dozens of holes and removing hundreds of thousands of gallons of water that spilled into the vessel following a massive hull breach last month. The repairs are temporary and permanent fixes will be needed in the future. The Naval Park, where the boat is located, is planning to be back open again for Memorial Day. But, guests will not be allowed inside the Sullivans.

 

People are already gathering at Highland Park in Rochester for the start of the 2022 Lilac Festival. The free event will goes until 8:30 this evening, and is open from 10:30am to 8:30pm tomorrow and also Sunday. It’ll feature food, vendors, art, live music and of course a close-up look at the city’s lilac gardens. The festival is also taking place this year from May 12th through the 15th, and May 19th through the 22nd. More information can be found online a rochesterevents.com.

 

Reylu Gutierrez

The Kentucky Derby is tomorrow, and a jockey from Ontario County is going to be riding in the iconic event. Reylu Gutierrez of Victor will be onboard Barber Road and it’ll be only his second time competing in a Triple Crown race. Gutierrez began his career at Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack and has won 441 races since 2017. Post time for the 148th Kentucky Derby is set for 6:57pm tomorrow.

 

Students who attend Elmwood Franklin School in Buffalo won’t be spending any time in their classrooms today. The school will remain closed due to a growing number of COVID-19 cases. Head of School Doctor Ryan Kimmet says over two dozen teachers and staff members are either isolating due to coronavirus, out sick with symptoms or in Washington, DC on a class trip. Kimmet says as a result, the school has a staffing shortage that can’t safely be covered. There will be no distance learning offered today so everyone who is sick can focus on their recovery.

Morning News Brief

Officials announced Thursday that the refloating and recovery efforts at the USS the Sullivans have moved from the emergency to maintenance phase.  More than 50 holes were plugged and 585,000 gallons of water were removed from the vessel. Additionally nearly 10,000 gallons of oil and water mix was removed.  All of the repairs that have been made are temporary and more permanent repairs will have to be made in the future and assessments are still continuing.  The Naval Park is working on a plan to re-open for Memorial Day weekend, although officials say that guests will not be able to go inside of The Sullivans.  All options on saving the vessel are currently being explored including sending to Erie for dry docking.

An 18-year-old man from the Bronx is facing felony charges after deputies say he led them on a high-speed pursuit through Livingston County.  Sheriff’s deputies say Redi Muca fled from officers trying to pull him over for a traffic violation in Mount Morris last week.  He’s accused of running two other drivers off the road during the chase, which spanned several towns.  Deputies say they stopped the pursuit when Muca reached speeds of 120 miles an hour.  Deputies say was caught after a woman in Leicester called 911 after spotting the suspect’s vehicle drive through her yard.

The Lilac Festival starts today at Highland Park in Rochester.  There will be over 85 live musical sets.  A parade will run Saturday morning from South ave to Highland Ave.  The organizers want to remind visitors that no unsupervised youth 16 and under are allowed.  The festival will run three weekends, Friday through Sunday ending on May 22nd.   

The Batavia High School Auditorium will be getting a new name to honor former Batavia High music director Frank Owen.  Owen was the music director from 1927 to 1964.  He was recognized with a Musicians of Note award in 2019.  There is a scholarship in his name available to seniors pursuing a degree in music.  During his time at the school he formed a girls and boys glee club, bands, an orchestra, a drumline, directed musical theater shows and inspired many musicians.

The Genesee Orleans Council of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse has named a new assistant director of prevention in Sheila Harding.  Harding was employed as a Child Protective Services caseworker at Genesee County Department of Social Services for 12 years prior to working at GCASA. She has a bachelor’s degree in Health Science from Brockport State College.  Harding oversees seven prevention educators who present evidence-based programming in five Genesee County schools – Batavia, Le Roy, Byron-Bergen, Oakfield-Alabama, Notre Dame and Genesee Valley BOCES – and two Orleans County schools – Medina and Albion.  An Oakfield resident, Harding and her husband, Tyler Harding, have two daughters – Kayla, a junior, and Paige, a freshman, at Oakfield-Alabama Central School.

The Batavia Players begin their presentation of Back on the Boards Again:  A Tribute to Stephen Sondheim tonight at the Batavia City Centre.  The show starts at 7:30pm and runs tonight and Saturday.  There is a matinee performance on Sunday at 2pm.  Tickets are 15 dollars and can be bought at showtix4u.com. 

Batavia Downs Team Up with NYS Promote Responsible Gaming

The New York State Gaming Commission, New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) and New York Council on Problem Gambling, which together comprise New York’s Responsible Play Partnership (RPP), today came together with executive management at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel to discuss steps being taken to address problem gambling.

Gaming Commission Executive Director Robert Williams debuted signage featuring the industry’s first-ever Quick Response (QR) Code to connect problem gamblers with trained problem gambling clinicians where they live, in real time.

Executive Director Williams said, “As the gaming arena continues to expand across New York State, the Commission and our partners are committed to making gaming safe and responsible for all. We are united in working together to make sure that individuals who need help have access to the necessary tools and resources in a timely manner.”

Once scanned, the QR Code automatically links users to the Council on Problem Gambling’s website which provides access to a network of Regional Problem Gambling Resource Centers supported by OASAS. The QR Code is available on advertising and promotional materials issued by the Gaming Commission and its licensees. Applications include New York Lottery scratch-off tickets, promotional screens at nearly 15,000 Lottery retail outlets statewide, mobile sports wagering promotional mailings, complementary messaging on all 18+ age verification signage posted at horse racing tracks, and digital signage found on the gaming floor at video lottery gaming facilities and commercial casinos.

OASAS Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham said, “When an individual makes the decision to get help for gambling problems, it is essential that a treatment connection is made quickly. The QR code is an innovative approach to connecting individuals to specially trained outpatient and inpatient treatment programs and private practitioners, throughout the state. OASAS is pleased to be a member of the Responsible Play Partnership, as we work to ensure that all New Yorkers who gamble do it responsibly, and know where to get help if they need it.”

Since its launch in January, the QR code has logged more than 3,000 total scans and more than 900 unique scans.
The RPP continues to explore ways to harness technology to bring immediate and lasting help to those who need it.

Council Executive Director Maney shared, “In the 10th year of the RPP’s unprecedented collaboration, it is fitting that we focus on raising awareness of safety measures to protect NYers and celebrate the advancements we’ve made in connecting those in need to care. We look forward to next steps in the evolution of problem gambling prevention in NYS.”

The Council maintains a network of regional Problem Gambling Resource Centers, including the Western PGRC  to provide services that raise awareness of the risks of problem gambling and advocate for those in need.

Afternoon News Brief

Felipe Oltramari

Genesee County now has preliminary data from a statewide survey that will assist in searching for grants to help get broadband on roads or other areas that don’t have broadband service right now. Nearly 1,300 Genesee County residents participated in the survey, which ended in mid-March. The county announced Tuesday that the survey was closed. County Planning Department Director Felipe Oltramari noted that service providers consider return on investment in broadband coverage, which is a contributing factor to the lack of coverage on roads where there aren’t many customers. Oltramari added that the County has requests for proposals out to vendors, to help close the gaps in areas that are not being served.

 

The New York State Gaming Commission, New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) and New York Council on Problem Gambling, which together comprise New York’s Responsible Play Partnership (RPP), today came together with executive management at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel to discuss steps being taken to address problem gambling. Gaming Commission Executive Director Robert Williams discussed signs featuring the industry’s first-ever Quick Response (QR) Code to connect problem gamblers with trained problem gambling counselors where they live, in real time. Once scanned, the QR Code automatically links users to the Council on Problem Gambling’s website (www.nyproblemgamblinghelp.org), which provides access to a network of Regional Problem Gambling Resource Centers supported by OASAS. The QR Code is available on advertising and promotional materials issued by the Gaming Commission and its licensees. Uses include New York Lottery scratch-off tickets, promotional screens at nearly 15,000 Lottery retail outlets statewide, mobile sports wagering promotional mailings, complementary messaging on all 18+ age verification signage posted at horse racing tracks, and digital signage found on the gaming floor at video lottery gaming facilities and commercial casinos.

 

Orleans County has passed a milestone in the two-plus years of the pandemic: 10,000 Covid-19 cases. The county had 197 new confirmed cases in the past week (April 27 through May 3) and now has had 10,077 confirmed cases since March 2020, according to the most recently published data from the Genesee & Orleans County Health Departments. The two counties also hit a grim milestone with 300 deaths from Covid. Genesee and Orleans each reported a Covid-related death in the past week. The number of new cases has continued to increase every week since mid-March.

 

Governor Hochul has signed a new piece of legislation that prevents colleges from withholding transcripts from students because of unpaid debts. The bill also means schools can’t charge individuals who owe debts a higher fee to receive their transcript. The governor says transcripts are a critical tool for students who want to continue following their academic and career goals. She also says preventing people from getting them because of outstanding debts is an unfair and predatory practice.

 

State Attorney General Letitia James is calling on President Biden to fully cancel federal student loan debt. James and other attorneys general have sent Biden a letter, saying that immediate relief is needed for people struggling to make their payments. While James says she does commend the president’s consideration of forgiving 10-thousand dollars per borrower, she believes more decisive action is needed. Right now, student borrowers owe over $1.7 trillion dollars to the federal government.

 

Halley’s Comet won’t visit the inner solar system until 2061, but you can still catch the meteor shower it produced, the Eta Aquarids this week. The second and final meteor shower of spring is about to peak, and it will present a unique opportunity to enjoy a well-known comet that is billions of miles away from Earth. Most meteor showers are created when the Earth plows through a field of debris left behind by comets orbiting the sun. Most of the debris is small, generally the size of a small pebble or grain of sand, but when it hits Earth’s atmosphere, it burns up and emits a bright flash of light – in other words, a ‘shooting star’. The Eta Aquarid meteor shower will peak in the early hours Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7; and according to the American Meteor Society, on a clear morning, you may count between 10 and 30 meteors per hour between 3 and 5am.

 

The 124th Lilac Festival in Rochester takes place on three consecutive weekends, starting tomorrow, May 6th through 8th, May 12th through 15th, and May 19th through the 22nd from 10:30am until 8:30pm each day. Visitors can expect to see food, exhibits, a kid’s zone and even a new health and wellness experience. More information can be found online at rochesterevents.com

 

Nasir Jones (“Nas”)

A Grammy Award winning rapper and hip-hop artist will be coming to Buffalo this Summer. Nas will be taking the stage as part of the Outer Harbor Concert Series on Saturday, July 23rd. Tickets for the performance went on sale this morning for Seneca Gaming club members and the general public can purchase them tomorrow at buffalowaterfront.com/concerts. They’ll range in price from $27.50 to $125.00 each.

 

33-year-old Jolene Stevens of Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. Stevens was arraigned in City Court and released on her own recognizance. Stevens also charged with trespass at the Red Roof Inn in the Town of Batavia at 9:26 a.m. on April 30. She was released on an appearance ticket. 27-year-old Feyza G. Osmancikli of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Osmancikli is accused of stealing merchandise from a business on Ellicott Street at 6:47 p.m. April 21. She was released on an appearance ticket. 44-year-old Lazeuia D. Washington of Batavia, is charged with trespass and harassment in the second degree. Washington is accused of trespassing at a business on West Main Street, Batavia, and engaging in an altercation at 9:28 p.m. April 24. He was issued an appearance ticket.

 

35-year-old Joshua Leneir Webster of West Main Street, Le Roy, is charged with four counts of criminal contempt in the second degree. Webster was arrested on a warrant by Le Roy Police. Webster was arranged in Le Roy Town Court and released under supervision. Webster is also charged with criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, 2nd degree menacing, criminal contempt in the 1st degree and strangulation 2nd. The charges stem from an incident reported at 12:06 p.m. on May 1.

 

Morning News Brief

New York Attorney General Letitia James has publicly disclosed that she had an abortion almost two decades ago as part of her speech defending abortion at an abortion rights rally Tuesday.  She said that she chose to do so when she was a newly elected New York City Council member. She said she makes “no apologies” for her decision.  The 63-year-old James won a City Council race in 2003 to begin her political career.  As attorney general since 2018, she has proposed a state fund to help out-of-state women who can’t get abortions to travel and get the procedure done in New York.  

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that $11 million in funding from the recently enacted state budget is now available and will be used to expand the Healthy Families New York Program to every county in the state.  The program focuses on preventative community outreach by providing voluntary home visitation to expectant parents and families with infants.  The program is run by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services and promotes prenatal care, better birth outcomes, and positive growth and development to improve parent-child bonding, maternal health, child health, and school success, according to the governor.  Hochul says a request for proposals is out for $9 million to expand the program to every county in the state and the additional $2 million will sustain the technical assistance, training, and data system required to support the expanding program.

Two Pennsylvania men, one accused of murder, were arrested last month after a traffic stop in the Town of Perry.  The Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office says while officers were patrolling St. Rt. 20A in Perry, they stopped a vehicle for multiple traffic violations on April 21st.  25 year old Lonelle Fogan, of Philadelphia, was found allegedly driving with a suspended New York State license and in possession of a controlled substance.  Fogan was charged with driver’s view obstructed, unregistered motor vehicle, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 7th, and Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the 3rd degree.  It was later determined that the passenger, 28 year old Richard Smith of Philadelphia, who was identifying himself as Raevon Fogan to deputies, was wanted in connection to a double homicide in Colwyn, Pennsylvania, dating back to August 2017.  Smith is being held in the Wyoming County Jail without bail, pending extradition to Pennsylvania.

6 pm tonight is when residents of Batavia can meet the candidates for School Board at the Board of Education meeting held in the Superintendents Conference Room at Batavia High School.  John Marucci, Board VP who has 2 kids in high school and 2 who graduated and US Army veteran and father of 3 Chezeray Rolle are up for reelection.  Korinne Anderson who graduated from LeRoy and has been volunteering in elementary and middle school programs while her 3 children have been in school in Batavia is looking to join the board as a new member.  The meeting is also an opportunity to go over the School budget.

Afternoon News Brief

After a month-long investigation, two Rochester residents have been charged after being linked to a statewide series of thefts from Walmart. It began when an Asset Protection employee contacted Wyoming County Sheriffs, reporting that a male and female entered the store with fraudulent receipts, which they used to steal and then return merchandise for cash. The stolen items added up to more than $3600. Deputies charged 38-year-old Rodqrick McGowan on Sunday, as he attempted to return a stolen item at the Warsaw Walmart. Police then discovered a blank roll of Wal-Mart receipt paper, a paper cutter and a powered-up copier/printer in their rental car. McGowan also failed a sobriety test due to smoking cannabis while driving. Many charges were filed against him, including 3rd degree grand larceny; he was committed to Wyoming County Jail without bail due to previous felony convictions in many states. The woman that had been with him, 38-year-old LaShaunda Baker stopped by the Sherriff’s Office to ask about McGowan and was also arrested. Both will be appearing in court at a later date to answer the charges. The investigation continues and more charges are pending.

 

A traffic alert for you…Traffic delays will be experienced next week, from Monday through Thursday, May 12th, from 7am until 6pm…Workers will be resurfacing Walnut Street, Law Street, and Chestnut Street (from the City Line to the Traffic Circle to Jackson Street). While work is being performed in this area, the roadway will be reduced to a single lane for all through traffic. Local traffic will be permitted to and from their residence but should plan accordingly for delays. All residents and businesses within the work area are asked not to park on the roadway during the operation. This is weather dependent work; if work is postponed it shall progress the next workday. Please contact the Bureau of Maintenance at 585-345-6400 Option 1 if there are any questions.

 

Antonio Delgado

Governor Hochul has announced her choice to serve as the state’s next Lieutenant Governor. The governor picked Congressman Antonio Delgado to fill the position that was left open last month when Brian Benjamin resigned after being indicted on bribery and fraud-related charges. The governor says Delgado will likely move into his new role within the next month. A special election will need to be scheduled to fill Delgado’s seat once he leaves office.

 

State Attorney General Letitia James announced this morning that a multi-state investigation has found that Intuit engaged in several deceptive and unfair trade practices that limited consumers’ participation in the IRS Free File Program. The company used confusingly similar names for both its IRS Free File product and its commercial “freemium” product. Intuit also purposefully blocked its IRS Free File landing page from search engine results during the 2019 tax filing season, effectively shutting out eligible taxpayers from filing their taxes for free. Additionally, TurboTax’s website included a “Products and Pricing” page that stated it would “recommend the right tax solution,” but never displayed or recommended the IRS Free File program. As a result, Intuit will now pay $141 million in restitution, of which roughly $2.5 million will be used for administrative fund costs.

Under the agreement, Intuit will provide restitution to nearly 4.4 million consumers who started using TurboTax’s Free Edition for tax years 2016 through 2018 and were told that they had to pay to file even though they were eligible to file for free. using the IRS Free File program offered through TurboTax. Consumers are expected to receive a direct payment of approximately $30 for each year that they were deceived into paying for filing services. Impacted consumers will automatically receive notices and a check by mail.

Intuit will provide restitution to nearly 4.4 million consumers who started using TurboTax’s Free Edition for tax years 2016 through 2018 and were told that they had to pay to file even though they were eligible to file for free using the IRS Free File program offered through TurboTax. Consumers are expected to receive a direct payment of approximately $30 for each year that they were deceived into paying for filing services. Impacted consumers will automatically receive notices and a check by mail.
Intuit has also agreed to reform its business practices, including:
• Refraining from making misrepresentations in connection with promoting or offering any online tax preparation products;
• Enhancing disclosures in its advertising and marketing of free products;
• Designing its products to better inform users whether they will be eligible to file their taxes for free; and
• Refraining from requiring consumers to start their tax filing over if they exit one of Intuit’s paid products to use a free product instead.
Intuit withdrew from the IRS Free File program in July 2021.

 

A plan to remove a 3500 pound steel pontoon that’s near the brink of the American side of Niagara Falls will finally be put into effect today. The pontoon was one of several that broke off an ice boom in Lake Erie during a windstorm over three years ago. The pontoon will be lifted out of the water by a helicopter this afternoon. While the pontoon doesn’t pose a safety hazard, officials want to remove it so doesn’t cause any damage.

 

The start of summer is just a few weeks away, and organizers of the Taste of Buffalo festival have announced when it’ll be taking place this year. The event is scheduled for July 9th and 10th and will stretch down Delaware Avenue from Chippewa Street into Niagara Square. Admission will be free and both food and beverage tickets are going to be made available for purchase. A list of participating restaurants will be revealed soon and more details about the festival can be found online: https://www.tasteofbuffalo.com/

 

The State Department of Motor Vehicles is urging all New Yorkers to get a REAL ID before the upcoming federal deadline. Starting May 3rd, 2023, a REAL ID, Enhanced ID or passport will be required for anyone who wants to board a domestic flight. People whose license or ID is up for renewal now can get a REAL ID at no additional cost to the renewal fee, and those seeking to upgrade now when not up for renewal pay an extra $12.50.

 

Even though the Buffalo Sabres missed the playoffs for an 11th straight year, the team’s general manager and head coach are confident the franchise is heading in the right direction. Yesterday, Kevyn Adams and Don Granato held their end-of-the-season news conference and said a strong end to the year has them feeling optimistic. Granato says that everyone in the Sabres organization is on a mission to make fans proud. Buffalo finished this season in 5th place in the Atlantic Division with 75 points.

Morning News Brief

Governor Hochul has announced her pick for the new Lt Governor, Representative Antonio Delgado.  Delgado is known for fundraising and traveling his district.  He worked for a NYC law firm before entering politics in 2018.  Delgado’s congressional district runs from the eastern part of the Capital Region south into the Hudson Valley. He lives in Rhinebeck with his wife and children.  Lt Governor Brian Benjamin resigned last month after being charged with corruption.

A group of democrats have sued for the federal courts to reinstate the democrat drawn voting map that was thrown out by the state supreme court last week.  They argue that even if the maps were drawn to favor Democrats, it is too late to draft new maps and that the judge who ordered the primaries delayed didn’t have the authority to do so.  Republicans say the lawsuit is a desperate attempt by Democrats “to preserve their unconstitutional gerrymander.”

The groundbreaking for the new Ellicott Station Apartment complex took place Tuesday.  Genesee County and Batavia leaders threw some dirt to ceremonially start the construction.  The new 55 unit apartment building  is to be built on 3.3 acres of land and investor Sam Savarino believes that Batavia is a more affordable area in this higher cost housing market.  The project is part of Batavia’s Downtown Revitalization initiative and is located within a state-designated Brownfield Opportunity Area, which requires abatements and remediation from prior use of toxic materials on the property.

Federal investigators in Rochester have charged a post office manager in Greece and Grace Lopez, a worker in Henrietta with using their positions to run a drug operation.  Ralph Minni is station manager at the Latta Road post office.  Investigators installed cameras in the homes and workplaces of both.  Minni was apparently receiving drug shipments from California and Lopez and other USPS workers would help distribute the drugs.  A spokesperson for the United States Postal Service says the agency is aware of the investigation. Both Minni and Lopez are still on the postal service payroll as of Tuesday afternoon. The spokesman said Minni is no longer engaging with the mail.  Minni is in custody and Lopez was released pending her next court appearance.

Mercy Flight is having a problem.  They can’t hire enough qualified people to meet the needs of the community.  Executive VP and Treasurer Scot Wooton says that Recruitment and retention continue to be the biggest challenge for Mercy Flight Inc., especially in its ground operations in Genesee County, Mercy EMS.  He also says that less people are going into Emergency services as a career, possibly because they don’t want to be exposed to people who might have COVID.  Mercy Flight attempts to remain competitive with benefits and a 5.9 percent pay raise across the board.  For Mercy EMS, there were more than 10,000 calls for service resulting in more than 7,000 patient contacts. Those contacts included both transports and lift assists.  Currently Western NY Flights are suspended following the accident last week.

Afternoon News Brief

Richard Smith (“Raevon Fogan”)

Wyoming County sheriff’s deputies have caught a man wanted for a 2017 double murder in Pennsylvania. It began during a traffic stop on April 21st, when a vehicle was pulled over for multiple traffic violations. The driver, 25-year-old Lonelle Fogan of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was found to be driving with a suspended New York drivers license. He was also allegedly found to possess drugs. A rear seat passenger identified himself as “Raevon Fogan” of Philadelphia. He did have a valid Pennsylvania license, but Raevon Fogan was a known alias of Richard Smith, for whom a warrant had been issued. “Raevon Fogan” was taken to Wyoming County Jail, where more interviews revealed he was indeed Smith. The warrants were in connection with an August 2017 double homicide in Colwyn, Pa. in which two males ages 16 and 20 were killed. A 15-year-old male was also injured in the incident. Smith was arraigned in Warsaw Town Court as a fugitive from justice. He was committed to Wyoming County Jail pending extradition.

 

 

Two individuals face multiple charges following a month long investigation into organized retail theft from Wal-Mart Stores. An Asset Protection Associate at Warsaw Wal-Mart contacted the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office late in March. He reported multiple incidents where a male and female had entered the store, produced fraudulent receipts, and utilized the receipts to both steal merchandise and then to return stolen merchandise. The total amount of merchandise stolen by the suspects was over $3600 ($3,680.76). Through investigation, Wyoming County Deputies were able to identify the suspects as Rodqrick McGowan and LaShaunda Baker. Deputies, with the assistance of Asset Protection, also tied both suspects to thefts spanning across the State of New York. The investigation continues. Both individuals have been charged with felonies and will be back in court to answer the charges over the next couple of months.

 

A traffic alert for you…Traffic delays will be experienced from Monday, May 9th through Thursday, May 12th, from 7am until 6pm…Workers will be resurfacing Walnut Street (Rt 98), Law Street, and Chestnut Street (from the City Line to the Traffic Circle to Jackson Street). While work is being performed in this area, the roadway will be reduced to a single lane for all through traffic. Local traffic will be permitted to and from their residence/property but should plan accordingly for delays. All residents/businesses within the work area are asked not to park on the roadway during the operation. This is weather dependent work; if work is postponed it shall progress the next workday. Please contact the Bureau of Maintenance at 585-345-6400 Option 1 if there are any questions.

 

Money is being made available to help New Yorkers who meet income-eligibility requirements stay cool this summer. Officials have announced expanded eligibility for $15,000,000 in cooling assistance through the state to help low-income residents who don’t have air-conditioning units. The expansion is expected to help thousands of people statewide, and eligibility criteria will vary by house size. The program covers the cost of an AC unit and installation for all New Yorkers who qualify and applications are already being accepted.

 

Antonio Delgado

Governor Hochul has signed off on a bill that allows candidates who are charged with a crime to be removed from the ballot. The legislature passed the measure yesterday, just a short time after former Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin said he would sign the necessary paperwork to take his name off the ballot ahead of the Democratic primary in June. Last month, Benjamin resigned from office after being indicted on bribery and fraud-related charges. In a video posted on his Twitter account, Benjamin said he’s innocent and thanked his constituents and supporters for the opportunity to serve. And Governor Hochul announced this morning that she has appointed a downstate congressman to be the state’s next lieutenant governor. Antonio Delgado currently represents NY’s 19th Congressional District, which includes the Hudson Valley and Catskills.

 

 

Boy George

A group that has sold millions of albums during a decades-long career will be making a visit to Western New York this summer. Boy George and Culture Club are scheduled to perform at Artpark in Lewiston on Wednesday, August 31st. Back in the 1980s, the band had seven straight Top 10 hits in the United Kingdom and six Top 10 singles in the United States. Tickets for the show go on sale Friday at the Artpark box office or through Ticketmaster. They’ll cost between $20 and $77 each.

 

 

 

Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower

Halley’s Comet won’t visit the inner solar system until 2061, but you can still catch the meteor shower it produced, the Eta Aquarids this week. The second and final meteor shower of spring is about to peak, and it will present a unique opportunity to enjoy a well-known comet that is billions of miles away from Earth. Most meteor showers are created when the Earth plows through a field of debris left behind by comets orbiting the sun. Most of the debris is small, generally the size of a small pebble or grain of sand, but when it hits Earth’s atmosphere, it burns up and emits a bright flash of light – in other words, a ‘shooting star’. The Eta Aquarid meteor shower will peak in the early hours this Friday, May 6; and according to the American Meteor Society, if it’s a clear morning, you may count between 10 and 30 meteors per hour between 3 and 5am.

 

Stephen Smith

A Level 2 sex offender was jailed April 15 after failing to register an address change, Le Roy police said. 33-year-old Stephen Smith of Pleasant Street was charged with failure to register an address change. Police said the charge was a felony because he had been convicted of the same charge in 2016. Smith was originally convicted in 2011 for having sex with a 15-year-old girl in Le Roy, according to the state’s sex offender registry. He was sentenced to six months in jail and 10 years of probation. Smith was committed to Genesee County Jail without bail.

 

 

 

Organizers of the upcoming Bark in the Park in Clarence say they still need vendors and volunteers to help make sure the event is a successful one. The gathering is scheduled for Saturday, May 28th from 11 a-m until four p-m at Clarence Town Park. Tickets will cost six-dollars at the gate for adults and kids 12 and under are free. All proceeds go to local groups who help take care of animals. More information can be found online at clarencebarkinthepark.org.

Morning News Brief

After a US Supreme court draft of a decision in the Dobbs Vs Mississippi case by Justice Alito was leaked to the public and seemed to show the Supreme Court striking down Roe V Wade and Planned Parenthood V Casey, Governor Kathy Hochul sent out a press release saying she was “horrified.”  She says “For anyone who needs access to care, our state will welcome you with open arms. New York will always be a place where abortion rights are protected and where abortion is safe and accessible.”  Her sentiments were echoed by Kristen Gillibrand “with this fundamental right in jeopardy, it is incumbent upon states like New York, where abortion is safe and accessible, to open our doors to those seeking care.”  And many bed and breakfast owners are doing just that by offering discounts to those seeking to come to New York to get an abortion.  New York State allows abortions up to the moment of birth and performs roughly 1/8th of all abortions in the US.

A service memorializing the Mercy Flight pilot who was killed in the crash on Tuesday last week was held at Open Door Baptist Church in Chili Monday.  James Sauer was in the Bell 429 when it crashed just off Norton road in Elba killing the 60 year old New York Army National Guard, Rochester Police Department and State Police Veteran along with a Bell helicopter instructor from Texas.  He was lauded by the Executive Vice President and Treasurer of Mercy Flight Inc, Scott Wooton.  “Not only was he an outstanding aviator, a top-class aviator, absolutely, but he was a top-class individual as well, a top-class human. He was a man who loved his family, loved his friends. And he’s gonna be greatly missed.”  It may be months before investigators release a report on what caused the deadly crash.

The US Coast Guard has released a video showing the time lapse of refloating the USS The Sullivans in Buffalo’s Waterfront.  The WW2 Destroyer had floundered for the last 2 weeks with the deck being half under the water as dozens of holes below the water line allowed thousands of gallons of Lake Erie to pour in.  Over the weekend divers were able to seal up the holes and then refloat the ship.  Paul Marzello, President and CEO of the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park said “We’re not going to take a victory lap, but we’re very pleased.”  You can watch the video by following the link at WBTAi.com.

https://news.yahoo.com/u-coast-guard-timelapse-shows-141713698.html

Press Release from Batavia Bureau of Maintenance: All motorists please be aware that Walnut Street, Law Street, and Chestnut Street (from City Line to Traffic Circle to Jackson Street) will experience traffic delays from Monday, May 9th to Thursday, May 12th from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. for resurfacing operations. Milling will take place on the 9th and 10th and paving will occur on the 11th and 12th.  While work is being performed in this area, the roadway will be reduced to a single lane for all through traffic. Local traffic will be permitted to and from their residence/property but should plan accordingly for delays.  All residents/businesses within the work area are asked not to park on the roadway during the operation.

A traveling Cheer Team from Pembroke has won several competitions in their first year.  The Pembroke Youth Association team of girls 9 to 13 won first place at an Erie PA competition March 6th, first place at the SHOUT Rock the Falls Cheer and Dance National Championship in Niagara Falls in february, and placed first at the American Cheer Power Buffalo Showdown DISCO Championship in the 12 and under Performance Recreation division later the same month.  They will be traveling to Virginia Beach for the national competition this weekend.

Weekend News Brief

The USS The Sullivans finally has some good news.  It has been sinking since the 14th of April in Buffalo Harbor but now workers say they have plugged the dozens of holes and are confident they can refloat the ship.  Water is being pumped out carefully to allow for even rising.  Plans are that this coming week the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park will be able to begin substantive repairs.  

August 23rd is the new date for the congressional state primaries in New York state after the Supreme Court ruled that the democrat created district map was gerrymandered in violation of the State Constitution.  Steuben County Judge Patrick McAllister said that special master Jonathan Cervas will finish drawing up new maps by May 20. In the meantime, state and local election officials will prepare to once again hold separate primaries in June and August

Assistant Batavia City Manager Jill Wiedrick has resigned.  City Hall announced Friday afternoon that Wiedrick is leaving her post after only 10 months on the job.  Wiedrick is taking a position with the Village of Fairport in Monroe County.  She made $92,000 a year with the city of Batavia.  Her last day on the job will be Friday, May 13th.

Genesee County sheriffs will be offering their third Annual Teen Academy July 18th through July 22nd at GCC this year.  Participants will visit the county Jail, dispatch center and Sheriff Office.  They will spend time with the Emergency Response Team, Hostage Negotiators, SCUBA Team, K-9 and Evidence Recovery.  They will participate in daily physical fitness runs, defensive tactics and team building exercises and much more.  This program is open to teens in 10-12th grade with no disciplinary issues and their parent’s permission.  There is no charge and the application deadline is May 13th.  

There’s a new addition to the Seneca Park Zoo.  Iggy, one of the zoo’s female Masai giraffes, gave birth to her first calf Friday. This is the first Masai giraffe born at Seneca Park Zoo.  Staff will be monitoring the baby and mom around the clock.  The zoo’s Animals of the Savanna building will remain closed for the next few days, to ensure Iggy and her calf are not disturbed.

In their final game of the season and Rick Jeanerettes final game announcing, the Sabres go out on a high note with a 3 to 2 overtime win against the Blackhawks.  Tage Thompson and newcomer Owen Power scored during regulation, tying the game with the Chicago team.  Casey Mittelstadt scored the winning goal to end the season.  Jeanerette called his last game after 51 seasons of Sabres Hockey.  His name will last on as a banner in the rafters of the Keybank Center.

Wiedrick Leaves Post with City

Jill Wiedrick

Assistant Batavia City Manager Jill Wiedrick has resigned.
City Hall announcing this afternoon that Wiedrick is leaving her post after only 10 months on the job.
Wiedrick is taking a position with the Village of Fairport in Monroe County.
She made $92,000 a year with the city of Batavia.
Her last day on the job will be Friday, May 13th.

Afternoon News Brief

Emory Seefeldt

An 18-year-old from Medina has been killed in a one-car accident in Royalton. Emory Seefeldt overturned his vehicle on Orangeport Road near the intersection of Berner Parkway, on Wednesday. Deputies arrived on scene just after 1 a.m. and found that Seefeldt was underneath his vehicle and had succumbed to his injuries. He was pronounced deceased at the scene. An investigation by Niagara County Sheriff’s is continuing.

 

An EMS helicopter agency will be providing air ambulance service to the Western New York area following that tragic crash in Elba earlier this week. Mercy Flight Central, which is based in Canandaigua, is going to help out until our local Mercy Flight resumes its operations. They are stationed at the Buffalo base and are ready to assist as a critical air ambulance service. [On Tuesday, a Mercy Flight helicopter went down during a training mission in Elba, killing 60-year-old James Sauer and 60-year-old Stewart Dietrick who were both onboard. The NTSB says the cause of the accident is still under investigation but that it could be several months before a final report is available.

 

Garlyn Gause

A Rochester man who has served four state prison terms, all drug related, has been arrested and charged with possessing drugs with intent to sell; this, according to Genesee County sheriff’s deputies. 42-year-old Garlyn Gause of Rochester was stopped late Sunday night on Swan Street for traffic offenses. Deputies, along with K9 Razor, discovered Gause was in possession of drugs that he had tried to hide after he was taken into custody. Gause was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, tampering with evidence along with traffic violations. He was arraigned in City Court and committed to Genesee County Jail without bail. Gause’s criminal record dates back to when he was 17 years old, in 1996.

 

Kaiir Elam

The Buffalo Bills have chosen a player in the NFL Draft who they hope gets them one step closer to winning a Super Bowl. The defending AFC East champions were supposed to have the 25th overall pick in last night’s draft but traded with the Baltimore Ravens who had the 23rd spot and ended up choosing cornerback Kaiir Elam from the University of Florida. Elam was named to the freshman All-Southeastern Conference team in 2019 and was first-team in 2020. The Bills won’t have another pick until round two of the draft, which gets underway at 7 this evening.

 

The four-game winning streak of the Buffalo Sabres has been snapped following a disappointing loss on the road. The Sabres offense wasn’t able to generate any goals as they lost to the Boston Bruins 5-0 at TD Garden last night. Buffalo goalie Dustin Tokarski struggled and was only able to stop 27 of the 32 shots he faced in the contest. The Sabres finish up their regular season tonight when they host the Chicago Blackhawks at 7:00.

 

Walden Galleria

A new plan has been announced that is aimed at increasing security at the Walden Galleria mall. Erie County probation officers are going to be on duty at the Cheektowaga shopping center on weekends and after hours as part of a one-year pilot program. There have been violent incidents at the mall in the past and this initiative is similar to one that has been used at Destiny USA in Syracuse. The mall has agreed to fully reimburse taxpayers for the cost of the additional patrols.

 

The Erie County Legislature has officially given the green light to a resolution that will temporarily cap the county’s tax on gasoline. The proposal was submitted earlier this week by County Executive Mark Poloncarz as a way to help drivers save money when it came time to fill up their vehicles. The cap will go into effect on June 1st and stay in place until the end of next February. New York State previously announced its gas tax cap will be suspended from June 1st through the end of the year.

 

After New York’s highest court threw out new congressional district maps drawn by the state Legislature, the task of redrawing them has fallen to a rural judge and a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University. Democrats’ hopes of crafting an electoral map heavily favorable to their party suffered a big blow Wednesday when the state Court of Appeals ruled that the Legislature’s maps were unconstitutionally gerrymandered. The high court Judge Patrick McAllister has been asked to create a new set of maps— his name may be familiar; he was the lower-court jurist who had initially declared the maps unconstitutional. McAllister got out a little ahead of all this by choosing an independent expert to help him craft the maps, Jonathan Cervas, a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Politics and Strategy. They now face a tight deadline to come up with new maps, while state officials try to figure out what to do about the state’s primary election, scheduled for June 28. The state may still to hold primaries in the contests for governor and state Assembly on that date, but primaries for congress and state Senate might be moved to August.

 

Following a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Galbani Italian Heritage Festival is returning this summer. Organizers say the event will take place from July 15th through the 17th at its longtime location on Hertel Avenue in Buffalo. The celebration is going to feature a variety of activities including genealogy research, bocce ball, face painting, grape stomping, and cooking demonstrations. The festival will run from 11:00am until 9:00pm on both July 15th and 16th and from 11:00am until 6:00pm on the 17th.

Morning News Brief

Erie county has followed Chautauqua, Monroe and Niagara Counties in passing a temporary resolution to cap the tax on gas.  The resolution temporarily caps the county’s sales tax on gas at $2 per gallon starting June 1. It would run from June to February and the Erie County Office of Consumer Protection would monitor prices to ensure the savings are passed to motorists.  The decision was unanimous.

A Canandaigua Mercy Flight Helicopter is assisting with services in the area after the crash of one of the choppers that served Western NY Tuesday.  They are stationed at the Buffalo base and are ready to assist as a critical air ambulance service.  In a press release the Mercy Flight of Western NY expressed gratitude to the Mercy Flight Central team for the support they have been giving during this trying time.

Route 5 was closed from Boyce Rd to Indian Falls Road in Pembroke as a single vehicle accident brought down a power line Thursday afternoon around 5:30.  East Pembroke Fire responded to the scene after a blue chevy pickup hit a pole and then crossed the highway to rest on the opposite shoulder.  National Grid crews arrived to fix the lines later.  Corfu Fire assisted.

The Buffalo Bills new stadium plans have been revealed at an Erie County Legislature meeting Thursday morning.  Pegula Sports and Entertainment Announced that the new facility will have 66,000 seats, 5000 flexible seats for other events referred to as, “Party Decks.”  The seats will be covered and there will be significantly fewer suites.  There will be 8 levels compared to the 3 there are at Highmark Stadium.  They also said that season ticket prices will be the lowest in the NFLand that individual tickets will be affordable.  About the field itself, the grass will be a hybrid and will be heated.

The Sabres lost their second to last game in a shutout against the Boston Bruins 5 to 0.  Dustin Tokarski made 27 saves but the team just couldn’t sink a single puck into the net against the Bruins hat trick earning captain.  The Sabres return home tomorrow for their season finale. Buffalo hosts the Chicago Blackhawks at 7:00 p.m. Friday will also mark Rick Jeanneret’s last broadcast for the Sabres.

Afternoon News Brief

The National Transportation Safety Board has released more information on that deadly helicopter crash in Elba. The agency says a preliminary report on the accident will be completed in a few days but the final report on the tragedy won’t be available for months. The Mercy Flight aircraft was on a training mission Tuesday when it went down. Witnesses who were in the area at the time reported hearing a loud boom before the helicopter fell to the ground. Debris from the chopper was spread across an area about 2,000 feet long. The main portion of the wreckage is intact although demolished. The tail rotor and assembly were located about 300 feet from the main wreckage, but it’s not known at what point they broke off. The wreckage will be transported to a facility in Clayton, Delaware where it will be laid out to recreate the helicopter to assist with determining what caused the crash. The two people onboard, 60-year-old James Sauer and 60-year-old Stewart Dietrick, died at the scene.

 

Police across New York State will be doing their part today to make sure kids get on and off their school buses safely. Officers are going to keep an eye out for dangerous drivers as part of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee’s “Operation Safe Stop” campaign. Anyone who is caught passing a school bus that is stopped and has its red lights flashing is going to be ticketed. The financial penalty for breaking the law ranges from a minimum of $250 for a first violation to a maximum of $1000 for three violations in a three-year period.

 

 

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge controlled burn

The Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge has scheduled grassland burns for the next few days, at different locations around the refuge. Residents and visitors may see or smell smoke periodically during this time. Expert fire teams are burning for habitat management to allow for future vegetation, control of non-native plants, and to restore wildlife habitat. During controlled burning, some refuge roads and trails may be closed to the public. Visitors are encouraged to check with the refuge ahead of time for possible closures: If you have any questions please contact the Refuge office at 585-948-5445

 

 

In a move that backed the lower court’s ruling, New York’s highest court struck down Democrat-drawn congressional and state senate districts yesterday, a decision that could see the state’s primary pushed back until August. In a 4-3 ruling, the Court of Appeals determined that the maps were “drawn with impermissible partisan purpose.” The court also said it will likely be necessary to move the congressional and state Senate primary elections from June to August. That means the state could still potentially hold primaries for assembly seats, governor, lieutenant governor and other statewide races in June. The lawsuit prompting the decision, filed by a group of Republican voters, argued that the district boundaries crafted by the Democratic-controlled Legislature and signed off on by Governor Hochul were unconstitutionally gerrymandered in favor of Democrats and proper procedures were not followed.

 

Melissa Demmin

The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office has announced the arrest of a teacher’s aide at Niagara Academy. The department says 33-year-old Melissa Demmin had unwanted sexual contact with two male students at the school in Cambria. Police began looking into the allegations after a sheriff’s deputy assigned as a school resource officer received a report from the school. Orleans Niagara BOCES, which operates the school, is cooperating with the investigation.

 

The NFL Draft gets underway tonight, and fans of the Buffalo Bills are going to have to wait a while to find out who their team selects. That’s because the Bills have the 25th overall pick in the first round. Buffalo has won the AFC East the past two years but both times their season has come to an end in the playoffs at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs. The draft is taking place in Las Vegas and is scheduled to start at 8:00pm.

 

 

The Buffalo Sabres will be taking the ice tonight to play in their final road contest of the season. The Sabres are set to battle the Boston Bruins at TD Garden as they look to extend their current winning streak to five. Buffalo hasn’t had a game since last Saturday when they beat the New York Islanders 5-3. Face-off for this evening’s contest is set for 7:00.

 

Wahoo Wave is a 60-foot-tall thrill slide. It will be one of the tallest water rides in Hurricane Harbor. That’s the promise from 6 Flags, Darien Lake as a new ride gets installed just in time for the new season. First, riders will barrel down an enclosed tunnel slide, and then go through a hairpin turn, followed by a corkscrew, and then without warning, will plunge down a 30 foot drop. The thrill wave is scheduled to open when the park opens on Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 28.

 

Afternoon News Brief

                                           James Sauer

State Police have released the names of the two people who were killed when a Mercy Flight helicopter crashed in Elba. Troopers say 60-year-old James Sauer of Churchville and 60-year-old Stewart Dietrick of Texas were pronounced dead at the scene of yesterday’s accident. Sauer was piloting and Dietrick was instructing. The crash occurred during the annual Bell Helicopter factory training. Power lines were down at the scene of the crash and a witness observed that the engines were going on and off before the crash. There was no unusual weather and the chopper had only gone 3 miles from the Genesee County Airport. Mercy Flight services have been suspended for the time being. The cause of the crash is still under investigation. A final report could be months away.

Le Roy Central School District is planning to increase the tax levy by $66,000 after calculating how much state aid the district can expect to help cover its $27,708,988 spending plan. The tax levy is the total amount of revenue raised through property taxes. The tax rate is the amount per thousand of assessed value that property owners are billed to pay into the levy. State law requires that all property owners in a district share the burden of education equally so a formula will be applied to Le Roy’s tax rate to make it equitable. As it turns out, property owners in the Town of Le Roy will pay the same rate they did this year, $24.14 per $1000 assessed value, because the district’s spending plan is covered by $16,135,963 in state aid, $10,663,025 the tax levy, and $910,000 in local revenues.

 

Despite the growing number of new COVID-19 cases statewide, Governor Hochul says she has no plans to issue another indoor mask mandate. The governor said yesterday that even though cases are rising, hospitalizations are still far below what they were during the winter surge. Health officials say this latest increase in illnesses is being caused by the spread of omicron sub-variants. The seven-day-average infection rate in the Western NY region is currently sitting at 13.8 percent.

 

 

High COVID transmission rate in orange

Data from the CDC backs this up. In fact, the state stands out from the rest of the country, which is mostly in the low transmission category, with only a few exceptions. It was noted that characteristics of New York State, such as colder weather combined with recent holiday gatherings are factors that contribute to higher case numbers. However, as with other surges, this one may be nearing a peak and the numbers will start to go down over the next couple of weeks.

 

 

 

The New York State Department of Health’s last day of COVID-19 contact tracing is this Friday, April 29. One thing that will change is that those who test positive for COVID-19 after April 29 will not receive a text message. State residents who test positive for COVID-19, either with an at-home test or lab-confirmed test, should report their case to the County. The person should isolate for at least five days, with day 0 starting on the day they tested positive. Those who were in close contact with the person who tested positive are not required to isolate, as long as they have no symptoms and they’re vaccinated and boosted. The state recommends wearing a mask around others for ten days following a close contact exposure. If a person is not vaccinated or boosted, they should isolate for five days if they come into contact with someone who is positive. After isolation, they should wear a mask for an additional five days around others. All positive at-home tests should be reported to the Genesee County Department of Health: 585-344-2580

 

Steven Gasiorek

A former substitute teacher and coach is facing up to 40 years in prison after admitting to having child pornography. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 36-year-old Steven Gasiorek worked at both John F. Kennedy Middle School and John F. Kennedy High School in Cheektowaga from March 2014 until April 2019. An investigation revealed he used a fake social media account to receive child porn from minors and that he knew some of the victims. Gasiorek is scheduled to be sentenced in July.

 

 

 

Michael Buble

A multi-time Grammy Award winner is going to be bringing his new tour to Western New York later this year. Michael Bublé is scheduled to perform at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo on Tuesday, October 11th. The singer is known for several smash hits including “Everything,” “Haven’t Met You Yet,” and “Home.” Tickets for the show go on sale on Friday, May 6th at 10am and they can be purchased through Ticketmaster.

 

 

 

The National Weather Service has confirmed a weak tornado passed through Alexander early in the evening during Monday’s brief-but-intense storms. The tornado touched down at 6:42 p.m. just north of the Alexander Fire Department and Recreational Hall. A pavilion’s roof was damaged, while a trailer on the property was rolled onto its side. The tornado then tore off shingles and shattered windows at residences along Alexander Road, before producing tree damage, just before crossing Tonawanda Creek. It ultimately crossed a field before snapping two very large trees at Alexander Cemetery and damaged historic gravestones. Alexander Cemetery would appreciate donations to support repairing the damaged stones, some of which date back to 1813. (Photo courtesy of our news partner, thebatavian.com)

 

It’s been over two months since someone won Powerball, and that means there’s a big prize up for grabs tonight. The jackpot for this evening’s drawing will be at least 454-million dollars. The last Powerball winner was back on February 14th when a single ticket in Connecticut won more than 185-million-dollars. The cost to play the popular lottery game is just two dollars and tonight’s drawing will be streamed live online at powerball.com. Please play responsibly.

 

 

In just a few weeks, Monroe County drivers are going to be spending less money when filling up their vehicles. That’s because the county legislature has approved a temporary suspension of the gas tax that’ll begin on June 1st. Based on the current rates, people would save several cents per gallon. The state has already announced it’s going to suspend its own tax on gasoline from June 1st through the end of the year. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has sent a resolution to the county legislature calling for a temporary gas tax cap to be put in place. Under the proposal, drivers wouldn’t pay sales tax on gasoline or diesel fuel if the price was over two-dollars a gallon. Based on the current rates, drivers would save several cents per gallon. If it’s approved, the cap would be in effect from June 1st through February of next year. The legislature could discuss Poloncarz’s plan during its next meeting tomorrow.

Morning News Brief

A Mercy Flight helicopter that was on a training flight crashed just off Norton Road in Elba in the early afternoon Tuesday and 2 people were killed in the crash.  60 year old James Sauer of Churchville was piloting and 60 year old Stewart Dietrick from Texas was instructing.  The crash occurred during the annual Bell Helicopter factory training.  The reason for the crash is under investigation, power lines were down at the scene of the crash and a witness, Charlene Schultz described the engines going on and off before the crash.  There was no unusual weather and the chopper had only gone 3 miles from the Genesee County Airport.  A final report could be months away.  Mercy Flight services have been suspended for the time being.

 

The National Weather Service confirmed that the strong winds that brought down trees and caused damage to gravestones in Alexander on Monday were actually a tornado classed EF-0.  This was the twister that brought down the power lines on Sandpit road and caused about 100 people to be without power.  Alexander Cemetery is asking for donations to repair the historic gravestones, some of which date from 1813.

Monroe and Niagara counties both passed tax relief measures Monday to change how much taxes people pay at the pump.  Erie county is anticipated to do the same soon.  In Monroe county the rate will go down by 24 cents a gallon while in Niagara it is about 21 cents a gallon.  These are based on what the price of gas is and not a flat reduction.  These drops go into effect June 1st to coincide with the State gas tax change which will cut 16 cents per gallon of gas.  

A Buffalo polling place worker is accused of stamping ballots in violation of New York Election Law.  The Erie County District Attorney’s Office announced 58-year-old Luz Pena was arraigned Monday in Buffalo City Court on one count of unlawful use of pasters upon ballot and one count of unspecified violation of election law. The district attorney’s office said on November 2, 2021, while working at a polling place inside the Belle Center in Buffalo, Pena allegedly used a stamp to place the name of Byron Brown as a write-in mayoral candidate on numerous ballots.  If convicted of all charges she faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

Helicopter Crash In Elba

WBTA Breaking News…
A Mercy Flight medical helicopter has crashed.
The crash occurred shortly after one this afternoon.
The chopper went down near Norton Road and Edgerton Roads off of Route 262 in Elba.
Early reports indicate three persons on board.

More information when available

Afternoon News Brief

Mercy Flight helicopter crash, Elba 

A Mercy Flight medical helicopter on a training mission crashed shortly after one this afternoon. The chopper went down near 7269 Norton Road, off of Route 262 in Elba. State Police confirm there were two deaths and the investigation into the crash continues. (Photo courtesy of our news partner, www.thebatavian.com)

 

 

 

 

The Batavia City School District will propose to voters a $54.8 million budget for 2022-23 at a public hearing May 5. It’s a proposal that includes a $19.7 million tax levy, raising the levy 1%. The district reduced the proposed levy increase from 5.5% to 1% as they put the proposed budget together. The public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, May 5 in the administrative conference room.

 

 

 

Today, the battle over the future of New York’s Congressional Districts will move to the state’s highest court. The Court of Appeals is going to hear arguments on the issue after a lower court ruled last week the districts created by Democrats in the Legislature violated the state’s constitutional ban on partisan redistricting. Republicans claim that the districts aren’t fair to their party since most of them strongly favor Democrats. But Democrats disagree, saying they were drawn up using the proper guidelines.

 

Governor Hochul says the Western New York region is going to receive hundreds of millions of dollars to help complete much-needed projects. During a visit to Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo yesterday, the governor said funds from the state budget will be used to make investments at several places such as the Buffalo Zoo and Albright-Knox Art Gallery and to help create a Hispanic Heritage Center in Buffalo. Money will also go towards improving the area’s infrastructure and to build a brand new stadium for the Buffalo Bills.

 

Recently released results from a Siena College Poll suggests 2 things: The first, that New Yorkers don’t want the state to spend tax dollars on the Buffalo Bills Stadium, and second, that they are liking Governor Hochul less and less. Researchers found the funding for the stadium is opposed by at least 55% of every demographic group, and upstate New Yorkers approve less than voters downstate. Hochul is down 10 points in approval since just last month and 19 points from the beginning of the year. 45 percent of respondents say they would vote for someone else if Hochul was on the ballot. Only 29 percent say she has fulfilled promises to make people trust the Albany government.

 

Western New York Congressman Joe Morelle has announced that he’s tested positive for the coronavirus. In a statement, the 25th District Democrat said he thought he was only experiencing seasonal allergies, but instead he was dealing with symptoms of COVID-19. Morelle also said he’s fully vaccinated and that his illness appears to be mild. He will continue to isolate until it’s safe to resume his official duties.

 

Even though the number of COVID-19 cases are rising in the area, Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Doctor Michael Mendoza says there’s no cause for alarm. Mendoza says that’s because most of the latest infections have been mild and people were able to recover quickly. He also pointed out the number of people who are in the hospital with COVID-19 is much lower than it was just a few months ago. But Mendoza is still urging anyone who believes they may have been exposed to the virus to get screened for it immediately.

 

Another candidate has officially entered the race to become the next governor of New York State. Syracuse native Howie Hawkins, a national leader of the Green Party, has launched his fourth bid for that office. He’ll be joined on the campaign trail by his 2010 running mate Gloria Mattera. Hawkins says his message to voters will be focused on inclusive democracy and public policy that addresses climate change and economic insecurity. The 69-year-old Hawkins has run for public office multiple times but has never been elected.

 

A judge is holding former President Trump in contempt for failing to comply with subpoenas for business documents. It’s part of an investigation into the Trump Organization’s finances that’s being conducted by State Attorney General Letitia James. Trump has called the investigation politically motivated and his lawyers recently argued he doesn’t have documents relevant to the investigation. But until he complies with the AG’s office, Trump will be fined 10-thousand dollars per day. James says that this ruling clearly demonstrates no one is above the law.

 

Six Flags is still looking to hire workers ahead of the start of the 2022 season at Darien Lake. The company is holding a national hiring week event through May 1st in hopes of boosting the number of employees at the popular Western New York amusement park. There are several positions that need to be filled including ride operators, food service, games and lifeguards. For more information and to put in an application, visit sixflags.com/jobs.

 

Morning News Brief

Once again the Democrats of New York State are taking their map of voting districts to court.  The State Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, could hear oral arguments as soon as tomorrow, on whether or not to strike down the state’s redistricting changes after two lower courts have found the new districts violate the state constitution. State Supreme Court in Rochester decided last Thursday by a 3-2 margin that New York Democrats engaged in gerrymandering when they drew new boundary lines for congressional seats. The judges determined that the maps were drawn to discourage competition and favor Democrats.  Critics of the map say that Democrats ignored all bipartisan and traditional methods of drawing the districts and instead created a map very much biased towards Democrats.

The husband of former Rochester Mayor Warren, Timothy Granison, pleaded guilty Monday of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.  Granison, 43, was one of seven arrested in May of 2021 after a 7-month-long narcotics wiretap investigation by the District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew T. McGrath, who handled the case, said Granison was a member of a drug trafficking organization led by Jason Siplin that distributed large quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine out of a Glenwood Avenue drug house.  According to McGrath, Granison regularly obtained bulk quantities of cocaine from Siplin which he then sold to his own customers.  Granison’s sentencing is scheduled for September 6 at 2 p.m.

Storms Monday night brought with them winds of up to 65 miles per hour and caused trees and power lines to come down across the region.  Alexander experienced a power outage in the Sandpit Road area.  Alexander Fire responded to the report of downed power lines.  National Grid and RG and E mobilized to help hundreds who were without power.   

Air Fryers sold by Best Buy may overheat and cause fires according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.  Insignia brand air fryers with the serial numbers starting in NS-AF 32, 50, 53, 55, and 06 are at risk of overheating and hundreds already have, some causing fires and injuries.  Customers are advised to stop using these products immediately and to return them to Best Buy for a refund in the form of a $50 store credit. No receipt is needed.

A new Siena College Poll which was released Monday shows 2 things, that New Yorkers don’t want the state to spend tax dollars on the Buffalo Bills Stadium, and that they are liking Governor Hochul less and less.  Researchers found the funding for the stadium is opposed by at least 55% of every demographic group, and upstate New Yorkers approve less than voters downstate.  Hochul is down 10 points in approval since just last month and 19 points from the beginning of the year.  45 percent of respondents say they would vote for someone else if Hochul was on the ballot.  Only 29 percent say she has fulfilled promises to make people trust the Albany government. 

Afternoon News Brief

The investigation continues this afternoon into what sparked a fire on Coe Avenue in Oakfield. Upon firefighters arrival, they saw smoke and fire coming from the basement, where a woman was found trapped. Firefighters broke in to rescue her; she was then taken to Strong Memorial Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. Her name has not yet been released. Several house pets were found inside the residence and saved. However, two cats were found deceased due to the house fire. The woman’s condition has not been released. No other injuries were reported.

 

29-year-old Cameron Sokolowski of Batavia, has been charged with harassment, menacing, unlawful imprisonment and criminal mischief. Sokolowski allegedly threatened to kill a woman with a knife. He’s also accused of damaging property and not allowing her to leave the room. Sokolowski was arraigned in city court and released under supervision.

 

The state Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, could hear oral arguments as soon as soon as tomorrow, on whether or not to strike down the state’s redistricting changes after two lower courts have found the new districts violate the state constitution. The latest court ruling from the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court in Rochester, came last Thursday when judges ruled by a 3-2 margin that New York Democrats engaged in gerrymandering when they drew new boundary lines for congressional seats. The judges determined that the maps were drawn to discourage competition and favor Democrats.

 

 

The Batavia City Council Conference Meeting is scheduled for this evening. It starts at 7 in the Council Board Room on the second floor of Batavia City Centre. Following this meeting, the Council will conduct its first budget workshop.

 

 

Western New York drivers are paying a little bit less money when it comes time to fill up their vehicles. According to Triple A this morning, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas is $4.28. That’s down a penny in the past week and is 10 cents cheaper than this time last month. Right now, the state average is $4.23 a gallon while nationally it’s $4.12. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.21, up one cent from both yesterday and a week ago; down 14 cents from a month ago. Last year at this time, we were paying $2.88 a gallon.

 

 

Members of the Erie County Legislature are scheduled to begin their discussions this week on the new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. In order for construction to start, the Legislature must officially approve several agreements that have already been struck involving the new facility. Plans call for the stadium to be built in Orchard Park across from Highmark Stadium, which is where the NFL franchise currently plays its home games. The goal is to have all of the necessary documents for the stadium signed by September 1st.

 

Starting today, the Buffalo Bills and Independent Health will be kicking off the latest round of their wellness challenge. Through June 5th, people can earn points for things like adopting healthy habits and exercising. Participants will have the opportunity to win one of several prizes such as signed Bills items, gift cards and fitness trackers. Anyone who wants to take part can register online and being an Independent Health member isn’t a requirement.

 

They may be ‘magically delicious’; however, they’ve become the subject of an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA is looking into reports that Lucky Charms cereal is causing illness in customers. No recall has been issued at his point. However, an alert was issued by the Livingston County Department of Health advising people that if they or a family member becomes ill with nausea, vomiting or diarrhea after eating the cereal, they should contact their health care provider and local health department. The investigation was prompted after more than 100 calls were received by the FDA about people becoming sick after eating the cereal. General Mills makes Lucky Charms and said that an internal investigation failed to find evidence that the cereal was related to reported illnesses. They added that breakfast cereal rarely results in foodborne illness because the baking process typically kills bacteria. But acknowledged products can become contaminated after baking, such as when glazes are added or during packaging. Locally, anyone who becomes ill after eating Lucky Charms may contact the Genesee County Health Department at 585-344-2580.

 

Crews are continuing their repairs to the USS The Sullivans after the ship was severely flooded due to a hull breach. A member of the U.S. Coast Guard reports that divers have plugged over a dozen holes that were found on the starboard and port side. Once the patching process is finished, the focus of the operation is going to transition to getting the vessel re-floated. The boat has been in Buffalo for years and is named in honor of five brothers who sacrificed their lives for our country.

 

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles is reminding motorcyclists about an important deadline that’s coming up. The agency says all motorcycle registrations expire on April 30th and must be renewed by then. Motorcycles also must be inspected once a year at a licensed station. More information on how to renew a motorcycle registration can be found by visiting dmv.ny.gov.

Morning News Brief

Around 9:30 on Saturday evening Firefighters were dispatched to a home on Coe Ave in Oakfield for a reported structure fire.  They arrived to find a home with fire and smoke coming from the basement.  Genesee County Sheriffs said a woman was trapped in the basement and firefighters were able to break in and rescue her.  She was sent to Strong Memorial Hospital.  Several pets were rescued safely from the home but 2 cats died in the fire.  The sheriff’s office said the cause of the fire is unknown and remains under investigation.

Sunday in Rochester was a bit more blocky than usual as the LEGO convention came to town.  More than 70 LEGO sets were brought to be displayed with some people spending more than 60 hours setting up individual designs.  There were dozens of works that included a seated King Triton.  Other highlights featured an 8-foot-high LEGO Model of New York City’s Woolworth Building, a replica of Burj Khalifa, the largest skyscraper in the world, plus the full Westminster Palace in London, and a LEGO’s Star Wars Zone.  There is a Rochester-based LEGO group that is open to the public.  Members are typically adults and teens.  Those interested in joining the group are asked to visit roclug.org.

The New York State DEC announced that the season for Pike, Pickerel, Tiger muskie and walleye is opening on Sunday the 1st of May.  Populations of walleyes are at historic highs.  Fish hatcheries across New York have had a good season and northern pike are expected to be plentiful through the early spring.  The DEC is looking forward to hearing from the anglers about the catches this season to improve their conservation efforts for next season.

The Little League season in Leroy got its official kick off Saturday with a parade and opening game.  This is the 70th season for the league.  LeRoy is the last league in the WEGO region that is still affiliated with the Williamsport Pennsylvania based Little League.  

The Buffalo Sabres notched another win against the New York Islanders Saturday afternoon.  The final score was 5 to 3.  Casey Mittelstadt made his 5th goal of the season.  Rasmus Dahlin got his 13th and Tage Thompson scored his 37th.  Vinnie Hinnestroza and Jeff Skinner scored late in the game.  The Sabres have just two games left to play this season. They’re in Boston on Thursday before hosting Chicago in their home and season finale on Friday.

Weekend News Brief

Genesee County and Orleans county now count as moderate for levels of transmission of the COVID Virus.  Monroe and Erie Counties are in the high area for the numbers of new cases.  Health officials say the rise in cases is because of the new COVID variant Omicron BA 2 which is much more highly transmissible than previous variants.  But while case numbers are climbing Genesee county Health officials are saying it is not a reason to panic.  The number of people hospitalized is staying low and the same is being said in Monroe and Erie counties.  While this virus is more transmissible the symptoms appear to be mild in most cases.  None of the counties are considering putting any mandates for mitigation back into place.  Genesee county health says if you feel sick, stay home, wash your hands and get tested.

A 62-year-old man is critically injured after crashing his 1998 Kawasaki motorcycle into a dump truck on Clinton Street Road in Stafford.  The operator of the motorcycle, Dana McGill, was flown to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester with what authorities describe as life-threatening injuries. A female passenger, 44 year old Carrie Hensley, was taken to the same hospital with lesser injuries. Both the driver and the passenger were wearing helmets. The driver of the dump truck was not injured.

Batavia Middle School has a new principal.  Nathan Korzelius was appointed Thursday night by the Batavia City School Board of Education after he was recommended by superintendent Jason Smith.  Mr. Korzelius has served as interim principal of Batavia Middle School since July 1, 2021. He began his career in the Batavia City School District 23 years ago as a high school science teacher. After 14 years in the classroom, he joined the administration and served as assistant principal of Batavia High School for five years.

The city of Buffalo is the winner of a prize that pretty much everyone expects each year.  Snowiest city in the USA.  The Queen city was crowned because of its 96 inches of snow which is a whopping 9 inches more than the next highest in New York, Rochester, and the 7 inches more than the next highest in the US, Anchorage.  96 inches wins Buffalo the Golden Snowball and Snow Globe awards, the average for the city is 95 inches.  

Time to go green.  Rain or shine, the Genesee County Master Gardeners will be hosting their annual Spring Garden Gala on Saturday, May 14, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, 420 East Main Street in Batavia.  This annual plant sale features a variety of perennials, many of which are from the gardens of Master Gardeners.  There will also be a selection of house plants.  Plant sale starts promptly at 10 am.  There will also be a basket auction and gently used gardening books for sale and, new this year, a garage sale of gardening implements and decor.

Afternoon News Brief

Best Buy is recalling multiple Insignia air fryers and air fryer ovens after reports of overheating. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced there have been 68 reports from US consumers and 36 reports from Canadian consumers of the air fryers catching fire, burning or melting. These include seven reports of minor property damage and two reports of injuries, including an injury to a child’s leg. They range in size from 3.4- to 10-quart models. The air fryers were sold between November 2018 and February 2022 for between $30 and $150, with 635,000 units sold in the US and 137,000 in Canada.

The air fryers being recalled in the US have the following model numbers: NS-AF32DBK9, NS-AF32MBK9, NS-AF50MBK9, NS-AF53DSS0, NS-AF53MSS0 and NS-AF55DBK9. The air fryer ovens have the model numbers: NS-AFO6DBK1 and NS-AFO6DSS1. In Canada, the item numbers are: NS-AF32MBK9-C, NS-AF50DBK0-C, NS-AF50MBK9-C, NS-AF53MSS0-C, NS-AF55DBK9-C and NS-AFO6DSS1-C.

 

City residents will soon be voting on a $54.8 million budget and a 1 percent tax levy increase. The school board adopted those final numbers at last night’s meeting. There was no discussion or questions after hearing the proposed 2022-23 budget presentation, which subsequently culminated in board member approval. The 1 percent tax levy increase means a total of $19,688,898 to be raised through taxes. If approved by public vote next month, that will push the tax rate from $19.23 per $1,000 assessed value to $19.42.  The increase of 19 cents more per $1,000 would result in an extra $19 for a home assessed at $100,000, or a total of $1,942 in property taxes. School board President Alice Benedict noted that the related tax levy increase of 1 percent falls under the tax cap of 1.62 percent, which is what the board had asked for.  In other business from last night, the Board approved the appointment of Nathan Korzelius as the new principal of Batavia Middle School.  Additional information about last night’s meeting is available on our news partner’s website, thebatavian.com

 

The U.S. Marshals Service says the search for a missing child and her mother has come to an end in Chatauqua County. Last month, police in West Virginia issued an arrest warrant for 35-year-old Adrienne Marean after she failed to transfer custody of her young daughter. An investigation later revealed Marean and her child were in the Western New York region and the pair were found yesterday in Stockton. The child was not injured. Marean is charged with felony concealment of a child and kidnapping.

 

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments have issued a health advisory; they are seeing an increase in the number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19. This recent increase in Covid-19 cases is due to the new Omicron variant BA.2, which spreads more easily than other earlier variants. In light of the updated data, the CDC now places Orleans County at a high risk level for community spread; the risk in Genesee County is now at a moderate risk level. Both counties were previously in the low risk range.

 

 

Wyoming County Waste Management began the distribution this month of 23,000 96-gallon garbage and recycling carts to residences in its solid waste collection program. Waste Management is supplying garbage totes for participating households there. The cart distribution will continue through the end of this month as the County makes the conversion to a cart-based collection system. Residents are encouraged to start using their carts as soon as they get them. Wyoming County made the decision to implement cart-based pickup for efficiency, sustainability, and cost effectiveness. All residents who are eligible under the county contract for curbside collection services will receive— or have already received — a cart for trash and a cart for recycling. There is no further action required by the resident. Any Wyoming County residents not currently eligible may contact Waste Management and enroll in the program to receive their carts before the changeover, planned for next month.

 

Flu season is seeing a late-season uptick in cases this year. And in fact, for the third consecutive week, influenza cases in the GLOW region are up. Flu is a viral infection that attacks the respiratory system. It may seem like a common cold, with a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat, but while colds usually develop slowly, the flu tends to come on suddenly. People at higher risk of developing flu complications include young children, pregnant women and those two weeks postpartum, those over 65, those with weakened immune systems and some chronic illnesses, and those who are obese. Local public health officials recommend continuing to follow universal precautions, stay home when sick and get the flu vaccine. It is not too late to get a flu shot, but the earlier in the season, the better an individual is protected from serious illness.

 

If you shop at Whole Foods or Aldi’s, this recall alert is for you:  A voluntary recall has been issued for Whole Foods Market Red Lentil Dal, sold at Whole Foods and Aldi stores because the product may contain Listeria monocytogenes, a potentially harmful and fatal organism for certain people. Bakkavor USA said it was recalling the product because it includes recalled pickled curry cauliflower provided by another company. The Whole Foods Market Red Lentil Dal comes in 12-ounce plastic trays with UPC code 1 95515 02394 8 and with the following “use by” dates:  4/15/2022, 4/17/2022, 4/18/2022, 4/19/2022, 4/22/2022, 4/24/2022, 4/25/2022, 4/26/2022

Customers who purchased either of the recalled items can return them to the store for a refund. Listeria is a hardy bacteria that can linger on surfaces in production facilities or other places. Listeria symptoms usually start one to four weeks after eating contaminated food, but can start as soon as the same day. Symptoms for everyone can include headache, fever, muscle aches, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says listeria most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults age 66 and older and people with weakened immune systems. Pregnant women can suffer miscarriage, stillbirths, premature births or the baby could be born with a life-threatening infection.
Symptoms can appear as late as 70 days after eating contaminated food.

 

Governor Hochul is applauding the newly announced federal program to help Ukrainian refugees. She praised the Biden Administration’s announcement to help 100,000 Ukrainian refugees enter the U.S., adding families of fleeing Ukrainians can now apply for expedited humanitarian parolee status for relatives to come and be sponsored by New York. The state is home to more Ukrainians than anywhere in the country, and the Governor says many communities are waiting with open arms to welcome refugees. For more information on how to provide assistance to refugees, visit NY.gov/Ukraine for details.

 

Owen Power

The Buffalo Sabres have extended their winning streak to three games following a victory on the road. Owen Power scored his first career NHL goal as the Sabres beat the New Jersey Devils; the final score at the Prudential Center in Newark last night, was 5-2. Tuch, Okposo, Skinner and Dhalin also had goals for Buffalo while Craig Anderson stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced. The Sabres will be back in action tomorrow afternoon at home against the New York Islanders.

 

 

There hasn’t been a Powerball winner in weeks, and that means one of the biggest jackpots of the year is up for grabs this weekend. Whoever picks the winning numbers for tomorrow night’s drawing will receive at least $400,000,000. The cost to play the popular lottery game is $2. The drawing will be streamed online at powerball.com. Please play responsibly.

 

 

Mark Polenccarz

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says he’s not planning to put any restrictions in place to slow down the spread of COVID-19. More people have been testing positive for the illness recently due to a highly contagious omicron subvariant. But Poloncarz says that so far, there hasn’t been a significant increase in hospitalizations due to the illness and that for any mandates to be enacted, those numbers would have to jump into the hundreds. Since pandemic began, 221-thousand 572 residents have contracted COVID-19.

 

 

More than a year after crashing a vehicle into the McKinley Monument, a Buffalo man has found out the punishment for his crime. Yesterday, a judge sentenced Paul Tolbert the third to spend up to the next 15 years behind bars. Prosecutors say Tolbert was under the influence of fentanyl and cocaine at the time of the crash which happened on Thanksgiving in 2020. The impact of the collision killed Angel Marie Cobb, who was a passenger in the vehicle.

 

Morning News Brief

The mother who fled with her child after being ordered to surrender custody of her in Bridgeport West Virginia has been found in Chautauqua County.  Adreinne Marean was being tracked by US Marshals Fugitive Task Force on an arrest warrant March 17th and they thought she could be in Webster or in Buffalo.  Her daughter was found safe.  Marean was charged with Felony concealment of a child and kidnapping.

A chase that started at the Canada border ended in a field off Rt 20A in Wyoming County late on Tuesday afternoon.  3 men drove through the US checkpoint in Buffalo without stopping in a Hyundai Tucson.  Customs and Immigrations officers gave chase through Buffalo and down 20A.  The SUV left the road and careened into a field and all three fled into the woods.  K9 Units were deployed and tracked them down.  The Border Patrol and ICE have them in custody and aren’t saying why they fled or giving any additional information,  

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that spring turkey season opens on Sunday, May 1, in all of upstate New York north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary. In addition, DEC’s annual youth turkey hunting weekend will take place this weekend.  The youth turkey hunt for junior hunters ages 12 to 15 is open in all of upstate New York and Suffolk County.  The spring turkey harvest in New York averages approximately 19,000 birds and varies based on the number of participants and turkey productivity in the previous few spring seasons. This spring, DEC biologists expect hunters to take more turkeys than last year

Crews will be working Friday on the exterior of a vacant building in Rochester.  A portion of the façade on the old Richford Hotel at the corner of Chestnut and Elm streets sheared off, landing in the road. One vehicle incurred minor damage, according to city officials.  City officials say wind may have been the culprit behind Thursday’s incident.  According to city property records, the building was constructed in 1915 and has been vacant since 2011.

The Buffalo Sabres topped the New Jersey Devils at their home ice in Newark Thursday night 5 to 2.  Newcomer to the team Owen Power scored his first goal with the Sabres along with Kyle Okposo, Alex Tuch, Rasmus Dahlin and Jeff Skinner.  Craig Anderson also had a strong outing, stopping 29 of the 31 shots he faced.  With the win, the Sabres improved to 30-38-11 on the season. Buffalo hosts the New York Islanders on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

The Buffalo Bills have signed another starter from the 2021 Tennessee Titans offensive line. David Quessenberry joins the Bills on a one-year contract, signing with the team on Thursday.  A former sixth-round pick in 2013, Quessenberry started at right tackle last season for the Titans. While he’s battled his way into a starting role on the field, his battle off the field has been even more inspiring. Quessenberry was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma just a year after being drafted. Years later, he beat cancer and made his NFL debut in December 2017.

Afternoon News Brief

Highly pathogenic avian flu has been confirmed in a wild bird in Livingston and Monroe counties, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The disease has been found in multiple wild bird species in several areas of the state. The DEC didn’t provide further details about these regional cases but listed a variety of species in which it has been confirmed statewide. Infected birds have included Canada geese, mallard and wood ducks, great blue herons, red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, turkey vultures, snowy owls, redhead and ring-necked ducks, snow geese, mute swans, great horned owls, tundra swans, sanderlings and cooper’s hawks. Small songbirds have not been affected, but many other species of waterfowl — including shorebirds, gulls, raptors, herons and cranes — are also vulnerable. DEC officials are offering advice for dealing with wild game birds. People can protect themselves by only harvesting game which appears to be healthy and properly cooking any game meat being eaten to an internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit, which kills the virus. If handling wild birds — particularly waterfowl, gulls, and raptors — people should follow precautions such as using personal protective equipment including masks, gloves, and eye protection. They should also wash their hands thoroughly afterward. People are asked to report any suspicious deaths of infected wild bird species to their local DEC office.

 

Batavia City schools board members have quite a full agenda for tonight’s meeting, which includes a public hearing about spending district reserves to repair the roof at Batavia High. The meeting will begin with a presentation about that $140,000 proposal. The public will be given time to voice questions, comments and concerns before the board is scheduled to vote on the work later in the meeting. Other agenda items include a review of the tentative 2022-23 budget, followed later by a vote to adopt the $55 million financial plan. The most recent preliminary budget in March included a nearly $3 million increase, or 5.75 percent more than the current budget. The tax levy was at $20.57 million for a 5.5 percent increase, overriding the tax cap levy by $756,449. The meeting is set to begin at 6 this evening at the BHS library, 260 State Street. Business Administrator Scott Rozanski is expected to go over the proposed budget up for board vote during Thursday’s meeting. The preliminary plan included spending increases of $692,575 for teacher/administrative support salaries, $481,970 more for support salaries and nearly $1 million more for fringe benefits. Those total increased numbers are $19.9 million for teacher salaries, $6.5 million for support salaries and $12,306,449 for fringe benefits.

 

The Covid case numbers in Genesee and Orleans counties continue to climb. Genesee is at 168 and Orleans at 113 as of the measurement week that ended April 19. These numbers are up from the previous week when Genesee had 119 cases and Orleans had 83; all of this, according to data from the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. Governor Kathy Hochul discussed Covid during a news conference yesterday when she announced a mask mandate would remain in place in certain settings in the State despite a federal judge striking down the requirement for airlines, trains, subways, and buses. Governor Hochul says for the short term to include nursing homes, health care facilities and on public transportation systems. Hochul says she thinks she would have lifted the mandate in all settings if not for two omicron sub-variants driving up the number of new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in New York State. Right now, the seven-day-average infection rate in the Western NY region is just under 12%.

 

 

Law enforcement agencies across Genesee County are providing the public the opportunity to dispose of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. On Saturday, April 30th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be three locations across the county where citizens can dispose of their medications. Sharps will only be accepted at the Batavia location. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. The Batavia Police Department, in conjunction with United Memorial Medical Center, will be accepting prescription drugs and sharps in the Alva Place parking lot across the street from Batavia Showtime. The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office will be accepting prescription drugs ONLY at the Pembroke Town Hall, 1145 Main Rd. Corfu. And the Le Roy Police Department will be accepting prescription drugs ONLY at their headquarters located at 3 West Main Street, LeRoy. The Batavia Police Department Headquarters has one for everyday collection of drugs and sharps located in the rear entrance at 10 West Main Street. Containers are also located at the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office on Park Rd, Batavia, and at the Le Roy Police Department.

 

Three men who failed to stop at a checkpoint at the U.S. border with Canada were taken into custody after a chase that ended in a field off Route 20A late Tuesday afternoon. Wyoming County Sheriff Gregory Rudolph said his department was contacted after an SUV failed to stop at the checkpoint and led border patrol and agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement on a chase that went through Erie County and into Wyoming County. When the driver went off Route 20A near Snyder Road, the SUV ended up in a field about 75 feet from the road. All three men inside ran into nearby woods. K9 Units from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Genesee and Erie counties were called to assist in the search. All three were soon taken into custody without further incident and there was no indication as to why the men fled.

 

After having the last few days off, the Buffalo Sabres will be back in action in the Garden State tonight. They’ll be on the road to take on the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center in Newark. The Sabres are on a two-game winning streak after picking up a pair of victories against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Sabres are currently in 6th place in the Atlantic Division with 69 points. Face-off for this evening’s contest is set for 7:00.

 

Customers of multiple cell phone companies reported outages across the country yesterday afternoon, an issue that appeared to be centered on problems with Verizon’s network. Reports of outages began to increase starting around 3:15 p.m. Outage spikes were reported by customers of multiple carriers. Apparently, this is often a case of somebody with one carrier not able to reach a phone number for someone with a different carrier. But they may report it as a problem with their own provider. According to a Verizon representative, a fiber issue in the core of their network caused some customers to experience intermittent call failures, but has now been resolved. But either way, the lines of communication all appear to be fine and open now.

 

Divers have finally been able to get into the waters of Lake Erie to get a close-up look at the damage to the USS The Sullivans. Last week, the ship suffered a massive hull breach, which caused it to fill up with thousands of gallons of water and partially submerge. It was announced yesterday the oil that had been leaking from the vessel is now contained. Officials haven’t said yet how long cleanup and repair efforts are going to take.

 

New advertising has been launched as part of a public health campaign that’s focused on informing New Yorkers about the state’s Cannabis Law. The ads are educating consumers about the dangers of impaired driving, the risks of youth cannabis use, safe cannabis storage, and respectful consumption of cannabis in public. Governor Hochul says part of building the strongest cannabis industry in the nation is making sure New Yorkers have relevant facts at their fingertips. More information on the law can be found online.

Morning News Brief

Tuesday they announced they were coming off, now they are putting them back on.  Governor Hochul announced Wednesday that, while the federal government says masks are no longer required on mass transit or at airports and bus terminals, at least while they are appealing a Florida judge’s decision striking down the mask mandates, New York will still require masks.  The Fredrick Douglas Greater International Airport and Rochester Transit Services announced that the masks will once again be required.  Hochul says mandated masking is still being evaluated and that rising cases should be taken into account.  She says this is a temporary measure, but that she wants to keep everyone as safe as possible as the statewide case count rises.

Former Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary says he is disgusted with the democrat party and that’s why he is running for State Congress as a republican.  He said that “the demonization, demoralization, and defund the police rhetoric…caused him to leave the party.”  He said  “The Democratic Party was no longer the party that I knew it to be, and no longer the party of my parents.” Singletary was fired from his position as Chief of Police for Rochester in September of 2020 after he and his entire command staff tendered their resignation over the handling of the Daniel Prude death in police custody.  Singletary later sued Warren and the City of Rochester for defamation of character, creating a hostile work environment, and wrongful and retaliatory termination and won a 75,000 dollar settlement.  In the lawsuit he said he was instructed to lie for Mayor Lovely Warren who would herself be ousted from her position.  

Inflation is here and a Buffalo news team is tracking it.  According to the 7 News team the prices of common household staples is on the rise and they took the time to figure out which items are rising the most.  After tracking prices on eggs, ground beef, milk, white bread and toilet paper for 6 weeks in 5 different grocery stores they found that ground beef rose the most and that Aldi had the highest price with it rising by more than 130%.  Strangely Walmart had the most consistent price with it not rising at all.  Milk was second with a 60 percent increase.  Third was Eggs which rose almost 50%.  Toilet paper and white bread stayed nearly the same.  

If you were up by Lake Ontario near Hamlin Wednesday you may have seen an unusual sight.  Army National Guard helicopters scooping up water in huge buckets and then dumping them on the lake. The National Guard was conducting training on how to fly with a 13,000 pound bucket full of water and hitting targets to help with extinguishing fires.  Twelve Department of Environmental Conservation Rangers also participated in the training, working on firefighting techniques and learning terminology used by firefighters.

O-At-Ka Milk adding big addition for Alcoholic beverage production.  Batavia Town Planners ok’ed the building of 3 large storage tanks at O-At-Ka Milk on Tuesday night.  They say the milk company plans to construct a 58- by 70-square-foot addition that includes three storage tanks for the company’s growing alcohol-based beverage operation.  One of the tanks measures 15 feet high by 8 feet in diameter and the other two measure 28 feet high by 12.5 feet in diameter. The addition is to be placed on the south side of the property, which spans the corner of Ellicott Street Road and Cedar Street.  In another decision The Planning and Development Committee gave permission for the Main Street 56 Theater façade to go up on the City Center building.  The two story glowing etched glass façade will be on the Main Street side of the building.

Afternoon News Brief

Tomas Rosario

A former school bus driver is in serious trouble with the law after being accused of sexually abusing a girl. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says the investigation into 74-year-old Tomas Rosario began last month after Rochester police received a report from the 13-year-old claiming he touched her inappropriately. Surveillance video from Rosario’s bus revealed disturbing interactions between himself and the girl and when police searched his phone, they found images of child pornography. Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the FBI.

 

Don’t throw out your facemasks just yet, according to Governor Kathy Hochul; masks are still required, at least for the short term, in certain settings in New York State. The governor announced today that despite Monday’s ruling in Florida, New York will still require masks on public transit, which includes buses and bus stations, trains and train stations, subways and subway station as well as airports. Masks will also be required in state-regulated healthcare settings, state-regulated adult care facilities and nursing homes, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and domestic violence shelters.

 

For the sixth straight month, Genesee County’s unemployment rate was lower than the pre-pandemic rate for the same month, according to the New York State Department of Labor. The rate of 3.7% for March of this year reflects a dip when compared to a 4.5% rate in March 2019. The rate in March 2021 was 5.6% and the rate in March 2020 was 5.7%. The current rate is the lowest it’s been from available state labor department records going back to 1990. By the way, the unemployment rate for all of New York State is 4.7%, which is higher than the March 2019 — pre-pandemic — rate of 4%.

 

Letitia James

The Western New York region is receiving more than 12-million-dollars to help combat the ongoing opioid crisis in the area. State Attorney General Letitia James said yesterday the funds would come from settlements with the manufacturers and distributors of opioids. Money will go towards treating people who are struggling with addiction and also prevention programs to teach kids about the dangers of opioids and drugs. James says while no amount of money will replace all that’s been lost during the epidemic, these funds will go a long way towards helping recovery efforts. All 62 counties in New York will receive some money from the settlement. Genesee County will be receiving $423,876; Orleans County, $246,260.

 

County public health directors in the GLOW region today encourage all eligible residents to get their second COVID-19 booster shot. The BA.2 variant is being referred to as ‘stealth Omicron’, and currently represents 80.6% of COVID infections in the state. Those interested in getting a second booster need to wait at least four months since the time they received their first booster dose.

 

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown says failure is not an option when it comes to saving the USS The Sullivans. Brown said yesterday cleanup around the vessel is continuing, several days after a hull breach caused the ship to fill with thousands of gallons of water. So far, crews have removed over 4600 gallons of waste and several yards of debris that ended up in the water that surrounds the ship. Divers were supposed to check out the damage to the ship yesterday but that didn’t happen due to the weather conditions.

 

Governor Hochul has released her first campaign ads as she looks to win a full, four-year term in office this November. The television and digital ads highlight Hochul’s accomplishments since she became governor last year following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo. They include cracking down on illegal guns and investing more money in public schools so additional teachers can be hired. Hochul is being challenged in the June Democratic primary by New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Congressman Tom Suozzi of Long Island.

 

The Buffalo Bills have announced a partnership as plans to build a brand-new stadium for the NFL franchise move forward. Team officials say they’ll be working closely with Legends, a premium experience company that’ll help with project management and sales involving the roughly one-billion-dollar facility. The stadium will be located across from Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park. There’s no word yet on when construction is going to start.

 

Childhood lead poisoning is of course, a concern throughout the year, but cases of lead poisoning increase during the spring and summer months because children spend more time outdoors, on the porch or in the yard. Homes built before 1978 may have chipping and peeling lead paint on the porch or on siding, which could be more deteriorated than other parts of the house due to the effects of weather. Children playing on the porch can unknowingly pick up lead paint chips and dust on their hands and toys and then place hands or toys into their mouths. Lead dust can also be found in the soil outside where children are playing. And also, many home improvements begin in the spring and summer. Renovations to areas of the home containing lead-based paint can put lead dust into the air, both inside and outside of the area being worked on. Lead dust can also collect on windowsills and in window wells. On warm days when the windows are open, lead dust in these areas can blow into the house. For more information on Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs, visit GOHealthNY.org. Or, in Genesee County, call: 585-344-2580 or email Health.GOlead@co.genesee.ny.us

 

Morning News Brief

Although the Justice Department says they will appeal the ruling of a Florida Judge to lift the mask mandate on air travel and other mass transit, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced Tuesday that they are lifting their mask requirements on bus and rail as well as at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport and Niagara Falls International Airport.  They say they will keep encouraging people to wear masks and ask that all patrons be respectful of those who choose to continue.  This decision by the NFTA to lift the mask requirement comes a day after a federal judge in Florida voided the national mask mandate covering airplanes and other public transportation. According to the Associated Press, the judge ruled the mandate exceeded the authority of U.S. health officials and said the CDC improperly failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rulemaking.

The wintery weather that fell across Upstate NY over Sunday, Monday and Tuesday left over 200,000 people without power according to the State Emergency Operations Center in Albany.  Heavy wet snow dropped on the areas east of rochester.  Between Syracuse and Utica some areas were laden with almost a foot of snow.  The most heavily hit were the Southern Tier, Capital Region and North Country.  Some counties declared travel bans due to downed trees and power lines.  Most of Western New York was spared the heavy stuff with flurries and some steady snow and rain with little accumulation.

A Rochester Bus driver has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a 13 year old girl on the bus van he drove in March.  74 year old Tomas Rosario was driving the girl home alone when he struck up a conversation that security cameras showed was inappropriate and sexual in nature.  He allegedly gave her his number and told her if she wanted to skip school she should call him and then touched her several times while telling her not to tell anyone.  Police searched his phone and found child pornography.  He was fired from driving bus and arrested.  He is being held and, if convicted could face up to 20 years in prison.  

All 62 counties in New York will receive some money from the settlement New York received from Opioid companies in the wake of a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors.  All told 1.5 billion dollars will go out to the state to aid in addiction prevention and treatment for opioids.  Western New York will receive 75 million dollars in settlement money.  

The Buffalo Bills are partnering with the Legends company to work on the new stadium project.  Legends will lead planning, project management, sales and partnerships for the new stadium in Orchard Park.  They previously worked on the Rams and Charger’s SoFi stadium, The Raiders Allegiant Stadium, and several smaller venues.

Afternoon News Brief

 

Batavia Police have arrested Lorenzo Baker, for criminal possession of a weapon following a traffic stop where he was allegedly found to be in possession of a loaded revolver. Simultaneously, a search warrant was executed at his residence, the upper apartment at 36 Dellinger Avenue, upper Apt., as part of an ongoing investigation where additional evidence was found. Baker was arraigned before Judge Thomas Burns in Batavia City Court and held on $25,000.00 cash, $50,000.00 Insurance Company Bail Bond, or a $75,000.00 Partially Secured Appearance Bond. He is scheduled to re-appear in Batavia City Court on April 21, 2022, at 1:30 PM. Due to the ongoing nature of the case, further details were not released at this time.

 

A recall alert for you…The U.S. Product Safety Commission has announced that General Electric is recalling six types of its stainless steel refrigerators. The recall involves roughly 155,000 appliances manufactured between February 2020 and August 2021, sold at Best Buy and Home Depot. Free-Standing French Door Refrigerators in Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel, which have freezer door handles that are detaching. There have been reports of 37 injuries including what have been described as three serious falls. Affected model numbers, printed on a label found on the top of the left side inside of the refrigerator section, are:

GFE26JYMKFFS
GFE26JYMNFFS
GNE27EYMKFFS
GNE27EYMNFFS
GNE27JYMKFFS
GNE27JYMNFFS

According to the recall notice, affected models will have serial numbers that begin with one of the following two-letter combinations: DR, FR, GR, HR, LR, MR, RR, SR, TR, VR, ZR, AS, DS, FS, GS, HS, LS, MS.

Affected models were sold at The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Best Buy, and other home improvement and appliance stores throughout the U.S., as well as online through Lowe’s and Best Buy from February 2020 through January 2022. GE is scheduling a free in-home repair for consumers with these refrigerators. The company is already contacting customers of the roughly 155,000 impacted refrigerators directly.

 

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a nationwide scam has made its way to New York State. Individuals are being contacted by scammers posing as Border Patrol agents or Public Affairs Officers, and when people answer the call, they hear a pre-recorded message that says, “a box of drugs and money being shipped has your name on it and has been intercepted.” Some of the calls say that there is a warrant for the individual’s arrest or they are requesting information from them in exchange for Bitcoin. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection urge you not to give out any personal identifiable information, such as date of birth or social security numbers. They never solicit information by phone, nor do they use gift cards, Bitcoin or any other digital currency. If you get a call like this, make a note of the number and contact police and the Federal Trade Commission immediately.

 

News of an arrest from the Tonawanda Seneca Nation…a man who served a state prison term for setting fire to the Chiefs Council Office building in 2008 has been arrested again and charged with a vicious assault during a domestic dispute earlier this year. According to State Police, 41-year-old Rodney Willis, Jr. is charged with first-degree assault for causing serious injuries to another person back in February. The charge is a class B violent felony and punishable by up to 25 years in prison. He is committed to Genesee County Jail without bail. Willis had previously served 5 to 10 years for arson and was released from prison in 2017.

 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he’ll be using his influence in Congress to get federal aid to help save the USS The Sullivans. The New York Democrat made the promise yesterday during a visit to Buffalo where he got a look at the damaged ship. The vessel took on thousands of gallons of water last week due to a massive breach in the hull. Schumer says money for repairs and cleanup would also come from the National Maritime Heritage Grant Program and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The ship is named for the five Sullivan brothers who died during World War II.

 

Kenny “Babyface” Williams

A multi-time Grammy Award winning artist will be performing during the Summer Soul Music Festival in Rochester. Kenneth “Babyface” Williams will take the stage at Frontier Field on Saturday, August 27th. So far, Williams is the only musician that’s been announced for the event and additional artists will be revealed at a later date. Tickets for the festival are already available online and can be purchased at rocsummersoulfest.com.

 

 

Monroe County drivers will be seeing savings at the gas pump in a few weeks under a plan announced by County Executive Adam Bello. He said yesterday the county would reduce its tax on gasoline by 8 cents starting June 1; that’s when they will tax gas as if it costs $2 per gallon and that coincides with the state’s plan to temporarily lower its gasoline tax from June 1st through the end of the year. Niagara County is talking about doing something similar and capping their 4% tax rate at the cost of 3 dollars a gallon, which would create a 12-cent per gallon savings for consumers there. In other words, counties cannot just drop the gas tax completely; but rather, the state budget notes that they can base it on a lower cost per gallon, say at 2, 3 or 4 dollars. Genesee County Manager Matt Landers said earlier this month that a similar discussion is likely to occur here but it is not in the plans at the moment.

 

The Batavia City School District, along with the police department, and City Church have joined together to create a new recommended pickup route for the City Church Community Food Distribution program at St. Anthony’s. The City Church currently hosts a bi-monthly food distribution program for community residents at St. Anthony’s Church. Due to the program’s popularity, some traffic concerns have emerged around Jackson Primary, resulting in serious safety issues along with traffic backups during school arrival and dismissal periods. In response, a new route has been established to access the Food Distribution Program pickup line. The new route will be in effect starting with the April 27 distribution date. Those community members who wish to participate in the program must access Liberty Street via South Swan Street, Osterhout Avenue, or Otis Street. All food distribution traffic will be redirected to avoid Liberty Street between South Jackson and Sumner Streets and South Jackson between South Swan and Liberty Streets (the areas directly in front of and adjacent to Jackson Primary). The City Church Community Food Distribution program is scheduled every two weeks for the following dates: April 27, May 11, May 25, June 8, and June 22.

 

A dinosaur invasion will be happening at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo later this year as part of the Jurassic World Live Tour. Folks will get the chance to see animatronic replicas of several popular creatures including the velociraptor and tyrannosaurus rex from October 21st through the 23rd. Advance tickets go on sale today and seats will be made available to the general public April 26th. More information can be found on the arena website at keybankcenter.com.

 

Morning News Brief

Monroe County has announced the date when they will be dropping their county gas tax.  June 1st is the date when the state is suspending its tax on gasoline and Monroe county will be following suit to the tune of 8 cents more off from each gallon at the pump.  They aren’t cutting 8 cents, instead they are taxing the gas as if it cost 2 dollars a gallon.  Niagara county is talking about doing something similar and capping the total at 3 dollars a gallon.  The tax rate there is currently 4 percent.  The counties can’t simply drop the gas tax completely, state law in the new budget says it can be capped at 2, 3 or 4 dollars.  Chautauqua County Executive Paul Wendel says that they want to do the same, but are worried that it will mean not being able to do road and bridge maintenance.  Genesee County Manager Matt Landers said earlier this month that a discussion is likely to occur here but it is not on the radar at the moment.

Senator Charles Schumer was in Buffalo Monday to announce a 3 prong plan to get federal help  for the USS The Sullivans World War 2 Navy Fletcher Class Destroyer which is floundering with half its deck below the water line.  The plan includes getting the EPA to help with cleanup efforts from the oil leak over the weekend, pushing for major increases in the National Maritime Heritage Grant Program, and asking for funding through 2023 from the relevant committee through a directed spending request.  

Batavia Firefighters responded to a fire at a residence at 2 Walnut Place where smoke and flames could be seen “pouring” out of the side of residence at around 3:45 Monday afternoon.  Firefighters were able to knock down the flames and were back at the fire house ready for the next call by 5:22.  Interim Chief Dan Herberger said the fire was contained to a single room but there is smoke damage throughout the house. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. One firefighter suffered a minor injury.

Northgate Methodist Church, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Genesee Orleans Wyoming Pathway to Hope are teaming up to offer a training for pastors and church leaders to help deal with suicide and those affected by suicide in their congregations.  May 24th from 9 to 4 at the Northgate south campus at 350 Bank street the Soul Shop program is for pastors, youth group leaders, Sunday school teachers and any other church leaders.  Cost is 10 dollars and includes a light breakfast, lunch and snacks along with take home materials.  Follow the link at WBTAi.com to register or call 315 664 0346 for more information.  

https://soulshop524.attendease.com

They may be rivals on the gridiron but they are partners on the fairway, at least for the Capital One The Match golf event in Las Vegas.  Josh Allen will be teaming up with Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes to compete against Buccaneers QB Tom Brady and Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers June 1st.  Allen is no stranger to golfing as he participated in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.  The Match has raised $33 million for different organizations and donated 17 million meals to Feeding America since 2018.

Afternoon News Brief

U.S. Marshals are still searching for a missing 11-month-old child named Iris Chidester, and her fugitive mother, 35-year-old Adrienne Grace Marean. Marean is wanted by the Bridgeport Police Department in West Virginia for allegedly violating a Family Court Order. She was last seen in the Western Pennsylvania, Dunkirk and Fredonia areas and could possibly be in Webster near Rochester. Marshals say she could be elsewhere in Western NY, as well. Marean is believed to be driving a gray Toyota Prius with New York license plate JJR1907. She is a white female, approximately 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs about 165 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes. The child has brown hair and brown eyes. Officials are urging the public to relay any information or sightings of Marean or the missing child to the U.S. Marshals Service at 1 (304) 623- 0486 or contact 911.

 

Le Roy Police have arrested 22-year-old Marco Hernandez of Le Roy, charging him with rape in the first degree, and first degree criminal sexual act, both class B felonies, following an investigation of an incident in Le Roy from July 2021. Hernandez was arraigned in Le Roy Town Court and was remanded to the Genesee County Jail on $5,000 bail.

 

Even though the number of COVID-19 cases is rising statewide, Governor Hochul says she has no plans to shut the state down to try and prevent further spread of the illness. The governor made the promise during an interview yesterday. She stated she is going to focus on protecting both New Yorkers and the economy. Last week, the state health department issued a warning about two omicron sub-variants that have been connected to the recent increase in infections.

 

Transmission rates for COVID-19 are classified as “low” in the GLOW region even though the number of new COVID-19 cases rose again over the past week in Genesee and Orleans counties. But Wyoming County reported no new cases — a rarity over the past two years — while 12 new cases were reported in Livingston County. During the measured period, Genesee County reported nearly 64.8% of county residents have received at least one vaccine dose as of last Friday and there were 119 new cases. According to the CDC, the case rate per 100,000 people is 104.75 and new COVID-19 cases regionally out of 100,000 is 8.9. This transmission rate is characterized as low.

 

Several inmate-on-inmate fights over a two-day period resulted in 13 officers getting injured; occurring while staff was attempting to stop fights at the Orleans Correctional Facility last week. One inmate attacked and kicked an officer in the head causing a two-inch laceration, concussion and fracture above the left eye that required treatment at an outside hospital. On the first day, inmates began to fight in a classroom and ignored orders from staff to stop fighting. Eventually all complied, but not before causing several injuries to staff; the following day, six officers were hurt in two separate incidents at the facility. The inmate that inflicted the more serious injuries was transferred to Attica Correctional Facility. Each of the inmates involved face disciplinary charges.

 

Today, a marine salvage company and Navy architect will be at the site of the USS The Sullivans as crews work towards preventing additional damage to the ship. Last week, the ship started taking on thousands of gallons of water due to a breach in the hull and the boat started to submerge. Officials say the vessel is currently stable and they’ve put an absorbent ribbon around the ship to try and keep pollutants like diesel fuel and oil from contaminating nearby bodies of water. There’s no word on how much the repairs and cleanup are going to cost.

 

Western New York drivers are seeing lower prices at the pump when it comes time to fill up their vehicles. According to Triple A this morning, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas is now $4.19. That’s down 5 cents from last week and is 22 cents cheaper than this time one month ago. The state average is also $4.19 a gallon while nationally it’s $4.08. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.23, up 1 cent from yesterday, but down 4 cents from last week at this time and 13 cents from a month ago.

 

 

The Buffalo Sabres have picked up their second straight win following a road victory in the City of Brotherly Love. Victor Olofsson and Tage Thompson had two goals each while Anders Bjork also scored as the Sabres beat the Philadelphia Flyers yesterday by a final score of 5-3 at Wells Fargo Center. Sabres goalie Dustin Tokarski stopped 32 of the 35 shots he faced during the game. Up next for the Sabres is a road game against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.

 

It’s Dyngus Day, and a parade to celebrate Buffalo’s Polish-American community is taking place in the city this afternoon. The parade is scheduled to step off at five p-m and head west on Broadway from Memorial Drive to Fillmore Avenue. Restaurants around the area will also be serving up popular Polish foods today such as pierogis and cabbage rolls.

 

In just a few hours, one lucky person could end up winning one of the biggest lottery prizes that’s been up for grabs this year. There was no winner in Saturday’s Powerball drawing, meaning this evening’s jackpot will be at least $348,000,000. As always, the cost of a ticket to play the popular game is just $2.00 and tonight’s drawing will be streamed online. Please play responsibly.

 

 

 

2 people have been charged with unlawfully owning an alligator. An Amherst man called the Department of Environmental Conservation, asking for help finding a new home for the 3 and a half-foot alligator he said he had rescued from a bad home and was looking to place it in a good home. This turned out not to be true; he was actually trying to sell it but was unsuccessful in finding a new owner. He finally admitted to buying it from another man in Dunkirk. Both the man who claimed he rescued the gator and the person who originally sold it to him were arrested and charged with unlawfully possessing the reptile. Additional charges may be pending. The gator was turned over to a licensed handler. There are 15 reptiles that are illegal to have as pets and for breeding in New York State. If you are caught breeding or owning any of the illegal reptiles, you could be facing a $500 fine for the first offense and $1,000 for any following offenses.

 

The Town of Alexander Republican Committee is seeking candidates interested in the following positions that have been vacated due to resignations:
· Town Council (fill vacancy)
· Republican Committee Member, District #1
Those interested please contact Barbara Eddy, (585) 507-9930, no later than next Monday, April 25.

 

 

Morning News Brief

A minivan leads police on a chase through Batavia.  After a larceny was reported at a store on Veterans Memorial Drive police attempted to stop a Black Honda Odyssey Saturday afternoon.  The van driver attempted to evade the police and lead them on a pursuit through Batavia and was stopped at the intersection of Potter and West Main Street.  The driver got out and tried to run on foot and was caught on Washington Ave by Batavia Police.  A female passenger stayed in the van.  

After 3 days of taking on water the USS Sullivans is still half in half out of the drink at the Buffalo Waterfront.  A press conference was held Sunday to talk about the progress and plans.  Part of the salvaging plan includes removing all contaminants that may still be in the ship and stabilizing the incident, which appears to be deeper in the water as the days progress.  Mayor Byron Brown explained there is a unified effort on the part of the Naval Park, the Coast Guard, the City of Buffalo and Erie County, Saturday.  Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park president, Paul Marzello said, “We will be adding two more members to this team. Starting Monday, a large international commercial Marine salvage company and two, a Navy architect.”  He also said the weather over the weekend made the operations more difficult and that the process of saving the national landmark will be expensive.

2 people have been charged with unlawfully owning an alligator in Amherst.  A man called the DEC asking for help rehoming a 3 and a half foot alligator he said he had rescued.  Once investigators questioned him his story fell apart and he admitted to buying it from another man in Dunkirk.  Both men are being charged and the alligator has been turned over to a permitted handler.

The Buffalo Sabres had 2 straight wins against the flyers this weekend.  First on Saturday they beat the Philadelphia team 4-3 at the Keybank center.  Then Sunday the Sabres were able to carry that momentum to Philly itself and trounce the Flyers 5-3 on their home ice.  The Sabres were behind both games near the beginning.  The Sabres have the next few days off before they’re back on the road Thursday night to take on the Devils.

Weekend News Brief

As of Friday night the efforts to bring the USS Sullivans up from the depths of Buffalo’s Waterfront have hit several setbacks.  First off the wind and rain has pushed the destroyer against the wall and raised the water level as well as contributing to the water being taken onboard.  The second issue is that oil started leaking from the ship and the pumping operation had to be stopped so that the oil could be removed.  So far 1000 gallons of oil have been taken out of the ship and the surrounding water with a boom set up to contain any leaks.  Earlier on Friday, a dive team from BIDCO Marine Group went into the ship, moving from compartment to compartment to see where water was still coming in, and to make sure water was not coming in behind them.  There is still a lot of work to do to see the ship righted again.

Genesee Community College is presenting a digital art exhibit called Illusions from April 21st through May 12th at the Roz Steiner Art Gallery on the Batavia Campus.  This exhibition will feature digital prints on paper and fabric, projections and media displays created by the digital art students.  It is a high honor for the students to have their work chosen for display and accolades will be presented.  The entire community is invited to attend the Opening Reception in the Gallery lobby on Thursday, April 21, 2022, from 12:30 – 2 p.m. The public is also invited to attend an Awards Reception that evening, from 5 – 7 p.m. Refreshments will be served at both receptions.

After 2 years of not being able to hold it because of the COVID 19 pandemic the Mammoth sale at St Joseph’s School at 2 Summit street in Batavia is back April 21st through 23rd.  There will also be a special promotion day on the 20th for first responders, hospital employees, and those related to stores that donated goods will be able to shop from 7am to 8pm at a 50 percent discount.  There will be plenty to choose from on all four days of the event with collections of lamps, dining and living room chairs, flower and terracotta pots and “really nice kids’ toys,” including a large puppet stage, picnic tables, a work bench, sandbox, assorted toys and chairs and a Thomas the Train set-up and much too much to list on the radio. Every penny of the money raised will go to St Joseph’s School. 

On Friday, the Aquarium of Niagara announced the hatching of two Humboldt penguin chicks at the facility in Niagara Falls.  The chicks, for now named Chick A and Chick B, hatched earlier in April. Their parents are Blanca and PJ, Jr., a bonded pair that last hatched and raised chicks in 2020.  The chicks will stay in the nest with their parents for the next few weeks and will not be out for public view. Until making their public debut, the aquarium says it will be providing updates on social media.

Afternoon News Brief

A man has multiple charges filed against him, the most serious of which is attempted murder. 29-year-old Jarrett Coniglio allegedly attacked a person early Tuesday morning. At that time, Genesee County sheriff’s deputies responded to a Sandhill Road residence for a reported assault involving a knife. Coniglio, of Bloomingdale Road in the Tonawanda Reservation, is accused of seriously injuring the victim. He was committed to Genesee County Jail without bail and is scheduled to appear in court next Tuesday.

 

 

RECALL ALERT: More than 1 million crafting glue guns are being recalled pursuant to complaints of malfunction, leading to fire or burns. The recall involves Crafter’s Square Glue Guns sold for about $1 nationwide at Dollar Tree stores from August 2020 through February 2022 and at Family Dollar stores in January and February of this year. The plastic guns are black with an orange trigger and tip. They have a silver UL label above the handle with “GLUE GUN” and “XY-15302” printed on it. The guns dispense hot glue when plugged in and the trigger is pulled. Dollar Tree says it has received seven reports of what it calls “electrical malfunctions” when using the gun. There were four reports of fires and one report of a “skin irritation.” The malfunction itself was not identified. Consumers are urged to stop using these glue guns and unplug them immediately. They can be returned to Dollar Tree or Family Dollar for a full refund. Those who bought the guns at www.dollartree.com will be contacted directly, Dollar Tree said.

 

Efforts will continue today to try and prevent the USS The Sullivans warship from completely sinking. The vessel has been taking on large amounts of water due to a major hull breach and started to slowly submerge. As a safety precaution, the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park has closed down its museum and the public isn’t allowed to be on Memorial Walkway near the ship. The vessel was decommissioned in 1965 and is named for the Sullivan brothers who lost their lives in World War Two.

 

Tax Day is on Monday and the state Department of Taxation and Finance is extending hours at its call center to answer any questions last-minute filers may have. Those folks can talk with a member of the agency today between the hours of 8:30am and 6:00pm, tomorrow from 8:30am until 4:30pm and Monday from 8:30am until 7:00pm. The number to call is 518-457-5181. Answers to a wide range of tax-related inquiries can also be found online at tax.ny.gov.

 

The Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization for what it said is the first device that can detect COVID-19 in breath samples. The InspectIR COVID-19 Breathalyzer is about the size of a piece of carry-on luggage, and can be used in doctor’s offices, hospitals and mobile testing sites. The test, which can provide results in less than three minutes, must be carried out under the supervision of a licensed health care provider. The FDA said the device was 91.2% accurate at identifying positive test samples and 99.3% accurate at identifying negative test samples.

 

 

 

Owen Power

Owen Power has scored the first point of his NHL career, but the rest of the Buffalo Sabres offense struggled in a blowout loss at home. Power assisted on one of the two goals the Sabres scored last night in their 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Saint Louis Blues. Buffalo goaltender Craig Anderson was only able to stop 22 of the 28 shots that he faced in last night’s contest at KeyBank Center. The Sabres will be back in action tomorrow night against the Philadelphia Flyers.

 

 

New York State has initiated a pilot program with the goal of making roads safer for construction crews. Speed cameras will be installed by the end of the year to help catch drivers speeding through work zones on the Thruway. Offenders will be ticketed automatically and sent a letter and a fine. The program was part of legislation signed by Governor Kathy Hochul.

The New York State budget includes stipulations regarding how school busses will need to work in just 13 years, by 2035: The budget specifies that all busses will have zero emissions by then. School superintendents are skeptical about their ability to make this change, because electric busses are nearly twice as expensive as diesel buses with average costs of about quarter million dollars each. At this time, New York State has not identified repercussions if this quota is not met. However, the budget does indicate that school districts can apply for a two-year moratorium if this 13-year time frame is too short.

 

Morning News Brief

There is a wind advisory affecting Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties till 5pm tonight.  Weather experts are expecting southwest winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 55 mph.  Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result.  Be careful when driving high profile vehicles as a gust could cause the vehicle to tip over.

The USS The Sullivans at Buffalo’s Naval and Military Park is slipping beneath the waves due to what the park leaders say is a major breach in the hull below the water level.  The naval park says the breach is aft of midship on the starboard side, causing the ship to tilt back and to the right.  By Thursday night the rear of the ship’s deck was submerged with water pouring in through the hatches.  It is estimated the ship has taken on more than 3 million gallons of water.  The naval park has asked for emergency pumps from the New York State Office of Emergency Management and is now removing roughly 10,000 gallons a minute from the ship.  Naval Park President and CEO Paul Marzello says “There is no chance that the ship is actually going to sink.”  The USS The Sullivans was commissioned in 1943 and operated in the Pacific Theater during World War II. It is named after five brothers from Waterloo, Iowa. It was decommissioned in 1965 and has been in Buffalo since 1977.

The Giant Wheel at Darien Lake Amusement park, closed last year, is being dismantled.  The 38 year old former World’s Fair attraction is being taken down and the park says they are attempting to determine a replacement.  They said that the ride had reached the end of its useful life.

A line in the New York State Budget would change how school buses work by 2035.  The budget specifies that all school buses will have to be zero emissions in 13 years.  School superintendents are skeptical about their ability to make this change as electric buses are nearly twice as expensive as diesel buses carrying a price tag of 250,000 dollars a bus on average.  At this time, New York State has not produced any information regarding repercussions if this quota is not met. However, school districts can apply for a two year moratorium if the time frame is too short.

Do you speed through work zones on the thruway?  Well you wouldn’t be alone and this is a problem the state wants to tackle.  The NYS Dept of Transportation is planning to deploy speed cameras as they say the average speed of drivers through work zones on I90 is 83 miles per hour.  There were 175 crashes in work zones last year.  These cameras would take pictures of drivers who are speeding and then they would be assessed for fines which would come in the mail.  The cameras are expected to be installed by the end of the year, but their location – and number – is still yet to be determined.

The Sabres caught a bit of the blues themselves when they lost Friday night to the St Louis team 6 to 2.  The Blues started behind as the Sabres scored first with Rasmus Asplund and then the Sabres tied it up later with Alex Tuch bringing it to 2 and 2.  But then several power plays lead to unanswered goals leaving the Sabres in the dust.  The Sabres go up against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday at 7pm at the Keybank Arena.

Afternoon News Brief

According to the New York State Department of Health, there has been an increase of influenza cases in the GLOW region. For the week ending April 2, there were 47 lab-confirmed cases. This is the highest total for a single week since the end of December. Local health officials recommend continuing to follow universal precautions, like staying home when sick. It’s also not too late to get a flu shot; however, the earlier in the season you get it, the better you’re protected from serious illness.

 

Cost estimates for Phase 3 of Genesee County’s water project is going to be more costly than originally expected. County manager Matt Landers reported that he and Highway Superintendent Tim Hens received an estimate of projected cost from CPL, the firm involved in engineering the water project. In a few years when Phase 3 starts, the cost could be around $135,000,000. With Phase 3 still in design, Landers said the county would look for funding sources using lobbyists at the federal and state level.

 

Governor Hochul says she hasn’t made a decision yet on who is going to be the state’s next Lieutenant Governor. Brian Benjamin resigned from the position Tuesday shortly after he pleaded not guilty in court to bribery and fraud related charges. During an interview yesterday with Brian Lehrer on WNYC, a public radio station, Governor Hochul said Benjamin’s arrest came as a surprise to her and called the corruption allegations he’s facing disappointing. Right now, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins is serving in an acting capacity as Lieutenant Governor. And during the same interview, Governor Hochul revealed that the Buffalo Bills were considering moving to another city outside of New York. This was in response to a question about why the state would use public funds to build the new stadium. Hochul noted she was aware of other cities that had lost teams reaching out to the Bills and if a new stadium didn’t come to fruition here, the team had other options out of state.

 

Owen Power

The Buffalo Sabres are kicking off a brief 2 game home stand tonight as they look to pick up their second win in a row. The Sabres will be hosting the Saint Louis Blues at KeyBank Center. Buffalo is coming off of a 5-2 road victory Tuesday night over the Toronto Maple Leafs. This evening’s contest will be the first time Owen Power, who was the first-round pick of the Sabres in last year’s NHL Draft, plays in front of the home crowd. Face-off is scheduled for 7:00.

 

One of the early signature rides at Six Flags Darien Lake is being dismantled this week nearly 40 years after its debut. The Giant Wheel has been a fixture at the center of the park since 1983, and it was retired last year. In recent days crews have begun removing the Ferris wheel in pieces. A spokesperson for Six Flags shared that the ride had reached the end of its useful life and they’re considering options to replace it. The Giant Wheel opened at Darien Lake in 1983, arriving one year after the debut of the park’s first roller coaster, The Viper. The attraction was a key piece of the park’s growth from its origins as a campground with rides and water slides into a full-fledge theme park and one of region’s most-visited attractions.

 

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets today announced that it has issued an order to ban all fowl auctions and other events for the purchase, sale, swap, or trade of fowl in New York State to help prevent the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the state’s poultry population. This order expands on the Department’s March ban of fowl shows and exhibitions and is consistent with several additional states have taken the step to ban poultry exhibitions and/or gatherings of poultry. To date, eight flocks in New York State have tested positive for the so-called bird flu. The current strains are not a threat to humans.

The Department encourages all poultry producers, from small backyard to large commercial operations, to review their biosecurity plans and take precautions to protect their birds. Poultry biosecurity materials and checklists can be found on the USDA’s “Defend the Flock” website. Best practices include:
• Discourage unnecessary visitors and use biosecurity signs to warn people not to enter buildings without permission.
• Ask all visitors if they have had any contact with any birds in the past five days.
• Forbid entry to employees and visitors who own any kind of fowl.
• Require all visitors to cover and disinfect all footwear.
• Lock all entrances to chicken houses after hours.
• Avoid non-essential vehicular traffic on-farm.
• After hauling birds to processors, clean and disinfect poultry transport coops and vehicles before they return to the farm.
• Report anything unusual, especially sick or dead birds, to AGM.

To report sick birds, unexplained high number of deaths, or sudden drop in egg production, please contact the Department’s Division of Animal Industry at (518) 457-3502 or the USDA at (866) 536-7593.

 

Some brand new data shows the spread of COVID-19 is on the rise once again in Erie County. The Department of Health says over the past week, there have been nearly 21-hundred new cases reported. Officials believe the recent increase is due to a highly contagious omicron sub-variant that has been making people sick across Upstate New York. The state health department said yesterday everyone should take the proper steps to protect themselves against the virus. They include getting vaccinated, receiving a booster shot, and also wearing a mask indoors. Monroe County officials say a highly contagious omicron sub-variant is driving the latest increase in COVID-19 infections. There were 695 additional cases reported yesterday which is 100 fewer than on Monday. Hospitalizations due to the illness are rising in the Finger Lakes region with 169 people currently being treated for the illness and 16 of those patients in intensive care. Experts say the best way for people to protect themselves from getting sick is to be vaccinated, get a booster shot if they’re eligible, and to consider wearing a mask indoors.

Morning News Brief

The Tuscarora Nation which resides in Niagara County is threatening to blockade its roadways to stop the flow of illegal drugs.  Specifically marijuana.  The Tuscarora nation has elected to use New York’s laws by not claiming sovereignty.  And, at this time the commercial sale of marijuana is still illegal.  That hasn’t stopped dispensaries from setting up shop in the reserve and beginning to sell recreational Cannabis illegally.  In an effort to stop sales happening at illegal dispensaries, the Nation is threatening to set up roadblocks at its borders to prevent non-residents from coming in and purchasing it.  Niagara County Chief Deputy Schultz says the Nation does not have its own police or fire departments and relies on area law enforcement for emergencies.  He says that he has met with council leaders to keep the roads open because shutting them down would hurt emergency services’ ability to help people.  

The New York State Cannabis Board is scheduled to meet for the first time on May 20th.  The 13 member board will make recommendations for the state’s marketplace and make decisions about the state’s community reinvestment fund which gets money from the taxes on marijuana sales.  Until now, there’s been no information about the status of the board, and the Office of Cannabis Management and Cannabis Control Board over the past six months have enacted rules and proposed regulations to govern NY’s marijuana marketplace without input.  Hochul announced Wednesday that the members are being appointed but they are working to make sure the membership reflects New York’s diversity.

Wednesday at an anti-hate crime rally at Queens College, Governor Hochul announced nearly $16 million in grants to strengthen safety and security measures at buildings owned or operated by nonprofit organizations at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs, or missions. A total of 205 organizations received 327 grants, which are available through the state’s Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes program and administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. The funding will allow synagogues, churches, religious schools, civic organizations, and other nonprofit organizations to secure their facilities and better protect individuals and families they serve. 

Governor Hochul said during a live call with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer that the Buffalo Bills were considering moving to another city outside of New York if they didn’t get a new stadium.  She was asked why the state would use public funds to build the stadium and said that “I was aware that they were being reached out to by other cities that have lost teams before. That is real. Their stadium was starting to crumble. Something had to happen and if there wasn’t a decision done soon, they had definitely other options.”  She also stated that needed to balance the needs of upstate and downstate. 

Afternoon News Brief

Brian Benjamin has resigned as Lieutenant Governor after pleading not guilty to fraud and bribery related charges. It’s alleged Benjamin used his influence while he was a state Senator to direct a state grant to a non-profit controlled by a real estate developer. That developer later donated money to Benjamin’s Senate Campaign Committee and his failed campaign to become New York City Comptroller. Benjamin is also accused of providing false information while he was being vetted to become the state’s Lieutenant Governor. Last year, Benjamin was picked to take the job by Governor Hochul. In a statement, the governor said that she and Benjamin agreed he couldn’t continue to serve while the legal process plays out.

 

New York State now ranks third among the states where coronavirus is spreading the fastest on a per-person basis a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. Last week, coronavirus cases in the United States increased 20.8% from the week before, with close to 239,000 (238,885) cases reported. With 5.84% of the country’s population, New York had 13.44% of the country’s cases in the last week. Across the country, 34 states had more cases last week than they did in the week before. Locally, Genesee County reported 55 cases and one death in the latest week measured. A week earlier, we had reported 31 cases and zero deaths. Throughout the pandemic Genesee County reported 13,697 cases and 185 deaths.

 

Monroe County reported 1,436 cases and three deaths in the latest week measured. A week earlier, it had reported 903 cases and two deaths. Throughout the pandemic it has reported 153,169 cases and 1,553 deaths. New cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Monroe County, according to the Monroe County Department of Public Health. According to the county COVID-19 dashboard, which is updated on weekdays, 790 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Tuesday. The figure is more than twice as many new cases — a 160% increase — over the 303 new cases were reported just one day earlier. The new 7-day rolling average is 483 new cases per day.

 

And some good news, specific to Covid-19 treatment options, starting next week, the Erie County Department of Health will be offering a new treatment option to people who have contracted COVID-19. Beginning Monday, anyone who receives a positive result after being screened at a county testing site can get a prescription for Paxlovid. The antiviral drug is used to help people over the age of 12 with a mild or moderate case of the coronavirus. A prescription for the medication will be sent to the person’s pharmacy for pickup and the cost is covered by most insurance plans.

 

Our local health department has a timely reminder for us, especially this time of year. There are many animals being born and some of them stray away from their mothers and may possibly be rabid. Rabies is a central nervous system disease, which attacks the brain and almost always results in death if a rabies exposure is not treated. Rabies is most often spread through bites, scratches, and contact with infected saliva. It is most often seen in bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes, but any mammal can be infected with rabies. In addition, pets and livestock can get rabies if they are not vaccinated to protect against infection. Anyone who has been bitten by any animal or may have been exposed to rabies needs to take immediate action. Make sure to thoroughly clean any wounds or bites with soap and water, and then call your health care provider for further instructions. If you can do so safely, capture the animal (being careful not to damage the head/brain) and call your local health department to report the incident. For more information, please visit the website of our health department at GOHealthNY.org

 

There is a watermain break on Park Road in the Town of Batavia.  The water will be shut off for an undetermined amount of time beginning at 2:30 P.M. today. This may cause reduced water pressures in the surrounding area.

 

The Buffalo Sabres have finished up their latest road trip with a win and snapped a three-game losing streak in the process. Dahlin, Asplund, Thompson, Skinner and Okposo each scored a goal as the Sabres beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 at Scotiabank Arena last night. Owen Power, who was the first-round draft pick of the Sabres last year, logged nearly 20 minutes of ice time in his NHL debut. Buffalo will be back home tomorrow night to host the Saint Louis Blues.

 

Two of the biggest names in rap music will be coming to Western New York this summer, and today tickets to see Pitbull and Iggy Azalea are going on sale. The concert is happening at the Darien Lake Amphitheater on Sunday, July 31st. Seats are now available through the LiveNation website. The cost of a ticket may fluctuate based on demand.

 

The state’s budget includes a tax credit, available to low and middle-income households as well as seniors enlisted in the School Tax Relief Program. Under the program, basic STAR & Enhanced STAR recipients are eligible for the rebate. Basic Star recipients are those with an income less than $250,000. Enhanced members are those 65 and older making less than $92,000. The rebates will be a percentage of their existing STAR benefits.

 

The Empire Center has updated their Spend-O-Meter to reflect the newly enacted $220+ billion budget, to show just how much the state is spending… per second the state government is spending $6,987.37…this equates to $419,242.36 per minute, or just over $25 million per day. https://www.empirecenter.org/spend-o-meter/

 

Morning News Brief

Following his arrest for Campaign Finance Fraud Lt Governor Brian Benjamin has resigned his position effective immediately according to Governor Hochul just after 5 on Tuesday night.  The Southern District of New York attorney Damian Williams said that “this is a simple story of corruption.”  Benjamin was arrested Tuesday for charges of taking bribes from a real estate agency for use of his authority to send 50,000 dollars to a charity run by that company.  In a 23-page sealed indictment made public Tuesday, Benjamin is accused of abusing his authority as an elected lawmaker and “engaging in a bribery scheme using public funds for his own corrupt purposes.”  The court documents suggest he had help from “others acting at his direction and his behalf” to lie and cover up the bribe, including falsifying campaign donor forms although those others have not been named as of yet.

With a 700,000 dollar allotment from New York State’s DRI and another 400,000 from the NY Main Street Grant program, Batavia Players are moving towards transforming a site in the City Center for use as a new playhouse.  The project as a whole will cost about 1.5 million dollars and the Players have raised about 210,000.  The Batavia Players presented Shakespeare in Springtime: Love’s Labour’s Lost in March, and will be presenting The Springtime Music Spectacular: Back on the Boards Again, a tribute to Stephen Sondheim, on April 22-24 in their makeshift stage area until construction is finished.  They have an open house scheduled for April 30th.  They are hoping construction will be finished by Christmas.

The state’s budget is now providing 2.5 million eligible New Yorkers a property tax rebate. The credit is available for low and middle income households as well as seniors enlisted in the School Tax Relief Program.  Under the program, basic STAR & Enhanced STAR recipients are eligible for the rebate. Basic Star recipients are those with an income less than $250,000. Enhanced members are those 65 and older making less than $92,000. The rebates would be a percentage of their existing STAR benefits.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is revealing new information about the negotiations for a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. He confirmed Monday that the team’s owners, Kim and Terry Pegula, wanted the public to pay the entire cost of the more than one-billion-dollar facility. Instead, the state stepped in and provided 600-million-dollars in funding as part of the new state budget while Erie County agreed to chip in 250-million dollars. The stadium is going to be built in Orchard Park across from Highmark Stadium, which is where the Bills currently play their home games.

The Buffalo Sabres beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in Tuesday night’s game 5 to 2.  The Sabres were on a 3 game losing streak.  Kyle Okposo, Tage Thompson, Jeff Skinner, Rasmus Dahlin and Rasmus Asplund all scored a single goal.  The Sabres return to Buffalo for a home game Thursday against the St. Louis Blues.

Afternoon News Brief

Rhonda Saulsbury

City Assessor Rhonda Saulsbury responded to the anger that has been expressed specific to property re-assessments. She spoke during the City Council’s meeting last night and reviewed the reasons why the increases occurred and that she understands the frustration. She said New York State requires that assessments be reviewed annually and her office has a goal of achieving 100% sale price-to-assessment ratio. She further acknowledged that New York is a heavy homeowner tax burden state. Saulsbury explained that property assessments change for two reasons only: 1) when price-to-assessment ratios are growing apart – in other words, the sale price is much higher or lower than assessed value; or 2) for physical reasons, meaning that changes have occurred to the property; either something was added or taken away. Property owners whose assessments have gone up and wish to seek an informal review may appear during Grievance Day, on May 26. At that time, Saulsbury said she would review current data to help homeowners understand why their assessment value increased.

 

For the 25th year in a row, Wegmans has made the list of Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.” The supermarket chain was ranked third in this latest survey behind Cisco and Hilton. The results are based on several factors including respect, trust, camaraderie and fairness. Colleen Wegman, who is the president and CEO, says the company is grateful for this honor and that it’s inspiring to see how employees rise to the occasion to provide the best possible service to customers.

 

58-year-old Daniel Arnold of Oakfield is charged with DWI, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and moving from a lane unsafely, after a one-vehicle accident on Rt. 63 last night, just north of Galloway Road. Power lines came down after the accident and blocked the whole roadway. According to a Sheriff’s Department accident report, Arnold was traveling in a northeast direction on Rt. 63 when his 2019 Chevy pickup exited the east shoulder of the roadway and struck a National Grid utility pole. The pickup then re-entered the roadway and continued on 63 toward Oakfield. Arnold was located a short time later in the Village of Oakfield where he was arrested. No injuries were reported in the accident.

 

The Genesee County Health Weights and Measures Department has received a complaint from a customer that fuel purchased from the TA Travel Center on Alleghany Road in Corfu, had a high level of water in the fuel…this resulted in damage to the individual’s car. The TA Travel Center had received a similar complaint about a week ago and investigated. Results showed that there was water in the fuel tank above the state limit and TA discontinued pulling fuel from the problem tank. Customers are asked to contact the TA Travel Center at 585-599-4577 and select Option 4 if they purchased regular (87 octane) or mid-grade (89 octane) at the station from April 6 through the 7th. Proof of purchase and vehicle repair is needed to file a claim.

 

Owen Power

The Buffalo Sabres will be finishing up their latest road trip tonight, and the team is going to be joined on the ice by their latest first-round draft pick. Owen Power is expected to make his NHL debut when the Sabres take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. Power was the number one pick in the 2021 draft and recently signed a 3-year, entry-level contract. Face-off for this evening’s contest is scheduled for 7:00.

 

 

Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin has been arrested and charged in an alleged federal bribery conspiracy; he surrendered early this morning. The indictment against Benjamin resulted from an FBI investigation. According to the report, the Lieutenant Governor was accused “of conspiring to direct state funds to a Harlem real estate investor in exchange for orchestrating thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions to Mr. Benjamin’s unsuccessful 2021 campaign for New York City comptroller.”

 

You’ve already heard about the upcoming suspension of the gas tax, which is planned from June 1st through the end of the year. Governor Hochul said this will cost the state roughly $600,000,000 in tax revenue, but will save consumers 16 cents per gallon at the pump. Hochul suggested that counties across the state suspend their gas taxes as well during this period, but Genesee County Manager Matt Landers said there is no plan for this at the present time. In fact, he was unaware of any counties across the state that planned to do this.

 

 

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is revealing new information about the negotiations for a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. He confirmed yesterday that the team’s owners, Kim and Terry Pegula, wanted the public to pay the entire cost of the more than one-billion-dollar facility. Instead, the state stepped in and provided 600-million-dollars in funding as part of the new state budget while Erie County agreed to chip in 250-million dollars. The stadium is going to be built in Orchard Park across from Highmark Stadium, which is where the Bills currently play their home games.

 

Starting today, local golfers are going to be able to tee off when Monroe County’s three golf courses open up for the season. County Executive Adam Bello says this year’s $30 purchase fee for season permits has been scrapped and that discounted fees are being offered to seniors, military members, kids, and disabled golfers. Tee times at Churchville Park, Genesee Valley Park and Durand Eastman Park can be scheduled online. Due to the wet weather, golf carts won’t be allowed meaning the courses will be walking-only.

 

It’s National Work Zone Awareness Week and State Police will be doing their part to keep construction crews safe while they’re on the job. As part of the “Operation Hardhat” safety campaign they’ll be keeping a close eye out for people who drive dangerously in work zones. During last year’s crackdowns, there were a record 23-hundred 36 tickets handed out. Violators face penalties ranging from heavy fines to points on their driver’s license.

Morning News Brief

Governor Hochul announced as part of the State Budget’s tax relief for residents that the state gas tax will be suspended from June 1st to December 31st.  This will cost the state roughly 600 million in tax revenue and save the consumer 16 cents per gallon at the pump.  Hochul has also suggested that counties suspend their gas taxes but, according to Genesee County Manager Matt Landers, Genesee county and any county government he has spoken with are not planning on suspending their taxes.  Landers said about suspending the tax, “I don’t remember, specifically, which counties responded but all the ones that did said that was not something currently on their radar.”  State Assemblyman Stephen Hawley yesterday said Republicans supported legislation to remove 33 cents from the cost of a gallon of gas, as well as state sales tax breaks on home cleaning supplies, clothing and food.

The former JC Penney Building at the Batavia City Center has a new owner who has some plans to flip the building.  According to the Batavian the building was quietly bought by a west coast businessman named Yong Guang Ye back in February of 2021 for half a million dollars.  Ye is listing the property for sale for 1.3 million.  The realtor, Jonathan Maurer of Fairport, says they are trying to sell the property to hotel chains as a downtown hotel and event space.  BID Executive Director Shannon Maute said she could easily see a boutiquey micro-hotel situated within the 38,584 square-foot building. This area is lacking a venue for conferences and special events, she said, and the property is zoned for all of that, including building on two additional floors.

A line was down on Lewiston Road after a pickup truck struck a pole and fled north just after 9pm last night.  A black pickup truck reportedly hit a utility pole in the area of 7790 Lewiston Road, just north of Galloway Road, Batavia, and then fled north on Route 63 at a high rate of speed.  Lines came down after the accident and blocked the whole roadway.  Police and fire departments had the road closed by 9:15.  National grid was on the scene by 9:50.

Burritos for police doggies?  On Saturday, April 16 from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm the Batavia Chipotle is hosting a fundraiser for the City of Batavia Police K-9 program. A portion of sales will go directly to help keep K-9 officer Batu happy and healthy.  Go to Chipotle between 5 and 9 on Saturday and tell them you are there to support Batu.  If ordering online use the special code D2RNW3C when placing orders to ensure donations make it to the program.

Police in Leroy were pulling people over to give them gifts instead of tickets yesterday.  Madison “Maddie” Masters died unexpectedly on September 25th, 2020 at the age of 17.  Monday would have been Maddie’s 19th birthday. A donor, who wished to remain anonymous, provided The Le Roy Police Department with eleven 50-dollar gift cards to distribute within the community as a random act of kindness in memory of Maddie.  Officers conducted traffic enforcement Monday afternoon, but instead of tickets, officers issued gift cards.

Evening News Brief

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments say that with the arrival of spring we all should be more vigilant for rabid animals.
The Health Department experts don’t want you to be taken in by cute new- born wild animals that are prevalent this time of year.
Rabies is most often seen in raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes – but any mammal can be infected…including domestic cats and dogs. The best advice: if you encounter what appears to be a sick animal or one just not acting normal, leave it alone.
The next fee rabies vaccination clinic for your pets will be held at the county fairgrounds on May 19th.

 

The Batavia City School District has decided to move its Universal Pre-kindergarten program from Jackson Elementary to the Robert Morris building for the 2022-23 school years.
Space concerns at Jackson Primary was given as the reason for the move. The program is for four-year-old’s. Registration is open now through May 1st.

 

Our Monday gasoline price report shows a continuing downward trend.
It’s not a lot…but it helps.
The average price of a gallon of regular in Batavia is at $4.28, down 4-cents from last week.
Nationally, the average prices is down 8-cents.

 

Tax Day is one week away, and the state Department of Taxation and Finance is reminding New Yorkers to file their returns, even if they can’t pay what they owe. The agency says people who have to pay should reach out to them if they want to avoid or reduce penalties and added interest on their debt. One thing they can request is an Installment Payment Agreement which allows them to make monthly payments toward their unpaid tax balance.

 

The Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots keep growing and that means there’s a lot of money up for grabs over the next couple of days. The prize for tonight’s Powerball drawing is 288-million-dollars. And tomorrow night, at least 106-million bucks will go to whoever picks the winning Mega Millions numbers

Midday News Brief

Kenrey Benjamin

A Genesee County grand jury has filed an indictment against a Rochester man accused of entering an apartment at 66 Lake Street in Le Roy, with the intent to cause serious injury by attacking a man with a knife. 36-year-old Kenrey Benjamin is charged with two counts of first-degree burglary, class B violent felonies punishable by up to 25 years in prison; and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and attempted first-degree assault. Benjamin had been off parole since September 2020 after serving a five-year prison term for assault in Monroe County.

 

 

‘Historic or unprecedented’ – that is how Governor Hochul described each of the items in the 2023 state budget in a press release. There are several items listed, including $31.5 billion earmarked for school aid, including $125 million for full-day kindergartens and preschool. $2.2 billion is set aside for improvements to SUNY and CUNY schools. The Budget also creates a new property tax relief credit, the Homeowner Tax Rebate Credit, for eligible low- and middle-income households, as well as eligible senior households. Under this program, basic STAR exemption and credit beneficiaries with incomes below $250,000 and Enhanced STAR recipients are eligible for the property tax rebate where the benefit is a percentage of the homeowners’ existing STAR benefit. This $2.2 billion investment will help approximately 2.5 million homeowners. Governor Hochul also promises that New York will become the leader in offshore wind energy.

 

Recovering from the Pandemic:
The Budget supports pandemic relief programs that are intended to provide a lifeline for vulnerable New Yorkers experiencing difficulty meeting their basic needs. As part of an agreement with the legislature to spend $2 billion in pandemic recovery reserves 2023 budget includes:
• $800 million in state funds for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which has so far paid or obligated $2.1 billion for people behind on rent; this supports more than 160,000 low and moderate-income households at risk of housing instability;
• $800 million for hospitals still experiencing financial distress from the Covid-19 pandemic;
• $250 million in assistance for folks behind with utility payments; and
• $125 million in homeowner and landlord assistance; and
• $25 million in other one-time, non-recurring investments.

 

The national average price of a gallon of gas is down to $4.11. New York’s average is down, too, but it’s still higher than the U.S. average, AAA reports. In NY, the average price dropped seven cents from a week ago, to $4.22 per gallon. Comparing these prices to 2021, there’s still a long way to go if New York, or the U.S. in general, hopes to find relief at the pump. At this time last year, the national average was $2.86 per gallon while New York’s was $2.89. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.28 that’s up one cent since yesterday but down 4 cents from a week ago today.

 

 

The losing streak of the Buffalo Sabres has now hit three games following a road loss to the defending Stanley Cup champions. No Sabres were able to score yesterday as the team was beaten by the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-0. The last shutout the Sabres experienced was on March 6th against the LA Kings. Buffalo goalie Craig Anderson made 23 saves. The Sabres will finish up their four game road trip tomorrow night against the Toronto Maple Leafs with the anticipated debut of first overall pick Owen Power. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00.

 

Tax Day is less than one week away, and the state Department of Taxation and Finance is reminding New Yorkers to file their returns, even if they can’t pay what they owe. The agency says people who have to pay should reach out to them if they want to avoid or reduce penalties and added interest on their debt. One thing they can request is an Installment Payment Agreement, which allows them to make monthly payments toward their unpaid tax balance. Anyone with questions can contact a tax department representative from 8:30am until 4:30pm Monday through Friday (518-457-5181), or visit tax.ny.gov.

 

The Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots keep growing and that means there’s a lot of money up for grabs over the next couple of days. The prize for tonight’s Powerball drawing is $288,000,000. And tomorrow night, at least $106,000,000 will go to whoever picks the winning Mega Millions numbers. The cost of a ticket for both games is just $2.00. Both the Powerball and Mega Millions drawings will be streamed online. Please play responsibly.

Morning News Brief

Governor Hochul announced the highlights of the 2023 State Budget in a press release where almost every item is labeled as either historic or unprecedented.  Among the headline items are a 20 billion dollar investment into healthcare with 1.2 billion in bonuses for frontline healthcare workers, 31.5 Billion dollars towards school aid including 125 million for full day kindergartens and preschool and 2.2 billion for improvements to SUNY and CUNY schools.  Clean energy gets 4.2 billion dollars to mitigate climate change and create green jobs.  Governor Hochul promises that New York will become the leader in offshore wind energy.  And lastly the budget includes keeping to-go alcoholic beverage sales legal.

Boy Scout Troop 6006 honored 3 new Eagle Scouts Sunday at the First United Methodist Church in Batavia.  Luke Geiger, Nicholas Grover and Aidan Clark were presented with their Eagle Badge, recognizing their achievement of earning enough merit badges, completing a service project and serving as an example of a model scout for a certain number of years.  They were also presented with Congressional Awards by Congressman Chris Jacobs.  They will be presented with awards at a later date by Assemblyman Steve Hawley who was unavailable because of State Budget Meetings.  

Assemblyman Steve Hawley put out a press release saying that the 220 Billion dollar state budget is “more than what Florida and Texas spend on their budgets combined” and that “New Yorkers needed decisive action to be taken to lift our economy and restore public order, but instead, they were given a band-aid budget full of half-measures that will make little impact on the well-being of everyday people.”  Republican lawmakers complained that the budget was completed by Hochul’s staff and herself without transparency and it doesn’t solve the problems that plague the state, instead focusing on paying off labor unions and donors.

The DEC is hiring for summer seasonal positions for those who love the outdoors and want to work at a Department of Environmental Conservation facility.  The DEC operates 52 campgrounds and 5 day use areas throughout the Adirondacks and Catskill Parks and they need over 500 seasonal employees with all levels of experience and skills sets.  Opportunities range from supervisors, lifeguards, security, maintenance, cleaning staff, and booth workers. Some positions start as early as May, but varying start dates can be accommodated based on school and work schedules.  Those interested in summer employment with DEC or looking for more information should visit www.dec.ny.gov.

The Tampa Bay Lightning shut out the Sabres Sunday night 5 to 0.  The last shutout the Sabres suffered was March 6th against the LA Kings.  Craig Anderson made 23 saves.  Buffalo will visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday for the anticipated debut of first overall pick Owen Power. Puck drop will be at 7:00 p.m.

Weekend News Brief

A case that had international attention in Buffalo has come to a conclusion.  The police officers who were accused of assaulting 75 year old Martin Gugino as they cleared a downtown buffalo square of protestors during the 2020 Summer unrest have had all charges dismissed and been cleared of all wrongdoing by an arbitrator.  Gugino was recorded approaching the line of officers as they marched across the square and reaching out to touch their service weapons on their belts before they pushed him away and he fell hitting his head on the pavement.  Gugino spent 4 weeks in the hospital and sued the city, the police department and the mayor’s office.  A spokesperson for the Buffalo PD said both officers are expected to return to duty next week.

The University of Buffalo Police Department is investigating after Allen West, US Army Colonel and former Texas Republican Party Chairman came to speak on campus and was met with protests and alleged violence.  The Young Americans for Freedom campus club brought West out Thursday to speak at an event called “America Is Not Racist—Why American Values are Exceptional” as a black republican and military man.  Protestors outside the event room blocked doors and chanted they were “black and proud” and when attendees left the event chased them to their cars and across campus and allegedly assaulted several by punching and kicking them.  The protestors have said they felt threatened by online conversations which called them “animals” and “target practice.”  University of Buffalo have released a statement saying they are investigating the alleged violence and the social media threats.

The Penguins at the Seneca Park Zoo are not available to be seen right now.  They are being quarantined to keep them safe from the Avian Flu which has caused the deaths of millions of birds and foul across America so far.  At least one farm in Monroe County has had confirmed cases.  The penguins will be quarantined and cared for until the zoo deems it safe to bring them back out.

Earth Day is coming up and the City of Batavia wants to mark it by having residents “Adopt a Park” by volunteering to clean city parks.  Saturday, April 23rd come out to one of the 35 acres of playgrounds and public lands in Batavia.    Groups and individuals are encouraged to assist the City with improving parks through litter and debris pick-up in an effort to help keep parks and playgrounds clean and attractive. Director of Public Works, Brett Frank said “On behalf of the City of Batavia, we’d like to thank all of our residents for the pride they take in keeping our parks clean and thank them in advance for their participation and support.”  

The Buffalo Sabres lost again on their road tour of the United States, this time against the Florida Panthers 4 to 3.  The Sabres started off with a 2 goal lead with Mark Pysyk, Jeff Skinner and Victor Olofsson all finding the back of the net in the first 20 minutes.  But then the Panthers sunk 3 unanswered goals bringing their score to 4.  Next up the Sabres stay in the Sunshine State visiting the Tampa Bay Lightning at 5:00 p.m. Sunday.

Afternoon News Brief

Western New York drivers are continuing to see falling gas prices when it comes time to fill up their vehicles. According to Triple A, as of this morning, the average cost for a gallon of regular fuel is now $4.31. That’s down 3 cents from last week but is 11 cents higher this time one month ago. The state average is $4.26 a gallon while nationally it’s $4.15. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.30, the same as it was yesterday but down 4 cents from a week ago.

 

On this date in…the future…April 8, 2024, there will be a total solar eclipse, and Western New York is in the path of totality. During a solar eclipse, the moon gets between the sun and the Earth. In a total solar eclipse, people who are in the path of totality see the sun’s bright disk totally covered by the moon for a short time. The moon will begin to cover the sun at 2:07 p.m. Using a safe solar viewing method, we’ll see more and more of the sun covered by the moon for the next 73 minutes. This time is called a partial phase because the sun is partially covered by the moon. Totality begins at 3:20 p.m. and lasts 3 minutes 38 seconds, plus or minus a few seconds, depending on your exact location. After totality, the moon gradually uncovers the sun in a second partial phase. The eclipse ends for us at 4:33 p.m. So make a note on your calendar…April 8, 2024.

Three finalists have been named for the superintendent position at Attica Central School. The finalists will visit the district on three separate days later this month and different district stakeholders will interview each candidate throughout the day. Meet and greet forums will also be conducted 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. each day in the Attica Middle-High School Library. They are open to the public. Final interviews with the Board of Education will follow the meet and greet forums. It’s anticipated the new superintendent will start his duties on July 1. The three finalists are: Brian Swatland, who is currently principal at Williamsville East High School in Erie County; he will visit the district on April 20; Dr. Kiel Illg has served as assistant superintendent of Lackawanna City Schools since 2019. He will visit the district April 21; Dr. Sean C. Kinsley is the principal of Barron Collier High School in Naples, Florida where he has served since 2021. He will be on hand in the district on April 25.

 

It was a routine traffic stop for minor traffic violations but further investigation revealed a prescription drug selling operation. The case began last August 19th when 60-year-old Harjeet Ghotra of Niagara Falls Ontario was pulled over on Route 20a in Warsaw; it was discovered he was driving with a suspended license and over $30,000 cash in his pockets. It was later learned that the company Ghotra worked for, ‘MKG Wholesale of Cheektowaga’ apparently was a front for criminal diversion of prescriptions and prescription medications. It was found the company bought diabetes medications from people in WNY and sold it out-of-state. Ghotra was charged only with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle; a representative for MKG appeared in court last month and accepted a plea deal that included the county receiving that $30,000 plus in cash. It still remains unclear who exactly owns MKG; the site on which it’s located only has on it a two-unit apartment building. By the way, the FBI declined to pursue the case.

It took longer than they would’ve liked it to, but Governor Hochul and lawmakers have finally come to an agreement on a new state budget. It calls for 220-billion-dollars in spending which is four-billion-dollars more than what the governor proposed earlier this year. The budget includes changes to the state’s bail reform laws, investments in education and infrastructure and the suspension of a state tax on gasoline; that 16 cent reduction in price will be in effect from June 1st until December 31st. The Senate and Assembly are expected to have all of the budget bills passed by the end of today.

Home health care workers are getting a subsidy set aside in the new state budget to increase their wages. More than $10 billion of the $220 billion budget will be invested into healthcare. $4 billion will go to support the wages and bonuses for health care workers. Governor Hochul said the plan is to provide nearly $7.4 billion for a $3 wage increase for home health care aides. And, she promises, that’s just the beginning. Critics say this increase only sets the wage at 15.20 an hour and several fast food restaurants are offering more for new hires. The field of home health aides is understaffed and overburdened with some workers working well over 100 hours every week.

 

The four-game road trip of the Buffalo Sabres is off to a disappointing start following a loss to one of the best teams in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. The Sabres went ahead 2-0 early but were defeated by the Carolina Hurricanes by a final score of 5-3 last night. This clinches a playoffs berth for the Hurricanes. Tage Thompson, Alex Tuch and Victor Olofsson each scored for the Sabres while goaltender Craig Anderson stopped 27 of the 31 shots he faced. Up next for the Sabres is a game against the Florida Panthers tonight, starting at 7:00.

 

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has laid out his vision for the months ahead during his State of the County address. In his speech yesterday, Poloncarz talked about several initiatives such as installing new air filtration systems in schools, grants for arts and cultural organizations and the future of a countywide broadband network. Poloncarz also spoke about the county’s $250,000,000 commitment to help build a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park. He said $75,000,000 will come from the county’s 2021 year-end surplus and the remaining funds will be borrowed.

 

For the first time in almost two years, Social Security offices are back open for in-person services. The offices closed in March 2020 because of the pandemic. Since then, people could only communicate with Social Security online or over the phone. Appointments are recommended although the offices are taking walk-ins.

 

Spring only started a few weeks ago, but officials at Six Flags Darien Lake are already looking ahead to summer. The theme park is holding an in-person hiring event for summer jobs tomorrow from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Six Flags Darien Lake Hotel. There are about 1500 positions available including ride operators, lifeguards, food service and security. Anyone who can’t make the job fair can apply online or visit the park’s human resources office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Home opens this afternoon at 5, and closes at 9:00. Tomorrow the hours are 10 to 5 and then on Sunday, 10 to 3. The show is taking place at the David McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena on Evan Street. Admission is $3. There is a door prize of a $500 gift certificate to your vendor of choice. Make sure you stop by the WBTA booth and say hello.

 

Two state senators from the GLOW region are making their bids for re-election official: Senator Rob Ort is seeking the 62nd State Senate District that includes Orleans County; George Borrello is seeking the 58th, which includes Wyoming County. Both have filed petitions to run again on the Republican and Conservative lines.

 

The deadline for candidates to sign up for the New York State Trooper entrance exam is fast approaching. They have until this Sunday to fill out and submit their application for the exam, which will be given through April 30th at 54 testing centers across New York State. A study guide has been posted online for people who will be taking the test. The starting annual salary for a New York State Trooper is $59,000 but increases to more than $84,000 after the first year.

 

 

Morning News Brief

Governor Hochul announced an agreement had been reached on the state budget late Thursday night.  She says the agreement brings the state closer to an enacted budget.  Alcohol to go, an increase in home healthcare workers wages, 600 million for the new Bills stadium, and changes to bail reform are in the budget.  Another item of interest for state residents is the suspension of the state gas tax.  Starting June 1st and going through the end of the year this will drop 16 cents a gallon of the price at the pump.  The budget is reported to come in at 220 billion dollars and none of these decisions are final yet.  The budget is now 8 days late.  During the announcement Hochul also called on counties to suspend their own gas taxes to help out.

Home health care workers are getting a subsidy set aside in the new state budget to increase their wages.   More than $10 billion of the $220 billion budget will be invested into healthcare.  $4 billion will go to support the wages and bonuses for health care workers.  Governor Hochul says, “We’ll provide nearly $7.4 billion for a $3 wage increase for home health care aides. That’s just the beginning.”  Critics say this increase only sets the wage at 15.20 an hour and several fast food restaurants are offering more for new hires.  The field of home health aides is understaffed and overburdened with some workers working well over 100 hours every week.  

For the first time in almost two years, Social Security offices are back open for in-person services.  The offices closed in March 2020 because of the pandemic. Since then, people could only communicate with Social Security online or over the phone.  Appointments are recommended although the offices are taking walk ins.  

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Home Show will be going on this afternoon and evening from 5 to 9.  Saturday 10 to 5 and Sunday 10 to 3.  The show is taking place at the David McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena on Evan Street.  It’s 3 dollars for admission which comes with a 1 dollar off coupon to all vendor locations.  Come visit WBTA’s booth where you can talk with our on-air broadcasters and staff!  There is a door prize of a 500 dollar gift certificate to your vendor of choice.

They beat them in Buffalo but couldn’t take them on their Home Ice.  The Sabres lost to the Hurricanes 5 to 3 at the PNC Arena Thursday night.  This clinches a playoffs berth for the Hurricanes.  Tage Thompson scored his team-leading 32nd goal of the year, Victor Olofsson scored his 17th, while Alex Tuch scored his 10th goal of the season.  The Sabres play another team that has already clinched, the Panthers tonight at 7:00 p.m down in Florida.

Afternoon News Brief

A 345 million dollar, 3,400 acre solar farm is coming to the Town of Byron. The New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment granted approval for Excelsior Energy Center, LLC to build and operate a 280-megawatt solar farm with 20 MWs of battery storage available, in the Town of Byron. This will generate enough to power 74,000 homes. The creation of new jobs, long-term revenue and economic development to both the town of Byron and Genesee County are anticipated.

 

Our local health department reports the number of confirmed Covid cases in Genesee and Orleans counties doubled in the past week. As of yesterday, Orleans had 54 new confirmed cases with 35 lab-based tests and 19 at-home tests. Genesee has 62 confirmed cases with 41 from labs and 21 at-home tests. The 54 cases in Orleans this week compares to 25 in each of the previous two weeks. In Genesee, the 62 cases compares to 33 the previous week and 23 the week before that. The federal CDC continues to rank our two counties as low for Covid community spread.

 

Overdraft fees have had harmful effects on millions of consumers nationwide. In some instances, consumers can be charged as much as $35 for a purchase of $5 or less. New York Attorney General Letitia James is leading a multi-state coalition of attorneys general to call on the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo to eliminate all overdraft fees on consumer bank accounts. In a letter to each financial institution, Attorney General James urged each bank to eliminate overdraft fees by this summer to create a fairer and more inclusive consumer financial system. Numerous studies have shown that overdraft fees have disproportionately affected vulnerable families and communities of color by unnecessarily saddling them with additional debts that they cannot afford. The consequences are devastating to consumers’ financial health and, in the worst-case scenarios, result in individuals losing access to banking services.

 

Anyone who has Spectrum for television services can expect an increase in rates due to what the company is referring to as “the growing cost of programming.” For new customers who have a promotional price for their TV, Internet or Voice plan, the new regular plan price will not take effect until the end of the promotional period. A spokesperson for Charter Communications, Spectrum’s parent company, released the following statement: “TV programmers continue to raise fees annually to carry their content, driving higher costs across the entire industry. As a direct result of the growing cost of programming from the TV networks we carry, we are passing through these increased fees to viewers.” According to Spectrum, here is what you can expect:

Broadcast TV Surcharge from $17.99 to $21.00/month.
Spectrum TV Select from $76.99 to $79.99/month.
Spectrum TV Receivers from $8.99 to $9.99/month.
For new customers who are paying a promotional price for their Spectrum TV, Internet or Voice plan, the regular plan price does not take effect until the end of the promotional period.

 

The Buffalo Bills have signed one of their best players to a contract extension that will keep him with the team for years to come. According to NFL-dot-com, wide receiver Stefon Diggs has agreed to a new four-year, 96-million-dollar deal which includes 70-million-dollars in guaranteed money. The 28-year-old Diggs has been a member of the Bills since 2020 when he was acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings. This past season he caught 103 passes for 1225 yards and 10 touchdowns. The hope is that he would retire a Bill.

 

 

The Buffalo Sabres will be kicking off their four-game road trip tonight in search of their second straight win. The Sabres will be taking on the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Sabres are coming off of a 4-2 win over the Hurricanes in Buffalo on Tuesday night. Face-off for this evening’s contest is set for 7:30 p.m.

 

Following weeks of controversy surrounding his speech, SUNY Brockport students finally had the chance to hear from convicted cop killer Jalil Muntaqim. He was originally scheduled to talk on campus last night, but due to security concerns, the speech happened virtually over Zoom. During his address, Muntaqim, who was formerly known as Anthony Bottom, discussed his involvement with the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army but never talked about murdering two New York City police officers decades ago. Instead, Muntaqim claimed he was put behind bars for fighting white supremacy.

 

Nearly one week after the original deadline, there still isn’t an agreement in place on a new state budget. Lawmakers continued their discussions on a variety of issues yesterday, and the New York Post is reporting that they may end up adding four billion dollars to the 216 billion dollar proposal laid out by Governor Hochul earlier this year. Most of the delay in getting a deal done has been connected to debate over criminal justice reforms and other things such as additional spending for childcare, temporarily suspending a state tax on gasoline and how much taxpayer money will go towards a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. The budget was supposed to be passed by April 1st and has been late for three years in a row.

 

Officials at the University of Rochester have announced that a COVID-19 booster shot mandate that’s been in effect for students, staff and faculty has been put on hold. The school is making the policy change after New York State announced it wouldn’t enforce the booster requirement for health care workers. However, the university is still urging people who are able to get their booster to receive one. Everyone who is on campus must be fully vaccinated against the illness unless they have an exemption.

 

Governor Hochul has announced that a $62.4 million grant will be used to support and strengthen country-level emergency communications utilized by local first responders. This grant is through the 2022 Statewide Interoperable Communications Targeted Grant Program. Individual counties can apply for funding to improve infrastructure, address communications deficiencies, implement national communication channels, and enhance regional connectivity between counties and systems. This will give first responders the ability to share information and data in real-time during an emergency. Apply for funding soon; the application deadline is May 11.

 

Morning News Brief

A 345 million dollar, 3,443 acre solar farm is coming to the Town of Byron. The New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment granted approval for Excelsior Energy Center, LLC to build and operate a 280-megawatt solar farm with 20 MWs of battery storage in the Town of Byron which is enough to power 74,000 homes.  The GCEDC said it would create new jobs, provide long-term revenue and economic development to the town and county.  The project will create 290 jobs during construction, three to four full-time positions, and opportunities for landscaping and snow plowing throughout the life of the project.  It is estimated the project will provide $117.5 million in economic impacts.

Gov. Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers inched closer to a budget agreement on Wednesday — six days after the spending plan was due — but they didn’t cross the finish line.  After being in session for just over five minutes, the Senate adjourned until later this morning, ensuring that there won’t be any budget bills ready for the chamber to vote on until at least then.  Hochul and the Legislature are keeping details of the budget talks close to the vest, but Senate Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris confirmed that one major sticking point is close to being settled. He said there’s consensus on making some changes to the state’s 2019 criminal justice reforms that ended most forms of cash bail.

Genesee Community College’s Forum Players will be presenting Alice In Wonderland by Brainerd Duffield, an adaptation of Lewis Caroll’s famous work that takes a darker tone April 21-23rd at 7:30pm.  In this version of the show, wonderland is a nightmare allegory for growing up and the Players warn that this is a show for adults and isn’t suitable for children under 16 years old.  You can contact the Stuart Steiner Theatre box office for more information and ticket sales.

The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to announce the next edition of its Java with Joe E. morning presentation group on Thursday, April 28 at 9 am. This month  Director Ryan Duffy will share the local connection of Joseph Burke and “The Swedish Nightingale,” Jenny Lind. Burke was a backup musician for Lind when she traveled around the world with P.T. Barnum. Burke had a summer home in Alexander, NY where Lind visited several times.  The event is free to the public.

Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs will be staying in Buffalo for several more years.  Diggs signed a four-year contract extension with the Bills, reportedly worth $104 million, meaning Diggs will play for the Bills for the next six years.  According to a tweet from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, he would make $70 million guaranteed.  In total, Diggs would be paid $121.4 million over the next six years of his contract. According to Schefter, the hope from both sides is that he would retire a Bill.

Afternoon News Brief

22-year-old Tarrance Williams of Batavia has been indicted by the Genesee County grand jury; he is charged with third-and-fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. Williams is accused of possessing cocaine.

 

 

Staff at Attica Correctional Facility had to initiate the hazardous materials protocol when an unknown substance was found on a letter in the mailroom. The incident was reported to officials yesterday morning; the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision was alerted, as were the state police, Attica firemen and Wyoming County’s hazardous materials response team. Fortunately, nothing came from the investigation; staff, incarcerated individuals and the community at large were not at risk.

 

Anastasiia Sobol is a student from Ukraine currently attending college in Canada, studying Business Marketing. She previously lived with Jim & Lorrie Gammack of Darien Center as an exchange student while attending Batavia High School during her senior year. With the war going on in her homeland, her family is unable to pay for school for her. The Gammacks have been raising money for Ana through a GoFundMe site. They have also been talking with the U.S. State Department and are in touch with representatives in Washington to try and get a visa for Sobol to return to the U.S. to live with the Gammacks during the summer. Meanwhile, she’ll be staying with friends in St. Catharines, Ontario. According to information available on travel.state.gov, the State Department says that generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wants to enter the United States first needs to get a visa. However, the application process and wait time for an interview depends on many factors but could take 300 days or more.To help the Gammacks assist Ana, search ‘Help Ana the Exchange Student’ on the GoFundMe site. So far, they’ve raised a little over $8800 of their $10,000 goal.

 

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has revealed why a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills isn’t going to be built in Buffalo. In an interview with The Buffalo News, Poloncarz said there are several reasons why the facility can’t be constructed in the city including cost and potential legal battles associated with displacing residents. Last week, it was announced the NFL franchise will build its new stadium in Orchard Park which is where the team currently plays its home games. Poloncarz says the stadium deal won’t raise property taxes for Erie County residents.

 

 

 

The Buffalo Sabres have defeated the Carolina Hurricanes for the first time since 2016. Jeff Skinner, Dylan Cozens, Casey Mittelstadt, and Victor Olofsson each scored for the Sabres as they beat the Hurricanes 4-2 at KeyBank Center last night. Sabres goaltender Craig Anderson contributed to the win by stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced in the contest. Up next for the Sabres is a road game against the Hurricanes tomorrow.

 

 

 

Alton Brown, the famous chef and television personality, criticized Buffalo’s main culinary attraction, Buffalo Wings, on an episode of Hot Ones. That was back in 2018 when he said “if you want great Buffalo chicken wings, you don’t go to Buffalo.” He visited the city again earlier this week, and this time Buffalo natives sent him to where they thought the best wings were and he has recanted. Brown now says, “I have had the best buffalo wing of my life and yes, it was in Buffalo.” This time around, he reportedly went to Bar Bill in East Aurora and La Nova on the West Side for the wings.

 

Orleans County now has its first confirmed case of the avian flu. It was detected in a backyard flock; that’s the word from the Cornell Cooperative Extension there. No other details are available at this time, including what type of bird, or how many tested positive in that location. The state Department of Agriculture and Markets announced last month that the spread of so-called ‘bird flu’ among fowl suggested the need to ban all live shows and exhibitions in the state that featured chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese. The state will reassess the status of the ban next month, at which time the Extension will be able to determine if fowl will be included the annual 4-H Fair in late July. Meanwhile, poultry owners should keep their birds away from wild ducks and geese and their droppings. Outdoor access for poultry should be limited at this time. The current outbreak of avian flu is rapidly expanding nationwide; however, the current findings do not present an immediate public health concern.

 

A Pavilion man is indicted on charges that he seriously injured a state trooper and attacked other police officers as they investigated a domestic dispute. 52-year-old Daniel Knauss faces 7 counts; the most serious charge is assault on a police officer, which is a class C violent felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison.

 

Organizers of the Erie County Fair have announced three more musical acts who are going to be performing this year. Trace Adkins, Terri Clark, and Lonestar will take the stage on August 14th. Tickets for the concert go on sale June 10th at 9:00 a.m. with tickets ranging from $35 to $55 each. This year’s fair will run from August 10th through the 21st.

 

Some new data shows the spread of COVID-19 is on the rise again in Monroe County. There were 594 new infections reported yesterday which is nearly double the number that were announced on Monday. Health Commissioner Doctor Michael Mendoza says most of these cases are mild and there hasn’t been a large increase in hospitalizations. He says people should take precautions to avoid contracting the virus, such as receiving a COVID-19 vaccination or booster shot.

 

Negotiations continue today at the State Capitol as lawmakers work towards passing a new state budget. As has been the case for days, the main issues that still need to be addressed include funding for the new Buffalo Bills stadium, possible changes to the state’s bail reform laws and the temporary suspension of a state tax on gas. Earlier this week, the Legislature approved a budget extender that will keep the government running through Thursday. There’s still no word on when a final vote on the budget will happen; they’re hopeful by sometime over the weekend.

 

U.S. officials say the White House plans to extend the pandemic pause on student loan repayments through Aug. 31. An official announcement could come as early as sometime today. The pause on student loan payments was first put into place in March 2020. It’s been extended five times.

 

 

Morning News Brief

A New York State Supreme Court Judge is dead apparently of suicide.  John Michalski of Buffalo was found dead at his Amherst home Tuesday night.  He was under investigation for his connections to Strip Club owner Peter Gerace with whom he had a decades long friendship.  Gerace, owner of Pharoah’s Gentlemen’s Club in Cheektowaga, was arrested on federal charges related to drugs, bribery and sex trafficking.  Michalski’s home was raided by authorities in March but no charges were announced.  Michalski and his wife were reportedly cooperating with the authorities.

The State Budget has still not been decided after missing the deadline on April 1st and an extension being voted on Monday.  The 216 billion dollar budget, the second largest in the nation behind California, is being held up because of ongoing discussions about the Bills Stadium, Bail reform, the state gas tax, and tax breaks for developers.  Lead democrats say that progress is being made and the sticking points are being worked out.  Democrats are committed to keeping the contentious Bail Reform legislation and Republicans are demanding it be rescinded.  Downstate Democrats are opposed to the state giving 600 million dollars towards the new Buffalo Bills stadium while upstate politicians are mostly in favor of it.  There is hope for a vote today and lawmakers are supposed to start a 2 and half week vacation tomorrow.

City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr has another first place award under his belt for shooting after finishing in first place in the Super Senior division and 30th overall in the Tactical division at the 2022 United States Practical Shooting Association Multigun Nationals last weekend in Clinton, S.C.  He was first out of 139 competitors in the 3 day 12 course competition.  Jankowski, who is sponsored locally by Offhaus Farms and POTF Shooting Range, has captured numerous pistol, rifle and shotgun shooting competition honors over the past several years.

Buffalo is back on top of the wing game according to someone who should know.  A famous chef and tv personality Alton Brown disparaged Buffalo’s main culinary attraction, Buffalo Wings, on an episode of Hot Ones back in 2018 saying, “if you want great Buffalo chicken wings, you don’t go to Buffalo.”  He visited the city again on Monday and this time Buffalo natives sent him to where they thought the best wings were and he has recanted saying “I can say, I have had the best buffalo wing of my life and yes, it was in Buffalo.”  He reportedly went to Bar Bill in East Aurora and La Nova on the West Side for the wings.

The Buffalo Sabres have beaten the Carolina Hurricanes for the first time since 2016.  The final score was 4 to 2 Tuesday night setting the Sabres record at 26 and 34 and 11.  Rasmus Dahlin, Jeff Skinner, Dylan Cozens and Victor Olofsson scored for Buffalo and Craig Anderson made 32 saves.  Having beaten the Hurricanes on home ice Buffalo will now travel to Carolina for a game in Raleigh on their’s Thursday night.

Afternoon News Brief

44-year-old Tyrone Thigpen of Summit Street is accused of pulling out a rifle in front of a woman and her two children during an argument. The incident occurred on Batavia-Elba Townline road; the arrest followed a report of a dispute that turned violent. He is charged with felony aggravated family offense, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree menacing. He was arraigned in Town Court and committed to Genesee County Jail without bail.

 

For the 2022-23 budget year, the Batavia City Council decided to add a little more in for themselves. They hadn’t had a raise in 9 years. So, effective April 1st the new annual salary for a city council member is 5,000 dollars. That’s a 43 percent from the 3,500 they were earning. City Council President will get 7,000, which is the same percentage up from the 4,900 it was previously. The council stressed during their meeting that this will not raise any taxes and the tax rate remains the same with or without the pay raise. The total increase for the budget will be $14,100.

 

A former member of the Buffalo Bills is in trouble with the law after being arrested in Lockport. According to the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, 34-year-old Alex Carrington was pulled over on South Transit Road yesterday after deputies say he was speeding and driving his vehicle without a headlight. Deputies say Carrington appeared to be intoxicated and asked him to get out of the vehicle but he refused. A taser was later used to help get him into custody. A search of his vehicle led to the discovery of a gun and two loaded magazines. Carrington is facing several charges including DWI and criminal possession of a weapon.

 

The Buffalo Sabres will be finishing up their four-game home stand this evening against one of the best teams in the National Hockey League. The Sabres are hosting the Carolina Hurricanes at KeyBank Center. Buffalo is coming off of a 5-3 loss to the Florida Panthers on Sunday that snapped the team’s streak of scoring points in eight straight games. Face-off for tonight’s contest is scheduled for 7:00.

 

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans has announced that he’s tested positive for COVID-19. Evans says right now that he’s not experiencing any symptoms of the illness. He’ll continue working from home and follow the proper health and safety protocols. He’s also urging state residents to take the necessary steps to minimize their own exposure to COVID-19.

 

 

Another day has come and gone without an agreement in place on a brand-new state budget. One thing lawmakers were able to accomplish yesterday was passing a stopgap budget measure known as an extender to temporarily fund the government. That means thousands of state workers who were at risk of having their paychecks delayed will receive their money this week. Among the issues that still need to be resolved before a budget deal can be reached, include possible changes to the state’s bail reform laws, allowing restaurants to provide alcoholic beverages as part of to-go orders, and the temporary suspension of a state tax on gasoline. Lawmakers are hopeful a budget will be approved by the end of this week.

 

According to a State Comptroller’s Audit of the Albion Central School District they have been asking for too much in tax revenue. It turns out, they have 17 million dollars from 2017-2021 that was apparently not needed. Albion asked for 24 million. The comptroller’s office found that they overestimated their budget and did not properly use their retirement contribution reserve nor could the district explain how the finance committee was involved in the budgeting process. They met last night; it was the district’s first board meeting since the audit. The school board voted to pass a corrective action plan that will be submitted to the comptroller’s office. The board did not discuss details of the plan. As for what happens with that 17 million in excess property taxes, it’s unclear at this time; no one from the district would comment at the board meeting Monday night.

 

The City Yard Waste Station on Law Street in Batavia is opening next Monday for City residents. It will be open 12-6 Monday through Saturday through November when the hours shift to 11-5. City residents may bring yard waste material; which is grass, leaves and tree limbs to the Law Street Yard Waste Station. There is no spring curbside pickup of these materials. Stumps, rocks, fill, and building materials are not accepted.

 

Morning News Brief

According to a State Comptroller’s Audit of the Albion Central School District they have been asking for way too much in taxes.  How much, over 17 million dollars from 2017-2021 apparently was not needed.  Albion asked for 24 million.  The comptroller’s office found that they overestimated their budget and did not properly use their retirement contribution reserve nor could the district explain how the finance committee was involved in the budgeting process.  On Monday night, at the district’s first board meeting since the audit, the school board voted to pass a corrective action plan that will be submitted to the comptroller’s office. The board did not discuss details of the plan.  As for what happens with that 17 million in excess property taxes, that’s unclear because no one from the district would comment at the board meeting Monday night.

The Batavia Police Department has released their numbers for 2021.  All told, the police responded to 1,115 domestic calls, 658 mental health calls, 805 thefts, and 868 disturbances.  There was one murder investigation, 13 rape investigations, 11 robbery investigations, 49 aggravated assaults, 61 burglaries, 12 kidnappings, and 41 DWI.  Patrols conducted 2,526 traffic stops and issued 1,490 traffic tickets.  The police participated in de-escalation training and implicit bias training, and an officer wellness program was available.  For a complete look at the numbers check out our news partner the Batavian. 

A man traveling through Mt Morris was stopped for speeding and police found something more than a ticket worthy offence.  36 year old Ottawa, Ontario resident Badri Ahmed-Mohamed was found to be transporting 58 handguns in his trunk.  He was arrested and is being held in Livingston County Jail on a felony weapons charge.  The officer who made the arrest was sworn in just 15 days ago and says that when he approached Mohamed for the speeding stop the driver was shaking and acting very suspicious and said there was something illegal in the car.  That’s when the officer asked to be able to search the car and found the weapons.

For nine years the Batavia City council has gone without a pay raise as inflation and costs of living have steadily increased.  And for the 2022-23 budget year they have decided to add a little more in for themselves.  Effective April 1st the new annual salary for a city council member is 5,000 dollars.  A bump of 43 percent from the 3,500 they were getting.  City Council President will get 7,000 which is the same percentage up from the 4,900 it was previously.  The council stressed during their meeting that this will not raise any taxes and the tax rate remained the same with or without the pay raise.  In total it increased the budget by 14,100 dollars.

The City Yard Waste Station on Law Street in Batavia will be opening Monday April 11th for City residents.  It will be open 12-6 Monday through Saturday till November when the hours shift to 11-5.  City residents may bring yard waste material which is grass, leaves and tree limbs to the Law Street Yard Waste Station as there is no spring curb-side pickup of these materials. Stumps, rocks, fill, and building materials are not accepted.

Afternoon News Brief

Administrators with the Le Roy Central School District are busy working on the 2022-23 budget; they presently propose close to $28 million in expenditures, an increase of a little over $800,000 from the present school year. School districts do not yet know how much state aid they will receive, which is a significant portion of every district’s revenue. Without knowing that number, administrators in Le Roy cannot say what the anticipated tax levy will be and what that will mean for the tax rate on property owners in the district. Under the property tax cap, the district can increase the levy by 2.39 percent. The school board will meet tomorrow evening at 6 in the auditorium of Wolcott School.

47-year-old Thomas Moynihan the Second of Alexander has been arrested after allegedly violating a stay-away order of protection on at least 5 different dates. He is charged with criminal contempt in the 2nd degree and released with an appearance ticket; another arrest followed for allegedly violating an order of protection/disobeying a mandate, which resulted in another appearance ticket…both of which are scheduled for April 12 in Town of Alexander Court.

Election officials in Albany are encouraging candidates in the state to carry on with campaigning as the state appeals an upstate judge’s decision striking down recently drawn congressional and legislative maps. The State Board of Elections said that election-related deadlines ahead of the June primary will remain in place pending the appeal. That includes the filing period for designating petitions this week, due by April 7th.

Lawmakers will be back at the State Capitol today as they continue working on passing a brand new state budget. The April 1st deadline went by without a deal in place, meaning the budget has now been late three years in a row. State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office says if the budget isn’t approved by 4:00 this afternoon, paychecks for some state workers could end up being delayed. There are reportedly several issues that still need to be hammered out before a budget agreement is struck including possible changes to the state’s bail reform laws, the temporary suspension of a state tax on gasoline and how much money the state will contribute towards a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills.

 

This morning, oil prices were hovering around the $100 per barrel mark. They dropped after news that the U.S. will release one million barrels of oil per day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. With this in mind, according to Triple A, today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $4.19, that’s down 6 cents from last week. One year ago, the price was $2.87. The New York State average is 4.29, down 6 cents from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.90. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.32, down 4 cents from a week ago.

 

With Tax Day just two weeks away, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is reminding folks that they can file their documents for free. Anyone whose 2021 income was $73,000 or less can submit both their state and federal returns by using software available on the tax department website. And to get your refund faster, the agency suggests e-filing your documents and setting up direct deposit instead of sending them in through the mail and waiting for a check. Anyone who has questions can contact a tax department representative from 8:30am until 4:30pm Monday through Friday or visit tax.ny.gov.

 

Andrew Cuomo

Former Governor Andrew Cuomo is suing the state ethics commission over the money he received for his book about handling the COVID 19 pandemic. The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics wants him to pay back the cash from his $5.1 million book deal because he allegedly used state resources to write and publish the book. The lawsuit is an effort to block the Attorney General’s office from investigating whether he should pay back the money.

 

 

Sabres

The 8-game-points scoring streak of the Buffalo Sabres has come to an end after a late rally falls short on home ice. Kyle Okposo, Tage Thompson, and Jeff Skinner had a goal each as the Sabres lost to the Florida Panthers 5-3 at KeyBank Center yesterday. Buffalo goaltender Dustin Tokarski made 35 saves. Up next for the Sabres is a home game tomorrow night against the Carolina Hurricanes.

 

The state Department of Transportation says people who travel on Interstate 390 through Greece and Gates will have their travel plans affected by a construction project set to begin today. The agency says the left lane along I-390 north will be closed at Lexington Avenue while the left shoulder on I-390 south is going to be shut down between Ridgeway Avenue and Lexington Avenue. Crews will be out working from 7am until 3pm through Friday, but their schedule is weather-dependent.

 

Last month, a group of California elementary school students launched a free hotline featuring on-demand inspiration and advice. The small school’s project has since gone viral, receiving thousands of calls hourly. If you call 707-873-7862, you’ll hear a cheerful, young voice listing your options: “If you’re feeling mad, frustrated or nervous, press one. If you need words of encouragement and life advice, press two. If you need a pep talk from kindergarteners, press three. If you need to hear kids laughing with delight, press four.” Some of the advice includes, “You are okay;” and “The world is a better place with you in it.” Oh, and if you’re feeling sad or angry, you should ‘go get a cookie, a smoothie, or an ice cream’. I asked and you’ll be glad to know, it’s okay to have both a cookie and ice cream.

Other suggestions from the elementary school children…
· If you’re nervous, go get your wallet and spend it on ice cream and shoes.”
· “If you’re frustrated, you can always go to your bedroom, punch a pillow or cry on it and just go scream outside.”
· “If you’re mad or frustrated, you can do what you want to do best or you can do flips on the trampoline.”
· “If you’re sad or angry, go get a cookie, a smoothie or an ice cream.” I asked and you’ll be glad to know, it’s okay to have both a cookie and ice cream.

Other pieces of advice could save a great deal of money on therapy:
· “You are OK.”
· “Don’t give up – power through.”
· “The world is a better place with you in it.”
· “Choose weird.”

And finally, a cognitive-behavioral approach:
· “If you’re feeling up high and unbalanced, think of groundhogs.”

 

 

 

Morning News Brief

You may have seen the ads proclaiming his innocence online or on television.  Former Governor Andrew Cuomo is suing the state ethics commission over the money for his book about handling the COVID 19 pandemic.  The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics wants him to pay back the cash from his $5.1 million book deal because he allegedly used state resources to write and publish the book.  The lawsuit is an effort to block the Attorney General’s office from investigating whether he should pay back the money.

Bob Bialkowski, City Councilman at Large, attended the Back the Blue Rally Saturday afternoon held at the Brockport Veterans Club.  Also in attendance was Assemblyman Steve Hawley who spoke at the gathering.  The event was to protest the invitation of convicted cop killer Anthony Bottom who now goes as Jalil Abdul Muntaqim.  SUNY Brockport invited Muntaqim to speak as a political prisoner of the state after he was convicted in the 1971 planned murder of 2 police officers in New York City.  He was freed in 2020 because of parole reforms.  Brockport initially planned for him to speak in person but the event has been moved online because of the controversy surrounding the speech.  This rally was hosted by State Sen. Robert Ortt and retired New York Police Department Captain Alison Esposito.

 A local woman who has benefited from the Habitat For Humanity wants to help another family who is moving into a Habitat house.  Angelina Pellegrino wants to sell your stuff at a benefit yard sale at her home at 150 State St in Batavia on May 21st and 22nd from 10 to 4.  There are two Habitat homes near completion and Pellegrino said proceeds from this year’s yard sale will go directly to the families moving into those homes.  If you have items you’d like to donate you can contact Pellegrino at (585) 356-4867 or angelinapellegrino@ymail.com.

Grand Island’s amusement park, Fantasy Island, is getting ready for a May opening.  IB Parks and Entertainment LLC of Chicago says the shuttle loop coaster, Scrambler and Ghost Train will be ready by memorial day. The new operators say that they plan to have 80 rides, splash park rides and other attractions added as the year goes by.  The park expects to hire 200 seasonal workers.

The Buffalo Sabres lost to the Florida Panthers Sunday afternoon 5 to 3 at the Keybank Arena.  This win puts the Panthers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the first team to get a spot.  Jeff Skinner, Tage Thompson and Kyle Okposo all scored and Dustin Tokarski made 35 saves.  Next up Buffalo will be hosting the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday at 7pm.

Weekend News Brief

A convicted killer for hire from Rochester is on the run after failing to return to a halfway house Monday.   64 year old Dominic Taddeo was transferred from a medium security prison to a halfway house in Florida and was awaiting official release next year.  He went to a scheduled appointment but never came back.  He is now listed as escaped according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Taddeo was a mob hitman who killed 3 men in Rochester and attempted to kill a mob boss.  He claimed to be a part of La Cosa Nostra.  When he was arrested for a firearms violation in 1987 he made bail and then disappeared for 2 years before being caught and imprisoned.  He was sentenced to 30 years for drug conspiracy, bail jumping and illegal weapons possession and 24 years on top of that.  

Governor Hochul has lifted her previous executive order delaying the implementation of the “Safe Staffing Act,” which requires all long-term care facilities in the state to provide at least 3.5 hours of individual care to each resident, each day. The law had previously been suspended due to pandemic-related staffing shortages.  There have been worker shortages and other issues during the COVID 19 pandemic but Hochul says that nursing homes have to meet their residents’ needs.  No punishments for not having 3.5 hours a day have been announced.

The Batavia Kiwanis Club Easter Egg hunt is back on this year after a 2 year hiatus.  It will be held on Saturday April 16th starting at 9am at Centennial Park.  Age groups will be birth through 3, 4 to 7 and 8 to 10.  In addition, last year’s new tradition, the Golden Prize Egg will still be given. Starting on Saturday, April 9th, there will be a Golden Prize Egg hidden daily at Centennial Park. The egg will be hidden at different times each day to allow for families with different schedules to search and have an equal chance of finding the egg. The Golden Prize Eggs are restricted to kids age 12 and under, although older siblings and family members can help search! 

Its not quite Shark Tank but it is an opportunity to sharpen your idea about starting a new business and it does have prize money.  Genesee community college is hosting a Pitch Competition for people who have a business idea to come and pitch the concept and find out if they can convince a customer or an investor that their plan is a good one.  GCC’s Business Idea Pitch Competition is on Tuesday, April 19, from 9 a.m. to 1pm.  The competition is free and open to the public and prizes of $100 for first place and $75 for second place will be awarded to the most outstanding competitors in the “most likely to succeed” and “most creative” categories. Pitches will be judged by local business leaders.

The Buffalo Sabres beat the Nashville Predators 4 to 3 Friday in an arena with the first sold out crowd in 2 years.  This was the final night for Announcer Rick Jeanneret.  Jeanneret has been the Sabres announcer since 1971 and a banner was added to the Keybank Arena rafters in his name.  Tage Thompson scored twice and Victor Olofsson scored once.  The Sabres host the Florida Panthers on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

Afternoon News Brief

The Batavia Police Department needs your help in identifying a person of interest in a larceny, during which a bucket of small liquor bottles was taken. This occurred at Kwik Fill on Sunday, March 27th around 11:30 pm. Anyone with information on the identity of the person is asked to call police at 345-6350; the confidential tip line is 345-6370.

 

 

Another recall…A popular brand of antiperspirant is being recalled because it may contain a potentially cancer-causing chemical. It’s the latest such recall involving aerosol health and beauty products in the past few months. Unilever is recalling two versions of Suave 24-hour Protection Aerosol Antiperspirant. The company said an internal review found unexpected, slightly elevated levels of benzene from the propellant that sprays the product out of the can. Benzene can result in cancer, but Unilever said that based on an independent health hazard evaluation, the amounts detected in the recalled antiperspirant would be unlikely to cause health issues. That’s similar to recent recalls involving shampoos, conditioners, sunscreens and other antiperspirants.

The products are:

Suave 24-Hour Protection Aerosol Antiperspirant Powder — 4-ounce cans with UPC 079400751508
Suave 24-Hour Protection Aerosol Antiperspirant Powder — 6-ounce cans with UPC 079400784902
Suave 24-Hour Protection Aerosol Antiperspirant Fresh — 6-ounce cans with UPC 079400785503

The recall affects all of the products above with expiration dates through September 2023. They were sold at retail stores nationwide and online.

District Attorney Kevin Finnell reports that the case against two men accused of stabbing two migrant workers to death at the Blumer Dairy Farm in Alexander last month, has yet to be scheduled for a grand jury presentation. He noted that the investigation is ongoing and both he and the attorneys for the accused are talking about a possible resolution. Prince N.K. Wilson, 23, of Albion and Raul S. Cruz, 18, formerly of Albion and now of Warsaw, were arrested and charged with second-degree murder for the March 11 stabbing deaths of two men. Elibander Morales, aka Ivan Cruz, 30, and Marceleno Gomez-Hernandez, 29, were both pronounced dead at the scene in a bunkhouse at the farm on Route 98. Investigators have continually been working on the case and have released little information. (Pictured: From left, Prince N.K. Wilson and Raul S. Cruz)

A lower-court judge declared New York’s new congressional and legislative district maps unconstitutional Thursday and ordered the legislature to quickly redraw them, a process that could delay the state’s fast-approaching party primaries. Judge Patrick McAllister said in his ruling that maps redrawing the state’s congressional districts were gerrymandered to benefit Democrats. McAllister also said those districts must be redrawn, along with the legislative districts, in a way that attracted at least some bipartisan support. The judge gave lawmakers until April 11 to try again. If they can’t come up with a map that the judge agrees with then a court appointed expert would be paid to draw the map. In a joint statement, Gov. Kathy Hochul and state Attorney General Letitia James said they intend to appeal. An appeal could send the case to a mid-level state appeals court or New York’s Court of Appeals, who could set the judge’s decision aside; Democrats appointed all seven members of that high court.  The state’s primary elections are scheduled for June 28 and candidates have already begun campaigning in the new districts.

 

Job and employment data released recently by the NYS Labor Department indicate a strong labor market for Genesee County. In the report dated February 2022, there were 21,500 non-farm jobs in our county, up from 21,000 one year ago. The total number of private-sector jobs grew from 15,900 to 16,300. The county’s unemployment rate for February 2022 was 4.1 percent, down considerably from 6.2 a year ago and the lowest rate for any February since at least 1990. The total labor force (the number of people working or seeking work) grew from 29,000 to 29,200. The total number of local residents employed in February was 28,200, up from 27,200. The number of employed in February 2020 was higher at 28,600, which was the highest level since 2009 when it was 29,600. The total unemployed — people still in the market for jobs — was 1,200, down from 1,800 a year earlier and lower than in 2020, just before the start of the pandemic, when it was 1,600. The February total for Genesee County was the lowest since at least 1990. The state’s unemployment rate is 5.1 percent and the nation’s is 3.8 percent.

 

If you’re looking to cross the border into Canada, as of today, that trip just got a little easier — fully vaccinated visitors are no longer required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country. Travelers will have to submit their mandatory information using the ArriveCAN app before getting to the border. If you are not vaccinated, you will still have to take a test and quarantine for 14 days, unless you have an exemption. Officials say they may pull random travelers to submit to a COVID-19 test, regardless of their vaccination status. Those that are not fully vaccinated will still have to provide proof of one of the following: A valid, negative antigen test, administered or observed by an accredited lab or testing provider taken outside of Canada no more than one day before their initially scheduled flight departure time or their arrival at the land border or marine port of entry; or, A valid negative molecular test taken no more than 72 hours before their initially scheduled flight departure time or their arrival at the land border or marine port of entry; of entry ; or A previous positive molecular test taken at least 10 calendar days and no more than 180 calendar days before their initially scheduled flight departure time or their arrival at the land border or marine port of entry. It is important to note that positive antigen test results will not be accepted. Fully vaccinated travelers entering the United States from Canada or Mexico at land points of entry or ferry terminals do not have to show proof of a negative test. U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents also do not need to provide proof of vaccination status at land points of entry or ferry terminals.

 

Western New York drivers are handing over just a little bit less cash when it comes time to fill up their vehicles, although gas is still high. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas is $4.36. That’s down a penny from last week but is still 57 cents higher than this time one month ago. The state average is $4.33 a gallon while nationally it’s $4.22. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.35; the same as it was yesterday and down one cent from a week ago.

Despite lengthy negotiations, lawmakers have come up short in their effort to pass the state budget on-time. The midnight deadline went by without an agreement on a spending plan for the new fiscal year. There are reportedly several issues that still need to be hammered out before a deal can be completed including possible changes to the state’s bail reform laws and a temporary suspension of a state tax on gasoline. Governor Hochul says she’s continuing to have conversations with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and is confident an agreement is close. However, there’s no official word yet on when the Legislature will vote on the budget.

The Buffalo Sabres will continue their four-game home stand tonight as the team looks to get back on the winning track. The Sabres are set to host the Nashville Predators at KeyBank Center. Buffalo is coming off of a 3-2 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets Wednesday night and are currently in sixth place in the Atlantic Division with 59 points. Face-off for this evening’s contest is scheduled for 7:00, with a tribute to long-time Sabres play-by-play announcer — Rick Jeanneret – planned just before puck drop.

New details have been released about the recent raid of State Supreme Court Judge John Michalski’s home. Sources tell The Buffalo News that members of law enforcement searched the Amherst residence last week for evidence of tax crimes. Investigators are reportedly trying to determine if an online retail jewelry and clothing business that’s being run out of the residence is following the proper federal and state tax laws. So far, no charges have been filed against Michalski.

The man who is accused of shooting three Buffalo police officers earlier this week has been arraigned on multiple charges. Erie County District Attorney John Flynn says Kente Bell shot the officers during a high-speed pursuit Tuesday. Officers Trevor Sheehan and Christopher Wilson were treated for their injuries and released while Officer Joseph McCarthy was shot in the lower abdomen and underwent surgery at Erie County Medical Center. Bell is charged with three counts with attempted murder of a police officer and also criminal possession of a weapon. If convicted, he’s facing a sentence of 50 years to life in prison.

 

Morning News Brief

The Supreme Court of New York State has rejected the Democrat redistricting map that the legislature proposed.  Judge Patrick McAllister said in a Thursday ruling that maps redrawing the state’s congressional districts were gerrymandered to benefit Democrats. McAllister said those districts must be redrawn, along with the legislative districts, in a way that attracted at least some bipartisan support.  The judge gave lawmakers until April 11 to try again.  If they can’t come up with a map that the judge agrees with then a court appointed expert will be paid to draw the map.  Governor Kathy Hochul announced that her office would be appealing the decision.

The job market in Genesee county is doing pretty well according to a New York State Labor Department report for the month of February.  The Unemployment rate is down to 4.1 percent which is the lowest it’s been in February since 1990 and down from 6.2 percent this time in 2021.  The amount of people looking for work or actively working, the number of non farm jobs and the number of private sector jobs are all up while the number of unemployed people is down.  The same can’t be said for New York State where the average rate of unemployment and underemployment is 12.2 percent and the national rate is 9.4.

Your Skippy Peanut Butter may be tainted with stainless steel fragments according to Skippy Foods LLC.  The company is recalling over 150 thousand pounds of peanut butter after a piece of machinery used in making the peanut butter dropped some metal in the jars.  Skippy reduced fat creamy, reduced fat chunky, and creamy peanut butter blended with plant protein are part of the recall.  Check out wbtai.com for the complete list of products being recalled. 

Products subject to the recall include:

SKIPPY Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter, 40oz with a Best if Used By date of MAY0423 or MAY0523.

SKIPPY Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter – Club, 2/40oz with a Best if Used By date of MAY0523.

SKIPPY Reduced Fat Chunky Peanut Butter, 16.3oz with a Best if Used By date of MAY0623 or MAY0723.

SKIPPY Creamy Peanut Butter Blended With Plant Protein, 14oz with a Best if Used By date of MAY1023.

A man in Batavia is nearly 600 thousand dollars richer thanks to a 1 million dollar winning scratch off ticket bought at Harry’s Niagara on East Main Street. Carl Ribbeck Jr bought a 25X scratch off game and found it was worth a million bucks.  He took the lump sum option which awarded him 579,390 dollars after taxes.  

St Paul Lutheran Church and School is having a Chicken Barbeque Sunday from 11 to 2 to benefit their school.  You can reserve your meals early by going to the church office or calling 585 356 8789.  Tickets are 14 dollars a piece.  This is a drive through barbeque. 

Afternoon News Brief

The U.S. Marshals Service continues their search for a missing child who has been taken on the run by her fugitive mother. 35-year-old Adrienne Grace Marean was charged earlier this month by the Bridgeport Police Department in West Virginia for allegedly violating a Family Court Order. She had been ordered to transfer custody of a minor child last month and is believed to have fled that area with the child. Marshals have focused their efforts in locating the missing child and Marean in the Dunkirk and Fredonia areas in Chautauqua County; however, it’s possible she is somewhere else in the Western New York area. Marean is believed to be driving a gray Toyota Prius with New York license plate, JJR1907. She is described as a white female, approximately 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing about 165 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Marean or the missing child is asked to call 9-1-1 immediately.

 

Nearly 162,000 pounds of select Skippy peanut butter products are being voluntarily recalled because some of the jars may contain small fragments of stainless steel. Skippy Foods announced the recall Wednesday evening, saying roughly 9,350 cases of three products with specific code dates are affected. The stainless steel fragments are from a piece of manufacturing equipment. According to Skippy, internal detection systems at the manufacturing facility were able to detect the equipment issue. And there have not yet been any reports from consumers about fragments found in the peanut butter. The list of affected products is available on today’s Afternoon News Brief page, by clicking ‘Local News’ under the Local News tab at WBTAi.com.

Below is a list of the affected products and their corresponding code dates, which are found on the top of the lid:

SKIPPY® Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter, 40oz Best if Used By MAY0423
Best if Used By MAY0523
SKIPPY® Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter – Club, 2/40oz Best if Used By MAY0523
SKIPPY® Reduced Fat Chunky Peanut Butter, 16.3oz Best if Used By MAY0623
Best if Used By MAY0723
SKIPPY® Creamy Peanut Butter Blended With Plant Protein, 14oz Best if Used By MAY1023

If you have one of the above products, you are encouraged to return it at the store you purchased it from, contact Skippy Foods Consumer Engagement at 1-866-475-4779, or visit the company’s website.

 

Legislators unanimously approved all the bids for the new Genesee County Jail project. Companies from Western and Central NY bid for a total of over $57 million dollars, which is 2.7 million dollars less than what was budgeted for the work. The Pike company had solicited the bids and county legislators were satisfied with the answers provided about the project. They are scheduled to break ground on May 9 on land next to County Building 2 on West Main Street Road. Work will take place over 20 months; they hope to be finished by January 2024.

 

The number of new confirmed Covid cases in Genesee and Orleans counties remains at a low level. For the last 7 days, there were 33 new cases in Genesee, an increase of 10 from the previous week. In Orleans, the number of new cases was 25, the same as in the previous week. The federal CDC continues to rank the two counties as low for Covid community spread. Statewide the percent of Covid tests that were positive was 2.54%; the seven-day average for positive tests is 2.45%. Governor Hochul continues to advocate for getting tested if feeling sick and limiting exposure to others, when you’re ill. She also encourages New Yorkers to take advantage of the tools we have – getting vaccinated and boosted – to help limit infection and severe illness. A second booster shot is now available to adults 50 and older. Please check with your doctor to determine if it is appropriate for you.

Officials with the Better Business Bureau are warning Rochester residents and people who live in the region to be wary of an old scam that is making a comeback. It’s the card-skimming scam, and it involves placing a small device at the gas pump at a service station that captures credit card information when a card is inserted. Better Business Bureau investigators say signs to watch for include any indications that the card reader has been tampered with or if the card reader was placed over something. Attendants at the gas station may not have been aware their card readers have been tampered with, so it’s a good idea to alert them if you spot a device on one of their pumps.

New details are emerging about the Buffalo Bills’ new stadium agreement. Under the memorandum of understanding between the Bills, New York State and Erie County, the Bills will extend their current lease at Highmark Stadium on an annual basis until the new stadium is finished. Any necessary maintenance will be done by Erie County and the Bills, including inspections of the upper deck. The Bills can get out of the lease prior to the end of an extension if the stadium is finished before the end of the extension period, or if all sides agree there’s a health and safety risk at Highmark Stadium.

 

Rick Jeanneret – Sabres

The Sabres fell to the Winnipeg Jets last night in a shoot-out, 3-2. Buffalo moved to 24-33 and 11 overall this season, though they recorded their best March record in years at 8-3-and-3. They’re on their way to an 11th season without qualifying for the playoffs, which would be an NHL record. Not a desirable one, but a record none the less. Tomorrow night, the Sabres host the Nashville Predators. They’ll also celebrate the career of their longtime play-by-play announcer — Rick Jeanneret — before puck drop.

 

Catholic Health says it’s dealing with a data breach. Catholic Health System officials said yesterday about 13-hundred patients have been impacted by the data breach. (SIGH-ox) Ciox Health provides health information management services to Catholic Health. Catholic Health says the situation involves unauthorized access of a Ciox employee’s email, and the patients impacted will receive a letter from Ciox Health.

 

33-year-old Roy Watson Jr. of Batavia was arraigned in Orleans County court for second-degree burglary and two counts of criminal mischief in the third degree. He allegedly entered a home on Park Avenue in Medina without permission and broke a window, door, doorframe and some household items. He pleaded not guilty.

Amherst is getting a Costco. The Office of the Amherst Supervisor says construction is expected to begin in spring of 2023. The big-box wholesaler will be built at the former site of Tony Roma’s restaurant on Ridge Lea Road across from The Boulevard Consumer Square. There are Costcos in Rochester and the Syracuse area, but this will be the first Buffalo-area Costco.

 

Morning News Brief

Legislators unanimously approved all the bids for the new Genesee County Jail project.  Companies from Rochester, Utica, Shortsville, and Ontario bid for a total of 57,272,800 dollars which is 2.7 million dollars less than the Pike company budgeted for the work.  Mark Bollin of the Pike company, which solicited bids across the state, went into detail about the companies that submitted low bids and answered questions from legislators about the project, which is scheduled to break ground on May 9 on land next to County Building 2 on West Main Street Road. He said work will take place over 20 months, hoping to be finished by January 2024.

A second booster shot is now available to adults 50 and older and health officials say it can be beneficial for some but not everyone.  The booster shot is meant to boost antibody levels and is recommended for those who are at risk of serious illness or death from COVID 19 and its variants because of advanced age or being immunocompromised only if they have not had COVID in the past several months.  Doctors say those eligible for another vaccine should consider factors like their health, age and whether they have recently had a COVID infection, in deciding whether to get the shot.  Antibodies drop off after 3-6 months but the t-cell immunity created by infection or vaccination stays effective in the body longer.  At this time immunity caused by infection has shown in multiple studies to be longer lasting than that given by vaccination.

The Batavia Ramble Art and Music festival is planned to be back this July after having been on hiatus during the COVID pandemic for the last 2 years.  It will be held at Jackson Square July 2nd and is to be filled with art displays, family-friendly activities and, of course, a line-up of hometown bands for a Saturday full of live music.  Look for more details as they become available on the GO Art and Batavia Ramble Facebook pages.

If you are a fan of Star Wars and also want to benefit kids with serious illnesses, someone has made something for you.  Don Burns, a Batavia High graduate and member of the 501st Star Wars cosplay organization that raises money for charities by dressing up as Star Wars characters, has been part of making a Star Wars fan film right here in Batavia.  Burns, now a teacher in Rochester, was executive producer of the film, Tomorrow & Tomorrow.  Burns dressed up as Darth Vader and recited one of Shakespeare’s famous monologues in the Richmond Mausoleum.  So far, the film has raised $1,200 for Make-A-Wish.  You can watch it on the Batavian’s website.

The Buffalo Sabres lost to the Winnipeg Jets 3 to 2 in a shootout Wednesday night.  6 of the last 7 games the Sabres have played have gone to overtime.  Zemgus Gergensons scored both goals for the Sabres and Craig Anderson blocked 25 shots.  The Sabres are back on home ice Friday when they host the Nashville Predators at 7pm.

Afternoon News Brief

Unemployment rates in the GLOW region continue to decline compared to a year ago, according to state data just released. The Department of Labor statistics show less unemployment in each of the four counties when comparing February 2021 to February 2022. Each of the counties was below 5 percent most recently — a change from the height of the COVID19 pandemic two years ago. Orleans and Wyoming counties were tied for the GLOW region’s highest unemployment rates as of this past February. Genesee County’s unemployment rate last month was 4.1 percent or about 1,200 people. That compares to 6.2 percent or 1,800 people in February 2021.

 

The Medina Police Department issued a warning this afternoon to local residents and nearby communities. Scammers are using the department’s phone number and calling residents. People who answer the call are told that they are wanted on a warrant and the only way to clear up the issue is to pay money. Medina police say this is not how they, or any other law enforcement agency handles warrants. If you are contacted, Medina Police advise you obtain as much information as you can without engaging in a lengthy conversation with the caller; once you disconnect, call 911 or Medina Police (585-798-5602) and speak to an officer. People should never give the caller money or information about their financial accounts.

 

Geomagnetic storms are in the forecast, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center…more simply put, forecasters tell us we may be able to see the Northern Lights here in Western NY. The current storm has a rating of 3, which can make auroras visible as far south as the New York/Pennsylvania state line. The lights may be visible starting as early as 8 p.m. this evening through 5 a.m. tomorrow. Historically for us, auroras tend to show off their colors after midnight and into the wee hours of the morning.

 

Health officials in Western NY say the new surge in COVID-19 cases can be traced to the onset of the latest subvariant of COVID-19, known as BA-dot-2. The variant was first confirmed in Monroe County last week and has led to a 70 percent increase in cases. The CDC says the variant is now the most dominant one in the country. Yesterday, health officials reported 352 new COVID cases, most of which came from home test results. Hospitalizations remain steady right now.

 

Congressman Chris Jacobs along with NYS Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy held a press conference at a gas station Tuesday morning to call on President Biden to “get out of the way of the American Energy Industry and allow affordable, domestically produced energy to flow to the American People.” Jacobs blamed rising gas and heating costs on the president’s canceling of the Keystone XL pipeline and destructive policies against US Oil production. They also held a voter registration drive at the event.

 

Officials with the Seneca Nation say they’re releasing casino revenue sharing payments totaling 564-million dollars to New York State. Governor Kathy Hochul says about $418,000,000 dollars from the settlement will go toward the new Buffalo Bills stadium. The move followed hours of deliberations this week. Seneca Nation blames the state for causing restrictions of the accounts used to pay salaries and services. Officials say the state made a move on their bank accounts while Seneca Nation waited for a review of its revenue sharing payments. Nation officials say the move resulted in a freeze of its accounts, but state officials say their move was justified.

 

Steve Hawley

Assemblyman Steve Hawley joined his colleagues from the Senate and Assembly Minorities in calling on Governor Hochul and the legislative Majority to amend the state’s bail reform law, seeking to restore judicial discretion that would empower judges to keep criminals they know to be dangerous off of the streets. Hawley has spoken out against the danger this law poses to communities since it was first passed in 2019, after reports emerged throughout the state of violent acts being perpetrated by offenders released, sometimes repeatedly, due to bail reform.

 

It’s less than a week until opening day at Sahlen Field in Buffalo. The Bisons will take on the Iowa Cubs at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5th. This marks the first opening game for the Bisons at Sahlen Field in three years due to pandemic-related changes. This year, fans can enjoy improvements made to the ballpark during that time, and can expect several theme nights planned throughout the season.

Morning News Brief

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday the state has received the full $564 million from the Seneca Nation to resolve the nation’s outstanding gaming compact dispute and more than $418 million will go towards the new Buffalo Bills stadium.  According to Hochul, the remaining funds “will go directly to the counties and cities of Western New York and be reinvested to support the local economy and communities.”  The price tag of the stadium is expected to be $1.4 billion, with the state on the hook to contribute $600 million toward it. This directive from Hochul would mean a significant portion of the state’s contribution would be covered by the funds received from the Seneca Nation.

There is a winter weather advisory in effect in Wyoming and Livingston counties till 1pm today.  The National Weather service is predicting a wintery mix of ice and snow with ice accumulations up to a few hundredths of an inch which is enough to make roads slippery and cause spinouts and fishtails.  The snow could also limit visibility.  They are urging drivers to slow down and take corners and turns slowly to avoid losing traction.

Congressman Chris Jacobs along with NYS Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy held a press conference at a gas station Tuesday morning to call on President Biden to “get out of the way of the American Energy Industry and allow affordable, domestically produced energy to flow to the American People.”  Jacobs blamed rising gas and heating costs on the president’s canceling of the Keystone XL pipeline and destructive policies against US Oil production.  They also held a voter registration drive at the event.

Darien Lake Amusement Park, the largest employer in Genesee County, at least during the spring, summer and fall months, will be hosting a hiring fair April 9th.  They are looking to fill 200 lifeguard positions and over 1500 positions total.  Darien Lake is rebranding their water park as Hurricane Harbor and adding a new water ride this season.  Most positions are available to persons 16 years of age and older; however, the park does have a select number of positions available for 14- and 15-year-olds.  There are several ways to apply.  For more details check out wbtai.com.

HOW to Apply:

Simply text the word “JOBS” to 585-207-8400; or

Complete a job application at www.sixflags.com/darienlake/jobs; or

Visit the Six Flags Darien Lake Human resources office in person Monday to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm

Applicants with employment-related questions can call 585-599-5108  

For more information on Six Flags Darien Lake and Hurricane Harbor, visit www.sixflags.com/darienlake

Go Art, the Batavia Society of Artists and the Genesee Wind Ensemble are getting together on April 12th from 7-9 pm to help people with intuitive painting.  The idea is that as a person listens to the wind ensemble play throughout the building they will create art unencumbered by normal constraints of “getting it perfect.”  No overthinking will be allowed at this freestyle painting event.  All are welcome, there is a charge of 5 dollars for non members.

Afternoon News Brief

50-year-old Brian Beach of Albion has been sentenced in Orleans County Court to 18 months to 3 years in prison, for felony criminal contempt of court. Despite close to 200 charges filed against him for repeated acts of domestic violence over the years, he had avoided state prison because victims in Genesee, Orleans and Livingston counties failed to cooperate with prosecutors…that is, until 2019 when he violated an order of protection. Less than two weeks after his release from prison, he was arrested again and is now presently sentenced to another prison term.

 

US marshals are searching Western New York for a missing child that was allegedly taken from West Virginia by her mother. 35-year-old Adrienne Grace Marean was charged by police in West Virginia for allegedly violating a family court order earlier this month. Marean had been ordered to transfer custody of eleven-month-old Iris Chidester last month but allegedly fled with the child. According to the U.S. Marshals, efforts to locate Marean and Chidester have been focused in the Dunkirk and Fredonia areas but she could be in other areas of Western NY. Marean is believed to be driving a gray Toyota Prius with New York license plate JJR1907. Marean is described as a white female, 5’7″ tall, around 165 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. Chidester is described as a white female with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information is asked to call 911 for immediate assistance.

A Batavia man has been arrested on a grand larceny charge after allegedly taking money from his employer. 55-year-old Curtis Williams was arrested and charged with a felony. According to Batavia Police, he stole over $1000 from his employer over an extended period of time, the exact amount and timeframe was not provided. Williams was issued a Batavia City Court appearance ticket for April 12th.

 

Rhonda Saulsbury

Rhonda Saulsbury is the City Assessor for Batavia. She announced today that beginning Friday, April 1, Change of Property Assessment notices will be mailed to property owners within the City. She noted that Batavia tries to maintain 100% equalization rates of sales price to assessment ratio, which means that assessments should reflect approximately what the home should be able to sell for. Because high sale values have continued to increase upwards of 9-22% above present assessments, this will result in the need to send out just over 4400 notices later this week. Anyone who finds they disagree with the assessment value, may request an appointment in April for an informal review.

 

Six Flags Darien Lake is hosting a spring hiring event on Saturday, April 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Six Flags Darien Lake Hotel. Their plan is to fill 1,500 positions for the 2022 season including 200 lifeguards and ride attendants. The park is making the application, hiring and training process easy. Candidates can gain immediate interviews and land jobs the same day in more than 10 departments including ride attendants, lifeguarding, food service, games, admissions, and retail in preparation for their opening on May 27. Most positions are available to persons 16 and older, but there are some jobs available for 14 and 15 year olds. Text JOBS to 585-207-8400 for more information.

A new poll shows Governor Hochul still has a big lead over the two Democrats who are looking to defeat her in the June primary. According to the Siena College Research Institute, the governor has a 40-point advantage over New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and is 41 points ahead of Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi. But, if former Governor Andrew Cuomo decides to enter the primary battle, Hochul would have just an eight-point lead over him. To get on the primary ballot, Cuomo would have to launch a petitioning campaign and gather thousands of signatures.

 

After lengthy negotiations, an agreement is reached on the construction of a brand new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. The over one-billion-dollar facility will be built near Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park which is where the team currently plays its home games. Under the terms of the deal, the Bills have also agreed to stay in Western New York for the next three decades. Funding for the stadium will come from multiple sources including New York State, Erie County and team owners. There is no word yet when construction will begin.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz

Now that a deal on a new stadium for the Bills has been hammered out, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is making a promise to residents. He said yesterday the facility will not cause an increase in taxes because the county already has a plan to pay the $250,000,000 it’s required to contribute to the project. Poloncarz also says that because the stadium will be owned by the state, the county won’t have to provide any financial help for renovations and maintenance. The Bills’ current lease ends in 2023 and the county is now working on an extension to cover the time between its expiration and when the new stadium opens.

 

 

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The Buffalo Sabres have snapped their two-game winless streak after rallying from a four-to-nothing deficit to earn a victory on the road. Olofsson scored two goals while Hinostroza, Okposo, Tuch and Thompson had a goal each as the Sabres defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5 at the United Center last night. Buffalo goalie Dustin Tokarski stopped 16 of the 21 shots he faced in the game. Up next for the Sabres is a home game against the Winnipeg Jets tomorrow night.

Should the weather cooperate, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the process of removing the Lake Erie-Niagara River Ice Boom will begin today. In he last few days, the amount of ice cover on the lake has reduced and the temperature near the boom has risen above freezing. The boom was installed years ago to limit the amount of ice entering the Niagara River from Lake Erie. Last year, crews started removing the boom on March 22nd.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has sent letters to the largest credit card companies and major debt collectors operating in New York, warning them of new state regulations that prevent them from suing consumers for old debts. The Consumer Credit Fairness Act of 2021 goes into effect next month and reduces the statute of limitations for consumer debt collection from six years to three years. Among other changes, the new state regulations come on the heels of similar nationwide regulations Attorney General James’ letter makes it clear that her office stands ready to enforce these regulations to protect vulnerable New Yorkers. The new rules also and require debt collectors to give consumers detailed information about the origin and history of the debt they seek to collect. Attorney General James urges New Yorkers to know their rights and to report debt collectors to her office if they fail to follow the law or if they engage in conduct that is deceptive, harassing, or abusive. Their office help line is 1-800-771-7755. The Consumer Credit Fairness Act of 2021 strengthens consumer protections by requiring debt collectors to be more transparent and honest when communicating with consumers. In her letter to the industry, Attorney General James warned debt collectors of their duties under federal and state law:

• Limit Communications With Consumers. Debt collectors have for years had a duty under state and federal law to avoid harassing communications; the new regulations now add bright line rules to that general obligation:
o Debt collectors may not call consumers more than seven times in any seven-day period;
o After making contact with a consumer by phone, debt collectors must wait seven days before calling again;
o Debt collectors cannot call you between 9pm and 8am, local time;
o Debt collectors cannot contact consumers by any or all means of communication (email, text, phone, and so on), or at a consumer’s workplace, if a consumer asks them not to;
o Debt collectors generally cannot contact consumers via work email address, public social media postings, or through third parties (though they may under some circumstances contact third parties to obtain information about a consumer’s location).
• Tell Consumers the Facts — Debt collectors must provide consumers with key information about their debt within five days of their first communication. These “validation notices” must include:
o The name of company or person the consumer originally owed the debt to;
o The date and amount of the original debt; and
o An itemization of fees, interest, payments, and credits that have been added to or deducted from the original debt.
• Take Debt Disputes Seriously — Consumers have a right to dispute a debt, and debt collectors must provide information on how to dispute the debt in the validation notice. Once a consumer disputes a debt, the collector must stop all attempts to collect from that consumer until the collector provides information supporting their claim to the debt.
• Give Consumers Full Information About Any Debt Lawsuit a Debt Collector Files. Debt collectors who file a lawsuit against a consumer must include in the very first filing made in that lawsuit detailed information about the debt, including the name of the original person or company the consumer owed the debt to, the last four digits of the consumer’s account number, the date of the last payment, and itemization of the amount sought. They must also attach the original contract creating the debt (in most cases).
• Avoid Suing or Threatening to Sue Consumers for Time-Barred Debts. Under longstanding New York regulation, debt collectors are required to have reasonable procedures in place to determine whether debts they hold are time-barred, and to notify consumers, before accepting a payment from them, if the debt they are collecting is time-barred. CFPB regulations clarify that suing or threatening to sue a consumer for a time-barred debt — even an implied threat to sue — is an automatic violation of federal law.
• Be Aware of New, Shorter Statute of Limitations Applicable to Consumer Debts. From April 7, 2022, creditors cannot sue or make a threat to sue consumers (implicitly or explicitly) on debts that are older than three years, down from six years in most cases. Moreover, any payment a consumer makes after that three-year period cannot be used to revive the time-barred debt.
o Consumers are cautioned that until April 7, 2022, if they make a payment on a debt that is too old for a lawsuit, the payment may renew the creditor’s ability to sue them for the full amount of the old debt.

Attorney General James urges New Yorkers to know their rights and to report debt collectors to her office if they fail to follow the law or if they engage in conduct that is deceptive, harassing, or abusive. Consumers who are having these experiences with debt collectors are urged to file complaints with OAG online or to call OAG’s consumer helpline at 1-800-771-7755.

Morning News Brief

US marshals are searching Western New York for a missing child that was allegedly taken from West Virginia by her mother.  The U.S. Marshals Service said 35-year-old Adrienne Grace Marean was charged by police in West Virginia for allegedly violating a family court order on March 7. Marean had been ordered to transfer custody of eleven-month-old Iris Chidester in February 2022 but allegedly fled with the child.  According to the U.S. Marshals, efforts to locate Marean and Chidester have been focused in the Dunkirk and Fredonia areas but she could be in other areas of Western NY.  Marean is believed to be driving a gray Toyota Prius with New York license plate JJR1907.  Marean is described as a white female, 5’7″ tall, around 165 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. Chidester is described as a white female with brown hair and brown eyes.  The U.S. Marshals Service asks anyone with information to contact 304-623-0486 or 911 for immediate assistance.

A Buffalo man is facing several charges including money laundering after a traffic stop in Wyoming County.  35 year old James Quinn the 3rd was arrested on March 26th for outstanding warrants from the stop.  On March 20, deputies attempted to stop the driver of a vehicle with an improperly-used dealer plate on State Route 20A in Sheldon. Police say there was also an 8-year-old child who was improperly restrained in the back seat.  Deputies say the driver was in possession of five rubber band bundles which totaled over $12,000. The driver denied ownership of the money, which was held pending further investigation and police detected narcotic odor coming from the money.  It was later found that this driver was James Quinn the 3rd and he had given the police a false identity.  He was charged with driving with a revoked license, 4th degree money laundering, 2nd degree forgery, first degree offering a false instrument for filing, and second degree criminal impersonation.  He is being held in Wyoming county Jail without bail.

It was a problem before, and now it’s even bigger since the beginning of COVID.  Mental health services can’t keep up with the demand.  Genesee County Mental Health and Community Services has several openings to fill.  Director of Mental Health Lynda Battaglia says the mental health professionals working for the county each have caseloads of 90 to 110 patients and are triaging to only take high need and high risk calls.  This can lead to people who are in need not getting the services that would help their problems from becoming more serious.  More mental health professionals are needed.  Genesee County is advertising for positions in the department on its website and also on the Indeed worldwide employment site.

https://www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/humanresources/openpositions.php

The new 1.35 million square foot stadium to be built in Orchard Park for the Buffalo Bills will not be run by Erie County, says County Executive Mark Poloncarz.  He said in a press briefing Monday, “Erie County will no longer be in the football business.”  Under the new deal to build a $1.4 billion stadium in Orchard Park, the County transfers all land ownership rights to the newly formed Erie County Stadium Corporation, which is an arm of New York State. The state will then lease the land to the Bills.  Poloncarz says this deal will save the county roughly 7 million dollars a year in operating assistance and capital assistance.  

The Sabres won against the Blackhawks Monday night after a high scoring game 6 to 5.  Tage Thompson scored the final goal with 10 seconds left on the clock making it the first game for the Sabres in 6 games that didn’t go to overtime or shootout.  Victor Olofsson had two goals and an assist to help the Sabres win for the first time in three games. Kyle Okposo, Vinnie Hinostroza and Alex Tuch also scored for Buffalo.  Thompson, the team leader with 28 goals, broke his stick on a shot from the left wing. The puck caromed off the boards behind the net and hit Chicago goaltender Kevin Lankinen’s left skate before going in.  The Sabres play next against the Winnipeg Jets at Keybank Center Wednesday at 7pm.

Afternoon News Brief

An Attica man now faces many charges after allegedly found sleeping behind the wheel. A complaint came in to Perry police of a suspicious person in a vehicle on Liberty Street there…police allegedly found 32-year-old Ian Prial asleep at the wheel. Further investigation revealed he was driving with a suspended license and showed signs of impairment, which resulted in his failing a field sobriety test. A search of his vehicle also revealed possession of controlled substances and drug-packing paraphernalia. He is scheduled to appear in Village Court on April 12.

It became official this afternoon: The new Buffalo Bills stadium will be located very, very close to the current one. Governor Kathy Hochul and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz have announced an agreement between New York State, Erie County and the Buffalo Bills franchise for a $1.4 billion new stadium in Orchard Park. The deal includes a 30-year commitment for the Bills to remain in Buffalo, along with a combined $550 million from the NFL and Bills. Hochul will also advance a $600 million proposal in the state budget, and Erie County will contribute $250 million. The 30-year agreement details the construction of a new stadium with a minimum of 60,000 seats in Orchard Park, to be designed and constructed by the Buffalo Bills. The deal includes a commitment from the Bills to play at the new stadium for the next 30 years.

The Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service is looking to expand in Genesee County. The non-profit organization was founded in 1987, and is now in need of local volunteers to read for a couple of hours weekly. This service provides blind or sight-impaired individuals access to print materials. For more information or to obtain a free reading radio, become a volunteer and/or donor, go to: www.nfradioreading.org or call (716) 821-5555. For the comprehensive story, please go to the website of our news partner, https://www.thebatavian.com/

According to Triple A, today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $4.25, no change from last week. One year ago, the price was $2.86. The New York State average is 4.35, down 2 cents from last week; a year ago, $2.91. In Batavia, as of this morning, the average price per gallon is $4.36…the same as it was yesterday, and up a penny from a week ago. One year ago, the average we were paying per gallon here was $2.84.

 

 

The latest data from Governor Hochul’s office shows the spread of coronavirus is increasing in the Western NY region. The 7-day average COVID-19 infection rate is now sitting at just under 2.9 percent. At this point last week, it was just 2.2 percent. Statewide, hospitalizations have remained under 1000 for more than a week. The governor is urging people who still haven’t been vaccinated against the illness yet to get their shots to prevent another spike in COVID-19 cases.

 

The Buffalo Sabres are now on a two-game winless streak after dropping a second straight game in overtime. Jeff Skinner, Rasmus Asplund, Kyle Okposo and Will Butcher each scored, but the Sabres still fell to the New York Rangers yesterday by a final score of 5-4 at Madison Square Garden. Buffalo goaltender Craig Anderson gave up five goals on the 31 shots he faced in the contest. The Sabres continue their road trip tonight when they take on the Chicago Blackhawks at 8:30.

The Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots keep growing, and more than $250,000,000 is going to be up for grabs over the next couple of days. At least $195,000,000 will go to the winner of tonight’s Powerball drawing. Tomorrow night, a minimum 60,000,000-dollar jackpot is the prize for Mega Millions. Tickets to play the games are $2.00 each. Both the Mega Millions and Powerball drawings will be streamed online. Please play responsibly.

People in Rochester and surrounding areas looking for work or a new career can head to a job fair that opened today. Uniting and Healing through Hope of Monroe County is holding what it’s calling a “Stop the Violence” hiring event at the Hyatt Regency on East Main Street in Rochester. The job fair runs until 6pm today and tomorrow from 9 until 6:00. Visitors will have the chance to speak directly with employers. More information can be found by visiting unitingthroughhope.com.

 

Morning News Brief

Although we are a week into spring, winter isn’t quite done with us yet.  There is a winter weather advisory this morning till 11am in Orleans county.  The national weather service is expecting lake effect snow of 1-3 inches and gust of up to 35 miles per hour.  Blowing snow could reduce visibility and make roads slippery.  Snow could be on the road in narrow bands so be prepared for rapidly changing conditions.  Remember to give yourself extra room between vehicles and more time to stop at lights and stop signs. 

A fire was stopped before it could get going in a chimney on South Main st Rd in Batavia early afternoon Sunday.  Just before 1pm the Fire department responded to 4018 South Main St Rd for heavy smoke but no flames coming from the chimney.  The firefighters dared the heavy snows and winds to contain the chimney fire and didn’t let it spread to the house.  The Fire Chief suspected that a creosote buildup was to blame.  All occupants of the house were able to get safely out of the building.  

Our feathered friends are not allowed to get together.  New York State department of Agriculture has banned any live fowl shows and exhibitions due to the spread of Avian Flu.  So far the flu has been detected in17 states including New York.  The ban will remain in effect indefinitely as the department monitors the avian flu and plans to reassess the situation in late May. If needed, the ban could be extended through the summer fair season.  The CDC shared that recent avian flu detections in birds do not present an immediate public health concern. No cases of the virus have been detected in humans in the country.  If you are a farmer and have sick birds, unexplained high numbers of bird deaths, or see a sudden drop in egg production, you are asked to contact the department’s Division of Animal Industry at (518) 457-3502.

The Buffalo Sabres lost to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in a nailbiter 5 to 4.  Another overtime game, Will Butcher, Kyle Okposo, Rasmus Asplund and Jeff Skinner all scored for Buffalo.  They play again tonight in Chicago against the Blackhawks.

Weekend News Brief

A vehicle chase that started in Leicester and moved quickly into Mt Morris ended in Painted Post with a suspect in custody.  22 year old TeQuan Robinson fled from a traffic stop in Wyoming county and then traveled south, striking at least one other vehicle in the chase and giving police the slip several times.  The vehicle was eventually stopped on I86 by state troopers after Livingston, Wyoming and Dansville police had coordinated trying to catch it.  Robinson was found to be wanted in New Jersey, Florida and Pennsylvania.  He was jailed in Livingston County and charged with Reckless endangerment in the first degree, unlawfully fleeing police in the 3rd degree, aggravated unlicensed operation in the 3rd degree and many others.  Robinson is being held without bail.

Another speed demon didn’t get nearly as far, 21 year old Carlos Diaz of South Main Street in Batavia was charged with DWI, driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater, and speeding.  How fast was he going when he got pulled over in Bergen?  Over 100 miles per hour in a 55 zone.  Diaz was released with traffic tickets.

Congressman Chris Jacobs announced that capitol building and white house tours are back on in the District of Columbia.  Jacobs said that any constituents are welcome to call his office and schedule a Capitol tour at least 2 weeks in advance White House tours should be scheduled 3 weeks in advance.  The Capitol Building tours begin on Monday and the White House tours start April 15th.   

Leroy Ambulance Service is raising money to buy a new Ambulance.  They need 100 thousand dollars.  So far they have just over 12 Thousand since December.  The Ambulance Service says they are planning fundraising events and will keep the community updated.

The Loan has been provisionally approved for the Bills new stadium.  NFL Finance and Stadium Committee has ok’d the 200 million dollars and it goes to a vote of the NFL Owners at their Monday meeting.  More money is expected from the state; the Buffalo Bills stadium deal is anticipated to be included in the Governor’s 2023 budget, which is due April 1.  Up to 1 billion dollars is hoped for coming from NYS.  

The Buffalo Sabres couldn’t extend their winning streak to 4 games as they fell to the Capitals 4 to 3 in a shootout Friday night at the Keybank Arena.  This is the 4th time in 4 games they went to overtime but this time it ended differently.  Jeff Skinner scored twice for the Sabres and Victor Olofsson put one in.  Next for the Sabres they go up against the New York Rangers on the road Sunday evening at 5pm.

Afternoon News Brief

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets today announced an order to ban all live fowl shows and exhibitions in New York State to help prevent the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) to the state’s poultry population. To date, four flocks in New York have tested positive for the virus and it has also been detected in wild birds, including snow geese and wild ducks across New York State. The detections of the virus have prompted reminders for commercial and hobby poultry farmers to increase their biosecurity measures to help prevent the spread of the disease. Poultry owners should keep their birds away from wild ducks and geese and their droppings. Outdoor access for poultry should be limited at this time. Additionally, the Department encourages all poultry producers, from small backyard to large commercial operations, to take precautions to protect their birds. Poultry biosecurity materials and checklists can be found on the USDA’s “Defend the Flock” website. Best practices include:

• Discourage unnecessary visitors and use biosecurity signs to warn people not to enter buildings without permission.
• Ask all visitors if they have had any contact with any birds in the past five days.
• Forbid entry to employees and visitors who own any kind of fowl.
• Require all visitors to cover and disinfect all footwear.
• Lock all entrances to chicken houses after hours.
• Avoid non-essential vehicular traffic on-farm.
• After hauling birds to processors, clean and disinfect poultry transport coops and vehicles before they return to the farm.
• Report anything unusual, especially sick or dead birds, to AGM.

To report sick birds, unexplained high number of deaths, or sudden drop in egg production, please contact the Department’s Division of Animal Industry at (518) 457-3502 or the USDA at (866) 536-7593.

 

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has hired a new director of live racing and racing secretary: Don Hoover was recommended by other individuals involved with racing throughout the state and will replace Todd Haight who retired earlier this month. Hoover will serve from June 1 through December 31. The 2022 harness racing season is expected to resume on July 20.

Western NY drivers are feeling just a little bit less pain at the pump these days when it comes time to fill up their vehicles. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas this morning is now $4.36. That’s down 3 cents from last week but is still 66 cents more than this time last month. The state average is $4.35 a gallon while nationally it’s $4.24. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.35, the same as it was yesterday but down 2 cents from a week ago.

Governor Hochul has announced the launch of a new website with resources for Ukrainian people and their allies in New York State. The site includes support services, immigration assistance, emotional support, humanitarian aid and information on ways New Yorkers can assist people in need. Hochul said Ukraine’s resilience against Vladimir Putin’s tyranny is an inspiration to the rest of the world, adding the state is proud to provide trusted resources for those who want to lend a helping hand. For more information, visit ny.gov.

According to the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments, the number of confirmed Covid cases increased in Orleans County this week from 13 to 25; in Genesee, the number went down, from 38 to 23. Overall, these numbers are significantly smaller than observed during the surge in early January, when there were 855 new cases. Neither county reported a new Covid-related death over the past week. According to Governor Kathy Hochul, statewide the percentage of positive tests on Wednesday was 2.13 and daily hospitalizations were at 911, the seventh straight day the number has been under 1000.

If you’ve driven on or near Park Road in Batavia this week, you’ve undoubtedly experienced the new traffic pattern. Park Road is currently open only to southbound traffic heading toward Lewiston Road. The detour was set up this way so vehicles would go down Veterans Memorial Drive then turn right to get onto Park Road to go north. The construction began Monday with a completion date sometime in November, for a total construction period of about eight months. The project will provide safety improvements to the two-lane road, including:

■ replacing the pavement between Route 63 and Richmond Avenue with new asphalt pavement to address the wheel path rutting and sub-base issues;
■ from Richmond Avenue to Route 98 the existing pavement will be overlaid with a 5-inch asphalt overlay and shoulders reconstructed, where necessary, to meet the required 6-foot shoulder widths;
■ installing new granite curbs, 5-foot-wide concrete sidewalks, streetlights and a new closed drainage system on both sides of the road between Route 63 and Richmond Avenue to address pedestrian safety concerns and control roadway drainage in the area;
■ installing sidewalks on one side of the road between Richmond Avenue and Route 98 sidewalks and cleaning, reshaping or enhancing existing roadside ditches to convey water away from the road;
■ providing a 5-foot wide tree lawn area and new trees between the curb and sidewalks

The Buffalo Sabres will be back in front of their home crowd tonight as they try and extend their winning streak to four games. The Sabres are hosting the Washington Capitals at KeyBank Center. Buffalo is coming off of a 4-3 shootout win against the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday night and currently sit in sixth place in the Atlantic Division with 54 points. Face-off for this evening’s contest is scheduled for 7:00.

An important vote is expected to happen today that could have an effect on the plans of the Buffalo Bills to build a new stadium. The Buffalo News reports Members of the NFL’s stadium and finance committees will decide if they want to sign off on a $200,000,000 dollar loan to the team’s owners to construct a facility in Orchard Park. If approved, the league’s full ownership group will reportedly vote on the funding plan Monday. Negotiations on a new stadium have been ongoing for months but a final agreement hasn’t been reached yet. The Bills’ current lease is set to expire in 2023.

 

The Genesee Society of Model Engineers will host the 100th “Great Batavia Train Show” next weekend, Sunday, April 3rd, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It’s all happening at the Richard C. Call Arena, Genesee Community College. The train show typically attracts up to 1500 model railroad enthusiasts from across the region. Over 100 vendors will be there offering merchandise ranging from antique railroad artifacts to the most modern digitally controlled model trains. This year the Club will also be hosting the “Batavia Railroad Prototype Modelers Meet” along with the train show. Admission is $6 for Adults, $3 for teens, and kids 12 and under get in free.

 

A new poll shows many New York State residents believe the ongoing conflict in Ukraine will have a long-lasting effect on the economy. According to the Siena College Research Institute, 54% of people surveyed think the war will cause financial challenges for all Americans. Meanwhile, 70% said inflation is already impacting their bottom lines. When asked how they’re going to save money, 69% of people said they’d buy less in general and 57% will buy less expensive items. More than one-third of folks who were polled are planning to get a second job to help deal with rising costs and 34% said they’ll postpone or cancel a vacation in the next 6 months.

 

Classes have been canceled today at SUNY Buffalo State as police continue to investigate a threat made against the school. Officials say the threat was received yesterday and involved several buildings. The campus was put on lockdown before the threat was deemed non-credible. The school says only essential employees reported to work today and that students won’t return until April 4th which is after their spring break. Anyone with information on the threat is asked to call police.

 

Federal agents and police have conducted a search of the Amherst home of by State Supreme Court Justice John Michalski. He was hit by a train last year after the FBI questioned him about his relationship with the owner of an adult entertainment business in Cheektowaga who is accused of bribing a DEA agent. Michalski suffered a leg injury in what was later declared an apparent suicide attempt. Officials were seen leaving his residence with several boxes of materials. He hasn’t been arrested on any charges.

Morning News Brief

The controversial speaking event at SUNY Brockport has been moved to a virtual event after several changes and stripping the speakers pay.  The University has made national news over the past few weeks because of their decision to invite a man convicted of planning an ambush and killing 2 New York City police officers to the campus to speak about his incarceration as a “political prisoner.”  Anthony Bottom, who now goes as Jalil Muntaqim, served 50 years of a life sentence for the 1971 killings and was released because of changes to parole under former Governor Cuomo.  SUNY Brockport came under harsh criticism after inviting him as part of a diversity, equity and inclusion initiative.  The school administration refuses to say who invited him, just that they are a faculty member.  While the parole board says that Muntaqim is remorseful of his actions and involvement in the Black Liberation Army, he spent his time in prison describing himself as a political prisoner and wrote several books including We are Our Own Liberators and joined the People Liberation Program and started the We Charge Genocide: International Tribunal to the UN.

The Genesee Society of Model Engineers will host the 100th “Great Batavia Train Show” on Sunday, April 3rd, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Richard C. Call Arena, Genesee Community College. The train show typically attracts 1,200 to 1,500 model railroad enthusiasts and railfans from across Western and Central NY, Northwestern Pennsylvania, and Southern Ontario. There are over 100 vendors occupying 250 tables offering merchandise ranging from antique railroad artifacts to the most modern digitally controlled model trains. This year the Club will also be hosting the “Batavia Railroad Prototype Modelers Meet” along with the train show. Admission is $6 for Adults, $3 for teens 13-18, and free for under 13. 

Maybe you’ve gone there for church or the clothes closet or the soup kitchen.  Or perhaps been helped by an AA meeting or just sat across the street and admired the beautiful rose window.  The First Baptist Church on East Main Street in Batavia is an active building and a historical one that needs a new roof.  They are having a fundraising concert Saturday night at 7pm with the Pembroke Corfu Town Band.  Admission will be a freewill offering.  They are also having a bake sale.  

This weekend is the last chance to check out maple farms around the region while New York State Maple weekend is going on.  There are several in the immediate area of Batavia with more less than 20 minutes away.  Farms are putting on guided tours of their operations, tastings, free samples, hay rides, face painting and more.  Check out the New York State Maple Map to find a maple producer and go for a visit.  You can find the map by following the link at wbtai.com.

https://mapleweekend.nysmaple.com/

Afternoon News Brief

A parolee has been indicted in County Court on charges that he strangled a woman to unconsciousness and then attacked her with a boot. 48-year-old Wade Murphy of Clarendon is now facing multiple charges, including second-degree strangulation and unlawful imprisonment. He is accused of attacking the woman last July in Oakfield, while on parole for previous convictions.

 

The Genesee County Legislature had to change their plans and adjust the budget, when it came to light that the cost of painting road lines has been increased by 25%. This is due to the rising cost of fuel. Last year, the cost was $308 per mile; it’s now $388 per mile. Seneca Pavement Marking is the company with whom the County contracts; Highway Superintendent Tim Hens believes they are getting a good deal. Seneca Pavement has kept their price on specialized marking, such as turn arrows and railroad crossing marks at last year’s cost. Legislators approved the new pricing last night.

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office tells us that a North Carolina man was found with an illegal rifle during a search of his vehicle in Le Roy. Over the weekend, deputies say they were investigating a traffic offense on School Road when they found an AR-15 in Michael Jones’ vehicle. The 24-year-old Charlotte man is now facing a number of charges, including criminal possession of an assault weapon, criminal possession of an ammunition-feeding device, as well as having an unregistered vehicle. Jones was arraigned and will be back in court on April 21.

Members of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will be doing their part to help out people being affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They’ll be holding a benefit concert on April 3rd at 7:30pm at Kleinhans Music Hall. The cost of a ticket will be up to attendees but organizers are requesting a minimum donation of $40 per person. Seats can be purchased at the box office, through the BPO website or by calling 716-885-5000. All proceeds from the show will be given to the Red Cross for their humanitarian relief efforts.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says he’s confident a deal will be worked out allowing the Buffalo Bills to remain in Western New York for years to come. Poloncarz says negotiations are ongoing for a new stadium for the NFL franchise and that he’s hopeful an agreement will be announced by April 1st. The Bills want to build their new facility across the street from the Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park. The Bills’ current lease is set to expire in 2023.

The winning streak of the Buffalo Sabres has now reached three wins following a shootout victory on home ice. Tage Thompson had a pair of goals while Zemgus Girgensons also scored as the Sabres beat the Pittsburgh Penguins four-to-three at KeyBank Center last night. Buffalo goalie Craig Anderson contributed to the victory by stopping 23 of the 26 shots he faced in the contest. Up next for Buffalo is another home game on Friday night against the Washington Capitals.

The maker of Jergens Ultra Healing Moisturizer is taking precautions and voluntarily recalling some of their products. The concern is some bottles were distributed that may contain a bacteria that poses a risk to people with weakened immune systems and may make them more susceptible to infections; however, the bacteria – Pluralibacter- poses minimal risk to healthy people. The recall is for specific lots of 3-ounce and 10-ounce bottles of Jergens Ultra Healing Moisturizer and the 3-ounce bottles will have UPC 019100109971 for single bottles and 019100267114 for pack of three. On the back of the bottle, printed in black, will be one of these lot codes with the prefix “ZU.”

ZU712851
ZU712861
ZU712871
ZU712881
ZU712911
ZU722851
ZU722861
ZU722871
ZU722881

 

Governor Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Benjamin are making their case for changes to bail reform laws. They wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Daily News saying the state should make it possible for judges to set bail in all felony cases involving illegal guns since that crime is not currently bail-eligible. They’re also advocating making it possible for judges to set more restrictive pretrial conditions. However, both Hochul and Benjamin emphasize that bail reform laws have been successful and that the data doesn’t suggest they’re the main cause of an increase in violence.

 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is once again calling upon Governor Hochul to suspend the state gas tax, believing that the high gas prices continue to weigh heavily on family budgets. With some news sources reporting that the governor is instead considering providing New Yorkers with a gas rebate check, Hawley is instead suggesting a suspension of the gas tax would be a more effective means of providing broad relief to consumers.

 

Meanwhile, state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara believes shutting down the toll stations on the New York State Thruway, will decrease the cost of shipping supplies, tourist travel and commuter travel. However, Thruway Authority Deputy Director of Media Relations, Jonathan Dougherty, believes the user-fee system presently in place ultimately saves money, since they accept no funding from taxpayers. In addition, approximately 1/3 of motorists on the Thruway in the summer months are out of state drivers and allowing them a ‘free pass’ would shift the cost back to state residents. The bill to suspend the tolls will be coming to a vote in a few weeks.

 

SUNY Brockport has announced a change to an upcoming speech that’s going to be given by convicted cop killer Jalil Muntaqim. They say his address is going to be given virtually instead of in-person. The school president says the decision was made to help mitigate any potential security concerns Muntaqim’s appearance could cause. Details of the program will be shared once they’ve been finalized. Muntaqim, who was previously known as Anthony Bottom, murdered two NYPD officers several decades ago.

 

Morning News Brief

A NY Assemblyman has a plan to help offset the high gas prices going into the summer, turn off the thruway tolls.  Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara says shutting down the toll stations will decrease the cost of shipping supplies, tourist travel and commuter travel.  The New York State Thruway Authority Deputy director of Media Relations Johnathan Dougherty says that the highways can’t afford it because “The Thruway is a user-fee system supported by tolls paid by the people who use it, and not one cent of local or state taxpayer dollars pays to operate or maintain it. Roughly one-third of motorists on the Thruway in the summer months are out of state drivers, so removing tolls gives them a free pass and shifts the cost to hard working New York taxpayers.”  The bill to suspend the tolls comes to a vote in a few weeks.

Rochester is experiencing a rash of armed carjackings that have resulted in 2 people being shot and 7 vehicles being stolen.  Four teenagers and one adult have been charged in connection with the incidents. Of the four teens, three were arrested in two cases just days apart.  Most of the carjackings happened on the northeast side of Rochester between the inner loop and 104.  They occurred at all hours of the day and night.  Police Lt. Greg Bello expressed frustration that several suspects were apprehended only to be released and get caught doing it again the following day.  He says “We are going to continue to do our part to hold these offenders accountable, to catch them. We have caught them, and hopefully this pattern stops.”

The Genesee County Legislature was hit with a surprise as the rise in fuel costs made something else more expensive, the cost of painting the road lines.  In the contract for pavement markers the price of painting rose by 25 percent.  Last year the price was 308 a mile and the new price is 80 dollars higher.  The companies the county uses are Seneca Pavement Marking of Horseheads and Accent Stripe of Orchard Park.  Highway Superintendent Tim Hens says the county is getting a good deal as Seneca Pavement is keeping their price on specialized marking such as turn arrows and railroad crossing marks at 2021 levels.  Legislators voted in favor of going ahead with the same companies and the new prices.

The Buffalo Sabres are on a three game winning streak for the first time since October with a 4 to 3 shootout win over the Penguins Wednesday night.  Zemgus Gergensons and Tage Thompson scored during regular play.  Tage Thomspon got his second goal as both he and Alex Tuch sunk the puck during the shootout.  Buffalo plays the Washington Capitals Saturday at 7pm at the Keybank Center.

Afternoon News Brief

The accusations against 40-year-old Melvin Huntley of Wilkinson Road, Batavia, date back to 2012 and continue through 2021 when he was first arrested. The indictment charges Huntley with repeated acts of sexual abuse with four children, all under 17 and some under age 11. Huntley was first charged on July 8 after a Genesee County Sheriff’s Department investigation in regards to one victim. The investigation continued, resulting in more charges filed against Huntley in September involving three more victims; the grand jury then added more counts. These charges are Class A1 felonies punishable by up to 25 years to life in prison. Huntley, who remains in Genesee County Jail, is scheduled to be arraigned today in Genesee County Court.

An Alexander man, already with many charges against him filed by two different police agencies, now faces a new charge. 27-year-old Anthony Micucci attempted to run away from the police during an escort to Pembroke Town Court. This is considered a Class E felony and punishable by up to 4 years in prison. Previous violations include contempt of court, repeatedly violating orders of protection as well as stalking. He was released after arraignment and is to appear at a later date in Town Court.

The Le Roy Board of Education has unanimously approved Dr. David Russell as the new Jr/Sr High School Principal. He is currently the assistant principal at the Cosgrove Middle School in Spencerport, a position he has held since 2019. Previously he was the principal of the Western Wayne Summer Academy, a Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES program. Dr. Russell was also previously a special education teacher at Sodus Central School District and the True North Rochester Preparatory Charter School. Dr. Russell officially starts on Monday, April 25.

Governor Hochul is warning residents about scams and cyber security threats because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The state’s Division of Consumer Protection is aware of bogus requests for charitable relief money. Hochul advises folks to donate to verified organizations that use the money to help Ukrainians. She’s also reminding residents to be on alert when sharing personal information online and be cautious with information sharing on social media.

 

Rochester Regional Health in partnership with Orleans Community Health has opened a new cardiology clinic in Medina. Leading the clinic is Dr. Harry McCrea, a cardiologist with the Sands-Constellation Heart Institute in Brighton. The new clinic is located inside Medina Memorial Hospital. It offers diagnostic testing and referrals for procedures within the Sands-Constellation Heart Institute. Patients who want to visit the clinic should contact their primary care provider first, for a referral. The clinic will serve patients in Orleans and surrounding counties.

 

Officials at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester have announced plans for a massive expansion project at the facility. The goal is to significantly increase the size of the emergency department and add more private rooms for patients. A new patient bed tower will also be built west of the hospital’s main entrance while the tower that’s currently in place will be renovated. The hope is that the full project will be complete by the end of 2027.

 

Following a long road trip, the Buffalo Sabres will be back on home ice tonight as they look to extend their winning streak to three games. The Sabres are hosting Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins at KeyBank Center. Buffalo is coming off of a 3-2 overtime win against the Vancouver Canucks Sunday. Face-off for this evening’s game is scheduled for 7:30.

Dogs biting or chasing mail carriers is more than just a cliché and the U.S. Postal Service needs your help. Here are some tips for keeping your pet and mail carriers safe: Keep your dog in a separate room with the door closed when packages are being delivered; remind children and other family members not to take mail directly from carriers in the presence of the family pet. The dog may view the carrier handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture. And if a carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a Post Office or other facility until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained.

 

It’s that time of year again, time for spring-cleaning. And before throwing anything away, keep in mind that the 2nd Annual Yard Sale for Habitat for Humanity is coming up and they welcome any and all of your donations. Anything from clothes to furniture may be dropped off at 150 State Street and they’ll even come and pick things up for you. The yard sale is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, May 21st and 22nd from 10-4. If you’d like to find out more about the event or making donations, please call 585-356-4867 or email the organizer of the event at angelinapellegrino@ymail.com

 

Morning News Brief

The Batavia Improvement District has a new full time director.  Shannon Maute has been hired for the position after filling in as interim director since Beth Kemp resigned last year just after the Christmas Parade.  Maute says she already has plans for a new event, an Italian Festival.  Maute says, get ready for a strolling accordion player, sweet and savory Mediterranean cuisine and lots of fun.  The event would replace the former BID Summer in the City event. 

2 Perry men are in trouble with the law for different reasons.  The first, 24 year old Michael Salomone, is charged with torturing or abusing an animal after witnesses reported seeing him abusing a 10 month old pit bull.  Police say home security cameras caught Salamone picking up and throwing the puppy.  The other man, 47 year old Gregory Watts, is charged with third degree criminal trespass after he allegedly entered a home and fell asleep in a chair.  The problem, the home wasn’t his and the family, who was there at the time, didn’t know who he was.  Police found him there, highly intoxicated.  He is scheduled to appear in Perry Village Court next month.

The Culinary Arts students from the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center who competed in the national Culinary Arts Challenge for the NASA HUNCH Program have made it to the top ten and now advance to the next round of competition.  Their menu items received top scores from the local judges.  The winning recipe was Shrimp fajitas with red lentil tortillas, creamy avocado sauce served with a side of cilantro lime cauliflower rice. And for dessert, a Mexican chocolate brownie.  In early April, the team and their instructor will travel to Texas for the next round of competition, which will be held at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. If they win, the meal will be sent to the International Space Station and eaten by astronauts.

The US Postal Service is asking dog owners to police their pets.  Postal workers being chased by dogs is a tale as old as the postal service and they say that one bite is one too many.  Some tips for keeping your pet and the postal worker safe: keep your dog in a separate room with the door closed when packages are being delivered, remind children and other family members not to take mail directly from carriers in the presence of the family pet. The dog may view the carrier handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture, and If a carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a Post Office or other facility until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained.

Afternoon News Brief

A local family is working to bring a Ukrainian exchange student they hosted back to the states. 18-year-old Anastasiia Sobol of Ukraine now attends Seneca College in Toronto but does not presently have the paperwork to come back to the U.S. Before the Russian invasion, she had planned to return back home after the spring semester. With no way of doing that now, her former host family Jim and Lorrie Gammack, is working to get her the proper Visa and funds to continue her education in the future. In Ukraine, Anastasiia’s parents are now staying in bomb shelters because much of her city is in ruins. Sobol reflected, “I check in on them every single day, but the connection gets worse; they’re bombing everything. Places that I used to go with my friends, universities and schools and churches. Places that were very valuable for me and my family are not there anymore.”  (Pictured are Jim and Lorrie Gammack with Anastasiia) The Gammack’s have set up a GoFundMe page to help Anastasiia return to the States at the end of her semester: https://gofundme/b37a502f

In Pavilion, brand new cars were being transported to dealerships when something went very wrong. The sleeper cab of the tractor-trailer hauling the vehicles caught fire yesterday afternoon around 2:00 on Route 63, just west of the tracks; the driver was not initially aware of this until he got out of the cab. By the time firefighters arrived on the scene, three of the cars were completely or partially on fire and part of the truck exploded. The cause of the fire remains under investigation; however, initial impression was that there were engine problems. No one was hurt.

State officials don’t think there will be a steep surge in coronavirus cases as a result of an Omicron sub-variant. Governor Hochul announced yesterday the state is seeing an up-tick in infections and the positivity rate is currently at 1.78%, the lowest it has been in four days. Right now, the sub-variant makes up roughly 42-percent of the COVID-19 cases in New York. Hochul says the state is prepared to administer a fourth dose of coronavirus vaccine should it be approved by the federal government.

The Monroe County Department of Public Health says two more residents have passed away after contracting the coronavirus. Their deaths bring the overall total since the start of the pandemic to 18-hundred and seven. There have also been 727 new cases reported over the last several days. Currently, 134 people in Western NY are in the hospital being treated for the illness with 26 of them in intensive care.

Some big names in the music industry will be making a visit to Western New York this summer. The Outlaw Music Festival is taking place at Six Flags Darien Lake on Sunday, August 14th. The lineup features artists such as ZZ Top, Willie Nelson, Zach Bryan and Charley Crockett, and The War and Treaty. Tickets for the show go on sale this Friday and can be purchased online through Live Nation.

A plan to remove a 35-hundred pound steel pontoon that’s near the brink of the American side of Niagara Falls has been put on hold. A National Guard helicopter was supposed to lift the steel cylinder out of the river today, but the operation was scrapped due to concerns over high winds. The pontoon was one of several that broke off of an ice boom in Lake Erie during a windstorm in 2019. Officials say they want to remove it so it doesn’t damage the waterfall or the Cave of the Winds attraction.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley has joined his Assembly Minority colleagues in calling for the passage of legislation, which would amend the state Constitution to reserve the right to vote in state elections to American citizens. This is in response to the passage of a policy by the New York City Council that allows non-citizens there to vote in the city’s elections. Concerned that similar efforts could be undertaken in the future to implement such a policy at the state level, Hawley and his colleagues would like to see this bill passed to help maintain the integrity of elections.

Anglers in NY will be looking at new regulations come the beginning of April. Effective April 1, the DEC is changing its fishing seasons for some fish and the size limits for others: Rainbow trout, brown trout and splake season for lakes and ponds is now year-round, with a five-fish daily limit, any size; a “no more than two longer than 12 inches” harvest rule applies. Atlantic salmon now has a year-round open season statewide. Ice fishing is permitted on all waters in New York, unless specifically prohibited. Statewide season openers for some fish have been replaced. There are other regulations. You can check the DEC website for a complete list of changes.

 

The Buffalo Bills have added a few new players. Former Jets Wide Receiver Jamison Crowder has been signed for a season. In 12 games with the New York Jets last season, Crowder racked up 51 catches for 447 yards and two touchdowns. In his last full season, he set a career high with 78 catches playing for the Jets in 2019. The Bills also added Dolphins Running Back Duke Johnson as a third round draft pick. Last season with Miami, he played in five games and recorded 330 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He also added four catches for 41 yards. And finally they signed former Bills Quarterback Matt Barkley to a one-year contract. Barkley is a ten-year veteran and was with the Bills from 2018-2020. In those eight games that he played for the Bills, he threw for 788 yards and three touchdowns. Last season saw him spend time on the Tennessee, Carolina, and Atlanta rosters.

A student at Starpoint Middle School in Lockport has been arrested after allegedly making a terrorist threat. According to Niagara County deputies, a photograph was recently sent using the social media app Snapchat threatening violence at the school. The student, whose name hasn’t been made public due to his age, is facing a felony charge. He was released to his parents and will be meeting soon with Niagara County probation officials.

Officials at Buffalo Public Schools are looking to add more security officers in an effort to keep students, faculty and staff safe. The district is accepting applications to fill those positions and in order to qualify, a person has to be a Buffalo resident with a high school, GED or equivalency diploma. They must also have six months experience as a full-time security guard or taken 15 credit hours from an accredited university or college in the fields of criminal justice or law enforcement. Applications can be filled out online.

 

Morning News Brief

Lovers of muscle cars shed a tear Monday in Pavilion as a car carrier truck hauling Dodge Chargers and Challengers caught fire around 2pm.  The cars were brand new and were being transported to dealerships.  It is suspected the fire was from the brakes overheating, 2 of the cars being hauled caught fire and exploded and a third was burned.  The truck itself also blew up.

Anglers in NY will be looking at new regulations come the beginning of April.  Effective April 1, the DEC is changing its fishing seasons for some fish and the size limits for others: Rainbow trout, brown trout and splake season for lakes and ponds is now year-round, with a five-fish daily limit, any size; a “no more than two longer than 12 inches” harvest rule applies.  Atlantic salmon now has a year-round open season statewide.  Ice fishing is permitted on all waters in New York, unless specifically prohibited.  Statewide season openers for some fish have been replaced.  There are other regulations.  You can check the DEC website for a complete list of changes.  

As spring has started, gardeners are getting ready to work in the dirt and plant their seeds.  Many are shocked by the increase in costs at the store.  Prices for seeds, plants, flowers, soil and fertilizer among other things have risen 15 to 25 percent across the board.  Western NY gardeners have some ideas how to deal with the increased costs.  The first is do it yourself instead of hiring someone to fix up your plot or plant for you.  The second tip is shop around to different nurseries and stores, be willing to plant things you wouldn’t have before and be open minded and patient.  Prices are mainly affected by the rise in fuel prices pushing up transportation costs.

The New York State Budget is supposed to be ready by April 1st and Bills fans are anxious to know if a new stadium is in it.  Earlier this month, The New York Post reported the state would help foot $1 billion of the proposed $1.4 billion stadium.  At a media event on Monday, Governor Kathy Hochul was asked by a reporter if now was the right time to spend potentially $1 billion of taxpayer dollars funding a Buffalo Bills stadium.  The Governor replied “Where did you hear that $1 billion for the Buffalo Bills?” She then said it was not being publicly negotiated and “All will be told at the right time.”

The Buffalo Bills have added a few new players.  Former Jets Wide Receiver Jamison Crowder has been signed for a season.  In 12 games with the New York Jets last season, Crowder racked up 51 catches for 447 yards and two touchdowns. In his last full season, he set a career high in catches (78) with the Jets in 2019.  The Bills also added Dolphins Running Back Duke Johnson as a third round draft pick.  Last season with Miami, he played in five games and recorded 330 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He also added four catches for 41 yards.  And finally they signed former Bills Quarterback Matt Barkley to a one year contract.  Barkley is a ten-year veteran and was with the Bills from 2018-2020. In eight games played in a Bills uniform, he threw for 788 yards and three touchdowns. Last season saw him spend time on the Tennessee, Carolina, and Atlanta rosters.

Afternoon News Brief

The former Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism employee, 45-year-old Kelly Ashcraft, has pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny, second-degree forgery, and first-degree falsifying business records. She now faces up to 15 years in prison after admitting she stole a little over $105,000 ($105,024.78) from the agency, forged signatures and failed to make entries in business records as required. Ashcraft has agreed to make restitution, with no promises made of a reduction in sentence. Sentencing is set for June 9th. Ashcraft was arrested in January after an investigation by Warsaw Village Police revealed she had been stealing Chamber funds since 2018.

Over the weekend, a press conference was conducted with area farmers by Congressman Chris Jacobs, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, and State Senator Ed Rath. The result from their meeting was that both lawmakers and farmers agree and are calling for Governor Kathy Hochul to reject the state Farm Laborers Wage Board’s decision to lower the overtime threshold from 60 hours to 40 hours per week for farm workers. Advocates for this measure say it will allow fair wages and treatment for farm workers, but farmers say it will push their operations beyond the financial brink. The Farm Laborers Wage Board still hasn’t submitted its final report to State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon, who is expected to rule on it within 45 days. Governor Hochul also has not signed the recommendation. The word from her office today was that Ms. Reardon would make he correct choice.

A new report from Governor Kathy Hochul’s office shows there’s been a very slight increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Western NY region over the last several days. The seven-day average infection rate in the region is now sitting at 2.2%. At this point one week ago, the average infection rate was at 2%. Officials are urging people to take the proper precautions to protect themselves from the virus and to get vaccinated against the illness if they haven’t been already. The governor plans to provide an update on the state’s fight against COVID-19 later today.

 

Drivers are getting a bit of relief at the pump as gas prices are down across the region. Oil prices are near $110 per barrel this morning rather than over $130 two weeks ago. To put this in perspective, in August, the cost per barrel was $30. What does all this mean for us? The latest data from Triple A shows the price of gas continues to decrease in Western New York. Right now, the average cost for a gallon of regular fuel is $4.38. That’s down 6 cents from last week but is still 64 cents higher than one month ago. The state average is currently sitting at $4.37 a gallon while nationally it’s $4.25. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.35, the same as it was yesterday, and down 3 cents from a week ago.

The Batavia City Schools budget is over the limit according to the state and must be cut down by more than ¾ of a million dollars. District Superintendent Jason Smith and Business Administrator Scott Rozanski have a plan that includes the following in cost-cutting measures: Combine bussing for middle and high school students; not replacing 4 retiring faculty; obtain a grant for new teacher hires; and not purchase needed busses for the school system. The other option is to approve the budget as it stands and have a community vote to approve a more than 1.62 percent tax levy increase. The School board president, Alice Benedict, said that bussing is a privilege and not a mandate, if they hire new teachers they don’t have to get tenure after 3 years, and that the school board’s goal is to get the tax levy as low as it can be.

The Batavia Development Corporation will soon begin the process of seeking a new Director of Economic Development, to replace Brett Frank. Frank has accepted a position with the City of Batavia. In the upcoming weeks, the Batavia Development Corporation will post the employment opportunity on both their website the City of Batavia’s.

The Holley Police Department is investigating after a possible explosive device was found in a residence there. Last Friday afternoon, around 3:30, officers responded to investigate what was referred to as a ‘suspicious condition’ at the Franklin Street residence. They found a possible explosive hazard and called in The Monroe County Bomb squad. The device was removed and taken to a safe location for detonation. The investigation is ongoing.

The Buffalo Sabres have wrapped up their latest road trip by picking up their second win in a row. Rasmus Dahlin scored in overtime as the Sabres beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 last night at Rogers Arena. Casey Mittelstadt and Jeff Skinner each had a goal for Buffalo while goaltender Craig Anderson stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced. Up next for the Sabres is a home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.

The city of Buffalo is doing its part to help out Ukrainians as their country continues to be invaded by Russia. Over the weekend, Mayor Byron Brown announced that 200,000 surgical masks are being sent overseas. The masks will be distributed by Polish officials who are taking care of Ukrainians who have decided to leave their native country for safety reasons. Anyone who is interested in donating can find out more information by visiting icrc.org.

Negotiations are scheduled to resume this week between Kaleida Health and two unions that represent thousands of employees. Both sides started meeting last week and will keep talking in hopes of coming up with a new agreement. The current three-year deal expires on May 31st, but as they have in the past, discussions on a deal will likely go past that date. Kaleida Health is the largest health care provider in Western New York.

 

Morning News Brief

 

A new tax being proposed on ammunition has Assemblyman Steve Hawley protesting.  He says that the legislation to add a 2 to 5 cent per round tax on ammo is a violation of the 2nd amendment and puts a onerous burden on New Yorkers.  Hawley says that “This latest attempt to stifle criminality by inconveniencing the law-abiding may be the most dangerous we’ve seen in some time.”  The proposal includes that money raised by the tax go into a gun violence research program fund.

The Batavia School budget is over the limit according to the state and must be cut down by more than ¾ of a million dollars.  But how?  District Superintendent Jason Smith and Business Administrator Scott Rozanski have a plan to combine bussing for middle and high schoolers, not replace 4 retiring faculty, get a grant for new teacher hires and not buying needed busses for the school system.  The other option is to approve the budget as it stands and have a community vote to approve a more than 1.62 percent tax levy increase.  The School board president, Alice Benedict, said that bussing is a privilege and not a mandate, if they hire new teachers they don’t have to get tenure after 3 years, and that her goal is to “get the tax levy as low as it can be.”

The Congressional Art Competition is back on this year.  The competition is open to high schoolers.  The Congressional Art Competition is a national program started over three decades ago as a way to showcase the extraordinary talent in congressional districts around the country.  All submissions must be made between April 11th and 15th.  For more information on the Congressional Art Competition follow this link.

The Buffalo Sabres defeated the Vancouver Canucks Sunday night 3 to 2.  The teams were tied 2-2 at the end of the 3rd period and Rasmus Dahlin scored the winning goal 48 seconds into overtime.  The other goals of the game were scored by Casey Mittelstadt and Jeff Skinner.  The Sabres are on a hot streak winning 4 of their last 5 games.  Next up is a home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday night at 7:30.

The Bills have found their new backup quarterback in Case Keenum.  Keenum played QB for the Cleveland Browns.  The 34 year old has started 76 regular season games for seven different NFL teams, including a full season under center for the Denver Broncos in 2018. The season prior, he won his sole NFL playoff game as a member of the Minnesota Vikings.  Keenum has a career 78-48 touchdown-to-interception ratio and six career rushing touchdowns.  Buffalo will send a 2022 seventh round pick to Cleveland in the trade.

Weekend News Brief

The Genesee County Highway Superintendent, Tim Hens, has a high flying idea for bringing some tourism to Batavia.  An air show at the Genesee County Airport in 2023.  Hens says the airport has been completely redone with new sewage and water systems that could handle events.  He said that air shows have been successful here before, notably the last one at Genesee County Airport was in 1998.  Geneseo has annual air shows and they are very successful.  Hens made the suggestion at Wednesday’s county legislature’s Public Service Committee meeting.

The Governor’s office has released the 10-point plan by Governor Hochul to overhaul bail reform in her state budget.  It would give judges more discretion in deciding if a person should be detained on bail.  Judges would look at a person’s criminal history and whether or not they’re harmful to others when making the decision.  The plan would also make more gun-related offenses and gun traffickers eligible for bail. 

The three people who were injured in the I90 crash Thursday evening have been identified.  25 year old TeShawn Lang-Smith is in guarded condition after he hit the back end of a Ford F-350 that was towing a trailer.  Traffic was stalled westbound just past the Leroy exit.  Lang-Smith was driving an Equinox which burst into flames.  He had to be airlifted to Strong.  The passengers in his car, 29 year old Leonard Johnson and 26 year old Nicholas Scott were also taken to Strong Memorial with serious injuries.  The driver of the F-350, 65 year old Ronald Thompson of Oak Grove Minnesota, was not injured but is being held on a felony fraud warrant out of Nevada.

It’s maple weekends this week and next!  Maple producers across the state are showcasing their goods, putting on hayrides and tasting events and hauling out the maple cotton candy and ice cream to tickle your sweet tooth.  The tree sap confection is made by plenty of local producers and they invite you to their sugar houses.  You can check out visitgeneseeny.com slash events to find some maple farms in Genesee county or look up the interactive map on Iloveny.com 

The Buffalo Sabres put one in the win column after a mostly scoreless game against the Calgary Flames.  The final score was 1 to 0, the first shutout the Sabres have had since 2019.  Tage Thompson scored the lone goal in Overtime.  The Sabres continue their road trip and are at Vancouver facing the Canucks Sunday at 7pm.

Afternoon News Brief

The HP Hood Company is working through a network disruption and it’s affecting their ability to manufacture products at their plant here in Batavia, located on Ag Park Drive West. The issue will result in delays of deliveries to some of their customers and they’re making progress. They expect to be operational again here in Batavia over the next few days.

The investigation continues into a serious crash on the New York State Thruway that left three people hurt. According to State Police, the collision involving a tractor-trailer and SUV happened last night on the highway between the Le Roy and Batavia exits. The impact caused the SUV to catch fire and two of the victims suffered serious injuries and the third person was airlifted to a nearby hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries. Witnesses to the accident should contact State Police at 585-344-6200.

Over 20-million COVID-19 tests are going to be distributed across the Empire State throughout the spring. Officials say the test kits will go to nursing homes, adult care facilities and schools, with the state also partnering with elected officials for continued public distribution. Meanwhile, the statewide COVID-19 infection rate is now sitting at one-point-seven percent. In Western NY, the seven-day average positivity rate is two-point-two percent.

Governor Hochul extended NYS’s state of emergency through April 15th. According to the governor’s office, the extension gives the state the flexibility to troubleshoot hospital capacity issues and it will be reassessed in 30 days.

Western New York drivers are finally starting to see just a little bit of relief at the gas pumps. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular fuel is $4.40. That’s down two cents in the past week but is still 67 cents more than this time last month. The state average is also at $4.40 per gallon while nationally it’s $4.29. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.36; that’s down one cent from yesterday, and two cents from last week.

A fundraiser has been established for the two men who were stabbed to death at the Blumer Dairy Farm in Alexander. 30-year-old Ivan Cruz and Marcelino Gomez Hernandez, age 29, were found dead in a bunkhouse at the farm last Friday night. To help out the victims families by making a donation, go to GoFundMe and search “Help Marcelino RIP” and “Help Ivan’s Family in Mexico.” Family and friends of the two men will also be collecting money at a Latin music night at the Brockport Elks Lodge, tomorrow evening.

The two-game winning streak of the Buffalo Sabres has come to an end following a blowout loss on the road. Victor Olofsson had the lone goal for the Sabres as they lost 6-1 to the Edmonton Oilers last night. Buffalo goaltender Craig Anderson struggled and only stopped 30 of the 36 shots he faced. Up next for the Sabres is a game against the Calgary Flames tonight at 9:00.

The first day of the NCAA Division One men’s basketball tournament has wrapped up, and the number of teams playing in Buffalo has been cut in half. In yesterday’s action at the KeyBank Center, Richmond beat Iowa, Providence defeated South Dakota State, New Mexico State was victorious over UConn and Arkansas held off a challenge from Vermont. The winning teams will play tomorrow with a trip to the Sweet 16 up for grabs. Tickets for those games are still available and can be purchased online.

Morning News Brief

A crash just after 6:30 in the evening Thursday on I90 between LeRoy and Batavia resulted in serious injury and the westbound lanes being closed.  A preliminary investigation determined the crash involved a tractor-trailer and an SUV.  As a result of the collision, the SUV became fully engulfed in flames.  One individual was flown to the hospital by Medivac with life-threatening injuries and two others were transported by ambulance for serious injuries.  Earlier in the day just a couple miles from the site of the accident a tanker truck rolled over on the thruway also in the westbound lane.  Water and Diesel Fuel were being hauled and spilled.  The driver sustained a shoulder injury.

Governor Hochul is reportedly working on fixing the public safety plan and also changing the controversial bail reform legislation.   The plan includes making certain gun related and hate crime offenses subject to arrest and not just desk appearance tickets.  Republicans have been calling for the Bail Reform to be fixed as, according to Senator Rob Ortt, it creates a “revolving door of criminals who are getting appearance tickets” and not being held.  Several criminals have been released and gone on to commit violent, sometimes deadly crimes just after release.  Such as a man in New York City who had been arrested over 50 times in the past year assaulting a 2 year old who was with her grandmother earlier this week.  Judges across New York say that the bail reform takes power and decision making away from them and law enforcement and makes the streets more dangerous.

Thursday Governor Hochul extended NYS’s state of emergency through April 15th.  According to the governor’s office, the extension gives the state the flexibility to troubleshoot hospital capacity issues and it will be reassessed in 30 days.

The Bills are releasing Wide Receiver Cole Beasley after 3 seasons, 231 caught passes and 2,438 yards.  Beasley sought permission to be traded from General Manager Brandon Beane.  He was entering the final year of his contract.  Beane had said that Beasley would be back with the Bills in the coming season but that is apparently not going to be the case.

The Sabres failed to extend their winning streak as they were trounced Thursday night by the Oilers 6 to 1.  Victor Olofsson scored 1 goal for Buffalo in the Third period. The Sabres will be continuing on to Calgary tonight to take on the Flames.

Afternoon News Brief

The Batavia City School Board is meeting this evening starting at 6:00 at the High School. Among the topics for discussion include Universal Pre-Kindergarten to accommodate more than 100 children for the 2022-23 school year. In other meeting items, the board is expected to vote on a proposal from Johnson Controls of Rochester for an energy performance contract. If approved, construction would begin in September of this year with a completion date of August 2023.
· The 2022-23 preliminary $55 million budget, which includes a 1.62 percent tax levy increase. The board had its first budget workshop on Tuesday of this week to discuss a financial plan that left a gap of $315,716 to be paid for by taxpayers. Board President Alice Benedict said the board doesn’t want to increase the tax rate “whatsoever.”
· Setting the official registration, voting and public hearing dates for the 2022-23 budget.
· Revising the description of a school social worker to replace an itinerant social worker.
· Approval of several personnel appointments and resignations.
· A shared services agreement between Batavia City School District and the Town of Batavia for shared services and equipment use for a five-year term.
· The purchase of sensory room equipment for Jackson Primary and John Kennedy Intermediate from Fun & Function and School Specialty for $22,031.99.
The meeting includes time for public comments, and an executive session to discuss a resolution to “assert paid-leave for an employee until further notice,” followed by the vote in open session.

A new report says former Governor Andrew Cuomo may be planning to challenge current Governor Kathy Hochul in a Democratic primary. Sources close to Cuomo say he’s been talking with supporters about the possibility of running against Hochul, who used to be his Lieutenant Governor. Hochul ended up taking Cuomo’s job last August after he left office following allegations from multiple women that he sexually harassed them, claims that Cuomo has repeatedly denied. A poll released last week by Emerson College found Cuomo only a few percentage points behind. Hochul received 37% of Democratic voter support in the hypothetical match-up, while Cuomo garnered 33%. Neither U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi nor Public Advocate Jumaane Williams could register even double-digit support.

The Buffalo Sabres continue their Canadian road trip tonight as they look to extend their winning streak to three games. They’ll be taking on Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. The Sabres are coming off of a 5 to 2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Sunday’s NHL Heritage Classic. Face-off for this evening’s contest is scheduled for 9:00.

A 34-year-old Elba man is facing a number of charges for a series of crimes he allegedly committed over the past week. Matthew Williams of Hundredmark Road has been arrested by Genesee County Sheriff’s deputies and charged with endangering the welfare of a child and harassment, after he head-butted a person in front of the child. He also allegedly stole items from a location in Barre and was subsequently charged with 3rd degree grand larceny, a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison. A day later, Williams was arrested after allegedly stealing a car and violating an order of protection, related to the head-butting incident. He has been issued appearance tickets for all the cases and will appear in Town Court at a later date. Williams previously served two state prison terms, one for burglary and the other, for grand larceny. He was most recently released to parole in January 2020.

According to a report from CTV News, Canada will lift the pre-arrival COVID-19 test requirements for fully vaccinated travelers as of April 1. It was noted, however, that although the requirement to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test will be lifted, travelers might still be subject to random PCR testing at airports. Travelers will also still have to use their app, called ArriveCAN, to show proof of vaccination and other required information. On February 28th, adjustments to COVID-related measures at the border went into place, which included allowing travelers to have the option of using a COVID-19 rapid antigen test result within 24 hours, or a molecular test result within 72 hours to meet pre-arrival requirements.

Today, eight of the top teams in college basketball will be playing in Buffalo as the NCAA Division One men’s hoops tournament gets underway. South Dakota State and Providence will be in the first game at KeyBank Center followed by Iowa against Richmond, UConn against New Mexico State and Arkansas versus Vermont. The winner of these games will advance to the next round of the tournament on Saturday. There are still seats still available and they can be purchased online.

The Buffalo Bills are offering their fans a chance to have a say in the development of the team’s new stadium. Plans have been announced to hold focus group sessions at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park that are made up of season ticket holders. The first meeting set for March 29th doesn’t have any more spots available, however there will be additional sessions in the future. Team ownership wants to build a new facility across from Highmark Stadium but despite months of negotiations, a final agreement has not been worked out yet.

From Triple A this morning, it appears gas prices remain leveled off, at least for now. The average price statewide $ 4.41 per gallon; that’s down 2 cents from yesterday and down a nickel, from a week ago. In Batavia, the average price is $4.38; up two cents from yesterday but down a penny from a week ago.

A traffic alert reminder: Starting on Monday, and continuing for the next 8 months, construction work begins on Park Road. They will be installing new utilities, reconstructing and then resurfacing Park, from the intersection of 63 to Route 98. Northbound traffic on Park Road will be detoured onto Veteran’s Memorial Drive with southbound traffic staying on Park. Access to Alex’s, Tops Plaza’s rear entrance, and Batavia Downs will be available only while traveling southbound. The timeline for completion is November 2022.

Morning News Brief

Canada is planning to lift the COVID testing requirement for those who are vaccinated entering the country starting April 1st.  CTV News said although the requirement to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test will be lifted, travelers may still be subject to random PCR testing at airports. Travelers will also still have to use the ArriveCAN app to show proof of vaccination and other required information.  On February 28 adjustments to COVID-related measures at the border went into place, which included allowing travelers to have the option of using a COVID-19 rapid antigen test result within 24 hours or a molecular test result within 72 hours to meet pre-arrival requirements.

A power outage took out electricity for nearly all of Wyoming county National Grid customers Wednesday afternoon.  2 outages were reported in Alexander around rt 98 and along much of rt 238 at around 3pm.  The loss extended down into Wyoming county.  In Genesee county about 1200 people were affected.  Power was restored by late afternoon.  

The democrat party is looking for a representative for the new congressional district created by the redistricting that goes into effect this year.  District 24 has no incumbent representative for the 258 mile long, 14 county slice of New York.  The Chairs of the 14 member counties of The Lake District are asking for interested individuals to send their resumes with a cover letter to oswegodemocraticcomitteechair@gmail.com.

How much do potholes cost to fix?  Probably less than 26 and a half billion dollars.  That’s the price tag AAA is reporting that drivers paid to repair or replace tires and fix other damage to cars after they hit a pothole in 2021.  In New York it was as much as 1 in every ten cars on the road that needed fixing because of a pothole.  On average each repair costs the driver 600 dollars.  AAA offered some tips to avoid needing repairs such as checking your tires alignment, pressure and tread depth and simply being cautious to avoid hitting potholes and if you can’t, to slow down before the hit but not right as you go into the hole as braking as you go over the bumps will add compression to the tires and suspension and could cause the damage you are hoping to avoid.  

The Buffalo Bills have made a big hiring decision that they hope will get them through the playoffs and win them the Super Bowl.  They signed a 120 million dollar 6 year contract with edge rusher Von Miller fresh off his Super Bowl winning season with the Los Angeles Rams.  Miller had five sacks in eight regular season games with the Rams and four more in the playoffs, including two in the Rams’ Super Bowl win.  The 32-year-old pass rusher has 115.5 career sacks and 540 tackles in 11 seasons in the league.

Afternoon News Brief

Governor Kathy Hochul announced this morning that a new family-owned French company, La Fermiere, has plans to construct locally. They have committed to building a $25 million, 45,000 square-foot yogurt and dairy desserts company, at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. It is anticipated this will create up to 135 new jobs in the region. Additionally, they plan to utilize millions of pounds of milk provided by area dairy farmers. La Fermiere had considered many other sites around the country but with the focused support from both the State and its regional economic development partners, they decided to build in Batavia.

According to a review released by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the need at the Batavia VA Medical Center for inpatient medical and surgical care, inpatient mental health care, and residential rehabilitation treatment services is shown to be decreasing, while needs for long-term care and outpatient care is increasing. Our local VA hospital currently offers long-term care, a residential rehabilitation treatment program and outpatient services. However, its primary and specialty care clinic lacks space and having been built in 1932, is not at this time designed to meet modern health care needs or standards. A new facility for outpatient services on the campus of the Batavia VA Medical Center is proposed to help meet the growing and changing needs of the veteran population. Also being proposed, is a planned expansion of residential rehabilitation services in Buffalo and the VA Medical Center here will be expanded to become the region’s post-traumatic stress treatment hub.

Mercy Flight transported a farm worker to ECMC Tuesday morning after he was trampled by cows that were being inseminated on a farm at 8569 Oatka Trail Road. His condition is guarded. Le Roy Fire with UTV 61 and Le Roy Ambulance responded to the scene shortly before 10 a.m. The man was unconscious when rescuers were dispatched to the scene. His name has not been released.

New York state is now accepting applications from local farmers for a license to grow recreational marijuana. Last week, Governor Hochul announced that New Yorkers with past marijuana related convictions will be the first to get marijuana retail licenses. The move is being made to allow people in communities most impacted by past drug laws to become early business owners in the recreational cannabis industry. Recreational marijuana sales could begin by the end of the year.

The NCAA Division One Men’s Basketball tournament will be tipping off in Buffalo tomorrow and hoops fans can still get tickets to see it in-person. In previous years when the tournament has been held at KeyBank Center, the event has sold out before teams take the court. Event organizers believe one reason for slow sales is the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NCAA is now working with officials to fill the remaining seats and taken steps such as lowering ticket prices and also offering Groupon deals.

A traffic alert…Starting Monday, construction work begins on Park Road. For the next 8 months, they will be installing new utilities, reconstructing, and then resurfacing Park, from the intersection of 63 to Route 98. Northbound traffic on Park Road will be detoured onto Veterans Memorial Drive and southbound traffic will remain on Park. Alex’s, Tops Plaza rear entrance, and Batavia Downs will remain accessible only while traveling southbound. The timeline for completion is November 2022.

The New York State Comptroller has released a report on the number of people who died from COVID 19 in nursing homes. The handling of COVID in nursing homes had created difficulties for former governor Cuomo, accused of causing deaths by sending COVID positive people to the nursing homes and then hiding the numbers of individuals who died. The Comptroller’s office found that the public had been misled about the number of people who died by those at the highest level of state government through distortion and suppression of the facts. The New York State Department of Health would not provide auditors with a breakdown by name of the nursing home residents who died from Covid-19 and the actual number of nursing home residents who died is still uncertain. The audit estimates nursing home deaths are undercounted by as much as 50 percent; the Department of Health has apparently hidden the deaths of at least 4100 people.

Organizers of the Erie County Fair have announced the first concert performance of this year’s event. A Beatles tribute band called “The Fab Four” will take the stage on Wednesday, August 10th at 10:00pm. The concert is free with paid admission and more shows are going to be revealed over the next several weeks. The fair runs from August 10th until August 21st at the county fairgrounds in Hamburg.

David Miller is the Alexander Supervisor and he informed the Town Board earlier this week, that it was time for the town to update its comprehensive plan; the plan is a document most recently approved in 2003. It’s created by the community, and designed to help guide future planning and zoning decisions, set goals for growth and define the kind of community its members desire in the future. Anyone interested in applying for a seat on the committee, should contact the Alexander Town Clerk, Shannon Tiede. (townclerk@townofalexander.com or (585) 591-2455 ext 101)

Morning News Brief

The New York State Comptroller has released a report on the number of people who died from COVID 19 in nursing homes.  The handling of COVID in nursing homes has been a fraught subject with former governor Cuomo accused of causing deaths by sending COVID positive people to the nursing homes and then hiding the numbers of dead.  The Comptroller’s office found that the public had been misled about the number of people who died “by those at the highest level of state government through distortion and suppression of the facts”.  The DOH would not provide auditors with a breakdown by name of the nursing home residents who died from Covid-19 and the actual number of nursing home residents who died is still uncertain. The audit estimates nursing home deaths are undercounted by as much as 50 percent.  The DOH hid the deaths of at least 4100 people.

Mercy Flight transported a farm worker to ECMC Tuesday morning after he was trampled by cows that were being inseminated on a farm at 8569 Oatka Trail Road.  His condition is guarded.  Le Roy Fire with UTV 61 and Le Roy Ambulance responded to the scene shortly before 10 a.m.  The man was unconscious when rescuers were dispatched to the scene.  His name has not been released.

Bird Flu is back and Cornell Cooperative Extension says take down your bird feeders.  Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza has been identified in over 350 wild birds in the US including in NY.  There have been 3 cases of it in backyard poultry flocks leading to the deaths of 268 birds.  Bird feeders can cause birds to congregate and spread the disease so it is recommended you take yours down at least during the spring migration period.   The CCE said scientists believe caseloads should decrease over the summer months and at that point it may be safe to put feeders back out.

The online portal is now open for New York Hemp farmers who are looking for a license to apply to grow adult-use cannabis.  Conditionally licensed cannabis farmers must meet the following requirements:  Safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly cultivation practices, participation in a social equity mentorship program, enter into a labor peace agreement with a bona fide labor organization.  With a conditional adult-use cannabis cultivation license, farmers can grow outdoors or in a greenhouse for up to two years from the issuance of the license and it allows them to manufacture and distribute cannabis flower products without holding an adult-use processor or distributor license until June 1, 2023.  The cost is 2000 dollars.

The City of Batavia needs a new little red wagon.  Fire truck number 12 is 20 years old and is ready to be retired from service, according to City Manager Rachel Tabelski.  The cost of getting a new truck, 700,000 dollars. Fire Chief Dan Herberger said that the new truck would be similar to Engine 11 which is a Rescue Truck.  It will be paid for by a grant of 200K and 400K that is in reserve.  

We have some winners at the horse show!  Genesee County 4-H members participated in the Finger Lakes Region 4-H Horse Bowl Contest Saturday and many of them placed.  Brynlee Amend, Wyatt Witmer, Leah Amend, Taylor Fancher, Lexi Witmer, Eva Rhoads and Tori Kruppenbacher were all recognized for their knowledge of equine facts, including breeds, equipment, nutrition and more.  The Novice team placed 2nd, The senior team placed 2nd, and the Junior team placed 1st.  Everyone who placed will have an opportunity to compete at the state competition held at Cornell University on April 8th.

Afternoon News Brief

The search for a missing Batavia man has come to a tragic end after his body was discovered in the Tonawanda Creek. Police say 29-year-old Lewis Hyde was last seen alive on Friday on West Main Street. On Sunday, a jacket was spotted in the area of the creek between the South Lyon Street and River Street bridges. Police then asked the City Fire’s water rescue team to assist with the search. Hyde’s remains were found yesterday and removed from the water. Police are continuing their investigation while waiting for autopsy results but say they don’t believe his death is suspicious.

The number of New Yorkers who have tested positive for COVID-19 has seen its smallest increase since last July 18th. Governor Hochul’s office announced just 902 new cases yesterday and 10 deaths. The statewide COVID-19 positivity rate is sitting at one-point four-percent. In Western New York, the seven-day average infection rate is one-point-eight percent. Last week in the GLOW region, there were only 25 new cases of COVID-19 reported.

The band Foreigner will return to the 2022 Great New York State Fair to perform on August 28. And Foreigner and the Fair are conducting a search for a junior high, high school or college chorus to perform a 10-minute a cappella set about 30 minutes before Foreigner’s concert. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the band would invite a chorus onstage during the show to help sing the hit “I Want To Know What Love Is.” They’ve kept the tradition going since then by having the chorus perform before the show. Choruses must bring no more than 25 members and can determine their own program of 10 minutes. The Fair will provide up to four admission passes per chorus member, staff member and chaperone along with enough parking passes for all vehicles in the Fair’s lots. Choruses interested in performing must apply by April 30. You may do so by uploading audio or video of a recent performance and a group photo. https://nysfair.ny.gov/

Investigators continued their work on Monday, in an to attempt to piece together the events that led up the double murder at the Blumer Dairy Farm on Alexander Road, late Friday night. 23-year-old Prince N.K. Wilson, of Albion and 18-year-old Raul Cruz, of Warsaw and formerly of Albion, are both charged with second-degree murder and committed to Genesee County Jail without bail. The men are accused of murdering two Hispanic men who lived at an employee bunkhouse on the farm. Both of the charged men are familiar to law enforcement, particularly in Albion. Because of Cruz’s age he does not have a public criminal record, but was the subject of a search when he was 14. He and a 12-year-old girl were reported missing and were found safe a day later. Wilson, however, has a criminal history that includes arrests for burglaries, resisting arrest and failure to appear in court in 2017 as well as burglary charges from 2019 that landed him in state prison. Genesee County Sheriff’s continued their investigation today. (Pictured left to right – Wilson, Cruz)

The City Budget has passed unanimously with a general fund of 17.78 Million dollars. City Manager Rachel Tabelski is pleased with achieving a balanced budget and hopes that residents will see a drop in taxes; although with property assessments on the increase, it’s possible some homeowners will not. Other highlights of the budget include more money being allocated for the police department’s Emergency Response Team and a fire truck to replace Engine 12, which is now about 20 years old. The Council also approved a 1.5 percent increase in water rates, meter fees and capital improvement fees for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

Starting later this week, Spectrum customers are going to be paying a bit more money each month for their television service. The company says beginning Friday, the broadcast TV fee will be going up by more than $3 to $21 per month. Spectrum’s monthly equipment fee is also rising by $1.00 to $9.99 per month. Spectrum says that it has no choice but to raise rates because of the higher fees that are being charged by network-affiliated stations to carry their content.

A small earthquake rattled parts of Wyoming County just after 11am this morning, about 3 miles south west of Warsaw. The quake occurred at a depth of about 3.1 miles, which according to the National Weather Service is relatively shallow; while shallow quakes tend to be more damaging than deeper earthquakes; this one only had a magnitude of 2.6 on the Richter scale. It’s considered a small quake, incapable of causing damage. Still, you could have felt it if you were close to the epicenter.

Buffalo has had over 92 inches of snow this season, so far, and although it was a low snow season for the rest of upstate NY, it’s an above average snowfall amount here. As a result, Buffalo is winning a contest that not everyone is interested in winning…The Golden Snowball is awarded to the city with the most snow over a winter season. It’s not surprising, especially this year. Buffalo is ahead of Anchorage Alaska by over 6 inches and Rochester is back in third by almost 10 inches. Still plenty of time for cities to rally for a comeback…the contest finishes up at the end of April.

The Genesee County STOP-DWI Coordinator announced today that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of LeRoy Police Department will once again be participating in a coordinated effort with the STOP-DWI program to bring awareness to the dangers of impaired driving. The increased statewide efforts start tomorrow and will continue thru Sunday, March 30. St. Patrick’s Day weekend is a notoriously dangerous period for impaired driving due to the number of celebrations and drivers on the road. New York State Police, County Sheriffs, and municipal law enforcement agencies will be out in force during this across-the-board effort to reduce the number of alcohol-related injuries and deaths.

It’s not much, but at least it’s in the right direction…according to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of gas in Batavia as of this morning, is $4.37…that’s down 1 cent from yesterday…

 

 

Morning News Brief

The search for 29 year old Lewis Hyde has been called off after a body was discovered in the Tonawanda Creek between the S Lyon Street and River Street Bridges just after noon on Monday.  The Batavia police began the search after a jacket was found along the creek bank.  After Search and rescue teams brought the body up it was confirmed to be Hyde.  An investigation is ongoing pending the results of an autopsy, but there do not appear to be any signs of foul play.  Hyde was reported missing on the 11th.

The City Budget has passed unanimously with a general fund of 17.78 Million dollars.  City Manager Rachel Tabelski is pleased with achieving a balanced budget and hopes that Batavians will see a drop in taxes.  When asked if she could identify one highlight of the budget, she came up with the fact that more money was put into the police department’s Emergency Response Team.

Buffalo is edging out other cities in America for the Golden Snowball award for the city with the most snow over a winter season.  Not something that surprises most Western New Yorkers.  Buffalo is ahead of Anchorage Alaska by over 6 inches and Rochester which is coming in third by almost 10 inches.  Buffalo had over 92 inches of snow this season and although it was a low snow season for the rest of upstate NY the Queen City had an above average snowfall.  The contest finishes up at the end of April.  

The Buffalo Bills have signed some new players for their next season.  Tennessee Offensive Lineman Rodger Saffold has signed a 1 year contract, Tim Settle and DaQuan Jones both signed as Defensive Tackles.  Settle played for the Washington Commanders and Jones played for the Panthers. 

Body Found in Tonawanda Creek

Batavia Police News Release:

Lewis Hyde

On Monday, March 14th, a search of Tonawanda Creek between the S. Lyon Street and River Street bridges in the city of Batavia was conducted under the direction of the Batavia Police Department. The search was pertaining to a missing person, Lewis Hyde, who was reported missing on March 11th.

While an extensive search has been going on since that time, the search of the creek was conducted due to a jacket being found near the creek bank on March 13th.

At approximately 12:35 PM on March 14th, a body was located and recovered from the Tonawanda Creek by the search and rescue teams. The body was confirmed to be that of Lewis Hyde. An investigation is ongoing pending the results of an autopsy, but there does not appear to be any signs of foul play.

The Batavia Police Department greatly appreciates the assistance of the City of Batavia Fire Department, Genesee County Emergency Management, New York State Police, ALERT – Advanced Local Emergency Response Team, Mercy EMS, Alden Fire, Niagara Frontier Search and Rescue, Massasauga Search and Rescue Team, Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center and the Genesee County Coroner’s Office in this matter.

Midday News Brief

Two men remain in custody today accused of stabbing and killing 2 other men at a bunkhouse at Blumer Dairy Farm on Alexander Road in Alexander. 18 year old Raul Cruz of Warsaw and 23 year old Prince N.K. Wilson of Albion were arrested Saturday and are being held without bail. Cruz was caught following a 9-hour manhunt in Warsaw and Wilson was caught in Batavia. Law enforcement and the fire department were both dispatched to the scene of a burning dwelling on Friday night, where two Latino men were found stabbed to death  inside. Investigators believe this was an isolated incident and there was no threat to public safety. The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office isn’t releasing any more information right now, including the names of the victims. First they want to notify the families of the two men. The investigation in the case is ongoing. (Pictured from left to right, Wilson-Cruz)

New York State is preparing the budget for this year and hopes to have it ready by the end of the month. 1.25 billion dollars is being suggested for the Emergency Rental Assistance program to help tenants who are behind on their rent. In addition, 400 million dollars is being called for to help landlords whose tenants haven’t being paying rent. Help with the high utility bills is on the way to the tune of 500 million dollars. The governor has so far been resisting requests from both democrats and republicans to suspend the New York Gas tax until at least September to fight the record high prices at the pump and in home heating. Hochul says she hasn’t changed her spending or budget numbers to account for what suspending the tax would do to the revenue for the state.

Two homes were destroyed this morning in Basom. A propane tank was accidentally tipped over in a home on Meadville Road. It ignited a fire that destroyed that home and the residence located in front of it. A 31-year-old woman suffered burns and was treated at the scene. No other injuries were reported.

The price at the pump has leveled off, at least temporarily, in Western NY; however, it doesn’t appear there’s any immediate relief in sight. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular fuel is at $4.40. That’s up 26 cents from this time last week and is 79 cents higher than last month. Right now, the state average is $4.45 and nationally it’s $4.32. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.38, up one cent since yesterday and 78 cents from a month ago.

The Buffalo Sabres have won their second straight game after coming out on top in the NHL Heritage Classic. Hinostroza and Krebs each had a pair of goals for Buffalo; Thompson also scored as the Sabres beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in yesterday’s outdoor game in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; final there was 5-2. The Sabres had solid goaltending from Craig Anderson who stopped 34 of the 36 shots he faced. Buffalo will continue their Canadian road trip Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers.

 

A weekend fundraiser organized by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is being called a major success. The orchestra performed Saturday night at Eastman Theater and collected tens of thousands of dollars in donations, which will be used to help people living in Ukraine. If you still want to donate, information on how to help is available online at rocmaidan.org.

 

The Geneseean of the Year award at the Annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony for 2021 went to Jay Lazarony. He was selected for being an exemplary professional and volunteer, for founding GLOW With Your Hands in 2019, and his work with the Youth Bureau. Lazarony has been the Executive Director of the GLOW Workforce Development Board for 25 years.

Saint Patrick’s Day is a still a few days away, but in just a few hours, some lucky person will be surrounded in green, by winning over $100,000,000. The prize up for grabs in tonight’s Powerball jackpot will be at least 124,000,000 dollars after no one won Saturday’s drawing. The cost of a ticket to play the popular lottery game is just $2.00. The drawing is going to be streamed live online at powerball.com. Please play responsibly.

Isaiah McKenzie, wide receiver and kick punt returner has signed back on with the Bills for a 2 year contract. He was set to become an unrestricted free agent. McKenzie joined the Bills in 2018 and primarily took on a punt/kick returning role during the 2020 offseason following the departure of Andre Roberts. This season with the Bills, he returned 43 kicks and punts for 731 yards. In the receiving game, McKenzie had 20 catches for 178 yards and a touchdown this season. According to Ian Rapoport, the deal is worth a total of $8,000,000.

Morning News Brief

2 men are in custody accused of stabbing and killing 2 other men at the bunkhouse at Blumer Dairy Farm on Alexander Road in Alexander.  18 year old Raul Cruz of Warsaw and 23 year old Prince Wilson of Albion were arrested Saturday and are being held without bail.  Cruz was caught after a manhunt in Warsaw and Wilson was caught in Batavia.  At around 10pm on Friday dispatchers received a report of a disturbance at the bunkhouse.  Deputies responded and then Alexander fire was called for smoke at the bunkhouse from a set fire.  Genesee County Sheriffs then reported finding 2 bodies inside, dead by stabbing.  Investigators believe this was an isolated incident and there was no threat to public safety.

The Geneseean of the Year award at the Annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony for 2021 is Jay Lazarony.  He was selected for being an exemplary professional and volunteer, for founding GLOW With Your Hands in 2019, and his work with the Youth Bureau. Lazarony has been the Executive Director of the GLOW Workforce Development Board for 25 years.   

New York State is preparing the budget for this year and hopes to have it ready by the end of the month.  1.25 billion dollars is being pushed to bring help for tenants who are behind on their rent in the Emergency Rental Assistance program.  In addition, 400 million dollars is being called for to help landlords whose tenants haven’t being paying rent.  Help with the high utility bills is on the way to the tune of 500 million dollars.  The governor has so far been resisting calls from both sides of the aisle to suspend the New York Gas tax till at least September to fight the record high prices at the pump and in home heating.  Hochul says she hasn’t changed her spending or budget numbers to account for what suspending the tax would do to the revenue for the state.

Buffalo has won the 2022 Heritage Classic at an outdoor arena.  The Sabres came away with a 5 to 2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs Sunday afternoon.  Peyton Krebs scored twice and so did Vinnie Hinostroza.  Tage Thompson knocking in an empty netter sealed the game for Buffalo.  The wind and snow were their own team in the game, spoiling shots and getting in the way.  The Sabres haven’t played an outside game since 2008 when they lost 3 to 2 against the New York Rangers.  The Sabres are back indoors on Thursday when they visit the Edmonton Oilers.

Isaiah McKenzie, wide receiver and kick punt returner has signed back on with the Bills for a 2 year contract.  He was set to become an unrestricted free agent.  McKenzie joined the Bills in 2018 and primarily took on a punt/kick returning role during the 2020 offseason following the departure of Andre Roberts. This season with the Bills, he returned 43 kicks and punts for 731 yards.  In the receiving game, McKenzie had 20 catches for 178 yards and a touchdown this season.  According to Ian Rapoport, the deal is worth a total of $8M.

Weekend News Brief

2 men are in custody accused of stabbing and killing 2 other men at the bunkhouse at Blumer Dairy Farm on Alexander Road in Alexander.  18 year old Raul Cruz of Warsaw and 23 year old Prince Wilson of Albion were arrested Saturday and are being held without bail.  Cruz was caught after a manhunt in Warsaw.  At around 10pm on Friday dispatchers received a report of a disturbance at the bunkhouse.  Deputies responded and then Alexander fire was called for smoke at the bunkhouse from a set fire.  Genesee County Sheriffs then reported finding 2 bodies inside, dead by stabbing.  Investigators believe this was an isolated incident and there was no threat to public safety.

The Batavia Police Department is seeking assistance from the public in locating Lewis Hyde. Hyde is described as being 5’10”, 180 pounds. He was last seen wearing a tan coat, jeans and black boots. Hyde was last seen on March 11th, at approximately 2:00 a.m. on West Main Street in Batavia. Anyone with any information is asked to please contact the Batavia Police Department at (585) 345-6350.

A senior corrections officer at the Genesee County Jail has been accused of embezzling over 50 thousand dollars from the Sheriff’s Employee Association.  51 year old Kevin Wolff of Stafford was arrested and terminated from his position at the jail.  He had been working for the sheriff’s office for more than 20 years.  Wolff was arraigned in City Court Friday and released on his own recognizance.  The investigation into the alleged theft is being conducted by the Sheriff’s criminal investigation division and is ongoing.  The association membership consists of corrections officers, emergency dispatchers, dog control officers, and jail cooks.

ECMC in Buffalo is saying goodbye to its military reinforcements as they are no longer needed to buttress the understaffed system after the COVID Vaccine Mandate required the firing of many staff and medical personnel.  24 men and women from the US NAVY were deployed there to help out.  The members of the Military Medical Team worked over 6,500 clinical hours during their two month stay in Buffalo. They also provided care for more than 3,800 patients – including 550 COVID-19 positive patients, according to ECMC.  The hospital hosted a goodbye ceremony to the team as it was cleared of its duties inside ECMC on March 11th, beginning with a procession of all 24 members of the military.  The hospital no longer is in need of the extra staffing. Only 14 patients remain in the COVID-19 ward at this time, with only one being admitted for the virus itself, according to ECMC.

Are you struggling with being behind on utility bills?  1.4 million New Yorkers are in the same boat.  Consumer advocates including the AARP, the Public Utility Law Project, and many politicians are calling on Governor Hochul to use 1.25 Billion dollars of federal funding to pay off the debts of people who fell behind.  New York restricts utilities from shutting off heat and electricity until April 15. But scores of residents in New York could face heat and electricity shut-offs in coming months.

The Bureau of Inspection in Batavia will be closed Monday the 14th through Wednesday the 16th. Documents may be dropped off at the Department of Public Works. The Bureau of Inspection will reopen on Thursday, March 17th at 8:30am.

Afternoon News Brief

Genesee and Orleans counties will be under a Winter Weather Advisory tonight from 7pm in effect until tomorrow at 6pm. The National Weather service is expecting 3 to 6 inches of snow accumulation and winds gusting as high as 45 miles per hour. Wyoming and Livingston Counties will be under a Winter Storm Warning from tonight at 7 to Saturday at 6pm and 5 to 10 inches of snow is expected with high winds. Temperatures will drop into the 20s; wind chills will reduce that to near or below zero. Snow-covered roads will make for slippery travel and also watch out for sudden drifts and white outs.

Two men from Batavia are now facing charges after an investigation on Sullivan Street in Rochester. Rochester Police searched a vehicle in which the two men were sitting and found a loaded 9mm “ghost gun” as well as cocaine and fentanyl. The weapon had no serial numbers and therefore can’t be registered. 35-year-old Daniel Mooney and 35-year-old Matthew Oppel have both been charged with felonies as well as criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police reported that neither man was allowed to possess a gun because of previous convictions. They were taken to the Monroe County Jail for arraignment in Rochester City Court.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles has begun issuing new driver’s licenses, permits and non-driver identification cards. The new cards will now incorporate upgraded security features that are used to verify authenticity and prevent tampering and counterfeiting. The new process involves engraving two images into the card so that the image changes when viewed at different angles. Additional information may be found on their website, dmv.ny.gov

Last night, county planners recommended the approval of the 2 new retail spaces in the former Kmart parking lot. At the County Planning Board meeting via Zoom it was determined that a retail space of 6752 square feet with a 2000 square foot coffee shop and drive through, and a 4000 square foot restaurant would be located on the Lewiston road lot. An engineering director for Benderson Development, which owns the property, said they are already working with tenants for the buildings.

The project will also include:
■ drainage upgrades to bring the site into compliance with the current storm water regulations;
■ an increase in overall green space and landscaping;
■ utility upgrades;
■ new curbing, pavement and site lighting around the proposed buildings.

Unless it’s postponed due to the storm, tomorrow from 10am to approximately 11:30am, Notre Dame High School is hosting a 5k Run/Walk. During this time, Richmond Avenue will be closed from Union Street to Park Road, and traffic entering from Main Street onto Union, Woodrow, Bogue and Redfield will be redirected around the area. Once again, that’s from 10am until 11:30am, tomorrow.

The Bureau of Inspection in Batavia will be closed Monday, March 14th through Wednesday, March 16th. Documents may be dropped off at the Department of Public Works. The Bureau of Inspection will reopen on Thursday, March 17th at 8:30am.

The Buffalo Bills have reportedly hired the architecture firm who will be responsible for designing and building the team’s new stadium. The Athletic says the Bills have brought on Populus, which is the company who helped the team renovate Highmark Stadium several years ago. Team ownership have submitted a proposal for the new facility to be built across the street from Highmark Stadium which is located in Orchard Park. While negotiations have been ongoing for months, a final deal hasn’t been reached yet. The current lease for the Bills expires in 2023.

The Buffalo Sabres snapped their two-game losing streak after picking up a victory in front of their home crowd. Victor Olofsson, Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs had a goal each as the Sabres beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 at KeyBank Center last night. Former Sabres captain Jack Eichel had only two shots in his first contest back in Buffalo since being traded to Vegas in November. Sabres goalie Craig Anderson was honored after last night’s victory, to celebrate his 300th NHL win. Up next for Buffalo is the NHL Heritage Classic against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.

New data from Governor Hochul’s office is showing that the spread of COVID-19 is still slowing down across New York. The statewide positivity rate is 1.3%, continuing a two week streak where that number has been below 2.0%. The 7 day average infection rate in Western NY is also falling and now sits at 1.8%. Governor Hochul says New Yorkers should be proud of the progress that’s been made in battling the virus but she’s urging people to keep protecting themselves against the illness.

 

Morning News Brief

Genesee and Orleans counties are going to be under a Winter Weather Advisory tonight from 7pm to tomorrow at 6pm.  The National Weather service is expecting 3 to 6 inches of snow accumulation and winds gusting as high as 45 miles per hour.  Wyoming County is under a Winter Storm Warning from tonight at 7 to Saturday at 6pm and 5 to 10 inches of snow is expected with high winds.  Temperatures are expected to drop into the 20s and wind chill will reduce that to near or below zero.  Be careful on snowy roads and watch out for white outs and sudden drifts.  

New York State plans to give people who have been convicted of having marijuana related criminal offenses the first chance to receive a cannabis license.  Governor Kathy Hochul made an announcement about the initiative, Thursday.  These licenses are awarded in an effort to correct what the state calls past “inequities” of the justice system, which involved a large number of people of color being charged for drug crimes.  According to the Cannabis Control Board, there is no residency requirement for the initiative.  However, there is a requirement that said convicted person must have been convicted in the state of New York. 

County planners recommended the approval of the 2 new restaurant and retail spaces in the corners of the former Kmart parking lot Thursday night.  At the County Planning Board meeting via teleconference it was determined that a retail space of 6752 square feet with a 2000 square foot coffee shop and drive through and a 4000 square foot restaurant would be located along Lewiston road.  An engineering director for Benderson Development which owns the vacant lot and Kmart building, said they already are working with tenants for the buildings although he couldn’t tell the board who. 

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles announced that it is redesigning the drivers license, permit and non driver id card with upgraded security features.  Also you can choose between the old horizontal design and a new vertical design.  Some of the new safety features include Embossed text and images, clear windows and a state seal with multiple laser imaging.  And the birth month and year will be displayed a different way when observed from different angles.  The last redesign was in 2013.

The Buffalo Sabres snapped their losing streak with a win over former team captain Jack Eichel’s new team the Vegas Golden Knights 3 to 1 on Thursday night.  Peyton Krebs, Victor Olofsson, and Alex Tuch scored for Buffalo.  Krebs and Tuch were added to the Sabres in the trade that sent Eichel to the Knights.  Sabres goalie Craig Anderson was honored after Thursday’s victory which marked his 300th NHL win.  The Sabres next game is in Ontario against the Toronto Maple Leafs Sunday at 4pm for the 2022 Tim Hortons Heritage Classic.

Afternoon News Brief

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for Livingston County; keep in mind if you are driving east Friday night and Saturday, you are likely to encounter heavy snow, with accumulations up to 7 inches. Travel could range from being very difficult to impossible, as areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. While no watches have yet been issued for Genesee, Wyoming or Orleans counties snow is expected
to be widespread across upstate New York. Stay with WBTA for the latest weather information from 13 WHAM meteorologists.

A homeless person has been arrested on Liberty Street, in Batavia. Angelica Stanley is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. She was found to have crack cocaine and adderal, which had not been prescribed for her. She was issued a court appearance ticket for later this month and released.

The Western NY region has hit record-high fuel prices. This morning, Triple A reported the average price per gallon in WNY is now $4.46; up 9 cents from yesterday; up 81 cents from a month ago and up $1.60 from a year ago. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.35, which represents an increase of 6 cents from yesterday. Previous record highs were recorded in July 2008; prices are expected to continue to rise.

A hearing is scheduled for later this month to determine whether or not statements made by an Oakfield man can be used during his trial for the murder of his father. 37-year-old Nicholas Maher is charged with second-degree murder; the public defender has requested that any statements Maher made to police be ruled out during a trial. Maher remains in Genesee County jail as the case continues.

The number of new confirmed Covid cases continues to go down in Genesee and Orleans counties, even as mask mandates are lifted in schools and most other indoor public places. There were 40 new cases reported in the past week, which was down from 74 last week. That was down from 112 from mid-February, and 216 from early last month. The recent caseloads represent a steep drop from the Covid peak in early January when there 2,703 cases across the two counties. The 40 new cases the past week include 15 in Orleans and 25 in Genesee. Statewide, Gov. Kathy Hochul reported there were 1,060 new Covid cases out of just over 67,700 tests (67,714), for a positivity rate of 1.57 percent. It’s the 12th straight day the state is under 2 percent for positive tests. The 7-day average of positive tests is currently at 1.51 percent.

After a 2-year hiatus because of the pandemic, the 13th GLOW Region Tech Wars are back on! The annual event brings middle and high school students from all 24 of the GLOW region’s school districts together to work collaboratively in teams to compete with Battlebots, boats, CAD machines and more. The event is scheduled for next Thursday, March 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Genesee Community College’s Batavia Campus.

The Buffalo Sabres will be back on their home ice tonight as they try and snap their two-game losing streak. The Sabres are hosting the Vegas Golden Knights at KeyBank Center. The contest will mark the Buffalo return of former Sabres captain Jack Eichel who was traded to Vegas back in November. Eichel has only played a few games this season due to his long recovery from neck surgery. Face-off for tonight’s game is set for 7:00.

Genesee County will be saving money – 70 million dollars, in fact – on the new jail project by using County Building 2 as a construction staging site. County Manager Matt Landers reported that the state Commission of Correction would permit the county’s jail transition team to be housed in County Building 2 on West Main Street Road while construction of the jail, which will be located just east of that building, is going on. The transition team will have 4 members in charge of writing policy and procedures for the new 184-bed facility. The team will be made up of current corrections officers and 4 new ones will be hired to replace them in their previous positions.

Two Batavia men have been charged in a series of robberies in Wyoming County. The Sheriff’s office there reports that 21-year-old Antwan Odom and 20-year-old Christopher McClinic have been charged with felony second-degree burglary following a multi-jurisdictional investigation. Deputies say the two committed four daytime burglaries earlier this month. The two are accused of stealing jewelry, nearly $5,000 in cash, a handgun, a crossbow, a muzzleloader, and three shotguns. Odom was arraigned and remanded to the Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $100,000 cash bail. McClinic was arraigned and released to the county’s pre-trial release program, pending future court appearances.

Organizers of the Lilac Festival in Rochester have announced the musical acts who are going to be headlining this year’s event. They include Blues Traveler, Driftwood, Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears, Anders Osborne and a Zac Brown tribute band. This year’s festival will run for three weekends, starting May 6th (through the 8th, May 12th through the 15th, and from May 19th through the 22nd) at Rochester’s Highland Park. More information can be found online by visiting rochesterevents.com.

Governor Hochul says members of the SNUG Street Outreach program will be expanding their presence in cities like Buffalo and Rochester that are dealing with a high number of gun crimes. The goal of the program is to mediate conflicts in communities, mentor young people and work alongside local partners to make the streets safer. The governor says all available resources are being used to stop the gun violence that’s been plaguing communities and putting the lives of residents in danger. She’s also included additional funding for the SNUG program in her state budget proposal.

Employees at three more Starbucks stores in the Buffalo-Niagara region have voted to unionize. Workers at locations in Amherst, Cheektowaga and Depew have decided to organize with Starbucks Workers United. Late last year, two other Starbucks stores in the area were the first in the country to vote in favor of unionization. So far, employees at over 100 Starbucks locations nationwide have asked the National Labor Relations Board for the ability to hold unionization votes of their own.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help out the families of two teenagers who were killed in a crash in Clarence. State Police say 17-year-old Luke Malinich was driving on Delaware Road Monday afternoon when he lost control of his vehicle, which caused it to go off the road, overturn and hit a tree. Malinich and his passenger, 17-year-old Lauren Taggart, died at the scene. Both teens were students at Williamsville South High School. Troopers say speed was a factor in the accident. So far, the GoFundMe has raised over $11,000.

Rochester police are warning residents about the recent rise in reported car break-ins across the city. They say in some cases, the windows of vehicles have been smashed so criminals can get items that are inside. Police say the best way to protect yourself is to keep any valuables like keys and wallets out of your vehicle entirely. And, if you’re the victim of a break-in, police want you to report it right away. That information will allow officers to target specific areas where the crimes are happening which could help them with making arrests.

 

Morning News Brief

Gas Prices keep going up in the GLOW region and across the country.  According to AAA the average in Batavia is now 4.35, a 6 cent increase from Tuesday.  1 year ago the price was 2.80.  These prices go higher than the highest they have ever been which was July of 2008.  Prices are expected to continue to rise.  

Two Batavia men have been charged in a series of robberies in Wyoming County.  The Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office says 21 year old Antwan Odom and 20 year old Christopher McClinic have been charged with felony second-degree burglary following a multi-jurisdictional investigation.  Deputies say the two committed four daytime burglaries in the town of Covington on Feb. 17. The two are accused of stealing jewelry, nearly $5,000 in cash, a handgun, a crossbow, a muzzleloader, and three shotguns.  Odom was arraigned and remanded to the Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $100,000 cash bail. McClinic was arraigned and released to the county’s pre-trial release program, pending future court appearances.

Tech Wars are back at GCC on Thursday the 17th.  Middle and High School students from all GLOW region school districts will be competing with their battlebots, boats, CAD machines, Rube Goldberg Machines and many more from 9 to 1.  The Tech Wars had to stop for the last 2 years because of the pandemic.  There is also a Mystery Competition where students will have to pit their skills against each other in a timed, on demand event.  Tech Wars is supported by many local businesses and promotes kids STEAM knowledge and skills.

Genesee County is saving a bit of money on the 70 million dollar new Jail project by using the County Building 2 as a construction staging site.  County Manager Matt Landers reported that the state Commission of Correction will permit the county’s jail transition team to be housed in County Building 2 on West Main Street Road while construction of the jail, which will be located just east of that building, is going on.  The transition team will have 4 members in charge of writing policy and procedures for the new 184 bed facility.  The team will be made up of current corrections officers and 4 new ones will be hired to replace them in their previous positions.  

Fighting Irish Season Ends

UPDATE 9:05PM

Boys Basketball Class D Final

Avoca/Prattsburgh  71  Notre Dame 51

 

New York State is reminding home owners that beginning next Wednesday, March 16th, it will be illegal to burn brush on residential property.
This is an annual ban put in place by the State Department of Environmental Conservation and is designed to help prevent wildfires.
The statewide ban against residential brush burning continues until May 14th.

 

A Warsaw man just released from prison for making meth has been arrested for the same crime again.
38-year-old Dane Killian of Warsaw was just released on parole when State Police charged him with possession of hydrocodone and oxycodone without a prescription.
Troopers say Killian also had in his possession supplies need to make to make methamphetamine.
Because of his previous conviction, Killian faces 15 years in state prison.

The Batavia Muckdogs have been selected as the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce “Entrepreneurial Business of the Year.” Robbie Nichols and his wife took over the team last summer.
Nichols says he has increased game attendance and sales of season tickets. He says that the games for 2022 are nearly sold out already.

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra will be holding a benefit concert this weekend to show support for the people of Ukraine.
The performance is scheduled for Saturday at 7:30pm inside Kodak Hall at The Eastman Theater.
The suggested donation for a seat is $20 and tickets can be bought online at rpo.org,

A new survey has named Buffalo as the 10th best city in the country to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. The study, which was conducted by WalletHub, considered several factors such as Irish restaurants and pubs per capita, weather and the lowest price for a three-star hotel on the holiday itself.
In fact, Buffalo was ranked one spot above New York City which holds the largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade in the world.

New York state lawmakers are introducing legislation in an attempt to ease the pain at the gas pump. The New York Gas Tax Relief Act would suspend the state’s 48-cent a gallon gas tax until September 1st. It’s unclear how much that would impact prices. Gas right now is approaching four and a half dollars for a gallon of regular on average in the state. Experts put most of the blame on the Russia invasion of Ukraine.

Midday News Brief

Steve Hawley (R, Batavia)

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is calling on Governor Kathy Hochul and the Legislature to increase funding for road repairs. He and other advocates are supporting a funding increase because there is much work to be done to ensure the state’s roads are safe for those who travel on them, and help to keep supply chains moving as efficiently as possible.

 

The Batavia Muckdogs have been selected as the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce “Entrepreneurial Business of the Year” and team owner Robbie Nichols is thrilled that the county recognized all the work and effort that was put in to help rejuvenate baseball at Dwyer Stadium last summer. Nichols is enthusiastic about how well the team has been doing in Batavia with increased attendance, lots of fun events for the game days, sales of season tickets, and how the community has responded to the team. Nichols says that the games for 2022 are nearly sold out already.

A Wyoming County man recently released from prison and presently on parole for manufacturing methamphetamine has been charged with making meth again. State Police have charged 38-year-old Dane Killian of Warsaw with possession of hydrocodone and oxycodone without a prescription. He also had the supplies on hand to make meth. Killian now faces multiple charges and because of his previous conviction, could face up to 15 years in prison.

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra will be holding a benefit concert this weekend to show support for the people of Ukraine. The performance is scheduled for Saturday at 7:30pm inside Kodak Hall at Eastman Theater. The suggested donation for a seat is $20 and tickets can be bought online at rpo.org, by calling 585-454-2100 or in-person at the box office. Guests five and older need to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masks are required to be worn through the entire performance.

The GLOW region, as is the case now in much of the state, experiences record high fuel prices. And now a timely warning from State Attorney General Letitia James to New Yorkers about potential price gouging at the gas pumps. James says now that President Biden has put a ban on Russian oil imports, stations may raise fuel prices even more. Under state law, fuel sellers aren’t allowed to charge excessive prices during a period of abnormal market disruption such as a global conflict. Right now, the average cost for a gallon of gas in Batavia is $4.35 a gallon, which is up 54 cents in just the past week. The State average is $4.37 per gallon.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced the annual statewide ban prohibiting residential brush burning begins next Wednesday, March 16 and continues through May 14. Since 2009, DEC has enforced the annual brush-burning ban to prevent wildfires and protect communities because spring brings with it heightened conditions for wildfires.

The Buffalo Bisons are ready to sell single game tickets starting this Saturday at 10AM. The tickets go on sale during the team’s annual free Family Day Open House. There is also a special online pre-sale of all single-game tickets with no service fees; that started today and is available through Friday. Fans can save $3.00 on every ticket bought in advance of game days this season. Opening Day is set for April 5 at Sahlen Field and there will be no mask or vaccination requirements.

 

Morning News Brief

40 Percent of New Yorkers say they are planning to leave the state according to a poll from Unite NY and John Zogby Strategies.  According to the poll, “high taxes and a broken political system” are the primary reasons cited for 40% of New Yorkers considering leaving the state.  The poll checked with 1000 people including 451 Democrats and 291 Republicans and the rest being independent or third party.  Nearly half the people surveyed said that New York is heading in the wrong direction.  If you want to check out the raw survey data you can follow the link at WBTAi.com.

https://johnzogbystrategies.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/X_Issues_March.pdf

The Batavia Muckdogs have been selected as the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce “Entrepreneurial Business of the Year” and team owner Robbie Nichols says it is the icing on the cake.  Nichols is enthusiastic about how well the team has been doing in Batavia with increased attendance, lots of fun events for the game days, sales of season tickets, and how the community has responded to the team.  He and his family bought a home not far from the ballpark even though his main address remains in Elmira.  Nichols says that the games for 2022 are nearly sold out already.  

There are about 100 days left till summer vacation, do you know how you’re going to spent it?  How about as a lifeguard?  Western NY has been experiencing a lifeguard shortage for several years and Buffalo and Tonawanda are calling on prospects to get trained now.  There is a dire need for trained lifeguards.  In Buffalo they need 100, they have 22.  Mayor Brown says that “The ages are 16-21. It is a well-paying job. The job pays $16/hour and we are looking for young people.”  Buffalo is trying to get just Buffalo residents to apply, but Lifeguards are needed all across Western NY.

The Buffalo Bisons are ready to sell single game tickets starting this Saturday at 10AM.  The tickets go on sale during the team’s annual free Family Day Open House.  There will also be a special online pre-sale of all single-game tickets with no service fees from Wednesday at 10 a.m. through Friday.  Fans can save $3.00 on every ticket bought in advance of game days this season.  Opening Day is set for April 5 at Sahlen Field and there will be no mask or vaccination requirements.

Evening News Brief

The weekend wind storm that blew through Genesee County, knocking out power to 2,000 homes, has also taken a life.
The Sheriff’s officer reports that 61 year old Steven K. Reber of Bergen was killed by a falling tree.
Authorities said was out walking in the woods near his home Sunday evening when a tree was blown down and struck him in the head.
Family members and first responders attempted life saving measures, nut it was too late.

We should know more about the planned development for the former K-mart site following the County Planning Board meeting on Thursday.
Bernderson Development, which owns the property at Lewiston and Parks Roads has said they plan two new out-buildings in the parking lot for an un-named restaurant and retail establishment.

There has been a change of location for tomorrow night’s Class D Boys Basketball State Qualifier. Notre Dame will take on Avoca/Prattsburg at Dansville High School. Tip off is at 7pm. Live play-by-play coverage with Pete Zehler begins at 6:50 on WBTA FM and AM and online at WBTAi-dot-com.
The game was originally scheduled to be played at Letchworth.

On today’s bad boys report:

29 year old Cameron Sokolowski of Batavia has reportedly learned the hard way – you don’t stiff a taxi driver out of a fare.
Police say once the cab reached Sokolowski’s destination, he went inside and refused to come back. He now has a date in court.

And here’s a Batavia guy busted for allegedly boosting beer.
Police say 33 year old Benito Gay took three brews from the cooler at the Kwik Fill and quickly ran out the door. Cops got him, Gay has a date in court.

Midday News Brief

Benderson Development is the owner of the land on Lewiston Road, on which the empty K-mart building sits, and is seeking a special use permit and site plan review when the county Planning Board meets via Zoom this Thursday evening. If their plan is approved, Benderson Development would like to add two businesses to the parking lot area. One of them could be a restaurant or a retail space, but will have a coffee shop as an end cap to the building. The other building will have a drive-through restaurant.

The project will also include:
■ drainage upgrades to bring the site into compliance with the current storm water regulations;
■ an increase in overall green space and landscaping;
■ utility upgrades;
■ new curbing, pavement and site lighting around the proposed buildings.

Presently, the land is used for ‘spillover’ parking for businesses in the area.

A 62-year-old Bergen man, Steven Reber, was killed while out walking. Late on Sunday during the windstorm, a tree fell striking him on the head. Family members and emergency personnel attempted life-saving measures; however, Reber died at the scene. It was a dangerously strong storm, causing many power lines, branches and trees to come down, including one tree in Centennial Park in Batavia.

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office has issued a warning about an ongoing phone scam that’s been targeting people in the region. One resident contacted the agency and said they received a call claiming to be from Amazon Tech Support. The scam resulted in over 100-dollars being withdrawn from the victim’s bank account. The sheriff’s office says that you should never give out any personal information over the phone such as your date of birth or social security number or ever give anyone money using prepaid cards or gift cards. Anyone who gets a suspicious call like this should hang up immediately.

New York Attorney General Letitia James today launched a rulemaking process to look into whether major corporations are using the pandemic and inflation as an excuse to unfairly raise the price of basic goods. This first-ever price gouging rulemaking process by the Office of the Attorney General will examine and address new evidence that some of the recent price hikes by big corporations were driven by profit not increased costs. Through this process, James aims to implement new price gouging rules that will crack down on pandemic profiteering and corporate greed. New York’s current price gouging law bans companies from taking advantage of a crisis to charge excessive prices for vital and necessary goods and services. The rulemaking process will explore growing evidence that big corporations appear to have used the pandemic as an excuse to charge more for necessary goods, such as gas and oil, food, and cars. As evidenced by the recent spike in corporate profits, many companies are not sharing in the burden of the pandemic, nor are they neutral. Evidence indicates that some companies are profiting by increasing costs for the people hit hardest by the pandemic.

The Transportation Security Administration says another step has been taken to increase the safety of travelers at one Western New York airport. The TSA has installed a new scanner at Niagara Falls International Airport that’ll provide increased detection of explosive devices and weapons at security checkpoints. The same kind of scanner will also be in place soon at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. The scanner is expected to make the screening process faster because it provides enhanced images of items that have been placed inside bags which will make it easier for TSA agents to determine if they need to be removed for closer inspection or not.

With gas prices nearing an all-time high, state lawmakers are proposing dropping or suspending the NY state Gas tax but Governor Hochul is not sure that is a good idea. She says that while there are options, she stated that there are no guarantees that suspending the gas tax would result in lower prices at the pump. Hochul wants to make sure it would actually help before she cuts into state revenues. The gas tax accounts for at least 45 cents a gallon at the pump.

Governor Hochul is promising that millions of dollars will be coming to the Finger Lakes region if her proposed state budget is approved by lawmakers. During a visit to Rochester yesterday, the governor said that 100-million bucks would go towards filling another section of Rochester’s Inner Loop. If the money is approved, construction on that project is expected to begin in 2024 and will likely wrap up in 2027. The governor says funds would also be distributed to Frontier Field and Seneca Park Zoo.

The Buffalo Sabres are now on a two-game losing streak following a poor offensive performance on home ice. John Hayden had the lone goal for Buffalo as they were beaten by the Florida Panthers six-to-one at KeyBank Center last night. Sabres goalie Craig Anderson was hoping to win his 300th career game but instead gave up six goals on the 31 shots he faced in the contest. The Sabres will continue their home stand on Thursday night when they host the Vegas Golden Knights.

A new historical marker will highlight one of the great engineering feats along the Erie Canal: the aqueduct in Medina where the Oak Orchard Creek goes under the Erie Canal with the creek then plunging in a waterfall north of the canal. The Orleans Renaissance Group will be putting up the marker, with assistance from the Medina Sandstone Society, which provided a $500 grant for the project. The Village Board has agreed to allow the marker in the Canal Basin. The image of the sign posted above was computer-generated.

 

Morning News Brief

The wind storm on Sunday claimed at least one life in the area.  61 year old Steven Reber was walking in the woods off Sackett Road in Bergen when a tree blown by the wind fell on him, striking him in the head and killing him.  EMTs were dispatched for a call of a man pinned and unresponsive at 5:58pm and life saving measures were attempted.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Governor Hochul is leary of dropping the Gas Tax.  Gas prices are on everyone’s mind as this week saw a jump of over 43 cents in just a couple of days after months of 2 or 3 cent rises a week.  Prices on average are up 1.43 since 2021 with New York and California seeing record high prices.  Democrat and Republican lawmakers are proposing dropping or suspending the NY state Gas tax but the governor isn’t so sure.  She says that while there are options, she stated that there are no guarantees that suspending the gas tax would result in lower prices at the pump.  She says she wants to make sure it would actually help before she cuts into state revenues.  The gas tax accounts for at least 45 cents a gallon at the pump.

The empty K-Mart building at the corner of Lewiston and Park road has only been used for overflow parking and a halloween store and not much else.  Its owner now has a proposal for what to do with some of the property.  Build two restaurants with drive throughs.  Benderson Development Company has sent a proposal letter to the Town Planning Board to replace some of the KMart parking lot with a 4000 square foot restaurant and a 6752 square foot restaurant and retail building.  They also plan drainage upgrades to bring the area up to code.  Parking would be significantly reduced and no details were given about what to do with the KMart building itself.  

Batavia has been named 5th most active Micropolitan in the US by Site Selection Magazine.  The ranking has to do with how the town and county invest in new businesses and shovel ready sites.  Cited in the article were significant financial investments at shovel ready sites across the county in 2021, including the Gateway II Corporate Park, Apple Tree Acres Business Park, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, Buffalo East Tech Park, and Western New York STAMP.  The article also talked about the Plug Power green hydrogen project going into the STAMP facility.  This is the seventeenth consecutive year that Batavia and Genesee County have been recognized as the top micropolitan for business growth in the northeast U.S., and as a top 5 micropolitan in the U.S for the 11th time since 2005.

The Sabres lost 6 to1 to the Florida Panthers for their second loss in just 2 days.  Their lone goal came from John Hayden and it was his second goal of the season.  Sam Reinhart was back playing and received an assist.  He now has 53 points in 53 games.  The Sabres play the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday at the Keybank Center at 7pm.

Midday News Brief

Western New York drivers are going to have to dig a lot deeper into their wallets when it comes time to fill up their vehicles. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas is $4.18. That’s up 39 cents in the past week. The state average is $4.21 a gallon while nationally it’s an even $4.00. In Batavia, the average cost per gallon is $4.23; up 10 cents from yesterday. Last Monday, the average price here was $3.75; a month ago, $3.52; and this time last year, $2.75.

Paying those high gas prices would get much easier for whoever wins one of the two big lottery jackpots up for grabs in the next couple of days. The prize available for this evening’s Powerball game is $90,000,000 and $126,000,000 is available in tomorrow night’s Mega Millions. The cost of a ticket for each game is $2.00. Both the Mega Millions and Powerball drawings will be streamed live online. Please play responsibly.

Sunnking, the household hazardous waste recycling company based in Brockport, is returning to Batavia for another large recycling event at Genesee County Department of Social Services, 5130 E. Main Street on June 25. More details will be released closer to the event but registration opens later this month.

The high wind warning lived up to its name yesterday, with downed branches, trees and power lines throughout the GLOW region. National Grid reports at the peak of the storm, nearly 2000 households were without power in Genesee County and as of this morning, a few hundred households were still without. National Grid has been removing downed trees and wires and also replacing broken poles as they work toward restoring power.

Former Governor Andrew Cuomo blames “cancel culture” for ruining his career. In his first public speech since resigning amid sexual harassment claims, Cuomo told a church congregation in Brooklyn yesterday the Democratic Party chooses to cancel people with whom they disagree. Cuomo also continued to defend himself against sexual harassment allegations. He said, he never did anything illegal and that he didn’t realize his behavior was inappropriate by today’s standards of social norms in the workplace.

For the first time in weeks, all students at McKinley High School in Buffalo will be returning to their classrooms today. They’ve been learning remotely since early February after a violent incident at the school left a 14-year-old student and security guard hurt. Students were originally scheduled to return this Friday, but the district said over the weekend it was safe for them to return today. Until metal detectors are installed, there will be extra security measures in place such as students being checked for weapons and having their bags searched.

The Buffalo Bills have announced where they’ll be doing their preparations for the upcoming season. The team has reached a one-year deal to return to Saint John Fisher College after spending the last two years getting ready at Highmark Stadium due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This’ll be the 21st time the school hosts the Bills for training camp. Fans will be allowed to watch the players in-person and the dates and times for each practice are going to be announced in the coming weeks.

 

The struggles of the Buffalo Sabres are continuing following a shutout loss on home ice. The Sabres failed to score a goal in yesterday’s three-to-nothing defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings at KeyBank Center. The Sabres have now been beaten in seven of their last nine games and are in sixth place in the Atlantic Division with 44 points. During the third period, winger Alex Tuch suffered a shoulder injury after crashing into the goalpost. He had surgery last night and will require six months for recovery. Up next for Buffalo is another home game tonight against the Florida Panthers.

The Holland Land Office Museum will host its next trivia night on March 10. This month’s topic is Albert Einstein. Admission is $3 per person or $2 for museum members. All in attendance are required to wear face coverings. Contact the museum if you would like to attend (585) 343-4727. Those interested may also join via Zoom with links are available on the museum’s website and Facebook page.

Six Flags Darien Lake, Six Flags Darien Lake, Thrill Capital of New York, is planning to change their name from Splashtown Water Park to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, and launching a new, 60-foot tall slide for the 2022 season. Wahoo Wave will rank as one of the tallest water rides in the water park.
The new, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor additions will include the following features:
· Expanded seating and additional lounge chairs;
· Improved shaded areas;
· A ‘selfie’ photo spot featuring a 20-foot shark prop; and
· New, tropically themed wave pool mural.
The Wahoo Wave slide complex features:
· Near vertical motions on a four-person tube;
· Thirty-foot vertical plunge;
· Whirlpool bowl;
· Huge water wave wall, where guests will feel zero-gravity bliss; and
· Refreshing catch pool.
Construction on Wahoo Wave has begun and is expected to be complete when the water park opens this May.

Morning News Brief

The high winds Sunday knocked down power lines, trees and branches all over Genesee county.  First responders scurried to respond to several calls as the day went on.  There were power outages in Byron, Elba, Alexander, Darien, Oakfield and Basom.  Nearly 2000 people were without power and National Grid put extra crews to work getting things back online.  Several hundred people were still without power this morning at 5am.  National Grid says their field force is actively removing downed trees and wires and replacing some broken poles and working to restore power to those affected.

Republicans in the state assembly have been saying it for a while now and Democrats are starting to join in on suspending the state gas tax.  Gas is now over 4 dollars a gallon across the state.  An average of 4.20 over the weekend has now risen sharply with gas stations in Batavia hitting up to 4.50 with 4.39 being the average.  Prices around the county vary wildly as stations try to keep updates with the spiking prices.  State lawmakers are saying that the increase in the cost of household goods, inflation and now gas prices require some relief.  Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara for Rotterdam has introduced a bill to suspend the gas tax for a year.  The bill to increase the gas tax by 55 cents and increase home heating by 26 percent that was introduced by Democrats February of last year to fight climate change is still in committee. 

The New York State police are looking for recruits.  You must be between 20 and 29 but Military veterans can be older.  Troopers can make up to 80,000 dollars a year by their second year.  Since training opportunities have been cut back over the past Two years due to the pandemic, recruiters are really looking to bring in more candidates.  You can apply at joinstatepolice.ny.gov

Sheridan Benefits, LLC will host a series of ‘Medicare 101 Table  Chats’ at three GLOW YMCA branches the week of March 7. Biggs Johnson with Sheridan  Benefits will be available to present information to those approaching Medicare age to learn about the program and to answer questions from current Medicare beneficiaries.  They will be at the Genesee County YMCA on Wednesday March 9th from 9am to 11am.  This is an opportunity to get information about the Medicare program.  These chats are open to the public.

After a 2 game winning streak beating the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday and the Minnesota Wild on Friday the Sabres were blown out 3 to zip by the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday.  Tokarski made 29 saves and only let 1 goal get past him.  The other 2 were empty netters.  The Keybank Arena was packed Sunday for Kids Takeover day where kids sang the national anthem, did the PA announcements and even gave the locker room speech.  The Sabres will be hosting the Florida Panthers tonight at 7pm.

Weekend News Brief

Governor Hochul says the deal for the new Bills stadium may be announced later this month.  Negotiations are still ongoing.  On Friday, Governor Hochul was in Buffalo and she says an agreement for a new stadium will be done in time for this year’s budget. The budget is due in just a few weeks on April 1.  According to the governor, the new stadium is coming and will be built in Orchard Park.  She didn’t specify whether there will be a dome or not.  A new stadium will be around $1.4 billion but the amount taxpayers will be on the hook for has not been released.

Ray Tourt, Superintendent of Maintenance for the City of Batavia, retired Friday after being with the city for 23 years.  Tourt served as the resident engineer and project administrator for the $28M reconstruction of NY Route 5 Main Street Project, multiple road and sidewalk construction projects, snow plowing and operations, as well as the City’s automotive repair facility.  He is being replaced by Scott Allen who has been with the City for 23 years as well.  Allen worked in the sewer department, street cleaning, and moved up to Mechanic supervisor.   

With this and next weekend being free snowmobile weekends in New York, State and local police warn snowmobilers to drive safely especially with a rash of snowmobiling incidents and several deaths in recent weeks.  Law enforcement patrols are being increased these weekends looking for people driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol.  If a rider is convicted they can be suspended from snowmobiling for over a year and face possible fines and jail time.

The City of Rochester is trying to lure video game production companies to setup in the city.  On Friday, New York State Sen. Jeremy Cooney and community partners announced support for Empire State Digital Gaming Media Production Credit.  He says the goal is to keep students and professionals like those at Rochester Institute of Technology in the region.  If the bill passes, it will cover 25 percent of the production costs of a digital gaming media production and 10 extra percent if it’s located upstate. The available funding could be as much as $50 million a year.

For the first time in 3 years Rochester is gearing up for a St Patrick’s day Parade.  The parade was suspended for two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first big event affected by COVID, canceled just days before it was to be held in 2020.  The parade kicks off Rochester’s festival season, Mayor Malik Evans said. Whether it’s sunny or snowing, it typically draws tens of thousands of spectators.  The parade begins at 12:30 p.m. Saturday the 12th at East Avenue and Alexander Street, makes its way to the Liberty Pole, and proceeds west down Main Street all the way to Fitzhugh.

Afternoon News Brief

Batavia City School District’s Board of Education met this morning to take a vote on making face masks optional per Governor Kathy Hochul’s decision earlier this week, to rescind the mask mandate. It took less than 3 minutes to obtain the unanimous ‘yes’ vote by board members, the result – face coverings are now optional in Batavia schools.

 

The latest data from Governor Hochul’s office shows the spread of COVID-19 has slowed down dramatically across New York in the last few days. The statewide positivity rate has been below two-percent for seven straight days and is now at 1.4%. The seven-day average infection rate in Western New York is also falling and is now around 2.7%. Governor Hochul is still urging anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated against coronavirus yet to get their shot to prevent another surge in cases.

In addition, in reference to the decline in COVID-19 cases, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced this afternoon that the state of emergency that has been in place since March 2020, officially ends tomorrow.

An investigation into a traffic stop has led to a multi-count indictment against two Buffalo residents for having drugs and stolen property. 29-year-old Damone Hennings and 21-year-old Analyse Spencer were arraigned in Wyoming County Court late last week. A Trooper pulled them over last August; neither of the two had a valid driver’s license, which prompted police to a search their car. Deputies found a plastic contractor bag in the trunk which allegedly contained 11 one-pound sealed packages of cannabis, a stolen wallet with multiple credit cards and another wallet with eight state unemployment benefit cards, all with different names on them. Both face multiple charges and both have entered not guilty pleas. They return to court next month.

Gas prices continue to increase and NY State, along with Pennsylvania, Illinois and many states on the west coast, are experiencing some of the highest prices per gallon in the country. The state average is $4.05/gallon, up 13 cents from yesterday; 28 cents from a week ago; and nearly 50 cents from this same time last month. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is now $3.97, up 22 cents since Monday. To help counter the impact of rising oil prices, the International Energy Agency has coordinated a release of 60 million barrels of crude oil from its 31 member countries’ strategic reserves, including the U.S., Germany, Canada, South Korea, and Mexico. Meanwhile, Triple A offers the following tips to help you save on fuel costs: start the engine and then drive the car normally to warm the engine to operating temperature more rapidly; and avoid “jack rabbit” starts, rapid acceleration and hard braking, which can lower fuel economy by 15 to 30 percent at highway speeds and 10 to 40 percent in stop-and-go traffic. A link with a comprehensive list of suggestions to save fuel is available here:  https://gasprices.aaa.com/news/fuel-saving-tips/

Some of the student members of Attica Central School’s chapter of the National Junior Honor Society, recently returned from a trip to Washington D.C. where they had the opportunity to lay wreaths on the graves of the fallen, as part of National Wreaths Across America Day. One student, Addyson Zawilski, had the opportunity to visit and lay wreaths on the graves of her maternal great-grandparents. One of the group’s advisors, Heather Smith, hoped the trip impressed on students the significance of the sacrifice service members buried in Arlington had made for the country.

If you’re looking for a job, consider The New York State Police. They are looking to bolster their ranks during a recruitment event at the Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga. It’s scheduled to take place tomorrow from 11am – 2pm across from the Dave and Busters. Career information will be available as well as details on how to sign up for the upcoming Trooper exam. The annual starting salary for a State Police officer is just over $58,000 but increases to more than $82,000 after the first year.

It appears that one of the largest companies in the world may be setting up shop in the Western New York region. According to several reports, Amazon wants to build a brand-new distribution facility in the Town of Niagara. Previously, Amazon was looking into building the facility in Grand Island, but the plan was scrapped due to community opposition. The distribution center could create over 1,000 jobs for the local economy. It’d be located on Lockport Road near Niagara Falls International Airport.

A police report has revealed more details about that JetBlue pilot who was pulled from the cockpit of an aircraft due to suspicion that he may have been under the influence of alcohol. 52-year-old James Clifton, an Orlando native, told investigators he drank 10 22-ounce beers the night before the plane was scheduled to travel from Buffalo to Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday. He was taken into custody and his blood alcohol content was .17, a little more than twice the legal limit and over four times what’s allowed for pilots. JetBlue has fired Clinton. Affected passengers each received a $200 voucher.

State Attorney General Letitia James has issued a warning to NY residents and businesses about scams related to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. The Attorney General says people should be on the lookout for price gouging of fuel, goods and services and also take the necessary steps to protect themselves against a potential cyber-attack. People looking to donate money to help Ukrainians should also look into the background of a charity to make sure it’s credible. Anyone who sees a potential scam should notify the attorney general’s office immediately. Attorney General Letitia James:
“At a time of great chaos, confusion, and destruction, it is imperative that New Yorkers be on alert for potential risks to when donating to charitable causes,” said Attorney General James. “Many New Yorkers are eager to do their part to help the Ukrainian people, but scammers often take advantage of crises to exploit our generosity and compassion. We will continue to do all that we can to support Ukraine, and I encourage anyone who has experienced any issues to contact my office.”

Regarding Charitable Giving:

New Yorkers seeking to donate to charities should take the steps below before donating over the phone, through mail, or online to ensure that their contributions reach the causes they intend to support. Important tips to keep in mind include:
• Solicited by email? Find out who is soliciting. If you receive a solicitation by email, find out who is behind that email address. Contact the charity whose name is in the email or visit its website to find out if the email is really from the charity. Do not give personal information or your credit card number in response to an email solicitation unless you have checked out the charity.
• Be careful when giving through social media or other fundraising sites; research the identity of the organizer of the fundraising efforts and ask the same questions you would of a charity. Online platforms that host groups and individuals soliciting for causes may not thoroughly vet those who use their service. Donors should only give to campaigns conducted by people whom they know. Donors also should take a close look at the site’s FAQs and Terms and Conditions to see what fees will be charged. Also, don’t assume that charities recommended on social media sites, blogs, or other websites have already been vetted. Research the charity yourself to confirm that the charity is aware of the campaign and has given its approved permission for the use of its name or logo. If available, sign up for updates from the campaign organizer to keep abreast on how contributions to the campaign are being spent.
• Check before giving. Donate to charities you are familiar with and carefully review information about the charity before you give. Most charities are required to register and file financial reports with OAG’s Charities Bureau if they solicit contributions from New Yorkers. Check OAG’s website for financial reports of charities or ask the charity directly for its reports.
• Ask how your donation will be used. Find out how the charity plans to use your donation, including the services and individuals your donation will support. Find out more than just the cause. Find out what organization or entity will receive the money and what programs it conducts or what services it provides.
• Look into newly formed organizations carefully. Often, in the aftermath of tragedies, new organizations emerge to meet community needs. While most of these organizations are well-intentioned, and some may provide innovative forms of assistance, some may not have the experience or infrastructure to follow through on their promises, and some may turn out to be scams.
• Exercise caution before you text a contribution. Check the charity’s website or call the charity to confirm it has authorized contributions to be made via text message.
• Don’t give cash. Give directly to the charity either by check made payable to the organization or through the charity’s website.
• Be careful about personal information. Be cautious before giving credit card or personal information over the phone, by text message or via the Internet. In all cases, make sure you are familiar with the organization to which you give such information and check to see that the fundraising campaign is legitimate.
• Report suspicious organizations. If you believe an organization is misrepresenting its work, or that a fundraising or charitable scam is taking place, please contact the Charities Bureau at complaints@ag.ny.gov.

Morning News Brief

All counties in Western NY are now counted as low community levels of COVId 19.  According to the data, all counties in New York are either “low” or “medium,” there is not a county listed as “high.”  CDC guidelines recommend that indoor masks are no longer needed in low counties.  Before it was updated Thursday, it was last updated on February 24 and there were only two counties (Cattaraugus and Allegany) that were low at the time. The remainder were “medium.”

Car thief nabbed in Pembroke.  34 year old Richard Ervin of Newark New Jersey was arrested Wednesday February 15th in Pembroke for stealing a car.  He was arrested for grand larceny in the 4th degree, Criminal Possession of stolen property in the 4th degree, and Unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the 3rd degree.  He was given an appearance ticket for March 9th in Pembroke Town Court.

The Jetblue Pilot who was removed from the cockpit of a jet at Buffalo airport has been fired from his job.  52 year old Orlando native James Clifton, after he was seen noticeably drunk entering the aircraft authorities were contacted and he was removed and blew a .17 which is twice the legal limit, 4 times for pilots.  Investigators say he drank 10 22 ounce beers before boarding the flight.  

Afternoon News Brief

The City of Batavia has a new Director of Public Works; Brett Frank has been awarded the position. He was selected following an extensive search for candidates and starts Monday, March 28. Frank is a life-long resident of Genesee County and has served in local government for the last seven years, including as the Deputy Director of Real Property for Genesee County and is presently the Director of Economic Development for the Batavia Development Corporation. Frank said he is looking forward to getting started and is excited to serve his community.

The total number of Covid cases in Genesee and Orleans counties fell to 74 in the past week, from Feb. 23 to March 1, with 29 new cases in Orleans and 45 in Genesee. That continues the sharp downward trajectory from about two months ago when there were over 2700 (2,703) cases of Covid between the two counties. The 74 in the past week is down from the 112 new cases in the previous week and 216 during Feb. 9-15.

Officials at the University at Buffalo have announced a change to the school’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. Starting on Saturday, masks are going to be optional in most settings, however they’ll still be mandatory on buses and shuttles as well as clinical health care settings on campus. Anyone who wishes to wear a mask while in class or at an office is still allowed to do so and the campus community is asked to respect the choices of others. The school is continuing its weekly COVID-19 testing program for faculty, students, and staff who aren’t fully vaccinated against the virus.

A “Stitch-In” for the children of Ukraine will take place next Saturday, March 12th, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Le Roy. The event runs from 10 until noon at the church at 1 E. Main St. The goal is to raise money for UNICEF’s Protect Children in Ukraine fund. For a minimum donation of $10, with the entire proceeds going to UNICEF, participants receive a cross-stitch kit to start working on during the event.

Governor Hochul is once again renewing her push to make alcohol-to-go sales permanent across the Empire State. The governor says the takeout program has provided a much-needed financial boost to bars and restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic. The governor also says she doesn’t believe it’ll be necessary to require people to buy food when purchasing to-go drinks. The governor’s proposal has been criticized by liquor store owners who believe the program will cut into their profits if it remains in place.

The Tulley Building in Bergen was built in 1886. Since then, it has been home to many different businesses as well as apartments. Presently, the buildings brick is in need of repair, and the mayor, Anna Marie Barclay, is working with the Western New York Landmark Society, to complete the application for a Genesee Valley Rural Revitalization Grant in the amount of $50,000. That would pay for 90 percent of the project. Barclay has been active with the Tulley Building Restoration Committee since it formed in 2007. One of the goals of the committee was to develop a renovation plan that would ensure that the historic integrity of the building would be maintained. Since that time, structural restoration has been completed, including installation of a new roof. The detailed story is available from our news partner:  https://www.thebatavian.com/

There’s been a big change in leadership at Buffalo Public Schools after superintendent Doctor Kriner Cash stepped down from his position. The school board accepted Cash’s resignation last night and named Doctor Tonja Williams as acting superintendent. In a statement, Cash said it was his privilege to serve the district and urged people to take advantage of the programs the school system has to offer. The school board also announced last night that an independent investigation will be conducted into the recent violence that happened at McKinley High School.

New York’s two senators want more federal funding for a cybersecurity program that helps protect governments from attacks. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand say sanctions against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine have increased the risk of retaliatory cyberattacks. They sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee leadership pushing for an increase in funding for the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. The program is used by all states and thousands of local governments to get up-to-date cyber threat warnings and protections.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority says a JetBlue pilot who was removed from the cockpit of a plane was under the influence of alcohol. According to the agency, a TSA officer noticed that 52-year-old James Clifton may have been impaired before boarding the aircraft, which was going from Buffalo to Fort Lauderdale, Florida yesterday. Clifton’s blood alcohol content was found to be four-times the limit of what’s allowed for pilots, .17, and he now may face federal charges. JetBlue says Clifton has been removed from his duties and that an investigation into the incident is underway. Passengers on the affected flight each rec’d a $200 voucher.

The six-game losing streak of the Buffalo Sabres is over following one of the team’s best offensive outputs of the entire season. The Sabres beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 at Scotiabank Arena last night. Buffalo goalie Craig Anderson was excellent in net, stopping all but one of the 30 shots he faced in the contest. Up next for Buffalo five games at home, the first of which is against the Minnesota Wild tomorrow night.

New York Attorney General Letitia James today provided guidance to consumers who may have been impacted by the August 2021 T-Mobile massive data breach, following reports that the stolen information was put for sale on the dark web: “I have an urgent message for T-Mobile customers and other consumers: Be aware of any misuse of your personal information and follow the guidance provided below to protect yourself from identity theft,” said Attorney General James. “Information stolen in a massive data breach has fallen into the wrong hands and is circulating on the dark web. The guidance offered by my office can help prevent identity theft. I advise all New Yorkers to maintain their financial safety by following the guidance my office has laid out. No consumer should have to deal with the devastating realities of identity theft.” The breach impacted over 53 million individuals, including more than 4 million New Yorkers. Among other categories of impacted information, millions had their names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and driver’s license information compromised. Recently, a large subset of the information compromised in the breach was discovered for sale on the dark web — a hidden portion of the Internet where cyber criminals buy, sell, and track personal information. Many individuals received alerts through various identity theft protection services informing them that their information was found online in connection with the breach, confirming that impacted individuals are at heightened risk for identity theft.

Attorney General James urges anyone who believes they were impacted by the T-Mobile breach, or even if not but wish to take preventative to protect themselves, to do the following:

• Monitor your credit. Credit monitoring services track your credit report and alert you whenever a change is made, such as a new account or a large purchase. Most services will notify you within 24 hours of any change to your credit report.
• Consider placing a free credit freeze on your credit report. Identity thieves will not be able to open a new credit account in your name while the freeze is in place. You can place a credit freeze by contacting each of the three major credit bureaus:
Equifax | https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-freeze 1 (888) 766-0008
Experian | https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html 1 (888) 397-3742
TransUnion | https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze 1 (800) 680-7289
• Place a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert tells lenders and creditors to take extra steps to verify your identity before issuing credit. You can place a fraud alert by contacting any one of the three major credit bureaus.
• Additional Resources. If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, go to identitytheft.gov for assistance on how to report it and recover from it — or contact our office for help by completing and submitting a complaint with the Bureau of Internet and Technology or by calling (800) 771-7755.

Morning News Brief

A Pilot for a JetBlue Flight was removed from the jet after a TSA agent thought he was impaired and called the NFTA Police.  52 year old James Clifton of Orlando Florida blew a .17 on a breathalyzer test.  He was taken into custody and federal authorities were notified.  He was released to JetBlue security and may face federal charges.  The flight, JetBlue 2465, was delayed four hours and 10 minutes according to data from FlightAware.  JetBlue released a statement affirming their zero tolerance policies for alcohol use and say they are investigating and cooperating with law enforcement.

A judge has rejected an effort by New York’s attorney general to put the National Rifle Association out of business, but will allow her lawsuit accusing top executives of illegally diverting tens of millions of dollars from the powerful gun advocacy organization to proceed.  Manhattan Judge Joel M. Cohen said allegations of NRA officials misspending on personal trips, no-show contracts and other questionable expenditures can be addressed by other remedies, such as fines and remuneration, and do not warrant the “corporate death penalty” that Attorney General Letitia James had sought.

This week, the New York Republicans gave U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin their stamp of approval heading into a potential primary in the race for governor.  Gerard Kassar, chair of the New York Conservative Party, says the conditions are right for Zeldin to make it all the way to the Governor’s Mansion.  Despite not being one of the major political parties, the Conservative Party remains an influential force in New York politics due to the state’s electoral fusion rules. These rules allow a candidate to run on multiple party lines in an election. The Conservative Party has traditionally supported the Republican statewide ticket and brought in over 200,000 votes for the GOP gubernatorial nominee in the last three elections.  If Zeldin is successful in November, he will be the first Republican and Conservative backed candidate to win statewide office since George Pataki won a third term in 2002.

GLOW Arc and Notre Dame’s Athletics department will be having a fundraising 5k Run slash Walk, Running with the Irish on March 12th.  The Fun Run starts at 9 a.m. and is for kids ages 3-12 and will be held at Vandetta Stadium.  The Fun Run is 1/2 mile run (two laps around the track) and registration is $10 with an option to purchase a T-shirt for an additional $10.  The 5K/Walk will start at 10 am across the street at Notre Dame, 73 Union St, in the driveway.  Registration is $25 and comes with a free T-shirt if you register before March 5th.  After that registration costs $30 and supplies of T-shirts maybe be limited.  A corned beef and cabbage meal is also available for preorder from T.F. Brown’s and can be picked up at the race.  There will only be 100 meals available.

The Buffalo Sabres won against the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday night 5 to 1 breaking their 6 game streak of losses.  Jacob Bryson, Victor Olofsson, Kyle Okposo, Jeff Skinner, and Tage Thompson scored for the Buffalo team.  The Sabres go up against the Minnesota Wild at the Keybank Center on Friday at 7pm.

Afternoon News Brief

The Alexander Central School District Board of Education will meet tonight to consider a resolution to make masks optional. This move is in response to Governor Kathy Hochul’s announcement that masks are no longer mandatory. Superintendent Jared Taft provided a letter to families in district, noting that parents’ decision regarding whether or not their child will wear a mask in school, will be supported, either way. As well, teasing, disrespectful remarks or innuendo, or any other act of disrespect toward children for masking or not masking, will not be tolerated. Alexander will still offer Rapid and PCR testing to anyone who would like to be tested, including parents and family members. Arrangements can be made by contacting school nurses ahead of time. The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 this evening.

A Batavia woman has pleaded guilty in connection with welfare fraud charges; she is one of three individuals recently involved with defrauding Social Services. 55-year-old Dawn Puleo pled guilty to one count of petit larceny, a misdemeanor as well as other felony charges. She will be sentenced next month for falsifying an instrument, which resulted in her receiving over $4500 in SNAP benefits because she failed to report the child support payments she was receiving. As part of a plea deal, she will be disqualified from SNAP for one year and has made full restitution. Earlier this month, another Batavia woman, 34-year-old Christina Jones, pleaded guilty to 4th degree grand larceny and will be sentenced in May. And 41-year-old Brooke Tubbins of Batavia stole over $6000 in SNAP benefits by failing to report income.

Governor Kathy Hochul today proposed changes that support the recovery of restaurants and bars across the state, including a plan to permanently legalize to-go drinks, and to ensure a more efficient State Liquor Authority. She also announced proposals to update the state’s liquor laws all in an effort to revitalize the state’s hospitality industry, one of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic. Hochul emphasized that these changes are vital for the state, and that small businesses need the resources and regulatory framework to help them grow and thrive.

 

The Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County Health Departments and hospitals are currently working with community partners to gather information from residents and those who work in these counties to help with public health planning for the next three years. And they are seeking community input to help inform the next Community Health Improvement Plan and to fully assess the health status of our communities. The survey is anonymous, only takes about 15 minutes to complete and focuses on the health of the person taking it. If you are under the age of 18 years old, be sure to receive permission to take the survey from your parents or guardians. To participate in the survey, or if you have any questions, please contact the Genesee County Health Department at 585-344-2580.

At some point in the recent past, somebody cut down and stole the Village of Elba’s welcome sign, which proclaimed the town to be the “Onion Capital of the World.” Until about 2013, the sign was known for its phrase, “Population: Just right.” That was changed because it didn’t seem welcoming to some people. Anyone with information should contact the Genesee County Sheriff’s office at (585) 345-3000 or the VIllage of Elba @ (585) 757-6889.

Starting today, a statewide mask mandate that’s been in effect at schools for months will no longer be in place. Governor Hochul said over the weekend that she was comfortable lifting the mandate because fewer children are testing positive for the coronavirus. Under the guidelines issued yesterday by the state Department of Health, masks also aren’t required anymore on school buses. Schools are encouraged to take steps such as increasing ventilation in buildings and providing access to free COVID-19 testing to prevent another surge in infections among students and staff.

The Buffalo Sabres will be taking to the ice north of the border tonight as they try and snap their current six game losing streak. The Sabres are taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. The Sabres are coming off of a 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Sunday and are in seventh place in the Atlantic Division with just 40 points. Face-off for tonight’s contest is scheduled for 7:30.

After dark, you may have noticed the LED lights that illuminate the Old Courthouse at Main and Ellicott in Batavia are now rotating in the hues of Ukraine, yellow and blue. Those are the colors of the country’s flag in honor of its blue skies and flaxen fields of wheat. The color scheme illumination was unanimously approved by the Genesee County Legislature.

Members of the Buffalo Board of Education will be meeting tonight to discuss the possibility of an independent investigation into the recent violence at McKinley High School. Back on February 9th, a 14-year-old student was stabbed several times and a security guard was shot in the leg outside of the school. Police later arrested two 17-year-olds in connection with the stabbing and shooting. This evening’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:00pm and is being held at Waterfront Elementary School on Fourth Street.

There was some discussion during Monday’s board meeting in Medina about the wooden gazebo that attracts tourist attention, located in the Canal Basin. Primary concerns at this time include that it has become very worn and possibly dangerous. The Department of Public Works superintendent, Jason Watts, believes it needs a lot of attention and has reached the end of its useful life. He noted it would likely cost more to fix it than to replace it. Because it draws many people who like to sit there and enjoy the canal, the board will continue to discuss the issue and possible options, including costs to replace it or possibly replace it with something else.

 

Morning News Brief

Buffalo City Schools originally announced that they would not be changing their masking requirement for kids and teachers in schools.  Then, late Tuesday night they issued an announcement saying that masks would no longer be required starting today.  No explanation was provided for the change. Rochester City Schools announced they would be dropping the mask requirements Wednesday as well.

Apparently someone either really liked or really disliked the sign welcoming people to the Village of Elba.  The sign was cut down and stolen.  The sign is brown and reads Welcome to Village of Elba, Onion capital of the world, established 1884.  Mayor Norm Itjen asks that anyone with information contact the Genesee County Sheriff’s office at (585) 345-3000 or the Village of Elba @ (585) 757-6889.

A Student at Fredrick Douglas Middle School in Rochester is under arrest today after allegedly setting fire to the Vice Principal’s hair on Monday.  The Rochester Fire Department was already on scene to investigate a fire alarm that had gone off. While there, they were notified a staff member had been burned.  Administrative union officers say a 14-year-old boy was walking back into the school and set fire to a vice principal’s hair using a lighter.  He’s been charged with first- and second-degree attempted assault and first-degree reckless endangerment.  He was released to an adult guardian.

Other businesses and event spaces are dropping their vaccination and masking requirements in the wake of Governor Hochul lifting the school mask mandate and new CDC guidance.  Sahlen Field is no longer requiring a mask or proof of COVID vaccination.  Sheas has announced they are dropping their requirements as well. 

The LED lights that illuminate the Old Courthouse at Main and Ellicott in Batavia are now rotating in the hues of Ukraine, yellow and blue.  Those are the colors of the country’s flag in honor of its blue skies and flaxen fields of wheat.  The color scheme was unanimously approved by the Genesee County Legislature.

 

Afternoon News Brief

The Batavia City Council has sworn in Rich Richmond, Jeremy Karas’ replacement, as Councilmember at Large. In other business from this week’s meeting, items on the agenda were moved to the next board meeting, which is scheduled for March 14. Expected to be adopted at that time are resolutions that include the 2022-23 budget as well as 1.5% increases to water rates and meter fees. In addition, the Council is now ready to pass the $29.7 million All-Funds budget, 17.8 million of which is in the General Fund, which carries a property tax rate of $8.94/$1000 of assessed value. This rate represents a decrease of 78 cents from the current tax rate.

Letters have been sent out to families from many school districts in the GLOW region, addressing the masking changes that take effect tomorrow. Batavia School superintendent, Jason Smith, noted in his letter that parents may choose to continue to send their children to school wearing masks and that no bullying of anyone choosing to wear a mask will be tolerated. Smith elaborated that masking on school busses is also no longer required. Other area school districts have sent out similar messages, including Pembroke, Elba, Le Roy and Byron-Bergen. Oakfield-Alabama’s board had already approved a mask-optional policy early in February, in anticipation of Governor Hochul eliminating the mask mandate. (At this time, Buffalo City Schools are still requiring them for their children and staff.)

Construction on the Route 19 bridge over Oatka Creek, north of the village of Warsaw, has begun. There is a posted detour that directs traffic along Saltvale Road. The highway will be closed off to traffic for about 6 months, with reopening planned for Labor Day.

This morning, Governor Kathy Hochul designated this weekend, March 5-6 and the following weekend, March 12-13 for free snowmobiling by all out-of-state and Canadian snowmobilers. During these promotional weekends, the requirement to register in New York is waived for properly registered and insured out-of-state snowmobiling. Outside of this promotion, the requirement is to register snowmobiles with New York State before hitting the state’s trails, which stretch from the Hudson Valley to the North Country to Western New York. The Governor also announced today up to $4.2 million will be available for snowmobile trail maintenance and grooming.

Organizers of the 124th Lilac Festival in Rochester have announced their plans for this year’s event. The festival will take place on three consecutive weekends, starting Friday, May 6th (through 8th, May 12th through 15th, and May 19th through the 22nd) from 10:30am until 8:30pm each day. Visitors can expect to see food, exhibits, a kid’s zone and even a new health and wellness experience. Tickets for the festival are available for purchase and more information can be found online at rochesterevents.com

A 17-year-old boy has been arraigned on an attempted murder charge in connection with the violent incident at McKinley High School in Buffalo. Prosecutors say the teen stabbed a 14-year-old student on February 9th, causing him to suffer severe internal injuries. The suspect is still in custody at the Erie County Youth Services Center and is due in court again March 23rd. Senior students will be returning to high school today for the first time since the incident with other students coming back throughout the rest of the week.

Highmark Stadium and Keybank Center are lifting their vaccine requirements for games, concerts and events held at the facilities effective immediately. While it is still recommended that individuals follow current CDC guidelines as it pertains to mask wearing and that of their own comfort level, it was also noted that individual concerts and live events may implement their own policies above and beyond that of KeyBank Center. Please refer to www.keybankcenter.com for the most up-to-date information for all event requirements.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection is warning us about a scam that is becoming popular all over the country in which consumers receive a package in the mail that they did not order. This is referred to as a brushing scam; there is often no return address and once the package is accepted, the recipient becomes a “verified buyer,” for the purpose of writing fake positive online reviews of merchandise in the recipient’s name. These fake reviews fraudulently boost or inflate the products’ ratings and sales numbers, which scammers hope results in an increase of actual sales. However, even more troubling, the practice also compromises your personal information.

To avoid being a victim of brushing scams, the Division of Consumer Protection offers the following tips:
1. You don’t have to pay for it. Federal law may allow recipients to keep items they received but did not order. Recipients are under no obligation to pay for unsolicited merchandise and can consider it a gift. If you don’t want the item, you can donate it or simply dispose of it and do not have to return it.
2. Report it. If the item received is organic (seeds, plants or food), report it to the USDA. Unsolicited seeds or plants should not be planted as they may be invasive plants, noxious weeds or carry diseases that could cause damage to economically important crops. Seeds may be sent to this address for destruction. Please ensure the seed package is sealed tightly and mail the seeds, the original packaging, your contact information, and any additional details, to: Office of the State Plant Health Director of New York, c/o Christopher Zaloga, 500 New Karner Road, Albany, New York 12205 If the item is an unknown liquid or substance, contact the local authorities.
3. Notify the retailer. If the package received is from a third-party retailer like Amazon, Walmart, or eBay, report it to them and ask them to remove any reviews under your name.
4. Monitor your accounts. Your personal information may have been compromised. Often scammers obtain personal information through nefarious means and with ill-intentions and use it for several scams and other illicit activities in the future. Examine your online shopping accounts and credit card bills for signs of unusual activity and check your credit report.
5. Change your password. If you have an account with the retailer identified on the package, change your account password with the retailer.

 

 

Morning News Brief

The Superintendent of Batavia City Schools, Jason Smith, has sent out a letter to families addressing the masking changes coming tomorrow.  He states that every county will now have control of their own mask requirements in schools and may continue to require them or not.  The letter states that “On Wednesday, March 2, families may still choose to send their children to school in masks, and we fully stand behind the Governor’s sentiments that masking is a personal choice, and no bullying of any sort will be tolerated.” Also that masking on the busses is no longer required.  Other school districts have issued similar guidance making masks optional.  Buffalo City Schools are still requiring them for their children and staff.  

Highmark Stadium and Keybank Center are lifting their vaccine requirements for games, concerts and events held at the facilities effective immediately.  In addition to lifting the vaccine requirement the press release says “It is recommended that individuals follow current CDC guidelines as it pertains to mask wearing and that of their own comfort level.  Please note that individual concerts and live events may implement their own policies above and beyond that of KeyBank Center. Please refer to www.keybankcenter.com for up-to-date information for all event requirements.”  When the mandate was put in place in September 2021, all guests 12 and over were required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. In December 2021 the mandate was expanded to include anyone age 5-11 years old.

Former Governor Andrew Cuomo has put out an ad declaring his innocence and attacking State Attorney General Letitia James.  The ad features news clips and shots of newspapers describing the accusations against Cuomo as “bogus” and saying that James ignored witness tampering and perjury and was just trying to do a takedown of Cuomo for political reasons.  It holds up the lack of prosecution on any of the sexual harassment charges as proof.  It ends with text saying “political attacks won and New Yorkers lost a proven leader.”  The ad has fueled speculation that Cuomo may be planning another run for public office.

The Chamber of Commerce for Genesee County is releasing the 2022 tourism guide.  80,000 guides have been printed and will be distributed to parts of NY State, Ontario Canada, and neighboring states.  The chamber says that this year highlights the live music scene.  Additional features include a new water ride at Darien Lake Amusement Park, A feature on Ely S. Parker’s commemoration by the United States Mint to be featured on the 2022 Native American Dollar Coin, and six pages highlighting our top outdoor nature assets, from the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, The Bergen Swamp and more.

Six Flags Darien Lake is rebranding its water park and adding a new ride.  The Splashtown waterpark will be rebranded to “Six Flags Hurricane Harbor” and a 60-foot tall water slide named “Wahoo Wave” will be added.  Park President Chris Thorpe says that the new slide will be a 4 person tube ride and will feature 3 story drops, hang time and zero g forces.  Construction on Wahoo Wave is underway and is expected to be complete when the waterpark opens this May.

Midday News Brief

Western NY drivers aren’t seeing any relief from high gas prices as the pain at the pump continues to worsen. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular fuel is now $3.75, that’s up 6 cents in the past week and is 30 cents more than this time last month. The state average is $3.80 a gallon while nationally it’s $3.60. In Batavia, our current average is 3.75, up 8 cents from a week ago. One year ago this week, the average price was $2.72.

And this morning, oil prices remain elevated. Crude prices surged after Russia launched its military invasion of Ukraine. As the conflict escalates with more sanctions and retaliatory actions, the oil markets will likely respond by continuing to increase the price of crude oil to reflect more risk of disruption to tight global oil supplies.

Governor Kathy Hochul has made a major announcement involving a mandate requiring kids to wear masks while in school. Governor Hochul said that the rule, which was put in place to slow down the spread of COVID-19, is being lifted as of this Wednesday. Hochul says the latest data revealed the number of kids who are testing positive for COVID-19 has fallen to levels not seen since before children came back from summer break. While facial coverings are no longer required by the state, local governments still have the authority to set up their own mandates.

Le Roy Central School Superintendent Merrit Holly, in an email and automated phone call to parents said beginning on Wednesday, masks will be optional for all Le Roy Central School District students, teachers and staff in all areas of the school, including on buses, in hallways, classrooms and for athletics. Masks are still required today and tomorrow.

Students at McKinley High School in Buffalo will finally be returning to their classrooms this week. Classes were shifted online earlier this month after a violent incident that left a 14-year-old student with several stab wounds and a security guard with a gunshot injury to the leg. Seniors are going to be the first to head back to school tomorrow followed by juniors, sophomores and freshmen for one day each the rest of this week. Officials are hoping to have everyone back in the building at once by March 11th.

Genesee County Republican Party Chairman Dick Siebert, announced that Congressman Chris L. Jacobs has the endorsement of the Genesee County Republican Party for the new 24th Congressional District. In a press release, Jacobs is described as a supporter of local families, farmers and small businesses in Genesee County. Jacobs said he is deeply honored by the endorsement.

The losing streak of the Buffalo Sabres has now reached six games following a defeat in the Lone Star State. They lost 4-2 to the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Arena yesterday. Buffalo goalie Craig Anderson gave up all four Stars goals and faced a total of 31 shots. Up next for Buffalo is a road game against the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday night.

 

Morning News Brief

Governor Hochul announced Sunday afternoon that the mask mandate for schools will end on Wednesday this week.  Hochul says this decision comes from studying the data and consulting with medical experts, parents and teachers.  She says the credit for the ability of schools to not need masks on kids and teachers comes from the hard work of New Yorkers in getting vaccinated and causing the number of cases to drop by 98 percent since the peak in December and January.  Republicans such as Chris Jacobs and Steve Hawley had asserted that the decision to end mask mandates would have more to do with internal democrat polling and not science.  And New York’s COVID rates mirror those in places where there were no mask mandates and vaccination rates are lower.

Erie County is lifting it’s own mask mandate for county buildings today.  County Executive Mark Poloncarz says the county is following CDC guidelines which were released on Friday and advise that local governments can determine regulations based on hospitalizations instead of or in addition to raw case count.  Last week, the county executive said the county’s rate of COVID-19 community transmission is the lowest it has been since August.  According to the data about 30 percent of New York still counts as high transmission areas.

Governor Hochul has ordered all NYS agencies and authorities to divest from Russia.  She said the unprovoked invasion of the Ukraine was unjustified and New York State could not continue to support Russia in any way.  New York State is home to the largest Ukrainian population in the US.

Friday it was announced that Former Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary has reached a settlement with the City of Rochester.  Singletary was suing over his firing related to the death of Daniel Prude, of which he was criticized by then Mayor Lovely Warren. The statement said that the parties signed a binding agreement on January 28, and the case was resolved.  Singletary is currently running for Congress in the 25th district as a Republican, a seat currently held by Democrat Joe Morelle.

For the past month, residents of Perry have seen a sleek Tesla Model Y patrolling the streets. The new addition to the fleet is an electric vehicle that Chief Michael Grover would like to see more of.  Chief Grover says “We’re trying to do our part to reduce the carbon footprint.  Eventually, I’d like to have an all-electric fleet.”  On Saturday morning, Sgt. Blake Russell, who has been driving the Tesla for the last several weeks, displayed the new patrol car at the ‘Finger Lakes Meetup’ in Avon.

The Buffalo Sabres lost their 6th straight game Sunday afternoon against the Dallas Stars.  Tage Thompson scored the first goal for Buffalo and Cody Eakin got the only other goal.  The Stars were able to find the back of the net 4 times to the Sabres 2.  The Sabres will be back on the road Wednesday when they play Toronto at 7:30 p.m.

Evening News Brief

A real life case of Storage Wars in Livingston County.
But there was no legal auction.
Deputies slapped metal bracelets on 24 year-old Brandon W. Lee of Rochester.
Lee is charged with breaking into storage lockers in then Towns of Leicester and Avon by cutting the locks and helping himself to the contents.
The thefts occurred last August.
Lee is behind bars with bail set at $10,000.

The latest numbers show that online sports wagering is continuing to be a big success in New York.
From the period between the launch of mobile sports betting on January 8th and Super Bowl Sunday, New Yorkers wagered nearly $2.5-billion on games.
That means the state has collected more than $78-million in taxes.
The most popular operator used to place bets was Caesars Sportsbook followed by FanDuel.

The Buffalo Sabres are not exactly a sure bet. The Sabres continue their road trip tonight as they look to put an end to their current three-game losing streak. The Sabres are taking on the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal. Buffalo is coming off of a seven-to-three loss at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday and currently sit in seventh place in the Atlantic Division.

Another Republican candidate has announced his bid to become New York’s next governor. Businessman Harry Wilson says he’ll be at the State Republican Party convention which starts on Monday.
Other candidates are also seeking the GOP nomination in the governor’s race. They include Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin, Andrew Giuliani, son of the former New York Mayor Rudy and Rob Astorino, who ran for governor in 2014 and lost.

Also from the Political Desk, Congressman Chris Jacobs has the endorsement of the Orleans County Conservative Party in his bid to win the recently gerrymandered 24th congressional district.
Jacobs, a supporter of Donald Trump, already has the endorsement of the Orleans, Monroe and Wyoming County GOP committees.

Morning News Brief

A new poll shows how New Yorkers feel about a mandate for students to wear masks while in school. According to the Siena College Research Institute survey, 58% want to see the COVID-19 data in March before Gov. Kathy Hochul decides on the mandate, 30% believe the rule should have been dropped already, while 10% think it should be eliminated after the current February break. Hochul recently ended the indoor mask mandate for businesses that was put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Hochul put her signature on legislation creating a new conditional adult-use cannabis cultivator license. This gives a fast-track for existing New York hemp farmers to grow cannabis in the 2022 growing season for the forthcoming adult-use cannabis market. Under the law, cannabis farmers must meet certain requirements, including certain cultivation practices, participating in a social equity mentorship program, and engage in a labor peace agreement with a bona fide labor organization. With this conditional license, cannabis farmers can grow outdoors or in a greenhouse for up to two years from when the license was issued. It also allows them to manufacture and distribute cannabis products without holding an adult-use processor or distributor license, until June 1, 2023.

Hochul says her administration has reached a contract agreement with the Police Benevolent Association of New York State. The contract covers police officers who serve the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; the Department of Environmental Conservation; and the State University of New York. It includes a 2% salary increase per year for each year of the agreement, consistent with other settled State employees. The agreement runs through March 31, 2023.

The governor also announced the creation of a Joint Security Operations Center in Brooklyn that will serve as the nerve center for joint local, state, and federal cyber efforts, including data collection, response efforts, and information sharing. The Governor’s Office says no other state has brought together cybersecurity teams in a shared command space at this scale including federal, state, city, and county governments, critical businesses and utilities, and state entities.

This builds on Hochul’s proposal in this year’s budget to investment in New York State’s cyber protections, to the tune of $61.9 million.

It looks like New York State is winning their bet on increasing revenue with online sports wagering. Between the launch of sports betting in the state, Jan. 8, through Super Bowl Sunday, the state made more than $78 million in tax revenue from mobile sports bets. The most popular operator used to place bets was Caesars Sportsbook followed by FanDuel.

The Batavia Board of Education are unanimously supporting two state Senate bills. The bills are sponsored by State Senator Ed Rath and would address the rise in harassment by use of electronic communications including text, private message, direct message, email, or any other electronic communication. The bills would change state law to include a provision that a person who engages in a repeated cyberbullying of a minor will be guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor. The Batavia City School District’s Code of Conduct already expressly prohibits all forms of bullying and harassment, including cyberbullying.

Another Republican candidate has stepped forward in a bid to become New York’s next governor. Businessman Harry Wilson says he’ll be at the State Republican Party convention which starts on Feb.28. The Westchester resident and former hedge fund manager says if elected, he’ll cut taxes, try to reduce the state’s high cost of living, and fire district attorneys that he believes don’t properly enforce the law. Other candidates are also seeking the GOP nomination in the governor’s race including Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin, Andrew Giuliani, and Rob Astorino, who ran for governor in 2014 and lost.

Midday News Brief

The combination of wind, rain, snow and floods made this past weekend especially challenging for Western New Yorkers. And some more wet weather is here. The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for the GLOW region that will be in effect this afternoon through tomorrow evening. With flows on area creeks and rivers already running high due to last week’s rainfall, more rain and snowmelt is expected tonight. On a positive note, we are not expecting as much rain this time around as we got last week, we still could see between a half-inch and an inch of rain through tomorrow morning. As always, stay with WBTA for the latest weather information from 13 WHAM meteorologists.

The Batavia City School District Board of Education voted unanimously last week to support two state Senate bills. The bills are sponsored by Senator Edward Rath, III and designed to change state law to address increases in harassment made through the use of electronic communications. The bills would change state law to include a provision that a person who engages in a repeated course of cyberbullying of a minor will be guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor. The amendment to the state’s law will include contacts via text, private message, direct message, or email or other electronic communication. The Batavia City School District’s Code of Conduct already expressly prohibits all forms of bullying and harassment, including cyberbullying.

This week, the Oakfield volunteer fire department honored Robert “Buck” Hilchey in celebration of his 50 years of service. He joined the department in 1971, serving alongside many family members. Hilchey was the Chief from 1979-80 and again, from ’87-’92. His dedicated service was highlighted during an award ceremony last night.

This morning, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation creating a new Conditional Adult-use Cannabis Cultivator license, thus providing a fast-track for existing New York hemp farmers to apply for a conditional license to grow cannabis in the 2022 growing season for the forthcoming adult-use cannabis market. Under the law, conditionally licensed cannabis farmers must meet certain requirements, including safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly cultivation practices, participation in a social equity mentorship program, and engagement in a labor peace agreement with a bona fide labor organization. With a conditional adult-use cannabis cultivation license, farmers can grow outdoors or in a greenhouse for up to two years from the issuance of the license. It also allows them to manufacture and distribute cannabis flower products without holding an adult-use processor or distributor license, until June 1, 2023.

The number of Empire State residents who are hospitalized due to the coronavirus has fallen to its lowest level in weeks. According to Governor Hochul’s office, there are just over 2500 people receiving treatment for the illness which is the smallest total since right before Thanksgiving. The statewide COVID-19 positivity rate has dropped below 2% and the 7 day average infection rate in Western New York is slightly under 4.3% percent. Governor Hochul is urging people not to let their guard down against the illness and to get vaccinated or a booster shot if they haven’t already.

City firemen responded to a call early in the evening last night at 167 Vine Street and found that the one-family home had a large volume of smoke throughout with fire in the basement. Neighbors and City Police assisted an older woman who uses a walker, to vacate the building; she was treated at the scene for minor smoke inhalation. Firefighters report that the blaze was somewhat difficult to fight because it was difficult to identify the specific location of the fire in the basement. Extensive fire and smoke damage to both structure and contents was reported. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A record number of people participated in last fall’s Shop Wyoming and Win contest. The local shopping promotion is conducted annually in November and December by the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. Participants submit shopping receipts from businesses within the county. They receive one drawing entry for every $50 of purchases. A total of over 1100 (1,164) people participated in this year’s contest. The receipts totaled more than $1.3 million; 18% of the shoppers were from Genesee County. Four people from the region won prizes; the drawing of winners was conducted Feb. 8 at the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors
Meeting, in Warsaw.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he’s planning to call a vote in the Senate next month on a bill that would put a cap on insulin prices. During a stop in Buffalo yesterday, Schumer said right now, insulin costs hundreds of dollars per vial, but this proposed legislation would limit that expense to 35-dollars per vial. Schumer also says that because insulin prices have risen in the past several years, some people have had to ration their medication. Over 1.7 million New Yorkers currently are diabetic.

A new task force is being created in Monroe County to crack down on the growing number of catalytic converter thefts in the area. The sheriff’s office says several of the devices were recently taken from a car dealership and from vehicles in Brighton and Irondequoit. Once they’re stolen, thieves bring the converters to area scrap yards where they sell the parts for a large amount of money. Anyone who sees any suspicious activity in their neighborhood should contact their local police department immediately.

 

Morning News Brief

A flood watch is in effect starting at 1 p.m. today and runs through Wednesday night. Melting snow due to the warm temperatures combined with a half-inch to an inch of expected rainfall this afternoon means potentially high water levels in local creeks and rivers.

 

If you own a small business in Genesee County that was hurt by COVID-19, you may be eligible for some help.

Genesee County is holding two informational meetings on Zoom about the Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund. You’ll learn about eligibility requirements and how to apply, and ask any questions you may have about the program. The Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund is providing grants of up to $75,000 for eligible businesses.

The first informational session is Thursday at 10 a.m., followed by next Wed., Mar. 2 at 11 a.m.

Here are the Zoom links to join:

  • Thur., Feb. 24 at 10 a.m.

o          Video Conferencing: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/86560090929\

o          Audio Conferencing: Dial 1-929-205-6099, Webinar ID: 865 6009 0929

 

  • Wed., Mar. 2 at 11 a.m.

o          Video Conferencing: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83846902808

o          Audio Conferencing: Dial 1-929-205-6099, Webinar ID: 838 4690 2808

You can get more info on Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund online at GenseeCares.com.

 

Neighbors are being credited with helping an older woman escape a fire in her home on Vine Street last night.

According to our news partner The Batavian, the fire started in the basement around 6:30 p.m. Monday night at 167 Vine St.

Interim Fire Chief Dan Herberger said the fire appeared to start in the basement where it is set up for a home hair salon. Herberger said that set up was an issue because of barriers and chemicals in te basement. The fire was fully involved by the time fire crews arrived on the scene.

“There is significant fire damage in the basement pop and the fire popped up through the first floor,” Herberger said. “There is significant smoke damage throughout the house. There is a lot of damage.”

The woman in the home, whose name has not been released, was treated at the scene for minor smoke inhalation. You can see the whole story at The Batavian.

 

With Tax Day just under two months away, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is reminding folks that they can file their documents for free. Anyone whose 2021 income was $73,000 or less can submit their state and federal returns by using software available on the tax department website. And to get your refund faster, the agency suggests e-filing your documents and setting up direct deposit instead of sending them in through the mail and waiting for a check. Anyone who has questions can contact a tax department representative from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or visit tax.ny.gov.

 

Popular musician, educator and radio personality Bob Knipe has been honored by Genesee Orleans Arts Council.

GoArt has named its new podcast studio for Bob.

Knipe was involved in numerous community organizations, most of them around the arts.

He was on the board for GO Art! And played French Horn for both the Genesee Symphony Orchestra and Batavia Concert Band and was a member and past President of the Batavia Rotary Club.

Bob co-hosted his own show on WBTA until his death last year.

 

There’s still a few weeks left in winter, but officials at Six Flags Darien Lake say they’re already looking ahead to summer. The theme park is holding an in-person hiring event for summer jobs on Sat., Mar. 5 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Six Flags Darien Lake Hotel. There are roughly 15-hundred positions available including ride operators, lifeguards, food service and security. Starting pay is now $13.20 an hour but some people may be able to earn up to $15 an hour. Anyone who can’t make the job fair can apply online.

Evening News Brief

Todd Haight PHOTO: The Batavian

The man in charge of live harness racing at Batavia Downs will retire next month.

20 year Downs veteran Todd Haight will step down from hisd post on March 15th.
During his career Haight has seen the popularity of harness racing diminish as other forms of legal gambling were improved.
When Haight started at the Downs he hosted live TV cable-coverage of the races.
Haight also started the wildly popular Wiener Dogs races, copied by race tracks across the state.
Todd was well liked and respected by his peers and horsemen around the state.

Today’s gasoline price report:
The average price of a gallon of regular in Batavia up 7-cents over the past week.
The average price of a gallon is now $3.67.
Remember just one year ago, a gallon of regular in Batavia was $2.62. ?

The State requirement that all healthcare workers must get their COVID-19 Booster is no more.
Healthcare workers had been threatened to comply or risk losing their jobs.
The state health department says the mandate will no longer be enforced due to concerns that it could cause major staffing shortages.

Popular musician, educator and radio personality Bob Knipe has been honored by Genesee Orleans Arts Council.
GoArt has named its new podcast studio for Bob.
Knipe was involved in numerous community organizations, most of them around the arts.
He was on the board for GO Art! And played French Horn for both the Genesee Symphony Orchestra and Batavia Concert Band and was a member and past President of the Batavia Rotary Club.
Bob co-hosted his own show on WBTA until his death last year.

The latest statewide COVID numbers shows a drop in the number of hospitalizations and the number of patients in intensive care.
There was also an increase in the number of patients with COVID-19 that were discharged from the hospital.
The latest numbers from Saturday showed just two people tested posditive for COVID in Genesee County.

Afternoon News Brief

A mandate requiring healthcare workers across the state to receive their COVID-19 booster shot will not go into effect today as planned.
The state health department says the mandate will no longer be enforced due to concerns that it could cause major staffing shortages.
The state will reassess in three months whether additional steps need to be made to increase the booster rate among health care employees.
The latest data shows at least 75% of healthcare workers have received or are willing to receive the booster.

The latest COVID-19 statistics for New York State shows a drop in the number of hospitalizations and the number of patients in intensive care.
There was also an increase in the number of patients with COVID-19 that were discharged from the hospital.
The latest numbers from Saturday showed two positive tests from Genesee County.

Our Monday gasoline price report:
The avarage price of a gallon of regular in Batavia up 7-cents from last week.
The average price of a gallon is $3.67.
Just one year ago, a gallon of regular in Batavia would have cost you $2.62.

Todd Haight, the long-time general manager and director of live racing at Batavia Downs, will retire March 15th after 20 years with the Downs.
Haight first co-hosted a nightly live broadcast of races on cable TV.
Then in 2005, he joined the marketing department of Western Region OTB.

The latest losing streak of the Buffalo Sabres is now at three games following yet another loss on the road.
Buffalo fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets seven-to-three yesterday.
Up next for Buffalo is a road game Wednesday night against the Montreal Canadiens.

Morning News Brief

A mandate requiring healthcare workers across the state to receive their COVID-19 booster shot won’t go into effect today as planned. The state health department says the mandate will no longer be enforced due to concerns that it could cause major staffing shortages. The state will reassess in three months whether additional steps need to be made to increase the booster rate among health care employees. The latest data shows at least 75% of healthcare workers have received or are willing to receive the booster.

New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin is recovering after testing positive for COVID-19. Benjamin announced his diagnosis on social media last night saying that while he’s infected, no other members of his family are sick. Benjamin says he’s experiencing minor symptoms and that he’s received both the COVID-19 vaccine and a booster shot. He is going to isolate at home and get tested again in a few days.

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer wants the Senate to vote next month to cap the cost of insulin.  The Majority Leader said Sunday he wants the price limited to $35 per vial, not the hundreds of dollars it currently costs. The drug is absolutely necessary for many Americans but the price has been rising more than 15% a year since 2012.

The latest COVID-19 statistics for New York State shows a drop in the number of hospitalizations and the number of patients in ICU. There was also an increase in the number of patients with COVID-19 that were discharged. The latest numbers from Saturday showed 2,640 New Yorkers tested positive for COVID-19, there were two positive tests from Genesee County.

There was a watermain break Sunday on Stringham Drive in the Town of Batavia.  Water was shut off around 2:30 p.m for a portion of residents around Stringham Drive and Clinton Crossings. Service was restored nearly three hours later.

Prices at the pump continue to spike. The latest report from AAA shows the average cost for a gallon of regular gas is now $3.67 a gallon. That’s up 7 cents in the past week and is 24 cents higher than this time one month ago. It’s still lower than the state average of $3.74 a gallon.

Weekend News Brief

Flooding is receding.
The flooding caused by Thursday’s rapid snow melt is diminishing this weekend.
Tonawanda Creek at Batavia crested at the moderate flood stage of 10-ft, 2-inches on Friday night. By early Saturday morning, the level had dropped to a minor flood stage of 9 ft.
The Tonawanda is forecast to continue to recede over the rest of the weekend.
At the height of the flooding, Law Street in Batavia had been closed, Kibbe Park was flooded out and Stegman Road in Pembroke was also closed.

But that’s not the end of the weather story.
The National Weather Service has also issued a special weather statement for Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.
A line of heavy snow has been detected on radar. The snow will be accompanied by winds gusting over 40 mph. This will cause significant blowing snow. Be prepared for hazardous driving conditions. Consider delaying travel if you will be going through this area of heavy snow.
These conditions are expected to subside by late Saturday afternoon.

The City of Batavia’s interim Fire Chief Dan Herberger says he is not interested in the job on a permanent basis.
Herberger has sent a letter off to the second floor of city hall letting City Manager Rachel Tabelski know of his decision.
He said he would rather be a firemen working on a truck.
Tabelski says Herberger will stay on as interim chief until a new chief is hired. She said she hopes the job can be filled from within the department.

New Yorkers who like to fish can take part in their sport free of charge this weekend.
The first free fishing weekend of 2022 gets underway this weekend and no license is required to participate.
The commissioner of the State Department of Environmental Conservation says the weekend is an opportunity for people to spend time outdoors while also enjoying things like angling and ice fishing. The next free fishing days are June 25 and 26th.

A Silver Springs man is facing charges after police say injured a deputy who tried to take him into custody after he was caught trying to break into a home. Wyoming County Sheriff’s deputies were called to Letchworth State Park just after 10:30 p.m. Last Sunday for a report of a man stripping off his clothes and attempting to break into a residence. 29 year old Tanner Salamone was approached by deputies and a struggled ensued. A deputy was injured, evaluated at Wyoming County Community Hospital, and released.
Salamone was charged with resisting arrest and degree assault.

Afternoon News Brief

City of Batavia Fire Department

As of late this morning, ‘Shelter-in-place’ is still necessary at Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing in Batavia. According to City Firefighters, the facility experienced a significant amount of flooding and a couple of their sump pumps had stopped working. However, even if they were working, firefighters believe the pumps would not have been able to keep up with the amount of water that was entering their basement. As of late this morning, the firefighters were still at the scene pumping water out. Aside from Grand Rehabilitation, City Firefighters responded to a few other cellar-pumping calls last night, but none so far today.

A flood warning is in effect until tomorrow morning for the Tonawanda Creek in Batavia. Flood stage is 9 feet, which would bring some flooding to the city, possibly affecting Kibbe Park, Walnut Street, and Law Street. Flooding in rural areas of Alexander and the lowlands of the Alabama Swamps with some road closures is also likely; this, according to the Weather Service. The Tonawanda creek was expected to rise above flood stage this morning, cresting early this afternoon at 9.7 feet before falling below flood stage early tomorrow morning.

Village of Attica residents were asked last night to be on the alert for potential evacuations as an ice jam threatened to flood portions of downtown. The Attica Fire Department issued the advisory about 6 p.m. last night. They were concerned that an ice jam on Tonawanda Creek could break and cause significant flooding; however, with the cold temperatures the ice jam did not release and has froze in place, the creeks levels are down and the threat of flooding is greatly reduced. When the temperature increases so does the threat from this ice jam. The Attica Fire Department asks residents to remain on a heightened awareness once temperatures rise.

The Batavia school board met last night and reviewed results from a consultant’s study that analyzed the nearly 5% drop in enrollment observed since 2016. There was some good news: kindergarten and grade one enrollment has increased over the last four years. However, grade 7-12 enrollment has shown a minor decrease by comparison. In summary, it was found housing shortages, homeschooling and COVID-19 all contributed to overall student enrollment in Batavia City Schools. Also noteworthy and identified as a possible area in need of additional study, the number of students whose parents pursued private schooling for their youngsters increased in 2021 compared to 2020.

The Crossroads House Comfort Care Home, on Liberty Street, has once again begun accepting residents. The facility had been on a pause from accepting residents since December, due to the prevalence of COVID-related illness in our community. Crossroads serves the residents of Genesee and Wyoming counties who have been medically determined to be in their last stages of life (three months or less).

Governor Hochul has officially earned the support of her fellow Democrats as she looks to win a full four-year term in office this November. Hochul was named the party’s nominee during the state Democratic convention in New York City yesterday. Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who are also Democrats, say they are hoping to find a way to get their names on the June primary ballot. Hochul has been governor since August following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo.

The two-game winning streak of the Buffalo Sabres has come to an end following a loss on home ice; they fell to the Ottawa Senators 3-1 at KeyBank Center last night. Buffalo goalie Craig Anderson gave up two goals on the 27 shots he faced in the contest. Up next for the Sabres is a home game against the Colorado Avalanche tomorrow afternoon.

New Yorkers who like to fish can take part in the very popular activity free of charge this weekend. The first free fishing weekend of 2022 gets underway tomorrow and runs through Sunday and no license is required to participate. The commissioner of the State Department of Environmental Conservation says the weekend is an opportunity for folks to spend time outdoors while also enjoying things like angling and ice fishing. The other free fishing days this year will be June 25th and 26th, September 24th and November 11th.

Three teens are in custody for their alleged role in a carjacking in Rochester that later led to a police pursuit. Officials say the suspects stole a vehicle at gunpoint yesterday on Ethel Street. Moments later, officers tried to pull the vehicle over, but the driver refused to stop which led to a brief chase. The teens were captured a few moments later after the vehicle hit a snowbank near Emerson Street and Avery Street. There’s no word yet on what charges they’re facing.

Athletes will be once again taking to the streets of Buffalo next month as the Shamrock Run returns to being an in-person event. The race was canceled last year due to concerns over the COVID-19 health crisis. The five-mile run is March 5th and will begin at the Old First Ward Community Center on Republic Street. Following the race, an Irish-themed celebration will take place at the Community Center. Anyone who wants to compete can fill out the registration form that’s posted online.

New data is showing that the spread of COVID-19 is continuing to slow across the Empire State. According to the governor’s office, the statewide positivity rate is just under two-point-two percent, which is the lowest that number has been since October 30th. In Western New York the seven-day average positivity rate is currently sitting at five-point-one percent. Officials are urging anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated against the coronavirus yet to get their shot soon to prevent another spike in cases.

Morning News Brief

Genesee Orleans and Wyoming Counties are facing several weather advisories.  All three are still under the flood watch till today at 7pm.  Excessive runoff from rain and snow melt may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations.  Genesee and Wyoming Counties are under River Flood warnings for local streams and rivers that have risen to flood levels.  In Genesee County, Tonawanda Creek at Batavia and Attica, Black Creek at Churchville and Ellicott Creek near Williamsville are under flood warnings.  In Wyoming County Genesee River at Portageville and Wellsville, Buffalo Creek at Gardenville, Cattaraugus Creek at Gowanda, and Cayuga Creek near Lancaster are at flood level.

The Grand Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on State Street was without power and heat for several hours last night as a possible water main break pushed water into the electrical and heating systems.  Interim Fire Chief Dan Herberger said it is most likely city water because chlorine was detected.  The Department of Public Works shut off water to the building at 11pm.  At about 1:30am National Fuel was called to restore gas and heat to the nursing home.  

Orleans County is giving away COVID 19 at home tests today from all town halls, village halls, libraries and the Orleans County Office Building during normal business hours while supplies last.  There is a maximum of 2 tests per person.  The state will continue sending out tests to be distributed so this won’t be the last distribution.

The New York Legislature has just passed a bill that would fast track marijuana licenses and hemp growers licenses for Black, Indigenous, and Peoples of Color.  If it becomes law, the legislation would make it easier to obtain temporary conditional licenses for these people groups to produce and sell adult use cannabis.  Also included are women owned businesses, and service disabled veteran owned businesses. It goes to the Governor’s desk to sign.  

The Genesee Amateur Hockey Association is holding a “try Hockey for free” event at the David McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena Saturday the 5th of March.  This is part of the USA Hockey Week Across America.  The hockey day starts at 11:50AM and goes to 12:50pm.  Kids aged 4-9 are encouraged to come and try ice hockey for the first time and learn the basic skills.  All they need to bring are a helmet and gloves.  All players will get a free hockey jersey to take home.  Event space is limited so pre-registration is required.  Follow the link at wbtai.com.  http://www.tryhockeyforfree.com/

A Western New York lawmaker wants the Bills to offer cheaper concessions to fans.  Assemblyman Bill Conrad says Fans First Concessions Pricing drops the price of food and drinks by as much as 50 percent in order to encourage the fans to buy concessions and then go on to buy merchandise since they are saving money on the eats.  In 2017 the Atlanta Falcons tried this method and found that 6000 more fans attended games and bought 53 percent more concessions.  Assemblyman Conrad anticipates inflation may put a damper on the idea, but still thinks reasonably priced concessions are feasible and will enhance the game day experience.

The Buffalo Sabres lost to the Ottawa Senators Thursday night 3 to 1 ending their short lived winning streak.  The Sabres jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period when Kyle Okposo scored his 11th goal of the season but in the second and third periods Ottowa put the puck in without any answer from the Sabres.  Buffalo’s next game is against the Colorado Avalanche at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Evening News Brief

There is a Flood Warning out for the Tonawanda Creek in Batavia.
The Warning is in effect from tomorrow morning through Saturday morning.
The Weather Service predicts what they term minor flooding along the Tonawanda. Pay close attention to Batavia’s most flood prone areas: Kibbe
Park, Walnut Street and Law Street. Flooding is also possible in areas of Alexander.

There is also a Winter Weather Advisory for Genesee County in effect from 7p.m. this evening through tomorrow morning. Mixed precipitation and snow is expected.
Snow accumulations of two to four inches, ice accumulation of a tenth to 2-tenths of an inch. Winds gusting as high as 35 miles per hour.

 

Quamane Santiago

In Genesee County Court, a Batavia man who had been accused of assaulting a city police officer has entered a guilty plea.
23 year old Quamane Santiago entered what’s called an “alford” plea. It means that he does not admit any wrong doing but recognizes that if the case goes to trial he would likely b e convicted.
Santiago allegedly caused injury to BPD Officer Peter Post as the officer tried to take him into custody at a Walnut Street residence last October.

The Genesee County legislature is poised to approve $8,000 to purchase uniforms for volunteers to provide military honors at the veteran’s cemetery in Pembroke.
The Western New York National Cemetery Honor Guard consists of 78 members, 32 of them from Genesee County. They are all volunteers.
The money appropriated by the legislature would cover the uniform costs for the Genesee County volunteers.

A project being paid for by HP Hood may create minor traffic delays over the next few weeks.
Crews will be installing a 16-inch water line off of Route 5 between 7 Springs Road and Ag Park Drive. Construction is expected to continue through April with only intermittent need for occasional traffic delays.

HBO is shooting down the possibility of a spinoff of “The Sopranos.” Hopes of a spinoff were out of control on social media after a TV ad for Chevrolet featured Jamie Lynn Siegler and Robert Iler, who starred as Tony Soprano’s children in the original series.
An HBO executive told the New York Post he didn’t think David Chase, the creator of the series, had any interest in doing anything more with “The Sopranos.”

Midday News Brief

A Flood Watch remains in effect today through tomorrow across all of western NY. Flooding may occur on roadways that have poor drainage. Ice flows may jam at bridges and pipes causing water to back up. When you encounter a roadway covered with water, stay safe; don’t enter it; and always remain mindful of areas prone to flooding. In addition to the Flood Watch there is also a Winter Weather Advisory for Orleans and Niagara Counties from 5pm today through 9am tomorrow morning. Travel in those two counties may become difficult due to the combination of icy and snow covered roads. Snow will reduce visibility tonight and taper off early tomorrow morning but still could impact the morning commute.

Genesee County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein announced today that Genesee County is launching a $1 million Community Development Block Grant to help businesses impacted by the pandemic. Through the Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund, businesses that were negatively impacted by COVID-19 will be eligible to receive a grant of up to $75,000 to aid the recovery of their businesses. Eligible applicants are for-profit businesses within Genesee County with 25 or fewer employees. For additional information regarding eligibility and applications, go to their website: www.GeneseeCARES.com

The Batavia City Council will continue to think about how best to tackle snow plowing and snow removal concerns that have come up during this particularly snowy winter. Last Monday evening, they spent about 20 minutes discussing the issues that have come up, including plowed snow ending up in the streets or piled 4 feet or higher on sidewalks, making it especially challenging for some homeowners to keep sidewalks clear. One possible solution discussed was to distribute information to some residents about property owners’ responsibilities specific to clearing snow after a storm.

A project being funded by HP Hood may create minor traffic delays over the next few weeks. Crews will be installing a 16-inch water line off of Route 5 between 7 Springs Road and Ag Park Drive North. Construction is expected to continue through April with only intermittent need for occasional traffic delays.

The Genesee County Legislature wants to honor the sacrifice of veterans who take up the mantle of Honor Guard at the Western NY National Cemetery in Corfu by providing them uniforms to wear while they go about their duties. The legislature agreed to a resolution to spend up to 8000 dollars to make sure that the Honor Guard had proper uniforms. The uniforms would belong to the members of the Guard but would be required to be surrendered if they left the Honor Guard. The WNY National Cemetery Honor Guard consists of 32 members, all volunteers, who serve their fallen military member’s families at the burial grounds. The final vote on the uniforms is next Wednesday.