Local News

Morning News Brief

The Primary results are in after voting took place on Tuesday.  In the democratic primary for Governor, Hochul pulled in over 433 thousand votes for a 65 percent win.  Suozzi only got 12 percent with 82 thousand votes and Williams came in with 21 percent, 140 thousand votes.  In the Republican Primary for the governors seat Zeldin led the pack with just over 107 thousand votes which got him 42 percent.  Wilson had 15 percent with 37.5 thousand and Astorino got 45 thousand for 17 percent.  Giuliani had 63 thousand votes for nearly 25 percent.  Antonio Delgado won the Lt Governor position with 57 percent of the votes. Democratic commentators were quick to point out that the democrats showed up in much larger numbers for the vote, over 650 thousand democrats voted vs just over 250 thousand for the republicans.

Batavia PD is looking for the public’s assistance in identifying a man who is suspected of stealing more than $350 of Allegra from the CVS pharmacy on East Main Street.  The larceny took place today a little before noon.  The suspect was last seen getting into the passenger seat of a white-colored SUV. It left the area heading westbound.  If anyone recognizes the person pictured, please notify investigating Officer Nicole McGinnis by calling (585) 345-6350.

The Fix is in, Erik Fix that is.  Batavia City Manager Rachel Tabelski announced that the President of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, Erik Fix has been appointed the new City of Batavia Assistant Manager. Some of his responsibilities will include creating and implementing a new Neighborhood and Housing Transformation initiative, community development, public relations and information technology. In a letter Fix submitted to Chamber members, he noted his last day as president of the Chamber would be July 22.

After 2 bidding cycles there is still no contractor for the work needing to be done to revitalize Jackson Square.  The last low bidder, Mark Cerrone Inc. raised prices by almost 25 percent after winning the contract.  Cerrone had bid 654 thousand dollars for the project and then delivered a bill of 847 thousand.  The other bids were 870 thousand and over a million. The Revitalization Committee decided to rescind the offer to Cerrone.

If you are a senior and you like the farmers market then you are in luck.  The Genesee County Office for the Aging will be giving out coupons at the farmers markets in Batavia and Leroy starting this Friday from 10 am to noon.  Every Friday they will be at the Alva Place farmer’s Market and Saturday the 2nd, 23rd and 30th they will be at Trigon Park.  They will also be handing them out at the Genesee County Office for the Aging, 2 Bank St., Batavia, every Tuesday in July from 10 a.m. to noon at the outside patio and in the Community Room if it is raining.

Afternoon News Brief

Erik Fix

Batavia City Manager Rachel Tabelski announced that the President of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, Erik Fix has been appointed the new City of Batavia Assistant Manager. Some of his responsibilities will include creating and implementing a new Neighborhood and Housing Transformation initiative, community development, public relations and information technology. In a letter Fix submitted to Chamber members, he noted his last day as president of the Chamber would be July 22.

 

Vidalia Onions

Wegmans has issued a recall involving vidalia onions that were sold at its stores in our region. The supermarket chain says there are concerns the onions may be contaminated with listeria, which is a bacteria that has been known to cause serious illness. The affected onions were sold by the pound from June 23rd through June 24th and may have PLU stickers with the numbers 4159 or 4166 on them. Anyone who purchased the onions can return them for a full refund.

 

New Yorkers are heading to the polls today to decide who will be the nominees in the race for governor. For the Democrats, Governor Hochul, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi are hoping they’ve earned enough support to win. For the Republicans, Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin, Andrew Giuliani, businessman Harry Wilson, and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino are looking to be the GOP nominee. Primaries are also being held today for seats in the state Assembly and for lieutenant governor. Polls are open until 9:00pm.

 

37-year-old Marvin Barber, Jr. of Lackawanna, is charged with harassment, criminal possession of a weapon, menacing and grand larceny….stemming from a reported disturbance on Lewis Place; Barber had left the scene but eventually turned himself in to police custody. He was arrested and arraigned in City Court and ordered held in the Genesee County Jail.  Also, 52-year-old Daniel Yates of Batavia is charged with criminal tampering and criminal mischief. He is accused of damaging property inside Tops Market and was issued an appearance ticket.

 

Jackson Square

There is plenty to do over the long holiday weekend in Batavia: On Friday, the Jackson Square concert series continues with the “Old Hippies;” the Muckdogs play at Dwyer Stadium. Also on Friday is “Rockin’ the Downs” with the Led Zeppelin tribute band “Get the Led Out.” Saturday the Batavia Ramble Explore Arts & Music Festival will be held at Jackson Square. Live bands, cultural dances, hands-on arts and crafts, and more will run from 10:00am to 9:00pm. And then on Sunday, there is another Muckdogs game at 7:05. And on Monday, the 4th, the Kiwanis Club 5k starts at 9:00am in Centennial Park. By the way, there will be no fireworks at the Downs this year due to the construction on Park Road.

 

Toronto skyline

For the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amtrak service from New York State to Toronto has resumed. The Maple Leaf line connects several locations to Toronto, including Niagara Falls. Passengers who are traveling to Toronto by train will need to use the ArriveCAN app and also must wear a mask while on-board and inside train stations. For a full list of schedules and fares, visit amtrak.com.

 

A Rochester couple is in trouble with the law after being arrested in connection with recent catalytic converter thefts in Onondaga County. According to State Police, 25-year-old Brittany Hollaert and 31-year-old Vasiliy Maksimchuk took 17 of those devices from vehicles at the Drivers Village Auto Mall, which is located in Cicero. Troopers also claim the pair were involved in similar thefts in the Rochester area. Both suspects are facing multiple charges including grand larceny and criminal mischief.

 

Luz Pena

A poll worker has admitted that she pre-stamped the name of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown on several ballots last year. Yesterday, 59-year-old Luz Pena pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in Buffalo City Court. Prosecutors say Luz pre-stamped the ballots back in November 2021 while she was working at a polling place inside the Belle Center on Maryland Avenue in Buffalo. Brown was a write-in candidate in the mayoral race and ended up beating India Walton to remain in office. As part of her plea agreement, Luz was given an unconditional discharge and ordered to pay a fine.

Morning News Brief

Primary day is here in New York State.  Running in New York for governor are Democrats Kathy Hochul, Tom Suozzi, and Jumaane Williams.  For the Republicans Rob Astorino, Andrew Giuliani, Harry Wilson and Lee Zeldin are vying for the Governor nomination.  3 Democrats are also running for Lieutenant Governor, Ana Maria Archila, Antonio Delgado and Diana Reyna.  Polls will be open from 6 to 9 today.  Congressional and State Senate primaries are going to be held on August 23rd this year due to redistricting of New York’s election map.

Governor Hochul has announced what she is planning to do about the Supreme Court’s decision striking down New York’s law about needing a stated reason to concealed carry a pistol outside the home.  She is planning to put forward measures that would allow businesses to declare themselves a gun free zone by posting a sign near the entrance.  Hochul says this will allow restaurants and other places of business to make their customers feel safe knowing if there are concealed firearms or not near them.  Previously, the only dedicated gun free zones were airports, federal and state buildings and lands including state parks, schools and daycares and public campgrounds.

Fourth of July Weekend is right at the end of the week and there is a lot to do in Batavia.  Friday the Jackson Square concert series continues with the “Old Hippies” while the Muckdogs play at Dwyer Stadium.  Competing with the Jackson Square series is “Rockin’ the Downs” with the Led Zeppelin tribute band “Get the Led Out.”  Saturday will also bring the family fun all day and night long with the Batavia Ramble Explore Arts & Music Fest downtown in Jackson Square. Live bands, cultural dances, hands-on arts and crafts, and more will run from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.  Sunday There is another Muckdogs game at 7:05.  And The 4th itself starts off with some exercise at the Kiwanis Club 5k starting in Centennial Park.  No fireworks at the Downs this year due to the construction on Park Road.

Everybody has blood, and if you are injured, you might need more of it.  The Red Cross is reminding the public of the increased need for blood during the summer months as more people skip giving to go on vacations and are just generally out of town and not thinking about donating.  They are seeking more donors and more volunteers for their blood drives.  There is a blood drive today at the American Legion in Batavia from 2 to 7pm and another tomorrow at St James Episcopal Church.  There will be 4 more through July in Batavia.  Walk Ins are welcome.

New York Bus Sales broke ground on their new 20 thousand square foot facility on West Saile Drive and Call Parkway on Monday.  The regional director for National Grid, Ken Kujawa, Batavia Town Supervisor Greg Post, Genesee County Legislature Chairwoman Shelley Stein, Assemblyman Hawley and Senator Rath were all part of the groundbreaking ceremony.  The 4.5 million dollar building will house the offices, training space and repair and storage areas for the company in this area.   It is intended to support school districts and bus operators across Genesee County and the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions to convert their fleets from diesel fuel to all-electric.  The project has also pledged to create 24 full-time jobs.  One of the first electric school buses will be delivered this summer to the Lake Shore School District in Erie County.

Afternoon News Brief

By now you may have heard that the only independently owned pharmacy in Batavia, Alberty Drug Store, is in the process of closing. Beginning this week, they will only be open to fill prescriptions, which will be the case until sometime in July. The detailed story is available at the website of our news partner, The Batavian. A direct link to the story is available here: https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/during-its-100th-year-in-business-alberty-drugs-is-closing-next-month/609482

 

Western New York drivers woke up this morning to find a nearly 3% decrease in the per-gallon price at the pumps, that’s since a week ago today. According to Triple A this morning, the average cost for a gallon of regular fuel is now $4.86 in our region. The state average is now sitting at $4.96 a gallon and the national average is $4.90. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.88. The average price for diesel here is the same as it was a week ago, $6.26 per gallon.

 

Early voting for tomorrow’s primary election has wrapped up, with election officials reporting an increase in voting over last year. The period lasted nine days and ended yesterday. According to a poll conducted by Survey USA, Lee Zeldin is leading the pack in the Republican primaries with Andrew Giuliani close behind. Both have nearly 25% of the vote each with Wilson and Astorino lagging behind in the teens and single digits. 31 percent of republican voters are still undecided. In the democrat primary Governor Hochul is far ahead of her challengers Suozzi and Williams. Tomorrow, polls will be open from 6:00am until 9:00pm tomorrow night.

 

31-year-old Brianna Way of Batavia has been arrested for assault and endangering the welfare of a child, following a child abuse investigation conducted by detectives and Genesee County Child Protective Services. Way is accused of punching and kicking a 9-year-old child, causing injury, shoving the child’s head as punishment and forcing the child to watch a TV-MA (mature audiences only; no one under 17 should view) child-murder documentary titled, “The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez,” while telling the child it could be them. Way was arraigned in Batavia City Court and released on her own recognizance following the issuance of an order of protection. Also, 36-year-old Maurice Bishop of Rochester was arrested on charges of criminal contempt. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and released under the supervision of Genesee Justice. A temporary stay away order of protection was issued protecting the victim in this case. Bishop’s return court date is scheduled for early next month.

 

30-year-old Jordan Reese of Elba has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child and criminal mischief following a domestic incident. Reese allegedly physically injured an infant and destroyed property. Reese was arraigned in Batavia Town Court and will appear in Elba Town Court later next month. Also, 42-year-old David Choromanski of Byron, has been charged with criminal mischief and endangering the welfare of a child after a domestic incident. Choromanski allegedly damaged property belonging to another person in the presence of a child. Choromanski was arraigned in Le Roy Town Court and released on his own recognizance. He is scheduled to appear in Byron Town Court in July.

 

A bipartisan gun control package is now law. President Biden signed the legislation into law Saturday after receiving it from the Senate late Thursday. The act enhances background checks, provides funding for mental health services, prevents convicted domestic abusers from purchasing a weapon for five years, as well as creates penalties for gun trafficking, among other measures. It’s the first significant gun control legislation passed in 30 years, and follows devastating mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas.

 

Okay fine, I’ll share

The Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots continue climbing, bringing tonight’s total winnings to more than $346,000,000 dollars. Nobody matched all six numbers in Saturday night’s drawing, which included the Mega Millions “gold ball” or Powerball. Tickets cost $2.00 each; drawings are always streamed live online. Please play responsibly.

 

 

National Fuel logo

National Fuel is turning gas services back on in the Southtowns neighborhoods. Service was temporarily suspended on Saturday due to an issue with mercaptan, also known as the rotten eggs smell that is added to natural gas to help detect a leak. National Fuel says odorant pumps from a compressor station were pumping twice the typical level of mercaptan into the gas system, which is why residents were reporting the smell.

Morning News Brief

The Genesee County Branch of the Democratic Socialists held a rally in front of Batavia City Hall Sunday afternoon to protest the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey.  The decision sends the abortion debate back to the states to decide what to make legal and illegal.  Previously the court decisions established a trimester system and stopped states from making any laws that prohibited abortion in the first 12 weeks and allowed regulation but not outright bans in the second trimester.  In New York Aborotion is legal up to the birth of the baby as long as a medical professional deems it necessary.  The protesters held signs saying slogans such as “my body my choice,” “Pro life is not pro birth,” and “abortion is healthcare” along with many signs accusing pro life people of racism among other things.

Police have been on the lookout for illicit sales of Catalytic converters after a rash of thefts from parked cars.  An Albion man, 31 year old Joshua Grosskopf, allegedly stole a catalytic converter from a truck parked on West Lee Rd in Barre and tried to sell it to Metalico Scrap Yard in Rochester when he was apprehended by New York State Troopers.  He faces a charge of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and is expected to be in Barre Town Court in July.

Survey USA, a polling company which works with media, corporate, non profits and the government, has released their findings from a poll showing that Lee Zeldin is leading the pack in the Republican primaries although Andrew Giuliani is close behind him.  Both have nearly 25 percent of the vote each with Wilson and Astorino lagging behind in the teens and single digits.  31 percent of republican voters are still undecided.  In the democrat primary Governor Hochul is far ahead of her challengers Suozzi and Williams.  The primaries are on June 28th.  

Spots are still open for Environmental Science Camp at the Genesee County Park & Forest! This hands-on outdoor camp is for students entering 7th – 10th grade. Camp meets Monday through Friday, July 18th – 22nd from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Interpretive Nature Center. This week-long adventure includes survival skills, wildlife and stream studies, outdoor recreation, a field trip and more! Cost is $95/camper for the entire week. All materials and a camp T-shirt are provided. Transportation is provided from Batavia High School to and from camp each day.

Weekend News Brief

With the Supreme Court striking down the 1973 case of Roe V Wade and the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood v Casey on Friday several groups took to the street in Western NY to either protest or celebrate.  In Batavia GLOW4Babies along with several people from the Ascension and Resurrection Parishes came together in front of Planned Parenthood holding signs saying Choose Life, Love Will End Abortion and signs commemorating the overturning of Roe V Wade.  Governor Hochul pledges to fight the ruling and keep New York a haven for abortion.  Michele Sterlace Executive Director of Feminists Choose Life of New York, says she hopes to be able to help those traveling to New York look into alternatives before they make it to an abortion clinic.  The group Jane’s Revenge which claimed responsibility for the vandalism and firebombing of the Amherst Women’s Pregnancy Center Compasscare, said that they were readying a night of rage where more violence would be done across the country in  response to the court ruling.

Governor Hochul signed a new law into effect that is designed to make schools a little bit safer from School Shooters.  Alyssa’s Law makes it so public schools have to consider adding a silent alarm system for the school as part of their school safety plan.  School districts such as Niagara Falls are taking it further than just a silent alarm, Niagara Falls City School District Superintendent Mark Laurrie says Alyssa’s Law is a step forward but they are adding vestibules in every school so there is a 2 step process to enter the building and a door alarm that rings if doors are propped open more than a few seconds.  

Buffalo Police are investigating vandalism at St Margaret’s Roman Catholic Church on Hertel Ave in Buffalo.  Someone smashed statues and broke garden pots at the back of the church between 10pm on Wednesday and 9am on Thursday.  The heads of several statues were broken off and put at the feet of the statue.  

Do you wanna go fishing but don’t have a license?  All weekend fishing is free in the State of New York.  During designated free fishing days, New Yorkers and visitors to the state are permitted to fish for free without a fishing license.  Upcoming free fishing days in 2022 include National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 24 and Veterans Day on November 11. 

Seneca Park Zoo has announced it is offering 1 dollar entry to the zoo for low income families.  This comes after Monroe County Executive Adam Bello signed legislation reducing prices for income eligible families as part of a national program called Museums For All.  In order to get the reduced price, individuals and families have to show a SNAP or EBT card along with a valid ID. The George Eastman House Museum and the Rochester Museum and Science Center are also part of this program.

Afternoon News Brief

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Department is investigating why a car went off the road in Pembroke and struck a parked van in the Kutter’s Cheese Factory Store parking lot. The accident occurred late yesterday afternoon. The elderly male driver was extricated and was in and out of consciousness when he was transported by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center after having suffered life-threatening injuries. The elderly female passenger had serious, but non-life-threatening injuries and was also transported to ECMC by a second Mercy Flight helicopter. The driver may have suffered a medical issue before the crash.

 

Around 2:00am this morning, a 2017 Toyota 4-Runner was operating at a high rate of speed eastbound on Chestnut Street but then failed to stop for the stop sign at the South Jackson Street intersection and was going too fast to navigate safely. After shearing a National Grid pole in two places, the vehicle finally stopped in the front porch of a S. Jackson Street home. Initial reports from witnesses indicated four passengers including the driver fled on foot. Officers identified 4 other passengers who remained on scene. One of the passengers suffered a minor injury and was transported to UMMC by Mercy EMS. Additional passengers were transported to UMMC by private vehicles for evaluations. All occupants of the vehicle have been identified and the accident remains under investigation. Most occupants of the vehicle were minors including the alleged driver. Alcohol and marijuana are believed to be a contributing factor in the accident. Charges are pending.  Security video camera footage, along with the detailed story, are both available at the website of our news partner, The Batavian:  https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/driver-flees-after-suv-strikes-utility-pole-on-south-jackson-batavia-at-2-am/609286

 

Shelby Fire Truck

Police have identified the victim of Tuesday’s fire on Freeman Road in Shelby. 22-year-old Michael Cherry, who had trouble walking and was trapped in an upstairs bedroom, was found dead in the upstairs of the house he shared with his father, aunt, uncle and brother; this, according to Orleans County Sheriff’s Major Rob Reimer. Michael’s 29-year-old brother Daniel Cherry suffered serious injuries, including smoke inhalation and was taken by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center. Their father, 74-year-old Roger Cherry, was treated for smoke inhalation at a local hospital and released. The house was full of clutter, which restricted firefighter efforts to get inside to save Michael Cherry. Shelby Fire Chief Jason Watts said both front doors were boarded and blocked from the inside. A rear door entry was full of clutter, as well. The cause of the fire was determined to be a toaster oven in the kitchen. Reimer said Daniel Cherry was cooking and cardboard near the toaster oven caught fire.

 

Alberty Drugs will close its doors for good after 100 years in business in the City of Batavia; employees have been busy cleaning out the nearly empty shelves inside the store, which closes for good next week. It will be closed on Saturday and reopen on Monday 6/27 at 9:00am. There is no word as to which day they will close next week. If you have a current prescription at the pharmacy, ask to have your doctor write a new prescription to start with a new pharmacy as current prescriptions are not being transferred to a different pharmacy. The owners of Alberty Drugs will continue to run Mead Square Pharmacy in Victor.

 

Onofhil (“Tony”) Nieves

The search for a jet skier who was reported missing last weekend has come to a sad end. According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, the body of 43-year-old Onofhil Nieves was found yesterday in Lake Ontario near Durand Beach. Crews had been looking for Nieves for several days after he disappeared last Saturday. In a statement, the sheriff’s department expressed its condolences to Nieves’ family and friends during this difficult time.

 

New Yorkers who want to cast their ballots ahead of the upcoming primary are running out of time to do so. The early voting period that began last Saturday is coming to an end on Sunday. There are primary contests being held for statewide races including governor, lieutenant governor and state Assembly. Primary day is Tuesday, June 28th and polls on that day will be open from 6:00am until 9:00pm.

 

Fake $20 bill

Fake $20 bill

Medina Police tell us that they have received information of attempts to pass counterfeit money labeled “motion picture use only.” Businesses and cashiers should visually check all bills carefully. Photos provided by the Village of Medina Police Department.

 

 

Vanessa Armstead

A Buffalo woman who stole an ambulance in Utica last year before crashing it in the Rochester area has pleaded guilty to a grand larceny charge. Yesterday, Vanessa Armstead admitted to taking the ambulance from a garage after she had been released from the hospital following a car crash. Armstead then led police on a pursuit that came to an end when she drove the ambulance into the Irondequoit Bay. Armstead had to be rescued from the water and is facing up to nine years in prison when she’s sentenced in August.

 

No one has been lucky enough to win the Mega Millions or Powerball lately and that means the jackpots for both games are still growing. There will be $312,000,000 up for grabs in tonight’s Mega Millions drawing and whoever picks the winning numbers for Powerball tomorrow night will win at least $335,000,000. Tickets to play are $2.00 each. Both drawings will be streamed live online. Please play responsibly.

 

The Buffalo Police Department has released body camera footage of an officer-involved shooting that happened last week. Officials say the incident occurred after 27-year-old Nakeem Hayes allegedly shot and killed 63-year-old Atlas Johnson near Broadway and Sears Street last Friday night. When police approached Hayes, he jumped on the hood of their vehicle and opened fire but didn’t hit anyone. The officers ran after Hayes who was shot several times and is facing an attempted murder charge. Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said yesterday he believes video of the encounter between Hayes and police shows the actions the officers took were within the confines of the law and department policy.

 

Tyler Prospero

Starting pitcher Tyler Prospero from Batavia, took his first loss of the season, as The Batavia Muckdogs dropped a home game last night to the Newark Pilots 7-5. The Muckdogs are now 10-4 on the season, in second place in the West Division, two games behind Utica.

Morning News Brief

A medical issue may be to blame for a crash involving a car and a parked van in Pembroke on Thursday evening.  At around 5:45 a car being driven by an elderly man was going east on Main Road in Pembroke when it left the road and struck a van that was parked at Kutter’s Cheese Factory Store.  The driver was extricated by Pembroke and Indian Falls Firefighters and was in and out of consciousness.  He was flown to ECMC by Mercy Flight with life threatening injuries.  The elderly female passenger had non-life threatening injuries and was flown by a second helicopter.  The reason for the crash is under investigation but the driver may have suffered a medical issue which caused the car to veer off the road.

The US Supreme court struck down a gun law in New York State that required people getting a concealed carry license to have a stated reason for wanting a license.  In a 6-3 decision the court found that there was no Constitutional right that required a stated reason to be articulated before the citizen was allowed to exercise that right.  Governor Hochul said that this is a “a deeply disturbing day” and said that this would cause gun violence to increase.  Law enforcement including Peter Kehoe, Executive director of the New York State Sheriffs Association, said this won’t increase violence and most people who shoot others or shoot at police have handguns illegally.  Chief Long of the Gates police department said “I can’t remember the last time we arrested a permit carrying member of our community who used it in any sort of crime.”

Batavia Downs took in nearly 90 million dollars in the month of May according to the Chief Financial Officer for Western Regional Off Track Betting Corp.  6.4 million was paid back in winnings with 31.6 million paid back so far this year.  Half of that number gets taken by the New York State gaming Commission which puts 90 percent of its share towards education.  The casino gives a portion of its income to 15 counties and Rochester and Buffalo.  In 2021 Genesee County got 123,409 dollars.  

Gubernatorial Candidate Lee Zeldin is set to have a rally in Batavia at the old courthouse.  Today at around noon he is planning a Save Our State rally.  Zeldin, from Long Island, is running as a republican on the platform of bringing people back to the Empire State and reducing regulations and taxes.  He has visited Batavia before to talk with business leaders about what they need from a governor.  

GCC is getting some new improvements thanks to Genesee County agreeing to a request for 1.3 million dollars in funding for capital projects.   A new turf field, cooling tower, arts center connector and a roof for Conable Technology Building, costing a total of 2.6 million dollars will be built with half the money being paid by Genesee county and the other by New York State.  The turf field will be a replacement for the nearly 13-year-old soccer and lacrosse field adjacent to Richard C. Call Arena; a new cooling tower would replace one that is “well past its useful life,”while an updated connective corridor will be situated between original buildings, from the cafeteria to the fine arts building and theater. A new roof for the Conable Technology Building would shore up one that was part of the original 2000 structure, which has developed leaks.

Afternoon News Brief

Fantasia Speed

Dontaya Kyles

21-year-old Fantasia Speed of Rochester and 30-year-old Dontaya Kyles of Greece, are each charged with grand larceny in the 3rd degree with property value exceeding $3,000, after an investigation into a larceny complaint at the Walmart on Veteran’s Memorial Drive on June 20. Speed and Kyles allegedly passed all points of purchase without paying for the merchandise. Speed was additionally charged with conspiracy and arrested on a warrant for criminal possession of stolen property. Kyles was arraigned in Batavia Town Court and released on her own recognizance. She will re-appear in Batavia Town Court on August 8th.

 

Raccoon

Two Attica residents have been fined $500 each for keeping a raccoon as a pet; because raccoons are at higher risk than other animals for contracting rabies, they’re considered a dangerous wild animal in New York State. The man and his girlfriend reportedly took the animal to a pet store to get food and supplies; one of the store’s employees contacted authorities. Using store surveillance cameras and license plate information, The Department of Environmental Conservation tracked them down. The animal tested negative for rabies.  Photo provided by The Department of Environmental Conservation.

 

Shelby Fire Truck

Clutter both outside and inside a burning house significantly hampered firemen’s efforts to get inside and save a 22-year-old man. The fire on Freeman Road in Shelby was believed to have started in the kitchen; upon first responders’ arrival, they assisted to rescue three individuals hanging outside a window; two were okay once safely out of the house, however one of the individuals was transported to the Erie County Medical Center by Mercy Flight helicopter. When firemen attempted to access the house to assist the man still inside, they found both of the front doors were boarded over, with cabinets and other debris in front. The only other access to the house was in the rear, where there was so much clutter firemen couldn’t get inside. Once debris was cleared and firefighters could enter, they found the man had died.

 

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lowered the Covid community level for both Genesee and Orleans counties from medium to low. The two counties were both put in the high community level about two months ago. But the confirmed Covid cases have steadily been dropping. Orleans reported 15 cases total from June 15 to 21, which was down from 36 the week before. Genesee reported 34 cases, down from 43 the previous week. To put this in perspective, Genesee County had 278 cases during the third week of April.

 

 

Chris Jacobs

Brian Higgins

Two local congressmen are casting doubts over President Biden’s call for a gas tax holiday to help manage rising gas prices. Buffalo Congressman Brian Higgins and Orchard Park Congressman Chris Jacobs say something needs to be done to help ease the pain at the pump for consumers but pausing the federal gas tax is not the way to do it. Higgins, a Democrat, says a recent survey shows the temporary suspension of the state gas tax has not had a substantial impact on local gas prices. And Jacobs, a Republican, calls it a band-aid on the real problem.

 

Tomorrow there will be some road construction for you to stay mindful of…delays will occur during the second phase of paving work on Columbia, Seneca and Miller Avenues. The work is scheduled for tomorrow from 7:00am to 3:00pm. Stretches of each avenue will be closed to all through traffic during times of roadwork. Local traffic will be permitted to and from their property but should plan accordingly for delays and there is no parking on the street when work is underway. The project is weather dependent. If work is postponed it shall progress the next workday. Call the Bureau of Maintenance at (585) 345-6400 Option 1 for more information.

 

40-year-old Lauren Kay Pellegrino of West Main Street, Le Roy, is charged with assault and menacing. She is accused of assaulting another person on June 20 and has been arrested and arraigned in Le Roy Town Court. She was released on her own recognizance and an order of protection was issued for her alleged victim.

 

The U.S. Department of Education has announced that Genesee Community College’s TRiO Upward Bound Program will receive a 5-year, $3 million federal Upward Bound grant to be equally divided between Genesee and Wyoming counties. The funding will provide opportunities to assist more low-income students who would be the first members of their families to earn degrees, to prepare for and enroll in college. Upward Bound is an intensive intervention program that prepares students for higher education through various enrichment courses. At least two-thirds of the students in each local Upward Bound program are from low-income economic backgrounds and families in which neither parent has a bachelor’s degree. GCC’s Upward Bound program services seven schools in Genesee and Wyoming Counties.

 

Rochester New York

A survey says Rochester is among the worst run cities in the nation. The survey comes from the financial website WalletHub. It evaluated the top 150 cities in the United States according to credit rating, debt, crime rate and other categories. Rochester fell to Number 13 among the lowest-ranked cities. Washington D-C and San Francisco ranked at the bottom because of their city debt per capita.

 

Dr Lydia T Wright School of Excellence

Parents of students attending Dr. Lydia T. Wright School are upset that many in the graduating class didn’t move on to high school. Earlier this week, parents learned only eight of the 65 eighth grade students at the school would be graduating. Then Tuesday, administrators said the number grew to 17 and yesterday, 39 students took part in graduation ceremonies. Parents say they were never notified that their children were not moving up. Administrators now say another ceremony may be held tomorrow to graduate students who were not part yesterday’s ceremony.

 

The City of Henrietta has rejected a request for a permit by Planned Parenthood to operate a clinic in the city. Last week, New York State had expanded legal protections for people seeking and providing abortion. But at a packed meeting last night, the Henrietta Town Board narrowly voted down the request by Planned Parenthood. Last year, a proposal to build a Planned Parenthood clinic in Brighton won approval by the city’s Planning Board.

 

Morning News Brief

Genesee County Ways and Means Board has approved 55 thousand dollars for the Spectrum Health and Human Services to provide after hours mental health services till the end of the year.  Director of Community Mental Health Services Lynda Battaglia had previously said that the county’s day treatment program was closed, and funding for that will be redirected to the after-hours, on-call mental health needs of the county.  Staff had said that, due to staffing shortages, fully running the mental health services, especially after regular hours, would be impossible.  Spectrum Health is located in Orchard Park and their contract with the county was set to run out June 30th.

According to the World Health Organization, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety spiked up at least 25 percent due to the COVID pandemic and its associated lockdowns and the New York State Attorney General’s office is looking for ways to help.  Attorney General Letitia James hosted a several hour open forum Wednesday.  Most of the participants were mental health professionals.  Their biggest suggestions were more funding and more beds in mental health facilities.  The number of emergency visits related to mental health went up by 31 percent last year, specifically in adolescents.  James said her office would review the suggestions and move forward from there.

Looking for a summer job?  Governor Hochul announced that there are over 15 thousand job opportunities available in New York State covering a variety of industries and in every part of the state.  Interested applicants can find the listed openings on the department of labors seasonal works site or by following the link at wbtai.com.  There is also help with filling out the applications split up by age group.

https://seasonalworks.labor.ny.gov/

https://dol.ny.gov/youth-ages-14-17

https://dol.ny.gov/youth-ages-18-24

New York State is increasing the pay for lifeguards this year as the state has had a shortage for the past several years.  New York Governor Kathy Hochul said this is to combat a staffing shortage at state park beaches and pools as well as campgrounds and day-use area beaches.  Starting pay for lifeguards at upstate facilities will increase 34% from $14.95 per hour to $20 per hour.  The new pay rates will go into effect immediately for lifeguards at swimming facilities operated by the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and the Department of Environmental conservation.  Lifeguarding can start at 15 years old.

Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern announced a change in leadership with Robert Harker taking the reins.  Harker was announced as the new executive director on Wednesday and he hopes to promote agency growth, and expand services, allowing it to be of even greater service to people in need in the Genesee / Orleans County areas.  Donations, volunteers, and ideas are always welcome. Bob can be reached at (585) 589-9210.

Afternoon News Brief

A heat advisory has been issued for this afternoon in the GLOW region. The advisory is in effect until 6:00pm, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo. Heat index values in the mid-to-upper 90s are expected. Hot temperatures and high humidity may cause heat illnesses to occur. People are advised to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Watch pets, small children and the elderly for signs of heat exhaustion. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. And if you work or spend time outside, take extra precautions…When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Call 911 in the event of heat stroke. The advisory also includes Niagara, Monroe, Ontario and Wayne counties.

 

Jae Lim

A Monroe County grand jury has indicted the owner of a local martial arts studio on sexual abuse and child endangerment charges. According to prosecutors, 50-year-old Jae Lim of Master Lim’s Taekwondo in Brockport allegedly touched a 12-year-old in a sexual manner. Right now, investigators believe that this was an isolated incident. Lim is in the Monroe County Jail without bail and a judge has also issued an order of protection for the victim.

 

A traffic alert for you…delays will occur during the second phase of paving work on Columbia, Seneca and Miller Avenues. The work is scheduled for this Friday from 7:00am to 3:00pm. Stretches of each avenue will be closed to all through traffic during times of roadwork. Local traffic will be permitted to and from their property but should plan accordingly for delays and there is no parking on the street when work is underway. The project is weather dependent. If work is postponed it shall progress the next workday. Call the Bureau of Maintenance at (585) 345-6400 Option 1 for more information.

 

According to Triple A this morning, the average national price of regular gas has slipped to under $5.00 per gallon; it’s the first time this closely watched number has decreased in nine weeks. Experts say it’s an indication that prices will be slightly lower before the July 4th holiday. The U.S. Energy Information Administration tells us that pump prices are declining in part because of a reduction in demand for fuel, as more drivers change daily routines and prioritize budgets for recreational travel. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.88; the same as it was yesterday, but down 3 cents from a week ago.

 

With just days until the June 28th primary, four Republican candidates in the race for New York governor have held their third and final debate. Andrew Giuliani, Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin, businessman Harry Wilson, and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino all gathered on stage in Rochester last night. There were a variety of topics discussed including crime, immigration, abortion and gun control. The candidates also criticized Governor Hochul, who is the frontrunner to be the Democratic Party’s nominee in November.

 

A new report says a 300-million-dollar Amazon regional distribution center in the Town of Niagara could be just weeks away from receiving its final approvals. According to Buffalo Business First, the planning board has already signed off on the facility, which will be located on Lockport Road near Niagara Falls International Airport. Now, the town board is going to begin an environmental review before the project advances to the zoning board. If the necessary approvals are in place soon, construction could start this fall.

 

Tonawandas Gateway Harbor stage

A popular concert series that’s been entertaining people across Western New York for years is going to be kicking off tonight. Tonawandas Gateway Harbor Concerts will happen each Wednesday through the end of August at Gateway Harbor Park. Among the musicians who are set to perform in the coming weeks are Chicago Authority, A-List, and the Dave Constantino Band. Each show begins at 6:00pm and more information about each concert can found online.

 

The Muckdogs are number 1 in the league after their 5 to 0 win over the Niagara Power Monday night. Even with the Power getting 13 hits they could not score a run. The Muckdogs scored once in the second inning, three in the third, and one in the fifth. They are now 9 and 2, a half game ahead of the Utica Blue sox. They are home again tonight at 7 pm to face off against Watertown.

 

A pilot has been taken to the hospital following a single-engine plane crash in Canandaigua. The Ontario County Sheriff’s Department says the aircraft went down in a field yesterday. The pilot ejected moments before impact and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Both the FAA and sheriff’s office are looking into what caused the crash.

 

Morning News Brief

There is a heat advisory in effect until 6pm for Genesee, Orleans and Livingston counties.  The heat index is predicted to go to the upper 90s to near 100 degrees from the shore of Lake Ontario to Letchworth.  Remember to drink plenty of fluids and stay in the shade or in air conditioning.  Plan not to work outside unless absolutely necessary.  Watch pets and small children for signs of heat exhaustion and check on elderly loved ones.

A hiker found themselves in a sticky situation Monday at Letchworth State Park.  Around 9:45 pm state Police responded to the park to the report of a hiker who had fallen into the gorge.  The High Angle Rescue Team were able to locate, contact and then rappel down to the hiker who was 150-200 feet down the gorge wall.  They were able to extricate the hiker using ropes.  The hiker only had minor injuries and was evaluated at the scene by EMTs.  They were cited by the police.  

Are you thirsty on these hot days?  There is a way to wet your whistle and help babies at UMMC at the same time.  Each year, more than 500 babies are born at United Memorial Medical Center.  Soon after birth, the newborns are swaddled for comfort and safe sleeping.  The American Academy of Pediatrics says when done correctly, swaddling is an effective technique to calm infants and promote sleep.  Thursday at Centennial Park from 5 to 7 pm, UMMC staff and friends are having a lemonade sale with kids setting up lemonade stands to buy swaddles for babies.  Stop by and buy a glass of refreshment to give babies a better beginning.  A maternity nurse, the director of the program and volunteers will be on hand to talk about what they do.

It’s not just the price on gallons of gas that have risen.  The price has affected prices on other goods as well.  The average price of a gallon of milk has risen by 50 cents since the beginning of the year in part because of rising gas prices.  Western NY dairy farmers are saying the price of bringing their milk to market has nearly doubled due to fertilizer prices doubling and gas prices shooting even higher.  The higher prices have also slowed everything down.  Robert Hoover the Second of Hoover Dairy says supplies and equipment that used to take a week to get are now backordered for months and shipping has become more expensive.  Even with the state gas tax suspension and county level caps and the predicted call to suspend the federal gas tax these slow downs and price hikes will be felt for a long time.

Genesee Community College’s TRio Upward Bound program is receiving a 5 year, 1.5 million dollar grant for both Genesee and Wyoming county to help low income students who would be the first in their families to earn college degrees.  Upward Bound is an intensive intervention program that prepares students for higher education through various enrichment courses. At least two-thirds of the students in each local Upward Bound program are from low-income economic backgrounds and families in which neither parent has a bachelor’s degree. GCC’s Upward Bound program services seven schools in Genesee and Wyoming Counties.  As of 2021, over 3,000 TRiO projects serve approximately 855,000 participants. TRiO projects are in every state and territory in the nation.

The Muckdogs are number 1 in the league after their 5 to 0 win over the Niagara Power Monday night.  Even with the Power getting 13 hits they couldn’t get a single run.  The Muckdogs scored once in the second inning, three in the third, and one in the fifth.  They are now 9 and 2, a half game ahead of the Utica Blue sox.  They are home again tonight at 7 pm to face off against Watertown.  

 

Afternoon News Brief

Erica Raphael

A Batavia woman with a long criminal history and who has repeatedly failed to appear in court when scheduled to, is now in jail following a shoplifting complaint. 37-year-old Erica Raphael, a convicted felon, along with 31-year-old Justin Baehr, both from Batavia, have been charged following a shoplifting complaint at the Wal-Mart in Warsaw, with both occasions occurring early last month. It is alleged Raphael and Baehr filled up a cart with items, attempted to leave the store through the lawn and garden doors, which turned out to be locked. They abandoned the cart and left through the front doors, where they stole a bicycle from an outside display. It turned out that Raphael had been banned from entering that particular store due to previous shoplifting. Raphael is being held in Wyoming County Jail; Baehr was released on his own recognizance; both are scheduled to return to the Town of Warsaw Court on July 11. Raphael has a long history of petit larceny and arrests that date back to at least 2009.

 

State records show that health insurance providers are seeking an average rate increase of 18.7% next year for individuals and 16.5% for small group plans. The proposed insurance premium rate hikes exceeded recent years. Insurers cited, in part, the ongoing health-related costs of COVID-19 and inflation as reasons for seeking the rate increases. The changes will impact millions of state residents who are enrolled in individual and small group plans directly through private insurers or through New York State of Health. Now, the state Department of Financial Services, which regulates insurers, will review the rate proposals and consider adjustments before finalizing the 2023 rates in August. Historically, the state agency has significantly reduced the rates from those sought by insurers.

 

Four ounces of marijuana

Marijuana use is now legal in the State of New York, which means at festivals, fairs or anywhere that smoking is allowed, marijuana is also allowed. Possession is limited to 3 ounces or less. Users must be 21 and up and driving under the influence is illegal. So far police departments across the region have not reported any problems.

 

 

36-year-old Mary Dorman of Batavia is charged with DWI, failure to keep right, and moving unsafely between lanes. Dorman was involved in a head-on collision earlier this month (June 4) on Bank Street with a Batavia Police Department patrol vehicle. Her vehicle also struck a parked car. Dorman was arraigned in City Court and released on her own recognizance.

 

Governor Hochul has officially signed off on a piece of legislation aimed at bolstering the Empire State’s election laws. Under the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act Of New York, the state will provide language assistance to voters who are not proficient in English and punish those who try to deceive voters or unlawfully block them from voting. The act also reinstates a pre-clearance provision requiring certain jurisdictions to prove new election laws don’t discriminate against voters of color. The governor says at a time when the very foundation of democracy is being threatened, New York is leading the nation with laws protecting the right to vote.

 

Four Republicans who are running for New York governor have taken part in their second debate. Last night, Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin, businessman Harry Wilson, ex-Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Andrew Giuliani discussed issues such as COVID-19 related mandates and bail reform. The candidates also took the opportunity to attack each other during the debate. The GOP primary is coming up next Tuesday and the winner will take on either Governor Hochul, Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi or New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams in November.

 

Delaware North is a food, beverage and retail partner with the Buffalo Bills is holding the first of two job fairs today. The company wants to fill positions at Highmark Stadium. The hiring event goes from 5:30pm until 7:30pm at the ADPRO Sports Training Center located on Abbott Road in Orchard Park. The second job fair will be July 16th from 11:00am until 1:00pm at the same location. Among the positions that are available include cashiers, servers, vendors and line cooks. More information can be found online at careers.delawarenorth.com.

 

A food drive to help people affected by a mass shooting in Buffalo last month will continue to be up and running through this Saturday. Uniting and Healing through Hope says donations can be dropped off at any one of more than 20 locations across Monroe County such as police stations, churches and libraries. In addition to food, items that are still needed include toothpaste, shampoo, diapers and detergent. More information can be found online at unitingthroughhope.com.

 

45-year-old Thomas Michael Busch of Willow Street, Lockport, has been charged with possession of a sexual performance, by a child. Busch was arrested in Darien following an investigation into digital images on an electronic device in his possession He was released on an appearance ticket.

 

The search for a jet skier who was reported missing over the weekend is going to resume today. Monroe County deputies say Onofhil Nieves was last seen Saturday in the area of Durand Eastman Beach. Crews have been searching both the water and land near the beach for days but so far there have been no signs of Nieves’ whereabouts. Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s department at 585-753-4178.

 

Morning News Brief

Governor Hochul signed the John Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York into law Monday on the day Juneteenth was celebrated.  The act recognizes that New York’s voter laws are already superior at protecting voting rights when compared to federal voting laws but also are written to assert that New York has discrimination built into its laws which has lead to a disparity in voter turnout and representation.  This act is supposed to stop Voter Dilution, Suppression, Intimidation, Deception, and Obstruction and expand language assistance to minorities who don’t speak English.  The Republican and conservative parties opposed the act, saying it attempts to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, is far too broad, vague and expensive and doesn’t spell out how it would accomplish what it sets out to do.  They are also concerned that it imposes civil penalties on perceived violations that are hard to prove and are based on a shifting idea of a “protected class” that is entirely subjective.

With Marijuana use being legal in the State of New York, festivals and fairs where smoking is allowed may have a different odor to them.  Anywhere where smoking is allowed, marijuana is also allowed.  Possession is limited to 3 ounces or less.  Users must be 21 and up and driving under the influence is illegal.  So far police departments have not reported running into any problems at festivals.  

New York’s new law banning body armor is getting criticism by gun rights advocates and republican lawmakers.  Not because of what it bans, but what it doesn’t ban.  The law which bars sales of bullet-resistant vests to most civilians doesn’t cover the type of armor worn by the man accused of killing 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket.  The accused gunman wore a steel-plated vest, an armor strong enough to stop a handgun round fired by a store security guard who tried to halt the rampage.  A law hastily enacted by state lawmakers after the attack restricts sales of vests defined as “bullet-resistant soft body armor.”  Brad Pedell, who runs 221B Tactical in New York City complains the law is too vague.  Assemblymember Jonathon Jacobson, a lead sponsor of the legislation, told The Associated Press he would “be glad to amend the law to make it even stronger.”

36 Year old Mary Dorman of Batavia is charged with DWI, failure to keep right, and moving from a lane unsafely on June 4th.  How did the police catch her?  She ran head on into a Batavia Police patrol vehicle at around 10:45 that evening.  She also hit a parked car.  

Delaware North, the food, beverage and retail partner for the Buffalo Bills is holding jobs fairs for Highmark Stadium for the 2022 season.  The first fair is today from 5:30 to 7:30 and the second is on July 16th.  Both are held at ADPRO Sports Training Center on Abbot Rd in Buffalo.  Positions needing to be filled are: Cashiers, Suite Runners, Servers, Line Cooks, Prep Cooks, Supervisors, Dishwashers, Vendors and Warehouse Operators. 

Afternoon News Brief

Genesee County Sheriffs tell us that earlier this month, they responded to the parking lot of Dick’s Sporting Goods, following a complaint that a man was trying to sell a gold ring for cash. Following the investigation, it became evident that the man and a female passenger in his car were perpetrating a scam that has previously been identified by law enforcement. Genesee County Sheriff’s are asking any citizens who purchased jewelry from an individual in this area, including the Walmart and Batavia Downs parking lots, to contact them directly at 585-345-3000 (Investigator Ryan DuLong, ext. 3572; or Investigator Erik Andre, ext. 3574).

 

The Genesee County Board of Elections is seeking to hire poll workers for election days and early voting days. Individuals are required to attend a two-and-half-hour paid training session and are paid a competitive daily rate. Anyone interested in being a poll worker should call Genesee County Board of Elections at 585-815-7804.

 

Governor Hochul

Governor Hochul has announced New York State is making a $50,000,000 investment to help improve the lives of people who live in Buffalo’s East Side neighborhood. Over the weekend, the governor said money would go towards things like job training, housing initiatives and supporting small businesses. The area was devastated May 14th when a gunman opened fire at the Tops supermarket on Jefferson Avenue, killing 10 people and injuring three more in what’s been called a racially motivated attack. The store is expected to reopen sometime next month.

 

Old electronic devices

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is sponsoring an electronic waste-recycling event with Sunnking from 8:30am until noon this Saturday, June 25, at the parking lot of 5130 E. Main Street. That’s next to National Grid, in the town of Batavia. Most e-waste will be accepted, including cell phones, computers, printers and by the way, please no more than 4 televisions or monitors per carload. Anyone interested in attending this event must pre-register:  https://form.jotform.com/Sunnking/clone-of-batavia-2022

 

28-year-old Megan Gregg of Batavia has been arrested on charges of endangering the welfare of a child. It’s alleged that she left controlled prescription pills and drug paraphernalia in an area that was accessible to a child that lives in the residence. Gregg was issued an appearance ticket for a future court date.  Also, 19-year-old McKenzie O’Connell of Batavia has been arrested on two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. O’Connell allegedly provided marijuana to two juveniles and permitted them to smoke it in her residence. She was issued an appearance ticket returnable to Batavia City Court next week and released. And 40-year-old Erik Motquin of Batavia has been arrested and charged with disorderly conduct following a fight in a public building on East Main Street. He was issued an appearance ticket and is scheduled to appear in Batavia City Court tomorrow for arraignment.

 

53-year-old Paula Kingdollar of Covington was arrested for petit larceny. Troopers investigating the complaint from the owner of a produce stand on Bank Street Road in the Town of Batavia, determined Kingdollar had allegedly taken produce valued at $33.00 without paying for it. Kingdollar was arrested and released with an appearance ticket for Batavia Town Court and is due back in court next month.

 

Western New York drivers are seeing consistent prices at the gas pumps these days. According to Triple A this morning, the average cost for a gallon of regular fuel is $4.98 in our region. That’s the same as it was last week but 14 cents more than this time one month ago is and $1.89 higher than a year ago. The state average is now sitting at $5.01 a gallon and the national average is $4.98. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.89; same as it was yesterday and down 3 cents from a week ago. By the way, average price for diesel here is $6.26 per gallon.

 

A traffic alert to stay mindful of over the next few days:  Columbia Avenue, Seneca Avenue, and Miller Avenue will experience traffic delays starting tomorrow, June 21st through Friday, June 24th from 7:00am to 3:00pm. The roads will be closed to all through traffic for paving. While local traffic will be permitted to and from their property, everyone 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.

 

The early voting period continues ahead of the upcoming June 28th primary and the state Attorney General’s Office says its Election Protection Hotline is up and running. The hotline can be reached by calling 866-390-2992 and will be available from 9:00am until 5:00pm through June 26th and from 6:00am until 9:00pm on primary day, the 28th. Written requests for election-related help can also be submitted using a form posted online. The AG’s office is reminding New Yorkers they have to right to vote free of intimidation in coercion.

 

Okay fine, I’ll share

No one picked all the winning numbers in this weekend’s Powerball drawing and that means even more money is up for grabs tonight. The top prize for this evening is now at least $296,000,000. A ticket to play the game is $2.00. Tonight’s drawing will be streamed live online. Please play responsibly.

 

 

The Buffalo Police Department is expected to release body camera footage of an officer-involved shooting in the coming days. According to investigators, 27-year-old Nakeem Haynes shot and killed 63-year-old Atlas Johnson near Broadway and Sears Street Friday night. At one point, Haynes was on the hood of a police vehicle and opened fire but no one was hit. The officers later ran after Haynes who ended up being shot several times. He was taken to Erie County Medical Center and is charged with attempted murder.

 

Kodie Skeels

State Police in Warsaw arrested 24-year-old Kodie Skeels, of Varysburg for strangulation, obstruction of breathing, and assault. Acting on an arrest warrant, Troopers went to Skeels’ residence and he was taken into custody. Skeels had allegedly been involved in domestic incidents on two different dates. He was remanded to the Wyoming County jail and is scheduled to appear in the Town of Sheldon Court next week.

 

Weekend News Brief

NY Congressman Joe Morelle is calling on the federal government to cleanup the mess in Rochester.  He said that the US Justice Department needs to address the gun violence in the Flour City.  A recent study from RIT’s Center for Public Safety Initiatives found that no other city’s per-capita homicide rate has increased at a faster rate than Rochester over the past two years.  So far the city has had 31 homicides in the first half of the year.  Last year there were 81 by the end of the year with the summer months being the deadliest. 

Batavia City Schools is making the move to hire a second School Resource Officer.  Superintendent Jason Smith believes that, given “recent tragic events over the past month” in Buffalo and Texas, that school safety concerns have once again been heightened.  These officers are not direct employees of the district, as they are subcontracted from the City Police Department. Smith has been talking to City Council, the city manager, and the police department about a possible arrangement. One officer would cover the high and middle schools while a second officer would cover Jackson Primary, John Kennedy Intermediate, and Robert Morris.  Smith said that funding is anticipated to come through the remote learning money from COVID relief.

Catholic Charities in Genesee and Orleans Counties is looking for people to do calling and visitation for the community’s elderly.   The Friendly Phones and Home Visitation programs depend on dedicated volunteers to provide weekly visits or phone calls to isolated seniors 60+ who live independently, or with family.  Program manager Linda Chadderdon said that “Not only do these interactions brighten our seniors’ days, but our volunteers also enjoy the time spent together.”  are you interested in brightening someone’s day?   Please call Catholic Charities at 585-343-0614, ext. 3804.

Coming to Buffalo’s Shea’s Theater are some big names in comedy.  Earthquake, Cedric the Entertainer, DL Hughley, Don DC Curry and Aida Rodriguez are putting on the Jokes for Our Folks show on Tuesday June 28th.  All proceeds will be donated to Feed Buffalo.  Tickets can be bought at Ticketmaster.

Mercy Flight is hosting its biggest annual fundraiser at the Buffalo Riverworks this year.  The BASH for Mercy Flight will be held on September 24th.  The fundraiser will feature Nerds Gone Wild and DJ Milk, a fireworks show by Skylighters, a silent auction, food and drinks and more.  Tickets for the event are 75 dollars a person, 50 for a pack of 4.

The Quicklees on the corner of Oak St and Noonan is now partially open for business.  The gas station which sits in the place of the former Bob Evans restaurant gasoline pumps are working and the mini mart inside is open.  The Tim Hortons and drive through will not be open for another month and a half.

Afternoon News Brief

Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that a total of $567 million is available to help low-income electric and gas utility customers pay off past-due utility bills. Under the bill credit program, all State help available for utility bill assistance will be coordinated to ensure maximum benefits to ratepayers and to avoid duplication of efforts. This includes relief available to low-income customers for rental assistance, directed to utilities to eliminate pandemic-related unpaid utility bills for low-income households. This one-time bill credit, which will be applied to affected customers’ bills by the utilities, requires no action by existing low-income customers enrolled in the EAP to receive the benefit. It is anticipated the bill credit will be applied to customers’ accounts by August 1, 2022.

Early voting begins Saturday across the GLOW region for voters registered in the Democratic or Republican primaries. Democrats will vote on a candidate for governor and lieutenant governor. Republican voters will choose a candidate for governor, but not lieutenant governor. Only Republicans and Democrats are eligible to participate in their respective primaries, since New York is a closed primary state. The primary is June 28. A second primary is scheduled for Aug. 23 and feature congressional and Senate candidates. On June 28, polling sites around Genesee County will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Check your poll site at https://voterlookup.elections.ny.gov/ or call Genesee County Board of Elections at (585) 815-7804. Early voting will begin tomorrow and continue through June 26 at the Arc Community Center, 38 Woodrow Rd., Batavia. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday through Monday; noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 23 to 26.

 

BB gun

A teenager is continuing to recover after being accidentally shot with a BB gun in Rochester. Police say two children were playing with the weapon yesterday when it went off, hitting the 13-year-old victim in the upper body. The teen was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries but is currently in stable condition. The incident is still under investigation.

 

Peyton Gendron

The man accused of carrying out the mass shooting at Tops in Buffalo that left 10 people dead has made another appearance in court. Yesterday, 18-year-old Peyton Gendron was in front of a judge, just one day after federal charges were announced against him that could result in the death penalty. Prosecutors say Gendron opened fire at the Jefferson Avenue supermarket in what they’re calling a racially motivated attack. He remains held behind bars without bail.

 

With the number of New Yorkers testing positive for the coronavirus on the decline, the state Department of Health is closing down all of its mass COVID-19 vaccination sites. Last year, the vaccination sites were set up to distribute COVID-19 vaccine to the public quickly and efficiently. So far, over 90-percent of New Yorkers 18 and older have received at least one vaccine dose.

 

The Food and Drug Administration today has authorized the first COVID-19 shots for infants at least 6 months of age and preschoolers; vaccinations could begin as early as next week. That means kids under 5 — roughly 18 million youngsters — are eligible for the shots, about 1-1/2 years after the vaccines first became available in the United States for use with the most vulnerable adults, who had been hit the hardest during the pandemic. There’s one step left: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends how to use the vaccines and its vaccine advisers are set to discuss the shots for the youngest kids today and vote on in tomorrow.

 

People across Western New York will be gathering this weekend to celebrate Juneteenth. In Buffalo, an event is taking place both Saturday and Sunday at Martin Luther King Junior Park. The 47th annual gathering is going to feature historical tours and education programs, arts and cultural displays, food, and a health and wellness pavilion. Juneteenth, short for June Nineteenth, is a day, which commemorates the end of legalized slavery in the United States.

 

 

Governor Hochul during debate

Governor Hochul and the two candidates who are looking to defeat her in the Democratic primary later this month have squared off in their final debate. Last night, the governor as well as Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams discussed a variety of topics such as gun violence and whether they’d be willing to accept an endorsement from former Governor Andrew Cuomo. Only Suozzi said he’d welcome the support of Cuomo who he noted is still very popular in New York. Primary day is Tuesday, June 28th.

 

The Buffalo Bills have announced when they’ll be kicking off training camp to begin their preparations for the upcoming season. The Bills will be taking the field at Saint John Fisher College in Rochester on July 24th. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Bills held their last two training camps at Highmark Stadium. Fans are going to be able to attend at no cost and mobile tickets will be available to the entire general public July 14th. For more information, click on this link:  buffalobills.com/trainingcamp The Bills start their regular season September 8th against the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

 

Garth Brooks

Fans of country music superstar Garth Brooks will finally get the chance to purchase tickets to his upcoming show at Highmark Stadium. Brooks is set to take the stage in Orchard Park on Saturday, July 23rd. Tickets were supposed to be available last month, but Brooks postponed the sale in the aftermath of the Tops supermarket shooting. The seats are now available through Ticketmaster. There will be an 8-ticket limit on purchases.

 

Ok fine, I’ll share

Lottery players are lining up to buy their tickets over the next couple of days as they take their shot at winning two big jackpots. The prize up for grabs during tonight’s Mega Millions drawing is $273,000,000 and whoever picks the correct Powerball numbers tomorrow will receive at least $279,000,000. The price of a ticket for each game is $2.00 and the Mega Millions and Powerball drawings will be streamed live online. Please play responsibly

 

 

Morning News Brief

Representatives Chris Jacobs, Brian Higgins and Grace Meng introduced legislation in the US House of Representatives to restrict what they call enhanced body armor to law enforcement, active duty military and other public servants and make it illegal for private citizens to purchase, sell, trade or own.  The legislation is named after Aaron Salter Jr. the TOPs security guard and retired police officer who shot the shooter as he entered the Jefferson road TOPs.  The shooter was wearing body armor which stopped the bullet and allowed him to kill Salter and continue on his spree.  Representative Jacobs said, “There is simply no reason for enhanced body armor to be used without restriction on our streets. It puts others in extraordinary danger and prevents the swift termination of a dangerous threat.”

After 2 years of cool cats and groovy dudes not being able to come together for the Rochester International Jazz Festival it is finally back.  From today till the 25th the Jazz Festival will take over more than 20 venues and host hundreds of performances.  This is the 19th International Jazz Festival with free and paid shows.  The headliners are Chris Botti, Devon Allman Project and many more and all the headliners shows are free.  For details go to Rocehsterjazz.com.

Do you have past due gas or electric utility bills?  Governor Hochul announced on Thursday that there is 557 million dollars available for low income households to pay off their bills.  All you have to do to get access to this money is be enrolled in the Energy Affordability Program by December 31st.  The program will send a one time credit to the utility company to pay off past due balances.  The credit will start going out August 1st.

Finger 11 will no longer be coming to Batavia Downs on June 24th during the Rockin’ the Downs concert series.  Instead, The Sweet, the legendary band that shot to the top of the charts in the 70s with songs such as Ballroom Blitz and Little Willy, will be playing that evening.  The Downs wants everyone to please note that tickets purchased for the Finger 11 concert will still be honored on that date.  Those wishing for a refund may do so through their point of purchase.  Info can be found inside of your ticket confirmation email.  Tickets purchased at the Lucky Treasures gift shop may be refunded during normal gift shop hours.

The Buffalo Bills have announced the 2022 training camp schedule as the team is set to return to St. John Fisher College after two years away due to COVID-19.  All fans attending will be required to obtain a mobile ticket, which will be available online here.  Season ticket members can claim tickets starting at 10 a.m. on July 13. Registered Bills Mobile App users can secure their tickets from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on July 14.  The tickets will be open to the general public after 1 p.m. on July 14. There is a limit of four tickets per account.  For the complete schedule go to wbtai.com.

You can find the schedule below:

Sunday, July 24 (9:45 am)

Monday, July 25 (9:45 am)

Wednesday, July 27 (9:45 am)

Friday, July 29 (9:45 am)

Saturday, July 30 (9:45 am)

Monday, August 1 (9:45 am)

Tuesday, August 2 (9:45 am)

Thursday, August 4 (9:45 am)

Friday, August 5 (5:30 pm) at Highmark Stadium – Return of the Blue and Red

Sunday, August 7 (11:45 am)

Wednesday, August 10 (9:45 am)

Thursday, August 11 (9:45 am)

The team said ticket details for the ‘Return of the Blue and Red’ practice at Highmark Stadium will be announced at a later date.

Afternoon News Brief

Jennifer Moton

37-year-old Jennifer Moton of Rochester, has been charged with two counts of criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance and promoting prison contraband. Moton was arrested following a traffic stop on a warrant based on a sealed Grand Jury indictment in Genesee County for allegedly selling crack cocaine to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force in the City of Batavia. While Morton was being processed at the jail, information was developed that resulted in a search warrant. Moton was allegedly found in possession of 41 pre-packaged bags of crack cocaine along with a bulk quantity of crack cocaine. She was arraigned in Genesee County Court and released on her own recognizance and also arraigned in Town of Stafford court and similarly released on her own recognizance.

 

Anyone who has been outside today is already well aware of the high temperature and humidity. This has resulted is a heat advisory for Western NY, in effect until 6:00pm this evening. The National Weather Service warns us that the heat index will be in the upper 90s throughout the afternoon. High humidity and heat may cause heat illnesses to occur. Remember to drink plenty of water and get in the shade or air conditioning if you start feeling hot or light headed. Young children, the elderly, and pets are especially vulnerable as they may not know their limits or perceive the problem until it has advanced.

 

Brandon Pfeifer

Mercy Flight flew a man to Strong Memorial Hospital. This, after his motorcycle was struck by a car pulling out on to Clinton Street from Terry Hills Golf Course yesterday afternoon. 46-year-old Brandon Pfeifer of Chili was thrown about 4 feet and suffered lower leg injuries and an injury to his left arm, when he was t-boned by a Chevrolet Equinox driven by 70-year-old Dale Gillmer of Amherst. Gillmer was cited for failure to yield the right of way; he claimed he could not see the motorcycle. Another person was charged with failure to obey a designated flag person after ignoring and driving around an accident barricade. When police caught up with that individual on the green at Terry Hills the individual was ticketed after he reportedly claimed that his tee-time was more important than someone fighting for their life in the middle of the road. Alcohol was not believed to be a factor in either incident. Photo: LinkedIn

 

63-year-old Arthur Golden of Batavia is charged with criminal contempt and burglary. He is accused of contacting a person he was ordered not to contact and has been ordered held without bail.

 

 

Payton Gendron

The suspect in that mass shooting at Tops in Buffalo last month is now facing 26 federal charges. Yesterday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland visited Buffalo and talked with family members of the victims who were killed at the Jefferson Avenue store back on May 14th. Garland then revealed the additional charges that have been filed against Payton Gendron that could make him eligible to receive the death penalty. Gendron has already pleaded not guilty to dozens of state charges and is in jail without bail.

 

Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch

The Batavia Police Department is conducting a Civilian Response to Active Shooter/Threat Events Class next week. There are two options to choose from — 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 22 or 6 to 9 p.m., Thursday, June 23 at City Hall, 1 Batavia City Centre. This course is open to the public and is free of charge; Batavia residents will be given first preference. The class will provide strategies, guidance, and a plan for surviving shooter and threat events. Although there will be signs advising attendees about the sensitive nature of the course, people may want to consider whether they want to remain for the entire portion of the presentation due to the nature of the subject matter. Seating is limited and registration is required. To sign up or for more information, contact aperkins@batavianewyork.com with your name, address, and phone number.

 

Some new data shows the spread of the coronavirus is continuing to slow down in our region. Right now, the 7 day average infection rate is sitting at just over 5%. At this time one week ago, the infection rate was 5.9%. While the number of new COVID-19 cases is dropping, people are still being urged to protect themselves and others from the illness by being vaccinated, getting their booster shots, and wearing a mask indoors. In a related story, Governor Hochul has renewed the state of emergency for the State of New York citing the COVID pandemic. In an executive order signed earlier this week, she cited that hospital admissions remain at over 100 per day; this was the primary reason she extended the order. On Tuesday, statewide hospitalizations were at 1,938, with 38 deaths. The Capital Region had a 7-day infection rate of 17.37 out of 100,000 New Yorkers with a percentage positivity of 7.09%. Central, NY was at 10.89 and Western NY, 11.85.

 

Governor Hochul

With just under two weeks until the primary, the three Democrats involved in the race for New York governor are taking part in another debate tonight. Governor Hochul, Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will be hoping to show voters why they’re the best choice to lead the state into the future. When the candidates met last week for a debate, they discussed several key issues including gun violence and the economy. Primary day is set for Tuesday, June 28th.

 

Governor Hochul has announced over 46-million-dollars in funding will be available for a summer jobs program to help disadvantaged youth. The program introduces young New Yorkers from low-income families into the labor market so they can develop useful skills by working at places like parks, summer camps and nursing homes. In order to be eligible, young people must be between the ages of 14 and 20 years old and have a household income below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Anyone who is interested in taking part in the program can sign up at their local department of social services.

 

Norzel Aldridge

A Buffalo man who shot and killed a youth football coach nearly three years ago is going to be spending a lot of time behind bars. Yesterday, a judge sentenced 20-year-old Jason Washington to 25 years in prison. Back in August 2019, Washington shot Norzel Aldridge behind the Harvey Austin School on Sycamore Street. Earlier this year, a jury found Washington not guilty of murder and attempted murder but did convict him on manslaughter and other charges.

 

Rochester police are still looking into a shooting that sent a 33-year-old man to the hospital. The man told investigators that he was hit by gunfire on Epworth Street last night. The victim, whose name hasn’t been released, suffered a lower-body injury and is expected to be OK. Anyone with information on the case is asked to dial 911.

 

Lacritia Verstraete

Kiara Scott

A second arrest has been made in connection with the discovery of a man’s body in a parking lot behind Geneva Hospital. Police have charged 24-year-old Lacritia Verstraete with manslaughter and concealment of a human corpse, the same crimes 21-year-old Kiara Scott is accused of committing. Officials say 44-year-old Keith Morlang suffered a medical emergency earlier this month and instead of getting him treatment, Scott and Verstraete left him in the parking lot. Police haven’t revealed Morlang’s exact cause of death yet.

Morning News Brief

A man was flown by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital after his motorcycle was struck by a car pulling out from Clinton St near Terry Hills Golf Club Wednesday afternoon.  46 Year old Brandon Pfeifer of Rochester was thrown about 4 feet and suffered lower leg injuries and an arm injury when he was t-boned by a Chevy Equinox driven by 70 year old Dale Gillmer of Buffalo.  Gillmer was cited for failure to yield the right of way and claimed he couldn’t see the motorcycle.  Another person was charged with failure to obey a designated flag person when they went around the officer trying to get them to stop.  A deputy caught up with them on the green at Terry Hills they reportedly said “their tee-time was more important than someone fighting for their life in the middle of the road.”

 

There is a heat advisory for Western NY in effect.  From 10 this morning to 6 tonight the National Weather Service warns that the heat index will be in the upper 90s.  High humidity and heat may cause heat illnesses to occur.  Remember to drink plenty of water and get in the shade or air conditioning if you start feeling hot or light headed.  Young children and pets are most susceptible for heat exhaustion as they may not know their limits or to protect themselves.  

 

Governor Hochul has renewed the state of emergency for the State of New York citing the COVID pandemic.  In an executive order signed on Tuesday, she cites that hospital admissions remaining at over 100 per day were the reason to extend the order.  On Tuesday, statewide hospitalizations were at 1938, with 38 deaths.  The Capital Region had a 7 day infection rate of 17.37 out of 100,000 New Yorkers with a percentage positivity of 7.09%.  Central, NY at 10.89 and Western NY at 11.85.  

Continued violence in Rochester has caused some organizations to halt services out of fear for their safety.  Love, Rob and Amber, a pet food and supply delivery organization run by Suzanne Nugent, says they can no longer deliver in the city of Rochester because it isn’t safe anymore.  Nugent’s business has about 50 households that regularly order in the city.  She says that one of her delivery drivers, her sister Patty, narrowly avoided being shot once.  The business is working on setting up a pickup location in a safe place.

Seneca Park Zoo has some new fuzzy babies born earlier this month.  The Seneca Park Zoo’s two Canada lynx are the new parents to a litter of kittens.  Bianca gave birth to the kittens June 2, marking the first successful Canada lynx litter born at the zoo.  The kittens’ father is Gretzky, born in 2012. Bianca was born in 2013.  The zoo is in the midst of a baby boom. Olmsted the giraffe was born at the end of April.

Evening News Brief

The Department of Homeland Security is expressing concern that the recent mass shooting at a Tops store in Buffalo could inspire other attacks. A confidential document obtained by WKBW-TV says calls for copycat attacks are already circulating online and that minorities could be targeted by violence.
Officials say that the May 14th shooting at the Tops on Buffalo’s east side was racially-motivated.

Republican State Assemblyman Steve Hawley of Batavia says the just completed legislative session in Albany just didn’t do enough.
Hawley says the state budget is more bloated than ever before but does less for the average working family.
He said he was disappointed that the GOP plan to remove state sales taxes for two years on certain necessities were not every considered by the Democrat majority.

The co-owner of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres is currently undergoing treatment for what are being called unexpected health issues. In a statement, the family of Kim Pegula said yesterday she has been making progress over the last few days but didn’t reveal what her ailment is.

The Batavia Police Department will once again host the Community Night out.
It will be held on August 9th at St. Anthony’s.
The event was very successful last year brining elements of law enforcement together with the community.
There are sponsorships opportunities available. If you want to learn more contact Detective Matt Wojtasczck at BPD.

The 96th season of concerts in the park begins next Wednesday.
The Batavia Concert Band performs in Centennial Park at 7pm every Wednesday night starting on June 21 and continuing until August 3rd.
Bring your lawn chairs.

Midday News Brief

Rachel Tabelski

At least one city official is proposing a local law restricting the animals and fowl that residents can have within city limits. City Manager Rachael Tabelski Monday night talked about the proposal she came up with, using input from the city attorney’s office, for a local law restricting residents from bringing into the city or keeping a number of wild animals or farm animals. (including cattle, horses, sheep, goats, pigs, swine, llamas, alpacas, ducks, turkeys, geese, feral cats, ponies, donkeys and mules) There could be some exceptions, such as allowing residents to keep chickens as long as they are appropriately kept in a pen and do not create safety or health concerns; as well as providing shelter while transporting animals to special events or veterinary hospitals and clinics, including short-term boarding for medical procedures/conditions. City lawmakers are asking the Planning and Economic Development Committee to review the proposed restrictions.

 

Batavia Concert Band, 2021

The Batavia Concert Band announced their return for the 96th season of public concerts in Centennial Park this summer. Concerts will be held every Wednesday evening starting at 7:00pm from June 22nd through August 6th. The Band consists of 45-55 brass, woodwind and percussion players ranging from high school students to 60-year veterans. Many have professional experience, others are advanced amateur musicians. The Batavia Concert Band also announced the return of WBTA as the Official Media Sponsor for the 2022 summer concert series. Band members will be appearing on the “Main & Center” program, where they will go into some depth about the band’s makeup and its history. Also, be listening for weekly radio ads promoting the musical selections for the upcoming concerts, and announcing weekly sponsors. Photo courtesy of our news partner, The Batavian. Here is a link to the full story: https://www.thebatavian.com/press-release/batavia-concert-band-returns-june-22-for-96th-season/608360

 

Todd Baxter

Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter will be spending time in the nation’s capital today as he testifies in front of a Congressional subcommittee. Baxter is going to speak with the House Rules Committee’s Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process. The chairperson of the committee is 25th District Congressman Joseph Morelle. According to 13 WHAM, Baxter’s testimony is going to focus on several things including gun ownership.

 

Jefferson Avenue Tops

The Department of Homeland Security is expressing concern that the recent mass shooting at Tops store in Buffalo could inspire other attacks. A confidential document obtained by a Buffalo television station says calls for copycat attacks are already circulating online and that minorities could be targeted by violence. Officials say that the May 14th shooting at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue was racially-motivated. The man who allegedly carried it out, Payton Gendron, could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

 

The USS The Sullivans

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes says an additional $500,000 has been allocated to help cover the cost of repairs to the USS The Sullivans. While making the announcement yesterday, Peoples-Stokes revealed that the money is coming from state discretionary capital funds. The vessel suffered a massive hull breach back in April, which caused the boat to fill up with thousands of gallons of water. The historic World War 2 ship is still closed off to visitors.

 

Kim Pegula

The co-owner of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres is currently undergoing treatment for what are being called unexpected health issues. In a statement, the family of Kim Pegula said yesterday she has been making progress over the last few days but didn’t reveal what her ailment is. They also asked people to keep her in their prayers and to respect the family’s privacy. Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott said during his press conference yesterday that Kim and Terry Pegula are the best owners in the NFL.

 

Zachary McCaa

A Livingston County man has been arrested in connection with the brutal assault of an infant. According to officials, 26-year-old Zachary McCaa threw and shook the two-month old child at a residence in Caledonia last week. The young victim suffered a head injury and is currently in guarded condition at a hospital in Rochester. McCaa is charged with reckless assault and is being held behind bars on $25,000 bail.

Morning News Brief

The City of Rochester is in legal trouble for misleading investors according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The city, former finance director Rosiland Brooks-Harris, and former RCSD CFO Everton Sewell are accused of allegedly misleading investors in a $119 million bond in 2019 that included using documents with outdated financial information.  The documents allegedly did not indicate that the school district was experiencing financial issues due to overspending on teacher salaries.  Other charges were included against Rochester’s municipal advisor Capital Markets Advisor, and its principal, Richard Ganci, and its co-principal, Richard Tortora, with misleading clients and failing to inform them of conflicts in the budget.  The city released a statement saying it disagrees with the filing and is taking legal steps to defend itself and former financial director.  

A private college in East Rochester is no longer going to be a college.  Saint John Fisher College, Alma Mater of the Wegman family and home to Wegmans schools of nursing and pharmacy is changing from a college to a University.  The State Board of Regents approved the change to take place on July 1st.  Roberts Wesleyan and Nazareth College are also being considered for University status. 

The Batavia Concert Band announced their return for the 96th season of public concerts in Centennial Park this summer.  Concerts will be held on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on June 22 and 29, July 6, July 13, July 20, July 27 and Aug. 6.  The Band consists of 45-55 brass, woodwind and percussion players ranging from talented high school students to 60-year veterans. Many have professional experience, others are advanced amateur musicians.  The Batavia Concert Band also announces the return of WBTA as the Official Media Sponsor for the 2022 summer concert series.  Be on the lookout for appearances by band members on the “Main & Center” program, where they will go into some depth about the band’s makeup and its history.  Also, be listening for weekly radio ads promoting the musical selections for the upcoming concerts, and announcing weekly sponsors.

Students at Jackson Primary School learned how to respect the American Flag during flag day ceremonies on Tuesday.  The Genesee County Joint Veterans Honor Guard and Western NY National Cemetery Honor Guard came to the elementary school to share lessons about the flag, show how to fold it properly, and demonstrate proper flag hoisting.  Members of the Muckdogs were also on hand.  The students sang God Bless America and This Land Is Your Land.  Star Spangled pictures are available on The Batavian.

The president and CEO of Pegula Sports and Entertainment, Kim Pegula, is receiving medical care as a result of “some unexpected health issues,” according to a spokesperson for the Buffalo Bills.  The Bills, Sabres and Bandits all put out statements expressing their love for and prayers for Kim as she receives care.

Six Flags Darien Lake announced the grand opening of the Wahoo Wave at the Hurricane Harbor Waterpark and their new schedule of weekends till June 24th and weekdays with the exception of Tuesdays till Labor day.  No schedule for Fright Fest has been announced this year.  They also announced the new annual pass which is good for 12 months instead of simply being a season pass.  There are 3 options, each option has access to several Six Flags Parks and free parking. 

Afternoon News Brief

James Bumbarger

Perry Police tell us that James Bumbarger, a 41-year-old Attica resident, now faces a felony charge. He forced his way into an ex-girlfriend’s residence with an ax; she was not at home, at the time. Bumbarger said he was attempting to retrieve personal property but did not have permission to be at the residence. He was committed to Wyoming County Jail without bail and is to appear August 2 in Village Court. Bumbarger is an ex-con with a history of violence and sex abuse. He pleaded guilty in April 2016 to attempted assault and criminal possession of a weapon after stabbing and seriously injuring a man in November 2015. He was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison and released from Collins Correctional Facility on parole in July 2017, according to state records. Bumbarger is also a Level 2 sex offender after his conviction in August 2000 of first-degree sexual abuse for an incident involving a 19-year-old female in Warsaw.

 

 

Jerod Baltz

A Pavilion man has been acquitted of all charges in a four-year-old rape case that his attorney says should have never been prosecuted. 42-year-old Jerod Baltz of Pavilion was found not guilty of all charges against him, at the completion of a three-day bench trial with Judge Andrew Lotempio presiding. Baltz was arrested in March 2018 and accused of raping a woman he met at a bar and took home. He was jailed and later indicted but the case stalled in County Court and then again when COVID hit. Baltz had maintained his innocence from the beginning and even rejected a plea deal that would have gotten him probation without any prison time.

 

Candlelight vigils are being held at Tops stores across the region tonight to mark one month since the mass shooting in Buffalo that left 10 people dead and three others injured. The vigils will begin at 7pm in the parking lots of Western NY Tops locations, including Batavia. People who are attending are being asked to bring American flags, luminary bags and candles. On May 14th, Payton Gendron allegedly opened fire at the Tops store on Jefferson Avenue in what officials have called a racially motivated attack.

 

Governor Hochul

Governor Hochul has signed off on a new package of bills aimed at further protecting abortion rights. The governor says legislation will ensure a woman is never forced into a government-mandated pregnancy. One measure allows New Yorkers to sue people who are trying to limit their reproductive rights while another protects women wanted for having abortions in other states from extradition. The state health department is also required to conduct a study and issue a report on unmet health and resource needs for pregnant people in New York.

 

John Mulaney

A popular comedian has announced he’s going to be bringing his current tour to Rochester later this year. John Mulaney is scheduled to perform at the Kodak Center on Wednesday, November 9th. During his career, Mulaney has worked as a writer for Saturday Night Live, had several Netflix specials and won two Emmy awards. Tickets for the show go on sale this Friday through Ticketmaster and will cost at least $55.00 each.

 

Peter Pavlovich

A youth baseball coach is facing up to a year behind bars after admitting that he stole roughly $15,000. Prosecutors say 40-year-old Peter Pavlovich took the money between June 2017 and June 2020 while he was a coach for the Town of Clarence Baseball Association. Pavolich pleaded guilty yesterday to a misdemeanor charge and has already paid restitution. He will be sentenced in September.

 

Park Road construction

A little bit of good news on the Park Road construction…the $4,000,000 project is reportedly a little ahead of schedule. The east side of Park is ready to move to the next stage of work, which includes milling, stone and repaving. Once completed, the east side of the road will be opened up and work on the west side will begin. It is now expected that the entire project will be completed by mid-October. Photo courtesy of https://www.thebatavian.com/

 

The Rotary Club of Batavia is sponsoring their annual Father’s Day Breakfast this Sunday, June 19 at the Genesee County Airport. Breakfast will be served from 7 until 11 a.m. The menu including eggs, pancakes, sausage, omelets, juice, coffee, tea and milk. Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for children ages 4-12. Children 3 and under eat free. Tickets are available from any Batavia Rotary Club member. All proceeds from the breakfast help fund the Batavia Rotary Club’s charitable projects.

 

It’s been about a month since prime contractors were told to proceed with work on the $57.27 million new jail for Genesee County. Foundation work is set to start June 27, which is about two weeks before the date listed on the project manager’s construction guideline. It is expected the new jail will be substantially completed by mid-January, 2024 with final completion set for about two months later, on March 15, 2024.

Morning News Brief

A young man who captured the hearts and minds of people across America, met president Goerge W Bush, and then became the team manager for Greece Athena High School, Jason McElwain, otherwise known as J-Mac, is in intensive care after a bicycle and car collision Monday afternoon.  According to police, McElwain drove his bike into a car, sending him to Strong Memorial Hospital with several broken ribs, among other injuries. His father said he also suffered a collapsed lung, but no head injuries.  Police said McElwain’s helmet likely spared him from a serious brain injury or worse.  Since his big night when he scored 6 3 point shots in 2006, McElwain served as a volunteer coach at his alma mater, co-authored a book, ran the Boston Marathon, suited up for the Rochester Razorsharks, and most recently has been serving as a classroom aide and bus monitor for Greece schools.  Police added they do not believe charges will be pressed in the crash.

With Roe V Wade hanging in the balance and America waiting for the Supreme Court decision after a draft was leaked in May, New York has pushed through legislation enshrining Abortion access and expanding services in preparation for Abortion tourism to come to the Empire State.  The Empire State provides nearly 1 in every 8 abortions in the US.  On Monday, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a package of bills to ensure the state will remain a safe harbor for people seeking to terminate their pregnancies. The laws include protections for abortion providers and patients.  Pro Life advocates want to see more money being put towards taking care of women who continue their pregnancies and the families after the baby is born.  People like Carol Crossed, president of Feminists Choosing Life of New York, says that the state is trying to take the easy way out instead of offering childcare, education or housing help to women in need.  Organizations such as Compasscare, Abortion Abolitionists and others have called on the State and federal government to pass legislation protecting crisis pregnancy centers, especially after several were firebombed over the last week including one in Amherst.

Frustrated by the construction on Park Road in front of Batavia Downs?  Concrete Applied Technologies Corp has an update.  The 4 million dollar project has reached the boxing out stage on the east side of the road, which means that the road is prepared for milling, stone and repaving.  After they are done with the east side it will be opened up for traffic and then the west side will get worked on.  Henry Wojtaszek, president of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., said the project is ahead of schedule, stating that he is confident work will be done by mid-October.

The Rotary Club of Batavia is holding its annual Father’s Day Breakfast on Sunday, June 19 at the Genesee County Airport.   Breakfast will be served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. with the menu including eggs, pancakes, sausage, omelets, juice, coffee, tea and milk.  Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for children ages 4-12.  Children 3 and under eat free.  Tickets are available from any Batavia Rotary Club member.  All proceeds from the breakfast will help fund the Batavia Rotary Club’s charitable projects.

Afternoon News Brief

Jennifer Sprague-Clark

Robbery, criminal possession of a weapon, grand larceny, coercion and menacing; that’s the list of charges against 39-year-old Jennifer Sprague-Clark of Batavia. She was arrested after a traffic stop, during which she fled on foot. Police used a taser to subdue Sprague-Clark, and took her into custody. She was arraigned in Batavia City Court and is scheduled to return there tomorrow. (Photo: LinkedIn)

 

21-year-old Robert Doud of North Chili has been charged with a felony, including two counts of grand larceny, following theft from a vehicle in the Town of Batavia. Additional felony charges were later added when it was discovered he was in possession of stolen property, including credit cards, with which he attempted identity theft. Following his arrest in Bergen, Doud was released on his own recognizance.

 

Following mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas that left dozens of people dead, changes may be coming to the country’s gun laws. The framework of a bipartisan deal was announced yesterday and if approved, legislation would limit the ability of people to quickly obtain assault rifles by establishing an enhanced background check process for gun buyers under age 21. Federal penalties would also be established for gun traffickers and funds would be used to address the country’s mental health crisis. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says once an agreement is finalized, he’ll bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote.

 

You may have recently started noticing a small fee on your receipt when you purchase paint. It’s a Paintcare fee; they are a non-profit organization that represents paint makers in states with similar programs. Think of them as a middleman. What they do is set up drop-off sites to handle paint waste and recycling. In New York, the fee runs anywhere from $0.45 to $1.95 depending on how much architectural paint you’re buying. The fee is not a deposit or a tax; the money doesn’t get returned to you when you drop off paint nor does go to the state. Instead, Paintcare uses the funds to self-sustain because they do not receive monetary support from the state. They currently offer more than 200 drop-off sites here in New York, with at least one in Batavia. You can look locations up online: https://www.paintcare.org/

 

The New York State Department of Health reminds residents that COVID-19 booster vaccinations for kids between the ages of five and 11 years old are still available. Children in that age group should receive their booster shot five months after completing their initial two-dose Pfizer vaccine series. The vaccines are offered at no cost.

 

It’s becoming the ‘same old story’. This morning oil prices are at about $118 per barrel. Crude prices surged last week in response to global supply concerns amid expected demand increases, particularly as China emerges from lockdowns. The pain at the pump regionally keeps getting worse for Western New York drivers. Gas prices have reached another record high. According to Triple A this morning, the average cost for a gallon of regular fuel is now sitting at $4.98. That’s up 20 cents in the past week, 33 cents in the last month and is nearly $2.00 ($1.92) more than this time one year ago. The state average is currently $5.04 a gallon while nationally its $5.01. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is the same as it was over the weekend, $4.92.

 

Ryan Miller

The Buffalo Sabres have announced plans to retire the jersey of one of the best players in franchise history next season. The number 30 is going to be raised to the rafters in honor of goalie Ryan Miller. He was selected by the franchise during the 1999 NHL Entry Draft and ended up playing 11 seasons for the Sabres. He earned a team record of 284 victories and retired with the most wins of any American-born goaltender. There’s no word yet when Miller’s jersey retirement ceremony will take place.

Morning News Brief

The Senate in Washington has announced a bipartisan agreement on some gun control legislation and New York Politicians are lauding it as a good step in the right direction to keep mass shootings from happening.  But some of the survivors of the TOPS shooting are less enthusiastic.  Grady Lewis says “This is like putting a band aid over the problem and actually creating a new problem where black people don’t have guns anymore.”  The agreement would make the juvenile records of gun buyers under age 21 available when they undergo background checks.  It would also offer money to states to implement “red flag” laws that make it easier to temporarily take guns from people considered potentially violent, and to bolster school safety and mental health programs.  President Biden said the framework “does not do everything that I think is needed, but it reflects important steps in the right direction.”

This was a weekend of parades and events.  The Goose in Oakfield hosted a fundraising event for The Warrior House and held a basket raffle and open house.  Dewitt Park had a family outdoor challenge with bug identification and informational sessions.  Richmond Memorial Library had a drag queen story hour following the Washington St Pride Parade.  The Firing Pin celebrated Freedom weekend and marched in the Bergen Festival Parade.  And this weekend had the first Eli Fish Carnival in Jackson Square with special craft brews and Matty’s Pizza, live music and vendors.  

Buffalo hosted a March for Our Lives event Saturday on Jefferson Avenue but, much like the march in Washington DC it was marred by fear.  At least one person was arrested for carrying a gun in the crowd.  19 year old Amauri Smith was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon.  The rally in Washington nearly fell into bedlam when someone yelled out “gun shot” and it caused the thousands strong crowd to start fleeing for fear of a shooter before rally organizers could tell everyone to stop and not run away.  Both marches and others around the country were meant to rally against gun violence.

Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame inductee Ryan Miller was in town for the ceremony this weekend and learned he had another honor coming his way.  The Buffalo Sabres retiring his number from the team.  Miller, number 30, was the goalie for the Sabres for 11 seasons starting in 2005.  His 284 wins are a Sabres franchise record. After his career in Buffalo, he played another eight years in the NHL.  He retired with the most wins of any American-born goalie.  Miller also won a silver medal with Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The same year, he won the Vezina Trophy, given to the NHL’s best goaltender.

Weekend News Brief

For the first time since 1998 there is a planned airshow coming to the Genesee County Airport.  “Wings Over Batavia” is now scheduled for September 15th-17th and will feature exhibitions by aerobatic jet teams such as the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds or Snowbirds and patriotic displays of F16 and F22 fighter jets.  County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens talked about why there hadn’t been an airshow in 24 years.

News_A :15 “Event Like That” 

The air festival is scheduled to take place in conjunction with the renewal of the Wing Ding event on Sept. 16 in the City of Batavia.  

Nick Langworthy, New York Republican Chairman, is throwing his hat into the ring for the newly created 23rd district after Chris Jacobs announced he won’t run this year.  Langworthy is a Southern Tier native from South Dayton, N.Y.  While he never ran for congress until now, he has served a number of roles in Republican politics. Past roles include District Director for former Congressman and NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds and Erie County Republican Chairman.  In 2016, former President Donald Trump named Langworthy to the executive committee of his transition team. Trump called on Langworthy again in 2019 to lead the NYS Republican Party, making him the youngest person to lead the party in its history.  He is running against Carl Paladino in the primary and Retired Air Force Colonel Max Della Pia running as the only democrat in the race.

The ARC Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch run, where an officer of the Genesee County Sheriffs ran the torch from park road to the ARC building on Walnut Street, took place on Thursday.  Sheriff’s Department Investigator Chad Minuto ran the 5k route and passed the torch to Scott, an individual in the ARC’s Day Habilitation Program who carried the torch over the finish line.  The Law Enforcement Torch Run is an annual event that has been held at the Arc Chapter’s Genesee County location since 2005 and the rain didn’t dampen the flame that brings awareness to athletes with disabilities and the Special Olympics. 

Usually you think of firefighters blasting water onto a fire to save a burning building but the Oakfield Volunteer Fire Department took delivery of a different kind of water this week.  98 cases of Anheuser Busch canned water were donated to the firefighters by the beer company to be given out at events or to people who need emergency water supplies.  Anheuser-Busch says that since the program began, the company has donated 4.8 million cans of emergency drinking water to more than 900 volunteer fire departments across 49 states.

Afternoon News Brief

Genesee County officials and business leaders are already preparing for “Wings Over Batavia,” the first air show in our area since 1998. The show will feature aerobatic jet teams such as the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds or Snowbirds and patriotic displays of F16 and F22 fighter jets. The show is tentatively scheduled for September 15-17th, 2023 at the Genesee County Airport and is scheduled to take place in conjunction with the renewal of the Wing Ding event on Sept. 16 in the City of Batavia. Residents interested in volunteering in the planning of on-site operations should contact Tim Hens, the County Highway Superintendent (tim.hens@co.genesee.ny.us)

 

New York State Police in Troop A issued a warning today that scams targeting the elderly have once again become prevalent. Troop A includes Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans; police tell us they looked into over 442 fraud cases in 2021, across the 3 counties. And as of the end of March this year, they’ve investigated 113. Although numbers for the last two months have not been released, investigators say reports of scams and scam attempts have increased in the past few weeks. In fact, more than $500,000 has been reported stolen in such scams so far this year compared to a little over $1 million last year. Scammers take many different approaches to convince people that they are legitimate. Here are some suggestions to help you prevent from getting scammed:

1) The caller claims to be a family member who is sick or has been arrested.
2) The caller claims to be a law enforcement official saying a family member has been arrested and needs bail money or other funds.
3) The caller claims to be law enforcement and says that your Social Security number or bank accounts have been compromised. The caller will ask the person to verify their Social Security numbers of bank account numbers.
4) Emails or texts with an “URGENT” message regarding Social Security numbers, bank accounts, Apple, Netflx or Amazon accounts that were compromised.
5) Callers will ask victims to get money in multiple ways, including purchasing gift cards and sending the bar code on the back to the caller, sending case by mail in a packaged box or by purchasing crytpocurrency. Police agencies never ask for money for bail or for Social Security or bank account numbers and do not send texts. Anyone who believes that a call is a scam should “resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.” People also can verify a caller’s identity by asking questions that a stranger could never answer or to check with a family member to see if the account is true.
6) Lastly, police say, never send cash, gift cards or money transfers and never give out personal information by email or phone. Anyone who believes they are the victim of a scam can contact state or local police.

 

69-year-old Julious Murphy, also known as ‘Fatboy’, of Jerome Place Batavia, is charged with criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance. Murphy was arrested Sunday on a sealed Grand Jury indictment during a traffic stop by Batavia Police. He is accused of selling crack cocaine to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force while in Batavia. Murphy was arraigned in Genesee County Court and released under supervision.

 

Erica Rapfael

37-year-old Erica Raphael of Batavia was arrested on a warrant. She was sentenced on the charges contained in the warrant. Neither the charges nor the sentence were specified in the release provided by police.

 

 

 

Robert Ritchey

58-year-old Robert Ritchey of Oakfield, is charged with forcible touching, sex abuse of a victim less than 13 years old, and acting in a manner injurious to a child. The alleged incident was reported early in April and is considered a pending investigation. Ritchey was arrested by State Police on Wednesday. He was ordered held without bail. No further details were released.

 

A traffic alert to remind you about: If you’ll be driving on Columbia, Seneca and Miller Avenues in Batavia today until about 3pm, you should expect traffic delays. While work is being performed in this area, the roadway will be closed to all through traffic. Local traffic will be permitted to and from their residence or property but are asked not to park on the roadway during construction. Please contact the Bureau of Maintenance at 585-345-6400 Option 1 if there are any questions.

 

With gas prices reaching a record high, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection has issued some tips to help people save money. The agency recommends drivers choose the lowest octane recommended for their vehicle and compare the price advertised on the gas station’s sign and on the pump to ensure they’re the same. It’s also recommended that drivers maintain their vehicles so they can get the best possible fuel mileage. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas in Batavia this morning is $4.92, up two cents from yesterday.

 

Mine, all mine

At least $455,000,000 will be up for grabs the next couple of days as the jackpots of two popular lottery games keep getting bigger. The prize for tonight’s Mega Millions drawing will be $226,000,000, and whoever picks the winning numbers for tomorrow evening’s Powerball game is in line to win $229,000,000. The cost of a ticket to play each game is $2.00. Both drawings will be streamed live online. Please play responsibly.

 

Brittanee Drexel

Raymond Moody

A public celebration of life is taking place this weekend for a 17-year-old from Chili who was murdered over a decade ago. A gathering in memory of Brittanee Drexel is happening tomorrow morning at 10:00, at The Fathers House on Paul Road in Rochester. Drexel was on vacation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 2009 when she disappeared and her remains were only found recently. Police have arrested Raymond Moody in connection with this case.

 

William M. Sywak of Hamburg

William J. Sywak of Arcade

A father and son from Western New York have been punished for their actions during the violent protests at the U.S. Capitol. Yesterday, 46-year-old William M. Sywak of Hamburg and 28-year-old William J. Sywak of Arcade were sentenced to probation. Prosecutors say the Sywaks spent about 20 minutes inside the building on January 6th, 2021 before leaving and they have been ordered to pay 500-dollars restitution. Protestors stormed the Capitol in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying President Biden’s victory over former President Donald Trump.

 

Sheriff John Garcia

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office has announced the creation of a new behavioral threat assessment team. Sheriff John Garcia says members will focus on trying to prevent someone from carrying out a violent attack like the mass shooting at the Tops supermarket on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo last month that left 10 people dead and three others hurt. The man accused of carrying out the attack, Payton Gendron, is facing dozens of charges. Anyone who wants to join the team can contact the sheriff’s department.

 

Buffalo-Niagara International Airport

The Transportation Security Administration has announced the installation of some brand new scanners at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport. The scanners are located at the security checkpoint and will provide 3-D imaging that makes it easier for agents to screen carry-on items and detect explosives. If a bag requires further screening, a security officer is going to inspect it themselves to make sure there’s nothing dangerous inside. The scanners will also allow passengers to leave their laptops and other electronic devices in their carry-on bags.

Morning News Brief

A group of teenagers has been charged with a spree of carjackings in Rochester and Gates.  Two 15 year olds and a 16 year old are accused of holding a woman at gunpoint and pulling her from her car before driving it away on Wednesday night on Polaris street.  Tuesday they allegedly carjacked a man outside his apartment on Resolute Circle and another was attacked and had his car stolen at Poplar Gardens.  There were so many carjackings last year that a task force was formed in Monroe County after a man was shot to death during an attempted carjacking in Gates. Two teens pleaded guilty this week in Richard Sciascia’s death.  Rochester police are saying if someone approaches you and demands something, a phone, shoes, your car or anything else, just to give it to them.  No item is worth your life.  

The national price per gallon of regular unleaded is only 3 cents shy of 5 dollars which is up 10 cents from Monday.  It was 3.07 a year ago.  New York State’s is 1 cent over the 5 dollar mark even with the tax relief.  In Batavia we are a bit below average with prices hovering around 4.90 which is 15 cents up since Monday.  Oil has increased to 123 a barrel.  Seasonal demand coupled with cutting off the oil supply coming from Russia and investors not wanting to put money into the increasingly hostile US market have led to a record increase in prices.  Even with the high prices demand has stayed up.

Drivers on Columbia, Seneca and Miller Avenues in Batavia may experience delays between 7am and 3pm for cold milling operations. While work is being performed in this area, the roadway will be closed to all through traffic. Local traffic will be permitted to and from their residence or property but should plan accordingly for delays. All residents and businesses within the work area are asked not to park on the roadway during construction. This is weather dependent work; if work is postponed it shall progress the next workday.

A new airline is now operating in Buffalo, NY.  Sun Country Airlines is offering low cost flights to and from the Minneapolis St Paul International Airport for as low as 79 dollars a ticket Thursday through Sunday.  The Minnesota-based airline offers service to 80 destinations, including Charleston, Jacksonville, Spokane and Vancouver.  On Tuesday, low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines announced it was launching daily non-stop service from Buffalo to Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas starting August 9.

Country Music Star Garth Brooks is coming to Orchard Park on July 23rd and has a message to share with his fans in Buffalo and Western NY.   Tickets go on sale June 17th.

Afternoon News Brief

Dale Young, Jr.

A state appeals court has denied an appeal by a Batavia man convicted of sexually assaulting a child. 42-year-old Dale Young Jr. was arrested in 2018 and convicted in 2019 of three counts of third-degree criminal sexual act against a child under 17. He was convicted after a jury trial but was acquitted of the most serious charges against him, first-degree criminal sexual act and was sentenced to three years in state prison. Young appealed the conviction, claiming that the court should have barred testimony from the prosecution’s expert witness. He also claimed to have lacked effective counsel; however, the appeals court rejected each of Young’s claims. Young is set for release from prison later this year.

 

Tarrence Williams

22-year-old Tarrence Williams of Porter Avenue, Batavia, was arrested today on a Genesee County Court Indictment Warrant. He is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, a Class B felony, and two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, also a Class B felony. His arrest concluded an investigation by the Genesee County Local Drug Task Force into the transportation, sale, and possession of ‘crack’ cocaine in and around the City of Batavia. Williams was arraigned in Genesee County Court and was released on his own recognizance.

 

This morning, Batavia City Police responded to a Jackson Street residence for a report of a possible gunshot fired in the area but were unable to confirm that it actually happened. Sergeant Daniel Coffey noted that, even though police have thus far been unable to substantiate it, the investigation continues. No one was injured or has been taken into custody.

 

Western New York drivers are now paying more than ever to fill up their vehicles as gas prices have soared to new record highs. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular fuel in is now $4.95. That’s up 20 cents in the past week, 53 cents in the past month and is $1.91 higher than this time last year. The state average is now $5.00 a gallon while nationally it’s $4.97. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.90, up one cent from yesterday and 18 cents from a week ago today.

 

A traffic alert to call your attention to: If you’ll be driving on Columbia, Seneca and Miller Avenues in Batavia tomorrow between 7am and 3pm, you should expect traffic delays. All motorists please be aware that Columbia Avenue, Seneca Avenue, and Miller Avenue will experience traffic delays on Friday, June 10th from 7AM to 3PM for cold milling operations. While work is being performed in this area, the roadway will be closed to all through traffic. Local traffic will be permitted to and from their residence or property but should plan accordingly for delays. All residents and businesses within the work area are asked not to park on the roadway during construction. 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.

 

Jae Lim

The owner of a local martial arts studio is in trouble with the law after being accused of disturbing crimes. Monroe County deputies say 50-year-old Jae Lim of Master Lim’s Taekwondo on Brockport-Spencerport Road in Brockport allegedly touched a 12-year-old in a sexual manner on more than one occasion last month. Lim was arraigned on sexual abuse and child endangerment charges and sent to the Monroe County Jail. Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact the sheriff’s office.

 

 

Officer Denny Wright

The man who brutally attacked a Rochester police officer has found out the punishment for his actions. Yesterday, a judge ordered Keith Williams to spend at least the next 40 years behind bars for assaulting Officer Denny Wright at a home on Peck Street back in October 2019. Wright suffered multiple stab wounds to his body and face and lost sight in both eyes. Wright spoke during yesterday’s sentencing, saying that while Williams took his vision, he won’t take another thing from him or his family.

 

 

Maurice Green

A reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest in connection with a recent homicide in Buffalo. Crime Stoppers Western New York says up to $7500 will go to the person who helps police solve the murder of Maurice Green who was killed on Marine Drive back on April 24th. Anyone who has information on the case can call 716-867-6161. Tips can also be submitted by downloading the Crime Stoppers app.

 

 

The latest data from state health officials shows fewer people in our region are testing positive for COVID-19. The 7-day average infection rate is currently just under 5.9%. At this time last week, the infection rate was 7.9%. Even though the number of new coronavirus cases is falling, people are still being urged to take the proper precautions to protect themselves and others from getting sick such as being vaccinated against the illness and wearing a mask while indoors.

 

Officials with Tops Friendly Markets say they’re hoping to reopen the company’s Jefferson Avenue location in Buffalo by the end of July. The store was the scene of a mass shooting back on May 14th that left 10 people dead and three others injured. The man who allegedly carried out the shooting, Payton Gendron, was arrested and is facing more than two-dozen charges. The attack has been called a racially-motivated hate crime.

 

 

Congressman Chris Jacobs

Congressman Chris Jacobs was one of five Republicans to break party ranks and vote with Democrats in approving the “Protecting Our Kids Act,” intended to strengthen gun laws. The legislation, however, is expected to face a tough road in the Senate. The House voted 223-204 to pass the package of gun control legislation. Other measures include establishing new federal offenses for gun trafficking and for selling large-capacity magazines, and allow local governments to compensate individuals who surrender such magazines through a buyback program. In addition, there would be a new tax incentive for retail sales of safe storage devices and criminal penalties for breaking new requirements regulating firearm storage on residential premises. Jacobs has faced strong opposition since stating his support for the gun control measures Republican pushback for his stance, decided against running for election to a newly drawn 23rd Congressional District after many party leaders withdrew their endorsements.

 

 

The State University of New York schools are updating policies when it comes to a person’s chosen name and pronoun they wish to use. According to officials, the move is being made ensure that transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary students’ identities are fully reflected and represented. SUNY students will now be able to select ‘X’ when asked to provide gender by the college. The chosen names are going to appear on college diplomas, campus profiles and more.

 

Garth Brooks

Country music superstar Garth Brooks has announced a new on-sale date for tickets ahead of his upcoming concert at Highmark Stadium. Brooks says seats for his performance in Orchard Park on July 23rd will be available starting Friday, June 17th at 10am. Tickets were originally supposed to be available last month, but Brooks postponed the sale in the aftermath of the Tops supermarket shooting. There will be an 8-ticket limit on purchases.

Morning News Brief

30 years in prison and 1 million in fines for taking COVID relief money that wasn’t hers.  That’s what 37 year old Danielle Tooley plead guilty to Wednesday at a US district Court.  Tooley pled guilty to wire fraud from July 9th through December 4th 2020 where she applied for and collected unemployment benefits connected to federal COVID relief programs that she was not eligible for.  Her crime was discovered during a traffic stop in Bergen on Nov. 24, 2020 by New York State Police. A trooper found crack cocaine in her car. As her vehicle was being prepared to be towed, troopers found six New York State unemployment benefit cards issued to individuals other than Tooley. An investigation discovered Tooley withdrew money from bank accounts associated with the cards several times.

A report released by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office found that 90 percent of New York schools don’t offer mental health training or provide insufficient training.  All faculty and staff working in New York’s 800-plus school districts are required to receive annual safety and mental health training with the 12 components outlined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the New York Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act, or the SAVE Act. The law requires school administrators to develop a comprehensive, districtwide safety plan to address crisis intervention, emergency response and management for staff and students.  School districts were audited between July of 2020 and June of 2021.  Many of the schools audited said they didn’t know about the mental health requirements or that COVID had forced them to prioritize student’s health against the virus instead of mental health.

Students going to SUNY and CUNY schools will be able to select “X” as their gender and have their chosen pronoun protected by a new policy that was announced Wednesday.  Campuses will be required to have all operational systems reflect a student’s chosen name and pronouns, including campus portals, class rosters, email addresses and more.  Governor Hochul said “Every person, regardless of their gender identity or the name they choose to go by, deserves to have identity documentation that reflects who they are.”  The changes go into effect at the beginning of the fall semester.

Kill the eggs.  That’s what New York Department of Environmental Conservation representative Justin Perry says people can do about the spongy caterpillars that eat trees and other plants.  He says to scrape off the spongy looking eggs from the trees and soak them in soapy water to destroy them.  There are also sticky bands you can put around the trees that will stop some of the caterpillars from being able to climb the trunks.  Perry also said that the caterpillars should be gone in a few years and will be dormant for the next 15 to 20 after that.

One of the new businesses going into the parking lot of the Kmart on Lewiston and Park Roads is a Starbucks.  The property owner Benderson Development, LLC, made the announcement Wednesday morning. The company shared that they are working closely with three other tenants and will provide additional details once leases are signed.

Afternoon News Brief

 

37-year-old Danielle Tooley of Batavia has pleaded guilty to wire fraud. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Rossi stated that between July 9 and December 4, 2020, Tooley applied for and collected unemployment benefits to which she was not entitled, benefits that were connected to federal COVID-19 relief programs. The scheme came to the attention of law enforcement on November 24, 2020, when Tooley was arrested for criminal possession of a controlled substance during a vehicle traffic stop on Clinton Street in Bergen. Tooley admitted at the time that she had crack cocaine in the center console of the vehicle. As they prepared for Tooley’s vehicle to be towed, troopers recovered six New York State unemployment benefit cards issued to individuals other than Tooley, which they turned over to the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General. Subsequent investigation determined that Tooley consistently withdrew money from bank accounts associated with the benefit cards. Sentencing is scheduled for August 17, 2022.

 

Justice Coniglio

A Basom resident has admitted in County Court that he stole a vehicle and assaulted a police officer; with this admission, he traded for a potential prison term of no more than seven years. 31-year-old Justice Coniglio entered guilty pleas to grand larceny for the theft of a vehicle and also assault in connection with an incident at his home. His plea deal caps his sentence at 1 1/3 to three years on the grand larceny conviction and 3 1/2 to seven years on the assault conviction, with the sentences to run concurrently. The plea also satisfied pending charges of resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental administration. (Additional information: The assault charge seemed to stem from an incident that also involved Justice’s brother, Jarrett Coniglio. Jarrett hit a neighbor, while on the neighbor’s property, over the head with a beer bottle and then was involved in the fight with deputies that led to one of the deputies being bit by K-9 “Frankie.” The deputy suffered a puncture wound. Justice Coniglio will be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 30. In the meantime, Judge Melissa Cianfrini ordered that he remain held in the Genesee County Jail.)

 

Starbucks Logo

Starbucks will be one of the tenants in the development to come in the parking lot of the vacant Kmart building at Lewiston and Park roads. The property owner Benderson Development, LLC, made the announcement this morning. The company shared that they are working closely with three other tenants and will provide additional details once leases are signed.

 

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that $46 million is earmarked for investment into two pavement improvement projects on the New York State Thruway in both Erie and Genesee counties. The two projects include resurfacing of more than 100 lane miles of the Thruway between exit 47 (Rochester – Le Roy – I-490 – NY Route 19) to beyond exit 48A (Pembroke – Medina – NY Route 77). A $23.4 million pavement improvement project on the Thruway in Genesee County is underway on a 15.5-mile stretch between exit 47 (Rochester – Le Roy – I-490 – NY Route 19) and exit 48 (Batavia – NY Route 98). Approximately 39,000 motorists travel on this section of I-90 every day. The project includes full and partial depth repairs as well as full pavement resurfacing. Additionally, pavement-resurfacing work will take place at the on- and off-ramps at exit 47 and exit 48, as well as the exit 47 Commuter Park and Ride lot. Reflective line striping for enhanced safety will also be applied. Cold Spring Construction Company of Akron, NY is the contractor for the project. Work is expected to be complete in summer 2023.

 

Alexander Town Hall

An hour-long Public Hearing was held at the Alexander Town Hall last night (Tuesday June 7), in regard to three variances for a proposed 650-foot-tall wind turbine on Drybridge road. One variance request is looking to increase the height allowed from a 500 feet to 650 feet, the other two variances were in reference to changing setback requirements. The board did not take a vote on the variance requests after the public hearing and have 62 days to make a decision and take a vote. According to Codes/Zoning Officer Matt Mahaney, if the ZBA grants the variance requests, the project would move to the Planning Board where a special use permit would have to be approved along with site plan approval. If the zoning board decides not to approve the three variances, the project would be stalled and would not advance to the Planning Board. Town Board input is optional. Decisions may be made at the next zoning board meeting on July 26th.

 

After last year’s virtual run, the Kiwanis Club of Batavia is glad to be bringing back the Independence Day 5K run at Centennial Park on Monday, July 4th. Proceeds from the race will be distributed to the Autism Nature Trail at Letchworth State Park, Batavia City School Foundation for the Community Schools Program, and the Kiwanis activity fund; the latter of which, supports community events such as the Thanksgiving Morning Skate and Annual Easter Egg Hunt.

 

Yesterday, the Muckdogs beat the Jamestown Tarp Skunks 12 to 6. They are now 4 and 1; their next game against the Capital City Reds is at home tonight at 7pm.

 

 

State Police have released the results of their recent Memorial Day weekend traffic enforcement campaign. From 6:00pm on Friday, May 27th through 3:00am on Tuesday, May 31st. A total of 13,688 tickets were given out statewide for violations such as speeding and distracted driving. There were also 213 people arrested for DWI. During last year’s Memorial Day weekend enforcement campaign, a little over 14,000 (14,249) tickets were issued and 185 people were arrested for DWI.

 

CompassCare building

Amherst police say a fire that happened at a pregnancy services office in their community is being investigated as arson. Crews were called to the scene at CompassCare on Eggert Road yesterday and arrived to find the building had been broken into and was burning. CompassCare officials claim a group that has opposing viewpoints on abortion set the fire. Two firefighters were injured while battling the flames but will be OK. Anyone who has information on this case is asked to call police.

 

There are just a few weeks until the start of training camp and the Buffalo Bills have now finalized their preseason schedule. The first preseason game will be August 13th at 4:00 at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park against the Indianapolis Colts; their second is also happening at home against the Denver Broncos at 1:00 on August 20th. Their final preseason contest is August 26th on the road against the Carolina Panthers. The Bills kick off their regular season September 8th against the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

 

Joseph Gramaglia

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia will be in the nation’s capital today to testify in front of members of Congress. Gramaglia told The Buffalo News that he’s going to call on lawmakers to take steps towards preventing future gun violence following a mass shooting at the Tops store on Jefferson Avenue last month. Prosecutors say Payton Gendron carried out the shooting that left 10 people dead and three others hurt. He is facing more than two-dozen charges and is behind bars without bail.

 

Governor Hochul during debate

With just weeks until the primary, three Democrats looking to be their party’s nominee in the race for New York governor have held their first debate together. Last night, Governor Hochul, Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams discussed several issues such as gun control, abortion rights, and the plan to build a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. The next debate for the candidates is June 16th. Voters will head to the polls on June 28th to cast their ballots in the Democratic primary.

 

Officials in the Gananda Central School District say they’re looking into ways to improve school safety following a recent scare. On Friday, an eighth-grader said there was a person with a gun inside of Gananda Middle School but it turned out that was not the case. Last night, district leaders and police met with parents to discuss the incident, which led to the student being arrested. Law enforcement will continue to have an increased presence at Gananda schools.

 

Richard Sciascia

Two teenagers have pleaded guilty in connection with a deadly attempted carjacking last year. Prosecutors say 17-year-old Anthony Jacobs and 17-year-old Edgar Tolentino tried to steal Richard Sciascia’s vehicle at gunpoint on Buell Road in Gates in April 2021. Sciascia was shot and later died at Strong Memorial Hospital. As part of his plea deal, Tolentino will get 20 years to life in prison. Jacobs will be sentenced to 15 to 25 years behind bars.

 

Morning News Brief

A fire at a pro life center in Amherst is being investigated as Arson.  CompassCare in Amherst on Eggert Rd, part of a regional chain of women’s crisis centers which provide counseling, ultrasounds, STD testing, Abortion Pill reversal and access to care during and after pregnancy all for free, was firebombed Tuesday early in the morning.  Workers at the clinic believe it was done by a radical Pro-Abortion group called “Janes Revenge” because of graffiti found after the fire that says “Jane was here.”  CEO Jim Harden says a similar clinic was targeted in Madison, Wisconsin last month with Jane’s revenge claiming responsibility and threatening more sites.  Harden held a news conference outside the clinic Tuesday afternoon saying the fire was no accident. He says fires were set inside causing extensive damage.  Police said two firefighters were treated for minor injuries and the fire is being investigated as arson at this time.

According to court officials, Albany City court was closed on Tuesday for fumigation after hundreds of cockroaches were released during a court procedure.  The incident occurred Tuesday morning during an arraignment of 4 people, where one of the defendants began to record court proceedings.  When told to stop, we’re told that a fight escalated and cockroaches were then released from plastic containers.  Clyanna Lightbourn, 34, was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, criminal contempt, and tampering with physical evidence.  It’s unclear who released the cockroaches and how this person managed to bring them inside the court.  Lucian Chalfen, director of public information with the Unified Court System said that an investigation into the incident is underway and more people may be charged.  

The Kiwanis Club of Batavia will be bringing back the Independence Day 5K run on Monday the 4th of July this year.  They said they are so excited to be doing it in person again at Centennial park as last year they had to go virtual.  Proceeds from the race will be distributed to the Autism Nature Trail at Letchworth State Park, Batavia City School Foundation for the Community Schools Program, and lastly the Kiwanis activity fund which supports community events such as the Annual Easter Egg Hunt, Thanksgiving Morning Skate and others.

The Muckdogs beat the Auburn Doubledays 6 to 5.  Monday’s game at Dwyer Stadium was delayed by rain a few times.  Then Tuesday the Dogs beat the Jamestown Tarp Skunks 12 to 6.  The Muckdogs are now 4 and 1 with their next game against Capital City Reds at home tonight at 7pm.

Afternoon News Brief

The Batavia Police Department is looking for help in identifying a person of interest in a larceny at Tops Supermarket which occurred on 06/02/2022 at approximately 10:05 AM. Anyone with information on the identity of the person in the photo is asked to contact Officer Christopher Lindsay at 585-345-6350 or the confidential tip line at 585-345-6370. Please do not post tips on Facebook or Twitter as the posts are not continuously monitored.

 

The price of gas for regular unleaded went up an average of 6 cents a gallon since yesterday to $4.94, an all-time high in New York state. AAA reports this morning that Monday’s price of $4.88 was down 5 cents from a week ago, while the national price jumped 25 cents in the week. The state price was down due to the state suspending its 4-percent share of the sales tax on gas. That knocked about 16 cents off the price. But the cost has continued to go up. The price of crude oil is about $120 a barrel. While regular unleaded is at an all-time high, diesel is at $6.30 a gallon. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.83 per gallon, up 8 cents from yesterday but is the same as it was a week ago. Several counties have average prices over $5 a gallon; most are downstate (Franklin, Clinton, Hamilton, Queens, Kings (Brooklyn), Richmond (Staten Island), New York (Manhattan), Bronx, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Duchess.) Westchester County, with the Hudson River on one side and Connecticut on the other, has the highest average price at $5.148 a gallon for regular unleaded.

 

New York has started mailing out homeowner tax rebate checks several months earlier than originally planned. The homeowner tax rebate credit is a one-year program providing direct property tax relief to nearly three million eligible homeowners in 2022. New York is set to spend $2.2 billion in one-time property tax rebates, but was expected to arrive this fall. As stated on the Department of Taxation and Finance website, New Yorkers that are eligible don’t need to do anything—you’ll automatically be sent a check for the amount of your credit. If you don’t get your check by early July, expect it before your school tax bill is due. Their contact center can’t provide a specific timeframe.  https://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/homeowner-tax-rebate-credit.htm#definition-of-income

 

There are now even tougher gun laws on the books in New York State after Governor Hochul signed off on several pieces of legislation. Among the bills she approved yesterday was a measure raising the age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle to 21-years-old. There are also new restrictions on civilian purchases of bullet proof body armor and new semiautomatic handguns are required to have microstamping technology. Social media companies must also have a way for users to report hateful conduct they see online.

 

There is an ongoing police investigation in Orleans County involving an altercation at the Holley Middle School last week. This is surrounding a student who identifies as transgender. The incident happened during school on June 2nd when a 7th grader, who goes by the name River, was wearing a rainbow pride flag at school. Another student reportedly pulled the flag, which River was wearing as a cape and had been fastened around his neck. In response, River pulled the other student’s backpack. The other student had then yanked on the flag, again, but this time harder, pulling River down. This led to a physical fight between the two students. The school district had contacted the students’ parents and both students were disciplined according to school protocol (both were suspended) and police report. River’s mom, Robayn Perrin, however, says her child had been subject to bullying for months. Police say this is an ongoing investigation.

 

A student at Gananda Middle School has been arrested after Wayne County deputies say he falsely reported an incident. Last Friday, the eighth-grader claimed there was someone inside the school with a gun but it turned out that wasn’t true. This incident happened just days after a Gananda High School student was charged with making a terroristic threat. In that case, the student posted a photo online that showed him posing with what appeared to be an assault weapon.

 

Family members who were affected by the shooting at a Jefferson Avenue Tops store will be spending some time on Capitol Hill this week. They’ll be speaking with lawmakers during Congressional hearings that are scheduled for today and tomorrow. Back on May 14th, Peyton Gendron allegedly opened fire at the supermarket, killing 10 people and injuring three others in what is being called a racially-motivated hate crime. He was indicted last week on over two-dozen charges and is behind bars without bail.

 

Robert Maharrey

A state appeals court has denied an appeal by a decorated Marine veteran who is serving a state prison sentence for assaulting a police officer during a concert at Darien Lake. 27-year-old Mississippi resident Robert Maharrey is serving a three years and six months sentence for the 2018 assault at a Jason Aldean concert. Maharrey appealed a jury verdict, claiming that the injuries a Genesee County sheriff’s deputy suffered were not serious enough to warrant a felony assault conviction. However, the appeal was denied as it was determined the police officer sustained a serious physical injury. Maharrey attended the concert with his sister and got involved in a brawl where he punched a woman in the face, fought with security guards, spit in a deputy’s face and then head-butted another deputy, causing those serious injuries. Maharrey claimed he did not remember the incidents. At his sentencing, he spoke of his family’s 214- year history of serving the country and of his own service, which included numerous commendations and awards. Maharrey had no criminal history at the time; however, the judge said he had to have consequences for his actions.

 

Dominic Pezzola

A Rochester man who is accused of being involved in violent protests at the U.S. Capitol is in some more legal trouble. Prosecutors have charged Dominic Pezzola with seditious conspiracy after they say he knowingly tried to use force to prevent the lawful transition of presidential power. (Seditious means: disposed to arouse or take part in) Pezzola allegedly used a stolen police shield to smash a window at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021 and smoked a cigar inside the building. Pezzola is scheduled to appear in federal court on Thursday.

 

A Chili man faces several felony charges after he led police on a high-speed chase that started on Clinton Street Road in Stafford with a juvenile in his car. Genesee County Sheriffs tell us that 19-year-old Logan Biedrzycki refused to stop for a deputy and fled at a high rate of speed before finally being stopped on Route 33. He was charged with three counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, unlawful fleeing a police officer, endangering the welfare of a child, reckless driving, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and numerous traffic violations. He was arraigned in Town Court and released to appear July 12.

 

Walden Galleria Mall

The company that owns Walden Galleria has avoided defaulting on its over 230-million-dollar loan after signing a three-year extension with its lenders. In a statement, Pyramid Management Group said this extension would allow the company to continue reinvesting in the shopping center. There have been several new stores added to the mall recently and plans are in the works for a Five Below and Irish department store to open soon. The mall and its businesses currently employ about 4000 people.

 

Kevin Hart

A comedian who is a star both on the stage and silver screen will be making an appearance in Buffalo later this year. Kevin Hart is bringing his “Reality Check Tour” to KeyBank Center on Friday, October 28th. During his career, the 42-year-old Hart has been nominated for both an Emmy and Grammy award. Tickets for the show are scheduled to go on sale to the general public at 10am Friday and they can be purchased at kevinhartnation.com.

 

Morning News Brief

Governor Kathy Hochul signed a package of Gun Control legislation into law including raising the age that a person can purchase a rifle from 18 to 21.  Also among the new laws was a law enabling medical providers to flag people who should not have guns, restricting body armor to police and other emergency personnel and microstamping to make guns more traceable by the bullets they fire.  Critics of the new laws say they wouldn’t have stopped the mass shootings here or in Texas, what is needed is enforcing the laws already on the books.  A red flag law that should have kept guns out of the hands of the TOPs shooter wasn’t funded or fully functional even though it was passed and signed in 2019.  Critics like Tom King, Executive Director of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, say these laws are just window dressing and won’t achieve anything.  Hochul and other state lawmakers are calling on the federal government to enact a ban on “assault weapons” although King says there is no such thing.

Crossroads House has a new executive director in Charlotte Crawford.  Crawford had been serving as interim director since Jeff Allen left.  Crawford has been a nurse and a teacher for many years.  She teaches Nursing Leadership at GCC.  Her last 22 years were spent at Lake Plains Community Care Network, a rural health network covering Orleans, Genesee, and Wyoming Counties. She began her employment as the Care Management Developer, followed by Associate Director, and the last 6 years as the CEO.

Western New York drivers are feeling a little bit of relief at the gas pumps these days as prices are finally starting to fall a bit.  The state average is $4.87 per gallon and nationally it’s $4.85. In Batavia the average price per gallon is $4.75, down a dime since last Monday.  The gas in New York is a bit cheaper because of the tax relief giving drivers around 16 cents off each gallon.  Gas stations are still catching up to the price changes, some are still near 5 dollars while some have altered their prices to nearer 4.70. 

Dave Chappelle performed at Shea’s on Sunday and is now announcing he is donating all proceeds from the show to the families of the victims of the Tops Shooting.  Other big names are set to perform in Buffalo in the coming months.  Kevin Hart is coming to the KeyBank Center in October and Alice Cooper will be performing at Sheas Performing Art Center in September. 

Afternoon News Brief

Genesee County Sheriffs continue their investigation today into gunshots that were fired at several residences in the town of Bethany. The incidents occurred on Bethany Center Road starting a little after 9pm Saturday and continued into early Sunday morning. There is no known motive for the attacks and no one in particular appears to have been targeted. A 2 door dark blue car with a loud exhaust was witnessed driving up and down the street earlier in the evening. No one was injured. Anyone with information about this should call the sheriffs at 343-5000 and talk to investigator DeLong at extension 3572.

 

Alyssa Alhadeff

Alyssa’s Law goes to the governor’s desk to sign days after strict gun legislation was sent to Governor Hochul for her signature. Alyssa’s Law would require school districts statewide to seriously consider installing silent panic alarms to alert law-enforcement authorities during emergencies. It’s named for Alyssa Alhadeff, a 14-year-old who was killed in her English class in 2018 during the Parkman, Florida school massacre.

 

After a two-year break, Batavia City Firefighters will once again be passing the boot for donations a week from Friday, June 17th. They will be standing in the street from 8:30 to 1:30 on Court and Main and Court and Ellicott. Donations collected during the Fill the Boot campaign support researching neuromuscular diseases such as ALS, muscular dystrophy, and other diseases. Donations will also provide support for families affected by these diseases and opportunities for children affected to go to camps with other children.

 

Western New York drivers are feeling a little bit of relief at the gas pumps these days as prices are finally starting to fall a bit. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular fuel is now $4.78. That’s down 10 cents from last week, but is still 55 cents more than a month ago and $1.75 cents higher than this time last year. The state average is $4.87 per gallon and nationally it’s $4.85. In Batavia, as of this morning, the average price per gallon is $4.75; up one cent from yesterday but down a dime since last Monday.

 

Some new data from the state Department of Health shows the adult cigarette-smoking rate is at an all-time low in New York State. In 2020, that rate was sitting at 12%, which is below the national average of 15.5%. Among people between the ages of 18 and 24, the smoking rate is 5.5%. However, diseases that are caused by smoking and secondhand smoke still cause over 22,000 deaths statewide each year. Anyone who needs help quitting smoking can call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-697-8487 or visit nysmokefree.com.

 

Opening night at Dwyer Stadium was a success in more ways than one; Saturday night, the Muckdogs beat the Pioneers 6 to 4. In addition to the game, there were plenty of fun activities including a memorial presentation, races around the bases, and fireworks. The Muckdogs had been on a two game winning streak, but then lost yesterday to Niagara Power. The Muckdogs return home to take the field this evening against Auburn; game time is 7pm.

 

Tom Reed

Governor Hochul has officially announced a special election to fill the vacant seat in the 23rd Congressional District. The position has been empty since last month when former Congressman Tom Reed resigned to take a job with Prime Policy Group, which is a public relations and government relations agency in Washington, DC. The election will happen on Tuesday, August 23rd. The candidate who wins will serve until the end of the year.

 

A Geneva man has been arrested by State Police on several disturbing charges. Troopers say 56-year-old Andrew Jensen was taken into custody Saturday and is accused of sexual conduct against a child, among other crimes. Jensen was arraigned and released to pretrial services but must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. Anyone who has information on this case is asked to contact State Police.

 

Morning News Brief

Genesee County Sheriffs are investigating reports of a series of gunshots fired at several residences in the town of Bethany late Saturday night.  The incidents occurred on Bethany Center Rd between Mayne and Raymond Rds at about 9pm and then into the early morning.  There is no known motive for the attacks.  A 2 door dark blue car with a loud exhaust was witnessed driving up and down the street before the shots were heard.  Anyone with information about this should call 585 343 5000 and talk to investigator DeLong at extension 3572.

Alyssa’s Law goes to the governor’s desk to sign days after strict gun legislation was sent to be signed by Governor Hochul.  Alyssa’s law makes it so schools must have a panic button accessible in the case of a life threatening event to alert Law Enforcement.  It’s named for Alyssa Alhadeff, a 14-year-old who was killed in her English class at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida in 2018.

Opening night at Dwyer Stadium saw the Muckdogs beat the Pioneers 6 to 4.  There were plenty of exciting events Saturday night with cheerleaders, a memorial presentation, races around the bases, fireworks and more.  The dogs had been on a streak of 2 wins but lost Sunday to Niagara Power.  The Muckdogs play again tonight at home at 7pm.  

The dedication of the new name for the Batavia Ice Rink brought over 150 friends, family and supporters to the newly christened David M. McCarthy Memorial Arena for the ceremony.  Guy Pellegrino bought the naming rights for the arena for 3100 a year for the next 10 years.  Pellegrino played hockey with McCarthy on the Batavia High team.  McCarthy was killed in a car accident in 2006.  The McCarthy Foundation, Friends of the Rink, Genesee Amateur Hockey Association, city management and other supporters are working to improve youth athletics in Genesee County. 

Oliver’s Candies and Eli Fish Brewing Company are collaborating to bring a new kind of confection to the people.  Beer Brittle, peanut brittle with a beer base instead of water, is being created to mark the anniversary of both businesses.  Eli Fish is approaching 4 years old and Oliver’s is coming up on 90.  The Beer used is Bad Bad Leroy Brown, a sweet beer, and it is added to the malt, sugar and peanuts.  The beer-brittle is being sold at both Oliver’s Locations — Batavia and Elba, as well as at Eli Fish.

City Firefighters will be passing the boot for donations toward the Muscular Dystrophy Association on Friday June 17th.  They will be standing in the street from 8:30 to 1:30 on Court and Main and Court and Ellicott.  Donations collected during the Fill the Boot campaign will support researching neuromuscular diseases such as ALS, muscular dystrophies, and other diseases.  Donations will also provide support for families affected by these diseases and opportunities for children affected to go to camps with other children.

Weekend News Brief

A student in Kendall found out the cost of making a threat online.  A 14 year old student and their parents have been charged in relation to a threat made against Kendall Central School district.  The student made the threat on social media Friday and within minutes police were at the school and the student was searched, their locker and bag were searched.  The student’s residence was searched and the parents lied about what was in the house.  No weapons were found at school but weapons and ammunition were found at the home.  The student was taken to Strong for mental health evaluations.  The student is being charged with Felony Making a Terroristic Threat.  The Parents are charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

You may have noticed that gas is a little bit cheaper since June 1st.  The state wide gas sales tax has been suspended till December 31st and is saving drivers an average of 16 cents per gallon.  Counties have jumped on the bandwagon as well, capping their taxes for additional savings.  In the GLOW region, Livingston County has capped theirs to only collect taxes on the first 3 dollars per gallon saving drivers an additional 7 cents at the rate gas is right now.  County Executive Matt Landers of Genesee county says that, while a gas tax holiday has been discussed for Genesee the legislature has opted not to suspend taxes.  Landers says losing the tax revenue from Thruway travelers would take bites out of infrastructure spending and keeping property taxes down.

The New York State Agriculture department announced that the ban on Poultry Shows, auctions, meets, swaps and exhibitions is over.  Poultry were restricted because of Avian Influenza, 8 flocks in New York tested positive and thousands of birds had to be destroyed to stop the contagion.  The last positive case was nearly 2 months ago with the last detection being in Fulton County April 6th.  The bans were put into place on March 25th and April 14th.  No word yet on if there will be poultry show at the New York State Faire.

New York has ended its legislative session with a flurry of legislations.  One that is the first in the nation is a targeted move to place a moratorium on cryptocurrency mining, specifically that which is housed in Fossil Fuel Burning Power plants.  This move is aimed at a company on Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes which has had activists accusing the company of increasing the temperature of the lake for the past several years. 

The State Senate and Assembly both passed a package of bills cracking down on gun violence. The bills include banning the sale and possession of semi-automatic rifles for anyone under the age of 21, requiring anyone wanting to buy one of those rifles receive a permit, restricting civilian purchases of bullet-resistant body armor, and require new guns be equipped with microstamping technology which would help law enforcement investigators trace bullets to specific firearms.  The bills passed on party lines with Republicans saying these laws would not prevent any shootings and that Democrats should put aside politics and work on actual solutions.

Representative Jacobs has announced he will not run for reelection.  He came under fire after saying he would support gun control legislation, including a federal assault weapons ban.  He serves the 27th district which was changed in the new election map. 

Afternoon News Brief

Luis Gabriel Torres

The Le Roy Police Department has arrested Luis Gabriel Torres and charged him with felonies, the most serious of which include intent to cause physical injury with a weapon, attempted assault, and criminal possession of a weapon after a previous conviction. Torres was remanded to the Genesee County Jail and will return to court on June 7th to answer the charges.

 

Wyoming County Sherriff’s deputies tell us a Batavia man now faces felony charges after he was found to be driving while high with two teenagers in the car, along with concentrated cannabis. Sheriffs stopped 21-year-old Memphis Chamberlain during the DWI crackdown over Memorial Day Weekend. He appeared high on drugs and the odor of marijuana was inside the car. Two teenagers, age 15 and 17, were passengers. The 17-year-old had more than 24 grams of concentrated cannabis in her possession and told police Chamberlain gave it to her. Chamberlain was charged with driving while impaired by drugs, felony aggravated DWI with a child in the car, felony criminal sale of cannabis, unlawful possession of cannabis, unlicensed operation, driver’s view obstructed, modified muffler and unauthorized stickers on windows. He is to appear at a later date in Town Court.

 

A Batavia man needed to be flown by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital. He suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns yesterday afternoon as he was getting a lawn mower from his shed. He believes he accidentally hit an igniter on a propane grill, which caused a spark and the vapors exploded. The man was reportedly burned across 60 percent of his body.

 

 

Mobile Wagering

Governor Kathy Hochul announced that New York’s recently launched mobile sports wagering has generated a record-breaking amount of tax revenue in less than six months, surpassing states that have offered sports wagering for years. According to New York state data, the state has generated more than $267 million from sports wagering since January. Mobile sports wagering accounted for $263 million of that.

 

The Genesee Country Farmer’s Market is located at Alva and Bank Streets in Batavia and they opened today for the season. Vendors will be on hand Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9am until 4pm through October 28th.

 

 

 

Payton Gendron

The suspect who allegedly killed 10 people at a Tops store in Buffalo has pleaded not guilty to over two-dozen charges. Yesterday, 18-year-old Payton Gendron was back in court after he was indicted by a grand jury for murder, attempted murder and domestic terrorism. Prosecutors say Gendron carried out the shooting at the supermarket on May 14th in what’s been called a racially-motivated hate crime. Gendron remains behind bars without bail and faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted.

 

Dave Chappelle

A comedian who is known to people around the world is bringing his latest tour to Buffalo this weekend. Dave Chappelle is set to take the stage at Shea’s Performing Arts Center on Sunday at 7:00pm. No cell phones are allowed at the show and people are asked to leave those devices at home or in their vehicles. Anyone who is caught with a cell phone will be removed from the theater. Tickets for the performance are still available and can be purchased through Live Nation.

 

Letitia James

State Attorney General Letitia James is reminding New Yorkers about the risks of investing in cryptocurrency. She says cryptocurrencies often have significant price swings and the market reached record lows last month that cost investors billions of dollars. James is urging people to be cautious so they don’t lose any of their hard-earned money. She’s also asking anyone who believes they’ve been a victim of investment fraud to contact the Investor Protection Bureau.

 

The Genesee County Economic Development Center Board of Directors approved an agreement supporting the O-AT-KA Milk Products 3,200 square foot facility expansion. O-AT-KA had proposed a $3.1 million investment that would be home to two new 18,000-gallon tanks. The goals of the project include increased capacities of cream-based liquor beverages and future expansions. The project is proposing to create two new jobs at a leading employer in Genesee County’s food and beverage manufacturing ecosystem.

 

Buffalo police have released new information their investigation into what caused a vehicle to crash into a building. According to police, the man behind the wheel had been shot before the vehicle struck a building in the area of Genesee Street and Bissell Avenue Wednesday night. The man was pronounced dead at the scene and a passenger went to Erie County Medical Center where they’re in serious condition. The names of the victims haven’t been made public and anyone with information can call police.

 

The dedication and unveiling of the signage at the David McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena is set for 6:00 this evening at 22 Evans St., Batavia. A food stand fundraiser will open at 5, featuring hotdogs, chips and water, with proceeds going to the David McCarthy Memorial Foundation. Everyone is invited to attend. Also, the David McCarthy Memorial Golf Tournament is scheduled for tomorrow.

 

Morning News Brief

A man was taken to the hospital by Mercy Flight chopper after being severely burned when his grill exploded.  The Batavia Fire department say a man on Cherry Street in Batavia had left the grill on or that the tank or hose had a leak when he accidentally hit the igniter Thursday, causing the built up gasses to explode and cause 2nd degree burns across 60 percent of his body.  He was pulling a lawn mower from his shed when the explosion happened.

Do you like loud engines and high flying acrobatics?  Well the Geneseo Airshow is here for you!  This weekend the warplanes will be on and above the field just west of Geneseo from 11am till the show is done.  Gate opens at 9.  They are doing a tailgate or drive in style viewing this year with a general seating area also available.  Headliners will be the USAF F-22 Raptors Demo team, The Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association Formation Team, and the Round Chute Jump Team among many others.  If you can’t make it Saturday the same events will be performed Sunday.  Tickets are 35 dollars a person for General admission seating or starting at 100 for car seating.

Our news partner the Batavian has named a new news editor, Joanne Beck.  Beck has been freelancing for the Batavian since August and began her new staff position in May.  She took over the City and County beats from Mike Pettinella and will also be covering schools.  Beck has a Bachelors in News/Media and has been active in journalism in the area for many years.

Fresh produce, food trucks, live music, and fudge.  What do all these things have in common?  The Genesee County Farmers Market!  Starting today 9 to 4 and going Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays through October 29th, the Farmers Market will feature live music on some Fridays this season and a Master Gardener and Nutritionist.  The market is at the parking lot at Alva Place and Bank Street.

Genesee County Park and Forest is hosting guided dog walks for you and your 4 legged canine friend.  Each walk is on a Saturday a month apart.  The first is June 4th, next is July 2nd and the last is August 6th and they run from 10 to 11 am.  The walks start at the Interpretive Center and are 5 dollars a dog.  All dogs must be leashed, vaccinated and licensed.

The Buffalo Bills have signed a veteran Wide receiver and former first round draft pick Tavon Austin to the team.  Austin was originally selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft after his college career at West Virginia. He spent his first five years in the NFL with the Rams.  He has also played for the Cowboys, 49ers, and Jaguars. Last season, Austin hauled in 24 catches for 213 yards and a touchdown with Jacksonville. He also had three carries for 21 yards.

Kiwanis Club Announces 2022 Criminal Justice Awards

The Kiwanis Club of Batavia Criminal Justice Award is presented to a member or members of the community, law enforcement, or a criminal justice agency serving the citizens of Genesee County whose exceptional career achievements and conscientiousness to citizenship have demonstrated a spirit of selfless public service or demonstrated an act of exceptional valor or heroism.

The 2022 Award Recipients are:
Rosanne DeMare, Community Victim/Services Counselor, Genesee Justice
Rosanne started her career with Genesee Justice in 2006 and has worked with countless victims by supporting and guiding them through their role in the justice process. She is compassionate when speaking to, or on behalf of victims and is determined to ensure that victim’s rights are met with the utmost respect and dignity at all stages of the criminal justice process. The victims Rosanne has assisted wholeheartedly share their appreciation for all she did to help them get through some very trying times.

Rosanne always has the interests of the victims first and foremost and is ready, willing, and able to assist in whatever way necessary. She will calculate large and complex restitution claims or simply be there to comfort a victim in distress. She will supervise and entertain children while their parent or guardian is testifying in court and she will provide assistance to allow victims to travel to court to remain safe from a threat. She will make phone calls, emails, whatever is necessary, to keep a victim apprised of the progress of their case or relieve their anxiety.

Rosanne has a superior work ethic and is often the last one to leave on any given day. Her dedication and professionalism to the mission of the Genesee Justice Victim Advocacy program is a true asset to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and Genesee County. Community Victim/Services Counselor Rosanne DeMare was nominated for this award by Genesee Justice Program Coordinator Diana Prinzi.

Thomas Graham, Justice, Town of Oakfield
Justice Thomas Graham began his law enforcement career on February 17, 1976, with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and retired after 29 ½ years of service. During his tenure, he held the positions of Deputy Sheriff – Jail, Deputy Sheriff – Road Patrol, Dispatcher, and Sergeant. Additionally, he was a Field Training Officer, was the lead for the Buckle Up New York Program and earned a Meritorious Service Award for his exceptional performance over an extended period of time. He played an instrumental role in the operations of the Emergency Services Dispatch Center and was a K-9 handler for several years.

Honorable Graham is currently the Secretary and Treasurer of the Genesee County Magistrates’ and Court Clerks’ Association and is a board member on the Criminal Justice Advisory Council and Genesee County Traffic Safety Board. He is also an instructor for the Rural Police Training Academy at Genesee Community College.

Judge Graham has spent the past 48 years as a volunteer fireman and was the Assistant Chief of the Oakfield Volunteer Fire Department.

It is evident that Judge Thomas Graham is dedicated to the profession of law enforcement and has contributed extensively to the several organizations and boards he has served and currently serves. Genesee County is very fortunate to have such an experienced, dedicated professional serving its citizens. Justice Graham was nominated for this award by the Town of Oakfield Court Clerk Sandy Almeter.

Kevin Forsyth, Investigator, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office
Investigator Forsyth‘s career in law enforcement began in June of 2007, as a Probation Officer with the Genesee County Probation Department, and on July 11, 2015, he was hired as a Deputy Sheriff with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigator Forsyth proved himself a valuable member of the road patrol division and was selected as a Field Training Officer. He was awarded a Meritorious Service Award in 2017, reflecting his consistent high standard of work. Investigator Forsyth’s excellent performance led to his promotion on November 30, 2019, to Investigator with the Criminal Investigation Division. He demonstrates a consistent work ethic, is knowledgeable of the law, and is a valued, reliable member of the Investigation Division. Investigator Forsyth presently serves the community spending countless hours investigating crimes, which through his effort and commitment, often lead to an arrest and the perpetrator brought to justice. Along with his investigative responsibilities, Investigator Forsyth is also an instructor of Defensive Tactics, Taser, Aerosol Subject Restraint, Stinger Spike System and is trained as a Crisis Intervention Officer. Investigator Forsyth is also a veteran of the United States Army.

Investigator Kevin Forsyth was nominated for this award by the Chief of Criminal Investigations Joseph Graff.

Eric Hill, Youth Detective, City of Batavia Police Department
Youth Detective Hill was hired by the City of Batavia Police Department in 2005, and has served many roles within the department during his 17 years of service to the community. He has served as a road patrol officer, Field Training Officer, one of the Department’s Public Information Officers (PIO), has been a member of the Department’s Emergency Response Team, and is active in community events such as Shop with a Cop.

Youth Detective Hill was promoted to the position of Youth Detective in 2015, and has since worked alongside multiple partner agencies to ensure that the City’s youth are served with professionalism and empathy, always emphasizing a restorative justice model. Youth Detective Hill has worked with countless parents, teachers, and officers to assist them in dealing with difficult situations, all while ensuring that the best interest of the youth is met. Eric has also worn the unofficial “hat” of being the Department’s IT support. He has worked alongside County IT, City officials, IT vendors and department members to ensure that the technology used to assist officers and citizens is kept operational. Eric’s technical background and skills have proven to be an indispensable resource to the staff.

Throughout his career, Youth Detective Hill handles all of his duties with professionalism and pride for the uniform he wears and the department he represents. Youth Detective Hill was nominated for this award by City of Batavia Police Detective Sergeant Matt Lutey.

Afternoon News Brief

Zachary Hursh

Alexander Scheg

Jason Schmeer

A Rochester man who led police on a high-speed chase through two counties in a stolen car has been indicted by a Genesee County grand jury. 37-year-old Zachary Hursh is charged with third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, obstruction of governmental administration, third-degree unlawful fleeing a police officer and reckless driving. The 2017 Honda Civic that he was driving was reported stolen from the city of Rochester and observed at Horseshoe Lake and Sanders roads in Stafford the night of December 1. Attempts to pull the vehicle over were unsuccessful, even the use of spike strips failed. Hursh eventually lost control and crashed the car. He and one of his passengers (27-year-old Alexander Scheg of Byron), attempted to flee but were soon found; a third passenger, 41-year-old Jason Schmeer was immediately taken into custody.

 

Jarrett Coniglio

A Basom man who made a plea deal as long as he stayed out of trouble, was soon back in court charged with felonies. The initial charges against 29-year-old Jarrett Coniglio included DWI, forgery and criminal impersonation – he initially provided the name of his brother when police pulled him over. With the deal that he made, he would have served less time in prison but then, unprovoked, assaulted a neighbor. At sentencing, he said he wanted to be a better person, take care of his mother who apparently is having health problems, and also take care of his kids; something he has not done in the past and is court-ordered to stay away from the mother of his children . The judge did not believe Coniglio was the family man he said he was; he was sentenced to five years in prison for assault and up to four years for the DWI conviction. He had accepted 2-1/2 years in the plea deal.

 

Officers from the Genesee County Local Task Force have announced they arrested a Batavia resident for selling cocaine. Members of the Task Force, comprised of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and Batavia Police Department, arrested 69-year-old Julious Murphy of Jerome Place, after an investigation into the transportation and sale of crack cocaine in and around the City of Batavia. Officers said Murphy was taken into custody on a sealed grand jury indictment warrant during a traffic stop. Officers added that He allegedly sold quantities of crack cocaine to an agent of the Genesee County Drug Task Force while in Batavia. Murphy is also known as ‘Fatboy’, and has been charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, both class B-felonies according to New York State Penal Law. The suspect was arraigned in Genesee County Court Tuesday and was released under supervision.

 

Lynne Johnson

Orleans County officials don’t plan to suspend any of the sales tax on gas, this, from Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson. She noted that the funds are needed to improve bridges, emergency response and communication services, the county will become further burdened with fixable and unfixable problems in the absence of the gas tax. Out of the 62 counties in the state only 25 have suspended the gas tax when the price hits either $2 or $3 a gallon. In the GLOW region, only Livingston is waiving the sales tax – and that’s after $3 a gallon. Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming have not suspended the local share of the tax.

 

Andrew Cuomo

After an online ad campaign, billboards and television ads touting his innocence and a possible run for governor: Former Governor Andrew Cuomo has not filed paperwork to run and the deadline is now past. If he had wanted to run he would have needed a 45,000 signature petition to run as an independent candidate. Cuomo could still get on the ballot if his campaign had collected those signatures and put his petitions in the mail. Board of Elections spokesperson Jennifer Wilson says, “If that paperwork was to arrive by Thursday, bearing a postmark dated Tuesday or earlier, it would still count.”

 

Payton Gendron

The man accused of carrying out a mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo is expected to be back in court today. Payton Gendron has been indicted by an Erie County grand jury on several charges including domestic terrorism, murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors say that Gendron arrived at a Tops store May 14th and allegedly opened fire, killing 10 people and injuring three others in what officials have called a racially motivated hate crime. Gendron is behind bars without bail.

 

New data shows the spread of the coronavirus is continuing to slow down across our region. Right now, the 7-day average infection rate is just below 7.9%. Last week, the average infection rate was at 10.5%. Health officials are urging residents to take the proper precautions to protect themselves and others from getting sick such as being vaccinated against the virus and wearing a mask while indoors.

 

Genesee County is waiving fees for civil service exams. This is an effort to try to get more people interested in employment with Police, Sheriff, Fire, Probation and Dispatch service. Human Resources Director Anita Cleveland noted that since the 20 to 25 dollar exam fee was implemented the number of people signing up to take the exams has fallen. This led her to propose dropping the fees through December 31st a move that will cost the county approximately $3000. After passing the Ways and Means Committee, it goes to the county legislature for the final vote.

 

A popular fast-food chain is planning to add a fourth location in the Rochester area. According to WHEC, Chick-fil-A wants to build a new restaurant on Route 250 in Penfield that would seat 75 people and have a three-lane drive-thru. The other Chick-fil-A’s are located in Greece, Henrietta and Irondequoit. There’s no word yet on when the Penfield restaurant will open.

 

 

Joshua Wilson

A Buffalo man has been sentenced for brutally beating a woman to death inside of her home Tonawanda. Prosecutors say 24-year-old Joshua Wilson attacked 71-year-old Diane Wolfe with a gardening tool at her residence back in May 2020. After killing Wolfe, Wilson left the scene with the victim’s vehicle and several items from her house. He will be spending the next 22 years behind bars after pleading guilty.

 

Morning News Brief

The suspected shooter who took the lives of 10 people in a Buffalo TOPs has been officially charged with terrorism and 10 counts of 1st degree murder.  The jury decided Wednesday to charge the 18 year old that the charge of terrorism will be domestic terrorism motivated by hate.  The suspect has plead not guilty.  

Genesee County is waiving fees for civil service exams in a move to try to get more people interested in Police, Sheriff, Fire, Probation and Dispatch service.  Since the 20 to 25 dollar exam fee was implemented the number of people signing up to take the exams has fallen.  This led Human Resources Director Anita Cleveland to propose dropping the fees from June 1st to December 31st.  Not having the fees will cost the county approximately 3000 dollars.  After passing the Ways and Means committee, it goes to the county legislature for the final vote.

Buffalo Police have seized 23 ATVs and dirt bikes since Sunday during a special operation to get the off road vehicles off Buffalo’s roads.  Riders of these vehicles have been known to run lights and stop signs, drive on sidewalks, and ride across public parks en masse causing damage and endangering pedestrians.  Mayor Byron Brown says that “This is not fun and games. This is dangerous.”  Brown also says that the city will continue to offer a cash reward for information leading to the confiscation of these vehicles.

After an online ad campaign, billboards and television ads touting his innocence and a possible run for governor.  Former Governor Andrew Cuomo has not filed paperwork to run and the deadline is now past.  If he had wanted to run he would have needed a 45,000 signature petition to run as an independent candidate.  Cuomo could still get on the ballot if his campaign had collected those signatures and put his petitions in the mail. Board of Elections spokesperson Jennifer Wilson says, “If that paperwork was to arrive by Thursday, bearing a postmark dated Tuesday or earlier, it would still count.”

The Oakfield Alabama Hornets are Section 5 Title Winners after beating Notre Dame in a close fought 8 to 7 game.  The Section C Class 5 title game was played Tuesday.  Bodie Hyde had 2 runs scored for the Hornets.  David Schnaufer knocked out 3 runs in one hit and Brayden Smith scored twice.  

Rochester’s Seneca Park Zoo has announced the name of the Giraffe baby born at the end of April.  Little calf Olmsted was born to Iggy and Parker on April 29th and has been sheltered inside with his mother and father and is now going to be let out for visitors to see.  The name Olmsted is meant to honor Frederick Law Olmstead who designed Seneca Park.  2022 marks 200 years since Frederick Olmstead was born.

Afternoon News Brief

Makeen Ithna-Asheri

A Genesee County grand jury has indicted a Batavia man on charges that he failed to help his wife or call for help, while she was overdosing on drugs. 61-year-old Makeen Ithna-Asheri is charged with second-degree manslaughter due to recklessly causing the death of his wife; also included are two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police also said he prevented his children from calling by taking their phone away. The couple both overdosed that night, police said, with Ithna-Asheri recovering before police and medics arrived. Attempts were made to revive his wife but failed. The manslaughter charge is a class C felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Ithna-Asheri is already on lifetime parole because of a 1977 murder conviction in Suffolk County when he was 17 years old.

 

Attica Correctional Facility

A corrections officer at the Attica Correctional Facility was stabbed with a makeshift knife. This occurred during a brawl in the mess hall last Friday. The officer was coming to the aid of an inmate who was being attacked by several other inmates. Three other inmates then joined in as two officers ordered them to stop. The inmates ignored the officers. More officers arrived to assist and the three inmates who joined the fight fled and attempted to mix in with other inmates as the initial attacker kept trying to stab the inmate. An officer was treated for a stab wound in the left hand. All five inmates involved in the fight were placed in Special Housing Units pending disciplinary charges.

 

Richard Steen

53-year-old Richard Steen of Lake Street, Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal mischief, and menacing. He was arrested by deputies after they responded to a call of a disturbance in the evening of May 27, at a residence on Cole Road, Le Roy. Steen allegedly displayed a long gun in a threatening manner and allegedly shot a camper causing damage to it. He was arraigned in Town of Le Roy Court and released.

 

26-year-old Megan Courtney of Batavia has been charged with grand larceny and three counts of filing a false instrument. She is accused of failing to report that the father of her children was residing in her home and earning income; as a result, she allegedly received $6830 in SNAP benefits that she was not eligible to receive.  Similarly, 30-year-old Chandah Sundown of Batavia faces multiple charges, including grand larceny. She is accused of failing to report the father of her children was residing with her and earning income. This resulted in Sundown allegedly receiving $8353 in SNAP benefits she should not have received. She was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and released on her own recognizance.

 

38-year-old Thomas Wolcott of Batavia is charged with criminal contempt. He is accused of violating an order of protection. Wolcott was arraigned in City Court and ordered held on $10,000 bail.

 

 

After weeks of having to hand over a lot of money to fill up their vehicles, New York drivers are finally getting a little relief at the gas pumps today. That’s because a gas tax holiday that was approved as part of this year’s state budget is now in effect. The suspension of the state’s 16-cents-per gallon tax is going to remain in place through the end of December. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas in Batavia is $4.85, up two cents from yesterday.

 

Mayor Byron Brown

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is calling for the country’s leaders to come up with a solution to put an end to ongoing gun violence. Brown hosted a virtual conference yesterday during which other mayors from around the state joined him. In the last few weeks, there have been shootings in Buffalo and Texas that took the lives of dozens of people. Democrats in Congress are calling for additional gun legislation, but many Republicans believe other methods to prevent mass shootings should be considered including increasing access to mental health care. And the New York State Assembly and Senate are currently reviewing 10 new bills that have come up for approval that have to do with guns and stopping shooters before they can hurt others.

 

NYS Capitol Building

Governor Hochul and the leaders of the state Senate and Assembly have introduced a package of bills that are aimed at toughening the state’s gun laws. The measures would make threatening mass harm a crime, require information between state, local and federal agencies be shared when guns are used in crimes and require microstamping for new guns. Another bill would raise the minimum age to buy a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21-years-old and a license would be needed prior to purchase. Lawmakers are expected to vote on these measures before the legislative session ends tomorrow.

 

Brittanee Drexel

A coroner in South Carolina says the cause of death of a 17-year-old girl from Chili is undetermined. The coroner said due to the condition of Brittanee Drexel’s remains, strangulation could not be confirmed. Drexel was last seen alive in April 2009 while she was on vacation in Myrtle Beach. Police recently arrested Raymond Moody in connection with this case and charged him with murder, kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct.

 

Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel is donating 3300 concert tickets to the Genesee County Veterans Service Agency. The concert tickets are good for the June 10th ‘Bruce in the USA’ charity concert, and the 11 concerts in the Rockin’ The Downs series starting on June 17th.

 

 

Notre Dame High School

Notre Dame High School Baccalaureate Mass and Graduation will take place on June 5th; they will be celebrating the accomplishments of Seniors. Members of the graduating class of 1972 (50 years ago) will also be honored.

 

 

 

A local Boy Scout leader and employee in the Greece Central School District is in trouble with the law after being accused of a disturbing crime. According to State Police, 51-year-old Sean Glenney allegedly had sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy back in 2015. Glenney met the teen through an explorer program with the North Greece Fire Department. He’s on leave from his job in the school district but officials say the inappropriate contact didn’t happen on school grounds. Glenney is due back in court at a later date.

 

BB Gun

A Buffalo Public Schools seventh-grade student is facing punishment after allegedly bringing a BB gun to school with him. Police responded to Olmstead School 156 yesterday after getting a report of a student with a gun and the weapon was later found in a bathroom. The school was put on lockdown during the incident, but it was later lifted, and classes resumed. The district said the student will be disciplined using the guidelines laid out in the Code of Conduct. Counseling will also be made available to other students.

Morning News Brief

RG and E and NYSEG customers could see a hike in their bills if the Public Service Commission approves it.  Both organizations said an increase of 10 to 18 dollars per billing cycle is needed to cover the cost of replacing aging infrastructure to prevent outages, and to make the transition to clean energy.  Another issue customers have been dealing with is extremely high bills, sometimes 5 to 10 times higher than normal, which RG and E says are because they don’t have enough meter readers and have been estimating people’s bill and then sending one big one with the missing kilowatts charged once they get a read.  Most customers say that the bills are fantastically over anything that may have been missed.  RG&E and NYSEG are asking the public service commission to approve a proposal to increase rates by 13 to 22 percent starting in May of 2023.

10 new bills have come up for approval in the NY State Assembly and Senate that have to do with guns and stopping shooters before they can hurt others.  Among the bills is one requiring a person to have a license to purchase a semi automatic rifle.  Another restricts body armor to law enforcement professionals.  On the side of stopping shooters who have mental health issues a bill that would allow health care practitioners to file Extreme Risk Protection Orders if they examine someone and think they could be a risk to themselves or others.  This would also restrict that person from purchasing a firearm or getting a license.  Social media also made it into the bills with one creating a task force to study how social media could lead to shootings and another making social media platforms create and maintain clear rules about hateful conduct or threats. Threats would become a criminal offense under the proposed bill.   

Anyone driving in Buffalo has probably heard them long before they saw them.  Dirt Bikes and ATVs driving down city roads late at night, blowing through red lights and swerving around traffic.  Buffalo Common Council Member Mitch Nowakowski says they have become “brazen and inconsiderate of residents in the
City of Buffalo.”  Riders use social media to form massive groups to meet up.  The Buffalo Police Department has a safety policy not to chase ATVs or dirt bikes because chases can be dangerous for civilians caught in the middle between fleeing riders and police.  Police are able to seize bikes and atvs if they find them sitting still though.  Common Council Members said the key to ending the illegal use of dirt bikes and ATVs is community members coming forward with information. They said community members can report on illegal dirt bike or ATV activity using the police non-emergency number or by calling 311.  In Rochester a task force has taken 12 ATVs, 21 Dirt Bikes, 4 mini bikes and 1 golf cart off the road.

Batavia Downs donates concert tickets to veterans.  The Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel donated 3300 tickets to the Genesee County Veterans Service Agency.  Ricky Palermo, president and CEO of the Palermo Foundation, works with many veterans agencies.  The concert tickets are good for the 11 concerts in the Rockin The Downs series starting on June 17th and the June 10th Bruce in the USA charity concert.  

The Buffalo Sabres have signed another 2021 NHL Draft pick, inking forward Isak Rosen to a three-year entry-level contract on Tuesday.  Rosen, the 14th overall pick in the 2021 Draft, comes to the Sabres from Sweden in which he played for Leksands’ senior team during the 2021-22 season. In 28 games with the team, he recorded two goals and two assists.  Rosen played in the World championships in 2021 and is in the Junior World Championship this year. 

Afternoon News Brief

United States and Canadian regulators are investigating a hepatitis outbreak that may be linked to fresh organic strawberries. In a joint weekend statement, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Public Health Agency of Canada say at least 27 illnesses have occurred after people ate FreshKampo and H-E-B brand strawberries. The strawberries were purchased between March 5 and April 25 at various retailers, including Aldi, Kroger and Wal-Mart. Of course, the strawberries are past their shelf life, but consumers who froze them to eat later should throw them away. There have been 17 illnesses and 12 hospitalizations reported. Ten cases and four hospitalizations have been reported in Canada. In a statement on its website, Texas grocer H-E-B said it has not received or sold organic strawberries from the supplier in question since April 16. H-E-B said anyone who still has the strawberries should throw them away or return them to the store where they were purchased. Hepatitis A is a virus that can cause liver disease and, in rare cases, liver failure and death. Illness usually occurs within 15 to 50 days after eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and jaundice. Consumers who ate the potentially affected berries in the last two weeks and have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A should immediately consult with a physician, the FDA said.

 

The Genesee County Economic Development Center Board of Directors will be considering the O-AT-KA Milk Products proposal this Thursday night when they meet: OATKA wants to expand their facility by 3,200 square feet. The $3.1 million proposed investment would be home to two new 18,000-gallon tanks intended to increase capacities of cream-based liquor beverages and future expansions. The project proposal includes a request for a little over $208,000 ($208,109) in property, sales and mortgage tax assistance. Upon completion, it’s estimated to generate $3.5 million in local economic benefits over 10 years, equal to $27 in economic activity for every $1 of public investment.

 

After dealing with weeks of increases, Western New York drivers are finally seeing steady prices at the gas pumps. According to Triple A, in our region, the average cost for a gallon of regular fuel is $4.88. That’s the same price as last week but is 60 cents higher than this time last month and a $1.85 more than a year ago. The state average is $4.93 a gallon while nationally it’s $4.62. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.83, down a penny from yesterday. Governor Hochul has pledged that the state tax will be suspended starting tomorrow, saving upwards of 16 cents per gallon. Several counties including Erie and Monroe are also dropping their gas tax on top of the state tax for another 12 to 15 cents off. The gas tax relief will be in place until September.

 

The deadline to register to vote in the upcoming June primary is just a few days away. Folks have until this Friday, June 3rd to register through the state DMV website or in-person at their local Board of Elections office. Anyone who wants to mail in his or her application must make sure it’s postmarked no later than June 3rd and received by the Board of Elections no later than June 8th. The primary is scheduled for Tuesday, June 28th.

 

 

NYS Capitol Building

Members of the state Senate and Assembly are back at the Capitol in Albany today as this year’s legislative session winds down. Lawmakers are reportedly planning to address several key issues including guaranteeing access to abortion services and strengthening the state’s gun control laws. They might also vote on a measure that would switch local elections for certain offices outside of New York City to even-numbered years. The legislative session is currently scheduled to end on Thursday.

 

Mine, all mine...

The Mega Millions jackpot hasn’t been won in a few weeks, and players of the game are hoping to claim a huge prize tonight. The jackpot for this evening’s drawing has grown to at least $170,000,000. The price of a ticket for Mega Millions is $2.00; tonight’s drawing will be streamed live online. Please play responsibly.

 

 

Jefferson Avenue Tops

FeedMore WNY has announced it’s going to be holding additional food distribution events for Buffalo residents who have been affected by the ongoing closure of the Jefferson Avenue Tops. One of those distributions will take place on Wednesdays from 3:00pm until 7:00pm at the Resource Council of WNY. Food is also going to be distributed on Fridays from 3 until 7pm at the Johnnie B. Wiley Pavilion. People can also have meals delivered by calling 716-822-2002.

Morning News Brief

Drivers are looking for a little help paying for gas as it approaches 5 dollars a gallon in New York State.  Governor Hochul has pledged that the state tax will be suspended, saving upwards of 16 cents per gallon.  Several counties including Erie and Monroe are also dropping their gas tax on top of the state tax for another 12 to 15 cents off.  The gas tax relief is set to go into effect on Wednesday and will go till September.

June is Gun Violence Awareness Month and most people are only too aware of gun violence in Western NY.  Mayor Byron Brown, whose city remains grieving following the mass shooting at a Tops store on May 14, is hosting a statewide gun violence press conference Tuesday. He’ll be joined by Rochester Mayor Malik Evans, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas, and Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino.  The event will also feature remarks from anti-gun violence advocates and clergy members. It comes a week after 21 were killed in a school shooting in Texas.

In North Tonawanda a new memorial has been dedicated to residents of the town who served in the armed forces.  The North Tonawanda City Market has a hometown heroes wall with pictures of veterans and the USS The Sullivans.  Several local elected officials and members of the city’s veterans groups paid tribute and took part in the rededication ceremony on Saturday.  A donation from Joe Smith of David Chevrolet in Niagara Falls paid for the new wall.  The North Tonawanda City Market is open on Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday from 7 AM to 1 PM and is located at Payne Avenue and Robinson Street.

Buffalo tennis star Jessica Pegula made it to the French Open Quarterfinals as the 3rd woman from the US to make it this year.  The 26-year-old Pegula is seeded 11th at Roland Garros. Her two previous runs to the round of eight at Grand Slam tournaments came at the Australian Open — this January and last year.  Pegula, whose parents own the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, will play either the no 1 spot or number 74 spot depending on matchups. 

Afternoon News Brief

Kenneth Butler

Dillon Decker

Livingston County Sheriff’s tell us that two men have been arrested and face felony grand larceny charges after allegedly stealing a car in Caledonia and selling it to a scrap yard. Sherriffs allege that two men, 31-year-old Dillon Decker of Caledonia, and 32-year-old Kenneth Butler of Pavilion had damaged the vehicle in question and took it to a scrap yard where it was sold without permission. Both were issued appearance tickets for a later date and released on their own recognizance.

 

 

32-year-old Jonathan Little of Batavia has been arrested and faces multiple charges, including possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest. During a traffic stop, in which he was a passenger, it was determined that Little provided a false name; further investigation found that he had several outstanding warrants from the Genesee County Sherriff’s Office. Little initially resisted arrest and attempted to flee by foot. Little was quickly apprehended, at which time police found several bags of cocaine in his possession. The Genesee County Drug Task Force assisted Batavia police with this arrest.

 

Niagara County deputies are continuing to investigate the circumstances that led to a body being discovered on the shore of Lake Ontario. They say the remains were spotted on Saturday off Maple Avenue, which is located in the Town of Wilson. The name of the individual hasn’t been released. Officials are now waiting for autopsy results to find out how the person died.

 

As part of Memorial Day Weekend, and for the first time since it opened, veterans, family members, and area residents gathered at the WNY National Cemetery in Pembroke to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of their country. Several hundred people gathered for the ceremony yesterday, which included a 21-gun salute, honor guard flag presentation, and special remembrances.

 

Batavia Peace Garden

A new statue is set to light the way in the Batavia Peace Garden. The Friends of Batavia Peace Garden with the help of Ken Barret Chervolet, Cadillac and Superior Garden Decor installed a 6-foot facsimile of The Statue of Liberty. Just as she stands tall on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, this replica will now greet visitors to the Batavia Peace Garden for current and future generations. Volunteers are always needed and welcome. Visit bataviapeacegarden.com for additional information; or contact Paula Savage for details at (585) 343-2387.

 

 

 

Vice President Kamala Harris

The Vice President was in Buffalo to memorialize the oldest victim of the TOPs Friendly Market shooting on Saturday. Ruth Whitfield was laid to rest after a church service. In addition to hundreds of family members and friends, Vice President Kamala Harris was on hand. Vice President Harris was not scheduled to speak but Al Sharpton invited her to come up. Harris spoke of the shared pain the community had. Whitfield was remembered as a loving, caring and giving person.

 

Mine, all mine

Someone could end their Memorial Day weekend on a very high note if they have a bit of luck on their side. Because there was no winner on Saturday, whoever correctly picks the numbers for Powerball tonight will win at least $157,000,000. The cost of playing the popular lottery game is $2.00 per ticket. Tonight’s drawing will be streamed live online. Please play responsibly.

 

RIT Lacrosse

For the second year in a row, the Rochester Institute of Technology’s men’s lacrosse team are national champions. After falling behind by five goals to the Union Dutchmen yesterday, RIT rallied and won the NCAA Division Three title by a final score of 12 to 10 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. Quinn Commandant had three goals for RIT while Marley Angus and John Mozrall had two each. Last year, RIT beat Salisbury in double-overtime to win the program’s first NCAA championship.

 

Many people will be having a barbeque today and the State Division of Consumer Protection has issued some safety tips to keep in mind when grilling. The agency recommends making sure the grill is clean before use and checking the hoses on a gas grill for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks. Also, only use grills outside in a well-ventilated area and keep them away from surfaces that could burn. Finally, have an extinguisher nearby and easily accessible in case of a fire. I smell what you’re cooking and I’m on my way…

 

 

Memorial Day News

The Vice President was in Buffalo to memorialize the oldest victim of the TOPs Friendly Market shooting on Saturday.  Ruth Whitfield was laid to rest after a service at Mt Olivet Baptist Church.  In addition to hundreds of family members and friends, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff flew from Washington DC to memorialize Whitfield. Also at the service was attorney Ben Crump, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York State Attorney General Letitia James, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Brian Higgins, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, New York State Senator Timothy Kennedy, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and others.  Vice President Harris was not scheduled to speak but Al Sharpton invited her to come up.  Whitfield was remembered as a loving, caring and giving person.  Harris spoke of the shared pain the community had.

The end of June is set to be a bit wetter in LeRoy this summer as the town board has had to push back the opening of a new splashpad near Wildwood park because of water transportation problems. Supervisor James Farnholz says Monroe County keeps changing the way they want the water brought in.  Water running off the splashpad has been a concern with several options available.  The water could be run off into the woods and down into the ground.  A cistern could be built.  Or a channel running the water from the pad to the nearest storm drains on Gilbert street   The Board says it will choose option 1, let the water run off and see how it goes.  The splashpad was supposed to open Memorial Day Weekend.

For the first time since it opened, veterans, family members, and area residents gathered at the WNY National Cemetery in Pembroke to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of their country as part of Memorial Day Weekend.  Several hundred people gathered for the ceremony Sunday which included a 21 gun salute, honor guard flag presentation, and special remembrances.  

A new statue is set to light the way in the Batavia Peace Garden.  Lady Liberty, at least a 6 foot facsimile of her, was installed by the Friends of Batavia Peace Garden with the help of Ken Barret Chervolet, Cadillac Inc and Superior Garden Decor.  Just as she stands tall on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, a replica of Lady Liberty will now greet visitors to the Batavia Peace Garden for current and future generations.

Memorial Day Weekend News

Memorial Day observances throughout Genesee County are scheduled for Monday.
The Genesee County Veterans Service Agency has issued a list of observances and parades :

All ceremonies will include full military honors: Wreath Laying, Rifle Salute & Taps.
 7:00 a.m. – Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Genesee County Park, sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 193.
8:00 a.m. – Williams Park (Batavia) W.W.I Memorial. This memorial honors the 35 Batavians who gave their lives in WORLD WAR I.
8:30 a.m. – Batavia VAMC, at the main flagpole, sponsored by the VAMC.
8:45 a.m. (approx.) – NYS Veterans Home, at the main flagpole, sponsored by the NYS Veterans Home.
9:30 a.m. – Veterans Plot on Harvester Ave. This memorial honors all war dead of all wars in Elmwood and St. Joseph’s Cemeteries.

10:00 a.m. – Upton Monument. This monument honors the dead of the Civil War, and all wars since.
10:30 a.m. – UMMC Jerome Center. This is the site of the Genesee County War Memorial, honoring all war dead from Genesee County. The names of county veterans who have died since the previous Memorial Day will be read and a flag placed to honor each of them in front of the memorial.
Memorial services will be carried out by Veness-Strollo Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #1602, Glenn S. Loomis American Legion Post #332, and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #193.

Today’s Bad Boys, Bad Girls report:
A pair of Rochester woman busted for allegedly boosting 17-hundred dollars’ worth of merchandise from Dick’s Sporting Goods in Batavia. 24-year-old Angela Bennett and 22-year-old Shamya Brown were each charged with Grand Larceny in then 4th degree, given court appearance tickets and released.

A Batavia couple arrested on a charge of aggravated cruelty to animals.
35-year-old Andrew Searight and 24-year-old Jerrtonia Scarbrough are accused of abandoning an animal in a cage for an extended period of time. Each given an appearance ticket

A LeRoy man arrested for harassment and criminal obstruction of breathing. 30-year-old Timothy Nurmi of West Main Street LeRoy was later ordered to stay away from his victim. Nurmi was then released on his own recognizance.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has issued warnings to more than 30 online and brick-and-mortar retailers across the state to stop overcharging for baby formula after consumers reported unreasonably high prices. Due to recalls and supply chain disruptions, there has been a nationwide shortage of baby formula.

Afternoon News Brief

Sheriff William Sheron speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony (Photo credit: The Batavian)

It took 50 years of discussion until finally, construction of the new Genesee County Jail has officially begun. Ground was ceremoniously broken yesterday on the new 184-bed county jail on West Main Street Road next to Genesee County Building Two; the existing jail was built in 1902. An addition was built onto the back of the jail in 1985. Officials say the existing jail lacks space, is overcrowded and no longer meets state standards for health and safely. The new jail will incorporate a pod system allowing guards to watch more inmates with less staff. The new jail will also allow the housing of female inmates. The estimated completion date of the facility and complex is March 2024. Detailed information about the groundbreaking is available on our news partner’s website https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/at-groundbreaking-officials-state-new-jail-fulfills-countys-obligation-to-operate-a

 

New York Attorney General Letitia James has issued warnings to more than 30 online and brick-and-mortar retailers across the state to stop overcharging for baby formula after consumers reported unreasonably high prices. Due to recalls and supply chain disruptions, there has been a nationwide shortage of baby formula. New York’s price gouging statute prohibits merchants from charging excessive prices for essential goods or services during abnormal market disruptions. State residents are encouraged to report potential concerns about price gouging to James’s office by  calling: 800-771-7755 or filing a complaint online.  https://ag.ny.gov/complaint-forms

 

Western New York residents who are planning to drive to their Memorial Day weekend events are going to be paying a lot of money when it comes time to fill up their vehicles. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular fuel is now $4.89. That’s up 5 cents from last week, is 61 cents higher than last month. The state average is $4.93; nationally, it’s $4.60. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.85, up 6 cents from last Friday. And some good news for travelers by car…Governor Hochul is suspending construction-related lane closures through Memorial Day Weekend. The goal is to help minimize traffic congestion and travel delays. She urges motorists to follow all rules of the road, including moving over for maintenance vehicles as well as vehicles experiencing roadside emergency.

 

With a lot of people hitting the road for the holiday, police across New York State are going to be keeping a very close eye out for drunk drivers. It’s part of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee’s STOP-DWI campaign that runs from today through May 31st. Folks who are planning to drink are urged to make sure they have a safe ride home. Anyone who sees suspicious or dangerous activity while they’re traveling should dial 911 immediately.

 

Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo TOPS

An investigation is reportedly underway into whether a retired federal agent may have known about the plot to carry out a mass shooting at the supermarket in Buffalo. Law enforcement sources report that the former agent was one of several people who regularly communicated online with the alleged shooter, Payton Gendron. Those individuals were reportedly invited by Gendron to read about his plan before he opened fire inside the store on Jefferson Avenue May 14th and murdered 10 people. There has not been confirmation that the former agent accepted the invitation. Neither the FBI nor U.S. Attorney’s Office have commented.

 

The Department of Environmental Conservation reminds boaters and anglers to clean, drain and dry boats and trailers, and also disinfect fishing gear before enjoying the water; this will help to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Watercraft inspection stewards, also known as boat stewards, will be stationed at more than 225 boat launches statewide this weekend to educate and help the public in cleaning their equipment. They can be identified by their blue vests and are there to provide a refresher on how to inspect boats and gear. https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48221.html

 

Mine, all mine…

It’s been a while since the Mega Millions and Powerball lottery games were won and that means both jackpots are still growing. The prize up for grabs tonight for Mega Millions is at least $157,000,000. And $150,000,000 will go to whoever picks the winning numbers in tomorrow night’s Powerball drawing. The cost of a ticket for both games is just $2. Both the Mega Millions and Powerball drawings will be streamed live online. Please play responsibly.

 

Ontario Beach Park

Rochester Police, State Police and the Monroe County Sheriff’s office will be working together this weekend to make sure people who visit Ontario Beach Park stay safe. The agencies are going to be increasing patrols in the area due to the large crowds that are expected to gather. Police are also planning to shut down the parking lot and streets if there are too many people at the park. In 2020, a large fight broke out at the park on Memorial Day that left one person hurt but there were no major incidents reported last year.

 

Buffalo Marathon

The Buffalo Marathon is taking place this weekend and the event is going to be honoring the victims who lost their lives in the Tops supermarket shooting. Organizers say a banner at the start line will have the names everyone who was killed. There will also be 7500 ribbons given to runners and volunteers in memory of those who died. More information on the marathon can be found online at buffalomarathon.org.

 

USS The Sullivans

For the first time in several weeks, visitors will once again be allowed at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park. The park is scheduled to reopen at 10:00am tomorrow after being closed due an emergency involving the USS The Sullivans. The vessel suffered a massive breach and was in danger of sinking but crews were able to prevent that from happening. There will be no onboard tours of the ship, which is named for the five Sullivan brothers who served our country during World War Two.

 

President Trump

Former President Donald Trump must give testimony in New York State’s civil probe into his financial dealings. A state appeals court upheld a New York City judge’s original ruling to subpoena Trump and two of his children to answer questions under oath in Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation. In a statement, James said that the appellate court rejected all of Trump’s arguments. She also vowed to continue following the facts of the case to ensure no one can evade the law.

 

Memorial Day events, May 29 and May 30:

PARADE in Batavia starts at 9:45am at Eastown Plaza, travel west on Main Street and end at Alva Place, Monday, May 30.

SUNDAY, May 29: Western New York National Cemetery (WNYNC) 1254 Indian Falls Road, Corfu, NY
· The ceremony begins at 1400hrs.(2 p.m.) at the Main Flag Ceremonies site.
MONDAY, May 30
All ceremonies will include full military honors: Wreath Laying, Rifle Salute & Taps.
· 7:00 a.m. – Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Genesee County Park, sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 193.
· 8:00 a.m. – Williams Park (Batavia) W.W.I Memorial. This memorial honors the 35 Batavians who gave their lives in WORLD WAR I.
· 8:30 a.m. – Batavia VAMC, at the main flagpole, sponsored by the VAMC.
· 8:45 a.m. (approx.) – NYS Veterans Home, at the main flagpole, sponsored by the NYS Veterans Home.
· 9:30 a.m. – Veterans Plot on Harvester Ave. This memorial honors all war dead of all wars in Elmwood and St. Joseph’s Cemeteries.
· 10:00 a.m. – Upton Monument. This monument honors the dead of the Civil War, and all wars since.
· 10:30 a.m. – UMMC Jerome Center. This is the site of the Genesee County War Memorial, honoring all war dead from Genesee County. The names of county veterans who have died since the previous Memorial Day will be read and a flag placed to honor each of them in front of the memorial.
Memorial services will be carried out by Veness-Strollo Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #1602, Glenn S. Loomis American Legion Post #332, and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #193.

 

Morning News Brief

It has taken almost 50 years of talking about a new Genesee County Jail to reach the start of construction.
Ground was ceremoniously started yesterday on the new 184-bed county jail on West Main Street next to the existing County Building Two.
The existing jail was built in 1902. An addition was built onto the back of the jail in 1985.
Officials say the existing jail lacks space, is overcrowded and no longer meets state standards for health and safely.
The new jail will incorporate a pod system allowing guards to watch more inmates with less staff.
The new jail will also allow the housing of female inmates.

Sheriff William Sheron speaks at groundbreaking for new jail    PHOTO: The Batavian

 

Western New York residents who are planning to drive to their Memorial Day weekend events are going to be paying a lot of money when it comes time to fill up their vehicles. In Batavia the average price for a gallon of regular has gone up five-cents over the past week.

With a lot of people hitting the road for the holiday, police across New York State are going to be keeping a very close eye out for drunk drivers. It’s part of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee’s STOP-DWI campaign that runs from today through May 31st.

From the bad boy’s report: 36-year-old year-old Brandon Dodd and 21-year-old Trace Brewer both of Batavia, facing charges for allegedly boosting air conditioners from Wal-Mart. Authorities said Dodd has has also been charged in connection with thefts from a local liquor store and an air conditioner from a home on Jackson Street.

The Batavia Development Corporation, the city’s economic development agency, has hired a new director.
She is Tammy Hathaway, most recently with the United Way.
The job pays $70,000 a year.

Tammy Hathaway

 

An investigation is reportedly underway into whether a retired federal agent may have known about the plot to carry out a mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket.
The Buffalo News reports the former agent was one of several people who regularly communicated online with the alleged shooter, Payton Gendron. Those individuals were reportedly invited by Gendron to read about his plan before he opened fire inside the Tops store on Jefferson Avenue May 14th and murdered 10 people.
Neither the FBI or U.S. Attorney’s Office have commented on this report.

Afternoon News Brief

Brandon Dodd

A man under indictment for domestic violence, burglary and stealing faces new charges for allegedly taking several cans of Red Bull from a store and air conditioners from Walmart. The new charges for 36-year-old Brandon Dodd of Batavia include petit larceny and conspiracy. Similarly charged is 21-year-old Trace Brewer, also of Batavia. Genesee County Sheriff’s charged both for the recent theft of air conditioners from Wal-Mart. Dodd has engaged in a long list of crimes over the past year, including theft from Mr. Wine and Liquor and stealing an air conditioner from a Jackson Street residence.

 

 

Tammy Hathaway

The Batavia Development Corporation Board has voted to hire Tammy Hathaway as the organization’s new director, a position that is budgeted to pay $70,000 annually. She’s already well known in the community as Executive Director of United Way of Genesee County. There are some projects underway that Tammy will be finalizing over the short-term, including the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and a 2020 Main Street Grant awarded to the City. Tammy will also be responsible for promoting development at the City’s Brownfield Opportunity Area sites and assisting businesses with loans and grants.

 

 

 

Sheriff’s offices across the GLOW region are increasing their presence at area schools in the aftermath of Tuesday’s massacre at a Texas elementary school. This response is amid parental concerns as the country experienced its second mass shooting in less than two weeks. Nineteen students and two teachers died in Tuesday’s attack, while 10 people died in the racially motivated supermarket massacre. Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron Jr. said the increased patrols are in addition to the school resource officers already in place at most county districts. Also, Governor Hochul has ordered daily state police check-ins with all schools across the state.

 

 

New data from the state shows the spread of COVID-19 is on the decline in our region; this, after 8 straight weeks of increasing numbers. The area’s seven-day average infection rate is 10.5%, which is down from 12.8% percent at this time last week. Health officials are still urging residents to take the proper precautions to protect themselves and others from getting sick. They include receiving a COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot, wearing a mask while indoors and being tested for the virus if they have any symptoms of the illness.

 

 

Genesee County’s unemployment rate is going down: The 2.8% documented for April is the lowest early spring rate on record and only slightly higher than the previous low reported in December when it was 2.7 percent. A year ago in April, the rate was 4.6 percent. The pre-pandemic low for April was 3.1 percent in 2019. The NYS Labor Department reports 29,500 Genesee County residents are in the labor force, up from 28,900 a year ago and 200 workers more than a month earlier. According to the data, there are 800 county residents looking for work. A year ago, there were 1,300 residents listed as unemployed. The labor department totaled 22,300 non-farm jobs in Genesee County, up from 21,500 in April a year ago. There are 17,100 private sector jobs compared to 16,400 a year ago. There are now 5,100 government jobs in the county, which is 100 more than a year ago.

 

Governor Hochul is once again calling for action to be taken on the state’s gun laws following a mass shooting at a school in Texas that took the lives of 19 students and two teachers. The governor said yesterday she wants lawmakers to pass a bill that would raise the purchase age for firearms, such as AR-15’s, from 18 to 21-years-old. Hochul is also promising to order a special session of the Legislature if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the state’s current concealed carry laws. This year’s legislative session is set to end June 2nd.

 

 

Well, it’s nothing new but it seems the National Grid scam is rearing its ugly head again. The company encourages its customers to be vigilant and protect their personal information. Customers contacted in this latest scam report that the caller will provide a name, an office location from where they are calling, and an identification number; caller ID might even show that the call is from National Grid. Scammers threaten to terminate the customer’s service immediately unless payment is made, either by providing bank or credit card information, or by purchasing a prepaid debit card. Businesses contacted receive a similar threat but are asked to make Western Union money transfers. National Grid wants you to know they will never threaten an immediate disconnection; nor will they ask for payment by debit card. They recommend you never give them personally identifying information.

Tips from National Grid: 1) Be vigilant. If you believe you are current on your National Grid account, it is highly likely a call seeking payment is a scam. 2) Protect yourself. Verify you are speaking with a National Grid representative. Ask the caller to provide the last five digits of your National Grid account number. If the caller doesn’t know your account number and phishes for help, take charge and hang up immediately. National Grid representatives will know your account number. 3) Do not take the bait. Scammers will not have access to your account information, social security number or other personal details and you should never offer that information if asked. National Grid representatives will know your account number. 4) Scammers also may contact you by email and attempt to lure customers into clicking on a link, visiting a malicious website, revealing account information, or calling a phone number. 5) While National Grid may ask for a payment to be made over the phone, the payment method will be left to the customer’s discretion. 6) Do not fall for scare tactics and threats. National Grid will not contact customers demanding immediate payment by wire transfer, Green Dot Money-Pak or any other prepaid card service. 7) Do not cave to pressure. Never — under any circumstances — offer personal or financial information to someone who you cannot identify. 8) Every National Grid employee carries a photo ID badge, and contractors working for the company are also required to carry ID. If someone requesting entry into your home or business does not show identification as a National Grid employee or contractor, don’t let that person in, and call National Grid or local law enforcement. To learn more about protecting you and your loved ones from scams, visit ngrid.com/scam.

 

The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning involving the sale of fake “Choose Love” shirts online. The shirts are being sold to help raise money for the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund and Buffalo Together Community Response Fund. But the BBB says several misleading ads have been showing up on social media over the last few days and that people should keep a close eye out for them. Legitimate shirts can be purchased for $25.00 by visiting shoponebuffalo.com.

 

 

Cattaraugus County deputies say no charges are going to be filed in connection with the death of a retired police dog. According to investigators, the dog was shot shortly after it went missing last month. The sheriff’s office says the individual who killed the canine was a farmer who mistakenly thought the dog was a coyote. He told officials that he was trying to protect the other animals on his property.

 

 

Memorial Day is coming up on Monday and SPCA Serving Erie County is offering military members and veterans the chance to save money on the purchase of a new animal. As part of the “Vets and Pets” campaign, the SPCA is waiving adoption fees through May 30th on animals that are currently at its shelter on Harlem Road in West Seneca and at other off-site adoption locations. Anyone who wants to take advantage of this opportunity must show their military ID before being allowed to adopt. More information is available online at yourspca.org.

Morning News Brief

Governor Hochul announced that New York State Police will be increasing their visibility at schools in the wake of the Texas Elementary School shooting that claimed the lives of at least 19 children and 2 adults.  The increased presence, which will continue through the end of the school year, includes check-ins at schools to be conducted by both uniform and plainclothes members.  On Wednesday morning, the governor held an emergency meeting with the state’s School Safety Improvement Team to ensure that everything possible is being done to support school safety across the state.  Hochul also announced she is working with the legislature to raise the age at which rifles can be purchased to 21 in the Empire State.

One of the families of the shooting victims at the Buffalo Tops Friendly Markets are planning to sue the gun manufacturers for damages.  The family of Andre Mackniel, who was killed in the mass shooting at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo, has retained The Law Office of John V. Elmore, P.C to pursue potential legal action.  The firm has successfully sued Remington in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012 and won 73 million dollars for the families by arguing that Remington prioritized profit over safety.  

A three vehicle accident with an overturned trailer only results in minor injuries.  Wednesday at around 1:30 in the afternoon a red Buick was westbound on Batavia Oakfield Townline Rd when the driver failed to yield to a white Ford pickup towing a camper trailer coming north on Route 63.  Oakfield fire responded to reports that a person was trapped in the camper as it had rolled over when the pickup truck swerved to avoid the Buick.  The truck hit the drivers side rear corner of the Buick.  All occupants of the vehicles were write offs who only suffered minor injuries.  

Fantasy Island, now called Niagara Amusement Park, may not be ready to open yet but Splash World on Grand Island is getting it’s debut.  Niagara Splash World announced it will open for the season Saturday with phase II of opening scheduled for later in June.  Hours are set to be noon to 7pm.  7 attractions are opening.  Phase II of the 2022 opening is planned for later in June and will include Kiddie Land attractions and the Western Town area. Phase II includes the Gun Fight & Golden Nugget Shows and a new western-themed ride to be named the “Gunslinger.”  Daily operations are scheduled to begin on June 24.

Afternoon News Brief

38-year-old Jamian Edwards of Rochester has been charged with the criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance – both class B felonies – after a 6-month investigation into the possession and sale of crack cocaine in and around Batavia. Edwards was taken into custody last week while checking in with Monroe County Probation. He was then turned over to Genesee County Sheriff’s Deputies. Edwards allegedly sold crack cocaine to an agent of the Genesee County Drug Task force here in the city; he was arraigned in Genesee County Court and released under supervision.

 

Rachael Tabelski

If you’ve walked the sidewalks of Batavia lately, you already know that many are in need of repair. In fact, the city has bid out the replacement of sidewalks and the work to make them Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant on Seneca, Miller and Columbia avenues. In fact, City Manager Rachael Tabelski said Monday night during the City Council Conference Meeting that plans include paving those three streets this year and finish sidewalk work on Chase Park and Fisher Park, two streets that were paved last year. Tabelski added there is a capital streets plan that the city has been following for years and trying to identify the streets that need repair immediately, while also addressing the sidewalks on those streets, so that there is a rotation throughout the city. City Council is expected to vote on bids at the next business meeting in June. Scope of work includes replacement of approximately 6,400 linear feet of sidewalks and installation of handicap accessible ramps on portions of Chase Park, Fisher Park and Seneca, Miller and Columbia avenues.

 

WNY National Cemetery

The Department of Veterans Affairs still welcomes public comments on the traffic analysis and safety study recently completed in reference to intersections near the Western New York National Cemetery. This includes the intersection of State Route 77 and Indian Falls Road, where a two-vehicle accident took place yesterday morning. (at the intersection of State Route 77 and Gabbey Road, right across Route 77 from the Route 77-Indian Falls Road intersection) The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and Mercy EMS responded. A female driver suffered minor injury. The Sheriff’s Office report said a male driving a pickup truck was at the stop sign at Gabbey Road and Route 77 when he was looking north and being waved through by a driver heading south on Route 77. The pickup truck driver said he didn’t see the vehicle driving north on 77 and the northbound vehicle struck the pickup truck. The driver of the vehicle going north on 77 was transported with minor cuts on her arms. The traffic study made a few safety suggestions, which include installing rumble strips; sign-mounted flashing warning lights; and signage that indicates ‘cross traffic does not stop’.

 

Antonio Delgado

After weeks of waiting, Congressman Antonio Delgado is going to officially become the state’s new lieutenant governor today. Delgado will replace former lieutenant governor Brian Benjamin who resigned after being indicted on bribery and fraud-related charges. Governor Hochul says Delgado is a phenomenal leader and public servant who has a record of getting things done for New Yorkers. Delgado currently represents the 19th Congressional District and a special election to fill his seat is scheduled for August.

 

Brittanee Drexel

A vigil is going to be taking place in Chili tonight in remembrance of a 17-year-old girl who was murdered. Brittanee Drexel disappeared while on vacation in South Carolina in 2009, and police recently arrested Raymond Moody in connection with her death. The vigil is scheduled to go from 7:00pm until 8:30pm at Davis Park. Anyone who is going to attend is asked to bring a candle. Drexel’s family is holding a celebration of life for her on June 11th in Rochester.

 

The Sullivans

The USS The Sullivans is back up and ready for visitors. It’s been five weeks since the partial sinking of the U.S.S. The Sullivans, but come this Saturday for Memorial Day Weekend, the Naval Park will be welcoming visitors once again. While they are still doing cleanup and salvage, the Naval Park is planning many events for the Memorial day weekend including a marathon and ceremonies. Park President Paul Marzello says that memorial day is very important to them, The Sullivans is named for 5 brothers who were killed fighting for the US in World War 2, marking the greatest loss by one family during WW2.

 

Governor Hochul

Governor Hochul has signed off on new law giving sexually abused adults a one-year window to sue their alleged attackers, even if the statute of limitations has expired. The Adult Survivors Act, was passed by the State Assembly earlier this week after previously being approved by the State Senate. The window to file claims opens in six months, which means survivors of sexual abuse will have time to decide if they want to come forward. Governor Hochul called the bill a victory for justice and said it’s long overdue.

 

The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office is looking into what caused a crash that took the life of a two-year-old child. Deputies say the accident happened yesterday when two SUVs collided at the intersection of Niagara Falls Boulevard and Sy Road in Wheatfield. The two-year-old, who was in one of the vehicles, was taken to DeGraff Memorial Hospital but later died. No other serious injuries were reported and anyone who saw the crash is asked to contact the sheriff’s department.

 

The Seneca Gaming Corporation and FeedMoreWNY are working together today to hold a food drive to help people affected by the Tops supermarket shooting. Folks are being asked to donate things such as toiletries and infant and child care products. Organizers also say they need food items including cereal, soups, canned tuna , vegetables and peanut butter. Those items can be dropped off from 11 a-m until seven p-m at the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino at Michigan Avenue and Perry Street.

 

Daniel Warmus

The Alden man charged in connection with the violent protests at the U.S. Capitol last year has agreed to a plea deal. According to prosecutors, 37-year-old Daniel Warmus has admitted to entering the building through the Senate wing door and staying inside for roughly 15 minutes. Warmus is facing up to six months behind bars, probation and a fine when he’s sentenced later this year. Protesters stormed the Capitol on January 6th, 2021 to try and keep Congress from certifying President Biden’s win over ex-President Donald Trump.

 

Kensington Expressway

The New York State Department of Transportation has announced a nearly eight-million-dollar project to resurface the entire Kensington Expressway. The road runs from downtown Buffalo to Cheektowaga and officials say the goal of the project is to improve driver safety. Crews are going to be milling and resurfacing both the expressway and ramps and new traffic signs will also be installed. Construction is expected to begin next month.

 

56-year-old David Stephens of Stafford is charged with criminal contempt, obstructing governmental administration and harassment, after he allegedly violated an order of protection by harassing the protected party. When deputies arrived at the scene, Stephens attempted to fight with them. He was arraigned in Stafford Town Court and released on his own recognizance. Stephens is scheduled to return to court on June 7.

 

Darren Wilson

A Village of Lyndonville trustee and community leader has been arrested and charged with possessing child pornography, state police said. Darren Wilson, 61, was arrested Monday and charged with 10 counts of possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child. The arrest came after a tip from Internet Crimes Against Children April 11. The tip said that Wilson was possibly involved in child pornography. On May 10, police received more information that Wilson possessed “multiple unregistered pistols,” troopers said. He was additionally charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

 

The Water Department will be doing line repair today at 9 Olyn Avenue. It is possible the water may need to be shut off on Olyn from Holland to Montclair Avenues. Traffic will be limited to local traffic only while work is being completed. Once water is restored, it may be discolored. Customers should refrain from doing any laundry until the water runs clear.

 

The State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation tells us that a revitalized Historic Barn Rehabilitation Tax Credit program is now available. The new program allows state taxpayers who rehabilitate their historic barns to earn a state income tax credit. The amount of the credit is equal to 25% of the expenditures incurred to rehabilitate the historic barn. To qualify, a barn must have been built before 1946, and the work must be approved by the Division for Historic Preservation. Taxpayers can begin to claim the credit on their 2022 New York state taxes. Program information and staff contact information can be found on the Division for Historic Preservation’s website www.parks.ny.gov/shpo/tax-credit-programs/. Applications can be mailed to 1 Delaware Avenue North, Cohoes, 12047 for express mail services or to P.O. Box 189, Waterford, NY 12188 for USPS mail service.

 

Students across New York State won’t be taking the U.S. History and Government Regents next month. Education officials have decided to cancel the test following the mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo that left 10 people dead. Experts reviewed the exam and determined it had content with the potential to compound student trauma caused by the shooting. The education department didn’t reveal what was in the exam that students may find upsetting. However, officials did say it’s not possible to change the test because it’s already been printed and packaged for shipment to schools.

 

Morning News Brief

The US History and Government Regents exam has been canceled across New York State.  It was scheduled to be administered June 1st but the Department of Education says it may have triggering questions and content because of the shooting at the TOPS in Buffalo.  New York State Department of Education reviewed Regents exam content and found that this particular test, “has the potential to compound student trauma caused by the recent violence in Buffalo.”  Any student scheduled to take the exam will receive an exemption for graduation, which means it won’t delay anyone from graduating high school on time with a Regents diploma. A spokesperson for the department said mostly juniors and seniors were scheduled to take this exam.  This is the second time the Regents exams were canceled. In January 2022 Regents exams were canceled due to the omicron COVID surge.

The USS The Sullivans is back up and ready for visitors.  It’s been five weeks since the partial sinking of the U.S.S. The Sullivans, but come this Saturday for Memorial Day Weekend, the Naval Park will be welcoming visitors once again.  While they are still doing cleanup and salvage, the Naval Park is planning many events for the Memorial day weekend including a marathon and ceremonies.  Park President Paul Marzello says that memorial day is very important to them, The Sullivans is named for 5 brothers who were killed fighting for the US in World War 2, marking the greatest loss by one family during WW2.  

The Rochester Police Accountability Board is being scrutinized over its lack of action.  With a budget of over 5 million dollars and a mandate to investigate up to 500 complaints in 2022, the PAB has yet to look at any complaints or even meet with the Rochester Police Department.  When asked about their budget use, members of the board were unable to say what the money had been going towards.  The Police Accountability Board’s Chief of Investigations said the lack of any work being done is because of software problems and lack of staff.  The board has hired 34 people so far and the City Council froze their hiring recently.  The Mayor of Rochester approved a renewal of their 5 million dollar budget but the City council says it isn’t sure it will approve it.

Summer Hours begin soon for Genesee County Offices.  Starting on May 31st county offices will be open from 8 to 4:30 instead of 8:30 to 5.  The hours will go back to normal on September 6th.  This slight shift to summer hours provides county employees the opportunity to start the workday earlier while maintaining the same number of hours of operation for the public to access services.

Pipe replacement closes a road near Oakfield.  Macomber road between Towney Place and Batavia Oakfield Townline Road, will be shut down until June 3rd while an underground pipe is replaced.  Macomber Road will be closed to all traffic till the work is done. 

Afternoon News Brief

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office reports that deputies were called to Dick’s Sporting Goods for a larceny in progress. They received the call yesterday afternoon and as they arrived saw the suspects driving away. Deputies located the vehicle on River Street, Batavia; following an investigation the suspects were identified as Angela Bennett and Shamya Brown. They allegedly stole $1,726.28 worth of merchandise and were subsequently arrested for grand larceny. Bennett and Brown were issued appearance tickets and are scheduled for June 16th at the Town of Batavia Court.

 

Fire Engine 12

The City of Batavia will be getting a new fire engine. The City Council has approved a funding offer from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. The proposed funding includes a $630,000 loan at 2.5 percent interest for 20 years; an estimated grant of $50,000; and the city’s own contribution of $20,000 to come from fire department reserves. The current engine #12 has been showing excessive corrosion and decay on the engine body, chassis and wiring. In addition, the fire engine has had many repairs in the last few years — repairs that are becoming more costly. City Council members unanimously approved the purchase; the total cost for the fire engine is $700,000. The new engine will be a 2023 National Fire Protection Association compliant rescue-style fire engine with custom cab, seating for six fire personnel, 1,500 gallon per minute fire pump with foam capability, a 750 gallon water tank, the latest safety features, full LED emergency and scene lights and aluminum or stainless steel construction for longevity.

 

City of Batavia police have charged a Bank Street couple with felony aggravated cruelty to animals for abandoning two dogs in a cage, and killing one of them. 35-year-old Andrew Searight and 24-year-old Jerrtonia Scarbrough were charged last week after an investigation that began a week earlier. Sgt. Daniel Coffey said a neighbor called to report that the dogs had been left alone. Upon their arrival, officers found both dogs inside the apartment in cages. One had to be euthanized. The other is still undergoing treatment, but is expected to live. He said it was not known how long the dogs were left alone or why. Police believe Searight and Scarbrough, who are from Niagara Falls originally, may have been moving. The two are to appear in City Court June 7. The charge is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison.

 

The New York State Department of Health is recommending that children between the ages of five and 11 years old roll up their sleeves and get a COVID-19 booster shot. The agency says children in that age group should receive their booster five months after completing their initial two-dose Pfizer vaccine series. State Health Commissioner Doctor Mary Bassett believes vaccinations and boosters are the best way for people to protect themselves from serious complications that can arise when they’re infected with COVID-19. There’s no cost for a booster shot and they’re available at locations statewide.

 

Matt Landers

Genesee County announced summer hours will be in effect beginning May 31. County offices will open for business at 8:00 am and close at 4:30 pm. This slight shift to summer hours provides county employees the opportunity to start the workday earlier while maintaining the same number of hours of operation for the public to access services. Current hours of operation are 8:30 am to 5 pm. Summer hours are in effect from Tuesday, May 31st until Friday, September 2nd with regular work hours resuming on Tuesday, September 6th. (Monday, September 5th is Labor Day.) “Summer hours will have no impact on the total number of hours County government is open to the public, as offices will continue to operate 8 and a half hours a day,” said Genesee County Manager Matt Landers. “These hours were in effect for the DMV last summer and feedback received was that the public liked being able to conduct business a little earlier in the day.”

 

Letitia James

State Attorney General Letitia James has announced the shutdown of a predatory debt collection operation. The AG’s office and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau say the operation, which was made up of several companies including JPL Recovery Solutions LLC, Keystone Recovery Group, and Regency One Capital LLC used illegal tactics to collect millions of dollars from consumers. Customers were threatened with severe consequences if they didn’t pay their debt and in some instances their friends, family members, and employers were contacted. The operation has been ordered to pay a four-million-dollar fine and is permanently banned from the debt collection industry.

 

Antonio Delgado

A date has officially been set for the swearing-in of the state’s brand-new lieutenant governor. Congressman Antonio Delgado is going to take his oath of office tomorrow. Delgado was chosen by Governor Hochul to take over the job after former lieutenant governor Brian Benjamin resigned earlier this year following his indictment on bribery and fraud-related charges. Delgado currently represents the 19th Congressional District and a special election to fill his seat will happen in August.

 

Students who want to pursue careers in fields such as information technology and advanced manufacturing now have a new place where they can go to receive training. Yesterday, a grand opening celebration was held at the Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center, located at Monroe County Community College’s downtown campus in Rochester. The 50,000 square foot facility cost over $11,000,000 to build. Officials say the center will provide people with the tools they need so they can be in line for good job opportunities.

 

Niagara Falls police are trying to track down witnesses to a crash that took the life of a 41-year-old man from Wheatfield. Investigators say Richard Fiori was riding his motorcycle on Niagara Falls Boulevard between 70th and 72nd streets Sunday when the motorcycle collided with a tow truck that was making a U-turn. Fiori died of his injuries while the tow truck driver wasn’t hurt. No charges have been filed and anyone who saw the accident is asked to call 716-286-4563.

 

A member of the WWE Hall of Fame will be holding a benefit next month to help out everyone affected by the mass shooting at the Tops store on Jefferson Avenue. Mick Foley says all proceeds from his June 5th “Love for Buffalo” event at Nietzsche’s will be donated to the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund. Contributions to the fund will be given to families of the 10 people who died and those who were at the store and are suffering from psychological trauma. Tickets for the benefit are already on sale and cost 30 to 75 dollars each.

 

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the launch of the Prison Redevelopment Commission focused on re-imagining closed prisons for innovative redevelopment opportunities across New York State. The closures identified by Hochul last fall are in addition to the more than 20 that have been closed over the last 15 years. The closures provide an opportunity to transform these facilities in more creative and productive ways, paving the way for opportunities to spur investment, job creation and save taxpayers money.

 

Lionel Richie

Four major music artists are going to be taking the stage at the Seneca Allegany Resort and Casino this summer. Little Big Town is going to perform on August 5th followed by Sammy Hagar and The Circle on August 6th. Lionel Richie will be at the venue located in Salamanca on August 26th and Lynyrd Skynyrd is going to be appearing on August 27th. Tickets can be purchased in-person at the resort, through Ticketmaster, or by visiting senecaalleganycasino.com.

 

Quinton Turner

A Buffalo man has found out his punishment for stabbing a man to death more than two years ago. The Erie County District Attorney’s Office says 30-year-old Quinton Turner will be spending the next 21 years behind bars. Turner stabbed 29-year-old Ronald Green multiple times inside of a store on East Ferry Street back in January 2020. Turner and Green had been involved in a dispute over money before Green was killed. Turner left the area after the stabbing but was later captured in North Carolina by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Morning News Brief

There are multiple fundraisers and benefits supposed to go to the families of victims of the Buffalo Tops shooting with people donating clothes, groceries, books, medicine, and most of all, money.  But the victim’s families are saying they don’t know how to access much of what has been donated.  Some loved ones like Previn Brock Sanders, the first cousin of Aaron Salter, the security guard and former Buffalo Police officer who died trying to stop the gunman are looking for answers.  TOPs Friendly Markets President, John Persons, says at least one of the fundraisers that raised over a million dollars for the families, is waiting on a committee to meet to distribute the money.  Also they can go to the National Compassion Fund website and the National Action Network websites to get information about the donations. 

https://nationalcompassion.org/fund/buffalo-survivors-fund/

https://nationalactionnetwork.net/about/contact-us/

The New York State Department of Health announced on Monday that they are recommending COVID booster shots for children 5 to 11.  This comes after the FDA announced that they had approved the booster last week.  According to NYSDOH, children ages 5 to 11 should receive a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster five months after completing their initial two-dose Pfizer vaccine series. Those ages 5 to 11 who are moderately to severely immunocompromised should receive their booster, or fourth vaccine dose, three months after completing their primary Pfizer vaccine series, which includes an additional dose.  In addition, NYSDOH has strengthened its recommendation that those 50 and older, or those 12 and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, receive a second booster dose at least four months after their first booster.

Representative Antonio Delgado, after being named Lt. Governor back in the beginning of May, is scheduled to be sworn in on Wednesday the 25th.  Governor Kathy Hochul announced Delgado, who served as representative for the 19th district, as her choice for Lt. Governor May 3rd a move that replaces her previous Lt Governor, Brian Benjamin, after he was charged with corruption.  Delgado is 45 years old and grew up in Schenectady. He attended Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons High School, where he was a basketball star.  He went on to earn degrees from Colgate, Oxford, and Harvard Law School.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is announcing that he will be making COVID-19 home test kits available through his office for free to any local organizations that could assist in distributing them to people who need them. Any groups interested in obtaining test kits are encouraged to reach out to the Assemblyman’s office at 585-589-5780 to learn more details and schedule a pickup.  Hawley quoted the Boy Scout motto saying it’s wise to “be prepared.”

Afternoon News Brief

There is another recall to tell you about…this time, it’s JIF peanut butter, both smooth and crunchy due to possible Salmonella contamination. Salmonella is an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons may become ill as well, with symptoms that include nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis. The recalled peanut butter was distributed nationwide in retail stores and other outlets. Additional information, including a full list of the recalled products is available here:

https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/j-m-smucker-co-issues-voluntary-recall-select-jifr-products-sold-us-potential-salmonella

A Hilton man is dead following a motorcycle accident. On Saturday afternoon Genesee County dispatchers received a report of a motorcycle accident on North Byron Road. 60-year-old Thomas Hankey was driving a 2013 Victory motorcycle eastbound with a group of 3 other riders when for some unknown reason; he crossed the centerline and continued off the north shoulder of the road. The motorcycle then hit a ditch before striking a farm fence and flipping end-over-end before coming to a rest on the north shoulder. Genesee County Coroners pronounced Mr. Hankey deceased at the scene. The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the Crash Management Team.

 

Jordan McMurtry

A Silver Lake woman faces a state prison term after pleading guilty to child pornography and drug charges this week in Wyoming County Court. 35-year-old Jordan McMurtry pleaded guilty to use of a child in a sexual performance, a class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and felony driving while high on drugs. McMurtry was stopped in Silver Springs in January, just two weeks after she was indicted on felony drugged-driving charges. Police said she was high on drugs again and possessed meth and drug paraphernalia. A search of her phone revealed that McMurtry had taken obscene photographs of a child. Sentencing for her latest conviction is set for July 11.

 

According to research by Triple A, three-quarters of adult drivers said they would change their driving habits if gas reaches five dollars per gallon; this finding was consistent across all age groups. And the average price in New York State is almost now at that point. Noteworthy as well, we’re paying over 30 cents more than the national average. Across the United States, the average price people are paying is $4.60 per gallon, which jumped up by 12 cents since last week. But here in New York, according to Triple A this morning, the average is $4.93, a price that went up by even more — 17 cents since a week ago. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.82, the same as it was yesterday and up 60 cents from a month ago. Diesel is much costlier than gasoline: The average price across the U.S. is $5.55 while New York’s is $6.52.

 

The court has released the new congressional district map after much political wrangling over the constitutionality of the map; New York State Democrats had drawn up the original. Shortly after the judge’s ruling, Representative Chris Jacobs, R-Orchard Park, declared his intent to run in the new 23rd Congressional District, which means the GLOW region will see two new Congressional representatives. The new map was created by a court-appointed Special Master and has now gained judge approval. In the new map, the 24th district, which includes Genesee County, stretches from Niagara to Jefferson Counties and goes around Rochester. The 23rd district goes from Elmira to Jamestown and Buffalo. And the new 22nd district includes Madison, Oneida and Onondaga counties.

 

Chris Jacobs

Members of the Erie County Republican Committee have endorsed Congressman Chris Jacobs in his bid to remain on Capitol Hill. Jacobs, who currently represents the 27th District, is running for office in the newly formed 23rd District, which goes from Erie and Chautauqua counties to Schuyler and Chemung counties. Jacobs was elected back in 2020 and since then has served on the House Budget Committee, House Education and Labor Committee and House Agriculture Committee. The primary for the 23rd District is set for August 23rd.

 

NYS Capitol Building

Lawmakers are going to be back at the State Capitol today as this year’s legislative session winds down. One of the issues they’re expected to address in the coming days is guaranteeing access to abortion and other health services for women in New York and from other states if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. One proposed law would ensure low-income women from states that ban abortion, could receive those services in New York. Earlier this month, Governor Hochul announced that 35-million-dollars in state funding would go to abortion providers to help them expand their facilities and increase security. This year’s legislative session ends June 2nd.

 

Starting today, police across the State will be taking part in the “Buckle Up New York, Click it Or Ticket” safety campaign. Through June 5th, members of law enforcement will be keeping a very close eye out for drivers who aren’t wearing their seat belt when behind the wheel. During last year’s crackdown, more than 12,000 tickets were handed out for seat belt and child restraint violations. Over 57,000 tickets were also given to people for other infractions such as speeding and distracted driving.

 

The Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bandits are teaming up to help people affected by the recent mass shooting at the Tops supermarket on Jefferson Avenue. The teams are selling “Choose Love” shirts with 100-percent of the proceeds going to the Buffalo 5/14 Fund and the Buffalo Community Together Response Fund. The shirts cost $25.00 each and are available online at shoponebuffalo.com. Customers can expect to receive their shirts approximately three weeks after they’re ordered.

 

Morning News Brief

A man is dead after a motorcycle accident over the weekend.  On Saturday afternoon Genesee County dispatchers received a report of a motorcycle off the road near 6191 North Byron Road.  60 year old Thomas Hankey of Hilton was driving a 2013 Victory motorcycle eastbound on North Byron Rd with a group of 3 other riders when he crossed the center line and crashed into a farm fence off the other side of the road.  The motorcycle flipped end over end.  Mr Hankey was pronounced dead at the scene by Genesee County Coroners.  Genesee County Sheriffs are investigating the cause of the accident.  

The new congressional district map has been released by the court after much political wrangling over the constitutionality of the map drawn up by New York State Democrats.  The new map drawn up by a Special Master and approved by a judge was released by the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment.  In the new map, the 24th district, which includes Genesee county, stretches from Niagara to Jefferson Counties and goes around Rochester.  The 23rd district goes from Elmira to Jamestown and Buffalo.  And the new 22nd district includes Madison, Oneida and Onondaga counties.  Chris Jacobs has announced he will run for reelection in the 23rd district.  

A man from Livingston county has won the Professional Bull Riding title in Fort Worth, Texas over the weekend.  Daylon Swearingen, an Attica High School graduate, took home over $1 million after winning his first-career PBR World Championship.  Swearingen went into the event number 1 in the world rankings, but was bested in the first round and lost his rank. Yet, Swearingen went on to win six of the next seven rounds, reclaiming his number 1 ranking and taking home the crown.

And the winner is, Noah Burke for Mr Batavia!  The competition took place at Batavia High School for the first time since 2019 and raised 4,170 dollars for charity.  Each contestant performed their best in different categories, such as group dance, talent, swim strut, lip-sync, tux walk, and question and answer.  Burke was representing the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation.  The Runner ups were Matt Smith and Nicholas Grover.  The competition has raises over 33 thousand dollars in the 9 years it has run.

Weekend News Brief

A large police presence responded to Scottsville Road near the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport Friday morning to investigate the report of a “possible active shooter.”  Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter said there were no injuries reported, no evidence of an active shooter, and there is no threat to the community.  Sheriff Baxter also said that the threat originated from messages sent by RG&E employees after a colleague was let go, causing rumors to circulate.  The police presence was significant; responding agencies included the FBI, New York State Police, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, and the Rochester Police Department.  Police said multiple buildings were searched and occupants evacuated. A K9 sweep was also conducted.  The area of Scottsville Road near the airport reopened to traffic shortly before 2 p.m.

Assemblyman Hawley called on the governor and state Criminal Justice Commissioner to have the state Domestic Terrorism Task Force to meet for the first time since it was established.  Despite the fact that the DTTF was established in 2020, the task force has never met, commissioned any studies or issued a single report, even though the legislation convening the task force had specified they were required to meet on a quarterly basis.  The task force was created to collect and disseminate information about how to identify potential mass shooters, protect vulnerable areas they could target and prevent mass shootings, among other responsibilities.  Hawley said “It is frustrating to think that even as our state has faced a significant increase in violent crime in the last several years, the governor has allowed this task force to sit on their hands and leave us unprepared for tragedies like the one that took place in Buffalo less than a week ago.”

A bill to help victims of sexual assault is set to pass the state Assembly.  The Adult Survivors Act will give sexual assault survivors a one-year look back window in which they can file a civil suit against their attacker for abuse that occurred after they were 18-years old despite existing statutes of limitations.  While the bill was passed unanimously in the state Senate two years in a row, it hasn’t moved forward in the Assembly, until now.  The bill was modeled after the Child Victims Act. Signed into law in 2019, CVA helps survivors of childhood sexual abuse get justice as adults by providing them a one-year window in which they can file civil action against their abuser even if the statute of limitations expired.

Friday, Governor Hochul announced an increase in child care subsidies.  The State will pay 2 billion dollars to increase the number of families receiving child care financial assistance and the amount child care providers are paid. The $2 billion includes $894 million in New York State Child Care Block Grant new funding passed in the recent State Budget, more than $500 million in funds previously allocated to local departments of social services districts that remains unspent, and more than $600 million in existing COVID-19 pandemic funding. This is part of 7 billion dollars promised over the next 4 years.

Afternoon News Brief

Latoya Jackson

36-year-old Latoya Jackson of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and criminal trespass; after refusing to vacate a local motel on West Main Street Road earlier this week during an eviction. Jackson was arraigned in Batavia Town Court and released on her own recognizance. She was transported to the Genesee County Jail for prints and photos and is scheduled to return to court on July 12.

 

This afternoon, New York Attorney General Letitia James is warning New Yorkers of scams on vacation rentals and offered tips on how to avoid them as summer approaches. She suggests before making a payment, you verify your host and communicate only through the listing site before booking. You should never wire payments. James urges New Yorkers to report any summer scams to her office.  Attorney General James recommends consumers take the following precautions before booking their summer getaway:
• Verify the host. Make sure the renter or host has a valid address and phone number.
• Make sure the listing has reviews and read the reviews. Be wary of listings on websites like Airbnb or VRBO that do not have any reviews listed. When reading reviews, check for multiple reviews that repeat the same phrases — that could be a sign that the reviews are fake.
• Check that the photos have not been stolen from another website. Use reverse image search of photos of the rental to ensure that the photos have not been listed on another website.
• Communicate only through the listing site before booking. One way that scammers try to trick consumers is by first posting a listing on a site like Airbnb or VRBO, and then requiring you to communicate directly with the host outside the website or app to book the listing. Do not share your email address or phone number with the host or renter before your booking is accepted.
• Only book with a credit card or debit card. Use verified payment sources such as a major debit or credit card, which can be traced in the event something goes wrong. One advantage of using a credit card specifically is that you have certain protections under the Fair Credit Billing Act, which allows you to dispute unauthorized charges.
• Only make payments through the listing site. If using a site such as Airbnb or VRBO, make all payments through the site, as they may be able to refund you if you are later defrauded.
• Never make wire payments or cash payments. NEVER make a payment using a wire transfer service or money transfer service such as Western Union, Money Gram, Zelle, CashApp, or Venmo.
• Rent security deposits. You may be asked to make a security deposit. Generally, you cannot be required to pay more than one month’s security deposit. The owner can apply the security deposit to cover any damages caused by you or unpaid rent but otherwise must return the deposit to you at the conclusion of the rental.
• Know your rights. It is illegal for a host to deny a vacation rental to you based on your race, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, disability, or marital status. If you believe that you have been discriminated against or harassed based on any of these protected classes, you can file a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights

 

There’s another recall to tell you about: Ford will soon be asking the owners of 350,000 vehicles to take them to dealers for repairs due to three separate recalls, including about 39,000 that should be parked outdoors because the engines can catch fire in some 2021 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs. But the company says fires can happen even while the engines are off. Ford has reports of 16 fires under the hood, 14 in rental company vehicles. One person was burned. It’s recommending that the SUVs be parked outdoors and away from buildings. The fires appear to start at the back of the engine compartment on the passenger side. Of the 16 fires, 12 happened while the SUV engines were turned off. Ford says they are treating the recalls urgently and will use apps and mail to notify customers as soon as it develops a list of vehicle owners and addresses. The problem will be fixed by dealers or by an online software update; the owners of the recalled vehicles will be notified by letter around May 30.

 

Western New York drivers are digging still deeper into their wallets 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 $4.81. The state average is $4.92 a gallon while nationally it’s $4.59. In Batavia, the average cost per gallon is $4.80; up 3 cents from yesterday. Last Friday, the average price here was $4.58; a month ago, $4.23; and this time last year, $2.99. By the way, as of yesterday, the average price for diesel fuel is $6.54 a gallon.

 

Payton Gendron

The suspect accused of carrying out a mass shooting at a Tops store in Buffalo has been indicted by a grand jury. Prosecutors say 18-year-old Payton Gendron allegedly killed 10 people and injured three others at the supermarket last Saturday. He was in court yesterday and at one point one of the victim’s family members in the courtroom called him a coward. Gendron is charged with murder and is still behind bars without bail. He’s scheduled to face a judge again June 9th.

 

The deadline is still about a year away; however, The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is urging New Yorkers to apply for a REAL ID or Enhanced ID now to avoid the last-minute rush next year. Starting May 3rd, 2023, a standard license or non-driver ID will no longer be accepted to fly within the United States. The federal REAL ID Act requires customers applying for a REAL ID or Enhanced ID to visit a DMV office to prove who they are and to have a new photograph taken. Before going though, you’re encouraged to use the DMV’s document guide to help determine what you’ll need to bring with you. The guide takes just minutes to complete, with questions designed to help determine what proofs of identification and residency you’ll need to bring. Only original documents, or certified copies of certain documents, will be accepted. A passport is also acceptable as a REAL ID-compliant document. For additional information, visit: dmv.ny.gov/offices/.

 

On Monday, May 23rd at 1 p.m., The Batavia Police Department will conduct the first annual Flag Commemoration Ceremony to honor deceased officers. Flags will be installed in metal flag holders at nearly 50 graves at various cemeteries across Genesee County and plaques will be affixed to deceased officers who are interred. After a brief program, speakers and family members of the various officers will walk to the gravesite of Anthony Horsch, who served in the Batavia Police Department from 1890 until 1916. Mr. Horsch was the Department’s First Police Chief.

 

Today, the City of Buffalo is collecting personal care items for people in the community who were affected by last weekend’s shooting. Officials say there are several things that are needed right now including toilet paper, paper towels, baby diapers and wipes, toothpaste, soap, garbage bags, and shampoo. Anyone who wants to donate those items can drop them off in the lobby of City Hall. Additional information on how to help out those in need can be found online.

 

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) voted in favor of the Access to Baby Formula Act (H.R. 7791) when it passed the House of Representatives last night. The Act is intended to provide additional resources and protections to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and ensure fast action in the event of any future baby formula supply chain crises. And this morning, Jacobs co-sponsored the Babies Need More Formula Now Act to increase supply, require a plan from the FDA, expand choices for parents, and in general, improve the recall process. Jacobs has also cosponsored the Formula Act that would direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to create a new set of international standards to cut red tape and allow for increased formula imports to supplement domestic supply. Additionally, Jacobs also sent a letter to the President last week expressing the urgency with which the administration needed to act and outlining additional action.

 

About 300 volunteers went to nearly 30 sites in Genesee County yesterday to work on beautification projects. It was all a part of this year’s United Way’s Day of Caring. Projects included painting, raking, cleaning up parks, planting community gardens, and getting children’s outdoor play areas and summer camps ready for the warm weather. If you were unable to participate in the Day of Caring, there are other opportunities to get involved throughout the year. Find out more at www.unitedwayrocflx.org/volunteer.

 

Dr. Kiel Illg

Attica Central School has a new superintendent: Dr. Kiel Illg. Kiel’s name was announced yesterday by the district’s Board of Education. It’s expected he’ll be appointed formally next Thursday pending final contract agreements, and will start July 1 in his new role. Illg earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Kinesiology, with a minor in Educational Leadership Studies from West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. He holds a number of permanent certifications including New York State School Building Leader and School District Leader. Kevin MacDonald is the District Superintendent of Genesee Valley BOCES, and acted as the search consultant. He noted that the search process was a true collaboration between the Board of Education, and stakeholder groups. Illg replaces longtime former superintendent Bryce Thompson.

 

Wynonna Judd

Singer Wynonna Judd has pulled out of the upcoming CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival following the death of her mother. Judd was supposed to perform at the event that’s taking place from June 17th through the 25th. In a statement, Judd said she’s still taking time to process last month’s passing of Naomi Judd and that she appreciates the love and support of her fans. Judd will be replaced by Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors. Tickets to the festival can be purchased at rochesterjazz.com.

 

 

Firearms found in Freeman’s home

A Grand Island man has been arrested by State Police following a road rage incident on Interstate 190. Troopers say it happened Tuesday in Grand Island and that at one point, 43-year-old Victor Freeman allegedly displayed a firearm to another driver. Police say they found a loaded polymer pistol and a search of Freeman’s residence led to the discovery of assault rifles, a shotgun and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Freeman was arraigned on multiple charges and sent to the Erie County Holding Center.

 

The League of Women Voters has announced a lawsuit calling for upcoming primary contests to be held on the same date. The primaries for State Assembly and other statewide races are set for June 28th and the primaries for State Senate and Congressional contests will be August 23rd. The primaries were split up due to the battle over redistricting that’s gone on for months. The League of Women Voters claims holding separate primaries violates the Constitution’s right to freedom of association.

 

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee is urging riders to be careful while they’re out on the road. According to data from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, the number of deadly motorcycle crashes were up 50-percent last year compared to 2019. This year alone, there have been several motorcycle fatalities and over 220 injuries reported. The state offers a motorcycle safety program and anyone who wants to take part can visit nysmsp.org to sign up.

 

Breyonna Norman of Attica has been arraigned on an indictment for two felonies; the first is Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance and the other, Promoting Prison Contraband. She pleaded guilty and is sentenced to 5 years probation.

 

 

Morning News Brief

A Rochester based self defense company is offering active shooter training for free online.  The owner of CypherWorx, Paul Cypher, says their company knew there was more they could do to help their community after the recent attack in Tops in Buffalo.  The company provides active shooter training to schools, businesses and organizations.  Now they are offering a version for free for anyone who wants it.  Cypher says that survival hinges on three things in a shooting, Run, Hide and Fight.  He says the goal is always to get out alive.  To access the free training follow the link at WBTAi.com.

https://cypherworx.com/we-stand-with-buffalo/

Governor Hochul put out a press release Thursday celebrating the approval of COVID booster shots for 5 to 11 year olds.  She said that “now Parents and guardians across New York can rest assured knowing their children will be able to safely access a tool that protects against serious illness from COVID 19.”  The New York State Department of Health will issue guidance about the FDA’s decision soon, she said. 

A Rochester man was arrested on Wednesday for stealing from the Dicks sporting goods store on Veterans Memorial in Batavia.  49 year old Jefferey Gould was charged with Petit Larceny for the theft.  He stole 2 crossbows.  Store associates called police as he drove away and gave a description of his vehicle.  He was caught on 490 by state police and the crossbows were recovered.  He was also allegedly driving a stolen car.

The New York State DEC announced that Muskie season is beginning on June 1st in inland waters and June 15th for the great lakes.  “Muskies,” are New York’s largest freshwater sportfish, sometimes exceeding 50 pounds. Often referred to as the “fish of 10,000 casts,” muskies are notoriously difficult to catch. The DEC has a guide on Muskie fishing available at https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/100343.html

Muskies are managed as trophy fish in New York, and minimum size regulations of 40 inches for inland waters and 54 inches for Great Lakes waters reflect that. Some exceptions to inland water regulations exist, so please check the current fishing regulations guide for the water you plan to fish.

Six Flags Darien Lake is opening next weekend just in time for memorial day.  The rebranded Hurricane Harbor Water Park with the new ride, the Wahoo Wave will be opening as well.  Darien Lake says they have done work to improve the dining, comfort and speed of service in the park.  Also added were 450 feet of steel weldless Titan track to the Predator roller coaster and more seating and shade.  There is a new low sensory space for people with sensory needs, complimentary wi-fi, and charging stations.  Six Flags also announced new tiers to their ticketing system with the Thrill Seeker Pass, the Extreme Pass and the Ultimate Pass plus a junior pass for guests under 42 inches.  

Afternoon News Brief

Payton Gendron

Self-proclaimed racist and white supremacist Payton Gendron appeared in Erie County Courthouse this morning for a felony hearing on charges of first-degree murder; some of his victim’s family members were in attendance. So far, he is charged with first-degree murder, to which he pleaded ‘not guilty’ at his arraignment on Saturday night – just hours after he had live-streamed the attack at TOPS on social media. Authorities — including the FBI — continue to investigate the possibility of adding hate crime and terrorism charges. This morning, Gendron remained silent as Erie County Assistant District Attorney Gary Hackbush said the indictment by a grand jury for the mass murder of 10 people had been handed up. Gendron did not react when and was brought back to jail surrounded by several law enforcement officers. Eleven of his 13 victims were Black, including all 10 who died, and they ranged in age from 20 to 86. As Gendron was escorted out of the court following the brief hearing, one of the relatives shouted at him, “Payton, you’re a coward.” The next hearing is set for June 9th.

 

The specific dining places that will each occupy a building in the parking lot of the vacant Kmart have not been announced publicly, but the nearly 11,000 (10,700-plus) square-foot project itself has site plan approval from town planners. The board also has approved a negative declaration on the State Environmental Quality Review, which just means there is no significant environmental impact anticipated although traffic continues to be a concern. One question in the Review asked whether the proposal would lead to a harmful change in the existing traffic or existing infrastructure for mass transit, biking or walking. The finding was, that there would be no change or that a small impact may occur. These findings are consistent with findings from a traffic study the town had completed. The town board remained open to future traffic studies, if needed or if circumstances change; for example, if something is done with the Kmart building.

 

Genesee Community College plans to return to full in-person graduation ceremonies this weekend. Seating arrangements will be similar to pre-pandemic ceremonies, and as of now, masks are welcome, but not required. Under the State University of New York’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement, all students participating in commencement must be fully vaccinated or have a medical or religious exemption from the college. Guests are not required to be vaccinated. GCC’s 54th commencement ceremony begins at 1 p.m. this Saturday in the college’s Richard C. Call Arena. The ceremony is expected to last about 90 minutes. United Memorial Medical Center President Daniel Ireland, an alumnus of GCC, will be the keynote speaker. Ireland completed his associate degree in nursing from there in 1992. H went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing from SUNY Brockport in 1994 and a master’s in business administration degree from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1997.

 

35-year-old Stephen Bogle of Batavia, is charged with grand larceny in the third degree and falsifying business records. Bogle is accused of going to his place of employment on Bank Street, punching in, then leaving for eight to 12 hours, then returning to punch out, without ever physically being present at work. He is accused of stealing over $13,000 ($13,148.63) as a result of this scheme. He was arraigned in City Court and released on his own recognizance.

 

Christopher Say

You’ll recall the standoff with police and the threat of the use of explosives on December 26th in Stafford…Well, the initially uncooperative individual was Christopher Say of Stafford, and he has now been indicted on counts of assault in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon, attempted arson, making a terroristic threat, and criminal mischief. Say is accused of using brass knuckles to cause serious injury to another person. He also attempted to start a fire to damage a detached garage at the Main Road location. He is accused of damaging the property of another person in excess of $1,000 in value and also accused of threatening several troopers, deputies, and firefighters and damaging an armored police vehicle.

 

Americans can now order eight more free, at-home rapid COVID-19 antigen tests. This brings the total number of free test kits offered to 16 per household after families had other opportunities to order free tests in January and March. During that January rollout, nearly half of the 500 million free COVID-19 tests made available to Americans were left unclaimed as of the end of February. To date, the Biden administration says it has delivered approximately 350 million free tests by mail. Households that already received tests during the first two rounds of orders are eligible to receive another shipment of four tests.

 

Gerald Brinson Jr., 33, of Rochester, is charged with burglary 2nd, grand larceny 4th, criminal mischief 3rd, criminal possession of a weapon 3rd, endangering the welfare of a child, falsely reporting an incident 3rd, and menacing 2nd. At 9:30 a.m., May 17, Emergency Dispatch received a call of a disturbance and burglary in progress at a residence on Oak Street. Brinson is accused of entering the residence of a woman he knew and attacking her. According to Batavia PD, he was wanted on a gun case in Monroe County. When patrols arrived, officers determined the victim and her year-old son had escaped from the residence but Brinson was still inside, refusing to exit. Officers from the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, NYS Police, and NYS Environmental Conservation arrived to assist. While Brinson Jr was inside the residence, he allegedly called in a fake report of gunfire on Ellicott Avenue. Eventually, Brinson Jr came out of the residence and was taken into custody. Brinson was arraigned in City Court and ordered held on $25,0000 bail, $50,000 bond, or $100,000 partially secured bond.

 

Governor Hochul is taking a series of steps to try and prevent another deadly mass shooting like the one that happened in Buffalo. The governor issued an executive order yesterday calling on the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to establish a new unit that is dedicated solely to the prevention of domestic terrorism. Another executive order will require State Police to file an Extreme Risk Protection Order under the state’s Red Flag Law when they have probable cause to believe an individual is a threat to themselves or others. The governor is also urging lawmakers to tighten up some of the state’s gun laws before the end of this year’s legislative session in June.

 

Latisha Rogers

A 911 dispatcher has been placed on leave after being accused of hanging up on someone who was inside the Tops store at the time of Saturday’s shooting. According to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, the dispatcher allegedly asked the caller why they were whispering before disconnecting. Poloncarz says the dispatcher didn’t follow protocol and acted inappropriately. A hearing on the incident is scheduled for May 30th and Poloncarz says the county will look to fire the dispatcher. (Pictured: Latisha Rogers, assistant office manager at Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo, who claims she was hung up on when she called 911 as accused gunman Payton Genrdon, 18, opened fire throughout the store on Saturday.)

 

The Niagara County District Attorney’s Office says a Newfane man is facing manslaughter and other charges in connection with the death of a pedestrian. Prosecutors say 20-year-old Sean Kelahan has been indicted following an incident that happened March 18th in Lockport. Police arrived at the intersection of Transit Road and High Street and found that 25-year-old Richard Howes the third had been struck by multiple vehicles and killed. Kelahan was ordered held on 100-thousand dollars bail.

 

Brockport

The public is welcome to attend a community meeting on 7 p.m. May 25 to get an update on a new pedestrian bridge in Brockport over the Erie Canal. The meeting will be at the Village of Brockport Courthouse, 49 State St., and will include representatives from the New York Power Authority, NYS Canal Corporation, Village of Brockport and SUNY Brockport. The officials will discuss the project timeline, present design renderings, and answers questions from the community. The new bridge will be constructed adjacent to an existing Erie Canal guard gate. The new pedestrian bridge will connect the SUNY Brockport campus to the Empire State Trail. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2023, according to the Canal Corporation.

 

The Buffalo Common Council has announced the appointment of 11 new members to the city’s Police Advisory Committee. The group will be responsible for working alongside people in the community and developing policy changes that will be presented to the Buffalo Police Department. The council disbanded the original board that was chosen due to resignations and arguments. The new version of the committee is planning to hold its first meeting in the coming weeks.

 

A bus monitor with the Greece Central School District is in trouble with the law after being accused of choking a student. According to police, the incident involving 70-year-old Alonzo Peritore and the seven-year-old child happened on Monday. The child’s parents notified police after their son claimed he was choked on his way home from school. The district put Peritore on leave Tuesday. He’s been arrested, released on an appearance ticket and is scheduled to face a judge again June 14th.

 

Republicans in the New York State Assembly want Governor Hochul and state leaders to convene a meeting of the state’s domestic terrorism task force. The request comes following Saturday’s violence in Buffalo and last month’s shooting in the New York City subway system that left several people hurt. The panel was created in 2020 as part of that year’s state budget and is made up of the State Police superintendent, the Commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services and people appointed by the governor and Legislature. The group is required to meet at least four times a year but has never gathered.

 

Afternoon News Brief

Gerald Brinson

A Rochester man wanted in two counties now faces numerous charges after an incident on Oak Street, Batavia. Police responded to a domestic dispute and burglary-in-progress call mid-morning yesterday. The victim reported that 33-year-old Gerald Brinson of Rochester had entered her residence, attacked her and was on the run from law enforcement in Monroe County. Officers arrived at the scene and determined the victim had escaped the residence with her 1-year-old son; however, Brinson was still inside and refused to come out. While inside the residence, Brinson called 9-1-1 to make a fake report about gunfire on Ellicott Avenue. He eventually exited the home and was taken into custody. Further investigation allegedly determined he was wanted on two Monroe County warrants and one Erie County warrant. Brinson now has multiple charges filed against him. (second-degree burglary, fourth-degree grand larceny, third-degree criminal mischief, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree menacing, third degree falsely reporting an incident, second-degree harassment and endangering the welfare of a child.) He was committed to Genesee County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail and is to appear June 14 in City Court. According to state records, Brinson had previously served a seven-year sentence at Livingston Correctional Facility after being convicted in 2009 of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in Monroe County.

 

Gregory Foster II

A corrections officer who works at the Attica Correctional Facility has been suspended without pay after being accused of mocking the victims of the Tops supermarket shooting. The State Department of Corrections says Gregory Foster the Second posted something on his personal Facebook page that made reference to the aftermath of the tragedy. The department says Foster’s comments are despicable and will not be tolerated. The department also said its seeking to fire Foster and that he may end up facing prosecution.

 

All Genesee County communities voted to approve next year’s school budget. In Batavia, 409 people voted yesterday and the $54.8 million budget was approved (301-108). The 1% tax levy was also passed. Chezeray Rolle, John Marucci and Korinne Anderson won their school board races. Le Roy’s General budget and library budget passed. Peter Loftus, Jason Karcher and Rachael Greene won their school board bids. Other final tallies include… Byron-Bergen Central School’s budget passed with a vote of 244 to 98. Elba Central’s budget passed by a vote of 100 to 17. Pembroke Central’s budget passed 272 to 98, while a school bus proposition passed 276 to 93. Corfu Public Library election results gave Jessica Doctor the most votes of 336 and John Conti two write-in votes, each for a three-year trustee seat; Matt Steinberg received 334 votes for a two-year trustee seat. Oakfield-Alabama Central’s $23.5 million budget passed 187 to 35.

 

A Batavia man is in jail this morning, awaiting his next appearance in court. 34-year-old Benito Gay attempted to rob the Subway store on East Main Street early last night. By the time police arrived at the scene, Gay had fled. However, he was taken into custody fairly quickly; police found him at a nearby apartment complex. Gay did not display any weapons during the robbery attempt and is charged with robbery as well as another unspecified charge. He was arraigned in City Court and ordered held without bail and is scheduled to return to court tomorrow afternoon. Gay has other prior arrests in Batavia; most recently in March when he was accused of stealing three beers from the Kwik Fill at Jackson and Ellicott.

 

National Grid is encouraging all of their customers to be vigilant and protect their personal information. Reports of billing and payment scams are on the increase; customers report that emails and telephone calls claiming to be from National Grid demand immediate payment for past due balances on their utility bills. In some cases, the customer is promised savings on their next bill. Though these scams are not new, the imposters have taken additional steps to convince customers they work for National Grid. Customers contacted in the latest scam say that the caller provides a name, office location from where they are calling, and an identification number. In many cases, the scammers use a practice called spoofing, where the caller ID and return number look as though they belong to National Grid. Scammers threaten to terminate the customer’s service immediately unless payment is made, either by providing bank or credit card information, or by purchasing a prepaid debit card. Probably the best thing to do is to hang up the phone and call back on a phone number that you know is a direct line to National Grid.  Here is a link to National Grid’s website for assistance and strategies to avoid getting ripped off: https://www.nationalgridus.com/Our-Company/Scam-Alert

 

Buckeye Partners will be performing maintenance on their pipeline on Creek Road in Batavia beginning next Monday, May 23. The road will be closed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be reopened every evening to regular traffic. The work is being performed on Creek Road just north of Dorman Road and will last approximately two weeks.

 

 

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report on a deadly helicopter crash in Elba. The Mercy Flight aircraft was on a training mission last month when it went down, killing 60-year-old James Sauer and 60-year-old Stewart Dietrick who were both onboard. The NTSB report didn’t reveal the cause of the accident but said fractures were found in the helicopter’s steering system consistent with overload. One witness reported hearing a loud bang from the helicopter before the crash while another said they heard a noise coming from the engine. A final report on the crash likely won’t be made public for several months.

 

Governor Hochul is applauding FDA authorization of the first COVID-19 booster shot for kids ages 5 to 11. She called it welcome news for parents and guardians all over the state waiting patiently to give kids the extra layer of protection against serious illness from the virus. The governor says New York will be ready to offer boosters to this newly eligible population, and she noted the shots are free, safe, widely available and continue to be our best defense against the coronavirus. She’s urging parents and guardians to set an example for children on the heels of this good news and get boosted themselves along with their kids so everyone is better protected for summer.

 

Tops and the National Compassion Fund are working together to help people who were impacted by Saturday’s shooting receive financial assistance. They’ve announced the creation of the “Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund” and say all donations will go to relatives of the deceased and individuals who were directly affected by the violence. Donations can be made online by visiting a GoFundMe page set up for the fund. Information on where to send a check or how to transfer money electronically can be found on the National Compassion Fund website: https://nationalcompassion.org/

 

Payton Gendron

President Biden is vowing to keep pushing Congress to pass new gun regulations following the mass shooting in Buffalo over the weekend. Mister Biden and First Lady Doctor Jill Biden made a visit to Buffalo yesterday to meet with the families of the 10 people killed during Saturday’s shooting at the Tops store on Jefferson Avenue. Police say 18-year-old Payton Gendron allegedly opened fire at the supermarket Saturday in what officials are calling a racially motivated hate crime. Gendron is charged with murder and is currently behind bars without bail.

 

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will be unveiling her own plan today to try and put an end to the nationwide shortage of baby formula. The New York lawmaker says the Emergency Infant Formula Act would increase domestic production of formula to deal with the current crisis and prevent future shortages. On Monday, Gillibrand called on President Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act in an effort to get more formula on store shelves nationwide. The cause of the current shortage is due to several reasons such as inflation, supply chain issues and safety concerns.

 

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 modera