Local News

Weekend News Brief

The Muckdogs Collegiate team will be joined by another new team to the league, the Niagara Power.  The reason for the move is that the facilities in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League are better than the New York Collegiate Baseball league and they want to play with the Muckdogs.  The Muckdogs give the PGCBL five former NY-Penn League teams, along with Newark, Geneva, Elmira and Jamestown.

Covid Update From Friday afternoon: Genesee county has 76 new cases and 37 people have recovered.  5 of the new cases are at Leroy Village Green, 2 are at the Veterans Home and 2 are at the VA Medical Center.  Orleans County has 24 new cases and 26 people have recovered.  1 of the new cases is at the Orchard Rehab and Nursing center.  There are 241 Active cases in Genesee county and 167 in Orleans.  A COVID positive person was at Batavia Downs in the Main Gaming Area on January 17th from about 2 to 5 pm.  If you were at the Downs during this time please monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days.

The Buffalo Sabres fell to the Washington Capitals 4 to 3 Friday night in a shootout.  The game was tied with goals by Eric Staal, Dylan Cozens and Riley Sheahan for the Sabres and Ullmark making 29 saves against the Capitals.   Each of the scoring Sabres players made their first goal as a Sabre.  The team now has 1 win and 3 losses and 1 overtime loss and will play the Capitals again on Sunday.

Did you laugh at all the Bernie Sanders in Mittens memes going around since the Inauguration? A western NY woman is seeing a bump in business because of the viral joke.  Barbara Carr who owns BCycles, a business that takes recycled clothing and turns them into mittens which look very much like the ones Bernie wore to the capital on Tuesday.  She says that after the inauguration she has received a huge jump in orders as more people want her warm mittens.

Buffalo City Mayor Byron Brown and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas have placed a bet on the AFC Championship Game.  Whichever team losses their city must send food to the other cities frontline workers.  Mayor Brown is wagering ‘Mango Bam Bam Wings’ from Manna Northland on Northland Avenue and ‘Smitty Wings’ and ‘Beef on Weck Wings’ from Doc Sullivan’s on Abbott Road.  Mayor Lucas is wagering Kansas City Monarch memorabilia from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum; Made in KC snacks and Chiefs gear, 100 heart KC masks, and 100 neck gaiters from Charlie Hustle, Food from Gate’s BBQ and wings from Taps on Main.

Evening News Brief

Governor Cuomo in a press conference today announced that the supply of COVID 19 vaccine that has been given to the state by the federal government will run out by tonight.  Erie County has already canceled appointments for the vaccine, and the public vaccination clinic at GCC won’t let people make appointments until they have the new shipment of vaccines in hand to distribute.  Cuomo says that 250 thousand more doses are expected next week.  Of those, Genesee county is expected to receive 100 and Orleans county is expected to receive 200.

Cuomo also gave an update on the states positivity and hospitalization rates which are falling slowly.  He said that there are 3 new known cases of the UK strain of the coronavirus in New York, all downstate.  Cuomo also stated that although he wants to have all 1A and 1B groups and everyone 65 and up vaccinated that the priority is still healthcare workers, of which only 2/3 of hospital workers so far have been vaccinated.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 38 new cases and 28 people have recovered.  Orleans county has 37 new cases and 20 people have recovered.  8 of the new cases are at Orchard Rehab and Nursing.  There are 208 active cases in Genesee county and 171 in Orleans.

The border between the US and Canada may be getting opened up again and President Biden’s executive order could help.  Biden has issued an executive order to study how to reopen the border safely and following CDC recommendations.  Congressman Chris Jacobs hailed the move and urged the Biden Administration to work with Canada to get it done.

The Buffalo Zoo is holding a wager with the Kansas City Zoo over the Bills Game on Sunday with white furry bears in the middle.  If the Bills win then the Kansas City Zoo will have to donate to the Polar Bears International.  If the chiefs win then Buffalo has to bear the burden.

Midday News Brief

The first public COVID vaccination clinic in Genesee County will be held this Monday at GCC.
But, you cannot make an appointment.
Why? Because the website to allow you to make an appointment will not be activated until the number of doses of the vaccine are actually received.
Health Department officials tell WBTA today that the delivery of vaccine could take place anytime over the weekend.
Keep trying this website link:

 

Thirty-eight new COVID cases have been confirmed in Genesee County. Seventeen of the positive individuals are hospitalized. Thirty-seven new cases have been confirmed in Orleans County, where 12 people remain hospitalized. Health officials in Wyoming County, today report 23 new cases.

LeRoy Central Schools will make a second attempt to get a capital projects budget passed. Voters rejected the first proposed capital budget last October by a wide margin. The budget has now been reduced and split into two propositions. The second proposition would fund extensive renovations to the soccer field. Voting will be held on Wednesday, February 10th at Trigon Gymnasium.

The Buffalo Bills will be taking the field this weekend for the franchise’s biggest game in over two decades. The AFC East champions will be taking on the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs with the winner moving on to Super Bowl 55 on February 7th. The last time the Bills were in the NFL’s championship contest was all the way back in January 1994. Kickoff for the AFC Championship game is set for six-40 p-m on Sunday.

For over four months, no one has won the Mega Millions jackpot but there’s a chance that could change tonight. There will be 970 million dollars up for grabs during tonight’s drawing, the second-largest prize in the history of the game. The record of one-point-five billion dollars was set back in October 2018. Tickets cost two dollars apiece and the live drawing starts at 11 p-m at megamillions.com.

Special Weather Statement

Ontario-Livingston-Wyoming-Orleans-Wayne-Genesee-Monroe-

1018 AM EST Fri Jan 22 2021

 

…AN AREA OF HEAVY SNOW WILL AFFECT WAYNE…NORTHEASTERN WYOMING…

NORTHERN LIVINGSTON…EASTERN ORLEANS…EASTERN GENESEE…MONROE AND ONTARIO COUNTIES…

 

At 1016 AM EST, a line of snow showers dropping southeast from Lake Ontario this morning will produce a burst of snow which will reduce visibility to below a half mile at times. Although this will only produce around an inch or two of snow, it will result in slick travel conditions this morning.

Locations impacted include…

Rochester, Greece, Irondequoit, Chili, Geneva, Canandaigua, Brockport, Geneseo, East Rochester, Hilton, Webster, Fairport, Brighton, Gates-North Gates, Hamlin Beach State Park, Fair Haven Beach State Park, Ontario, Henrietta, Penfield and Newark.

This includes the following highways…

Interstate 390 between exits 8 and 12.

Interstate 90 between exits 47 and 42.

Conditions can deteriorate rapidly in winter weather situations. Be prepared for snow or ice covered roads. Slow down and allow extra time when traveling.

Morning News Brief

U.S. Army Aviation investigators are scheduled to arrive in Monroe County today to investigate a helicopter crash that killed three National Guard servicemembers Wednesday. The U.S. Army has jurisdiction of the investigation. According to the New York Army National Guard, the medical evacuation helicopter was on a routine training mission Wednesday evening when it crashed. Monroe County Sheriff Chief Deputy Michael Fowler said the Guard-members’ remains were escorted by police and fire trucks as a tribute to their community service.

As part of New York’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that the Open Enrollment Period for uninsured New Yorkers will be extended through March 31, 2021. New Yorkers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health, New York’s Official Health Plan Marketplace, or directly through insurers.

Thirty-eight new COVID cases have been confirmed in Genesee County. New infections were reported in 13 communities. Seventeen of the positive individuals are hospitalized. Thirty-seven new cases have been confirmed in Orleans County, where 12 people remain hospitalized. Health officials in Wyoming County, today report 23 new cases.

Registration is now available for kindergarten and prekindergarten students in the Byron-Bergen Central School District. The District plans to once again offer a half-day universal Pre-K program at the Elementary School. The program is focused on socialization, learning through play, and self-exploration. Students must turn 4 years of age by Dec. 1 to be eligible for the program.

While clinics in Erie County are being canceled because of a statewide COVID-19 vaccine shortage, Genesee County will receive its anticipated 100 doses for three scheduled clinics next week. However, state officials informed local officials not to expect an increase in available doses anytime soon.

At Western Regional Off Track Betting’s Board of Directors Meeting, Richard Bianchi was unanimously re-elected as Chairman for 2021.  Bianchi represents Monroe County on the Board of Directors for OTB.  Ed Morgan, the Orleans County representative on the board, was also re-elected as Vice Chairman for 2021.

Midday News Brief

Genesee Co. Manager Matt Landers

Genesee County has announced its first public COVID vaccination clinic will open on Monday at Genesee Community College. Right now, the clinic is limited to persons in Groups 1-A and 1-B and all persons over 65.
Here is the but…you must make an appointment, and as of this afternoon, no appointments are available.

County Manager Matt Landers says staff is ready- the problem is vaccine supply:

So, what’s a person to do? Keep trying the websites. There is the county clinic at GCC Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Rite Aid and Tops Pharmacies in Batavia have registration websites, but no available appoints.
Your primary Care doctor may be contacting you under a program administered by Rochester Regional Health. They are randomly selecting persons over the 65 from a pool of patient’s whose doctors belong to the RRH system.
Please see the county’s latest announcement on COVID Vaccine Clinics HERE.

Three members of the National Guard are dead after their helicopter crashes in Monroe County. Deputies say the soldiers were on a training mission last night when the aircraft went down in the area of West Bloomfield Road in Mendon, located about 20 miles from Rochester.
The names of the soldiers have not yet been released
Both the NTSB and National Guard will be looking into what caused the tragedy.

The search for two children abducted from a home in Greece earlier this week has come to a happy end.
Police say three-year-old Shakeria Cash and five-year-old Dimitri Cash Junior have been found safe in the state of Alabama. The children were taken from their foster home Monday night by two men, triggering an AMBER Alert.
One woman has been taken into custody, but police haven’t said what charges she may face.

Governor Cuomo’s Administration predicts New York State employment levels will not recover from the pandemic until year 2025. Cuomo’s budget division released an economic revenue and outlook report which shows job growth slowed to a crawl in November. It forecasts job growth slowing even further until vaccines become widely available.

Local COVID Vaccination Schedules Announced

Genesee County today announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will be administered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. at Genesee Community College (1 College Road, Batavia, NY) starting Monday, January 25, 2021.

Orleans County today announced that its COVID-19 vaccinations will be administered on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. – 12 noon and 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. starting Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at the Ridgeway Fire Hall (11392 Ridge Road, Medina, NY).

Vaccinations at both sites will be conducted inside and are based on the availability of the vaccine.

Vaccinations for the GCC vaccine clinics are through online appointment only at: https://on.ny.gov/39CBzSZ..

Vaccinations for the Orleans County vaccine clinic are through online appointment only at: https://on.ny.gov/3qxwnHb.

People should not be calling the health departments, vaccination sites such as pharmacies or their provider to schedule a test.

The registration links will direct people to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) website specific to available appointments for that provider.  If a person visits the Genesee County Department of Health Vaccine Webpage (http://bit.ly/39bfElNGOHealthVaccine) clicks the Clinic Schedule button and clicks one of the listed provider links to schedule an appointment, he/she will be directed to the appointment page on NYSDOH data management system for that provider’s vaccine clinic.

Those making appointments should be aware that the state appointment system has experienced technical issues due to the volume of people trying to access it for appointments.

If a person tries to schedule an appointment at a local pharmacy e.g. Tops Markets, Rite-Aid, etc. by visiting their website, whatever link you click on will direct you to the NYSDOH website for that location.  Providers’ clinic schedules are subject to change based on vaccine availability.

“As we have stressed since the vaccine became available and the number of people eligible to receive the vaccine has increased significantly, we are urging people to be patient,” said Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments Director Paul Pettit.  “Everything regarding scheduling a vaccine appointment no matter if you are trying through the county health department, through a local pharmacy or for the state-run clinics is being funneled to the state’s data management page.”

Pettit noted that at this time, there are approximately 50,000 residents in Genesee and Orleans County eligible to get the COVID19 vaccine and approximately 1,600 doses available this week, although all appointments are full. Vaccine allocation is on a week-by-week schedule, with the possibility of no vaccine to each of the providers requesting it.

“This is resulting in people receiving the message of ‘no appointments available’ when clicking on the link and we are being told anecdotally that some people keep clicking on the link for hours at a time and getting this same message,” Pettit said.  “We don’t want to deter people for going on-line and trying to schedule an appointment, but we want to make them aware of what to expect because it can get frustrating very easily.”

Please continue to monitor http://bit.ly/39bfElNGOHealthVaccine and the state site (https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/) for a list of additional clinics to receive the vaccine.

 

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Morning News Briefing

Police say two children who were abducted in Monroe County this week have been recovered in Alabama and are safe. Police in the town of Greece say two men took 3-year-old Shekeria Cash and her 5-year-old brother Dimitri from their foster home Monday night. Greece Police Chief Drew Forsythe said information from a rental car led to an address in Montgomery, Alabama. Forsythe said the two children were found under blankets in the back seat of the woman’s car.

Genesee County reports 55 new cases of COVID-19. The latest infections involve residents from Batavia, LeRoy and 11 other communities. The county also recorded another virus-related death. The victim was a resident at Genesee Senior Living. In Orleans County, 28 new cases were confirmed along with one additional death. 18 new cases were confirmed in Wyoming County.

There have been 56 confirmed COVID-related deaths at nursing homes in Genesee County, according to data from the State Health Department. Before Tuesday, The Batavian reports that not all of those deaths were included in Genesee County’s Health Department regular COVID-19 briefing. Nursing homes are not required to report deaths to local officials, only to the state.

Three New York National Guard members were killed when a Blackhawk helicopter crashed south of Rochester Wednesday evening. The medical evacuation helicopter went down in a rural section of Mendon. 9-1-1 calls before the crash reported a low-flying aircraft in the area – and a fiery crash. Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter said the cause of the crash is under investigation. The helicopter was on a routine training mission when it crashed. It is not yet clear what caused the crash. The three soldiers on board were assigned to1st Battalion’s C Company in the 171st General Support Aviation Battalion. The helicopter was based at the Army Aviation Support Facility at the Greater Rochester International Airport. In a statement, Congressman Tom Reed said the men and women of the New York Army National Guard are true heroes dedicated to keeping this great nation safe and secure. Our hearts break as we mourn the loss of three service members who perished during a training mission crash.

Genesee County is gearing up to undertake a host of bridge and culvert projects this spring and summer, including some projects that were put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens gave an update to the Public Service Committee this week. The better news might be that contractors are eager for work, meaning potentially lower bids on projects. The committee agreed to recommend to the full legislature a $1.8 million contract for three culvert projects to Union Concrete Construction Corp. of West Seneca. That bid is about $400,000 less than the engineer estimated

Evening News Brief

 3 people have been charged in the shooting that left 5 people injured and 1 dead in Lockport in October.  2 minor teenagers have been charged with murder in the second degree, assault, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon.  After one of them fired through a closed door into the garage of a home while a Halloween party was taking place inside.  One adult, Jonathan Frey has been charged with hindering prosecution.  All three remain in custody, the teens are held on 500 thousand dollar bail.

The New York State police are warning of a new scam targeting those looking to buy a puppy.  People are reporting contacting a puppy breeder online via craigslist or a classified ad and being told they need to provide a deposit.  Communication would only be by text or email, and then the address they seller gives to get the dog will be false.  Police say never trust someone who won’t talk to you on the phone.  Never pay in advance and don’t trust too good to be true prices.

The Buffalo Sabres got shut out in last nights contest with the Philadelphia Flyers 3 to zip.  Despite 40 shots on goal the Sabres could not get the puck in keeping the Flyers from having 2 straight losses.  The Sabres will be playing the Washington Capitals at 7 on Friday.

Midday News Brief

Coronavirus vaccinations are being given today on the Batavia Campus of GCC.
The group being vaccinated today is Group 1-A, high risk medical professionals.
On Friday, the first community vaccination clinic will be held at GCC for any person in Group 1-B and any person over 65.
Here’s the problem: all available appointments are filled.
Genesee County has received 16-hundred doses of vaccine to be distributed this week – and again, they are all spoken for.

Governor Cuomo says it’ll be up to the federal government to help New York fix its budget crunch. The Empire State is currently billions of dollars in the red, in part due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The governor released two budget proposals yesterday, with one calling for education spending to be cut and taxes to increase while the other would lower taxes on the middle class and help businesses. He says the fiscal plan that ends up being put in place will depend on how much money the state gets from the federal government.

The search continues for two young children taken from their foster home in Greece Monday night. Three-year-old Shekeria Cash and five-year-old Dimitri Cash Jr. were taken under circumstances that led police to believe they are in imminent danger of serious harm. The abduction happened at 805 English Road around 8:40 p.m. Monday at a foster home where the children were staying. A total of seven children under the age of 10 were living in the foster home; Shekeria and Dimitri have been living in the home for the last two years

Morning News Briefing

Since its last update, Genesee County has confirmed 168 new positive cases of COVID-19. Health officials say eleven people are hospitalized with virus-related complications. Two of the new cases are inmates at the Buffalo Federal Detention Center. In Orleans County, 56 new positive cases were reported since Friday and Wyoming County has logged 23 new cases.

The search continues for two young children taken from their foster home in Greece Monday night. Three-year-old Shekeria Cash and five-year-old Dimitri Cash Jr. were taken under circumstances that led police to believe they are in imminent danger of serious harm and/or death, according to an Amber Alert. The abduction happened at 805 English Road around 8:40 p.m. Monday at a foster home where the children were staying. A total of seven children under the age of 10 were living in the foster home; Shekeria and Dimitri have been living in the home for the last two years. Greece Police Chief Drew Forsythe called it a planned and targeted abduction.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a proposal to boost partial Unemployment Insurance benefits to New Yorkers who return to work part time. The plan will ensure unemployed New Yorkers who accept part-time work are not penalized by basing their partial unemployment benefits on the hours they actually work, rather than the number of days they work in a given week. This change will inject more money into New York’s economy while helping businesses fill part-time positions.

Congressmen Chris Jacobs, Tom Reed and several of their colleagues are calling upon Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) to apologize for his comments denigrating members of the National Guard. In a statement, Jacobs said “Representative Cohen’s reckless comments attacking members of the National Guard are disrespectful and divisive. These men and women proudly serve our nation and have been working non-stop for the past week to ensure our safety and that of the incoming administration.”

U.S. Senator’s Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have announced an additional $1.4 billion in federal funding for New York state’s private, public, and proprietary institutions of higher education. The funds are allocated to the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The funding is in addition to federal funding already allocated from the CARES Act in March. Genesee Community College will get $5.2 million.

New legislation is being advanced in New York State to further support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The New York State Senate Majority announced on Tuesday that they plan to advance major legislation to help support small businesses in the state. The action will build upon legislation passed in July 2020. According to the Senate Majority, the new legislative package will include protecting small businesses from eviction and foreclosure, protecting restaurants from third-party delivery fees and establishing a partial-unemployment system.

New York State United Teachers have called on the state Education Department to request a federal waiver of grade 3-8 and high school testing requirements — just as New York was granted last year — amid the ongoing challenges students and educators statewide are facing related to the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter, the union noted that the pandemic has continued to disrupt the normal education process, as schools have vacillated between hybrid, in-person and remote offerings.

Evening News Brief

This morning Governor Cuomo gave his State budget address and outlines 2 plans for how 2021 will go.  One plan is that the federal government gives New York the whole 15 billion dollars that the state is down because of the pandemic shutdowns.  The other is that the federal government only gives 6 billion to the empire state.  The former option, Cuomo said, would restore across-the-board 5% reductions that have impacted the state, and it would pave the way for other programs including middle-class tax cuts, affordable broadband for low-income homes, addressing food insecurity and the state’s Pandemic Recovery and Restart Program – providing credit for restaurants, arts centers and other businesses impacted during the pandemic.  The second option would mean tax increases, cuts to schools and social services and more burden placed on local governments.

Wyoming County is under a lake effect snow warning until 10 am Wednesday.  Officials are expecting an additional 5 to 10 inches and winds as high as 35 miles per hour.  Snow is expected to fall in narrow bands so be prepared for wildly different conditions on the road.

Genesee county health department is offering free drive through covid testing for asymptomatic people every day till January 26th from 1 to 4 pm at 7690 state st rd.  You must register online prior to going to get tested by calling the Genesee County health department.

County Announces Upcoming COVID Testing Schedule

Genesee County announced a new schedule for free drive-thru COVID-19 self-administered rapid testing for residents who are asymptomatic (no symptoms, not feeling sick, etc.).

Free testing will be available on Tuesday, January 19th and Tuesday, January 26th from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.  The testing will continue at Genesee County Emergency Management Office & Fire Training Facility, at 7690 State Street Road in the Town of Batavia.

To schedule a test, you must register on-line at https://on.ny.gov/3beJV5T. Anyone needing additional help for online registration may contact the Genesee County Health Department at 585-344-2580 ext. 5555.

As a reminder, anyone who had a recent potential exposure to COVID-19 should not recommended to be tested until at least 5 days have passed since the exposure.

In addition to registering for the test, please keep in mind the following guidelines:

• Make sure you have a pen in your vehicle.
• Everyone in the vehicle is to have their mask on when they pull up at the testing site.
• A parent or guardian must be present for any individual under 18 who is going to be tested.
• Those who are tested could get a call fairly quickly from an unknown number; please answer the phone as staff cannot leave messages and can only give results to the individuals tested or the guardian of those under 18 years of age.

Midday News Brief

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce has announced it’s the winners in its 49th annual awards.
Business of the Year is Pellegrino Auto Sales; Agricultural Business of the Year is L&M Specialty Fabrication and Special Service Regnition of the Year goes to Rochester Regional Health / UMMC.
The Geneseean of the Year is Tammy Hathaway, the Executive Director of the United Way of Genesee County.

The spread of COVID-19 is finally slowing statewide, but officials say the worst of the health crisis may not be over yet. Cases surged as expected after the holidays as families gathered to celebrate, but the number of new infections is starting to level off. However, experts say the threat of new variants of the virus from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil means people need to remain alert and take the proper precautions. There have already been several cases of the UK variant discovered in New York.

New York is billions of dollars in the red, and today Governor Cuomo will reveal how he plans to fix the state’s financial problems.
He’ll be giving his annual budget address this morning at the State Capitol building in Albany. New York was already in tough fiscal shape before the COVID-19 pandemic started, but things have gotten much worse over the last few months.
The governor is expected to ask the federal government for money but says if that request isn’t granted, programs could be cut and taxes may be raised.

The fortress of security that surrounds Trump Tower along Fifth Avenue will loosen up a bit once President Trump leaves the White House this week. The NYPD says streets around the high-rise that have been blocked since he became president will likely be reopened. The communications center inside the tower will be dismantled.

 

The Buffalo Sabres finally have their first win of the season at the expense of an East Division rival.
The Sabres beat the Philadelphia Flyers six-to-one on the road last night. Buffalo goalie Carter Hutton stopped all but one of the 22 shots he faced. These two teams will meet again in Philadelphia tonight starting at 7.

Morning News Briefing

Gas prices are sneaking up…today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.39, up seven cents from last week. The New York State average is $2.47 – up eight cents from last week. Crude prices have been fluctuating and remain over $50 per barrel. Prices rose over market optimism that coronavirus vaccines will help crude demand recover this year.

Court action is pending for an Illinois man accused of strangling a Batavia resident. Police say they arrested 32-year-old Nathan Rich. He was charged with second-degree strangulation. He was arrested after a domestic incident that occurred on South Swan Street in Batavia. It is alleged that Rich put his hands around the victim’s throat and applied pressure. He was taken to Genesee County Jail and processed, then virtually arraigned in Batavia City Court. He was put in jail in lieu of bail.

As the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden is just a day away, lawmakers are looking forward to some much-needed federal support. Biden has announced a $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan, and now the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM) says it’s time for the state to release millions of dollars in withheld funds. The organization says the state’s current policy, announced last summer, is having a negative impact on the ability for localities to provide essential services and maintain budgets without tax increases. Now, NYCOM is calling for the withheld funding to be released and for the full amounts to be included in the next budget.

When Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in Washington Wednesday…there’s at least one prominent Democratic lawmaker who won’t be there. Governor Andrew Cuomo has said…he’s called off the plan…because, he wants to be in Albany….close to his own state capitol…in case there’s trouble.

The Genesee County Department of Planning is seeking community input for the Genesee2050 Comprehensive Plan and Recreation Plan at public hearings via Zoom. The workshops are set for this afternoon at 1 p.m. and again tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required. Information about both plans…available online at www.Genesee2050.com.

44-year-old Charles J. Rodriguez of West Main Street in Batavia has been charged with third-degree bail jumping. Batavia Police arrested Rodriguez after the man allegedly missed several appearances in Batavia City Court. After his arraignment, Rodriguez was released under supervision of Genesee Justice. He is due back in court Feb. 25.

Winter Weather Advisory Posted

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO
7 PM EST TUESDAY...

* WHAT...Lake effect snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 5
  to 10 inches in the most persistent lake snows.

* WHERE...Genesee county. The most snow will occur over far
  southwest portions of the county, to the south of Corfu.

* WHEN...From 7 PM this evening to 7 PM EST Tuesday.

* IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult. Areas of blowing snow
  could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions
  could impact the Tuesday morning and evening commutes.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

Lake effect snow will fall in relatively narrow bands. If
traveling, be prepared for rapidly changing road conditions and
visibilities.

Evening News Brief

Genesee county and a large part of Western New York is under a Winter Weather Advisory starting at 7pm tonight as between 5 and 10 inches of lake effect snow is expected overnight till about 7pm on Tuesday.  Be careful driving as whites outs and drifts may occur.

Cuomo is calling on Pfizer to see if New York can directly purchase vaccine doses, bypassing the federal government.  Demand of the vaccine massively outpaces supply, at this point the state is only receiving 300 thousand doses of the vaccine a week and it would take over 23 weeks or almost 6 months to vaccinate the 7 million New Yorkers eligible to receive it right now.  Cuomo says that Pfizer is not bound by the same contracts as Moderna is as part of Operation Warp Speed.

Congressman Steve Hawley and the minority assembly asked in a letter to Governor Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Zucker for more local input on how the vaccine is distributed in order to make the rollout more effective and efficient.  The letter was drafted in response to reports that vaccine distribution has been slow and ineffective in New York State, with some vaccine doses reportedly being wastefully disposed of due to improper storage.  Christine Schuyler, Director of Health and Human Services in Chautauqua County, says  county health departments have plans for mass vaccination, but she says, the state isn’t putting those plans into action.  Health director Paul Petit in Genesee county said much the same thing on Friday.

The Batavia City School District is asking parents to lock in their choice for which model their kids will be using for schooling by January 22nd.  The choices are In Person Hybrid or 100 Percent Remote.  This deadline will afford the district enough time to make adjustments to academic programming and transportation services before the semester begins Feb. 1.  Parents who want to change can follow the link on WBTAi.com to the change form.  If they don’t want to change anything then parents don’t need to take any action.  As of Jan. 15, BCSD reported that 92 individuals, on or off campus, among its students, teachers and staff members are currently testing positive for COVID-19. The district’s statement noted that it may need to transition to 100-percent virtual instruction for all students if an issue related to COVID-19 arises during the second semester.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfjrp0DKjR3uGqhDYxijFAexZ8mGxHd549pWEq-ovD1nhieRw/viewform

Midday News Brief

Sonja Gonyea, UMMC

There is now another way to get your COVID vaccination if you are over 65 and in Group 1-B.
UMMC and Rochester Regional Health have a random lottery system to select patients to receive the vaccine. These come from a pool of patients whose Primary Care Doctors are part of the Rochester Regional System.
Sonja Gonyea administers the program for UMMC and explains the process

The program is limited to the number of doses of vaccine the hospital has. Last week it was only 100. As more doses become available, more people will be randomly selected

This random program applies to patients of Primary Care providers who are part of UMMC/Rochester Regional Health.

 

Genesee County is expected to open a community vaccination site later this week at on the Batavia Campus of Genesee Community College.
These clinics will also be for Group 1-B individuals and also for anyone over the age of 65.
You will need an appointment for the GCC clinic.
How to make an appointment has not yet been announced.

 

Drivers across Western New York are having to shell out more of fill-up their vehicles. According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas in Batavia is $2.38 a gallon, up 7-cents from a week ago.

 

The Buffalo Bills are a win away from the big game, but they’ll have to overcome a formidable foe to get there. The AFC East champions beat the Baltimore Ravens 17 to three at Bills Stadium Saturday night, setting up a showdown with the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. The two teams played in Orchard Park earlier this season, with Kansas City winning 26 to 17. Their next showdown will be in the AFC Championship game, scheduled for 6:40p.m. in Kansas City this Sunday night.

 

The Buffalo Sabres will be on the road tonight as they try and pick up their first win of the season. They’ll be taking on the undefeated Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. Buffalo lost its first two games of the season.

Morning News Brief

It’s off to Kansas City! After defeating the Ravens Saturday night, the Buffalo Bills will now travel to Kansas City to square off against the Chiefs Sunday night for the AFC championship game.

New York State tax receipts through the first nine months of the state fiscal year were $2.5 billion lower than last year, but…were $1.8 billion higher than anticipated by the state Division of the Budget, according to the monthly State Cash Report released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Tax receipts in the month of December totaled $8.4 billion.

Genesee County is hiring for several open positions, including Assistant District Attorney. New York State Bar admission is required and preference will be given to candidates with significant criminal litigation experience. More information is available on the county website and its Facebook page.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a proposal to require companies to prominently disclose information about devices that can record and retain and transmit recordings, such as smartphones, smart speakers and smart TVs. The Governor will propose legislation requiring the disclosure so that New Yorkers can make informed decisions when they choose to buy an internet-connected device that is capable of recording, and so that written warnings about recording are not hidden or written in small print. Over 80 percent of Americans own a smartphone or other digital assistant device, the vast majority of which are equipped with internal microphones or other audio recording capabilities. 54 percent of smart speaker owners express worry about how much of their personal audio information is collected and 66 percent reject better personalization of smart speaker recommendations if it means more of their personal data is collected.

The National Weather Service has issued a Lake Effect Snow Warning for Wyoming County. 10-18 inches of snow could pile up in the most persistent bands. The Warning is in effect until Tuesday morning.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley has joined his colleagues in the Assembly Minority in writing a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, calling on them to include local home rule authorities in the process of developing coronavirus vaccine distribution plans in order to make them more effective. The letter was drafted in response to reports that vaccine distribution has been slow and ineffective in New York State, with some vaccine doses reportedly being wastefully disposed of due to improper storage. The state rep. says…”getting these vaccines out effectively and promptly will save lives, and we cannot afford to let even a single dose of the vaccine go to waste during this unprecedented public health crisis.”

 

Weekend News Brief

The Batavia police advisory collaboration stakeholder group has their report ready to send to the Governor but they want to keep meeting.  Although they did not have any proposed changes to the police department they wanted to focus more on better mental health services, and police opening up more communication with city residents, especially those of color, to foster greater goodwill between groups.  Chief Shawn Heubush said there is no plan for the conversation to stop and that there are plans on how to invite the community in to more of the polices activities.  Community leader Victor Thomas of the Just Kings Social Club said that the chief and assistant chief went above and beyond to actually hear the communities voice.  The written plan produced by the committee will be presented to the City Council on Jan. 25 and become available for public review at that time. There will be a public comment period and the council will be asked to approve it and send it to the governor’s office, to comply with the executive order, on March 8.Assemblyman

Steve Hawley has announced a plan for helping the economy of New York recover called the Jump Start New York plan.  The plan would release funds that have not been allocated from the stimulus bills and several capital programs and make small businesses eligible for the Film tax credit.  Small businesses would be given another 180 days to file sales taxes, and a 180 day grace period to fixe regulatory violations without being fined.  There is also help in the legislation package for renters, farmer and landlords.  It would also reign in Governor Cuomo’s powers and let the legislature resume their duties which Cuomo has been doing mostly by executive order.

COVID Update: As of Friday evening Genesee county has 55 new cases and 72 people have recovered.  9 people are hospitalized.  Orleans county has 29 new cases and 38 people have recovered.  18 people are hospitalized.  2 residents at Orchard Rehab and nursing and 1 community member have passed away.  There are 197 active cases in Genesee county and 255 in Orleans.

The Genesee Orleans Wyoming Opioid Task Force will be hosting its’ second Quarterly meeting virtually on Thursday the 21st at 9:30am.  The meeting will look back at 2020 and look forward to the plans for 2021.  This meeting is open to the public and the community is invited to join and share any questions they may have.  Follow the link to their website on wbtai.com to register. http://www.gowopioidtaskforce.org/

Senator Chuck Schumer says that he has talked to incoming President Joe Biden and New York will be getting 2 billion dollars from the federal government through FEMA.  Schumer says that most of these funds will be used to close the state budget gap.  Some will be used for COVID relief for counties.

Evening News Brief

Health director Paul Petit says that the county is ready to administer far more doses than we are getting right now, up to 600 doses a day, 3 days a week.  Right now the county is getting only 300 doses a week.  This week the state government opened vaccination up to about a third of the 19 million people in New York State but 90 percent of counties are not done vaccinating the first group of people who were authorized to receive it.  There are about 13 thousand people locally who are eligible to receive the vaccine.  Petit hopes that the state will fix the distribution slowdowns so the counties can speed up the administering of the vaccine.

COVID Update:  Genesee county has 49 new cases and 66 people have recovered.  10 people are hospitalized.  We are saddened to report 2 people at Premier Genesee nursing home have passed away.  Orleans county has 50 new cases and 34 people have recovered.  17 people are hospitalized.  2 of the new cases are at Orchard Rehab and Nursing.  There are 204 active cases in Genesee county, down from 227 yesterday and 268 In Orleans county up from 254.

Governor Cuomo has announced a proposal to make it illegal for persons with active warrants to purchase a gun.  This would close a federal loophole that made the law only apply to those who went across state lines while they were wanted for a federal crime.  The proposed legislation would immediately flag a person with an active warrant so they could not be sold a gun.

The Buffalo Bills are playing in primetime tomorrow night but you can’t watch the game to the end at a restaurant in New York.  Restauranteurs have been petitioning Governor Cuomo to lift the 10 pm curfew so they could let people watch the playoff game while they enjoyed their meals.   This lift has not been granted so fans should be ready to high tail it home at half time to finish out the game.

Midday News Brief

The Genesee County Health Department plans to open a vaccination clinic for persons in groups 1-A and 1-B by next Friday. (Jan 22)
The clinic will be held at Genesee Community College, Batavia campus.
Again this would be for Groups 1-A and 1-B only – basically those groups include front line health care workers, nursing home staff and residents, virtually anyone involved in healthcare delivery.
Group B includes persons over 65, first responders such as police and firemen.
The County Health Department is expected to announce a website later today that you can use to make an appointment at the GCC clinic.
Health Department officials describe the situation as “fluid” and are asking the public for patience.
We have posted a complete list of those people who are eligible for vaccinations in groups 1-A and 1-B – you can find it on our website at WBTAi-dot-com

COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Genesee County. Both victims resided at Premier Genesee Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation. They were both over age 65.
Health officials say 49 new positive cases have been recorded in Genesee County.

The Buffalo Bills will look to take another big step towards Super Bowl 55 this weekend as they take on one of the toughest teams in the NFL. The AFC East champions are set to host reigning NFL Most Valuable Player Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens at Bills Stadium in Orchard Park. Just like last week, there will be fans in the stands so long as they’ve tested negative for coronavirus. Kickoff for tomorrow night’s contest is set for eight-15 p-m.

The Mega Millions jackpot just keeps growing and is expected to end up being among the top lotto prizes in American history. There will be at least 750 million dollars up for grabs tonight because no one has bought a winning ticket since last September. Lottery officials are warning people about scammers, saying there are no random monetary awards handed out over social media, text or email.

Who is Eligible in COVID Vaccination Groups 1-A and 1-B

 

Eligible New Yorkers in Phase 1A and 1B are:
  • High-risk hospital workers (emergency room workers, ICU staff and Pulmonary Department staff)
  • Residents and staff at nursing homes and other congregate care facilities
  • Federally Qualified Health Center employees
  • EMS workers
  • Coroners, medical examiners and certain funeral workers
  • Staff and residents at OPWDD, OMH and OASAS facilities
  • Urgent Care providers
  • Individuals administering COVID-19 vaccines, including local health department staff
  • All Outpatient/Ambulatory front-line, high-risk health care workers of any age who provide direct in-person patient care
  • All staff who are in direct contact with patients (i.e., intake staff)
  • All front-line, high-risk public health workers who have direct contact with patients, including those conducting COVID-19 tests, handling COVID-19 specimens and COVID-19 vaccinations
  • This includes, but is not limited to,
    • Doctors who work in private medical practices and their staff
    • Doctors who work in hospital-affiliated medical practices and their staff
    • Doctors who work in public health clinics and their staff
    • Registered Nurses
    • Specialty medical practices of all types
    • Dentists and Orthodontists and their staff
    • Psychiatrists and Psychologists and their staff
    • Physical Therapists and their staff
    • Optometrists and their staff
    • Pharmacists and Pharmacy Aides
    • Home care workers
    • Hospice workers
  • Staff of nursing homes/skilled nursing facilities who did not receive COVID vaccination through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program
Beginning January 11, 2021:
  • Individuals Age 65 and older
  • First Responder and Support Staff for First Responder Agencies
    • Fire Service
      • State Fire Service, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
      • Local Fire Services, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
    • Police and Investigators
      • State Police, including Troopers
      • State Park Police, DEC Police, Forest Rangers
      • SUNY Police
      • Sheriffs’ Offices
      • County Police Departments and Police Districts
      • City, Town, and Village Police Departments
      • Transit of other Public Authority Police Departments
      • State Field Investigators, including Department of Motor Vehicles, State Commission of Correction, Justice Center, Department of Financial Services, Inspector General, Department of Tax and Finance, Office of Children and Family Services, and State Liquor Authority
    • Public Safety Communications
      • Emergency Communication and Public Safety Answering Point Personnel, including dispatchers and technicians
    • Other Sworn and Civilian Personnel
      • Court Officers
      • Other Police or Peace Officers
      • Support or Civilian Staff for Any of the above services, agencies, or facilities
  • Corrections
    • State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Personnel, including correction and parole officers
    • Local Correctional Facilities, including correction officers
    • Local Probation Departments, including probation officers
    • State Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Facilities
    • Local Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Facilities
  • In-person college instructors
  • P-12 Schools
    • P-12 school or school district faculty or staff (includes all teachers, substitute teachers, student teachers, school administrators, paraprofessional staff and support staff including bus drivers)
    • Contractors working in a P-12 school or school district (including contracted bus drivers)
    • Licensed, registered, approved or legally exempt group Childcare Providers
    • Exempt Childcare setting
  • Grocery store workers
  • Employees or Support Staff of Licensed or Registered Childcare Setting
  • Licensed, Registered, Approved or Legally Exempt Childcare Providers
  • Public Transit
    • Airline and airport employees
    • Passenger railroad employees
    • Subway and mass transit employees (i.e., MTA, LIRR, Metro North, NYC Transit, Upstate transit)
    • Ferry employees
    • Port Authority employees
    • Public bus employees
  • Individuals living in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared with individuals and families who are not part of the same household
  • Individual working (paid or unpaid) in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared by individuals and families who are not part of the same household, in a position where there is potential for interaction with shelter residents

Morning News Brief

COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Genesee County. Both victims resided at Premier Genesee Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation. They were both over age 65. Health officials say 49 new positive cases have been confirmed in 13 communities. Ten of the positive individuals are hospitalized. In Orleans County, 50 new cases were confirmed on Thursday with 17 people hospitalized. The upward trend also continues in Wyoming County, where 39 more positive cases were reported. The county reports 35 deaths.

New York State continues to administer the COVID-19 vaccination. However, the state is only receiving 300,000 doses a week, with a statewide population of more than 19 million. Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul says she believes the distribution will ramp up soon. Local Public Health Director Paul Pettit calls the current distribution method frustrating.

34-year-old Chad Michael Johnston of Washington Avenue in Batavia has been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree — a stimulant. At 1:07 a.m. Thursday Johnston was arrested. He was observed by Genesee County Emergency dispatchers in the vestibule of the Sheriff’s Office on Park Road in Batavia. While there, he was allegedly observed on video footage using a lighter in the corner. Upon further investigation, deputies said he was allegedly found in possession of seven baggies of crack cocaine. It was also found that Johnston allegedly used the lighter to light a glass pipe to smoke the crack cocaine while inside the vestibule.

Several high school sports deemed high-risk are still on hold. However, a renewed push looks to change that. On Thursday, several state lawmakers joined together, backing legislation to reinstate all high school sports. The lawmakers said “Governor Cuomo focused his State of the State message this week on the need for reopening our local economies and to start getting the lives of New Yorkers as back to normal as possible now.  For New York State’s high school student-athletes and their families, coaches, and entire school communities, that means to let sports seasons get started. The letter, which notes that New York is one of only seven states prohibiting high school sports, says that…Given the fact that a number of sections and leagues moved and delayed the start of their sports seasons to January 2021, they highly encourage Cuomo and others to adopt a realistic, comprehensive and evidence-based model which would allow all student-athletes to safely resume their sport NOW.

A Cheektowaga man has been charged with two misdemeanors for his alleged actions during an incident at the U.S. Capitol last week. 47-year-old Pete Harding, was arraigned Thursday on two misdemeanor counts – knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. He is the first person from Western New York to be charged after being at the Capitol during the attack that left five people dead.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has announced that just shy of $25 million in federal funding has been secured for the Poison Control Program. Gillibrand originally called for $30.1 million to support the nationwide network of 55 Poison Control Centers (PCCs). As public health and addiction support services operate on thin margins, according to Gillibrand’s office, she says these increased federal funds will be used to provide life-saving health care services in every state.

Evening News Brief

Governor Cuomo, now in his 4th day of the state of the state address, talked about New York Infrastructure which he says is getting 306 billion dollars of investments including finishing the 390/490 interchange this year and pulling down the buffalo skyway.  He also said that airports will be getting big overhauls and rebuilds to bring them up to modern standards.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 49 new cases and 47 people have recovered.  16 people are hospitalized.  4 of the new cases are at Premiere Genesee and 6 are at the Leroy Village Green.  Orleans county has 39 new cases and 26 people have recovered.  14 people are hospitalized.  1 of the new cases is at Orchard Rehab and Nursing.  1 more person in Orleans county has passed away.  There are 227 active cases in Genesee county and 254 in Orleans.  There was a COVID positive person at Batavia’s Original on January 9th from noon to 1pm.  If you were at this restaurant at this time monitor yourself for COVID symptoms.

Rochester Regional Health opened a drive through covid vaccination clinic at the Jerome Center today.  This clinic is just for people 75 and over and only for patients of Rochester regional health.  They are calling patients to schedule appointments, which is the only way to take advantage of this new clinic.  Rochester Regional Health will expand this process to include patients age 65 years and older beginning next week.

Perhaps don’t commit crimes in the sheriff’s office?   34 year old Chad Johnston of Washington avenue in Batavia was arrested after he lit up a crack pipe in the entrance to the sheriffs office on Park road at about 1 am this morning.  He was seen on security cameras and a deputy caught him with 7 baggies of crack cocaine and a glass pipe.  He was arrested and charged with Criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Johnston was arraigned at 9 am this morning.

Midday News Brief

Just because you may be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in Genesee County, doesn’t mean you are going to get it.

Matt Landers

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers says, be prepared to wait

Officials said that Genesee County’s supply of vaccine for this week was only 400 doses…only 200 in Orleans county, and both counties are still working on group 1-A, front line healthcare workers.

Genesee County plans to open a vaccine distribution site by mid to late next week on the campus of GCC.
It will operate on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays – but you must pre-register.
How? By calling this number: 1-833-697-4829.

Genesee County reports 49 new positive COVID cases. 16 of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. No new virus-related deaths were reported on Wednesday. Health department officials say Orleans County recorded 39 new COVID cases with 14 hospitalizations, one person has died. . Twenty-two new cases were confirmed in Wyoming County.

Only one of the area’s three representatives in Congress have voted in support of President Trump being impeached for a second time. Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins says Trump needs to be held responsible for inciting last week’s violence at the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead.
However, both Republican Congressman Chris Jacobs, who represents Genesee County, and Republican Congressman Tom Reed disagree. They say it’s time for the country to heal and focus on the peaceful transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden next week.

For the first time in months, the Buffalo Sabres will finally be back on the ice tonight. They’ll begin their new season at home against the Washington Capitals. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there won’t be any fans allowed in the seats at KeyBank Center

Morning News Briefing

Genesee County reports 49 new positive COVID cases. The new infections involve residents in Batavia, LeRoy and 11 other communities. 16 of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. No new virus-related deaths were reported on Wednesday. Health department officials say Orleans County recorded 39 new COVID cases with 14 hospitalizations. Twenty-two new cases were confirmed in Wyoming County.

President Donald Trump was impeached for alleged crimes while in office for a second time and area congressman Chris Collins did not join his house colleagues in accusing the president of inciting an attempted insurrection on Jan. 6. In a statement, Jacobs said “our nation is clearly divided. Healing this division and moving the country forward should be our first and foremost priority.” He added… This rushed impeachment proceeding accomplishes none of these goals, especially given that the President has agreed to an orderly and peaceful transition of power on January 20th.

As COVID cases continue to mount, the Town of Batavia has extended its local state of emergency. Town Supervisor Gregory Post says this situation continues to threaten the public safety.

The Girl Scouts branch office on Jackson Street in Batavia closed its doors at the start of the coronavirus pandemic with services to members being provided virtually, by mail, and by other service center locations. Now that location is closing, according to Callie Johnson, VP of Marketing for Girl Scouts in WNY. Officials said the organization hopes to find another service center site in Batavia once it’s safe to reopen. The Batavia office lease expires February 1.

Some orange zone restaurants that are part of a lawsuit against the state over indoor dining restrictions secured a legal win Wednesday. A judge granted a preliminary injunction in the case, allowing some restaurants taking part in the lawsuit to assume yellow zone-level dining rules. This is not a permanent injunction. A conference has been scheduled for later this month, during which a hearing on a potential permanent injunction will be held.

Here’s a chilling story that comes from the southern tier region…in Allegany County – Five of the eight defendants charged with the brutal murder of 23-year-old Nicholas Burdge at an apartment on Main Street in Wellsville last March were in Allegany County court Wednesday, where they accepted deals and pled guilty to lesser crimes. Initially, most were charged with second-degree murder. It was called one of the most brutal crimes ever in that area. The victim was duct taped to a chair, beaten and stabbed for hours, then dumped in the Genesee River. One teenage boy will receive probation, while it is prison time for the others, up to 16 years for some. No one was convicted of murder. Trials are pending for two others, who maintain not guilty pleas. The boy’s mother said she was disappointed with the deals offered. “They should get the maximum,” she said.

Fineline Pipeline will close Perry Road, between York Road and Dillion Road in Pavilion until about 3:30 p.m. today for water main installation. The road will be accessible to local traffic and emergency vehicles only. The contractor will also close York Road between Perry Road and South Street Road in Pavilion for two to three weeks. The closures are expected Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is announcing plans are being finalized to commence needed maintenance work on the NY-237 bridge deck over the Erie Canal in the town of Murray in Orleans County. The work will be completed either this year or in 2022 depending on public safety factors and contractor resource availability. The bridge will need to be closed for six weeks as maintenance work takes place, at which point a detour will be established.

Evening News Brief

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

In Governor Cuomo’s third day of delivering the State of the State Speech he focused on advancing green technology in New York State.  In addition to addressing climate change, the governor said transitioning to a green economy will also provide crucial economic benefits for the state in a post-COVID world.  Cuomo said that New York will focus on creating the green technologies instead of getting them from other countries, increase transmission capacities to connect energy to locations that need it, and train and educate and employ a workforce to meet the needs of new energy systems. Cuomo proposed the largest wind project in the country and the creation of a 20 million dollar offshore wind training institute.  He said he hopes that green technology will bring 11 million jobs to New York State.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 79 new cases and 35 people have recovered.  3 of the new cases are at Genesee Senior Living, 2 are at the Batavia VA medical center, 2 are at the veterans home.  2 residents at Genesee senior living have passed from COVID.  Orleans county has 100 new cases since Friday and 114 people have recovered.  1 new case is at Orchard Rehab and nursing.  There are 252 active cases in Genesee county and 243 in Orleans.

Section 6 officials announced that low and moderate risk sports can begin practicing and having competitions on Monday.  The list of low risk sports includes bowling, swimming, rifle and downhill skiing.  Basketball, hockey, wrestling and cheerleading are still on hold.

Testing for the next Bills playoff game starts today with fanes going through the drive through rapid COVID-19 testing in the parking lot at the Bills stadium in Orchard Park.  Out of the 6700 fans who tested to go into the stadium last week 137 tested positive.

The US-Canada border will remain closed to non essential travel till at least February 21st announced Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  Non essential travel has been banned since march of 2020.

Do you want a free calendar?  The TSA is giving away a calendar that gives you 12 months of awwwwww as you gaze into the eyes of hard working canines that help keep “transportation systems safe across the United States.”  You can download a copy of the calendar at wbtai.com.

https://www.tsa.gov/sites/default/files/tsa_canine_calendar_2021.pdf

Midday News Brief

Genesee County’s grim toll of coronavirus deaths increases by two.
In the latest report from the county health department issued late yesterday, shows two more people who resided at Genesee Senior Living have passed away from the virus.
Both were over 65. It brings the county’s death toll since the start of the pandemic to 37.

If you would like to receive a COVID-19 test, the county has several appointments available for tomorrow.
The drive through testing is available at the Fire Training Center on State Street Road from 1 until 4 in the afternoon.
You must first register on-line: https://on.ny.gov/3beJV5T

County officials are taking to the air to issue a COVID-19 update.
County Manager Matt Landers will appear tomorrow on WBTA’s Main and Center program to talk about local vaccine distribution.
That program begins at 9:05 tomorrow morning on WBTA AM, FM and online.
At 10:30 tomorrow morning, Landers will be joined by public health director Paul Pettit for a live COVID-19 media briefing. WBTA will broadcast that briefing from the county office building beginning at 10:30 tomorrow morning.

Chris Jacobs (R-NY)

Western New York Congressman Chris Jacobs weighs in on the effort to invoke the 25th amendment to remove president Trump from office.
The non-binding measure passed last night.
Jacobs, a solid Trump supporter, said the 25th amendment was not intended to be a means of punishment.
Jacobs remains silent of the matter of impeachment. A vote in expected on that matter later today.

Morning News Brief

A Batavia woman is facing drug and other counts after she was pulled over in the Wyoming County Town of Sheldon for traveling more than 20 mph above the posted speed limit. During the traffic stop, 30-year-old Tawnya Muscato was allegedly found in possession of five bags of suspected Fentanyl and multiple pieces of drug use and drug packaging paraphernalia.  Muscato also performed poorly on roadside field sobriety testing and was taken to the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office for processing. Muscato was subsequently charged with Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree, and Speed in Zone.

A Batavia man was jailed in Livingston County after he was accused of committing a felony crime. Deputies there arrested 35-year-old Norman Michael Jr. He was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class D felony. He was arraigned and jailed without bail. He’ll appear in Town of Nunda court on January 21.

Six House Republicans Tuesday introduced a censure resolution accusing President Trump of violating his oath of office by attempting to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 election and by sparking a riot at the Capitol with his continued lies about the election. The censure resolution affirms that President-elect Joe Biden won the election and says Trump “gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government.” The GOP effort — led by Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Tom Reed of New York– is seen as a middle ground offer by the GOP to call out Trump’s behavior while stopping short of an impeachment trial that could further fracture the country. In a statement, Reed said “This is an important step to hold the president accountable.”

The City of Batavia Water Department is making repairs to a water main break in front of 142 Pearl Street. Work should be completed by 3:00 pm. The water will be turned off on Pearl St. from 100 Pearl to the western City line. This could result in low water pressure condition for some residents.  Other residents in the area may experience discolored water, which should return to normal once repairs are complete.  Residents should check to make sure water clarity has returned before resuming activities such as laundry, which may be impacted.

Genesee County received 79 new positive cases of COVID-19 for a total of 3,135 positive cases. 21 of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Two more people have died. They were residents at Genesee Senior Living. Orleans County reports 100 news cases; Wyoming County reports 15 new cases.

Muckdogs Name Lives

 

A familiar name to baseball and hockey fans in Elmira, Robbie Nichols owner of CAN-USA sports, will put a collegiate baseball team on the field at Dwyer Stadium…

New Muckdogs’ Owner Robbie Nichols

 

On the heels of Monday’s city council approval of a five-year lease for Dwyer Stadium, Nichols has announced that the new team will bear an old name.

The Muckdogs, formerly of the NYP league will keep its name under new ownership in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball league.

Expect a home opener the end of May. The league plays a total of 30 home and 30 away games. Players will live with host families and Nichols says the goal is to have at least four players with tines to the local area.

The COVID-19 pandemic could interfere with plans for the new Muckdogs, but Nichols pledged to City Council on Monday that if the team can not play this season, they will be here next year.
Season tickets are not on sale. They will start at 99-dollars. Details on how to or email purchase can be found on our website, WBTAi-dot-com.

Season tickets can be purchased by calling: 607-734-7825 or email: mwitt.canusa@gmail.com

Evening News Brief

The new team in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League will be called the Muckdogs continuing the 26 year tradition of having a team called the Muckdogs at Dwyer Stadium. They plan on having the season start Memorial Day weekend for a 60 game season, 30 home and 30 away.  Currently there is a manager, Jose Martinez and the team is looking for players and host families for them.

The governor announced this morning that Group 1B will now include people 65 and up as the CDC is expected to revise its recommendations on who should be vaccinated first.  This will make about a third of New Yorkers eligible to receive the vaccine.  The CDC and New York’s department of health are still working on what constitutes a comorbidity to open up vaccines for that group as well.

Governor Cuomo did the second part of the state of the state address which is usually a one speech deal but is being spread out over the whole week this week.  Cuomo said that New York must open up restaurants and business’s smartly and safely.  He advocated for the rapid testing that was used at the Bills game to test fans.  Cuomo said that he hopes to open up arts venues before the summer and has a new initiative targeted at New York City.  Cuomo also said that he is working to get broadband internet to all New Yorkers for 15 dollars a month or less because more people are working from home.

Take some care on the roads this evening, until at least 7pm the national weather service is warning of freezing drizzle that could make roads and sidewalks slippery.

COVID Update: Over the weekend Genesee County had 170 new cases and 155 people have recovered.  21 people are hospitalized.  8 of the new cases are at Leroy Village Green, 7 are at Premier Genesee and 2 are at the VA Medical Center.  Orleans county has 100 new cases but released no more information.  There was a COVID positive person at Tully’s in Batavia on January 3rd between 7 and 8:30pm.  If you were there at that time please monitor yourself for symptoms.

The Buffalo Bills will be playing against the Baltimore ravens on Saturday at 8:15pm.  The Ravens are 11 and 5 while the Bills are 13 and 3 this season.  The ravens are coming off a win against the Tennessee Titans.  The last time the Ravens came to Orchard Park, Baltimore came away with a 24-17 victory on December 8, 2019.

The City of Batavia Water Department is going to be repairing a water main break in front of 142 Pearl St. on Wednesday January 13, 2021. Work will begin at 8:00 am and should be completed by 3:00 pm. The water will be turned off on Pearl St. from 100 Pearl to the western City line. This could result in low water pressure condition for some residents.

Midday News Brief

Batavia City Hall has proposed a tax rate increase of 1.38-percent for the next fiscal year. It means that if your home is assed at $75,000, your city property taxes will go up by just under $10 a year.
The proposed spending plan, drafted by City Manager Rachel Tabelski, also lays off one ordinance enforcement officer and leaves unfilled two vacant police officer positions and three vacant firefighter posts. The plan will increase water rates by about $17.56 per year.
All of this is subject to final approval by city council. They can add or delete items from the budget but the final budget must be ready by April 1st.

Council did approve a five year agreement with CAN-USA sports to lease Dwyer Stadium for a Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League team.
The owner that team, Robbie Nichols of Elmira, is holding a news conference later today to announce details. Major league baseball eliminated the Class A NYPL league, and along with it, the Batavia Muckdogs.

City Council has thrown its support behind a $500,000 dollar grant application to renovate the Batavia Showtime Movie Theatres on Alva place. There is no city money involved.
Owner Ken Mister is planning to convert the twin screen movie house to one theatre and the remaining place into an event center for various forms of entertainment, meetings and trade shows.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says additional groups of people will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine including “public-facing grocery store workers,” in-person college instructors and people living and working in homeless shelters. The initial groups of Phase 1b now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine included those 75 and older, first responders, Corrections Officers, teachers and other school staff, childcare workers and public transit workers.

Millions of Americans will be spending two bucks today in hopes of winning a whole lot more money. That’s because tonight’s Mega Millions jackpot has soared to $615-million.. That’s the fourth-highest amount in the history of the game and the eighth largest prize in U.S. lottery history. The live drawing will take place at 11 p-m and be broadcast online at megamillions.com.

Morning News Briefing

Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday announced that following successful implementation of the pilot plan to open Bills Stadium to fans last week, Buffalo Bills fans can attend the team’s second home playoff game on Saturday, January 16. Approximately 6,700 fans will be allowed to attend the game only after first obtaining a negative COVID-19 test result and adhering to all public health precautions. Contact tracing will also be conducted after the game and tailgating remains prohibited. This plan was developed cooperatively between the Bills, the New York State Department of Health and BioReference Laboratories.

The New York State Bar Association has launched a historic inquiry into removing Trump Attorney Rudy Giuliani from its membership. Hours before the angry mob stormed the Capitol walls, Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, addressed a crowd of thousands at the White House, reiterating claims of widespread election fraud in the presidential election and the Georgia U.S. Senate runoffs. Giuliani said, “Let’s have trial by combat.”  The decision is historic for the New York Bar, and officials say they have not made it lightly. The Association says it cannot stand idly by and allow those intent on rending the fabric of our democracy to go unchecked.

Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered a virtual State of the State address Monday in Albany. The governor outlined a seven-part plan to tackle the economic, health, and societal effects of the coronavirus pandemic. They include ramping up vaccinations, addressing health care inequalities, and combatting racism. Gov. Cuomo said one aspect of his plan is to begin re-opening the economy safely and smartly.

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing fire hydrants this morning from approximately 9 to 11 a.m. in the general area of north of Main Street and west of Oak Street. Homes and businesses nearby will be affected. These tests may result in a temporary discoloration of water in that area. As in the past, please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water appears discolored. If you do experience a discoloration of your water, run cold water for about five minutes or until clear.

NY Republican Congressman Tom Reed published an op-ed in The New York Times Monday, calling on Congress to set aside impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump in favor of other options. In the article, Reed says President Trump “must face justice” for the riot at the Capitol on January 6, but says “the manner in which President Trump and others are held accountable is a difficult question that demands more scrutiny.” The House article of impeachment introduced Monday accused the president of “Incitement of Insurrection.” In his op-ed, Reed says, “while the president’s words were unwise, intemperate and wrong, they may not qualify as incitement.” Reed goes on to write, “We cannot and should not support a rushed, divisive action simply because the emotions of the moment demand it. That is not the American way.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says additional groups of people will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine including “public-facing grocery store workers,” in-person college instructors and people living and working in homeless shelters. The initial groups of Phase 1b now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine included 75 and older, first responders, Corrections Officers, teachers and other school staff, childcare workers and public transit workers. The governor said vaccine administrations can begin at hundreds of sites and due to limited federal distribution of vaccine supply, all New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient when scheduling appointments as it could take up to 14 weeks to determine eligibility and schedule appointments with providers.

Evening News Brief

Starting today, over three million more New Yorkers will be eligible to start receiving COVID-19 vaccine.   Firefighters, teachers, public safety workers and residents over the age of 75 can use an online portal on the Department of Health website to sign up for their vaccinations.  Find a link to it on wbtai.com.

New York is receiving 300 thousand does of the vaccine a week so there will be a waitlist.  Expect more doses to become available for everyone as the other companies which created vaccines get approved and production ramps up.  Shots will be administered at places like pharmacies, medical offices and hospitals.

https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/

Laurie Taylor doctor of osteopathic medicine at UMMC has received her second dose of the COVID Vaccine.  She said that she is not immune yet but is relieved because she knows she will be soon.  She had minimal side effects including body aches and a slight fever that were knocked out by some ibuprofen and Tylenol.

Governor Cuomo delivered a different kind of state of the state address today from the state war room.  He called the fight against COVID a war and blamed the federal government for the failures of the vaccine rollout.  The state is looking to expand rapid testing sites across New York. Cuomo is also supporting the advancing of legislation to improve telehealth services for all citizens.  He outlined other steps to help foster growth in the state’s economy and close the 15 billion dollar deficit, including advancing a marijuana legalization program for adults and mobile sports betting.  Cuomo said that he will give several more state of the state addresses through the week.

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing and testing fire hydrants on Tuesday, from about 9 to 11 a.m. in the general area of north of Main Street and west of Oak Street.  Homes and businesses nearby will be affected.  These tests cause discoloration of water in the area. As in the past, please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water appears discolored. If you do have a discoloration of your water, run cold water for about five minutes.

The Buffalo Bills will be playing in primetime on Saturday against either the Steelers or the Ravens after their 27 to 24 victory over the Colts during Saturdays wildcard game.  The game will be played at 8:15pm in Orchard Park.  Bills fans will once again be allowed to attend the game, the exact plan is assumed to be the same as the game on the 9th.

The biggest jump in a long time, gas has risen 4 cents in the last week in Batavia.  A gallon of regular is 2.31 locally, nationally the price rose 6 cents to 2.32.  Prices rose after Saudi Arabia said it would cut production by a million barrels a day during February and March.

Midday News Brief

Governor Cuomo laying out his vision for the year ahead during his State of the State address today.
The Governor is expected to focus on several key issues including recreational marijuana legalization, sports betting and how to close a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall.
A portion of the speech will also center on New York’s continuing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because of the health crisis, the governor is presenting the State of the State virtually.

 

Chris Jacobs (R-NY)

 

Western New York Congressman Chris Jacobs continues his support of Donald Trump. Jacobs, while claiming he opposes the violent assault on the Capital, says he will not support any effect to impeach Trump or remove him from office. UIn a statement issued in response to WBTA News partner The Batavian  Jacobs said, “an impeachment proceeding would have, in his words, catastrophic effects on the civil fabric of the country.”

 

 

Starting today, over three million more New Yorkers will be eligible to start receiving COVID-19 vaccine.
Firefighters, teachers, public safety workers and residents over the age of 75 can use an online portal on the Department of Health website to sign up for their vaccinations.
However, it may take weeks for them to actually get vaccinated depending on how many doses the state receives.
Those shots will be administered at places like pharmacies, medical offices and hospitals.

Gasoline prices inching up in Batavia.
The triple A reports the average price of a gallon of regular at $2.31,
4-cents higher than last week, but 35-cents a gallon less than one year ago.

The Buffalo Bills are one step closer to the Super Bowl, and now they know who they’ll be playing this weekend. The AFC East champions are set to host Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens at Bills Stadium. Buffalo is coming off a thrilling 27 to 24 home victory over the Indianapolis Colts Saturday, which was the team’s first playoff win since 1995.
Kickoff for this Saturday’s contest is scheduled for 8:15 p-m.

Morning News Briefing

The number of state legislators that are demanding the resignation of Congressman Chris Jacob continues to grow. As of Sunday afternoon, the list grew to seven. The calls for the resignation have been prompted by Jacobs objecting to the certification of the 2020 Presidential election. Jacobs Press Secretary issued a statement saying…“These officials have abandoned their jobs for months while the Governor’s mismanagement has led to countless nursing home deaths, the shuttering of businesses, and a rise in violent crime rates. Instead of doing their jobs, they have chosen to engage in opportunistic outrage when it politically suits them.”

A weekend fire damaged a Le Roy home. Smoke and flames were reported at 61 Mill Street. Le Roy, Bergen, and City of Batavia fire departments responded. No injuries were reported. The cause of the blaze has not been released.

Court action is pending for a Batavia man who faces multiple felony counts. Sheriff’s deputies arrested 43-year-old Walter Hale Jr. during a traffic stop on Ellicott Street Road in Pavilion. He was charged with felony DWI, felony first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation as well as using a vehicle without an ignition interlock device, refusal to take a breath test and drinking booze in a vehicle on a public highway. Hale was taken to the County Jail and arraigned. He was ordered held without bail and is due to return to court February 8th.

The Village of Elba is looking for a Village Trustee candidate to run in the March 16 election. This is a four-year year term, and the candidate must be a Village of Elba resident, who is at least 18 years of age. Contact the mayor or the Village Office (585) 757-6889 for information.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is announcing a proposal to expand access to telehealth as part of his 2021 State of the State Address. The governor’s proposal seeks to modernize regulations and facilitate access to quality health care, including mental health and substance use disorder services in underserved and rural communities. The reforms will address adjusting reimbursement incentives to encourage telehealth, eliminating outdated regulatory prohibitions on the delivery of telehealth, removing outdated location requirements, addressing technical unease among both patients and providers through training programs, and establishing other programs to incentivize innovative uses of telehealth.

The Batavia Police Collaboration Advisory Stakeholders Group, formed in response to an executive order from the governor, is nearing the completion of its official task but that won’t mean the end of an effort to improve relations between police officers and local residents. A draft resolution and draft report expected to go to the City Council in a few weeks for approval says the city meets all of the state’s requirements on a variety of areas the group needed to review, but it also says there will be efforts to increase communication between the Police Department and residents both broadly and individually.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announced that she is campaigning for reelection. Warren’s announcement comes after she was charged for allegedly breaking campaign finance rules and committing fraud during her reelection campaign three years ago.

Some members of Congress plan to introduce at least one resolution in the House today to impeach President Donald Trump following a riot — what has been called an insurrection or attempt to overthrow the government — by hundreds of his supporters at the Capitol Building last week. Rep. Chris Jacobs said he does not support impeachment. In a prepared statement, the congressman said…“To carry out an unprecedented, politicized, and rushed impeachment proceeding with less than two weeks left in the President’s term would have catastrophic effects on the civil fabric of our nation.” He added that “President Trump has committed to a smooth and orderly transition of power and that should be our focus for the next 10 days.”

Weekend News Brief

Between Monday and Friday vaccination rates went up from roughly 10 thousand a day to over 50 thousand a day in New York.  This came after Governor Cuomo threatened hospital systems with fines and loss of access to the vaccine if they did not use up all their weekly allotment of vaccines.  New York receives 300000 doses of vaccine a week.  Governor Cuomo says that the rate of vaccination is still far too low so the state will be opening more distribution centers using pharmacies, private doctors, county health departments and ambulatory centers.  This follows the federal vaccination plan.

Those who are in group 1A and 1B can begin making reservations to get the vaccine for COVID 19 on Monday.  1A is healthcare workers which are about 2.1 million people.  1B is the larger group made up people over 75, teachers, first responders, public safety workers and public transit workers.

COVID-19 Update: Genesee county has 68 new cases and 66 people recovered. 26 people are hospitalized.  3 of the new cases are at Premier Genesee, 3 are at the Batavia VA medical center and 1 is at the New York State Veterans Home.  Orleans county has 32 new cases and 48 people have recovered.  14 people are hospitalized.  There are 222 active cases in Genesee county and 263 in Orleans.

The New York Penn League has made it official, professional baseball is out of Batavia.  Major league baseball has announced some changes to how players are developed.  One of them is the elimination of Rookies.  Another is no more Class A Short Season baseball.  This gets rid of most club affiliations in the New York Penn League.  For Major League Baseball this will mean thousands of players no longer being able to play and for Batavia, no more professional baseball.

The Genesee county master gardeners series will start on January 21st at noon with do it yourself teacup garden art by bonnie B.  At this time the talks will be via zoom.  The talks are free but registration is required.  Check out the events page on the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County website for details.

Evening News Brief

The Erie county department of health put out a warning yesterday of a new scam where people call pretending to be contact tracers and then ask for information that could be used to steal credit card or bank account information.  They remind the public that contact tracers will only ask for “identifying” information name, address, contact phone number and date of birth. A contact tracer from New York State will never ask for a driver’s license number, social security number, credit card or bank account information.  If you get one of these calls and think it’s a scam hang up and call the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 to report the number that called you.

The Genesee county park and forest is offering winter wonderland hikes starting on Saturday the 9th of January.  Preregistration is required for these guided hikes snow or no snow.  The daytime hikes are from 1 to 3pm.  They are also offering night time hikes for people 18 and up from 7 to 9pm.  Cost is 5 dollars a person or 15 for a family.  Call 585 344 1122 for details and to register.

Niagara Falls will be lit up Buffalo Bills Blue today overnight into Saturday for the first 15 minutes of every hour in anticipation of the playoff game against the Colts.

Midday News Brief

What started as an 8-acre development project in East Pembroke has now nearly doubled.
The Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation has approved the sale of a 5.8 acre parcel in what’s known as the Buffalo East technology Park.
J R Fancher Property Holdings bought the property. It is adjacent to an 8-acre site the company already owns directly off of Thruway exit 48-A at state routes 5 and 77.
The original project submitted by J&R Fancher last year includes the construction of mixed-use buildings including market-rate housing and commercial space.

Governor Cuomo is praising hospitals statewide for speeding up the process of vaccinating people against COVID-19. He says on Monday, hospitals were only giving out only 10,000 shots a day, but that number has already surged to over 50,000 a day.

Chris Hayward

The long and distinguished careers of Le Roy Police Chief Chris Hayward and Detective John Condidorio have been recognized by their colleagues from across the area.
The retirement of both men was honored during a ceremony at LeRoy Village Hall.

LeRoy Police Chief Chris Hayward:

John Condidorio

 

For Detective Condidorio, it was an emotional moment:

The ceremony was attended by members of the law enforcement community from throughout the county.
The incoming LeRoy Police Chief is Gregg Kellogg.

For the first time in over two decades, the Buffalo Bills will be hosting a home playoff game this weekend. The AFC East champions will be taking on the Indianapolis Colts at Bills Stadium in Orchard Park tomorrow. And for the first time this season, the state is allowing fans in the stands. Over six-thousand people are going to watch the contest in person, so long as they’ve tested negative for COVID-19.Kick-off is set for tomorrow at 1pm.

In just a few hours, someone could find themselves over a half-billion dollars richer. That’s because $510-million is for grabs during tonight’s Mega Millions drawing. The jackpot for the popular lottery game is currently the eighth largest in its history.

Morning News Briefing

Some positive news for baseball in Batavia. City Hall confirms that it has received a proposal to place a new team on the Dwyer Stadium field this summer. The proposal comes from Robbie Nichols who pursued a team associated with the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Nichols, a former National Hockey League player, owns a team in Elmira that’s part of the league. The Batavia City Council will be asked to approve a Dwyer Stadium lease agreement with Nichols this Monday night. Nichols tells us he will have more to say about the team during a news conference on Tuesday, following Monday’s council meeting. He said three names for the Batavia team are under consideration – one of them, is the Muckdogs.

The long and distinguished careers in law enforcement for Le Roy Police Chief Chris Hayward and Detective John Condidorio came to a close Thursday with a ceremony at Village Hall attended by members of the law enforcement community from throughout the county. The emotional detective said “it’s time to go.” The two men were honored also with commemorative shadow boxes presented by incoming Chief Gregg Kellogg, a new sidearm, and awards from the Le Roy Fire Department.

Genesee County now reports another 59 new cases of COVID-19. Twenty-six of the positive individuals are hospitalized. Three of the new cases are residents at Premier Genesee Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation; One is a resident at the Batavia VA Medical Center while another is a resident at the New York State Veterans’ Home at Batavia. It’s worse to our north, where Orleans County on Thursday reported 78 news cases. Fourteen people remain hospitalized. In Wyoming County, 40 new cases were confirmed.

Court action is pending for a Holley woman who faces multiple felony counts. State police say they arrested 19-year-old Melissa Kuhn. She was charged with felony burglary and felony grand larceny. Troopers said those counts stemmed from an incident December 22nd in the Town of Ridgeway. Kuhn was initially detained on cash bail.

Midday News Brief

Some positive news for Baseball in Batavia.
City Hall confirms that it has received a proposal to place a collegiate on the Dwyer Stadium field this summer.
The proposal comes from Robbie Nichols who pursued a team associated with the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.
Nichols, a former National Hockey League player, owns a team in Elmira that’s part of the league.

 

WBTA asked him today, why Batavia?

 Robbie Nichols PHOTO: WETM

The Batavia City Council will be asked to approve a Dwyer Stadium lease agreement with Nichols this Monday night.
So what level of baseball can be expected?

Nichols tells us he will have more to say about the team during a news conference on Tuesday, following Monday’s council meeting.
He said three names for the Batavia team are under consideration – one of them, is the Muckdogs.

Governor Cuomo has deployed one-thousand members of the New York National Guard to Washington, DC.
In a statement, the governor says they’ll be in the nation’s capital for up to two weeks to ensure a peaceful transition of presidential power.
The governor called the capitol demonstrations yesterday a failed attempt at a coup.

When the governor gives his State of the State address Monday, part of the speech will focus on recreational marijuana legalization. One part of his plan would create the Office of Cannabis Management which would oversee both medical and recreational use of the drug. Since 2019, the governor has pushed the Legislature to legalize recreational marijuana but those efforts have fallen short. He says making it happen now will generate much-needed revenue for the Empire State.

While there will be over six-thousand fans at Bills Stadium this weekend, Governor Cuomo won’t be among them. He’s decided to skip the contest and give his ticket a nurse working at Erie County Medical Center. The governor says the gesture is a way to show support for people who have been on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis. Instead of being at the game, the governor will be working on his State of the State Address.

Evening News Brief

City Hall has received a proposal for a collegiate team to play at Dwyer Stadium this Summer.  Robbie Nichols, a former National Hockey League Player, owns a team in Elmira and is proposing a team associated with the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.  City Council will vote on a proposed lease agreement for Dwyer Stadium during council’s business meeting on Monday night. Nichols tells WBTA he will have more to say about the team at a News Conference on Tuesday. He said three names for the Batavia team are under consideration – one of them, is the Muckdogs.

Governor Cuomo has deployed one-thousand members of the New York National Guard to Washington, DC.  In a statement, the governor says they’ll be in the nation’s capital for up to two weeks to ensure a peaceful transition of presidential power.  The governor called the capitol demonstrations yesterday a failed attempt at a coup.

Governor Cuomo says that this is the year for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in New York state.  It has been bought up 3 time so far and each time in the past has been defeated.  Cuomo says that this could help close the billions of dollars gap in the budget by 300 million dollars a year.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 53 new cases and 47 people have recovered.  25 people are hospitalized.  16 of the new cases are at Premiere Genesee, 7 are at Leroy Village Green, 2 are at Genesee Senior Living and 1 is at the New York State Veterans Home.  1 person at Genesee Senior Living and one person at Leroy Village Green have passed away.  Orleans county has 34 new cases and 42 people have recovered.  17 people are hospitalized.  There are 227 active cases in Genesee county and 232 in Orleans.

The Genesee county conservative party has released a letter condemning the violence in Washington DC yesterday.  It reads in part “While we understand the right to peacefully protest, we do not condone trespassing onto the Capitol, putting police officers’ lives at risk, and destroying and stealing property. Political violence is never the answer.  We strongly support the First Amendment and the ability to speak your mind, peacefully assemble, and protest. We encourage all Americans to stand up for their constitutional rights, voice their opinions, and demand change.”  City Council President Eugene Jankowski also released a statement condemning the violence, as did Representative Steve Hawley and Congressman Chris Jacobs.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James is warning of a new scam targeting people with grandkids.  Scammers are calling and pretending to be their grandkids and asking for money.  Be on guard and if you have any reason to doubt you are actually on the phone with a loved one, say there is a bad connection or you can’t understand them, hang up and call other family to see if they called you.  Never send cash through the mail or buy gift cards in order to transfer money.

Evening News Brief

The UK strain of COVID is most likely in Monroe County according to experts at University of Rochester Medicine.  The Saratoga Springs positive case was not a person who traveled outside of the US or the state so the belief is that he was infected by community spread.  Based on spread and the movements of people within the state officials believe that the UK strain has spread to most cities in NY already.  The testing is still very early and expensive so not many people have been checked for the new strain.  Governor Cuomo warns of the new strain being more infectious and the possibility of overwhelming hospitals.

Empire State Development today announced the more than $3 million “Raising the Bar” Restaurant Recovery Fund to assist restaurants in New York State during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund is for restaurants to buy and install equipment in order to comply with COVID 19 regulations and also set up outdoor dining during the winter.  Qualifying purchases and expenditures must be from Sept. 1, 2020 onward to be eligible. Initial round of grants are up to $5,000.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 91 new cases and 35 people have recovered.  21 people are hospitalized.  1 resident at Genesee Senior Living and a resident at Leroy Village Green have passed away from COVID.  Orleans County has 25 new cases and 20 people have recovered.  19 people are hospitalized.  There are 228 active cases in Genesee county and 241 in Orleans.  There was a covid positive person at Denny’s in Batavia from 9:30am-3:30pm on December 29th and 30th.  If you were at Denny’s during these times monitor yourself for symptoms for the next 14 days.

The petition worked!  Or at least it looks like it did, Governor Cuomo has announced that he will not attend the Bills first playoff game on Saturday.  Instead he is giving his ticket to an ECMC Nurse.  At the time of the announcement more than 40 thousand people had signed the petition for Cuomo not to attend the game.  Cuomo says that he has to re-write the state of the state address because of the results of the Georgia Run off election.

Batavia Downs has chosen the 6 people who will be given playoff tickets.  Batavia downs accepted nominations for frontline and healthcare workers before the new year and says that hundreds of nominations were received.  The winners are Kaitlin from ECMC, Dan from Rochester General, Stephen from the Buffalo Medical Group, Melinda from Rochester Regional Health, Paula from Buffalo General and Cortney from ECMC.

Morning News Brief

Ninety-one…that’s the number of new COVID cases reported in Genesee County. Since last March, there have been more than 2,700 confirmed cases. The new infections involve people from 13 different communities. Two more county residents have also died from virus-related complications. Health department officials say one person resided at Genesee Senior Living and the other resided at the Leroy Village Green Residential Healthcare Facility. Both were over 65 years old. Orleans County on Tuesday reported 25 new cases while Wyoming County officials reported 28 new cases.

Southern Tier Congressman Tom Reed says he won’t challenge the presidential election results today. The Corning Republican issued a statement Tuesday and said– quote – “The Constitution makes clear; Congress cannot overrule states and their designated electors.” Reed said he must be true to the oath he took to uphold the Constitution and will not object to any state’s electors. His district runs from Chautauqua County east to Ithaca,

The numbers keep growing…The Buffalo Bills and some of their fans will be back in the stadium for their first home playoff game in years and Governor Cuomo wants to come to.  And a lot of fans don’t want him there.  There is an online petition on change.org that has more than 28,000 signatures demanding that Cuomo be banned from attending.

Genesee County is calling upon one its own to provide experience and support while it conducts a search to fill the vacant youth bureau executive director position. The legislature’s Human Services Committee has voted in favor of creating a deputy youth bureau executive director, a temporary title that County Manager Matt Landers said will be given to Chelsea Elliott, who has worked for the county for the past seven years. Landers said the resolution passed by Human Services (and subject to a vote of the full legislature) calls for the full-time deputy position to run for up to six months. The change at the top of the county’s youth bureau comes as the City of Batavia, which has shared the county executive director for its youth programming, explores the possibility of contracting with an outside agency to provide city youth services.

Public workshops have been scheduled for the Genesee 2050 Comprehensive Plan and Recreation Plan. The Comprehensive Plan update will help Genesee County craft a new vision for its future and strategies to realize that vision. The new recreation plan will help the county better respond to residents’ wants and needs for recreation facilities and better connect existing assets with residents. Officials say public engagement is a crucial element of the process to ensure residents are aware of the planning process and that everyone has ample opportunity to weigh in. The workshops have been scheduled for 1 p.m., Tuesday, January 19 and 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, January 20. The workshops will be held virtually on the Zoom platform. The content of each is identical, so participants need not plan on attending both, although they are welcome to do so.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is announcing that the bipartisan FY 2021 appropriations package includes $5 million in funding for the Rural Innovation Stronger Economy, or RISE grant program. The program was authorized under the 2018 Farm Bill in a provision based off Gillibrand’s Rural Jobs and Investment Act of 2018. The senator says the RISE grant program will provide essential federal dollars to help rebuild diminished rural economies.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will purchase an additional $1.5 billion worth of food for nationwide distribution through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. In total, USDA has distributed more than 32 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Midday News Brief

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling again for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use by adults.
Cuomo plans to announce his proposal today as part of his upcoming State of the State agenda.
It calls for the creation of a new Office of Cannabis Management that would oversee recreational use as well as existing medical use.
Cuomo’s latest legalization proposal follows two unsuccessful attempts in 2019 and 2020 to fully legalize marijuana.

Here are the latest COVID statistics in Genesee County over the past 24 hours: There have been 91 new cases, 21 of those are hospitalized.
Two new deaths have been reported, both over the age of 65. One person resided at Genesee Senior Living and one at LeRoy Village Green.
Total deaths in the county now stand at 33.

Work is underway to boost the process of distributing COVID-19 vaccine to millions of New Yorkers. The state is creating a network of locations where people can go to get themselves protected from the virus. Places like pharmacies, urgent care centers and private doctors’ offices will all be working together once more people are eligible to get their shots. Earlier this week, hospitals were asked to speed up their vaccination efforts or face a potential fine.

Members of the state Senate and Assembly will get back to work today as a new legislative session begins. They’re expected to spend the next few days nominating leaders and taking care of other business. From there, the focus will shift to several issues that need to be addressed in the coming months. That includes helping close a multi-billion dollar budget gap and how to handle the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting today, fans with tickets to this weekend’s Buffalo Bills game can begin getting tested for COVID-19. A negative result is mandatory for anyone who wants to attend Saturday afternoon’s contest against the Indianapolis Colts. Screening got underway in Lot Four of Bills Stadium in Orchard Park this morning and will continue into tomorrow. A test will cost $63 apiece and anyone who is positive will have their ticket and parking costs refunded.

Evening News Brief

Despite saying earlier that mid January was the projected start of vaccinating the general population, now health officials in New York say that early to mid summer is far more realistic.  Governor Cuomo says the main source of the slowdown is at the hospital level.  Cuomo says only about half of state-run hospitals are acting fast enough to distribute their allotments of the COVID-19 vaccine. If they don’t use it by the end of the week, that could mean a fine of up to 100 thousand dollars from the state and that hospital system not being able to get vaccines in the future.

A man in Saratoga county has been confirmed to have the UK mutation of the COVID virus.  He is a 60 year old man who works at a jewelry store, 3 other employees at N. Fox Jewelers at 404 Broadway in Saratoga Springs, also tested positive for COVID but it is not know if it is the new strain.

The Governor also announced the priority list of New Yorkers to get the COVID-19 shot.  Beginning today all front line high risk care workers who provide direct in person care as well as all public health care workers who provide direct in-person care, including those who conduct COVID-19 tests and handle lab specimens. Beginning this week, eligibility will also be expanded to include home care workers, hospice workers, and nursing home and other congregate setting workers who have yet to receive a vaccine through the federal nursing home vaccination program.  Cuomo also said that if anyone not on the list to receive the vaccine gets it then the practitioner who administered it will be fined up to a million dollars and stripped of their medical license.

COVID Update:  In the last 4 days Genesee county has 166 new case and 141 people have recovered.  11 people are hospitalized.  3 of the new cases are at the Batavia VA medical center and 2 are at Leroy Village Green.  2 residents at Leroy Village Green have passed from COVID.  Orleans county has 101 new cases and 65 people have recovered.  16 people are hospitalized.  1 person has passed away in the community.

Residents on Ellicott street, Harvester Ave, and Colorado ave will have their water turned off while the water department changes out a fire hydrant on Wednesday between 8 and 3.  If they can’t do this Wednesday it will be done at the same time on Thursday.

The Bills and some of their fans will be back in the stadium for their first playoff game and Governor Cuomo wants to come to.  And a lot of fans don’t want him there.  There is an online petition on change.org that has nearly 19000 signatures demanding that Cuomo be banned from attending.

WBTA Midday News Briefing

New York State motorists who can’t afford to pay your traffic fines all at once, don’t worry about it. You can use the installment plan, and don’t worry about your license being suspended either.
Governor Cuomo has signed The Driver’s License Suspension Reform Act.
The new law ends the practice of suspending the licenses of people who haven’t been able to pay their fines in full.
It will also allow people who currently have suspended licenses because of traffic debt to get them back.

Two more people have died from COVID-19 in Genesee County.
Both were over 65 and were residents of the LeRoy Village Green healthcare facility. This brings the county’s coronavirus death toll to 31 since the pandemic began.
Genesee County’s seven-day positivity rate is 12.4 percent.

 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

 

In the Finger Lakes region, which includes Genesee County, the hospitalization rate is the highest in the state and the positivity rate is among the highest.
In his daily briefing late this morning the governor singled out our region:

A Corfu man now faces felony and other charges stemming from a serious vehicle crash last September in Elba.
Genesee County deputies have arrested 33-year-old Derek McQueen.
He was charged with felony vehicular assault and driving while ability impaired by drugs among other charges.

Republican Assemblyman Steve Hawley of Batavia is calling on the Legislature to reject an assembly bill which would give the Governor the authority to detain individuals determined to be a threat to public health. Hawley says he opposes this legislation and says he believes it is unconstitutional and in violation of the right to due process.

Morning News Briefing

Since the last update, Genesee County now reports 166 new COVID cases and two more deaths. The new infections involve residents from 11 communities, including Batavia and Le Roy. 11 of the positive individuals are hospitalized. The deaths involved two residents at the LeRoy Village Green Residential Healthcare Facility. Orleans County reported 101 new COVID cases, along with another death.

Wyoming County deputies have released new information on a head-on vehicle crash December 20th in the Town of Covington. After investigating, deputies say they arrested 56-year-old Joanne Harper of Pavilion. Following standardized field sobriety testing, Harper was placed under arrest for driving while ability impaired by drugs. Harper was ultimately charged with Failure to Keep Right and DWAI Drugs. Harper was released with appearance tickets and is scheduled to appear in the Town of Covington Court at a later date.

A former postal worker has been accused of delaying or destroying mail. The U.S. Attorney’s Office leveled charges against 27-year-old Brandon Wilson of Buffalo. In court, he pleaded guilty. The charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Prosecutors said Wilson was found near the Peace Bridge with 701 mailings, and an employee uniform and employee identification badge. The mailings included three (3) official absentee ballots mailed from the Board of Elections to voters. Wilson admitted that he was a postal carrier who kept custody of the mailings after failing to complete his delivery route. Sentencing is scheduled for May 6.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the latest prioritization for New Yorkers eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Beginning today, eligibility is being expanded to include all outpatient/ambulatory front-line, high-risk health care workers who provide direct in-person patient care, as well as all public health care workers who provide direct in-person care, including those who conduct COVID-19 tests and handle lab specimens. Beginning this week, eligibility will also be expanded to include home care workers, hospice workers, and nursing home and other congregate setting workers who have yet to receive a vaccine through the federal nursing home vaccination program.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is calling on his colleagues in the Legislature to reject Assembly Bill 416, which would give the Governor or his surrogates the authority to detain individuals determined to be a threat to public health. Hawley says he opposes this legislation and says he believes it is unconstitutional and in violation of the right to due process. Hawley said…“Protecting the health of our neighbors is a noble goal to be certain, but this bill forfeits our constitutional liberty in a way we can never allow. Hawley added that “This is yet another piece of legislation from a downstate member of the Majority that blatantly disregards the constitution and causes people to distrust their government. People being detained on a whim just isn’t something that should ever happen in our country.”

Afternoon News Brief

Governor Andrew Cuomo says that nursing home first stage vaccinations will be completed in the Empire State in 2 weeks but that is far behind predictions and even what other states are achieving.  Florida has 823 people vaccinated per 100000 whereas New York has only 723 per hundred thousand, 14 percent less than the sunshine state, according to the CDC.  Statewide only 46 percent of doses shipped to hospitals have been administered.  Some hospitals are thinking of giving only half doses to speed initial vaccination up.  On the Weekends and holidays far fewer people were being vaccinated.  The governor is calling on the healthcare industry to go faster or face fines.  Several state legislators have called on the government to open 24 hour facilities just for vaccinations.

Are you selling a car yourself?  Watch out for scammers who ask to take a test drive and then never come back.  The New York State Police are warning of people answering used car ads and asking to take a test drive.  Two or more people will go on a test drive with the vehicle for sale. At some point during the test drive, the suspects ask the vehicle owner to step out, stating they hear a weird noise or think something is wrong with the vehicle.  Once the owner steps out of the car, the suspect will drive off with the vehicle and drop the other person or persons off to retrieve the vehicle they drove to the test ride.  This scam has occurred in Livingston, Wayne, Monroe and other counties in the area.

The Bills smacked down the Dolphins ending their season with a big win against a major rival on Sunday 56 to 26.  This is the first time that the Bills have ever swept the Dolphins, the Patriots and the Jets in one season.  The Bills are in the number 2 seed and are set to face off against the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday in Buffalo.  6700 fans will be allowed in the stands along with Governor Cuomo although there is a petition with over 7500 signatures to ban Cuomo from attending.

Afternoon News Brief

Chris Jacobs (R-NY 27)

Chris Jacobs calls it the honor of his life, being sworn in as New York’s 27th District Congressman.
Jacobs took the oath of office in Washington yesterday.
He is beginning his first full, two year term representing Genesee County and much of Western New York.
Jacobs says his focus will be on rebuilding Western New York’s economy, supporting small business and farmers and investing in new infrastructure.

New York State lawmakers will be getting back to work this week as a new legislative session is set to begin. Members of the Senate and Assembly are going to convene on Wednesday with most of their discussions likely taking place virtually. Talks over the next few months are expected to center on several issues including increasing taxes on wealthy Empire State residents and recreational marijuana legalization. Governor Cuomo will lay out his plans for the year ahead during his State of the State address Wednesday.

On the bad boys report:
18 year old Dylan Pehrson of Batavia charged with felony grand larceny among other charges.
Batavia police they were called to a domestic dispute where Pherson allegedly took items from his victim by force and then smashed them.

38 year old William Kapelke  facing a slew of charges following a domestic dispute that became physical.
Deputies say Kapelke allegedly choked his wife in front of the couple’s child, who was under the age of 17.
Kapelke was arraigned on the charges…then released on his own recognizance.

Our weekly gasoline price check –down two cents a gallon, on average, in Batavia. Current average: $2.27 a gallon, last week $2.25. according to Triple A

In the unlikely event you haven’t heard:
The Buffalo Bills cap off a historic regular season with a huge win against a division rival. Quarterback Josh Allen threw for 224 yards and tossed three touchdowns as Buffalo dominated the Miami Dolphins 56 to 26 at Bills Stadium yesterday. Allen also set team records for touchdown passes, completions and passing yards as Buffalo secured the number-two seed in the AFC playoffs. Up next is a home postseason game against the Indianapolis Colts this Saturday afternoon.

Morning News Briefing

Court action is pending for a Batavia man who faces multiple counts following a domestic dispute on West Main Street Road in Batavia. 38-year-old William Kapelke is accused of choking his wife during a heated verbal and physical argument. The incident allegedly occurred in front of a child under the age of 17. Genesee County deputies arrested him and charged him criminal obstruction of breathing and endangering the welfare of a child. Kapelke was arraigned at the county jail and released on his own recognizance. He was ordered to appear in court March 3rd.

A Genesee County grand jury has handed up indictments against two people for felony crimes here. The pair, and others, also have charges pending in multiple other counties. 47-year-old Tarus Fluitt and 29-year-old Jennifer D. Abrams face charges of third-degree burglary, second-degree criminal mischief, third-degree grand larceny – all felonies and fifth-degree conspiracy. Across the region, there have been more than two dozen similar crimes.

New York State Police are warning people of a scam involving test driving of vehicles. There have been multiple instances of people answering online ads to buy privately owned used vehicles in Western New York, according to police. Two or more people will go on a test drive with the vehicle for sale. At some point during the test drive, the suspect(s) ask the vehicle owner to step out, stating they hear a weird noise or think something is wrong with the vehicle. Once the owner steps out of the car, the suspect will drive off with the vehicle. This scam has occurred in Livingston, Wayne, Monroe and other counties in the area. State Police urge citizens to be vigilant and careful with transactions like this and suggest selling used vehicles in front of security cameras or have additional persons with you when attempting a private sale of a motor vehicle.

The Buffalo Bills will open up the playoffs against the Indianapolis Colts. The game will be in Orchard Park Saturday at 1PM. After the Bills locked up the 2 seed with the blowout of the Dolphins 56-26 yesterday, the Colts beat the Jags to lock up a Wild Card spot. The Colts are coached by former Bills quarterback Frank Reich. Sunday’s win gives the Bills 13 victories on the season for just the 3rd time in franchise history. Both of those previous seasons ended with the Bills in the Super Bowl. Yesterday’s win also gave the Bills an undefeated record in the AFC East for the first time in franchise history.

In the Finger Lakes Region, there are currently 892 COVID patients hospitalized. The Region has 31% of hospital beds available. 397 patients are in an Intensive Care Unit. On Sunday, another 138 deaths were reported.

A Batavia teen will appear in court next month to answer multiple felony counts. Batavia police recently arrested 18-year-old Dylan Pehrson of Franklin Street. He was charged with third-degree robbery, grand larceny and criminal mischief, all felony crimes. Police said they were called to a domestic dispute where Pehrson allegedly forcibly took items from the victim and broke property. He’s due in city court February 18th.

Congressman Chris Jacobs was sworn into the 117th Congress Sunday. In a statement, he said serving Western New York is the honor of a lifetime. He said his focus will be on rebuilding Western New York’s economy, supporting small businesses and farmers, and investing in new infrastructure – including rural broadband.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo vowed on Sunday that he will not take the COVID-19 vaccine until it is available for Black, Hispanic and poor communities around New York. Cuomo made the announcement during remarks to a Baptist Church in Harlem.

Weekend News Brief

A Fire on Lake road in Avon has claimed the life of 65 year old Lawrence Stevens.  At about 8:25 pm on Wednesday sheriffs, fire and ems were dispatched to a home after a report of a house fire to find one person outside who said her husband was still inside.  Deputies were unable to enter the home because of too much smoke but the fire department arrived and were able to get Mr. Lawrence out of the basement.  Unfortunately EMT’s were unable to revive him.  One Deputy was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene and the woman was sent to Strong Memorial as a precaution.  The fire was quickly extinguished.

Orleans county health department announced that they have a drive through testing site at the walk in clinic.  The drive through site will use the new test kits, binax cards and Abbott machines provided by the Ny State Health Department.  Rapid tests are free.  Health officials remind the public that if they believe they have been exposed to self isolate and wait 3-5 days before going to get tested so they don’t get a negative result from going too soon.

COVID Update from Thursday: Genesee county has 75 new cases and 83 people have recovered.  7 people are hospitalized.  4 of the new cases are at Leroy Village Greens.  Orleans County has 34 new cases and 24 people have recovered.  13 people are hospitalized.  We are saddened to report one person passing away in Orleans county from COVID.  The next COVID update will include cases from Friday through Monday.

The Holland Land Office Museum will have different hours for the month of January.  The museum will be open from Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will be closed Sunday through Tuesday.  Beginning in February, the museum will reopen on Tuesdays.

William Sheron Jr Was sworn in as Sheriff of Genesee County on Wednesday by The Honorable Thomas Graham.  Sheron will be serving his second term as Sheriff.  Sheron has had a long career of service including 21 years as undersheriff.  Bradley Mazur is his undersheriff.

Afternoon News Brief

Genesee county health officials hosted an update for the Covid situation in the county this morning.  Health director Paul Pettit talked about the vaccinations, the case numbers and the new mutation of coronavirus.  He said that the numbers of people vaccinated in the county is lower than hoped.  Nationally vaccination is lagging as well as less than a fifth of doses delivered have been administered.  So far, in Genesee county group 1A, primarily health care workers, Pettit says 284 shots have been given and those have gone to employees of UMMC.  Group 1B are first responders such as police, fire and EMS.  Pettit was also asked about the new variant of the coronavirus. As of today, 30 people in Genesee County have died from COVID-19.

Watch out on the roads New Years day as Livingston and Wyoming Counties are under a Winter Weather Advisory for Freezing rain!  Authorities are expecting up to a tenth of an inch of ice from 2 to midnight Friday night.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 142 new cases and 68 people have recovered.  4 people re hospitalized.  20 of the new cases are at Leroy Village Green, 8 are at the NY Veterans Home, 2 are at Genesee Senior Living 1 is at the VA medical center and 1 is at Premier Genesee.  We are saddened to report a person passing at Leroy Village Green and at The NY Veterans Home and a Genesee county resident passing.  Orleans County has 40 new cases and 16 people have recovered.  21 people are hospitalized.  There are 173 active cases in Genesee county and 195 in Orleans.

The Buffalo Bills can have fans in the stands for their first playoff game.  And Governor Cuomo will be one of them.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday the state and the team reached an agreement on a pilot program allowing for some fans to be present at the game.  The state and the Bills had been working together recently in an attempt to broker an agreement. Under the program, about 6700 fans will be allowed in the stadium 6,200 of them being   season ticketholders.  Masks and distancing will be required. Tests will be conducted before fans enter the stadium, and contact tracing work will take place as they leave.  A $63 fee for testing will be factored into the ticket costs. There will be drive-thru testing in the stadium’s parking lots.  The governor announced that he will be in attendance at the first playoff game.

The Bills will be playing against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday but the Dolphins will be without their star quarterback.  Ryan Fitzpatrick is out with COVID 19.

Morning News Briefing

COVID cases are soaring across the local area. On Wednesday, health officials reported 142 new positive cases in Genesee County alone. The new infections involved residents from Batavia, Le Roy, Oakfield and ten other communities. Twenty of the new positive cases are residents at LeRoy Village Green Residential Healthcare Facility. Eight are residents at the New York State Veterans Home – At Batavia while another two involve residents of Genesee Senior Living. Premier Genesee Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation and the Batavia VA Medical Center each reported one new case. Three more deaths were reported, as well.

Orleans County on Wednesday reported 40 new COVID cases with a total of twenty-one people hospitalized. In Wyoming County, twenty-seven new cases have been confirmed and health officials say they are managing a total of 104 active cases with people in quarantine.

The Batavia Town Board has called for a “timeout” as it attempts to keep up with the changing landscape of the solar farm industry. During a special meeting, the board passed a resolution to hold a public hearing to consider Local Law No. 1 of 2021, Establishing a Town of Batavia Moratorium on Solar Energy Systems. The public hearing is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 20 at Batavia Town Hall on West Main Street Road.

New York State has temporarily suspended visitation at all state prisons due to rising COVID-19 cases among the incarcerated population, staff and the surrounding communities. The suspension continues until further notice. According to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision website, non-contact legal visits will still be allowed to continue under previously announced protocols.

To maximize access to COVID-19 vaccines for all Americans, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced partnerships with large chain pharmacies and networks that represent independent pharmacies and regional chains. Tops Friendly Markets pharmacies are proud to be participants in this program. Both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have developed COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use by the FDA. Each vaccine is a two dose series. Once Phase 2 of the vaccine distribution begins and it is made available to retail pharmacies, Tops will follow the guidelines set forth by state and federal governments. No official timeframe has been given on when that will be. The CDC’s goal is for every adult who wants a vaccine to have it by the end of 2021.

When the Bills hit the field for their first playoff game, they’ll have fans watching over them in the stands. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday the state and the team reached an agreement on a pilot program allowing for some fans to be present at the game. The state and the Bills had been working together recently in an attempt to broker an agreement. Under the pilot program, about 6,700 season ticketholders will be allowed in the stadium. Masks and distancing will be required. Tests will be conducted before fans enter the stadium, and contact tracing work will take place as they leave.

Afternoon News Brief

Tops Markets, Batavia

Tops Friendly Market is partnering with the Department of health and human services to provide COVID-19 vaccines.  Tops says the vaccine will be made available to retail pharmacies during Phase II of distribution and it will follow all guidelines set forth by the state and federal governments. No official time frame has been given yet but Governor Cuomo has said that late January may be the time when the vaccine can be given to the general population

COVID Update: Genesee county has 52 new cases and 118 people have recovered.  34 people are hospitalized.  7 of the new cases are at the VA nursing home.  6 are at Leroy Village Green and 3 are at Premier Genesee.  We are saddened to report 5 deaths from coronavirus, 1 person was at Genesee Senior Living and 1 was at Premier Genesee.  Orleans county has 63 new cases and 39 people have recovered.  19 people are hospitalized.  There are 202 active cases in Genesee county and 171 in Orleans.

Genesee County Health Department officials are planning to issue a complete COVID-19 update at 10:30 tomorrow morning.

WBTA News will carry that update live.

Ready for wine, in a can?  Although they have been available in 12.7 oz cans New York has now made it legal for wineries to sell wine and cider in 12 and 8.4 ounce cans.  “Today’s decision to allow winemakers to sell their products in the most popular-sized cans will lead to further economic growth and allow producers to capitalize on an explosive trend,” Schumer said in a statement. “I’m proud to have helped New York’s wine industry cut through the bureaucratic red tape, can regulations that weren’t helping anybody, and uncork the full potential of the Upstate economy.”  Over the last 10 years canned wine has become a 200 million dollar year industry.

Morning News Briefing

Health officials report additional COVID-related deaths in Genesee County. A resident at Genesee Senior Living and a resident at Premier Genesee Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation succumbed to the virus. Three other community residents also died. 52 new positive cases were also confirmed. Orleans County reports 63 new cases and Wyoming County report two dozen additional cases.

Genesee County deputies have charged a 20-year-old man with first-degree rape. That count was leveled against Juan Mendez of Holley. Investigators allege he had sex with a person who was unable to consent due to the level of intoxication. Mendez is being held in the Genesee County Jail on $2,500 cash bail. He will return to court January 28th.

A Le Roy teenager is in trouble with the law…19-year-old Tyler B. Williams of Summit Street was arrested by the Le Roy Police Department and charged with felony second-degree burglary, possession of burglar tools and second-degree criminal trespass. Williams was arrested after he allegedly unlawfully entering an occupied village residence at 3 a.m., while the occupants were asleep upstairs. They awoke upon hearing noises in the upstairs hallway and the homeowner confronted Williams at gunpoint, holding him until the police arrived. No one was hurt during the incident and no shots were fired. This investigation is ongoing and anyone with information or having similar incidents is asked to contact the Le Roy Police Department.

The City of Batavia is requesting proposals from qualified agencies to provide Afterschool Programming/Youth Services and Summer Recreation Program for eligible youth from the City of Batavia for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. To be considered, the City must receive the proposal in the City Manager’s Office by close of business Jan. 15. Interested parties can find information on the City’s website.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced updated quarantine guidelines for New York which are consistent with the latest Centers for Disease Control guidance. Under the new guidelines, individuals exposed to COVID-19 can end their quarantine after 10 days without a testing requirement as long as no symptoms have been reported during the quarantine period. After day 10 is reached, individuals must continue monitoring for symptoms through day 14 and if any develop, they should immediately self-isolate and contact the local health department or their healthcare provider to report this change and determine if they should seek testing. Individuals should continue strict adherence to all recommended safe behaviors to stop the spread – wearing masks, socially distancing and avoiding gatherings.

Afternoon News Brief

The 600 dollar stimulus check payments may be going out as early as later this week.  This is 600 dollars a person in a family where each adult makes less than 75 thousand dollars each, so a family of 4 would get 2400 dollars.  President Trump has called for 2000 dollar payments and the House has passed a new stimulus of just that, 2000 dollars a person in a family, and the senate is debating the increase.  This would be an increase from the 600 dollars to 2000 dollars a person.  How that will be sent out if passed, as the 600 dollar payments are already being processed, remains to be seen.

The city of Batavia is looking for qualified agencies to take over the work of its now defunct Youth Bureau.  The city is requesting proposals from qualified agencies to provide after-school programming, youth services and a summer recreation program.  To be considered you have to pick up the proposal in the city manager’s office by January 15th.  The proposal is also available on the city’s website.

Governor Cuomo and other statewide elected officials won’t be getting their planned pay increases. The governor signed an executive order yesterday putting them on hold. As a result, the governor will forgo a 25-thousand dollar bump in pay while people like Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli won’t receive a 10-thousand dollar raise.

19 year old Tyler Williams of Summit Street in Leroy was arrested on December 17th for breaking into a home in Leroy at 3am while everyone was asleep.  While he was in the home he was confronted by the homeowner with a gun. The homeowner held Williams at gunpoint until police arrived.  He is charged with second-degree burglary, a felony; possession of burglar tools, a misdemeanor; and second-degree criminal trespass, also a misdemeanor.

The Buffalo Bills conquered the Patriots last night in a 38 to 9 trouncing.  The Bills last swept the Patriots in 1999. The last division opponents to sweep the Patriots were the Jets and Dolphins in 2000.  Buffalo is now 12 and 3 and is in the 2nd slot for the playoffs tied with Pittsburg.  The Bills are hosting the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the State Department of Health continues to work with the Buffalo Bills on a pilot plan to allow fans into Bills Stadium this January for the playoffs.  If approved, the pilot plan would allow for a limited number of fans after testing each person for COVID-19.  Cuomo says it could serve as a model for reopening other types of businesses.  “Many stadiums across the country are already open, and without any testing whatsoever,” Cuomo said during Monday’s briefing. “But the model the Department of Health is working on is smart. How do you use testing to start to reopen businesses? That is going to be the challenge of 2021.”

The City of Batavia is requesting proposals from qualified agencies to provide Afterschool Programming/Youth Services and Summer Recreation Program for eligible youth from the city of Batavia for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

To be considered, the City must receive the proposal in the City Manager’s Office by close of business January 15, 2021. Interested parties can find the RFP on the City’s website  at this link HERE. or request a copy by contacting the Manager’s Office at 345-6333

Morning News Briefing

Since Christmas Eve, the number of positive COVID cases in Genesee County has topped 100. Health officials say 101 people have confirmed positive results. Thirty-eight people are hospitalized for treatment of the virus. Meanwhile, health officials in Orleans County report 80 new cases. Nineteen of the new positives are inmates of the Orleans Correctional Facility. Eighteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo says, even though the first doses of the vaccine are rolling out to the first groups of people in the state, New Yorkers need to remain vigilant, wear masks, and practice social distancing well into 20-21. Governor Cuomo told reporters Monday that additional lockdowns are an option, but stresses that the economy can’t handle another widespread shutdown.  Health experts believe, if at least 70 percent of the general population get vaccinated, the COVID-19 pandemic could start dwindling by summertime.

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.25, up 3 cents from last week. One year ago, the price was $2.57. The New York State average is $2.32 – up 2 cents from last week. The price in Batavia stands at $2.25 a gallon, that’s up 2 cents since last week. Two factors have contributed to driving up prices at the pump: rising crude oil prices and tightening supply. Even with holiday demand increasing, overall demand still remains at an extremely low level. AAA believes this factor will impact gas prices, pushing them cheaper in January.

New York Attorney General Letitia James sent out a warning Monday telling New Yorkers to be wary of COVID vaccine-related scams. Right now, nursing home residents, those who care for them and many healthcare workers are receiving the vaccine. The vaccine will not be available to the general public for several more months, according to the AG. In keeping with federal guidelines, long-term care residents and staff and other healthcare workers, then certain essential workers, and finally members of the general population will be offered the vaccine next. The AG continues to warn of scammers offering access to the vaccine through, email, phone or text. She is also warning of scammers impersonating public health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO) and even a local health department. They may also offer to ship a COVID-19 vaccine directly to homes, provide special access to vaccines or clinical trials, or sell special cold storage device for vaccines.

During Monday’s legislative session, the Assembly Minority presented amendments intended to curtail the governor’s expanded authorities and provide greater balance and accountability in the “COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act.” The Assembly Majority rejected each proposal. Earlier this month, members of the Assembly Minority wrote to conference leaders, urging lawmakers to rein in Gov. Cuomo’s unilateral powers as soon as the Legislature reconvenes. Despite 10 months of expanded authority and laws created by executive order rather than the legislative process, the Assembly Majority declined to take action.

Afternoon News Brief

About 140,000 people have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in New York. This week, prioritization will be expanded to include urgent care workers, those administering the vaccine and members of congregate Office of addiction services and support facilities.  Governor Cuomo has said that the general population will receive access to the vaccine starting by mid to late January.

Be on guard against fake vaccination offers says New York Attorney General Letitia James.  Some scammers are calling people and offering vaccines for COVID 19 in exchange for personal information or payments.  Some say they can get a person on a short list for the vaccine to receive it early if they pay up front.  As of this time there is no COVID-19 vaccine available to the general public.

After Saturdays snowfall Buffalo is ranked as the second snowiest city in America so far in this winter.  Buffalo has had 33.2 inches of snow and was beat out for the number 1 spot by Anchorage Alaska which had 34.8.  An average snowfall by December 26th is 31inches.

The American Legion Auxiliary donated “sweats for our vets” and a 55 inch television to the VA medical center.  The sweats part is 76 zip up hoodies along with gift bags for Christmas morning.  The Auxiliary worked with Harder O’Donnell Post #734; A.V.M.A., American Legion, Sons of the American Legion Mugs and More in Attica to get all the donations.    The donation was made in the memory of Leilani Spring, the former president of the Auxiliary who passed away earlier this year.  All items were delivered on December 8th.

The AFC East champion Buffalo Bills will be back in the national spotlight tonight on Monday Night Football. The Bills are set to take on their division rival the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Buffalo is 11-and-three this season and is looking to secure the number-two seed in the AFC playoffs while the Patriots are out of postseason contention.  The Bills will be doing this game without Running Back TJ Yeldon who has tested positive for COVID 19 and Tight End Reggie Gilliam who has a hamstring injury. Kickoff for tonight’s contest is set for eight-15 p-m.

Morning News Briefing

A Wind Advisory remains in effect until 4 p.m. for Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties. Winds could gust up to 50 mph. Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result. Travel may be difficult in high profile vehicles.

A 32-year-old man now faces felony charges following a personal injury vehicle crash October 25th on Main Road in Pembroke. Sheriff’s deputies charged 32-year-old Brent Graham of Akron with felony aggravated driving while intoxicated and felony DWI. Deputies said those charges were felony counts because he has two previous convictions within the past ten years. He was additionally charged with reckless driving, operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock device, felony first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation and other lesser counts. He’ll answer the charges in Town of Pembroke court on January 21st.

A vehicle crash on Perry Road in the Town of Pavilion has resulted in charges for a Geneseo woman. Sheriff’s deputies said they arrested 22-year-old Alyssa Jade Garrett. She was charged with driving while intoxicated, having a blood alcohol content of more than .08% and moving from a lane unsafely. She was released on appearance tickets and is due in Pavilion Town Court on Jan. 5.

The state legislature is poised to expand protections for New Yorkers at risk of being kicked out of their homes due to financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The legislature will meet in a rare December session today to take up the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act.

Genesee County deputies responded to a vehicle parked in the roadway with a man slumped over the wheel on Old Creek Road in Alexander. Deputies ended up arresting 24-year-old Aaron Hatt of Alexander. He was charged with driving while impaired by a combination of alcohol and drugs and other counts. He was directed to Alexander court on February 9th.

Additional court action is pending for a Batavia man stemming from a stabbing incident. City police arrested 59-year-old Brodes Gibson of Bank Street. He was arrested on an unrelated incident by Medina police and later turned over to Batavia PD, where he was charged in a warrant with felony second-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon. The charges stem from a domestic dispute in which Gibson allegedly stabbed another person. He was arraigned and initially remanded to jail.

Batavia police arrested 34-year-old Christopher Sewar of Liberty Street. He was charged with second-degree burglary and criminal contempt. According to police, he allegedly violated a court order and burglarized a house. He was remanded to Genesee County Jail and is due back in court January 25th.

Weekend News Brief

Funeral Home owner Michael Tomaszewski has had his initial arraignment and had charges laid out against him.  The charging document is 101 pages long.  Tomaszewski is accused of taking money people used to prepay for funerals and instead of depositing the money in appreciate bank accounts then using the money for other purposes.  Tomaszewski is charged with 67 counts of third-degree grand larceny; 28 counts of fourth-degree grand larceny; four counts of falsifying business records; 93 counts of failure to deposit; seven counts of petit larceny; and counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree; and scheme to defraud.  The majority of customers lost from more than $2,000 up to $15,500 each.  The attorneys discussed a plea deal.

Governor Cuomo has signed the New York State Small Business Truth in Lending Act which requires all lenders to have clear and comprehensive disclosures on any loans.  Linda MacFarlane, chair of the NYS CDFI Coalition and executive director of Community Loan Fund of Capital Region says “Unfortunately, some lenders have made it hard for small businesses to compare the true cost of their offers. CDFI Coalition members around the state are pleased to see that this measure will require lenders to disclose annual percentage rate (APR) and repayment terms.” It is estimated that this act could save businesses as much as 370 million dollars annually unnecessary finance charges.

COVID Update: From Thursday, Genesee county has 123 new cases and 38 people have recovered.  29 people are hospitalized.  13 of the new cases are at the Leroy Village Green, 23 are at Genesee senior Living and 7 are at the Veterans Home.  Orleans county has 26 new cases and 19 people have recovered.  8 people are hospitalized.  There are 243 Active cases in Genesee County and 164 in Orleans.  Tully’s had a person with COVID there from 12 to 1:30pm on December 13th and Fortunes has someone with COVID there from 3 to 8pm on the 13th.  If you were at either of these locations during these times please monitor yourself for symptoms.

The Genesee county office for the aging has been delivering hot home meals to the elderly and disabled five days a week and thanks to a donation by a local dentist and his wife, and employees of the county government, the recipients also received a gift bag with their meal this week.  The Office For the aging wants to thank the community for their support in meeting the increased demand for meals during the pandemic.

Morning News Briefing

A Lake Effect Snow Warning is in effect for Genesee County from noon tomorrow until Saturday. Heavy lake effect snow expected. Lake snows will develop over southwest NY during the day and move north and intensify during the afternoon. Snow will be heaviest during the evening before lake bands move back toward the south on Saturday. Total snow accumulations of 7 to 17 inches in the most persistent lake snows. Lower accumulations of 3-7 inches are expected over eastern portions of Genesee and Wyoming counties. Winds gusting as high as 35 mph.

Batavia Funeral home owner Michael Tomaszewski, arrested in July after an investigation that uncovered multiple incidences of potential fraud, was arraigned in County Court on more than 200 counts of grand larceny, falsifying business records, offering a false instrument in filing, scheme to defraud, and failure to deposit. He entered a not guilty plea. Tomaszewski is accused of taking money people used to pre-pay for funerals and instead of depositing the money in appropriate bank accounts he used the money for other purposes. He remains released from custody on his own recognizance. His next scheduled court appearance is Feb. 2.

A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging 52-year-old Matthew Barber of Batavia with receipt and possession of child pornography. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 40 years. Prosecutors said that in April 2007, Barber was sentenced to serve 74 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release after being convicted of possession of child pornography. Then, in 2017, his term of supervised release was revoked after he was unsuccessfully discharged from a sex offender treatment program. Barber was re-sentenced to six months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release. And then…in May, New York State Parole notified United States Probation that Barber was terminated from his employment after a company representative observed him insert flash drives into a workplace computer, which he was not authorized to access. As a condition of his parole, he had to tell Parole if he was terminated from his employment. That same day, United States Probation and New York State Parole searched Barber’s home and seized a cell phone and a flash drive. A search of the flash drive allegedly recovered over 1,100 images and over 40 videos of child pornography. Several hundred images and over 200 videos of child pornography were also found on the cellular telephone. He was arraigned and detained.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that plans are currently under development to allow fans to attend the Buffalo Bills’ first home playoff game in more than two decades under strict COVID-19 protocols. Under the proposal, which is being developed cooperatively between the Bills and New York State, fans in attendance would be required to receive a negative COVID-19 test result before being allowed into the stadium. Contact tracing will also be conducted after the game. If implemented, this plan could serve as a model for reopening entertainment venues across New York.

Senator-elect Ed Rath has been appointed Ranking Member of the Elections Committee and the Local Government Committee. He said in a statement that he is looking forward to the start of the legislative year.  Rath added that the pandemic has put a huge burden on local governments’ budgets and the services they provide and he is looking forward to working with local leaders across the district to address their specific needs and concerns.

50 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Genesee County. Health officials also report another COVID-related death. Orleans County reports 15 new positive cases and Wyoming County reports 26 new cases.

Afternoon News Brief

52 year old Matthew Barber of Batavia has been indicted for receipt and possession of child pornography.  Barber was previously indicted in April of 2007 for child porn, he served 74 months and was under supervision for 5 years.  In July of 2017 he was resentenced to 6 months of prison and 5 more years of supervision.  In May of 2020 he was fired from his job which prompted a search of his home which found several thousand child pornography pictures and videos on a flash drive and cell phone.  Barber could go to jail for between 15 and 40 years.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 75 new case and 57 people have recovered.  16 people are hospitalized.  Orleans county has 44 new cases and 19 people have recovered.  7 people are hospitalized.  There are 266 active cases in Genesee county and 168 in Orleans.

The Governors office has announced that through many drives and efforts more than 7 thousand toys, coats and school supplies have been donated across the state.  Members of the Governor’s administration organized collections across the state and are distributing 7,348 toys, coats and school supplies to communities in need. For the first time, donations were also collected by mail to provide another option to participate amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Morning News Briefing

The National Weather Service says a Winter Storm Watch is in effect from Christmas Eve through Saturday for Genesee County. Heavy lake effect snow is possible. Total snow accumulations of more than a foot possible in the most   persistent lake snows. Winds could also gust as high as 35 mph.

Seventy-five…that’s the number of new COVID cases in Genesee County. The total number of confirmed cases now tops 1,900. 16 of the positive individuals are hospitalized. 7 of the new positive cases are residents at LeRoy Village Green. 3 of the new positive cases are residents at Genesee Senior Living. 1 of the new positive cases are residents at Premier Genesee. Orleans County received 44 new positive cases of COVID-19.

President Donald Trump, in the final month of his one term, has issued 15 new pardons, including a pardon for former western New York congressional representative Chris Collins, who entered a guilty plea more than a year ago to federal crimes stemming from insider trading activity. Collins also admitted to lying to the FBI about using information that wasn’t available to the public about Immunotherapy to tip his son and other associates that led them to dump stock in the company before news of a failed trial reached other investors. Even while under federal indictment for the crimes, Collins ran for re-election and won. Collins was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump for president in 2016 and served on the transition team after Trump beat Hillary Clinton.

New legislation has been signed to suspend the use of facial recognition technology in New York Schools. New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed new legislation on Tuesday to suspend the use of facial recognition technology in schools and directed a study of whether the technology is appropriate in schools. As of December 22, the legislation places a moratorium on schools purchasing and using biometric identifying technology until at least July 1, 2020, or until the study is completed.

With the holidays in full swing and the COVID-19 pandemic causing financial stress on many individuals, National Grid is alerting customers about recent reports of scams where imposters are promising refunds or discounts. If the caller does not know your account number, hang up the phone.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley has received his committee assignments for the upcoming legislative year, and will be serving on the committees for Agriculture, Insurance, Rules, Veterans’ Affairs and Ways and Means. Additionally, Hawley has also been reappointed as Deputy Minority Leader of the Assembly Republican Conference. He says he is honored.

Afternoon News Brief

Earlier they said that we were looking at a brown Christmas with high temperatures and no snow.  Now the national weather service is saying that we are getting a blizzard for Christmas.  There is a winter storm watch for Genesee and Wyoming counties from Thursday night through Saturday afternoon.  2 to 3 inches of snow are expected per hour and possibly a foot by Saturday morning.

COVID Update: Over the weekend 159 new cases were reported in Genesee county and 112 people have recovered.  14 people are hospitalized and one person at the VA medical center has passed away from COVID bringing the total coronavirus deaths in Genesee county since March to 20.  28 of the new cases are at the VA medical center and 2 are at the Leroy Village Green.  In Orleans county there are 76 new cases and 72 people have recovered.  6 people are hospitalized.  Another person in Orleans county has passed away.  There are 343 active cases in Genesee county, the first time the number has exceeded 300 and 152 active cases in Orleans.

All three airlines that fly into New York from the UK have agreed to test passengers for the new strain of the coronavirus.  Virgin Delta and British Airways have announced they will require people to test negative for the mutation of COVID 19 before they board the flights.  Governor Cuomo wants a national travel ban on flights from the UK citing travelers going to other states and then coming to New York.  Dr Anthony Fauci says that a travel ban will not work as the strain is most likely in the US already.  Fauci said that we should not overreact as the strain is not more deadly than the strains of COVID the US has been dealing with, the mutation makes the virus 70 percent more transmissible.  Fauci also said he believes the vaccine will work against the new strain just as well as the more common strain.

Governor Cuomo announced today that the Wadsworth Laboratory with 6 hospital sites across New York State have begun researching the new strain of COVID and that hospitals in NY state will be given testing materials for the new strain.  He also announced that over 50 thousand people have been vaccinated so far in New York.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley will be serving on the committees for Agriculture, Insurance, Rules, Veterans’ Affairs and Ways and Means for the 2021 year. Additionally, Hawley has also been re-appointed as Deputy Minority Leader of the Assembly Republican Conference.

Genesee county’s free drive through asymptomatic testing at 7690 State Street Road is going on holiday hours starting this week.  There will be no testing Thursday the 24th or Thursday the 31st.  Tuesday hours are from 1 to 4 pm.

The Buffalo Bills have the most players on the Pro Bowl roster since 1998 with 5 players being selected for the team.  Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, Tremaine Edmunds, Tre’Davious White and Andre Roberts will all represent the Bills. The live game has been canceled because of COVID so the players will be showcased in a week long session of the video game Madden NFL 21.

Afternoon News Brief

Starting today, both staff members and residents at nursing homes statewide will begin getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The shots will be given out by a pharmacy that’s been designated for each facility. Each person who chooses to get vaccinated will receive two doses over a three week period. It will likely be a few months before the vaccine is made available to all of the general public.

A new stimulus bill has been agreed upon by the federal government and will mean 13 billion dollars to NY State government for education, vaccination efforts, and rent relief.  There are 600 dollar a person direct payments coming either by mail or through direct deposit.  There are also grants for child care, money for unemployment compensation, money for funeral assistance being directed through FEMA, and 20 billion dollars for paycheck protection payments for small businesses, restaurants and venues that have been shut down.  About half of the money for New York state is earmarked for New York City and the rest will go more broadly across New York State.

The Buffalo Bills have made the playoffs and are the AFC East Champions for the first time in 25 years.  Also after the 48 to 19 win over the Denver Broncos Governor Cuomo announced that he is going to look into letting fans back into the Bills stadium for playoff games.  The Bills are now 11 and 3 and will be playing the New England Patriots on Monday the 28th starting at 8:15.  The Patriots are out of Playoff contention with only 6 wins and 8 losses.

The great conjunction is upon us!  Tonight you can look up in the sky to the southwest just after sunset low in the sky to see Jupiter and Saturn cross in the night sky to form a single brighter point.  This is the closest they have been together as far as our sight lines are concerned in 800 years.  The last time this happened was march 4th, 1226.  If you miss it tonight you can see them close together for the next 2 nights.

Gas prices bumped up  from last week across the country but not as much locally.  The national average rose 6 cents to 2.22.  Here in Batavia it went up 1 penny to 2.23.  The New York average is 2.30 which was a 4 cent rise.  Last year the NY average was 2.69.  Gas demand has been increasing and as the Vaccine for COVID gets distributed the prices are expected to continue to rise.

Governor Cuomo announced today that after Santa was vaccinated by Dr Anthony Fauci he is now given a voucher to be able to travel into New York State without having to self quarantine but the jolly old elf will have to wear a mask as he delivers gifts.

Morning News Briefing

The Oakfield-Alabama Board of Education has selected Youth Officer Timothy Wescott as its new School Resource Officer.  Wescott is a 22-year veteran of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office. He was hired as a Correction Officer in 1998, and was then appointed to Deputy Sheriff in 2000. He has held his current position as Youth Officer since 2013. During his tenure, he has earned an Officer-of-the-Year Award, a Meritorious Award, and a Commendation. Sheriff Sheron says “The Oakfield-Alabama School District is fortunate to have Deputy Wescott as their new SRO.”

 

The latest Genesee County Health Department COVID report shows twenty-nine county residents hospitalized with complications from the coronavirus. At the end of last week, 52 new positive cases were confirmed. Thirty new cases were reported in Orleans County while the latest report from Wyoming County shows thirty-one new positive COVID cases.

Criminal charges have been filed against a Batavia woman following a domestic dispute in the Town of Pembroke. Batavia-based Troopers arrested 36-year-old Cynthia Stancliff. She was charged with making graffiti and criminal mischief. She was initially detained, according to Troopers.

Police agencies in Genesee County have made no secret of the fact that from now thru New Year’s Day, they will aggressively be looking for impaired drivers…and the arrests, keep on coming. State troopers arrested 34-year-old John Ryan of Corfu after he was pulled over in the Town of Batavia. Genesee County deputies haven’t slowed either…they report the arrest of 48-year-old Craig Alexander of Alabama after a car crash in Oakfield and 49-year-old Dennis Kiener of North Tonawanda. He was involved in a vehicle crash in the Town of Alabama. They were all charged with driving while intoxicated despite numerous public warnings. They’ll all have facetime with a judge next month.

The staff at The Manor House in Batavia is asking the public to send their 68 senior residents holiday cards, who especially need them because of COVID-19 restrictions and not being able to see their families for the holidays. They are also looking for cards for three very special ladies who turn 100, 101 and 102 in January! There are boxes for cards and pictures at the front doors of The Manor House at 427 E. Main St. in the city.

Federal representatives in New York began receiving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine this weekend. Congressional Leadership was informed by the Office of the Attending Physician that Members of the House of Representatives and Senate are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Southern Tier Rep. Tom Reed (R, NY-23) received his first dose Saturday, calling it a “modern miracle.”

Weekend News Brief

With Christmas less than a week away Public Health director Paul Petit is urging people to try to slow the spread of COVID by avoiding private social gatherings.  The positivity rate for Genesee county is up to 9.2 percent and the finger lakes region has the highest rates in the state.  There are over 250 active cases going into the weekend and Petit is warning of the county being designated an orange zone which would mean business closures which could mean the loss of jobs when we were just starting to recover from the widespread shutdowns of the spring and early summer.  Batavia was designated a yellow zone last week and case numbers have continued to climb.  Petit says the contact tracing has revealed that gatherings in private homes are what is causing the spread.

Byron Bergen Schools have announced that they are going to fully remote learning for the first half of January.  All learning will be remote for the weeks of the 4th and 11th with in person and hybrid learning going back into effect on Tuesday the 19th of January.

COVID Update from Friday at 4pm:  Genesee county has 52 new cases and 18 people have recovered.  29 people are hospitalized.  Orleans county has 30 new cases and 25 people have recovered.  2 people are hospitalized.  There are 254 active cases in Genesee county and 151 in Orleans.  There was a COVID positive person at the Town and Country Restaurant in Batavia on December 13th from 3 to 4pm.  If you were there at this time please monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID 19.

On December 17th Livingston county emergency services along with village police, fire, ems from several towns and villages and state police took part in operation Light It Up to brighten the day for nursing home residents in Livingston county.  They did a parade from the Livingston county sheriffs office and ending in Danville with stops at nursing homes and NOYES Memorial Hospital to bring Christmas music and even Santa clause to greet residents.  This parade involved more than 25 different departments and brought joy to many residents who have been stuck without visitors for this Christmas season.

The Reyncrest dairy farm in Corfu has been given the 2020 dairying for tomorrow award for sustaining the dairy industry both on and off the farm.  As part of the award the farm gave a large donation of milk to Pembroke Central school.

Main Street Pizza, even though they couldn’t do their annual CASAblanca casino night contribution because COVID shut down the casino night, donated their Main St for a year prize to CASA for children to raise money for the organization.  A total of 275 tickets were purchased for $5 each. This first time raffle was such a huge success that tickets sold out in only a week!  A live drawing was held on CASA’s Facebook page, and Patricia Wormley, of Batavia, was drawn as the lucky winner of 26 large pizzas and 26 spaghetti dinners for two.

John Kennedy Intermediate School in Batavia has received 2 grants of 500 dollars each from ExxonMobil Corporation for Science Technology Engineering Art and Math.  Reid Petroleum applied for the grant and then presented a matching grant check at Batavia Crosby’s to Melissa Calandra, Kennedy’s STEAM teacher.

Afternoon News Brief

United Memorial Medical Center staff have begun getting vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna Vaccine will be available for distribution sometime next week. County Health Director Paul Petit was live on WBTA and talked about why nursing home staff and residents and hospital staff are the first to be vaccinated.

The former Chief of Police in Rochester Ny La’Ron Singletary is filing a claim against the city and specifically mayor Lovely Warren.  He alleges that Warren ordered him to lie repeatedly about the investigation into the Death of Daniel Prude. Specifically she wanted Singletary to lie about how much the mayors office knew about it.  He says his refusal to lie is why the mayor fired him.  “On September 7, Mayor Warren asked me to withhold full and truthful information from the City Council investigation into the matter of Daniel Prude,” Singletary wrote. “Mayor Warren asked me instead, to provide false information and to omit material information to support the Mayor’s public narrative concerning her knowledge of the events in the matter of Daniel Prude.”

The Holland Land Office Museum Genesee Symphony Orchestra Flute Trio concert scheduled for tonight at 7pm has moved online.  You can watch it live on YouTube by following the link on wbta.com or our news partner the Batavian.

The work has been completed replacing the bridge over Whitney Creek on Judge rd. in Alabama.  You can now drive across the new bridge which has been closed since October 12th.

 

Morning News Briefing

Genesee County on Thursday recorded 48 new COVID cases. Since March, the county has reported a total of 1,620 cases. The new infections involve residents from Le Roy, Batavia, Oakfield and eight other communities. Twenty-four people are currently hospitalized. Officials in Orleans County say they have confirmed 38 new positive cases and one death. In Wyoming County, 31 new cases were reported.

The New York State Department of Labor has announced the state’s $15 minimum wage phase-in will continue, with the next stage taking effect December 31. The minimum wage in Genesee County will increase to $12.50 an hour.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region, working with the Genesee County and Orleans County Departments of Social Services announces a new program to assist tenants and landlords affected by the current COVID-19 health pandemic. The Emergency Solutions Grant will provide rental assistance to individuals who are facing eviction and are unable to pay their rent due to circumstance related to the pandemic. These circumstances may include being laid off, furloughed, workplace closure, having a wage earner unable to work due to COVID-19, or being the primary care giver of someone who contracted COVID-19, or other circumstances. Contact the Department of Social Services to determine your eligibility for rental assistance.

Work has been completed on the bridge replacement over Whitney Creek on Judge Road in the Town of Alabama and the road is now reopened. A portion of Judge Road had been closed since Oct. 12 to replace the bridge, which is immediately west of Crosby Road.

Congressional lawmakers say they are nearing an agreement on a 900-billion-dollar stimulus bill that would help those affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would call for an extension of unemployment benefits, and would send a 600-dollar check to most Americans. On the Senate floor Thursday, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says lawmakers are laser-focused on coming up with a consensus. Current benefits that were established in the previous COVID-19 stimulus bill will expire the day after Christmas.

On Thursday, State Police conducted an Underage Drinking Initiative that spanned two townships and three villages in Wyoming County. Three locations were found not in compliance with the laws dealing with the sale of alcohol to person under the age of 21, Warsaw Wine & Spirts, Silver Springs Convenience Store and Tracy’s Wine – N- Liquor in the village of Silver Springs. Three people now face charges.

Afternoon News Brief

Governor Cuomo named the vaccination hub for each region in a news briefing and in the finger lakes region which Genesee county is a part of as far as COVID is concerned the U of R Medical Center is the place.  What this means is that the U of R Medical Center will be coordinating storage and delivery of vaccine doses to hospitals and nursing homes first, and then to pharmacies and doctor’s offices as more doses become available.  Cuomo has said that phase 2 of vaccine distribution which will include doses for the general public will begin late January.

The arc transfer station has reduced hours due to COVID until further notice.  They will be closed on Fridays but the Monday, Wednesday and Saturday hours will continue.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee county has selected Jocelyn Sikorski as the new executive director.  Jocelyn Sikorski is the current Executive Director of the Genesee-Orleans & City of Batavia Youth Bureaus, appointed in April 2012. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, both from SUNY Brockport. Sikorski serves on the Genesee County STOP-DWI Board, GLOW YMCA Corporate Board, Genesee United Way Board and Allocations Committee, is a Past President and board member of Batavia Kiwanis.

Sunday is the inaugural Bob’s Christmas Car Day in memory of Bob Zeagler who used to dress up his car and drive it around Batavia to spread holiday Cheer.  Residents are encouraged to decorate their car in a “Bob-inspired” way and drive around Batavia starting at 4 p.m. For those who want to be part of a group of cars, there will be a starting point at Ficarella’s Pizzeria on Liberty Street in Batavia

The new Genesee county website, www.genesee2050.com is up and live.  The new site is host to the update to the 1997 comprehensive plan to set goals of where Genesee county should be by 2050.  There are several surveys about renewable energy and agriculture and several other topics.  The county flag design competition is open on the site.  Genesee county wants residents to go to the site and participate in the future of the county.

Sikorski New Exec Director of Coop-Ext in Genesee County

Jocelyn Sikorski PHOTO: The Batavian

After a robust search, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County’s Board of Directors has selected Jocelyn Sikorski as their Executive Director, a position that includes leadership of the 100 year old organization that provides quality programs in youth development, agriculture, nutrition, leadership, and community and economic development.

Jocelyn Sikorski is the current Executive Director of the Genesee-Orleans & City of Batavia Youth Bureaus, appointed in April 2012. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, both from SUNY Brockport. Jocelyn has worked for Genesee County, with the Youth Bureau since 1999. Jocelyn serves on the Genesee County STOP-DWI Board, GLOW YMCA Corporate Board, Genesee United Way Board and Allocations Committee, is a Past President and board member of Batavia Kiwanis. She is a Leadership Genesee Alumni, class of 2007 and serves as Co-Chair on the Steering Committee and Chair of the Leadership Genesee Golf Tournament.

“We are excited to bring Jocelyn on board,” says Board President Lucine Kaufmann. “She brings such a wealth of knowledge with deep roots in youth development and a true understanding of local community needs. She has a proven track record of management, advocacy, and education, which translates well to the position of Executive Director.

Jocelyn will begin her role on January 25th. For more information on Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, please visit genesee.cce.cornell.edu.

Morning News Briefing

Arc of Genesee Orleans Transfer Station, 3785 West Main Street Road in Batavia has reduced its hours of operation until further notice.  The Transfer Station will be closed on Fridays, but normal hours will be in effect on Mondays (8 – 2), Wednesdays (8 – 6) and Saturdays (8 – 2).  Customers are asked to please stay in their vehicle at the transfer station and reminded that masks are required.

The Batavia Police Department is currently investigating the passing of counterfeit $100 bills throughout the area.  The department recommends that anyone receiving a $100 bill use extra caution to check its authenticity.  If you feel that you may be victim in receiving counterfeit bills, please report it to the Police Department.

Tomorrow, members of the City of Batavia Police Department will be holding a Christmas event in place of the annual “Shop with a Cop” that is held at Walmart each year, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Batavia Police Benevolent Association, Batavia CSEA members, and the City’s “Jeans for Friday” program donated the funding for this year’s event and the City of Batavia Schools assisted with choosing the families to participate. One family from each city school was selected and will receive Christmas presents for children to open Christmas morning.  The selected families provided Batavia PD with a “wish list” of items, which included toys and more.  The gifts have been wrapped and will be delivered via police cruiser.

Sixty-two new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Genesee County. Twenty-four people are currently hospitalized. Six of the new positive cases are residents at LeRoy Village Green Residential Healthcare Facility, six more are residents at Premier Genesee Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation and one of the positive individuals is at the VA Medical Center. In Orleans County, 28 new positive cases have been confirmed while 26 more cases were reported in Wyoming County.

An Orleans County man faces felony and other charges following a traffic stop on State Route 39 in Wyoming County. Now, 39-year-old Shawn Story of Holley has some explaining to do to a local justice. It didn’t begin well…a data check showed Story did not have a license and was suspended a total of 9 times, with 8 scoffs on 5 dates. While speaking with Story the deputy believed that Story may have been under the influence and initiated a roadside DWI investigation, which included standardized field sobriety testing. Story allegedly performed poorly on the tests. He was ultimately charged with felony first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, driving while ability impaired by drugs and unlicensed operator. There were other charges, but you get the point. Story was issued appearance tickets and is scheduled to appear in the Town of Castile Court at a later date.

New York State has created a new website that is a one-stop-shop for all information on the COVID-19 vaccine. The website is NY.gov/vaccine. During his daily briefing Wednesday, Gov. Cuomo also announced that no one in the state of New York will have to pay for the vaccine. The governor said that Regional Vaccination Hubs have been established. They will be led by local hospital systems and develop a plan to distribute the vaccine when New York hits Phase II of the vaccine implementation. The plans must be submitted by the first week of January and then will be reviewed by the New York State Department of Health.

Afternoon News Brief

The first dose of COVID vaccine administered in Olean Hospital was done by Batavia High School Graduate Elliot Marino on Tuesday.  The hospital received its first supply of the vaccine and began vaccinating physicians, nurses and staff who work in high-risk areas of the hospital.  Marino attended Batavia city schools from K-12 and graduated in 2008.

Wyoming and Livingston Counties have a weather advisory for tonight 6pm to tomorrow at 7am.  Expect 3 to 6 inches, possibly covering roads.  Plows may not be available because of COVID-19 quarantines so drive safely.

A new state sales tax report is out and it shows the hospitality industry taking the biggest economic hit while sales of liquor are up 30-percent.  The report, which evaluated taxable sales activity from March through August, finds that while some areas of the state are seeing improvement, these results varied greatly. The report found that the June through August period saw improvements in many regions of the state as sectors of the economy gradually reopened beginning in the latter-half of May.  Hotels were down 70-percent, gas stations, 30-percent.

The STOP-DWI effort is coming back for another round December 17th through January 1st.  New York State Police, the Genesee county sheriffs and Batavia PD will be participating.  Expect to see police out in force and if you drive while alcohol or drug impaired you will be pulled over.  If you are planning on drinking while you celebrate the holidays, have a plan don’t drink and drive.

Governor Cuomo has signed a bill that makes selling or displaying swastika’s or confederate flags on state property illegal in New York State.  The bill says symbols of hate cannot be sold or displayed on state property.  State property includes the New York State Fairgrounds.  Exceptions may be made for images appearing in books, museums or other means where they serve an educational or historical purpose.

Morning News Briefing

Genesee County has confirmed 64 new cases of COVID-19. The new infections involve residents from Le Roy, Batavia and eight other communities. 50 of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. 24 of the positive individuals are hospitalized. Three of the new positive cases are residents at Premier Genesee Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation. In Orleans County, 19 new cases of the virus were confirmed while Wyoming County reports 17 new cases.

The North Bergen Community Food Pantry and the Bergen business, Rose Garden Bowl, have worked together to assure that more than 100 area children experience some of the magic of the holidays in the form of Christmas stockings this year. This is the second year that the two organizations have collaborated on their Christmas Angel Stocking Program, soliciting donations of stockings filled with toys and personal items. The number of stockings donated has more than doubled — from 45 in 2019 to 109 stockings this year. In all more than 60 generous donors have gathered items for the stockings that will be distributed to 47 families. Recipients of the stockings are largely families that are clients of the North Bergen Food Pantry.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation to strengthen penalties against the illegal disposal of construction debris, demolition debris, and other hazardous substances. The legislation also designates fraudulent schemes involving the disposal of solid waste as a new crime. With this signing, a number of technical changes to legislative language have been agreed to following negotiations with the legislature. The law goes into effect on January 1.

The Board of Regents adopted New York State’s first-ever K-12 Learning Standards for Computer Science and Digital Fluency. These standards, we’re told, will ensure that every student knows how to live productively and safely in a technology-dominated world, including understanding the essential features of digital technologies, why and how they work, and how to communicate and create using those technologies. The new standards are the culmination of a two-year, collaborative process that included New York State teachers and statewide experts on computer science and educational technology.

A New York judge on Tuesday ordered President Donald Trump’s company to give state investigators documents related to a suburban estate that’s the subject of a civil investigation into the family’s business practices. The Judge said the Trump Organization must turn over to the New York attorney general’s office all communications involving an engineer who worked on the Seven Springs estate in Westchester County, north of Manhattan. Trump Organization lawyers had argued that information exchanged with the engineer was privileged. The court rejected that, saying Trump’s lawyers previously agreed attorney-client privilege did not apply to the work on Seven Springs.

Christmas Angel Stockings Stuffed in Bergen

The North Bergen Community Food Pantry and the Bergen business, Rose Garden Bowl, have worked together to assure that more than 100 area children experience some of the magic of the holidays in the form of Christmas stockings this year.

This is the second year that the two organizations have collaborated on their Christmas Angel Stocking Program, soliciting donations of stockings filled with toys and personal items. Donations are being made by bowling league members and patrons of Rose Garden Bowl, members of the North Bergen Presbyterian Church and the First Presbyterian Church of Byron congregations, and local families.

The number of stockings donated has more than doubled — from 45 in 2019 to 109 stockings in 2020. In all more than 60 generous donors have gathered items for the stockings that will be distributed to 47 families. Recipients of the stockings are largely families that are clients of the North Bergen Food Pantry.

 “We’ve seen a 100% increase in patrons visiting the pantry since March,” said Dave Fish, Pastor at the North Bergen Presbyterian Church that organizes the Pantry services. “There has always been, and will always be, need in our community but the impact that COVID is having on families in our region is devastating. It’s the pantry’s mission to lessen that impact by feeding both body and spirit. Assuring that children experience some of the magic of Christmas is an important ingredient of that mission.”

 “We believe in giving back to our community and was encouraged by the response of our Rose Garden Bowl family of patrons to our request for stocking sponsors this year” said Christina Sardou, co-owner at Rose Garden Bowl. “Initially I was concerned that the number of people who could participate might be affected by the pandemic, but the opposite was true.  Peoples’ eagerness to assist has been both humbling and inspiring.”

The program started in 2019 when Sardou suggested the idea of partnering on the program. “Dave and I had had a few conversations about the Food Pantry and we had stored some surplus frozen foods for the pantry at times when their space was limited,” said Sardou. “During these conversations, I asked if he had considered doing something for local children at Christmas, and described how the Church and the Rose Garden Bowl family and friends might collaborate to create a Christmas stocking drive. The rest is history.”

The North Bergen Community Food Pantry — North Bergen Presbyterian Church, 7068 North Bergen Road, Bergen, NY. Pantry hours: the third and fourth Wednesday of each month from 6 to 8pm and the third and fourth Saturday from 9am to Noon. For more information visit the Pantry’s Facebook page.

Rose Garden Bowl and Viking Valhalla Restaurant —21 Buffalo Road, Bergen, NY (585.494.9900). Family-owned and operated since 1954. For more information about banquets, bowling and volleyball, visit rosegardenbowl.com or on Facebook.

Afternoon News Brief

Rochester’s office of Public Integrity has released its final report on the Death of Daniel Prude in Police custody that sparked several months of unrest in the city.  The 48 page report shows there is no evidence of any city employee violating any policies or ethical standards for the city or city departments in his death.  The unrest resulted in the Chief of police and the entire Rochester police department command staff either resigning, being fired or being reduced in rank in a string of political decisions.  Those who protested also demanded the resignation of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren.

The Batavia City Council has voted to appoint attorney Thomas Burns as a new part-time City Court judge. But unlike similar appointments, Burns approval was not unanimous.  Councilman Bob Bialkowski said his no vote was nothing personal against Burn. Burns said it was “unfortunate” that the council member feels that way.  Thomas Burns’s term begins on Jan. 1 and runs for six years.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York wants an independent investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This follows an allegation of sexual harassment made by a former aide, Lindsey Boylan, on Sunday. During Monday’s coronavirus briefing, Cuomo addressed the accusation and said the statements are not true.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee county is asking the public for help in determining its future planning priorities.  They are seeking input from numerous stakeholders in order to fully explore the current and future needs of our community.  Members of the public can take a survey by following the link on wbtai.com or at our news partner the Batavian.

https://cornell.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3z7UVBv6zM2JXr7

Triple A says that they expect travel to be down by 29 percent.  34 million less people will be traveling mostly because of the COVID 19 pandemic.  “Public health concerns, official guidance not to travel, and an overall decline in consumer sentiment have encouraged the vast majority of Americans to stay home for the holidays,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel.

Morning News Briefing

The Batavia City Council has voted to appoint attorney Thomas Burns as a new part-time City Court judge. His term begins on Jan. 1 and runs for six years. Burns says…he’s pretty happy. The Council also approved contracts with Empire Access for $3,500 to connect city facilities with fiber internet and $8,400 annually for a five-year service agreement. Local lawmakers also granted access to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to perform environmental clean-up work at 267 Bank St., a small parcel of the Dwyer Stadium property.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced new yellow zones in portions of the state. During a briefing Monday, Cuomo said Niagara County’s yellow zone will be expanded. He also announced a new yellow zone in Batavia as well as another in the Rome/Utica area. According to Gov. Cuomo, the Finger Lakes region and Central New York currently hold the highest positivity rates in New York. The Finger Lakes region also has the highest percentage of people hospitalized per population. A total of 681 people are hospitalized in the region.

109 new COVID cases have been confirmed in Genesee County. The new infections involve residents from Batavia, Le Roy and ten other communities. 21 of the positive individuals are hospitalized. County health officials also report two more deaths from virus-related complications. Orleans County reports 55 new cases while Wyoming County is reporting 53 new COVID cases.

Robert Boyce announced his retirement as President of the LeRoy Ambulance Service Inc., effective Dec. 31. Boyce joined the Board of Directors in 1994 and has served as President since 2002.  LeRoy Ambulance Service is the primary provider of emergency medical services to the Town and Village of LeRoy. It began as a fully volunteer ambulance service in 1970 and under Boyce’s leadership, it successfully implemented career staffing. Today, it provides 24/7 basic and advanced life support services through its highly trained staff of EMTs and Paramedics.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York wants an independent investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This follows an allegation of sexual harassment made by a former aide, Lindsey Boylan, on Sunday. During Monday’s coronavirus briefing, Cuomo addressed the accusation and said the statements are not true.

Livingston County deputies report the arrest of a Genesee County woman on drug related charges after an investigation by the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies arrested and charged 27-year-old Elizabeth L. McCombs of Batavia with felony Promoting Prison Contraband in the 1st Degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 7th Degree. It is alleged that on June 1, 2019 McCombs was an inmate in the Livingston County Jail and was found to be in possession of illegal contraband believed to be fentanyl. The suspected fentanyl was sent to a forensic lab for testing. McCombs was arrested after lab results confirmed the drugs were in fact fentanyl. She was released on appearance tickets for the charges as the offenses did not qualify for pre-arraignment detention under the NYS Justice Reform Act.

NY Congressman Anthony Brindisi is calling on Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to resign. Following what he calls a damning inspector general report alleging abuse of power and stonewalling of an investigation, Brindisi joined several Veterans Service Organizations in calling for Secretary Wilkie’s resignation. According to Brindisi… -quote- “Secretary Wilkie has lost the trust of Veterans and the Inspector General’s report outlines negligence and abuse of power by the Washington bureaucrats running the VA.”

Afternoon News Brief

Batavia and the surrounding are of Genesee county has been designated a yellow zone starting today according to Governor Cuomo.  The finger lakes region has the highest positivity rate in the state with 8.09 percent.  This means that schools that are still in person must test 20 percent of students, staff and faculty every week for covid.  Worship services are capped at 50 percent occupancy and mass gatherings are limited to 10 people or less either in or out of doors.  Restaurants can still operate but tables may only have 4 people at them.

The first person to be vaccinated in New York against Covid 19 is a nurse working the Covid ICU ward at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens.  Sandra Lindsay, a frontline fighter against the virus, was given the first dose this morning.  More than half a million doss are in the state with more to come.  It will take several months before there are enough doses made to inoculate all 19.5 million New Yorkers.  Governor Cuomo anticipates that by Summer up to 80 percent of the state will be vaccinated.

The Batavia Police stakeholder group has indicated that there isn’t much to alter n the way that the Batavia PD do things but there can still be a stronger connection police to community.  There was a unanimous agreement that police brutality isn’t a problem for Batavia police.  But the stakeholders expressed a desire for police to form more personal connections to black community members.  One of the stakeholders said that the black community in Batavia feels like the police see them as a sentence ready to be judged and sent to jail, and the police have to work on being understood and understanding how black people feel about that.

Gas prices continue to stay the same at 2.22 in Batavia.  Nationally they are at 2.16 on average and in New York state they rose 1 cent to 2.26.  Last year the average price for a gallon was 2.68 so we are still a long way south of where we were last year.

Western NY has a 58 percent chance each year of having a white Christmas.  This year the odds are a little longer.  According to the national weather service this year we are looking at above average temperatures for the 25th of December.  Last year it was 50 degrees breaking a 3 year streak of snow on the ground for the holidays.

The Buffalo Bills beat the Steelers yesterday 26-15 which brings the bills up to 10 and 3 for the first time in 29 years. The Bills are first place in the AFC East with the rival Miami Dolphins two games behind with a record of 8-5.  They are set to play against the broncos in Denver on Saturday.  Denver is 5 and 8 this season and the contest will take place at 4:30pm.  In Monday night football tonight if Cleveland wins against Baltimore then the Bills are in the playoffs.

Morning News Briefing

For at least the past 10 years, the American Legion, Post #626 of Oakfield-Alabama, has offered food boxes to those who might welcome a little extra help this time of year. Information on families who might need these boxes was shared by our local schools, churches and community members. The Legion also said that any food not needed for the boxes will be shared with the Corfu Food Pantry to assist them with their mission to the community.

The City of Batavia and the Batavia Police Department are extending an online survey that is asking city residents to assist in formulating the department’s response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 203, which requires police departments across New York State to submit reform plans to the state by April 1. The survey takes about five minutes to complete and can be found on the city’s website.

The Board of Education for the Batavia City School District meets tonight at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held via Google Meet and will also be live-streamed on YouTube. The Board will receive a presentation from Jim Krencik, the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Genesee county Economic Development Center. The Board is also expected to make several appointments involving school psychologists and extra work days, a District Tutor, long-term substitutes and a cleaner, among others. Action is also slated on a Memorandum of Understanding between Genesee Community College and Batavia High School for the College Pathway Program.

Playing on national television for the second straight week Sunday, the Bills handed the Pittsburgh Steelers their second loss of the season in a 26-15 victory. Buffalo can clinch a second straight playoff berth with a Cleveland win against Baltimore on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

A former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo who is now running for Manhattan borough president accused him of sexual harassment in a series of tweets Sunday, saying he made inappropriate comments about her appearance. Lindsey Boylan tweeted that the Democratic governor “sexually harassed me for years.” The 36-year-old worked for the Cuomo administration from March 2015 to October 2018, serving first as executive vice president of Empire State Development, and then as a special adviser to Cuomo for economic development. Boylan’s sexual harassment allegation against Cuomo comes after The Associated Press and others reported that the 63-year-old governor is under consideration for the job of attorney general in the administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

A Middleport woman will appear in court next month after she crashed her vehicle Saturday night on Lewiston Road in Oakfield. Deputies arrested 54-year-old Michelle Hanssen. She was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated, driving while using a portable electronic device and other traffic counts.

Weekend News Brief

The FDA approved the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Friday for emergency use to fight the pandemic.  The approval for Moderna’s vaccine is expected in the nest few days.  By Monday New York state should have roughly half a million doses of COVID-19 vaccines available and being distributed to 90 distribution centers across the state.  Most are in New York City.

COVID Update From Friday Afternoon: Genesee county has 31 new cases and 42 people have recovered, 22 are hospitalized.  Orleans county has 21 new cases and 14 have recovered, 3 are hospitalized.  There are 176 active cases in Genesee county and 144 in Orleans.

The water will be turned off for residents of Ellicott st between Ellicott Place and Harvester ave, Harvester Av between Ellicott st and place and Colorado ave for the replacement of a fire hydrant on Monday from about 8am to 3pm.   This could cause water to be discolored in the area.  If you have discolored water don’t do laundry, run the taps for a few minutes to flush out the lines.  If they can’t do the replacement Monday it will get pushed back to Tuesday

The highway department wants to remind people that winter comes with a few changes to how they drive and take care of their properties.  First, to prevent accidents, slow down and make sure your tires are ready for snow driving.  Keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you to provide more time to slow down and stop if needed.  It is illegal to plow your driveway and deposit the snow into the roadway.  Putting snow from driveways into the road can cause accidents and is punishable with a 1000 dollars a day fine.  The highway department may have to reduce plowing because drivers are quarantining with COVID and this can lead to bad driving conditions.  Be aware of the snow on the ground and drive safely.

GLOW Women Rise is hosting online events to uplift and destress during these troubled times.  The first is on Monday December 14th at 6:30pm and is called practical self care and adult bingo.  Check glowwomenrise.org for details.

A big thanks to everyone who brought toys to the WBTA toy drive at Ken Barret Chevrolet and Cadillac on Friday.  Many cars and trucks piled high came in and gave to the Salvation Army to make sure that kids in Batavia get a Christmas!  Also thanks to the Fire department and Ken Barretts for helping and hosting the 37th annual toy drive.  You can still give by dropping off directly to Salvation Army or using the Walmart Gift Registry.

Afternoon News Brief

Governor Cuomo today announced a slew of new regulations and changes to existing ones.  The top changes are to hospitals which now have to increase their capacity by 25 percent and also stay under 85 percent capacity by reducing elective surgeries.  If a hospital in a region goes over 85 percent capacity it will trigger the area it is in to go into red zone status.  Hospitals must also stockpile 90 days worth of ppe.  The second change of note is that gyms, salons and barbershops can reopen at maximum 25 percent capacity even in orange zones.  Salons and gym owners have been saying it since the beginning and now the science and more importantly, the government is backing it up, less than .06 percent of coronavirus spread can be attributed to gyms and less than .14 percent to salons.  Governor Cuomo says that 74 percent of spread is coming from household gatherings.

New York is receiving 346 thousand doses of Moderna’s covid vaccine on top of the 170 thousand doses of Pfizer vaccine already set to arrive over the weekend.  Cuomo still says that he believes the distribution plan is disadvantaging brown and black communities, Native Americans and poor neighborhoods.  The governor emphasized that the state will not let the current federal administration leave out the communities that need the vaccine the most, calling it “illegal” and “unconstitutional.”

On Saturday a home in Albion exploded and set three other residences on fire.  56 year old Gary Tarr has been arrested for starting the fire.  He admitted to officers that he was buying explosive compounds from local stores and combining them with out of state fireworks to make his own fireworks.  He lit them to test the new fireworks while in his garage and that’s when the fire started.  Tarr was charged with five counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, three counts of fourth-degree arson; three counts of third-degree criminal mischief; and reckless endangerment of property.  Tarr suffered injuries on his face, torso, arms and legs. He also suffered hearing loss from the force of the explosion. He was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital.  Police are also asking anyone who bought or were given fireworks from Tarr to call the police and the bomb squad will come dispose of them.  They are asking for them not to be brought in as the fireworks are extremely volatile and dangerous.

Do you know what to do if someone near you overdoses on an opioid?  The Western NY Rural Area Health Education Center working with Spectrum Health and Human Services is presenting a free opioid reversal training session on January 15th starting at 2pm.  Those who take the training will learn how to: Recognize the signs of an opioid overdose; Respond appropriately and effectively, Correctly administer the spray form of Narcan; Apply the Good Samaritan Overdose Law to overdose responders, and have a free reversal kit mailed to them.  To learn more follow the link to the WNY Rural Health education center website on wbtai.com.  https://www.r-ahec.org/

21 Year Old Michael Conrad has plead guilty to manslaughter charges stemming from a vehicle collision in April on Pleasant Valley rd. in Wethersfield.  The Wyoming County district attorney’s office says investigators found that Conrad was driving at over 97 miles per hour and had cannabis and ecstasy in his blood stream prior to the crash that took the life of 20 year old Cori Lynn Shearing who was riding in the car with Conrad.   He was charged with and plead guilty to: Manslaughter in the second degree, Vehicular manslaughter in the second degree, Assault in the second degree, and Driving while ability impaired by the combined influence of drugs.  Conrad faces 5 to 15 years in prison for the manslaughter charge.

Morning News Briefing

COVID cases continue to rise in Genesee County. On Thursday, the health department reported 23 new cases. The latest infections involve residents of Batavia, Le Roy and five other communities. One of the new cases is a resident is at the VA Medical Center. Right now, 21 people are hospitalized and receiving care. Thirty new cases have been confirmed in Orleans County with five people in the hospital. Wyoming County health officials say that on Thursday, 27 new cases were confirmed.

A federal grand jury has returned a 74-count indictment charging 42-year-old Philip M. Close of Rochester with 61 counts of production of child pornography, and 13 counts of possession of material containing child pornography involving prepubescent minors. Close is a music teacher. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, a maximum of life in prison, and a $250,000 fine. Close will be arraigned Monday.

A free virtual Opioid Overdose Reversal Training session will be held starting at 2 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 15. This opportunity is sponsored by the Western New York Rural Area Health Education Center in collaboration with Spectrum Health and Human Services. You’ll learn how to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose and correctly administer the spray form of naloxone (Narcan). A free reversal kit will be mailed to you upon completion of training. To learn more, visit the WNY Rural Area Health Education Center website. Call Lisa Green to register at (585) 786-6275.

Southern Tier Congressman Tom Reed and 31 other House GOP members have joined together in a letter requesting congressional leadership in both chambers guarantee a vote on emergency relief will be held and noting the importance of a bipartisan, bicameral package. The Members say they agree Congress must pass an emergency COVID-19 relief package before the end of the year. The letter concludes with saying…” We cannot leave Washington without reaching a bipartisan deal.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to adjust the state’s COVID strategy during a briefing this morning. But even people in touch with the governor’s office on a regular basis aren’t sure what he’s going to do. Cuomo could be rethinking the whole micro-cluster zone idea – or could at least remove some restrictions within those zones. The governor has emphasized hospital capacity as a metric he will be watching closely, and if that’s the case, there is some better news for the Finger Lakes region. Fifty-six percent of intensive care beds are still available. That’s the highest number of any region in the state.

A new ultra-cold storage freezer at the University of Rochester Medical Center is ready and waiting to store the first vaccine doses. Infectious disease doctors at the hospital called the vaccine safe during a virtual meeting Thursday, but noted the research so far has only been able to look at short-term side effects. The phase three study will continue for two years.

Salvation Army / Ken Barrett Toy Drive Friday

 The Salvation Army of Batavia is proud to announce, for the 37th year in a row, WBTA’S annual toy drive with Ken Barrett Cadillac Chevrolet. COVID-19 has hit The Salvation Army especially hard, with the need for services being at an all-time high and funding down nearly 40-50 percent.

The annual toy drive is a staple to The Salvation Army of Batavia and the local community. All toys donated go to children in the Genesee County area. To date, The Salvation Army of Batavia has 180 families registered with more than 400 children needing toys this Christmas. They have seen more than a 30% increase in need this year due to the pandemic in just the Batavia area.

While the start of the Christmas season for The Salvation Army begins in the summer with planning, for me, the Christmas spirit is ignited with our annual toy drive,” said Captain Rachel Moore. “I feel the toy drive is what really signifies the holiday spirit in Batavia. It is overwhelming to see the generosity of our community as toy after toy is dropped off. This year, more than ever before, we are relying on the giving spirit of our neighbors to offer hope to children in need all over Genesee county. We are grateful to WBTA and Ken Barrett Cadillac Chevrolet for continuing a beautiful tradition that will help so many this year.”

The Batavia Salvation Army has implemented additional precautions to make the toy drive a COVID-19 safe event. Those participating can simply drive up to the designated area at Ken Barrett Cadillac Chevrolet and open their trunk. A member of the Batavia Fire Department will collect the toys. If you cannot participate on December 11th, please visit our Angel Tree Registry with Walmart.com. Toys will be directly shipped to our offices.

About The Salvation Army Empire State Division

The Empire State Division of The Salvation Army covers 48 counties in upstate New York and one city in Pennsylvania (Sayre, Pa.). Our annual Red Kettle Campaign in November and December helps our 45 community centers and 166 volunteer driven service units raise funds that remain in each community to help those in need.

For more information go to: empire.salvationarmy.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/salvationarmyempirestate

About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. 

Afternoon News Brief

Major League Baseball Enterprises Inc. has reached an agreement with several cities for where the teams will have affiliates and Batavia didn’t make the cut.  The New York Penn League which was founded in Batavia in 1939 is also splitting up as only 4 teams from the league are on the affiliates list.  What this means is that the Muckdogs are gone but Rachel Tabelski, interim city manager, says that there are requests from college leagues and that the Genesee county baseball club retains the rights to the name Muckdogs so, although a professional team may not play there again, a college team might and they could call themselves the Muckdogs.

Orleans county will be having free testing for asymptomatic people who believe that they may have COVID 19 at the Orleans County fairgrounds in Albion.  The free rapid testing will be offered from 1 to 4pm on Wednesday the 16th.  You have to preregister on the Orleans county health department website.

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that NY along with 48 other states are suing Facebook as a monopoly.  According to the lawsuit, James alleges Facebook, “illegally acquired competitors in a predatory manner and cut services to smaller threats — depriving users from the benefits of competition and reducing privacy protections and services along the way — all in an effort to boost its bottom line through increased advertising revenue.”

Staples held a nationwide thank a teacher contest and announced the winners on Wednesday.  An Oakfield teacher, Mrs. Stephanie Clark who teaches first grade at Oakfield Alabama Elementary School, was one of the winners.  She will receive a 5000 dollar staples gift card to be used for school supplies and equipment.

If you are up past midnight tonight you could see a rare sight.  A huge solar flare ejected from the sun on the 7th will cause a large aurora borealis that may be visible for most of Western NY.  The sky is supposed to be clear tonight so go out and look up and you may see this rare sight in the northern sky.  It will appear as a red or green glow.

Morning News Briefing

Voters in the Alexander Central School District have given the thumbs up to a $15 million renovation project. The final vote was 113 yes and 90 people said no. District officials have said the project will not raise the local tax levy. The project includes renovations at the Elementary School, a new transportation facility and vehicle and pedestrian safety upgrades.

Court action is pending for a Batavia man who faces a felony complaint. Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 36-year-old Steven Keslo of Columbia Avenue. He was charged with first-degree falsifying business records and attempted criminal purchase of a weapon. He’s accused of attempting to purchase a gun, but legally can’t. He’ll appear in Town of Bergen court December 16th.

46…that’s the number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Genesee County. The most recent infections involve residents from Batavia, Le Roy and nine other communities. Twenty-one people are hospitalized. The total number of confirmed cases in the county is nearly 1,300. In Orleans County, 37 new positive cases have been identified, while in Wyoming County…officials report another 25 cases.

Genesee County is considering implementing a local law to pay coroners more during catastrophic events. It’s welcome news to Jeff McIntire, a recently retired county medical examiner who worked 260 hours following the tragic plane crash in Corfu on Oct. 2. The crash resulted in the deaths of prominent attorney Steve Barnes, the pilot, and his niece, Elizabeth Barnes, who also practiced law. He told the Batavian…“It is good to know that if it does happen again, some provision is in place to make sure the coroner will get paid appropriately.” Lawmakers will hold a public hearing on the proposed law at 5:30 p.m. January 13th.

New York Farm Bureau delegates unanimously re-elected David Fisher, a dairy farmer from Madrid, NY, to his third two-year term as president of the state’s largest farm organization. In addition, delegates re-elected district representatives to the State Board of Directors to include another two-year term for Patrick McCormick of Wyoming County.  More than 100 delegates representing 52 county Farm Bureau organizations across the state came together online to not only cast their ballots in the election but also to establish public policy positions for the coming year.

The Salvation Army of Batavia is proud to announce, for the 37th year in a row, WBTA’S annual toy drive with Ken Barrett Cadillac Chevrolet. COVID-19 has hit The Salvation Army especially hard, with the need for services being at an all-time high and funding down nearly 40-50 percent. The annual drive for new, unwrapped toys will take place at the car dealership tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is located at 229 W. Main St. in the City of Batavia…and yes, we’ll be there live. The toy drive is a staple seasonal event for The Salvation Army of Batavia and the local community. All toys donated go to children in the Genesee County area. To date, The Salvation Army of Batavia has 180 families registered with more than 400 children needing toys this Christmas. They have seen more than a 30-percent increase in need this year due to the coronavirus pandemic in just the Batavia area.

Despite wintry conditions and a sloppy track, driver Ray Fisher Jr. was on top of his game and delivered five horses to the winner’s circle at Batavia Downs Wednesday night, including three straight winners in races two through four for the natural hat trick.

NY Congressman Tom Reed says he has spearheaded the passage of the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2019 and the HOSPICE Act. The ALS Disability Insurance Access Act would waive the five-month Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) waiting period for individuals with ALS, while the HOSPICE Act would increase transparency and oversight into hospice providers to prevent bad actors from providing poor quality care. Both bills passed unanimously with outspoken support from Members on both sides of the aisle.

Afternoon News Brief

New York State will receive 170 thousand doses of the COVID 19 vaccine starting this weekend.  They will be distributed to each region based on the population of nursing home residents, staff members and hospital workers. Those individuals will receive the vaccine first, according to the state’s vaccine distribution plan.  Governor Cuomo said there are 90 regional distribution centers across the state that can accommodate the cold temperatures needed to store the vaccine.  The vaccine will be approved for use by the FDA on Thursday.  Even with all the blustering about not wanting the Vaccine to be distributed through private agencies, New York State will abide by the federal agreement with CVS and Walgreen pharmacies being allowed to administer the Vaccine.

A bill before the New York State assembly may make the COVID vaccine mandatory for all New Yorkers if the magic number of herd immunity is not met by people taking it voluntarily.  The bill was introduced by Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal on the 4th.  The herd immunity number is debated but most experts believe it to be between 70 and 85 percent of the population.

The annual WBTA and Ken Barret Chevrolet toy drive to benefit the Salvation Army is kicking off for the 37th time starting this Friday.  New unwrapped toys may be brought to Ken Barret from 11 to 4  and WBTA will be broadcasting the event live.  With COVID 19 shutting down so much the Salvation Army has been hit particularly hard, giving is estimated to be down almost 50 percent to the organization that gives away food, clothes and helps people with housing and heating.  All toys donated go to children in the Genesee county area.  There are 180 families registered with more than 400 children needing toys.  The fire department will be on hand to do no contact drop offs as well, just drive up and open your trunk and a member of the fire department will collect the toys.  If you cannot participate on the 11th, please visit salvation army’s Angel Tree Registry with Walmart.com. Toys will be directly shipped to our offices.

Now through December 21st the Adam Miller Bike and Toy shop is partnering with the Just Kings organization to provide toys to children in needy families.  New and gently used toys can be dropped off at Adam Millers or you can buy a 30 dollar gift card for 20.20 to be given to a family in need.

Morning News Briefing

Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski announced the appointment of Raymond Tourt as the Director of the Department of Public Works. Tourt has served the City for 22 years in various capacities including Assistant City Engineer and currently as the Superintendent of Maintenance.  During his tenure, he has successfully completed multiple infrastructure projects to include over 10 federal aid projects, other responsibilities have been Streets, Sewers, Parks, Snow and Fleet operations.  He currently oversees 23 employees in the Bureau of Maintenance. As the Director of the City of Batavia Public Works, Tourt will oversee the Bureau of Water, Wastewater, Bureau of Maintenance, Bureau of Inspection and Bureau of Engineering.  “I am excited to continue to work with Ray in his new role as the Director of Public Works.  The City is undertaking numerous capital projects and his knowledge and leadership will ensure that these projects move forward to successful completion.  He is a dedicated and knowledgeable member of the City staff and I know he will be well received in his new role,” said Rachael Tabelski, Interim City Manager.  Tourt will serve as Acting Director of Public Works for the next four weeks until the retirement of the current Director, Matt Worth, at which time he will be appointed provisionally. The City of Batavia encourages all citizens to welcome Tourt in the position of the Director of Public Works.  Tourt lives in the Town of Batavia with his family.

Genesee County has 21 new positive COVID-19 cases and two more deaths. The deaths involved non-nursing home residents and both were over the age of 65. The new cases involve people from Batavia, Le Roy and six other communities. Seventeen of the positive individuals are hospitalized. In Orleans County, 23 new cases were confirmed on Tuesday. The county also confirmed another virus-related death.

The Volunteers for Animals at the Genesee County Animal Shelter have racked up good deeds this year. If you’d like to donate to a good cause this season, consider them if you’d like to make a tax-deductible contribution. Or you can donate stuff they need to care for homeless pets. So far in 2020, 369 cats and 124 dogs have been adopted.

Western New York Gas & Steam Association invites you to the Drive-thru Country Christmas Light Display – with a drive-thru food court every Friday and Saturday through Dec. 19. It happens from 5 to 9 o’clock each evening. Admission is $10 a vehicle. You can take a half-mile ride through the grounds and enjoy the thousands of Christmas lights and unique and amazing displays. You can even purchase some carnival-type food that you may have missed this summer. This is a fundraiser for WNY Gas & Steam Engine Association. Enter at 3000 Walker Road, Alexander, just off Route 20. This event will be COVID-19 friendly.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley joined several of his Assembly colleagues in a letter to FEMA seeking to ensure adequate funding for projects that he says are necessary to protect Great Lakes shoreline communities and surrounding habitats. Hawley and others requested the federal government to omit cost-sharing requirements that may come with a potential FEMA grant due to the state’s financial constraints.

Tourt Named City DPW Director

Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski announced today the appointment of Raymond Tourt as the Director of the Department of Public Works.

Tourt has served the City for 22 years in various capacities including Assistant City Engineer and currently as the Superintendent of Maintenance. During his tenure, he has successfully completed multiple infrastructure projects to include over 10 federal aid projects, other responsibilities have been Streets, Sewers, Parks, Snow and Fleet operations. He currently oversees 23 employees in the Bureau of Maintenance.

As the Director of the City of Batavia Public Works, Tourt will oversee the Bureau of Water, Wastewater, Bureau of Maintenance, Bureau of Inspection and Bureau of Engineering.

I am excited to continue to work with Ray in his new role as the Director of Public Works. The City is undertaking numerous capital projects and his knowledge and leadership will ensure that these projects move forward to successful completion. He is a dedicated and knowledgeable member of the City staff and I know he will be well received in his new role,” said Rachael Tabelski, Interim City Manager.

Tourt will serve as Acting Director of Public Works for the next four weeks until the retirement of the current Director, Matt Worth, at which time he will be appointed provisionally.

The City of Batavia encourages all citizens to welcome Tourt in the position of the Director of Public Works. Tourt lives in the Town of Batavia with his family.

Afternoon News Brief

New York will limit indoor dining if the hospitalization rate does not stabilize. Hospitalization rates in Upstate New York regions have been on the rise, with a higher percentage of the population than in regions downstate. The Finger Lakes region leads in hospitalizations with 545 people. The governor said if the hospitalization rate in regions outside of New York City does not stabilize, indoor dining will be limited to 25 percent.  The New York Restaurant association says that “With the looming limits on indoor dining and outdoor dining no longer practical, many of our members will be forced to shut their doors, and for some it may be their final service.”

29 year old Aaron Romani of Milestrip Rd in Blasdell was arrested on December 3rd and charged with driving while intoxicated, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.  He was arrested for an incident on August 2nd where he was found pulled over to the side of the road on Byron Elba Rd at 2:48am.

The American Heart Association held an online rally on Monday and called on Governor Cuomo to increase taxes on Tobacco products.  It has been 10 years since a tax increase on tobacco in New York State.  They are calling for a 1 dollar increase on cigarettes and equal taxes on all other tobacco products.  The hope is that a higher tax will make tens of thousands of people quit smoking and chewing.

The Bills just keep on winning.  In last nights contest against the San Francisco 49ers the Buffalo Bills beat their opponents by 10 points for a final score of 34 to 24 for the first Monday night football win the Bills have had for 21 years.  The Bills hold a one win lead in the AFC East.  The Bills return home to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers who are 11 and 1 in a Sunday night match-up. Kickoff is set for 8:20 p.m.

Morning News Briefing

130 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Genesee County. The Health department says the new infections involve people living in Batavia, LeRoy and 11 other communities. Twenty-one people are hospitalized. Health officials have also recorded three more virus-related deaths. One is a resident at The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Batavia. Two of the deaths were community members. All three individuals were over the age of 65. In Orleans County, 32 new positive cases have been confirmed with nine hospitalizations. The Health Department in Wyoming County has confirmed forty-three new cases between Friday and Monday.

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) joined a bipartisan letter to the House and Senate appropriations committees calling for additional funding for the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) ReConnect rural broadband grant program in the upcoming FY21 funding bill. Jacobs said he has long advocated for increased broadband investment and the pandemic has only elevated that need.

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.16, up 3 cents from one week ago. The New York State average is $2.25 – up 2 cents from last week. In Batavia, a gallon costs $2.22, up 3 cents since last week. The national average price for a gallon of gas has inched up 4 cents in the past month, but it is 42 cents lower than last year at this time. Since mid-November, domestic crude prices have steadily increased topping $45 per barrel, contributing to pump prices rising across the country.

Sen. Charles Schumer is asking President-elect Joe Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in debt for federal student loan borrowers as soon as he is sworn in. At a news conference Monday, Schumer said Biden could do this by using existing executive authority under the Higher Education Act. Schumer said canceling this debt would bring immediate relief to millions of New Yorkers struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative would cover only debtors making less than $125,000 a year.

New York will limit indoor dining if the hospitalization rate does not stabilize. Hospitalization rates in Upstate New York regions have been on the rise, with a higher percentage of the population than in regions downstate. The Finger Lakes region leads in hospitalizations involving 545 people. The governor said if the hospitalization rate in regions outside of New York City does not stabilize, indoor dining will be limited to 25 percent.

In-person staffing at courts in New York will be reduced as a result of rising COVID-19 cases. In a message released Monday, the Chief Judge said courts outside of New York City will be reduced to 40% or less in-person staffing.  In-person services will also be limited. Non-essential in-person appearances in civil courts will be temporarily suspended, and only a reduced number of in-person, essential appearances for criminal, family and housing courts will be allowed. The Chief Judge said courts are being encouraged to utilize virtual court appearances when possible.

Afternoon News Brief

The health department has issued a report that a COVID positive person was at Sport Of Kings in Batavia on Monday the 30th of November and Tuesday December 1st from 2pm to 8pm.   Also a Covid positive person was at Applebee’s in Batavia on Friday the 27th of November form noon to 2pm.  If you were at either of these locations during these times, please monitor yourself for COVID Symptoms for the next 14 days.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley issued a press release in remembrance today for the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese military on December 7th 1941.  The attack pushed America into the 2nd world war.   That day saw much tragedy, as did the months and years of conflict following it, which is why we remember it today.  In the aftermath, 15 Medals of Honor were given. 51 Navy Crosses. 53 Silver Stars. Four Navy and Marine Corps Medals. One Distinguished Flying Cross. Four Distinguished Service Crosses. One Distinguished Service Medal. Three Bronze Star Medals. And following the attack, the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal was given to all veterans of the attack.

There were some unusual lights in the sky last night prompting many to take pictures and report them to the government and news stations.  Apparently these lights, which were in a straight line across part of the sky, were related to the launch of a SpaceX dragon capsule launch and part of the new Starlink internet program by SpaceX.  This program is set to put thousands of satellites in orbit to give internet all across the globe, potentially reaching areas that cannot be served by traditional internet.

Gas Prices are up a little as news of COVID-19 vaccines has people up  and out a bit more.  In Batavia the prices jumped a whole 3 cents in a week from 2.19 to 2.22, the New York state average is up 2 cents to 2.25 and the national average is up 4 cents as well.  We are still down quite a bit form 2.68 last year t this time.

Health Alerts

The Genesee Orleans County Health Departments have received a positive COVID-19 test result from an individual who was at Sport of Kings, Batavia on:

  • Monday, November 30th from 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, December 1st from 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Contact tracing is in progress; however unidentified individuals may have unknowingly been in contact with the positive cases.

We advise all individuals who were at Sport of Kings on the stated dates and times to monitor their symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms of COVID-19 develop, contact your primary care provider to seek testing immediately and self-isolate until you receive your test results. Symptoms of COVID-19 include but are not limited to: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.

For more information please visit: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home.

Over the weekend the Genesee County Health Dept issued these alerts:

 


 

The Genesee County Health Department has received multiple positive COVID-19 test results from individuals who were at Eli Fish in Batavia on:

  • Wednesday, November 25th from 6:00 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.

Contact tracing is in progress; however unidentified individuals may have unknowingly been in contact with the positive cases.

We advise all individuals who were at Eli Fish on the stated dates and times to monitor their symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms of COVID-19 develop, contact your primary care provider to seek testing immediately and self-isolate until you receive your test results. Symptoms of COVID-19 include but are not limited to: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.

For more information please visit: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home.


The Orleans County Health Department has received a positive COVID-19 test result from an individual who was at Mariachi De Oro in Medina on:

  • Wednesday, December 2nd from 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 3rd from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Contact tracing is in progress; however unidentified individuals may have unknowingly been in contact with the positive cases.

We advise all individuals who were at Mariachi De Oro on the stated dates and times to monitor their symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms of COVID-19 develop, contact your primary care provider to seek testing immediately and self-isolate until you receive your test results. Symptoms of COVID-19 include but are not limited to: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.

For more information please visit: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home

Morning News Briefing

More changes begin this week in the Batavia City School District. Officials say beginning today, schools have transitioned to online learning due to an increase in coronavirus cases. This past week, positive coronavirus cases increased to 39 across the district. As a result, over 100 students and staff had to quarantine. Students will be 100% online through winter break. The Superintendent says the schools will reassess the decision before the return on January 4. The district will still provide daily breakfast and lunch for pickup at Jackson Primary and John Kennedy.

The investigation continues after fire ripped through three homes in Albion. The Saturday fire was a three-alarm blaze. A male living in one of the homes was found at the scene with non-life-threatening injuries from the explosion and fire. He was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital. Damage to two of the homes is considered “extensive.” The Red Cross was called to assist up to a dozen displaced residents. The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Albion Police Department with assistance from the Orleans County Fire Investigation Unit, New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Felony charges have now been leveled against a man who crashed into a vehicle September 12th on Bliss Road in Oakfield. 32-year-old Jason Klinkbeil of Alabama will appear in Oakfield Town Court February 1st. He faces 11 counts to include felony first-degree vehicular assault and felony driving while intoxicated. Deputies allege Klinkbeil was driving while impaired by drugs, crashed into a second vehicle and caused serious injuries to a passenger in the other vehicle.

With New York continuing to face a teacher shortage, four leading education groups have highlighted the pressing need to build up the teacher preparation pipeline to prepare the next generation of educators to join the workforce in the coming years. Specifically, the organizations noted the need for high-quality student teacher placements in local school districts statewide, even with the coronavirus pandemic forcing many schools to continue with remote education or limited in-person instruction. At issue is an emerging lack of opportunities for student teachers to be paired up with veteran educators in some areas this fall and how that trend would affect springtime student teacher placements. The Interim Commissioner of the State Education Department and Board of Regents also have sounded the alarm on the serious shortage of student teacher placements.

The Buffalo Bills return to the national spotlight on Monday Night Football. The 8-3 Bills will play the 5-6 San Francisco 49ers tonight. Because of COVID, the game will be played at State Farm Stadium – the home of the Arizona Cardinals. Game time is 8:15.

New stats from Albany show that the COVID-19 positivity rates in Western New York are inching down, but are on the rise in the Finger Lakes region. In fact, at eight-and-a-half percent, it’s the highest in the state. Genesee, Wyoming, and Orleans counties are all part of the Finger Lakes region.

A report from researchers at the University of Washington has COVID-19 as the leading cause of death in the U-S as hospitals across the country get ready for a post-Thanksgiving surge. In New York the positivity rate has climbed over 5% — but Governor Cuomo has shifted his messaging, now saying he’s less concerned about that, and more focused on how full the hospitals become– so far New York still has ample ICU space, but like the rest of the country, healthcare workers are bracing for difficult weeks ahead.

Weekend News Brief

Genesee county is offering free rapid testing for asymptomatic people who believe they have been exposed to COVID 19 at the Emergency Management Office & Fire Training Facility, at 7690 State Street Road in the Town of Batavia on Tuesday and Thursday from 1pm to 4pm.  In order to make the process as easy as possible when going to the testing site make sure you have a pen, everyone in the vehicle is wearing a mask when you get there and be prepared to receive a phone call from an unknown number soon after the test to get your results.

COVID-19 Update:  From Friday at 4 pm, Genesee County has 50 new cases and 29 people have recovered.  15 of the new cases are at the Grand rehab and Nursing Facility.  15 people are hospitalized.  Orleans county has 24 new cases and 6 people have recovered.  8 people are hospitalized.  We are saddened to report that 3 people at the Grand have passed away from COVID.  There are 183 active cases in Genesee county and 77 in Orleans.

Congressman Chris Jacobs gave a floor speech in the House on Friday calling on House Democrats to approve a COVID relief extension of the paycheck protection program.  Jacobs called for the release of the already approved 138 billion dollars in CARES act funds which were not used in the first round of aid.  The extension would set a new deadline for applications allowing people to apply to receive the funds to save small businesses.  A report earlier in the week showed that 30 percent of NY small businesses were shutting down permanently because of the COVID shutdowns.

Former Army Air Corps Veteran reissued membership to the club no one wants to join at his 106th birthday.  Sydney Cole bailed out of a damaged piper cub over Belgium into Nazi Germany held territory on January, 2nd, 1945 and survived by using his parachute.  This made him eligible to join the caterpillar club, a club exclusively for people who have had to bail out of an aircraft that was going down and use a parachute and survive.  The caterpillar refers to the silk used to make the parachutes.  He received a plaque, the caterpillar pin and framed copies of his certificate and application from 1945 after he spent 3 months in a German prison camp.

Byron Bergen 5th Grader Ruthie Kuipers won 1st place in the WEGO region play to get fit challenge with a whopping 4,279 minutes or 71 and a third hours of recorded activity.  All elementary schools in the Glow  region participated and all participants received a certificate.

Afternoon News Brief

Friday Afternoon COVID-19 Update:  Genesee County has 50 new cases and 29 people have recovered.  15 of the new cases are at the Grand rehab and Nursing Facility.  15 people are hospitalized.  Orleans county has 24 new cases and 6 people have recovered.  8 people are hospitalized.  We are saddened to report that 3 people at the Grand have passed away from COVID.  There are 183 active cases in Genesee county and 77 in Orleans.

A person who tested COVID positive was at Eli Fish on Wednesday November 25th from 6-845pm.   Also a person who was COVID-19 positive was at Mariachi De Oro in Medina Wednesday between 3pm and 8pm and Thursday between 11am and 12pm.  If you were at these businesses during any of these times please monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days.

The results of the STOP DWI work over the thanksgiving holiday where Police were out in force to catch people who drove while intoxicated have been released for New York state.  155 people were arrested and over 14 thousand tickets were handed out.  757 crashes happened over the 4 day holiday but only 3 deaths.  The stop DWI program lowers traffic fatalities by over 20 percent each year.

38 year old Matthew Maniace of Fargo Rd in Bethany was arrested December 2nd for driving with ability impaired by drugs with a prior conviction, criminal possession of a controlled substance, obstruction of government administration, moving from a lane unsafely and petit larceny.  He was in an accident on Prole Rd Extension in Stafford, he attempted to flee from police and toxicology results showed he had drugs in his system.  He was also found in possession of drugs and had allegedly stolen keys and a tow hitch from a truck after saying he would fix it.

Project Stork, a non profit organization that helps mothers of newborns with diapers, and baby care items in Oakfield has received a grant form the east Hill Foundation to provide diapers once a month to over 200 families.  Nearly one in three families nationwide struggle to afford diapers for their babies. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the problem worse, with diapers sometimes out of stock in stores. Project Stork appreciates donations as well as drop offs of diapers, baby wipes, baby soap and lotion. For more information, go to www.projectstorkinc.org or call Project Stork at (585) 590 – 6626. Follow on Facebook.

Genesee county 4-h is accepting registrations for the 2021 4h tractor safety program.  The program is open to people 14 years and up and covers farm safety, tractor safety, tractor operation and other related topics.  The program is scheduled to run Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., January through April at farm machinery dealerships throughout Genesee County. All New York health and safety guidelines that are in place at the time of the program will be followed.

Afternoon News Brief

Genesee County held its first asymptomatic COVID testing today for people exhibiting no COVID symptoms.  The tests are rapid self administered tests that take only 15 minutes to get results.  In the first hour of today’s testing, three positive cases were detected.  Public Health Director Paul Petit explains the significance:

The ground shook near Buffalo a few weeks ago, now the air is shaking as well near Syracuse.  A large boom that shook homes just after noon turned out to be a meteor that exploded above central New York between Syracuse and Lake Ontario…so says Robert Lunsford, who tracks meteor activity for the American Meteor Society, which was founded in Geneseo.  On Wednesday evening, NASA’s Meteor Watch group confirmed the incident on Facebook, saying at 12:08 p.m., “A large meteoroid entered Earth’s atmosphere over upper New York, between Rochester and Syracuse.” The site said the meteor was clocked traveling westward at 56,000 miles per hour and broke into pieces at an altitude of about 22 miles, “producing a bright flash seen by the public and cameras in the area.”  A video shot from the top of CN Tower in Toronto shows a bright flash that momentarily blanks out the sky.  Central New Yorkers as far away as Oswego hear it but didn’t see it because of the overcast conditions.

The Genesee Choral is putting on a virtual concert on December 19th called On earth Peace.  This 30 minute online choral performance will be broadcast at 7 pm on Saturday the 19th and tickets are 5 dollars.  Selections will feature the entire Genesee Chorale as well as select ensembles of its members, culminating in a full choir performance of “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”  If you can’t watch the night of, you can still buy tickets and watch later using the same link.

Genesee county park and forest’s Create-A-Critter is CANCELLED due to COVID-19 for this Saturday December 5th. Both the morning and the afternoon sessions are cancelled.

Bills linebacker AJ Klein has been named AFC defensive Player of the week for week 12.  He got 14 tackles on Sunday against the chargers, 1 and a half sacks which makes him the team leader with 5 sacks total.  He is one of only 2 players with over 50 tackles and 5 sacks in the entire NFL so far this season.

Morning News Briefing

 

The WNY National Cemetery in Pembroke, which was dedicated in a ceremony earlier this week is now accepting reservations for interments for deceased qualified veterans, according to a spokesman for Veterans Affairs. The chief of public affairs and outreach for the VA’s National Cemetery Administration said families and funeral directors who wish to schedule interments can do so by calling the National Cemetery Scheduling Office. Interment dates and times are determined on a first-come, first-served basis in accordance with the family’s wishes and available time slots at the cemetery.

News of Pfizer…and Moderna…moving forward with their FDA requests for vaccine Emergency Use Authorizations….giving millions of Americans hope…that life can return to normal. The same, of course, true for lawmakers, who hope to see their states’ economies recover. Governor Cuomo Wednesday saying…it’s been assured there will be enough vaccines for every New Yorker.

COVID-19 has claimed another life in Genesee County. Health officials say the latest victim was under the age of 65. Meanwhile, another 44 cases have been confirmed. The new infections include people who live in Alexander, Batavia, Byron, Le Roy, Oakfield and Pembroke. Thirteen people remain hospitalized. Orleans County reports nine new cases and Wyoming County confirms 18 new cases.

M&T Bank expressed their appreciation to the Elba community by providing it with two new pieces of play apparatus, mulch and two trees for the Village Park in addition to a Little Free Library in front of the Village Office. Installation of the play apparatus and mulch was a project completed as part of the 2019 United Way Day of Caring. The recognition ceremony and plaque presentation were delayed this year due to COVID-19. Village officials thanked Bank representatives through the presentation of a plaque, which will be hung in the ATM vestibule located at the former M&T Bank on Route 98. The former bank is being retrofitted by the Town of Elba for the relocation of their offices.

The City of Batavia and the Batavia Police Department are asking city residents to participate in an online survey…the results of which will be used in formulating the department’s response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order, which requires police departments across New York State to submit reform plans to the state by April 1. The online survey can be accessed on the city’s website – just click on the police tab. The survey is just one component of the various outreach and engagement efforts being conducted by the Batavia Police Advisory Collaboration Stakeholder Group. The Stakeholder Group has met several times with the next meeting scheduled for Dec. 10th.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced that DEC gift cards and electronic gift certificates for stays and services at all DEC campgrounds are now available for purchase online. DEC camping gift cards are physical cards mailed to the designated recipient. Electronic gift certificates will be emailed to the purchaser for printing and/or emailing to the recipient. DEC operates 52 campgrounds and five day-use areas in the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves.

Police departments received reports Wednesday afternoon of a large boom that shook homes and led to a loud blast. Turns out it was likely a meteor that exploded and disintegrated in midair above Syracuse around noontime…so says Robert Lunsford, who tracks meteor activity for the American Meteor Society, which was founded in Geneseo, Livingston County. On Wednesday evening, NASA’s Meteor Watch group confirmed the incident on Facebook, saying at 12:08 p.m., “A large meteoroid entered Earth’s atmosphere over upper New York, between Rochester and Syracuse.” The site said the meteor was clocked traveling westward at 56,000 miles per hour and broke into pieces at an altitude of about 22 miles, “producing a bright flash seen by the public and cameras in the area.”

Batavia Asks Residents to Complete Police Reform Survey

The City of Batavia and the Batavia Police Department are asking city residents to participate in an on-line survey the results of which will be used in formulating the department’s response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 203 which requires police departments across New York State to submit reform plans to the state by April 1, 2021.

The on-line survey can be accessed at https://s.surveyplanet.com/N50gQHVin.  It is anticipated that filling out the survey will take approximately 5 minutes.

The survey is just one component of the various outreach and engagement efforts being conducted by the Batavia Police Advisory Collaboration Stakeholder Group.  The Stakeholder Group has met several times with the next meeting scheduled for December 10th at a venue still to be determined because of concerns about the increasing COVID infection rates.

“Community feedback and input is a critical component of our efforts in developing our plan,” said City of Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch.  “We realize that not every resident has reliable on-line access so various members of the stakeholder group are going to assist residents to fill out the survey.”

The survey asks residents to answer various questions, including the nature of their last interaction with the police department and how they would rate that experience; a series of questions based on a 1-5 rating as to whether they strongly agree or strongly disagree with various statements about the police department; a list of options as far as what the police department should be prioritizing; whether or not assigning non-law enforcement professionals should respond to certain 911 calls; and, various demographic information among others.

“Public input is crucial to understanding the community’s feelings about our police force. We look forward to utilizing the survey results to further the planning process we have undertaken with the Batavia Police Collaboration Stakeholder Group,” said Rachael Tabelski, Interim City Manager.

The City will be working with strategic partners in the community, including the City of Batavia School District, faith-based organizations, the Batavia Housing Authority, the Batavia Business Improvement District and others to push the survey out.

The survey will be on-line from Wednesday, December 2nd – Wednesday, December 9th. Preliminary results will be shared with the Stakeholder Group at its December 10th meeting and then a final report will be made public after the results have been tabulated.

 

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Afternoon News Brief

Today Governor Cuomo Announced that 170 thousand doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be delivered to New York State by December 15th.  Cuomo also said the state expects additional allocations of Pfizer’s vaccine and initial allocations of Moderna’s vaccine this month.  The vaccine will be distributed first to healthcare workers and nursing home residents.  Officials said by the end of December there is expected to be 40 million vaccine doses available nationwide, enough for 20 million people to receive two doses. This is about 6 percent of America.  Cuomo said that we could be back to normal by between June and September when 75 to 85 percent of the population will be able to be vaccinated.

Genesee county is offering free drive through testing for COVID 19 to asymptomatic individuals starting Thursday.  Self-administrated rapid tests can be had at the Genesee county emergency management office and fire training facility at 7690 State Street in Batavia.  If you think you have been exposed but don’t have any symptoms you can request a test online at the NYS health department website.

COVID Update: Genesee county has 8 new cases and 126 people have recovered.  12 people are hospitalized.  Orleans county has 9 new cases and 11 people have recovered.  6 people are hospitalized.  There are 207 active cases in Genesee county and 37 in Orleans.

The newly dedicated national cemetery in Pembroke is now accepting reservations for interments.  The plots are only available for deceased qualified veterans and dates and times are on a first come first serve basis.  This cemetery was dedicated on Monday and is the only national cemetery in wester Ny.

Free COVID Testing Offered in County

News Release

Editors Note: This release was prepared by Earl Wells e3communications, a private Public Relations firm paid by Genesee County.

Genesee County will offer residents, who are asymptomatic (no symptoms, not feeling sick, etc.), with free drive-thru COVID-19 self-administered rapid testing on Thursday, December 3, 2020 at the Genesee County Emergency Management Office & Fire Training Facility, at 7690 State Street Road in the Town of Batavia.  The free testing will be offered from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For anyone with a recent potential exposure to COVID-19, it is not recommended to be tested until at least 5 days have passed since the exposure. Anyone with any cold or flu-like symptoms, even if mild, will not be eligible for this test, and neither will any others arriving in their car.

Those interested in scheduling a test must register on-line at https://on.ny.gov/3qihbhF.

Anyone needing additional help for online registration may contact the Genesee County Health Department at 585-344-2580 ext. 5555.
“It is very important to note that this testing is not for residents who are experiencing symptoms. Those individuals should be contacting their physician to discuss treatment and testing options,” said Paul A. Pettit, MSL, CPH, Genesee and Orleans County Public Health Director.  “Given the surge of infections in the county, it’s important that we identify those who are infected that may not be demonstrating any symptoms and in fact are feeling fine.”

At the drive-thru site, a staff member for the testing center will offer guidance for residents to administer their own self-test by using a cotton swab.  Each person in a vehicle will self-administer their own test; if there is a minor in the car an adult in the vehicle will be asked to administer the test.  People will then drive off and will be contacted via phone with the results, with option for these results to be emailed as well.

“If a person who is asymptomatic tests positive for the virus, he or she will need to be in isolation for a minimum of 10 days,” Pettit continued.  “While this might discourage people from getting tested, we need to work together as a community to reduce the surge, plus someone who is asymptomatic can still infect a loved one who is not.”

Morning News Briefing

The Problem Solvers Caucus and a bipartisan group of Senators have announced a four-month bipartisan, emergency relief framework that will help American students, families, small businesses, workers, and health care providers during this COVID crisis. The Problem Solvers Caucus, 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans, helped develop the bicameral package. The framework allocates $908 billion in total aid, including both new funding and the reallocation of previously appropriated CARES Act funding.

The Batavia City Council is looking to fill a part-time City Court Judge position. The job is appointed by City Council to serve a six (6) year term and will be effective Jan. 1. Minimum qualifications require candidates to be an attorney in the State of New York for at least five years as of the date he or she commences the duties of the office and must be a resident of the City of Batavia.

Some drivers on the New York State Thruway can expect to pay a little more in the new year. A proposal for new toll rates was approved by the Thruway Advisory Board, and is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1. Under the plan, those paying tolls via mail will be charged 30% more than the E-ZPass toll rate. There will also be a $2 administrative surcharge on each billing statement. Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew Driscoll said they haven’t imposed a toll adjustment in 10 years.

Rochester Regional Health is looking to extend its reach in Genesee County through the construction of a four-story, 140,000-square foot office building at 8103 Oak Orchard Road (Route 98) in the Town of Batavia. Dan Ireland is chief executive officer of United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia…He said “This campus is the latest step in Rochester Regional Health’s plan to expand access to care.”

Eight new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Genesee County. That brings the total number of cases since March in Genesee to 1,041. A dozen people remain hospitalized. 126 people have recovered and removed from the isolation list. In Orleans County, nine new cases were confirmed. Thirty new cases have been confirmed since Monday in Wyoming County.

Due to the local surge of COVID case numbers, UR Medicine is curtailing some non-essential surgeries. In an email to employees, the head of the hospital system says it believes it is at a point where this is necessary. Decisions will be made case by case and day by day. UR Medicine says a team of surgeons and people in leadership roles will meet daily to review the next day’s plan and discuss the best approach.

Afternoon News Brief

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo has a new Bishop, Michael W Fisher.  He is the 15th bishop of Buffalo and was appointed to the position by Pope Francis.  Fisher comes into a tough situation as many lawsuits over sexual abuse by clergy over several decades have caused the Diocese to declare bankruptcy.  The Movement to Restore Trust, a catholic organization that is working to rebuild the Catholic Church in Buffalo says that Fisher must work to bring healing and reconciliation to the church and community.

COVID update: Genesee county had 127 new cases spread out over 6 days and Orleans county had 36.  15 of the new cases in Genesee county are residents at the Grand rehab and nursing center.  37 people in Orleans county have recovered.  1 person in Genesee county over the age of 65 passed away form the virus.  More number are expected later today as the Health departments process the information from the long holiday weekend.

Governor Cuomo signed legislation on Monday that makes it so the descendants of people who have passed away have the right to control the publicity of their deceased relatives.  This means that the images and video of the deceased cannot be used in public ads or media unless they get the say so from their descendants.  It also creates penalties for explicit images and false media using images of the dead.

The Batavia city council is looking for a new part time judge for a 6 year term starting January 1st.  If you are an attorney who can practice in New York state and have been for at least 5 years you can submit a letter of interest to City Council President Eugene Jankowski by December 9th.

Ready for some Monday night football?  The Buffalo Bills will be playing against the San Francisco 49ers, a team without a home at the moment, in Arizona at the State Farm Field on Monday at 8:15pm.  There is a ban on Santa Clara County, where the 49ers hail from, on all professional and collegiate sports where there is physical contact.

Batavia Seeks Part-time City Court Judge

The City Council is seeking to fill a part-time City Court Judge position.  This position is appointed by City Council to serve a six (6) year term and will be effective January 1, 2021. The appontment will fill the post last held by David Saleh, who passed away on Oct 29, 2020.

Minimum qualifications require candidates to be an attorney admitted to practice law in the State of New York for at least five (5) years as of the date he or she commences the duties of the office and must be a resident of the City of Batavia.

All interested candidates please submit a letter of interest and resume to:

City Court Judge

Attn: City Council President Eugene Jankowski, Jr.

One Batavia City Centre

Batavia, New York 14020

 

Resumes and letters of interest are due by 4:30 PM on December 9, 2020.  Please provide 10 hard copies of your materials directly to the City Manager’s office as well as an electronic copy.

 

If there are any questions, please contact:

 

Office of the City Manager

One Batavia City Centre

Batavia, New York 14020

Phone: (585) 345-6330

Fax: (585) 343-8182

E-mail: rtabelski@batavianewyork.com

Morning News Briefing

There are no weather alerts for Genesee County right now, but you’ll still want to pay attention for some potential slick spots on the roads later today. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Wyoming County, where 4-8 inches of snow could pile up. A Winter Storm Warning is also in effect for southern Erie, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley of Batavia and Sen. Robert Ortt of North Tonawanda are celebrating passage of their legislation which designates a portion of New York State Route 31 in the town of Albion as the “Charles W. Howard Memorial Highway.” Howard was a lifelong resident of Albion, nationally recognized as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Santa Claus for 18 years and founder of the world’s first Santa Claus school. Hawley and Ortt say they were thrilled to honor Howard (Santa Claus) for his achievements and dedication to the community.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that $6.7 million in federal funding is available from the Marine Fisheries Relief Program established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act to assist New York’s marine fishing industry following extensive economic losses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible seafood, commercial marine fishing, and marine recreational for-hire fishing businesses will be able to apply for the funding today, to help provide financial relief for this hard-hit and crucially important industry.

Since last Wednesday, Genesee County has recorded 127 new coronavirus cases. Fifteen of the new positive individuals are residents at The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Batavia and seven of the new positive individuals are from the Batavia VA Medical Center. The county is also reporting one additional COVID death. In Orleans County, 36 new COVID cases have been confirmed. Wyoming County health officials are reporting 26 new cases since Friday.

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.13, up 2 cents from one week ago. One year ago, the price was $2.59. AAA of Western and Central New York reports Batavia prices are at $2.19, up 1 cent since last week.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is urging people to remain vigilant and smart during the holiday season – as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations climb. Cuomo, speaking to reporters Monday, introduced a series of directives to hospitals that will help them gather the staff, PPE, equipment and space needed if hospitalization rates get worse. Elective surgeries will be canceled starting Friday in Erie County. Governor Cuomo says elective surgeries in other parts of the state might have to be canceled if more hospitals get overwhelmed.

Thousands of people were without power Monday afternoon amid a power outage in areas west of Rochester. National Grid customers in Genesee, Monroe, and Livingston Counties reported more than 10,000 customers without power Monday afternoon. That included more than 5,000 customers in Genesee County. The cause of the outage has not been disclosed.

Afternoon News Brief

Governor Cuomo is worried that the covid cases will continue to climb as we go into flu season and the winter months and is outlining new strategies to fight the spread of the virus.  One new idea is that all hospitals in the state must, effective immediately, identify retired nurses and doctors and be ready to press them into service if there is a shortage.  Also hospitals are ordered to increase their capacity by at least 50 percent.  Cuomo stressed that testing materials need to be handed out in a racially equitable manner although he didn’t specify what this means.  Schools k-8 will be kept open as long as possible as the science doesn’t seem to show covid spreading in schools or between children.  The state is putting out a public information campaign to address people gathering in homes and in small groups.  Bars, restaurants and hair salons are not showing as vectors for viral spread so the focus switches to homes and parties.  The information campaign will encourage people not to gather and to put others first.  Cuomo announced that Erie county hospitals will stop elective surgeries on Friday.

It wasn’t just the wind.  The Batavia First Presbyterian Church sign that reads “God Loves Everyone, No Exceptions” in rainbow letters keeps getting knocked down by vandals and the church would like your help finding the culprit.  It happens at night and police and members have yet to catch the person or persons in the act.  Batavia city police are stepping up nighttime drive-by’s to try and protect the sign.

Vet’s National Cemetery in Pembroke Dedicated

Sen Charles Schumer (D-NY)

It has taken almost a decade but the National Cemetery in Pembroke was dedicated today and ready to provide a final resting place for Western New York veterans.

The dedication was held this morning at the site of the cemetery on Indian Falls Road in Pembroke.

Schumer was joined by Veteran’s Administration officials and Western New York veterans.  The establishment of the nation’s newest Veterans’ Cemetery had been long-sought to honor the more than 77,000 veterans and family members in this region who will now have a proper military burial at a site close to their homes.

This Veterans’ Cemetery will be the first and only of its kind in the Buffalo-Rochester area and will save military families from having to travel more than 100 miles in some cases to what was previously the closest Veterans’ Cemetery in Bath, NY.

From Schumer News Release:

“Today at long last, veterans across Western New York will have a fitting resting place and eternal place of honor right here in the very community they dedicated their lives to defend and serve. Dedicating this hallowed ground today answers the call of veterans who organized over a decade ago for a local National Cemetery. I was proud to take up their call and work alongside them to now realize this day. Now a grieving family will not be left to travel over 200 miles from their home to bury or visit their loved ones. Now the veterans of Western New York who have done so much for us and our nation will have a proper burial, at a National Cemetery close to their home, family and thankful community. The Western New York National Cemetery is a testament to the thousands of veterans across this region, who through their service and sacrifice in defense of our nation, have earned a place in our nation’s newest national shrine. “ 

 Schumer has long fought to make the Western New York National Veterans Cemetery a reality.  Beginning in the 2000s and culminating in 2009 Schumer, together with various veterans groups, led the charge to bring a much-needed veterans’ cemetery to Western New York arguing that a lack of a national veterans’ cemetery within a 75-mile radius of Buffalo and Rochester meant that it was long past time for the underserved veterans and family members living in Western New York to have a fitting burial option closer to home.  A group of veterans started the process to get a cemetery dedicated for veterans in Western New York in the mid-2000s.  The group, organized by Erie County Veteran and Advocate Dr. Patrick Welch gathered over 10,000 signatures that he and other veterans provided to Senator Schumer that called for the establishment of a veteran’s cemetery in Western New York.  For several years, Schumer worked hard alongside the veteran’s community of Western New York to push the U.S. Veterans Affairs Administration to establish a National Veterans Cemetery in WNY. In 2010, the VA responded and announced it would establish a new veteran’s cemetery in Western New York as there where at least 80,000 veterans that resided at least 75-miles from the National Veterans Cemetery in Bath, NY which is the closest existing cemetery but still more than 100 miles away from Western New York.   

 In 2019 Schumer secured an additional $10 million that they VA said it would require to complete the cemetery’s Phase 1 construction.  In January of 2018, Schumer called on the VA to complete the final acquisitions of two land parcels of 60-acres and 77-acres respectively in Pembroke, New York, needed to create the cemetery and one month later announced the VA had done so. In 2016, Schumer announced that following his push $36 million in federal funding for the construction phase of the cemetery in Western New York had been secured and included in the final continuing resolution (CR) package.

Morning News Briefing

Like so many parts of our lives, Special Santa has moved online due to COVID-19. And the Hillside Family of Agencies is calling on the communities they serve to help make this program successful once again. Hillside has an office in Batavia, which serves children and families in Genesee County. For more than 35 years, the Special Santa program has brought together countless thousands of generous individuals, businesses and volunteers in a shared act of community spirit. COVID-19 prompted the 2020 program to shift to an all-online model that asks the community to use Amazon Smile Charity Lists that have been created by Hillside staff this season. Each of the 19 lists features specific gift requests made by youth in the programs. Supporters can also make monetary donations to help defray program costs.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced the release of a draft Deer Management Plan for New York State for public review and comment. He says the plan builds upon the progress made by DEC’s first deer management plan, released in 2011, and will guide DEC’s deer management actions to balance natural resource protection, public safety, and recreational and economic interests for the next 10 years. The draft plan is available on DEC’s website and public comments will be accepted through Dec. 28.

Court action is pending for a Batavia man following his arrest on a warrant. State Troopers say they took 24-year-old Jacob Russell into custody. He was charged with bail jumping. After processing, he was released on his own recognizance.

A group of state lawmakers representing the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes, and Western New York are welcoming Governor Andrew Cuomo’s veto of legislation that they had recently warned would jeopardize the ability of local governments to accomplish critical stream and infrastructure protection projects if enacted. The governor vetoed the legislation late Friday. They and other opponents argued that the measure would force the reclassification of tens of thousands of miles of New York State streams and result in a more time-consuming, costly, overregulated, redundant, and impractical state-level permitting process for stream-related projects involving flood repair and mitigation, bridge and culvert maintenance, farmland protection, and other public works priorities.

The Buffalo Bills on Sunday defeated the Chargers 27-17. Buffalo improves to 8-3 on the season.

The National Weather Service says brace for the rain today. A storm system will bring a soaking rain with a general three quarters of an inch to an inch expected, and may result in ponding of water in poor drainage areas.

The Monroe County Department of Public Health reported a record number of COVID-19 cases Saturday. 515 positive coronavirus tests were confirmed since Friday, according to the county. Eight percent of people tested positive, according to the county dashboard. That’s the highest total since May 1 when 10.8 percent of people tested positive.

Congressman Chris Jacobs is calling for Congress to remain in Washington, D.C., until a new COVID-19 relief bill is passed. This comes as the Democratic leadership in the House released an amended legislative schedule with fewer voting days prior to the holidays. In a statement, Jacobs said “The idea that Congress should go home for the holidays and wait until the new year when a new presidential administration takes office is reprehensible.”  He added that…he has spoken with restaurants, small businesses, families, and local elected officials – and he can say with full authority there isn’t time left.

Weekend News Brief

NY State COVID Update: Positivity rates in micro cluster zones have increased from 4.9 percent to 5.69 percent and the NY state average has increased from 3.18 percent to 3.72 percent.  39 people passed away from COVID on Friday.  Genesee Orleans county health departments will report cases from Thursday through Monday on November 30th.

Wyoming County Community Health system has released new restrictions to hospital visitation to better deal with COVID.  Only one person and a doula will be allowed in labor and delivery, Pediatric patients can have one support person at a time, Endo of life and medically necessary patients can only have one visitor at a time.  Surgery patients cannot have visitors but must be dropped off at the entrance of the hospital and picked up afterwards at the entrance.  They want to assure all patients that the emergency rooms and hospitals are safe and there is no reason to delay if you have a medical need or emergency.

The new cashless tolling system is up and running on the thruway and this has left many asking what happened to the toll workers?  The State Thruway Authority set up career development and training opportunities for those who would be losing their jobs.  There was tuition assistance, CDL training, and civil service exams given.  Workers were given 3 years notice.  Even with all that the thruway employee union has 346 part-time employees, 64 full-time employees and 15 managers all filing for unemployment as there are no other state jobs they could take or were qualified for.  There are so far no other moves from the state to help thee workers find alternate employment.

Even though black Friday has passed many businesses keep the sales going through the end of the month or even longer.  There has never been a more important time to shop local!  Our news partner the Batavian has a list of all the local restaurants and food related businesses and their hours and services.  Also be sure to check out local business and see what great things they have to offer.

With holiday shopping moving mostly online there are a lot of scams to watch out for.  Here are some tips to avoid getting bilked of your money: Try to avoid third-party websites.  Shop where you’ve shopped before.  If you have to make an account to purchase from a website, use a unique password.  Pay with a credit card or paypal if possible.  Follow your gut! If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.  And of course, you can shop local from people you can trust and buying items you can hold in your hand at time of purchase.

Afternoon News Brief

Governor Cuomo is under fire for not obeying the hiring freeze in his own administration during the state budget crisis.  The governor hired 4 former democratic presidential campaign staffers for 567 thousand dollars, 2 of them are speech writers.  Also, Governor Cuomo and several staffers received raises that had been approved before the pandemic even while denying raises to state workers regardless of whether they had been preapproved or not.  EJ McMahon, research director for Empire Center for Public Policy, says that “This is a case of the governor just doing what he wants.  The message is, ‘Do as we say, not as we do.'”

There will be no COVID updates until Monday November 30th when the Genesee Orleans county health departments will come back from holiday break.  Roughly 7000 new cases were reported in New York State on Thanksgiving.  The highest number of one day cases reported was back in April at about 12 thousand.  69 people passed away from COVID-19 on thanksgiving in the empire state.  Numbers are expected to increase after the large number of gatherings over the holiday and into Christmas and winter holiday celebrations.

Cuomo has a plan for the winter season and COVID during the snowy months.  He says that the micro cluster plan will continue and hospitalizations and ICU capacities will be added as factors to determine whether an area should be classified as yellow orange or red.  Cuomo says that “Criticality has to weigh hospital capacity, and infection rate in a place that has a shortage of hospital beds is more serious than an infection rate in a place that has fewer hospital beds.”  The second part of Cuomo’s plan is to keep schools open as much as possible saying that schools are safer than the surrounding community.  The final part is a vaccine distribution plan. As of now, New York has a five phase approach. The plan has some healthcare and nursing home workers in the first phase, various essential workers and at risk groups in the middle phases, and healthy adults and children in the final phase.

The Department of Environmental Conservation of New York State has released a draft for a new statewide deer management plan and opened it up to public comments until December 28th.  There are many points to the new plan including dealing with deer diseases and population, encouraging nonleaded ammunition, added hunting opportunities and trainings and citizen science monitoring of deer environmental impact.  You can read it on the state DEC website and comments can be sent to wildlife@dec.ny.gov with “deer plan” the subject line.

Buffalo Bills Offensive Lineman Cody Ford will be out the rest of the season after a torn meniscus.  Surgery and rehab are expected to take 3 to 4 months.

Morning News Briefing

It’s Black Friday…although honestly this year, I’m not sure what that means. We have Black Friday, Black Friday week and even Black Friday Month. Whatever you choose to do today, we just ask that you be safe and responsible…something our parents told us years ago!

The Village of LeRoy has selected Greg Kellogg to replace outgoing chief Chris Hayward. Kellogg is expected to grab the reins of the 18-member agency on January 9th. Hayward proudly has more than three decades of service.

Police across New York told us, drink and drive during the holiday…and you’ll have a bad day. That was the case for an Albion man who was pulled over in the Village of Albion. State Police arrested 54-year-old Joseph Koneski of Albion. He was charged with felony DWI, felony first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation and a lesser count of circumventing an ignition interlock device. He’ll appear in court at a later date to explain.

The mother of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has died after acquiring COVID-19 while being hospitalized for a heart condition. In a statement, Warren said her mother died from complications from congestive heart failure and COVID-19. She said her mother contracted the virus in the hospital. The elder Warren, a native of South Carolina, was 71.

The Genesee County Chamber’s Annual Awards Committee is accepting nominations for the 2020 Annual Awards Ceremony. The Awards Ceremony is the County’s premier event that honors businesses and individuals for their achievements in business, community service and volunteerism. Nominations are now being accepted for Business of the Year-Entrepreneurial Business of the Year-Agricultural Business of the Year-Innovative Enterprise of the Year-Special Service Recognition & Geneseeans of the Year. Business Nominees must be a Chamber Member. Nomination forms are available at the Chamber of Commerce office on Park Road in Batavia and can also be downloaded from the Chamber website. Nominations MUST BE RECEIVED BY Dec. 30 to be eligible for consideration.

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, both Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments were closed yesterday and are closed again today. They will not be updating the COVID websites or the maps today and over the weekend. The next update will be Monday afternoon. As of late Wednesday, 34 new positive cases were recorded in Genesee County and 11 in Orleans County.

Afternoon News Brief

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo was expected to expand the yellow and orange zones and possibly make Erie county into a red zone today at press briefings in Rochester and Buffalo.  Also anticipated was Genesee county being designated a yellow zone.  He did not add to any of the micro cluster areas or designate any new ones.  He defended the orange zone restrictions in Rochester when officials said that spread of COVID-19 was coming from private gatherings and not from businesses because, Cuomo says, closing businesses is easier to enforce, even if spread is not happening there.  “I would say to the health commissioner, you have a 257% increase,” said Cuomo. “Obviously, you haven’t figured out what’s causing it, and if you have, you haven’t stopped it.”

COVID Update:  Genesee county has 64 new cases and 30 people have recovered.  13 people are hospitalized and 1 person under the age of 65 has died.  Orleans county has 5 new cases and 6 people have recovered.  2 people are hospitalized.  Genesee county reached the milestone of over 200 active cases for the first time with 201, and Orleans County has 34 active cases.

New York State legislature is pushing a permanent expansion of mail in voting.  A proposed constitutional amendment would do away with the rule limiting absentee voting to people who are ill, have a physical disability or will be out-of-town on Election Day.  The proposal could be up for a referendum by next fall.

The unemployment rate for Genesee County rose to 5.1% last month, which is up 1.7% from last October.  Rates in Orleans and Wyoming were also higher than one year ago. Overall in New York, the State’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.6% in October.  By comparison, the state rate was 3.7% in October 2019.

Tompkins Bank is donating thousands of dollars to for what they are calling “Banksgiving”.  Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Insurance Agencies and Tompkins Financial advisors are donating a total of $7,500 to several food pantries, churches and school districts throughout Western New York.  In Genesee County the organizations getting the money are City Church and Hope Center.

Veterinarians say pet owners should double-check before sharing any holiday leftovers with their furry friends this Thanksgiving.  The SPCA released a list this week of common Thanksgiving foods that are generally safe to share with pets.  According to the list, turkey is acceptable as long as it’s boneless and well-cooked, but raw bread dough can be fatal, and pets should be kept away from desserts containing chocolate or raw eggs.

Chamber Calls for Nominations

The Genesee County Chamber Chamber of Commerce’s  Annual Awards Committee is accepting nominations for the “2020” Annual Awards Ceremony.  Unfortunately, our original date for the event of February 27, 2021 will have to be adjusted due to the Covid Pandemic that does not allow gathering of more than 50 people.

The Chamber does plan on hosting this event however, the date is to be determined and the look will most likely be very different this year.  It is very important to the Chamber to continue to honor Businesses & Geneseeans especially during this most trying time.

The Awards Ceremony is the County’s premier event that honors businesses and individuals for their achievements in business, community service and volunteerism.

Please note that a brief write up will qualify your nominee for consideration.  Nominations are now being accepted for Business of the Year, Entrepreneurial Business of the Year, Agricultural Business of the Year, Innovative Enterprise of the Year, Special Service Recognition & Geneseeans of the Year.  Business Nominees must be a Chamber Member (If unsure of your nominee, call the Chamber to verify).

Nomination forms are available at the Chamber of Commerce office, 8276 Park Road, Batavia and can also be down loaded from the Chamber Website at www.geneseeny.com.

Nominations MUST BE RECEIVED BY December 30, 2020 to be eligible for consideration.

 If you would like more information, feel free to call or email Kelly J. Bermingham, Director of Member Relations & Special Events at the Chamber office, 343-7440, ext. 1026, kbermingham@geneseeny.com.

Morning News Briefing

If you drink, then drive…expect a sad and expensive holiday. The Genesee County STOP-DWI Coordinator says the County Sheriff’s Office and the City of Batavia Police Department are participating in the statewide enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving. The statewide efforts begin now and will end on Sunday. Research shows that high-visibility enforcement can reduce impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. Sobriety checkpoints play a key part in raising awareness about the problem. New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force. Don’t say you were warned…again.

Genesee County health officials report 64 new COVID-19 cases. Those newly infected live in Alabama, Alexander, Batavia, Bergen, Bethany, Byron, Darien, Elba, Le Roy, Oakfield, Pavilion, Pembroke and Stafford. Thirteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Genesee County also reports another death. Officials said the victim was under the age of 65. Orleans County reports five new cases and Wyoming County reports 12 new cases.

Following the designation of Monroe County’s new orange zone, Strong Memorial and Highland Hospital are enacting zero-visitation policies. UR Medicine says both hospitals fall in the orange zone, and the decision is being made to help flatten the local COVID-19 curve. Highland Hospital has already suspended visitation, while Strong Memorial’s restrictions will go into effect today at 8 p.m. There are some exceptions to the zero-visitor policies. These include cases involving pediatric patients, patients in labor or postpartum, end of life circumstances and instances involving patients living with cognitive issues.

The Genesee County Health Department is alerting the public to possible COVID-19 exposures at the Le Roy Moose Lodge and the Flying J Travel Center in Pembroke. Contact tracing is in progress; however unidentified individuals may have unknowingly been in contact with the positive cases. For the Le Roy Moose Lodge, possible infections occurred on Monday, Nov. 16th between the hours of 8 and 10 p.m., Friday, Nov. 20th between the hour of 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 21st between the hours of 4 and 7 p.m. At the Flying J Travel Center – Tuesday, Nov 17th between the hours of 3 and 10 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 18th between the hours of 3 and 11 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 19th between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Health officials say if you were at the Le Roy Moose Lodge or the Flying J Travel Center on those dates and times, you should monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

A group of state lawmakers representing the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes, and Western New York are calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto legislation that, if enacted, would significantly expand New York’s regulatory process governing stream-related projects. The bill was approved by both houses of the Legislature earlier this year. It was delivered to the governor for final action late last week. If enacted, opponents said the legislation would force the reclassification of thousands of New York State streams and result in a more time-consuming, costly, overregulated, and impractical state-level permitting process for stream-related projects involving flood repair and mitigation, bridge and culvert maintenance, farmland protection, and other public works priorities.

Deal with the pandemic. That’s what New Yorkers told a Siena Poll they want the governor and the state Legislature to focus on in the new year. Nearly half of respondents pointed to the pandemic as their top priority, and 60 percent included it in their top two. A strong majority — regardless of party, region, race, age, religion, gender, or even who they supported in the presidential election — said if the FDA approves a COVID-19 vaccine, they will definitely, or at least probably, get it. According to the poll, Gov. Cuomo’s favorability rating has slipped slightly, but still remains highly positive — as does his handling of the pandemic.

Afternoon News Brief

Genesee County is the worst performing county in the Finger Lakes Region as far as COVID-19 case positivity is concerned.  Genesee Orleans county health director Paul Petit says that he is concerned of Genesee county being designated a yellow zone but that a Vaccine could be coming within 3 weeks and that the health departments have a plan.  Petit asks residents to take care and be vigilant during the holidays.

The New York State Sheriffs Association responded today to Governor Cuomo limiting gatherings in private homes to ten people or less.  The sheriffs said that there is no way to determine if people are following the governor’s mandate without violating citizens rights to privacy and unlawful search.  The sheriffs urged people to follow health official’s guidance and help slow the spread but also said that policing them is impossible saying that they lacked the authority and resources.  Governor Cuomo said that by not enforcing his mandates the police were being dictators and unveiled a new mask being sold by New York state that says, “don’t be a turkey, wear a mask”.

If you drink, have a plan, don’t drive.  Genesee County Sheriff’s department and Batavia police will be participating in the STOP DWI program from November 25th through 29th.  The program puts police out on the streets in higher visibility locations to combat drinking and driving during the thanksgiving season when more people drink at gatherings and then go out.  In previous years this has led to a decrease of up to 20 percent in drunk driving fatalities.

The rotary club of LeRoy is running a holiday house decorating contest.  Entries must be submitted by December 5th and judging will start on December 6th.  Winners will be announced on the 20th.  The grand prize will be a 100-dollar gift card for a local business.  The link to sign up for the contest is on our website, wbtai.com.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScmltD17xOioJA4GGN-jdxh-Nf8-MqHttnKtPHs90Cf-neeGg/viewform

Pettit: COVID Vaccine Could Reach Here in Three to Four Weeks

Genesee County’s lead officer in the fight against coronavirus says one of the COVID-19 vaccines
in final testing could arrive in Batavia within the next three to four weeks.

Public Health Director Paul Pettit, appearing on WBTA’s Main and Center
Program this morning, said he expects one of the three promising vaccines could reach Batavia before the end of the year

Paul Pettit, Genesee County Public Health Director

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers observed that local residents are abiding with safety protocols in public places. On the same broadcast, Landers said the problem lies with private gatherings

The county health department today issued an alert for patrons of the LeRoy Moose Club and the Flying J. Travel Center in Pembroke.
See the alert HERE

Health Alerts Issued Tuesday

The Genesee County Health Department is alerting the public to possible COVID-19 exposures at The Le Roy Moose Lodge and the Flying J Travel Center in Pembroke.Contact tracing is in progress; however unidentified individuals may have unknowingly been in contact with the positive cases.

Le Roy Moose Lodge:

 Monday, November 16th between the hours of 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

 Friday, November 20th between the hour of 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

 Saturday, November 21st between the hours of 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Flying J Travel Center:

 Tuesday, November 17th between the hours of 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

 Wednesday, November 18th between the hours of 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

 Thursday, November 19th between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

We advise all individuals who were at the LeRoy Moose Lodge or the Flying J Travel Center on the stated dates and times to monitor their symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms of COVID-19 develop, contact your primary care provider to seek testing immediately and self-isolate until you receive your test results. Symptoms of COVID-19 include but are not limited to: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.

For more information please visit: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home.

Morning News Briefing

It seems as though Batavia city leaders and the Youth Board have settled their differences. The City Council President said during a meeting last night he didn’t want to see any cuts in services and did not want services relocated. With that, city management and the Youth Board, which serves at the direction of City Council in an advisory role, will explore ways to continue to effectively and efficiently provide afterschool and summer programming for Batavia’s young people. The future of City of Batavia youth services became a somewhat heated topic earlier this month when a resolution to dissolve, a year early, a longstanding joint agreement between the city and county to share a youth bureau executive director came before two Genesee County Legislature committees.

Genesee County is the worst performing county in the Finger Lakes Region as far as COVID-19 cases are concerned…that comment last night from County Manager Matt Landers during a county legislature meeting. He said – quote- “Our numbers for the county are abysmal.” Landers added that Genesee’s numbers are significantly higher than the other counties in the Finger Lakes Region, including Monroe County. The 7-day rolling average jumped up to just under 6 percent. The Manager he is very fearful that this will lead up to a Yellow zone designation or worse. Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein said this is going to have an impact on local businesses.

A diverse group of agricultural organizations in the state are calling on the 60-hour overtime threshold for farm laborers to remain in place as a New York State Department of Labor wage board determines its fate. The groups sent a joint letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo outlining why a further reduction in the overtime hourly threshold will be detrimental to the livelihoods of farmers and farmworkers across the state and will expedite automation upon the rural landscape. New York farms already face extreme competitive pressure in the marketplace from farms in other states and countries that can easily undercut New York prices needed to sustain a profitable business. Higher labor costs in New York will only exacerbate that problem.

Even a year as tumultuous as 2020, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Senate Democratic Leader, today completed his 22nd consecutive tour of all 62 New York State counties — an accomplishment that continues his track record as the first New York State public official to visit every single county in New York each year he has been in office. Over the course of the year, Schumer made visited the Rochester-Finger Lakes are 12 times.

The Rotary Club of Le Roy is sponsoring a Holiday House Decorating Contest for residents of the Town and Village of Le Roy. There is no cost to enter.  Entries must be submitted by Dec. 5. Judging will go live on Sunday, Dec. 6. A map of participating houses will be posted online and with a link to vote for your favorite decorated residence. Winners will be announced Sunday, Dec. 20 through the Rotary Club of Le Roy website and the club’s Facebook page. The Grand prize will be a $100 gift certificate followed by four additional gift certificates of $50 each. All gift certificates will be from local businesses.

An Oakfield man is fortunate that he was not seriously injured or worse after getting stuck inside a massive silo filled with corn silage on Lockport Road in Oakfield Monday. Here’s Oakfield Assistant Fire Chief (grain). Quick thinking and fast action by the property owner’s wife and farmworkers helped to stabilize the man until rescuers and their equipment arrived. Seven people went inside the bin and put their training for this kind of scenario to the test.

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.11, down 2 cents from one week ago. One year ago, the price was $2.59. The New York State average is $2.22 – down 1 cent from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.69. Prices in Batavia — $2.18 (down 1 cent since last week).

Afternoon News Brief

Erie county is an orange zone right now and, Governor Cuomo says, it is heading towards being classified as red.  By Wednesday says Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz, the decision will be mad as to whether Erie county will be back with the most restrictions since March.  Among the restrictions are Mass gatherings prohibited, only essential business can be open, restaurants can only provide takeout, schools go to 100 percent online education and houses of worship are restricted to 25 percent capacity or 10 people whichever is more.  Lancaster NY has the highest positivity rating at 9 percent and Erie county is at 7.25 percent.

Areas of Monroe County are now orange zones.  Parts of Gates, Brighton, Irondequoit and Rochester are now at a high enough positivity rate to be elevated from yellow to orange meaning lower capacity at houses of worship and mass gatherings. High-risk, non-essential businesses will have to close, and restaurants will be allowed to have outdoor dining only.  Schools will go full remote pending testing that will allow kids to go back to school if they test negative.

Over the weekend there were at least 2 charitable events in Batavia.  The first, stuff the cruiser, involved local law enforcement officers collecting toys for children who might not otherwise find many presents under their trees.  The Leroy police, Batavia police, Genesee county sheriffs, the state police, the DEC, the Genesee county probation department and the Corfu police all participated.  Also at the VA hospital in Batavia the veterans of Wyoming county raised 2100 dollars for the American legion post 637 to bring hot red osier meals to residents and staff feeding 175 people.

The Buffalo Bills are at the top of the AFC east because they won this weekend, even though they didn’t play.  Because the Dolphins, Patriots and Jets all lost their games the Bills were brought up to 1st place.  The Bills will play the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday in LA.

The DEC of New York State announced a contest today for hunters to submit essays and photos about why they hunt or trap.  The winners of the contest will be showcased in the 2021-2022 New York hunting and trapping regulations guide.  Submissions must be sent in by January 31st.  Guidelines can be found on dec.ny.gov.

With the holiday travel season kicking off this week, Western New York drivers will be spending less to fill up their vehicles.  According to Triple A, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas in Batavia is two-18…the same as last week but well below the 2-dollars 67 cents a year ago.

Morning News Briefing

Despite the C-D-C’s new guidance advising Americans against traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, daily figures show the T-S-A processed more than 1 million passengers on Friday. That’s the second highest number since March 17th. During a briefing Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo again urging New Yorkers to avoid large gatherings.

The Batavia City Council Conference meeting will be held tonight at 7 p.m. in the Council Board Room on the second floor of the Batavia City Centre. This meeting is open to the public. Face masks and social distancing will be required. The agenda is posted on the City website. One of the resolutions to be considered is for the City to enter into an agreement for fiber internet service for the city.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced two holiday gift ideas for those who love the environment and outdoors. Each year, DEC’s lifetime sporting licenses make a great gift for outdoors enthusiasts. In addition, for a limited time DEC is offering a one-year subscription to its award-winning Conservationist magazine at half price.

The latest report from health officials shows 17 new cases of coronavirus in Genesee County. The latest infections involve residents of Alabama, Batavia, Darien, Elba and Le Roy. Eight of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Meanwhile, Orleans County reports just a single new case.

Watkins Glen International will be hosting one of the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races next summer. The race will be held at the Glen on Saturday, August 7. It will be a doubleheader with the NASCAR Xfinity Series race. On Sunday, August 8, the NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling at The Glen will be held as well. This marks the first time since June 2000 that a Truck Series race will be held at the Glen.

Western New York currently has the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the state. As of Sunday, the rate was 6 percent. Western New York also has the highest seven-day rolling average of tests at 5.06%. Lancaster has the highest infection rate across the state.

Weekend News Brief

Multiple fires were reported on Friday with at least 2 being investigated as deliberately set.  Fires popped up in towns of Alabama, Elba, Pavilion and Darien.  One burned a corn field and another came near a home.  2 in the city of Batavia are being scrutinized more closely.  One was in a dumpster at School and Cedar Street and is thought to be linked to a brush fire at 29 Liberty Street that burned in multiple along one lot near an abandoned trailer.  Fire Chief Napolitano says that “With fires at multiple locations, it warrants an extremely closer look.”  All the fires were put out quickly.

From Friday afternoon Genesee county had 17 new cases for a total of 652 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.  19 people have recovered since Thursday.  Orleans county had 1 new case for a total of 542 cases since the beginning of the Pandemic and 29 people had recovered since Thursday.  There are 8 people hospitalized in Genesee county and 3 in Orleans county.  There are a total of 128 active cases in Genesee county and 44 in Orleans.  Governor Cuomo announced Friday that New York State is at a 2.91 percent 7 day rolling average of positive cases.  He partially blames the high numbers on the increased testing in the state and said that the micro cluster strategy will continue.  Genesee county is in danger of turning yellow and possibly orange as the rate of positive testing is above what is needed for micro cluster designation at least in the city of Batavia.

At a press conference in Medina on Thursday Senator Chuck Schumer said that he is working with major and minor league baseball to try to save the Muckdogs in Batavia.  He did announce that The Washington Nationals would be moving their aaa affiliation to Rochester with the Red Wings instead of Fresno California.

The Batavia City Council meeting on Monday will be in person and open to the public with the meeting being viewable online at YouTube or On the City’s Facebook page.  Spectrum will also carry the meeting on channel 1301 on Wednesday at 9am and Friday at 8pm.

Due to COVID Cases linked to a funeral at St Josephs in person mass at Resurrection Parish are canceled until November 28th.  5 members of a family that attended a funeral on the 12th have tested positive for the coronavirus.  The Parish announced that they are closing for extra cleaning and continue to disinfect everyday even when no one has been in the church.  They want the public to know they have been wearing masks and social distancing and disinfecting the entire building after every mass.

TF Browns restaurant will be closed from the 22nd through the 28th for safety and for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Mancuso bowling center will remain open just for league play.

Afternoon News Brief

The second driver in the head on collision yesterday afternoon on rt 19 in Bergen has died.  Late in the afternoon 74 year old Caroline Bianchi of Bergen was driving south on rt 19 when investigators say her Rav 4 crossed into the opposite lane and struck a 2007 Chrysler town and country driven by 82 year old Gary Beehler of Hamlin.  The vehicles struck head on Bianchi was pronounced dead at the scene and Beehler was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital by Mercy flight.  Beehler did pass away this morning according to the Sheriff’s office.  The crash remains under investigation.

The Genesee county health department says that 7 COVID-19 cases came from funeral services held at Gilmartin Funeral Home on the 11th, Resurrection Roman Catholic Church on the 12th, Saint Joseph’s Mausoleum on the 12th, and the Polish Falcons of America on the 12th.  If you attended one of these services, please monitor yourself for 14 days for COVID-19 symptoms.

Governor Cuomo appeared to argue with Mayor of New York City Bill De’Blasio about the safety of schools.  In a joint statement made with the governors of New Jersey, Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, and Massachusetts Cuomo stated that “Medical research as well as the data from Northeastern states, from across the country, and from around the world make clear that in-person learning is safe when the appropriate protections are in place, even in communities with high transmission rates.  In-person learning is the best possible scenario for children, especially those with special needs and from low-income families. There is also growing evidence that the more time children spend outside of school increases the risk of mental health harm and affects their ability to truly learn.”  This statement came 1 day after De’Blasio announced that New York City Schools would close for in person learning and many schools across the state including in Batavia where schools will be closed through thanksgiving.

Doctors warn western NYers not to put off needed medical attention because of COVID.  Dr. Gerry Gacioch with Rochester Regional Health says that people should not hesitate when there are emergencies because of worries over COVID.  Seconds count in cases of heart attacks or strokes or other medical situations that require immediate attention.  He says that it was a problem in the first wave of COVID that people were not going to the hospital when they had thee types of emergencies.  He also said that hospitals are taking every safety precautions and patients would not catch COVID from healthcare workers.

Opening day is going to be big this year for hunters.  How big?  At least 50,000 people went through the online hunter education course this year compared to less than 25 thousand in previous years.  There is a problem though, with COVID-19 shutdowns causing issues for retailers, supply chains and manufacturers many hunters are having trouble getting the materials they need to get out for opening day.  Ammo, coats and boots and other items are in short supply.  Hope you get to enjoy watching the sun rise out there on the first day.

Health Alert: Funeral Services

The Genesee County Health Department has received 7 positive COVID-19 tests from individuals who attended funeral service arrangements on the following dates and locations:

 November 11th Gilmartin Funeral Home (333 W. Main Street, Batavia) between the hours of 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.

 November 12th Resurrection Roman Catholic Church (303 E. Main Street, Batavia) between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

 November 12th Saint Joseph’s Mausoleum (Ellicott Street, Batavia) between the hour of 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

 November 12th Polish Falcons of America (123 S. Swan Street, Batavia) between the hours of 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Contact tracing is in progress; however unidentified individuals may have unknowingly been in contact with the positive cases.We advise all individuals who were at the locations listed to monitor their symptoms for 14 days.

If symptoms of COVID-19 develop, contact your primary care provider to seek testing immediately and self-isolate until you receive your test results.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include but are not limited to: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.

For more information please visit: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home

Morning News Briefing

The investigation continues after a 74-year-old woman from Bergen died Thursday afternoon following a two-car collision on Route 19 near Creamery Road. Another person was seriously injured. Authorities identified the victim as Caroline Bianchi. Deputies say Bianchi was southbound on Route 19 when she traveled over the centerline and struck a minivan driven by 82-year-old Gary C. Beehler of Hamlin. The vehicles collided head-on. Beehler was transported by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital with serious physical injuries. Bianchi was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators have yet to determine why her vehicle failed to maintain its lane of travel.

Electric and gas delivery rates for NYSEG and RG&E customers will rise but at a cost drastically reduced from the double-digit percentage increases in the original utility proposal. The state Public Service Commission staff and utility representatives agreed to keep rate increases for both electric and natural gas delivery rates to below 2% annually over the three-year term which will extend to April 2023.

Batavia City School officials now say that on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, they’ll be going to full remote learning.  The Superintendent said that a large percentage of teachers and staff come from orange zones which makes getting substitutes difficult, that several staff and students are already in quarantine, and that there are growing case numbers…all of which factored into the decision.  The determination was made to have no students in any of the district buildings on the two days prior to Thanksgiving.  This does not affect those who attend in person classes at BOCES.

New York Farm Bureau’s 2020 Market Basket Survey shows the price of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner saw a modest uptick from last year’s meal. The average total price, which includes a 16-pound turkey and other common items found on a holiday dinner table, is $49.23 or a $2.86 increase over last year.

Twenty new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Genesee County. Those newly infected come from Alexander, Batavia, Elba, Le Roy, Pembroke and Stafford. Four of the new positive individuals are residents at The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Batavia. The county also reports another death. In Orleans County, three new COVID cases were confirmed and in Wyoming County, five new cases were reported.

A community survey conducted by the Le Roy Police Department came back with some pretty high marks in terms of “overall satisfaction.” The village police force received an average grade of 8.5 out of 10 in response to the question, “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the Le Roy Police Department? (1 star being poor and 10 stars being exceptional).” The survey was conducted in conjunction with the department’s 15-member committee formed in compliance with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order on policing policy and procedure improvements. It was available for village residents and nonresidents over a three-week period, ending last Friday.

St. Ann’s Community is one of several skilled nursing facilities in the Greater Rochester area, including one in Le Roy, to receive rapid testing devices from the Centers for Medicaid Services with the goal of rapid detection of COVID-19 in nursing home staff. Under state regs, nursing home staff must be tested a minimum of once per week in order to minimize virus exposure and spread to residents and other staff members. The devices provided to St. Ann’s Community can read a sample in approximately three seconds and give a COVID-19 positive or negative result. This rapid testing has made for a much easier and more efficient way of testing the nearly 1,200 staff members at St. Ann’s Community.

Afternoon News Brief

In an announcement today Batavia City School Superintendent Anibal Solar Jr said that for the Monday and Tuesday of thanksgiving week Batavia city schools will go to full remote learning.  Solar said that a large percentage of teachers and staff come from orange zones which makes getting substitutes difficult, that several staff and students are already in quarantine, and that there are growing case numbers all factored into the decision.  The determination was made to have no students in any of the district buildings on the two days prior to Thanksgiving.  This does not affect those who attend in person classes at BOCES.

More charges against Michael Tomaszewski of Tomaszewski funeral home.  This time he is being charged for not burying a US Army veteran who he said he had buried in 2018.  Peter Vandetta a 20 year veteran of the Army passed away in April of 2018.  Tomaszewski took payment for handling the burial for Vandetta and instead put him in a garage for 264 days.  He also filed a death certificate showing that the body had been buried which were fraudulent.  Batavia sheriffs did note that the body of Vendetta was buried properly after that time.  Tomaszewski is currently charged with over 100 felonies including mishandling remains and taking money for services he did not perform.

Neither Chief Heubusch or Sheriff Sheron will enforce the Governor’s executive order to limit private gatherings to 10 people or less.  They both said that they will not task officers to go to peoples homes and check if they are having less than 10 people there citing the United States Constitutions prohibition of unlawful searches.  Both the chief and the Sheriff warned the public against having large gatherings and asked everyone to be safe and use good judgement especially over Thanksgiving.

Senator Chuck Schumer was in Medina today calling on the federal government to release money to put a free rapid testing standalone location in Orleans County.  Schumer said that there are 9 billion dollars in unreleased monies that could be helping fight the COVID Pandemic.  Currently Medina Memorial Hospital and the Albion Clinic are offering COVID testing for Orleans County residents but Schumer says a standalone site that offers free testing would dramatically increase access to testing.

COVID Update:  Genesee county has 17 new cases and 21 people have recovered.  Orleans county has 9 new cases and 6 people have recovered.  There are 141 active cases in Genesee county and 74 in Orleans.

The Holland Land office is showcasing their annual wonderland of trees starting Friday.  There is no kickoff event and the trees will be on display till December 31st.  Go see them Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 to 4.  There will be a basket raffle until December 18th and on December 4th, 11th and 18th the Genesee County Symphony orchestra will play at the museum with a limited audience of 12 per performance.  Preregistration is required.  There will be a live broadcast during the concerts.

Zoombuffalo.com is selling a window sticker that they call the 11th guest.  For about 12 bucks you can invite the Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, or at least the top half of his head, to your thanksgiving celebrations as he peeks in your window to see if you have more than 10 people in your home.  You can also get 3 for 20.20.

BCSD Goes All Virtual Learning Monday and Tuesday

Editors Note: Batavia City School Superintendent Anibal Soler issued this letter to the community on Thursday:

Anibal Soler

Dear Batavia Families,

I am writing to inform you of some important instructional changes for classes next week.

After careful consideration, I have decided to change Monday, November 23 and Tuesday, November 24 to 100% Virtual Remote Learning days for ALL students except for our Batavia High School BOCES students. (Batavia BOCES students will still be able to attend their Career and Technical Education Courses at the Genesee Valley BOCES Campus in Batavia)

NO STUDENTS will report to any of our Batavia City Schools on Monday, November 23rd and Tuesday, November 24th.

I know this decision may impact families negatively, but this decision is the result of a growing number of challenges the district is navigating while also doing our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 prior to the holidays.

These challenges include:

  • The growing number of positive COVID-19 cases in Genesee County.
  • The growing number of students and staff who have to quarantine due to being identified by the Health Department as a “close contact.”
  • The growing number of staff and students who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The growing number of staff who are exhibiting COVID-19 like symptoms and are awaiting test results.
  • The Orange Zone designation in Erie County – many of our employees are now impacted as schools in that region have moved to 100% remote thus impacting childcare for staff.
  • A shortage of quality Substitute Teachers.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your school directly.  Our Principals and staff are there to support you.

Please continue to be vigilant in your efforts and help us prevent the spread of COVID-19. For additional reliable information on preventing the spread of COVID-19, please go to www.cdc.gov or www.health.ny.gov.

It is our goal to maximize in-person learning opportunities for our students but we will always be guided by health and safety.  I will continue to monitor the infection rate in our region, and I will let you know of any future changes.

WE are Better Together…WE are Batavia!!!

Anibal Soler, Jr.

Superintendent of Schools

Morning News Briefing

A county grand jury has handed down a six-count indictment against a man accused attempting to ram a state trooper vehicle. Carlton Burrows faces a top count of felony first-degree reckless endangerment. According to a press statement, prosecutors allege that on July 14 on Veterans Memorial Drive in the Town of Batavia, Burrows recklessly engaged in conduct that created a grave risk of death to another person by driving a motor vehicle at a NYS Trooper. He also allegedly attempted to ram a Batavia City police vehicle.

Some late changes to the 2021 Genesee County budget require using a bit more of the fund balance, but that won’t affect the property tax levy or tax rate…that word from County Manager Matt Landers. The county legislature’s Ways & Means Committee forwarded resolutions to both amend and adopt the $143 million spending plan and to finalize the tax levy at its next full meeting on Monday. The proposed plan calls for a tax rate of $9.80 per thousand of assessed value.

Nine Genesee County residents remain hospitalized with COVID-19. Health officials reported Wednesday that 17 new cases were confirmed. The latest infections involve people from Alexander, Batavia, Darien, Elba, Le Roy and Pembroke. In Orleans County, health officials reported nine new COVID cases.

Justin T. Gladney has been indicted for first-degree rape, a class B violent felony. It is alleged that in June in the City of Batavia, he engaged in sexual intercourse with a person by forcible compulsion. Gladney is also accused of second-degree rape, a Class D violent felony. He allegedly engaged in sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 15.

The National Rifle Association will pay a $2.5 million penalty and be banned from selling insurance products in New York after state regulators found the organization violated the law for most of the last two decades. The state Department of Financial Services and the NRA entered into an agreement last week to end the state’s three-year investigation into the gunowners-rights organization’s insurance offerings, including Carry Guard, a controversial product that covered legal costs for policy holders who claim they acted in self defense.The state’s investigation found the NRA earned commission on more than 28,000 sales on insurance products to its New York members, which the organization marketed in the state despite not having a proper insurance license.

More than two thirds of New Yorkers polled say the holiday season will look different this year — but it won’t be ruined by the ongoing pandemic. That’s the word in a new Siena College Research Institute poll just released.  It says 68 percent of responders say the holiday spirit will prevail.

Governor Cuomo has made it clear that local governments and their police departments need to come up with a new police reform plan by April or risk losing out on state funding. Under the governor’s executive order, they must develop a plan that “reinvents and modernizes police strategies and programs based on community input.” However, this directive is specific to just local municipalities, which means it doesn’t apply to the New York State Police. In June, the governor signed legislation requiring state troopers to wear a body camera while on patrol in order to improve transparency. However, it’s still waiting to be implemented.

A grand jury has indicted Judd A. Farewell Jr. for third-degree grand larceny, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on May 31 on Coe Avenue in the Village of Oakfield, that Farewell stole a four-wheeler.

Afternoon News Brief

Till November 29th Batavia police will be participating in Buckle Up New York and Click it or ticket annual traffic safety initiatives.  They will be on the lookout for anyone not wearing a seatbelt as on November 1st all persons in a moving vehicle are required by law to wear seatbelts or face a 50 dollar fine.  This change comes after a law in August made it illegal for anyone over the age of 16 to not wear a seatbelt.

Winter high school sports that have been labeled ‘high risk’ have been pushed back to January 4th of 2021. This comes as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to increase throughout New York State.  Those sports affected include basketball, hockey and wrestling.  Low and moderate risk sports are still on schedule to begin November 30.

On Thursday from 4:30-6:30 the Batavia middle and John Kennedy Intermediate schools are hosting a COVID-friendly event for all Batavia City School District families at the Middle School on Ross Street.  Families are invited to come and pick out gently-used and new winter clothing (including coats, hats, gloves, scarves and boots) for members of their family.

Announcement from the Batavia police Advisory Collaboration Stakeholder Group:  Because of the high COVID case count in Genesee county the group meeting on Thursday has been moved to a Zoom meeting.

Morning News Briefing

Nine people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Genesee County, the highest number locally since the start of the pandemic. County health officials say 20 new positive cases have been confirmed. Those newly infected reside in Alexander, Batavia, Darien, Elba, Le Roy, Oakfield and Pembroke. The ages range from teens to the 80’s. In Orleans County, ten new cases have been reported and in Wyoming County, 14 new cases were confirmed.

37-year-old Joseph Allan Dean of Stringham Drive in Batavia faces numerous charges after he was arrested by the Genesee County Local Drug Task Force and members of the Batavia Police Department. He is charged with two felony counts of criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance. His arrest concluded an investigation into the transportation, sale and possession of cocaine in and around the City of Batavia. At the time of his arrest, Dean was allegedly found in possession of cocaine and other controlled substances. Police then leveled several other counts against him. Dean was arraigned in Genesee County Court and Batavia City Court and then released on his own recognizance. He is due back in court on Dec. 7. The Genesee County District Attorney’s assisted in the investigation.

Genesee County has launched its official Facebook page and Twitter account. The digital social media tools will be used to regularly communicate with the citizens of the County. As COVID-19 continues to impact the community, the County plans to utilize the pages to communicate important health and safety measures along with general news about the county.

The Genesee County Health Department has received a positive COVID-19 test from an individual who was at The Harvester tavern in Batavia last week Nov. 8th through the 14th. Contact tracing is in progress; however unidentified individuals may have unknowingly been in contact with the positive case. Health officials advise all individuals who were at The Harvester anytime last week to monitor their symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms of COVID-19 develop, contact your primary care provider to seek testing immediately and self-isolate until you receive your test results.

The New York State Office for the Aging on Tuesday celebrated Older New Yorkers’ Day virtually, recognizing 87 volunteers from across the state who demonstrate their extraordinary value every day to their family, friends, and community. The celebration traditionally takes place each year in May in Albany; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year it was premiered as a virtual event.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation strongly encourages hunters to visit deer and bear check stations during the upcoming opening weekend of the regular big game season. Participation is voluntary and helps DEC gather valuable data to assess the status of the big game population in the area. The check station located at the DEC Headquarters on East Avon-Lima Road (State Route 20) in Avon, Livingston County, will operate Saturday, Nov. 21 and Sunday, Nov. 22 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Hunters are encouraged to bring their deer to either check station where DEC staff will determine age and collect biological and harvest information. With black bear season opening the same day as deer season, wildlife staff will also check harvested bear to collect biological information and pull a premolar tooth to determine the bear’s age.

NY Congressman Anthony Brindisi, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has helped pass the Wounded Veterans Recreation Act. The Brindisi-backed legislation makes all Veterans with service-connected disabilities eligible for a free, lifetime entry to United States national parks and other federal lands. The congressman said in a statement that “Recreation and time outdoors are important parts of our mental and physical health, and that is especially true for our Veterans and servicemembers with service-connected injuries.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the launch of a new online training platform which will enable unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers weathering the COVID-19 pandemic to learn new skills, earn certificates, and advance their careers at no cost. The new tool will provide access to nearly 4,000 online programs taught by leading professors and industry professionals with a focus on high-growth and in-demand sectors like advanced manufacturing, technology, and health care, among others. The new course offerings are provided through a partnership between the New York State Department of Labor and Coursera, the world’s leading online learning platform. The partnership will save New York millions of dollars over the next couple of years while providing free job skills training to New Yorkers. Residents can request a free account on the New York State Department of Labor website.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce has announced the availability of a new Ellicott Trail Brochure Map. The Chamber says it has received several requests for a printed map of the new trail, so the office worked with Town of Batavia officials to make it available. The 10-foot wide crushed stone multiuse recreational trail officially opened in July and has been created on 4.9 miles of old railroad beds, city streets, sidewalks, bike lanes and bridges. The trail was a joint project involving the City of Batavia, the Town of Batavia and the New York State Department of Transportation and connects recreational, historical and residential areas and crosses the Tonawanda Creek.

Afternoon News Brief

Batavia’s Original, Bourbon and Burger, and The Harvester Tavern have all had warnings put out about someone who was infected with COVID 19 being there for a period of time.  For the Harvester, the most recent case, the person was there from the 8th all the way though the 14th, at Bourbon and Burger a person who tested positive was there Thursday 10-4, Friday 2-9, Saturday 10 to 4 and Monday 4-8 although the owner says that he person was not there for 2 days before testing positive and is not thought to have been at the restaurant while infectious. Batavia’s original had several employees test positive and will be closed down till Friday at least.  If you have been at any of these restaurants during these times or at Batavia’s Original before the weekend please monitor yourself for COVID symptoms for the next 2 weeks.

COVID Update: there have been 78 new Cases reported Friday through Monday afternoon in Genesee county 31 people have recovered.  2 of the active cases are residents at The Grand and 1 is a resident at the VA Medical Center.  25 new cases are reported in Orleans county and 18 have recovered.  2 of the new cases are residents at the Villages of Orleans.  One staff member at Medina Central School has tested positive and gone on quarantine.  There are 142 active cases in Genesee county, 99 more cases than at the highest point in April, and 70 in Orleans.

During the month of October US Customs and Border Protection Officers seized almost 2 million dollars worth of fake and illegal goods being shipped in through the Rochester greater international airport.  These include fake clothing and watches or other copyright infringing goods and drug paraphernalia.

The recovery station at 5256 Clinton St Rd in Batavia is hosting an alcohol and drug-free social event on Nov. 25 designed for inviting adults who are interested in social interactions and events featuring movies, ping-pong, darts, karaoke, arcade games and much more to gather and discover recovery.  Open to community members 18 years of age and older, the activity will kick off a monthly activity known as Lighthouse Lounge at the center, a program of Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.  Social distancing, mask wearing and occupancy guidelines will all be observed.  The event is for 5-8pm.

The Oakfield Betterment Committee is holding a Christmas decorating contest for Oakfield and Alabama Residents.   Registration is by the betterment committees website or Facebook page and closes on December 7th.  The winner gets 100 dollars and the 3 runner ups get a 50 dollar gift card with a choice between local stores and restaurants.

There is a new way to learn new job skills and its free!  Governor Cuomo announced an online program that can teach job skills and allow people to earn certifications with over 4000 free courses and certification programs on Coursera.  If you are unemployed or underemployed you can learn in areas like healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and technologies.  You can get a free account at the New York State department of labor website.

Move over green bean casserole, according to google search research the most popular thanksgiving side dish in the Empire State is mashed sweet potatoes.  Along with Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland and Rhode Island mashed sweet potatoes come in second most popular compared to regular mashed potatoes which 14 states said was their favorite.  Other top sides such as Jell-O, gravy, and sweet potato casserole came in much lower.  The survey was based off of how many google searches were done for recipes for the sides.  Which may just mean that no one needs a recipe for stuffing but need recipes for mashed potatoes.

Health Alert: The Harvester

The Genesee County Health Department has received a positive COVID-19 test from an individual who was at The Harvester in Batavia last week November 8th through the 14th.

Contact tracing is in progress; however unidentified individuals may have unknowingly been in contact with the positive case. We advise all individuals who were at The Harvester anytime last week to monitor their symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms of COVID-19 develop, contact your primary care provider to seek testing immediately and self-isolate until you receive your test results.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include but are not limited to: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing,fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.For more information please visit:  https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home

Morning News Briefing

A judge rules probation, not jail, in a Batavia drug case. A Rochester man swept up in a drug bust on Liberty Street in March that led to the arrest of himself and four other people, along with the seizure of 56 bags of crack cocaine, avoided further jail time in his sentencing in Genesee County Court. 36-year-old Marquise Lee had been charged with possessing drugs. After his guilty plea over the summer, he was placed on interim probation.  His success in that program, along with ongoing employment in his father’s construction business, and his care for his children during their in-home studies during the pandemic helped earn him a probationary sentence. Prosecutors wanted some jail time.

Genesee County is reporting 78 new positive COVID-19 cases in recent days. The new positive cases are from Alabama, Alexander, Batavia, Bergen, Bethany, Byron, Darien, Elba, Le Roy, Oakfield, Pavilion, Pembroke and Stafford. Five of the positive individuals are hospitalized. Meanwhile, Orleans County reports 25 new cases while in Wyoming County, officials have logged 22 new cases since Friday.

Batavia’s Original will remain closed through Thursday, opening again on Friday. The owner says closing the extra days is a matter of extra precaution. Five employees tested positive for coronavirus, with all the cases contracted away from the workplace, and multiple employees were placed on mandatory quarantine.  That created an immediate staffing problem. All employees who tested positive are recovering well and the Health Department is conducting contact tracing. Batavia’s Original will reopen on Friday.

More than 1,400 National Grid line, tree and service workers in Western New York have been making steady progress in removing downed wires, trees, tree limbs, broken poles and other hazards and restoring power after a severe windstorm swept across the region on Sunday. Crews will continue to work around the clock on the labor-intensive cleanup and restoration efforts. The storm, with wind gusts of more than 65 mph, impacted 51,000 customers. A spokesman for National Grid said in Genesee County power has now been restored to all customers.

The regular deer and bear hunting seasons in New York’s Southern Zone begin at sunrise on Saturday and continues through Sunday, Dec. 13. The Southern Zone regular season is New York’s most popular hunting season, with participation from about 85 percent of New York’s 550,000 licensed hunters. Harvest during this season accounts for nearly 60 percent of the total statewide deer harvest and 30 to 60 percent of the statewide bear harvest.

The Oakfield Betterment Committee is holding its inaugural Christmas Decorating Contest for Oakfield and Alabama residents. Register by Dec. 7 via the committee’s Facebook page. Judging begins Dec. 14 and winners will be announced on Dec. 19. The overall winner will receive $100.

The Community Crisis Fund, which has distributed $6.1 million since it was mobilized in March, is closing out 2020 with a final grant application deadline of Nov. 20. The Crisis Fund was launched by United Way of Greater Rochester and Rochester Area Community Foundation to raise money and rapidly deploy resources to nonprofits adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This helps them continue to provide critical services to our region and/or reopen once they had the necessary personal protective equipment and safety protocols in place. Grants have been awarded to nonprofits in Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties.

Genesee County Health Alert

The Genesee County Health Department has received a positive COVID-19 test from an individual who was at Bourbon & Burger restaurant in Batavia on:

  • Thursday, 11/5 between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Friday, 11/6 between 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, 11/7 between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Monday, 11/9 between 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Contact tracing is in progress; however unidentified individuals may have unknowingly been in contact with the positive case.

We advise all individuals who were at Bourbon & Burger on the stated dates and times to monitor their symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms of COVID-19 develop, contact your primary care provider to seek testing immediately and self-isolate until you receive your test results. Symptoms of COVID-19 include but are not limited to: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.

For more information please visit: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home.

Afternoon News Brief

Tops Markets, Batavia

Tops friendly markets has released their limited item list in case of scarcity cause by a resurgence of COVID.  Disinfectant spray, wipes, sugar and peanut butter are on the list where a person can only buy 2 per customer.  Toilet paper of 16 rolls or more, paper towels and household cleaners are limited to 1 per person.  Wegmans has also released a similar list.

Governor Cuomo doubled down on saying that the COVID vaccine distribution program will lead to inequities in communities of color by threatening to sue the federal government.  The current plan has the vaccine being distributed through pharmacies, doctors offices, hospitals, and clinic which Cuomo says aren’t available in communities which are made up predominantly of people of color.  The governor wants special funding for vaccines to be distributed in churches, community centers, and other local facilities.   “If the Trump administration does not change this plan and does not provide an equitable vaccine process, we will enforce our legal rights,” Cuomo said. “We will bring legal action to protect New Yorkers.”  Cuomo says that the NAACP and National Urban League are partnering with him in the legal fight.  Trump has said that the government will withhold the vaccine from New York state if Cuomo refuses to allow it to be distributed.

The Batavia business improvement district board of directors announced today that Christmas in the city and holiday parade are canceled due to the coronavirus.  The board says that due to the uncertainty of COVID-19, the need for social distancing, and the concern for the health of the community, vendors, volunteers, and attendees they have decided to cancel this event for 2020.

Crossroads house is holding a pop-up garage sale on Black Friday November 27th from 9-3 and that Saturday from 9 to 1.  Crossroads house has a huge trailer filled with Christmas decorations, vintage glassware, collectibles, and many other treasures along with the comfort foods cookbook which is on sale for 14 dollars.

For the first time in a long time the price of gas rose in western NY.  In Batavia the price went up by a whole penny after dropping a penny a week for about the last 7 weeks.  The national average has gone up by 2 cents over last week.  The price of crude oil jumped 18 percent on news of a vaccine for COVID.

The Bills lost to the Arizona cardinals by a whole 2 points yesterday after a last second hail Mary touchdown pass brought the score to 32-30.  The Bills had just gone into the lead 2 minutes earlier.  They are now at 7 and 3.  Next game for the Bills is against Los Angeles Chargers in LA Sunday at 1pm.

Morning News Briefing

Power outages continue across the region this morning after a storm front rolled through Sunday. The number of outages in Genesee County early today had dropped to under 20 and involved primarily National Grid customers. There were under 100 remaining without power in Orleans and the number dropped to under 150 in Wyoming county. Fire crews were busy for hours dealing with downed trees and power lines. The National Weather Service clocked a peak wind gust of 58 mph at 5:20 p.m. in Batavia. Warsaw clocked a gust of 59 mph. The Buffalo airport recorded a peak gust of 69 mph while a wind gust of 56 mph was reported at Rochester Airport.

The annual closure of the stretch of Lake Ontario State Parkway, west of Route 98 in the town of Carlton in Orleans County takes effect today. The New York State Department of Transportation says the closure will last until next spring. A detour will be in place for motorists to exit at Route 98 and take Route 18 to continue west.

New technology was installed at the Greater Rochester International Airport just in time for the holidays. The TSA checkpoint at the airport is using new technology that confirms the validity of a traveler’s identification and confirms their flight information in near real time. Travelers still need to check-in with their airline in advance and bring their boarding pass to their gate agent to show the airline representative before boarding their flight.

Congressman Tom Reed has condemned Governor Cuomo’s position on a COVID vaccine. In a statement, Reed said he was appalled by Cuomo’s continued insistence on undermining a COVID-19 vaccine, the integrity of the FDA, and the hundreds of incredible scientists who have dedicated their lives to serving the American people. Reed’s district runs from Jamestown to Ithaca.

Heartbreaking…that’s the only way to describe the last two seconds of the Bills-Cardinals game Sunday. Arizona won 32-30 after an incredible Hail Mary pass was caught in the end zone. The Bills are now 7-3 on the season.

The Town of Batavia has extended its State of Emergency for another 30 days. This State of Emergency has been declared due to the existing and continuing declared States of Emergency at the Federal, State, County, and City of Batavia, related to the COVID-19 virus.

The Great American Smokeout is Thursday. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is encouraging Veterans to take the first step to improve their physical and mental health by combining cessation counseling with other VA clinical resources and support. Research shows behavioral counseling can significantly improve one’s chances of quitting and combining counseling and medication works better than medication or counseling alone. “VA is here to help Veterans quit smoking,” says Michael Swartz, Executive Director. There are many tools and support VA offers to Veterans trying to quit. He added…take the first step to improve your health.

Weekend News Brief

Governor Cuomo and President Trump are arguing with new Yorkers in the middle again.  Cuomo says that he won’t authorize the distribution of the new Covid 19 vaccine until he is assured that it is completely safe and the distribution plan is altered from its’ flawed state to one that is more equitable for people of color.  Trump says that New York won’t be able to receive the vaccine until Cuomo authorizes it.  Cuomo plans a meeting with 5 other governors this weekend to work on aligning their states’ policies and making each other aware of what they are doing.  Cuomo had complained that the vaccine would not be accessible to people of color if it was distributed to Dr’s offices, pharmacies and clinics.  Twenty four people died from COVID-19 in New York Thursday. Another 1,700 patients were hospitalized, 331 were in the ICU, and 137 were intubated.  Across the Country more than 1800 people died from the coronavirus between Thursday and Friday and the number of new cases went over 170 thousand in 24 hours.  Trump says the plan is to vaccinate frontline workers, high risk persons and the elderly first and then the rollout of the vaccine to the general population is expected to start in April.

Bars, restaurants, and gyms are now closing at 10pm across new York state.  Seating at restaurants is now restricted to 4 people or less.  Curbside food pickup can continue past 10 but not alcohol service.  Also Cuomo has restricted private gatherings in homes and residences to 10 people or less.

The high wind warning continues until Monday at 1am with southwest winds of 25-40 miles per hour expected and gusts of up to 65 mph possible.  Watch out for downed trees and power lines and be careful when traveling south or north especially in a high profile vehicle.

The local 4-H teens club is collecting items for a mitten tree for local families in need.  Members of the club donated holiday stockings and gifts for deployed military  members with items such as gum, candy and puzzles.  The mittens will be displayed at cornel cooperative extension till December 14th and then mailed to the military.  They are asking that people also donate scarves, hats, coats and mittens to be donated to needy local families.  You can donate at the Cornell cooperative extension office from 8:30-5 Monday – Friday.

Do you have an electric car?  More charging stations are coming to New York state.  Because of a lawsuit settlement with Volkswagen over their illegally cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers into believing that their vehicles had lower emissions than they actually had 14.73 billion dollars will be going to the states.  New York state received 127 million dollars and will be using 20 million of that to build more electric vehicle charging stations.  Developers are asked to apply for funds to build the fast charge stations.   The first round of funding goes to Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, and Western New York.

Afternoon News Brief

Superintendent of Schools for Batavia Anibal Solar Jr has announced that 2 staff members at Batavia Middle school have tested positive for COVID 19.   The 2 staff were asymptomatic but 1 other staffer and 50 students have been ordered to self quarantine for 2 weeks.  Instruction at the school will continue using the hybrid schedule and contact tracing is underway.  Several schools in our area have had to switch to online education or had grades that were all put on remote learning.  Please continue to make smart choices about socializing and mask wearing.

The health department has released that a person who tested positive for COVID 19 was at Batavia’s Original on Friday and Saturday between 4:30 and 10pm.  Anyone who visited Batavia’s Original should monitor themselves for symptoms till at least November 21st.  Batavia’s Original has been shut down until at least Monday as 5 workers tested positive.  Owner Kathy Ferrara says she thinks a lot of young people think the pandemic is over and people need to be taking it seriously.  None of the five who have tested positive for COVID-19 contracted the virus at work, Ferrara said. Three had been to Halloween parties and one hosted a card game and the other contracted it from a family member.

Erie County sheriff Tim Howard says that he and his deputies will not break up Thanksgiving dinners and that thanksgiving traditions should not be stopped or interrupted by Governor Cuomo’s Mandates.  According to Governor Cuomo there are not to be gatherings of more than 10 people in private residences for any reason including thanksgiving.  This mandate is following national health figures such as Dr. Anthony Fauci saying that we don’t want to give COVID when we give thanks.  The remarks by Sheriff Howard answer the question that many had, how will this new mandate be enforced?  Governor Cuomo has not addressed this question.

There is a high wind watch for Genesee county and other parts of western NY form today until Monday.  Southwest winds of 25 to 35 miles per hour are expected with gusts of up to 60 mph possible.  Be alert for downed trees or power lines.  Report power outages to your electric company.

New York Independent living is proud to announce that the Young Leaders and advocates network is joining the family of agencies.  The young leaders and Advocates network is a 50 year old organization where young people with disabilities fight for an equal voice in issues effecting their lives.  More than 35 thousand people between ages of 14 and 30 live with disabilities in western NY.

Health Alert

The Genesee County Health Department has received a positive COVID-19 test from an individual who was at Batavia’s  Original on Friday November 6th and Saturday November 7th between the hours of 4:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Contact tracing is in progress; however unidentified individuals may have unknowingly been in contact with the positive case. We advise all individuals who were at Batavia’s Original on Friday or Saturday between the stated hours to monitor their symptoms for 14 days (Nov. 20th or Nov. 21st).

If symptoms of COVID-19 develop, contact your primary care provider to seek testing immediately and self-isolate until you receive your test results.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include but are not limited to: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.

Morning News Briefing

The investigation continues after a fire caused heavy damage to a Batavia home and claimed the lives of several pets. Flames were spotted Thursday leaping from a home at 162 State Street. The fire chief said it was a two-alarm fire. No one was home when the flames broke out. A dog and three cats died in the blaze.

The Genesee County Health Department is reporting 40 new positive COVID-19 cases. Some of the new infections involve a staff member at Batavia High School and a student at Byron Bergen High School. Both individuals are in mandatory quarantine. Both schools remain open. Orleans County reports 30 new virus cases and Wyoming County reports 18 news cases since Tuesday.

A lack of staffing because of the spread of COVID-19 in the community is forcing Batavia’s Original to close for the weekend. The owner will evaluate staff availability on Monday to see if she can reopen. Five workers at the pizzeria have tested positive and because of close contact, several more are in mandatory quarantine for two weeks and can’t come to work.

Cashless tolling will go live on the New York State Thruway’s ticketed system – more than a month ahead of schedule – during the overnight hours of tonight into tomorrow. The historic conversion will take place simultaneously at 58 tolling locations across the Thruway’s 450-mile ticketed system. At the time cashless tolling goes live, cash will no longer be accepted as a form of payment at toll booths and printed toll tickets will not be handed out. The conversion to cashless tolling marks the end of phase one of the project. Phase two, which begins following the conversion, includes the removal of existing toll plazas.

Families will have the opportunity to visit a local dairy farm without ever leaving the couch. Genesee County’s Oakfield Corners Dairy is the next stop on American Dairy Association North East’s “Fun on the Farm” series, which can be seen on Facebook at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14. This week, dairy farm team members Adam Dresser and Jamie Black will discuss how Oakfield Corners uses genetics when breeding their cows, leading to healthy animals who produce a lot of high-quality milk.

The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York says that Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed critical legislation addressing the growing decline in volunteer firefighters across the State. The new law creates a New York State Recruitment and Retention Task Force that will study challenges to recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters. Its mission is to develop recommendations and policy changes to assist fire departments across the state in boosting their ranks.

$400,000. That’s how much Buffalo Bills fans have raised in honor of Bill’s quarterback Josh Allen’s grandmother. She passed away over the weekend. The Bills Mafia is making donations to Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo in increments of $17 dollars—Allen’s number is 17.

Afternoon News Brief

A fire engulfed a home at 162 State street in Batavia this morning killing 3 cats and 1 dog.  No people were home when the house went up before 8 am.  Fire fighters were on the scene quickly as a n off duty firefighter was passing by and called in for help along with many residents of nearby homes.  He was informed someone was in the house and attempted to gain entry but the flames were already too hot.  After the fire department arrived and doused the flames they found no people inside.  The residents arrived at around 11 am.  The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Governor Cuomo has announced new restrictions designed to fight the rise in COVID cases in New York State.  Just in time for Thanksgiving Cuomo says that no ore than 10 people are allowed to congregate in private homes, bars, restaurants, and gyms must close by 10pm starting Friday at 10pm.  These restrictions are very close to what neighboring states are doing.  Cuomo says that the rules for private homes are needed as Halloween parties are reported to be the cause of some clusters in areas around the state.

Cashless tolls begin Friday night on the NYS thruway.  This is almost a month ahead of schedule.  Cars getting on the highway will not have to stop at the booths anymore as the cameras positioned above will shoot a pic of the front and back license plates and also scan for ezpass tags.  Those without ezpass will be charged more than those with them.  The next phase of the project involves removing existing toll booths. During this period, drivers will be asked to drive through toll lanes at reduced speeds without stopping. Citizens are asked to exercise caution when driving up to toll plazas.

Maybe you felt the earth shake.  The US Geological survey reports that a 1.5 magnitude quake has struck up near Wilson in Niagara county.  They say that the depth of the quake was 5 kilometers down into the earth and happened Tuesday morning.

The salvation army is getting going with it’s red kettle campaign with bell a ringing.  Requests for help are at an all time high as many people are suffering from the shutdowns and decreased economy that came from them.  If you don’t carry change or cash then you can give online on the salvation army’s website or via apple pay or google pay.

Morning News Briefing

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York is taking actions to address rises in COVID-19 cases, and the new rules impact bars, restaurants, gyms and private gatherings. During a conference call, the governor said State Liquor Authority-licensed establishments must close at 10 p.m. Curbside food pickup can continue past 10 p.m. Gyms will also be required to close at 10 p.m. These new rules take effect Friday at 10 p.m. Cuomo said private gatherings such as parties will be capped at 10 people.

A Bethany man returns to court next month after he was charged with a violent crime. Sheriff’s deputies arrested 24-year-old Greg Solomonidis of Little Canada Road was charged with felony assault. That count stems from an incident in July at a tavern in Alexander. He allegedly struck a person in the face causing serious injury. He’s due in Town of Alexander court on December 21st.

County Coroner Jeff McIntyre has received a commendation from the Genesee County Legislature for his tireless work — more than 260 hours — along with a team of responders — to an airplane crash site in Corfu. The Oct. 2 plane crash into a swampy, wooded area near Boyce Road claimed the life of Buffalo attorney Steve Barnes and the life of his niece Elizabeth Barnes, who was a government attorney.

The Batavia Muckdogs Baseball Club will be issuing refund checks to purchasers of 2020 game tickets at the Dwyer Stadium office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. To expedite the refund process, you’re asked to bring a government-issued identification and proof of purchase.

When it comes to commitment and dedication to battling opioid addiction in rural areas, the Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming Opioid Task Force shines brightly. That’s the viewpoint of the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, which has awarded the local collaborative organization with a 2020 Community Star. The award is given to only one rural entity in New York State.

Catholic Charities needs volunteers for its COVID-19 phone visitation program. An adaptation of its home visitation program for seniors (age 60+) in Genesee and Orleans counties, this safe social connection is an opportunity for homebound seniors to maintain contact with the outside world they otherwise would not have due to their shrinking social circles as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Interested volunteers would call weekly, from their own homes and on their own schedules, to check in on the homebound seniors. Training and a background check are required.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed the Outdoor Rx Act requiring the New York State Division of Veteran’s Services to review issues relating to veterans’ ability to access state parks, lands and facilities. The Outdoor Rx Act is the first step in identifying how New York State can better address the needs of veterans adjusting back to civilian life through outdoor activity. This legislation takes effect immediately. Recent studies have shown that time outdoors can be a valuable asset to traditional therapy. Outdoor-based therapeutic programs hold promise for individuals suffering from PTSD and Substance Abuse Disorder.

While the wait continues for many New York State races to be called, new proposed legislation aims to speed up the process for future elections. According to current state law, absentee ballots cannot be counted until after Election Day. This year, more than 1.5 million of those were returned, meaning a hold-up on clear results. Now, Democratic state senators are bringing forth legislation that would allow absentee ballots to start being canvassed on Election Day, three hours before polls close.

Afternoon News Brief

 

COVID Update: after a lot of cases over the weekend the new case number went down significantly yesterday with just 7 new cases in Genesee county and 13 in Orleans county.  17 people recovered in Genesee county and 3 people recovered in Orleans.  The health department released that 1 student at Holley high school has tested positive for COVID 19 and contact tracing is underway.  There are now 87 active cases in Genesee county and 47 in Orleans.

Jamie A. Dutton has been indicted for attempted murder.  Aug. 25 Dutton allegedly stabbed a person while outside the city water filtration plant on Lehigh Avenue.  That person was brought to the hospital by a family member and was stabilized there. He was also indicted for first-degree assault for allegedly causing serious physical injury to a person with a knife.

A worker at the new apartment complex being built on east main street accidentally severed a 2-inch gas line while working around 2pm on Tuesday.  10 homes and businesses were evacuated as the gas leak was brought under control.  It took about a half hour to seal off the leak and then people were allowed to return.

A new option for COVID-19 testing may be available soon in Western NY.  Four in one rapid nasal tests can detect COVID, Flu A and B, and RSV in about 35 minutes.  This new test will be used primarily for children and is currently in very short supply.  Doctors are saying it tests at the DNA level to find the virus at its most basic level.

Refunds available to Muckdog Season Ticket Holders

Refunds to Batavia Muckdogs season ticket holders will be available at Dwyer Stadium this Friday and Saturday.

Ben Hayes, the former president of the now defunct New York-Penn Baseball league will be in Batavia this weekend.

Hayes says he will be at Dwyer Stadium this Friday and Saturday from 10am to 4pm each and will make refunds on the spot to season ticket holders. You will need to bring ID and some proof of your ticket purchase.

Morning News Briefing

An investigation is underway into a barn fire on East Road in Batavia. Flames Tuesday afternoon brought the building down while firefighters worked to protect a nearby home. At least one firefighter suffered from smoke inhalation. Multiple departments responded to the scene. A nearby propane tank was also monitored. Fire crews remained at the scene well into the evening.

A Batavia High School staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee was not in school with any symptoms and was considered asymptomatic prior to getting tested. As a result of contact tracing, one additional staff member and five students were deemed as “close contact” and will quarantine for 14 days. Any student and staff member that was identified as a “close contact” has already been contacted by the Batavia High School administration. The Genesee County Health Department will also follow up with identified students and staff. Batavia High School will remain open for in-person hybrid learning model.

The Genesee County Health Department reports seven new COVID cases. Since Friday, there have been 43 new cases. Those newly infected live in Alabama, Alexander, Batavia, Bergen, Bethany, Darien, Elba, Le Roy, Oakfield, Pavilion, and Stafford. Two of the positive individuals are hospitalized. Orleans County reports 13 news cases and Wyoming County reports 12 additional cases.

It’s Veterans Day and ceremonies and services are scheduled across the area. There will be a 10 a.m. event at the VA Hospital in Batavia while the New York State Vets home will hold a service at 10:15. At 11:30, there will be a ceremony at the Jerome Center monument. Organizations participating include the Veterans of Foreign Wars of Genesee County, Genesee County American Legions Disabled American Veterans – Chapter #166 Marine Corps League – Hansen Brothers Detachment.

Jamie A. Dutton has been indicted for attempted murder. It is alleged that on Aug. 25 Dutton attempted to stab a person while outside the city water filtration plant at 480 Lehigh Avenue. He was also indicted for first-degree assault for allegedly causing serious physical injury to a person by means of a dangerous instrument.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is once again disputing the rumors that he’s interested in being President-Elect Joe Biden’s Attorney General. Cuomo, who previously rejected the idea after an Axios report last month, publicly rejected interest on the Howard Stern Show. Cuomo served as Attorney General in New York from 2007-10 and was the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton.

The Genesee County Health Department has received a positive COVID-19 test from an individual who attended Trivia Night at T.F. Brown’s Restaurant on Tuesday, Nov. 3, between 6 and 9 p.m. Contact tracing is in progress; however unidentified individuals may have unknowingly been in contact with the positive case. Officials say anyone who attended the Trivia Night on Tuesday, Nov. 3rd should monitor their symptoms until Nov. 17th. If symptoms of COVID-19 develop, contact your primary care provider to seek testing immediately and self-isolate until you receive your test results.

A fire broke out Tuesday afternoon at a trailer on Telephone Road in Pavilion. A propane tank was also near the trailer. It started after a pile of leaves was ignited. Pavilion and Le Roy fire departments were first to respond. Additional firefighters were called in from Bethany, Stafford, Caledonia and York. The American Red Cross was called for the displacement of at least three residents.

Genesee County urges vigilance in fighting spread of COVID19

News Release

Genesee County Legislature Chair Shelley Stein and Genesee County Public Health Director Paul Pettit are urging county residents and businesses to step up in taking precautions to fight the spread of COVID19.

Their call is the result of an increase of infections in Genesee County and the GLOW region and Governor Cuomo’s announcement earlier today about parts of Erie and Monroe Counties being placed in Yellow Zones.

The Governor and his health experts have created three zones to manage the spread of the virus:  yellow designates an area as being in a precautionary phase; an orange zone designation denotes a community is in a warning phase; and red means the community is in a cluster zone which imposes the strictest rules and regulations. You can learn more about the zoning designation by visiting https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-new-cluster-action-initiative.

“We don’t want restrictions that will negatively impact businesses and the local economy, but if we continue to see increases and spikes, New York State is going to come in and create the zones that were announced today in Erie and Monroe Counties,” said Stein.  “Unfortunately, that is where we are trending if we don’t take action fast and become more vigilant to fight the spread of the virus.”

Among the restrictions in a yellow zone includes that houses of worship can have no more than 50 percent capacity.  The maximum number of people at non-essential indoor or outdoor gatherings is limited to 25 people maximum. Businesses can remain open but for restaurants there is a maximum of 4 people per table for both an indoor and outdoor dining.  Schools can remain open but there must be mandatory weekly testing of students and teachers/staff for in-person settings.

Stein said that Genesee County will be reaching out to various government agencies and business partners to urge the community to step up their vigilance in wearing masks, maintaining appropriate social distancing, hand washing and other common sense things to prevent further spread of the virus.  The County is asking these partners to spread the message through email and social media channels.

“The key thing at the moment is similar to what we experience with the cold and flu season and that is people feeling compelled to go out if they are not feeling well,” said Pettit.  “If you feel ill in the slightest, then please do not go out or to work and contact your physician immediately in order to schedule a test.”

With the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays right around the corner, the temptation of larger gatherings particularly of family and friends who travel from outside the region poses another way of how the infection rate can spread.

“Cold and flu season is here, and eventually bad weather will force people to gather inside which is a recipe for the spread of the virus and this becomes even more concerning with the holidays right around the corner,” Stein said.

Testing locations in Genesee County can be found https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you.

Afternoon News Brief

COVID Update:  Genesee county now has more active cases than any time in the pandemic as over the weekend 43 new cases were received.  2 teachers at Jackson primary school have tested positive and Jackson primary will be going to 100 percent virtual learning till Monday, November 30th.  Orleans county has 18 new cases and 6 people have recovered.  1 student at Lyndonville high school and 1 student at Medina high school have tested positive.  Contact tracing is in progress.  1 person in Orleans county has passed away from COVID 19.  The person was over 65 years old.  There are now 54 active cases in genesee county, the highest on record before this was 43.

Due to the increase in COVID-19 in the county Genesee county facilities and meeting rooms will be closed to the public.  The city clerks office, Department of public works admin and inspection bureau, and yard waste station will remain open.  Public meetings will continue to be face to face but all attendees and guests will be subject to screening by the fire department.

The city council meeting Monday night was interrupted when 2 reporters, one Mike Pettinella from our news partner the Batavian, and one unnamed reporter noticed an unusual smell.  They informed the firefighters who were taking everyone’s temperature.  City fire was dispatched for a smell of natural gas and the meeting was halted.  It was determined that the smell was antiseptic from the dentist’s office combined with the smell of burning leaves.  Afterwards the meeting was allowed to continue.

Even though no one was able to ride it this season, those who have know it was a bumpy ride.  The Predator Wooden roller coaster at Six Flags Darien Lake is getting an update for the 2021 season.  The 95 foot tall, 3400 foot long roller coaster that opened in 1990 will be getting a new steel track title the titan track by Great Coasters International which is capable of launches, corkscrews and loops although the plan for what the predator will look like once it is finished has not been released.  The new track style is designed with no welds, instead using rivets to provide a smoother ride.

Well that stinks, literally.  A 2500 dollar reward is being offered for information into an incident in North Collins involving significant damage to a car.  What was the damage? Someone filled the interior of the car with manure.  Crime stoppers of western New York are looking for any leads into the foul crime which happened in the early morning of October 15th.

Health Alert: Nov 3 Trivia Night at T F Browns

News Release

The Genesee County Health Department has received a positive COVID-19 test from an individual who attended Trivia Night at T F Brown’s on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 between 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Contact tracing is in progress; however unidentified individuals may have unknowingly been in contact with the positive case. We advise all individuals who attended the Trivia Night on Tuesday, November 3rd to monitor their symptoms until November 17th.

If symptoms of COVID-19 develop, contact your primary care provider to seek testing immediately and self-isolate until you receive your test results.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include but are not limited to: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.For more information please visit: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home

Morning News Briefing

COVID-19 cases in Genesee County continue to spiral upward. Since Friday, 43 new cases have been confirmed. The Genesee County Health Department was notified of two positive teachers at Jackson Primary School. The individuals have been placed under mandatory isolation where they will remain until they have recovered. Contact tracing is in process to identify close contacts. Out of an abundance of caution, Jackson Primary School will remain 100% remote virtual learning until Monday, November 30. In Orleans County, 18 new cases were confirmed while in Wyoming County, official report ten new cases.

A pedestrian who was struck while crossing East Main Street on Friday night has been identified by Batavia Police as 45-year-old Casey Nutting, of Batavia. Nutting, according to witnesses, was running across the street when he was struck by a minivan. The drive of the minivan, whose identity has not been released, has not been charged and police said no charges are anticipated.

With growing COVID cases in New York, state officials said Monday they are less likely to allow high risk indoor winter high school sports, such as basketball, hockey and wrestling. New York has yet to announce any official decision on winter sports, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his top aides doubted whether the teams will be able to convene later this month as the schools had hoped.

New York Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay has tested positive for COVID-19. The Republican announced the positive test in a statement on Monday night. Barclay had taken the test as a “precautionary measure.”

Buffalo and Rochester shattered their record high temperatures Monday with temperatures reaching 76 in Buffalo and 77 in Rochester. This breaks a 129-year record at Buffalo and a 21-year record at Rochester.

Alleged phony money has led to an arrest. Sheriff’s deputies say they took 60-year-old Lawrence Williams Sr. of Ross Street in Batavia into custody. He was charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, a Class D felony. On Oct. 6, the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a counterfeit $100 bill at a store on Veterans Memorial Drive. Following an investigation, it is alleged that Williams knowingly presented the fake money He was arrested, arraigned virtually in Genesee County Court, then released on his own recognizance.

Effective immediately all City of Batavia facilities and meeting rooms will be closed to the public in light of increased in COVID-19 positive cases in Genesee County. Facilities that will remain open for public business include the City Clerk’s Office, DPW Administration/Inspection Bureau and Yard Waste Station. At this time, City Council meetings, Planning & Development Committee meetings and Zoning Board of Appeals meetings will remain as in-person meetings held in the Council Chamber with minimal City staff attending.

A grand jury is hearing evidence against the Rochester Police officers involved in the Daniel Prude case. Prude died in March, a week after being restrained by police on Jefferson Avenue. His death was not made public until months later, prompting a wave of protest and an investigation into how Rochester City Hall and RPD handled the case.

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Batavia brought in the New Year with fireworks last night at 9p at Batavia Downs.  The time was moved up to avoid potential hazards due to the high winds that arrived after midnight, the original time of the fireworks.  No reports of major damage today due to the high winds but be aware of tree limbs and downed power lines in your area.

A grand jury has indicted a man who was arrested over the summer at the August 10th Jason Aldean concert at Darien Lake.  Robert Maharrey was indicted for disorderly conduct, multiple counts of harassment for striking a female patron in the face, 2nd degree assault a class D violent felony for allegedly striking a sheriff’s deputy, assaulting a police officer a class C violent felony when he spit and struck another deputy assisting in the arrest.

Friday evening Livingston County Sheriffs were in the middle of the state wide stop DWI effort, when deputies pulled a vehicle over on 390 for speeding.  Upon further investigation a 27 year old Geneseo man Patrick Dunn was charged with DWI.  Dunn’s BAC was .25% and was further charged with felony DWI from a previous 2015 conviction.  Dunn is now being held on 1,5k bail or 3k bond and remanded to the custody of the sheriff.

Yesterday afternoon, Genesee County Sheriffs made a traffic stop in Oakfield on Lewiston road when a Rochester man, 20 year old Damian Schoonmaker of Smith Street was found to be in possession of marijuana in his 2000 Buick LeSabre.  He was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and is scheduled to appear in Oakfield town court 1/21

A motor vehicle accident yesterday in Elba led to a lane closure around 3:30p.  Two vehicle collided at Oak orchard and Lockport roads in Elba.  Elba fire police and 2 ambulance responded along with Elba Fire dept.

New Yorkers are seeing a number of new state laws in the New Year.  Among them, a law that requires diaper changing tables in all new public men’s and women’s restrooms.

Other changes include a requirement that health insurance companies give male patients free prostate cancer screenings and that residents be allowed to return unused prescription meds to pharmacies for free.

Many homeowners will enjoy an increase in property tax rebates, of an average of more than five-hundred dollars.

There’s the hike in the minimum wage. In our area, the minimum wage goes to eleven-dollars-and-ten-cents.



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